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Squirrel

" Aragorn fought to resist rolling his eyes at the umpteenth time the question was voiced from somewhere behind him. A shared wild look with Boromir told him the other Man felt the same way. Boromir’s hand clutched a small, semi-bare, broken-off branch he had picked up when they first heard the question, and with each time it was asked, he would grind his teeth and peel off a piece of bark in silence. Were they to continue on this rate, he would soon have to find himself another stick, Aragorn thought. "

I *love* the beginning of "Are we there yet?" So like Pippin! But with this paragraph, I have a question and a suggestion. 1) Is "Man" supposed to be capitalized? and 2) You would not say, "Aragorn thought" there at the end of the paragraph, because it is not necessary. Try reading the piece out loud to yourself to see how it sounds without it. Does it still make sense?

" The dwarf was stalking after them with longer strides than necessary that did little to increase his pace, but was great for making his short legs seem even shorter. In his right hand he gripped his trustworthy axe, sharpened this very morning in an almost touchable irritated silence. Add the dark looks thrown in the hobbits’ way, and one needed not wonder for long why there were twin twitches of the dwarf’s eye and axe as soon as the question rose from behind. His jaw muscles seemed to work furiously under the thick mass of beard and he refused to look Aragorn in the eye, choosing instead to stalk onward and tighten his grip on the axe with each word that left the hobbit’s mouth. "

LOVE this paragraph (and the one before it). I'd change nothing here. Your style is fluid and your handle on the characters is solid.

" After Gimli came Gandalf, who had gathered the hobbits around him like a mother duck would her ducklings. And taking up the rear of their group was Legolas the Elf who, with his sharp eyes and keen senses, was so high above the rest according to everyone else but himself, though for the moment he looked sorely tempted to trade eardrums with any other being in their company. He winced as the question once again drifted past his sensitive ears and when Aragorn raised his eyebrows in an asking manner, Legolas threw a helpless glance in the human’s direction. Aragorn could only shrug sympathetically as he turned his attention forward again, hoping against hope that anything, be it orcs or spiders or wargs or simply anything would interrupt the constant chattering from behind. He would gladly take a cave troll over this any day! "

^While engaging in its humour, I sense a tiny bit of "info dump" here about Legolas. Is it truly necessary to remind us of his keen senses? I'm assuming your audience has read LoTR, and they would know this. However, if you are working with Tolkien's style, it fits in his "long-winded" way. I just found this bit of info about Legolas unnecessary and it took me out of the narrative a bit.

" One other in their company seemed to have tired too, for once the question had been repeated three times in one exhalation, the fourth attempt was interrupted by a heaving sigh and a grumbling harrumph. “Pippin,” Gandalf’s voice sounded from behind, and Aragorn could easily picture him grip his knotty staff tighter in annoyance, as he had done so many times when Aragorn himself had been younger, and offer said hobbit a hard glance as they walked. “If I have told you once, I have told you countless times; we will stop once we find a place safe enough for stopping.” "

^Perfectly Gandalf! Change nothing. (I could even hear the grey wizard's voice in my mind while reading. Excellent!) In fact, the next couple of paragraphs I have nothing but praise for.

" Aragorn could no longer fight the urge to roll his eyes when the youngest hobbit yowled in pain.

~*~

They had been going on for another hour or so, thankfully in silence as Frodo had volunteered to walk with Pippin and the youngest hobbit dared not upset the older cousin he had hero-worshipped since birth. "

^Two things here. 1) when I see a symbol like this in writing ( ~*~), it tells me the author is uncomfortable with transitions. Since you need no symbol there for it to flow fluidly from one paragraph to the next, and only a few hours have past, don't use it. I tried reading your story without this marker, and it flows perfectly well. 2) again more info dump. If we've read LoTR, we know Pippin is young, and very much like this. You don't need to explain why he acts this way. You might just let him act. I guess I'm saying that you already "show" this, so you don't need to "tell" it.

" There had only been a vague breeze following them, but now the wind picked up and took on an icy chill. Legolas’ golden hair whipped about his head as he turned to the Fellowship and gazed intently at Aragorn with a confuzzled expression on his face. He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it and glanced at the forest once more. "

^Hrm. I'm loving everything I'm NOT commenting on (from now on), so don't get nervous. But "confuzzled" is slang and really doesn't work with your style. I'd use "confused" instead? I don't know about this one, but the word just really stuck out to me.

" A moment later found the hobbits cowering by Gandalf’s side and the wizard, Gimli, Aragorn and Boromir eying their surroundings with badly hidden fear. "

^"Eyeing" has another 'e'.

" Legolas’ sight was set on the trees to their right, one delicate hand flexing its slender fingers at his side as he debated whether to reach for his bow or not. "

^Legolas as I remember him would not debate against the bow. He'd have it drawn already in my mind, but might debate about whether to shoot. Legolas is like liquid when it comes to instinct. This ONE, SHORT bit was out of character.

" he was not sure who he had grabbed when they bolted to safety. "

^ Um ... when did they bolt to safety? When did this happen? Did I miss it? Do you need them to 'bolt to safety", or is it better to let that tension you've built linger on the readers' palate by keeping the hobbits frozen to the spot? I'd prefer the latter, because we are left waiting for them to follow ...

Everything here is good enough to be passable. I had to get out my nitpicking hat to really have much to say about it. It's great work! Please do keep writing this; I can't wait to see how it ends! Your style and language are excellent. Your obvious knowledge of LoTR is astounding and pulls the story together into something believable. Awesome job! I am impressed!