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Author Topic: Tales from the Prancing Pony
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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It was dark and a cold, Autuminal evening was setting in. On a cobbled street, Mugwort Brockhouse, also known as Mr. Mugwort or simply Muggers, was coming home after a long but reasonably well-paid day of work in the fields. He was tired after his shift and was passing the welcoming sign of the Prancing Pony, a well-lit comfortable inn with the tempting prospect of a few beers. 'Yes, good idea' he thought to himself. 'Time for a Pint or three'.

However, just as his brown hand touched the door-handle - no need to use the door-bell, everyone knew who he was - someone exited the inn, a man one of the big people larger and stronger than himself. The man rudely barged by him almost knocking him over onto the hard street, however Mugwort was fairly nimble and stayed onto his feet. The man was Bill Ferny an old enemy of Mugwort's and frankly rather a nasty piece of work.

Mugwort was just about to reminostrate with him when he noticed Bill Ferny's company. He was with a couple of those strange southerners who had been cropping up lately. These were newcomers who had turned up announced and had been behaving very provocatevely set up camp on the boarder when there was plenty of room elsewhere they could use and in Mugwort's opinion had been fraternizing with the most unsavoury types in Bree.

Mugwort was one of the little people and could easily make himself not been seen in the shadows. He was a 3ft 5in Hobbit in fact. It did occur to him that following him and eavesdropping might not have been the fairest of moves but he felt this meeting was interesting and in Bree's interest for him to know it.

He nimbly followed Ferny to his home and crouched behind one of his ill-kept bushes. He could hear Ferny clearly who made no attempt to hide his voice and could smell him too.

Ferny could put out bad BO sometimes and one did not need to be a Ranger to follow him! 'Garn', he was saying 'I tell you, our day is coming. You have done right to come to me. Rich rewards there will be for you. You know you can trust my new Banker, Sharkey. Bit of a stingy skint-flint I will admit but he is powerful.'

'How will our operations take place?' asked one of the southerners

'Well you lot are the first trail-blaizers I've shown you were some of my weapons are kept. After a month or two we will make our move. I've been looking forward to this. Some of those citizens have been getting on my nerves for too long. That Inn-keeper for one I will enjoy dispossing of him. His staff will have to go to as well as some of those who have been causing me a great deal of trouble.'

'And the rest of the folk can live in peace?' asked one. A shrill laugh filled the evening air.

'You must be joking. 'The little folk can all be killed. What use those rats are to anyone I have never understood they just bring down the value of the neighbourhood. Those other ignorant peasants can live in slavery or die that is the way of the future believe me my friends'

Ferny put his arms around the Southerners 'We are the future. Times will be good for me and my friends. Sod anyone else'.

One asked him 'Suppose someone finds out about your plans?' 'They won't trust me. I have influence see. Although if anyone is suspicious they could cause trouble. Best to dispose of them'.

Mugwort inadvertenly coughed at this point. He had suddenly understood what a perilous position he was in. 'Hey what was that?'

'Maybe someone is out there, come on lads lets have a look' cried Ferny and he dashed out to his garden. But Mugwort was not there. In double quick time he had leaped out and was away into the night. He had thought about taking on the Men but somehow he did not think it a way of increasing his life expetancy.

However in the speed of his exit he had banged his ankle on one of the rough broken stones which Ferny had outside his house and it hurt. In fact it was becoming swollen and Mugwort was thinking that he had sprained it. He limped over to the Prancing Pony.

He found it busy and smokey in places as usual. He saw the Inkeeper Barliman Butterbur. Did the man realize his peril? 'Pint of Straddle best make it quick, please' he breathlessly said.

'Oh coming right up Mr. Mugwort' Butterbur cheerfully replied. Mugwort attempted to limp painfully to one of the comfortable sofas against the wall. A friend of his Nob one of Butterbur's servants also a Hobbit said

'Oh, dear Muggers, that looks nasty, I'll carry that for you if you like' Mugwort accepted the offer gratefully. Him and Nob sat next another friend of his Fred Underhill.

'Banged your foot?' said Fred as perceptive as usual.

'Yes, yes of course,' Mugwort took a large gulp of Ale. At least that was good. He was about to tell Fred what had just occured. Fred's opinion of Ferny's was the same as Mugwort's when someone he knew Naomi Rushlight indicted to him that she wanted to come over.

Naomi Rushlight was one of the Big people and a sort of friend of Mugwort's. She crossed over a few stools and sat down beside him. She was a tall, black-skinned girl and did work for Bill Ferny. However, Mugwort did consider her one of the few decent people who worked for Ferny. And she had some information for him.

She said softly 'Muggers, I thought that you would like to know this. You know that Inn the Flaggorn a very profitable enterprise in Straddle which is up for sale? One of your haunts isn't it? Well, guess who has already put in an offer for it which is more than anyone else can? No prizes, the boss Bill Ferny. He's working very secretly but he has put it in and it is likely to be accepted by the end of the week. Then people will know. See you soon!'

That was news. He mentioned this to Fred. 'That Ferny has been busy hasn't he?' said Fred who continued 'He has been coming on in leaps and bounds this year one of the bad things about it one wonders where he gets all the money from in fact.'

'And he's up to something else' said Mugwort and told Fred what he had seen.

Fred sighed 'Trouble is people are polerized over that man. Will anyone actually believe you? In which case we have problems. One other question, why is Naomi so friendly with you? I mean she works for him'

Mugwort replied 'Oh, she just likes me, I think'

then Nob laughed 'It might also be something do to with the fact you showed her mercy. Last year, Fred you remember that raucaus we had with some of Ferny's people in the barn she came at Mugwort hear with a knife.

'Unfortunately she fell over a barrell of hay and I disarmed her. Now I was perfectly ready to kill her and we would have been within our rights after all she was trying to kill us but Mugwort insisted that we didn't and I listened to him'

'Always soft, weren't you Muggers' Fred laughed.

'Well, shall I get more beers' asked Mugwort

'No, I'll go you should rest your foot.' replied Fred 'Although you're paying, its your round'

[ 08-18-2008, 10:31 PM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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Tales from the Prancing Pony - Mugwort's tale Part Two

Mugwort watched Fred go to the bar to order drinks. Fred passed by Chris on the way a rather portly Man who cried out 'evening everybody' to the Inn. 'Cheers!' the inn cried out in unison in response.

It took slightly longer than usual as some strange Dwarves were in front of him. As he returned Mugwort said gloomily 'I really don't see how we can stop Ferny however, none of us have that kind of money readilly available or maybe we could put in a bid of our own'.

Fred suggested 'Barliman probably has enough funds, he's not fond of Ferny, maybe he could help'. Nob coughed in response

'Have you ever tried to make Barley (Butterbur) do anything quickly?' a little disrespectfully, 'Oh he's wise enough in running this Inn but to have him doing anything like that......'

Mugwort muttered 'he could be the only person that we can get at such short notice, however, we could be reliant on him'

'Lords, we are in trouble then' said Nob who continued 'There he is now, I'll call him over hey Barley'

Butterbur came to sit by them a little uncomfortably as he was one of the big people and the Hobbits were sitting in one of the smaller sofas were only their furry feet could snugly fit. 'What's up then?' asked he. Mugwort told him about Ferny. Butterbur frowned. Mugwort wasn't sure that he understood the situation. Butterbur said 'Well I'm not sure what you want me to do. I don't rightly like Ferny as you knows but well what goes on in Straddle ain't my business. I have plenty to do here',

'But it's a profitable concern the Flaggorn you could make good business' suggested Mugwort

'Yes, yes, but it's in Straddle. I am more of a mind to chance things here. I don't even properly own this Inn as you knows I just manage it. I've been thinking of investing in a little decoration. Some people have been telling me that it hasn't been redecorated since the days of the king!' this was a bit of an exaggeration but the Inn did have an old-fashioned look in some of the corners. Butterbur finished 'anyhows I have to go, those Hobbits from the Shire have just finished there dinner, and Nob you moth-brained nanny why don't you come up and give me a hand?'

