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Old 04-30-2008, 10:01 PM   #1
alatar
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alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
1420! The Unexpected Unparty!

alatar quickened his pace. He didn't want to be late for the Barrow-Downs' Birthday party this year, unlike the one last when he'd almost missed the whole event...pretty embarrassing for a moderator, even though he a minor one at that. He made his way up the hill. The much-trampled grass path that led to the door was obvious beneath his feet - no need for any signposts or any finding spells to locate the Downs this day.

Not that that was always the case.

The Door. Finally alatar made his way to the great stone door that shuttered the barrow from the un-undead world. The slight grimace on his face bespoke his thoughts. What would it be this time? Would the Door open as expected, or would he try in vain to get into the Downs until weariness led him off to camp elsewhere, awaiting a sign that the Door was open once again? Surely the Door would open on the day of the Birthday party, wouldn't it? But wouldn't that be a little funny, the Door stuck and all...though perhaps the party could still be held just outside upon the lawn. What would it be? Those that knew alatar knew that he doubted everything. He gave the door a nudge with his staff, ready to start the fight by preparing to shove even harder, and yet, unexpectedly, it opened with ease. Phew! He had gotten into the Downs and made it to the party on time. 2-0.

Just what was the problem with the Door anyway? Too many old bones jamming up the works? Wasn't a dwarven dead repair crew here just recently checking over the hinges and frame, updating the Door (or so they said), or whatever it was they did with all of that hammering and knocking about? Newly smithied mithril hinge pins and an iron threshold were good things, weren't they? Or maybe it was all some ruse...

Bah! Such thoughts on the Downs' Birthday were better left outside the doorway. He continued into the Downs, stepping over the threshold, hearing muffled sounds of other Downers further within. "Wonder what wonders this year's party will bring?" he muttered as he walked...something was different!



No! No! No! Surely it was a joke.

A comment box!?!

Well, not a box, but a barrel, and the barrel that wasn't a box had been placed just inside the doorway. The shiny silver sign above reflected the outside light, and it was this that caught his attention. It read:

Quote:
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with the Barrow Downs Door, please fill out a note card and place your comments in the barrel below.

Thanks. - The Webmaster
alatar's grimace this time was accompanied with rolling eyes. "Spiders! Figures..." What use is a comment box inside the place, he thought. "If I can get in..." He shook his head. Regardless, the barrow barrel seemed to be a popular thing, seeing that all of the note cards were used up, and those along with other scraps and bits of paper were stuffed to overflowing in the barrel, and lingered about the floor, which, as he looked, alatar noted were around the back of the Door as well. The slight draft that accompanied him through the doorway whisked more of the comments about. That might explain why the Door got stuck at times. He immediately considered graphing the number of comments with the times that the Door got stuck, but then thought the better of the whole idea - it was nitpicking tangents like this that made him late for parties.

He stooped low to pick up a few of the note cards - curiosity always got him. What was all of this? Mixed within the comments like "I can't get into the Downs!" and "Help!" were others - long-winded tomes regarding what some members did while the same members cooled their heels at the closed Door and other short notes like "Come over to my camp until the Door gets fixed." There were even a few birthday greetings in the pile. Seems that some of those already here at the birthday party used the cards to well wish the Downs on its birthday, while others complained about the Door.

Hmm...what to do, what to do. On the ground there were a few blank note cards about dropped carelessly. alatar took one and thought that it would make a fine birthday card...and yet the urge arose to mention, backhandedly of course, the issues with the Barrow-Downs Door. It would take but a minute, and using the pen chained to the wall next to the comment box, he began to scratch away.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:02 PM   #2
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alatar quickly finished his scribblings...
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:08 PM   #3
Estelyn Telcontar
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In a hole in the ground there was a Forum. Not a nasty, forbidding forum, filled with snooty insiders and flaming trolls, nor yet a dry, dusty academic forum with highbrow essays and no place to have fun: it was a Downs Forum, and that means comfort! It had a perfectly accessible door painted black with glowing green letters on it. The door opened into a many-tunnelled maze of sub-forums provided with inviting threads and lots and lots of space for visitors, for its members were fond of newcomers. There were rooms devoted to book discussions, others for those interested in movies, and still others for the learned, who knew where the answers to questions of import were to be found. From one room peals of laughter came; it was obviously filled with mirth. Other rooms were devoted to the telling of stories.

