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EIB - Chapter 2

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By Jamberry and Chibi Froddie

"Dear Mr. Frodo Baggins:

We regret to hear of your uncle's disappearance, but are concerned with..."

        So began another letter. Frodo let a frown interrupt his reading. "Oh, what are they talking about this time? Surely they want something.... Someone always does." He set the paper on the desk with a sigh and leaned back in his chair. "And Uncle Bilbo hasn't disappeared... he's just... gone." Frodo blinked and turned towards the window, the morning of a new day already started hours ago. And he? Still reading sympathy letters and trying to decide what to do.

        "All right, uncle, have it your way: you disappeared. But tell me what I am to do! If I am to inherit ShireParks... WHich it seems so and only too soon... What is it I do?" He let out another exasperrated sigh and turned back to the letter. "Let's see...concerned...concerned about the future of ShirePark..." Frodo's voice grew quiet as he began to read mentally. Behind him, Merry slid through the big old doors of the study.

        "Hello Frodo! Nice morning, eh?" Merry grinned and set the tray of toast, eggs, and milk on the table.

        Frodo, startled a bit, turned to look at Merry. "Oh yes, quite lovely." He sighed once more, though, revealing that his heart was heavy.

        "Well, I brought you a bit of second breakfast to cheer you up, coz." Merry patted Frodo on the back. "Letters again today?"

        "Yes... and so many..." Frodo tossed the one in his hand to the table. "And they all say the same thing! It is so awfully boring and frustrating, but it must be done."

        Merry hopped onto a chair and grabbed a handful of envelopes. "Well, I'll help you then. I've got nothing better to do, to say the least." He let out a nervous chuckle. "Eat Frodo! You hardly touched your dinner last night as it was."

        Frodo smiled grimly at his cousin, who was there to offer hiim some support in this family crisis. "You are beginning to sound like Sam. I'm just worried about Uncle Bilbo... I don't like not knowing where he is." Frodo picked up the toast and began to nibble at it.

        "I know, Frodo, I know..." Merry glanced at him worriedly and then back to the letters. "Eh... what's this one?" Merry drew out an envelope with a red eye stamped in the corner. Around the large eye, he read: "Eye on the World." Merry looked back to Frodo and handed him the letter. "That's peculiar, isn't it?... It's from a 'Sauron Industries'..."

        Frodo set down his fork and took the letter curiously. "Now... what could they want?" He opened the white envelope and pulled out the letter. It said basically what the other letters had stated, yet in the second paragraph, they offered to send an advisor to Froso. "Why... Merry! They are being most kind..." He smiled. "They offered to send an advisor; someone who can help me along and get started with this new responsibility. What do you thing, Merry?"

        Merry leaned back. "Well, being one of your advisors as it is..." He paused and chuckled. "When can we arrange to meet this fellow?"

        "Well... it says to reply and send to... Sauruman." Frodo paused. "I've heard of him. He's the representative for Sauron Industries."

        "Right then, let's start replying and meeting him. The sooner, the better... Because I'm not sure how to advise you in this situation."

        Frodo laughed lightly for the first time in many days. "Merry, where would I be without you?"

        "Starving to death, for one thing! Come on now, time to get serious." The two of them went right to work writing the letter.

        Far away, across the city, Sauruman stood at his window smiling, awaiting the expected reply.

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