Cast your minds back to the Hobbit Affair when the NZ government allowed a certain film company and a certain film maker to hold the country to ransom by demanding tax breaks and changes to labour laws.
In reading this, it helps to be good at deciphering anagrams but, for those who are not or cannot be bothered, here are some clues: Tansies Ash could be The Assassin and Termini Simper of course could be Prime Minister; Bracken Jetposserot might be Peter Robert Jackson - or not; the Warsaw Brethren might - just might - be Warner Brothers, and Greybrew Loner could possibly be Gerry Brownlee. Noturnaides might be Trade Unions and I will leave it to you to work out who Arburlo the dragon is.
Termini Simper (known to some as Tansies Sash) a youngish and some say, charismatic, Wizard with an eye to the main chance, and Bracken Jetposerrot, a middle aged, well-to-do Hobbit with a love of food, have dreams of raiding the great treasure of Aburlo the Dragon some of which is hidden in the mountains above the town of Smelly Wood.
To help fund the expedition they have enlisted the help of the Warsor Brethren – a clan of very acquisitive Dwarves from the fabled Holly Woods far in the North.
They refer to themselves as Treasure Inc.
Although Arburlo guards her treasure well, constant raids have left her tired and a bit fed up and she has developed a few chinks in her once powerful armour.
The path to her den is guarded by her legions, the Noturnaides. Once united and powerful, their ranks are now divided and depleted as a result of constant battles with clans like the Brethren.
In keeping with their legendary acquisitiveness, the Warsor Brethren have already demanded a huge share of the treasure as the price for their involvement but they are worried that there are still legions of the Nortunaides wandering around which might interfere with their current and future plans.
One day, while Bracken Jetposerrot is out scouting around for the best location to assemble the expedition, he encounters a small and rather poorly armed but very stylish band of Noturnaides. Their leader, knowing the Warsor Brethren and Bracken are very, very rich, cheekily demands payment to allow him to proceed.
Bracken has to use the Ring of Celebrity (which, among other things, ensures that only his good side is ever visible) to make his escape.
By the time he gets home he is furious. Not only has he invested a lot of his own money and reputation in the expedition but the Warsor Brethren are beginning to be a bit unreasonable and expecting him to do rather more than he had hoped to do so this is the last straw.
He tells all the townsfolk that the naughty Noturnaides have put the whole expedition in jeopardy. As he anticipated, the townsfolk are angered by this. They have been promised a share of the treasure (albeit a very small one) and a lot of them have no time for the Noturnaides.
When Bracken reports back to the Warsor Brethren they are furious as they are not used to being blackmailed (as they see it) by a tiny gang of upstarts.
Bracken calls on Termini Simper who appears in his trademark puff of blue smoke followed by his bodyguard, Greybrew Loner who arrives some later on a very tired donkey. Simper suggests they all head to his place to regroup and retrench and have a rethink.
One of the Brethren, a very sneaky fellow known as Slywares, demands an increase in their share of the treasure as a gesture of good faith. Somewhat to their surprise, Simper immediately agrees. His plan is simply not to give the townsfolk as much which they can blame on the Noturnaides. He reasons that this will leave the legions with no allies and allow him to crush them once and for all which will leave all of Arburlo’s treasure unguarded.
He strides around uttering phrases like –‘taking the long view’, ‘win-win situation’ and ‘leverage’. The Warsor Brethren smile in their beards; they like the cut of this Wizard’s jib.
Together Simper, Bracken and Slywares hatch a plan to bamboozle the good folk of Smelly Wood. They stage great rallies and send out messengers far and wide to tell all the citizens that the Noturnaides are 'the enemy within' and must be defeated for the good of the whole land.
The Noturnaides and their allies try to rally support but Treasure Inc is well served by the bedazzling and discombobulating powers of the Ring of Celebrity– and the fact that some of the Noturnaides’ allies decide to go home to mow the lawn.
Now, Aburlo had never trusted the Brethren or the Wizard but she had trusted Bracken Jetposerrot. When she realises she has been betrayed she comes down from the mountain to confront them. But while the Hobbit and the Brethen distract her, the Wizard attacks her from behind and strikes a powerful blow that forces her and her legions to flee.
Despite the fact that the fight has caused damage to the town and created divisions between the citizens, brave little Bracken Jetposerrot is lauded by placard-waving townsfolk, some of whom are calling on Treasure Inc to fulfill the old prophecies of Aburlo’s complete demise.
And so it comes to pass that the Warsor Brethren are free to take possession of the greatest part of the treasure and Bracken is a happy little fellow as he gets to keep a good portion for himself. However, because he likes to be seen as a good-hearted little fellow, he plans to throw a big party for the townsfolk.
Termini Simper, with a broad smile, does his usual disappearing act knowing he now has even more effective ways of increasing his share of the rest of Arburlo’s treasure- with interest.
But, nothing is ever straightforward in a fairy tale and once the power of the Ring has waned, some of the townsfolk ungratefully demand payment for helping the Brethren and some want reparations for damage to their property. Some even demand settlement of ancient claims on the treasure.
The Brethren get stroppy again and it looks like another battle is brewing. Bracken realises too late that he has helped to create a monster and tries to intercede but the Brethren are now firmly in charge and threaten to banish him.
The Wizard reappears to warn them about a new army of Noturnaides being raised across the sea and demands that Bracken use his Ring to help them. He agrees because he knows which side his bread is buttered on and he does like buttered bread.
There’s another big battle, which, sadly for Arburlo, Treasure Inc wins by convincing the populace yet again that she is their true enemy.
The Brethren offer Termini Simper a job as a consultant on future treasure raids and go off shaking their heads in amazement at easily conned the good folk of Smelly Wood were.
Although Bracken Jetposerrot gives a portion of his share of the treasure to a select few of the folk of Smelly Wood, he returns home an even wealthier Hobbit.