'I happen to be having a break and a chat. I've done twice as much work as you today anyhows. I'll see you in a minute.' Nob turned to the two Hobbits as Butterbur hustled off 'Bloody cheek. Calling me moth-brained when he has as much moth in his head to fill a stable.'

Mugwort said unhappily ' all the same, our place does not look good, Maybe I could live in the Shire?'

Meantime other odd things were happening as later the three discussed. 'Strange things happening today' mused Mugwort,
'Yep those four Hobbits coming from the Shire, strange'
agreed Fred 'all those spooky horsmen coming asking questions, also strange,' added Nob, '

Srider the Ranger returning, strange,' finished Mugwort

'I wonder if this is all connected?' asked Fred with understanding 'Be strange if it wasn't' joked Mugwort causing a laugh. That was Hobbits sense of humour. Coincidentally all of the Hobbits were fairly young Nob and Mugwort been around 30 but Hobbits been longer living than men would looked in their young 20s in Man years.


Mugwort's mind was taken off his troubles by one of the strange Shire Hobbits singing a merry song and then promptly falling off one of the tables and vanishing into thin air. That was a shock. It was enough entertainment for most people. Mugwort had a litle word with a sceptical Butterbur and soon Mugwort and his friends were the last in the Inn. Mugwort, been a friendly kind of guy felt a little sympathy for the Hobbit but on the other hand the visiter had, in Mugwort's opinion, made a bit of a fool of himself.

Most were fairly quiet in their first visit to the inn, but this person seemed to make a point of attracting to himself. Ah, well took all sorts to make a world, he supposed. Mugwort said his good-bye's and a little painfully as his furry ankle was still sore, walked the short distance home.

[ 08-21-2008, 08:53 AM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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Tales from the Prancing Pony - Mugwort's tale part three

Mugwort did not enjoy himself that much the next day. Due to his injured foot he had to take the day of work and would have to make a claim for his wages - now is probably not the time to go into the details of Bree's complex social security system - . However that evening he decided to meet his friends in the Prancing Pony to discuss matters.

On his way to his sofa with a pint of best, he past a small group of lady-hobbits whom offered him a little sympathy over his injury. He did appreciate this and perhaps milked it a little. He met up with Fred.

'More news about those strange Hobbits from the Shire' Fred had told him which indeed there was.

Mugwort looked around 'well at least Ferny isn't here today',

'No. Not that he made enough noise for two yesterday what with all that shouting his mouth off. Erm thinking about our problems with him why don't we just kill him?'. Well that was certainly tempting.

But Nob replied sitting down 'Unfortunately that make matters worse, we will probably be done for murder and possibly exiled or even imprisoned which would not help us'.

Mugwort paused. Actually one could tell that he had been less active that day than his friends as he was wearing a comfortable brown shirt with blue trousers whearas Fred and Nob were wearing scruffier yellow and green with Nob a white apron. As Fred went to the bar two things happened in quick session.

Firstly a man sat next to him and said very smoothly, 'ah, Mugwort, I understand that you need some help, I can assist if you like'. The man was very smooth and sophisticated dressed and looking with a small beard and was called Edward Whitesnake. However Nob had warned Mugwort not to trust this gentlemen one bit so Mugwort declined. Such perils abounded at the time.

Then the door burst open and the wizard, Gandalf who had not been seen for a while dashed in seemingly in a desperate hurry. Nob looked at him puzzingly. 'What's that wizard's name again? I can never remember it, is is Greatgulf, Gondor, Goodgulf?'

'Gandalf. Gandalf the grey wanderer', answered Mugwort.

'The grey what'? asked Nob who hadn't quite heard properly, 'That's the grey wanderer to you,' said Gandalf straightening his grey robes.

'Look, where is that moth-brained nob-head Butterbur Nob, the entire fate of the world could depend on me speaking to him', Nob smiled cheekily, looked like his boss was due a rollicking

'over their in the kitchen,' he informed grimly. On his way, Gandalf passed Chris at the bar.

'Evening' said Chris as usual,

'oh, get stuffed', replied Gandalf. A little harsh, but Gandalf was desperately worried.

After a time Fred returned. The evening was passing fairly pleasently although none had a solution to their problem regarding Ferny.

'We'll just have to cope with it when it happens,' was Mugwort's suggestion which was not desperately helpfull. Then Gandalf returned and sat down and tossed his long, grey hair. He sighed seemingly in relief.

'Why don't you stay for a beer? offered Nob.

'Can't, I have too many things to do,' then Gandalf paused and continued, 'Well, actually, perhaps I can relax this evening for the first time since I can't remember, yes why not?' Gandalf then downed the rest of his glass which was virtually full in one gulp and said 'Beer anyone, this round on me'.

A few minutes later Butterbur returned. He appeared to be thinking about something. He said 'Ah, lads. Nob, perhaps I owe you an apology. Sometimes I do foget your usefulness. I wouldn't go far without my Nob as I often say! You know that Ferny is dangerous. He has to be stopped. I'm with you. I'll buy him out of the Flaggorn if that's what it takes'. Mugwort looked at Butterbur with some surprise. He wondered what must have happened to have made him take such decisive action?

[ 08-22-2008, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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*bump*
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Varnafindë
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4097

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Just a hint, Hamfast - edit the earlier posts and add an extra blank line between each paragraph. That will make them much easier to read.
From: Narnia, also connected with Norway | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Telperaca
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*adds onto list of things to read after the end of the week*

[]

(From entry before the "subtle" bump:)
quote:
Why don't stay for a beer?
[]
[]
[]

From: Wonderland | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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Varna, done! With a little proofreading as well. Though I bet something is still wrong!
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Thornclad
Soldier of Gondor
Citizen # 3128
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Is it essential that the story revolves around a character that was present at the Pony at the same time as Gandalf and co?

I guess I'm asking if I can invent a main character...

[ 08-26-2008, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: Thornclad ]

From: Berkshire | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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Well, I don't see why you can't, Thornclad, though you have to be a wee bit careful with original characters! they have to act like Tolkien ones! However why not take a character that has one mention in the stories and base it on that person? Doesn't have to be one in the Prancing Pony!
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Thornclad
Soldier of Gondor
Citizen # 3128
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The Southerner's tale - <1>

Barre sat next to the wounded man who called himself Hodda. The man's leg bore a festering bite-mark just above the knee; the entire thigh had begun to discolour and swell. Barre had been removing the filthy rags wrapped around the leg releasing a foul odour from the wound. Hodda leaned back on his elbows, trying not to look at the ruined leg. "The healer," he said wincing, "The healer of Bree, Tommy Hemphead - that's his name. He wouldn't come out to see me. And the steward at the gate won't let me into the town anymore."

Barre remained silent as he took the stinking bandages on the end of a stick to the fire. He threw the stick and bandages into the flames and quickly stood back as if the smoke would be poisoned.

They sat in a small clearing in the forest not far from Bree. The sun would be going down soon, and Barre realised that he would be not able to get Hodda to the town before nightfall. Hodda sat forward grimacing. He stared at the bare wound and his breath came heavy from his mouth. His skin went pale.

"Lie back," said Barre, "Just lie there, and don't move. When last did you eat?"

"My leg," whimpered Hodda, "My leg."

"I'm surprised you aren’t feverish," said Barre, "that wound is badly corrupted."

Hodda didn't answer. Ever since the wolf had bitten him, he had been trying to have the wound tended to. He laid back whimpering and tossing his head from side to side as if he were indeed feverish. "I'm going to die. I'm going to lose my leg. I'm going to lose my leg, and then I'm going to die."

"Don’t talk of such things, yet," said Barre as he began rifling through his small bag. "Maybe I can heal the wound, and maybe you can keep the leg."

"Oh, my leg," was the pathetic response, "My leg."

