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Old 06-19-2003, 07:19 PM   #81
Ealasaid
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Sting

Old Bill awoke from a shallow sleep to see all of the hobbits awake and gathered closely around the fire. They looked frightened, the lot of them. He could hear anxious whispers passing between them, something about yellow eyes watching from the grass beyond the circle of firelight. He sat up, his back making a loud pop in the process. One of the hobbits shushed him nervously. Like he could help it!

Even so, he didn't like being so far out from the fire and the rest of them. There was safety in numbers, after all, even if the rest of them were just hobbits. Drawing his trusty (rusty) sword Thunderill, he crawled awkwardly to where the hobbits were gathered.

"Eh, lad!" he whispered, tugging at the shirt of the nearest hobbit boy. "What is it?"

"I dunno," answered Ben. "It's got yellow eyes and it's watching us. Do ya...do ya suppose there are wargs in these parts?"

"Ooh, aye. There's been wargs in these parts," he said gruffly. "But I can't say as there are any now." He stood up, still holding his sword tightly.

At the mention of wargs, there was a rustle of fear through the hobbits. Old Bill looked around and saw their eyes were all wide as pie plates. He felt a bit nervous himself. He had never been within a thousand paces of a warg and had no desire to change that. Anxiously, he, too, squinted into the darkness.
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Old 06-19-2003, 08:06 PM   #82
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Sting

Mirabella crouched by the other hobbits, panting heavily. Her heart was thumping like a great drum, and she was sure they could all hear it. She palmed around for her stick she had brought earlier, and yelped as she saw it in the fire. Grabbing the cool end, she took it out and noticed it was still slightly aflame. Holding it out, and shaking violently, she looked at all the hobbits, and Old Bill. Even he was jittery, holding out his sword carefully.

She moved up next to Ben and mumbled 'What is it??' He shook his head and looked at her with great fear 'What'll we do?'

Mirabella strained to see what it was, and muttered 'Ah well, I'll eat my words...'
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Old 06-19-2003, 08:53 PM   #83
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Sting

Ferd sat at the kitchen table in his home in the Great Smials. The table was lavished with breads of various kinds, cream, jellies, cakes, and fruit…and it was all for him. His mouth watered with anticipation. A warm fire burned in the fireplace on his right, and he could hear a voice singing a rhyme his mother used to sing when he was lad. Reaching out he took hold of a large, warm roll with one hand and some cream with the other. The food moved slowly toward his mouth…”Ferd! Ferd! Wake up!” Instantly the food was gone and Ferd opened his heavy eyes to see Olo standing over him shaking. “Something’s out there…we’re being watched.”

Ferd jumped to his feet with his head reeling. “What?! What is it?” No one answered him, but the other hobbits were standing around the fire bracing themselves for some unknown attack.

Dropping to his knees, Ferd searched the dark ground groping for his walking stick. Finding it just three or four feet away from where he slept, he grasped it sternly with the large knot facing outward and stood back up.

His heart racing Ferd worked to gather all the courage he could muster. He turned his head back and forth not knowing which direction the danger lied.
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Old 06-20-2003, 11:50 AM   #84
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Sting

Penny had finally fallen into a peaceful sleep.

“Wake up Penny” Mirabella cried as she shook her. “There something out there.” Penny looked towards the direction Mirabella had pointed at. She was pointing into the tall grass.

“What is it?” Penny asked getting scared.

“I don’t know. It has two, big, yellow eyes. Were being watched!” Mirabella replied before she ran off. Watched by who or what? Penny ran over to where she had been sleeping earlier. Her knife lay just where she left it. Penny breathed a big sigh of relief. At least she had a good weapon.

There wasn’t much light. He moon was again covered by a dark cloud, and the fire had only a few glowing embers in it. The wind blew softly and Penny shivered. She stood awake and alert like the rest of the hobbits. Penny was scared. She gripped her sword tightly until her knuckles turned white.
Who is out there?

[ June 20, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]
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Old 06-20-2003, 02:40 PM   #85
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Ama slowly crept forward, the grass rustled slowly, a growling noise rising into the air. The other hobbits were poised around her with various weapons, all of them slowly edging forward. The yellow eyes danced between the long grass and Ama’s hand trembled as it clenched the rock she had picked up from the ground. A whisper that it might be a wrag was mentioned, but she tried to block these comments out of her head. Wrags? They were fearful creatures, she had heard about them in tales she had been told when she was just eight, but meeting one was nothing like she had imagined.

Her heart beat hard against her chest and drowned out all noise save that which was the rustling of the reeds. She edged closer. She was going to do it. Al she had to do was pull back the grass to reveal the thing and the others would have a clear shot, a clear shot. She would be sacrificing her own life but that did not matter.

She reached out and clutched a pile of grass in her hands, dropping the rock her only defence. Olo whispered out to stop but she did not listen. Ama yanked the grass back and closed her eyes.

“It’s a wolf!” cried out Ben.

Ama let go of the grass and ran back behind the rest of the hobbits again. She was too scared, maybe someone else should do it she said faintly.

[ June 20, 2003: Message edited by: Arien ]
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Old 06-20-2003, 02:42 PM   #86
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Sting

"Git 'im!"

Old Bill felt a distinct nudge in the small of his back. It was Rosie, the hobbit girl who had been so nice as to help him up after the tree branch incident.

"Go git 'im, Old Bill!!" she said again, giving him another nudge in the direction of the yellow eyes which had just reappeared in the darkness directly ahead of them. "You're the biggest. And you've got that fiercesome great sword of yours. We'll come in behind you and help." She held out her hand and showed him her little pocketknife.

Old Bill hesitated. He had no more desire to go charging out into the darkness after those eyes than any of the hobbits did... but he had to admit, she did have a point. He was the biggest. And, after all, he did have a sword. Anxiously, he glanced around at the hobbits.

"Yeah!" chimed in one of the boys, joining Rosie. "You're the biggest."

He looked again out at the unblinking yellow eyes. Well, warg or not, it was better than waiting for the thing to come in after him, Old Bill decided.

"You're right behind me?" he asked the hobbits gruffly, giving each one in turn a stern glare. Each of the hobbits nodded gravely in reply. "If I don't come back --" he gave them a rather shifty smile. "If the ruddy beast eats Old Bill alive, then the lot of you are to stay on the path... IF you manage to survive yourselves." He bristled his eyebrows at them meaningfully and pointed a stubby finger in the direction they had been traveling. "Keep going thataways into the morning. You'll find your road home." Or the path into the Downs. He laid his finger by the side of his nose and nodded. The Downs were good enough for the lot of them. It would serve them right for being the death of him at the hands (or claws) of the thing in the darkness.

At last, Bill was ready. He puffed out his cheeks a couple of times, took a deep breath, and raising his ancient sword over his head, charged straight at the eyes!