Estelyn stepped up to the Door briskly and expectantly. Today was a very special day, and she anticipated a party of special magnificence in celebration of the event. It was a birthday – no, not yet an eleventy-first; still, eight was a reputable number of years to have spent among such excellent and admirable members. She silently rehearsed the spontaneous speech she intended to hold: “I shall not keep you long. I have called you all together for a Purpose. First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all...” (Well, almost all, she thought with a rueful smile.)

She could not hear voices inside as she laid her hand on the knob, but that did not worry her. It was early, and she liked it that way. It would give her time to check whether everything she had prepared for the party was in place. Her fingers turned the knob, but nothing happened – the Door was shut. A sign proclaimed, “Only the dead can pass.”

“But I am one of the dead here,” she thought. “I even have a small key, the very least of keys, yet I must enter to use it. The One Key to open all is held by the ghastly hand of The Barrow-Wight alone, and he sleeps under his mound. What can I do?”


She awoke with a start. The sun was shining into her window reassuringly, and she breathed a sigh of relief as she realized that the horror of which she had dreamt was only a nightmare. Hurriedly she prepared herself for the big day and ran to the Door. But what was this? The barrel that she had filled with greeting mathoms for the guests was now empty, save for the notes and cards that were strewn around it. Apparently others had attempted to come, but she now stood alone. Her nightmare had come true. No food, no drinks, no music, no presents – would there be no party today?
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:26 PM   #4
Estelyn Telcontar
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Determined not to let a setback like this stop the most important event of the year, Estelyn pondered the alternatives. Write a birthday greeting and leave? That would fulfill the polite duty, at least, to congratulate the Barrow-Wight on this day. But she felt that it would not be enough; after all, the Barrow was a place of meeting for its members, and that needed to be celebrated with a gathering. If the Barrow could not be entered, perhaps they could...

A precedent occurred to her - long ago there had been revelling outside a barrow. Fortunately this time there had been no loss of clothing involved! A lawn party - that was it. Quickly she took a card and wrote a notice in bold letters:
Quote:
Written birthday greetings may be left here. For all who have time, please join us on the lawn outside for an impromptu birthday party: come as you are, bring what you wish, and let's have fun today!
She tacked the notice to the Door above the barrel and smiled in anticipation.
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'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'

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Old 04-30-2008, 11:40 PM   #5
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Eye Happy Day

Rumil was wandering slightly aimlessly, as usual. Important events and mighty deeds may have existed somewhere at the back of his mind but at the front there was very little that might be dignified as thought.

Distractedly, he sauntered across the grim, grey-green threshold that signified one of his habitual lurking spots. There were strange pieces of card and paper notes littering the entrance, a few of which he idly tickled with the tip of his boot as he made his way into the comfortable emerald glow of the barrow. Suddenly he stopped, his eyes coming sharply into focus for the first time in the last half-hour.

'Party? Party! What's all this about then?', then bending to examine a card, 'Alatar must be around here somewhere, and there seems to be some sort of problem with the door. How strange!'. With the tip of his finger Rumil gently pushed the great, but cunningly balanced, slab of granite that served as the barrow door. As usual it swung to and fro at the lightest touch, sometimes seeming to slow down unnaturally mid-swing then speed up again, as was characteristic of this eerie place.

'Hmmm', said Rumil, 'there's something funny about this and no mistake', and pondering, suddenly exclaimed 'It's yesterday!, or tomorrow or something, surely isn't it? Far, far away from my home-barrow, it should be yesterday, but my palantir has forgotten that I have traveled so many leagues and thinks it is now tomorrow. Oh dear my head is aching.'

A light interrogative cough emanated from a far corner of he barrow, where mysterious passageways twist and turn enough to make you dizzy. A click-clack on the floor as of party shoes on bare stone, and a faint squirrel-esque chittering, heard as if in the far distance. 'I know who that is'

'Hail and well met Estelyn!' cried Rumil, glad to see a familiar and friendly face 'I'm not really sure if it's yesterday or tomorrow at the moment, but I got in easily and
I guess it doesn't really matter,'

'After all, I have pizza!'
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:26 AM   #6
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"Hi there, Rumil!" Estelyn waved. "I want to take a look at some of these greeting cards; want to join me? When we're done, we can head out to the lawn and party there - I'm never too sure about these Barrow doors staying open."

