June 29th, 2002
It is early Saturday morning, false dawn provides as much light as my headlights. I debate whether I should turn them off. I decide not to, just in case, I should cross paths with a cop.
During my lunch hour the previous Monday, I decided to drop by Sheplers and see if Poldar had possibly paid a visit to comely Holly during the last couple of weeks. Bingo! Poldar had called Holly on Monday and Holly, having the day off volunteered to show him around, in as much as he was from a foreign country and all. Besides when he spoke French to her she could almost feel herself melt."
French? More likely Elvish. As Holly talked I watched her and decided to play a hunch.
"Ah so that's why he didn't return that night."
Holly blushed deeply and said, "Poldar is free, white and 21 aint he?"
Strange, I didn't remember she had an accent last time. I ignored her question and asked, "So when was the last time you saw him?"
Her expression changed quickly to one of concern, "Why? Didn't he come back to your house? He said he just wanted to be dropped off at the bus station. Of course he originally wanted to know how he could get a car, but with only $100.00 and a handful of foreign coins I told him he'd never be able to buy, let alone rent a car. I would have lent him my car but he doesn't even have a driver's license. I swear he is more of a country yokel than I am. So I told him about the bus and how to understand the schedules. Any way the last time I saw him was Tuesday around 3:00 in the afternoon when I dropped him off at the Park & Ride."
"Do you know where he was planning on going?" I asked.
"I think he wanted to check out the capitol. He didn't say exactly but he did ask about the capitol. He's funny! He actually thought George Bush lived there. That got me laughing." Her expression changed again, "You know he doesn't like being laughed at. Anyway I told him that Denver was the Capitol of Colorado and George Bush lived in the Capitol of the Country. He asked where that was. I swear he asked so many questions that if I didn't know better I would have thought he was an alien or something." Holly stops talking as she once again blushes deep red.
Ah ha. Trying to get more information I asked, "So Poldar failed your alien identification test?"
Her mercurial facial expression once again changed to one of being defensive, "All you have to do is look at him to see he aint no alien. He's got all the right parts and everything is A-OK. He sure is a healthy young buck, not an ounce of fat on him." If possible she once again blushes even deeper.
Realizing that I have obtained all the pertinent information I ask, "Yes, well, I'm glad he has all the right parts. So that was the last time you saw or heard from him?"
Holly unconsciously fanned her face as she said, "Yes. You don't think anything has happened to him do you?"
"No. I'm sure he is all right."
Continuing on Holly said, "Well when he returns tell him I really enjoyed getting together and would like to get together again. "
"Oh I will, thank you Holly. Have a nice day."
After work I spent three hours trying to find and talk to the RTD bus driver who had that route. None of them remembered anyone matching that description. Exhausting this lead I once again checked with the local and state police, hospitals and mental institutions. Nothing.
Poldar returned Tuesday night without any explanation. He was hungry and had three bowls of rice and a half a pound of Atlantic salmon, and two beers. Whether it was the beers or not I don't know but Poldar eventually broke his silence and stated he was ready to return to Imladris in the morning. I explained to him that the earliest we could return was this weekend. He looked at me carefully, as if attempting to detect a lie, but eventually he said, "Very well, Let us return then this weekend."
After dinner I asked Poldar if he wanted to watch TV or a movie. Interestingly he asked me to show him how to use the internet. I complied, and found that Poldar could now read English, Japanese, German and Spanish. I asked him about this and he said that the necklace grants this power in addition of language comprehension to those who know how to use it. I eventually went to bed around midnight but Poldar was still going strong.
The next morning Poldar joined me for breakfast of rice, natto and miso soup. He apparently had been on the computer all night. After finishing my breakfast, I made some onigiri with tuna in the middle and bid him good day.
When I returned home Wednesday evening and found him meditating in the back yard by the Koi Pond, the cats asleep curled up on the grass beside him. Some how I feel betrayed. I change my clothes and ask Poldar if he wanted to go for a ride. Surprisingly he said yes. So we drove to the Equinox School of Riding. As I went to go find my instructor I told Poldar to stay out of trouble.
I found Mimi just finishing up a semi-private class. Mimi is a tall, pale blond woman with blue eyes. Her complexion, mannerisms and build speak of a lifetime spent with horses. Mimi is the proprietor and head instructor of Equinox. I helped some of the younger riders in removing their saddles, picking the horses hooves and brushing them down. When an opportunity presented itself I asked Mimi if Poldar, an experienced rider, could join me today. After several minutes of questions about his riding she exclaimed, "What in the Hell is he doing?"
Turning in the direction she was looking I saw Polar walking out of the stable with a gorgeous Arabian stallion, coat gleaming black. Poldar wasn't leading the animal the animal was walking with him with no contact. With dread I remarked, "Oh my God! I told him to not get into any trouble. I am so sorry. So whose horse is that?"
