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Old 03-01-2004, 03:42 AM   #1
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Boots A Land to Call Their Own RPG

Alaklondewen’s post

The gusty wind ruffled the skirts, aprons, and coat-tails of the hobbit-folk gathering in the center of Bree where a meeting had been called for all the hobbits in and around the town that mid-morning. Groups of ladies stood huddled laughing and gossiping about what the subject of the meeting could possibly be. Merry children ran and played in the streets, while their fathers leaned against the surrounding trees, smoking long wooden pipes, and the discussing the politics of the day.

A short wooden podium had been erected overnight on the small stage in front of the community hall, behind which two middle-aged hobbits talked in hushed whispers with their backs to the crowd.

“Well, brother, spirits seem to be high and with the nice weather the folk should receive our proposition favorably,” the taller of the two spoke to the other who kept his eyebrows furrowed and eyes on the small paper he held in his hands.

“I hope you are right in your thinking, Blanco, but we must not let our heads reach the clouds.” The hobbit turned slightly and looked over his shoulder at the townspeople. Then after taking a deep breath, he continued, “I believe all are here who wish to be…let us begin.”

Blanco nodded in agreement with his brother and walked silently to the podium. He greeted the crowd, but the excited voices of hobbit-folk drowned out his initial attempt. Looking around the podium and his feet, Blanco coolly stepped to the side of the stage and reached a large stone roughly the size of his fist. As soon as he returned to the podium, he pounded the stone on the side of the structure producing a thunderous sound that promptly hushed the voices of the crowd. Raising his arms in greeting, the hobbit welcomed the hobbit-folk and thanked them for coming. “My name is Blanco Bolger. My brother, Marcho Bolger, and I come before you today to offer all of you an opportunity the likes of which will live on in the stories of our descendents.” Blanco paused and cleared his throat before continuing, letting his words sink in. The crowd appropriately responded with much murmuring. “I may be getting ahead of myself…please allow me to back up a moment. During the last several years, Bree has been a desirable place for many to live…too many. I know that most if not all of you feel the pressures of the growing population everyday. The available land for young families is becoming scarce, our streets are cluttered with the waste of too many, and there is ever the threat of war from the east.” Pausing again, Blanco watched the fathers nod, and a few “that’s true” and “he’s right” were tossed out. “How would feel if I told you we have a solution? We do. We will begin to settle the land to the west. We have lived among the Big People too long, and now we can have a land to call our own!” The crowd immediately began raising their voices with approval and opposition. Blanco raised his hands to the folk and called “please, please, wait” until they had quieted once more. “We understand many of you will have questions and comments, but if I may, I would like you to hold off for just a minute, while my brother gives you some information about the location…Marcho?” The hobbit stepped back to allow room for Marcho to come forward.

Marcho, the more serious and older of the two brothers, unfolded the small paper he’d been studying earlier and laid it flat on the podium. Speaking before others was not something this hobbit enjoyed, and he remained silent for the moment, gathering his thoughts before beginning. “Those of you who know my brother and I well will know that for the last several months we have been surveying the land beyond the Baranduin.” The hobbit paused, squinted at what was close to the noon sun, and wiped the nervous sweat from his forehead. “What we have found is a rich, uninhabited land. Approximately one hundred leagues west of the river, we will settle the hills of the White Downs. These hills will not only provide desirable living space, but will protect us from future threats.” Marcho glanced at his notes periodically as he spoke. “The White Hills are surrounded by lush lowlands that will provide land ideal for farming. Our settlement will be in a prime location for obtaining trade with the Men of Arnor and the Elves of Lindon. This factor will benefit our people immensely. We, as a unified people, can hardly afford to let this opportunity pass.”

Here, Marcho stepped back and Blanco came once more and stood beside his brother. “We have contacted King Argeleb II and received permission to enter the land and settle in all the land beyond the river Baranduin to the Far Downs. Our only obligations will be to keep the bridges and roads in good repair, aid the King’s messengers, and acknowledge his Lordship as our King. One week from today, we will leave the gates of our fair city and lead all those families who wish to be apart of this momentous occasion. This will truly be a day that will live on in the stories of our descendents.” Blanco waved his fist in the air as a sign of victory.

Marcho, always calm and rational, said, “We will now take any questions or concerns you may have. We will take our time and answer you in an orderly fashion. Please feel free to voice your opinions. This is an important day for all of us, and we want to be sure you have enough information to make a well-thought out decision." Marcho then announced to the Hobbits that all those who wanted to go along should meet back at the West Gate, all packed up to travel, in one week's time.

The brothers spent the next few hours in front of the townspeople answering questions and debating the need to make such a move. Many of the hobbits were passionate about their concerns, and some, who make it very clear they disagreed, stomped away from the meeting grumbling and calling out their complaints.
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Old 03-01-2004, 03:42 AM   #2
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Boots

Arestevana's post

The day was warm and sunshine spilled through the open window of the house. Elsa Whitfoot smiled contentedly as she scrubbed the breakfast dishes. The kitchen door was propped open; the delightful breeze well worth the extra sweeping it would take to clear the wooden floor of leaves. Through the open door, Elsa could hear her daughter Alora playing in the field behind the house.

As she finished drying the last of the dishes, Elsa glanced at the clock on the mantle piece. She knew there was an meeting in the town square, presumably of great importance. She called for Alora, shaking her head fondly as the little girl ran in, laughing. Elsa caught her daughter’s arm and ran a brush through the girl’s hair. When she had brushed most of the grass out, she dusted off Alora’s skirt and tugged her pinafore to make it lay straight. Elsa handed a light coat to her daughter.

“My friends will be there too, right mother?” Alora asked, shrugging into the garment and pulling on her town shoes.

“I suppose they will be.” Elsa replied, grinning at her daughter’s delighted smile.

They left quickly, Elsa pulling the door shut behind them. Her husband Kalimac and their son Crispin were waiting at the end of the lane. Elsa spent a moment trying to secure her son’s hair, but gave up at his annoyed protests. The family walked together to the town’s center. Marcho and Blanco Bolger were speaking to a large crowd of hobbits. They spoke of a new land, providing safety and opportunities for the hobbit-folk. Elsa listened closely, intrigued.

The speech had been going on for some while when Alora caught sight of her friends and begged to be allowed to leave. Elsa consented distractedly, telling her daughter to return when the speech was over. The little girl ran off. Elsa continued to listen to the speakers, watching her husband to see his reaction. She could see Kalimac thinking over the proposal. She found herself hoping that he agreed with the brothers. The thought of moving to a new land was exciting, and she cheered loudly with many others when Marcho finished speaking.

When the speech ended, Alora appeared almost immediately, asking sadly if they had to leave. Elsa glanced at her husband, who was watching the Bolger brothers thoughtfully. She turned back to Alora.
“Yes sweetie, your father and I need to talk about something, and we’d prefer you be home so you can say what you think about our idea. Well, our idea, as well as Blanco and Marcho Bolgers idea.”
Alora sighed, but agreed without complaint, and the family headed home.

Last edited by piosenniel; 03-06-2004 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:35 AM   #3
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Melisil's post

The day started out wonderfully! Alora’s mother had let her, after breakfast of course, play out in their backyard field. Nearing mid-morning, she was told that there was going to be an important meeting and that she needed to come. Alora had smiled inwardly and outwardly at this idea, as she thought it would be grand, and she could play with her friends while they were there.

“My friends will be there too, right mother?” she had asked, as she put on her coat and shoes.

“I suppose they will be.” Came her mothers reply. Alora beamed.

Once they were there, Alora saw many of her friends, “Oh mummy! Can I go play? Please?” she begged.

“In a moment dear,” said her mum, “I want to see what’s going on first, Alora.”

Alora’s father and sibling had come with them too. The four found some seats around the middle of the large crowd they were now in. After a moment, two men came onto a platform where everyone was speaking. The first man spoke, Alora couldn’t see him over all the heads very clearly, but his words were strong. Every now and then, Alora saw her parents, and heard all the other grown up Hobbits cheering. It interested her for a moment, but then saw her friends.

“Mummy! Now can I go?” she pleaded.

“Yes, go play. But come find me when the men stop talking.”

Alora nodded, then ran off to her friends. She played tag, and hide-and-go-seek, and rolled in the grass, and all sorts of hobbit type games children her age played. After a while, and after the men had finished their speech, she ran breathless up to her mum. She asked, somewhat more sadly then you would have thought after she came up so fast, “Do we have to go now?”

“Yes sweetie, your father and I need to talk about something, and we’d prefer you be home so you can say what you think about our idea. Well, our idea, as well as Blanco and Marcho Bolgers idea.”

“Yes mother.” Alora replied, and home they went.

Last edited by piosenniel; 03-06-2004 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:35 AM   #4
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Witch_Queen's post

Sarah looked around as other hobbits struggled to get to center of the town. "Goodness what could this entire meeting be about?" Sarah worried about everything all the time. She knew she had no reason to worry. Yet that made her the hobbit she was. She had just finished getting dressed when her husband had told her that there was a meeting.

"Sarah!" She turned around to see her old childhood friend. "What do they have to tell us now. Perhaps they have decided that we should stay here and never leave. Oh how I would miss this place if I had to leave. Its been my home for so long." Sarah shared the concerns of her friend.

"Now Rose why would they want to make you leave or I? We have lived her for so long but getting out and seeing the world would be so much fun. After all I have gotten tired of see just dwarves and men. I want to see other places." Sarah pulled her jacket tightly together. The wind was blowing the few strands of her hair around. "We can't stay her forever." Rose looked at Sarah with disguse. She ignored the looked and focused on what was going on around her. She felt a tap on her shoulder as she turned to see her children and husband behind her.

"Did we miss anything?" She shook her head and then turned back to see what was going on. Sarah was ready to leave her home. She wanted to see everything around her. When will he decide that may, just maybe we should leave home and look for a new place to live. A place where I don' t have to worry about my children getting into fights with other children.

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Old 03-06-2004, 11:36 AM   #5
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Memory of Trees' post

May Chubb stood on tiptoe, craning her neck to see over the heads of several hundred very excited hobbits. It was mid-morning, and it seemed that every hobbit in the country had turned out for the event. The noise was deafening.

An exceptionally tall hobbit moved unintentionally in front of her, blocking her view of the podium entirely. Oh, I hate being short, May thought furiously.

As she moved to a different angle, she suddenly spotted a familiar curly head bobbing amongst the crowd. “Father! Over here!” she cried out, but her voice was lost in the hubbub, and she lost sight of him. Sighing dramatically, May settled down behind two gossipy old ladies. They were discussing the mysterious meeting about to take place.

“I just don’t understand it,” said the first woman. “Calling us all together like this, and them not even giving a clue what about!”

“There’s no sense in it at all!” agreed the second, who was wearing a red shawl with beads that clacked when she moved. Leaning in closer to her friend, she said in a low voice, “But you’ll never guess what I heard, just this morning. I can tell, it gave me quite a shock, Edda, darling. Well, I was sitting in my yard – you know, Henry keeps this old rickety chair right out in front of the house, and I was simply scandalized at first, I just knew the neighbors would have the news all over town, us having a great wooden chair right in the yard, and oh well, he likes it – but as I was saying, there I was, sitting in that chair, and suddenly I began to hear some voices, and they’re talking all deep and important, like so, and I thought that maybe I’d better listen in, you know. Well, the first one says, ‘…couldn’t be that!’ And the second voice growls, ‘I heard it myself, just this very morning. They’re trying to make us leave our beloved homes and go gallivanting all over the country!’” She ended triumphantly.

