I will leave behind the Middle-earthers (and the annoyerist fugitives) for a moment, if only so that I get to say, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" and mean it literally. So. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, The Littlest Edward was throwing himself into the care and keeping of his equine wards. He had begun to use his journal to chart their development--how much grass each one ate, how often they exercised, how high they jumped, which ones were fastest, which one's turn it was to be groomed. He had even trained them to race across the room while he timed them; they would run to him when he whistled. He had begun sketching portraits of them, and I suspect that if he ever finds any My Little Pony stickers for his scrapbook, I'll never get him out of it again. Two things I gathered from all this: 1) Edward had become a very responsible, fully self-controlled young sparklepire; 2) this was a guy who really, really needed to get laid. I mean, eventually--we were probably in for years of Repressed Virgin Issues, so all the better that we get started now, I figured.
And while I was pondering this, something finally occurred to The Littlest Edward: