The Expected Party!!

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Re: The Expected Party!!

Postby GwenElf » Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:37 pm

Falastor blinked as one of the company's members -- Daniel, was it? -- tore past him, riding so close and so quickly that the breeze he created caught the paper from Falastor's hands and carried it away across the field. Before the cartographer could even shout in surprise, another member of the company, the bells on her garment jingling merrily, leapt upon it, snatched it up, and cartwheeled back to Falastor, offering him the amazingly unwrinkled paper with a flourish.

"Ta da!" she exclaimed. "Yet another use for my talents!"

He accepted the offering enthusiastically and tucked it back into his bag. "Most certainly! A shame it doesn't work the other way around, though." At her quizzical look, he added, "Talent with papers doesn't give one talent at gymnastics. Believe me, I've had a bit too much experience trying. My limbs might not forgive me if I attempted any more acrobatics."

She grinned. "Not everyone is meant to tumble, I'm afraid."

"You certainly got all of my tumbling ability," said a voice. Falastor turned to see the young man who had ridden by earlier -- no, on second thought, it wasn't the same man, just one who looked similar, and who was now looking down on them from atop his horse.

"Oh, I don't know about that," the brightly-dressed woman said, smirking up at him. "I seem to recall you being rather flexible, master sword-dancer."

"Sword-dancer?" Falastor turned eagerly to face the man, who had turned about six shades of mortified and was distracting himself by paying especial attention to dismounting. "This company is like my childhood all over again! You aren't actually a troop of actors, are you? Realistically you would need a great deal more by way of supplies, of course, to put on a proper show, but perhaps you're employing a new style? Improvisation with minimal props, maybe? I shouldn't be this excited, really, given how dreadful I was at all of that, but it would be quite excellent to relieve those years, just for a bit before I return to Minas Tirith to make my report. No acting for me, mind you. I never could sustain a role long enough to be convincing. And as I was saying, my acrobatics were awful as well."

He paused for a breath and realized that not only were the woman and man staring, but several other members of the company had now gathered around -- the woman called Fiona and a young girl shyly peering at him from behind Fiona.

"I don't know, I'd say you do the rambling academic role brilliantly," said the dark-haired man, smiling crookedly.

"Aramir!" Fiona frowned at him, but Falastor laughed loudly.

"No, no, he's absolutely right. I became organizer and map-maker once my family realized I was useless on the stage. And by the way," he added, turning to face the woman with the jingling clothes. "It is the Malcontent Dwarf. We produced that one once. Brilliant story, ridiculous costumes, as I recall, but perhaps that was just an artistic decision on Shala's part. She always did like feathers a bit too much. I'm not familiar with The Chaste and Noble Knight, though."

She elbowed Aramir in the ribs. "We've got an impromptu version playing right now, I believe." Aramir rolled his eyes. "I'm Geli, by the way," she continued, extending her hand. "Geli the Magnificent!"

"Unless it's Tuesday," chorused Fiona and Aramir.

Falastor frowned as he shook Geli's hand. "Why, what happens on Tuesday?"

"She browbeats us with a thesaurus."
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Re: The Expected Party!!

Postby earendil81 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:26 pm

(I've been working on this for a few days and it's not exactly as I wanted it but here's post #5,000)

They had eventually stopped for the night. Daniel was still brooding from Aramir’s comment earlier and yet casting quick glances at Katherine while no one was watching – or so he thought. The young woman had made good on her word and was drinking with Fiona… It was time. Laesha was eagerly listening to the stories their new member told; interestingly the young girl had less in common with her ‘grandma’ than Katherine. He spared a moment to consider; both afraid that the past might catch up with them and while trying to deny it even existed letting it rule their lives. It was time indeed. Overdue even. He stood and walked past the child he wanted to speak with.

“Aramir, walk with me.” He whispered for the young man only to hear. They would notice but he cared not. Whether or not he wanted to Aramir stepped up and followed.
Whatever he expected of him Aramir did not say a word; there was fear in him to, though not as obvious as Katherine’s. What secret he held close it terrified him that people should discover it. His tone when challenged before had revealed as much… It might be one reason – if not conscious – of his alliance with Katherine against Daniel. For a long moment they walked far enough from the camp that none might hear yet close enough that he would catch anything untoward happening – like another fight between Kitty and Daniel that no one would be able to stop.

He looked up to the skies; that always allowed him a moment of serenity… Elbereth had been kind tonight and Earendil was sailing Vingilot through its seas… bright and clear as it usually was.
“Have you trusted her with your secret yet?” He finally asked turning to the young man. The fear was undoubtedly there: in the tension of his shoulders as well as in the clenched fingers causing his knuckles to whiten. Aramir might have wanted to run away but even if he did he must be aware that since they were travelling with the same group there would be no avoiding the old elf. Eilathen had no intention of scaring him away though. “I do not know it and even if I did I would not reveal it,” he volunteered, “I merely point out the young Katherine has given you her trust, maybe more.” He raised a finger. It was not the time to talk yet. “As you have found that Daniel’s feelings may be more than what he has admitted, hers also are more. Have a care with it.” He looked away once more. “Trying to be strong all the time might break her. They said it was what befell Boromir of Gondor; a good but proud man unwilling to admit a weakness until it was too late and it consumed him.”

Both Aramir and Katherine risked the same regardless of why. One had to bend and yield before one broke; he knew. He would not tell of Laesha's grandmother to this man, not yet but he had seen men and women alike die or try to because the past became too much to bear. Strength took different shapes.
“Ask yourself Aramir. Do you truly believe you should help Katherine defy Daniel at every turn? Or do you find it easier to let her deny her past and remain afraid of it as you are of yours?”

He had not intended to be this blunt… but it was the truth; and if he guessed right Aramir’s fear lay in who he was. He would not push that question; now the one threatening to break under the pressure was the woman. And when she did break, it would have dire consequences on everyone surrounding her.
Never forgetting those who have passed into the West :rose:

Sharing a story with Rholarowyn: Once There Were Words

Laesha is taking her first steps in the RP world with Eilathen and a bunch of great characters in The Expected Party
Fan of Redemption: the Reckoning

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.


It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I'm free
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Re: The Expected Party!!

Postby siddharth » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:11 am

A pair of curious blue eyes were gazing at him.
Lari was too dazed and confused to make out the face to which those eyes belonged to.
The light was too much for his now weakened eyes, as he tried to discern the shape of the figure standing in front of him.

"Welcome to my humble abode, Sidhlarion"

Lari's eyes widened upon hearing his name.

That voice....where have I heard that before?

He cupped his head between his hands and rubbed his eyes violently.

The figure was saying something...

The voice was unclear to Lari as he finally managed to look upon the figure in better light.

It was an old man. He was cloaked in brown robes and he stood there, bending upon his wooden staff.
The bushy well-formed eyebrows above his blue eyes and the thick beard covered his wrinkled face. And those eyes were simple and profound, burdened with great wisdom of many ages unknown, and yet as inquisitive as a child's.

"Who did you say you were? And where am I? Apologies sire, but -"

"You've had a rough time, I see. You have no fear here, lad. I am Radagast the Brown. We have met before I believe."

"Radagast!" Lari stood up and hit his head on the branch above yet again.

"Sit now and rest. The forest of Fangorn is not for the weak-hearted." He motioned him to sit as he went to the table and started to shake up some things. " I am surprised Treebeard let you blunder into the Huorn woods though. At least Quickbeam was there to pull you out. Many go among the Huorns and never return. You are fortunate indeed. He's the one who brought you to me."

"Treebeard? Quickbeam?" Lari scratched his head. "Did I really meet the Ents?"

"Not really, no. You were fast asleep. Enchanted sleep in fact. Here" he handed Lari a cup of boiling black broth. "Drink this. It'll make you feel better."
Lari gulped down the liquid in a go and soon enough he felt the heat rising in his body. A sudden spurt of energy.

"I am quite sure there must be a tale behind all of this. How a royal vagabond who fled my tutelage years ago comes to me again, even if unexpectedly so. But all in good time. Rest now." He was about to leave when he turned again. "Oh yes, your horse. She's in my care too." He gave a subtle wink and bowed out of the cottage.

Lari fell back on his bed, slowly passing on into the land of memories, searching for that fateful day when a young Elvish boy lost in the woods came across a wounded hermit on the borders of Eryn Lasgalen ...
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Re: The Expected Party!!

Postby siddharth » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:56 pm

The flames cackled as they moved over the grass and shrubs and leaves of trees. Grey smoke arose high into the sky,shrouding the forest in a thicket of smog. Fire, red fire was everywhere he could see, merciless giant flames stomping on the helpless flora of the woods. Ash. Ash and dust remained where stood tall trees not even half a day ago.

