The Council of Elrond were arguing among themselves, failing spectacularly to agree upon what to do about the One Ring. Gandalf roared something unpleasant about what the lower half of Aragorn's face reminded him of. Gimli grabbed a handful of Legolas' golden hair and gave a sharp yank. Legolas yowled and kicked Gimli in the shin. Elrond muttered something derogatory about the Greed of Men, at which point Boromir floored him with a roundhouse kick.
Only Frodo remained seated, staring at the Ring as it lay on the pedestal, reflecting invisible fire and growling like the empty stomach of a Fell Beast.
“I'll take it,” he stated, keeping his voice quiet in the hope that nobody would hear him.
The ruckus of the Council faded as they picked themselves up from the floor, each of them staring at him in consternation, except Gimli who gave Legolas a sharp bite on the left buttock. The elf yelped and elbowed the dwarf in the face. Clearly, those two were never going to be friends.
“Frodo?” Gandalf prompted, eyebrows raised.
“I'll take it,” the hobbit repeated, before hastily adding what he hoped would be a suitable get-out clause, “although I do not know the way.”
“Excellent,” the grey wizard boomed, striding toward the hobbit with a huge beam on his overly whiskered face. He drew from his pocket a copy of the 'Middle-Earth A-Z' and flung it at Frodo's feet. “There you are, and off you go.”
Fighting down panic, and mentally cursing his big mouth, Frodo stooped and picked up the atlas, a move which gave him a few extra seconds in which to frantically think up a new excuse. “I... I do not know the terrain.”
“No need to worry about that,” Gandalf grinned ferally, “The map is well illustrated. It shows swamps, rivers, mountains, and even has a large blank patch in the middle of Mordor that says 'Here Be Monsters.'”
“Oi!” bellowed Sam Gamgee, appearing as though from nowhere and interposing himself between Gandalf and Frodo. “Master Frodo's going nowhere without me!”
“They want me to go to Mordor, Sam, “whimpered Frodo, his voice as weak as his knees.
Sam blinked. “Oh, I see.” He forced a smile of encouragement and clapped his fellow hobbit on the back. “Well, the least I can do is help you pack. I'll add plenty of lembas bread. I'll even come with you as far as the edge of Rivendell. And...” He waggled a finger solemnly, “...I'll be expecting a postcard.”
Boromir strode forward angrily. “This is nonsense, they cannot be expected to walk into Mordor alone! The very air is a poisonous fume-”
“You've already said that, son of Denethor,” growled Elrond, still nursing both his chin and a grudge.
“Right,” Boromir nodded vigorously, “which is why I believe Aragorn should go with them.”
“What?” Aragorn barked.
“Well, you're a Ranger,” Boromir replied, quite reasonably, “If anyone can guide them, it should be you.”
“Don't give me that,” Aragorn spat scornfully, “You want me to go because you don't want me to return! I am Isildur's heir, and you think that once I'm Ringwraith fodder that you can become King of Gon-”
“Let the elf go,” Gimli interjected, “He should be very handy should they need to borrow shampoo.”
Legolas fixed him with the closest an elf could manage to a murderous glare. In reality, he simply looked as though he were about to cry. “I would say you have an axe to grind, had you not just broken it on the Ring.”
“Look look look,” Sam called, raising his hands in a placating gesture, “Let's face the facts. None of us here want to go to Mordor, and who can blame us? It would be suicide. If Mister Frodo needs companions, we need to find people who are too reckless to heed the consequences.”
“Failing that,” Elrond added, “We could find the stupidest.”
“Oi,” Pippin shrieked as he and Merry appeared from behind a column, “If Frodo's going, then we're going as well.”
Elrond and Gandalf grinned at each other. “Sorted!” they chorused.