Bento the coppit lived a comfortable life in The Chire. He had a fortune in cabbage leaves left to him from his uncle Tibo. But for all his enormous wealth (or perhaps because of it) he remained a recluse. On the occasion of his five-hundredth birthday he had only a small party with those closest to him. There are various theories as to why coppits are so long-lived. One widely discredited version holds that it is natural selection, since they interact often with criminals so only the hardiest, quickest-witted survived.

 

Be that as it may, Bento had a small gathering for his birthday: his faithful servant Rayka Walskee, his younger cousin Jojo and he was also expecting his old mentor Moodolf the Green (one of the wizards who, like Radagast the Brown, didn't make it into the movie, sigh) to come in any moment. Meanwhile the three coppits sat comfortably smoking their coppit-weed pipes by the fire, Jojo enduring the disapproving looks of his cousin, since he was supposed to be quitting smoking.

 

Suddenly Moodolf burst in, "Bento! Where's that ring your uncle left you?"

 

A sad look came into Bento's mild, blue eyes. "The ring. I haven't thought about it in years. I guess it's here somewhere."

 

"Find it! Find it NOW! This is important, Bento."

 

Bento got a plain gold band out of a drawer and handed it over to Moodolf.

 

"Do you realize how important this ring is?" declared the wizard, rhetorically.

 

"Well, actually no," replied Bento, literally.

 

"This is the Great Ring of Power."

 

The coppits had heard of it.

 

"I've heard of that, Mister Bento," said Rayka. "When you put that ring on your finger you become invisible."

 

"No, Ray, you're thinking of another ring," Moodolf corrected. "Observe and you will see this ring has a wider diameter. You slip it on your ahem, and it makes you, um, powerful."

 

"My ahem?" queried Bento.

 

"He means penis," This reluctance of the wizard's to name body parts was annoying to the coppits but they endured it since a wizard was a handy thing to have around.

 

"The ring must be destroyed. It must be cast into the Fires of Fortitude where it was wrought."

 

"Rot!" declared Jojo. "Why would you want to destroy it. It's a great thing to have."

 

"I don't know about that," said Bento, and a mild look came into his sad, blue eyes. "All these years there's been a strange creature following me around.Lanky of limb, long scraggly black hair.She sneaks up on me from behind and hisses 'Preciousssss, preciousssssss'."

 

"It is because of the ring. The creature is called Viccum and she drawn by the power it bestows. She wants to share that power with you, Bento, and she'll stop at nothing."

 

"Um, and this is a bad thing?' Bento wanted to know. "The creature's actually not all that bad looking, you know."

 

"It is indeed a bad thing, for there is a prophecy that if you share the power of the ring with Viccum, you will be shot by your best friend."

 

"Oh, then I guess you're right, it'll have to be un-wrought."A blue look came into his mild, sad eyes.

 

"You must leave The Chire at once, Bento" the wizard ordered, " and walk all the way to the Fires of Fortitude and there you must throw the ring in. Take with you such companions as you can trust."

 

"Me, me!" exclaimed Rayka excitedly,"Take me, Mister Bento!"

 

"Of course I'll take you, Ray. I wouldn't go anywhere without my faithful servant. What about you Jojo? Feel like a hike?"

 

Before Jojo could answer, there was a flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder. "No way, Josť. You're always saying you don't want to be directly refered to in fics. So you'd better just stay home and write about them.You could take some literary liberties.How about a part where your cousin stands too close to the Great Fire and gets heat stroke?"

 

This sounded like much more fun to Jojo, so he agreed to stay behind and fic the whole thing from a safe distance.

 

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It was a long and tiring walk for Bento and his faithful servant. They had many adventures which donít require exploration at this juncture. Bento grew weaker and weaker as they proceeded, he stumbled, groaned in pain, and fell down a lot. There didn't seem to be any reason for it since he was in pretty good shape for five hundred years old. Ray figured that maybe some unseen hands just liked to see him tired, weak and falling down sick a lot. Fortunately he did not have to fear for his master's life, because he knew there was an unwritten rule in The Chire that Bento could not die unless a great warning appeared in the sky first.

 

At last Bento could walk no more. "I can't go any further, Ray." he said, and a sank beautifully to the ground, a mild blueness coming into his sad-looking eyes.

 

Ray got down on the ground beside his master, took him in his arms and kissed him gently on the forehead. "I'll take care of you Mister Bento. Don't you worry."

 

Bento looked up in surprise. "Ray, you kissed my brow."

 

"Don't worry about it Mister Bento. It was just buddy-browing."

 

"Oh, then nothing's changed?"

 

"No, Mister Bento, You're still my master."

 

"Yikes!" cried Bento.

 

"Not that kind of master, sir. Don't worry. Old Ray will help you get to the Fires of Fortitude. And what I'm about to do is really only platonic."

 

So saying, Ray lifted his master over his shoulder, Bento's tush toward the audience, and trudged on.

 

"You know, Mister Bento," said Ray thoughtfully, "I have the feeling we've done something like this before, but I had darker hair.

 

"I think you're elucidating, Ray," said Bento.

 

And they walked on and on and on, and Bento bounced on his faithful servant's shoulder with a mild, blue-looking sadness in his eyes,

 

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Finally they came to the brink of the Fires of Fortitude. This was the key moment.

 

"Now, Mister Bento, throw that thing into the fire."

 

Bento hesitated. "I think, Ray, I shall not do what I came here to do. The power of the ring calls me. I wish to use it, not lose it."

 

"Whoopee!" shrieked a female voice and the creature, Viccum, jumped out from behind a rock. "Use it! Use it! Let's use it right now, preciousssssssssss."

 

"Works for me." said Bento while poor Ray just watched in dismay. Bento opened his trousers, exposing his ahem (Jojo not being there to be more specific) and slipped the Ring of Power onto it. Then Ray noticed what Bento was too excited to notice. The creature Viccum had opened her mouth wide, showing huge sharp teeth and she was drooling as she eyed Bento's ahem. (Jojo, watching through a palantir, shook his head in dismay. "Penis, damn it, penis," what's wrong with these people?" He wailed.)

 

Ray feared for his master's, um, safety. Yeah, his safety. Of course. "No, Mister Bento! Don't let her bite you! Donít you realize what will happen? She'll bite it right off and go plunging with it into the Fires of Fortitude. You'll never get it back!" Ray wasn't referring to the ring here.

 

Bento hastily pulled the ring off himself and shoved it into his pocket.Viccum shrank back, disgusted at the sight of him without his power, and slunk away.

 

"I'm proud of you, master," said Ray. "You showed you can control the power of the ring after all. But you really should get rid of it."

 

"I can't" sighed Bento, and a sad blue eye-ness came into his mild looks. The ring has to be un-wrought but to do that I need to know the present tense of wrought. Or at least the infinitive. Without that, Jojo can't fic this. Unless perhaps you know . . . "

 

"No, sorry, Mister Bento. I don't know. I suck."

 

"That's just silly, Ray," said Bento, "Jojo is writing this and he doesn't do slash."

 

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