Attack Of The Dreaded Snow-Wraiths
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Summary: Set during the Fellowship's journey together.
Gandalf allows Merry and Pippin to stand watch
together, the two hobbits get bored and mayhem ensues.
Later, in hindsight, Merry would decide that it had
been a bad idea. He knew he shouldn't really be so
surprised at the outcome - after all, it had been
Pippin's idea, and they frequently resulted in the
wistful use of hindsight.
They had been traveling for almost a month, on foot,
since they'd left Rivendell. Pippin had lately
developed the ardent belief that he'd lost over an
inch in height from the wearing away of his feet due
to constant marching. It hadn't helped that Merry and
occasionally Sam would comment on how short he was
looking at least once a day.
Apart from a run in with a flock of rather evil
looking birds, the trip had so far been rather
uneventful. Merry and Pippin found themselves looking
forward to the end of each day's march, when Boromir
would help them practice with their new blades. So it
wasn't surprising when on the 28th evening of travel,
the two hobbits decided to pass some time with their
The fellowship was mid-way up a mountain slope; on
route to a high pass that Gandalf had declared the
safest route. They'd traveled high enough to reach
deep snow and Legolas had managed to find a shallow
cave that was relatively dry and sheltered. Camp had
been set up within, and after darkness descended a
watch was set while the others slept. It was the first
time both Merry and Pippin were allowed to sit watch
together. They'd been well behaved of late and all the
larger folk had developed a certain respect for them
because of their ability to keep up with the faster
pace of men.
"What could happen?" Boromir had said when Gandalf had
frowned at the idea. "We're in the middle of the
wilderness and not an orc has been seen since we set
Gandalf had conceded finally, deciding that the show
of trust might imbue more responsibility in the two
youngest members of the fellowship.
Not even the wisest of men has perfect judgement.
While the others huddled against the back wall of the
cave, near the small fire, Merry and Pippin sat at the
entrance, looking out into the night. It was almost a
full moon and the snow reflected the glow, creating a
twilight landscape of shadows and shades. The cold had
started to creep into the two hobbits and they decided
to practice a little sword work to keep warm and
alert. They quickly found that the lack of a larger
sparring partner made the whole process rather
pointless after a while. Anyone they fought against
would be substantially bigger than either one of them.
The last time they'd checked, Sauron hadn't employed a
legion of sadistic Halfling warriors.
It was then that Pippin came up with the idea of
building snowmen; or in this case, snow-wraiths. "It's
the perfect solution," he exclaimed. "We can make up
some man sized figures out of snow and then have at
Merry had stared at Pippin for a few heartbeats before
snorting. "Sounds like a stupid idea to me, Pip. It's
not a night to be digging around in the snow."
Pippin just snorted back and went about packing
together snow into a large torso. In no time at all
he'd finished his first snow-wraith and stood back to
look at it. It was easily twice the height of either
hobbit. Pippin had needed to pile some nearby rocks
into a heap and climb up on them to finish the head
and upper body. He had stripped large patches of old
bark from the trees that had fallen to the harsh
environment near the cave entrance, and placed them
all over the snow body giving it a dark, scaly
appearance in the half-light. A large branch stuck out
of it, like a sword held at the ready.
While it would look comical in the day, the moonlight
gave it a decidedly eerie appearance. The darkness
made the figure seem wreathed in shadows; showing
little more than a menacing outline. It had turned out
far better than Merry had thought it would, but one
look at the smug expression on Pippin's face made him
decide not to admit it.
"I guess it's a passable effort," said Merry casually.
"For a Took."
"Well, I'd like to see a Brandybuck do better!" Pippin
"I could better it with no effort at all, Pip."
"Prove it then!" said Pippin, using the magic words.
Merry forgot his earlier reluctance and was packing
snow together with gusto. Rather than sitting back and
watching, Pippin started on his second creation. In
very little time at all - hobbits can work hard if
they so desire - the next two dreaded snow-wraiths
were completed. Both hobbits had draped spare blankets
over them this time, giving them the appearance of
menacing cloak-wrapped figures.
"Not too bad, Pip," Merry said, grinning.
"Why, thank you, Merry," Pippin replied. "Yours is
looking quite good as well."
"It's a shame we can't make a larger one," said Merry
thoughtfully. "But there's not enough good snow to
make a base large enough to support something taller."
Pippin nodded, looking around, then smiled as he saw
something nearby. "We don't have to make it all of
snow, Merry my friend," he said, gesturing. "We could
use that boulder over there and pack snow all around
Merry congratulated Pippin for his ingenuity and then
headed over to what would soon be Middle-earth's first
snow-troll. Pippin climbed up onto the boulder and
Merry passed up smaller rocks to him, which he
stacked, then started to cover it all with snow. Two
large branches made the arms and more snow around the
boulder, with bark over that, completed the illusion.
