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Lockout Lit presents: excerpts from H.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Return of the League'

In the final book of H.R.R. Tolkiens' monumental "Lord of the Revenue" trilogy, the armies of Hockey-earth gather for the final battle for control of the new collective bargaining agreement. Negotiating warrior Scot L. Arabaugh prepares to tread the "Path of Dead Negotiations" while hobbit Grodo Bettmins, current keeper of The One Ring, climbs Mount Lockout and makes a fateful decision.

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Together they went back into the office; yet for some time Arabaugh sat silent at the conference table in, and the others waited for him to speak. "Come, Mediator!" said Cohenas at last. "Speak and be comforted, and shake off the shadow! What has happened in the NHL Lockout since we came back to this grim place in the grey morning?"

"A struggle somewhat grimmer for my part than the battle of the MLS," answered Arabaugh. "I have seen the smoke from Mount Lockout, my friend. And the forecast is death, destruction and blight of all Hockey-earth.

"I have no help to send, therefore I must go myself," said Arabaugh. "But there is only one way through the mountains of paperwork that will return us to the icelands before all is lost. That is the Paths of the Dead Negotiations."

"The Paths of the Dead Negotiations!" said Cohenas. "It is a foul name; and little to the liking to the Mediators of Rohan, as I saw. Can a lone strider use such a road and not perish? And even if you pass that way, what is to say you that you can resurrect the fallen talks?"

"No mediator has used that road since the coming of the Serota," said Arabaugh, "for it is closed to them. But in this dark hour we have no choice. Listen! This is the word that the Council of Edrond Snider bring to me from their home at Proskauerdell: Bid Arabaugh remember the words of the seer, and the Paths of the Dead Negotiations."

Arabaugh turned from his friend with grim countenance. He sang in a low but determined timbre:

From Mount Lockout there comes a rumble,

covering sport with wings of darkness.

The old ghouls from the Tower ramble,

Doom approaches. The talks need be awakened;

For the hour is come for the Dealbreakers;

the stone they hath cast must be broken;

and roar of the goal horn can come ringing;

If the lone rider keeps night fires stoken.

"Dark ways doubtless," said Cohenas, "but no darker than an arena with no hockey."

"I hope that the forgotten negotiators have not have forgotten how to fight," said Arabaugh, "Because I come bearing blade and Blackberry unsheathed."



The light sprang up again, and there on the brink of the chasm, at the very crack of Mount Lockout, stood Grodo Bettmins, black against the glare, tense, erect, but still as if he had been turned to stone.

"Master!" cried Billwise Daly, his loyal bald friend and manservant.

Then Grodo stirred and spoke with a clear voice, indeed with a voice clearer and more powerful than Billwise had ever heard him use, and it rose above the throb and turmoil of the lava of Mount Lockout.

"I have arisen!" he said. "The Lockout is MINE!' And suddenly, as he set the ring on his finger, he vanished from Billwise's sight.

And far away, the power of the Orc-players of the Uruk Eh? was shaken, and the Tower of Proskaurdell trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord Fehron was suddenly aware of him, and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash of podiums and bad sweaters, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare.

Then Grodo's wrath blazed in consuming flame, rose like a vast black smoke and choked him. For he knew the deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung.

From all the policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all the stratagems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout Hockey-earth a tremor ran, his Yes-men quailed, and the owners of the Council of Edrond halted, and the armies of fans, bereft of will, lost of faith and deadened inside by anger wavered and despaired. For they were forgotten.

"Precious, precious, precious!' the fans cried. "My Precious! Oh my Precious!"



Part I: H.R.R. Toklien's The Fellowship of the Revenue

Part II: H.R.R. Toklien's The Two Fehrs

Thanks to everyone who read this nonsense over the last few months. Extra special thanks to my wife who helped with the songs of Hockey-earth.