She stooped and saw a card with familiar handwriting - her own! Her eyebrows furrowed as she recognized a complaint she had written in weeks gone by:
Quote:
Hey, Beedubya! What's with the forum? I can't get in and neither can others. There must be something wrong, and you're the only one who can fix it.
That would never do! She couldn't leave that in there on this festive day, could she?! But all attempts to surreptitiously remove the card failed; it was stuck, and it looked like it wasn't the only one of its kind.

"You know what?" she said, turning to Rumil. "Pizza sounds great - let's head outside!"
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:44 AM   #7
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Eye Pepperoni or Veggie?

Rumil trailed after Esty, manfully struggling under the weight of the pizza boxes he was carrying.

Outside the barrow the sun had finally broken through the mist, the grass was warm and fragrant and the air was still.

Pizza was duly divided and consumed...

But there was still plenty more for latecomers,

'Mmmm, Esty', said Rumil, 'Its been great to see you again and share some pizza, but the sun on my neck (not to mention the huge quantity of pizza I've eaten) is making me slowly but surely doze off to sleep. Many apologies, its most un-gallant of me but I can't keep my eyes open any longer, maybe when I wake up later the garden party will be in full swing, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz'
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:50 AM   #8
Legate of Amon Lanc
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Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.
A barely visible shape silently crawled across the lawn towards the place where Esty and Rumil were sitting (and lying). When it reached Rumil's back, it lifted itself and it could be seen now that it was something similar to an Elven cloak that made it blend with the lawn. From under the hood, staring eyes shone out.

"Hello, Esty," whispered Legate, careful not to awaken Rumil. "Can I sit down?" When she nodded, he took off the cloak, and unfolding it into unexpected width, he sat on a tip of it.

"I have been at the Door," he said then. "And then I saw you. But I expected a party to be going on here - and this far there's not as many people around as I thought." He looked around, at last lifting his eyes up to the sky.

"At least it's sunny," he said. "Quite a pleasant day." He dipped into his pocket and took out a bottle. "You want some?" he asked. "It's not miruvor, but..."

He opened the bottle. But at that moment, strange dense mist came swirling out of the mouth of the bottle, starting to form into the shape of a human-like being. Alarmed, Legate quickly put the stopper back to the mouth of the bottle.

"Sorry," he said. "Wrong bottle. I must have taken my genie instead of... well... sorry for that. But what are we now going to drink?"
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:22 AM   #9
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"All I have with me is this bottle of water, but you can have it," Lhuna piped in, seemingly from nowhere, and threw the water bottle at the surprised Legate, who caught it deftly anyway. She felt obliged to explain her sudden - and strange, for she was clad in a fuchsia tank top and matching shorts - appearance, so she continued:

"I had a sudden incomprehensible fit of randomness which made me jog around the area, I really had no idea why. And then I came to the Door, and saw the note. Can you believe I only remembered then what day it is today! I didn't want to come here, I'm not dressed for the occasion, but I had to. In my five years here, only now did I get the chance to give my birthday greetings and join the celebration!"

She blushed furiously, but sat down with Legate, Esty, and the sleeping Rumil all the same, catching her breath.
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:40 AM   #10
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Esty had some musical crackers left from her research on Middle-earth instruments and decided that this was as good a time as any to distribute them. Maybe, she reasoned, people would notice the party if it got noisy!

They contained instruments, small, but of perfect make and enchanting tones. Lhuna, Legate, and Esty got up an impromptu orchestra and began a merry dance tune. Rumil woke up, got on a table and with bells in his hands began to dance the Springle-ring: a pretty dance, but rather vigorous. At least, it normally was, but as he wasn't completely awake yet, the dance was neither...
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:27 AM   #11
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Gwathagor strode in from who knows where, sat down with his back to a tree and began to clean the blood and gore off of his bright ancestral blade. That finished, he sheathed the sword and almost immediately slipped into an Elvish trance where he sat. He was rather tired; orc-hunting all night long, while rewarding, is also rather taxing and has a tendency to wear you out.

