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)!

The Expected Party!!

Postby rwhen » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:48 pm

And so it begins.

Enter Fionavar.
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Love is as big or as little as a hug!!

vison! Alex!Rowanberry!

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.

Time out of Mind, forever bound to my Knight Ayslhyn

Vanadarlin', my SSOTH - 143 forever :hug:
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:50 pm

The walk from the homestead to the barn was not far, but already her excitement level was of gigantic proportions. Fionavar could hear the restless stomping of her pony Caloo in her stall, she appeared to be just as anxious for the journey to begin. For the life of her Fionavar could not understand why, the trip would take a year at the least and the burden would fall mostly upon Caloo. Opening the barn door was a source of pleasure for the young lady, the smells of fresh hay and musky animal mixed with the tanned leather goods was heady and welcoming. Her pony whinnied and again kicked the stall door. The pony wasn’t very large, her head only reaching about eye level with her owner. Her color wasn’t that remarkable, a dirty sort of brown with beige mixed in the tail and mane. But her eyes, her eyes had the expression of great wisdom and years that could not be accounted for.

“I wouldn’t be in that big of a hurry, you goofy beast.” Fionavar scratched the mare between the ears and lead her to the stores closet. It took about an hour, but all manner of cookery, basic food staples and blankets were carefully packed and stowed. Caloo didn’t seem to mind the weight, but appeared confused on why her rider was not going to mount. Fionavar seemed to sense this in the eyes and laughed softly, “My friend, I will be making this trek on foot as well. You will be my protection against the wind as well as heat on a cold night.” Fionavar led the pony back towards the building that had served as her home in Lake Evendim all of her life. A good life it had been. Though sheltered as it was, her family made it to all fairs, sales and gatherings in an attempt to socialize their only child who had a knack for musical instruments and singing.

Even with that, Fornost was the farthest she had traveled on her own. Gondor. Gondor. A word to conjure with to be certain. A word of power and majestic tales. Gondor, the word reverberated in her head. It had from the time she had read the missive tacked to the general store messageboard two months ago. She closed her eyes and could see it word for word in her mind. Everyone, from all corners of Middle Earth, was invited to celebrate 100 years of freedom and peace after the defeat of Sauron and the servants of Mordor. The girl could think of nothing more exciting and certainly the highlight of her whole life, than to be in attendance. She would not have to wait any longer, today was the day and she was ready, more than ready to be traveling all of Middle Earth.

Rani, stepping out to see her daughter approach, a tear silently rolling down her dimpled cheek, a smile fixed firmly on her normally jovial face. “Child, come and give me a hug and I shall see you with fresh provisions.” Fionavar didn’t have to be asked twice, a hug from her mother was a pleasure and any of her cooking, well, she was known in these parts as having the very best pies, breads and cakes. The pair embraced warmly and Rani handed over a saddle basket full of preserves, hard cheeses, smoked meats and Fionavar’s favorite, sweets. “I am only too sorry that your father could not be here to see you off, it will break his heart to have missed you.” Rani held up her hands to forestall her daughter offering to delay the journey, “No, no you must go now or the weather will be too difficult and your father,” she looked away to the West now, “your father will not return until the weather changes with the upland stock. No, you must go now, with both our love and hopes for a dream come true. Who knows maybe you will write a song some day about your adventures.” She raised the corner of her apron and dabbed at her eye as she shoo’d Fionavar out to the pony.

Securing the new package, Fionavar checked and rechecked her packs, supplies and clothing. Everything was there. She knew it too, she had only practiced her packing twenty times in the past two weeks. Feeling her person, the comfort of her short blade on one hip and her flute on the other, there was no more waiting. She adjusted her black cloak and took up her walking staff. There was no need to lead Caloo, the pony would naturally follow Fionavar, she had as a weenling, a colt and a full adult. She turned to blow a kiss to her mother, but all she saw was her back retreating into the homestead. It did not dampen her mood, her mother was not the sort to waste tears on such a fine occasion as this.

The main town that serviced Lake Evendim was only about a league from her family land and she was eager to have that behind her, that would truly and finally see her on a new adventure. It was difficult to keep her feet from flying the distance, but she schooled her mind to patience, the way was long and while she was still young and healthy, she would need her feet whole and hale. These thoughts and many others keep her occupied and distracted when a figure bounded from behind a huge oak tree that defined the boundary of her fathers land. Catching her off guard seemed to be the main goal of her friend, Bril.

“You think to catch me unawares, Master Bril?” Whenever Fionavar wanted to really grind Bril’s nerves, she used a title with his name. Bril was from the area, but she never really knew that much about him, except that he was completely loyal to anyone he made friendship with and that included Fionavar or as he affectionately shortened her name to, Fiona.

“Ah, Fiona, you know I am no ones master,” he ducked his head and scratched it in a way that was familiar, he was always doing this. One time Fiona even checked his head for lice, but he was clean as a whistle. “Where ya goin’?”