Haefa kept running. She was young, but steadfast and one of the cleverest beasts he had ever met. She rode on, unperturbed by the calamity around her and intelligently finding gaps through the walls of flame, making an escape route.

Lari wiped his brow and looked up towards the sky, no longer blue now. The sun hidden somewhere behind the clouds of smoke.
It all had happened so quickly, in a flash that he had no time to think for the consequences. He had barely escaped the clutches of those guards. Everything was completely unlooked for.
The King's cousin was found dead two days ago. Poisoned, it was assumed. All those friendly advances from Raegorm, his half-brother, now it all made sense. Raegorm had never accepted him as one of the Elven-kind, for he was only a half-elf. Sidhlarion Valenar of the Woodland Realm, son of Roheryn, shieldmaiden of Rohan.

Lari bit his lip. He had foolishly walked into the trap. The clues, the evidence were all there set up and expertly planned to make him the culprit. He had always been the target. To what extent, he never guessed.

"What do I do?" He had said to himself when Raegorm presented the final and perfect evidence in front of the council.

"What Raegorm wants me to. Become a fugitive." He had found himself replying to his question.
He remembered making a dash for his favorite tree where he kept all his belongings. He was always the swift one, sleek as a lizard. And as if to mock his unwitting behavior, the storm had began. Winds, rain and thunder.
He had taken only his bow, his quiver and his royal Mithril sword Thrond before jumping up on Haefa. He glanced one final time towards his father's desperate eyes. And fled.

------------

I did the right thing, Lari consoled himself.
He knew Kinslaying was the most hated of crimes among Elves. There had never been a kinslaying, not one since the dark First age. He wondered if it was actually Raegorm who had committed it, only to make him leave. Or did he kill him first and only then decided to ensnare him as well?

They would have put me to death, had I stayed there.There was no going back now. Now I am only a convict, a murderer among my own people, in my own home.

His eyes were become moist. He thought of his father, still back there. He would be safe, he thought, but scorned by the others. Including the King. His mother had returned to Edoras long before, when the unrest had only begun among the Woodelves, regarding her right to live in Greenwood. She was safe.

Haefa sped on throughout the day, with only a few rests in between. For the night, they found a cave and decided to camp there.

Completely drenched as he was, he decided to not light a fire to remain undercover.
He had no food, no fire to warm himself. Neither did the continuous rain, shrieking thunder and howling winds help him in that perilous night-storm. The thought of the forest-fire brought down his spirit lower, for the trees, the life, the creatures in the forest. They were his only love. And the memories of the doomed morn was as fresh as if they happened only a moment ago.

-------

Lari had dozed off while pondering all these things when a muffled moan awoke him. Within a moment he was up on his legs with Thrond in his hand. But seeing Haefa calm, his perplexion and courage grew.

"Who is there?" Lari's voice echoed off the walls. And in response came a set of illegible echoes. They were humane; and filled with pain, it seemed to Lari.
Very cautiously he took measured steps forward and went deeper into the cave with Haefa following just behind.

"I would appreciate some help, my lad" he finally caught the meaning of the painful echoes. Lari could not see well in the dark and was confused. He moved not.
The showers continued outside, as mighty as an avalanche. And suddenly with a cold gust of air, struck a flash of thunder splitting the ground in two, it would seem. But Lari had seen the stranger within that moment. An old man he was, and stuck under a huge boulder.
Lari did not hesitate now. Enemy or not, true or fake; the person appeared to be in his need. With some help from Haefa he managed to push away the boulder, making Thrond acting as a lever.
He saw that the man was very badly wounded. Both of his legs seem to be broken and he appeared to have endured a significant amount of blood loss.
He lit the fire and placed the old man beside it. He had no skills at healing at all, Lari. But he tore his cloth and wrapped it around the wound.

"How far do you live from here, old man?"
"Some distance. Do not bother to heal me. Just get me to my cottage, I have my instruments." the man replied in a frail voice.
"Not a chance in this storm I'm afraid. Let us hope this passes soon." Lari paused."What on earth were you doing all alone inside the cave?"
"Scrounging."the man replied."I know a certain kind of moss grows inside and along the walls of this cave. I was just scraping one off the wall, engrossed in the task, when that fell boulder smote me. Eregorm urgently needs that moss."
"Eregorm?"
"A rodent friend." the old man smiled.
"A rodent friend?" Lari was even more confused.
"Of course dear lad. For I am Radagast the Brown,tamer of beasts. Ah, since the rain has stopped finally. Let us hurry."
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Re: The Expected Party!!