"CUMMERBUND!" he yelled at the top of his voice. It was all he could come up with for a battle cry on such short notice. The owner of the eyes slid smoothly to one side, as Bill went charging past into the darkness. The eyes remained, but the hobbits listened as Old Bill's voice faded into the distance. Having passed the eyes, he just kept running. It was the last the hobbits ever saw of Old Bill or of Thunderill, the sword of Cummerbund.
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Old 06-20-2003, 03:23 PM   #87
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Sting

They had pushed Old Bill to the front of the group. ‘You’ve got the sword,’ said Ben. ‘You go!’

With a yell of ‘CUMMERBUND!’, Old Bill had charged bravely forward, resolute or so they thought on vanquishing the monster for them. Their faces fell, and they huddled together once more when they saw his figure disappear in the distance, his sword held high.

‘I don’t think he’s coming back,’ whispered Mirabella to Ben. She nudged him gently in the ribs. ‘And look, those eyes are still there . . . blinking . . .’

Ben picked up a stout piece of firewood and crept forward, the others following close behind. ‘You’ld better git!’ he yelled as loudly as he could. Only a slight quaver at the end of his yell belied his brave stance.

Closer and closer they crept to the eyes in the grass. It seemed to have retreated a bit as they edged closer. ‘I think it’s afraid of us now,’ whispered Ben. ‘I’ll just throw this stick at it and run it off.’

He drew back his arm and sent the thick stick sailing in a great arc at the place in the tall grass they had last seen the monster. They heard it fall a great distance away and heard the sound of feet running off.

Ben turned back to the group, a smile on his face. ‘Well, I guess that’s that then. We’ll just . . .’

His words were cut off when a dark shadow came flying from the grass behind him, hitting him hard in the back and knocking him flat on his face.

‘HELP! It’s going to kill me!’ he screamed at the top of his lungs.

What he heard then was laughter . . . giggles, first . . . then full on belly laughs.

Ben looked up with a scowl on his face. He was going to die, and they were laughing at him!

‘Oh, Ben! Don’t be silly. No one’s going to kill you.’ Mirabella came near and crouched down in front of him. His mouth was half opened in reply to her when he felt something cold and wet against his ear. Ben craned his neck about to see what weight had landed on his back.

And there he beheld the grinning face of a rather large, unkempt dog, with the stick he had thrown clamped firmly in its mouth . . .
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Old 06-20-2003, 11:11 PM   #88
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Sting

Falco couldn't help but laugh at the dog that was covering Ben. Here he had been startled awake by the rest of the hobbits fearing a warg and it had only been a dog! Falco laughed even harder while Ben glared up at him. "Falco it's not funny!" Ben yelled at him. "Sorry Ben. Here let me get the dog off of you." Still chuckling a bit Falco came forward and pulled the big dog off of Ben's back.

The rest of the hobbits crowded around the large dog and peered curiously at it. "Where do you suppose this dog came from?" Falco asked. "I don't know. It looks unkempt maybe it's a stray." Olo said while he reached out to pet the dog. The dog didn't seem to mind and the other hobbits began to pet him as well. "Do you suppose we should keep him?" Mirabella asked. "I don't know. What do the rest off you guys think?" Falco asked and looked around at the rest of the hobbits waiting for an answer.
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Old 06-20-2003, 11:23 PM   #89
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Sting

Penny stood alert and ready. All of the sudden a figure jumped out from the bushes. Penny screamed on the top of her lungs. Then she started to laugh at the sight she saw. A dog was sitting on top of Ben, with a big stick in his mouth. Ben just lay there screaming. It was hilarious.

Penny dropped her knife and ran over to where the dog sat. It was amazing that they got so scared over a dog. They thought it was a warg! It was so cute. Penny leaned in a started to pet it.

“Good doggy” she said as she continued to pet it. It slobbered all over her hand and Penny just laughed. She loved him. Mirabella asked if the should keep it.

“I think we should. He is so adorable” Penny said a s she turned to look at everyone else.

[ June 21, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]
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Old 06-21-2003, 06:52 AM   #90
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Sting

‘HELP! It’s going to kill me!’

Mirabella yelped in surprise and jumped forward with her flaming stick. The light covered the fallen hobbit, and she let out a peal of laughter.

‘Oh, Ben! Don’t be silly. No one’s going to kill you.’ She watched him turn over and realise that the monster was actually a lost dog. Rosie squealed in delight and patted the dog, who enjoyed it thoroughly.

Smiling at the dog, whos great eyes were now filled with great excitement, she said to the other 'Can we keep him? He seems nice enough, and if he can scare us, he could probably scare whoever out there who could be after us'

The other hobbits were uncertain, but she thought that it would be best to let them be. Sitting back she looked around and smiled. It was beginning to be a fun adventure again. But then she realised they were on their own now.

She turned to Ben and Olo 'Well, what shall we do now?'

[ June 21, 2003: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]
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Old 06-21-2003, 01:41 PM   #91
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Sting

Ben motioned for the Hobbits to gather round the small fire. It was still night and now that the excitement of besting the monster in the grass was done, the chilly breeze had become more noticeable, and several of the companions stood shivering and hugging themselves to keep warm.

‘Miri, throw some wore sticks and little branches on the fire. Get it roaring! We’ll all freeze to death before we even try to find our own way.’

The night passed fitfully for the group despite the warmth and light of the little blaze. They huddled together, more out of fear than cold, and most caught only a few winks of sleep before startling out of their doze when a strange noise was heard.

For his part, the dog kept them good company, requiring for his services only a few scraps of leftover fish which he gulped down skin, tails, head, fins, and bones altogether. Smiling, or so it seemed to them, his great lips pulled back from his teeth. Tail thumping with delight he yipped a little as the last of the fish was thrown him. Then, settling down near the group, his body throwing off some welcome heat, he dozed along with them. His ears twitched as he slept when some sound came to them, and a low growl would issue from him now and then at some hint of threat.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

The night passed, and the weak rays of the morning sun were brightening as they pushed through the trees at the east of their camp. Rosie and Falco went out to check the traps she had put out among the trees last night, before the incident with the ‘monster’. They returned, a little while later, smiles on their faces. There were five good-sized quail they held in their hands – enough for a half bird for each and one for the dog.

Penny, Ama, and Ferd, along with the dog, had dared the thicket of bushes to the south, and came back with their hands and pockets full of sweet blackberries growing wild amidst them. Ben laughed when he saw them return – their lips and the dog’s teeth were stained dark red from the berries’ juice.

Olo and Miri went east to, along the outskirts of the trees, gathering twigs and downed limbs for the morning fire. They had a nice little blaze going when the others returned, and a pleasant meal followed. The brightness of the day and full stomachs did much to improve the spirits of the companions, and soon with a little splash of water to freshen their faces and clean their hands they were ready to be off.