Barre retrieved a tiny leather pouch from his bag. The mouth of the pouch was bound with a thin leather draw cord that he unravelled. He instinctively put his nose to the opened pouch and sniffed deeply. He shook a small portion of red flakes from the pouch into his hand and then tilted his hand over the small pot of bubbling water that hung on a rude wooden bracket over the fire. He rubbed his palm with his fingers, sprinkling the flakes into the water. "I need to gather herbs," he said, "Wait here, I won't be far away."

"Don’t leave me," said Hodda sitting up again.

"I'm not going far," said Barre, "Just, don't move."

Hodda collapsed back to ground, "What if a wolf comes?" But Barre had gone.

Barre had met Hodda earlier that day in the forest near Bree. The man had been limping, and leaning against tree trunks as ambled through the woods. He had been tried to get into Bree to see the healer, but the town was not admitting any more strangers. He was going back to his shelter in the woods when Barre had found him. Barre and Hodda spoke the same language, as both men were Dunlendings. Barre had been living alone in Bree since the previous summer, but Hodda seemed to have arrived recently.

Barre made a living gathering roots and hunting small game in the woods with his bow. He sold the roots and game to Nob at the Prancing Pony. He had a good friendship with Nob, but then, Nob was friends with everyone. Nob was the first Hobbit that Barre had seen. At first, sitting in the Prancing Pony Common Room, he had mistaken Nob for a dwarf. Then, he decided Nob was the result of some unspeakable elf-dwarf mingling. It was only after meeting Bob and other Hobbits, that he was satisfied that they were indeed a legitimate folk.

Barre had met several dwarves in his life, but had never met or seen an elf. Most Dunlendings had a hostile opinion of elves, and some of his people doubted that elves even existed. Barre however, knew better. Barre's father had told him stories of elves, and he was convinced that they existed. He had also told Barre stories of his distant ancestor who had claimed to be the daughter of a Sea King.

Her mother, he explained, was the woman of a Sea King who had visited Middle Earth on the big ships from the West. Few believed Barre's father, but Barre's family were adamant that they had in them the blood of the race of the great Men and were therefore different to the other Dunland folk. As a boy Barre would dream of sailing with the god-like Kings in ages long-forgotten, in huge wooden vessels across the great, swelling sea.

But it was not stories of ships and waves and great men that convinced Barre of his family's belief, but instead it was his family's knowledge of herbs and healing. It was also their unique skill in archery and the making of good bows that lasted longer than two seasons and arrows that always flew true. People would bring their sick and injured children to his mother in their forest dwelling. During winter, people would camp outside of their small hut, waiting to be tended to. His father, later in his life, never had to hunt or catch food. Instead, he could buy it using the money he had made selling bows and arrows.

No one else in their community seemed to have his family's bow making and fletching skills. His uncle made bow cords of such quality that even the soldiers of Gondor or the straw-heads would gladly pay for. His brothers, like him, had trained in the use of a bow since early childhood. His sisters could shoot a bow better than most men. Everyone in his family was a recognised healer. It was these things that had convinced Barre of his heritage with the Sea Kings.

For how else did his family possess such craft and lore that seemed so far from all the other houses around them? It convinced no one else, however. Barre and his brothers had at first been turned away by the soldiers of Gondor when they tried to join them. Later, they were allowed to enlist as squires and guides, but they had rejected the offer and returned to Dunland.

"You awake?" said Barre, returning to place where Hodda lay.

Hodda tried to sit up, "What? Oh, there you are. There you are, um,"

"Barre."

"Barre. I thought you left me here to the wolves, or the fever."

"You could die with that leg. Why did you not clean and seal the wound with fire after the wolf bit you?"

Hodda didn't answer his question. "Don't let me lose my leg! I don't want to be a cripple. No, there must be another way." He started to weep. "I don't want to be a cripple. No."

The steam from the pot began to turn a pale yellow. Barre smiled, "There might be another way, but you may not like it."

"Another way? Will I keep my leg?"

"Maybe," Barre said, "But only if it works. And only if you lie still – it will hurt."

"Do it," he cried, "Let me keep my leg. Do it, please," he paused.

"Barre."

"Barre! Barre! I'll do anything you say, Barre! Please let me keep my leg."

"It's worth a try then," shrugged Barre. He strode over to Hodda and drew his knife. Hodda tried to move away but Barre grabbed Hodda's dirty shirt and cut two large strips from the bottom it. He threw the strips into the pot and added more wood to the fire. He then sat next to Hodda. "What I need," he said, "Is a jar of fresh maggots. But we'll have to make do without. Remember, this is going to hurt."

A few miles away, at the Inn of the Pancing Pony, Nob stood at the kitchen door and puffed his pipe.

"Nob. Nob, where are you?" called Barliman Butterbur from inside. Nob emptied the bowl of the small, clay pipe and stowed it inside the leather pouch he carried at his hip.

"Coming, sir." Barre had missed their standing daily appointment. Every evening before sunset, Barre would come to the kitchen door carrying a hare, or a plump bird that he had shot – sometimes even a small deer. Nob would pay him from the Pony's treasury and hang the animal in one of the sheds.

Barliman liked to think that he simply delegated some of the kitchen's responsibility to Nob, but Nob knew who kept things running in the kitchen. "I say, Bob," he called out before going inside, "If Barre comes around later, will you tell him I'll meet him in the Common Room?" Bob barked some response, but Nob had already gone inside.

Hodda screamed. The spongy piece of wood that he bit down on fell out of his mouth again. Barre picked it up with his free hand and stuffed it back in. He knew it would not help. It was night, and if Hodda's screaming did not attract attention, the fire certainly would. In his other hand, he held the steaming pot by its cloth-wrapped handle. He poured the liquid from the pot onto the festering wolf-bite on Hodda's thigh. He had cut wound more open with his fire-heated knife. Hodda screamed again. The liquid had cooled, but still stung the wound like liquid iron on bare skin. Hodda would sometimes lose consciousness, leaving Barre in blessed silence until he poured more of his concoction onto the blistered flesh.

Barre's yew bow was strung and lay next to him. It was a good bow, but old. He had used it for the last five summers, and it was beginning to feel loose. Soon, it would be firewood, and he would have to make a new one. He poured more liquid on the wound and then emptied the rest of the pot into his water skin. Hodda gasped as his body went limp. Barre dragged him nearer to the newly-fed fire. Barre would have to keep the fire burning through the night and keep watch or Hodda would freeze during the night.

Barre removed one of the strips of cloth he had cut from Hodda's shirt from the empty pot and then scraped up the white paste that had congealed at the bottom of the pot with his knife. He applied the paste to Hodda's wound; the man moaned. Using the cloth strip, now almost yellow, he bound the wound. Hodda was sweating and muttering. Barre left the man and began scraping the last of the contents of the pot. He smeared the last of the paste onto the remaining cloth strip and put in his bag. He let out a long, tired breath and sat down. "Can you hear me, Hodda?"

"Huh?"

"You need to drink. There is water in your skin. Try to drink if you can."

"Uh."

Barre looked away. "Tomorrow, I will change the binding. Then, if you have luck, you will be able to walk with a stick slowly to Bree. I'll have them let you in if I can. I'll pay that bastard Goatleaf, and he'll let you in."

"My leg?"

"You'll keep it," said Barre.

"Thhhhhhh… Thank you…"

"Barre."

Hodda fell asleep. Barre covered him with the man's dirty cloak and then sat facing the fire. He thought of the room he had rented from Gil Brackendown. It was a tiny, cobwebbed room, but he had been comfortable in it since arriving in Bree a year ago The Bree-folk were far less hostile to foreigners then. He made friends easily, and spent his coins in the marketplace and in the Pony. Soon more of his kind began arriving, not just lone travellers but families and groups of families; sometimes the men were armed.

