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Old 07-21-2006, 12:31 AM   #161
Tevildo
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Tollers:

An hour or two had passed with pleasant conversation and a number of good sized fish hanging from the string that they could bring back to Cook. Tollers was quite pleased with himself and could not have asked for a lovlier afternoon. Jack had proven to be a good fisherman who was quite handy with both the pole and the net.

Now, however, it was getting late. He needed to return immediately and help set the table. The last thing he wanted was to get in trouble with Master Dick again. Jumping out from the boat and into the shallow water, Tollers indicated that Jack should do the same and bring the fish along with him. The hobbit dragged his craft up onto the muddy shore, stowed the oars, and secured the vessel with a thick rope that he tied to a low lying bush. Then he walked along the side of the brook, his bare feet splashing in the shallow water for no other reason than the sheer joy of it. It was at this point that his eyes caught an unexpected gleem. He stooped to have a closer look and was surprised to find a small golden disc half buried in the mud, hidden among a thick strand of cat tails. Bending down and scooping up the prize, Tollers extended the object towards his friend.

"Take a look. How strange! I have no idea what this is. Jack, have you ever seen anything like this?"
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:36 PM   #162
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Kár Oakenarrow

The small figure walked slowly towards the Inn. The sun was just sinking behind him in the West from whence he came, casting pleasent shadows about him. As he walked, a ray of sun hit the sign above the Inn door and temporarily blinded him; for above the door hung a sign, and on the sign was a golden perch. "Hmmm, probably the name of this here Inn," he thought to himself. "Seems pleasent enough, and definetly open to any weary travaller, and I do believe that I qualify under that category." He chuckled deeply at his own joke and proceded towards the Inn.

As he walked closer towards the Inn, he noticed that the building was built into the hill behind it. "What facinating creatures these Hobbits are! They are as ingenious as us Dwarves! How I would like to meet one of them and learn more about their culture."

He walked up to the low circular door and entered into the Common Room. He looked around and took stock of his position: the fireplace made of stone ("I wonder what the blacksmiths here are like?"), the bar and counter to his right. He noted that there were people sitting about.

He walked up to the counter and took a seat. The Hobbit behind the counter was rather short ("I wonder if all Hobbits are this short?" for he had never seen a Hobbit, even on his way across the Shire for he had avoided all the bigger villages, hoping to pass through them on his back home later on in time.) but he seemed to be a merry fellow.

"Hi there!" he called out. "Could I get some ale? I heard rumour that it's supposed to be the best in this beautiful country. By the way, I'm Kár, Kár Oakenarrow."
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Old 07-22-2006, 02:02 AM   #163
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● Jack Greymoss ●

Jack laid the string of fish down on the grassy part of the bank as Tollers held out the gold disc. His eyes gleamed at the sight of it. Taking it gently from his companion’s fingers, he turned it this way and that in the westering light.

‘Well, isn’t this just something, Tollers!’ He held the disc up in the air, letting it catch the light. ‘You’ve found a real gold coin here!’ Jack bit on the coin, affirming, so he told Tollers, that it was gold for sure. ‘It’s an old one, too. Look here, you can hardly make out what picture is on it.’ He rubbed it with his sleeve’s edge and held it up for a closer look. ‘Can’t tell about this side, but look here,’ he said flipping it over. ‘Does this sort of look like a hammer of some sort?’
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Old 07-22-2006, 02:28 AM   #164
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A small cloud of smoke hovered over the table where the three Dwarves sat. The platter of ham and cheese, the baskets of bread were empty; their bellies full. The three sat back in their chairs quite at ease, pipes in hand.

‘Well, I say from here we stay off The Great Road and head west through the Green Hills.’ Skirvir drew in a mouthful of smoke and blew out a trio of fat rings.

Bávor leaned forward, pouring himself another mug of ale. ‘Yes, but what say we stay off the main road there, too.’ He raised his mug to his companions. ‘Let’s rough it through the hills, like our fathers’ fathers did.’ He pitched his voice a little lower. ‘You know, when they were bringing that shipment east.’ He raised his brows at his brother and cousin. ‘Could be the luck runs our way with this. What say you?’

‘Fine with me,’ Skirvir agreed, topping off his own mug. ‘But I say we nose about here a bit; look and listen for anything might fine tune what route we should be taking.’

‘Sounds good!’ Bívor added. ‘There’s no hurry. Lain there for years, it should weather another few days or so without problem.’ He looked to see where the Innkeeper was. ‘Why doesn’t one of you get us a room? I could use a quick nap before supper.’

Last edited by piosenniel; 07-25-2006 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 07-22-2006, 07:10 AM   #165
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Rowan hurried Meliot off the little porch and around to the side of the inn, away from the kitchen. There was a small little arbor there covered with ivy, a private sort of place. And especially now that supper was drawing near and most of the guests and workers were gathered back inside.

‘I’ve only a few moments before Cook will be needing me to help with the next meal.’ She glanced about, trying to make sure no one was about to listen in on them. ‘Show me what you found in the man’s room.’

Their voices fell into hushed whisperings as Meliot unfolded the paper and smoothed it out on the bench between them.
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Old 07-23-2006, 02:07 AM   #166
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Meliot followed Rowan, her heart beating with impatience at the thought of what her friend might say of her discovery. She had no doubt that she had found something very important, something that would give her weeks, if not even months of talking and of being in the centre of atention. She took the piece of paper from her pocket and handed it to Rowan.

"So, what do you think of it?" she asked, pausing to examine Rowan's amazed features. "I for one find it most suspicious. And I have no doubt now that this man is up to no good. Why, he surely stole this map and the jewells. I say the sooner he's out of here, the better for us all. Why, who knows what else he is capable of?"
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Old 07-23-2006, 04:39 PM   #167
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“Well, at least you get to get out… Sorry about your being sent away.” Gable added, remembering the time when she too was sent away to an elderly hobbit couple, here in the Shire. She did respect them, and there were times when she missed her parents desperately, yet she loved life in the Shire, at the same time she missed Rivendell. Cir’s saying her true name, brought up a lot of memories, from when she was younger, since no one around here, until now, of course, had ever mentioned her true name.

