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Old 04-09-2001, 05:57 PM   #1
The Barrow-Wight
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Taking the Old Road the travelers plodded slowly downhill and up again, until at last they saw lights twinkling some distance ahead. Before them rose Bree-hill barring the way, a dark mass against misty stars; and under its western flank nestled a large village. Towards it they now hurried desiring only to find a fire, and a door between them and the night.

Bree was the chief village of the Bree-land, a small inhabited region, like an island in the empty lands round about. Besides Bree itself, there was Staddle on the other side of the hill, Combe in a deep valley a little further eastward, and Archet on the edge of the Chetwood. Lying round Bree-hill and the villages was a small country of fields and tamed woodland only a few miles broad.

In those days no other Men had settled dwellings so far west, or within a hundred leagues of the Shire. But in the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin.

The Big Folk and the Little Folk (as they called one another) were on friendly terms, minding their own affairs in their own ways, but both rightly regarding themselves as necessary parts of the Bree-folk.

The village of Bree had some hundred stone houses of the Big Folk, mostly above the Road, nestling on the hillside with windows looking west. On that side, running in more than half a circle from the hill and back to it, there was a deep dike with a thick hedge on the inner side. Over this the Road crossed by a causeway; but where it pierced the hedge it was barred by a great gate. There was another gate in the southern comer where the Road ran out of the village. The gates were closed at nightfall; but just inside them were small lodges for the gatekeepers.

Down on the Road, where it swept to the right to go round the foot of the hill, there was a large inn. It had been built long ago when the traffic on the roads had been far greater. For Bree stood at an old meeting of ways; another ancient road crossed the East Road just outside the dike at the western end of the village, and in former days Men and other folk of various sorts had travelled much on it. The Northern Lands had long been desolate, and the North Road was now seldom used: it was grass-grown, and the Bree-folk called it the Greenway.

The Inn of Bree was still there, however, and the innkeeper was an important person. His house was a meeting place for the idle, talkative, and inquisitive among the inhabitants, large and small, of the four villages; and a resort of Rangers and other wanderers, and for such travellers (mostly dwarves) as still journeyed on the East Road, to and from the Mountains.

The gatekeeper wished the weary travelers good night, and said no more. The travelers continued on up a gentle slope, passing a few detached houses, and stopped outside the inn. Even from the outside the inn looked a pleasant house to familiar eyes. It had a front on the Road, and two wings running back on land partly cut out of the lower slopes of the hill, so that at the rear the second-floor windows were level with the ground. There was a wide arch leading to a courtyard between the two wings, and on the left under the arch there was a large doorway reached by a few broad steps. The door was open and light streamed out of it. Above the arch there was a lamp, and beneath it swung a large signboard: a fat white pony reared up on its hind legs. Over the door was painted in white letters: THE PRANCING PONY by Barliman Butterbur. Many of the lower windows showed lights behind thick curtains.

As the travelers hesitated outside in the gloom, someone began singing a merry song inside, and many cheerful voices joined loudly in the chorus. They listened to this encouraging sound for a moment and then got off their ponies. The song ended and there was a burst of laughter and clapping.


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000006>Gilthali on</A> at: 4/12/01 1:21:18 pm
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Old 04-09-2001, 07:23 PM   #2
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A Man approaches.

A dark-haired Man dressed in the simple-clothes of a farmer walked quickly up the road from the South Gate of the village. He whistled a tune cheerfully and was seemingly without a care as he approached the Pony. A smiled appeared on his face as he heard the singing from within and he quickened his pace up the stairs of the inn.

Before he reached the door he noticed the travelers.

&quot;Hello&quot; he said, turning to greet them. &quot;A cool night to be standing outside such a warm and friendly inn. Are you going into the Pony?&quot;

Sensing hesitation in the weary folk he stepped forward.

&quot;I'm Tom Ferny&quot;, he said, extending a hand.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/10/01 10:46:39 am
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Old 04-10-2001, 09:53 AM   #3
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Another weary traveller...

Another man with an old grey cloak also passes into Bree this night, a man with black hair, and a large scar upon the right side of his face. Talondin is his name, he is an old soldier, but he still has more than enough fight left in him. As he wanders through the streets of Bree aimlessly, he hears a song arise in a nearby tavern. He recognizes the song with a faint memory, however it is a happy memory indeed. He walks towards the inn and sees the sign, &quot;Prancing Pony by Barliman Butterbur&quot;. He stops to read the sign for a moment, and then begins walking towards the door.

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Old 04-10-2001, 11:11 AM   #4
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Re: Another weary traveller...

One of the travellers emmerged from the shadows to return Tom Ferny's greeting. She extended her hand before speaking, &quot;I am Calimir. Do you know if this is a suitable establishment for my companions and myself?&quot;

It was obvious from her bearing and her voice that Calimir was an elf maiden. She was, however, dressed in worn travelling clothes and did not have a steed. Her dark hair was tied behind her and if not for the light in her eyes she would have appeared travel weary indeed. She turned from the farmer to the battered man approaching behind him. After studying him silently for a moment, she decided that whatever the farmer said, she, at least, from among the travellers would enter and explore this inn.

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Old 04-10-2001, 12:49 PM   #5
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An Elf in Bree!

Eying the scarred stranger warily, Tom Ferny stepped down to shake Calimir's offered hand. He hadn't seen one of the Elven Folk in Bree-land for years and could not conceal his excitement.

&quot;Imagine! One of the Fair Folk here at the Pony.&quot; he said, continuing to shake her hand until she withdrew it. &quot;We don't see many Elves around here. Welcome again.&quot;

He looked over Calimir's shoulder to her companions still standing in the darkness.

&quot;Are your friends Elves, too?&quot; he asked


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/10/01 2:50:13 pm
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Old 04-10-2001, 02:57 PM   #6
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One of her companions

One of the other companions stepped forward. He was tall, and had short jet black hair. He was clad in a black cloak and boots, and he was girt with a sword. He also took Tom Ferny's hand, and smiled.

&quot;No, not all of them&quot;, he said, &quot;My name is Beregond, son of Barager, messenger of Gondor. I passed up the Greenway nigh on eight days ago. There I was chased by wolves, and my horse fled. Searching for him, I met these fair folk camped by the South Downs.&quot;

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000114>Beregond </A> at: 4/12/01 1:47:21 pm
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Old 04-10-2001, 03:53 PM   #7
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Another of the travellers

Another of the travellers stepped forward from the shadows. The figure was obviously an elf as he showed himself to Ferny.

&quot;And yet some of us *are* of the Elven type,&quot; he said grinning. His golden brown hair glistened as it hung lightly down upon his shoulders. His eyes shone a blue-green fire, and these gleamed under his surprisingly dark brows. The elf possessed a muscular upper-body, despite having a slender build.

A silver shirt of light silken material draped loosely over the his broad shoulders, and blue pants made of the same stuff, but the color of the sky on a clear day, were tied to his small waist with a brown leather belt. On his feet he wore moccasin style shoes being made of light material, but sturdy enough to walk great distances in. The scout carried with him a spear, engraved with runes on it in some ancient tongue. A small shield he wore strapped upon his back, for easier transportation.

Around his neck hung a necklace, and a pendant dangled on the silver chain. The pendant was a small silver circlet with a gem inset in its center, which gleamed as if it shone with its own radiance.

&quot;My name is Menel,&quot; the Elf began. &quot;I came from Rivendell, on a scouting mission. During the course of my journeys I came about these folk, and have since took up with them. Please do not be alarmed of my weapons, for the roads I have journeyed upon are not the safest, and one must not be caught unaware.&quot; The Elf spoke with a flowing melodious sound as he gazed at Tom Ferny.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/10/01 6:10:39 pm
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Old 04-10-2001, 04:18 PM   #8
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Tom Ferny speaks again.

Tom turned and spoke to the cloaked Man who still stood at the door of the inn. &quot;And you, stranger, are you also travelling with these fine folk? I do not recognize you.&quot;

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Old 04-10-2001, 05:11 PM   #9
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Hmm?

As Talondin heard Tom speak he stopped humming along with the song from inside the tavern, and returned to his solemn state of mind. He turned towards Tom and the others. He pulled the hood of his cloak off of his head and looked into Tom's inquisitive eyes, &quot;Talondin, my name is Talondin.&quot; Talondin looked about at the others and noticed Menel. &quot;Menel?! Is that you old friend? Could it truly be you after all this time?&quot;

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Old 04-10-2001, 05:28 PM   #10
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Glancing up abruptly..

Glancing up abruptly upon hearing his name being called, Menel spied the shadowy figure, recognizable to him as Talondin.

&quot;Well, this world isnt as big as I have been trained to think!&quot; the elf exclaimed, his blue-green eyes seemed to shine brighter for a minute. &quot;Its has indeed been a long time since we have seen each other. Still wandering about in secrecy I see. Well, I'm sure we both have some tales to tell and some catching up to do.&quot;

Menel he shifted his gaze to inspect his old acquaintance.

&quot;Come! For now let us go inside, and be at ease. 'Tis not often such encounters occur!&quot; he said with a warm smile at Talondin.