Postby rwhen » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:47 am

This has been the hardest post of my life to write. I wanted a way to say a goodbye to our dear characters of course, but also to the man behind the curtain of Cock Robin, Marc Drayer who passed on to the Grey Havens in real life not that long ago. I hope this does him and his great eagle justice.


Gwaeryn performed a lazy downward glide searching for Robin after the tornado. He finally located the Hobbit crunching on an apple sitting under a tree in a cleared glade. Landing gracefully, he furled his wings and turned a massive golden brown eye towards Robin.

"Good day Master Smallburrow, you have been busy," indicating the clearing now devoid of stray branches and storm clutter as well as a small mound of neatly stacked apple cores. "When you are finished satisfying your never-ceasing hunger, do you think we might have a talk?"

Robin chucked another apple core behind him and wiped his hands on his short britches. "First my massive friend, Hobbit's are rarely satisfied when it comes to food, second, I am always available when you feel the need to communicate to me and third, you are hardly one to speak of a never-ceasing hunger." Feeling that was that was not the response Gwaeryn was expecting, Robin strode the short distance to his side and offered, "what is on your mind?"

"What is on my mind......" the eagle turned his feathered head almost to where it was facing backwards, "that is a deep question. I have many things on my mind at the moment, but I am feeling the pull towards the West lately and I think it is time to answer the call." The head turned back around to face Robin.

In very un-Hobbity fashion, Smallburrow sputtered a bit and then fell back to land on a soft patch of grass. Robin knew exactly what his friend was alluding to, but somehow couldn't formulate a reply that seemed coherent. Large tears formed in his eyes as he managed to squeak out "you mean you are leaving me?"

Dropping his head low to the ground, "we have spoken of this many times, Master Smallburrow, why is it that you seem surprised? I made no secret of my intentions from the time I rescued you from that pack of wolves outside of Bree. I chose to stay with you not only because my knowledge of Hobbits was incomplete but also your clever sense of humor and ability not to get on my last nerve intrigued me. Did I mention that when I saved you that night I had thought to fill my belly?"

Robin had composed himself enough to whisper. "Yes, you have told me many times that very thing and also that you had a plan at some point to fly off to the West, I just didn't think it would come so soon." The Hobbit turned an innocent round face towards the great eagle.

"Robin, it has been two decades that we have shared paths together, are you not aware of time and place?" The eagle gave the equivalent of a chuckle.

"Very funny, I know how long we have been together. I suppose I just never wanted to face what would happen after that." It seemed a weak reply to make but it was all he could conjure at the moment.

"After that? Tell me Master Hobbit, what does happen to you after that?" He waited patiently.

Smallburrow thought reflecting on their many travels together and now to Gondor, the last place they had been planning to see. "I never thought about "after that".

"I think it is time that you should. King Elessar is in the twilight of his time, all the great hero's of the last age have either passed on or sailed to the West. There are no more great dragons to slay or evil wizards to vanquish. No magical ring to destroy and hardly any Elves left to count. What do you consider to be a place for you in this world? Hiding in holes from the big folk the rest of your days? That seems hardly noble." Gwaeryn ruffled his feathers in annoyance.

Robin shot up at that point. "Hobbits do NOT live in holes, we live in well manicured homes, filled with all the conveniences suitable to our nature, thank you very much. In fact, I wish I was there right now!! He turned his back to the conversation.

"Do you? Do you really? The big folk are the future of Middle Earth Robin and you know it. They know nothing of our age. Soon wizards, Kings, Elves, Hobbits and even the great eagles will fall from memory as if they never even existed. Do you now see why I long for the West?" What keeps your large feet planted here?"

Robin looked back in the distance at the rest of the traveling group who were also engaged in the big clean up. "I have made good friends since we started this part of our journey. I suppose I should see it through to the end of that." His keen mind started churning on all that Gwaeryn had said. "Ummmmm...."

"Ummmmm, did you think you would stay with them after Gondor? They have their own doings. They are all of the big folk, they will return to their homes or on to their own adventures. I think it is time you had a last adventure of your very own, what do you say to that?" He waited easily for the words to sink into his small friends mind.

