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Old 06-20-2007, 08:50 PM   #41
Forest Elf
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"I don't know much", she said and smiled, her eyes skimming the map, "but the latest attack was somewhere around here." She pointed the place where her family and their neighbors lived. Then she frowned. "The mare must have gone missing from the pasture, but... it's a good animal and valuable property. There aren't a lot of horses here in Bree. Old Maple - the farmer, that is - usually keeps an eye on her. I wonder when did she manage to disappear..."

Grimbeorn looked at the place where she pointed on the map. I wonder why it would have gone after a horse? That is...if it went after the horse...then how much longer will it be before it starts going after beings other than animals? he thought to himself.

"Um.. Maybe others can tell you more. I would be interested in hearing that too. I mean, hearing things once again might help. What happened to your face? If you don't mind me asking, that is."

Grimbeorn looked at her. He had hoped to keep it hidden, but, in seeing that the question had been asked, there was no use hiding it now. "No, I don't mind," he said with a small smile. He raised his head so that it was fully visible. "I got it awhile ago, back when I was tracking a few orcs roaming about. I attacked and, if it weren't for an old friend of mine...my injuries would have killed me." He didn't like talking about his injuries, well, scars much...he felt as though it were bragging in a way.
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Old 06-26-2007, 01:07 AM   #42
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Sam felt decidedly out of place as he listened both to the dwarf’s unhappy mutterings and to Grimbeorn’s casual explanation of his scar. Of the two, he was more impressed with the Man. At least the Big Person was trying to find out exactly what had happened. And he looked like somebody who could face down a pack of Orcs.

‘What am I doing here,’ he wondered to himself, feeling helpless. ‘I’m a smith, not a hero.’ But he thought of Farmer Maple's horse. She had been a dainty, sweet-tempered creature. Sam had shoed her not three months ago. He'd volunteered for this; he'd better try to contribute something useful. Grimbeorn talked of finding a pattern in the attacks. Sam thought this idea quite sensible. With an effort, he spoke up on his own.

“I think Mr. Grimbeorn is right,” he said loudly, surprising himself at how calm he sounded. “And Miss Leanora,” he added hastily, not wanting to be rude. “Maybe we should take a take a look at where the attacks happened and see if we can learn anything. I mean, something big enough to kill a cow or a horse should leave some kind of a trail, shouldn’t it? Whatever this is, it attacked my dad’s farm twice a few days ago. Got a cow and a cat."

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Old 06-29-2007, 10:13 AM   #43
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"And my own farm is here," Toby mused, pointing to the map, "And here is my neighbor's, who has lost a goat." He was beginning to see a pattern in the killings; most seemed to be occurring to the north of Bree, within easy distance of "Chetwood," he muttered, then said it louder: "Yes, it does not seem unlikely that this menace is making its lair in the Chetwood."

There were some nods and murmurs of assent at this, but Toby also thought he could feel a note of fear. Parts of the Chetwood were as dense and tangled as he imagined any place could be; few Breelanders went there, and even fewer were familiar with the place.

"Nobody said that this would involve traipsing off to unknown parts!" objected one - Eric.

"Well," reasoned Toby, "I don't see how we can put an end to the threat if we don't go off and find it." He observed the trapped look in Eric's face. He added, "You are not bound to go with us."

"It's just - my mother and sisters - they have no one else..."

"I understand; you may go now, and no one will think the less of you," said Toby kindly.

He could see Eric's fear battling with his pride; fear seemed to win. Eric explained, "I never really intended to join anyway; the mayor just seemed to take my input as volunteering." And with that, he got up and left with his head bowed in shame.

Trying to put the awkward situation behind them, Toby said, "As for the rest of us, it is too late today to set off, and none of us are prepared. We should go tomorrow morning, I think; we can meet here at the Inn."
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Old 07-15-2007, 12:10 PM   #44
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Toby pointed out that many of the killing had taken place near Chetwood. That was an area that he knew reasonably well. He was about to offer this information, but decided that since it had been several years since he had actively explored the region, he should wait to see how well he still knew it. Also the conversation had already shifted slightly.

"You are not bound to go with us," Toby said, addressing Eric who had said something while Ash was still thinking. Ash quickly gathered that Eric wasn't looking forward to this search, espcially since the wild area of Chetwood had been meantioned.

Ash felt sorry for Eric, but didn't blame him in the least. The fellow was right when he continued to say that he hadn't really volunteered.

Once Eric left, Toby suggested that they start tomorrow morning, meeting at the inn. Ash thought that it might be dangerous to wait another night, but wasn't sure how to suggest it.

"Sir," he began, slowly, " don't you think we should accomplish something tonight? I mean, isn't it kind of dangerous to just wait, even for one night?"

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Old 07-22-2007, 08:03 AM   #45
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Erling agreed with Ash. The young boy was right, they had to start doing something, and the sooner they did, the better for everyone. None knew what the creatures could be up to, and delay was very likely to prove fatal. Yet so was setting out without a clear plan, without even the faintest notion of what they were against. And that was what they would be doing then.

Erling knew the area near Chetwood slightly. His group of friends would frequently set up challanges, and going to Chetwood had been one of them. So Erling had been there a few times. But not many enough- he thought- for him to be feeling as well prepared for what was in store for him as he wanted to.

Erling looked at the now diminished group of defenders with slight apprehension. He wondered if they would be able to sort this out in a few days, and if they would all get out of their troubles safe and sound. Perhaps he should have left, as Eric had done. But no, he thouhgt, shaking his head. That would not be right. Instead, he too turned to Toby, a questioning look in his eyes.

