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Old 06-20-2006, 04:41 PM   #81
Forest Elf
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Gable finished the rest of her meal, thoughtfully. Her mind still on the owner, her thoughts swirling around each other, why was the pony saddled, and no owner could be found? What happened to the owner? Who is the owner?

Gable picked up her dirty dishes and placed them with the others, weaving between the young ones to get to the stables; to start her chores. She looked up and saw Will working on the roof.

"Will? Do you need any help up there?" She shouted from the ground.

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Old 06-21-2006, 07:50 PM   #82
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Seredic in search of Tollers

Dick showed Jack to a room bright with sunlight. He walked across to the window and closed the shudders, making it far more inviting for tired eyes. “Here you are, sir. Don’t worry about pay. We’ll figure that out later. You look mighty ready for a wink of sleep. Just lay right down and take as long as you like.”

With these words, Dick scurried out the door, shutting it behind him. He had work to do, but first he had to find Tollers. Considering what he had just heard, the boy (for so Dick termed him when he was in such a mood, even if he was of age) had better be doing something useful when he caught up to him.

He wound his way back through the common room, nodding to people as he passed, and then went back into the kitchen. As he strode in through the door his mouth was open to ask Cela and Primrose if they knew anything about Tollers’s whereabouts. He checked the sharp sounding words and stopped short upon seeing his wife and two children.

“Papi!” Daisy and Dorlind squeaked in excitement, around mouthfuls of biscuit. He smiled at them.

“Hello, hello!” he said. Lilly walked over to him and reached up for a kiss. “Hello, dear, what are you doing here this morning?”

“Come to celebrate your first day!” she said. “And the twins wanted Cela’s biscuits this morning. I couldn’t refuse.”

“Well, have a seat and breakfast, then. I’ve got to deal with something and then I’ll be back. Cela,” he went on, looking past his wife at the cook, the smile and merriness fading from his face, “do you know where Tollman is?”

“Why, no,” Cela replied, becoming serious just as quickly as Dick had. She not only noticed his expression but also the use of Tollers’ full name. “Haven’t seen him since he came in for seconds.”

Dick nodded his thanks and walked through the kitchen to the side door and out into the open. He walked to the barn to ask Will if he’d seen the hobbit. He discovered Will on the barn rooftop and Gable standing below him, looking up interested.

“Hello, Gable – Hey, Will!” The two looked at him and said their good morning. “Have either of you seen Tollers?”
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:12 AM   #83
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Will stood up from the area of the roof he was working on and looked down at Gable and at Master Boffin. ‘Toller’s?’ he asked. ‘Can’t say as I’ve seen him. Sorry.’ He scratched his head trying to recall if the Hobbit in questioned had mentioned what he was doing that day. ‘Nope . . . I don’t even think he said anything this morning about where he was going. Sorry again!’

Gable stood near the innkeeper, listening to the conversation. Will nodded to her, recalling she had asked a question before Master Boffin had come up. ‘Thanks for the offer of help, Gable. But I think I can handle this task on my own. While I’m up here though, can you check on the injured pony? And some of the guests want their horses exercised a little, as they won’t be using them today. Could you please go to the fenced pen where I’ve put the ponies and horses and take some of them out for a little ride – the bay mare, especially. And the merchant from Pincup’s grey dappled pony, too.’

He knelt back down, preparing to start work on the roof again. ‘You might want to check with the other owners . . . see if they want their animals taken out, too.’
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:52 AM   #84
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Dick discovers Tollers, asleep, on the front lawn

Dick turned away as Will began speaking to Gable about how to manage the horses. He left the barn, knowing that if Tollers were inside, Will probably would know about it. He walked swiftly around the barn and stables. His roving eyes caught sight of the storage shed with its doors open. He trotted forward to see if that could tell him anything. Arriving at the door, he looked in. They stored both wood furniture in here as well as lumber or wood scraps that Will would need to work around the place.

Will would have had to come in here that morning to get the wood for the shingles that he was repairing, but Dick doubted that Will would have left the doors open once he was finished in the shed. He looked about, and then his eyes lit on the furniture. That was it. Tollers was supposed to move some of that today. Well, good, if Tollers was at work now, maybe he wouldn’t be needed in the afternoon after all, and fishing may be alright.

Dick smiled a little and relaxed. He turned and walked back towards the inn, leaving the shed doors open as he had found them. He planned on discussing Tollers’ afternoon activities later, when Tollers wasn’t doing something already.

Dick rounded the front corner of the inn and walked towards the front door. Half way across the lawn he stopped short and nearly tripped over his own foot. There, not seven paces away, lying on one side with both hands up over his ears to block out who knows what sounds, lay the hobbit in question. Tollers - fast asleep, and completely oblivious to his surroundings. Dick was at a loss of what to think. This exceeded all of his hopes or fears of what Tollers might be up to. And considering what he had planned for the afternoon...! The young hobbit had quite a full day planned, didn’t he?

Dick strode forward, neither feeling nor looking very pleasant. He knelt down beside the hobbit and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Tolman Burrows, wake up, fellow,” he said, shaking him. “What do you think you’re doing? Wake up!” He shook him some more and finally Tollers seemed to respond. He grunted and turned over onto his back. “Wake up and explain yourself to me,” Dick said, taking his hand off him, and standing up. He waited, his hands on his hips, hoping, but without much expectations, for a good excuse.
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:36 PM   #85
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Tollers wakes up and tries to explain.

Tollers had been floating along in a lovely dream when he felt a hand grasp his shoulder and heard a sharp voice demanding an explanation as to why he was sleeping. He tried to shut out the offending noise by putting his fingers in his ears but found that no longer worked. Struggling upright from a prone position, he knucked his eyes and sat cross legged on the ground, turning a sheepish face toward Dick and trying to smile encouragingly.

