• Published 23rd Aug 2015
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Fellowship is Magic - Mr-War

Something strange is happening in Twilight's palace. The magic mirror has started acting strangely during a period of intense solar flares, leaving her worried about what complications might occur. The next thing she knows, through a sequence of even

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At Bag End

At Bag End

Later that evening the group finally met Frodo for the first time, some of them recognizing him as being one of the hobbits that Twilight had "danced" with. He was much younger than his uncle, and did not seem to be as outgoing as the other; indeed, it seemed as if his mind was somewhere else throughout most of the official introduction.

And indeed it was. For what he did not tell the group was that, alongside his worries about Bilbo, Gandalf had met him before he made his way to Bag End. The wizard had told him briefly about the ring that lay in what was now his front hall, and his last words, "Keep it secret; keep it safe," did not help calm his mind in any way whatsoever.

The hobbit, however, accepted the seven strangers with few questions, and easily found room for all of them. While he found all of them rather odd, especially after everything that had happened at the party, he knew from his uncle's many relations, that every culture had their own sets of manners and customs and so said little about it, out of an effort to be polite.

As Gandalf suggested, the group from Equestria stayed inside Bag End most of the time, and when they went outside, they tended not go beyond its sight. Rarity was the one most frequently outdoors, tasked with keeping an eye out for Gandalf's return, since she supposedly had the sharpest eyes of the group due to her fashion skills. She remained where she was, and what the hobbits of Hobbiton and Bywater thought about the six ponies and baby dragon never came to Bag End.

Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack often found themselves rather restless within the hobbit home. While it was well furnished for comfort, the three of them were ponies of action and the simple home life suited them very little. Even Applejack felt the growing restlessness getting to her.

In the end, after Applejack had subtly searched the place and found little of interest, and Rainbow Dash finally found even sleeping tiresome, the two bored athletes eventually reached the point of settling on a game of chess to try and entertain themselves with. Along with a few improvised games that they'd managed to cook up. They would speak with the hobbits here and there when they might come by, but the hobbits usually left the two ponies to themselves, likely unable to understand Rainbow Dash's odd demeanor and Applejacks' complete apathy towards said demeanor.

Pinkie Pie would be planning the next big party, or even small party, and occupy herself bouncing in circles around Bag End to release some of her boundless energy, when there were no hobbits to speak with at length about anything that caught her interest.

Fluttershy was becoming quick friends with Merry, Pippin, and a hobbit by the name of Samwise Gamgee. When the three learned that she had poor cooking skills, especially with complex dishes, they immediately went out of their way to teach her all they knew. Sam especially was proud of his skills, and was glad to show off many of his cooking tricks to a willing student of the culinary arts.

Fluttershy was ready to set the three on Rarity, who, being a mare of class, possibly knew less than her, but found herself enjoying their company, and wanted to keep them for herself. She even gave some consideration to asking Twilight if she could perhaps take the three home with her. While cooking with the hobbits turned out to be entertaining, one of her other activities in Bag End was helping Bilbo and Frodo keep out very curious hobbits, all who wanted to know how Bilbo had disappeared, and whom these strange ponies were.

One couple, named Sackville-Bagginses, took the persuasion of "The Stare" from Fluttershy to leave Bag End when they got too persistent for the others to deter. Bilbo and Frodo were torn between gladness and anger by the action, but soon let go of their anger, seeing as they could hardly stand the Sackville-Bagginses themselves.

Twilight and Spike often spent their time talking with one another in peace- peace they had not known for a long time. When they were not spending quality time with one another they frequently looked through maps and books. It was about the only thing she could do right now, that helped distract her from that lingering sensation that somewhere close by, there was dark magic at work.

It was also through this activity that they discovered what they already feared: they really were not on Equestria anymore.

"These maps," said Twilight one evening to Frodo, "they are completely accurate?"

"Oh yes," Frodo said. "Bilbo used the most accurate information. Of course every map will have its error, but these are the best in the Shire if you want to know about the world Outside."

"Impossible..." muttered Spike as he glanced through several different maps. "There is no sign of Ponyville, Canterlot, and these certainly cannot be of the Griffon Kingdom. So much for the hope that this was just some undiscovered location on Equestria."