“And, wouldn’t you like to know?” Bril literally jumped around the girl and some, like her father found it annoying, but she didn’t mind. Caloo had also become accustomed to her friend, in fact the pair got on very well. “I am leaving town and I won’t be back for a long long time.” Fionavar knew very well that would never satisfy the curious Bril.

“Long LONG time? What is so far that it takes TWO longs to get to the telling?” He cocked his head like the family pet did when confused or curious.

She decided she had teased him enough. “You know very well where I am going. I explained it to you yesterday AND the day before.” She had stopped now and Bril was almost quivering with suppressed information. “What has got you anyway, you been sleeping with the livestock again?”

That did it, Bril stilled and looked her square in the eye, though he had to stoop to do so. “Yes, I know where you are going, you are trying to leave Bril behind and Bril will not be left behind. You are going to that party and so am I.” He crossed his arms in front of him and planted his long legs firmly across the path effectively barring her way. She thought she could dump him on his keester easily enough with her staff, but the day was fine and she had a secret of her own.

“Why ever did you think that I would leave you behind?”

Again his expression showed itself to be both startled and confused at the same time. “You didn’t say anything about taking me with you, what made you think I would come?”

“Oh so you are saying you don’t want to go with me then? Okay, I don’t need you, I can take very good care of myself. Good day.” Fiona started down the path leaving a dejected and crestfallen Bril sitting in the middle of the path staring at her departing back and the sway of the buttocks of the pony. Then she turned and there was that familiar smile, “well, are you coming or what.”

“Coming, coming.” Bril bounded down the lane and the two began the journey of their lives.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:57 pm

Dawn was breaking over the hills near the tower of Amon Sul. It had been rebuilt when Gondor and Arnor had been reunited under the crown of King Elessar, and looked over the East Road between Rivendell and Bree. Robin Smallburrow had camped out there and was just being nudged awake by his eagle friend, Gwaeryn.

"Get up, sleepyhead, the day's wasting."

"Just a few more minutes, featherhead." groaned Cock-Robin. "You're always so eager."

"Somebody has to be. We'd never be off if it was up to you." laughed the Eagle. "Anyway, it's time for some breakfast before we head off West."

That was the one thing that could really rouse the hobbit from sleep. Horns were blowing at the tower anyway, signaling the beginning of another day there at Weathertop. The hobbit replenished the fire and started cooking his breakfast, which consisted of bacon, some bread and fruit he got from Rivendell, and a few other items. A skin of wine was with him, and he set to it.

It was about an hour before he finished and washed up while the Eagle hunted his own breakfast. Cooked food gagged him, but raw meat did the same for the hobbit, so they had their meals seperate. They had been friends for years, as each found in each other a free spirit and desire for adventure far from their homes in the Shire and the Misty Mountains.

As Robin just was packing his things, the Eagle touched down. "Where to today? South to Gondor?"

"Not yet. The festival isn't for a year yet, so we've got lots of time." said the hobbit. I thought of heading for Bree for some supplies."

"You'd be at the Prancing Pony all day if we went there."

"You got that right." said CR, laughing. "So, instead I think we should go to Fornost. Although I still want to go see how Bombadil is doing. We haven't seen him in ages."

"He's probably the same as ever, dancing around the hills and whistling like a starling." Gwaeryn was quite fond of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, and they had both spent many a delightful time there. "Fornost it is. You ready?"

Cock-Robin slung his pack on his back and mounted the Eagle. "Sure am. I'm ready. Let's be off."

With a rush of wings, Gwaeryn took off, circling around the tower and waggling his wings in salute to the watchmen there, who raised their hands in greeting and farewell, then it was off in the direction of Fornost as the eagle flies.
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Postby ^Aramir^ » Mon Apr 28, 2008 7:02 pm

"And stay out!"

"But I--"

"Out, you filthy..." The aproned man towering in the door fumbled for a suitably degrading word, sputtering furiously while Aramir backed away, only mildly concerned. No, actually, he wasn't concerned in the least. Just amused and trying not to show it.

"Sir, I swear, nothing happened." He tried his best to keep his face neutral, apologetic even. It was hard.

"Nothing happened? Then how do you explain this?!" He yanked on the wrist of the girl whom he'd dragged down the stairs in the process of chasing Aramir out of the inn. She was flushed red and looking decidedly embarrassed, though not ashamed. There was a fine line between the two, one which Aramir could recognize with no effort at all. She caught his eye and turned an even deeper shade of red.

He shrugged, making no attempt this time to hide his wolfish grin, and brushed his dark hair out of his eyes. "She was giving me a tour of your inn. Lovely, by the way."

"A tour--?" The man erupted into incomprehensible stutters. "How dare you! How dare you compromise my daughter's honor, you b**tard ??" Aramir opened his mouth to protest, but didn't get the chance. "Just stay out of my inn and away from my daughter, or else!"