The Innkeeper still looked unhappy. For one desperate moment, the hobbit considered whether he should make up a story that might get him off the hook. But somehow Tollers did not think the Innkeeper would believe that his server had been unexpectedly called home last night and had returned this morning only after sitting up all night with a sick calf.....to say nothing of the fact that his father did not actually own a single milk cow. Plus, telling a lie simply didn't seem like the right thing to do.

Instead Tollers confessed to the truth but tried to put as good a face on it as possible. Humbly tipping his cap, the hobbit leapt to his feet and explained, "I am so sorry, sir. I started dragging the furniture inside but it seemed to get heavier and heavier every step I took. There was no one else to help, and those biscuits I had this morning lay a bit heavy on my stomach."

He added as an afterthought, "Perhaps you'd best till Cook to lighten up on the flour. All that, plus the sun and a soft patch of grass, were just too tempting. So I stopped a moment and, before you know it, I must have falled asleep. It certainly won't happen again. And if you don't mind sir, I'll get inside and help set the tables for lunch."
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:44 AM   #86
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"Ok, Will." Gable called upto him. "I'll do that."

Gable walked into the barn, and checked on the pony she had brought in earlier. Gable looked into the stall and smiled, the pony was still asleep, but from how relaxed the pony's look was, she could tell he was having a good dream.

Gable grabbed a halter and put it on the bay mare. Adjusting it so that it would fit snuggly, but not too tight. Then she put the saddle blanket on the horse, and the saddle. She strapped the saddle on and swung up onto the horse in one fluid motion.

Gable clicked her tounge to get the pony to start walking and she rode the bay mare out to the rode. Her thoughts still on the pony's owner, she decided, to look for the owner one more time, just to make sure.

She put the mare into a trot, and reached where the dead wolf had once attacked the pony. The bay mare, upon seeing the wolf, reared.

"Whoa, girl!" Gable said camly and hung on, so she wouldn't to be thrown. "Take it easy, the wolf's not going to hurt you."

The pony calmed down a little and and climbed down, did a quick survey to make sure that there weren't any live wolves hanging about, and climbed back onto the mare. She rode her around the area a bit and then put her into a trot, back to the Inn.

She cooled the pony down, before taking off the bridle, saddle blanket, and the saddle. Then brushed her, until the bay mare's tangled mane was looking smooth again.
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Old 06-24-2006, 08:40 PM   #87
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-¤- Hithadan -¤-

‘A friendly rival!’ Hithadan laughed at the very idea he might be thought a tradesman. Most found him a bit to aloof when they met him, stand-offish, even a bit . . . well, scary. The very traits only an unsuccessful businessman would have. He took in a deep breath, his eyes flicking round the familiar room. It was here, really, in this little Inn where he could most relax and be someone who could be called ‘friendly’.

‘Nay, I am no tradesman, nor do I represent some merchant from beyond the Shire.’ He smiled at Tanwen and her brother. ‘Just a traveler . . . a wanderer, really. Do a bit of hunting now and then, as needed.’ He took a drink of his ale, savoring the taste of bitters on his tongue. ‘So, no, my dear lady, I am no rival to you.’

He saw Rhys relax in his chair; his muscles loosen a bit at the welcome answer. Tanwen was already at ease, her slim fingers playing lightly with the stem of her wine glass. She seemed much like a contented gingered cat, he thought. She studied him in a lazy, indolent sort of way, turning her gaze to her glass when his gaze caught hers.

Hithadan turned his attention to Rhys. ‘How long will you be staying at the Perch?’ he asked.
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:01 PM   #88
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‘There'll come trouble from that fellow, mark my words.’ Meliot told Rowan. ‘But who is he, anyway? Do you know him? Where does he come from?’

‘Out of the dustbin, if you ask me,’ Rowan said. She was thinking of the nice clean room Master Boffin had just take the man to. Only this morning she’d swept and dusted it. The linen was all clean, too. As was the freshly laundered quilt she’d put on the bed. She cringed at the thought of the dirty man lying down on her clean bed. Would he even appreciate the fact the sheets were nice and soft and smelt of lavender from cook’s garden, she wondered.

She made up her mind to make sure the new ‘guest’ had water and soap with which to clean up and plenty of towels. She’d even see if he would let her launder his clothes. ‘I’m sure there are some clothes in the attic, left by some guest, that might fit the fellow,’ she murmured to herself.

Rowan did not really want to deal with the man by herself. He just looked a little too rough for her. She got up from her chair and turned hopefully to Meliot. ‘You want to come with me? We can see what’s what about him.’ She began to hatch her plan to Meliot. ‘I’ll just bet he’d like a nice hot bath. We can take him down to the washroom, where the tub is and such. Then one of us could keep watch for him, while the other . . . well, sort of ‘tidies’ up in his room. I’m sure he’s up to no good, too.’ She looked expectantly at Meliot. ‘So, what do you say?’
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:53 AM   #89
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Meliot laughed hearing Rowan's plan. She got up, her eyes blazing with the mirth that was inside her. "Tidying" the man's room! Not a very respectable thing to be done, but in this way the more appealing it was.

"Why, let us go then." she said, her head already full with images of intriguing objects that they could find in that room. She did feel a little uncomfortable, for the man was more than twice her size, and also because she did not like to think what would happen if she were caught prying into a stranger's room. But her inquisitive nature drove all thoughts of fear and humiliation away from her head. She was ready to do anything, if it promised the discovery of something intresting.

"But I have one more question before starting off," she said. "Which of us shall keep guard?"
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Old 06-25-2006, 03:53 PM   #90
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Dick stood looking in complete silence at Tollers, wondering what on earth he was going to say. Surely, the lad didn’t deserve any lenience, did he? All the same, Dick couldn’t help but know what Tollers was talking about. What hobbit had honestly never fallen to sleep after a good breakfast? Especially one his age. . .