He then regripped the shaft of his spear, and for the moment using it as a staff , Menel turned back to Ferny and the others.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/10/01 7:36:57 pm
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Old 04-10-2001, 05:53 PM   #11
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Calimir's mission

Smiling at her companions, Calimir turned to start unloading her gear from the ponies. She was, as yet, unsure about the men she had met in Bree.

Menel seemed to know the worn one, which was a good sign. She and Menel had been friends for many lives of the second born, and she trusted his judgement. As for the friendly stranger, he seemed harmless. Still, it seemed wise to keep her mission secret for the present.

Having finished her busywork, the elvish maid checked that her dagger was securely held in her boot. Satisfied that all was well she rejoined the growing company before the door of the pony.

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Old 04-11-2001, 07:01 AM   #12
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The Prancing Pony

As Calamir reached for the handle, the door burst open and out ran a Hobbit, barrelling into the surprised Elf woman. The Hobbit rolled down the stairs and sprawled on the courtyard stones, but Calamir jumped back and landed neatly on her feet.

&quot;Oh my!&quot; exclaimed the Hobbit, getting up. &quot;I didn't see you at the door, m'lady.&quot; He quickly glanced at the other, assessing them and their mounts. &quot;I take it you're visiting the Pony?&quot;

&quot;Yes, we are&quot; Calimir smiled. &quot;There are three of us, very hungry and very tired.&quot;

&quot;Well, then, I''ll take care of your ponies and you can go right in. Talk to Butterbur and he’ll find rooms for you.” The Hobbit ran off across the courtyard leading the ponies. “Hullo Tom” he shouted as he rounded a corner out of sight.

Tom Ferny grinned and explained “Manny is always in a hurry. Let’s go inside.”

He stepped forward and opened the door allowing the others to enter.

“Welcome to The Prancing Pony” he said.


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/11/01 12:38:09 pm
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Old 04-11-2001, 11:05 AM   #13
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The Common Room of The Prancing Pony

The Prancing Pony was much like any other tavern and inn, only more so. A very old establishment, it was rather large with additional wings and stories built onto the oldest and largest construction.

This was the Common Room, and into it the travelers walked and saw first great upright timbers darkened with many years of the smokes of fires and lanterns, polished by the chance rub of passing hand or cloth. The wooden posts sturdily supported a simple truss-work that held a high roof pitched tall against winter snows. Between the wide posts were many rough tables and benches. In the center of the room was a large, rough laid, stone chimney over a glowing hearth that warmed the entire Common Room.

Here the folk of Bree would gather for news or company and here the few travelers on what had been the great crossroads of ancient kingdoms would come for food and drink and rooms. There were, as always, some dwarves at a table, keeping to themselves. Not very many other folk, even the locals, had come out that evening. Business was a bit slow.

At the back of the great room, beyond the hearth and the tables, was a tall bar. A platform extended halfway up across half the length of it, so that the handful of hobbits gathered there were at ease and on eye level with the Big Folk at the other end of the bar. Behind this bar, were double doors that led to a large kitchen, not to mention, pantries and root and wine cellars.

On either side of the Common Room were other doors that led on the one side to a small wing built especially for halflings. The other doors led to corridors wherein there were rooms and stairwells to still more rooms on the upper floors. The stables were kept around the back of the Prancing Pony, where deliveries were also made to the kitchen.

The owner and proprietor of this establishment was Barliman Butterbur, a short fat Breelander, red of face, short of wind, and always in a hurry.

This evening was no different. No sooner than Tom Ferny had led the strangers into the Common Room, old Barley himself came bustling out, saw them, and hurried over as they took in their surroundings.

&quot;Hullo, hullo, hullo!&quot; he said breathlessly.

&quot;It's good to have some fresh faces here, and that's for certain! No doubt you're tired and hungry and would like some food and some rooms for the night! Manny taking care of your steeds? Well say no more!&quot;

In fact, none of them had yet said anything!

&quot;Come take this table near the hearth and we'll start to take the chill off! What'll you have, beer, wine? We've the best of both and that's for certain! Why bless my soul, an elf! I don't believe we've had one of the fair folk under this roof since my dad was a boy and that was a long time ago, I can tell you! You'll be wanting our best wine, Mistress, I'm sure! Good enough even for elves and that's for certain! We've got some good meat pies and some roast chicken tonight for them that want's it or we can cook up something special. Is that all together? Separate then? I'll have Nob bring out the beer and wine and mugs and plates and some bread and take your orders while I see to your rooms!&quot;

And with that, the fat old innkeeper turned and bustled back to the kitchens as quickly as he had come.

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Old 04-11-2001, 11:53 AM   #14
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How odd...