She walked off to the kitchen to see if she could do anything, after Cir had joined in his sister’s conversation with Dick. She pictured her Mother’s smiling face, then her Father’s, and nearly walked into a wall, so focused on the memory.

She shook her head to clear the memory, and walking into the kitchen said, trying to sound like her normal self; “Is there anything that I can do to help? Since the stables have been taken care of, I can make myself useful around here. I’m good for more than taking care of horses, especially in being an elf.”
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Old 07-23-2006, 11:48 PM   #168
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Tollers:

"A gold coin? Oh, Jack, are you certain? I've never found anything in my entire life, except a lost mitten that belonged to a young hobbit lad and a small purse with pennies that a Mannish peddler misplaced in the marketplace. Of course, I gave the purse back," Tollers hastily added to be sure that Jack knew he wasn't the type to walk off with someone else's money.

"But what is that hammer? I've never seen a Shire coin with a hammer on it. In fact that hammer looks a bit odd to me. Farmers use hammers to nail on roof shingles or put up a shed in their backyard, but that thing looks pretty formidable. The only folk I've seen carrying a hammer like that were two dwarves coming through the Shire on their way to visit some kinfolk."

A worried look crossed Tollers' face. "Jack, perhaps, I shouldn't keep this coin. After all, it's not mine. Perhaps I should turn it in to the shiriff, and he'll know what to do. Only I wanted to keep it all for myself, and be able to show it off to the others at the Inn. What do you think?"

Tollers reached down, picked up the string of fish, and turned back in the direction of the Golden Perch, but not before hastily grabbing the coin back from Jack and tucking it inside his inner vest pocket.

Last edited by Tevildo; 07-24-2006 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:26 AM   #169
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● Jack Greymoss ●

‘You keep that coin safe, my friend.’ Jack lengthened his stride just a little to catch up to the Hobbit. ‘And if I were you, I wouldn’t go showing it about just yet.’ He put his hand lightly on Tollers’ shoulder. The coin looks really old, Tollers. I’ll just bet it doesn’t belong to anybody. I’ll bet they’re dead, whoever it was as lost it.' He nodded his head as if considering the problem. 'You know, I was just thinking…..where there’s one coin there probably are more.’

He stopped and stood looking upriver from where they’d tied up Tollers’ boat. The Stock Brook wound away, west, and out of sight. In the distance it became a thin silver ribbon that narrowed down to a faint gleam as it entered the shadows of the trees and hills.

‘Maybe this washed down the river…..maybe if we went up the Stock we could find others.’ He grinned and nodded at his companion. ‘Boy, oh boy! Wouldn’t that just be a treat to show everyone at the Inn? A whole handful of coins….or maybe even more….’

They reached the door to the kitchen and Tollers handed the cleaned fish into Mistress Brandybuck. Jack smiled at the cook, hoping she’d forgotten his misadventures with her dishes earlier. He handed over a basket of fat, thick mushrooms, all cleaned and layered in a basket with moss. ‘Thought these might taste good with those trout,’ he said. ‘Can’t beat a good fry-up of fish and mushrooms….no, ma’am!’

Last edited by Envinyatar; 07-26-2006 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:51 AM   #170
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Will sat on the edge of his bed and drank down the rest of the cup of willowbark tea. A cold concoction that had started out hot when he’d first laid down. He felt much better now, he thought, as the cool liquid ran down his throat. His head had stopped throbbing and whatever he looked at was in focus now. Will stood up gingerly. The ground stayed put beneath his feet, no longer bucking and heaving like the surface of a storm tossed lake.

So far, so good, he thought to himself. His arm, too, seemed to be cooperating. His wrist ached dully and his broken finger was well splinted. As long as he didn’t try to wriggle the fingers of his left hand, the finger felt comfortable enough.

He stopped at the well and washed his hand and face as best he could. ‘’Twill have to do,’ he said to himself. He made his way into the kitchen, nodding a greeting to those there.

‘Those look great!’ he said, clapping Tollers on the back. ‘Did you catch them all yourself?’ He spied the mushrooms and grinned. ‘Can’t wait for Cela to work her magic on these!’
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:34 AM   #171
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Rowan turned the map this way and that. She’d never really seen one before. Though, she’d heard of them in stories. But those sort were always maps the heroes and such would use to find their way to a treasure of some sort. She traced the X with her forefinger.

‘Maybe he didn’t steal the jewels,’ Rowan said slowly, thinking aloud. ‘What if those are part of a treasure he found.’ Her eyes grew wide. ‘What if there were so many jewels and necklaces and goblets of gold and silver and coins that he could only carry a few around with him? This just might be a map to all that.’

She stared dreamily up toward the overarching leaves of the arbor. ‘We could find it! Don’t you think?’

Rowan smoothed the map out again on the bench and looked expectantly at Meliot. ‘Now all we have to do is figure out what all the little pictures are supposed to stand for.’

On one side of the paper was what sort of looked like water with boats that had sails. Then land, and crudely marked mountainy things and more land and a string of hills that ran across the middle of the paper, which was where the ‘X’ was. Part of the paper, on the right hand side, was torn off…

Rowan sighed. ‘Looks like something a little kid scribbled…what do you think?’
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Old 07-24-2006, 12:16 PM   #172
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Dorlind scooted right up next to Taffy and peered expectantly over his arm as he watched the knife carve away little shavings of wood. As he watched, his little mind turned over what Dorlind had said.

“Is he really going to tell you a story?” he asked after a long silence had lasted between the two of them.

“He said he would,” Taffy replied.

“I’ll be brave enough. Papi tells us all sorts of stories sometimes when he comes home. He knows lots. But he doesn’t tell about dragons very much. Mostly, they have animals that can talk. Papi’s a good story teller! I’ll like to hear about dragons. I’m brave enough, sure.” A short, doubtful pause. “You don’t think it’ll be too scary?”