That was no excuse, Dick told himself, as the silence got longer and longer. Tollers stood before him, looking less and less hopeful. Dick finally made up his mind.

“Look here, Tollers,” he said, only a little sternly. “I ran into your friend in there. He told me you and he were planning on going fishing this afternoon – is that true?”

Tollers looked up at him, and then slowly nodded his head. “We’d talked about it,” he admitted.

“Well, you certainly can’t go fishing when you have a whole roomful of furniture to move. You never mind setting the tables for lunch. There’re others inside who’ll help with that. You move the furniture and then report back to me and I’ll see what can be done when you’re finished. You’d better hurry, too, it’s about lunch time and I would hate to see you miss it.”

Tollers understood the threat in that statement very well. He nodded his head and tugged respectfully at his cap as Dick stepped to the side to allow him to pass. As he walked away, Dick called after him-

“If you do need help with all that, ask Will if he’s available. If not, I may come out and give you a hand myself.”
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Old 06-25-2006, 05:24 PM   #91
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● Jack Greymoss ●

Jack grinned as he looked about the room the Innkeeper had shown him to. This was so far removed from his recent accommodations, sleeping on the road, that he almost could not take it in.

‘G’wan, me lucky boy! Pinch yourself! Just to make sure.’

He stood stock still in the middle of the little braided rug and turned about the room slowly. He closed his eyes and popped them open once again. And yes, he did give himself a mighty pinch.

But the room was still there; the floor solid under his feet; sunlight filtering through pressed white curtains . . .clean ones! And not just some tattered rags . . ..

‘Step lightly, boyo,’ he warned himself in a low voice. ‘Winds of luck blow one way and then t’other just as quickly.’

He pulled out the chair from the little table that sat by the door and sat down gingerly, still afraid the bubble of fortune would burst and this all prove a dream. The chair held; off came the boots, followed by a pair of very dirty, tattered socks. He stretched out his feet before him, noting the callouses on his heels; the blisters on his toes; and the layers of variegated grime over all. His socks he wadded into a ball and threw on the floor by the chest at the end of the bed. The boots he put near his bed . . . just in case . . .

From his boots he took his leather pouch with its lock-picks and laid it on the table top. His empty leather pouch that hung from his belt was piled alongside it. His knife soon joined it, along with his sling from his pants' pocket and the rocks he’d gathered for it.

He decided to leave on his breeches and his tunic. Never knew when a body needs to exit quickly he'd learned through hard experience. His greasy leather vest with its many pockets was hung haphazardly over the back of the chair, his fingers first taking an account of his possessions there – his one coin in an inner pocket; in another a pretty little gold necklace and a small silver ring set with a light blue stone; a much folded piece of parchment on which were drawn a crude map with an X marked near a twisty-drawn tree by a river were stuffed tightly in yet another. The last pocket held a few more small items of jewelry – a cameo broach, a few loose pearls, and a pair of small gold loop earrings.

His beat up leather pack he didn’t bother to go through. It held only things for living rough. A flint and striker in a small box with some fine wood shavings, stubby candles, a finger line for fishing, some rope and a few other odds and ends. He shoved the pack into a corner and leaned his walking stick against the wall near it.

That bed sure looked inviting. And Jack was walking toward it when he heard voices in the hall and the sounds of feet drawing near his door . . .

Last edited by Envinyatar; 06-25-2006 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 06-25-2006, 05:45 PM   #92
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‘I’ll take the towels and get him to the bath room,’ whispered Rowan, motioning for Meliot to follow after her. ‘I know where everything is kept, so I’ll look official and all that.’ She led her companion to the part of the Inn where the Big Folks had their rooms.

‘See that broom there’ she said, pointing to one leaning in the corner of the hall with a dust pan at its feet. ‘You just grab that and look like your doing some sweeping up while I knock on his door.’

Rowan opened the door to the linen closet and fetched out a stack of fluffy towels, a couple of washcloths, and a thin woven blanket. From a basket on the shelf across from the linens she took a fat, fresh bar of oat-soap. And one with a pleasant smell of mint. She was going to grab a plain scented bar, him being a man and all, but she thought he might still smell even if he scrubbed himself clean, and the mint would help overcome it.

‘Now you just sweep and look busy while I pry him from his room. I’ll give you the sign when he’s got into his bath, and you slip into his room real quick. I’ll watch out for his return and give you the high sign.’

Rowan frowned as she looked toward Meliot. ‘Got any ideas what a good signal would be?’
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:57 AM   #93
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Meliot thought hard. "How about singing a few verses from some song?" she said at length. "Everyone sings arround here when they feel like it, so no one will suspect anything."

She gave the door one last look and then said, taking the broom : "Well, good luck, for both of us."

She watched as Rowan knocked on the door. When it opened, she pretended to be busy sweeping. She hoped that she looked profesional enough, or, at any rate, that her excitement could not be easely seen. She even began humming to herself, in an effort to look believable.

"Please, let him go." she was saying to herself. "Please let him go, and I swear that this will be the last time I do something like this... Or, almost the last", she added hastily, not wanting to make a vow that would rob her of so much amusement.
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:39 PM   #94
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Tollers asks Will a question.

Tollers gave a sigh of relief and, taking out his handkerchief, wiped the perspiration from his brow. Although he was not too keen on being drafted for kitchen duty, it was certainly a better fate than some other punishments the Innkeeper might have imposed. Master Dick had actually been fair. Even Tollers had to admit that falling asleep on the job was probably not the best way to win the approval of the higher-ups.

The hobbit's only real regret was there was no way he could slip off to go fishing in the early afternoon. Perhaps Jack would wait till later in the day. If so, Tollers promised to work very hard to move the furniture and finish all the jobs that Cook would dole out to him. His first project, though, was to get the furniture moved into the Perch.

