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Old 06-07-2006, 02:04 AM   #41
Arry
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-- Will takes a look at the pony --

Will had put away the comb and brush and was just taking the nosebag off Marigold when Gable walked into the stable doorway. He stepped from the stall and fastened it carefully behind him.

‘Oh! What’s happened?’ he said, his brow furrowing as he looked from Gable’s bloody cheek to the pony she was leading. It was in worse shape than the Elf. Its front leg, on the right, was bloody. And it had blood along its flank, too. Will took the lead and brought the pony further into the stable.

He asked Gable to get some of the clean, soft rags piled in the basket by the work table and a bucket of fresh water. As she did so, he talked quietly to the pony, getting it to calm itself down.

‘Here, lass,’ he said, handing the lead back to the Elf. ‘You talk nice and calmly to her, won’t you. Keep her attention on you.’ He dipped a wadded rag into the water and began to gently wash down the pony’s leg, feeling his way along the bones and muscles as he did so.

‘How did this happen to her?’ he asked Gable as his fingers gently probed for any broken bones. ‘Did some beast attack her?’
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:03 AM   #42
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‘M'dear wife will have cream and sugar, if you would,’ said Madoc, raising his half pint to the Innkeeper. He took a deep drink and sighed quite contentedly as he set the half empty mug back on the countertop. ‘My stars! That is surely as sweet and satisfying as a wind from the West.’ He tapped his finger on the rim of his mug, indicating he’d like it topped off.

‘Ah, yes, the tea. Taffy’s fond of lump sugar. Boy saw his uncle grab a small lump between his front teeth and sip his tea through it. And the wee one, Seren, she fancies honey in hers.’

Madoc watched as the server brought out another platter stacked with plates of eggs, bacon, and baskets of biscuits. His stomach began to rumble fiercely. Think I’d best be getting back to the table. That breakfast looks might good. Can’t wait to tuck into it.’ He fished into the side pocket of his vest and brought out his coin purse. ‘This should do it,’ he said, pushing a number of small coins across the counter top.

He lifted his mug to the Innkeeper, and then made his way through the aisles between the tables to his own.

Last edited by Lilly; 06-07-2006 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 06-07-2006, 06:30 AM   #43
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Dick approaches Taffy Sandybanks and Griffo

Dick returned to the kitchen briefly to tell Cella to make tea and then went back out. He cast a quick glance around, noting who was there and who all had been served. Once he was satisfied that everyone had at least something to eat or drink and looked satisfied, he left his post and made his way across to where Griffo and the young Sandybanks boy sat together.

For a moment, he stood back away from the two, watching with keen interested as the old hobbit explained to the young one how the pieces moved.

“Now you see here, laddie,” Griffo was explaining. His old, age dotted hands picked up the handsomely carved horse, “this here is a knight. He can forward two spaces and then to the right and the left one space. See that?”

“You took him to the left,” Taffy said, leaning over the board.

“You can move him any direction,” Griffo said, nodding. Dick grinned and walked towards them the last few paces.

“Good morning, Griffo!” he said, patting the old hobbit on the shoulder. “How’s the game coming this morning? I see you have a young apprentice,” he added, smiling kindly at Taffy. “Is he learning quick?”
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Old 06-07-2006, 12:31 PM   #44
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"You know how I like adventures and such, and I was off to find one of my oun. I was walking down the road and saw her, she was being attacked by wolf, I killed the wolf and brought her back here. . .I just wish I could've found her owner." Gable said softly, stroking the pony's muzzle.

"She still had her saddle on, but I had to take that off, it was too torn to keep and there was some of a cape stuck to the saddle. . ." Gable said, a look of sadness swept over her face for a second.

Gable watched Will finish checking the pony's injured leg, while stroking the side of the pony's neck.
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:04 AM   #45
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● Jack Greymoss ●

Easy now Jack, m’boy . . . don’t push!

He could almost see the calculations running through the Halfling’s mind . . . the scale tipping toward one side and then the other. Duty versus Pleasure. And then he could see that Tollers had found the balance he needed to come to a decision . . . to make a plan.

‘Well, now, I think I can work with that if you can . . . Tollers. Be fine to fish the afternoon.’ He eyed the Halfling to see if his use of his familiar name had been acceptable.

‘Speaking of that free bed and such . . .’ Jack yawned and stretched a bit. ‘I been sleepin’ rough lately and I’ve got to say now as I’m all relaxed with food in my belly and a mug of this fine ale . . . I am bone-tired.’ He looked out the window, at the ponies and carts that made there way down the road. ‘Yessir, it’s been shank’s mare for me these past few weeks.’ He took a quick sip of ale and stretched his long legs out beneath the table. ‘You wouldn’t know where I might catch a bit of a kip, would you? Just so’s I’d be nice and rested and ready to catch a few fat trout with you . . .’
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:29 AM   #46
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Will’s attention was focused on the immediacy of the animal’s wounds. He nodded his head, smiling tightly, as he finished his exam of the leg. There were no broken bones. And the wounds though long and ragged edged did not cut deep into the muscles or tendons.

‘Bring my wooden chest over here, won’t you Gable? It’s there on the shelf just above the workbench.’ Will held the pony’s lead while the Elf fetched the box. ‘I think just some of this soothing ointment and a nice pad of moss against these wounds on the leg will be enough for now.’ He worked quickly, letting Gable talk soothingly to the pony.

‘Now you said something about a saddle? All torn up?’ Will glanced at Gable as he asked the question. He’d finished bandaging the leg and was now cleaning the gashes in the pony’s flank. ‘And a piece of cape?’ he went on, his head shaking at the greater depth of one of the gashes. ‘I think I’ll need to put in a few stitches to this one before we bandage it.’ ‘Hmmm . . . I wonder how bad the rider must look if his fleet footed pony suffered these sort of injuries.’