There was a pause. Taffy carefully shaped the wood, bending over it as it took a gentle curve. Dorlind bent and craned his neck to see. In a moment, Taffy seemed to have gotten over a difficult part and he straightened back up and answered.
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:24 PM   #173
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Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Cir was astonished to look up from his sip of beer and find that Nolwe had vanished. He had heard his sister ask her to tell them about the Shire - but she had just gone. His face fell again. Noone liked them who knew them it seemed. He hoped their aunt would give them a chance or what would become of them?

The overheard conversation reverberated in his mind again.

His mother's voice soft, hopeful, " Maybe this visit to Mithalwen will be the making of them .. she is musical too - and she was restless in her youth..."

"But she always had her craft, she begged Cirion and me to teach her everything we knew from the day she was big enough to hold a hammer or a plane but they are near full grown and good for nothing as yet......of course they were spoiled but I despair ...."


They couldn't go home yet that was certain and they had little money - at least not at their disposal - Cir knew his father had handed a more substantial purse to the leader of the pilgims to cover any major expenses on their journey and to go towards their keep at Mithlond - and what was worse no means of making any. For the first time he regretted his laziness.

His father was one of the best smiths remaining in Middle Earth yet Cir would struggle to make a horseshoe. His mother was more studious in nature and worked in the library of Imladris as well as being a poet of some reknown - but she also had the more practical skills of a bookbinder. He wondered if there was anything they could do to make money. They were musical that was true and it was the only time the twins uncanny bond was usually appreciated by others. But they had no instruments. His father was right he was good for nothing. And suddenly as unhappy as he had ever been in his life, Carantilion Laicirith took yet another deep draught of beer.

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Old 07-24-2006, 05:48 PM   #174
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Shadows played on the grass in front of Primrose as the breeze set the leaves above her into motion. She took a deep breath, savoring the freshness of the air, and catching a hint of the cookery in the kitchen. The thought of dinner made her mouth water, and she took another sip of tea.

Though her leg still ached, the pain had dropped to a faint twinge that bothered Primrose only if she moved. She leaned against the bench, resting her back against the weathered wood, and closed her eyes. In a moment, she fell asleep to the sound of birds singing in the trees.
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Old 07-25-2006, 10:25 AM   #175
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Cir had been surprised when Nolwe had wandered off without a word, but had quickly forgotten the seeming oversight as she watched her brother staring into his drink as though it held the secrets of the world. She had been a little worried about him ever since they'd left home, he hadn't been his usual cheeky self and had to be prodded into anything and everything. She hadn't pushed him to tell her what was going on, she knew he'd come out with it eventually, but she was still concerned about him, doing everything she could to get him out of his shell.

Removing the money purse from his unresponsive hand she rifled through the contents quickly, trying to make some calculations. She knew they had enough money for a good few meals yet, even after this fish stew, but not much else. Looking at Cir again she decided that what he needed was a couple of days away from the pilgrims in a place where they weren't known and could be themselves without recriminations.

Decision made she called to the Innkeeper, who had left them to deal with a Dwarf that had just entered, the fact that her brother hadn't even noticed the new arrival making her confident that she was doing the right thing.

"Dick," she began, choosing her words carefully, "my brother and I are travelling but the group we are with is taking a few days rest before we continue. They are pilgrims, and not lively enough for our tastes. This Inn, though, seems like a fine place to stay a while. We have some money and are happy to pay for everything we eat and drink, but if we do that we would not have enough to pay for a room. I don't wish to be rude but might it be possible for us to make a deal? Cir and I have some skill with music and would be happy to earn our keep by entertaining your other patrons, if you are agreeable to that?"
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:14 AM   #176
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"Hi there!" a new voice called out. "Could I get some ale? I heard rumor that it's supposed to be the best in this beautiful country. By the way, I'm Kár - Kár Oakenarrow."

Dick turned away from the female Cir and walked towards the newcomer. It was another dwarf.

“Good afternoon, sir!” he said. “You certainly can get some ale. A pint, sir? Some of the golden brew?” Kár agreed and Dick quickly served him. “Welcome, Kár Oakenarrow,” he said, as he gave it to him. “I guess you’ll find out for yourself if it is the best ale this way. I think it is, but of course any chap who owns a place will say that. Find yourself a place to sit and make yourself comfortable. Shortly, we’ll have fish stew ready to serve. Over yonder are three of your kind.” He nodded towards Skirvir, Bívor and Bávor. “P’raps you know each other? If not, you could also make a new acquaintance.”

Kár looked over towards the three dwarves and Dick smiled encouragingly. “If you’re wanting any food now to break whatever fast you’ve held on the road, then we can get you something but-”

He was interrupted as one of the elves called him. He nodded to the dwarf. “Go find a seat,” he said again. “If you want anything, call me, or find one of the servers. . .” As he turned again to face Cir and Cir he cast a glance around. No server was in sight. He gave an inward sigh before giving all his attention to Cir, the girl one.

"Dick," she began, choosing her words carefully, "my brother and I are traveling but the group we are with is taking a few days rest before we continue. They are pilgrims, and not lively enough for our tastes. This Inn, though, seems like a fine place to stay a while. We have some money and are happy to pay for everything we eat and drink, but if we do that we would not have enough to pay for a room. I don't wish to be rude but might it be possible for us to make a deal? Cir and I have some skill with music and would be happy to earn our keep by entertaining your other patrons, if you are agreeable to that?"

For a moment, Dick made no immediate response. He turned her idea over in his head and then his eyes brightened. “What sort of music are you and your brother capable of?” he asked, almost eagerly. “We haven’t had a bit of lively music in this place for some time. It would be an excellent way to pass the evening! I think that’s doable. How long do you intend on staying?”
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:41 AM   #177
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Kár stood up as Dick went to attend to the Elf Cir. He looked over to where the three Dwarves were sitting around. "Seems like they're discussing something. Perhaps I could be of service to them?" he thought as he made his way to where they were sitting.