Taking a peek in the storage room, he could see that several of the pieces were quite large. There was no possible way he could move all this furniture on his own, even if he worked till midnight. Now what has Master Dick said when he left? Tollers scratched his head and sat down for a minute to try and remember. Then it hit him: he was to go to Will and see if he was available to help move the furniture.

Tollers ran around to the backside of the Inn where he could see Will standing and working diligently on the roof. He cupped his hands to his mouth and hallooed up to him. "Master Will, it's me....Tollers. Master Dick wondered if you'd be available to help me move some heavy furniture inside the Perch. Or, if you're not, perhaps you know someone else who could help."

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Old 06-28-2006, 12:23 AM   #95
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● Jack Greymoss ●

Knock….knock….knock!

Jack started at the series of firm raps. ‘Now who can that be?’ he muttered to himself. A few short steps and he reached the door. His hand hesitated, and he leaned near the door, trying to hear through it. No use, the wood was too thick.

He turned the handle and drew open the door a crack. One of the Hobbit lasses, One who worked here by the look of it. She had a pile of towels in her arms and an expectant smile.

He opened the door just a bit wider. ‘Wotcher want, missy?’ he asked, giving her a considering look.
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:46 AM   #96
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‘Ah, Tollers!’ Will called down. ‘I really need to get this patch put on the roof. I’ve still got some of the old shingles to pry off and the hot pitch to swab on.’ He swiped the back of his arm across his forehead. The day was getting on, and between the work he was doing and the sun, he had worked up a good sweat.

‘How’s about you ask Gable? She’s got a strong back . . .’ He thought for a moment. ‘I think she’s in the stable. Was out exercising one of the guests’ horses and just brought it in. Tell her she can just put the ponies out in the exercise pen and let them run about while she gives you a hand.’

Will turned back to finish what he was doing, then turned back to look down at Tollers. ‘Ummm . . . that is – you don’t mind having Gable give you a hand, do you? Her being an Elf and a female. She really is quite capable.’
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Old 06-28-2006, 01:14 AM   #97
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Rowan felt a cold little shiver move up her spine. He was even rougher looking close up. She took a few steps back, nearly tripping herself on Meliot’s broom.

She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. ‘Begging your pardon, sir,’ she began. ‘But Master Boffin sent me to bring you some nice fresh towels and soap.’ She took a step forward and smiled as prettily as she could. ‘For the bath, that is. Just down the hall here,’ she went on, pointing toward the end of the corridor. ‘He thought you might like one.’ She handed him the towels, balancing the soap on top.

‘And if you’ll just leave your clothes outside the door there, we’ll get them washed for you. It’s wash day here at the Perch.’ She took a few steps in the directions of the bath room, hoping he would follow. ‘And we’ve got a shirt, I’m sure, and some clean trousers you can wear while yours get dry.’ She motioned for him to follow. ‘So just come along and we’ll get the high backed tub filled.’ Rowan stopped for moment and looked him up and down.

‘Do you . . . well, want some bath salts in the water, too?’
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Old 06-28-2006, 01:59 AM   #98
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● Jack Greymoss ●

‘Bath salts?’ Jack stepped out of his room, a look of curiosity mixed with hesitation. The stack of folded towels unbalanced as he shut the door behind him. And the bar of soap went skittering along the wooden floor. He looked after it but made no effort to go after it.

He glanced for a moment at another Inn worker who was sweeping the floor nearby. She looked harmless enough as did the other one who’d come to his door. Jack was a cautious, no make that, suspicious sort. But these two rang no alarm bells as he studied them.

‘Well, alright then, I guess I do with a bath. Been on the road for a long spell.’ He let the lass who’d brought the towels fetch the truant soap and then motioned for her to lead on.

She filled the tub with hot steaming water and left him a nice large bucket full of clean water to rinse off with. Once she’d left, he doffed his clothes and reaching an arm through the barely opened door, dropped them in a wad on the floor out side the room. Jack locked the door, then perused the bottles of bath salts on the shelf near the tub. He pulled off the cork to each one in succession, giving each a good sniff. Some smelled like flowers, some like herbs.

‘I’ll just try a little of each,’ he said, humming some old tune he’d heard once, slightly off-key. Jack sprinkled a fair handful of each of the containers into the hot water, then climbed into the tub and eased himself down.

It was . . . wonderful! He wriggled his toes in the silky water and leaned back against the backrest of the tub. ‘Oh, I could get used to this!’ he thought to himself. He slid down, dunking his head beneath the water, then resurfaced - grinning . . .
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:51 PM   #99
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Rowan heaved a sigh of relief as she saw the man’s arm let go his clothes; then, shut the bath room door tight and latch it. She could hear him humming loudly, an unrecognizable tune. And then came the sound of splashing indicating, she was sure, that he had got into the bath.

She grabbed up his clothes with the tips of her fingers and ran down the hall to where Meliot leaned on the now still broom. ‘Give me a moment,’ she said quietly, though she doubted she could be heard at this distance and through the closed door.

Feet a blur as she ran toward where the washtubs were, she dropped the clothes in the sudsy water, then ran to the attic where the abandoned clothes of former guests were kept. Rowan picked out a serviceable pair of breeches and a clean tunic and hurried back to the bath room. She knocked once on the door, saying she would just leave his clothes on the small table just outside it. Not waiting for an answer, she ran down the hall the Jack’s room.

‘Alright then!’ she said, a bit out of breath from her scurrying. Taking the broom from her friend, she went on. 'I’ll just busy myself down the hall a bit. And when I see him fetch in the clean clothes, I’ll start singing . . .’
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:41 AM   #100
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‘You do whittlin', lad? You do seem to have a steady hand.’ Griffo nodded thoughtfully. ‘I bet you could do some pieces like these justice.’