Ben crouched down, a small sharp stick in his hand, and drew in the dirt while the others finished their washing up and put out the fire.

‘What’s that?’ asked Mirabella, drawing near, and kneeling down beside him. The others came over, curious to see what he had drawn.

‘Old Ben gave us some directions when he left last night and I was trying to puzzle them out along with some other things he said when he and I talked together last evening.’ He stuck his stick on one of the lines he had drawn.

‘This is where we are now I think.’ With the stick he drew a line from that point curving slightly upwards. ‘Here’s the path he told us to stay on, the one he said would take us directly home. What worries me is that he didn’t tell us anything about what lies along this path, or how long it will take us to get back to Buckland.’ He sighed, and stood up, his hand dropping down to scratch the ears of the dog that had come up to stand beside him. ‘I suppose we have no other choice but to take him at his word.’

The dog plopped down his hind end on the crudely drawn map and snuffled at the lower pocket of Ben’s vest, the one with a few of the breakfast berries saved for munching on later. The dog’s tail thumped energetically as he gazed with longing at the pocket, effectively destroying any remnant of the crude map.

Ben laughed and pushed the voracious beast away. ‘You must wait just like the rest of us! Rations are short, I’m afraid.’ The dog stood a pouty look on his grey furred muzzle, and his tail drooped. His eyes lit with hope for a moment when Ben’s hand dipped into another pocket. But it was only a small tin whistle he pulled out. ‘Let’s have some music as we walk along,’ he called to his companions as he motioned them toward the path.

They fell in line, in two’s and three’s behind him. The warm sun was on their faces, and a fair wind at their backs. The dog danced among them as they walked, nearly tripping a few in his exuberance.

‘Hey dog! Watch what you’re doing!’ cried Penny as the great animal snaked around her legs.

‘You know,’ said Ben, speaking loudly over his shoulder, ‘since he seems to have decided he will come along with us – perhaps we should find a name that suits him. Anyone got any ideas . . .?’
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Old 06-22-2003, 05:42 PM   #92
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Sting

The hobbits treaded through the tall grass traveling northeast where their hopes and their home lay. Ben pulled a small whistle out of his pocket and began to play a happy little tune. Ferd who walked right behind him danced as he walked and clapped his hands to the beat of the music. Skipping about and clicking his heals together, first on one side then on the other, Ferd tried to make the others laugh. He reached out a ruffled Penny’s hair from behind, and she turned around and tried to glare at him, but her efforts failed when Ferd crossed his eyes and stuck his tongue out.

Before she could turn back around, their new canine companion rubbed against her legs and she almost tripped. “Hey dog! Watch what you’re doing!” She cried. Ferd couldn’t help smiling, although he held back his laughter.

Ben called back that naming the dog would be a good idea, since he seemed to be staying with the group. Ferd had begun to really like the dog and naming him would be fun.

“You know, he’s a real likeable pooch and kinda funny. ‘Specially when he almost killed you last night, Ben.” A bit of snickering was heard from the other hobbits. “I think we should name him after someone…respectable…and smart…and funny. Hmm…” Twisting his mouth to one side and rubbing his temple with his finger, Ferd acted like he was contemplating some serious issue. “I got it! We’ll call him Ferdy!”

“Oh, please,” Ama rolled her eyes at Ferd trying not to laugh. “You said someone smart.”

“Well, do you have a better idea?” Ferd pretended to pout and crossed his arms over his chest and hung his head to one side.
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Old 06-23-2003, 02:50 PM   #93
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“….no..” Ama smiled sweetly, “But I am sure we will think of one!” she laughed. For once her spirits were lifted and she did not think so much of being lost and thought more of enjoying herself. They walked on chatting, laughing. A few days passed, but they never seemed to be short of food or water and always managed to light a good fire to keep them warm.

The pooch was still with them, though he did not have a name yet. And as the fourth night of their journey without Bill came to a the group sat around the fire. Ferd and Ben singing as usually, which cheered the rest of them up a great deal. A few Coney’s sat roasting on the fire, Olo and Falco had cought them and were very pleased with them selves.

“Well if it wasn’t for Falco and me we wouldn’t have supper tonight,” he said slapping Falco on the back playfully, “I think we did an alright job of it!”

“Yes and if wasn’t for you we wouldn’t be in this mess!” Ama smiled, the rest of the hobbits laughed but Olo looked a little taken aback by this comment. “Oh Olo, get over yourself, I was only messing around!” she laughed, and threw some grass at her cousin. He smiled weakly back. She couldn’t help but think she had slightly upset him.
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Old 06-23-2003, 04:06 PM   #94
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Pipe

The hobbit companions traveled on for many days. They joked around and sang songs and all was merry. They seemed to have forgotten the fact that they were lost. The hobbits had once again set up camp and a warm fire was going. Everyone was singing and laughing. Their camp was encircled by small hills and the area around them was very grassy. The land was unfamiliar and strange but no one cared. They were sure they were al heading home.

The hobbits started to sing and Penny jumped in. The song was a well-known song. It was about Perry the Winkle:

There were pikelets, there was buttered toast,
and jam, and cream, and cake,
and the Winkle strove to eat the most,
though his buttons all should break.
The kettle same, the fire was hot,
the pot was large and brown,
and the Winkle tried to drink the lot
in tea though he should drown.

Penny laughed after the song ended. It was much fun. She sat next to the fire stroking the pooches’ head and eating. He needs a name she thought. She looked at the pooches’ long drooping eyes. He was a sweet dog. What could we name him? She got an idea.

“How ‘bout Tom, or Ted?” Penny said. “For the pooches name” she added blushing slightly.

[ July 03, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]
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Old 06-23-2003, 08:33 PM   #95
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Sting

Mirabella hummed happily to the song, glad to be able to rest her feet.

'Tom eh? That doesna' sound too bad!' Penny grinned at this, and Mirabella continued to whistle the tune. For a small spell she didnt even care that they were all lost, just that she was having a good time doing so.

She tilted her head when they sang the song again 'Oi! What about Perry?' she looked at Ben then said 'Unless you would like to call him Ben the Bold!' she hooted, and threw a small stone at him. He squeaked and retorted, but Mirabella just stuck up her chin and said in an attempt at a regal tone 'Aye, Ben the Bold he is! Fighting demons!' This seemed to lift the spirits if all the group, and the laughter continued...
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Old 06-24-2003, 03:33 PM   #96
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Sting

Seven days down the road . . .

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was late afternoon of what had started out as a very pleasant day. Tom the dog (that is what they had decided on calling him when Ben put his large Hobbit foot down and said he would not be mistaken for a great furry beast!) had managed to hunt down two rabbits, and had just brought them back to camp. Rosie, too, had been busy with her little snares, since they had called it quits early for this day of tramping. She and Ferd had been out in the nearby woods together, and had managed a trio of good-sized coneys themselves.