‘Here, help me spread this sticky goo on the wounds. Old Granny Bracken made it up for me. She swears the herbs and such in it will keep all sorts of ailments for bothering raw cuts like these.’ They worked in companionable silence for a while. ‘Go ahead then, Gable, and find her a nice, clean stall. Make sure she’s got water and hay to munch on and a nice thick layer of straw if she wants to lie down.’ He started to put his medicines and bandages away in the chest and clean up the mess. ‘Don’t know if she’ll let you, but she might feel more relaxed if she’ll let you brush her a bit and get the tangles and burrs out of her coat.’
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Old 06-09-2006, 10:49 AM   #47
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Gable led the pony into a stall, making sure that there was plenty of hay and water for the pony. Gable walked out of the stall and grabbed a brush, walked back in, and started to brush the pony, on her uninjured side, starting on the pony's mane. She brushed out the tangles and worked on getting some burrs, careful to be gentle with the pony, to help calm her down.

Once she finished on the pony's mane, she started brushing the pony's neck, and worked her way down to the flank, until she finished that side of the pony. Gable started on the other side, being careful to aviod the slashes on her flank as possible, and worked her way around them, until she finished that side.

"Will, would you mind if I went in and cleaned up a bit? Incase someone would come in and see me, so that I wouldn't frighten them away." Gable asked, while walking out of the stall, and she closed the door behind her, letting the pony rest.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:58 AM   #48
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~*~ Rhys and Tanwen ~*~

‘Turn in here!’ Tanwen said, gesturing to the wide dirt track that led from the Causeway to the inn. ‘I’m sure it’s The Golden Perch. It must be.’ She leaned further forward on her seat, looking out past her brother. ‘I’m sure that’s Stock Road; that bigger one that ties into the one we’re on.’ She squinted her eyes at the sign she saw hanging from the post nearer the building. ‘Looks like a fish! I think we’ve found it.’

They’d been traveling about in the southern part of the Shire these past several weeks. Talking to farmers about their crops, pipeweed in particular – it being a very desirable commodity. But herbs, too, were on their list of things to be on the lookout for, as well as honey and good Shire oats and wool. Their last stop had been at Bamfurlong Farm in the Marish. A stop at a small public house just north of Deephallow had piqued their interest in the tangy pickled mushrooms that had been served with the pan-fried coney. ‘Come from Bamfurlong, just up north a ways, the Maggot farm, been in the same family for years. Mushrooms a plenty grow on their land.’ Rhys and Tanni had arranged for several straw-filled baskets packed with small crocks of the condiment be sent down to the Ford.

Rhys clucked his tongue at Nia and Olwen, urging the mares off the dirt track and toward the stable. ‘Anyone here?’’ he called out, drawing up in front of the open doorway. He set the brake on the cart and got down to find the stableman.
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:17 AM   #49
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Primrose turned her attention to the biscuits, silent and thoughtful, her ears still aflame. Cela didn't think her new found interest in Will was silly. Primrose only wished she could feel the same way. True, she could have cast her attention in a worse direction than the congenial, hard-working Will. But she wasn't sure that she had any business casting her attention in any direction, especially towards someone who was clearly trying his best to avoid any attention of the kind. Had he wanted such attentions, he wouldn't have needed to invent names to send his relatives.

She tried to sort through her confused emotions. Silly. She was silly to permit herself to be so flustered by a joke. And she was silly to allow the embarrassment to continue with Cela's plan, which was really just a bit of fun. But even more importantly, if she told herself that she was silly, Primrose couldn't be disappointed that Will was, in fact, only joking. And so she decided to cling to the word for the time, despite Cela's words to the contrary. If it happened that she didn't need to remind herself of having a foolish fancy, she could drop that defense later.

But the little game would present a problem. If she played along, Primrose would be in constant danger of betraying herself to Will. Yet maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to have the excuse of the game after all. It was possible that she would unintentionally let something slip. A slip during the impersonation was forgivable and even expected as a ploy for her part in the deception. Her main difficulty would lie in not becoming frustrated that it was all a game and not permitting the play acting to work her emotions into something more than they were. She wasn't sure what those feelings were, having arisen so unexpectedly, and did not want them to become more confused than they already were.

Cela was hurrying the bacon to a plate. Primrose began cutting her dough into biscuit shape and preparing another batch for the oven. As she slid the pan into the heat, she turned to Cela again and sighed.

"Maybe you're right. Maybe it's not silly. I don't know anything. But enough of this for the present. Someone will hear, and I'm not wanting Will to take notice of anything just now."

As if in justification of Primrose's fear of eavesdroppers, Dick reappeared at the door to call for tea. She started the tea and, drawing close to Cela's ear, whispered, "Do you think he knows? He heard some of what we were saying before."
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Old 06-10-2006, 07:45 PM   #50
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Will nodded at Gable, looking up at her hair in disarray and the blood from the pony’s wounds drying on her. ‘Yes, yes,’ he encouraged her. ‘Yes, go on ahead and get yourself cleaned up a bit. We won’t really need to be doing anything until late afternoon. Then you can help me bring the ponies and horses in from the exercise yard and get them brushed and fed. We can check on that new pony’s wounds, too, and see how . . .’

He was cut off mid-sentence as a voice from the stable door called for service. ‘Go on now, Gable, I’ll see to what the man wants. You go on and wash up.’

Will plunged his hands into a clean bucket of water and washed them up as quickly as he could. He was just drying them on a towel as he reached the door to the stable. One of the Big Folk stood there and just beyond him stood two lovely greys still hitched to their cart.

‘Name’s Will. Will Hayward,’ he said, nodding at the man, a welcoming smile on his face. ‘How can I help you?’
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Old 06-11-2006, 02:25 AM   #51
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Rowan wove her away around the innkeeper as he poked his head back out of the kitchen door. Her serving tray was empty and she was after another load of filled platters for the hungry breakfasters who were making their way into the common room. Primrose, she noted, had sidled up close to Cela and seemed to be whispering something in the older woman’s ear.

Now what was that all about, she wondered. Who didn’t she want hearing what she had to say? And for that matter, what was such a secret that it couldn’t be said aloud in the kitchen, among friends? Rowan’s brow furrowed as she considered the questions and their possible answers.

Hmmmm . . . my granny would say those two are thick as flies round a honeypot! she thought to herself.