They began creating crude settlements near the town. The men of Bree became anxious. They were not accustomed to so many foreigners. "It's not personal," Butterbur had told him one night at the Pony, "One or two from abroad don't do no harm, 'specially if they're like you, Barre. But there're too many of them now. Building their huts where they aught'nt and ignoring our rules. Things have been going missing in the town, and they never clean up after themselves."

"Well, can't they go somewhere else? Why can't they move further north, or better yet, back south? We just want to be left alone."

It was impossible to explain it to Butterbur, but Barre sympathised with him. Bree and her surrounding land could not support the masses of people moving northward. Hodda was one of those people. This region was once under the protection of the fierce and swift Rangers. A year ago, it was these that men had allowed Barre to pass through the woods, but that watch had now been abandoned.

From: Berkshire | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Varnafindë
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4097

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I like that very much, Thornclad! Good work! []
From: Narnia, also connected with Norway | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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Fine, I like that too, just a few points. Good job I wasn't reading all that stuff about Maggots on wounds when I was eating! I don't mind a bit of Gore and I suppose that was just about acceptable, but if there is too much of it, perhaps a little warning at the start that it is not quite appropriate for the squeamish of the pre-teans would be nice as you don't know who could be reading this!

But I did like your interaction between Butterbur, his staff and your characters. Just the kind of thing I was hoping for! I once had the idea that Butterbur would be married, with a nagging, or long-suffering wife, depending on your point of view, it would be appropriate for a man of his position. []

I wonder if your main character is good, bad, or something in between? Keep on writing, I'd like to find out! []

[ 08-28-2008, 10:29 PM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Thornclad
Soldier of Gondor
Citizen # 3128
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Thanks for the feedback. I have a few more chapters, but I'm still working on them during my "lunch" break - i.e. Whenever I get a spare minute at work.

The NHS wants to reintroduce the use of maggots to clean infections, so just thought I'd get in on it []

From: Berkshire | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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You're welcome! Posts so you can post again without double-posting!

[ 09-01-2008, 09:56 PM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

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The tale of Rebecca Underhill, a Hobbit in Bree.

Rebeca Underhill is a fairly unremarkable young, lady Hobbit in Bree. Until one extraordinary day her life is mixed with the fortunes of Frodo and his friends. Even though they barely meet. A tale set in Bree at the same time of the Prancing Pony.

-0o0o0o0o0o0o0o-

Rebecca Underhill was a Hobbit in Bree. Though young for a Hobbit, 35. She had dark hair and been a Hobbit small with little furry feet. She was reasonably attractive, with dark hair as was normal, and a bit plumb as well, been a Hobbit. She was a capable cook and she worked in the Prancing Pony at times she served behind the bar as well. Where she did meet, interesting people from faraway places. As far afield as the Shire in fact. Over a whole days walk away. Though as time passed this did become rarer. And then the visitors were nearly always from Buckland. Which, as the landlord, Barliman pointed out was actually nearer Bree then the Shire.

Time moved on. One of the more unpleasant aspects of her job, there was always unpleasant sides, was in having to be pleasant to people she wouldn't normally be. Such as Bill Ferny, for example. One of the nastier men in Bree. And one of the more unpleasant things about him was his body odor.

Bill Ferny was short, for a man, but naturally enough he towered above a small Hobbit like Becky. And he ponged something rancid. For a sensitive Hobbit like Becky this was a bit much for her poor little nose. Especially if he did, as he sometimes did, stay and talked to her at the bar. 'Nice to see you doing so well here, Rebecca! Though you are working a bit better than you ever did for me!'

She supposed this was an attempt at humour. She replied with a polite chuckle. 'Work for you? Did I ever do that? Technically speaking I suppose, I don't think I ever received anything like wages, however!' Or at least not the correct amount!

Still, overall that was a lovely year. Work was interesting, she was having a nice on and off romance with that exciting Mr. Flannel Heathertoes, Sybil the pub landlady changed the colour of her hair twice to everyone's amusement. But the most interesting thing of all was that the Ranger, Strider decided to take her into his confidence a little. In fact after Ferny left her and she wiped the smell off her nostrils, he told her something of the wild lands outside Bree.

Rangers were folk that wandered around in the wild. Many in Bree looked down upon them and even most of the good folk of the county thought them dirty and uncouth with little money or influence. This was how the Rangers liked it, the truth was too terrible for most in Bree to cope with. But Strider thought it wise to trust some of them a little and so told her something of those wild lands and of the Rangers role. Her eyes widened as he told her extraordinary tales of those lands. Becky did not know that such dangers existed, though she was a little suspicious. Which was why Strider decided to trust her a little. She was a decent, capable and inquisitive young lady Hobbit, he thought it worth the risk.

There was some unpleasant foreign news. There had been trouble away down south and men were on the move. They were fleeing trouble and looking for somewhere to stay, and Bree seemed nice. Though the local men were a bit unhappy about this. Becky had her suspicions. Why did they have to choose Bree there were plenty of other empty lands? Many of the Hobbits were unconcerned by this news. The problems of the big folk were not their problems. Becky wasn't so sure. The fortunes of the two peoples were interlinked. What happened to one, she suspected, could not fail to affect the other. Months later, Becky saw the truth of this. In fact, she played a major role in leading the defeat of those men in Bree. But this does not come into this tale. Also, the dark lord Sauron had arisen in Mordor and many were fleeing from his power.

Then there was one extraordinary day. It was in October, her day of a Tuesday and it was a showery one. Though when she woke up it was with a strange sense of fore-boding, which grew upon her through the morning. She wore a simple, but practical green dress for the day. At lunchtime she bumped into Nob, a Hobbit who also worked at the Prancing Pony. 'Hey Beckie,' he said to her breathlessly, 'Take care. Some horsemen have invaded the country. Outlandish in the extreme. Knowing you work at the Pony they might ask you some questions.'

'Why should they trouble us simple folk?'

Nob was wearing typical Hobbit attire of yellow and green shirt and braces with no shoes. He was brown-haired and usually happy and a bit cheeky. 'They are asking for a Hobbit called Baggins. A Shire name which is where he is coming from.'

Becky scowled, 'We Hobbits should stick together,'

Nob bade her goodbye and went back to his chores in the Pony. Later that day, Becky was picking up some goods from the village and walking back to her home, she saw one of the creatures. The weather had taken a turn for the worse, it was now a rainy Autumnal Bree day. The spitting rain slatted into Bree's cobbled streets from the grey, cloudy sky. Then a Rider passed her on the street. He must have been one of those whom Nob was referring to.

And he was correct, outlandish in the extreme.

The rider was all clad in black, with black coat, black trousers, a black hood and black horse. He rode boldly on the streets as though he owned it. He was the most outlandish thing about him was his face. Or lack of one. He looked, somehow she could tell, at her and underneath his hood, she could see...nothing. Just a shadow. No face at all, no sign of flesh, just an empty shadow. Her breath was totally taken away. She picked up her skirts and went about her business.

Later, she saw the Ranger, Strider. Would he know something of these creatures? Indeed he did. His dark face grew grim as she told him of the creature.

'So, do you think they mean well?'

'If they do, Strider, I'm a man of the big people!'

Strider laughed grimly. 'All right, I will tell you about them. They come from Mordor!'

Becky's face paled. 'But why? What does Mordor want of us?'

Strider looked around and motioned her to come round a side. 'I can't explain properly. You know of Mordor, more than most in this little town do if only from me, but you still do not understand quite how powerful Mordor has become, or how it desires to plunge all the lands to its foul will, or how close Sauron is to world domination. All I can say is do not help them unless you desire your town to be forever under Sauron's rule.'

Such words were grim. It could even dampen her usual cheerful attitude for the rest of the day. Still, this was Strider. He did have that nature recently. Still the rest of that evening started brightly anyway. It was a gloomy and rainy evening, good for an evening in the Inn with some wine. The Hobbits of Bree were affluent and liked their wine. Some of the lady-Hobbits even liked Rum mixed with honey. Though Becky to be careful. Whilst like most Hobbits she rarely got outright drunk, she could get very giggly after some alcohol. She was with a few Underhills, and some of her friends. She changed her dress to to a light blue. After a while, Sybil, the landlady came to join them. This was good as Sybil was always jolly. Although she had changed the colour of her hair again. To bright pink of all colours. 'What do you think?' she asked.

