There was a valley in the wild, west (slightly) of the Misty Mountains, isolated and avoided by all sensible folk. But here people dwelt. Well, six to be precise. Strange utterances could be heard from their mouths by a careful observer. 'Ni, Ni, Ni!' the men were saying in high pitched voices. All these men wore helmets with large antlers and leaves on them in a strange form of camouflage. Also they had long hair and beards both of which needed cutting.
One however, wasn't saying, 'Ni,' He was saying. 'Na, Na, Na.'
'No, no, you've got it wrong it's 'Ni, Ni!' High-pitched, watch, like this, Niiiiiiii!' a knight shrieked with all his might. But the apprentice couldn't get it quite right.
His voice did go higher but he said, 'Nooooiiiuuuu,' instead.
'Oh well,' said his colleague in a friendly tone. 'You are young, you'll get there.'
'He's 600 years old,' said someone.
'Merely young. We are immortal. It takes millennia to get this correct sometimes. We are also invincible,' said the first man smugly.
'Indeed,' The leader answered. 'We could take over the whole world, none can stop us.'
'But we can't be bothered. No, can't be bothered. We'd rather say, Ni! Ni, Ni,' chanted they.
A way away, the Fellowship of the Ring was having a council. Aragorn was saying, 'We cannot pass the mountains in this weather. To the east Moria, west hundreds of miles of wilderness followed by packs of wolves out of our way. Or...'
'The other way to continue is straight on,' said Gandalf.
'But straight on is through the valley of Ni!' exclaimed the bold Dwarf, Gimli.
'Indeed. And that could be the route for us,' Gandalf concluded. There was a shudder through the Fellowship. Even the Hobbits had heard of the valley of Ni, where strange and fearsome creatures dwelt.
'The route may lead to the valley of Ni but will it lead out of the valley of Ni?' said Boromir of Gondor. 'It is a dangerous valley and I do not see the need. We are not that desperate. Why don't we just carry along west to the land of Rohan the way I came?'
'But the Enemy's eye is upon us. We are followed by wolves and crows. Your route could take us many extra weeks. We need to go somewhere unexpected,' argued Gandalf, as the evening moon moved across the dark sky.
'Going to the valley of Ni is definitely that!' said Legolas, fiddling with his bow.
'I still vote no. The terror that dwells there is too great for us.'
'Are you scared, Captain of Gondor?' smiled Aragorn.
'There are things in the world even the bravest of us should fear. I can face a host of Orcs. But it is the Halflings and the rest that I am concerned for. What does the Ring-bearer say?'
'I would rather not go to the valley of Ni,' said Frodo. Gandalf cuffed him.
'We need to go somewhere unexpected. I would, um, advise the valley of Ni.'
'Oh, well, in that case absolutely, let's go,' agreed Frodo, taking Gandalf's advice as always. The rest of the Fellowship followed him, apart from Boromir, who wavered for a bit, and Pippin, but no-one ever took any notice of the opinions of those two.
'Guess I know what Jon Huntsman felt like,' Boromir muttered.
The night drew in, snow came from the mountains and the Company looked miserable. 'Do not be afraid overmuch!' declared the Wizard. 'I have passed through the valley of Ni and survived. If the knights are there this could prove ill, that is true, but we could pass through unmolested.'
'I too once passed through the valley of Chunbao, said Aragorn, using the Sindarin name of the valley.'And whilst I too passed through, the memory is very evil. I do not wish to pass through Ni a second time.' Strangely, Aragorn's grim words did little to improve the morale of the company!
The next day dawned cloudy and cold. Frodo could see miles and miles of deserted country to the west and on the whole thought Gandalf was right to avoid all of this. But they passed through a wood and then a deep valley. The morning mist lay cold, heavy and thick between the trees. It was muddy and slippery and the land remained quiet. After a few hours the Fellowship was feeling hopeful.
Pippin nudged Gimli. 'Maybe they are just a legend after all.' Suddenly some strange men appeared in front of them. Well camouflaged with horns and mighty antlers on them and long, scruffy hair.
'Niiiiiiiii!' said the leader, in his high-pitched voice. Gimli drew his axe and Legolas his bow, but Gandalf thrust them back.