Taffy grinned at the compliment, his cheeks reddening a little with the praise. ‘Well, I think I could do a passable job, sir. Leastways good enough for me and my Granpa to use.’ He picked up the queen and looked at it thoughtfully. ‘You know, if I was real careful, I bet I could put a little head on this sort of one. My Granpa, he can paint really nicely. He could put a pretty face on it, and pretty hair. He stuck his hand deep into his pocket and fished out a small clay whistle in the shape of a fat little robin .

‘See here,’ he said holding out the bright colored whistle. ‘My Granpa made this and painted it for me. If you look real close, you can even see the feathers on it!’

From the opposite pocket, Taffy pulled out something he kept hidden in his fist. He looked about, to make sure his sister was nowhere near and then opened his hand for Griffo to see. It was a small, sleeping kitten, curled up in a ball. Parts of it were still just roughly carved out. ‘This is my newest carving he whispered, moving nearer to the older Hobbit. It’s for my little sister’s birthday. It’s her kitty, Marmalade.’

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Old 06-29-2006, 02:13 PM   #101
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Hithadan turned his attention to Rhys. ‘How long will you be staying at the Perch?’ he asked.

‘Off and on, I think, for about a month or so,’ Rhys replied. ‘We had planned to make it a sort of base for us.’ He glanced toward his sister as she nodded. ‘We’re planning on heading for Breeland and points north and west, too, I think. We’ll need a place to send back samples of our wares to Father. And the river of course, being so near to the Perch, is ideal for that.’ He poured a little more ale in his mug. ‘Now you said you had some news of Bree and the way there. What was it your friend told you?’

‘How about we let Master Hithadan finish his meal, Rhys?’ Tanni said, laying her hand on her brother's arm. She picked up Hithadan's fork and took a small bite. ‘Gah!! It’s cold!’

Tanni motioned for one of the servers to come near. ‘Please, can you bring us all some food.’ She smiled at the server as she handed over Hithadan’s plate. ‘We took him prisoner with our conversation,’ she said in explanation. ‘And I’m afraid the eggs have gone cold.’

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Old 06-30-2006, 08:18 PM   #102
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Dick scurried around the common room, fetching people’s used plates and taking more orders for breakfast. Where in the world was Rowan and why wasn’t she helping serving? “I sincerely hope she’s not napping also,” he said to himself as he placed three plates down before Hithadan, Rhys, and Tanni. Aloud, he asked them if they needed anything more. Having gained an answer to the negative, he hurried back to the kitchen.

“I don’t suppose you’ve seen Rowan, have you? Primrose? Cela?” They both looked at him and shook their heads.

“We can find her, Papi!” the twins said, leaping to their feet.

“Take your plates over, children,” Lilly said, looking at them. She stood by Primrose at the counter, her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, helping the girl with lunch. “Then you may go look for her.” Daisy and Dorlind turned obediently and quickly picked up their plates and hurried them over to the sink. They put them down rather unceremoniously (causing both Cela and Dick to wince) and hurried out past their father.

“Come on, let’s look down the hall,” Daisy said, running through towards the door by the fireplace. They scampered down the hobbit sized tunnel, calling Rowan’s name at intervals. Coming to the bottom of the tunnel, they turned around, dumbfounded and fruitless.

“Well, guess she’s not down here. Come on!” Dorlind took the lead in running back up the tunnel. They skidded back out into the common room and came to an abrupt stop as they caught a glance from their father, standing behind the counter looking at some book. They both gave him a sheepish grin and then skirted the wall of the room on tiptoe.

“We’ll find her, don’t worry,” Dorlind whispered, leaning towards Daisy. “Sh-sh-sh. . .quiet now. . .” and slowly they continued their route around the room. They came to the door that led off into the wing of big people’s rooms and quietly slipped into it. Turning away from the door after carefully closing the door behind themselves, they spotted her, sweeping.

“Hi, Rowan!" Daisy called out, waiving, "Papi’s lookin’ for you! What’re you doing?”
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Old 07-01-2006, 04:17 AM   #103
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As soon as Meliot heard Rowan telling her that she could go, she quickly entered the room and got busy with her searching. The first thing that attracted her attention were two leather pouches on thet table. One, she found to her disappointment to be empty. The other weas full of strange instruments to which she could find no purpose, or, at least no honest purpose.

"Hmph!" she thought, "I knew there was something rotten about him."

Then, she searched a pack that she found in a corner, but she found that it had only what any traveller would carry on a journey. She then turned her attention to a vest that she saw on a chair, and soon Meliot realised that it held the most intriguing things in its pockets.

There was a lot of wonderfull jewelry there, including a silver ring with a blue stone, that Meliot liked the best. "It's stolen, no doubt," she snorted, "If he could afford such things, he would not walk the way he does." Then she found a piece of paper whith an X marked on it. It looked like a map.

"Now I wonder what this means," she cried vocing her thoughts aloud. Without a second thought, she took the paper and hid it in her dress. She then made for the door, sure that her expedition was over, when she heard voices on the corridor. Someone was talking to Rowan. She stopped short, with her heart pounding, wondering what would happen next.
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:27 AM   #104
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Tollers ask Gable to help....

Tollers found Gable in the stables just finishing off with her pony. He felt rather shy going up to her. Even though she'd been working with Will for some time, the young hobbit had never said more than a few words to her. Tollers' family, though basically good hearted, was rather quiet and provincial and generally frowned on dealings with Elves or dwarves or anyone who lived differently than they did.

Summoning up all his courage, Tollers approached the young Elf and blundered out his question, "Excuse me now, good miss. I've a heap of furniture to move and would be much obliged if you could give me a hand. It's in the tool shed over there, and Master Dick says I'm to move it into the Inn where the rooms for the Big Folk are. I'm afraid the pieces are a bit large for me, and you seem to be just the size to help on a job like this. Plus, Willy suggested I ask you."