As he drifted off, he muttered, under his breath: "Happy...birthday...Barrow-Downs. Don't eat...all...the pizza."
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:50 AM   #12
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Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
A figure came skipping over the hilltop, a brown cloak fluttering in the breeze, with arms cradled over something held in front of her. She looked up at the sky and noted the clouds. They had been moving lazily eastwards, streaked by sunlight, but now were billowing into larger masses and moving faster. The figure moved with more purpose towards the Barrow door where she noted some sort of movement amongst the gathered group. Whether it was dancing or an effort to get some of the blood flowing in the old bones, she could not yet determine.

As she approached, she picked out one or two familiar faces and could even see that Esty had engaged an impromptu Downs Philharmonic--well, it was not quite an Orchestra, more like an Ensemble. The figure began an impromptu dance.

"Halloa, Esty," Bethberry called out as she neared. "And the Resties," she added, seeing Lhuna, Legate, Gwathagor, and Rumil. "I hear there's one other thing besides death and taxes that can be relied upon."

"Welcome, Bethberry," greeted Esty. "What's that?"

"A Barrow Downs Birthday party. Except this one seems to be living up to its title, being rather an Unparty." With this comment, Bethberry nodded towards the reclining Gwathagor and Rumil.

"Well," said Esty, "you know how I love parody..."

Bethberry grinned widely. "I've just come from the movies thread. Would anyone like some popcorn?" At that point, Bethberry opened her arms to reveal what she held: several red and white striped boxes of popcorn.

Just at that moment, the sky broke with what sounded like the clashing of cymbals and pounding of bass drums.

"oooh," noted Bethberry. "It sounds like Mum might be preparing for a washing day. I hope she doesn't rain on our party."
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:36 AM   #13
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The dwarf, Groin Redbeard, strode along merrily. He was not usually a merry fellow, and tended to be very solom at times, but this was a happy day: the Barrow Downs' Birthday. Wanted to pass this way before he left the Barrow Downs for a short vacation. He just capped the hill that he was climbing and could see the group of downers gathered around and chatting, but unfortunetly Groin had no time for that now.

There they all were, the wise and knowledgable Legate of Amon Lanc, the hardworking and fun loving Estelyn Telcontar, the far-fetched Alatar, and Gwathagor, the jack of all topics. He did not see many of the Downers that he knew, but they would probably show up in time.

Time was running short for him, he had to prepare for his upcoming journey. So, Groin hoisted his axe on his shoulders and began to walk back home.

"Farwell my friends," he said in a loud voice, "Have fun on this blessed day! Have a good one!"
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:39 PM   #14
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Eönwë fell down on Legate. He had forgotten all about the Barrow-Downs Birthday and had instead done some extreme-jumping-off-the-back-of-an-eagle-sport.

And suddenly, just in front of him, far below, he could see some of the familiar Downers singing and dancing, and doing other such frivolities in the party spirit. So he had just jumped off, not thinking what he was doing and forgetting his parachute jumped in to join the party. Lucky Legate was there to break break his fall. It could have been a very nasty fall. Eönwë actually weighed a lot more than normal, and had put on an extra 100kg of muscle in the last few hour after drinking too much miruvor the day before.

Legate groaned. Eönwë got off him quickly and apologised, "Sorry, Legate. I just happened to be flying over when I decided to drop in like this," he said, making a poor attempt at a joke.

After a few seconds he brought out the cleverly concealed barrels of beer, mead, and miruvor for the adults, and some elanorberry juice for the young ones.
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:11 PM   #15
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Gwathagor shook off the trance at the sound of rolling barrels. Years of wandering in the wilds had taught him a variety of survival skills, including hair-trigger reflexes, keen eyesight and hearing (even beyond that of ordinary elves), and the ability to wake up when the ale came out. These had saved his life many times.

"Good to see you all here," he said. "Thanks for the drinks, Eonwe. And Rumil, thanks for the pizza. Always bring pizza to a party. Pizza is good."
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:55 PM   #16
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alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
alatar had remained inside the Barrow for most of the party, though he did sneak out once to look for pizza and ale. He had gotten in - IN! - and knew that if he'd stepped out the Door that he chanced get stuck out there once again.

More doggerel came to mind:

* Once I thought I'd been infractionated *
*For being overly opinionated, *
* But finally was vindicated *
* When learning that the server'd been terminated. *

* Remember when the Barrow Downs was two? *
* One site for me and one site for you? *
* Seeing yourself logged in though nothing could you do? *
* But thankfully the wights came through. *
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:36 PM   #17
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Eye Cold pizza breakfast

Rumil's eyes suddenly popped open and he sat up and stretched most widely.