"You mean go with you?" Robin had never even considered the thought of going with the great eagle.

"Precisely. That is exactly what I mean to say. Are you afraid?"

Robin rose to his full stature, "have I ever shown fear even once to you, even one time?"

"There was that time when you were afraid you were going to miss supper," Gwaeryn's words trailed off as he glanced back to the West again as if a large magnet were pulling him aloft.

"I....I....I........" was all that Robin puffed out of his indignant chest.

"Come come my friend, gather your belongs you wish to take, give the rest to your friends and let us make our farewells."

"Just like that?"

"Just like that. There is no better time, in fact, time is becoming my enemy, we must leave now or I shall have to go alone." The eagle peered gravely down upon the small Hobbit.

Robin walked slowly away from the glade and located his pack of personal items. Going through them, he realized that he didn't own anything of any real sentimental value. He donned a vest, a new coat, handkerchiefs and a small knife. The rest he returned to the pack and called his friends together. In short order all of them were gathered about him in a loose semi circle. They were anxious to hear what the Hobbit had to offer, he had been the source of a traveling map and one of the most helpful members of the group, therefore very respected. Whenever he asked for their attention, they listened.

Fumbling about his words that didn't know how to come out he blurted, "I am leaving."

Fionavar was the first to respond. "Leaving? Of course you are. We are all leaving and you are coming with us." Her innocence shown in her bright face.

Kitty seemed more astute than the younger lady, "leaving for where?" It was then that they all noticed Gwaeryn waiting in the glade. "Is there some side mission that you and that big bird need to attend to?" The eagle let out a mighty roar at the reference to the "big bird". Kitty backed away two paces, "Sorry, I did not mean to offend, but where are you going?"

Robin took a moment to cement each traveling companion firmly in his memory before responding. "Gwaeryn and I have decided that it is time for us to fly away to the West. Our last adventure together so to speak." He held his head high, but the dueling emotions traveled across his face like the evening tide.

"No," Fionavar stomped her small foot to the earth, "no. You can't leave now. We are just going into Isengard and Fanghorn, we need you, both of you." She turned towards Gwaeryn and her feet took flight covering the short distance between them swiftly. Throwing her arms around one massive leg of the eagle, tears disappeared into the soft feathers.

The eagle spoke softly, only reaching the ears of Fionavar, "I feared you would take this the hardest, child. We are not leaving you, we are leaving to complete our own destiny, something that we can not ignore or we face our own doom. Do you understand?"

She wiped her face on the white down of his foreleg. "I don't think I will ever understand. Not ever! I wrote songs for you, you found Caloo, you belong with us, we can keep you safe." Fionavar knew the weak words really held no meaning to the eagle.

"Little friend and I shall always remember you as my friend, you can not stop the sort of doom that awaits this vanishing age of Middle Earth. But your own adventures are just beginning. You and the rest of your friends. I have every confidence in you and you wouldn't want Master Smallburrow to stay after I leave, would you?" He tried to offer solace as he could for an eagle.

Fionavar thought about this and sadly whispered, "I suppose not. But I expect you to take care of my friend and make sure he has all his meals. Everyday, get it?" She turned a pleading face up to meet the great orb now transfixed upon her tiny body by comparison.

"You have my word as the last of the great eagles, he shall never miss a meal." Again a chuckle-like sound issues from his giant beak. "Now let us return, it appears that Robin is making his salutations.

Shaking hands with each member of the small group of travelers, Robin finally turned to Fionavar. "I want you to have my short sword. You know it glows blue when danger approaches, right. I would give you my pipe, but I hardly think that is appropriate and I would......oh bother, I am going to miss you Fiona." He threw his short arms about the young girl. As they embraced, Fionavar held back her tears and then turned to face her friends. "Has everyone had a chance to say goodbye?"

They all nodded in almost unison. Robin Smallburrow paced to Gwaeryn as he lowered his chest to the ground. swiftly making his place aboard, he looked back as the eagle made the first mighty upthrust, parting them from earth to the sky. As they circled out of sight, the companions could hear the refrain of song on the wind, Robin's last gift to them. "I shall never forget you." They would certainly all never ever forget their friend Robin Smallburrow and his mighty companion, the last of the great eagles, Gwaeryn.
Love is as big or as little as a hug!!

vison! Alex!Rowanberry!oldtoby!Cock Robin(CR)!Prim!Calma! I will never ever forget you.