She flicked her eyes away from the two conspirators, smoothing out the questioning lines in her face, and fixed her gaze on the platters of eggs and bacon and baskets of biscuits set out on the table. With quick movements she deftly piled a number of platters on her tray and hoisted it up to her shoulder, to balance there as well as on the fingers of her right hand.

‘You know,’ she said, stuffing a few extra forks in one of the deep pockets of her apron. ‘Didn’t Will say he was going to work on the roof of the stable today?’ She looked from one to the other for confirmation. ‘Well, maybe when we’re done with breakfast, one of us ought to pack up a little basket for him – for his second breakfast and lunch, too. I’m sure he’ll be busy and won’t want to make time to clean up and come in. What do you think?’ She grinned impishly in Primrose’s direction. ‘In fact, we could take turns with the delivery – one of us to take one meal and the other to take the next.’ She readjusted the load on her shoulder in preparation for going back out to the common room.

‘What do you think, Primrose?’
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Old 06-11-2006, 03:35 AM   #52
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~*~ A foray on the Ranger's table . . .

The horses’ needs had been discussed and a price for their care negotiated. Will seemed a knowledgeable enough person as he and Rhys spoke together and quite conscientious, too. Rhys glanced about the stable and thought it appeared quite clean and well kept. Being an orderly person, himself, this raised the ostler a number of notches in his estimation. He helped Will settle the cart in under the protection of the stable eaves and then left Nia and Olwen comfortably to the Halfling’s capable care.

Tanni had already made her way to the inn’s front door as he turned to find her. Rhys ran quickly across the short expanse of yard to catch up to her. He paused before opening the door to straighten his tunic and brush the hair that had crept from the thick braid down his back back into some semblance of order. Tanni smiled at him as he did so. She’d shaken the dust from her dark blue cloak and draped it artlessly about her. Her hair was thick as her brother's. And while he strove to keep his neat and contained, she did not. A thin copper-colored band held it back somewhat from her brow. But the masses of gingered curls crept here and there about her fair face, swaying freely as she moved and cascading down below her shoulders.

Rhys motioned her through the open door before him. Both stopped briefly in the entry way letting their eyes, used to the bright morning, adjust to the room’s more subdued light. It was warm inside the inn, and Rhys took his sister’s cloak from her, hanging it on one of the pegs by the door. And next to hers, his.

‘I’ll find us a table,’ she told him, her gaze darting here and there, taking in the folk already seated. ‘Over there,’ she said, lifting her chin to where a man sat alone. ‘He looks a bit road-worn; his demeanor’s not too threatening seeming.’ She watched him from the corner of her eye as he ate his meal. ‘And he seems to have learnt some manners along the way. So perhaps we can have a pleasant conversation with him . . . learn something of where he’s been and what, if any, cautions he might give us about the way to Bree.’

Rhys nodded, saying he would fetch some ale for himself and a little wine for her. He, too, gave the promising tablemate a once or twice over, wondering what the man’s business here might be. He looked a little too rough to be a competitor. He trusted Tanni’s quick assessment of the man, knowing her first instincts about a person were usually close to the mark. He watched as she made her way to where the man sat.

~*~

‘Begging your pardon, sir,’ Tanni said, as she reached the table. She placed her hands on the back of an empty chair and gave the man a quick smile. ‘My brother and I have just been traveling, up from Sarn Ford. Might we sit with you to break our fast.....and perhaps share in any word you have of happenings along the road to Bree?’

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Old 06-11-2006, 07:47 AM   #53
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Rowan had certainly chosen an inopportune moment for her entrance. Primrose wondered what her friend would think of her whispering to Cela. Secrecy was little practiced at the Golden Perch. But Primrose couldn't tell Rowan, who would probably make light of the situation. And Primrose was in no mood to be teased.

Rowan suggested bringing Will his meals. That was a reasonable enough idea. He did have work to do at the stable. There was nothing unusual about it, though its pairing with Rowan's grin suddenly made Primrose uneasy.

Now she was asked her opinion. "What do you think, Primrose?"

It was a good idea. Primrose had no reason to say otherwise, even if the mischievous grin on Rowan's face made her worry that her conversation with Cela was known over the entire Inn. That was a silly thought, and Primrose scolded herself for it. It couldn't be so. Rowan would have mentioned it directly. But if it were so, Primrose would do her best to dispel rumors by behaving as if there was nothing to trouble her.

Primrose attempted a giggle and answered. "I think it's a perfect idea. Saves Will some trouble. And..." Primrose shot a sidelong glance at Cela, "And it's a chance to bother him about the plan. It would spoil the fun to dream up our plots and then not have him go along with the game, wouldn't it?"
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Old 06-11-2006, 01:20 PM   #54
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-¤- Hithadan -¤-

The pair of new faces in the doorway caught his attention. Hithadan looked over the two as they entered. A striking couple, he thought. And at ease in the room as if they had been here before and knew the inn well. He cast his eyes back down to his plate and plied his fork and knife as the woman gazed his way. Sizing him up, it seemed.

It cannot be for my purse. he chuckled to himself, scooping a forkful of scrambled egg into his mouth. Nor the elegance of my company . . . he continued, picking a piece of egg that had escaped his fork up from the table. He popped the truant morsel in his mouth, chuckling again.

Whatever it was, in a matter of moments, the woman had come up to his table. ‘Begging your pardon, sir,’ she said, as she reached the table and placing her hands on the back of the empty chair to the left of him, she gave him a pretty smile. ‘My brother and I have just been traveling, up from Sarn Ford. Might we sit with you to break our fast.....and perhaps share in any word you have of happenings along the road to Bree?’

‘Company would be most welcome!’ The Ranger stood and pulled out the chair for her, bidding her to sit if she would. ‘Hithadan, here, m’lady,’ he said nodding to her as he sat back down. He pushed his plate to the side, and brought his mug of tea into the circle of his hands. ‘I do know a little of the way to Bree. A friend of mine was just recently there and gave me news of recent happenings.’ He sat back comfortable in his chair, looking her over openly as he sipped from his mug. ‘It’s a long way from the Ford to Breeland. Might I ask what you . . . and your brother, is it . . . are doing on your travels?’
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Old 06-11-2006, 01:58 PM   #55
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‘I think it's a perfect idea,’ Primrose answered. ‘Saves Will some trouble. And . . . and it's a chance to bother him about the plan. It would spoil the fun to dream up our plots and then not have him go along with the game, wouldn't it?’