'Good morning everyone! I'm so glad to see a few more guests at our un-party.

Morning Esty, sorry to doze off like that but I have journeyed many days to get here and must continue my travels tomorrow.

Good morning Legate, wonderful to see you again, I must remember to give some thought to your fiendish riddle when I have my books with me.

Hello Lhuna, I think its my first party here too, I guess we both wander in and out at unpredictable times but not all those who wander are lost, it is said!

Morning Bethberry, why thank-you, popcorn for breakfast is novel but certainly not unwelcome. A light refreshing rain might be just what I need to wake me up properly today.

Ah, and Eonwe has dropped in with refreshments too, wonderful! A sip of Miruvor in the morning does one the world of good.

And Gwathagor, you're quite welcome to the pizza, you must try my wild-caught Mirkwood venison with sauce made from the finest imported Numenorean tomatoes and wild kine of the East mozzarella on dough that surpasses the savour of any mortal bread. I like it with pineapple.'

Esty whispered a few words in Rumil's ear.

'Oh dear' said Rumil, 'I believe I must apologise for attempting the springle-ring while in an elvish restorative trance last night, too much wild kine mozzarella makes for a disturbed night.'

'Alatar, good to see you got in at last. It has been a strange sort of a day, but at least you made it in and I am coming round to the opinion that today is indeed today (though the palantir must need servicing again, it still thinks its tomorrow -ho hum).'
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:24 PM   #18
Oddwen
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A startling lack of noise greeted the plodding form of Oddwen as she rounded the gentle curve of the knoll. Oh wait, her iPlod had gone dead.

A startling lack of noise greeted the headphone-removing form of Oddwen as she descended into the yard below. A few Downers had already gathered, bringing some deeeeeeelicious looking pizza and some scrumptiously crunchable popcorn...she plopped her reasonably-sized bag of chocolate mint patties onto the the stone table, and took a serving of pizza. Alright, two servings.

Hastily, before the door to the great Barrow could close again, she slipped in a brightly colored card reading

"Have A GR8 Birthday!"
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:48 PM   #19
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A tall and not-quite-haggard stranger strode across the Barrow Downs, nursing a limp in his left leg, the last vestige of a once badly broken leg. He had not crossed these grounds in many months indeed. His countenance had changed in those days (he wore new glasses now), and none in those parts knew him by the names he now used: the Philosopher-King, the Church-Geek, and the Edmontonian.

His nose twitching in irritation, the Philosopher-Geek walked up to the barrow, noticed the absence of action inside and the instructions to a lawn party behind, and so quickly jotted down a birthday greeting,

"May the peace of the Valar leave this unhallowed place untroubled for many years to come."

The Edmontonian did not sign it. He had a vision from years long past, of a ghost--Piosennial was it?--that haunted anyone who left their signature on such things.

Unable to linger longer at the door, he slowly trudged around the barrow to the lawn party. It had been what? One year? Two years? since he'd lived in these parts. Such a long time. He had charted many strange courses (like 'Ancient Near Eastern Religions' and 'British Romantic Poets') in the time since and he doubted many people would be left who remembered him.

Then he reached the lawn and there was Esty, and there was Bêthberry, and there was Oddwen: familiar figures all. It was like stepping into a picture; all of a sudden you were there and amid all the strange hairdos and and clothing styles that looked terribly outdated and left you with the jibblies because you used to dress that way. Except it wasn't quite that bad, because Hookbill the Goomba was nowhere to be seen.

"Wonder where the old Goomba is?" he muttered to himself. "Better not be in the hospital having surgery--he owes me an appendix."

For better or worse or uglier, Formendacil had returned to the Barrow Downs.
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:33 PM   #20
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The Dark Elf nodded grimly
Leaning somber 'gainst the chimbley
Mantle sooted black and stained,
And about the barrow a gentle rain
Caused a hiss inside the flue
As errant drops dripped through
To reach the embered fire
Like mournful tears upon a pyre.
And in reverie now enthralled,
The somber Sindar thus recalled
The ashes of many a passing blaze,
Fading into memory's haze --
Of ages gone and deeds done
'Ere the rising of the sun.
Choking past the melancholy,
Seeing faces red and jolly,
He contrives a bitter smile,
Yet he knows that all the while
the box on yonder table yawns --
Cold and empty, contents gone.
Thus, he sadly drifts away,
And heaves a sigh as if to say,
That it surely would have been nice
To have saved him just one pizza slice!

