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Old 08-09-2006, 02:45 AM   #241
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● Jack Greymoss ●

Jack set his tray down on the corner of the table; proud that he had not spilled a drop of the stew on the way there. He handed out the tableware, all the while telling the two men, the lady, and the elder Hobbit that it was fresh trout stew for the evening fare. Along with some nice crispy fried mushrooms. He put a basket of thick sliced bread on the table along with a pot of sweet cream butter and another of honey.

‘Best honey there is in these parts,’ he said. ‘Apple blossom this one, from Granny Greenhill’s bees, or so I’m told.’ He wondered a bit as the lady grinned at the Elder Hobbit.

He handed round a bowl of stew to each one, and a plate of mushrooms for all to share; then, asked what it was they’d like to drink. Repeating each one’s order, he tucked them firmly away in his memory and went off to the bar to fetch them.

Once done, he picked up his tray from the bar and continued to make his way....his careful way... to where other hungry guests were waiting.
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Old 08-09-2006, 06:38 PM   #242
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Rowan looked over at Jack, watching as he picked up the tray Tollers had brought out to him. For a moment, her heart leapt into her throat as the bowls and baskets of bread shifted and clinked a bit. Mistress Cela would have his head if he dropped them!

And wouldn’t that solve our problem… she thought to herself. In her mind’s eye she could just see the doughty cook running the man off the grounds her big cooking spoon waving menacingly in the air. Rowan swallowed a smile and turned back to Will and Prim.

‘You’re right it seems. Looks as if the Perch has taken on another server.’ She pushed back her curls and straightened her apron with a few tugs here and there. ‘Looks like I’d better hop to it if I’m to keep my job. Otherwise I might get replaced by the next stray as comes along.’ She pursed her lips, her eyes narrowing, as she gave Jack’s novice efforts a quick glance.

‘So, what can I bring you two? Stew, mushrooms, bread…?’ Her mouth curved up in a mischievous bow. ‘Two glasses of the chilled, ‘special’ cider that’s kept in the cellar, perhaps? Guaranteed to ease up any aches or pains.’
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Old 08-09-2006, 07:41 PM   #243
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"Listen," Cela told Dick. "I told you what I thought, and after that it's up to you to run your inn as you see fit. The question at hand is not whether I will like him or appreciate him or go easy on him; it is whether I will tolerate him in my kitchen, and I have told you yes. If you would like me to change my mind, feel free to keep arguing the point."

“Oh! Certainly not! I won’t argue the point if you have nothing further to say. I know you well enough not to expect to gain an inch of ground.” Dick nodded knowingly and turned back to his food. In another couple minutes he was finished. He stood up and took the dishes to the sink. “Thank you, Cela,” Dick said, turning to her one last time. “I have hopes the he’ll do alright here, so long as you don’t scare him off.”

She didn’t answer as she took his dishes and rinsed them briskly. Dick shrugged his shoulders and decided to take it at that and not ask for any more. He straightened his vest, glanced once more at the little dots that the stew-broth had made on it, and went out into the common room to see how things went.

He spotted Jack at once, making his way between the tables with a laden tray on his hands. He seemed to be doing well and by the look on his face, he may have forgotten Cela.

“Hollo, Tollers!” Dick called, half raising his voice as the young server passed nearby. Tollers turned at once and hurried over to him. “You seem to have taken a liking to this Jack fellow – taken him fishing and what not. Will you keep your eye on him for me? No, no, not because I mistrust him,” Dick said quickly as a shocked look leaped up into Tollers’ face. “Keep him out of the kitchen for a little while. You take the dishes in and make sure he doesn’t pile that tray too high.”
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Old 08-09-2006, 07:44 PM   #244
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"What about you, Kár? Did you want to join in on the singing and the playing?" Bívor asked, turning back to his fellow Dwarves. "Didn’t mean to leave you out."

"Hmmm, I'm not sure. I may. But I forgot my own flute back home, hoping to listen to others music. But if you're in need, I'd be glad to lend a hand," Kár said, smiling up at the Elf. "Just tell me what you would like me to do, and I will."
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:17 PM   #245
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Penstemon’s ears were quite sharp for a woman of her ripened age. And, too, her curiosity had not dimmed with the passing years. While the Big folk passed a few pleasantries, her attention had drifted from her food and drink to the table where the Dwarves sat, and standing near them, Elves.

Three of the Dwarves did not seem all that pleased to be speaking with the nearest of the Fair Folk. But the fourth Dwarf, who did not bear a family sort of resemblance to the others, seemed unphased by the Elf. And in fact was smiling up into the fellow’s face as he spoke.

‘Oh what a treat!’ she said aloud, clapping her hands together. ‘The Dwarves and the Elves,’ she hurriedly explained, her hands fluttering toward the group she’d spied. ‘I believe there will be music tonight.’ Her eyes gleamed as she informed the table of what she’d overheard.

‘Haven’t danced in a month of Sterdays! I hope they play some tunes to set the old feet tapping!’ She grinned widely at Rhys and Tanni. 'Didn't you say you played the fiddle. And you sang?'
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:19 AM   #246
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Taffy pushed his spoon about in his bowl; moving the chunks of fish from one side to the other. Stews, and especially fish stews, were not his favorite sort of food. He looked up to see if his mother or father were watching. They were not, and so he reached for another chunk of bread, slathering it with butter and honey.

He felt a tug on his sleeve. It was Seren, who’d sidled up next to him, wanting another piece of honey bread herself.