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Old 07-01-2006, 10:02 AM   #105
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Cela was beginning to feel nothing short of sheer exasperation with the younger inn staff. First Tollers, who slipped off more than he ought to anyway, and now Rowan, who despite her love of fun was at least normally reliable when she was supposed to be working.

“You did find Tollers, though?” asked Cela.

“Yes,” answered Dick rather shortly.

“Well, that’s something at least.” Giving the dish she was washing a last hard scrub, she commented to Primrose, “How is it that you’re the only one I’ve given permission to go anywhere, and you’re the only one as is still here? Hmph.”
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:15 AM   #106
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"How is it that you're the only one I’ve given permission to go anywhere, and you're the only one as is still here? Hmph."

A merrily laughing Primrose gave her answer. "Because I've not finished the basket for Will yet. And besides, I'd not go until I was sure as work here was finished. But I think it is now." She packed an apple and some cheese into a basket on the table, filling it to the brim. "There. And now, I suppose I'll be leaving too. But not for long." An impish grin and blush appeared with her last words.

"Off with you, then." Cela echoed Primrose's mischievous tone.

Off went Primrose through the door, the basket on her arm.

She came to the stable. "Hello there, Will!" she called up to the roof. "I've brought you your second breakfast. Shall I leave it here, or would you like me to climb up there and bring it to you?"

Primrose had no intention of climbing the roof, but she thought suggesting the climb a good joke.
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Old 07-01-2006, 02:10 PM   #107
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The cracked shingles had all been removed, along with an additional row about the area. Will had begun the pouring on of the pitchy tar and was just swabbing a section of it onto the cleared area when a familiar voice called up from the ground.

‘I've brought you your second breakfast. Shall I leave it here, or would you like me to climb up there and bring it to you?’

Engrossed as he was in his roofing business, he called back without thinking. ‘Oh, aye! Come on up! And if you would . . . there’s an extra tarring brush just underneath the ladder . . . leaning up against the stable side. Can you bring that up, too?’

He poured another small section of pitch and began working on it. His stomach began grumbling at the promise of food. Thoughts of bread and cheese, he hoped, and some sweet tea to drink pushed him to work at a faster pace.

‘Oh! And mind that fifth step . . . it felt a bit wobbly when I came up . . .’

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Old 07-01-2006, 03:25 PM   #108
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‘Hi, Rowan!’ Daisy called out, waving, ‘Papi’s lookin’ for you! What’re you doing?’ Daisy’s little face looked expectantly toward her. And close beside her was Dorlind.

Thorns and thistles! Rowan thought to herself. She put a smile on her face and motioned them closer. ‘You haven’t seen Tollers, have you?’ she asked sweetly, leaning on her broom. ‘He was supposed to have cleaned up in here this morning.’ She sighed, for a bit of dramatic effect. ‘Now he’s left me to see to it.’

Rowan looked down the corridor toward the bath room. The door was still firmly closed and she could hear a bit of splashing…which she hoped meant that the man was simply making himself more comfortable in the tub and not that he was getting out. She cocked her head a bit and listened for any sounds from his room. She heard none. Rowan breathed deep in relief.

‘You know,’ she said, raising her voice enough, she hoped, that Meliot would hear her. ‘I think the floor’s pretty clean now. And Mister Greymoss seems happy in his bath still…’

She leaned her broom against the wall. ‘Why don’t you come with me back to the Common Room. I think I saw a new girl out there with her brother. And she looks just your age.’ She reached down and grabbed a hand each of theirs in hers. ‘Let’s go out and I’ll introduce you…’
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:46 PM   #109
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Climb the ladder? Anything but that! Primrose sucked in her breath. She had never climbed so high in her life, kitchen work only requiring her to stand on a chair to reach a high shelf at the most.

But Will's tone told her that he had returned her joke seriously, or at least was daring her to come up. She would go. She wasn't about to give anyone, especially Will, an excuse to tease her. It was just a little ladder. Nothing to be frightened about.

Primrose stooped to pick up the tarring brush. Clutching it in her hand, she looked skyward, steadying her nerves for the climb.

"Here I come, Will," she called, trying to keep a cheerful tone. She took a rung in her free hand, holding Will's basket and the brush in the other, and put one foot on the lowest step.

You're in for it now, Primrose.

Climbing was difficult with only one hand to steady her ascent. Primrose swayed unsteadily on the ladder, precariously inching her way up one rung at a time.

Will called out from above, "Doing alright there?"

"Oh, fine. Be up in half a minute." Primrose lied.

Her hand came to the fifth step. As she grasped it, the rung moved. She hesitated. With all the trouble she'd been having with steady rungs, could she trust one that seemed as uncertain about being on a ladder as she was?

Primrose decided she could. She would hurry over the loose step and there would be an end of it. Besides, if she turned back now, she would feel like a fool. She moved up the ladder and placed her weight on the loose rung. It shifted under her feet, and Primrose lost her balance. With a sudden cry, she fell to the ground.
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Old 07-02-2006, 02:44 PM   #110
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“Sure, Tollers. I can help you with the furniture.” Gable replied. “Just let me put the brush away first.” Gable put the brush back.

Her mind was still on the pony while she was walking back over to Tollers; the piece of cape, and the wolf. “Tollers, have…um, have you heard of anyone who has lost a pony?” Gable asked casually.

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Old 07-02-2006, 02:47 PM   #111
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‘You great dumb ox! What were you thinking?’

Will threw down the tarring broom and tore off his gloves, all the while muttering imprecations at himself for saying the owner of ‘the voice’ should come up the ladder. So engrossed was he in his task he hadn’t taken time to consider that it was Prim and she most likely had a basket with food on her arm for him.

‘You ninny!’ he cried aloud, just as he reached the edge of the roof.