Ama and Penny had found a promising patch of leaves just outside the boundaries of the trees and had commandeered Ben and his pocket knife to come help them out. ‘There’s some good roots here for eating,’ cried Penny as she waved him over. ‘Come help us dig them up.’ ‘Look!’ said Ama, pointing in delight at a small bit of groundcover, ‘It’s wild sage. We can add a little flavor to the stew. And there! Wild onion!’

They were seven days into their trek northward. The weather had held steady and for many of the days they pushed hard from sun up to sundown, taking only a few mouthfuls of food as the went along. But today, they had decided to call an end to it early.

They deserved a rest, they told themselves. They were here, where the old forest met the low rolling hills just a short distance away. Old Bill had said this was where they would end up. All they had now was to go a short distance into that little rise to the east and they would be home. Or so he had said.

Miri and Olo had gone down to the small stream to wash out the old kettle they’d found in some rough camp they passed, abandoned by the Big Folk, they guessed. It was a treasure indeed, and filling it half full with water, they brought it sloshing back to the little camp. Falco was there, tending the fire, and the pot was soon propped on some rocks to boil.

Tubers and onion and sage, the trio of plant hunters returned, their offerings in hand. Tom laid his rabbits down by the others brought in by Rosie and Ferd, and sat, wagging his great tail, a half grin on his face as the smells of a meal in preparation assailed his nose.

Ben had motioned Miri to come with him, giving her half the onions and tubers to wash off. They knelt by the little stream that trickled out from under the eaves of the forest and hurried through their task.

The sun was getting lower in the sky, and a chilly breeze from the east, over that little rise of hilly country, made Ben shiver. The old, gnarled and twisted branches of the great trees that stood along the forest’s edge, creaked as the breeze hit them. And though it was only just summer, the dead dried leaves at their tips rattled drily against each other.

‘I don’t like the feel of those trees,’ whispered Ben to his companion, as they gathered up their now clean root vegetables. He hastened away from the forest and back toward the light of the little fire. ‘It has a strange feel to it. As if they don’t like us, or want us here . . .’

He glanced up to see Tom bounding toward them. ‘Good to see you, pup,’ he cried, running toward him, Mirabella following in his wake.

Behind them, unseen, it seemed as if the branches of the old trees reached out toward them, shaking their twiggy fingers at the cursed fire. And little shadows ran and flitted in the darkness of the tangled limbs . . .

[ June 24, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 06-24-2003, 06:02 PM   #97
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The hobbits put the meat and veggies into the pot and started to make the stew. The fire started to dye low as a few drops of water fell onto the wood.

“We need more firewood,” Penny. “Anyone want to come with me to get some wood from the forest?”

“Ill go” Ferd said as he stood up and walked over to Penny.

“I’ll go too” Mirabella said following the two as they slowly walked away from the fire. The sun was setting and it was getting dark. A cool draft blew from the east. Penny, Mirabella and Ferd set of towards the forest with Tom. Penny could see the trees now. They were old and twisted. It was quite spooky. The dead leaves rustled as the wind blew though them.

“Come on. Lets hurry up and get some wood.” Penny said to Ferd and Mirabella. They hurried now, walking faster. Penny shivered as they neared the forest. The branches seemed to move, shaking like angry fists. They slowed down and entered the forest warily. The searched the ground for anytime of wood they could use for the fire. The trees creaked loudly as they swayed.

Penny found a few pieces of wood on the ground. There was barley any to be found. Penny backed up slowly, right into the open arms of a tree.

“Ahhh!” she screamed as she jumped away from the tree.”

“Are you ok?” Mirabella asked worriedly.

“I’m fine” Penny said shivering and searching the forest.

“I don’t like this place” Ferd said as he joined them.

“Me either” Mirabella said as the three hobbits and Tom scurried out of the forest with the few pieces of wood they had collected.

[ June 25, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]
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Old 06-25-2003, 10:17 PM   #98
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An eerie feeling was emitted from the unfriendly, swaying branches as Ferd, Penny, and Mirabella entered the forest. Despite the chilliness of the air outside the forest walls, the air beyond the first of the trees was warm and stuffy. It feels like a small room without any windows, Ferd thought as he looked around cautiously. He felt as though a hundred eyes were on him, but he saw no one other than his two companions.

Creaking and an occasional clatter could be heard all around them. Searching the ground quickly for dry wood, Ferd couldn’t shake the uneasiness he felt. All he wanted was to get back to the camp…in one piece.

When Ferd looked back up, he found he had walked several yards away from Penny and Mirabella, and he momentarily panicked. He tried to call to them, but his voice fell flat in the still air. So, carrying a few pieces of timber he’d gathered he quickly made his way back.

The path to his friends had seemed straight when he’d first realized he was separated, but now he had to zig-zag around this tree and that. Ferd was just a few feet away when he tripped over a root that seemed to just pop up as he was walking. You’re loosing it, Ferdy boy, he told himself as he shook the idea from his head. Picking himself up and the wood he’d dropped, he finally stepped into the small circle where Penny and Mirabella were picking up some small limbs.

Just as Ferd turned his back again, Penny screamed out and Ferd jumped. He watched as Mirabella rushed to her aid. Penny said she was fine but the hobbit was definitely shaken up.

“I don’t like this place,” Ferd looked around and motioned toward the edge of the trees. As he headed in the direction of camp, Penny and Mirabella followed.

The trio walked past the last row of old trees and they all sighed at once. The forest seemed to push them along, and it felt as though an unseen door closed behind them.

“Well, I’m glad we’re out of there,” Mirabella commented while the other two nodded in agreement. “I think this wood will have to last, because I don’t want to go back in there.”

“I agree,” Ferd said as he looked back over his shoulder. The old twisted branches seemed to be reaching out toward them, and he quickened his pace.

The smell of the stew met them as they returned to the little fire and their companions. Ferd’s mood was immediately improved by the prospect of food, and soon he was snapping his fingers at the old trees and singing along while Ben played his whistle.

[ June 26, 2003: Message edited by: alaklondewen ]
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Old 06-25-2003, 10:35 PM   #99
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“Well, I’m glad we’re out of there,” Mirabella said with a pant. The journey to gather firewood had made her very ill at ease. Both her companions had been rather jumpy in the mist, and it seemed contagious. Thinking about it, she realised that the past week she had been growing more and more uneasy about their surroundings.

Moving up close to the fire and waiting for the evening meal, she scratched Toms ears. He wagged his tail happily and snuggles closer to her which made her chuckle 'Im glad Tom is with us! He seems a better guide then that Old Bill' she frowned. Her distrust for Big Folk was now cemented after his disappearance.