Happy Birthday!
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:05 AM   #21
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Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye Booze

I've secured a stash of Seattleite ale and Scotch Miruvor - hooray - I might well fall aleep again now - goodnight!
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:58 AM   #22
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Thinlómien joined the merry company, greeting everybody. "You have pizza and miruvor? Great. I brought some lembas." The others cast her a quizzical look. "Erm... just in case we needed to go for a long journey or something, and it tastes good in any case," she explained, smiling widely.

She looked at Rumil. "Is he asleep?" Lommy asked Estelyn.
"Yes, it seems like he just dozed off again."
"What a pity. Well, he'll wake up eventually."

Then she looked around and saw Legate and Eönwë. She remembered the incidence she had seen from afar. "Are you guys alright?" she asked, not very concerned though, as they were not in mortal danger anyway as they were dead already.

Before either of them could answer, she turned back to the all-knowing Esty. "I have a little birthday present. Should I take it inside? Where is the Barrow-Wight?"
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:44 PM   #23
Hilde Bracegirdle
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Hilde Bracegirdle has just left Hobbiton.
Bent and muttering to herself, Hilde wound her way around the hills, shuffling along as fast as her aching legs would carry her. "If there's any dancing to be had, you've gone and missed it, old girl! No Springle Rings for you this year! Not that your old carcass would oblige you none." Spying a patch of brave wildflowers along the way, the hobbit scooped them up hurriedly, not wanting to come to the party completely unprepared. And as she a rounded a low mound, she came upon a familiar group gathered about on the high green hillside just below the characteristic black and green door, the well worn entrance to the Barrow-wight's domain.

With fond smile, Hilde hitched up her skirt a little, before trudging up the hill exclaiming "A garden party, is it? What, is the old wight still renovating then? And May already! Who would have believed the Downs celebrating its 8th! Time flies don't it...especially when you been trying to enjoy the fine fresh air in those woods", she rambled, jerking her thumb over her shoulder to the west. A hobbit goes looking for some ramps, or mercy, to find some of those wild mushrooms to bring to a party, and the next thing you know she don't know which end is up and she meets the strangest of all people." Out of the corner of her eye, she notices Bethberry's smile, which in her amusement looks the perfect copy of her father's. "Oh hallo Miss Bethberry! Please excuse me, its just that he does have a habit of startling folks. I nearly jumped out of my skin when he launched into that fine poetry of his, not even four feet behind me this morning. Something about orcs, it was. But I couldn't quite make out what exactly he was on about." And smiling sheepishly, Hilde moved off to the trestle tables, nodding at the others assembled as she lifted the lids of the pizza boxes to find only the discarded crusts inside. Sighing, she gently took the empty crock out of Rumil's hand, and stuffed it full of the flowers she had brought, placing the arrangement squarely in the center of the table, before stacking the old pizza boxes in a tower at the end. Her stomach grumbling loudly, she wiped her hands off on her skirt.

“Since the weather is so fine for it today, perhaps we should build us a proper bonfire? Maybe throw in a few potatoes? Ah, but where to get the wood, eh?” With that she opened a pizza box and taking out lonely remnant, that greatly resembled an over sized nail trimming, she began gingerly gnawing on the end of the stale bit of crust as she looked thoughtfully at the box wondering how many pizza boxes it whould take to cook a potato.

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Old 05-02-2008, 08:16 PM   #24
alaklondewen
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alaklondewen has just left Hobbiton.
...and back again.

Brushing a dark curl from her forehead, Alaklondewen paused and gazed into the blue day. It had been a long road and many adventures since she wandered this familiar path that led to the Old Wight's forum. She was running later than she had wished for the celebration, but it is difficult to leave a new husband and family for the journey she had embarked. A soft smile crossed her lips as she thought of their faces and the spring breeze rippling through their hair as they wished her well. But eight years! Eight years is such an accomplishment she knew she must come at once and offer her congratulations to the Barrow Wight in person, and of course, she hoped to see the sparkle of familiar smiles and hear the old tales, along with the new, of her dear acquaintances from years gone by.