Beckie thought she should really be honest and say, 'I'm afraid it looks like a marshmallow on your head,' but she was tactful and said, 'erm, colourful!' but with a little twinkle in her eye. Maybe Sybil would get the message. Still, Sybil had her own troubles. Se was trying to teach Nob to cook to tastes other than Hobbity. Which in Nibs case was a bit difficult. Nob thought that bacon and mushroom sandwiches was the ultimate in cooking skills. It was hard to convince him that the Big people or the Dwarves liked meals other than that.

What else was happening? Well, that nice farmer's son from Birdle way was taking an interest in Becky's friend, Rose. Becky personally wasn't sure about him. He was pretty enough but not much between the ears. She had had better conversations with her cat, she was sure. Beryl was getting closer to her potential suiter, who did have a nice stream on his land, but what would eventually happen to her, or her 3 sisters, was anyone's guess. And, the Stradlle-Underhills were having a party. For Thursday week. A big one, a wedding anniversary. Becky was already wondering what to wear.

Then there was a bit of interest in their corner of the Inn. 3 strange Hobbits. From the Shire. 'Isn't that what those riders are after?'

'No, they are looking for a Hobbit called Baggins. No Baggins here. One is called Mr. Underhill.' There was excitement at this. An Underhill! Must be a relation, many thought. 'A bit odd, however, Mr Underhill turning up from the Shire as well as Mr Baggins,' said Becky, in total innocence. Although he was friendly enough, and he did sing a cheery little song, he made a bit of a fool of himself. Managing to disappear, then reappear in the middle of the bar.

Despite such outlandish behaviour, she wasn't about to give him away to Bill Ferny. But most of the patrons had had enough for the evening and left. Becky thought she would too, but just to have a chat with Sybil. When she left, with a polite little curtesy,she noticed Mr Underhill with Strider in the corner. What was that about, wondered she.

She had a nice little chat with Sybil over some wine, mostly talking about babies, cats, or Sybil's luck, or perhaps that should be lack of it, with Bingo. After she said goodbye to Sybil, she just popped back in the Inn to check on her rota for the next day. She noticed that the parlour's light s were still on. There, in the parlour she saw an extraordinary sight. There was Mr. Underhill sleeping on the floor, not in his bed, which he had actually paid for. He was with 3 friends, and to cap it all, there was Strider as well, looking at her, none too pleased by her entrance.

'You! Out, out,' he spluttered in some surprise. This was a bit rude of him, she thought as she had as much right to be in the parlour as anyone else did. She held her ground. Strider came over to her and said, 'sorry, but please. These are the Hobbits which the riders are after. They are supposed to be in their rooms, but of course it isn't safe for them there. If anyone asks you, please do not tell anyone, at least for this evening, that they are here,'

'But look this is silly, they are looking for Mr. Baggins from the Shire, not Mr. Underhill here from the Shire, oh...' the penny piece dropped. Of course Mr. Baggins was just as capable of using an alias as anyone else. She gave his sleeping form a little smile. Only one of the Hobbits was actually awake, and he glared at her in suspicion. She sniffed. There was a little smell in the air which her nose could detect. Strider could smell a bit sometimes. The difference between him and Bill Ferny was hard to place, but it was their. Strider sometimes had a bit of a smell because he tramped all over the wild for the good of Bree. Bill Ferny smelled because he had never heard of soap! And there was no excuse, it was plentiful in Bree.

As she left, Becky heard Strider growl, 'Lock the landing door as well and watch out for it, Sam! We don't want half of Bree wandering through here!' This was wise of him as Sybil, Barliman's pal who just found it hard to sleep at nights, and the possibly untrustworthy watchman would have popped in!

But there was one more considerable shock in store for Becky. She walked the short journey from the Pony to her home when she felt an uncontrolled wave of fear. Normally, the streets of the town were perfectly safe at night, open violence against the person was unheard of inside the town. 3 men stepped behind her. All clad on black, looking particularly creepy in the night air. The riders from Mordor. She looked at them in terror. One asked, 'have you seen Hobbits from the Shire? Bagggggins? Think well upon your reply, your very life could depend upon it.'

Becky gulped. She didn't really need Strider's advice for her to realise these creatures, called the Nazgul, were of no good. Still, she could say something. 'I saw some in the Pony this evening,' she spluttered. That information was safe. Someone would have told them that.

And she was correct as conformed by their reply,

'So much we know! Is there anything else you can say about them?'

The men pressed on her mind. She nearly blurted out, 'they are sleeping in the parlour,' but she just restrained herself. She told a bare-faced lie. 'They are in the rooms on the ground floor, the way we Hobbits like it.'

'That confirms what we were already told. Be on your way!' Becky was a truthful Hobbit and did not lie very well. Anyone who could have read expressions could have seen this, but obviously the Nazgul did not have that ability. The creature hissed and Becky scampered off with a tale to tell.

Becky was not the only person to be asked questions by the Nazgul that night. They did make an attempt to get to Mr. Baggins. They hammered on the door and poor Mr. Butterbur was forced to answer. He felt the same pressure on his mind as they requested he surrender Mr. Baggins to them. But Butterbur was of the same mind as Becky. He showed the door to their faces despite their hisses and threats.

As a result, the Nazgul were unable to find were Mr Baggins and his friends were sleeping, and he had the chance to escape and to continue on his journey unhindered.

The end

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

posted      Profile for Hamfast Gamgee   Author's Homepage   Email Hamfast Gamgee   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
The tale of Rebecca Underhill, a Hobbit in Bree.

Rebeca Underhill is a fairly unremarkable young, lady Hobbit in Bree. Until one extraordinary day her life is mixed with the fortunes of Frodo and his friends. Even though they barely meet. A tale set in Bree at the same time of the Prancing Pony.

-0o0o0o0o0o0o0o-

Rebecca Underhill was a Hobbit in Bree. Though young for a Hobbit, 35. She had dark hair and been a Hobbit small with little furry feet. She was reasonably attractive, with dark hair as was normal, and a bit plumb as well, been a Hobbit. She was a capable cook and she worked in the Prancing Pony at times she served behind the bar as well. Where she did meet, interesting people from faraway places. As far afield as the Shire in fact. Over a whole days walk away. Though as time passed this did become rarer. And then the visitors were nearly always from Buckland. Which, as the landlord, Barliman pointed out was actually nearer Bree then the Shire.

Time moved on. One of the more unpleasant aspects of her job, there was always unpleasant sides, was in having to be pleasant to people she wouldn't normally be. Such as Bill Ferny, for example. One of the nastier men in Bree. And one of the more unpleasant things about him was his body odor.

Bill Ferny was short, for a man, but naturally enough he towered above a small Hobbit like Becky. And he ponged something rancid. For a sensitive Hobbit like Becky this was a bit much for her poor little nose. Especially if he did, as he sometimes did, stay and talked to her at the bar. 'Nice to see you doing so well here, Rebecca! Though you are working a bit better than you ever did for me!'

She supposed this was an attempt at humour. She replied with a polite chuckle. 'Work for you? Did I ever do that? Technically speaking I suppose, I don't think I ever received anything like wages, however!' Or at least not the correct amount!

Still, overall that was a lovely year. Work was interesting, she was having a nice on and off romance with that exciting Mr. Flannel Heathertoes, Sybil the pub landlady changed the colour of her hair twice to everyone's amusement. But the most interesting thing of all was that the Ranger, Strider decided to take her into his confidence a little. In fact after Ferny left her and she wiped the smell off her nostrils, he told her something of the wild lands outside Bree.