The first woman gasped. “You don’t think…”

“Oh, I couldn’t say.” May found this a bit hard to believe. The old lady continued ominously, “I’m just saying what I heard. But mark my words, Edda, no good will ever come of leaving our own lovely land.” Suddenly she giggled. “Oh, Edda, did you hear about that Rosie Burr…”

The two moved on to talk of other things, but May had stopped listening. The second woman’s words sent a thrill of excitement through her. Leaving Bree? So that was what this was all about!

But May had no more time to ponder, for a hush had fallen over the crowd. A young hobbit was rapping for order on the wooden podium. “My name is Blanco Bolger,” he said simply. “My brother, Marcho Bolger, and I come before you today to offer you and opportunity, the likes of which will live on in the stories of our descendents.” A murmur ran through the crowd. After pausing, Blanco continued, “I may be getting ahead of myself…”

“I’d say so!” May heard an old hobbit next to her mutter.

“…please allow me to back up a moment. During the last several years, Bree has been a desirable place to live for many… to many. I know that most if not all of you feel the pressures of the growing population every day. The available land for young families is becoming scarce, our streets are cluttered with the waste of too many, and there is ever the threat of war from the east.”

Several hobbits near May were nodding their heads in agreement. “It’s just too crowded around here!” She heard somebody cry out.

Blanco cleared his throat, and then went on. “How would you feel if I told you we had a solution? We do.” The silence was tangible. May swallowed hard, caught up in the feeling of excitement that seemed to surround the gathering. “We will begin to settle the west. We have lived among the Big People too long, and now we can have a land too call our own!”

The crowd stood in silent shock. Then, like a burst of deafening thunder, all the hobbits began voice their noisy opinions at once. Cries of, “What? We can’t leave our homes!” “He’s right, you know.” “It’s just nonsense, that’s what!” rang out among the crowd. May was rapturous. “A land to call our own!” she echoed, letting the sweet, cooling words seep deep into her brain. “To call our own,” she murmured again, pronouncing each word deliberately.

The call for order was given, and finally the roar died down enough for Blanco to be heard again. “We understand many of you will have questions and comments,” he called out. “But if I may, I would like you to hold off for just a minute, while my brother gives you some information about the location… Marcho?” He stepped away from the podium and allowed his brother to come forward.

Marcho was a serious-faced hobbit, with shaggy brown hair and a soft, commanding voice. May liked him at once, even if he was a Fallohide.

“Most of you who know my brother and I well know that for the last several months we have been surveying the land beyond the Baranduin,” he began, then stopped. He wiped his forehead with a large white handkerchief. Several hundred hobbit eyes glued to his face, waiting for the promised information, and he clearly wasn’t enjoying it. “What we have found is a rich, uninhabited land. Approximately one hundred leagues west of the river, we will settle the hills of the White Downs. These hills will not only provide desirable living space, but will protect us from future threats.” Marcho’s voice grew in strength and clarity as he went on. “The White Hills are surrounded by lush lowlands that will provide land ideal for farming. Our settlement will be in a prime location for obtaining trade with the Men of Arnor and the Elves of Lindon. This factor will benefit our people immensely. We, as a unified people, can hardly afford to let this opportunity pass.”

Looking utterly relieved, Marcho let his brother take over from there. His younger brother went on to explain about trade and government; things that seem of great importance to adults, but are seldom of interest to twenty-seven year old hobbit girls.

“We will now take any questions or concerns you may have,” concluded Marcho when his brother was finished. “We will take our time and answer you in an orderly fashion. Please feel free to voice your opinions. This is an important day for all of us, and we want to be sure you have enough information to make a well-thought out decision." Marcho then announced to the Hobbits that all those who wanted to go along should meet back at the West Gate, all packed up to travel, in one week's time.

One week! She mused excitedly. May had reached the age where time begins to come into perspective, and realized how very short a time one week was. It doesn’t matter anyway, she thought. My parents would never agree to this.

This she knew, yet still wondered. What would it be like get out of this place? To leave those rich, conceited Whitfoots, and never have to work in their fields one more day, it was like a dream. And then, to have land of your own! To till, and plant, and water, knowing that it was all yours; this was May’s fantasy.

“May! Mayflower Chubb!” May spun around to see Bella Rolland emerge out of the crowd. She and Bella had been friends since the time they were both little hobbits. “There you are!” cried Bella. “I’ve been looking all over for you. Faldo wouldn’t let me come until I finished planting the rest of the peas. I absolutely detest green peas…”

May’s thoughts were broken off by her friend’s lively chatter. As they wandered away from the crowd, she couldn’t help think, maybe someday…

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Old 03-06-2004, 11:36 AM   #6
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Kransha's post

The hobbit squinted as he peered over the numerous heads of other Bree-hobbits, removing the lengthy pipe from his mouth, blowing a delicate ring of smoke into the crowd, and tucking the pipe back into his vest pocket swiftly. His eyes stared intently and the two figures who were now taking places on the makeshift podium erected suddenly on the platform stage in front of Bree’s community hall. The roar of the Halfling crowd was overwhelming, but Kalimac Whitfoot let the cacophonous din glide past his ears like the subtle sound of the tide, for he did not need to hear all the petty conversations flowing like rivers around him. It had been impressed upon him that it would be in his and his family’s best interests to hear these two hobbits out and he planned to do so.

The unwieldy vortex of sound was finally harnessed by the first hobbit at the podium, who silenced the crowd with the boom of stone struck against the structure he stood at. Kalimac had already been silent, contemplating whatever the speaker might be going to say, and tried to ignore the startled yelps produced by the maneuver. He jumped slightly at the sound, but soon settled again and continued focusing upon the hobbit, who was now greeting the audience and beginning to speak. Now Kalimac recognized the voice and gait of the Halfling. It was Blanco Bolger, brother of Marcho Bolger, the hobbit who had married his sister Estella some years ago. In fact, Kalimac hadn’t seen either of the two hobbits in days and had been under the impression that they were on an excursion outside of Bree-land, possibly somewhere out west surveying, as the rumor went.

Blanco began with a simple and humble introduction, first stirring the gathered group to some unnoticed mumbling. He continued a moment later, brandishing an oratory flourish, immediately utilizing the element of suspense to hook the audience. A wave of inaudible murmurs rippled through the crowd momentarily, before Blanco Bolger continued. He finally began to draw near the point of his speech. He began to speak of growing population and land availability, local factors that Kalimac knew all too well. Blanco went on; swelling to a dramatic point, and another wave surged forth from the Bree-hobbits around the stage, all of them beginning to move towards the podium.

Kalimac kneaded the flesh on his chin knowingly, contemplating the facts and proposal as Blanco yielded the spotlight to Marcho, who stepped up and began to talk. Kalimac looked upward, musing silently, and his ears began to twitch ever so slightly, as they often did whenever he was having philosophical moments. He breathed deeply as his keen eyes flitted, looking from the stretching sky to the hobbit that stood just before him at the podium, still preaching to the eager listeners. He had been thinking of the very things that Marcho and Blanco were speaking of. He had a good, comfortable, well-off life in Bree, but there had to be more for the Whitfoots and all their Halfling brethren. He had been having daydreams on the subject and this seemed like the ideal coincidence to present itself.

‘His proposal is indeed interesting,’ thought the hobbit, ‘The hobbit is certainly right about the crisis here in Bree. Perhaps he is on to something. There would be much to gain from the open lands of Arthedain, new prospects and opportunities everywhere. The wells of fortune west of the Baranduin are practically made manifest for hobbits to settle. It is, in fact, precisely the resolution of what has burdened my dreams lately. It’s almost too perfect.’ Kalimac looked back on Marcho, listening further to how he and his sibling had organized the journey for colonization and needed only willing participants in the quest. ‘It would be no great upset if we were to follow this new way. We may have settled here, but relocating would not be an insurmountable hardship if managed correctly.’ His thoughts drifted momentarily to contemplating the Chubbs, the hobbit family in his employment. ‘They would not be so eager,’ He said inwardly, his brow furrowing, ‘Any relocation would not be as easy for them. But, after all, it is my decision. If they wish to remain in Bree, they can break the bonds of their employment to me whenever they desire. Then, for the most part, it is settled. The family will surely agree with me on the matter. If not, they can be convinced.’

A nervous smile crept across his features as he considered. He knew in his heart that his wife and children would not disapprove, since they generally bore his familiar adventurous nature. He hoped that the Chubbs would be willing to follow, though he knew as well that they were too dependant to abandon their employers. He would simply discuss the matter briefly and concisely with his family before setting off with Marcho and Blanco Bolger on this new quest for a hobbit home.

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Old 03-06-2004, 11:36 AM   #7
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rutslegolas' post

Henry and the others were playing about the stage erected for the speech of the two brothers, who were thinking of settling in land beyond the Baranduin river. Henry seemed interested by this whole affair and was listening to this whole speech very carefully. From their family talks he had the idea that their family was preparing to move to this new land. He wanted to know more about this land himself as he liked exploring. He asked his father, "Where are we going, father?".

"I do not know my son, but I think; no better not make any conclusions. I do not my son not yet," said his father. His father's voice sounded to him more grim than usual but he could not guess what was going on or whether they were going anywhere or not, but he knew that this was going to affect their family's living and also his own life. His young hobbit brain could not think of such grim matters for a long time. He again started playing with his friends and his sister, as if nothing had happened that a day.

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Old 03-06-2004, 11:37 AM   #8
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Fordim Hedgethistle's post

“What’s that he said?” Fordogrim asked the young hobbit who stood next to him, “The Brandywine River?”

“The Baranduin,” the hobbit lad replied. “It’s a big River hundreds and thousands of leagues away.”

“Eh, what’s that, what’s that?” Fordogrim scoffed. “It’s not that far off I’m sure, though it’s a goodly step. What’s he talking of that for?” The lad tried to fill him in on the details of Marcho’s speech, but the people about them hushed him into silence. Glowering at their temerity, Fordogrim turned his attention to the little stage to hear what young Master Bolger had to say. He could not believe his ears: had the young fellow gone completely mad? The more he heard of the proposal the less it made any sense to him. Rich land? Wasn’t the land hereabouts rich enough? For seventy years Fordogrim had cultivated the dark earth of Bree and for seventy years it had rewarded him with its bounty. As to the promise of trade, Fordogrim snorted loudly. Leave trade to the likes of the Whitfoots, he thought. What’s a hobbit got to worry about trading with Elves and Men from Faraway for? We’ve everything we need right here already.

As the Bolger boys continued their speeches, Fordogrim moved to an unoccupied bench at the side of the square and sat down slowly, sighing audibly as he took the weight off his right leg. It had been getting worse lately, what with the weather changing, but it was still bearable. Fordogrim knew that he would outlast his leg. Leaning his head back against the wall of the house behind him, he closed his eyes and thought about the letter that he had been composing to Primrose on the ride to town. It would need to be amended.

My Dearest Prim, he began in his mind,

I couldn’t find any decent seeds for the side-garden. Ferny had naught but pumpkins today, and Thistletoe was no better: lots of seeds, but the moisture’d got into them. The only thing they’ll grow is mouldy. I know how much you like sweet peas, but there’s still that stand of them in the kitchen garden, right where the scent can make it inside, so that will do for this year. Perhaps I can take a small clipping from that and plant it round the side garden? It would go nice with the marigolds when they come in full.

Still haven’t got round to fixing the barn door, but I will be sure to do it soon. When the rain starts to come on heavy again the wood’ll swell right up and we’ll have a back-breaker time trying to open it up. Must remember to talk to our son about that this afternoon.

And before you start to worry, don’t: I rode Stout into town this morning to save my leg. Better that than listen to our son’s wife nag at me about doing the walking myself. I’ll walk back halfway to give Stout a rest but then he’ll have to carry me up the hill himself. I feel bad a-asking it of him as he’s almost as old as myself, so far as ponies go that is. I know I keep saying I’m going to put him out to pasture once and for all, but each time I try he gives me such a look that I know he’d rather do his best with me than do what’s best by him.

You won’t believe what I heard in the town today. Masters Blanco and Marcho Bolger have gone completely cracked. Making speeches they are, about leading a lot of Bree folk away from here to some uninhabited waste miles from nowhere. There are a lot more folk than you’d think willing to listen to them too! Lucky for me, they’re so eager to hear this foolishness that there’s an empty bench in the square (for once) so I’m able to take a bit of rest and send you this letter.

I’m finding it hard to do much but think of you my dearest Prim, for it was just about this turn of season that you went away all those years ago. I’ve done my best by our boy since you went, but I can’t help but think that he missed of having his mother about. No-one knows better than you that I can be a cussedly hard-tempered hobbit, and I admit that more than once I’ve spoken hard words to the boy when you would have spoke softer and to better purpose. He misses you more than he lets on, I think – just the other week I caught him a-putting a nice posy of wildflowers on your grave and crying over it, just as he has since he was a young hobbit.

The crowd is breaking up, my love, and those wild-eyed Bolgers seem to be finished. I hope that you are well and happy. I miss you awfully.

Your husband,

Grim


Fordogrim tried to pull himself to his feet, but his leg gave way beneath him and he stumped down again. From out of nowhere appeared the young hobbit with whom he had been speaking earlier. The lad took Fordogrim’s elbow and tried to help him rise, but Fordogrim flared out at him, “What d’yer think yer doing!? When I need your help laddie I’ll ask you for it! Now if you please!” and he wrenched his arm free from the lad’s clasp. Staggering to his feet and hiding the discomfort that he felt, he walked off through the thinning crowd, tapping out his frustrated anger on the cobbles with his cane.

As he was leaving the square he saw his son and daughter-in-law amongst the crowd. He wondered what they had made of the speeches. And then a terrible idea occurred to him: what if they actually approved of the crazy plan? And then a horrific idea occurred to him: what if they agreed to go along with it? He shook his head to drive away all such nonsense and whistled for Stout.

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Old 03-06-2004, 11:37 AM   #9
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A lock of mahogany hair would not stay in place on Crispin's head. Pulling it gingerly from his gray eyes, he flung it haphazardly behind his ear. Another gust immediately blew it back; huffing in frustration, he shook his head and approached a short wooden podium standing perfectly straight in front of the community hall. Another Fallohide like himself had been talking for a few minutes now, but he was not paying any attention.

"…We will begin to settle the land to the west. We have lived among the Big People too long, and now we can have a land to call our own!" Crispin did not hear if Blanco had said anything after that. Excitement erupted and exposed its self in his slightly pale cheeks, turning them a rose hue.

Pushing himself through the crowd of murmuring hobbits a little more, he found the middle-aged man he was looking for sitting in the dirt off to the left side of the podium. "D'you 'ere? Some new land to the west of here, west o' the Baranduin! Papa! Papa!" Crispin dropped to his bare knees in the dust next to his father.

The man pulled his pipe from his mouth and blew out a puff of smoke. "Crispin, let Master Bolger speak. I know you're excited about this new land, and I am as excited as you are. Just try listen to the rest of the speech, and we will get more information," The boy snorted slightly in anger and settled into a comfortable position on his bottom.

"But Papa, I don' wanna listen to Mister Bolger any longer! Bree's too crowded; all those Big Folk take up too much room. Why don't we go now and beat the rush? I'm sure the land's real rich an' the water's real clean- why, we could have a whole new farm that's a lot bigger than the one we have now! It'll be so ni-," He was stopped by his father, who stood and leaned against the tree. Crispin knew the battle was over- his father had won and there was nothing he could do about it.

Picking up a nearby stick, he started drawing in the dirt. After what seemed like an eternity to Crispin, the meeting was over and his family was heading back to their home. Only two words were said on the return journey, and his father made them: "We're going."

Much to the relief and enjoyment of his mother and sibling, along with Crispin and his father, the Whitfoot family was going to the new land.

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Old 03-06-2004, 11:37 AM   #10
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Harold Chubb sat in his oaken rocking chair stubbornly staring into the fire and feeling a little frightened. He was proud of his simple home, a snug two-room burrow in the village of Staddle that lay on the outskirts of Bree. The rooms were small but tidy, and at night the four of them would squeeze together in the family room, leaving the bedroom for the elderly Fordogrim. Things were tight, but it was a warm and cozy place and he hated the thought of leaving it.

As he mulled over what Marcho and Blanco had said at the meeting, he wasn't sure what he should do. A prudent Hobbit, Harold saw little advantage in leaving Bree to go off on some wild adventure. The White Downs and the journey to get there seemed like an outlandish idea that could only lead to disaster.

All his life Harold had lived near Bree, working on a piece of land that was owned by the Whitfoots, a prominent Fallohide family. He had no real desire to leave. Sadly, however, there didn't seem to be much of a choice: if the Whitfoots left, he would have to go with them, for the Big Folk who bought the land had announced their intention to erect a large mill and stable that would leave no room for Harold and his beloved vegetable patch.

Yet the prospect of leaving everything behind did not make him happy. The place they were going probably didn't even have a good Inn like the Prancing Pony, where there was close comradeship and mugs of ale available for a modest penny or two. And what about the safety of his family? Would Grandfather Fordogrim survive the hard journey? Who knows what hardships they might run into on the road?

With mounting apprehension, Harold realized he didn't even own a real weapon such as a sword or a bow. With the dangers of the wilderness soon approaching, he would need something to protect his family. He could not be a master swordsman or archer as some of the Fallohides were. But he did have some practical implements and tools that he used in everyday life: a sharp dagger for chores on the farm; a scythe for cutting grain, and, a fine slingshot used to disperse crows that had gathered too close to his crops. In the absence of proper weapons, perhaps he could use these to defend his wife and children.

With a sigh of resignation, Harold called out to his wife to make sure the young ones brought warm clothes, and reminded her to pack a bag of feed for the chickens. Then he went outside to recheck the wheels on his cart.

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Old 03-06-2004, 11:38 AM   #11
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ONE WEEK LATER .....

It was a bright and sunny day just one week after the meeting when Marcho had first addressed the hobbit community. Despite the earlier grumblings and hesitations, a considerable contingent of hobbits had shown up at sunrise in front of the West Gate; some were on foot, others astride ponies or seated in carts, but all carried their belongings with them.

Blanco paced up and down the line several times, warning families who were attempting to bring the entire contents of their household that they would need to be more selective, or risk falling behind with so heavy a load. At the last minute, several large dressers and tables were taken down from the backs of carts, and with many misgivings, relinquished to neighbors and friends who had decided not to make the trip.

A number of folk, both Big and Little, had turned out to see the travellers depart. The general air that prevailed was almost like a carnival, as children ran gaily about playing tag and friends shared baskets of cookies and cake with those leaving. Still, on the fringes of the gathering, things were not quite so happy. Older hobbits blinked back tears, sharing their goodbyes with friends and kin, uncertain whether they would ever see them again. And nearly all the adult hobbits, including the womenfolk, had bows thrown over their backs, swords buckled about their waists or small daggers tucked under belts. A few kept a heavy frying pan in close range on the seat of their wagon.

Cotton Woolthistle, the proprietor of the Prancing Pony, stood alongside the clearing and looked on in amazement. His distant ancestor Edmund Woolthistle had seen the Hobbits come to Bree some three hundred years before. Now, it seemed that over half of them would be leaving. Cotton sighed and shook his head. Big and Little Folk had lived peacefully together all that time, and he and many of his neighbors would be sorry to see the Little Folk go. The Hobbits had been good customers at the Pony for many a long year. He glanced up and was surprized to recognize two other families in the long line of those departing: the Whitefoots and the Chubbs. The Whitefoots had enjoyed dealings with Bree's finest merchant families, while the Chubbs were known to be good and sturdy workers. Cotton wished that he could persuade Marcho and Blanco to set aside this risky venture and remain inside the safety of Bree's dyke and hedge. But since they seemed determined to go, he saw little reason to try and persuade them otherwise at this late date.
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Old 03-06-2004, 01:14 PM   #12
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Eye

"Of course we'll see each other again Iris. When we've all settled in this new land, lotsa more Hobbits'll wanna come. Hopefully your Mam will 'ave 'ad 'er baby, an' then your whole family can come and live in this new place west of the river," Crispin wiped a tear from a black-haired girl's face, lifting her chin. She was his self-acclaimed girlfriend, against Crispin's will; he was, however, upset that her family was staying behind in Bree.

Iris sniffed and nodded a bit. "Okay Crispin. But ya gotta promise me that you'll be waitin' for me," The boy dipped his head. "No Crispin. Tell me you promise that you'll be waitin' for me when my family comes to the new land. Promise."

Crispin Whitfoot pushed the same unruly lock of hair from his gray eyes and kissed Iris on the cheek. "I promise we'll be there when your family comes. Now, I have to go. Iris, I'll see you again soon. Goodbye," The last word was very drawn out as he approached his family cart.

Jumping in the back, he flung his rucksack from his back and plopped it into the hay next to him. He sat on the edge of the cart, his bare feet dangling over the side. "Alora, sit down," He noticed his seven-year-old sister standing in the ankle-deep straw, a ragged doll dangling over the side; it was 'waving' to all of Alora's young friends.

A middle-aged man was standing in front of the cart, feeding the family pony. A middle-aged woman was standing next to him, embracing a few friends for what may have been the last time. He was excited about this journey, more excited than anyone; he was, however, a little frightened about all of the dangers the town bullies had told him about. "There are wargs, evil Big Folk bandits, ghosts, an' all kinds o' other things!" They had told him earlier that day as he was gathering apples from his apple tree.

He heard the creaking of the wagon seat, indicating his mother and father had sat down. His sister sat as well, leaning her elbows on the back of the driver's seat. "Here we go," Crispin muttered under his breath excitedly.

The wheels started turning, making loud rumbling noises as they moved over the rocks and dirt of the road. He scooted back a bit, raising his legs into the wagon. Iris stood with the rest of the Hobbits that were staying, tears of hope and fear staining her beautiful pale face. He raised his hand in farewell, squeezing his eyes together to hold back very unmanly tears. The cart slowly clinked through the gate, Iris vanishing into the dusty distance.

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Old 03-06-2004, 03:49 PM   #13
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Marcho sighed as he sat in the front of his wagon already holding onto the reins of the horses. The sun had not been up long, but he already felt they were wasting time. He might have started on his own had Estella not been saying her farewells to what seemed like all the women, both big and small, in Bree. Squeezing the reins tightly, the hobbit lowered his head and closed his eyes letting his shaggy hair hang.

A hand pressed down on his shoulder and Marcho, startled, jerked his head up. A familiar laugh greeted him immediately. “Calm down, brother. We haven’t left yet and you already appear to be a nervous wreck.” Blanco continued to chuckle as he leaned against the wagon.

“I’m not nervous,” Marcho snapped causing Blanco to step back and raise his hands in surrender. Looking over his shoulder at the hobbits behind him, the older brother continued, “We are wasting daylight. We should have already pulled out from here.”

“This is a big day, Marcho. You can’t expect folk to pack up and leave the only home most of them have ever known without making a to-do about it. Look up, the weather is perfect, and turn-out is better than we expected.”

Marcho nodded slowly in agreement but remained silent. The hobbit had been dreaming of this day for years, even though only recently the destination had been decided. Now that the time had come, he felt strangely surreal, and he half expected a terrible storm to blow up or something disastrous to occur that would prevent their leaving. Checking the sky once more, just in case, Marcho sighed again this time with relief. The sky was clear, so there was no evidence his negative thoughts were changing the weather.

“Go back to your wagon, Blanco. It’s time to go.” Without waiting for his brother’s reply, Marcho stepped down and walked hastily to his wife who was chatting with a local farmer’s wife. He gently placed his hand on the small of her back and whispered in her ear, “It’s time.”

“Yes, dear,” Estella smiled brightly at her husband and quickly excused herself from the other woman. The couple marched through the crowd, Marcho nodding to the gentlemen who caught his eye, and Estella calling out her praises to all the folk that were staying behind. As soon as they reached the wagon, Estella stopped short. “Oh, Marcho, just one moment, I must check on father before we go.” Marcho, who thought that they would at last be pulling away from the gate, sunk back in the seat and nodded at his beautiful wife.

After several minutes, Estella returned and Marcho got his wish. He shook the reins, his two mares responded, and the wagon began to roll. The rest of the folk pulled in behind him, and the hobbits began what many years later would be known as the last great hobbit migration.
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Old 03-06-2004, 05:59 PM   #14
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Silmaril Alora

Alora was having a very exciting, and slightly confusing day. But she loved it none the less. Her mother and father had told her, on the day of the speech their family had attended, that they were going to leave their home, and that they were going to find a new home. The idea had appealed to Alora immensly at first, but then she was told she would have to leave some of her friends.

This part of leaving, Alora did not like, but Crispin, her brother, had comforted her by telling Alora that some of her friends would be coming too, so it wouldn't be quite so bad. She smiled at that idea.

But today was different. Today they were acually leaving. She was dressed in traveling clothes now, standing in the back of their wagon and holding her greatest treasure, a very old rag doll of hers, in her hand.

She leaned over the side of the cart, "Bye!" she called out to a small group of her friends who were not going. She waved to them as she looked around. Many of the grown-up Hobbits were crying (this puzzled her slightly, as she couldn't tell what was so sad), and many others were saying farewells.

Crispin hopped on to the wagon with her, "Alora, sit down."

Alora obliged, waving one last farewell to her friends, she sat down as their wagon started moving.
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Old 03-06-2004, 06:21 PM   #15
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Kalimac Whitfoot sat comfortably in the muddled hay on the cart he had obtained for this trip. It was a beautiful day, contrasting the murky nights of Bree, and Kalimac swelled slightly, breathing in the fresh air. A warm sun shone down on the town, bathing the countless thatched and wooden roofs in beams light. Kalimac scanned the town, looking for the final time at the place which had been his home for all his life. He looked out at the stone-hewn buildings of Bree, all sitting in uniform ranks alongside the unpaved roads. The Halfling’s half-closed eyes, as weary as the rest of him after hefting many of his family’s keepsakes to this gate and placing them carefully in the cart, looked back through the open eastern gate and over the rickety causeway that led out of Bree. The small bridge-like structure led over the sloping dyke that surrounded Bree and out into the world.

He blinked suddenly, squinting as he looked up at the sphere of light. The hobbit wheeled around, knee deep in the hay, and hopped over to the front of the Whitfoot cart. He had taken his most faithful and strong ponies, Staddle and Archet and had them ready for the journey as he was. The two dappled creatures brayed quietly, seemingly conspiring with their muzzles near. Kalimac chuckled under his breath at the though of two horses scheming or gossiping and turned backward again, looking over the hay-filled cart to the onlookers who’d come to see them off.

He recognized many of the folk who’d gathered around, though he didn’t particular care to know those who he hadn’t met. It didn’t matter anyway, considering he would probably never see any of them again. Thankfully, most of the Whitfoot’s close personal friends were hobbits who had decided to join this expedition, so he would not need to feel any guilt about leaving them behind. Unfortunately, there were a few caustic regrets. The most gnawing of annoyances was his son, Crispin’s, loss. He knew that Crispin did not truly consider it a loss, but he knew very little about what his son thought. It was the separation of his family and the family’s of his children’s friends that most burdened him. Some of Crispin’s and Alora’s childhood friends were remaining in Bree, including that of Crispin’s closest friend, Iris. He tried not to let it cause him too much pain. After all, he had made the right, responsible, sensible decision and his family had not in any way opposed that.

‘I’m over-exaggerating anyway,’ thought Kalimac, more contentedly, ‘They are not even that attached to those remaining. They are all as eager to go as I am and they will surely be happy when we reach our destination west of the Baranduin. Marcho and Blanco are competent hobbits and they won’t lead us astray. We can trust them and everything will go well, without a doubt.’

“Is everyone ready back there?” he said over his shoulder as he saw the leading cart, manned by Marcho and Blanco, begin to move. He heard a surprisingly enthusiastic yelp of acknowledgment from Alora, an affirmative call from Elsa, who had just jumped nimbly onto the vehicle after saying heartfelt goodbyes to all her remaining friends in Bree, and not a word from Crispin, which was certainly unsettling. Kalimac had plenty of friends to bid farewell, but he’d already taken care of all those goodbyes. A moment later, Kalimac heard another form mounting the cart and assumed that it was his son. He heard his eldest child’s voice, but it was mostly muffled by the noises of the crowd and the sounds of rolling wheels, clip-clopping horseshoes on the road, and wagon wheels creaking.

Not waiting for a visible response from Crispin, Kalimac goaded the ponies forward and pulled into the slowly moving ranks of carts and wagons that had begun on their path. He could hear his family and many other families yelling final words to those left behind and waving farewell, but he tried not to glance back. The new life lay ahead of him and the other Whitfoots, not behind in the town of Bree.
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Old 03-07-2004, 06:54 AM   #16
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Henry Chubb

Henry was playing cards with his sister when his father called him inside the house. The whole family was gathered and all were looking very serious, and then his father had announced that they were moving to the new land beyond the river. Henry hadn't liked that one bit, but nonetheless they were all assembled at the gate ready to leave.

Henry was loth to leave his few precious friends behind and he didn't understand why they should leave their beautiful home.
He could see that most of their family's friends were crying.

But, even though he was angry, he was also excited to see what lay beyond his own town,and he also had one of his best friends coming with him, "My neighbor Bolco is coming too', he reminded himself ,'so it should be fun', he thought.

And waving a last goodbye to his friends he sat in the wagon and looked ahead for he knew that his new life lay ahead in the unknown land and not in his old town.

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Old 03-07-2004, 08:53 AM   #17
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Fordogrim Chubb

My Dearest Prim,

I’m sorry I’ve not written all week, but I’ve not known how to put the news to you. Not in any way that you could take it well, if you get my meaning (but you always could).

You’ll remember in my last note I was telling you about those young Masters Bolger talking a lot of cracked ideas and a-trying to mislead the folk hereabout into leaving Bree for some place in the Wild out past some river called the Brandywine. You’ll never believe it when I tell you that not only did they manage to convince some seemingly-sensible hobbit-folk to go, but they managed to convince almost half the hobbits of Bree to sell out, pack up, and head off for their wild land. I’ve always said that there was something odd about those Bolgers and now I’ve got all the proof I need to show others that I’ve been right!

But now comes the part that you’ll never credit. Our son Harold and his wife have up and decided to join those Bolgers on the road away from all that they’ve known; and them with those two little children and all as well. To tell the truth, I don’t think that our son’s full heart is in the venture, but the Whitfoots didn’t leave him much choice. They’ve sold all our land – even your little side garden – to some of the Big Folk who are going to go about “improving” the land with a couple of ruddy great buildings. Those Big Folk are all alike, and just like their buildings come to think on it: full of gears and clanks what nobody needs. If there is a silver lining to this madcap adventure, it will be that I can settle somewhere far from the likes of them!

But now we come to the hardest part to tell my dear, and I wish more than anything that I didn’t have to do it but – I’m to go with them. At first I said that there was no taking me away from the land, but Harold and Sarah were set for it. They both said that they couldn’t leave me here alone, although how I’d be alone with so many sensible hobbits hereabouts who know better than to abandon their homes… But there I go getting into a fight that lasted most of the week, and doesn’t look to be ending any time soon, neither.

I will write to you from the road my dearest, whenever I have the chance. I hope that you are well and happy. I miss you awfully.

Your husband,

Grim


Fordogrim opened his eyes and looked at the gathering crowd of those who were to leave, and the even larger crowd that had come to see them off. He had to admit, it was a stirring sight. Whole families of hobbits were crammed into their small carts or riding ponies – some were even on foot. Whatever the Bolger boys had hoped for, they would not be getting very far today, or any other day for that matter. Fordogrim snorted in disgust and leaned forward to pat Stout’s neck. “Well my old lad, did you ever think we’d spend our last years mucking about in the fields again?” The pony turned his aged head toward Fordogrim and whinnied lightly. Fordogrim chuckled. “A truer word has never been said my boy.”

He looked over at the cart where his son’s family was gathered and glared at Sarah. He knew who it was who had pushed his son into this, and he would not forget it either. He looked at the two little ones Mayflower and Henry and felt a sudden flush of concern for them on the long road ahead.

A familiar cry from the crowd called his attention back to the present and he turned to see his oldest friend Halfast Headstrong hobbling toward him. Fordogrim smiled warmly at the weathered face of his friend and slid off Stout’s back as nimbly as he could. Halfast puffed up to Fordogrim, speaking as he walked. “I’m so glad I was able to find you in this crowd! I was afraid that you’d all be gone before I could take my farewells.”

“Not much to worry about there Hal. From the looks of things I’d say it will take another week just to get this crowd moving.” But even as he spoke the Bolger boys were putting the final arrangements in order and the hobbits who were bound for the west began to move slowly away from the hill. Fordogrim looked at his old friend and did not know what to say. After a moment he asked, “Has your son decided to go along with us? I didn’t see him here.”

Halfast scowled darkly. “Yes, Fredigar is going with those Bolger boys. He has ideas about organising a ‘proper force of Shirrifs’ in the new land. I told him and told him to stay but he wouldn’t listen to me. Why I may never see him again…” he trailed off, looking at his old friend, and the tears started in his eyes. “Fordogrim,” he began again, “we’ve known each other most our lives, I…” but once more he trailed off.

Fordogrim put on his gruffest expression and said, “There there, Hal, none of that. A short good-bye for a long road.” He paused for a moment before lowering his voice. “There is one thing I would like to ask of you, though. Primrose’s grave will need tending, do you think you could look in on her from time to time?” Hal was only able to reply with a dumb nod. Fordogrim bit back the tears that he felt tickling the edge of his eyes. “All right, then, good. That’s awful decent of you my lad – but I’ve always said you were the solidest hobbit of my experience.” They looked at one another for a long moment, and then silently shook hands.

“Good-bye my old friend,” said Hal. Fordogrim merely nodded. Then, climbing up on Stout joined the slowly moving line of hobbits into the west. The Gate fell away behind them and the hill dwindled into the distance until, finally, it disappeared. And not once did Fordogrim look back.

