Characters: Estel, Halbarad, Barliman Butterbur
Source: Middle-earth, pre Ring War
Disclaimer: Tolkien built this entire epic universe from his imagination... Kortirion imagined these 300 words.
A King by Any Other Means...
Butterbur looked around the bar ‘...somebody must have it?’ He’d counted his customers, dished out the Mettarë pudding exactly. So where was it? ‘Please, not young Bill Ferny... nasty bit o’work... but no – he was scrapping his plate... as were the hobbits. Come to think – they’d been first to finish.’
He heard coughing from the far corner. ‘Oh no! He should have used a bigger one...!’ but this coin was special, really old; he’d thought it fitting...
‘My stars, 'tis him!’ Butterbur hoped the ranger wouldn’t take offence – they were touchy sometimes... but... this made him king for the night!
A King by Any Other Means... II
The roads were bad. Estel and Halbarad had tried to return north for the Mettarë feast, but...
They’d arrived in Bree late-afternoon; to push on would have left them in the Wilds. Each waited for the other to speak, in the end they’d both realised they were reluctant to leave warmth and company on this special night.
The fire blazed, the ale was plentiful; Butterbur’s pudding was delicious... Suddenly, he was choking! The landlord strode over, whacked his back - a small silver coin shot from Halbarad’s mouth.
“Looks like you’re the King!” said Butterbur... mystified by the rangers’ laughter.
A King by Any Other Means... III
Well after midnight, they walked… a trifle unsteadily, back to their room. The inn was too full – and they were too well-armed to make a dormitory of strangers feel easy!
Estel and Halbarad tumbled through the door, giggling in a scarcely dignified manner, which suddenly reminded Estel of his brothers... His face fell a little. Halbarad saw, but didn’t speak immediately. They tugged off boots – Estel fell over, and Halbarad cracked his head on the wall laughing – and collapsed into the bed.
Before they slept, Halbarad took Estel’s hand, putting the ancient royal coin there.
“Yours, Sire,” he said simply.