Rangers were folk that wandered around in the wild. Many in Bree looked down upon them and even most of the good folk of the county thought them dirty and uncouth with little money or influence. This was how the Rangers liked it, the truth was too terrible for most in Bree to cope with. But Strider thought it wise to trust some of them a little and so told her something of those wild lands and of the Rangers role. Her eyes widened as he told her extraordinary tales of those lands. Becky did not know that such dangers existed, though she was a little suspicious. Which was why Strider decided to trust her a little. She was a decent, capable and inquisitive young lady Hobbit, he thought it worth the risk.

There was some unpleasant foreign news. There had been trouble away down south and men were on the move. They were fleeing trouble and looking for somewhere to stay, and Bree seemed nice. Though the local men were a bit unhappy about this. Becky had her suspicions. Why did they have to choose Bree there were plenty of other empty lands? Many of the Hobbits were unconcerned by this news. The problems of the big folk were not their problems. Becky wasn't so sure. The fortunes of the two peoples were interlinked. What happened to one, she suspected, could not fail to affect the other. Months later, Becky saw the truth of this. In fact, she played a major role in leading the defeat of those men in Bree. But this does not come into this tale. Also, the dark lord Sauron had arisen in Mordor and many were fleeing from his power.

Then there was one extraordinary day. It was in October, her day of a Tuesday and it was a showery one. Though when she woke up it was with a strange sense of fore-boding, which grew upon her through the morning. She wore a simple, but practical green dress for the day. At lunchtime she bumped into Nob, a Hobbit who also worked at the Prancing Pony. 'Hey Beckie,' he said to her breathlessly, 'Take care. Some horsemen have invaded the country. Outlandish in the extreme. Knowing you work at the Pony they might ask you some questions.'

'Why should they trouble us simple folk?'

Nob was wearing typical Hobbit attire of yellow and green shirt and braces with no shoes. He was brown-haired and usually happy and a bit cheeky. 'They are asking for a Hobbit called Baggins. A Shire name which is where he is coming from.'

Becky scowled, 'We Hobbits should stick together,'

Nob bade her goodbye and went back to his chores in the Pony. Later that day, Becky was picking up some goods from the village and walking back to her home, she saw one of the creatures. The weather had taken a turn for the worse, it was now a rainy Autumnal Bree day. The spitting rain slatted into Bree's cobbled streets from the grey, cloudy sky. Then a Rider passed her on the street. He must have been one of those whom Nob was referring to.

And he was correct, outlandish in the extreme.

The rider was all clad in black, with black coat, black trousers, a black hood and black horse. He rode boldly on the streets as though he owned it. He was the most outlandish thing about him was his face. Or lack of one. He looked, somehow she could tell, at her and underneath his hood, she could see...nothing. Just a shadow. No face at all, no sign of flesh, just an empty shadow. Her breath was totally taken away. She picked up her skirts and went about her business.

Later, she saw the Ranger, Strider. Would he know something of these creatures? Indeed he did. His dark face grew grim as she told him of the creature.

'So, do you think they mean well?'

'If they do, Strider, I'm a man of the big people!'

Strider laughed grimly. 'All right, I will tell you about them. They come from Mordor!'

Becky's face paled. 'But why? What does Mordor want of us?'

Strider looked around and motioned her to come round a side. 'I can't explain properly. You know of Mordor, more than most in this little town do if only from me, but you still do not understand quite how powerful Mordor has become, or how it desires to plunge all the lands to its foul will, or how close Sauron is to world domination. All I can say is do not help them unless you desire your town to be forever under Sauron's rule.'

Such words were grim. It could even dampen her usual cheerful attitude for the rest of the day. Still, this was Strider. He did have that nature recently. Still the rest of that evening started brightly anyway. It was a gloomy and rainy evening, good for an evening in the Inn with some wine. The Hobbits of Bree were affluent and liked their wine. Some of the lady-Hobbits even liked Rum mixed with honey. Though Becky to be careful. Whilst like most Hobbits she rarely got outright drunk, she could get very giggly after some alcohol. She was with a few Underhills, and some of her friends. She changed her dress to to a light blue. After a while, Sybil, the landlady came to join them. This was good as Sybil was always jolly. Although she had changed the colour of her hair again. To bright pink of all colours. 'What do you think?' she asked.

Beckie thought she should really be honest and say, 'I'm afraid it looks like a marshmallow on your head,' but she was tactful and said, 'erm, colourful!' but with a little twinkle in her eye. Maybe Sybil would get the message. Still, Sybil had her own troubles. Se was trying to teach Nob to cook to tastes other than Hobbity. Which in Nibs case was a bit difficult. Nob thought that bacon and mushroom sandwiches was the ultimate in cooking skills. It was hard to convince him that the Big people or the Dwarves liked meals other than that.

What else was happening? Well, that nice farmer's son from Birdle way was taking an interest in Becky's friend, Rose. Becky personally wasn't sure about him. He was pretty enough but not much between the ears. She had had better conversations with her cat, she was sure. Beryl was getting closer to her potential suiter, who did have a nice stream on his land, but what would eventually happen to her, or her 3 sisters, was anyone's guess. And, the Stradlle-Underhills were having a party. For Thursday week. A big one, a wedding anniversary. Becky was already wondering what to wear.

Then there was a bit of interest in their corner of the Inn. 3 strange Hobbits. From the Shire. 'Isn't that what those riders are after?'

'No, they are looking for a Hobbit called Baggins. No Baggins here. One is called Mr. Underhill.' There was excitement at this. An Underhill! Must be a relation, many thought. 'A bit odd, however, Mr Underhill turning up from the Shire as well as Mr Baggins,' said Becky, in total innocence. Although he was friendly enough, and he did sing a cheery little song, he made a bit of a fool of himself. Managing to disappear, then reappear in the middle of the bar.

Despite such outlandish behaviour, she wasn't about to give him away to Bill Ferny. But most of the patrons had had enough for the evening and left. Becky thought she would too, but just to have a chat with Sybil. When she left, with a polite little curtesy,she noticed Mr Underhill with Strider in the corner. What was that about, wondered she.

She had a nice little chat with Sybil over some wine, mostly talking about babies, cats, or Sybil's luck, or perhaps that should be lack of it, with Bingo. After she said goodbye to Sybil, she just popped back in the Inn to check on her rota for the next day. She noticed that the parlour's light s were still on. There, in the parlour she saw an extraordinary sight. There was Mr. Underhill sleeping on the floor, not in his bed, which he had actually paid for. He was with 3 friends, and to cap it all, there was Strider as well, looking at her, none too pleased by her entrance.

'You! Out, out,' he spluttered in some surprise. This was a bit rude of him, she thought as she had as much right to be in the parlour as anyone else did. She held her ground. Strider came over to her and said, 'sorry, but please. These are the Hobbits which the riders are after. They are supposed to be in their rooms, but of course it isn't safe for them there. If anyone asks you, please do not tell anyone, at least for this evening, that they are here,'

'But look this is silly, they are looking for Mr. Baggins from the Shire, not Mr. Underhill here from the Shire, oh...' the penny piece dropped. Of course Mr. Baggins was just as capable of using an alias as anyone else. She gave his sleeping form a little smile. Only one of the Hobbits was actually awake, and he glared at her in suspicion. She sniffed. There was a little smell in the air which her nose could detect. Strider could smell a bit sometimes. The difference between him and Bill Ferny was hard to place, but it was their. Strider sometimes had a bit of a smell because he tramped all over the wild for the good of Bree. Bill Ferny smelled because he had never heard of soap! And there was no excuse, it was plentiful in Bree.

As she left, Becky heard Strider growl, 'Lock the landing door as well and watch out for it, Sam! We don't want half of Bree wandering through here!' This was wise of him as Sybil, Barliman's pal who just found it hard to sleep at nights, and the possibly untrustworthy watchman would have popped in!