‘I don’t like it either,’ she whispered, climbing up on his chair to kneel beside him. She took the spoon from him and made a few passes in the rapidly cooling stew. ‘Glop!’ she mouthed at him, making a face at the gooey mess that rolled off the spoon she held and plopped onto the surface the bowl’s contents. She shuddered a little and wrinkled her nose. ‘Doesn’t it look like somebody already ate it and then upchucked it?’ She pinched her nose shut as if the smell disgusted her.

Taffy’s giggle was cut short as he heard his and his sister’s name called. He looked up guiltily and there was his mother giving him her steely eyed stare. ‘Don’t be rude, you two! Just push your bowls away from you if you’re done.’ Taffy could see his father shaking his head at him.

‘No dessert for you two!’ his mother went on. ‘Now get down from the table and get your hands and faces cleaned up. And no more remarks about the good food that the cook worked hard to make for you.’

Taffy tried to look contrite as he helped his sister down from the chair. Taking Seren’s hand, he hurried her back to their room. A few quick swipes with a washcloth to her face and likewise to both their hands and he declared it good enough.

‘Hey, let’s go see if that storyteller Dwarf is done eating,’ Taffy said as they left the room. He held Seren back for a moment before they entered the common room; making sure his parents’ attention was elsewhere. The two inched around the edge of the room, making for the Dwarves’ table . . .
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:39 AM   #247
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Tollers

By the middle of the supper hour, Tolers had lost all count of the number of bowls of fish stew and flagons of ale that he'd served up to the customers of the Golden Perch. He felt that his dedicated service in the common room definitely made up for any small shortcomings earlier in the day. But no matter how hard he worked, Tollers could not get his mind off the gold coin with the hammer and anvil tucked inside his vest pocket.

Still, Tollers was careful to pay attention to his duties and, with a wide grin plastered on his face, responded promptly when Dick spoke to him. "Oh, yes, sir. That's exactly what I was trying to do......to keep Jack out of the kitchen. You see, it's as much for his own good as for Cela. Jack is a wee bit afraid of Cela's bite, and he'd rather not step inside her den. For one of the Big Folk, he's got a good head on his shoulders, I'd say, and knows what's best for his health."

Remembering the dishes that he'd stacked up halfway to the ceiling on Jack's tray, Tollers silently promised that he'd be more careful in the future. He did not say anything to Dick about that part. Thank goodness, Jack had managed to keep all the bowls from toppling over onto his customers....at least so far.

Fishing into his vest pocket, Tollers fingered the silver shilling that Skirvir had given him in payment for the ale. He could not keep himself from checking on it every five minutes. Earlier that night, he had deposited twelve pence in the Inn's money box from his own leather pouch so he could keep the silver shilling for himself. Holding the golden coin in one palm and the silver shilling in the other, Tollers had noticed that, although the pictures on the coins were not an exact match, they were very, very close. Looking at the two hammers, he had almost squealed in delight.

It was then that a bold plan had begun to form in Tollers' mind. He must be extremely careful. He mustn't tell the Dwarf or anyone else where he'd found the coin. But perhaps if he spun an imaginative tale he could get more information out of Skirvir or one of his fellow Dwarves so that he could learn what this thing was. It would have to be a wild and wooly tale with no connection to the Inn, the Stock Brook, or even the Shire. And he would need to speak with the Dwarf in private, not here in the middle of a crowded room with so many nosey hobbits milling about who loved to pry into their neighbors' business.

The first place to start was to find out what room the Dwarves would be occupying in the Inn. Tollers' eyes darted back to Master Dick. Trying to sound as casual as possible, he queried, "Those nice Dwarves, especially the one named Skirvir....you wouldn't happen to know what room they have for tonight?"

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Old 08-10-2006, 03:51 PM   #248
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Colren

Tired of running from his own memories, a tall ragged man walked to the center of Stock...

It is getting dark, I think they lost me. Colren walked slowly repeating "I-am-not-mad", a word for each step he took. For a week, I have had no time to rest. Why did they have to come, I told them, It's over... Ah, an inn! He walked towards the inn, but then stopped. They'll learn, the same way I did. By pain. Colren looked into the nothing and stood there before the inn as if everything froze. That's that, I must rest. Those fools aren't here now, I'm safe, I'm safe... I'm safe. I am safe. He grinned as a man, who lost all. "Dead", Colren started muttering: "All, dead. Dead!"
Then he notised the cold wind and came back to sense.

Colren opened the inn door and steadily walked to the empty counter avoiding the other people there, still muttering "I-am-not-mad". Once he was in front of the counter, he lifted his head and looked straight, as if through the wall; put a golden coin he held in his hand on the table; loudly said "Ale" and fainted on the floor...

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Old 08-11-2006, 02:15 AM   #249
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Tollers:

Tollers stood patiently waiting for an answer from Dick. But then something unexpected happened that momentarily swept away his question about the Dwarves. The hobbit's eyes widened with surprise as he saw the strange man faint, collapsing on the floor in an ungainly heap.

"Oh, dear, dear." Tollers went red in the face and tugged insistently on Dick's sleeve, turning him around so he could see what had happened.

Running over to the prostrate figure, Tollers tried to lift up the man's shoulders and called out to whoever was nearby. "Water. Forget the ale. This man needs some water! And is there a healer in the house?"

Tollers privately reflected that he had never seen so many of the Inn's guests and staff meet with various mishaps in such a short space of time. He sincerely hoped that he would not be next on the list.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:48 AM   #250
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Gable walked out to the stables, when she realized that she left her bow and arrows at her room. She sighed and walked back into the Inn, where Tollers was with a strange man. He shouted suddenly, “Water. Forget the ale. This man needs some water! And is there a healer in the house?"