‘Well, well . . .’ thought Rowan, noting the slight nervous edge to the giggle which accompanied the words. As the middle child in her parents’ brood, she had gotten quite good at reading those subtle signs and assigning some sort of meaning to them. For the most part, at least with her own family, she could be quite accurate with her assessments.

Primrose, though a friend and fellow worker, might not be as easy to read, she cautioned herself. On the one hand, Prim could be outgoing and even boisterous at times. And she was what her Gran would call a flighty lass. But this sort of new . . . shyness, she called it for want of a better word was a new development. Rowan tapped the ball of her right foot softly on the floor; an unthinking habit of hers when she was puzzling something out.

An idea dawned; one which both surprised and delighted her. The ‘game’ with Will, as Primrose had called it, suddenly took on a new focus for Rowan. It was only a game to her; she and Will were friends, indeed, but nothing beyond that in the slightest. With fresh eyes she took stock of her friend, Prim . . . looking beyond the flour dusted apron and the cheeks reddened by the heat of the oven.

‘My, my, my . . .’ she murmured, then looked away guiltily. Rowan covered her actions with an exasperated sigh. ‘You know . . . I just recalled that once I’ve finished changing the linens and tidying up, I did promise Granny Bracken I would help her turn the first of the strawberries into jam. I can’t stand her up; she’s been out early this morning I’m sure to pick them.’

She looked pleadingly toward Primrose. ‘Can you make some time to . . . well, start the game and deliver Will a basket of food?’ Rowan looked over towards Cela, too. ‘That’ll be alright, won’t it? You can spare her for a little bit, can’t you?’
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Old 06-11-2006, 09:53 PM   #56
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Tollers to Jack:

"A bit of a kip, is it? Well, you're welcome to use my room, and it won't cost you a penny. The bed would be a tight fit but you can pull the coverlet onto the floor where there's a nice sheepskin rug that will do just as well as any mattress. Mind your head with the beams, and you'll do perfectly fine. The room's not locked. You'll have no trouble getting in."

Tollers stood up and wagged his finger in the direction of the fireplace, indicating to Jack that he should follow the twisting corridor that branched off at that point. He went on to explain, "That hall leads deep inside the hill. Plenty of rooms for hobbits, and also the pantries, supply rooms, and wine cellar. My room is the last one on the right just before the cellar where the beer barrels are stored. Now, I'm afraid I'll have to run. I am already behind in my work."

Tollers waved a cheery hand and sprinted off towards the kitchen where he was supposed to be washing dishes. He turned around one last time and called out to Jack, "There's cheese and biscuits in the locker at the foot of my bed. The table's a bit cluttered. I was counting out my pay last night. Just sweep the pennies into my leather pouch along with all the others and stuff the bag under my bed. That way, you'll have a nice, clear space if you decide to eat a little snack." With that final suggestion, Tollers ducked inside the kitchen and was lost from sight.

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Old 06-12-2006, 12:37 PM   #57
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Meliot Tussle

Meliot entered the inn, humming to herself. She was late today. She would have been here earlier, if she had not spent all her morning, sewing little Tom's trowsers. That was the third time that week that one of her brothers' clothes got torn. "And I won't bother next time, to be sure of it!" she said to herself. "Wherever are those two going, that they tear their clothes so often, I can't guess. Stealing mushrooms and strawberries, I suppose. They'll end up with soon with a smaking and no mistake from one of the farmers, and serves them right!"

She went to her usual table and sat down. She looked around her with interest. She saw new guests at the inn, and also some of the Big Folk. She rubbed her hands, excited. She had always felt intrigued by other races. She was thankful that the inn was a meeting place for all sorts of people. She loved hobbits, but it was a bit dull to see the same faces every day.

Meliot looked out through the window. It was as fine a day as any could wish. The boys will be up to trouble again, she thought, they could not stay home on such a day. "Well, let mum or Poppy take care of them, for a change." she muttered, dismissing the idea of going out and looking for her brothers. She felt too comfortable to get up right now, and she also did not like to give up a day at the Golden Perch, once she was there.
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:43 PM   #58
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'An inquisitive lad,' Griffo was now finding out, had been an understatement of a thought. He had never heard so many questions fly from anyone's mouth in so short a time. Then again, it was never any good trying to keep up with young ones. That was something the gaffer had learned from his own children. And now he was getting up there in age, though he would never say it was nearing time for him to give up the ghost.

"Well, Taffy..." he eyed the hobbit boy across from him, and his eyes twinkled a bit as he watched the little hands move from piece to piece. "It's not all that hard. And you've already figured out where to start. That piece you've got now...yes, that one...that's called a pawn, and it's the simplest piece on the board. And, at least in all the times I've played, they're the pieces that go first."

Then Griffo proceeded to tell the young hobbit how each piece was moved, demonstrating as he did. He was pleased to find that the lad could keep himself still, but the gaffer did his best to keep the explanations brief. He was sure that the boy would have quite enough to amuse himself with simply knowing how each piece traveled across the board.

After he explained each piece, he allowed Taffy to move them around the board as he had been shown. The young hobbit looked to Griffo every once in a while to make sure he was doing it right, and the gaffer simply nodded and smiled in encouragement. When Taffy had full knowledge of how to move chess pieces, Griffo decided to learn some more about the boy before he risked plunging into a full lesson on chess playing that he really didn't feel he was up to instructing.

"You do whittlin', lad? You do seem to have a steady hand." He nodded thoughtfully. "I bet you could do some pieces like these justice."
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:25 PM   #59
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Gable nodded her thanks and walked out of the barn. She hurriedly made her way through the Inn and to her room, where she cleaned up and rebraided her hair.

She came out of her room, still wearing the boys clothes, and made her way to the kitchen for breakfast, since she hadn't thought of having any before sun up. She walked into the kitchen and asked, "Primrose, can I have some breakfast?"