Or else. Well, that sounded final, especially coming from a man with a big ladle in one hand and flour powdering his front. Winking at the girl who was still on display as a sign of his unspeakable crimes against propriety, he turned and flounced down the street, glancing this way and that to see how many shocked faces were being hastily withdrawn from open windows. The sound of the slamming door echoed after him, and he could almost hear the man berating his daughter behind it. No doubt there were also threats like, "You're never to speak to another guest again!" and such. Aramir found he inspired such paranoia in many a father throughout Middle-earth. No doubt it was his excess of charm. Or perhaps his scar. Men with scars were dangerous, after all. Either that, or just bad at defense.

He cleared the last of the buildings, pack of fresh supplies slung over his back--the news of his inappropriate flirting hadn't yet reached the vegetable salesman, thank goodness--and continued on up the road, shielding his eyes from the dust, then squinting when that did no good. Every conversation he'd overheard lately had been about the wind, the lack of rain, and the sand, and now he knew why, and so did his hair, face, eyes, and mouth, all of which were now a bland shade of beige. He double-checked the sack for potential sand-admitting holes before casting it over his shoulder again, then gave a shrill whistle. The wind answered him, swirling his tunic around his body and causing his sword to slap against his thigh, but there was nothing else, and he walked on, unconcerned. Narmo would come when he felt like it, or when he was hungry for something he couldn't rip out of some innocent farmer's land. Until then Ar was forced to walk, or to sit at the side of the road looking forlorn and wounded until some nice man with a cart drove by, and that just sounded like too much work right now, not to mention it would provide the dust with an even greater opportunity to explore the intricate folds and various openings of his clothing. No, best to walk on to somewhere with less open space, more trees, and a perhaps an innkeeper with a milder temper. Wondering where he would find himself next, he moved along the road, headed west.
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Postby Mithamarth » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:04 am

The dust blows forward and the dust blows back. For leagues in any direction spread a rocky terrain pin-pricked with desert shrubs and tall, wickedly twisted trees. The sun beat down with what felt like heavy rays of heat onto the black caped shoulder of a figure riding atop a mountain of a creature. He stepped back under the awnings of a small structure, perched upon the spiny back of the creature.

"What can we expect to find when we reach the kingdoms of Westernesse," chimed one of two dark skinned men who was perched inside of the building. They were seeing to it that the creature was traveling in the right direction.

"It has been millenia since I last set foot upon those lands. It has been nearly a century in your reckoning since my vision of the second passing of the dark one, and I too am anxious to see what lies ahead. I am equally excited about what we may find in the wake of such a war," stated the dark clad figure who sat into a desk in the center of the small room. "The men of Numenore had just begun to travel back to the hither-lands when last I was seen there. Who knows what treasures they brought with them out of the deep. Some told of visits from the Eldar of Eressea, who bore gifts of incomparable value. Perhaps we will find some further hint leading us to the secret of the creation of this place."

The first man to speak opened his mouth once more, "What if your vision was incorrect or false? What if there still remains a long shadow upon those lands? The Numenoreans may no longer exist. Neither may your kin from times long past. Don't you agree that this may be true?"

"Either way, we have work to do," the dark one grunted as he studied a manuscript of unknown writ or origin. The great mûmak thundered on beneath them.
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Postby Tygarya » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:14 pm

Kitty had only been with these miscreants for the last couple of weeks, but she was sick of their company already. She had only joined them cause they had offered a quick place to immerse herself into to make a quick buck. She was now glad to be finally in a position where she could be away from their stinking unwashed ways, and away from the much unwanted advances of the gang’s leader. She knew it had been the only reason he had even contemplated allowing a woman to join them, but she had managed to keep him at arms length with her wicked tongue so far, besides she had certainly made herself respected in her craft during her stay with them and the gang had almost doubled their booty in the last couple of weeks mostly thanks to her. They owed her and she intended to collect on it.