Standing back in the cave entrance, the two friends
admired their handiwork. Three wraith-like figures
and a looming troll were arranged in a semi-circle
around the cave's entrance, seemingly advancing out of
the darkness. They drew their swords and moved
forwards, slowly, in low crouches, just as Boromir and
Aragorn had shown them. It was best for the hobbits to
use their small stature as an advantage, and get under
their enemy's guard. Merry leaped forward, ducking
under the imagined swing of a wraith and thrust his
blade upwards, deep into its snowy body. Pippin dodged
to the left of his own foe and slashed at its side,
opening a nasty cut in its icy flank.
It was a lot more fun than either hobbit had expected
and both of them became totally caught up in the mock
battle. It was at this point that Pippin made a
crucial mistake. Holding his sword high before him, he
let out a piercing battle cry, which split the silence
of the night.
"For the Shire!"
Back in the cave, Legolas came to his feet in an
inhuman blur of motion, his bow already in hand.
Looking out past the small fire he could see Merry and
Pippin, engaged in what looked like a pitched battle
with three human-sized figures and a large, hulking
creature of shadow.
"The Enemy is upon us!" cried the Elf, bringing both
Aragorn and Boromir to their feet.
Merry looked back from where he was crouched in the
snow just in time to see the first Elven arrow hiss
from the cave into the closest snow-wraith. Both
hobbits ducked to the ground as a second arrow
followed the first. An Elven cry of warning came from
within when the fell creature failed to fall to the
attack. Pippin opened his mouth to say something but
was drowned out by the two men who erupted from the
cave entrance, Boromir's cry, "For Gondor and the
white city," echoing across the snowy slopes.
Aragorn leaped over Merry's prone form, sword in hand
as he charged into the darkness. Boromir bounded
towards a wraith but unfortunately found one of the
piles of stones that the hobbits had stood upon first.
Hooking his foot, he staggered forward, arms flailing
wildly for balance, and collided head on with a
Further out into the darkness there was a resounding
clash of steel on stone. Aragorn had apparently
managed to land a blow upon the dreaded snow-troll.
Further insanity was prevented by the appearance of
Gandalf. The grey-clad Istari raised his staff into
the air, the blazing white light creating a false day
around the cave's entrance. Legolas stepped out beside
the wizard, an arrow notched in his bow.
The two humans had not fared well against their
opponents. Aragorn was holding his arm limply, numb
from the impact of his sword against the boulder, and
the Ranger's blade lay on the ground several feet
away. Boromir had fared even worse. The mighty warrior
of Gondor was buried head first, up to his shoulders,
in the midsection of one the snow-wraiths. Pippin
couldn't help thinking that at least the large man had
dealt what appeared to be a fatal - if unorthodox -
blow to the creature.
A few moments of utter silence passed as the
fellowship collected themselves and came into a circle
around Merry and Pippin. Boromir was scowling, wiping
snow off his wet face and looking rather as if all his
hair had turned white, while Aragorn glared down upon
them with a stern, grey-eyed stare. Gandalf turned to
look at Frodo and Sam, who had come up behind them and
were looking around in sleepy amusement.
"You two, go back to your bed rolls. This isn't
anything that sleep should be lost over."
As the two more fortunate Halflings walked back to the
cave, Gandalf turned to confront the others.
"I don't want to hear a word from you two. I'll not
listen to any of your fool excuses. You're both aware
of the type of punishment this sort of trouble-making
brings about. I didn't think I'd have to do it again,
not now that we've left the Shire. I thought the two
of you might have grown up a little. Obviously I was
Turning to the rest of the fellowship, Gandalf waved
towards the cave. "I shall take care of this. The rest
of you should probably get what sleep you can."
Boromir shook his head and headed back towards the
cave, muttering to himself. Legolas had obviously had
enough rest and walked off into the darkness, already
lost in immortal thoughts. Gimli, it seemed, hadn't
woken at all during the whole fiasco. Aragorn was
"I think I need to take a hand in this matter,
Gandalf, he said grimly. "I mean no disrespect, but I
Gandalf looked at the cowering figures of Merry and
Pippin briefly before turning back to Aragorn.
"So be it, Aragorn son of Arathorn," he said. "Take
one, and I shall mete out punishment to the other."
Aragorn walked past Gandalf and reached down, grabbing
Merry by the back of his waistcoat and hoisting him
off the ground one-handed. He walked a short distance
away to a small rock outcropping and sat down upon it,
dropping Merry in his lap.
Gandalf turned and walked towards an old tree stump,
snapping at Pippin without even looking his way.
"Follow me, you fool of a Took."
Pippin hurriedly scrambled to his feet and followed
Gandalf, reaching the old man as he sat down upon the
tree stump. Without even saying another word the
wizard hoisted the hobbit into the air with surprising
strength and deposited him across his knees.
"I'm sorry, Mr Gandalf, sir," Pippin said miserably
from his upended position, his voice trembling. "We
meant no harm...and we were only playing."