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Old 06-12-2006, 05:48 PM   #60
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"Primrose, can I have some breakfast?"

Primrose's head turned around to catch a view of the speaker. It was Gable. The hobbit smiled, welcoming the intrusion. Gable's appearance was a distraction from talk about Will, and Primrose was afraid that she had been placed on the spot a bit more than was good for her.

"Of course you may! Have a seat. We've biscuits with jam and honey, eggs, and bacon this morning. I was just putting on the tea - ready in half a minute!"

Primrose busied herself with putting a plate together for Gable. As she did so, she wondered about the Elf. What strange chance had brought her to live in the Shire? Hobbits were such stay-at-home folk, other than those Tooks and that Mad Baggins away in Hobbiton. How could a respectable Hobbit couple have come into the charge of an Elf-child? Though Gable had been a fixture at the Inn for years, Primrose had never worked up the courage to ask. But she would today, if for no other reason than to keep her mind off of Will.

The plate was ready. Primrose looked at Cela and Rowan. "Yes, Cela. If you could spare me, I'd like to take the meals to Will. If you can spare me." Flustered again, Primrose snatched the plate of food and hurried it over to Gable.

Primrose asked her question. "Gable. I've been meaning to ask you. How did your kin - the Elves, I mean - come to know Hobbits? I've never heard of Elves in the Shire, and Hobbits have never been great folk for adventures, excepting old Mad Baggins, of course. How did it happen that you came here?

"Now if I'm being an old busybody, never mind me. Just have your breakfast, and we'll call an end of it." Primrose laughed lightly, hoping that Gable would answer.
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Old 06-13-2006, 12:13 PM   #61
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"Well, to be honest, I'm not really sure how they met, or even came to know them. Just that they were old friends with the couple. But I heard that they came to the shire once, when they were young, to see what this peaceful town is like, disguised as hobbits, where they met up with Merri and Gracie, then left a couple of months later, but I've also heard that Merri and Gracie met them somewhere, but there's a lot of talk about that. . .so I can't really say for sure. . ." Tamia said, thoughtfully, her mind still on the pony that she found.

"Has anyone come in here, looking for their pony?" Gable asked, cassually. "Or have you heard of anyone looking for their pony, or of anyone who has had some. . .troubles with wolves?"

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Old 06-13-2006, 05:44 PM   #62
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Primrose sighed. Elven folk had so many mysteries. She didn't think she believed that Elves would disguise themselves as Hobbits. But if Gable said so, she wouldn't press the matter. The Elf had a right to keep her secrets. She was terribly curious, but could accept not knowing more. Other than where Will was concerned, Primrose had good, plain Hobbit sense, and she thought that the affairs of the Elves as they passed to the Sea (or so it was said) could have little impact on life in the Shire. She was content, she supposed, not to know. At least for now.

"Has anyone come in here, looking for their pony? Or have you heard of anyone looking for their pony, or of anyone who has had some. . .troubles with wolves?"

The tea kettle whistled. Primrose hurried to take it off the fire. As she poured the hot water into a teapot, she said, "Wolves? Can't say as I have. I've not heard of any lost ponies either. Why do you ask?"

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Old 06-13-2006, 06:16 PM   #63
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“Wolves? In the Shire?” interjected Cela, who had thus far gone about her business in indignant silence, having been rather annoyed when Gable waltzed into the kitchen asking for breakfast without a word to her. Hmph. “Poppycock. There haven’t been any wolves in the Shire since the Fell Winter, and that was long before any of you were born, and almost before I was. Now, a mad dog I might believe.” For all her sometimes absent-mindedness and mischievous ways, the stolidness of her kind had not wholly escaped Cela, and while some might call Gable adventurous, Cela said fanciful – a little too fanciful. She might do well with a bit of hobbit sense, something several years living in the Shire had not yet managed to instill in her.

“As for missing ponies, I’ve heard naught.” She turned to Primrose with a slight smile. “Now, Primrose, of course I can spare you for a bit this afternoon – I’m not sure what you two lasses take me for, not being able to manage my own kitchen for a short bit on my own. Not that your help isn’t unappreciated, Primrose dear, but I’m not so old as that.”
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Old 06-15-2006, 02:01 PM   #64
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Rowan grinned impishly at Cook, biting back a small comment on Cela’s age. She ducked out the door of the kitchen with her refilled tray of breakfast platters and made her round of the customers. Her last basket of hot biscuits was set down for the new family who’d recently come in 'with honey and jam both, if you please, Miss’ from the little girl. Rowan had dipped a little curtsy to the girl, saying she would bring her an extra pot of jam – blackberry, very tasty . . . and Rowan’s favorite one.

She was just on her way back to the kitchen, her empty tray banging along lightly against her ankle when she spied a familiar face. Rowan changed course and headed to Meliot Tussle’s table.

‘I thought you weren’t coming today! Didn’t see you at your usual time.’ Rowan sat her big tray’s edge on the floor in front of her and leaned on it a bit. ‘So what can I get for you, Meliot?’ She leaned in a little closer, pitching her voice a little lower. ‘Did you hear about the Bolger boys? The two younger ones? I heard something about them getting caught by old Noakes. They were getting up before the sun was up and stealing fish out of his traps. What’d you hear?’ Rowan loved gossip, and Meliot always seemed to know things . . .
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Old 06-15-2006, 02:30 PM   #65
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"Yes, wolves," Gable said. Then grabbied her plate and sat down at the table; facing Primrose and Cela.

"I was up early, just before sunup and I was making my way back to the inn from the road, and there was a pony, being attacked by a wolf. I killed the wolf and brought the pony here. . .but I couldn't find the pony's owner, she still had her saddle on when I saved her, but I couldn't find the owner." Gable said, looking down at her bacon, shame showed on her face for a second before she took a bite of eggs.

"Who ever the pony's owner is, I hope that he or she is ok. . ." Gable said, before taking another bite of bacon.
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Old 06-15-2006, 02:39 PM   #66
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Will fetched his bucket of tools from the work table at the front of the stable and walked round to the north side of the building. The horses and ponies were all taken care of for now. He’d left the long ladder stored against the wall yesterday after his inspection of the roof. Now he leaned it securely against the edge of the eaves.