The camp was quiet, daybreak was only a few minutes away. Kitty exited the tent where the leader stayed and tiptoed quietly through the campsite, treading carefully between sleeping men. She walked down to where the horses were picketed and quickly threw her saddle over her horse.
“What ya doin?” A voice asked behind her.
Kitty grimaced, and turned to face the brigand who had been acting as sentry.
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’ve decided to leave.”
“What do you mean your leaving?” the filthy brigand yelled under his breath as he scratched at an armpit.
Kitty looked at him wordlessly, watching with a faintly bemused expression as he scratched. The brigand saw the look and dropped his hand from the offending armpit.
“I’m sick of dwelling here with you flea invested lot, I’m bored. It’s been long enough since I left Gondor…too long…no reason why it shouldn’t be safe to go back now” Kitty explained while hastily throwing a bag, with her belongings in it, over the rump of her horse and tying it on to her saddle.
The brigand screwed his face up suspiciously and crossed his bulky hairy arms across his even bulkier chest.
“You’ve done something, haven’t you?”
Kitty stopped a moment and turned towards the brigand with a smile.
“Of course not, why would you think that?”
“Because I know you.”
Kitty laughed a lilt little titter whacking the brigand with a limp hand across his folded arms.
“Don’t be silly, Bran. It’s just when I decide something I do it….immediately, call me spontaneous….that’s all” Kitty tried to sound light hearted and friendly, throwing a hand in the air with a flamboyant gesture.
Kitty looked a moment over Bran’s shoulder towards the camp where the others of the gang were just starting to stir awake. Kitty looked slightly sick for a moment.
“Look, I really oughta get going, hate those long good byes, you know” she laughed again, nervously.
“Wait!” Bran reached out and grabbed Kitty by a wrist. “Why don’t we just return to the camp and check everything out before I let ya leave eh?”
Kitty’s eyebrows knitted together and she pouted a moment.
“You just had to go and spoil it, didn’t ya Bran?” Kitty said as she deftly grabbed a dagger from where it was concealed in her waist band and slashed at Bran’s hand making him let go of her wrist.
Bran leapt back and grabbed his own wrist which was now bleeding from a deep gash.
“Why you little harlot!” Bran yelled, waking some of the others up.
Kitty leapt up on her horse grabbing the reins.
“Tsk tsk now Bran, I kinda liked you too, why would ya go and call me something like that when you know the evidence doesn’t substantiate the claim.” Kitty grinned as she swung her horse round pushing it’s rump towards Bran, making him reel backwards. She then drove her heels into it’s sides.
“Another time, another place Bran, I won’t forget what you called me!” Kitty hissed at him as her horse took off through the trees heading for the road.
It was just then that a guy was heard yelling from camp, Bran holding his still bleeding wrist ran back to camp. What he found was quite a scene. Their gang leader had been found with his throat cut and all their booty was gone.
Bran turned back to stare in the direction Kitty had gone.
“She went that way!” Bran yelled, grabbing a bandana and wrapping his wrist with it. The gang of cut throats then ran for their horses and set off trying to catch up with Kitty.
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Postby shaggydog » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:16 am

Bril trotted along contentedly at Fiona’s side, happy to have been invited on the journey. He wasn’t exactly sure where Gondor was. His brain played tricks on him like that from time to time. It seemed as if he SHOULD know, and perhaps he had known, once upon a time. But many memories were like that now, fading in and out, wavering like the ripples above a summer hot field when the air was still and rain was nowhere to be scented. Sometimes it bothered him, these things he thought he ought to have a better grasp on. But not today! Today the sun was shining warm upon his dark head, the birds twittered in the hedgerows, mice scampered in the long grass waving at the side of the track, and here he was, side by side with Fiona, and off to have an adventure!

His nostrils flared as the strong odor of smoked meat and cheese wafted from Fiona’s saddle bags. Bril knew she would have packed carefully; Fiona was like that – thoughtful and deliberate at times, when it was called for. Bril himself had only the clothes he stood in, but that would suffice. Anything else needed could be procured, he was sure of that. The smell of food made his mouth water, but he knew it was not yet time to eat. Why there had to be “a time” to eat always puzzled him, but that’s how it was. Caloo gave a soft nicker and a toss of her head, and Bril said to Fiona, “I think your pack needs adjusting. It might be rubbing her a bit, over the withers.”

Fiona gave Bril a curious look, but did not question how he might come to think that. “Alright Mr. Smarty. Go ahead and fix it.”

Fiona had grown accustomed to Bril’s sometimes random statements concerning the animals that resided on her parents’ lands. She usually just shrugged her shoulders and took them at face value. If it ever came down to a question of whether his observations were correct or not, as was often the case when her father was involved in the situation, it would invariably turn out that Bril was right. It was yet another of his characteristics that did not do much to endear him to her dad. Fiona merely held her tongue, although sometimes Bril caught her looking at him and he knew she knew . . . something.

Caloo had stopped as soon as her mistress had and waited patiently while Bril loosened one of the straps, shifting the forward load a fraction and placing his hand under the pack. “Yep, was just a bit of hair being pinched a bit.” He proclaimed, smoothing it down and redoing the fastenings. “Better?”

Caloo shook her head a second time and blew through her nose. Fiona grinned, saying, “Straight from the horse’s mouth, eh?”

Bril smiled back. “Something like that.”

He wondered what this journey might bring, in terms of Fiona’s knowledge, and acceptance, of him. They seemed to have bonded in some inexplicable way, right from their very first meeting. That had been some time ago, and had come about due to Fiona’s skill as a healer. Bril had been sent to her, and her quiet, gentle way and soothing manner had been as much a balm to his soul as her salve had been to the ugly gash which ran across his chest. She hadn’t even been overly curious about how he had come by such a wound, and he hadn’t been forthcoming on the subject. But she knew what she was doing, that was clear. From that first introduction had sprung up a friendship which Bril had come to value amongst his most treasured possessions. Long after his cut had healed, he would stop by her parents’ place to talk with her, listen to her play one of her instruments, or simply spend an idle afternoon in her company.