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Old 03-07-2004, 01:41 PM   #18
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Elsa Whitfoot

Elsa sighed happily. The caravan of wagons made for a thrilling sight. While the variety of belongings stacked haphazardly in the farm carts had a hurried and unorganized look, the wagons were solid and very sturdy, which she found comforting. She had found it quite upsetting to see their cheerful home empty and bare of furniture, but at the same time it had been immensely exciting.

It seemed that the entire town had come to see the wagons off. It had taken a good deal of time to find her friends in the crowd and to wish them farewell. Some were staying, many were coming. Several ladies Elsa knew who were not leaving Bree had said tearful goodbyes, predicting terrors on the road and pitying her for have to leave. Elsa smiled to herself, remembering how surprised they had been when she told them she wanted to go to the White Downs.

Glancing around her, Elsa noticed yet another acquaintance who was remaining in the town. “Marigold!” She called cheerfully. “Marigold Tunnelly!”
The other turned, caught sight of Elsa, and hurried over. “Oh, Elsa, I was just looking for you!” Marigold informed her friend brightly. “Good luck on your trip! Be sure to write as soon as you get settled!”
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep in touch.” Elsa assured Marigold, giving her a quick hug.
Marigold nodded, smiling. “I’m sure you will. Hurry now, the Bolger brothers look impatient to go and you’d better make sure Alora and Crispin don’t get left behind!”
Elsa beamed at her friend and hurried off toward the Whitfoot’s wagon. She glanced ahead to where it stood further up the line. She could see Alora already aboard, waving to her friends. Elsa reached the wagon and paused a moment to pat the ponies, Staddle and Archet. Then she gathered up her skirts in one hand and hopped up into the wagon as best she could. She was just in time to hear her husband calling, “Is everybody ready back there?”
“Ready!” Elsa called back merrily. Alora gave an enthusiastic shout from where she stood, leaning out the back of the wagon, waving to her friends. Elsa was about to call for Crispin when he clambered into the wagon. “Sit down,” the boy told his sister gently. Alora sat, and the wagon began to move forward with the rest of the line as Kalimac goaded the ponies into motion.
Elsa leaned out to call last goodbyes to her friends. She watched the land roll slowly by under the heavy wheels of the wagons. The caravan moved slowly, but it was enough that it was moving. She felt a thrill of excitement: they were on their way.
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Old 03-07-2004, 10:19 PM   #19
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Harold Chubb

At the gates of the city, Harold took a final look back at the place he had called home. He made sure it was a good look, for he knew it would be his last. When Harold was as old as his father Fordogrim, he hoped to remember the Bree that once was. One thing he could not take with him was his dear mother Primrose whose body lay under the shade of the elm in his garden. Earlier that day, he had visited her grave, although he had been very busy getting ready to leave. As the tears came, he longed to see her face one last time, but she had gone on and he was left behind.

He looked with longing out on the land. Who would tend to the tomatoes, he thought? Who would plow the fields and spread the seeds? In the grey shadows of his mind, he saw the kind land covered over, his crops flattened, everything replaced by a large flour mill.

With a heavy heart, he left the land that he had known since childhood, foresaking the soft green hills for a mysterious wilderness called the White Downs. A knot of anger swelled up in his stomach. The mild-mannered Hobbit felt something snap as he pushed back his protest. What right does anyone have to tell me to leave my home? What difference does it make to the Whitfoots where I work their land? They see the land as property, but I see it as a living thing. Every day I work and tend the land and feel its life. They do not know its blessings or have feelings for it the way I do. They watch me farm their plot and then cut me away from it with a great gardening shears!

Bitter but resigned to his fate, Harold grudgingly set off from Bree. He walked beside his pony Brandy who pulled the family's wagon. Sarah, Henry, and May were piled tightly in the cart, which was laden with all of their meager possessions. Harold had attempted to persuade the Old One to join them, but he refused, insisting to ride on his own pony. Sitting beside Sarah, two hens clucked in their cages. A pair of goats and their prize cow Buttercup trailed along behind the wagon, tied with a sturdy rope. Harold looked at several of his Fallohide neighbors, noticing their carts overflowing with many possessions. Why did they bring all that, he wondered? Yet not a single one had bothered to take a hen or a cow. How did they expect to find eggs and milk for the little lads and lasses?

Before he knew it, the party was off and riding down the road to a strange new world. The land he knew lay behind him; only shadow and uncertainty lurked ahead.

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Old 03-08-2004, 07:39 AM   #20
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Setting in the wagon Sarah smiled at the sound of hooves. It all could mean one thing, she was finally going to leave her home and find a new place. One where she could raise her kids and be happy. I will always miss my home. I lived there since the day I was born. All her hopes were beginning to look up as she heard the cow behind them. She had noticed that the others seemed to carry all their belongings. The only thing missing was other animals. "Harold does it seem that we aren't as well prepared like the others. I don't want to get there and find out that we left valuable items behind." Her voice seemed concerned. She had always worried about something. Now it was becoming a headache for her. Sarah was about to ask Harold another question but decided not to. She knew she was a hand full along with the children.

The adventure looked like it was going to be a good one. Her home laid behind her now and there was no turning back. She was finally leaving her home and even though she had no idea what lay ahead she had no real problem with everything now. Sarah quickly shouted back to the people she was leaving behing, "Good bye old friends." Sarah thought she heard her mother calling from behind them.
"Be careful, Sarah and make sure those children stay safe." Sarah began to blush. Even though she was married, Sarah's mother couldn't remind her more of her duties. I know mother, I know.

Sarah was excited about the journey. "We have so much to be thankful for. All that we had made is behind us now. Our lives will never be the same again." Sarah knew she was mumbling. Her words were lost to the wind now. Nothing could make her more cheerful than she was when she was with her family. "Now we can look forward to what we have ahead of us."

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Old 03-08-2004, 09:08 PM   #21
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May trudged along, dragging her feet along the path, and sending up clouds of red dust that clung to her dress and skin. She had refused to ride in the cart with the rest of her family. She was too angry by far. I'll never forgive them for this, she thought miserably. Never.

It had all started after the meeting. It was late evening when she arrived home, flushed and breathless from the long walk home from town. She managed to hold her tongue for what seemed like ages, and finally the trip had come up halfway through dinner.

Earlier that day she'd been utterly shocked and stunned to learn that her family would be leaving Bree. Shocked, but unbelievibly happy. For the first time in her life the prospect of a grand adventure lay before her, and she had never experienced anything like it. Maybe they'd even have a chance to get some land of their own so that they didn't always have to be begging at the Whitfoot's door for whatever scraps happened to fall off the table. Maybe there would be a change among the hobbits, a real change, so that the Chubbs and the other Harfoots could come out on a more equal footing with the Fallohide families who always tended to run things.

But the more she heard folk talk, both in her family and others out on the street, the more frustrated and angry she became. It seemed as if no one was really thinking about changing things. Her family was only following the old paths and not thinking about how to make things better so that they'd all have a real chance to follow their dreams. Families like the Whitfoots were still going to get everything they wanted and leave people like herself with the only choice of being servants or poor second cousins.

Sitting at dinner and hearing the Whitfoot name spoken in respectful tones for the thirty-second time that day, May had finally exploded, “Oh, I see. The Whitfoots.” Her jaw was white and trembling. “Of course! Why didn’t I see that before? None of you could possibly get by without your beloved Whitfoots, could you, now? Let’s just follow them, and see if we can be their slaves a little longer, right?”

There was a dead silence at the table and a few mumbled words on the part of her parents about it being nicer to keep the conversation cheerful at dinner.

“Don’t tell me to stop it!” She screamed, angry tears coursing down her face. “It’s not my fault if you want to serve some stuck-up little pigs all your life! Because, well, I don’t! You do whatever you want with your life, but don’t you dare tell me to stop! You’re all so stupid! Can’t you even see?” She was sobbing brokenly now. “This is our one chance, a chance to get out, away from the Whitfoots. A chance to maybe make something of ourselves, but what do you do? You try to keep things the way they’ve always been, us slaving away for them, us doing all the work, with never enough to eat, and I don’t want any part in it. I hate you for your stupidity! I hate you!” She fled the house.

Of course, May’s opinion had done little to change her parents’ minds. So here they were, one week later, with poor old Brandy loaded down with their scant belongings. She hadn’t spoken much to her family all week, except maybe Henry, but he was different. At least he cared about her.

May was surprised at how little tears she shed over their parting - after the initial shock, of course. She was mostly angry. Still, there was little to tie her down here; a few friends, perhaps, and leaving the house had been hard. May was dramatic, but not overly sentimental. And she was still too mad to hurt much.

Grandpa Fordo had told once told her that when you let your heart fill up with too much anger, there is no room for good things, like love, and hope. May wasn’t thinking of that now. Her head was filled with anger as well.

Brandy leaned over and nuzzled her ear with her soft nose. Smiling in spite of herself, May gently shoved the pony’s head away. “Stop that now,” she said in mock annoyance. “You’re tickling me, silly!” The old pony heaved a sigh, and May felt bad that she was having to carry so much. “I’m sorry, old girl,” she whispered into the pony’s fuzzy neck. “I don’t want to come either, you know. I guess we’ll just have to stick this out together!”

Breaking away from the animal, May began to hum quietly as she walked along. People think you have to be happy to sing, she thought. [I]And that’s not true at all. There are all types of music, for when you’re happy or when you are sad, when you’re angry or disappointed, there are songs for every kind of mood. And you always know that music will be there. It can never betray you.

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Old 03-09-2004, 09:17 AM   #22
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Fordogrim Chubb

The day wound on toward noon and the grumbling among the hobbits became more and more pointed. Breakfast had, for most of them, been a rushed and all too unsatisfactory affair as they had readied themselves for the journey. Most had expected that there would be a feast – or at the very least a small picnic – at the West Gate to celebrate their adventure, and had been exceedingly disappointed when the Bolger brothers led them away without so much as a dry biscuit. Their hopes had then turned to Second Breakfast and Elevenses, but these also passed without remark from their leaders. As the time for Luncheon approached, the snacks had all been eaten, the picnic baskets emptied and the last of the pocket treats devoured, and more than a few of the hobbits were beginning to wonder if this adventure was such a good idea after all.

Fordogrim followed behind the family cart lost in his own thoughts. Occasionally, Harold would look back to see how his father was doing. Each time he did so, Fordogrim made sure to grimace at his son as darkly as he could, lest he should forget how opposed Fordogrim was to the whole venture. Once, Sarah looked back at him and smiled warmly, but he was not deterred, returning her look with only a scowl. It’s all well and good for you to enjoy yourself, he thought. What about them as had no choice in coming? Prim and I didn’t raise no son who’d a-come along on this crack-brained journey – I know who led him into it.

Of his whole family, only May had expressed any resistance to the idea, and while Fordogrim could not agree with her enthusiasm for the journey, he heartily approved of her fiery outburst against her parents. Indeed, of his children and grandchildren, May held a special place in his heart, for she was probably the most like him. She met his gaze and gave him a grim smile, the best she could manage through her foul mood, which was the perfect match to Fordogrim’s own. He grimaced back at her and felt the odd kind of warmth about his heart that comes only to an extremely angry hobbit who realises that he is not alone in his fury.

Fordogrim’s mood grew worse and worse as they plodded into the west. He did not like things he did not know, and it had taken only an hour of travelling for them to leave behind the landscape he was familiar with. He had, in his youth, travelled extensively to the east of Bree, but the west was like the far side of the moon to him. As the hours moved by without any sign of food or stopping, his mood grew worse. What happened was not really his fault, for it was Stout (Fordogrim was sure) who quickened his pace to bring his old master level with the Bolger boys at the front of the slow moving convoy. For a while, Fordogrim plodded along beside them, looking neither left nor right. When, finally, one of the brothers asked if there were something he wanted, Fordogrim frowned for a moment before responding. “There’s a lot of folk here who aren’t used to a-tracking through the countryside like some others I could name,” he began. “And many more whose stomachs need filling on a more regular basis. Now I don’t pretend to know much about all this – I’ve never been one to decide what’s right for other folk, and I can’t ever recall a-taking it on myself to up and lead hundreds of sensible hobbits into the Wild for reasons about as solid as a morning dew in July, but I do know this: hobbits need food and ponies need rest. Now unless you plan on getting us all to these White Fields or whatever you plan on calling them, before nightfall, I would think that a break might be just about the thing that everyone needs to lift their spirits.” And with that, he lapsed into a monumental silence and stopped Stout in his tracks.

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Old 03-09-2004, 01:20 PM   #23
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Biting the inside of his cheek, Marcho blinked at the insults thrown at him from the old hobbit, and as the hobbit brought his pony to a standstill, Marcho looked over his shoulder and continued to ride forward. “Do you believe that?” He asked his wife who was covering a smirk with her hand.

“He does have a point, Dear.”

Marcho raised his eyebrow and looked sideways at Estella. “You think I have no sense?”

The sound of Estella’s melodious giggle was enough to raise Marcho’s spirits. Her soft, slender hand gently touched her husband’s arm. “A short break and a meal would be nice.” A tender smile brightened her round face. An audible sigh was the scout’s reply, and he waved a signal to his brother to stop. Marcho pulled the reins and slowly brought his wagon to a halt. The wagons, ponies, and hobbits on foot follow suit and a look of relief was apparent on many of their faces.

Estella rummaged around in the back of the wagon until she pulled out a large basket. “Come Dear, let’s have our lunch with Kalimac. I want to hear how little Alora and Crispin are enjoying the trip so far.”

Marcho nodded and followed her silently. He was glad her family was coming on the road, and he enjoyed their company as well from time to time. They seemed to have sensible heads on their shoulders, which was something Marcho respected.

Estella called out and waved to her brother, and Marcho stepped forward and shook his hand. “How are you holding up?” Marcho asked Kalimac, while Estella bypassed her brother to chat with Elsa.

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Old 03-09-2004, 03:17 PM   #24
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Crispin Whitfoot

As the ponies pulled to a stop, a smile of relief grazed Crispin's face. He jumped from the wagon before it had even come to a complete stop, landing in the grass.

He sat on a small rock (which he regretted when he had a sore bottom the next day) and waited for the rest of his family to emerge from the wagon with their small meal. He noticed his uncle Marcho approach, so he waved and pushed his annoying hair from his eyes. He drifted out of thought, taking in the surroundings. Instantaneously, he jumped with shock when he thought he heard the name 'Iris'. "Hmmm? Iris?" Alora raised her eyebrow, but shook her head and went on.

"I know I 'eard that name," He searched the group for anyone that could have possibly said Iris. "I shoulda talked to her Papa an' convinced him to come with his family. It would 'ave been a lot more fun than it already is if Iris woulda come. I mean, it's really fun an' all, but Iris woulda made it a whole lot better... she's so pretty..." He stopped when he heard giggles behind him.

A short, pudgy girl was giggling behind him, one hand in the pocket of her calico dress. The other's index finger was pointing directly at Crispin. He looked around, pretending he didn't know who or what she was pointing at. "Aww... 'she's so pretty'!" The Boffin girl laughed and ran off.

"Opal!! Ack...," He rubbed his temples and clenched his fist. Reaching one hand into his pocket, Crispin nodded in acceptance that his slingshot was where it should be. He may have to use it on this journey for things other than hunting.

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Old 03-10-2004, 03:27 PM   #25
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Kalimac Whitfoot

Kalimac, as he dismounted rather awkwardly from the wagon, noticed his sister, Estella Bolger, waving at him out of the corner of his eye. More nimbly than usual, he swung down onto the ground, landing roughly, and quickly brushed some clinging hay off of his prized olive-colored vest, one of his prized and more expensive possessions. He headed towards Estella, who heedlessly breezed past him before he could even open his mouth. After craning his neck momentarily to see his sister galloping in the direction of Elsa, he turned back to Marcho Bolger, who took his hand firmly and shook it. He looked for a moment into the eyes of the Bolger before he was addressed.

“How are you holding up?” he said bluntly, letting go of Kalimac’s hand.

The hobbit took a slight step back, neatly picking off the last bits of hay and wagon debris, and looked up at the warm, friendly, and confident expression on his brother-in-law’s face.

“I have been holding up as well as anyone else could upon a trip such as this.” He said, a smile curling over his neutral lips, “To be more specific, I have been holding up well. I have my worries about the children, but they seem just as enthusiastic about this expedition as I, which is certainly a good sign. Elsa seems to be in good spirits, and Alora and Crispin have not said anything negative about the move, though I would’ve expected at least a little resistance from one of them. As you probably know, when one is trying to keep a family thriving, most decisions cannot be agreed upon by all. There always seems to be a little bit of dissonance, but so far I have encountered none. Hopefully, there is none to be encountered at all.”

Kalimac paused, drawing in breath, and his smile faded briefly, but returned as his eyes brightened.

“And what of you, Marcho? Have you been considering what will be put in the multitudes of books that will surely be written about you, the fearless leader of such a harrowing quest?” he joked, swelling minimally and letting a conservative chuckle slip from his composed demeanor. “How have you been holding up on this trip?”

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Old 03-11-2004, 07:22 AM   #26
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Henry Chubb

Henry had been sitting in the wagon for hours or for days as he thought,and the break that was announced was a welcome one for he had his breakfast as well as his lunch in the wagon itself,he had from time to time walked beside the wagon which was so slow as he thought.

So at the break he got out of the wagon and strolled around,he wanted to see his friend Bolco but he could not find him anywhere ,he wished he had never come on this trip,but now he could'nt do anything.He had sat wondering when he saw that Lilac,Bolco's sister was standing before him," Hi! there ",she said,"how's you be doing ,I hope you can calm down Bolco beacuse he's very angry."

At the name of Bolco Henry stood up "Where is he ?",he asked.Bolco sister led Henry to him ,Bolco was sitting on the edge of his wagon looking very sulky.Henry approached him and asked"Hey what happened?",Bolco looked at him and said"I dont wanna be here ,Why should we leave home I ask to them and they say because we said so".

Henry understood that 'they' meant Bolco's parents.He explained to Bolco that he too did'nt want to come but "But as we can't do anything",he said,"let us both make this trip merry outing and really Bolco there is no need to sulk."

Saying this they both went to Henry's wagon to have something to eat.
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Old 03-11-2004, 08:38 AM   #27
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Sarah turned as she realized that the look Grandpa Chubb gave her was intentional. He's mad at me too? At least Harold isn't like his father. The wind blew in her face pulling down strands of her red hair. Every now and then a strand would fly into her mouth. Sarah was relieved when a break was called. It would give her more time to talk to Harold, who seemed preoccupied.

Sarah fed the chickens some food and went on feeding herself. She had felt as if she hadn' eaten all day. She knew she was in a hurry this morning but to forget to eat was something she wouldn't do. Never in her life had she missed breakfast. The children had something to eat this morning at least. Sarah began looking for her family. Sarah didn't worry about the old hobbit, he could fend for himself. What would Harold say if he knew about my dislike for his father. Grandpa's feelings are mutual. It will be fine, if he doesn't like my judgement then oh well.

Sarah remembered that she was the only one who wanted to go. Everyone else was against her. Majority wins, but in this case it didn't. For some reason Sarah began to feel as if she had done a bad thing for deciding that she wanted to leave home. "Get your wits about you Sarah. The White Downs seems so much better." Sarah knew she was arguing with herself and was bound to loose which ever way you looked at it.

Sarah climbed back onto the cart and sat beside the chickens again. She knew everything would turn out good but she wasn't sure what trouble they would have reaching there new home. "It will be fine my little chickens, hopefully everything will change by the time our journey is complete. We would hate to arrive and still have everyone mad at me." Sarah paused for some reason. "What should you know after all your just two chickens." Sarah began to giggle, which eventually turned into a laugh. "We shall be each others company on this journey."

She heard from somewhere behind her voices. "We better not let anyone hear us," she said in a whisper. Sarah had a smile on her face that didn't want to go away. It seemed to stretch from ear to ear. Sarah wouldn't raise her voice any so that only the chickens could hear her. "Lets not tell anyone about our conversation. They would think me mad." Sarah began to giggle again but kept it in a whisper.
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Old 03-11-2004, 11:04 AM   #28
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Fordogrim Chubb

Fordogrim rode back to his family, humming to himself with smug self-satisfaction. He had seen Marcho’s reaction to his harangue, and he knew that he had got under the self-important little hobbit’s skin. But he had also got his way: the convoy had stopped, and the families all about him were happily stretching their weary limbs, if they had been riding in carts, or throwing themselves onto the comfortable grass to rest, if they had been walking or riding ponies. Everyone was pulling out food and preparing their noonday meal. Very soon, there were more than a few cooking fires crackling away merrily and hot soup and tea was being ladled out to eager hobbit mouths.

Fordogrim was looking forward to a sustaining meal – for, no matter what else he might think of his daughter-in-law, she was one of the finest cooks Fordogrim had ever known, better even than his beloved Prim (even the fancy of a heart-broken hobbit gives way to practicality on the subject of food) – so his disappointment when he got back to the cart could not have been greater. Sarah was sitting in the cart nibbling on some cold lunch that she had brought out for herself. There was no cooking fire, no picnic blanket laid out, not even so much as a simple board thrown across the rails of the cart for a table. Where in the world is that fool son of mine? And what about his children? He glowered at Sarah’s back, as though she were responsible for having left him alone with her. For a moment, he contemplated turning Stout around and heading back up the line of the convoy to where he had seen his Fredigar Headstrong unpacking a delicious looking pie (mushroom pie from the smell of it). Fordogrim knew through happy personal experience the wonders of Mrs. Headstrong’s mushroom pie. Just as he was about to turn Stout around, he caught a slight whisper. Looking hard at Sarah he saw that she was…could she really be?…she was actually talking to the chickens! Fordogrim shook his head in disbelief and thought Has everyone gone cracked? Even in my own family!

At that moment Sarah looked up and saw Fordogrim staring at her. She blushed with embarrassment, knowing that she’d been seen in conversation with the poultry. At first she was at a loss for what to do, or how to recover. Fordogrim took the opportunity to call out to her, as disapprovingly as he could, “Where has that woolly-headed son of mine got to? And what about your children? Have they eaten their Luncheon already?” And what about my Luncheon, anyway? he added to himself.
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Old 03-11-2004, 11:16 AM   #29
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Marcho snickered at being called the “fearless leader”. The scout was not concerned with his role being recognized in the stories…that was his brother’s wish. Marcho just wanted to live free on his own land.

“How have you been holding up on this trip?” His brother-in-law inquired with a twinkling in his eye.

“Well, to be honest, Kalimac, we haven’t been gone for a full day yet, and the people are already complaining.” Marcho looked over his shoulder at the crotchety old hobbit who had insulted him. A smirk crossed his face as he entertained the idea of sending the old codger over the hill for something and taking back off the down the road. He quickly shook the picture out of his head, and turned back to the stable-master. “Anyway, I’m a bit worried as to how they will handle being out here for the next three weeks or more.” Marcho lowered his voice as he spoke and leaned toward Kalimac so the others would not hear him. “I’m used to being on the road, but most of these folk are not. It is going to be tough on them. I just hope they don’t decide to take their frustration out on me.” The scout chuckled softly and nudged his brother-in-law with his elbow. “I will certainly be sleeping with my knife under my pillow…It looks like the ladies have our meal set.”

Without waiting for a reply, the hobbits strolled to where their wives had placed their food. Marcho had not realized how hungry he was until he smelled the salted meat and dried fruit Estella retrieved from the basket. The hobbit ate silently while he watched the folk around him. Children were playing around the wagons, while their families ate. Voices could be heard singing somewhere toward the back of the group, and a few of the older members were found napping in the backs of carts or in the grass. Marcho was suddenly overwhelmed by the responsibility he had. These fine folk trusted him to lead them well and keep them safe. He hoped he would be able to live up to their expectations.
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Old 03-11-2004, 02:03 PM   #30
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May Chubb

May had considered not eating lunch. She knew that if she were going to eat, she would have to eat with her family. May almost reufsed to go talk to her parents, but then thought better of it. The distinct and painful gnawing in her stomach changed her mind; after all, breakfast had been dissapointingly scant and she hadn't eaten much dinner last night.

Not that she regretted her decision - no indeed! Mayflower Chubb had wanted to make a statement, and she had. But she supposed there was no need to starve quite yet.

May approached the cart hesitantly, and her nerve almost gave out when she saw her mother and grandpa sitting in the back of the cart. Her stomach rumbled loudly, and May pressed on.

Standing there with her hand on the edge of the cart, all the resentment she had been feeling washed back over her. Her mother had been terribly unfair about the whole thing! But deep down inside, May knew she wanted to talk to her mother. They had always been close. But of course, that would be impossible.

They were both sitting there, staring at her expectantly. May kept her eyes on the ground. The heat was rising to her face, and she said quickly and quietly, "I want something to eat." She thought then added, "Please?"

She stood there by the cart and waited for her mother's reply.
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Old 03-11-2004, 03:24 PM   #31
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Harold Chubb:

With a wide grin on his face, Harold strutted towards the cart to rejoin his family for lunch. He hoped that they had not devoured all of the food, for his stomach growled louder than the noise his father made when he was irritated. Protectively, Harold cradled a small satchel in his arms, a gift for Sarah. Several copper pennies jingled in his pocket, a pleasant sound unfamiliar to his ears.

Harold was very pleased with the business he had just conducted. Few of the Fallohide families had brought cows or chickens with them, and therefore had no milk or eggs. He had sold a dozen eggs to a family of Fallohides who wanted to make a gigantic omelet. He hoped this would help Sarah forgive him for making her sit next to the chickens on the cart and endure their endless clucking.

Even more happily, Harold had enjoyed the good fortune to make an agreement with one of the Tooks to provide milk for the Hobbit’s children for the remainder of the trip. In exchange for this, the wealthy family gave Harold a simple bronze neck band with an azure topaz hanging on the end. It was nothing special to them, but Harold had never before owned such a beautiful thing. It would make a perfect gift for his dear wife Sarah. Sweet Buttercup, you are the best cow a Hobbit could ask for, Harold planted a kiss on Buttercup’s wet nose.

Back in Bree, there had been nothing left over to sell, since any extra crops or milk or eggs automatically went to the Whitfoots to pay for the land which the family farmed. On the trail, he was strangely free, since he no longer had to pay for land. The Whitfoots actually had less of a claim on him. Given this set of circumstances, it seemed prudent to Harold to make some money from his little business before he had to start forking everything over to the Whitfoots again. If he had to go on this worthless trip, he might as well figure out a way to turn a thing or two to his advantage.

Although Harold loved his wife dearly, he still had some doubts as to the wisdom of this particular agreement. Yes a piece of jewelry, even one so simple, would hopefully make his wife happy, but it did not serve any practical purpose. The family had offered him some fine farming tools, but he declined, favoring a gift for his darling Sarah. I could have used the new equipment, thought Harold, but my wife is more precious than all the riches of Middle-Earth. I am sure that she will enjoy the necklace, and her happiness is the greatest gift of all.

Harold reached the wagon and found his daughter, wife, and father already there waiting for him to arrive. Fordogrim and Sarah looked at him inquisitively, as if they were wondering where he had been. May had just asked for food and Sarah was doling out a generous portion.

Harold nodded first to Fordogrim, “Dad I think that what you did was brave, if a bit brash. I do not think that I could have asked Marcho to stop for a break like you did, but I am proud of your courage. "

Then, he turned around to the others. "Family, I have a surprise for all of you. I have been involved in some small business dealings, and, as a result, I have some gifts for you." He smiled at his daughter. "May, here are a few copper pennies---split them with your brother. My lovely wife, Sarah, I hope that you enjoy this gift; it isn’t much but it is the best I could do under the circumstances.” Harold unwrapped the small package and held out the necklace so Sarah could see it. He lifted the necklace over her head and put it around her neck.

A smile spread over his face as he turned to look at his wife, "You are as lovely as the day we met! I've long wanted to get you a necklace and at last I have.....as simple as it is."

Meanwhile, he thought to himself, Sarah and May are as beautiful as any of the Fallohide lasses, yet families like the Whitfoots hog all the fancy jewels and frocks for their wives and daughters. I am considered lucky if I can only earn enough to fill our family's stomachs. Would that things could somehow change! Still, his wife looked beautiful and at that moment, Harold wouldn't have traded that necklace for all the farm equipment in Bree.

The family took their lunches and sat down under a tree, as Sarah spread out a small cloth on the ground.

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Old 03-11-2004, 03:54 PM   #32
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Elsa Whitfoot

"Careful, Crispin!" Elsa exclaimed, startled, as her son jumped from the moving wagon. She climbed akwardly down as the line slowed to a halt, but Crispin had already darted off. "Oh, I suppose he's fine," Elsa sighed to herself. "Down you come, missy." She offered Alora a hand down. "Oh, it does feel good to get off that wagon. I don't suppose we're there yet, though?" Her husband had shown her a map before they left, but she was poor at evaluating distances, never having traveled much.

Elsa stepped away from the wagon, seeing her sister-in-law, Estella, coming over.
"How was the ride?" Estella asked cheerfully.
Elsa smiled complacently, "Oh, it went well enough, though I imagine I shall soon be sore all over from bumping up and down."
Estella laughed. "Will you and your family lunch with Marcho and me? I've left him somewhere over there, talking to your husband." she waved vaguely over her shoulder.
"Oh, that would be lovely, Estella." Elsa said happily. "I've a lunch basket in the wagon, just let me fetch it."

She retrieved the basket and joined her sister-in-law a short ways off the roadside, spreading cloths on the grass and laying out a small picnic. Estella went to find Marcho and Kalimac, and Elsa called for the children. "Now where have they got to?" she wondered aloud. "It isn't like them to be late for a meal. Oh, dear, I do worry too much." She continued murmuring to herself in this manner until the others arrived.
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Old 03-11-2004, 05:25 PM   #33
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Silmaril Alora Whitfoot

Alora jumped off the wagon with slight asistance from her mother, then ran off to explore. She quickly met up with Opal Boffin, a dear friend of hers.

"Hello!" she had said, "I'm going exploring- even though mummy said that this isn't our new home yet. Want to come?" and exploring they went. Opal's brother, Hob, joined them too.

After quite some time exploring and adventure playing, Alora got hungry. After a quick 'see you later!' Alora went to find her mum.

"Are we eating yet?" she said, running up to her mother.

"Soon dear. Can you go find Crispin while you're waiting though? I can't seem to see where he went off to."

Alora nodded, and ran off yet again, this time looking for Crispin. She found him shortly though, and quickly informed him that lunch was ready.
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:20 AM   #34
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Child's post for a small red fox:

Vixen hid behind the tall oak tree, surprised to glimpse such a long procession of travellers slowly advancing down the road. She had never seen so many two-leggeds gathered in one spot before. She wondered what they could possibly be doing. Her black nose twitched eagerly as she watched the travellers dismount from their ponies and carts, sit down in the grass, and, taking out baskets and dishes overflowing with food, proceed to eat their lunch. In eager anticipation, Vixen cocked her bushy tail, which was the same red-brown as the rest of her coat, but with a little white tip at the end. She flicked it back and forth, anticipating the feast that would soon be forthcoming. The odors were delightful, and soon her stomach had begun to growl.

Vixen did not usually search for food at this particular time of day. She generally preferred to prowl and hunt under cover of darkness or in the very early hours of the morning. But she had a burrow filled with ten hungry kits, and it seemed that they never had enough to eat. She'd spent the morning scavanging for berries and grasses, eating a bit herself and bringing the rest home to her little ones. Now she was looking for meat.

Carefully, she weighed the possibilities. If this had been a band of the Big Folk, discretion would have gotten the better part of valor, and Vixen would never have approached the party in broad daylight. But these were not Big Folk. They looked a bit like Men but also suspiciously like very large rabbits, especially with those prominent hairy feet, none of which were encased in shoes. Vixen couldn't quite make up her mind what to do. But soon the drifting aroma of dried and roasted meats became too overpowering to resist.

She picked out a family near the end of the procession. They were seated on the ground eating their lunch. There were some lively hens in the cart, all cooped up in a box. Vixen wished she could undo the latch and let the chickens out but that didn't seem like a practical idea. Then she saw it: a lovely roast chicken sitting inside a basket right on the front seat of the cart. The little rabbit folk had apparently set it aside to eat later, perhaps for supper or tea. No one was paying the slightest attention to the cart. When these Little Folk ate, they gave it their all and were oblivious to the rest of the world.

Vixen took a mouthful of air and made a dash forward, scurrying towards the cart on four black legs as speedily as she could. With a single leap, she landed on top of the chicken coop, just when the two hens began to cluck and flap their wings. Springing off the coop and onto the seat, she stuck her twitching black nose into the picnic basket, and was rewarded for her efforts with a fine roast chicken. Several of the rabbit folk eating lunch suddenly began to shriek and one came forward carrying a stick. Vixen skillfully twisted her body to evade the assault and, holding the prized chicken in her mouth, again landed on the ground, barrelling forward and evading everyone who tried to chase her.

The last thing she remembered was scampering over another set of cloths that had also been spread out on the ground; these belonged to another family who apparently called themselves the "Whitfoots". In her haste to escape, Vixen ploughed into a large pitcher of apple cider. The cider spread over the cloth, quickly submerging the rest of the food. Vixen's small paws triumphantly trampled on the remains of the lunch as she made a beeline for the edge of the road, disappearing into a grove of bracken and a tangled thicket of thornbushes.