He looked down in horror at Prim sprawled on the ground below…along with the ladder…

‘Don’t move! I’m coming! Just hang on!’ he called down in as reassuring a voice as he could. ‘Here…I’ll just swing down to this window frame here and shimmy down the shutter. Used to do it at my Uncle Tam’s barn in Crickhollow…when my cousins and me used to jump from the gable to the new haypile in the yard below…’ He kept up the patter as he eased himself downward, hoping she would make some reply, that she hadn’t been knocked clean out.

Will was just easing himself down the shutter, to the bottom ledge of the window, when he looked down again at Prim. He smiled and waggled his fingers at her, hoping she would wave back.

‘Please let her be alright,’ he whispered under his breath, trying to reassure himself.

First, his foot slipped as his toes reached for the ledge; then, his fingers fumbled as he tried to find a grip. The ground rushed up to meet him as he fell. There was a thud as he hit and a rather sickening crunch as his left wrist tried to cushion his fall, followed by a rather hard knock to his head.

‘Sorry, Prim,’ he said raising his head weakly. ‘Should’na made you climb up…thoughtless…so stupid…’

His voice trailed off as he passed out.
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Old 07-02-2006, 04:55 PM   #112
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The world went dark as Primrose hit the ground. After a time, the light struck her eyes, and she was keenly aware of a stabbing pain in her leg, which lay crumpled around the ladder under her body.

Primrose moaned faintly, and then, turning her head to the right, gasped out a half scream. Will was limp on the ground next to her. He must have fallen too, she thought, and bewailed her foolish attempt to climb to ladder.

Primrose reached over to Will's shoulder and shook him.

"Will. Wake up, Will." He didn't.

Frightened, Primrose frantically shouted to anyone who could hear:

"Help! Please, oh, please help!"
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:03 PM   #113
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Gable’s ears pricked up Primrose’s cry from outside the stables. “Never mind! Primrose needs help, it sounds urgent!” Gable said, turning to the stables door and bursting outside.

She looked around and saw Prim and Will lying on the ground; the ladder fallen over. “Prim, what happened?” Gable asked, observing the scene. Then said, not waiting for an answer, “I’ll get help. Tollers, can you stay here with Primrose and Will?”

She burst into the Golden Perch Inn and shouted, “Prim and Will need help! They fell off, Primrose’s leg looks broke!”
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Old 07-05-2006, 12:32 AM   #114
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Tollers tries to help....

All Tollers' thoughts of moving furniture, of finding the owners of lost ponies, and even of spending the afternoon fishing had quietly vanished, at least for the moment. He wasn't sure what to do. The young hobbit had no special skills as a healer, and he hoped that Gable would find someone who did.

But, for right now, Tollers thought the best thing he could do would be to calm everyone down. First, he glanced over at Will to make sure he was still breathing. Then he took Primrose's hand in his and gently began reassuring her. "'Tis all right, Miz Primrose. Help is coming. Gable's gone to get someone. They'll have you patched up straight away, and you'll be back cooking those nice little pastries. And don't you worry your head about Will. He's just winded, I do believe. Nothin' more serious than that. He'll be up and about in no time." Tollers decided he'd better not mention that Will's left wrist was not looking too good as this would only give the injured lass even more to worry about.

Instead, he squeezed Primrose's hand ever tighter and talked reassuringly. "I hope your leg doesn't hurt too much. You are a brave, brave lass to wait here quietly and scarcely be making any fuss at all. If it was me, I'd be fussing and fuming and screeching so that every hobbit from here to Brandy Hall would think that the Marish had been invaded by wicked goblins."

Tollers was absolutely calm and encouraging on the outside, but on the inside he was gradually beginning to panic......

Gable had better hurry. I'm completely useless at things like this. Prim can be a hard nosed lass, but I would hate to see her hurt, and poor Master Will is looking rather green. Plus, if Prim can't do her work in the kitchen tonight, I'm apt to be spending a good deal longer there than even Master Dick expected or wanted.

With that sobering realization, Tollers rolled his eyes sideways and peered frantically at the front door of the Perch, hoping that someone would soon materialize and come to help.

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Old 07-05-2006, 05:43 AM   #115
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Primrose squeezed Tollers' fingers. He told her not to worry about Will, but she couldn't help it. He still hadn't stirred, and she noticed that his wrist was beginning to look swollen.

"I have to worry. Will's hurt. Look at his wrist. And he's not woken up yet." Primrose's lip began to quiver. "And if he's hurt badly, I'll never forgive myself. I ought never to have gone up that fool ladder in the first place. This is my fault."

A single tear escaped her, and she took Will's good hand in her free one. "I'm sorry, Will," she whispered.
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Old 07-05-2006, 09:33 AM   #116
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“I’m surprised that things are so crazy today,” Lilly was saying to Cela. “Generally, Dick is always talking about how well things run here at the inn. I mean-”

At that moment, she was interrupted as Gable burst into the kitchen. She looked wild and excited. “Prim and Will need help!” she panted. “They fell off, Primrose’s leg looks broken!”

Lilly started up to her feet in alarm, and Cela dropped her spoon. It clattered the floor, splattering sticky egg in every direction two or three feet. “You stay here, Cela,” Lilly said, quickly coming forward. “You need to be in here. Gable, go tell Dick.” She passed the young elf quickly and ran from the door to the barn. She saw them immediately - Tollers sitting on the ground, holding Primrose’s hand. Primose and Will lay side be side on the ground, the ladder between them.

Tollers lifted his head as she approached. “Mrs. Boffin, she’s hurt and Will’s not woke up yet!”