'No, none of you have weapons that can harm these people.' He became the spokesman, 'Oh, knights of Ni. We mean you no harm. 'We'll just continue on our way if that's all right,' and he motioned the others to shuffle along as the Hobbits looked in horror.
'Noooooooooo,' squealed the leader. 'If you do not accede to us we will just say Ni to you!' Merry and Pippin could bear it no longer and covered their ears.
Aragorn said, 'What is it you desire of us?'
'You must bring us...' There was a dramatic pause and a musical cue that bespoke a terrifying announcement fraught with peril and danger... 'a parrot!'
The Fellowship looked at each other in confusion.
'What's a parrot?' Frodo asked at last.
The knight's shaggy head jerked in a startled manner. 'What's a bleeding parrot? Why, it's a bird with colorful plumage that talks,' he explained.
'The plumage talks?' Pippin ventured to ask.
'No! The plumage doesn't talk!' the knight said, growing ever more agitated. 'The bloody bird talks!'
'And why do you want such a bird, oh sir knight,' said Aragorn in a futile attempt to get the quest back on track.
'Why else?' snapped the knight. 'So we can teach it to say Ni of course!'
'Probably easier than teaching him,' said another knight, jerking his thumb at his unfortunate fellow who whispered 'Na' under his breath.
'The last time I passed through this valley you demanded a parrot and I supplied you with a lovely Dorwinnion Blue,' Gandalf said. 'What happened to it?'
'It died,' the knight said, and all the knights hung their heads. A moment of Ni-less silence ensued.
'So you're telling me this is a dead parrot sketch?' Boromir grumbled. 'I knew it was a mistake to come here. And besides this is starting to get silly. Yes, very, silly indeed. Started of all right. Started of as a nice Lotr parody with a bit of Monty Python. I like the dead parrot too, really! But it could just start getting silly. We'll have songs of cross-dressing woodcutters soon if we're not careful. Lets get back to the main tale shall we? Aragon!'
'Was there anything else?' Aragorn asked the knights of Ni.
The knights of Ni looked around. 'Well it's a bit scruffy around here. If you could, well, sweep a few leaves, tidy the place up a bit, maybe plant a few bulbs, paint the gate a nice shade of magnolia that would be nice!' said the leader. A bit harsh perhaps, but then the Fellowship were passing through their country.
'Oh no, brown. We agreed.'
'Oh all right, a nice garnish brown. And a few party cakes.'
The Fellowship looked on in fear. 'We reject your terms utterly!' Gandalf boldly declared, raising his hand.
'In that case we shall say Ni to you,' said the knights' leader. Coincidentally, somewhere in his various letters Tolkien mentioned that the head of the knights of Ni was called Tforgual. But also in another said that all of his creations of total power, of which the knights of Ni clearly were, were probably nameless. And the text later referred to him as the nameless ones. That's Tolkien!
Anyway, Sam suggested, 'Perhaps I could plant a few bulbs, it does look rather wild around here.'
'Silence!' Gandalf thrust Sam back. 'You do not know the full terror of which you speak. No, there's only one thing we can do. We'll just have to ignore them. Come on everyone,' said he, marching the party on and pulling his hat over his ears in a manner remarkably similar to a wizzard elsewhere in the multiverse.
'All right, you asked for it, Niiiiiiii,' said the leader with all of his might and the others chorused 'Ni, Ni, Ni!' Frodo was as terrified as anyone but he did wonder why, at one point, all of the knights applauded one of their group saying, 'He's got it, he's got it!'
For the rest of that dreadful journey Frodo tried to concentrate on the misty surroundings of the wood or the pale sun breaking through the early morning through a stone arch. They were nearly free. But one more terror was reserved for the ring-bearer. The leader jumped from nowhere, right in front of him, crying a loud and high, 'Niiiiiiiiiii!'
Once out of the valley and away from the terror, the company lay down panting in the fear of what they had just endured. Gandalf turned to Boromir, 'Yes, you were right. We should never have taken this route. I think we'll try Moria next!'
After his adventures and on his return journey Frodo suffered from many injuries and bad memories. But one of the worst was when he would periodically wake up in the night in a cold sweat after a dreadful dream, recalling a long-haired, bearded knight into his face, 'Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!'