"Good day to you, my friends. Dick pointed all of you out to me just a minute ago. By the way, I'm Kár- Kár Oakenarrow," he said joyfully. "It seems to me that you're all discussing something. Perhaps I could be of service to you somehow?"

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Old 07-25-2006, 12:36 PM   #178
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Tollers

"Ah, Will , it is so good to see you up and about. Yes, I did go fishing but I'm afraid I can't take all the credit. Jack, the new fellow that's staying at the Inn, came down with me to the Stock Brook, and we had some marvellous luck."

"In fact, more marvelous luck than any I've had before. Actually, I found a...."

Tollers stopped in his tracks and abruptly closed his mouth. He'd come inside the kitchen to get the serving things for dinner, but all the while he was lovingly fingering the coin inside his breast pocket. Jack had warned him to say nothing about the discovery....to keep everything a secret, and maybe they could find others like it. Tollers loved secrets. That is, he loved learning about them from other people. But he had a very hard time keeping a secret on his own. It seems that whatever went into his eyes and ears ended up spilling out of his mouth, unless he was very, very careful.This time, at least for the moment, he decided to be careful.

Shifting uneasily from foot to foot, Tollers glanced sheepishly over at Will and changed his tune slightly, "That is, I found a wonderful new spot in the brook, nice cool water under a tree where the fish swim about in the late afternoon. It is a wonderful place to fish. And I'm so glad you're feeling better. How's that hand doing? But let's talk later. I need to set the table for supper."

Tollers hastily excused himself and went over to get some cutlery that needed to be laid out on the dining tables along with several baskets of bread. Just as he left the kitchen, he impulsively nabbed Jack by the shoulder, pulling him off to the side. "I can't stand it, Jack. Either, I have to show this coin to someone, or we go back and find the rest of them. This secret is swelling up inside of me, and I'm going to bust. Anyways, if we wait too long, maybe someone else will get to the coins before we do. Do you think we might go back to the Stock late tonight after everyone is in bed, and have a look about?"

One of the other servers came up to Tollers and urged him to stop dawdling and be quick with the silverware. With a helpless shrug of his shoulders, the hobbit looked back longingly at Jack, frustrated to be cheated out of an immediate answer. "Have to go now and help with dinner, but let me know what you think as soon as you can."

As Tollers left the kitchen, he balanced the cutlery and bread baskets with one hand, while fingering the coin in his pocket with the other. It was very much on his mind.

Last edited by Tevildo; 07-25-2006 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:17 PM   #179
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‘Well, there goes the nap!’ thought Bívor to himself as the Dwarf approached. He settled himself back in his chair, motioning for Bávor to sit back down.

Master Oakenarrow!’ Skirvir stood up from his chair and reached over to pull out the other chair at their table. ‘Skirvir,’ he said by way of introduction, indication himself as he gestured to the empty seat. ‘And this is Bívor and his younger brother, Bávor.’

‘Yes, please, have a seat, won’t you. Kár, isn’t it?’ Bávor smiled genially at the newcomer. He turned in his seat and motioned for one of the servers. ‘Another pitcher of ale, please.’

Bívor looked at Kár, wondering at his offer of service. Was there something Kár knew? Of course not, you’re being silly! he told himself. None but the three of them knew of their underlying plans.

‘Where have you traveled from, Kár?’ Bávor asked, pouring a round of ale from the new pitcher. ‘We’re heading eastward, toward the Blue Mountains. We’ve heard, even in The Lonely Mountain, that there are interesting caverns to be seen beneath them. Carved out long ago,’ he paused for a moment. ‘Perhaps by some of our fathers’ fathers and before.’
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:49 PM   #180
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" .. pilgrims, and not lively... This Inn, though, seems like a fine place to stay a while. .......I have some skill with music and would be happy to earn our keep by entertaining your other patrons, if you are agreeable to that?"

His sister's words drifted into his ears and were enough to pause his maudlin reverie. Indeed they were striking enough to prompt a change in behaviour that would have startled anyone who had observed his statue like attitude of moments before. The boy Cir, set down his beer and was at his sister's side in an instant speaking very swiftly in their own tongue.

"Cir, what are you doing? We can't stay here! A few hours is one thing but they will miss us if we aren't back tonight let alone for a few days!!! They will be so cross - and I think Ada will kill us when he finds out ...and maybe Mithalwen won't have us and then what will we do? - and anyway we don't have any instruments with us - or anything really". All their possesions save those stowed in pockets or at their belts were back at Woodhall.
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:47 PM   #181
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“What sort of music are you and your brother capable of?” Dick had asked, almost eagerly. “We haven’t had a bit of lively music in this place for some time. It would be an excellent way to pass the evening! I think that’s doable. How long do you intend on staying?”

Cir had opened her mouth to reply but was immediately interrupted by her brother, who had finally decided to join in the conversation, though it was clear that he wasn't pleased by it.

"Cir, what are you doing? We can't stay here! A few hours is one thing but they will miss us if we aren't back tonight let alone for a few days!!! They will be so cross - and I think Ada will kill us when he finds out ...and maybe Mithalwen won't have us and then what will we do? - and anyway we don't have any instruments with us - or anything really."

Dropping back into Sindarin as well Cir flashed an apologetic smile at Dick and set about reassuring her brother.

"Cir, don't panic ok? So they'll be a bit cross, they know we're old enough to look after ourselves, and that we'll look after each other. Ada may never find out, the pilgrims won't be returning for a long time and they're not about to send a messenger back to him just because we disappear for a couple of days! As to Mithalwen, I've heard tales of her adventures that make ours pale in comparison, I'm certain that she will still have us."

Seeing that Cir was swaying she played her ace, knowing a little guilt trip was just the thing to keep her brother on side.

"Anyway, you can go back if you want but I'm staying here, and if Ada finds out that you left me all alone in a strange place, well ..."