Laughter and the merriment of music had tickled her ears long before she rounded the last knoll and the green and black, which felt so close to her heart and yet so distant from the time, filled her vision. Her eyes turned from the old door before her as she heard the cheerful prattle of the famous Hilde Bracegirdle. The sound of the hobbit's ramblings was so suddenly sweet to her ears, Alaklondewen laughed aloud before realizing how uplifted she felt. Turning slowly with one last hesitation, she breathed deeply and walked out to the lawn where she looked upon the faces she had long missed. She ran her hands slowly inside her hood and lowered it, shaking her head and letting the air touch her neck through her locks.

"Dear Hobbit," she spoke with the tone of happiness which is only brought about by the company of old friends. "Did I hear you mention potatoes? I am quite certain we can find kindling for your fire."
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:21 AM   #25
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“Ah, Alaklondewen!” Hilde said rushing quickly toward her friend. And throwing her arms about her, she ushered her in to the middle of the group. “It seems forever since I've last seen you! How's the family coming along? Why, that sweet angel of yours must be as tall as me now!”

Alaklondewen, laughed and shook her head, as she removed her cloak laying it across an empty table, “Not yet, Hilde. Not yet.”

“Well, I'd give it another month or two at the most then,” the hobbit said with a wink. Then putting her hands on her hips, she surveyed the group assembled, counting aloud as she went. “Now to set about those potatoes, since kindling won't be a problem, I figures all we need now is some good stout wood and a apron full of potatoes. But all we've got are these here empty boxes, and a right crew of guests. And I knows for certain they can't eat their rep points for supper now can they, delightful as they might be.” Then raising her voice the hobbit stepped up on a bench and added, “But glorious day, I'd heartily approve of anybody that would could come up with any wood or potatoes for us, be they scoundrel or scholar.”

“Well, while we wait to see if anyone thought to fill their pockets with potatoes, or if the Barrow-wight has a few tucked away in his barrow, perhaps we should begin to gather the kindling.“ Alaklondewen suggested.

“So right you are. And merry fire at night is a cheerful thing... even if it is on an empty stomach!”
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:52 PM   #26
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Silmaril Birthday Greetings...

Then, suddenly, from over the hilltop, a four-legged duck toddled over to the scene of quiet merry-making. (Many have wondered why this duck has four legs. As it turns out, she was born in pre-Trees Valinor. If that doesn’t make sense, we’ll just add that the reason that Elves from that era glow had absolutely nothing to do with the holiness of the Valar.) Clenched in her bill were two peculiar items: a notecard, and a burlap sack.

Making her way to the center of the festivities, she dropped both items, then adeptly took the sack by the back end and tugged at it. Out of the sack’s mouth rolled a few potatoes, still covered in the vestiges of dirt. The duck hopped on top of the bag, causing a few more of the delicious spuds to roll out, and said,

“Quack! Quackety quack quack quack quack quack, honk quackery quack quack mcquackersons!”

And feeling fully justified in this speech, she nodded her head once, hopped off, and picked up the notecard again.

Now she made her way over to the barrow, and seeing that the bottom of the door had enough room within for a notecard, delicately shoved it underneath. It read thusly:

Quote:
My most esteemed Deceased Ones,

This will be my first, last, and only post on this site, unless my dear owner has me proxy for her, in which case it will of course not be my own post.

I first heard of the Barrow-Downs way back in 2001, when a friend directed me to the main site and I derived approximately fifteen minutes of amusement from it and its fan fiction section. Possibly more.

But I kept it filed away as a good fansite, and when I began to get much more regular internet access in 2003 I started visiting it again, mostly for the Grave Matters (which I miss quite terribly, I might add). Once Grave Matters died, I discovered the forum and derived, again, a few days of amusement.

But I was terribly put out because I was so incredibly ignorant of everything (even on Grave Matters) and eventually I concluded that if I was to be a proper Tolkien Geek I would have to read the Silmarillion.

So I did.

And it’s been a nonstop ride ever since.

I started following the Downs again around when Werewolf started up. My favorite game is still 3, by the way—it felt almost literary, it was so good. And by now I’d matured enough intellectually to truly appreciate the rest of the forum, so during the Night phases I began to read up on everything else

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t joined.