"Indeed, Master Mugwort," he said, "Shouldn't we try to do something tonight?"
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:48 AM   #46
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Toby was rather surprised by these responses, although perhaps he should not have been. It seemed that he had simply been listening to the wrong (and noisiest) people who had wanted to "get out of here in time for dinner" - like that Dwarf. Toby felt a momentary flash of irritation at himself for allowing himself to be so influenced.

"I suppose you're right," he allowed, nodding to the two who had spoken. He paused, not exactly sure how to proceed; he didn't know what they were up against any more than the rest of them; how were they supposed to fight it, then? "Well," he said slowly, thinking aloud. "We can't exactly go traipsing off into the wilderness just yet, but that's just as well, I suppose; maybe we ought not to put all our eggs in the same basket, so to speak. We might be wise to spend our time looking a little closer to home."

"You don't think... that some person could have done this?" someone asked.

"I don't know what to think," Toby retorted, "and if that was the case, I should feel awfully foolish tramping clear off to Chetwood and leaving the possibility unexplored. And we do have some time yet today."
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:37 AM   #47
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Dismayed at the departure of his old friend, Sam stopped listening to the conversation of the others for a few moments. He didn’t blame Eric; not one bit. He was needed more at home, taking care of his mother and sisters. Nevertheless, Sam felt bereft. The two of them tramping through the Breeland would have been a bit like old times despite this unknown danger.

When Sam returned his attention to others, he found they were discussing the idea of looking around the Chetwood versus making inquiries in Bree itself. Someone asked about the idea of a person doing all that damage. Sam was shocked at the idea of such cruelty to defenseless animals. He was more inclined to believe that some creature from Outside was attacking the livestock; in a way, that was less frightening than thinking that one of the Bree-folk might be responsible.

“Why would somebody hurt their neighbors’ livestock? That doesn’t make sense,” he said aloud. “It’s likely hiding in the Chetwood. I vote to start there, but we should bring a few days’ vittles with us, and some blankets in case we have to track it a ways. Maybe we can gather our supplies this afternoon and start out first thing tomorrow morning.” Turning to Farmer Mugwort, he added nervously, “I’ll go along with whatever you think is best, but that’s my two pennies worth.”
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:56 PM   #48
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As Parkun watched Eric walk out of the inn, not daring to look back, a single thought ran through his head: You could just leave, too, you know. You can back out now. His father would make his life filled with a little more annoyance even than usual, but... No, he had plans, anyway. He would put an end to this...

Parkun was rather amused when someone finally voiced a thought that he assumed must have crossed most of their minds. There had been all this talk of creatures who did not have the brains to go unseen, even leaving no clues, much less would kill seemingly at random, out of amusement rather than simply necessity... Did anyone really think that something living in Chetwood would be capable of baffling them so, causing them so much fear?

Kun's question was answered when one of the Hobbits, Sam, spoke up against the idea. His naive reasoning made the young man want to laugh. It seemed that Sam thought all people were the soft-hearted, neighborly, good natured sort like the slow-witted shepherds just outside of Bree. Parkun responded immediately, holding back a derisive snort with difficulty.

"Can you really say that? None of us know what a person is really up to, regardless of how they seem. And you have to admit some people around here seem pretty off. I mean, everyone seems to have a different story about Old Jak, and most seem to feel he's still around..." He cast his eyes about the table, expecting a reaction at least from all of the native Breelanders. "So maybe Chetwood is our best bet, if not to waste our time looking for animal tracks we don't know for sure are there."
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:23 AM   #49
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Sitting around listening to the seemingly endless debate about nothing, in his mind, Kuric grew increasing agitated and irritated with this lot he had found himself with. Then, out of nowhere there was a deserter. As Kuric watched Eric leave, he shook his head in disgust and with narrowed eyes, venomously hissed "coward".

He could scarcely take it much longer and grew weary with the increasing delays. "Why won't this rag tag lot of 'defenders' make some sorta decision? I suppose there are a few more cowards in the bunch that are lookin fer a way out," Kuric though to himself. Kuric looked around determined to assess who would be the next yellow bellies to leave the defenders.

"Volunteer to look good, is all there doing and then when danger looks at them they put their tail between their legs and run."

"Bah!" He spat.

Finally some younger man began to speak of a man named Jak. Too many names confused Kuric as most men all looked the same to him and the same for hobbits. He never could quite tell the difference in their appearance. But this Jak fellow was not known to him so he decided to question the young man a bit.

Shooting a quick glance to Parkun Kuric asked, "Who is this Jak fellow ya speak of lad? Is he friends with orcs and trolls and the sort? Why do we be worryin about him any?"
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:30 PM   #50
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The Dwarf seemed the most restless of anyone, but in a different way from everyone else. There wasn’t an edge of nervousness to him: he purely seemed to desire action, and discussion obviously wasn’t quite his forte. He had been quiet for some time, except for a few grunts, and so Parkun had nearly forgotten he was there. But apparently this topic interested Kuric: perhaps the old warrior was perking up because he thought they were close to the kill.

“There have been stories about Old Jak for years, and people like to talk about sightings. He’s a man of sorts, a strange one, who lives like a wild beast in the forest. Or so it’s said. I’ve heard some interesting things about him…things about him eating raw meat and even still skulking about the town sometimes, watching people.”

He paused again, casting his eyes about to see several faces who knew precisely what he was talking about, but who still found themselves wanting to look over their shoulders. Parkun kept his expression and tone somber, though he made it seem like he was trying to speak more lightly and optimistically when he continued.

“Well, they are just stories…”
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:46 AM   #51
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"Oh, they are", Leanora continued before the dwarf could answer to the innkeeper's son. "But as we are talking weird villagers... I mean possible 'suspects' inside Bree... What about Owyn, Owyn the Nightowl?" The others' expressions varied from irritated to slightly fearful. She turned to the dwarf: "He never leaves his home, expect at night. And everybody knows that he then goes away. To the woods, some say."

Leanora took a breath. She felt stupid reciting all this village gossip. Nevertheless, she went on: "Everybody knows he hates other people. It is also said that he has some sort of... interest in violence." Lea hoped they would not take her as a frightened little girl. She needed them to take her seriously, even though she was among the youngest of them and a woman. "And", she said, lowering her voice a bit, "you can see he's not a true breelander, but from somewhere outside." She shot an apologetic glance at Grimbeorn and Kuric. "I'm not saying that is bad, necessarily, but..." she added hastily and then made a pause. She took a sip from her pint. "Sometimes I wonder why does he live here", she said, her voice thoughtful.
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:32 PM   #52
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Sam happened to be right next to the old dwarf and heard his mutterings about cowards and folk running away from danger. Clearly Kuric was referring to Eric. He was on the verge of giving the fellow a piece of his mind when the girl said that old Jak was just a story. He immediately turned his attention to her.

Self-consciously clearing his throat, he said hesitantly, “Begging your pardon, Miss Leanora, but Jak might not be just a gaffer’s tale. Once or twice a year when we were boys, Eric and I would slip off to the Chetwood for a couple of days. Most of the time we'd do our hunting and come back home. But there were a few times when we thought we heard somebody chanting-like, pretty far away. It always happened at night. We never could find out who it was. We did find Man tracks one time, and a fresh squirrel skin without any arrow mark, but that's all."

Nervously the young smith took a sip of own mug of brown ale, hoping to take some comfort in the slightly bitter liquid as it ran over his tongue and down his throat. He looked down at the scratched surface of the wooden table, expecting that the others found his words foolish. But he knew what he and his friend had seen and heard.

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Old 09-01-2007, 05:15 PM   #53
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“What an absurd idea,” thought Ash, when someone mentioned it might be a Breelander who had killed the animals. But when Parkun brought up Jak, and Leanora mentioned Owyn, it no longer seemed like an impossibility. Others apparently agreed, since Sam spoke up, telling of a time when a friend and himself had heard some strange things in the forest. Leanora repeated a few of the well-known tales of Owyn.

“Do we even know if Jak is around? I’ve heard that he hasn’t been seen for about 10 years. Of course, that could mean he is anywhere. But how on earth are you expecting to find out about these people? Owyn is so rarely seen anyway, I don’t think it would be likely that we would see any of him if he were at all connected to this thing.”
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:17 AM   #54
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"Hey ho, in moonlight they were seen, both Old Jak and the Nightowl Owyn, dancing around a ritual stone, blood in their hands and evil to the bone." A weird hymn echoed from somewhere below.

The voice was low and somewhat unearthly. "Now what was that?" Sam asked. Some people looked slightly uneasy. That voice had, indeed, been quite disturbing. Leanora, however, thought there had been something too familiar in the voice. She glanced at Ash and tried to see if the same thing had occured to him, or was she just imagining things...
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:03 AM   #55
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As soon as Ash heard the chanting from below he froze. He caught Lea’s look and nodded quickly. His arm darted below the table and caught the first available part of Orin that he came across. Up the boy came, fuming and hauled by his collar.

“I’m just trying to hurry you up!” he said indignantly. “I expected as defenders you’d do a little more action and less talking. I can’t even have the fun of you fighting over it!”

Ash set Orin firmly down in the chair next to him. He could feel himself turning red as he thought of what the other defenders must being thinking of himself and his brother. There was definitely going to be trouble once he got Orin home, he promised himself.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:15 PM   #56
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For a long time, Erling stood silent, content only to listen to what the others were saying. He was aware that he could add little contribution to the talk, as the information he had about Jak and Owyn came from the general gossip of the Breelanders, entertaining, maybe, but perhaps also a little unreliable. And he still found it hard to believe-or to accept- that a human being could have done all those things. No, it was surely impossible. And that was not only because his feelings shuddered at the thought. There was another reason, an idea that had been bothering him ever since Jak and Owyn had been brought into discussion.

He was just about to voice his thoughts aloud to the others when a strange voice was heard from somewhere below chanting some words. His own words froze on his lips. But he had no time to act as Ash produced from under the table his little brother Owyn. So that had been the cause of the diversion, he thought relieved and amused.

“Perhaps the lad is right.” Erling said to the others. “We should hurry up with some decision. Yet there is also the fact that we might take the wrong decision and what then…? I am thinking mostly of what you said about Jak and Owyn. Well, they have been in Bree a long time, haven’t they? But these...these…well, these strange happenings, they are recent. I am thinking that if they were really to blame they would have started sooner. And also, these things do not live footprints. Well, I’ve heard many a terrifying thing about Jak and Owyn, but no one has ever told me you cannot see their footprints.”
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:47 AM   #57
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Parkun sneered at the child who was dragged out from under the table, absolutely mortified and so enraged by the fact that the boy's prank had caused goose bumps to ripple across his arms. And though he was sick of sitting here and enduring not only the company of the others but also their conversation of sorts, he was not sure he was happy about the idea of rushing a decision. As Erling made Kun realize, some people were just too trusting.

"Jack and Owyn may leave footprints like any other men," Parkun said in a little above a mutter, feeling like they were going in circles, "but at least it makes sense for a person to be clearing up their tracks."

Master Mugwort soon agreed as well that they should come to a decision soon, and did his best to summarize what people's ideas seemed to be.

"It seems to me," the Hobbit began, "that most of us are agreed that whatever -- or whoever," he added, "could very well be living in Chetwood, as that is still in some regard a wild and unknown place, if not as dark as it once ways, in darker days. But there also seems good reason to me to investigate here in Bree before we go anywhere, to get some of the stories straight that I'm sure we've heard in pieces and from various sources. And perhaps to look into the possibility of a suspect here in town."
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Old 11-02-2007, 01:12 PM   #58
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Kuric sat calmly listening to the various stories about Jak and Owyn, realizing that more than likely they are the scary stories that are typical in small communities where 'strange' folk aren't trusted. "Why" he thought, "I've been that stranger more than once and I've been accused of more than I've ever done."

Kuric readily dismissed the stories with an exasperated sigh and sunk back into his chair with a great deal of agitation. As it seemed that these so called defenders were only capable of defending their chair from somebody else taking it, Kuric began to question the reason why he joined this motley band in the first place.

While in the midst of his own thoughts he sat up with a jolt at hearing a voice from below chant:

""Hey ho, in moonlight they were seen, both Old Jak and the Nightowl Owyn, dancing around a ritual stone, blood in their hands and evil to the bone."

All too quickly it was revealed to be the younger sibling of on the other defenders. Kuric openly chuckled at this occurrence and sympathized with the lad.

"Aye" Kuric said speaking to himself, "a little more action and less talkin would be good lad." Kuric was glad for the distraction but then it seemed the endless debate would continue until Parkun stated that it might be best to get moving.

Kuric, seeing a window of opportunity, gave the suggestion, "Perhaps we would be best off splittin inta groups and speakin to those and looking around town a bit, it would be helpful to get into the wild too. I think 2 or 3 groups might be enough fer our needs"
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:52 PM   #59
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"Two groups, I think," said Toby, "to check around town this afternoon. We can meet back here in a couple hours, and be home for dinner. A trek into the wild might best be saved for tomorrow, as the gathering of supplies and all would probably take more time than we have if we were going to make any progress out there today. I also think that those of you with families would want to let them know before you go traipsing off like that, yes?

"Now, try to split yourselves up evenly, and we can decide who'll cover what areas from there - if no one has any problems with that?"
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Old 11-10-2007, 01:01 AM   #60
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Breathing a quiet sigh of relief that Farmer Mugwort had decided to step in and apply a little common sense to the discussion, Sam loosely cupped his near-empty tankard in his hands and stared at it while he pondered. He still doubted that one of the Bree-folk was behind the attacks, but clearly several of the others did.

'We don't need any more stories, we need to see what really happened,' he thought. The young hobbit frowned in concentration as he tried to recall some of the talk swapped by customers at the smithy over the last weeks. One name jumped into his mind all of a sudden and he looked around at the others and cleared his throat.

"Edin Cengal might be a good one to talk to," he began uncertainly. "He lives in Bree, but he farms outside of town, and his place was hit twice. He comes to the forge every once in awhile to get something mended, and he seems like a sensible sort. The thing is, I'm no more than a nodding acquiantace. I'm willing to go talk to him, but if anybody here is a friend of his, it might be better if one of them asked him about what happened."

His blue eyed glance rested on the face of each of the others hopefully.
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:30 PM   #61
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After speaking to the group, Kuric began gathering his few things, excited about the prospect of finally leaving and going hunting. Upon hearing Toby proclaim that nobody would be going into the wild, Kuric sat back down with exasperation and annoyance. He sighed loudly but Toby was getting the attention now.

Shaking his head with disbelief he began to speak until Sam spoke first. Kuric slumped further in his seat awaiting another discourse wondering if this would ever end.

Looking around at the group, Kuric was more certain than ever that he was the only one who cared to go out and make some kills. After Sam spoke Kuric made one final appeal, "Actions, not words are what we be needin'. Bah, some defenders we've turned out ta be!" Kuric proclaimed with a mirthless laugh.

Pounding his fist forcefully on the table he stood up. Glaring at Sam he said, "I'm going with you lad, I'll show ya how we'll figure this one out." Kuric was hoping that if the two could make it out alone with one other perhaps he could convince them to go out in the wild, he figured that Toby couldn't be in his group so in an attempt to maneuver that he looked at Toby and declared, "Why don't you take the others as they'll need yer leadership." With that Kuric grabbed his pack and readied himself waiting for a reply he dug his fat finger into his ear cleaning out some of the accumulated grime.
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:57 AM   #62
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Ash was greatly relieved when no one seemed put out by Orin's performance. But he still needed to talk to him. Ash looked over at Leanora and signaled her to follow, as he retreated to a corner dragging Orin along.

“So Lea, what are we going to do with him? It might be dark before he gets home, and these days it isn't safe for a child to be alone at dark. We might have to take him with us for today, and return him home tomorrow. I hope father doesn't get worried about you,” he said, turning to Orin, who was still sputtering about being called a child.

“Oh, that's no problem. He said I could stay at Derin's house tonight, so he wont be expecting me back till late tomorrow,” Orin replied, as if well satisfied with his brilliancy.

Ash rolled his eyes then turned to Lea to hear what she thought.
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:31 AM   #63
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"Is there truly no other way? I guess you don't want to skip some of this and take him home...?"