Twilight held up one map that looked to be that of the whole continent. "What does it say?" she asked, pointing to the strange characters on it. Despite her learning session with Gandalf on their first meeting, she'd been focused far more on spoken language, rather than the written language, as it seemed more prudent.

"Map of Middle-earth," Frodo translated, "along with a couple other details."

"Middle-earth," Spike muttered, remembering the words Gandalf had told them. "Well, at least we know where this Middle-earth is." Frodo looked at him curiously, but when neither of them clarified, he held his peace.

When Twilight and Spike told their findings to the rest of the group, their reactions were mixed.

"I've heard crazier things," Rainbow Dash said nonchalantly as she moved a pawn forward. "Almost as crazy as me being the Element of Loyalty, really."

"We suspected that from the beginning though," Applejack muttered as she studied the chessboard. Despite Rainbow Dash not being on par with Twilight in intelligence, that didn't make her stupid. "Ya think Gandalf will be able ta find a way ta send us back home like he said?"

"I don't know Applejack," Twilight answered. "All we can do is wait for him to come back."

"Well I hope he does know a way for us to get back to our world," Rarity said. "As nice as these hobbits are, I'd still much rather be back home."

Applejack nodded in agreement as she moved her knight.

"I miss Cloudsdale," Rainbow Dash said simply as she moved her own knight in retaliation. "Bunch of heathens down here, living so far from the wonderful sky."

Twilight had no idea where Rainbow Dash had learned that word, although she knew that she was using it incorrectly. She'd have to speak to her about language and grammar later on. For right now, she had something else to speak on.

"So when did you take to chess anyway?" she asked curiously. She had to fight hoof and nail to get Rainbow Dash to even consider reading, so it was definitely something else to see her playing a game that involved so much patience, and strategy.

"Not much else to do 'round here, and I have no plans on leaving you girls out of my reach." Rainbow Dash knocked over a pawn with her knight, and frowned when Applejack took out said knight with her bishop. "You girls mind going outside for a while or something. I'm in no mood to get my flank kicked up and down the Shire by this apple farmer while you're chatting in the background..."

Not in the mood to argue with Rainbow Dash about being rude, and knowing it would be fruitless anyway, she simply trotted her way to the outside of Bag End, with Spike, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie following behind. Rarity glanced at the board one last time, whispered something to Applejack, and quickly left.

"What did she say?" Rainbow Dash asked when she was gone.

"Nothing of importance," Applejack said with a shrug, moving her pawn forward. After a couple more turns, Rainbow Dash lost her queen.

"Nothing of importance, huh?" she said with a raised brow of disbelief. "Curse you Rarity." Applejack only chuckled in reply.

"No importance ta ya perhaps."

It was mid-afternoon by the time the others were finally allowed back inside the home. And once inside Bag End, five hobbits, six ponies, and a baby dragon were gathered around a large map of Middle-earth. The group from Equestria asked about various places on the map, while Frodo and Bilbo answered all of their questions as best they could, and Merry, Pippin, and Sam listened nearby.

"So let me get this straight," Rainbow Dash started with a frown as she looked to the southeast corner of the map. "This 'Mordor' was ruled by some evil jerk who tried to take over the world some thousands years ago?"

Frodo was too polite to comment upon her unique choice of words. "Yes, and is ruled still by him, though he has not done much since. He was quite weakened in the battle with the Last Alliance, but he did not perish. I fear I don't know all of the details though."

Twilight raised an eyebrow. "Still ruling?"

"Yes; he is immortal, though how or why I could not say. Gandalf would be better suited for that type of question."

"Interesting," she muttered with an odd look on her face. "Immortality is here, too." With that, she suddenly left the room, deep in thought.

"What was that about?" Sam asked with a frown.

"Don't mind her; she is always like that," Spike said with a wave of his claw. "I, personally, am really interested in this Rivendell. What in the world do you mean by 'elves'? Do they look like you?"

"Oh, no! I haven't seen elves before, myself, but Bilbo has a few times." Frodo nodded to Bilbo as he stood up from his chair.

"They are tall, much like Man, and very fair to look upon. It is difficult to describe their ethereal beauty; it's something you all would have to see for yourselves in order to understand," Bilbo explained as he sat back down, grunting from the protest of his joints.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. A very firm, yet very frantic sort of knock. They were surprised, for the curious visitors had stopped pestering them a while ago, and the only visitors that ever came were already at Bag End. Frodo quickly went to open the door. Inside came in a very weary Gandalf.