I will always treasure and remember your appreciation. Thank you. -2007 WCA's
Overwhelmed by your support and appreciation. Thank you. - 2008 WCA's

The Expected Party!! is now on the road to Gondor to celebrate. Join us.

And getting into trouble with Rally The Eldar.

Yes Ayslhyn, I do still remember.

Vanadarlin', my SSOTH - 143 forever
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Re: The Expected Party!!

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:04 pm

The early morning rays began to filter through the dense canopy of old Fanghorn. They had to get creative in their journey through the gnarly black barked trunks, but a few triumphant beams managed to fall at last on the dense moss carpeted ground of the old growth forrest. This in conjunction with the dew of dawn caused the whole floor to softly glisten.

The birds that would have normals been warming up their vocals in the paled light were conspicuously absent after the freak storm that had swept passed. No doubt they would return in a day or two but for now the forrest was eerily still and silent... except for the snoring.

Snoring was a laughably complimentary description of what in truth sounded very much like two congested wargs fighting over a deer carcass. In truth, perhaps it was the snoring that had driven the birds away and not the tornado. After all the Fanghorn fowl were made of sterner stuff than your typical avian.

As the early morning dew continued to coalesce on the branches of the ancient trees, if one watched carefully it would be easy to imagine one saw several twigs tremble directly above a clump of snoring gray lichen- causing a brief but intense deluge.

The snoring abruptly ceased. “Wazat!? Who der?” The grey hillock sat bolt upright catapulting a nit cap across the small glen and revealing a wild tangle of blonde hair, and bright grey eyes blinking owlishly around at the trees.

It took the man, and he did appear to be one, a moment or two to register the fact that he was soaked from the shoulders up. He tentatively fondled the sopping worn right lapel of his seamen’s coat, then tentatively sniffed it. Pleased to discover he was drenched in nothing worse than water he stretched his long arms wide and rolled his shoulders to work out the kinks of a damp cold night’s sleep. He tilted his head back and succumbed to a jaw cracking yawn, which ended abruptly when the trees over head struck with a second torrential assault.

Neil leapt up with a holler brushing drops of wet off his sleeves and jacket front. “I hear ye, I hear ye!” He bellowed at the trees, “A nights sleep s’hardly a trial, innit? I din even spark a flame, din I? Geeroff, or I’ll relieve ma’self in yon stream! Drink that, ye gurt clump o’ crooked mastfits?”

Only silence answered his indignant rant. Feeling, however, as if he had told the ancient forrest what was what Neil straightened his coat and went about the difficult task of rousing his traveling companion “Barty.” After a few gentle jabs with his toe, and then a few not so gentle ones, deceptively soulful eyes, imbedded in a long brown face, swung in his direction. “Hev ye up lazy bones!” With further prodding the stocky brown mule heaved itself up and shook off the dew drops that had congregated on it overnight. Barty let out his own yawn and shifted his weight onto Neil’s foot.

“YEOW!” Neil roared, yanking his foot free and hopping about on the other while Barty chewed nonchalantly on some promising leave. Gradually the pain subsided and Neil was able to test his weight on the foot. Thanks to the deep moss, there had been no real harm done. He shot a venomous glare at the mule, but grudgingly softened it to mere resentment. Neil nodded thoughtfully. “Fare-is fare-is, ye flee bag. Mayhap, oye am a wee bit out of sorts this morning.”

Neil reached into the depths of his great coat and pulled forth a carrot. Barty grew instantly attentive and shuffled nearer with his ears pricked forward. Neil’s belly let out a loud growl and after a moments consideration he broke the carrot in two and fed half to the mule while munching on the other half himself. Not much of a breakfast, but in the lean times it didn’t do to dwell.

He coaxed Barty around underneath a stout tree and when he was satisfied, tossed a blanked across the beast’s back, took hold of a rope tied off near its base and began to lower an odd looking chest composed of drawers ranging from the large to minuscule. Barty accepted his burden without reaction, content to probe the moss at his hooves for anything edible while Neil made the cargo secure, and retrieved the pulley tackle from the overhead branches.

What with the storm and taking refuge in the fringes of Fanghorn the night before, there had been not time to set up any kind of base, so with camp struck Neil retrieved his cap, laid hold of Barty’s guide rope and picked his way through the hundred or so feet that separated them from the broad cleared shoulder of the road leading toward the Gap of Rohan.