Scowling at her for the low blow Cir nodded his acquiescence to that, but repeated his point about the lack of instruments, refusing point blank to sing. He said that it was due to knowing no appropriate songs, but Cir was privately sure that his voice having broken relatively recently had a lot to do with.

"Well you're in luck!" She said triumphantly, pulling on a rope around her neck until a wooden instrument emerged from her garments. "I have here a pipe whistle that you can use to accompany me."

Having dealt with Cir's objections she turned to Dick and switched back to the Common tongue in order to finally answer his question.

"We will only be staying a few days, just until we have to continue on to our aunt's, and we are capable of any music you like, though if you want something more than a simple tune we will need to beg some instruments from you, if that's possible, and if you wish for tunes that we do not know you will have to teach us them first!"

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Old 07-26-2006, 11:31 PM   #182
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-¤- Hithadan -¤-

It had been Shanks’ mare for him, and a fast pace at that, to make it to the eastern edge of the Green Hills. There had been some tales, some whisperings of men moving in small groups through the wooded hill country. Ruffians some had named them; though, for the most part it was from their appearance that the name came and not from any base action on their part.

‘Yet . . .’ is how his fellow Ranger had put it, though, at the end of their discussion. ‘They are moving eastward; a trickle now. But even a small rill flows to the larger river and there to whatever sea draws it.’

The discussion had been brief, information passed on from one to the other. And another day would be passed on again to other ears to carry forward. Whatever the source, the course, the destination, keen eyes and sharp ears would seek them out until their purposes be well known.

-¤-

Supper was already being served when Hithadan made it back to the Perch. He stopped at the well, washing the road’s dust from his face and hands. There was a pleasant breeze that dried the damp from him as he walked toward the door. He stomped the dirt from his boots before he entered and pushed his cloak behind his shoulders. Out of habit he paused in the shadows of the entryway and glanced quickly about the room. The tension in his shoulders that he’d carried from his earlier meeting was eased by the bright light of the common room; the merry rise and fall of voices; the ordinary, familiar faces of customers and those who served them.

They were the faces of those who felt safe in their daily routine; who knew nothing of comings and goings. And for my small part, may they stay so…

Hithadan spied a table nestled out of the way in one of the corners. He made his way to it, his eyes flicking here and there as if expecting some face he had not yet found.
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Old 07-27-2006, 01:31 AM   #183
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Meliot's eyes shone at the thought of finding such a treasure. Why, if she did, she would then be the geatest topic of discussion in all the inns of the Shire and even beyond it, if the treasure was one worthy of interest. Of course, the finding would also generate many malicious gossips from the envious ones, but Meliot did not care much about that. She knew how to deal with gossipers.

Yet looking at the map, Meliot realised that there was not much hope in finding the treasure. The map looked, as Rowan had said, as if it had been made by a child. No doubt it had been made like this deliberately as a protection against anyone that found it and realised what it was. But even if they could read the map, there was still another problem. Meliot had to voice her fears aloud to her friend.

"Maybe we could read the map," she told Rowan, "but it would take too much time and the owner would soon find out about its dissappearance. And also, there is something else. The place on the map may not be in the Shire. Who knows in what forsaken land was the treasure found? What would we do then?"
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:50 AM   #184
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Dick’s eyes shone as Cir talked about the music. “Oh, we might find other fellows who play some music. I don’t think any of our instruments will fit you, but in accompaniment with some others, you’d make great music. Our songs are simple to what you’re used to, no doubt. Go find yourselves seats for now, though. Supper’s nearly ready to be served.”

He hurried away into the kitchen to see just how near dinner was. Passed him as he drew near the door and Dick made way.

“Hollo, Tollers! How was the catch? Never mind - deal with what you’ve got, then you can come bak to tell me.” He patted him on the shoulder as they passed each other and Tollers continued on out towards the Common Room and Dick went into the kitchen. He stopped in the doorway, his nostrils twitching.

“What’s that I smell?” he asked, half eagerly half doubtfully. “Not mushrooms!”

“Mushrooms it is!” Cela told him from the stove. Dick hurried to her side. His mouth watered as he looked at the frying pan full of sizzling mushrooms. “Keep your nose out of it, Master Dick. I’ll let you know when they’re done.”

Dick grinned and went away obediently. “Hello, Jack,” he said to the man standing awkwardly by the kitchen table. “How was fishing?”
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Old 07-27-2006, 12:47 PM   #185
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Rowan pursed her lips and drew in a deep breath. It was true, she and Meliot could spend a good amount of time trying to figure out just where they thought that X might be, but it wouldn’t necessarily bring them any closer to the treasure.

And just get your head out of the clouds on that! she chided herself. You don’t even know that X means a treasure at all!! The old saw of not counting chickens before the eggs were hatched flashed through her thoughts.

‘But there’s no saying it isn’t a treasure, though, either,’ she murmured aloud. She looked over at her friend, realizing her comment must have made no sense.

‘What we need to do is try to chat that Jack fellow up. See if he can give us any clue about the map. Of course without actually referring to this particular map.’ Rowan shook her head, wondering how that might be done. ‘But in order to do that, we’ve first got to get the map back to his room. He might get suspicious if he can’t find it after we’ve talked about maps and such to him. Or....maybe, just maybe he’s the sort we can flatter a bit and he’d actually show us the map.’

As they sat talking and thinking, Rowan became aware that the angle of the sun had changed. ‘Blast it! I’ll be in for it now! Supper’s ready, I’m sure. And what with Prim unable to help out, they’ll be wanting me in the kitchen and common room even as we speak.’ She stood up and straightened out her apron, brushing down the wrinkles.