“I can get some water, and then go and find the healer, again.” Gable said, striding off to the kitchen. She got a mug and filled it with cool water, and gave Tollers the water. “There, now I can go and find the healer.” Gable said and walked out the door. She ran over to Doc Puddifoot’s.

She knocked on the door. “Just a minute! Don’t rush!” He hollered at the door. A couple of seconds later he opened the door and said, “Again? What’s the trouble this time?”

“Well, there’s a man at the Inn who collapsed, well, fainted. And Tollers asked for a healer, and I came to tell you.” Gable replied.

He closed the door and started running as fast as his hobbit legs would carry him. Gable followed at an easy stride, keeping up with the hobbit easily. Doc Puddifoot walked over the unconscious man.

Gable thought she’d check the kitchens, now that he’ll be taken care of. “Is there anything I can do to help?” she asked from the doorway.
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:44 AM   #251
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Rowan had gone off to the kitchen to fetch food and drink for Will and Primrose. She was just settling two glasses of cider on her tray when the door to the kitchen opened and Gable’s face peeked through.

‘Is there anything I can do to help?’ she heard the Elf ask.

Cela seemed to be busy between the stirring of the stew and the frying up of mushrooms. Rowan motioned for Gable to come on in.

‘You’re here in the nick of time! Usually Prim would wash up dishes as we went along, but with her leg broken she can’t do it. And if we leave it for later for Tollers and me, I swear the bowls and mugs’ll be stacked to the ceiling!’ She looked hopefully at Gable. ‘Do you think you could give us a hand here?’ Drawing nearer to the Elf she whispered that Cela was in a little bit of a grumpy mood and would she please be very careful not to break any of the dishes. ‘Not that I think you would, mind you,’ Rowan assured Gable. ‘But cook’s nerves are a bit on edge tonight.’

From beyond the kitchen door, she could hear a commotion of some sort in the common room. ‘Now what’s going on out there?’ she asked, fetching one of the bigger aprons for Gable.
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:06 PM   #252
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‘Wait, Taf, wait!’ Seren yanked hard on her brother’s tunic and planted her feet firmly on the wooden floor. From the corner of her eye she had caught the image of the man at the counter as he fell to the floor. ‘Over there,’ she went on, pointing toward where a knot of people were gathering. She and Taffy climbed on a chair, the better to see what was going on.

One of the Inn servers, Tollers, had knelt down by the stricken man and was calling for help. Much to her delight, an Elf stepped in to help, bringing water and then running for the healer.

Taffy jumped down, lifting Seren to the floor soon after. ‘Let’s sneak to the end of the bar, there…where the shadows are,’ he whispered to her, pulling her along once again. ‘We can see better what the fellow looks like.’

By the time the healer had come, huffing and puffing as he ran through the door, the two children had reached their vantage point. ‘Look how tall he is!’ Seren whispered, as they peeked around the corner of the counter to where the man lay stretched on the floor.

Her brother nudged her shoulder, putting his finger to his lips. The poor man looked a lot the worse for wear. Like one of the men on a stick his Ma always put up in the garden to keep away the crows…..all raggedy and limp.
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:05 AM   #253
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‘Now what’s going on out there?’ Rowan asked, fetching one of the bigger aprons for Gable.

“Well, a strange man fainted. I came in from the stables to get my, uh, some things.” Gable explained, since she still liked to keep the bow and arrows mostly a secret, only a few hobbits and visitors had ever actually seen her with them. “And Tollers was with a man who had fainted. I gave him some water then fetched the healer, Doc Puddifoot.”

Gable put on the apron, and started working on the dishes. She stacked them and put them away as she worked, her mind drifting back and forth from her work, and the pony, and the pony’s owner, who is either dead, or hurt, or lost…
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:53 AM   #254
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Tollers:

The Doc carefully examined the fallen man and then clucked his tongue in exasperation. "Fortunately, he'll survive, but I am afraid this is what comes of living life on the edge! I expect this fellow has been out gallivanting on the roads and having no regular home life.... Listen all you young folk ! Do what your parents say and stick close to your burrow or farmhouse. That is, unless you want to end up collapsing in a heap on someone else's doorstep!"

Tollers could have sworn that the Doc had stared straight at him when he began moralising about the evils of a life lived on the road. The young hobbit wondered if his own parents had said anything to the Doc about their son's secret dreams of going out to see the world. As he'd been taught to do when younger, Tollers bit down on his tongue so as not to snap back and insult one of his elders. Privately, however, Tollers thought it would not be such a bad thing to collapse in a dramatic heap in someone else's parlor and have people rushing about to help, all curious about where you'd come from and what had caused you to collapse.

Doc gave more instructions about the stranger, saying that he should be gently lifted up and taken to one of the rooms and then put in bed. Since the fellow had already flipped the coin down, and it was enough to pay for his room and board that night, and at least two more nights to follow, no one had the heart or inclination to contradict the good doctor. Tollers and several other guests of the Inn grabbed onto the man's arms and legs and took him off down the hallway where the big folk's rooms were.
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:58 AM   #255
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‘Now what are you two sprouts doing here in the shadows?’ A hand, big as a Shire ham, was laid lightly on Taffy’s shoulder. Big and broad as he was, Skirvir had come up quietly behind the two as they peeked out to see what was happening with the fainting man.