Sidling over near Olo, he muttered 'So, how are we going? Shall we be through these woods soon?'

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pio's post

Ben leaned close to Mirabella and whispered to her. ‘I’m glad Tom is with us too.’ He looked out toward the edge of the forest. The gnarly branches rattled their leaves despite the fact there was no wind. A cold shiver ran down Ben’s spine, and he threw several large logs on the fire. He hunched in closer thinking the shadows of the trees loomed closer as he did so.

‘Don’t be silly,’ he told himself, it’s getting onto night, there are no shadows coming out of the trees.

The group was a little subdued after supper. No one had wanted to go back to the stream near the trees’ edge to do the washing up, so they had simply put the stew pot aside (there wasn’t much left in it at all), and when it had cooled, Tom volunteered to lick it clean.

They talked in hushed tones to one another, and the songs that one or two of them would start to sing, fell flat and seemed to disappear into the oncoming darkness.

Penny and Ferd banked the fire as night drew on, and the Hobbits gathered in close about it to try and rest before they pushed on in the morning. Strange noises skittered in the branches of the trees, and every so often Tom would give a deep growl and raise his hackles. But even he after a while succumbed to sleep.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

It was a grey morning that greeted them. The fire had gone out and the mist that crept in had dampened the embers completely. Ben sat up, knuckling the sleep from his eyes, and gave a mighty stretch, trying to work out some of the kinks in his muscles the cold lumpy ground had put there.

He picked up his folded vest (he was using it as a pillow), and put it on in preparation for getting up to his feet and seeing to the fire. Out of habit, he patted the numerous pockets, and a frown started on his face.

‘Hey!’ he shouted, standing up and looking about on the ground where his vest had lain. ‘My tin whistle’s gone missing!’

He looked about the camp. The stew pot had been dragged off near the trees, and there on a nearby bush was one of Rosie’s little bird nets – ripped in spots, and holes chewed through the string webbing in others.

The others were fully awake now, and each of them had looks of consternation on their faces as they patted their own pockets and searched their sleeping area . . .

[ June 26, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:38 PM   #100
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Ama patted down her dress looking for her knife, and unlike most if the others possessions it was still in her pocket. She sighed a sigh of relief, because from the looks this latest ‘attack’ she would need it. They other hobbits looked around wearily at the camp which was now in a state. They had no food as it had been eaten by whatever had attacked while they were dreaming. So with heavy hearts the hobbitsb sat down to eat a undersized breakfast consisting of berries and the few drops of water they had left.

As they finished Ama looked around, fog, for some strange reason was drawing in quickly. It was cold and cooling on her skin, but she did not like it one bit. Nudging Olo who sat next to her sipping water she questioned him.

“Should we move towards those hills that we saw earlier?”

He shrugged his shoulder and continued to drink. So Ama turned to the rest.

“Should we move towards those hills that we saw earlier?” she said again. A few murmurs came but nothing recognisable. The hobbits seemed to have had their spirits considerably lowed since they had got up that morning. She sympathised with them for she too felt that way. But that did not mean they had to give up on getting home. Ama turned to Olo looking at him with pleading eyes. She never was good at speaking out and Olo was always a good leader. He nodded to her.

Getting up, he said, “ You heard what Ama said, should we move towards the hills?” an echo of yeses followed. He sat back down again.

“We should get going,” said Ferd, “before this fog sets in.” nods followed and slowly camp was packed up.

+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

The hobbits travelled for half a day almost, but in silence. A kind of depression had seemed to fall over them as well as the fog which blinded their vision…..
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:53 PM   #101
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Penny sat shivering in the cold fog that morning. She was extremely hungry and worried. The fog will set in soon and will be lost; she thought looking at the other members of the company. They packed up the few belongings they had that hadn’t been stolen and slowly headed towards the hill they had seen earlier.

They traveled for a while silent and sullen. The fog had set in and they could barley see in front of them. It was heavy and thick and it was all around them. Penny walked slowly behind Mirabella. Tom the dog walked right next to her and Penny was glad to have his company. She had no clue what would happen to them.

“Its no use! We can go no further in this fog. I can’t even see my nose!” Penny cried miserably as she plopped down on the wet ground. The other hobbits chimed in with their agreements.

“What are we going to do!?” Mirabella cried. “We can’t make a fire in this fog. Its to heavy!” Penny sighed. The hobbits and Tom huddled up close to each other to keep warm. The group was cold, wet and miserable. The fog was misty and it was not only dampening their clothes but their spirits too.

[ July 03, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]
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Old 06-26-2003, 09:40 PM   #102
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Drifting out of the fog came a wavery voice. The little cluster of Hobbits were startled by it. Tom jumped up and sniffed the air then began to wag his tail furiously.

From out of the fog came a familiar face. It was Ben, a goofy grin on his face. ‘Hey! I found the perfect place for us.’ He motioned for them to get up and come near. ‘I didn’t know you guys weren’t behind me, so I went on a little ways. Lucky you were talking loud enough for me to find my way back.’

He had them hold hands in a line so they wouldn’t get lost then he turned and led them deeper into the fog. It was thick and heavy, like wet wool, and they walked slowly because they could not see where they stepped.

After a few paces, the ground began to rise gently. They climbed up perhaps thirty paces then found themselves standing on a flat little rise. The fog was thinner here, and they could see some of the features of the area about them.

To their left, just a few steps away was a grass covered mound, just about Hobbit height. The entrance to it was covered with a stone that had been slid just slightly away so that there was a small gap just large enough for a smallish creature to pass through.

‘It was too heavy to push any further,’ Ben said in explanation. ‘There was a little sun that peeped through the fog just before I came back to find you. It’s dry inside, whatever it is. We can stay there until the fog clears and keep warm. Then we can set out again.’

Ben put his shoulder to the entrance stone and looked expectantly at the group. ‘Well isn’t someone going to help me . . .?’
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Old 06-26-2003, 11:23 PM   #103
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Falco stared hesitantly at Ben and the stone he was trying to move. Something didn't feel right about the grassy hill, but it seemed the best place to hide to get out of the smothering fog. Placing his misgivings aside Falco stepped forward and began to help Ben push the stone further aside. they heaved until they made a suitable amount of space so that all of the hobbits could pass through comfortably.