A section of shingling had suffered from last winter’s snows, and now in the more constant sun he noted they were beginning to crack. None looked to be cloven clean through, but given time they would be. And that would be bad for the hay stored on the wide platforms beneath the rafters. ‘Can’t have my charges eating moldy hay,’ he’d said as he’d walked carefully along the slanting roof, kicking at suspect shingles with his toes.

In the storage shed near the stable, Will brought out a couple of stacks of wooden shingles tied in manageable bundles with thick twine. He’d made a number of these bundles last autumn with Gable’s assistance from one of the big cedar trees downed by the Longburrow family at the edge of the Green Hills. They’d brought the large log in, in trade for a small barrel of Will’s raspberry ale.

Earlier that morning, Will had heated up a fair sized kettle of tar, and now he dipped out a bucket of it to take up to the roof along with a thick-bristled broom. He balanced the buckets of tools and tar on the two little platforms he’d made yesterday. Just temporary shelves for the job, and one larger one on which to put the stacks of shingles.

Tying a rolled handkerchief about his brow, he began clearing off the broken shingles and a small perimeter about them. Once done he would begin spreading tar on the roof platform below.

But for now, he crawled about on the roof, ripping off shingles and sending them sliding over the edge of the eaves behind him . . .
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:59 PM   #67
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Cela was right, of course. There had been no wolves in the Shire since the Fell Winter, when the Brandywine was frozen, and there had been a path into the Shire from the lands outside the Hobbits' comfortable domain. And that was nigh upon 50 years ago. She supposed it was possible that a stray wolf had wandered over the borders. But not likely. Still, Gable had seen - and killed - something. Primrose wished she knew what it was. She hoped Cela was right about its not really being a wolf. Wolves would be an ominous sign indeed.

In any case, Primrose shared Gable's concern for the pony's keeper. "Yes. I hope that no harm has come to anyone. Whatever the source. Wolves or no."

With that, she turned back to Cela.

"You, old?" Primrose laughed. "Never. And I've no doubt you can run things perfectly well. Why, there's no better cook anywhere! Not if you went all the way to Hobbiton. Or Bree!"

Which was Primrose's way of saying that Cela had no equal in all Middle-earth.

"But you know if you needed my help, should things turn busy with the midday travelers, I'd not want to leave you with all the work. Wouldn't be doing my job if I did." She smiled.

Then she added, "Thank you for sparing me today. In more ways than one."
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:39 AM   #68
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"Why, it's good to see you, Rowan!" Meloit exclaimed. "I meant to come even earlier today, but our Tom's trousers were in such a state! I think some cheese cake and some eggs would do for me, at least for now. And some ale also, if you don't mind. But first stay and chat for a bit."

Meliot always liked a good talk, with anyone that she could have, and on any topic. Trifles, such as the fact that the young Bolgers were stealing fish from Noakes, were to her as fascinating-if not even more- as the news that folk used to bring from the Outside World.

"Why, my goodness!" she cried. "Will those two devils ever learn! Why, last week they were stealing carrots from Mister Boffin's garden, and now they take fish from poor old Noakes. What next, I wonder? And I very much hope that my two brothers are not in league with them. Goodness knows where they are going and what mischief they are doing. "

She spoke as if to show that she was cross, but actually she was mostly amused. And she was still young enough to remember her own expeditions from when she was small. She spent all days with the Hornblower lads and with many others, and they were the terror of all farmers. Why, there was no garden left untouched by their greedy hands.

"Well, they are young," she continued airily, "They'll soon come to their senses. But tell me, what did old Noakes say to those two rascals? I have heard he has a frightful temper. Don't you know, he got into a row right at this inn, a few months ago, with a hobbit from Bree. They had some disagreement over pipeweed."
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Old 06-17-2006, 02:18 PM   #69
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● Jack Greymoss ●

‘There's cheese and biscuits in the locker at the foot of my bed. The table's a bit cluttered. I was counting out my pay last night. Just sweep the pennies into my leather pouch along with all the others and stuff the bag under my bed.’

Tollers directions caught Jack by surprise. ‘The fellow is very trusting,’ he thought to himself. ‘Telling a stranger he’s just met about his coin. And his room . . . left unlocked!’ Jack shook his head, his eyes narrowing a bit in a considering look. ‘Or maybe he’s shrewder than I thought him . . . Testing me, perhaps.’ Jack tapped his fingers on the table, thinking on how he might like this new opportunity to play out. There could be the quick grab-and-run . . . but he was tired, he admitted to himself. And this was a place where word of him had not preceded his arrival. He wrapped his hands around his mug of ale and considered the problem.

With a last gulp, he drained the mug and made his way to the fireplace and through the entrance to the corridor…
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Old 06-17-2006, 03:08 PM   #70
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‘Oh that was a bit of fuss and bother, wasn't it.’ Rowan took a look about the room, and since most of those gathered there were happily engaged in eating and drinking, she pulled out a chair and sat herself down. ‘Old Noakes didn't do much "speaking". He did clout one of the boys on the ear with his stick, so mad was he!’ She leaned her big serving tray on one side of the table, getting it out of the way of the passersby.

Rowan laughed and leaned closer to Meliot. ‘The Bolger boys of course denied to their Ma and Da they’d done anything wrong. But Noakes was there and pulled the hat off Minto’s head to show them the ear.’ She bit her lower lip and shook her head. ‘And don’t you just bet those boys’ hind ends got as red as Minto’s ear after Noakes left!’

One of the Big Folk who’d come in that morning caught her eye. He’d stood up from the table where he and Tollers had been sitting and was walking across the room to the fireplace.

‘Hey! What do you think that fellow is doing?’ Rowan said, pointing to Jack Greymoss as he disappeared into the corridor where everyone’s rooms were . . .
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:20 PM   #71
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Dick set down two brimming mugs of ale before two of his guests, smiling his broadest. He turned away from them, wiping his hands on a towel he had picked up on his way. His eyes scanned the people in the common room, making sure everyone had everything they needed. The sweeping gaze stopped on the disappearing figure of a man slinking back through the door into the corridor running into the hill. His smile faded slowly and his eyes narrowed.