‘Looks like they’re taking him off for a rest,’ he went on, offering the children a hand up each. His eyes twinkled in the crackling light of the fireplace as he looked them over. ‘I’ve time for a bit of a story,’ he chuckled, raising a brow at Taffy. ‘That is, if you’ve the time for listening…..what with your sleuthing and such.’
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:23 AM   #256
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Two bowls of piping hot stew, a basket of warm, sliced bread, honey, butter, and a pot of plum conserve (for Will; it was one of his favorites as she recalled), a heaping plate of fried mushrooms, and two nice, full mugs of the hard cider from the cellar – that was the savory burden Rowan had balanced carefully on her tray.

‘There you go, you two,’ she said, smiling at the both of them as she deftly placed the food, drink, and condiments before them. ‘Now you let me know if I can fetch anything else.’

She paused for a moment, looking to where the man was disappearing through the door to the Big Folk rooms. She shook her head, turning back to Will and Prim. ‘I swear – we should mark this day on the calendar. Two injuries, one of the Big Folk gone all fainty, and an Elf who managed to nail her sleeve to the roof! Next year maybe we should shut the doors tight and just keep to our beds tile the day turns anew.’

‘Say!' she went on. 'I heard those two young Elves over there were going to sing and play for us.’ She looked hard at where Cir and Cir stood. ‘Can’t say as I see any flutes or pipes or such. Course maybe they’ll just magic something out of their sleeves or even the air.’ She chewed on the edge of her lip. ‘Maybe I should offer them some wine or ale or something to wet their whistles before they begin.’ Rowan made her way to where the two Elves were.

‘Pardon, Cir….. and Cir…..may I bring you something to drink before you play and sing?’
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Old 08-18-2006, 11:08 PM   #257
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Seren’s eyes were big as saucers as her little fist closed round one of the Dwarf’s fingers and hefted herself up to her feet. She regained her composure quickly, though, recalling the words he had used in greeting. Her chubby little fists were planted firmly on her hips and she cocked her head back, one eye considering him; her lips set in a disapproving pout.

‘Hey you! I’m not a sprout!’ she said in as forceful a way as her five year old self could muster.

Taffy sighed as he brushed off the knees of his pants and stood up straight. ‘My little sister,’ he said to Skirvir, as if those two words explained everything. ‘Seren,’ he went on, turning back to his sister. ‘This is the fellow who does carvings, too. Master Skirvir is his name, not “hey you”.’ He bent down closer to her. ‘Mind your manners or I’ll tell ma,’ he whispered.
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Old 08-20-2006, 05:07 PM   #258
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The fiery response from the little girl tickled Skirvir no end. One of his older brothers had been graced with the birth of a daughter, a little spitfire much like Taffy’s sister. Skirvir bit back a chuckle, despite the fact that he found this display of her personality so pleasing. He was wise enough to know she would bristle again if she felt he were laughing at her.

‘Little mistress – Seren,’ he said, allowing a serious tone in his voice and a slight bow. ‘Your pardon; I did not mean to be rude. You will forgive me, I hope?’ He turned to Taffy, a renewed smile curving up just above his bushy beard. ‘What say we sit out on the porch a bit; I’m sure the innkeeper would lend us a lantern to hang from the eaves. It’s quieter out there, better for storytelling.’

He glanced up from the two young Halflings and saw another, older Halfling woman looking at them in a concerned manner. ‘Is that your mother?’ he asked the two children. ‘Perhaps we should go ask her permission.’
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Old 08-20-2006, 06:01 PM   #259
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‘Haven’t danced in a month of Sterdays!’ the wizened old Hobbit had exclaimed. Her eyes sparkled in the light of the little candle lantern that hung above their table. ‘I hope they play some tunes to set the old feet tapping!’ Granny Greenhill grinned widely at Rhys and Tanni. 'Didn't you say you played the fiddle? And you sang?'

‘’Deed we do, Miz Penstemon!’ Rhys answered, buttering up a slice of bread. ‘Your honey, right?’ he went on spooning up a generous helping of amber colored honey from the pot Tanni had pushed near him.

‘He’ll be busy jamming his mouth full of sweets, Granny,’ Tanni said, laughing. ‘So to answer your question more fully – we do play and sing. It’s one of the pleasurable sides to our business of traveling about to find wares for our family’s livelihood….gathering up the sounds and rhythms of the places we go to.’ She pushed her empty bowl away and took a small sip of wine. ‘What about you Master Hithadan? Do you sing or play an instrument? Or are you a dancer, like Granny Greenhill?’ She raised a brow expectantly at him, a tinge of mischief playing at the corner of her smile.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:03 AM   #260
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Taffy could see his mother motioning him to come quickly. Her hand was waving in a no-nonsense manner at both him and his sister. ‘Now just what are you doing bothering that man?’ Lilly asked her two children when they stood before her.

‘He’s here with his friends,’ Madoc continued, stepping up by his wife. ‘Relaxing, I’d bet after a day on the road.’

‘And I’m sure he does not want to be entertaining two young’uns such as yourselves,’ Lilly put in.

‘But Mami!’ protested Seren, speaking up before her parents could ssay another word. ‘He does want to ‘tain us! Don’t you?’ she added, turning to look at the Dwarf as he approached.

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Old 08-21-2006, 01:55 PM   #261
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‘Pardon, Cir….. and Cir…..may I bring you something to drink before you play and sing?’

Carantilion was still somewhat mournful, having heard too well the dwarvish comments despite his best attempts at courtesy. He had heard the stories of bitterness and strife of course but being a Noldo of Imladris, the refuge founded after his people had been driven from Eregion, he had also heard many stories first hand of how there had been a time when the they had worked in harmony with the Dwarves of Moria. Now they would have to prove that harmony of another kind was possible. In the mean time his sister had explained to Rowan that they had not yet eaten and were eager to try the provender before settling to their music making.