Ben was the first to go in and Falco followed him somewhat warily. It was dark inside and felt ominous to him. He couldn't see quite clearly and his eyes were just beginning to focus when he heard Tom starting to whine and growl. "I don't like this," Falco muttered "something isn't right." Ben preceded to walk further on into the dark having already become accustomed to the gloom while the rest of the hobbits remained clustered around the entrance. "Hey everyone! Come and see what I've discovered! There's treasure here!" Ben called out. The other hobbits became curious and followed Ben's voice further in but Falco found himself hanging back with Tom. Ferd noticed Falco's hesitation and decided to poke fun at him. "Come on Falco you're not scared after telling everyone how ghosts were all rubbish." Falco scowled and said "I'm not afraid." He preceded to stomp off after Ferd to see what all the other hobbits were looking at with excitement. After coming to a second chamber underneath the hill his eyes opened wide and he could understand what all the fuss had been about. "Oh my..." He breathed.
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Old 06-27-2003, 01:49 PM   #104
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“Oh my…” whispered Falco. All around were treasures of gold and silver, but they looked dim and cold in the light. Ama looked further on, her eyes falling upon eight stone slabs placed neatly in a semi circle. She caught her breath and suddenly the air was filed with a song. A bitter mummer, falling and rising. The voice appeared distant, rasping but filling the air all around them. The hobbits stood still rooted to the spot, they wanted to move but could not. The space around them froze their bones, and as the distant melody grew closer one by one the hobbits fell to their knees.

As Ama’s knees hit the ground, she fell to the floor knocking her head on the icy, stone floor. As she came to she looked up at the swirling patterns above her. As it all came in to focus a shadow leaned over her and two faint, greenish eyes loomed at her.

“Olo!” she choked, her throat cold with horror, “Where are you?”

“I am here,” replied a voice, but it did not belong to Olo. No, that was no friendly kind voice. It was evil, harsh. Then a firm and frozen grip took her body, her blood ran chill and her bones seized up, and then darkness.

~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@ ~@~@~@~

A green light broke through her shut eyes, and then they gently opened. It took her a while to get used to her surroundings, but she found her arms were placed across her chest and her head thumped persistently against the freezing stone she lay upon. Ama looked around to see her companions, their faces pale, nearly as pale as the white they now wore. And they were overly dressed in the gold and silver that was set on the floor when they had first entered.

And now the song began again, chilling Ama’s heart. And as she listened the words got louder, clearer and more deathly.

Cold be hand and heart and bone,
And cold be sleep under stone:
Never more to wake on stoney bed,
Never, till the Sun fails and the Moon s dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
And still on gold here let them lie,
Till the dark lord lifts his hand
Over dead sea and withered land.


Her heart jumped at the ending of the song and all was silent.
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Old 06-27-2003, 06:36 PM   #105
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Tom’s hackles had gone up when the others entered the barrow. Push and prod and coax as he might, Ben could not get the dog to enter the ‘shelter’. ‘What’s the matter with you?’ he had cried, as Tom backed up, growling at the dark opening. Ben had shrugged his shoulders and shook his head at the contrary animal. ‘Alright! Do what you want. Sit out here in the miserable fog if you want! I’m going inside.’

Now he wished he had paid attention to Tom. He found himself like the others (he supposed since he could not turn his head to see them) on a hard, cold slab. Dressed in mouldering garments that Men must have worn at some great king’s court with a fillet on his brow, rings on his fingers, and a great sword set lengthwise on him, holding him down with its weight.

His mind was heavy, it was hard and getting harder to think. And every once in a while cold and bony fingers would poke at him through the rents in the garments, as if he were a trussed bird on a spit, and the cook bent over it to see if it were ‘ready’.

The feel of the cold hand and the ghastly green eyes that seemed to float along with it just on the periphery of his vision made him shiver with fright. But even that feeling was fading as the creature wove his ghoulish tune about the chamber. The cold melody rose and fell, blending with the shadows, and Ben fell deeper under the dark murmurings of the wight . . .
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Old 06-27-2003, 09:32 PM   #106
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Mirabella's head jerked back and forth as she heard the chilling poem, and saw the green glow. She realised she was not where she was before. She tried to sit up, but felt frozen to the spot.

'Blazes! We hafta get outta here!!' Mirabella said in a coarse whisper, trying to stop herself from shaking. It was all good and well saying it, but Mirabella could barely move, let alone run from their new found 'shelter'.

She tried to look about for Ben, Olo, or any pf the others. She could barely see. All she heard was that things voice, its whisper. It seemed ages old, and filled with hate and suffering to all who heard it.

A hiss and sort of laugh could be heard through the dark cavern.

Mirabella mumbled to herself as she lost awareness 'Right adventure we be having Mira. I right old adventure...'

[ June 27, 2003: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]
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Old 06-27-2003, 09:37 PM   #107
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As Penny collapsed with one last though came into her mind. The story Ben had told of Wights and the Barrow-Downs. She also remembered the song:

Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing,
Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains! . . .


Penny awoke. Her body was frozen and her blood chilled. She was scared. The story must be true! She couldn’t move and she was cold, so cold. Penny felt like crying. She missed her family. She wore a white garment. What happened to my clothes, she thought. Out of the dark to ethereal green eyes appeared. A skeletal finger poked her repeatedly. Penny got scared. Then they wight started to sing a song once again:

Cold be hand and heart and bone,
And cold be sleep under stone:
Never more to wake on stony bed,
Never, till the Sun fails and the Moon s dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
And still on gold here let them lie,
Till the dark lord lifts his hand
Over dead sea and withered land.

And with the end of this song Penny fell into a deep sleep, with green eyes dancing in her mind.

[ July 03, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]
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Old 06-28-2003, 01:55 PM   #108
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Olo saw nothing but the shadows of darkness close in about him, as the opening closed behind them. Calling out amidst the gloom through which no light shone, he looked for his friends.

“Ama? Mirabella? Penny? Where are you all? Come out, this isn’t funny!” his frightened voice squeaked, but he heard no reply from any of his friends. It seemed to Olo that he sensed something moving nearby him, and a shiver ran up his spine, chilling his bones. A lump caught in his throat, and he trembled. A low hiss came out of the silence, and Olo stepped backwards, tripping and falling. As he lay on the ground, feeling something approaching him, everything went black.

***

Olo’s eyes flickered open, struggling to make sense of anything throughout the darkness. It was cold, very cold, as though it had settled into his bones, and nothing, not even the warmness of his own bed at home could get rid of it. A tear trickled down his cheek, and he sniffed, not even thinking to feel embarrassed about it, a hobbit boy crying. One thought reverberated in his head, as he remembered Ama saying “Yes and if wasn’t for you we wouldn’t be in this mess!” She had apologised afterwards…but the thought had lingered, and only affirmed his conviction that he was to blame. He wondered where she was. What if he survived, and had to go back home and break the news to her family that she was dead? And he was to blame for it all? A tear ran down his face from the other eye. What was he to do, lying here? He tried to move, to no avail.

The wight approached him, looming out of the shadows. Olo choked on his fear, his eyes wide with dread. The wight began to sing; a chilling song.