&quot;What an odd little man..&quot; said Talondin after Butterbur walked away. Looking back to Menel and the others with his usual emotionless look upon his face. &quot;I need a drink, I've been walking for a month or so now, and I need a break, anyone want to join me?&quot;

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Old 04-11-2001, 12:53 PM   #15
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Enter Valdavar Son of Vurdvrikar

Suddendly a voice burst out in loud laughter, so clear and with a deep voice, that the travellers jerked at its sound.

It came from a man who was sitting at a table to one side of the common room together with a few local hunters and woodcutters.

The fire from the hearth showed well, although sitting on a chair, what a huge man this was. Tall, broad, and massively built, with a big belly, and long and strong arms like branches of an old oak, and big, firm hands which held a stone mug with a clutch which let the mug look like a thimble. His round face was young and red, and was well covered by brown hair which he wore wild, and a brown beard. The light which was caught in his eyes showed they were amber, and gave the friendly, simple face an air of wild cunning. He was clad in simple woollen clothes, and had a brown, rough shirt on which did not cover his hairy arms.

As the travellers gazed at him, he laughed out again, opening his mouth widely, his belly shaking with the sound of his loud laughing. But now that they saw his face, along with hearing his hearty laughter, anyone could tell this was not an evil man who can laugh so merrily and clear. He seemed rather like a friendly bear than like the thug a first glance may let him look like.

Still chuckling, he met the travellers' glance with his own, and shouted over the few feet between the tables,

&quot;What have I done to you people that you look at me as if I was the thunderstorm that has just ruined your harvest? But I should not be unfriendly. Innkeeper, serve this strangers a round of the mead I brought!
Now let my introduce myself. I am Valdavar, son of Vurdvrikar. While this may not ring a bell, you may have heard of my great-grandfather, Beorn the Bearserker!&quot;


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000003>Sharku</A> at: 4/11/01 3:11:29 pm
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Old 04-11-2001, 01:09 PM   #16
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More introductions

Calimir turned to the giant man. Her grey eyes shone with amusment.

&quot;Indeed, Sir, I have heard much of your family in the past. All of the free peoples owe gratitude to the Beornings for their unceasing watch in the North.&quot;

She turned to her companions, new and old, and spoke, &quot;I will join Valdavar for a much needed rest. Though, I would prefer the wine proffered by the innkeep to mead. Will you join me or no?&quot;


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/11/01 3:46:20 pm
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Old 04-11-2001, 01:30 PM   #17
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&quot;I would rather not&quot; said Talondin. &quot;I feel uneasy about him, I would much rather drink alone, if he is the only alternative. I'm going to the bar to get a drink, anyone may join if you so wish.&quot; Talondin then started walking towards the bar to get a drink.

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Old 04-11-2001, 02:24 PM   #18
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I shall join Calimir

Beregond sighed, and said, &quot;I am weary from my travels, and would be glad of rest&quot;. He paused, and looked at Valdavar. &quot;I shall join Calimir, and learn more of this man, and tidings from the north. I should also like to know what brought him to this side of the Misty Mountains.&quot;

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Old 04-11-2001, 03:21 PM   #19
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Allright

Talondin replied with,&quot;As you wish messenger of Gondor, I suppose I will see the two of you in the morning. Friends of Menel do seem to linger about him. And what of you Menel, shall you accompany me? Or your newfound travelling companions.&quot;

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Old 04-11-2001, 03:30 PM   #20
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Re: Allright

&quot;I will accompany you to the bar, Talondin, if I may&quot; said Tom Ferny. &quot;I have a matter discuss with the barmaid.&quot;

He turned to Carimir, &quot;But I would greatly like to speak with you later, Miss, if you would allow it. Perhaps you could tell me stories of your Folk and your journies.&quot;

He stood and accompanied Talondin to two stools at the bar. He offered one to his companion and sat in the other, motioning with his hand to a pretty girl drawing ale behind the counter. She looked up and, spotting who it was, gave a frown and a &quot;Hmmph!&quot;.

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Old 04-11-2001, 03:38 PM   #21
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Well..

&quot;Does she know you, Ferny? If so, what have you done to get on her bad side?&quot; asked Talondin. &quot;It would seem as if you are not welcome here.&quot;

He looked around him at all of those happy people and wondered if they were happy only because they were drunk.

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Old 04-11-2001, 03:57 PM   #22
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Menel the scout..

Menel the scout from Rivendell shifted his gaze until it came upon Valdavar the Beorning.

&quot;I too would just as soon find out what brings a Beorning hither,&quot; the Elf said at length as he glared at Valdavar,&quot;But for now, I, too shall have a drink.&quot;

With that said, he turned and walked towards where Talondin and Tom sat near the bar, the soft tapping of his spear announcing his coming as he drew nearer to the counter.