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Old 03-12-2004, 07:52 AM   #35
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Fordogrim Chubb

Fordogrim ate his Luncheon in silence, as he did not know what to say. Harold’s praise of his “bravery” in standing up to Marcho had pleased him, but he knew better than to show any real pleasure at the compliment. He had merely grunted that “someone had to make that crack-brain see some sense at least once a day” and settled down to the important business of eating his meal. May sat beside him in an equally quiet mood, and Fordogrim wished that he and she could have some time alone to talk things over. He had been distressed to see her making amends with Sarah, for if she became reconciled to this trip then Fordogrim would have no real allies left! He had begun to realise, however, that her opposition to the trip was not really founded on any great desire to stay in Bree – quite the reverse. It was simply that May, like her father, resented the Whitfoots for forcing them to move. This reaction baffled Fordogrim. He neither liked nor disliked the Whitfoots, as he had long ago come to regard the family that owned his land as a force of nature rather than as individuals. One did not get angry with the frost that destroyed the early fruit buds, or rail against an untimely thunderstorm during the harvest. All one could do was accept the fact of inclemency and move forward.

The necklace that Harold had acquired for Sarah had been an eye-opener, and Fordogrim had made a mental note to mention it to Prim in his next letter. He had never really thought of his son as being a sharp wit with money, but then, there had never really been a lot of money to be sharp with. Fordogrim watched his son as they ate and noted how Harold kept looking at his wife with the kind of feeling that was only a memory for Fordogrim now. As he watched them, Sarah moved her head to one side and pulled a strand of hair from the corner of her mouth. Fordogrim’s heart almost stopped – for in that movement she looked almost exactly like Primrose. Fordogrim’s eyes grew wide as he looked at Sarah. Had her eyes always been that shade? And her nose, the shape of it was the image of Fordogrim’s beloved wife. . . Unlocked by that single gesture, it was as though he were looking at his daughter-in-law for the first time. How could he have missed it before? The resemblances were few, and subtle, but definite. Fordogrim shook his head to clear his mind of such fancies. In an attempt to regain his equilibrium he said, to no-one in particular, “A nice necklace is a fine thing, but there’s other things that’s needed for a trip like this.”

Harold looked up at his father with the closest thing to anger that his mild spirit could allow, and Fordogrim saw a sharp retort forming on his son’s lips. But then May let out a yell and pointed at the cart where a daring vixen was attempting to steal their chickens! Fordogrim roared with the fury that comes only to a hobbit who sees his provender threatened and, with a speed and agility that belied his age, rose to his feet brandishing his cane. The vixen emerged from the cart with one of Sarah’s deliciously roasted chickens in its mouth and raced off toward the brush. Fordogrim aimed a blow at its head that missed by only a whisker. He whirled in his anger to dash the cane down again, but his foot caught on a tussock and he stumbled backwards, teetered for a moment on the edge of balance, before falling backward into a small hedge.
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Old 03-12-2004, 08:44 AM   #36
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Sarah watched as Grandpa Chubb attempted to shoot the vixen but only missed. Sarah felt bad when he fell into the bushes. She thought she heard a snicker from behind her but only turned to see May and Harold starring in disbelief. "Grandpa are you okay?" Sarah rushed over to help him up being followed by Harold. If I ever see that blasted vixen again I will make sure it doesn't steal someone elses food. Sarah knew she had lost her roasted ham but didn't know why the animal didn't leave them alone. She had always thought vixen were afraid of people. She remembered that hobbits didn't really look like grown men, instead they could be taken as children. Now I wish I hadn't of decided to come on this journey. We should have stayed at home.

After they had helped Fordogrim up she placed her hand over the necklace. It had been a long time since she was given something so beautiful. Sarah loved it and knew that she should find something for Harold but she didn't know what to give her dear husband. "It seems that we won't be having the chicken for later. I spent so much time cooking it too." Sarah wanted to fall down into tears, but she didn't. It was only a chicken, don't worry about it. There will be other chickens at another time. Her hard work was taken away from her so fast. Sarah walked back to the cart to see what else might be missing. Everything was there. The chickens were still clucking and everything else was in order it appeared.

"So friends it seems that you get to stay a little longer. That vixen was about to carry you away too. We have Grandpa Chubb to thank for that. Yes that dirty mean vixen was going to take you away and eat you." Sarah thought she saw the chickens eyes grow bigger but decided that she was just seeing things. Sarah turned around to face her family, everyone was there except Henry. Everything was better until the vixen came into the picture. Sarah began to slowly walk back over to where her family was at. Grandpa was talking about how he could have gotten the vixen. May it seemed was fascinated by the excuses of why he missed. Sarah giggled and sat down to finish what little food she had left on her plate. This meal isn't as grand as the others I have prepared. Lets just hope the journey is over quickly and we don't encounter anothe vixen.
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:26 PM   #37
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Mayflower

Back in the cart, after the fox incident, May had gotten her luncheon. It bothered her how much speaking to her mother had seemed like forgiveness, because that wasn’t the case at all. May was still angry – furious, more like. She knew she had lost ground by doing that, but it was too late now, she supposed.

And then there was the whole scene with the coins. It was a little distressing that her father was being so nice, but May didn't let it get to her. She intended to finish what she had started.

As she sat there in the cart chewing her ham and bread, May was beginning to suspect her grandfather, oddly enough, approved of her sulky mood. That bothered her more than anything else that had happened thus far. There is nothing as annoying as being enraged at someone only to find that they enjoy seeing you angry. After all, didn’t her grandpa have a say in the family decisions? “He should have stopped them,” she thought sourly, her face twisting in disgust. She could almost feel his pleasure growing as she became more and more sullen. There was no way to win. The angrier she became, the more Grandpa Forgo seemed to like it, and the more he liked it, the angrier she became.

Oh well – if you can’t beat them, befriend them.

May scooted a bit closer to her grandfather. He looked extraordinarily grumpy. Extraordinarily for a normal hobbit, that is. Grandpa’s always been a bit moody, she realized. She had never noticed that much, really. Grandpa Forgo was just Grandpa Forgo. May looked up at the old man, then flashed a small grin. Not a happy smile. An I’m-on-your-side smile, and for one tiny second May thought she saw her grandpa smile back. Grimace. Whatever

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Old 03-12-2004, 05:49 PM   #38
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Harold Chubb:

Harold leapt to his feet as the bushy tailed vixen escaped with the family’s roast chicken and trampled over the Whitfoot’s lunch, speedily disappearing into the underbrush. Grandpa Fordo had taken a tumble in his pursuit of the thief, and was just getting up with help from other members of the family.

Harold cursed the culprit, remembering all the hard work that he had put into raising the chicken. He recalled how he'd arisen early to feed it each day and protected it from predators like the vixen. All of his work was for naught, as the chicken he had raised from an egg disappeared into the forest.

The Hobbit vowed that he would keep a sharper eye on his possessions in the future. No one was going to take anything from him without his consent. He had worked hard for everything he had managed to scrape together for his family. He would not let anyone, Whitfoot or wild beast, take away his animals and belongings, those things that rightly belonged to his family, without putting up a fight.

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Old 03-12-2004, 06:33 PM   #39
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Marcho had pulled out his roughly sketched map at the request of Ponto Bracegirdle, and now several of the gentlehobbits stood over the parchment while the scout traced the expected route with his finger.

“We will be out of these hills by late this afternoon, and we’ll set our first camp around here. The forest should provide some protection from the wind which will be stronger once we walk on flatter terrain.” The other hobbits hung on to each of Marcho’s words, and they nodded in agreement as though each of them had traveled the distance many times in the past.

“Well, I heard that forest is bit strange, even a little eerie,” Fredigar Headstrong, who is never confused by the facts, squinted and leaned toward Marcho in an almost accusatory fashion. “Well, is it? You ain’t leadin’ us into some kind of unnatural place, are you?”

“That’s nonsense, Fred…I’ve been through this area more times than I can count on my fingers, and there is nothing…unnatural about that forest.” As he spoke, Marcho kept his eyes lowered onto the map. When he did raise his head to meet the Headstrong hobbit’s gaze, he wore a smirk. “Why Freddy boy, I think you’ve been listening to too many child’s stories.” The other hobbits chuckled and poked fun at Fredigar until he turned crimson. Marcho, in the meantime, carefully folded his map and tucked it safely into his pack. “Time’s a-wasting, fellas. Let’s get back on the road.”

Picking up his pack, the middle-aged hobbit strode the center of the band and blew a shrill whistle through his teeth. “We have a long road ahead of us…Keep your packs and baskets close for we will not stop until our camp tonight.” The last of his words caused many of the travelers to groan and loudly complain. Marcho held his hands up as a signal for silence. “I understand you are tired, but we must keep moving as long as we can.”

With that, the scout turned from his followers and helped his wife gather the lunch supplies. Everyone did the same and soon the band was moving slowing up the road. Estella tried to keep spirits high as she sang sweetly from the front of the wagon. Several others riding close behind joined her. Marcho just kept quiet with his eyes on the road, a silent grin had replaced the stern frown that had been there earlier, and before he knew it, his foot was tapping with the rhythm.
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Old 03-13-2004, 09:50 AM   #40
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Kalimac Whitfoot

Kalimac sat back on the wagon, letting his firm hold on Staddle and Archet’s reins slip slightly as he relaxed, listening to the calming melody that hailed from Estella, just up ahead. He had always known she had a sweet voice about her, ever since their childhood and he knew that it could be the perfect tool to spread a needed tranquility over the group. Unfortunately, Kalimac himself was not tranquilized but the soothing tune, since his inner tension had been elevated to recently for it to be satiated so easily.

‘What did he mean, ‘unnatural place?’’ thought the gentlehobbit, leaning back on the hay-soaked cart seat and letting his clenched fists that held the reins fall into his lap wearily, ‘There are plenty of tales to be told of that old wood, but as Marcho said, they’re all fables, children’s stories, not something to actually be heeded by sensible elder hobbits.’ Kalimac’s brow was now furrowing, though he did not let his obvious concern show outwardly. Being a Halfling so knowledgeable in tales of lore, he knew almost all of the wispy little tales about those things that lurked in the dark woodlands, hiding in the gnarled branches of ancient trees.

He leaned back further, craning his neck and stretching his arm back into the hay. After a second of groping about, he came across the smooth texture of his oaken bow, delicately placed near him. If he needed it he would use it, though he would prefer not to. The hobbit knew that this trek was not meant to be a simple matter, but he did not want the journey to become wrought with catastrophe. There had already been one incident, although not a very catastrophic one. That kleptomaniac fox had only succeeded in thoroughly soaking a few vests and undershirts, no real damage done to anyone or anything, except the clothes that had been laid out on the ground.

At the moment, Kalimac was most worried about his children. Crispin and Alora had not yet questioned him yet, or opposed this journey, or even gotten out of hand in the least, but he was worrying now that he could not keep as careful track of them as he’d hoped. After the incident with the fox, Kalimac came to the annoying realization that things would not be perfect on the road and he couldn’t keep his eyes on Elsa, Alora, and Crispin all. He was going to need some help, someone he could trust.

“Elsa, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.” He said almost curtly to his wife, who was sitting just behind him on the cart, nestled comfortably into the hay, “We have, I assume, a very long trip ahead of us all. I was thinking recently about Alora and Crispin, and came to the conclusion that we cannot keep track of them both every waking moment.” He didn’t notice that Elsa was about to say something and continued, regardless, “They are good children and not hard to handle, but we are getting on in years and they still have all the energy of youth to elude us, even if that is not their intent. I believe we need some other person or persons to keep an eye on them, to keep them from any undesirable situations on this journey. It is my opinion that we require younger folk to do such a thing for us, and perhaps the Chubb children, May and Henry, could handle such an assignment.” He took a breath, slowly narrating his oration to a close with the question he’d meant to ask from the beginning, “My question is, very simply, would you be entirely adverse to having May and Henry Chubb watch our children?”
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