Finally Cir brightened. He had a fondness for mushrooms equal to a hobbit and the prospect of butter fried mushrooms and toast was balm to his gloomy spirits and resigning himself to whatever their fate might be when they rejoined the company of pilgrims he decided he might as well enjoy an evening of music making unrestrained by the conventions and hierachy of the Hall of Fire. Having waited for his siter to place their order for mushrooms, fish and a couple more tankards of the delicious ale, he ventured to ask of Rowan.

"Mr Boffin mentioned that the Inn had instruments but they might be too small, since we only have a whistle flute with us, do you think we might take a look and see if it would be possible. We can manage without but it would be better with... "
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:18 AM   #262
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‘Let me just ask Will where those instruments might be,’ returned Rowan. ‘He should know, as he sometimes get some of the fellows round here together to play and sing.’ She fetched a couple of large mugs of ale for the two Elves; then went to get the food they’d ordered. On her way to the kitchen, she stopped at Will and Prim’s table for a few quick questions on where she and the Elves might find the instruments the innkeeper had spoken of.

Rowan put the bowls of stew before Cir and his sister, along with two plates on which they could pile their mushrooms and their bread. In the middle of the table she placed a heaping plate of fried mushrooms and a basket of fresh, thick sliced bread. Butter, blackberry jam, and honey stood attendant on the Elves’ whims.

‘Once you’re done eating,’ she told them, ‘you can go through that door there, just to the side of the fireplace. The third door on the left is a small storeroom we tend to shove things into that only get used now and then. Will thinks the plain wooden chest where the extra band things are kept is against the far wall of the storeroom. It has an old birdcage on it, and a rather ratty looking fringed shawl we once used as a table runner for some gathering. Go ahead and poke about; find what you need. You can call me to help if you need to.’

She paused and gave a critical eye to the fare upon the table. ‘Now is there anything else you’ll be needing?’
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:25 PM   #263
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"No, thank you, this is a real feast" . Two pairs of bright eyes looked happily at Rowan. It wasn't fair to say that the pilgrim's rations were frugal but after weeks of travelling a proper hot meal was a real delight. "We will have a look as soon as we are done - though that might take some time" Cir grinned. "Thank you for your help".

Rowan was too busy to linger and the twins wasted no time in starting their meal and their disagreement forgotten for a while they fell into discussing in their own tongue the instruments they might find and the music they might play.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:02 AM   #264
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‘Don’t you?’

The little girl’s question invited an affirmative answer. But he thought perhaps he should first acquaint himself with Taffy and Seren’s parents. Miz Sandybanks had the very same look on her face he remembered his mother had when he and his brothers had overstepped her sense of proper social interaction.

Skirvir stepped a little closer to the family, nodding his head to Lily first and then to Madoc. ‘Let me introduce myself, goodmaster and goodmistress. Skirvir, I am; son of Skjald; from the Lonely Mountain, east of the Misty Mountains. My cousins and I,’ he went on, pointing to where Bívor and Bávor sat, ‘are traveling westward to the Blue Mountains, seeking some family of ours who are said to still live there.’

He pointed at Taffy, then, smiling. ‘I saw your son sitting on the step of the inn, carving some little beastie from wood. We struck up a small conversation. I’m also a carver, though my materials are gems. Your son has a steady hand and a good eye for detail for one so young, if I may say so. Anyway, to make a long story short, I did indeed promise a story to him, about the creature he was carving.’ Skirvir grinned at Seren who continued to look at him expectantly.

‘And of course, by extension, I would be more than happy to share the story with Seren. That is . . . if this is agreeable to you both.’
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:51 PM   #265
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Taffy gave a pleading look at his mother and crossed his fingers behind his back as insurance. Mothers could be quite funny in their decisions he knew from experience, and oft times not in a comical manner. He could see her sizing up the Dwarf, his looks, his speech, his manners. And if they were found wanting she might just order her two children off to their room and the give the Dwarf a polite, but quite firm, dismissal.

Seren, on the other hand, could barely contain her eagerness for her mother to make the ‘right’ decision. At a sharp, quick look from Taffy, though, she had squelched the whining protest she was about to make. And instead shifted from foot to foot impatiently.

Time stretched out in a long sticky stream, or so it seemed to Taffy. His mother had turned slightly to speak low with his father. Taffy held his breath. He could hear his heart beat loudly in his ears. Then, with a relieved little whoosh, he exhaled. Time had resumed its normal flow; his mother was turning with a smile toward Skirvir and making the introductions of herself and her husband.

A few quick words to both the children...Mind your manners now! Be polite to Master Skirvir!...were given. And received with hurried nods of affirmation as Taffy and Seren took hold of the Dwarf’s hands and prodded him toward the door.

‘We’ll stand you to a pint after!’ Madoc called to Skirvir’s retreating back. He waved a hand to the trio. ‘Nice folk you meet here at the Perch,’ he said, pulling the chair out for Lila to sit down. He reached into his pocket and fetched out his pipe and pouch of pipeweed. Soon a small cloud of smoke drifted up toward the rafters. A contented smile played on his lips as he looked about the room, his glance falling fondly and often on his dear, sweet wife.
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:02 PM   #266
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-¤- Hithadan -¤-

The Ranger raised his own brow at the teasing question. The evening was pleasant as was the company and he felt relaxed enough to give a like answer. ‘Well,’ he began, giving a nod to Miz Greenhill, ‘I have been known to step lively to a tune or two. Be pleased, m’am, to take a turn with you about the floor.’ He raised his mug and took a generous swallow of ale. ‘And given enough of this lovely beverage to wet my pipes, I think I can sing passably. Background, of course. I’m much better when I’m with someone who actually knows the tune.’