Mimi responds as she walks to the gate to continue watching Poldar. "That is Abdul Kadir, the mad Arab, and I just got him a week ago. He was scheduled to be put down, I got him cheap. The previous owner physically and psychologically abused him for all his short 4 years of life. When the owner's daughter was kicked and nearly killed he decided to put the animal down. I happened to hear about it and offered to take him off his hands. Frankly I haven't even been able to get near him. He is literally mad. He kicked the walls of his stall so much he was starting to go lame. I had to put him in the one with rubber walls."
Looking at Abdul Kadir as she talked I found it hard to believe that this was the same animal. "He doesn't appear to be limping. I will tell Poldar to put him back in the stall." Just as I finished speaking Poldar stopped and seemed to be talking to the horse. Then grabbing a chunk of mane in left hand he gracefully swung his right leg up and over the horses back and was sitting bareback on the horse. Abdul Kadir pranced a bit but settled down as Poldar talked to him.
Mimi obviously doubting her own eyes said, "No that's ok why don't you take Flicker and join your friend"
Surprised I said, "Don't you want me to ride Doc or Blue? Flicker is your son's horse."
Mimi shakes her head as she heads off towards her office, "No Flicker is saddled already and I want to get my camera. This is amazing! Unbelievable."
I quickly located and mounted Flicker. With just a few nudges of my knees and shifting of my weight I was outside and walking towards Poldar. "Hello Poldar, you seem to have made a friend."
With the first smile I can remember he said, "Indeed Leo, this is a fine horse although he has been much abused at the hands of men."
Nodding, "I know, my instructor recently bought him from the man who abused him and who was about to put him down." Further comments were cut short as I heard Mimi approaching. I introduced Mimi and Poldar.
"Poldar, How is it you were able to perform this miracle?"
Poldar looked a bit confused but after a moment of contemplation replied, "I was waiting for Leo when I heard Abdul Kadir kicking the walls of his stall. Confused I approached and asked him what was wrong. He indicated he was in pain, hated being confined, and hated all men. Speaking calmly to him I let myself into his stall and slowly started to curry him and work the knots out of his mane. He relaxed and I eventually was able to massage his pain away. Some of his physical wounds are old and are beyond my ability to heal. Thus I gained his trust and then proceeded to lead him outside. He would like to play now."
Mimi, dumbstruck said, "I have never seen, let along read of anyone will your empathy and skill with horses. What you have accomplished in minutes would, with luck, have taken me months of slow, patient work. It's like magic."
Disliking the way the conversation is going I interrupt and said, "Would you like to play tag Poldar? I think with you bareback it should be just about even."
I had to explain horse tag to Poldar and Mimi took many pictures and then went and got Blue saddled and joined us. The three of us spent the next hour dodging, turning and enjoying the long June evening. Even bareback Poldar was a better horseman than I and his skill was almost equivalent to Mimi on Blue with an Western saddle. After our game we all, horses included, got a drink of water and then crossed the highway and walked the horses in the large undeveloped land to the west.
After taking care of the horses and putting the mad Arab in the outside coral we joined Mimi at a local pub for a drink. Along the way there I cautioned Poldar not to talk about Middle Earth, or anything magical. After the first drink and normal pleasantries were exchanged Mimi and Poldar started to talk about horses. The hours rolled by as I listened and learned about the intricacies of raising, breeding and training horses.
Thursday morning I awake to find Poldar once again online. He joins me for breakfast but is strangely quiet. "What is wrong Poldar."
Poldar looks at me, his distrust evident. "Nothing is wrong Leo." He seems to want to say more but is reluctant.
"Poldar ,I am not your enemy. I love Middle Earth, in fact I actually prefer it to my own world. I would never do anything knowingly to harm the elves or other free peoples of Middle Earth. As I grew up reading about Bilbo, Gandalf and the elves I often wished I could live there. You obviously have noticed I have virtually everything ever published about Middle Earth, including movies, audio tapes, posters and books."
Thinking about the incident in the last homely house, "I apologize if I hurt you, and had I known Poisenna was your wife I would never have kissed her."
Poldar sighs deeply and says, "You did not hurt me Leo. I should never have succumbed to my anger. I am, perhaps, overly protective of Poisenna." He pauses for a moment but eventually continues, "I am just saddened by the fact that you humans seem to smother everything. The Elves are leaving Middle Earth Leo, our time has past. The Dwarves will become few, the Orcs will be hunted into extinction, and the Hobbits will eventually be assimilated into men. It is the time of men, they will cover Middle Earth, forcing all to their desire. As you have shown, men need no magic. They will eventually develop technologies and devices that once only magic could accomplish."
Perplexed I said, "You make humans sound as bad as Sauron."
Poldar looked at me and shakes his head, "No, not as bad as Sauron, because Sauron had no conscience. Humans have a conscience, but they also have within them a great capacity for evil as well as good. Look at your own history Leo, and you will have to agree."
I nod as I think of Hitler, Stalin, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other people and events that have caused great suffering over just the last hundred years. "True, but societies have always, risen up to meet the challenge and have triumphed."
Poldar looks at me sadly, "I hope you are right Leo, we shall see how long your society and race will survive."
Imploringly, "Why must the Elves leave Middle Earth? Surely you can stay."