Now, as they resumed their leisurely pace down the road of Fiona’s choosing, he felt some small nagging fear that things might change between them. But in the next instant, he caught the unmistakable whiff of . . . squirrel!

Leaping into a stand of trees at the side of the verge, he peered up into the branches. Two fuzzy tailed squacks perched teasingly a few feet over his head, chattering and scolding, assuming they were safe. This, thought Bril to himself, will be the frustrating part of this trip. At another time he might have leapt the few feet up with strength and grace and snatched the hairy creatures from their haven. Instead, he sighed resignedly, bending to scoop up a handful of half rotten acorns. Reappearing on the track slightly behind Fiona and Caloo, who had not deigned to stop and wait for him, he lobbed a nut with deadly accuracy. The acorn hit Fiona on the very crown of her head and bounced off onto the road.
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Postby luthienelflover » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:51 am

"Yes, I... I think I hurt it when I was running. I don't remember. It's all a blur," Ilarieth sniffled.

"Let's get you cleaned up," the older woman said kindly. "Will you be able to walk, or should I have my son help you?"

"Help would be nice," Ilarieth said, averting her eyes as if shy about accepting the offer.

Once she was warm and dry and ensconced in a squishy blanket, she was asked the inevitable question. "What happened to you?", most people asked, although some went about it another way. "Where are you coming from?" "Where are you going?" "There aren't any wolves around here, and they don't attack people, anyway." Yes, she knew that. She also knew she wouldn't actually be able to outrun a wolf if one should choose to attack her. That wasn't the point. The point was, she needed a story, and when you're young and weepy enough people tend to accept stupid excuses.

This woman, Nenna, shushed her son when he asked -- "What were you doing out there?" Even so, Ilarieth knew she couldn't ignore the question without seeming suspicious. So she let some tears dangle on the tips of her eyelashes and let her mouth tremble just the smallest bit.

"I was at the market and I came home and my house had burned down and my family was dead and I was so scared and I didn't know what to do and I just ran and left and I don't know where to go and I have no one in the whole world and I have no food to eat and there were wolves and I was scared and--"

Just as she had expected, Nenna interrupted her. "Don't bother her," she told her son sharply. "She's clearly been through a lot."

I've still got it, Ilarieth thought smugly. I've been doing other things for a while but I've still got it.

A few villagers -- neighbors of Nenna's, probably; Ilarieth didn't pay too much attention -- came to ogle the lost girl. Ilarieth pretended to be asleep on the mat by the fireplace. If she talked to them, she knew she'd laugh, eventually. It felt so good to have concerned people clustering around her again. Perhaps she could stay in this town for a while. She would have to avert the suspicion of that son somehow, but there would be a time to plan that in the morning, and there would also be time to get to know people. Seemed people here liked the mysterious. She might even have done better pretending to be the wise woman -- but no, with an easily worried family like this one, she was right to take advantage to get a head start. There was always the possibility of introducing mysterious figments to her past, after all. Some prophecies or signs, perhaps? Or maybe a magical instrument. A mandolin, perhaps? Or maybe she wouldn't need to do any of that at all. Take care of the son, and the rest of the town will accept you too, she thought. You won't even need to falsify much. The thought gave her a warm glow. She liked it when people knew the truth -- at least, most of it. It made her feel closer to them. She just had to get them to like her, first. Nobody would pay any attention to her if they found out how boring her past was before they grew fascinated by her.

Muttered voices interrupted her thoughts.

"I found this bag out near where we found her," a man's voice said. "It has jewels, clothing of all sorts, provisions -- and when I say jewels, I mean jewels. Real fine stuff. I think we may have a sneaky little thief on our hands."

"The girl's been through a lot," Nenna said. "You don't know that's hers, and even if it is, perhaps it's all she could save -- her family just died, Rotlin!"

"Look at it, Nenna. None of it is burned. None of it smells like fire. And there's such variety."

"We'll ask her about it in the morning, dear. Let her sleep for now. Whatever else she is, she is alone and scared."

Ilarieth sighed to herself. She never should have stolen those jewels. The clothes she might have been able to get away with, but the jewels, yes, those were hard to explain. He just had to go picking around under the foliage in the woods, didn't he? This was the third time since she'd lifted the jewelry that that bag had caused her trouble. Now she was going to have to get up, steal the bag, and get out before anyone noticed. And she had thought this might be a good place to stay for a while! Hah.

When the house fell dark and silent, she crept to the kitchen, took her -- well, they were all hers now! -- belongings plus a few extra, and slipped into the night.

"I really need to find some rest somewhere," she told the tree she eventually ended up curling up under. "I'm tired of sleeping under the stars."