She did not say it seriously, she knew Ash would not agree. She did not need to turn her head to see Ash shaking his head. She knew he would be doing it. Sometimes it was good to know someone that well.

"Alright, Orin, now listen to me", Leanora said, "you may come with us tonight - if Mr Toby has nothing against it. But don't rejoice yet! You will not do anything stupid. Nothing like that stupid song of yours. Otherwise we make sure Dad will know about every single silly thing you've done today, or any day before today."

"And we'll never take you with us to town or to a forest trip again", Ash added.
"And I'll tell Chessie she can't give bring you sweets anymore", Lea said, "Agreed?"

Grudgingly, Orin nodded.

"I guess that's the best we can do with him", Lea sighed.
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:56 AM   #64
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On the outskirts of Bree

Gorin had been traveling all day at a rapid pace. He was anxious to get to Bree before the Sun had set, but know it appeared as if it was to late, the Sun had long since set in the west and the darkness covered all of the land.

Gorin quickened his pace up the slanted hill, still hoping to reach the town before the gates were closed. He was so tired that he didn't see the small bramble hedge that he was heading into. In an instant his feet were tangled in the thorny strands; he tried to yank his foot out, but all it did was cause him to lose his balance. Gorin stumbled about trying to gain his balance, instead he fell rolling down the small hill which he was climbing.

He came to a stop at the bottom, his pack rolling down beside him. He stood up cursing himself for not seeing the hedge; even now the brambles clung to his legs, almost as if some invisible hand had tied them to him.

He stopped for a moment listening to the silence that surrounded him. Finally, he rose to his feet, knowing that it was hopeless; the town's gates were probably already closed. He placed his pack up against a tree, removed his battle axe from his belt, and began to settle down.

One more night in the darkness, one more night sleeping in the cold air, but by tomorrow he would be in Bree. It was the only comforting thought he had all day. He closed his eyes, blocking out the sounds of the night, and was asleep.
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:38 AM   #65
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That dratted dwarf just stood there, pack in hand, waiting for for Sam to take him to Master Cengal's. The hobbit couldn't belive the fellow's utter foolishness. He was so dumbfounded at Kuric's arrogance that he didn't notice Leanora and Ash conferring about their brother.

Sam fought an urge to pound his head against something hard, like the Prancing Pony's wood-panelled wall. He could imagine Master Cengal's reaction to the dwarf. Kuric's high-handedness would get no more response from the finnicky old man but a door slammed right in their faces.

Finally he found his voice. "And without seeing anything on Cengal's land, just how do you plan to figure this one out, master dwarf? What questions do you think you'll ask him?" He continued with uncharacteristic forcefulness. "What we actually need is someone patient enough to look around the places where the attacks took place and find out what clues were left and hack everything to pieces." He glared back at Kuric. "I think it would be helpful to have at least one more Breelander with us when we talk to Master Cengal."
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:35 AM   #66
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Erling had sighed with relief when he realised the group would soon set out, even if that meant only looking around town for now. Even that was a start, and he hoped there would be no more uncertain talk or rash remarks to delay them. He wanted to leave, he wanted to think they were actually doing something, not merely sitting and talking while that thing was at large.

Hearing Sam suggesting Edin Cengal as a source of information, he could not help nodding in agreement. Edin was a friend of his father, and Erling had heard many things about him. He knew that Master Cengal was said to have sharp eyes and to observe things most of the Breelanders ignored. Yet he also knew that Edin was quite proud, and he was sure the sight of Kuric-and most of all, of his attitude-would not please him much, or maybe it would even make him feel too suspicious to say anything. Therefore, when Sam suggested they should have another Breelander accompanying him and Kuric to Cengal, he did not hesitate to volunteer.

“I wish to go with you,” he announced, getting up. “You see, master Cengal knows me slightly, and I think I could persuade him to be open to us.”

With that he got up and headed for the door. There he stopped and looked from Kuric to Sam, a questioning expression in his eyes:

“We are going now, right?” he asked, on a slightly uncertain tone.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:33 PM   #67
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Kuric snapped his fingers, pretending to think a bit. “Edin, right I know that lad. Good bet he’ll have some useful information fer us,” Kuric stated with a quick chuckle. “Let’s get going then, you two and without waiting for any rebuttle from the other defenders, Kuric quickly grabbed Sam by his left arm and looked up to Erling, quickly speaking as he began heading for the door, “well, let’s get going lad, no more wastin time here. The others’ll be checking the other placer fer us now.” With that Kuric made for the door, with Sam walking shortly behind him and Erling following.

It was nearly dusk as the hit the streets of Bree and there was a cool breeze blowing against the dwarves grizzled features. “Won’t be long now,” he muttered thinking of the excitement to come. By now Kuric had convinced himself, that indeed it was a troll or some other creature of their like he would find in the wild. With that thought he began to trot through the streets of Bree, ignoring the protests coming from his companions.

Despite being a dwarf, Kuric loved not the closed dark quarters offered by a cave, but rather the open cool darkness of a night in the wild; for Kuric it had been far too long since he was last in the wild. Sensing that his companions were lagging a bit as they approach the gate Kuric sharply turned around and barked out his displeasure at their delay, “Ya better get movin you two, we’re nearly there.”