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Old 04-11-2001, 05:50 PM   #23
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Conversation

Calimir and Beregond seated themselves at the large oaken table in the corner, already occupied by many large men (not to mention the Beorning himself).

A busy hobbit rushed across the room with mead and, with a word, the Elf sent him back for some wine. She untied her long, dark tresses as she spoke and removed her travel-stained cloak. Beneath, she was dressed plainly in simple green and grey garb. From around her neck shone a white stone set in silver, which had been covered by the clasp of her cloak. The stone, when revealed, seemed to shine with an internal fire. Her only other adornment was a plain silver buckle on the belt encircling her waist.

Keeping an eye on the conversation at the bar, Calamir addressed Valdavar, &quot;It is rare indeed for such company as us to meet in Breeland. My companion and I are curious. Please, tell me of the errand that brought you so far from your home.&quot;

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Old 04-11-2001, 06:52 PM   #24
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Menel

&quot;So you choose to join us finally? You seemed to stand in thought for sometime.&quot; Talondin said to Menel who finally came and sat with Tom and him. He wondered to himself &quot;I wonder how many years its been now...&quot;.
He looked to Menel and said,&quot;So what brings you to such a place my friend?&quot;

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Old 04-12-2001, 07:19 AM   #25
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Tom sits quietly.

Tom was a bit frustrated that the barmaid refused to even speak with him so he casually ignored Talondin's inquiry about her, hoping the stranger wouldn't think him rude. He already had the girl mad at him and it wouldn't do to anger someone else. So, instead he sat quietly listening to Menel and Talondin but also keeping an ear to the group at the table where the Beorning could be heard talking loudly with the Elf maiden and the Gondorian.

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Old 04-12-2001, 07:38 AM   #26
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Re: Menel

Menel pulled out the stool from the counter and sat facing Talondin. He positioned his spear carefully, the deadly tip pointing at the floor, placing it gingerly down so as not to make any scratches. The elf then glanced about the room, aware that many of the folk were staring at him and his armaments.

&quot;It would appear these folk have never seen an armed traveller come knocking upon their door,&quot; Menel jested, still glancing about. His eyes then met those of Calimir at whom he smiled warmly.

&quot;Well my friend,&quot; the elf began as he turned back to Talondin,&quot;as for the number of years I have not a guess, but it has been awhile.&quot; Menel then motioned for Talondin to come closer. &quot;What do make of this beorning travelling so far from his realm?&quot; he said in a hushed voice. &quot;I dont know what to think yet, so I wont. But I still think it odd..&quot; Menel's voice trailed off as he chanced a glance at Valdavar.

Then resuming his casual tone and posture, Menel gazed at both Ferny and Talondin saying,&quot;I have been sent to gather information about the happenings in this land for my Lord. I have journeyed far, having visited the Gray Havens at one time, and I was planning upon returning to Rivendell, but I would like to find out what Valdavar is doing here. It might just alter where I head for.&quot;

Menel ordered a brink from the bar keep before once again looking at Tom Ferny. &quot;Well then, you know something about me, but what of you Master Ferny? What brings you here this night?&quot;the elf said with a tone of anticipation in his fair voice, and a friendly grin on his face.

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Old 04-12-2001, 08:02 AM   #27
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Dinner is served!

Tom Ferny was saved from answering at that moment for the little hobbit came back out and cried, &quot;Dinner is ready!&quot;

He poured wine for the lady elf (who was surprised at its quality) and more mead and beer for the rest. Another hobbit brought out a tray bearing many loaves of hot bread, a big wheel of cheese, and fair sized tubs of sweet and salty butter. Yet another hobbit carried a tray piled high with roasted ears of corn and steaming potatoes. Soon, Butterbur himself bustled out carrying a huge platter loaded with meat pies and whole chickens roasted to a turn.

The Beorning growled a little at the fare, and chose for himself from the breads and cheeses and vegetables. This was fortunately plentiful, for the Beorning was a big man with a big appetite, though it was noticed he ate no meat.

The Dwarves made the first noise that had been heard all evening from them, complaining a little that the meal had arrived so late, though regulars like Ferny knew it was served the same time as always.

The conversations fell to silence briefly, as the hungry travelers fell to the tucker.

Tom Ferny grinned a little, noticing the fine etiquette of the elves and the messenger from Gondor (who all insisted on utensils!), especially compared with the Beorning's noisy eating. Ferny was none too polished himself but saw how the Prancing Pony maintained a high reputation amongst all the different folk who visited.

But, as the keen edge of hunger was blunted, the conversations resumed...