Poldar looks down into his cup and says, "No Leo. The Elves will leave and go into the west, it is in our very nature. The yearning was woven into us by the song of creation. Few can resist, those who remain will eventually die, whether from battle, accident or the fading of their soul. The result will be the same, the elves will leave Middle Earth. This departure may yet take an age, but it is happening Leo."
Sadly I look at the clock and realize I am late. I bid Poldar "Itakimas!" and leave for work. All day I am depressed thinking of the dream that is Middle Earth coming to an end. After work, I decide to go to the range, as I didn't feel like working out. Poldar joined me.
The ride to the outdoor range is quiet, both of us lost in our own thoughts. When we arrive I pull out my old Jennings Super T compound bow and XX75 autumn orange aluminum arrows with plastic vanes, and Poldar pulls out his elven longbow and cedar arrows. Poldar is interested and examines the bow and arrows carefully. He hands it back and says, "Can you see Leo? Humans need no magic when they can create bows like this."
I say nothing as we take turns shooting at the targets. If I concentrate I can match Poldar's skill when the targets are at known distances, although he is both smoother and faster than I. When we come to the part of the range where 3D targets of deer, turkey and prairie dogs are randomly placed he easily out performs me. After we complete the course I decide that we should go out to eat and see a movie.
We have dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant and Poldar impressed all the waitresses with his fluency in Japanese. Poldar seems to relish the meal, but dislikes the saki. After dinner we walk across the courtyard and buy tickets to the Lord of the Rings-Fellowship of the Ring. Poldar watches the movie without emotion. As we walk to the Jeep he says, "Amazing, humans never cease to amaze me with their technology. You know it really didn't happen like that."
Realizing that there were some departures from the book I was curious what other elements of the story were missing or incorrect. On the way back to my house, and until 1:00 in the morning Poldar regaled me in stores of the period. Yawning and realizing that tomorrow was a work day I asked my final question, "So did Gandalf really leave and sail to the west?"
Poldar, seeming somber and relaxed, "Yes, many chose that time to leave the shores of Middle Earth and sailed into the west. As far as I know Gandalf has never returned."
"What about Radagast. and Tom Bombadil?" I asked as I rose.
"Oh, they still dwell within Middle Earth and I suspect always will. Goodnight Leo."
My remaining questions, which seemed to sprout with every answer must remain unanswered for now as I trundled off to bed.
My lunch hour on Friday I went shopping. I got some new batteries for the CD player, a new CD collection for the Elves and a new present for Poisenna. I decide to get some lithium batteries this time. They should last three times longer but they cost four times as much, ouch! For the music I got Mozart's Die Zauberflote, K620, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with accompanying photo book from the production. For Poisenna I got a single, long stemmed rose, and a matching rose plant for the gardens of Imladris. I volunteered to allow Poldar to give the rose to Poisenna but he just shook his head and said I should give it to her.
Friday evening I usually attend class at the dojo. I once again invited Poldar and he agreed to interrupt his research on the internet and accompany me. I give him a pair of sweats and grabed my bag and we were out the door. As we drove to Boulder I explained the rules of the dojo, the rules of training and proper dojo etiquette to Poldar. Once there we changed clothes and stretched out. I then introduced Poldar to this month's instructor for the beginning class as I went across to the advanced class. The advanced class focused on Tanto dori and Tachi dori and we finished up with Radori where three attackers used shinai. During a break I watched Poldar going through endless repetitions of Tenkan and iriminage.
My thoughts once again return to Middle Earth as we pull into the parking lot at work. As expected the parking lot is empty. We quickly gather our things and enter the laboratory whereupon Poldar hands me the magical necklace. "You might find this useful once again Leo."
I take the necklace and slip it over my head. I boot the computer and load in the coordinates. I then load the return profile and press the Enter key. The air shimmers in front of the antenna. I motion, Poldar to enter and I quickly follow.
As we arrive back in Middle Earth a contingent of Elves are waiting. They quickly surround us and remove all my possessions. I look at Poldar who looks back and only shrugs. "Let us make haste, I have news for Elrohir," he exclaims. We mount horses and begin riding back towards the Last Homely House. The ride is quiet and uneventful. I briefly debate making a run for it but realize everyone here probably rides better than I and without my possessions I would be defenseless. As we dismount I am escorted to a bedroom and told, "Remain here, Do not leave. You will be summoned when Elrohir desires your presence." So much for elven hospitality.
The fine carved and filigreed woodwork is lost to me at the moment, as is the delicate painting on the wall. I look out the window and see an armed guard. After waiting for a half an hour, I crack open the door. I nod to the guard there and ease the door shut. I debate my next course of action. When nothing immediately comes to mind I decide to make myself comfortable and stretch out on the bed. My day is only interrupted twice, for two meals, one at midday and one in the evening. I slowly watch the sun's rays get longer and soon darkness descends upon the Merrill valley. My frustration and sense of betrayal is growing. First Poldar disappears for two weeks without even giving me a head's up, and now this. Frankly the elves are beginning to irritate me, perhaps it really is time for them to leave. I don't bother lighting a lamp I just lay on the bed listening to the noises around me and fall asleep.