"Gandalf! Where have you been?" Frodo asked as he eagerly took the wizard's hat and cloak upon them being offered

"Many places," he replied as he entered the living room, "though on this journey, only to one. And one can only hope quickly enough." He glanced at the large group. "Ah, so you are all still here? Good. But for now I need all of you to step outside. I must speak with Frodo privately. Though where is Twilight Sparkle?"

Applejack stood up. "Ah'll go get her. She was thinking on something, though she may not like being bothered."

Gandalf shook his head. "Leave her where she is. I'd rather not bother her right now. Now out, if you all please, out!"

Pippin shrugged. "We were just about to leave anyways. We have an appointment with Farmer Maggot and his carrots tonight." Merry and Pippin grinned at one another and left. Sam sighed and shook his head at the two younger hobbits as he and Bilbo followed them. With one last glance at Frodo, the other six left and shut the door behind them.

Gandalf sighed as he sat down. "I hope they haven't been too much trouble, Frodo."

Frodo shook his head. "Their mannerisms are quite odd, but it may be because they are ponies. Then again, it may be because they are from another world. I can still scarcely believe it, even though I have seen them for myself. But tell me, Gandalf, where have you been?"

Gandalf smiled. "Good; I did not see any evil in them, and I am glad they caused you none. It seems my senses are not yet completely gone. Old age does terrible things to a man, you know."

"You know that I know you are more than merely some old man, Gandalf," Frodo said with a smile. "But come now! Where have you been?"

"This journey took me to Gondor, to the great city of Minas Tirith. There I found documents written long ago- it was one written by Isildur that interested me most."

"Isildur!" said Frodo. "He was the son of King Elendil, was he not?

"And more besides." Gandalf took a deep breath. "In these documents penned by him, Isildur wrote about a small trinket that was created by the Dark Lord, Sauron. The trinket itself was a simple golden ring, but this ring was much more than it appeared to be. The Dark Lord poured a great amount of his power, and being, into this ring, and through it he would control all other Great Rings, and their rulers, and so take over Middle-Earth. However, during the Last Alliance in the Second Age, Isildur cut this ring off his finger, and so severed Sauron from his main source of power, thus ending the many-year war and his darkness- for a time.

"Isildur should have destroyed this ring, and ended Sauron's existence right then and there, but the hearts of Men are easily corrupted. The evil that was supposed to be annihilated over three thousand years ago, is still very much alive, and gaining power very quickly. While the Dark Lord is still vulnerable, he has a great many resources and is building his strength. This ring of his- known as the One Ring- was lost long ago, when Isildur was ambushed while riding up North. I fear it has been found- and is now in your possession." He paused. "If Sauron regains this ring, the world will fall into ruin."

Frodo was silent for a long while as he absorbed this information. "How do you know that Bilbo's ring- my ring- is the Dark Lord's?"

"I can prove it to you. Bring it out."

Frodo nodded and went to a locked drawer. He drew out the key, took out the ring, and held it uncertainly. "Now what?"

"Throw it in the fire."

Frodo looked at him in surprise. "Are you mad? Why burn such a precious, beautiful thing!"

Gandalf frowned. "Already it grows precious to you. Do not worry, it will not melt."

Frodo, with some difficulty, threw it into the crackling fire. A minute later Gandalf took it out and dropped it in Frodo's hand. Frodo was surprised that it did not burn him; in fact, it was not heated at all. He looked at it and then looked to Gandalf. Gandalf smiled grimly.

"It was smooth but a minute ago; look again."

Frodo did so, and he saw that on the once smooth surface of the ring there was an Elvish script; he, however, could not read it. "What does it say?" he asked.

"One Ring to Rule them all, One Ring to Find them, One Ring to Bring them all, and in the Darkness Bind them." Gandalf sighed. "Now it is proven: this is truly the One Ring. And Sauron needs only this ring to cover all the lands in a second darkness, and he is seeking it. He must never find it."

Frodo nodded, quite fearfully. "Alright then; I will hide it, put it away, and we will never speak of it again. No one knows it's here, do they?" he asked. Gandalf did not respond. The hobbit turned to look at him. "No one knows it's here... do they, Gandalf?"

"There is another who knew Bilbo had the Ring; he once owned the Ring himself."