Arriving at the gate, the keeper greeted Kuric with some dismay at the rushed approach of such a dwarf. “What can I be helping you with Master dwarf?” was the question issued to Kuric. “You can open that gate fer us now. We’ve got a bit of business from the mayor of Bree to take care of so ya best get movin fer us.,” Kuric curtly replied. Kuric began advancing on the gate not letting the gate keeper reply. The gate keeper, obviously surprised by the dwarf’s manners, but not wanting to interfere with mayoral business quickly opened the gate. Without so much as a glance backward, Kuric roared with glee and began to run down the road into the oncoming darkness.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:08 PM   #68
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Gorin was suddenly awakened a loud rustling and pounding of feet. He jumped to his feet and grabbed his axe. He looked around trying to find the cause of the noise. A scream broke silence of the night. Gorin looked up hill, which he had tried to climb a couple hours ago, as something that looked like a boulder rolled down at him.

Gorin grabbed his pack and tried to run, but the object slammed into him, knocking him down. Gorin fell to the ground, landing squarely on his back. He groined, rubbing his head as he lifted himself up. Much to his surprise as he started to move so did the boulder. In fact it wasn’t a boulder at all, if was another dwarf!

The two stared at each other dumb founded. Finally the other dwarf seemed to come to his senses and began to pull a huge mace from his back, as Gorin took his axe and shield in hand.

As the two stood there, ready for battle, the stillness of the night was broken yet again by three loud cries; they were calling for someone someone named Kuric. Gorin watched as a tall figure appeared on the hilltop and descended towards them, followed by a man who's stature reminded Gorin of a child.

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Old 01-18-2008, 01:29 PM   #69
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Erling felt more than angered by Kuric’s behaviour. Why didn’t the confounded dwarf just let them go to Edin and gather some information? It was risky to walk so blindly into the wild without knowing more. If something happened to them-and this was more than likely-it would all be Kuric’s fault. Actually, Erling thought grimly, it would be his own fault too as his protests to Kuric had been only verbal. Why didn’t he just try to overcome the dwarf and then they could have all could have made for Edin instead? He mused darkly that his constant desire to avoid conflicts, as well as his respect and admiration for travellers would one day bring his undoing.

When they were finally out of Bree, Erling stopped to get his breath back. Kuric had led them at a great pace.

“We shouldn’t be here, you know.” he said. “Not when the others know nothing of this. There’s only three of us, what if we are attacked? The others have no notion of where we are, how will they help us?”

He turned to face Kuric but he saw no sign of the dwarf. He looked around, puzzled.

“Where did he go?” he asked Sam. “ I begin to suspect him after such reckless behaviour. Well, I guess there is nothing for it but to follow him. Come on.”

And with that, he started running, shouting Kuric’s name with Sam behind him. After a while they suddenly found what they sought. Actually, it was fair to say that they found more than that. For instead of only one dwarf, they saw two, facing each other ready for battle. For a moment Erling stared dumbfounded at the unexpected apparition. Then, he drew his knife and went at Kuric’s side.

“Who are you?” he asked the other dwarf sharply. “What business brings you near our village at night?”
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:07 AM   #70
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After a little more arguing the matter was finally settled. Leanora didn't still cherish the idea of Orin coming with them and Ash didn't seemed to be pleased by it either. So, in the end, only the youngest of the Winkle children was pleased when they finished their little debate.

"Hey, where did all the folks go? That grumpy dwarf and those two others?" Orin asked, seemingly displeased by the fact that he had been disincluded of some adventure. Before either of his elder siblings could rebuke him, Toby replied his question politely: "They went to the woods to meet Edin Cengal."

"They did?" Lea asked, somehwat stupidly.
"You mean Kuric, Sam and Erling?" Ash blurted out at the same time.
The twins glanced at each other.
"Master Toby," Leanora said, "this dwarf has little knowledge of the surroundings of Bree. If I've understood correctly, neither Sam Tunnelly nor Erling Headstrong know the woodsparticularly well either, so..."
"...we think it would be best if we followed them," Ash finished smoothly, "It's no fun getting lost in the woods at night, especially if there's some unknown... thing around."

"You might be right", Master Mugwort agreed, "you'll be taking your brother with you, right?"
Both Ash and Lea nodded.

Grimbeorn, who had been following the discussion in silence, rose up. "I think I'd best come with you", he said in a quiet voice.
Ash and Lea glanced at each other.
"You're most welcome", Lea said with a small smile, "but let's go then, otherwise we won't be able to find them anymore and then we are going to get lost."

The four hurried out of the Inn, into the night. Lea could hear Orin whisper to his big brother: "Ash, wouldn't it be really exciting to get lost?"
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:09 PM   #71
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“Oh excellent,” thought Ash, “They went traipsing off into the wild, with that pushy dwarf!” What ever Sam and Erling might know of the surrounding area, he would lead them which ever way he thought best.

“Ash, wouldn’t it be really exciting to get lost?” Orin whispered.

Ash looked down at Orin and smiled. Now that he was outside again, moving, doing something, he was less angry at Orin, and he remembered how he would have been had he been left out of such an adventure.

“Not really. Not these days,” he said, referring to the unknown thing. But he gave Orin a wink, so that he wouldn’t catch the worrisome fear that had most of Bree in its grip.

They hurried out of the gate, asking the gatekeeper if he had seen a dwarf, a man, and a hobbit, and getting an affirmative, went faster, even though it had grown quite dark. Soon, they heard raised voices ahead of them in the darkness.
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:21 AM   #72
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With his short legs, Sam quickly fell behind Erling. It took him a few minutes of running to crest the hilltop Kuric and then the Man had disappeared over. Pausing to catch his breath he saw his two companions confronting a sturdy figure holding a shield and an axe.