He reached for the pitcher and poured himself and Rhys a refill. Tanni still sipped on her wine. And as he looked questioningly at Granny, she tapped the rim of her own mug with ‘yes’ nod.

‘Half or fill?’ he asked, the lip of the pitcher poised over the mug.
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:09 PM   #267
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‘Oh just a half!’ Penstemon grinned at the tall man, giggling to herself at the thought of such a big fellow leading her about the floor. She cocked her head at him and examined his face as he poured her ale. Handsome enough, she supposed….for one of the Big Folk, that is. And from the look on Tanni’s face as she watched the man, Penstemon supposed the woman thought much the same.

Never hold a candle to my own Rowlie she thought to herself, remembering what a fine dancer he’d been – very light on his feet.

And thinking of ‘feet’ she threw the Ranger a question, or rather a firm request; that is, that he would be careful with his big feet all clad up in hard-soled boots. ‘These toes have got to last me a few more years,’ she concluded. ‘So I’d be thankful if you didn’t mash any of them. Not that you will or would, just bringing it to your attention.’

From across the table she caught a stifled chuckle…
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:53 PM   #268
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Will pushed his plate away and sat back comfortably in his chair. His belly was full and he was feeling quite happy and content. Rowan’s question about the box of instruments had led to a short conversation with her on who was intending to perform. He’d almost jumped up to run fetch his concertina, but a jostle to his arm reminded him he’d best rest the injured limb. Hard to play the instrument with a broken finger and a swollen wrist.

And poor Prim – she’d be out of the dancing for a good bit, too . . .

Well, he could still sing and tap his feet to the rhythm of the songs.

One of the Dwarves, the reddish haired one, went by their table, ferried along by two youngsters. There were excited sounds from the children’s; the word ‘story’ peppering the conversation. The boy and girl’s eyes gleamed in anticipation. And the Dwarf, for his part, was egging them on with bits and pieces of some tale. They trio, Will gleaned, was bound for the front porch where the story would begin.

Will leaned forward and tapped Prim lightly on the arm. ‘Say, would you like to sit out on the porch for a bit? Catch some fresh air?’ I think the Dwarf is going to be telling a tale or two to the young ones that just passed by.’
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Old 08-24-2006, 02:16 PM   #269
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● Jack Greymoss ●

The supper hour was slowing down a bit. Jack was now picking up more empty dishes than he was delivering filled plates to the patrons. Hunger had once again been staved off; though, from previous experience with the Little Folk he knew that in a few hours there might be calls for seconds of desserts or the wee plate of bread and cheese.

He stood for the moment at the bar, dirty dishes and tableware and mugs piled precariously on his large tray. Tollers was busy delivering drinks – ale and cider and mugs of sweetened tea could always be squeezed in to the nooks and crevices of a seemingly full belly.

Not wanting to appear the idle laggard, Jack re-piled the contents of his tray into a more stable heap. ‘Right then,’ he muttered to himself as he hoisted it to his shoulder and steadied it with his hands. ‘Just have to deliver this to the dragon’s lair meself.’ He inched carefully toward the kitchen door, calling out, ‘Coming through!’ as he pushed open the door with his foot. Walking slowly as he might, he reached the counter near the sink and put down his burden in a clear spot.

A smile creased his face as he mentally applauded his successful transport and delivery. With just as careful hands, he began reaching for the plates, one by one, to scrape what remained upon them into the slops bucket.
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:05 PM   #270
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Finishing her meal with a sigh of contentment Cir made herself comfortable and studied her brother. He seemed to have cheered up quite a bit and was taking an active role in organising their plans for the evening. The air of sadness around him had lessened considerably as they had talked excitedly about what they would do, and she hoped it would stay like that as they played and sang or the poor hobbits would find themselves in tears. Cir had such an emotive voice that it was impossible not to react to what he felt as he sang.

The sound of a chair being pushed to the side broke her thoughts, and she looked up to see Cir on his feet and smiling at her.

"Third door on the left through that one by the fireplace." At the sight of her confused look he continued. "Just in case you were too busy filling your face to listen to our helpful hobbit."

Cir leapt toward him in mock outrage and the two raced to the door, lightly dancing around the servers still delivering food to the tables. They reached the storeroom without incident and dug their way through piles of things, emerging with flutes, clarinets, small drums and a harp.

Carefully they made their way back to the Dwarves' table, which had luckily long since been cleared of food, and dropped the instruments down on the table, avoiding the mugs of ale as they did.

"Kar, there is a flute for you if you are still willing to join us, and for those of you who wish to have something between your hands besides air then please take your pick."

Cir nudged her brother towards the table, encouraging him to get involved and choose an instrument of his own, and moved to do the same.

Last edited by Kath; 08-26-2006 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:37 PM   #271
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Bívor and Bávor

At the end of the meal Bívor had gone back to their room to fetch his flute. As the Elves looked through the instruments piled on the table, he eased it from its soft leather pouch and gave it a try. He was a bit rusty; hadn’t played it in several weeks. Smoothing his beard and mustache back from his lips, he took a trial blow, fingering a few notes. Not too bad! he said to himself, pleased with the effort.

Bávor grinned at him and raising his mug to his own lips took a big swallow. ‘Just getting my own instrument in order,’ he chuckled. ‘So, what sorts of songs are you thinking of playing?’ he asked the Elves, watching their long delicate fingers sort through the other flutes and such.