Frodo's eyes widened. "You do not mean Gollum?"

Gandalf nodded. "And even though my allies and I have searched for him, the Enemy found him first. I don't know how long they tortured him, but finally he gave them what information they needed. They know that the Ring is here, in the Shire, and that a Baggins is carrying it. They will come for it."

Frodo looked at the Ring. How could so fair a thing be so dangerous? "What must I do now?"

Frodo started packing up his things rapidly. He had to leave the Shire and everything in it behind: his dear friends, his beautiful home, and go all the way to Bree. He did not wish to leave, but it was his fate. Even Bilbo was leaving, finally putting his plans into action.

As he packed, the young hobbit suddenly realized something. "Gandalf, what about the others? Do you think they should be left here alone?"

Gandalf glanced at him; he had not thought about them, so deep was his concern for Frodo and the Ring. As he was about to respond to Frodo's inquiry, there was a sudden noise in the bushes below the large window in the room. Both Gandalf and Frodo turned to the window and after a moment heard a whisper.

"Get down!" Gandalf told Frodo urgently. He took his staff and slowly approached the window as the bushes stirred some more. The wizard hit the thing in the bushes with the end of his staff and it grunted. He threw his staff to the floor, leaned out of the window, and pulled the thing hiding in the bushes through the large window and onto the table. It was Fluttershy.

"Confound it all, Sam-" Gandalf started, but then saw it was not the hobbit. She had a couple of twigs in her mane and was looking up at him with wide eyes, clearly frightened. He let go of her and she slowly sat up, still watching him nervously.

"I would swear to the Valar that I heard Samwise!" Gandalf said, giving her a bushy stare. She just sat there, still speechless, when Rainbow Dash suddenly swung the door open, wings tensed as if about to charge him.

"Let her go," she demanded.

"There is no need for such a show, little one," the wizard said gruffly, clearly unimpressed with the act. Fluttershy got off the table and went over to her friend; only then did she relax her battle posture.

"Well how was I supposed to know what you were gonna do to her? You just grabbed her, what was I supposed to expect?" Rainbow Dash asked in her own defense.

"As I would with any eavesdropper," he said, watching as Applejack, Rarity, Spike, Pinkie Pie, and Sam ran into the house in a similar state as Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. "Many eavesdroppers!" The group said nothing, but Sam slightly backed himself behind Fluttershy as the wizard's temper grew.

"We want to help Frodo," Fluttershy said, suddenly, but without much force to her words.

"Wait, we do?" Rainbow Dash asked as she looked at Applejack.

Applejack simply nodded in response. New or not, these hobbits were still their friends, and in a time of need.

"It does not matter if you do or not; you will accompany him," Gandalf said unexpectedly. He raised an eyebrow at their surprise. "Why the surprise? Since you know of his situation, you must go with him. We cannot risk the Enemy coming to any of you, and gaining information, and they will be here at Bag End any day now, once they find out a Baggins lives here."

"That's not good then."

The others turned at the sound of the voice, and found Twilight coming out of the second-to-left room of the hallway, a book currently in tow wrapped in her magic.

"I heard everything. From Isildur, all the way up to the part of leaving the Shire," she admitted. "At first I didn't know what to do, what to believe. I started panicking while trying to come up with a solution, but couldn't find any. And then I did," she explained as she stepped further into the room. "The Shire is at risk because Sauron's forces know that this ring is supposed to be here? Well, what if it isn't? What if the Shire itself isn't anywhere to be found?" she suggested.

"And just how do you plan on doing something like that, darling?" Rarity asked, curious as to what she was getting at.

"Yeah, Twilight, can you teleport the whole Shire to somewhere else?" Pinkie asked.

"Not even close. But I can do the next best thing; I can hide it from view. I'll shield the entire area in a high-level cloaking illusion, so that anyone on the outside will see nothing but a huge mountain sticking out of the ground. No one would ever have reason to examine it and see if it's fake or not, and they'd simply leave the Shire alone. I'd just have to maintain it until the danger was gone," Twilight explained, smiling at the simple brilliance of it all.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, Gandalf could do little more than smile. He had good reason to respect Twilight's intelligence, and critical thinking skills.