Me too, she sleepily imagined the tree saying, and then she closed her eyes.
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:40 am

She had never had the occasion to actually travel with Bril, but he was great company, not too talkative or needy. He could be protection if things turned sour and she often wondered about her friend and his quirky behaviours, but there was one thing about Fionavar. When she made a friend she accepted them, the good, the bad and the ugly. Then something brought her out of her internal thoughts. An acorn rolled at her feet.

Fiona rubbed the back of her head but distained to look at the errant Bril. She could just imagine the smug look he was wearing at the moment and instead thought to hit him where it would count the most.

"Hmmmm," she scanned the sky, "it appears it is about time to stop for something to eat. You wouldn't be hungry, would you Bril?" Her voice took on a sweet yet annoying tone that caused Bril to pay attention, but his stomach ruled his brain.

"Hungry? You bet, Fiona. I am REALLY hungry." he wagged his head and licked his lips in anticipation. "All this walking up....erm, this walking .... uphill, is making me look at Caloo more fondly."

"Is that because you are pleased she is carrying the load or is she looking like a hot lunch?"

"Oh, how could you offend me in such a way, Caloo is your friend and now a friend to me too. I was just TRYING to say that she could use a break too." Bril offered the sidestep easily, but Fiona was having none of it.

"Too bad. She can eat while walking, it isn't as if we are running a sprint here. AND mister, we have traveled five leagues without so much as an incline. No, I think you will have to wait for me to feed you and that is for the acorn to the head." She turned her back on Bril and started off again. It wasn't that she was angry, she was used to Bril and his teasing, she could take it as well as dish it out, but fair was fair.

"Fine, it isn't like I need you to fend for me anyway, I could have eaten two squirrils already if it wasn't for you." Bril realized a second too late what he had just said. "Well, I didn't mean it that way." Fiona had stopped and was looking at him closely.

"What are you going on about with the, *if it wasn't for me*? I have served you as many meals as any friend that I have. You have never once offered to cook or even to start a fire for that matter. How am I stopping you from eating? There are berries ripe for the picking any time if truth be told. But I want an explanation and we are not moving one step forward until I get it." Fionavar knew when to talk and when to keep still. The next person who spoke would have the explaining on them.

The silence continued and Bril scratched his head and lowered his chin. After what seemed minutes, he left the road and sat under a large pine tree, picking up a handfull of fallen twigs and letting them sift to the ground again. Still Fiona stared at him.

"There is something you should know about me, Fi. Actually I thought you already knew." His voice was hopeful as one who has to confess and hoping that the clergyman already knows.

"Know what? That you are a bottomless pit of a walking stomach?" She thought that humor might lighten the mood that seemed to now be hanging like an expectant pause in the air.

"It is a story that I have to tell you and you know," he looked wolfishly at her, "stories go ever so much better when eating."

Fionavar sighed. "I suppose I won't get anything out of you until you have eaten anyway. I will prepare some food and you will not move from that spot. Start talking." The young lady took out several prepared bread and meat loaves that her mother has sent along and sat next to Bril as she handed over the largest one to him.

Bril noted her generosity and felt a bit ill at what he would have to share with her, but now was the time. She would find out anyway. Fionavar nibbled and kept silent for the telling.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:35 pm

Gwaeryn flew like the wind towards Fornost with Cock-Robin perched on his back. CR wasn't one to get giddy or be afraid of heights. In fact, he enjoyed it immensely and never tired of it. The view was astounding, even for one without eagle eyes. Going in a north-westerly direction, the hobbit saw the hazy outlines of the Shire in the distance, and further off, the hint of the glimmer of the Sea.

He didn't miss the Shire, not much. It was much too dull for his tastes, which is one reason why he left and traveled abroad. He would probably have died of boredom if he stayed. Only the Tooks seemed to have much of the spirit that he had for travel and adventures, but even them seemed to be a little laid back to him.

When he left, he intended to trace the path Bilbo had taken long ago to the Lonely Mountain. It was much safer than it was in the times of Bilbo or Frodo, except for the bandits on the path. The King's Messengers kept the roads in order, but the ruffians were still about.

He found that out when he traveled in the Misty Mountains beyond Rivendell. That was where he met Gwaeryn, and joined him in the assault on the bandits' stronghold. They saved each others life that day, and a lasting friendship developed.

Gwaeryn also had the wanderlust. His father Gwaihir was a good father, if rather stuffy. He was too keen on being noble in Gwaeryn's eyes. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but it could be overdone, especially at the expense of fun.

Of course, there was a spark of that in this eagle as well, being a descendant of Thorondor of old, who had set up his eyries in Thangorodrim, keeping a watch upon Morgoth. It just needed something to wake it.

"When we get there," said the Eagle, "I'll let you down a little to the north of Fornost. They don't like Eagles in the town itself, I don't know why."

"Maybe you like horseflesh a little too much, could it be, old boy?" said CR.

