Lord Elrond was very surprised one fine summer day when a elvish messenger rode into Imladris and handed him a scroll. It was very official-looking, made of fine vellum and sealed with an image of a single solitary peak. The elf lord looked it over curiously, then brought the scroll inside where he unsealed it and began to read.
Dear Sir, It said, written in a thick rectangular hand.
Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure? Well this is your chance. I, Thorin Oakenshield, have been cruelly displaced from my rightful place as King Under the Mountain and am in need of your aid. I am looking for stout companions to join me in my quest to defeat the dragon Smaug and retake my homeland, and this could be you. No experience or special skills are required to apply, just a loyal hand, a willing heart and enough pocket money to cover your expenses. Transportation and meals on the way will be provided for you and though your safety is not guaranteed that just makes the journey more exciting.
However, should we survive and succeed in our quest you will receive an equal portion (up to but not exceeding 1/14th of) my kingdom's regained treasure mountain and my eternal gratitude. But you must act now for positions within my company are very limited and if you miss this opportunity it will not come again. If you agree to these terms please send your deposit of five gold to: Thorin Oakenshield, c/o Balin son of Fundin, Tumunzahar, the Blue Mountains.
This will reserve your place on the journey of a lifetime (any amount over five gold will be considered a donation to the cause and treated accordingly).
Your eternal servant,
Heir to Durin's House
Former Prince of Erebor
King-in-Exile Under the Mountain
Upon finishing the letter, Lord Elrond looked at it in astonishment before shaking his head. "Con artists get braver every year, I hope Thorin knows there's some lunatic out there ruining his good name. But you'll need more skill than that to fool an elf as old as I." Then Elrond threw the scroll into the fire and went about his day.
And far, far away, Thorin Oakenshield screamed in the face of yet another rejection. "I just don't understand!"