"If we were facing but Men alone, young Twilight, your idea might work. Sadly we don't. Sauron's spies come in many shapes and sizes, encompassing all manner of beasts. What you propose could easily be undone by but a single moth if it were not fooled by your craft," he explained solemnly, watching as her ears drooped at realizing the futility of her plan.

It was a good idea. But it was an unworkable idea.

"Alright. Let me see if I'm following this right, because I'm getting lost," Spike stated, before climbing up onto the table. "This little ring right here, holds the majority of this Sauron guy's power, and his evil, right? It's not serving any purpose to anyone else by existing, right?"

"Not a single one," Gandalf confirmed.

"That's all I wanted to know," Spike replied, before picking up the ring off the table, tossing it into the back of his throat, and swallowing it in one loud gulp.

"Spike! What're you doing!?" Twilight asked frantically as she charged for the table.

"Taking care of business. My stomach is like a blast furnace, what better place to put it? Besides, if I can digest diamonds, I can digest one puny ring," Spike told her as he patted his stomach proudly, before coughing. That ring had gone down rougher than he thought.

"That's beside the point, Spike, that ring must've been the source of the dark magic I've been sensing! There's no telling what danger you could be in right now!" Twilight stated.

"Relax, Twilight, I'll be fine. I've eaten cursed magical artifacts before and been alright," he assured her.

Granted he'd only eaten the tome that contained the 'inspiration manifestation' spell before. But he still counted that as evidence of it being possible. Apart from some indigestion afterward, he'd been fine.

And then he was hit by a coughing fit that racked his small frame, before one particularly hard cough brought the ring right back up, where it landed on the table.

"It would appear the ring disagreed with you," Gandalf commented dryly.

"Alright, that does it," Spike stated as he hopped off the table and made his way over to the fireplace to retrieve the tongs. "This ring want to play hardball, then fine!"

The others watched as Spike picked the ring up in the tongs, drew in a massive breath, and exhaled a concentrated stream of green fire right on it.

The heat even in the immediate vicinity was intense enough that everyone had to back away from the point of origin, and shield their eyes to avoid being blinded. For many of them it was as intense as staring into the sun itself. And just as easily as the flames had come, they came to an end. And the damage left behind in its wake told them all they needed to know.

The tongs themselves, made of forged iron, were currently red hot from where they'd been exposed to the flame, and were now drooping under the strain of their own weight. But the ring itself remained untouched, not even being darkened by the onslaught.

"I don't believe it!" Spike stated in disbelief. "That was over 2,000 degrees! That's hot enough to melt solid marble! How could that not be enough to destroy this thing!?"

"Sauron's evil goes far beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, I'm afraid," Gandalf commented, before moving to pat Spike on the shoulder. "Your efforts are well respected, my young friend. But I'm afraid there are no easy solutions to be had for us this time around..."

"Why does that not surprise me?" Rainbow Dash asked rhetorically. Nothing could ever be easy for them...

"So wha' do we do now?" Applejack asked.

"You will all have to travel with Frodo to Bree. I will meet you all there, at the inn of The Prancing Pony."

"And where will you be going?" Twilight asked.

"I must see the head of my order; he will know what to do, now that the Ring has been found." Gandalf glanced at the equestrians. "And perhaps while I'm there, if time allows, I can look for some means of returning you home. This is not your fight. But for now, get as much rest as you can. We will leave early on the morrow."

"Then I'm going with you," Twilight stated, "I've done my research while here, I have a much better grasp on the written language than I did. While you speak with Saruman about the ring, I'll look over whatever archives you have, for whatever spell may exist. That way, when I find out where this "Bree" is, I can teleport the both of us right there, and then we can proceed as needed," she explained.

"Uh, Twi', Ah'm not sure they know what teleportin' is," Applejack pointed out.

"Oh. Well teleportation is a controlled bending of both space, and time, in a specific area, to allow for immediate transport from one area to another," Twilight explained, before vanishing in a flash...

... and reappearing across the room.

"The only thing is that I need to know where I'm going. Teleporting without at least some idea of the intended destination, is simply too dangerous. And knowing a location's name, without any of the identifying information does me no good," she stated.

Gandalf was amazed by the demonstration that he'd just seen. Yet again, a demonstration that the wonders of Equestria were beyond his own level of understanding.

"Much as I would like to accept your assistance, Twilight, I feel that you may be needed elsewhere. It is something that I cannot readily explain, and yet I cannot shake it either..."