Sometimes, so do I.

But all I can say about the matter is that it’s highly personal, and if I actually became a member of the Downs I’d run the very high risk of hurting people I know and care about, because I wouldn’t have any time for them. I hope you’ll understand.

So I just wanted to say “thank you,” to each and every one of you, but especially to you, Mr. Wight.

For having a forum in which people converse intelligently, without resorting to netspeak.

For having a forum in which I know that all the curses I will hear will be genuine Ardan, not English, and thus will not offend me.

For demonstrating that Tolkien is not just something geeky, but a genuine, intellectual pursuit, and that it’s possible to have serious discussions about his works beyond “Do Balrogs have wings?” (They totally do, by the way, except their flight is rather like a chicken trying to fly—they can flutter a bit, but if they’re in free-fall they’re screwed.)

For demonstrating to me that not all fans believe that Peter Jackson is the greatest thing since the King’s return (although some do, and actually can form an argument beyond “OMGORLIISSOHOTT!!!” or “Whooooooaaaa Helm’s Deep!”).

For the hours and hours of entertainment I’ve had as I’ve religiously read up on Werewolf games.

And a few personal thank-you’s as well, to those members whose posts have affected me more than others.

davem and Mithalwen, thank you for your shameless promotion of the BBC Radio 4 version of Lord of the Rings. You got me to check it out through Interlibrary Loan (always a great idea if you can’t afford a copy), and give it a listen, and whaddaya know, you were absolutely right. It took the strongest self-restraint not to rip myself a copy right then and there, but I’m going to buy one as soon as I have money.

Brian Sibley, thank you for joining. I nearly had an aneurysm when I first saw you post.

mark12_30, thank you for your lovely fan fiction “The Fairy Wife.” You proved to me that a good, highly canon-friendly, yet decidedly original piece of fan fiction is possible.

littlemanpoet, thank you for being so ridiculously Christian during theological tussles. (And thanks as well to his many opponents; it takes two to tango!) I’m sorry that you’re leaving, but I know that you will shine with Reflected Light wherever you are, just as strongly as you have here.

And to The Current Werewolf Crowd, thank you for taking my friend sally in without a word of complaint, even though she’s never read LotR.

And to everyone out there, another general round of thanks, be ye old-timer or n00b. Don’t think that you never have an effect outside of the Downs, because there are always lurkers like me out there.

I hope that this doesn’t creep everyone out too much. If it does, all I can say is, “The internet is a public place,” and “watch what you post.”

Happy Eighth Birthday, The Barrow-Downs, and many happy returns!

Sincerely,
Emily (aka sally’s duck)
Having pushed this note under the barrow door, the duck began to waddle away. Turning around, she gave it one last, almost wistful look before she disappeared beyond the hills.
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:53 AM   #27
Estelyn Telcontar
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Esty read the duck's note and wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. How touching to hear this once from one of the silent watchers who haunted the Barrow unseen! Too often it seemed that only spiders, not real persons, were behind the numbers on the guest list. She waved a wordless good-bye at the retreating duck.

She then turned to Lommy, whose question had aroused her curiosity. "You have a present? I don't know if you should bother the Wight right now - he might be resting. But couldn't I open it for him?" she asked hopefully. Lommy pondered the idea with some trepidation - would the Wight be angry if disturbed or more angry if his present was opened by someone else?

The party was more a conversational gathering by now than a festivity, but Esty didn't mind. She enjoyed chatting with old friends like Hilde and alak, Oddwen, Formy and Bêthberry just as much as getting to know some of the newer members, like Gwath, Eönwë, the redbearded Dwarf, and the Dark Elf.

But during a lull in the conversation her thoughts wandered back to parties of yore. Ah, there had been singing and dancing then, veritable feasts and numerous guests. She recalled names that were now only legend in the Barrow, and remembered nights spent with chatting, and days not long enough to read all of the contributions and to reply to the most interesting ones. It hardly seemed possible that so many years had passed...
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:19 AM   #28
Mithalwen
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There was a soulful pilgrim, a messenger, a Mithalwen...

she built a gilded gallery
for storing photography
a load* of Oxford images
she offered to the company;


*load equals three ..scanning is such a trauma....


http://pics.livejournal.com/mithalwen/gallery/0000dxcc
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