Cold be hand and heart and bone,
And cold be sleep under stone…

A wave of sleep rushed over Olo at that moment. Fighting against it desperately, he strove to stay awake, feeling sleep was the worst possible thing at that time. Panic filling his thoughts, suffocating him, Olo felt as though he was drowning in the wight’s song, unable to fight back. Moments later, exhausted, he fell into slumber.
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Old 06-29-2003, 08:17 AM   #109
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Himaran's Post:
Erendal hurried through the fog of the Barrow-Downs, following the footprints of the halflings he had seen. The ranger had spotted them from across the river, and quickly crossed over; soon picking up their trail.

Erendal knew where the hobbits would end up, the home of the Barrow-Wight. Anyone entering the Downs seemed to be drawn to that deathly place, to find the treasure, and reap the punishment for doing so. Running now, the ranger dashed toward the small hill, where the stone was still in place.

Checking the ground, the ranger knew that the hobbits had entered, and had been caught. The ranger threw his weight against the stone, slowly moving it. Entering the dreary cave, Erendal saw the hobbits, in the trance on the ground, and also saw the wight; singing the song of death. But the ranger was well-accustomed to lore, and knew by heart the song of Tom Bombadil.

"Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing,
Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains!
Come never here again! Leave your Barrow empty!
Lost and forgotten be, darker than darkness,
Where gates stand forever shut, till the world is mended."


With an awful cry, the wight vanished, and sunlight flooded into the cave. The hobbits slowly sat up, rubbing their eyes. "Get up," hissed Erendal.

[ July 04, 2003: Message edited by: Arien ]
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Old 06-29-2003, 08:37 AM   #110
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It all happened so quickly. Ama had been lying, frozen to the stone, unable to move, when she saw the light stream into the Barrow. It came as a blessing, it dazzled her eyes almost blinding her but brought warmth into her body. The wight screeched and disappeared into the shadows. The song no longer carried in the air, the green glow was no longer lingering around them, binding them to the stone.

“Get up!” hissed a voice, it was a man from what Ama could tell, she was still too dazed to recognise anyone. When she did not move she was pulled up by the stranger and placed on the ground beside Penny and Falco. “Get outside into the light,” the voice said again. Well she was not going to disagree. So quickly she ran with the others, her heart beating fast. As she ran through the entrance the sun warmed her still, it must have been morning. The fog had gone and dew was newly formed on the soft grass, it was wet under foot but she was not complaining .

They threw themselves down on to the grass glancing back to see any signs of the other. “Who, what …?” said Penny utterly confused, gazing intently at the entrance to the Barrow. Falco and Ama shrugged still too shocked to talk. But some of that shock was relived when the rest of the hobbits came running out. Lastly was the man, yes he was a man, he walked sword in his hand. Sealed the doorway to the Barrow and came towards the hobbits.

He had long messy brown hair, and wide alert eyes. He looked strong but had a fearsome appearance around him. Ama’s eyes met a scar that was slashed across his neck, and he had many others. He wore brown, matching his eyes and hair and carried bow and arrows.

Ama grabbed Ferd’s arm and pulled hime close, “Are we to trust him?” she asked, her voice trembling.

“He just saved us from that…that…”

“Wight, Barrow Wight.” said the man, he had obviously heard them and the pair looked horrified. “Are you ok?” he came closer but the hobbits backed away, scrambling along the ground.

“Whats wrong, I am not going to hurt you,” he laughed.
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Old 06-29-2003, 01:16 PM   #111
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Tom came bounding up to the Hobbits on the grass - barking and yipping in glee. The man who had rescued them had his back turned to the happy mutt and was nearly knocked to one side as Tom’s weighty tail slapped against him.

‘Hey, get off me!’ cried Ben, pushing at the dog who straddled him and insisted on licking his face. Tom snorted at him, a playful look in his eyes then leaped like an overgrown puppy to the side of one of the other Hobbits, and gave a big wet slurp on the cheek in greeting.

Ben shaded his eyes against the bright sun and looked up at the man in brown. He stood up, a little wobbly on his feet, and bowed courteously to their rescuer.

‘Ben, sir,’ he said, by way of introduction. ‘Benton Muddyfoot, of Buckland, The Shire.’ He looked expectantly at the man. ‘And you, sir – who might you be. We should know your name if we are to give you our thanks.’
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Old 06-30-2003, 04:31 AM   #112
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Sting

The sunlight streamed into the barrow where Olo lay, blinding him momentarily. Jumping with shock, he saw the Barrow Wight recoil, wailing, then realised that he could, indeed, move. He was free! Rolling off the large stone, he stumbled towards the door, out into the bright sunshine. There he saw his friends sitting on the damp grass, half in shock, and half in sheer relief from being free. Next thing he knew, Tom was bounding all over them, licking them and barking with joy.

Olo raised his eyes up to see the man who had saved them standing above them. He looked a rather shady character – scars across his face, and messy. Olo was wary to trust him, particularly after their last encounter with the Big Folk – how had that turned out? They were left abandoned, and nearly met death at the hands of a Barrow Wight. He stared into the eyes of this man, looking for signs of sincerity and honesty, when Ben asked “And you, sir – who might you be?”

The hobbits sat in silence as they waited for a response, their eyes fearfully moving from the scars across the man’s face to the bow and arrows he carried on his back. Some of them were more trusting than others, but despite having been rescued by this man, Olo was doubtful.

“My name? Erendal Hathali,” the man answered. “I am a ranger of this area. Tell me, what are 8 young hobbits doing so far from the Shire?”

“We were caught in a storm on the Brandywine, and our boat was lost,” Ben jumped in eagerly, seeming willing enough to talk to this stranger. “We’re trying to find our way back home.”

“An unfortunate situation that is, to be sure,” Erendal replied. “It’s a long journey to make, especially since you seem to have no proper supplies.”

“Um, could you help us find our way home?” Olo spoke grudgingly, unwilling to ask for further help. The young hobbit only spoke as he felt it was his duty to get the others safely home, and this ranger seemed to know his way around. Silently, the hobbits awaited a response.
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Old 06-30-2003, 06:09 AM   #113
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Sting

Mirabella fell to her knees and tried to block the light from her face. She felt like she had been dreaming for so long...

She looked around when her eyes had slightly adjusted, and saw all the hobbits lying or standing there in the strangest garb she had ever seen. She almost hooted out loud until she realised that she too was wearing the same thing.

She then let out a sort of sqeuak when she saw that it was not the 8 hobbits on their own. One of the Bog Folk was watching over them, and asking questions.

“I am a ranger of this area. Tell me, what are 8 young hobbits doing so far from the Shire?”


Mirabella watched him converse with Olo and Ben. She felt giddy and very sick, but her tongue was always one to move at the worst of times, and now was no exception. A silence came, but Mirabella did not take long to fill it.