Who was that and where did he think he was going? Dick took a few steps forward. In the doorway, Jack turned his head half way over his shoulder to look back. Dick recognized the man in an instant as the one he had served earlier – the rough, tired looking figure. He had sat with Tollers and eaten, more than likely, most of the massive breakfast that young hobbit had brought out. Dick looked quickly about for Tollers, but seeing him now where, decided that he had better go see what the stranger was about.

The innkeeper threaded his way swiftly around the tables and ran the last few paces to the doorway. He stopped just inside for fear of running unexpectedly into the man.

“Hold up, sir!” he called out. “Wait a moment! Where are you going?”
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Old 06-17-2006, 10:47 PM   #72
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Tollers:

Tollers hurried out to the old shed that was attached to the back of the stables, and began dragging a piece of furniture back inside the inn, just as he'd been told to do. There were a number of chairs and tables to be shifted, good sized items that were meant to furnish the rooms rented out to some of the Big Folk.

After just one trip in and out of the inn, he decided he needed a little rest and a break for second breakfast. He immediately plunked down on the ground in front of the Inn, and reached inside his back pocket, taking out a napkin and spreading it on his lap. Reaching into the side pocket of his vest, he took out two fat biscuits, both a bit squashed but still quite edible. As Tollers ate, he hummed a happy tune and glanced intermittently across the road in the direction of the river, calculating the number of hours it would be until he could slip away with Jack to catch some fish.

When he finished the biscuits, he licked his fingers and then leaned back, closed his eyes, and began dreaming about his little boat that was tied up just a short walk down the left riverbank. The sun shone warm onto the hobbit's face and pleasant images of large perch danced magically inside his head. Before long, Tollers was fast asleep, totally quiet except for letting out an occasional snore.
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Old 06-18-2006, 03:09 AM   #73
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‘It’s a long way from the Ford to Breeland. Might I ask what you . . . and your brother, is it . . . are doing on your travels?’ The man's steady grey gaze traveled from Tanni to her brother who was approaching the table.

‘Rhys Hafgen, good sir,’ said the young man, drawing near to where his sister was now sitting. On the small tray the innkeeper had given him he bore a pitcher of ale and a mug . . . for himself. And for Tanni, a small glass of deep, red wine. He topped off the other man’s mug, poured a brimming mugful for himself, and set the wine before his sister. ‘And did my sister manage to introduce herself, yet?’ he went on, seating himself across the table from the man.

‘Tanwen Hafgen,’ she chimed in, nodding at Hithadan. ‘Or Tanni, if you will.’ She took an appreciative sip of her wine, thanking Rhys for getting it for her. ‘Our family owns a large shop, at the Ford. We’re doing our Spring rounds to check in with our suppliers, and to ferret out any new sources of trade goods that we can. This is a busy time of year for us, and we thought by coming here to Stock, we might make a number of fortunate acquaintances . . . it being the big trade fair in these parts, or so we heard.’ Tanni settled her back comfortable against her chair and perused the man. ‘What about you, Master Hithadan . . . are you in the trade, too? Shall we count you as a . . . friendly rival?’ She gave him a disarming smile and sipped a little more of her wine.

Rhys flicked his gaze to Hithadan, wondering what the man might say in response.
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Old 06-18-2006, 07:22 AM   #74
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Meliot stared after the stranger, curiosity written on every line of her face. He was one of the Big Folk, and that, of course made things seem more intruiging for her. She dismissed all thoughts of a simple explanation, and instead she imagined all sort of dark and secret things that the man might be up to.

"I'd say he's up to no good by the looks of him." She said in answer to Rowan's question. "I simply cannot believe that he is going to spend such a day locked up in his room. That is, if he has a room here."

Meliot was not one of those hobbits that distrusted the Big Folk and suspected all of them of having certain dark intentions in their minds. On the contrary, she was quite fond of them. But still she was inclined not to trust anyone that did things in a way that she found strange. For example, anyone that had in mind to spend such a glorious day locked op in a room, could not possibly be up to anything good.

"There'll come trouble from that fellow, mark my words." she told Rowan. "But who is he, anyway? Do you know him? Where does he come from?"
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Old 06-18-2006, 02:29 PM   #75
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● Jack Greymoss ●

‘Hold up, sir!’ the innkeeper called out. “Wait a moment! Where are you going?’

Jack froze in his tracks. An advisable thing to do, since in the confines of the Inn and the corridor, there was no hope of his usual mad dash of an escape. He took a deep breath and blew it out slowly, a shaky attempt at best to calm his nerves.

Now hold on, Jack-boy! he thought to himself. You’ve done nothing wrong. Just turn about and explain to the man what you’re doing.

‘I was just going to lie down for a bit, sir,’ Jack said, turning to face the innkeeper. ‘Tollers lent me the use of his room while he’s working. Said I might catch a few winks. Before we go fishing later.’ He put on as earnest a face as he could assemble for the moment. ‘He said the fishin’s good roundabout here. And we might be able to come back with enough for a tasty fry-up for us all for the evening.’

Jack stood stock-still waiting for the innkeeper’s judgment on this statement. It was the honest truth of the matter. But Jack was wary nonetheless – he’d been questioned enough before to know that the best words can’t overcome perception.
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Old 06-18-2006, 03:22 PM   #76
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‘That Tollers!’ Rowan hmmmmph’d ‘Fishing! And how did I just know that would be at the bottom of this with him concerned.’ She snorted, a rather unattractive expression. ‘Sometimes I think the fish he’s after have more brains than he does. I mean, really! Look at that fellow!’ She flicked her eyes toward Jack. ‘To my mind he’s the sort as would rob you blind while he talks smooth and smiles at you.’ She hmmmph’d again.

Rowan turned her gaze to Seredic. She tried to read the look on the innkeeper’s face as he listened to Jack’s explanation.
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Old 06-19-2006, 12:55 PM   #77
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Seredic and Jack Greymoss

Dick listened to Jack’s explanation - surprised, at first, and dumbfounded by the end of it.