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Old 04-12-2001, 08:30 AM   #28
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Beorning

&quot;Well old friend,&quot; said Talondin to Menel while looking at the feasting Valdavar. &quot;I do not know what could bring one such as him to a place as this, but I am sure that he would say the same of you or me!&quot;

He looked at Calimir and Beregond and then back to Menel. &quot;Who are these two whom you travel with now, eh? You always did choose friends quickly, and always took the matter lightly as well.&quot;

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/12/01 11:04:16 am
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Old 04-12-2001, 10:49 AM   #29
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Eating and drinking holds body and soul together

Valdavar gestured at the new neighbours at his table with a piece of bread, and, while still chewing some cheese, he answered:

&quot;Well, now for serious talk. Those words which I can tell you, that is.

I did not come here for leisure. I have an errand for our folk. We Beornings have been keeping the High Pass over the Misty Mountains and the Carrock-ford free of foul folk such as orcs for some decades now. Many of us can no longer afford to care for the beasts or the fields because of that, and so we have to take a fee for our guidance over this route to make our living from.

When, some months ago, less and less travellers came, it was queer, and my grandfather was worried how we should make ends meet before the winter. But we are tough, we got by by going back to what we love dearest- our beasts and our trees.

That isn't what caused me and my brothers to be sent out, however.

Ever more and more strange folk appeared near our dwellings, and especially to the south. Most of these persons none of us has ever seen the like. Some were slant-eyed and swarthy, others even resembled the orc-vermin.&quot;

As he said that, Valdavar spat out on the floor next to him, and received a very angry look from one of the hobbit workers whose job obviously was to lean on a broom all day and glare at the guests.

Valdavar just grinned at the hobbit, and resumed his explanation to Calimir and Beregond.

&quot;And then it got even queerer... but you cannot expect me to talk of the incident which drove me here, gathering news and searching for certain people, if I do not know who you are and whether I can trust you. Please understand this - I do not mistrust you, but in such a case I have to be sure.
Orders from Gramps, and he knows what's good for us.&quot;

With that, Valdavar laughed again, something he had not done over the time he was talking about what happened in his homeland.

&quot;Now tell me your story, if I may hear it, and if you want, we may seek a room with less ears and I'll see if you can be of help to my errand.&quot;

Valdavar put his hands, which he had just cleaned from the last cheese by rubbing them on his shirt, on the table, and looked from Calimir to Beregond with big wary eyes.


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000006>Gilthali on</A> at: 4/12/01 1:18:12 pm
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Old 04-12-2001, 11:31 AM   #30
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A brief interlude...

It seemed that many folk in the Common Room were interested just then in Calamir and Beregond, and what their business was in this backwoods of a forgotten kingdom. Tom Ferny, glad for the moment that Menel had not pressed him for answers, was now annoyed to see the elf lass and the messenger from Gondor, who were just about to answer Valdavar, interrupted by some of the local hobbitry.

&quot;A song! A song!&quot; called one of the hobbits. &quot;Come on Nob, sing us something!&quot;

&quot;Just a minute!&quot; said Nob, who was carrying a large tray from the tables, laden with used plates and bowls. The hard-working hobbit returned from the kitchen, wiping his hands on the towel hanging from his waist. &quot;How about something for a cold night outside and a warm fire inside!&quot;

He began clapping his hands in a rhythm and the other hobbits joined in. Then, he lifted his homely voice and sang:

Don't you go where the cold winds blow
And fogs and mists hide the mounds below
Don't lose your life for a jeweled knife
Robbing graves of kings in barrows
Harrows! Narrows!
Don't lose your life for a jeweled knife
Robbing graves of kings in barrows!

Slowpate Jim of brains was slim
And thought the gold was there for him.
He ventured out and had no doubt
He'd come back rich tomorrow!
Borrow! Sorrow!
He ventured out and had no doubt
He'd come back rich tomorrow!

Grass grows green and the Sun shines keen
On mounds that cover those who have been.
There are spirits cold and darkness old,
And things that live at midnight!
Dark sight! Take fright!
There are spirits cold and darkness old,
And things that live at midnight!

Jim went there, for he did not care,
Of wights or ghosts or things less fair.
He did not believe, could not conceive,
That wights would come and claim him!
Shame him! Blame him!
He did not believe, could not conceive,
That wights would come and claim him!

So Jim is gone, to the Barrows yon,
And there lies still under grassy lawn.
He has his gold, but his bones are cold,
For the Barrow-Wight has got him!
Bought him! Caught him!
He has his gold, but his bones are cold,
For the Barrow-Wight has got him!


All of the hobbits laughed, though they had heard the song many times before, and even the dwarves enjoyed the silly song. But around the room some of the folk started thinking about the wealth of gold and jewels and weapons that lay buried in the green mounds not so very far away.