“Wonderful,” Sam muttered. “Kuric’s got himself in a fight already.” He sighed and hurried down the hill. He wouldn’t be much good fighting with swords or axes, but if someone could disarm the stranger, he should be able to wrestle him to the ground. After sizing up their opponent, his sour humor increased. Another dwarf! He was getting his fill of them.

Although Sam’s dislike of him was growing by the minute, Kuric had offered to help the Breelanders. For all Sam knew, this strange dwarf was behind the attacks. Taking a spread-legged stance next to Erling, he gazed up at the dwarf.

"I thought I heard my friend ask your name and business," he said evenly. "We've been having trouble with something or someone killing off livestock round about, so we don't trust outsiders much right now. It'd be a good idea to give us an answer."
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:57 AM   #73
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The two figures came running down the hill, the taller one reaching the other dwarf’s side faster the smaller figure. He spoke sharply, asking who he was and what his business was. Just then the smaller figure came running down the hill after the taller figure.
“I thought I heard my friend ask your name and business,” he said evenly. “We've been having trouble with something or someone killing off livestock round about, so we don't trust outsiders much right now. It'd be a good idea to give us an answer.”

Gorin could see that he was a hobbit, and a feisty one at that. Probably these people were justices of the peace in Bree. Although how they got such an odd arrangement of sheriffs was beyond his knowing.

He had been in some tough scrapes and this one was no different, but as much as he wanted to fight, Gorin knew that it was best to keep his cool. He put the axe back into his belt and left the shield fall to the ground.

“I bid you no harm.” He said, “I am Gorin Redbrow, the wilderness is my home. I have come from the far north to rest in your village and gather supplies before I head back north.

“Tell me, what is this trouble you’ve been having with your livestock?” Gorin paused and stroked his beard. “Perhaps I could be of some help.”

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Old 01-30-2008, 11:09 PM   #74
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Kuric, with mace tightly in hand, began surverying this strange new dwarf. Naturally, he had a strong distrust for anybody that found in the wild during these times. Despite this, there was a natural affinity he held for dwarves. Accordingly, he found himself wanting, longing even, to trust him.

The dwarf spoke up and said, “I bid you no harm. I am Gorin Redbrow, the wilderness is my home. I have come from the far north to rest in your village and gather supplies before I head back north. Tell me, what is this trouble you’ve been having with your livestock? Perhaps I could be of some help.”

The name didn't sound familiar to him but he sounded like an honest dwarf and one that loved the wild. This struck a cord in the deep and oft unused heart of Kuric. Unwittingly he found himself letting down his guard a bit.

In a supringly pleasant and friendly tone Kuric began, “From the North did ya say, which clan do ye hail from lad? I've passed the north recently enough, I don't seem to recall seein yer clan or even hearin of them fer that matter. Of course, I didn't meet many kinsmen up in those parts, to be sure, but..." Kuric cut off abruptly, realizing that he had become too friendly with a stranger who could be dangerous despite being a kinsman.

"Now, lad, you listen here, what business do ya have here in these parts." Kuric stated gruffly lifting his mace slightly from the relaxed position it had been in. "We've had livestock go a missin lately without much of a trace, and then you show up looking fer supplies. Tell me are you killin these townsmen livestock?"

Kuric planted his feet firmly, looking at his compatriots knowing that they would approve of his actions and then he turned his glare to Gorin impatiently awaiting his response.

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Old 02-01-2008, 03:19 PM   #75
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"That must be them," Ash whispered to his companions. He turned towards the voices, and the other followed his example. He quickly was able to hear that there was a strange voice answering the other members of their group.

“I bid you no harm. I am Gorin Redbrow, the wilderness is my home. I have come from the far north to rest in your village and gather supplies before I head back north. Tell me, what is this trouble you’ve been having with your livestock? Perhaps I could be of some help.”

Both the voice and the name sounded more dwarvish then otherwise, and Ash gave an annoyed shake of his head. However, he realised he was being unjust, and decided he would do his best to be as civil to this new dwarf as he would have been in any normal situation.

Kuric replied to the strange dwarf amiably.

“From the North did ya say, which clan do ye hail from lad? I've passed the north recently enough, I don't seem to recall seein yer clan or even hearin of them fer that matter. Of course, I didn't meet many kinsmen up in those parts, to be sure, but..."

At this point he seemed to remember himself, and brought himself up sharp with, "Now, lad, you listen here, what business do ya have here in these parts. We've had livestock go a missin lately without much of a trace, and then you show up looking fer supplies. Tell me, are you killin these townsmen livestock?"

Ash signaled to his group to be quiet; he wanted to hear the dwarfs answer before interrupting. He knew that Lea and Orin could walk silently, and by the looks of Grimbeorn, he could too.
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Old 02-01-2008, 06:05 PM   #76
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Gorin stroked his beard thoughtfully as he watched the dwarf in front of him begin to relax. The other dwarf even sounded pleasant when he responded.

“From the North did ya say,” the unknown dwarf responded, “Which clan do ye hail from lad? I've passed the north recently enough, I don't seem to recall seein yer clan or even hearin of them fer that matter. Of course, I didn't meet many kinsmen up in those parts, to be sure, but..."

The other dwarf seemed to choke on his own words and quickly changed his attitude towards Gorin.

"Now, lad, you listen here, what business do ya have here in these parts?” The other dwarf continued, "We've had livestock go a missin lately without much of a trace, and then you show up looking fer supplies. Tell me are you killin these townsmen livestock?"

Gorin responded in his usually gruff manner.