‘You know, most, or really I should say all, will be in the common room for the evening meal. I’m sure Jack will, too.’ She folded the map up carefully, taking one last look at it to fix it in her mind's eye; then handed it back to her friend as she motioned for Meliot to follow her back into the inn. ‘Maybe you could sneak back to his room and put the map back.....whattaya say?’
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Old 07-27-2006, 01:09 PM   #186
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● Jack Greymoss ●

Jack awkwardly shifted from foot to foot in the busy atmosphere of the kitchen. Tollers had gone off and left him wondering if he should offer to help or just go out to the common room and sit down. He thought he might like to help out, it would make Tollers’ duties go more quickly, but he eyed the cook as she moved about the kitchen fixing this and that and wondered if she would even allow him to touch a plate or bowl again. He clenched his hands and unclenched them, willing the ten fingers not to be so clumsy.

Just as he cleared his throat and was about to ask her, the innkeeper sailed into the kitchen. ‘Hello, Jack,’ he said. ‘How was fishing?’

‘That Tollers is some fisherman!’ Jack returned, his face lighting up at the sight of Master Boffin. ‘He found us a good spot. And as you can see we brought back plenty of trout for supper. Along with a nice basket of mushrooms!’ He paused, not quite sure how to voice his offer. ‘Say,’ he plunged on, gesturing about the busy kitchen. ‘I noticed you’re a little short on help. Just Mistress Brandybuck for the cooking and Tollers for the serving. Think there might be something I could do...to lend a hand?’
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Old 07-27-2006, 01:24 PM   #187
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Will scuttled about the kitchen, trying to keep out of the way of the others. He was somewhat hungry, needing just a little something to take the edge off. And something he could carry easily with his one good arm.

He got one of the small baskets used for gathering eggs from the hens and lined it with a clean kitchen towel. Some thick slices of bread from the counter, a small wedge of crumbly cheese from a cupboard, three apples from just inside the pantry. He had a pitcher of water back in the stable, that would be drink enough for this evening.

Grabbing the half-filled basket securely by the handle he made his way back out the kitchen door, intending to hurry back to his little room. His eye caught the still sleeping form of Primrose as she dozed on the wooden bench. Setting down the basket he reached in and pulled out one of the apples, polishing it up a bit on his shirt. He placed it on her lap, near one of her hands.

With a quick step, then, he was off with his own little supper to the company of the horses, ponies, and the goat.
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Old 07-27-2006, 02:07 PM   #188
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Taffy had assured the younger boy that the tale of the dragon would indeed be scary. Or at least he hoped so. Whatever good would a story of dragons be if it were not the sort that sent chills up your back.

‘But all you have to remember is,’ he told Dorlind, ‘it’s just a story and a long done one if I understood him right.’

He’d finished the two little whistles by the time he heard his mother call him and Seren in. They had three little holes each, and on Dorlind’s he had carved the outline of a little bird and on Daisy’s, a flower to match her name. ‘That way she can’t take yours if she’s lost her own and say it’s hers.’ He looked at Seren as she came running toward the porch. ‘Girls can be quite sneaky you know,’ he said to Dorlind, handing him the whistles. ‘And fathers always seem to side with them!’ He nodded his head in a knowing way at his friend. ‘Anyways, we’ve got to go in now and have supper.’

Taffy stood up and took his sister by the hand. As they hurried to the door he called back over his shoulder. ‘See you after the meal’s done!’
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Old 07-27-2006, 06:56 PM   #189
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"Where have you traveled from, Kár?’ Bávor asked, pouring a round of ale from the new pitcher. ‘We’re heading eastward, toward the Blue Mountains. We’ve heard, even in The Lonely Mountain, that there are interesting caverns to be seen beneath them. Carved out long ago, perhaps by some of our fathers’ fathers and before."

"Well, in answer to your first question, I come from the place to which you desire to see," he answered. " And I must say that I don't remember anything of too much interest underneath the Mountains. Mind you, I never really took to mining. I'm more of an adventurer than anything. I want to go and explore before settling down to mining and having a wife and children," he said cheerfully.

He looked at the other three Dwarves. They looked far older than he. They even looked to be of a different bloodline. "By any chance, would you three be of the line of Dain?" he asked curiously. He really wanted to know more about them and that line. "Perhaps we are related in some way..." he thought silently to himself.
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:08 AM   #190
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Bívor and Bávor exchanged a puzzled look. Nothing interesting beneath the mountains? Now there was something neither of them had ever heard, much less experienced. They were quite at a loss for words. Reflexively, their hands reached down to rest on the handle of the pickaxes resting against their chairs.

It was Skirvir, the youngest of the three, who spoke up. ‘An adventurer, is it? We’re on a bit of an adventure ourselves; though it was not without some difficulty that we left the halls beneath the Lonely Mountain.’ He looked at his two cousins and grinned. ‘We are scarce into our seventh decade, each of us. And our fathers spoke long and hard against our going. But we stood firm and so our own little adventure was granted.’

‘We had always heard that the halls and caverns beneath the Blue Mountains were long and deep,’ said Bívor ‘with many branchings and caverns. Dwarves of old brought out precious metals, shining jewels and made many beautiful things. We were hoping to see some of that. The mines where they delved. The others are most likely long gone, though not in our imaginings.’

Skirvir’s eyes glinted at the thought of the craftsmanship that must have flowed from the forges and workrooms of those ancient halls. His fingers twitched at the thought of working with such metals and gems. And his mind turned over another thing Kár had said to them – something about a wife and children. He sounded like a man who might have the opportunity to have a wife. Perhaps women flourished beneath the Blue Mountains. Aulë knew they were scarce as the mithril of Khazad-dum where he and his cousins were from.

Bávor reached into an inner pocket of his vest and brought out a flat, silvered flask. ‘How about a taste of Dwarven spirits?’ he ask grinning at the other three men. He offered the flask to Kár first, motioning for him to pass it on. While he waited for the flask to come round to him, Bávor nodded his head, thinking about the last thing Kár had asked.