Tom Ferny noticed this, and rubbed his stubbly chin, looking shrewdly about the Common Room of the Prancing Pony.

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Old 04-12-2001, 11:58 AM   #31
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Fools..

&quot;I never was much for songs, or halflings for that matter&quot; Talondin said to himself, but loud enough for Tom and Menel to hear. &quot;I am beginning to see this place as nothing but a large waste of time.&quot;

He looked once more around him, and noticed Beregond, Calimir, and the Beorning once again talking amongst themselves.

&quot;I hope they don't do that while I'm trying to sleep...&quot; he said and took another bite of bread.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/12/01 3:35:09 pm
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Old 04-12-2001, 12:02 PM   #32
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Re: A brief interlude...

Beregond and Calimir were still talking to Valdavar. Beregond felt he could trust the Beorning, so he said, &quot;Come! Let us talk in private for awhile, for like you said, not everything we have to tell is fit for all ears. Not everyone is to be trusted these days.&quot; He lowered his voice to a whisper, &quot;I have brought important tidings from Gondor, which I will tell you, if you want.&quot;

&quot;Hold!&quot; said Valdavar. &quot;Hark unto the conversation at the bar. I want to hear this first!&quot;

Beregond strained to hear the low voices across the room. &quot;The ears of the Beornings are keen! I cannot quite make out their words. Are they talking of gold?&quot;

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000006>Gilthali on</A> at: 4/12/01 5:27:06 pm
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Old 04-12-2001, 12:41 PM   #33
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Tom has an idea.

Tom leaned over and said to Talondin quietly &quot;I don't know about that, my friend. Were you not listening to the words of the song?&quot;

Talondin shook his head and said &quot;No. As I said, I don't go in much for such things.&quot;

&quot;Well I was listening&quot; said Tom , &quot;and I know the words well. I've heard them many times and even sung along with them before. But until this very moment I don't think I ever realized what they said.&quot;

He paused and Talondin motioned for him to go on.

&quot;Jewelled knives and piles of gold isn't just hobbit stories &quot; continued Tom. &quot;There are hills just beyond Bree-land stuffed full of such treasures. Left over from the Kings of Old, they say. With the right partners, a person could likely get pretty rich, I'd say.&quot;



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Old 04-12-2001, 02:13 PM   #34
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Re: Tom has an idea.

Listening from across the room, Calamir's eyes narrowed. She, too, knew of the barrows and the riches. None beside herself and Menel, however, appeared to know the nature of the barrows' inhabitants.

Catching Menel's eye, she shook her head slowly as a sign for him to try to steer the conversation away from such matters. The farmer was heading into dangerous territory and she was feeling more and more wary about him and his intentions. Menel knew her mind and turned back to his whispering companions as Calamir addressed her table mates.

&quot;A room with fewer ears would suit my purposes well. Let us continue this conversation in the room prepared for me by Butterbur. I would like to delay the adjourning, however, long enough to listen a while more. What say you to this suggestion, my friends?&quot;

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Old 04-12-2001, 03:28 PM   #35
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Riches you say?

&quot;Perhaps I should have listened after all...&quot; thought Talondin.
&quot;Would you happen to be getting the same idea as I am friend?&quot; Talondin said to Tom and afterwards got a wicked smile upon his face with the thoughts of endless riches.

&quot;Tell me more......&quot;

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Old 04-12-2001, 03:47 PM   #36
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Songs and questions

&quot;You can always count on my thirst to have me stay for another round!&quot; replied Valdavar.
But both Beregond and Calamir could well see that it was not just ale the Beorning was interested in. As if he had read their thoughts, he asked:

&quot;Say, if I can ask, you seem to be a knowledgeable Lady, and you an experienced traveler, Sir. Can you tell me if there is something behind this song?
For one thing I have learned soon in my life is that even the silliest song contains truth, and legend is just another hide for things past. What's more, when I looked at the young fellow's face&quot; - Valdavar made clear with a notion of his head that he meant Ferny - &quot;as he heard of the treasures sung of, I saw the eyes of a hunter. And I doubt that this time it is the white stockings he is after!

&quot;And where are those barrows? I have never heard of such a region, so they must lie to the west, I assume?&quot;



</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000006>Gilthali on</A> at: 4/12/01 6:41:06 pm
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Old 04-12-2001, 04:25 PM   #37
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Answers and concerns

Calamir, keeping her eyes on the men across the room, answered her companions, &quot;Aye, Beregond, they speak of gold. Gold that is not theirs for the taking. As for your questions, Valdavar, you are right to be wary.&quot;

She lowered her voice considerably as she continued, &quot;These barrows are less than a day's ride from this village. At one time they were the resting places of great men. Many things turn evil with time and lack of care, however, and these graves are no exception. More should not be said in mixed company, but I do say this: Beware the barrows and those who live within.&quot;

With this comment the lady raised her wine goblet again and settled back on her bench.

