Chapter 23; Isengard Defeated, Let's Celebrate

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The Return of the King; Disc 1

Chapter 23; Isengard Defeated, Let's Celebrate

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It was high noon the next day when they rode through Fangorn safely to Isengard. Sing and laughing could be heard from afar. Aaron could smell smoke of a fine weed. She guessed it to be from the South Farthing, she couldn't tell what type though. Around another bend brought them before the ruins of a wall, that had once surrounded the tower of Orthanc. Water rose up and down inside the wall. A ramp not too big but not so small that a horse couldn't cross it, had been placed against the broken wall and down into the water on the other side. Atop a rock formation protruding out of the wall, sat two Hobbits. One with dark brown curly hair and another with lighter brown almost sandy and a bit straighter hair. A pipe in each hand and a flask of ale in the other. They were laughing and singing and just plain being their drunkin selves. It was hard not to get a smile when seeing them, sitting there all happy and so.

"It's good." One said not seeing the riders yet. "Definitely from the Shire. Longbottom Leaf."

Yes, that is what it is.

"I feel like I'm back at The Green Dragon." Said the other.

"Hmm...Green Dragon."

"A mug of ale in my hand. Putting my feet up on a settle after a hard day's work."

"Only, you've never done a hard day's work." The other Hobbit nodded his head before they both started laughing and being once again...merry. Aaron gave Lore a slight nudge in the thigh and he gave out a neigh. The Hobbits looked up at the rider, now practically in front of them. The Hobbits faces lit up and Merry stood, with some difficulty. "Welcome, my lords...and lady..." Aaron gave him a smirk. "...to Isengard!"

"Or what's left of it." Aaron muttered to Aragorn beside her. He just smiled and kept looking at the Hobbits.

"You young rascals!" Gimli yelled. "A merry hunt you've led us on...and now we find you feasting and...and smoking."

"We are sitting on a field of victory...enjoying a few well-earned comforts." Pippin informed them. "The salted pork is particularly good."

"Salted pork?" Gimli said with a hint of jealousy. Gandalf, Aaron was pretty sure, shook his head before saying under his breath:

"Hobbits."

"We are under orders from Treebeard..." Merry started. "...who has now taken management of Isengard." Aaron rode Lore up beside the Hobbits and took a piece of their salted pork.

"Aaron that's my piece!" Pippin explained. Aaron took a bite. "I...I guess not anymore." She shook her head with a smile.

"He's not lying, Gimli. 'The salted pork is particularly good.'" Gimli gave a grunt, and showed a little more jealousy. "Come you. Let's go see this walking, talking tree." Aaron smiled a little more and grabbed Merry's arm. She helped him onto Lore's back, while Aragorn picked up Pippin. Gandalf, still shaking his head and muttering, walked up the ramp and down into the water. King Théoden followed then Éomer, Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn, then Aaron.

"Are we coming back with you?" Merry asked quietly.

"I believe so. Do you want to stay with Treebeard?" Aaron answered.

"Not really, but I guess I shouldn't be so hasty on those things." He gave a chuckle at his own joke and Pippin who had apparently heard him say this started to laugh silently behind Aragorn.

The water was only up to the horses knees, it wouldn't have passed Aaron's waist. Although, the Hobbits it was up to their chests. Such a size difference.

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