Lilly knelt quickly by Primrose’s head. She saw the tears flowing down the hobbit’s face and she gently brushed them away. “It’s alright, Prim,” she said gently, speaking to her as she would a crying child. “You’ll be fine. Your leg is caught in the ladder. We’re going to move it, will you be alright?” Primose nodded, a grimace passing briefly over her face. Lilly smiled encouragingly and caressed her hair slightly once more. “Hold on, now,” she whispered, and then stood up.

“Come here, Tollers,” she said, standing up and walking about to the ladder. She knelt again, this time at Primrose’s foot, and pushed her sleeves up until the cuffs grew tight on her forearm. Tollers came about and stood waiting. “Hold onto the ladder and when I tell you to, lift it up and move it out of the way. First, though, I have to figure out just how this leg is situated. . .” her voice faded off to a low mumble and she looked carefully at the situation.

Before she had quite decided how it would be best fixed, footsteps coming from the inn told her more help was one the way. She looked up as Dick came to a hurried stop before them. “What happened? What’s the matter?” he asked.

“Don’t know what happened, but we’ve got to get these two fixed up before we find out,” Lilly answered. “Don’t get excited, Dick. Help me here. Tollers, get ready.”

With gentle hands, the couple gently moved Primrose’s leg away from the ladder. Tollers picked it up and moved it away several paces. “It’s broken, alright,” Dick said, sitting back with a sigh. He looked at Primrose and then at Will. “Now, what about him? Knocked out, is he? Tollers, go get a bucket of water. That should rouse him.”

“Why, Dick, that’s a little rough, isn’t it?” Lilly asked. She got up and went to Will. He lay half on his face and half on his side, one hand braced against the ground as though he had fallen on it. He probably had, and goodness knows what he did to the wrist or elbow. She turned him over onto his back and felt the joint. A moan told her he would come around in a moment. Water would not be necessary.
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:01 AM   #117
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Cela, waiting a little while after Lilly dashed out of the kitchen, had made a few cursory attempts at cleaning up the egg that had splattered over the floor and at continuing her cooking, but after a few minutes gave it up. So help me if I’m going to stay here while Prim and Will are out there injured… After glancing around to make sure nothing would burn if she was out for a little bit, she, too, headed out the kitchen door.

Her worry escalated rather than eased as she took in the sight. “Are they all right? What happened?” she called out, hurrying over as quickly as she could.

Lilly wisely did not say anything about Cela’s abandoning of the kitchen. “They will be. Primrose has broken her leg, and Will’s just starting to come around – he seems to have knocked his head. His wrist looks broken, too,” she explained quickly from her position beside Will.

“Well, the next step seems to be to get them inside so they can be treated…” said Cela. “If Will comes around soon, perhaps we won’t have to carry him.” She knelt down next to Primrose and asked, “If you leaned on us, do you think you could make it inside?”

“I… I think so,” said Primrose.

Cela smiled. “There’s a good lass.” She glanced over to Tollers, who was standing nearby and apparently at a loss for what to do. “Tollers, come here. We’re going to get Primrose moved into the kitchen...”
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:02 PM   #118
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There were voices, loud voices that penetrated the thick grey cloud enshrouding his head. He lay quietly trying to sort them out. Tollers, he thought. And Master Boffin. And another, now, giving direction.

‘Tollers, come here. We’re going to get Primrose moved into the kitchen...’

Primrose!

Will struggled out of the foggy soup of his thoughts. His left arm hurt like crazy, as did his head now, he realized. He pushed himself up to a sitting position, his head spinning wildly at the sudden movement. Will's stomach revolted at the movement and he promptly threw up.

‘Just get her in to the Perch. I’ll get myself in.’ He leveraged himself up to his knees. ‘It’s all my fault, really...that she’s hurt.’ There were bright stars of light that seemed to explode inside his head and little holes of darkness that threatened to dim his vision altogether. Will got to his feet and leaned against the wall of the stable. He cradled his left arm against his chest, fighting down the urge to cry out with the pain.

‘See to Prim; I’ll be alright,’ he rasped out in an unsteady voice. Will took a few unsteady steps in what he hoped was the direction of the kitchen door.

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Old 07-05-2006, 01:48 PM   #119
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Dick and Tollers helped Primrose to her feet and then guided her arms around Tollers’ neck and Cela’s. Between them, she limped inside, Lilly coming after them. Dick turned to Will who had struggled up to his feet, looking ill and disoriented. More than anything, Dick wanted to find out what had happened, but it was instantly clear to him that it would do little good asking Will just now.

“See to Prim; I’ll be alright,” Will said. Dick stepped closer as the young hobbit took a couple unsteady steps forward. He held his arm up against his chest and his face was twisted with pain. Dick set a steadying hand on the lad’s shoulder.

“It’s alright, Will, she’s in good hands. You need help, too, you know. You don’t think I’d leave you here alone, do you? Now just hold on a minute until you get your bearings a’right. . .how do you feel, Will? Can you see alright? And your arm hurts, doesn’t it? You must’ve taken a nasty fall. Easy does it, lad,” he found himself speaking to him like he would one of his own boys. Will’s walking was unsteady and more and more Dick saw that if his arm was in pain, it was in a lot of pain. “Sit down for a moment, Will,” he said, deciding it’d be better to stop before he fell again. “You just wait. I’ll get some water for you and then maybe some ice for your arm, at least to numb the pain until a healer gets here. Will you sit?”
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:53 AM   #120
Arry
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The sound of the Innkeepers voice kept hammering at him; ratcheting up his headache yet another notch. Will held out his right hand, palm forward, shaking it a little as if to say ‘enough’.

‘Sit down for a moment, Will.’ He heard Master Boffin say. Will was about to say, ‘no’; that he would make it to the inn on his own. But his legs betrayed him; folding beneath him like two great, limp noodles. He sat down hard on his hind end, sending a stream of stars caroming behind his eyes.

‘Water, yes,’ he managed in response to the innkeeper’s offer. ‘I’ll just wait right here…’
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