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Old 04-12-2001, 05:05 PM   #38
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Tom gets a room

Tom looked around him and noticed suddenly that everyone seemed to be listening to him. The Beorning in particular was staring his way and the Elf maiden was watching him with a curious look in her eye.

&quot;Perhaps we should discuss this privately&quot; he said to Talondin. “I know much of the land around Bree, including the Downs, but here is not the place to discuss it.&quot;

He saw the innkeeper across the room and shouted &quot;Butterbur! Come over here for a moment, good man.&quot;

The fat man looked up from where he was serving a tray of steaming meats to a party of Dwarves. &quot;What is it, Tom?” he shouted. “You know I'm busy and the Pony is near full up tonight! What is it you're wanting? I’ll not be a part of your feud with Dorie.&quot;

The regular visitors to the Pony all laughed at that and Tom grew red-faced. Everyone knew he was trying to court the barmaid, but they didn’t all need to know it wasn’t going well for him. He looked behind the bar where Dorie quickly dived behind the bar to avoid his gaze.

With an embarrased look he rushed across the room and whispered to the innkeep “Could you please set my new friends and I up with a private room where we could relax in better comfort? We have business to discuss.&quot;

Butterbur looked at him and said “What are you getting yourself mixed up with, Tom. First Dorie and now a troupe of strangers you just met. Can’t you ever avoid trouble?”

“Come on, Barliman” pleaded Tom. “Can’t you please just help me out? You’ve already made me look the fool in front of everyon in the place.”

Butterbur laughed “You don’t need me to help you do that. But yes, I've got a room. It has several chairs and a nice fireplace and should suit your ‘business’ well. Let me get it ready.&quot;

&quot;Nob!&quot; he shouted, startling Tom. &quot;Nob! Get over here.&quot;

The little hobbit appeared for behind the bar and ran over to where Butterbur stood.

&quot;Take these good folk back to the big room. And for goodness sake, light the Fire!&quot; he said, and then ran off to answer the shouts of a pack of thirsty hobbits.




</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 4/12/01 7:09:12 pm
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Old 04-12-2001, 05:37 PM   #39
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Having caught Calimir's glance..

Having caught Calimir's glance, Menel turned back towards the plotting Talondin. &quot;You dont realize yet what you are getting into old friend,&quot; the elf began in a hushed voice.

&quot;The Barrow Downs do indeed have riches within them, but every man who has tried to claim these as his own does not come out of it. Of course I realize we have been through battles before, but goblins are one thing, old friend, magical haunts are completely another..&quot; Menel's voice trailed off as he spoke these words, and his gaze drew upward as the elf wandered through his memories.

The scout from Rivendell came out of these with a shudder. &quot;If you were wise, you would stay from the dreaded Barrows and their enchanting riches. No good shall come of it, should you enter a wights Barrow.&quot; Menel said, his voice scarcely a whisper, but even as he spoke ever so softly, the gazes of others in the room were drawn to him. &quot;But for now let us be merry and speak of no things until later!&quot;

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Old 04-12-2001, 06:55 PM   #40
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Down to Business!

Conversation in the Common Room died down somewhat. The Dwarves continued their private murmur. The hobbits were enjoying some story about one of their relations. The outlanders were quiet, waiting for Nob to tell them a room had been made ready.

Soon enough it was. The busy hobbit had built a nice fire, quick-started with coals from the kitchen.

&quot;Your room is ready, Tom. How long d'you think you'll be up?&quot; asked Nob.

&quot;Might be a little while, Nob,&quot; answered Tom, puffed up a little. &quot;Just come around in about an hour and see if anyone needs anything will you. We might have a lot of planning to do!&quot;

Then Tom Ferny got up from his stool and turned to the outlanders and said, &quot;This way if you please, and we'll talk some business and see if there's not some profit to be had here abouts.&quot;

He walked to the door on the left and into the first door on the right. Then he turned back to see who would follow.

Talondin drained his mug and set it down with a thump. He got up and walked straightway to the meeting room. Menel gave Calimir a look as if to say, &quot;Let us see.&quot; The slender elf followed his old friend.

Valdavar the Beorning lumbered to his feet, grabbed a full pitcher of mead and followed as well, curious about all things in this land and mindful of a chance to earn some wealth.

That left the elf maiden Carimir and Beregond of Gondor. They looked at one another, spoke quickly, and reached swift agreement that it would not hurt to listen. Soon they were all seated inside the room and Ferny shut the door.


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