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Old 08-12-2004, 09:26 AM   #199
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 2,897
Mithadan has been trapped in the Barrow!
A rumble of disconent filled the air. The Hobbits, now numbering several hundred, that had come under Sauerkraut's power cried out and waved their weapons, knives, rusty swords, pitchforks, scythes, rakes, shovels, clubs, sticks, rocks and even their stubby little fists. Only then did the Itship realize that they were truly and thoroughly surrounded. The Embattledship raised their own weapons and prepared to meet the onslaught with some regret for these were simple folk, innocents...ok, maybe not that innocent, but they had no gripes against the Itship of their own, save maybe a bartender who was wielding an empty cash drawer as his weapon.

Vogonwë stood near next to Earnur with a number of arrows in his hand. Yet he paused even as the mass of Hobbitry advanced. "These people have done nothing to us," he cried. "Is there no way to avoid bloodshed?"

"Their's or our's?" growled Kuruharan as he raised his axe. At that moment, Chrysophylax winged in lazily from the north and hovered over the Hobbit army preparing for a large scale barbeque. "There will be needless slaughter," said Earnur with a skewed grin. "We have a history of this sort of thing you know."

Just then, as battle was about to be joined, a voice rose above the din and cried out "Wait!" Sauerkraut paused and looked back over his shoulder. There, standing in the road, was Grrralph. "Sauerbrot... errr... Snarky..." he began. Orogarn Two groaned, expecting a song and dance. In an odd way, he was not disappointed.

Grrralph walked over to Sauerkraut and rummaged about in his cloak for something. The wizard's eyes narrowed in expectation of an attack. Instead, Grrralph withdrew a silvery box from his cloak and held it up. "Please sir," he began. "I am a wraith of very little brain and you are a mighty and renowned technician; a master of operating systems. I have carried this with me for as long as I have been a wraith, though I believe I had it from even before then. I don't recall, being a wraith of very little brain as I am. But might you perhaps, somehow, fix this?"

The wizard gasped (as did Gatekeeper, though no one noticed). "A Cell-antir!" cried Sauerkraut. "How did the likes of you get this? These were made in the Uttermost West and were only for use of the servants of the Velour!." The wizards eyes shone with greed at the prospect of obtaining a second Cell-antir. "Of course good wraith!" he said in a sickeningly sweet voice. "Let me take a look at it and see what is wrong."

Grrralph stepped forward and handed the Cell-antir over to Sauerkraut. "Idiot!" cried Orogarn. "D'oh!" intoned Kuruharan in the ancient tongue of the Dwarves. "That thing must be worth a fortune and he just hands it over!"

Sauerkraut fiddled with the Cell-antir for a moment. "Hmmm. Not bad," he said. "Wireless Muddled Mirth-net access with all the bells and whistles. Maybe a couple of operating systems behind, but still...." He attempted to turn it on. The Cell-antir flickered with light then went dark. "Hmmm. Something's preventing it from booting up. Maybe its memory is overloaded." He drew forth his own Cell-antir and, using a wire made of the finest mithril, connected it to Grrralph's unit. "Maybe I can download its memory and clean it up," he mused.

Sauerkraut's Cell-antir glowed brightly and, after a moment's hesitation, so did Grrralph's. Runes scrolled across both screens. The wizard's eyes grew wide. He turned to Grrralph in surprise. "You're a L...." he began. His words were interrupted by a screech and sparks flew from both Cell-antirs. A silver mist of smoke arose from the devices and coalesced into a frightening form which swayed and glowed above the wizard. "Aiiii!!" screamed Sauerkraut "A virus! Nay! A Wyrm!"

The Wyrm spread its shining wings and hovered above the wizard. Lightning arced from its gaping jaws and struck not only the Cell-antirs but also Sauerkraut's cart. The device held by Grimy shuddered and began to smoke. The wizard did not cringe, but rather spread his arms wide with a wild look in his eyes. "Norton!" he cried. "Symantec!" Shadowy forms flew from his fingertips and closed upon the Wyrm, sending tendrils of mist out to wrap it up in a veil of quarantine until it could be slain. The Wyrm battled back with jagged bolts of electricity.

"A Wyrm!" cried Chrysophylax. "An electric drake! I've never seen one before." But privately, the dragon noticed its shapely wings and the fine features of its snout. Hmmmm. Cute. Very cute!

Even as the veil of quarantine drew about the Wyrm, it wiggled and evaded it. With a flap of its wings it blew away the shadowy antivirus spirits. "Aiiii!" cried Sauerkraut. "It's not defined! I need an update!" Hastily, he drew a PeeCee from his robes and began working frantically. But it was too late. The device in Grimy's hands burst into flames and he hurled it away. Perhaps he was aiming for Merisu and his throw went awry. Or perhaps he did not know who he hated more, the Itship or Sauerkraut. Whatever the reason, the flaming device struck the wizard in the head and he fell to the ground. His cart exploded in a shower of rancid grease, hot dog meat, toppings and processor chips. Smoke filled the air and a wind arose in the west and blew it away. When the air had cleared, Sauerkraut and Grimy had vanished.

The Wyrm shrieked with satisfaction and settled on the ground beside the Itship. After a moment's hesitation, she was joined by Chrysophylax. The crowd of Hobbits milled about in confusion and most dropped their weapons. Pimpiowyn stepped forward and approached Vogonwë. "Where am I?" she asked. "And why am I covered in ketchup....?"
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