"Yes, I know you were," said Gandalf with a sigh.
"That's part of the problem here. In fact, that is the
main problem. This is not a game we are involved in,
and you need to stop treating it as one. There are
worse things out in the world than Farmer Maggot's
dogs, young Peregrin Took. I dearly hope that your
tomfoolery does not show you them the hard way. But
enough talk, young hobbit. There is punishment to be
With that, Gandalf brought his hand down hard and fast
across Pippin's behind, eliciting a yelp of surprise
and pain. Another similar cry came from several yards
away as Aragorn brought his own hand down across
Merry's upturned backside. Both men picked up their
pace and maintained a steady rhythm of blows. Both
Gandalf's and Aragorn's hands were big enough to cover
the whole of a hobbit's seat in a single swat, a fact
which thoroughly dismayed both the hobbits on the
receiving ends of those hands.
The loud slapping of heavy, callused hands on
vulnerable bottoms filled the air, along with both the
hobbits' cries as each blow landed. Pippin yelped in
pain as Gandalf's next blow bit into his behind. The
wizard's hand felt like it was made of wood. He could
feel each finger, stiff and heavy as it spanked down
on his tender flesh. He would have liked to struggle,
but the fear of angering Gandalf further was stronger,
and he did his best to remain still, although he could
not help squirming as the sting in his posterior grew.
He kicked his feet and began to sniffle pitifully as
Gandalf continued the chastisement, bringing his hand
down hard, intent on teaching the young hobbit a
Merry suffered equally as Aragorn put the full force
of his strength behind his blows; each strike of his
hand sending a deep bruising impact into Merry's
backside. Merry did try to struggle, briefly, but it
was pointless while he lay across the big man's lap.
Aragorn merely pressed his free hand harder into the
small of Merry's back, holding him in place, spanking
even harder as punishment for the resistance. Merry
tried to stifle his yelps of pain as Aragorn's hand
descended again and again. He could hear Pippin's
wails from across the clearing as Gandalf gave him the
same treatment, and even through his own punishment he
felt a pang of sympathy for his little cousin. But
before long, he too felt tears well in his eyes as the
spanking continued, and although he tried to swallow
his sobs, he was soon crying as loudly as Pippin.
After what seemed like hours, to the hobbits at least,
Gandalf and Aragorn exchanged a look across the
clearing and nodded to each other. A final sharp,
stinging blow was landed on each troublemaker and the
punishment came to an end. Both hobbits lay limply
across the respective laps until they were firmly set
back on their feet.
Aragorn looked down at Merry, who was staring at his
feet, still sniffling and wiping his eyes. Smiling a
little despite himself, he gathered the hobbit to him
in a comforting hug, letting Merry weep against his
chest, and looked across the clearing to see that
Gandalf was doing the same with Pippin. One of the
wizard's hands was resting on the young hobbit's curly
head and he was speaking quietly to him, letting
Pippin cry into his robes. Aragorn followed suit,
stroking Merry's hair soothingly and murmuring to him.
When Merry's tears had subsided, Aragorn released him
and got to his feet, ruffling the young hobbit's hair
affectionately. With Merry following, he walked over
to Gandalf, who got up as he approached, one hand
still resting gently on Pippin's head. Nodding to the
Ranger, Gandalf began escorting his still-sniffling
charge back towards the cave entrance, and Aragorn and
Stopping outside, Gandalf looked down at both the
hobbits, shaking his head for what must have been the
hundredth time that night. "Off to bed with both of
you now. You've caused more than enough mischief
tonight. Aragorn and I will complete the watch. I
doubt either of us will sleep for the rest of the
Merry and Pippin nodded their heads, both relieved to
have the punishment over with, and turned to head back
into the cave, Merry wrapping a comforting arm around
his younger cousin as they went.
The two tall figures watched them walk inside, then
headed back into the night, stopping a fair distance
away from the cave and regarding each other's stern
faces with rapidly diminishing severity. Aragorn lost
control first and started laughing out loud, and
Gandalf soon joined him.
"By all the gods, Gandalf, beaten by snowmen," Aragorn
said, shaking his head. "Whatever next?"
"They do provide their fair share of entertainment,
that is easily agreed," replied Gandalf. "But that
sort of foolhardy action can bring disaster as well. I
don't wish to break their spirits, but we must rein in
"Aye," said Aragorn. "Agreed. Let us hope that it is
not tragedy that teaches them that lesson."
The two old friends looked up into heaven's vault,
ablaze with stars, thinking of kinder times. After a
moment, Aragorn began to chuckle again, causing
Gandalf to look his way.
"Did you see Boromir stuck head first in that snowman,
Gandalf?" Aragorn said, still laughing. "I swear, it
took more will to resist laughter at that point than
it takes to resist the Ring."
Soft laughter drifted up into the night sky.
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