But there was one more considerable shock in store for Becky. She walked the short journey from the Pony to her home when she felt an uncontrolled wave of fear. Normally, the streets of the town were perfectly safe at night, open violence against the person was unheard of inside the town. 3 men stepped behind her. All clad on black, looking particularly creepy in the night air. The riders from Mordor. She looked at them in terror. One asked, 'have you seen Hobbits from the Shire? Bagggggins? Think well upon your reply, your very life could depend upon it.'

Becky gulped. She didn't really need Strider's advice for her to realise these creatures, called the Nazgul, were of no good. Still, she could say something. 'I saw some in the Pony this evening,' she spluttered. That information was safe. Someone would have told them that.

And she was correct as conformed by their reply,

'So much we know! Is there anything else you can say about them?'

The men pressed on her mind. She nearly blurted out, 'they are sleeping in the parlour,' but she just restrained herself. She told a bare-faced lie. 'They are in the rooms on the ground floor, the way we Hobbits like it.'

'That confirms what we were already told. Be on your way!' Becky was a truthful Hobbit and did not lie very well. Anyone who could have read expressions could have seen this, but obviously the Nazgul did not have that ability. The creature hissed and Becky scampered off with a tale to tell.

Becky was not the only person to be asked questions by the Nazgul that night. They did make an attempt to get to Mr. Baggins. They hammered on the door and poor Mr. Butterbur was forced to answer. He felt the same pressure on his mind as they requested he surrender Mr. Baggins to them. But Butterbur was of the same mind as Becky. He showed the door to their faces despite their hisses and threats.

As a result, the Nazgul were unable to find were Mr Baggins and his friends were sleeping, and he had the chance to escape and to continue on his journey unhindered.

The end

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Snöwdog
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 15

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At a table in a smoke-filled common room, the old ranger sat, smoking his pipe. He listened as the young men that had sat at the nearby table talked and bragged about the feats of their fathers and grandfathers in battle, back before Sauron was defeated and the world was a much more dangerous place. When one started to say he wished that there would be wars again so he could perform great deeds in battle, the old ranger stood and walked to the end of their table and said.

"It is war you want? Then you don't know what you say."

One of the young men stook a drink from his tankard and said,

"Do you?"

"Aye young master."


the ranger said, a darkness moving briefly before his eyes as he looked past the young men at the table, past the barmaid, and past the back of the bar. The brash young man brought him back into the room when he said,

"Then tell us."

"That I will son. Battle is not so glorious when the limbs of your brethren start falling by you."


He reached back and grabbed his chair, pulling it over to the end of the table and sitting down in it backwards. His arms rested on the chair back and he said.

"Listen now to my days in battle. The worst battle I can remember. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields."

A fresh round of tankards were served and he started his telling...

"Smoke still rose from the white city, but its fires had for the most part been contained and were fading. But the black smoke stains tarnished its white stone façade… where the stone was not damaged. And the air… death was in it. Every breath you smelled it. So many people were out in the fields in search of their loved ones. There were wives and mothers looking for their husbands and sons. Wounded soldiers looked for their missing comrades, and some of the Rohirrim grieving for their fallen horses. Yes, the smell of death... the crying of those who found whom they searched for, and the moans of those not yet dead from their wounds filled the air."

"Were you there?"
asked one of the young men. When the ranger shook his head, they were in awe. The Ranger pulled out an old leather-bound book and opened it. He said,

"I am Hanasían, a Dúnedain Ranger from these northern lands of Eriador. I will read my account that I wrote in the days after that great battle."

He turned some pages and stopped at one. He had always tried not to read his accounts, for they brought back too many memories. But for these young folk, he would do so. He started to read...

'I am weary from the days past, where the last decent sleep I, and my brethren had was in Dunharrow nearly a fortnight ago. Yet I sleep not, for I write now for the dead... those fallen in this great battle outside Minas Tirith be they man or woman of Gondor, Arnor, or the Rohirrim. We had defeated Sauron's armies on this field. But the cost was high and this war is not yet over. For he hides now behind his great iron gates of Mordor, gathering his remaining strength, while we ourselves attempt to regain ours.

It seemed a lifetime ago when I, along with well over two-dozen of my brethren answered a summons by our Captain Halbarad. He said we needed to ride in haste to come to aid our Chieftain Aragorn away south in the land of Rohan. We, along with the Sons of Elrond did ride south with speed, meeting Lord Aragorn and the escort of King Theoden of Rohan not long after crossing the River Isen. As the Rohirrim mustered for war, the foresight of Aragorn led us to take the Paths of the Dead. Of that part of the journey I have much to say, for Aragorn proclaimed himself to the Dead... he proclaimed himself Isildur's Heir! And they were called to the Stone of Erech to fulfill their oath. But here now I write for the new dead, those who lay about me here, those who will not return to their homes and families.

To the mouth of the Anduin we came in haste, and there with the aid of the dead and some local men (of whom I also have much to say, but again, another day) we fought and defeated the Corsairs of Umbar, the ancient brethren who had fallen into darkness and become enemies of Gondor. With their oath of old to Isildur fulfilled, Aragorn gave the dead their leave, and we took the corsair ships up the river. To Minas Tirith we came, arriving with the city engulfed in smoke and flame. Battle raged in and around the city walls, and elsewhere inside the Rammas Echor.

The sounds of swords ringing and shields being notched, and engines thundered their deadly projectiles as our ships came ashore. The worst fighting I saw was where it was men fighting men… Easterlings battled Gondorians near the broken gates of the city; Variags fought we Dunedain; Southrons and their mumakil fought against the Rohirrim and their horses. The beasts of Harad rampaging and the horses of the Rohirrim storming in terror.... So much death... We engaged the enemy almost immediately, but not before our surprise was complete.

A wound I had taken near my left eye, a lasting memory of the Variags of Khand. He came at me from behind in a ravenous yell, leaping down from the body of a slain mumakil. I had just turned an axe of his brethren and I turned, but I could not react in time. Pain I felt as I fell backward, the warmth of my blood rushing down my face. His knife would have claimed me but for the sure sword of Halbarad taking off his arm. But still we fought, for he tried to take my sword with his remaining hand. We wrestled and fell to the ground, and I killed him with a knife I found. It was his knife, still in the grip of his severed limb. He was dead but there was no time to think, for another came at me. As soon as one was dispatched another would jump at you, or you would stop another from the blind side of your brethren. Their attacks were fierce, but our defense was even more so. As a group we pressed on from the shores of the river toward the city. But chaos of a stampeding oliphaunt caused many of us to scatter. It was then I saw Halladan go down with a blow from a screaming Southron falling from the beast, but I could not tend him. Easterlings, ruthless in their attacks, came upon us. My blade rang and my foe's axe shattered, blood flew everywhere when darkness closed around me....

A pain I felt in my head, wondering if it was still upon my shoulders. I remember thinking that I should move my hand, and the feeling that came over me was pain. My eyes cleared the foggy grey that crept into the dark, and blurry figures moved about before me. Somehow I stood, my sword still in my hand. I shook my head in a shudder to either shake off the webs that filled it, or see if it would fall to the ground. And just as suddenly, an Easterling jumped before me swinging his axe. My arm moved and deflected his blow, and the Variag knife I still gripped in my other hand buried into his neck. I now fought, I was not thinking or seeing. Rage drove me on, slaying and swinging. I nearly had the head of a fair armored Gondorian soldier, his helm long missing and his face dark with dirt and blood. He too moved against me, and our swords coming together rang out a song that awakened us both from our blindness. Looking around, pockets of battle still raged, but the west was having the day. Without thought, I, and the young Gondorian stood back-to-back, taking down those orcs who still pressed their masters will. But soon fatigue had taken us, and we sat and leaned against each other, fatigue claiming us.

In the aftermath people searched, With Halladan finding me sitting against a smashed siege tower. I was surprised to see him, for I had seen him fall. He was missing a part of his scalp, but was in good cheer to find me. I looked around for the young Gondorian soldier I had fought with, for I wished to know him. But there was no sign of his presence, and I would never know who he was. Halladan walked me towards the gates of the city where tents were being used to treat the wounded.