“He said the fishin’s good roundabout here,” Jack stated with simplicity. “And we might be able to come back with enough for a tasty fry-up for us all for the evening.”

“Fishing?” Dick ejaculated as soon as Jack became silent. “Fishing! That young scoundrel told you that he’d go off fishing with you this afternoon?” The question didn’t appear to need an answer. Jack said nothing and Dick didn’t either, for a moment. He stood, frowning and gnawing at his lower lip. “So that’s where the lad goes off to all the time. . .fishing. . .I might have guessed,” he grumbled to himself. “Well, see here, Mister,” he went on, addressing the Man, “I don’t see why you should be going to a hobbits’ room to sleep. You wouldn’t fit on Tollers’ bed if it were twice as long as it is now. You come along with me and I’ll show you to another room. Never mind the pay. You certainly look like you need a few winks. We’ll find some way for you to repay me by.

“As for fishing,” he said, still not moving anywhere, “I’ll have to talk to Tollers about that. We’ll see if his work is done and then I’ll decide if he’s going anywhere. Come along, sir.” He turned and began to lead Jack out of the corridor again.
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:49 PM   #78
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Lilly, Daisy, and Dorlind Boffin

“What a bright and wonderful day it is!” Lilly Boffin said, her voice just as light and bright as the morning she admired. She pulled the small pinafore over her youngest daughter’s head and buttoned her up the back. “Your Papi is probably hard at work already.”

“Do we get to go see him, Mum?” the little hobbit girl asked, bouncing up and down excitedly on the mattress. “I can’t wait to see him! He’s the inn-lord all by himself!”

“Hardly a lord, my darling,” Lilly responded, placing a hand on her shoulder to make her stand still. She tied the strings in back and then picked up a comb for the curly hair.

“A king then!” the child squealed excitedly. Lilly laughed and didn’t object this time.

“Mum? I can’t get this button done up.” Lilly looked down as the other twin walked towards her. A frown of frustration marred his face as his little, clumsy fingers struggled over and over with an errant button that refused to be shoved through the wrong button hole. Lilly smiled gently.

“Wait a moment, Dorlind. Let me finished Daisy’s hair and then I’ll button you up.” The little chap dropped his hands and crawled up onto the bed. He sat by, his hands folded in his lap as he watched Lilly do up Daisy’s hair. “Once we’re ready, we’ll go over to see your Papi,” Lilly said, combing the last bit of hair. “And we’ll see how everyone at the inn is doing.”

“Mrs. Brandybuck promised me a biscuit with butter and jelly on it!” Daisy said with excitement.

“And same to me, too!” Dorlind cried, his frown forgotten. Lilly nodded as she buttoned him up. He had done nearly everyone incorrectly, so she had to undo almost his entire shirt before buttoning the one he had originally come to her for help on. “Will she still have biscuits, Mum? It’s kinda late.”

“She’ll have biscuits in plenty,” Lilly replied. She picked up her shawl and put it around her shoulders and then gave Dorlind his jacket, and Daisy her little cape. Then she took both their hands and the three went out together.

Their home was situation just beside the inn. Lilly had decided long ago that she didn’t want to raise a family inside the inn itself. Too many strangers and unpredictable characters came through that place. She didn’t like the idea of always having to be careful every time a new face appeared. She spent as much time as she could spare at the inn, sitting in the kitchen or out in the common room, depending who was there and who wasn’t. When she could, she took her knitting and sewing over and traded talk with Cela and Primrose in the kitchen, and sometimes other women at the tables outside. Generally, she did not go in the morning, for there was work at home to be seen to, and the children had to be taught. But this was a special occasion, and those things could be postponed for once.

Lilly led her children around the to side door and entered the kitchen. “Good morning, Cela! Good morning, Primrose!”

Her two youngest chimed in with the merry greeting, accompanying it with broad, unshy smiles. “Hello, Mrs. Brandybuck! Hi, Primrose! Do you have biscuits this morning?”
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:42 PM   #79
Firefoot
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“You’re certainly welcome, Primrose,” said Cela as she took another batch of hot biscuits off the fire. Then the side door opened to admit Lilly, Daisy, and Dorlind Boffin and their chorus of greetings. Grateful for the distraction from Gable’s “wolves,” Cela greeted them warmly. “Good morning to you, Lilly. You’re here early this morning.”

“It’s a special day, after all,” answered Lilly.

“Of course.” Cela turned to the two youngsters. “So it’s biscuits you’re wanting, is it? What if I told you we ate them all, and there weren’t any left for the two of you?” she asked with a completely straight face.

The disappointment on their faces was almost comical. “But Mum said…” Dorlind trailed off as his sister interjected, “But you promised me-” Then she spotted the fresh biscuits sitting on the countertop. “No, you didn’t! I see them, right there!”

“So there are! I guess we didn’t eat all of them after all,” said Cela with a smile, loading some onto a plate for them. “Be careful; they’re hot. Nice and fresh, just for you two. Eat up!”
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:01 PM   #80
Tevildo
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Tollers:

Tollers had eaten too many biscuits and drunk far too much ale for breakfast. His stomach was pleasantly rotund. It was not a good situation to be in when he had just promised to move a whole roomful of furniture before returning to the common room to help serve lunch.

As the sun came blinking out from behind a cloud and the warm rays spilled over Tollers' plump form, the young hobbit instinctively yawned and stretched, plugging his ears with his fingers to shut out the surrounding noise, and then snuggled down into the grass. In the recesses of his mind, he could hear a sharp insistent voice calling his name. It sounded very much like the voice of his father as he sternly berated Tollers at dinner for hitting one of his younger sisters on the head. Never did anyone mention that the lass in question had spent the last ten minutes kicking Tollers under the table. He did not like to be reminded of that, and closed his eyes even more tightly to shut out the glare of the sun. Soon, he was asleep again, and the unpleasant voice receded into the distance

Last edited by Tevildo; 06-19-2006 at 10:17 PM.
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