'Hey! What the devil is going on here! I canna tell left from right in this awful place, but one thing that Old Bill taught me was no' to trust Big Folk to easily!' she said groggily, before stumbling a little trying to get up...

[ June 30, 2003: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]
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Old 06-30-2003, 11:17 AM   #114
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Sting

Ben bent down to give a hand up to Mirabella. The Man had given his name and claimed to be a Ranger! Now the other Hobbits crowded round him, asking him questions.

‘I don’t know what to think either, Miri,’ Ben whispered as he pulled her to her feet. ‘I though old Bill was alright. But he fooled us and now look where we’ve ended up!’ He shook his head and sighed. ‘What I do know is that we’re way off course if we’ve come to the Barrow Downs and I do know none of us know how to get back to Buckland from here.’ He looked over at the weather beaten man then back at Mirabella. ‘You have any ideas?’

~*~*~*~*~*~

Tom was not as indecisive as some of the Hobbits. This two-legged creature smelled fine to him. No scent of darkness or fear or hidden things. He plopped himself down next to Erendal, wagging his tail furiously, his mouth fixed in a toothy grin. Perhaps, if he were patient, there would be a treat . . .
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Old 07-01-2003, 07:33 AM   #115
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Sting

Ferd stood a few feet back from the ranger, and he wasn’t sure what to think of him. That mean Old Bill had played a trick on them that was beyond just being mean, but something about this man made Ferd want to trust him. On the other hand, Big Folk made him nervous by presence alone. What is a ranger anyway? He thought to himself as he watched Erendal. Sounds like someone who just likes to be outside. But he did save us from that… Ferd shivered as he looked over at the barrow, and he knew he just wanted to leave this place.

“Guys, we need to decide something quickly, because this place is making me feel really uncomfortable,” Ferd called over the other voices. “I don’t want to be anywhere near here when the sun goes down.” Shaking his head, he shivered and began taking the rings off his fingers. He didn’t like the feel of the old garb even in the sunlight. “Does anyone know where our real clothes are?”
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Old 07-01-2003, 09:29 AM   #116
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Sting

Penny lay on the warm ground blinking in the sunlight. The rest of the hobbits were already up and asking the man questions. Olo and Ama didn’t seem to trust him. Penny stared at him. He was dressed in brown and had scars on his face and neck. Penny could tell that most of the hobbits were distrustful because of the nasty trick Old Bill played on them. But there was a difference in Old Bill and this man. This man was kind to them, not all grumpy like Old Bill.

“My name? Erendal Hathali.” The man said.

Penny looked up at him. He had said that he was a ranger. She had never heard of rangers before. Ferd called something out. We should get moving Penny thought. She shivered as she remembered the frightful song and the chilling gaze.

“Please Sir, will you lead us back to the Shire” Penny asked hopefully. Erendal smiled at her.

“I will” Erendal said as he started walking. Penny ran to catch up to him.

“I was wondering Sir, well…” Penny paused “What’s a ranger?”
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Old 07-01-2003, 12:45 PM   #117
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Sting

Erendal strode off, Penny scurrying to catch up with him, and they were soon in conversation. The others followed at a considerably slower pace, talking amongst themselves. They were still dressed in the clothes from the Barrow, their own seeming to have disappeared. Whispering amongst themselves, they kept an eye on the ranger ahead.

“Olo…do you think we should trust him?” Ama whispered to him..

“What choice do we have?” the younger hobbit replied. “We’re completely lost! We’d never make it home alone.” Olo sighed sadly. “It’s all my fault for getting us into this mess in the first place.”

“I suppose we must just trust him,” Ama said thoughtfully, ignoring Olo’s last comment. After walking steadily for an hour, they saw the trees of the Old Forest coming up before them. Olo gulped nervously. His thirst for adventure that was previously so strong had been slowly disappearing as they tried to make their way home. The trees loomed starkly before them, some of them twisted and grotesque, their branches reaching out to the hobbits, calling them in. Here, Erendal paused as the hobbits gathered together.

“Whatever you do when we’re in here, stick together. It’s all too easy to get lost amidst the trees of the forest…” Turning, he brushed past a branch and entered the thickness of the trees, following a small path, not much used. The eight hobbits, glancing around nervously, followed after into the growing darkness, where it seemed hard to tell the difference between night and day.
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Old 07-01-2003, 01:35 PM   #118
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Even Tom was subdued as they passed beneath the cover of the trees. The air was thick, it seemed. And the limbs of the trees creaked and groaned at them. Their dry leaves rattled menacingly at the Hobbits as they passed though no breeze touched them. There were dark things that scampered in the branches, and little bright eyes that seemed to follow them and blink out if one tried to look directly at them.

Ben shivered, and grabbed hold of Tom’s fur for reassurance as they walked along. This was just as creepy as the old wight’s barrow, he thought. But bigger. And he felt that the trees were thinking of him and saying to one another how they hated the nasty little two-legged creatures who had put up the Hedge against them.

They bit us with their axes! he could almost make out in the whisperings. They burned us!

The path ahead seemed to shift and change in the shadows, almost as if the trees were trying to guide their footsteps. The Ranger seemed unconcerned, and plunged on ahead in silence.

Ben leaned close to Mirabella. ‘I don’t know about this,’ he said, a shiver running up his spine as the path now appeared to turn right where formerly it had gone straight ahead. ‘Out of the frying pan and into the fire, it seems to me . . .’

[ July 01, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 07-01-2003, 07:23 PM   #119
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. ‘I don’t know about this,’ ‘Out of the frying pan and into the fire, it seems to me . . .’

Mirabella nodded with a great frown, still feeling slightly woozy from the Wights great song. Few had paid heed to her warnings, and followed the Ranger. He looked friendly enough, but Big Folk can seem nice and be far from it, she knew that much.

'I see little we can do Ben. If he gets us home its a blessing, but I aint gettin' me hopes up. I'd just be ready to kick up a stink and get outta his way as soon as I could' she grunted, and followed along. 'He should prove himself good or ill soon enough'
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Old 07-01-2003, 08:28 PM   #120
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Ferd was not happy about entering the strange forest again, and as they passed under its eaves, he could feel eyes on him. Looking around cautiously, he saw nothing but heard much. The trees seemed to groan and their branches cracked and creaked overhead, but no breeze could be felt by the hobbits. In fact the air was so thick and still, what little conversation was started fell flat before them.

Ben’s frying pan and fire comment did not set well with Ferd. It reminded him too much of something old Mr. Bilbo would have said, and Ferd’s adventurousness was now gone. The small relief gained by leaving that nasty barrow was not enough to put him in high spirits under the foreboding trees. Trudging forward with his head down, Ferd tried to ignore the whispers all around him and only hoped to eventually leave the atrocious forest behind.
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