‘The line of Dain; isn’t that what you asked about?’ Bávor looked at his brother and cousin. ‘I suppose you could place us there. . . sort of. More like a small fissure off another a fair sized vein branching off the mother-lode.’ Bívor and Skirvir laughed at the analogy. ‘And how about you, Kár? How do you trace your family line?’
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:15 AM   #191
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Tollers

For the past hour, Tollers had given no thought whatsoever to his coin. He had been far too busy to think about it. Everyone in the Inn seemed to be hungry and thirsty, and demanding their bread and ale as quickly as he could deliver it to them. Tollers had tried to please everyone and had run from table to table, but still he was sure that he had forgotten something. Leaning against the bar and sighing, he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand until suddenly he remembered what he had forgotten. Grabbing one of the flasks of nut brown ale, he rushed over to where the Dwarves were seated and held out the pitcher towards them.

"Excuse me, Master Dwarves. I'm terribly sorry to interrupt your conversation. But one of you....I believe it was the gentleman over there," Tollers pointed towards Bávor, "asked for more ale. I've been so busy serving and only got around to bringing it now. I'm very sorry to be so late." Tollers set the pitcher down on the table and stepped back as he caught sight of the tiny bottle of spirits that the Dwarves were passing around between them. "Ah... I see you've already found another brew. Shall I take this ale away then, or would you still like it with the rest of your meal? Either way is fine. Only I'd be much obliged if you could kindly give me the sixpence for the first flask so we can square up your account."

He held out his hand awaiting payment.

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Old 07-28-2006, 03:06 AM   #192
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The Dwarves were unanimous in their clamor that Tollers should leave the ale. And Bávor nudged Skirvir as the server held out his hand. ‘You’ve got the pouch on you, remember. Fetch out the sixpence the lad’s asking for. Or twice the sixpence, now that we’ve gotten the extra pitcher.’

Skirvir fished the leather pouch from out his waistband and poured a number of coins into his large hand. ‘Hmmm,’ he rumbled, pushing them about on his palm. ‘Don’t seem to have any Shire pence.....buuut, as I recall, twelve pence is the same as a silver shilling. And here is one of our own shilling sort of coins.’ He placed the weighty silver coin in the Hobbit’s hand.

‘Go on, look it over. It’s good Dwarven minted silver from the forges beneath The Lonely Mountain. See here on the one side it has the hammer and anvil and on the other is Good King Durin’s crown and the seven stars.’

Bívor spoke up before the server left the table. ‘If you would, laddie, bring us some bowls of that fine smelling fish stew. And how about some more bread and a pot of honey, too?’

'Now Kár, what were you going to say?' Skirvir asked, turning his attention back to their table-guest once Tollers had gone off.
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:51 AM   #193
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“I noticed you’re a little short on help,” Jack said. “Just Mistress Brandybuck for the cooking and Tollers for the serving. Think there might be something I could do...to lend a hand?’

“Help? Oh, yes, I’m sure you could,” Dick replied, his face brightening. This Jack fellow wasn’t quite so rough and useless as his appearance had first made him seem. What was more, he was not so bad looking, cleaned up and put into some clean clothes. “We’ve got lots of customers here today,” he continued, “and Rowan just seems to have disappeared. She’ll be back shortly, no doubt. But, until then, why don’t you run out to the Common Room with me and we’ll see what needs to be done. Before hand, though, we’ve better settle if this will be done for payment for your room. I am quite willing for that to be, but if you would rather be paid in coin and then pay that right back to me for the keep, then so be it. What do you say?”

Dorlind

Dorlind stood studying the two whistles that Taffy had pressed into his little hands. They were beautiful things, he thought. And the two separate carvings on the side made so much sense.

“What’ve you got, Dorly?” asked his sister, coming up to his side. Her little friend had gone in with her brother, Taffy, and she stood, catching her breath after the game of chaise. “Where’d you get those?”

“Taffy made them for us! One for you, and one for me. See, yours has a flower on it.” He handed hers to her. “And this one, with the bird on it, is mine. We’re not going to get them mixed up that way.”

“Sure, Dorlind!” Daisy said, taking her little present with delight. “Taffy made these for us!”

“Yes, and he was also making something else and while he was there carving, a dwarf came up and said he would tell him a story about a dragon and Dorlind says it will be scary and he said I could listen to it! But he had to go in and eat supper and we should go in, too.”

Acting as Taffy had done, he took his sisters hand and led her towards the door. Daisy bounced along at his side, looking at her whistle and talking as she went. “A dwarf talked to him! I wish it’d been me! He’s going to tell a story? Can I listen Dorlind, can I, can I?”

They were coming into the common room now. Dolrind stopped just inside the door and looked over at her. “No, Daisy, you couldn’t listen! You’d be scared. Taffy says that it will be scary and whenever you get scared you always have to sleep with Mami and Papi and then I’m all by myself and I don’t know like that.”

“That’s just cause you get scared,” Daisy returned, sticking out her tongue.

“I do not!” Dorlind said, dropping her hand and stepping away. “You take that back!”

“I don’t have to ‘cause it’s true!”

Dorlind gave an angry shout and lunged towards her. Daisy let out a loud squeal somewhere between glee and fright and darted away, leading the chaise around the room. She dodged between tables, and under them a-times, and Dorlind went right after her, nearly catching her many times. Daisy popped up under one table, turned her head to see where Dorlind was, her feet still going, and suddenly –

“Oomph!” Daisy ejaculated as she ran straight into the side of a chair. Dorlind skidded to a stop three paces behind her, gasping and staring. Daisy turned her head and looked up. Her eyes became wide and her mouth opened. Looking down at her was an unfamiliar face of a red bearded dwarf.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:10 PM   #194
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Thunk!

Small as she was, the little girl knocked into his chair with a great deal of momentum. And large as he was, Skirvir could not help but turn to find the source of the commotion. His eyes at first saw no one, save a youngish lad standing and staring at him a few paces away. The Dwarf looked down, then, and found two bright brown eyes staring up at him.

Skirvir raised his brow and with one great hand reached down and grabbed up the wide-eyed child, sitting her down on the tabletop. ‘Someone’s let the pups loose!’ he chuckled, looking from the girl to the boy and back again.’

‘Is this how the greeting of newcomers is done here in the western lands?’ he asked.