“Strangers,” Gorin said, “I have not done any harm to your livestock. I have been busy traveling all day, and have had very little time to do anything else, since I was in such a rush to get to Bree. And even if I was doing what you say, would I tell you?”

Gorin regretted those words the instant they left his mouth. Even though he knew himself to be innocent he was suddenly the solution to all their problems; all they had to do was arrest him and lock him up.
‘That’s great Gorin!’ he thought to himself, ‘Always letting your mouth get you into trouble.’
Gorin thought quickly of what to say next, he had make these people believe that he was innocent.

“This certainly sounds like a very perplexing problem that you’re dealing with.” He glanced at the hobbit, who hadn’t relaxed a bit since he came.

“Perhaps I could lend you a hand in this matter.” Gorin smiled broadly, thinking of the excitement that would soon await him. “I am a good tracker, not as good as those rangers mind you, but I am still capable of tracking any four legged beast whether it be at night or day. And I’m not as talkative as you might think, so you’ll hear no unnecessary talk from me. What say you to my proposal?”

He picked up his shield and pack and placed them both on his back, as if assuming they had already accepted him.

“I just remembered Ya’ll know my name. Tell me, what might be yours?”
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:29 PM   #77
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Erling frowned at Gorin. He seemed much too friendly for his liking. Perhaps he was only springing a trap at them, wanting to make them feel at ease with him, maybe even take him inside Bree to fulfil his own dark purposes. Erling tried to tell himself that it was most unlikely for a dwarf to be behind the attacks but he could not help feeling suspicious. He nearly wanted to tell Gorin this, tell him that the last thing he would do would be to accept help from a stranger found wondering in the wild at night in such times. But he thought better and said nothing.

Perhaps, if Gorin really was behind these attacks or had something to do with them, it was better if he was kept under close watch. Then they had to pretend to accept his help. If he was with them, Erling would see that he did not let the dwarf out of his sight. And if Gorin was innocent, well, another helping hand was more than welcome.

“I think we will accept your help.” he told the dwarf. “For we really need all the help we can get. You asked for our names and these we will give. I am Erling and my companions are Kuric and…”

At that point Erling stopped abruptly. He looked at the land behind him but it was too dark for him to see much.

“I thought…” he began uncertainly. “I thought I heard something…But I am not sure now. Maybe it was just the wind…”

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Old 02-13-2008, 11:04 AM   #78
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Suddenly it seemed everyone was leaving the inn in various small groups, rather than the two even groups as planned. And as Lea had pointed out, somehow one of the groups consisted only of non-native Breelanders. Toby felt a complete failure at that moment, and he spent a moment or two sighing before he collected himself again, prepared to get down to business and get people organized again. At least those still at the inn.

But when he glanced around the dim, lonely common room, he found that the only person left beside himself was Parkun, the innkeeper’s boy. He looked as if he had dozed off, but as soon as Toby said his name the boy’s eyes were upon him. The hobbit went through faces and names for a moment before asking, “Which group did Madoc and Robby go with?”

“Their own groups, as far as I could tell,” Parkun replied blandly. “Madoc left when the first group made their exit, out the back, and Robby did the same just before Ash, Lea, and Grimbeorn did with their charge. Also out the back.”

Toby did some more sighing and running his hand through his hair before declaring with more confidence in his decision than he felt, “Well, if no one is quite sure where anyone but themselves are anymore, I seen more sense in trying to get the group back together than going with the original plan. There’s nothing left to do but meet up with the others at Master Cengal’s farm. We’ll have to assume they’ll find their way, or Ash and Lea will find them for us. And even if they don’t, someone needs to accomplish something this afternoon.”

“I know a shortcut,” Parkun said, rising from his seat. Toby gave him an inquisitive look, but nonetheless gestured to say that the boy could lead the way out the door.
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Old 02-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #79
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Although this new dwarf lacked Kuric’s belligerence, Sam did not fully trust him. When Erling announced his intent to allow the stranger to join him, he opened his mouth in amazement, then shut it. He had taken Erling’s measure during their time at the Prancing Pony. The Man seemed like a stout fellow with a good head on his shoulders and the hobbit thought it best to present a united front to Groin. He would ask Erling about his decision later, far from either dwarf.

When Groin asked for their names, Erling cut himself off before introducing Sam, suddenly noticing the nearby noises, but unable to identify them. The hobbit, of course, had heard all the racket several moments ago.

“Sam Tunnelly,” he nodded to the stranger, “journeyman smith.”

He turned to Erling. The Man still looked around uncertainly, as if he feared an ambush. “It wasn’t the wind. There are three Men and a child blundering about behind us. Ash is one of them.” He stated the facts in a clear, sure voice.

The two dwarves and the Man looked at him skeptically. Sam shrugged at their obvious disbelief. “I am a hobbit,” he reminded them.

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Old 02-15-2008, 06:38 PM   #80
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Kuric, unwilling to share the hobbit's certainty, drew his weapon and postured himself for battle. He eyed the hillside eagerly awaiting what would come. Glancing over at his fellow dwarf he felt comforted and knew that their common dwarven heritage would bind these two closer than any of the other companions.

"Best draw yer own weapon lad," he whispered to Gorin. "I've got a feelin we're in fer a fight"

Prefering a straight attack rather than a sneak attack on his opponent, Kuric began to walk towards the sounds with marked caution, but without fear.

"COME OUT WITH YA THEIVES AND MURDERERS, LET'S HAVE AT IT!" Kuric growled at his presumed agressors.

Last edited by mormegil; 05-23-2008 at 11:41 AM.
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