Neil turned back toward the woods once they had made the center of the road and gave it the briefest nod. Fanghorn held no fear for him. Well, the fringes didn’t anyway. He was not fool enough to wander into its depths, and he made sure never to light a fire or even so much as smoke his pipe while under its canopy. Otherwise he made frequent use of the refuge it provided from storms and from more superstitious unfriendly types. Not to mention, that great bird that had been ranging far and wide across the sky for the last weeks.

He turned his gaze toward the mountains to the east and steeled himself for another day of hard trekking on a mostly empty belly. If this kept up he would have to auger out a new hole in his belt. It did not concern him unduly. Hunger was just a season that came around sometimes. If things got desperate he would forage purposefully, and of course Barty wouldn’t go hungry. That mule could sniff out good food miles away.

With one last sigh Neil reached behind him for the guid rope. He reached, and reached, and nearly fell over backwards before turning around to discover that Barty was ambling back down road some several yards back the way they had journeyed the night before. “Yeh gurt mangy h’aminal! Where ye be goin’ off teh?”

Barty turned his great head around, fixed him with a watery brown eye, and whimpered softly. Neil heaved another great sigh and trudged after him, but then had to increase his pace to a trot as Barty began to canter. Before long Neil was sprinting up the road breathing curses as Barty half galloped along ahead. Finally Neil caught up and drug the despondent creature’s head around by the bridal. “You and I is goin’ teh have words, sonny!” Neil snarled. Barty flared his nostrils and whimpered again. “I don...” Neil trailed off as he too caught the tell tale sent of cooked food.

“Oh.” Neil quavered, “That does smell a sight. Could be some folk in need of a bit, bob or patchin’.” Neil’s speech began to smooth itself out somewhat in anticipation of conversation with actual people.

He gave Barty his lead, well aware that the mule would be able to hone in on the source of the victuals far more efficiently than he could. They were on their way to the great festival in Gondor, but owing to the time saved not having to set up an elaborate camp or eat recently for that matter, he had been making good time. Plus he knew the way well enough to a point. His rout had taken him often through the Gap of Rohan and some short distance beyond. He knew that if he kept the mountains to starboard he would eventually reach Gondor and then, well, who wouldn’t know where the festival was from there?

A short distance on, Barty turned off the road to the right tugging his human along with him. Half a minute later a glade appeared through the trees and the sound of voices became audible. As Neil entered the glade he was treated to the final scene of Robin’s and Gwaeryn’s departure. He held his breath as the great eagle unfurled its wings and climbed into the air. It climbed higher and higher, diminutive hobbit latched onto its back, then turned and began winging its way west.

Everybody in the clearing seemed completely captivated by the sight, as was Neil, until he realized he had been holding his breath for nearly a minute. He let it all out in a loud exhale. “Now that, is somethin’ you’d go a whole lifetime and neer see repeated.”

As faces swung towards him, Neil became aware of the tears staining many cheeks. “I ‘ope I dinna interrupt your travails. Was the wee one a close comrade? Did the gurt bestie rob ‘im?”

A couple mouths opened and one young woman glared at him haughtily, but nobody seemed quite ready to explain the situation to a complete stranger. Finally a woman, he judged a bit younger than himself, spoke up.

“No, its was just a sad parting... for both,” she added after a moment, “I am called Fionavar, what...” She trailed off as a tear escaped and streaked down her cheek. She took a deep steadying breath and Neil filled the silence.

“Oh, I find my myself interruptin’,” Neil said apologetically, “I am Neil; traveler, peddler, hungry, and ill timed. I’ll leave ye to yo’r mutual comforten’” Neil began to turn to leave- theatrically. It was the kind of “turn to leave” that made one look down trodden, hard on ones luck, and left all the time in the world for a compassionate soul to notice these things and call him back. Perhaps for some breakfast around a warming fire. Well, and then who knew...
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Re: The Expected Party!!

Postby ~Fionavar~ » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:12 pm

"I am called Fionavar, what..." was all she could squeeze out as yet another tear escaped her stubborn and guilty eyes. As the newcomer turned, reluctant to leave it appeared to Fiona, she wiped her face which felt sandblasted from all the tears so recently to have reached their destination. "Please forgive us, kind sir. Two of our traveling companions have decided to part with us to go on their own destined path and it has been difficult for all of us to carry the weight of their leaving." Her kind words drew a scowl from Kitty and slight amusement from Aramir. As the man turned back to face her, Fionavar had thought to move forward and offer the traditional greeting to a stranger of a slight bow and hand extended when Kitty who could no longer keep silent strode forward.