In ones and twos and threes we Dunedain brethren of the north came again together. Most, like me, had minor wounds of one sort or another, and as we gathered outside the smashed gates of the city, we looked about. Who had we lost? Aragorn himself came to us. He looked each in the face, the strain of battle on us all He seemed evermore relieved as his eyes met each of ours in turn. We all had lived with some of us having wounds to show. His look of relief suddenly become strained as he looked swiftly back over us, and he asked solemnly… where was Halbarad?

His hand was needed, for inside the city the house of healing was filled and overflowing with soldier and citizen alike. Those who could not be brought inside were laid in the streets, tended as best as could be. Out in the fields the tents of the wounded filled likewise, and the remaining were laid nearby where there was room. I had some healing experience, and so once my eye was tended and I could see straight, I did what I could for those wounded still in the field. All the while I looked for Halbarad, and my heart would tighten with each man I tended that I knew by their wound they would be dead by days end. What do you say to them? It is hard... so many dead and dying. A man of the Rohirrim, a young man he was. He was I would guess we just saw his twentieth winter. He talked in his native Rohirric tongue to his comrade next to him. He asked me to see to his friend, in good Westron like all was well. He knew he would die soon, but his concern was for his comrade who sat next to him. His friend didn't seem wounded but for a drying stream of blood that had run down his temple. But his mind was gone and he would stare only at a clover he pulled from the grass. The dying man told me he had taken a hard blow from the ground when his horse was slain in full gallop and fell from under him. The dying man told me his name, and only wanted me to promise his friend would get home ok, even while the last of his blood flowed out of him and he faded to death. I held his hand for a moment before his fried took it from me. I nodded and moved on.

The day was darkening, and I helped my brethren Kayan to our camp. His leg was badly mangled, and though he would live, he would suffer a severe limp. As we made our way, a halfling, dressed in the soiled and bloodied attire of the Palace Guard, wandered forlornly about, looking at the dead and dying. Others from the city searched still too, but most were now grieving while others prepared funeral pyres. As the night closed about us, the sons of Elrond joined us. We were for the most part together again, but still Aragorn's question remained....

Where was Halbarad?

We all asked ourselves this as we rested into the night. No sign of him had been seen since our moment of scattering. Kaldil had seen him last, standing upon the body of a slain mumakil, hewing the Southrons that had not the fear and sense to leave him be. But another mumakil stormed by and the dust was raised, and afterward, those who looked saw him there no more. We searched the place and found many a corpse, but not a sign of Halbarad.

The darkness of night claimed the lands as we rested and wept. Those of us who were able, readied themselves for the day to come, and those whose wounds were ill were set to rest and heal. Word had been carried from the city that the King had indeed come, but here where we encamped, our Chieftain joined us. It was not yet time.

Aragorn's face showed weariness that I had not seen before, and the edges of his hair and beard seemed to have a silvery aura to them. The firelight detailed the lines of care that shrouded him, but I saw not the tired Ranger Chieftain that fought hard a day's battle, but a man wizened. Wizened by the depth of his burden, and the knowing gut feeling that our friend and lieutenant would not see the light of another day. It was what we all felt inside really, though nobody spoke of it. Instead we spoke of the days to come, and what they held. Words of days in the north when our burden was to watch over the lands of the Shire we shared. Of times good and the weddings aplenty, of sons and daughters born in the quiet of the homes and the Midsummer's eve celebrations past. A feeling of cheer and laughter came out amongst some of us, pushing aside this day but for a time. But this too passed, and with a final chuckle of a memory long gone, silence again overtook the Rangers.

The fire crackled and the flicker of its light made the shadows dance. Around the fields there were other fires. The Rohirrim staked a large camp out farther from the city gate, and there kept their horses in check. Aragorn looked up and the stood, and all of us who could stand did so to look at the shadowy horse approaching.

'Hail Dúnedain! Is this the camp of the Rangers?'

'It is.'

Aragorn said as he stepped forward to have his back to the firelight. I too stepped forward at his left, and Kaldil did so at his right. The rider dismounted his horse and stood for a second. Our eyes seeing now in the darkness, we could tell he was of the Rohirrim. His helm was gone and the side of his face was covered in dried blood. We could see also that the horse was still burdened. The rider approached and spoke,

'I am Brytta of Dunharrow, and I bring bad tidings...'

Kaldil and I did not wait for Brytta's words, but went to the horse who stirred slightly from our approach. Aragorn's brow was crinkled as he cut the man's speech off...

'You bring us Halbarad.'

We lifted the bloodied body from the horse and carried him near the fire where Kallam prepared a place for him in Aragorn's tent. Aragorn looked at the wounds and his eyes grew wet with tears. Halbarad still breathed, but it was labored and slow, the sounds ill. His last strength lifted his hand to Aragorn's, and we knelt beside as Brytta stepped away to allow us a last moment with our comrade. Short burst of whispered, gurgling speech came forth from Halbarad as his eyes opened.

'My... my king! Your hour has come! But ere its passing I will join my fathers...'

'Quiet my friend and rest, for my hands will heal ...'

'Nay my lord. Not even the hands of a king can repair these wounds of arrow, sword, and knife. See now! Varda opens her cloak of twilight to light your way, and to carry me home. Speak well of me to my son and daughter...'

It was beyond Aragorn to say he would heal, but while he breathed there still was hope. Each of us came and sat for a time with Halbarad, mostly in silence as he rested. I could not speak, for I could not feel his strength. With a squeeze of his hand, I departed. Aragorn soon re-joined him, and he closed the tent to rest with Halbarad. Aragorn lay beside him, their hands bound together as a rough sleep overcame him.

We too took rest in tent or outside. Brytta stayed with us for a time, telling of the deeds of Halbarad that he saw. Apparently he had jumped from the dead beast where we had last seen him, and battled there the remaining Southrons that still stood. The thunder of the mumakil had scattered many of the Rohirrim, and Brytta rode headlong toward a wayward band of orcs that sought to slay the dour-handed Ranger standing alone. Brytta slew a couple while Halbarad slew more, and then he was pulled atop the horse and they turned about. The retreat was chaos as Easterling, Southron and orc ran this way and that, and the fight was drained from most. Halbarad was bleeding from a knife wound that was poisoned, and turned swords had cut his arms and legs. But the death knell of Halbarad was when a band of orc bowmen fired upon then in unison. Brytta's horse reared, taking an arrow and spilling he and Halbarad to the ground. Brytta split his head on rock debris, while Halbarad quickly regained his footing. The orcs were slinging arrows and fired as Brytta, stood dazed. Halbarad jumped to push him out of the way of the volley, but one late arrow caught him in the side, piercing his lung.

I noted this account in detail, and Brytta finished this telling and excused himself after his head was cleaned and bandaged. We rested as best we could, sleeping from exhaustion of nothing else, but were soon awake with the coming of daylight. The westward winds pushed back the darkness of Mordor, and the skies cleared with light clouds. Halbarad was lying in state in a field of honor of the fallen. King Theoden was there as well as many captain and soldier, of great renown or unknown, for many had fallen that day. Yes, Halbarad, the sullen Ranger and our friend had passed to his fathers in the night. His son and daughter will only have memory of him from before he rode south. His wife widowed at her prime. So it is with war, and now Aragorn gathered in council with Mithrander, Éomer, Prince Imrahil, and Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir.'

"You see, the great deeds of battle always come at a cost, be they living or dead. So do not wish for war my friends, but enjoy the peace so dearly bought. However, should you wish to find adventure and yes, may find a fight, then journey ye to Gondor and there at the Inn of the White Tree, you can sign on to go as soldiers to the far reaches of the realm.


The Ranger then stood, and he took his chair back to the very spot that Strider watched the four young hobbits so long ago, and lit his pipe.

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