‘Commendably bold,’ answered Bávor, nodding his head as if he’d given it his approval. ‘And certainly attention getting,’ added Bívor. ‘Though I thank my lucky hammer that it was only one of the younger, smaller folk that wished to give us such a welcome.’

‘And what might be your name, little missy?’ Skirvir asked, turning his attention back to the girl. He stroked his long red beard in a considering manner. ‘And you, little master,’ he went on, looking over toward the boy, ‘have you come to give greeting, also?’

Beneath their bushy eyebrows, the eyes of the Dwarves danced with amusement.
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Old 07-28-2006, 08:10 PM   #195
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Gable felt ignored, she had asked if there was any help needed and there they go on and ignore her. Gable thought back to earlier that day, when she heard Primrose cry out for help. Before that, Will had been patching the roof, but now, he can’t from his sprained wrist.

That’s it! Gable thought to herself. I can finish patching the roof! She walked outside, and over to the stables. She would finish patching the roof, she wanted to and who knows what can happen while on a roof, when supper is just being started.

Gable righted the ladder and balanced it. She started up it, noticing the fifth wrung hung loose on its spot in the ladder, she skipped it, and reached for the one over it, and stepped over it.

She was on the roof, the wind blowing her hair. Now she knew she could, so long as no one came looking for her, or saw her. She started patching the roof, and when she got to a spot on the roof, close to the edge, she tore the shingling off, and heard them land.

She put up more shingles and after the third, she reached over to grab another shingle, but couldn’t. Gable looked at her sleeve and blinked. She couldn’t believe it, already the third shingle and she had made a mistake! She had nailed her sleeve to the roof under the shingle, and the nails were too tight to just take them back out again.

Gable turned to call out for help, instead she slipped and her sleeve was the only thing holding her onto the roof. Gable grabbed onto her sleeve, like a rope now that it’s tightened as she dangled from the roof, her lower arm on the roof, and her elbow bent at the edge of it. Gable shouted, “Help! Please, someone help me!”
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Old 07-29-2006, 01:46 AM   #196
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Meliot agreed reluctantly to Rowan's proposal. The last thing she wanted was to talk to that person, and the thought of having to go again into his room made her shiver. Yet she hid her feelings from her friend. She had no choice now but to put the map back. Therefore, she made for Jack's room. She stood a long time listening at the door, until she finally convinced herself that the room was empty.

Meliot cautiously opened the door and looked inside. Indeed, no one was there. She entered the room, and put the map back where she had found it. She sighed with relief when that was done. "Come to think of it, you're no better than your brothers." she said to herself."Always sneaking around, searching for trouble. You should be ashamed of yourself, Meliot."

But it was too late now for any feeling of remorse for her behaviour. For one thing, she had to get out of there. She walked out, closing the door behind her, and ran all the way down the corridor to the common room, to meet Rowan.
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:47 AM   #197
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Afternoon naps were always pleasant. They were all the more pleasant when they ended with a surprise. Primrose awoke, looked around, and smiled. A shiny red apple lay next to her hand. No one was nearby, but she thought she could guess who had brought her the treat. Will. Primrose reached for her crutches and peeked into the kitchen window. He wasn't there. Her eyes drifted toward the stable, and she hopped towards the door, leaning on her crutches. As she came up to the door, she looked up to the roof and spotted Gable. Primrose shook her head. Climbing to the roof wasn't the best idea. Two accidents were enough for one day. But she held her tongue and went into the stable.

A moment later, she wished she hadn't kept silent. Before she even had a chance to say "Will", a clatter on the roof announced yet another mishap. Primrose whirled as quickly as she could with her crutches and looked back outside to find Gable dangling from the roof and shouting.

"Hold on there, lass! Don't fall. We've had enough of that today." Balancing on a single crutch, she pushed the ladder closer to Gable. "Steady your feet on the ladder. It's just next to your foot."
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Old 07-29-2006, 01:44 PM   #198
Glirdan
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‘The line of Dain; isn’t that what you asked about?’ Bávor looked at his brother and cousin. ‘I suppose you could place us there. . . sort of. More like a small fissure off another a fair sized vein branching off the mother-lode.’ Bívor and Skirvir laughed at the analogy. ‘And how about you, Kár? How do you trace your family line?’

"Well, I really do-" he was interrupted by the Hobbit Tollers as he came over to ask if they wanted ale. He awaited patiently as the others rumbled for more ale. 'Now Kár, what were you going to say?' Skirvir asked.

"Well, as I was say-" Thunk! Just then, a young Hobbit lass ran into their table. He chuckled quietly as the Hobbit lass popped out from under the table. "Well hello there young one! Don't mind these three, they're just teasing you. They really do like you," he said and smiled broadly. "Go on. Tell us who young un's are."
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Old 07-29-2006, 01:53 PM   #199
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‘Now there’s a sight you don’t see every day!’ exclaimed Granny Greenhill as the cart turned up the short path to the inn. Someone, an Elf it looked to be, was hanging from the roof of the stable. And ‘Land sakes!’, if that wasn’t some lass on crutches trying to help the Elf down.

Penstemon Greenhill clasped onto Tanni’s arm and pointed over to the unusual scene. The ride into Stock had been fairly uneventful until now. And she’d felt she and the two young Big Folk had gotten to know each other a little better as the cart had rolled along. Now she urged Rhys to hurry over to where the double catastrophe was about to occur.

‘Hurry and get out and help those two!’ she directed in an anxious voice, as Rhys brought the cart to a halt nearby and set the brake.
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Old 07-29-2006, 02:01 PM   #200
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Rhys ran to the ladder and asked the Hobbit with the crutch to step out of harm’s way. He moved the ladder to where the Elvish woman was suspended from the roof and climbed up a few rungs, bringing one of her feet to bear on one of the ladders top rungs. He climbed down quickly then and steadied the ladder for her.

‘Can you get down now, Miss?’ he called up to her. ‘Is there something else we can do to help?’
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