"A little." said Gwaeryn. "Quite tasty. You should try it."

"I'll pass." said CR. The Midgewater Marshes were already far behind, and the Greenway leading to Fornost with Lake Evendim in the distance was becoming visible.

"Not much in the way of travelers to the north of Fornost this time of day." said Gwaeryn. "No bandits lurking in the shadows as far as I can see. Just a woman, a pony...mmmm...but a little too gamey, as it's a pack pony, and....something, I'm not sure what it is."

"Look like ants to me." said the hobbit.

"Maybe they are, and I'm just kidding you." said Gwaeryn.

CR was glad to have such a far-sighted sharp-eyed eagle with him. "Very well." he said. "I'll go into Fornost when we get there, but let me down out of sight of those travelers. If I meet them, I'll see what kind they are." He had his bow slung around his back and a short sword at his side in case of accidents.

"Then, to Bombadil's house!" said Gwaeryn.

"You bet!" said CR.

It was still a little while before they would get to their destination north of Fornost, but when they did, Gwaeryn would circle downwards in a leisurely way.

Neither knew there would be some delay before they got to the house of Tom Bombadil.
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Postby ^Aramir^ » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:25 pm

(Post co-written by Sil and Luthy)


Three taverns, two angry fathers, and several dozen leagues later found Aramir in about the same place he'd been before--dust-covered and a bit hungry--but at a different point on the map, and this time with a companion.

"I mean, all I did was tell her she had lovely eyes. Is that really such a crime?"

Narmocarca snorted and butted Aramir squarely in the back with his long nose, sending him tumbling to the ground with a startled yelp. A bag of provisions rolled in one direction, and three daggers flew out of their sheathes and formed a triangular pattern on the ground around him as though sentinels guarding a rather dirty prisoner. Aramir rolled onto his back, moaning as the hilt of his sword dug into his side--and the side with a fresh wound, at that--and frowned up at his horse through the mess of his hair. "Why do you never believe me? You're just like all the obnoxious, over-protective parents who go berserk every time I compliment their daughters. Here I am, trying to be a gentleman, and my horse assaults me."

Narmo whickered and trotted off into the thicket at the side of the road, leaving Aramir to collect himself and his things like a child assembling his scattered toys. He was just wiping the last of his daggers on his pants--little good it would do, seeings as they were covered in dust as well--when the horse returned, plowing through the bushes, a small leather sac clamped between his teeth.

"Narmo, what...?"

And then something else crashed into the road.

"Give me back my bag, you stupid horse!" shouted a female voice, although it was a minute before the blur of angry girl resolved itself enough for Ar to tell who she was or what was going on. Even after he managed to focus on her, he almost didn't duck in time to avoid being hit by a very thick, very long braid of dark hair when the girl whirled on him and started screaming something about "your horse" and "my bag" and "stupid idiot".

Startled, he crawled to his feet while trying to take in all the insults she was throwing his way, and when he was sufficiently picked up, he held out his hands, more to keep her at bay than to actually indicate that he'd like to speak. "Whoa, whoa, calm down. I'm very sorry, my lady." He spun around to Narmo, yanked the bag out of the horse's teeth, and handed the slightly grass-green-saliva-soaked sac to the irate girl. "He doesn't usually do things like that. ... I don't think." He shot another scathing glance at Narmo, and in response, the horse took a few steps forward and planted one heavy hoof directly on top of Ar's foot.

"Oww!!" He would have jumped, but being anchored to the ground by his horse was sort of preventing that. "Get off me, Narmo!"

Narmo just whinnied, turning to the girl now. She glared at him. "Well, you big monster? What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Hey, he isn't a monster!" Ar protested. "Just... hungry, apparently. And rather greedy. And heavy." He gave the horse a shove. Nothing.

Her eyes slid to him, and a whole layer of emotion dropped off her face. Or maybe she threw another layer on, hard to tell. The new face was friendly and definitely, definitely not shy.

"I'm sorry about that," she said, "I was..." she seemed to be searching for a word... "confused. I was asleep, and your horse woke me up, and I hope I didn't hit you or anything?" The last with a bright smile. Ar wasn't sure whether he was eased or worried by that smile. Best go with worried, just in case she knew something she wasn't letting on. It had been years since he'd been recognized as that Aramir, but you could never been too careful, right?

"No, you didn't. Your hair almost did, though." He grinned, pretending to be at ease. "Almost a weapon, that. Besides..." He put all his weight into his shoulder and forced the black gelding to lift his hoof, then quickly took a few steps away, rolling his eyes at the animal. "...I think Narmo did more damage than you could have." Oops, wrong thing to say. Hoping she hadn't heard the last part, he decided to go another way. "Anyhow, I do hope you're all right." He smiled apologetically. "He's really a softie as long as you aren't me, and I'm sure he was just playing around. I'd hate to think my horse actually tried to rob such a beautiful young woman." He smiled charmingly and pointed to the sac. "Is everything there?"