> - <

Skirvir

The Tale of the Dwarves, the Hobbit, and the Dragon . . .

Skirvir sat down on the lowest step and invited the children to sit where it pleased them. From the deep recesses of a pocket in his vest, he pulled out a few golden coins, placing them in a little pile in the dirt at his feet.

‘Now this is how I heard it from my father –

Tens time tens times ten and yet again were the numbers of coins and jewels and pretty silvered things all set with gems that lay beneath The Lonely Mountain . . .’ he began, telling them of the Dwarves who had delved beneath the mountain and crafted many beautiful things.

From another pocket fame came a red-gold dragon with wings outspread; just the size to fit in the palm of the Dwarf’s large hand. Its underbelly was crusted with crushed pieces of gems and gold; its eyes set with small rubies. Skirvir ‘flew’ it over the heads of the children, swooping it down once or twice toward their upturned faces.

‘My armour is like tenfold shields,’ he growled in a dragon-y sort of voice as they ducked. ‘My teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!’ With a slow circling, he brought the beast to down toward the ground to lie on the pile of gold.

He sang in a low, in a voice that seemed as if it echoed within great caverns; and the beat of it seemed like the tramping and stamping of many feet upon stone pathways . . .

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sward.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon's ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To find our long-forgotten gold.


‘It was Mister Baggins of Bag-end Under-Hill that Thorin and his company sought out. A certain Hobbit who had been recommended to them by the old man with the staff. Gandalf, by name . . .’

The story wove on; Skirvir pausing now and them as the children asked questions.

The stars had come out and gleamed like little gems in the darkness. And the little candle-lantern that hung from the eaves of the inn nearest the door threw out a pale golden track that barely touched the storyteller and his listeners.

Last edited by Noinkling; 08-26-2006 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:59 PM   #272
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Since it looked as if the music was about to begin, Rhys hurried to his room to retrieve his fiddle. By the time he’d got back, Tanni had drawn up another chair next to his on which to lay the piney-wood case. He undid the plain brass clasp and took out his bow, tightening it to the tension he liked, and then rosining it to make it catch the strings well. His left hand fetched up the fiddle to its familiar perch beneath his chin, a soft, folded handkerchief cushioning the wood against his neck. Rhys plucked out a few notes to see that it was in tune; then drew the bow across them each. A few twists of the tuning pegs and he termed it ready to play.

‘Just play what you like,’ he called out to the Elves as they turned to catch sight of the source of the sound. ‘I’ll see if I can follow along.’
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Old 08-26-2006, 08:45 PM   #273
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"I should like that very much, Will. Shall we go?" Primrose smiled. She could think of few better ways to spend an evening after a good meal than listening to tales.

Primrose lifted herself on her crutch, and, taking Will's offered arm once again, the hobbits made their way to the door. They leant in the door frame, their figures outlined by the soft lantern light as they eagerly listened to the tale of the famous Mad Baggins on his adventure with the Dwarves.
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Old 08-26-2006, 09:15 PM   #274
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The Elves walked up after the meal was over and dropped a stack of instruments on the table. "Kar, there is a flute for you if you are still willing to join us, and for those of you who wish to have something between your hands besides air then please take your pick."

Kar got up and bowed deeply to the Elves. "Thank you for this. I shall be glad to play in such company." He picked it up and started twidling with a few notes to get into tune, and ended it by trilling a long, high C. "Fit as a fiddle!" he cried joyfully.

Bávor grinned and raising his mug to his own lips took a big swallow. ‘Just getting my own instrument in order,’ he chuckled. "So, what sorts of songs are you thinking of playing?"

"I would very much like to know that myself," Kar added in interest. "If you just start playing the melody, I'll pick up the tune quite quickly."
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Old 08-26-2006, 10:58 PM   #275
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Taffy had pulled his knees up beneath his chin as he sat on the ground at Skirvir’s feet. His arms hugged them tightly as he shivered in anticipation of the next twist in the story. Seren scooted near enough to him that her shoulder leaned against him. He could feel her jump as the Dwarf spoke of the dragon roaring down upon the town. Taffy unclasped an arm from his legs and put it about his sister’s shoulders.

‘Be brave, Seren. Like Mister Bilbo,’ he whispered. He hugged her to him. 'I'm sure it will turn out just fine for Mister Bilbo and the Dwarves and the men in Dale, too.'

Taffy turned his attention back to Skirvir. He was quite taken with the story of the Hobbit from the Westfarthing. And scary as Mister Baggins adventure seemed at times, still Taffy found himself wondering if perhaps some day some even small bit of such an adventure might find him.
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:32 AM   #276
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He had not planned to stop in at the inn for the night. But there was a savory scent on the air and a pleasant, inviting light which shone from the windows. Tavaro’s stomach grumbled, urging him to turn into the dirt track that led to the front door.

From where he stood he could make out the wooden sign that hung from the post in the yard. A fish, golden in color, leaping upward from blue waters. His mind turned the image over in his mind, recalling at last that there had been mention of a pleasant place nestled along the river north of the Stock Brook. The Golden Perch, yes that was what his friend had called it.

Tavaro stepped off the dusty track and found his way through the shadows and the grass in the yard, to the small thicket of trees near the front of the public house. Two small figures stood in the doorway. And before them, holding court on the step, was a Dwarf. Tavaro listened closely to the words he spoke. A tale of gold and gems and battles and a mighty dragon. On the ground near the Dwarf’s feet two youngsters sat huddled together, listening attentively to the story he wove for them.