"Would you stop already?" Startled, Fionavar turned toward her totally confused. "Your innocent trustworthiness will get us all killed one day!" She stopped in front of Fionavar, hand on weapon, as if to protect the girl.

But this time, she was having none of it. "You stop," and swiftly moved to her original position allowing a short burst of anger to flow in Kitty's direction. "I think I know what I am doing, go back to your trifles with the boys." she spat at her friend with a smirk.

This brought Kitty up short, fury flashed in her eyes but her face was flat as a frozen pond. "As you will, oh mighty Lady Fionavar. Turning, she quickly covered the distance between Fionavar and her own mount and glared at Aramir, daring him to say a word about the exchange.

The young mans hand shot up in front of him, shaking his head in defense..."don't look at me, I happen to agree with you."

Now Laesha, Eilathen, Geli, Daniel and Falastor were all staring in Fionavar's direction to see what would come next.

A test is it? Then a test it shall be. She raised her chin and strode towards the newcomer. Clearing her throat, she offered a shallow bow, "Now, let us try this again. What is your name and where are you traveling that brought us to your attention?" She crossed her arms in front of her and glanced back again at her friends, nodding once before staring the man down, waiting for a reply."

"Wocher young lady, we mean yer and yer companions no harm, we don't. Iffn' ya takes my meanin', me an ol' Barty here happens ta smells sumthin' grand on yer grill, so's ta speak of it. Praps there be sum mendin' ah tools or leather," he looked longingly at the fire which had sizzling rashers of bacon and seasoned apples on it, "we, by takin' of meanin' me, could work for a small tid bit?" His eyes hitched up in a most hopeful way at Fionavar. There was a time when she would have easily welcomed a stranger to share a meal on the road with her and her companions, in fact that is how many of them came to be a part of this group. But no longer. Too much pain had littered the road of their journey, too many secrets had still to be shared among them. How to welcome a new person into this mess was beyond Fionavar.

She didn't have to make the decision. Caloo came up from behind her and gently butted her in the direction of the mule. "Caloo, you traitor!" She swooped up an apple and turned towards the mule, "I gather your name is Barty. Seems my Caloo wants to meet you." Holding out the apple in the flat of her hand, the hungry mule lifted lips to show gums and yellowing teeth as he easily took the whole of the fruit at one time. Fionavar knew animals and found the exact spot between the mule's ears to scratch resulting in a whistle emitting from Barty's flared and happy nostrils.

"Thar ya be now. At least ya knows me Barty won be thievin' yer precious jools in tha night, Praps yer apples, keeps a guard on them," He winked at Fionavar. Caloo nosed another apple in the mules path. The man offered a slight crooked smile for the first time.

"Okay, it seems I am outmaneuvered by a couple of beasts." Turning back to her friends, "stand down now, we are safe from a mule!" This caused Geli and Laesha to remember they had been tending the fire. They didn't really take their eyes off the scene, but moved to turn the bacon and twist the apples on the grate. Kitty didn't budge, but Aramir moved closer to Fionavar. Daniel sidled up behind Kitty, Falastor kept a warm spot by the embers and Eilathen was motionless as a mountain close to his comfortable tree. "Someone tell a joke, this is getting much too serious." She looked at Geli for support.

Not one to be faltered by the likes of a stranger, Geli did a backflip from the fire and jingled forward, smiling, "have you heard the one about the three legged man and his two new shoes?" her dimples shown brightly as she neared the stranger.

'I've never heard that one," Laesha offered weakly.

That did it. Some barrier like a dam bursting from too much water finally came down. There were timid smiles and a few laughs out of the group, especially Falastor. "you must tell me that one day, juggler!"

Fionavar grabbed a plate and heaped some rashers of crispy bacon on it, a steaming apple and tore off a half loaf of bread, placing the dish on a boulder not far from the fire. "You look hungry enough to eat my plate, please help yourself and in the process, tell us who you are and about yourself. We can discuss trade and barter after your meal. And make it good," she threw her head in Kitty's direction, "that one is watching you closely."

Not wasting a moment, the stranger literally jumped on the food and tried to speak around a hot piece of bacon rolling around in his mouth. "Ta starts wiff, me name be Neil."

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