It appears that the dispute over the One Ring is no closer to being resolved, despite meetings between the interested parties over the last few days.
A series of meetings last week between hobbit representatives and Mordor officials failed to strike a deal. The hobbits are believed to have rejected the latest deal put on the table by Sauron.
The deal would have seen the One Ring returned to Sauron, and the hobbits swearing eternal allegiance to the Dark Lord. In turn, Sauron had offered to allow the hobbits limited self-rule, while slowly twisting and corrupting their race into creatures of evil, a nightmarish mockery of their former selves.
It is believed that the hobbits rejected the proposal because they wanted a deal that involved all the realms of Middle-Earth.
“This is an issue that affects all of Middle Earth,” said Gandalf the Grey, one of the hobbits’ representatives. “So it’s appropriate that we take the opportunity to set binding terms and conditions to ensure the survival of all creatures who inhabit the land.”
Sauron has repeatedly warned that if a deal cannot be struck quickly he will be forced to adopt a bolder strategy. Experts fear that if Sauron is denied the One Ring he will gather a vast host of orcs, Easterlings and Southron men and bring death and fire to every corner of Middle Earth. His fell creatures would then feast for weeks on the lofty mounds of dead humans, elves, dwarves and hobbits.
It is a threat that the hobbits do not appear to be taking lightly.
Hobbit representative Frodo Baggins acknowledged the threat.
“We don’t want to end up as carrion,” said Baggins. “But the terms offered by Mordor would see us being treated as slave-labour”.
However, Mordor’s spokesperson the Mouth of Sauron has dismissed Baggins’ claims.
“We want to resolve this dispute quickly, and it’s not in our interests to make this difficult. Every moment my master is away from his precious ring is a moment of torment for him.”
Sauron’s contemptible mouthpiece also accused the hobbits of playing into the hands of outsiders.
“The conditions Sauron has offered are no worse than those offered to his minions in other parts of his dark realm: a miserable existence amidst squalor and filth in a pit far underground, and a life of abject terror, in return for unquestioning obedience.
“But unfortunately this is no longer about what the hobbits want. The hobbits are a pawn in a greater game being played by others. Those people don’t care about the welfare of the hobbits. Nor do we, but at least everyone knows that.”
The head of the Rangers, Aragorn, has angrily denied that the fate of the hobbits is incidental to his group’s wider aims.
“All we want is to protect the Shire from the creeping evil of Sauron. We have made it clear from the start that we don’t want Sauron to gather his armies and slaughter us all.
“But if this deal falls through it won’t be the end of the world–just the destruction of all that is fair and uncorrupted.”
Update: Saruman the White has offered to mediate the dispute between Mordor and the hobbits.
“I am happy to play a facilitation role between the two parties,” said the head of the White Council.
“I understand they are making some progress so hopefully they can get it resolved. But I would be very, very concerned if my own despicable and underhanded play for the One Ring was defeated by a mass invasion from Sauron’s forces.”