It was a fine story; what little he heard of it as he stood quietly. Tavaro’s lips moved silently in the darkness repeating the words as the Dwarf spoke them. Later he would put pen to paper and capture the tale twixt the pages of his chapbook.

‘Wonderful!’ he murmured to himself as the storyteller paused for a breath. In his eagerness to hear the remainder of the story, he stepped out from among the trees and quietly drew near to where the children sat. He lowered himself down, sitting cross-legged to the right of the boy. His hawthorn staff rested beside him, as did his leather satchel.

‘Excellent tale!’ he whispered to Taffy, a great grin on his face. He put his finger to his lips as both the Dwarf and the children looked at him. ‘I will be quiet now; I promise!’ he went on, nodding his head.

‘Please, Master Dwarf, continue.’

Last edited by Tam Lin; 08-27-2006 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:36 PM   #277
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Everything was finally slowing down. The dwarves and elves were picking up instruments, about to begin their promised songs, a group outside the door of the inn was listening to tales of another dwarf, and everyone else was waiting for the music. Dick sat down thankfully in the kitchen with a sigh. Gable and Cela were still working side by side at the counter, finishing up the necessary work.

Dick glanced up when he heard his name called from just outside the door. “Dick?” Lilly came into the kitchen, her shawl draped over her shoulders. “Dick, have you seen Daisy and Dorlind? I haven’t set eyes on them since they were in here eating dinner.”

Dick shook his head. “I don’t know where they are. Oh, wait,” he said after a pause. “I think I can guess. There’s a dwarf outside telling some story or other about a dragon, I think. They asked me earlier if they could listen, but I don’t think I answered them. They’re probably out there. Why?”

“I’m ready to go home and put those two to bed. They’ve got to be tired out.”

“They probably are,” Dick said, smiling. He took out his pipe and a pouch with some leaf in it. “Find them, and if they are listening to the story, let them stay until it’s finished.”

“Alright, dear. I’ll do that.” She leaned across the table for a kiss and once she’d gotten it, she headed towards the door. “Goodnight, Cela and Gable,” she said as she passed.

Lilly quietly made her way around to the front of the inn. A single lantern, it’s shutters fully opened, lit the darkness outside of it. In the circle of light, the dwarven storyteller sat, a handful of an audience around him, deeply enthralled in his story. Directly before him sat two children that Lilly didn’t know, and to his right sat the twins. An elf sat listening also, to her great surprise, his bright eyes fixed on the dwarf. Lilly took a step forward, her eyes fixed on the elf. This was certainly not one of that race who had come earlier.

She stopped outside the ring of light to wait and listen until the tale was ended.

--

Dick

The innkeeper sat at the kitchen table. He turned his unlit pipe around in his hand, looking hard at it, considering. After a moment, he sighed and put it away again. He stood up.

“I’m going to go check on that poor fellow who came in here and simply collapsed,” he told Gable and Cela as he walked towards the door. “If he’s awake, he may want something to eat, so I’ll be back shortly and tell you.”

He noticed the two Cir’s at a table. A collection of instruments lay there and the two of them, and one of the dwarves, seemed to be choosing what they would play. One dwarf already had a flute in his hand and he quietly played a simple tune, as though in practice. Dick smiled in their direction as he passed.

The quiet of the corridor met him as he passed through the door. He walked as quietly as he could (hobbits can be very quiet) up the hall. When he reached the door of the unknown guest’s room, he quietly turned the knob and eased it open.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:40 PM   #278
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Colren couldn't understand why he was in bed, a real bed. Something he hadn't felt for many years, that he felt. Completely confused but happy. Everything looked safe and he was unharmed, just hungry and dirty, but not tired. Should find out where I am, and how I got here. Everything seems somehow clearer, as if a curse left me. Though clear is a wrong word, I can't find any reason to be in a room like this. Or even be at all. Who am I anyway...

Colren sat in the bed smiling and examening the room with his eyes. The only light was coming from a little window, a torch lit outside by the wall. He searched for a candle and found one beside the bed on the floor. As he was thinking how to light it it, Colren felt a pouch attached to his belt. The candle was put back on the floor and as soon as he opened the pouch the door to the room opened and a young man's head peered in. A hobbit! This is really strange. I have rarelly seen folk like this, but they did seem like good people. Still, what are hobbits doing here. Wherever here is...

The man smiled at the hobbit as nicely as he could not knowing what to say. And not really finding any need in saying anything anyway. For some reason he decided that he liked the hobbit.
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Old 08-27-2006, 03:15 PM   #279
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Seren gave the Elf a very stern look before she turned away. The tale had just gotten to the part where the little bird had whispered to the man with the bow and she didn’t want to miss a single detail. She turned her attention back to Skirvir.

The man drew back the arrow on his bow and let fly the shaft...

The little girl snuggled up closer against her brother, holding her breath as the Dwarf drew out the image. Her eyes grew side as he went on, spiraling the little crystal dragon down and down to crash splashing in the lake. Seren smiled and nodded her head at Taffy’s words that things would work out alright. ‘They did! They did!’ she murmured to herself, wriggling in delight as she looked at the ‘dead’ beast.

‘And then what?’ she blurted out. ‘Did the Dwarves move back in? And what about Mister Baggins? Did he get his part of the treasure?’

Taffy nudged her in an effort to make her be quiet.
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Old 08-27-2006, 04:33 PM   #280
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Forest Elf has just left Hobbiton.
Gable finished up the dishes, stacking the last of the cups and plates. She wiped her hands dry on her apron before placing it back upon its hook.

Gable walked out of the kitchen, where a dwarf, was telling a tale. She listened in on the tale, picturing it taking place in her head as she listened.
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