Suspicion flitted across her face, just for a moment, and then she opened the bag and rifled through it. Relief replaced it. "Yes, it's all here. Thank you so much, sir." When she didn't try too hard, her smile almost reached her eyes. "Well, this is quite awkward. I'm so sorry for all the trouble. And I apologize to, um, your not-a-monster. Where are you heading?"

"Narmo," Ar offered, gently punching the horse's neck, half in jest, half as a warning lest he find another hoof grinding into his foot. He wondered if Narmo had considered that Ar would now be riding because he couldn't feel his left foot. He doubted his horse had that kind of insight. "And, to be honest, I'm not sure where I'm headed. No destination at this time, as it happens. And yourself?" He watched her stash the sac carefully in the folds of her clothing, wondering what was in there but not curious enough to ask. "You said before you were confused. Are you lost, my lady? In need of assistance, perhaps?"

She looked at him silently for a moment, an odd expression on her face. "Very much in need of assistance, actually," she said. She seemed to hesitate. "I -- I left my home, and I have just been wandering around since then. My lord, if it's not too much to ask, perhaps I could travel with you for a while? Sometimes these woods don't seem so safe for a maiden alone." She shrugged. Something didn't seem quite right, but Aramir couldn't quite place it, so he figured he would simply go along with it for now. Besides, there wasn't an angry father in sight, so this situation was already a step up from the usual.

He smiled brightly, took her hand, bowed over it, and kissed it gently. "Far be it from me to deny the wishes of so lovely a maiden," he said, winking boldly in a way that he hoped wouldn't actually scare her away from traveling with him. He knew where to draw the line with the flirting, whether or not his horse--or anyone for that matter--believed him. "Especially one my horse has just attempted to rob. Perhaps to make up for it, he could offer you a ride?"

She smiled. "I'd love that," she said, and -- was that a return wink? "But I'm afraid I don't know your name yet, and my mother told me once never to take horse rides from strange men unless you know their names. And also never to charge an angry horse, but I suppose I've already broken that one today."

"Aramir," he said with a grin. "And you, my lady?" he asked, taking her hand again. She didn't draw it back.

"Ilarieth," she said. "And I'm afraid I grew up in the city; I'm not much of a horsewoman. Help me mount?" She smiled, and it didn't look so genuine as it had before, but it certainly looked flirty. Ar could always recognize flirty.

He helped her up, and before he mounted took the opportunity to dust some nonexistent dust off her knee. "I haven't asked, Ilarieth, but where are you planning to go?"

She shrugged, and he swung himself up. "Anywhere."

"Well, I can't head back on this road," he said. "Angry innkeepers, you know." She giggled. "Onward, then?"

"Onward," she said. Ar had to calm Narmo, who did not seem very excited about having to carry two people, but as soon as they were going steadily and Ilarieth seemed relaxed, he slipped his arm around her waist. "Can't have you falling off," he said seriously. Certainly not...
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Postby Frelga » Thu May 01, 2008 12:45 am

Some day when she was old and gnarled - Geli hunched up at the thought, stiffening her fingers into age-ravaged claws – she would sit by the fire and instruct youngsters in the art of hitching a ride. Silly creatures walked along the road, looking weak or suspicious, hoping for someone to take pity on them. No, the proper way was to pick out your ride at a marketplace or an inn, a family with children best of all, then so impress them with your magnificence that they simply begged you to come along.

Geli sat in the back of the oxcart, propped against the yielding bundles. She wore her costume – that was part of the bargain. Red and yellow sequins twinkled against green cloth; tiny mirrors sent sun-bunnies frolicking among the bundles. She didn't paint her face, but the real grin on her thin face was as wide as any fake one, and much brighter.

The wind leaped across the cart with a sudden, raspy gust. Behind the jester, children huddled together to keep dust out of their packet of sugared almonds. The oldest boy, not quite thirteen, passed a handful her way, and she accepted daintily.

"When I get back to Gondor, I will eat nothing but almonds for three days," Geli promised, licking sugar off her fingers. "Most of the Merry Brotherhood goes to Minas Tirith for the celebration. Not me. It's the South for me, Lebennin and its crimson roses, and the sea shores. Maybe even Umbar."

This, too, was part of the bargain - to toss those far-away names at them like petals of Lebennin roses, and keep the rowdy bunch quiet. Yet the trader's children have seen more of the world than many grownups. The wool cloth and blankets that sheltered Geli had started out high in the White Mountains. The families that played host to the young jester bought the wool below the passes and took it North, where bundles of furs slowly displaced it for the return journey.

"Umbar the Beautiful!" the jester exclaimed. "Fountains halfway to the clouds, marble stairs like waterfalls. Traders from everywhere, even Deep Harad. They wear cloaks of lion skin, you know. We bought a lion cub from them once, when I traveled with a company, and the hunter who caught it joined us for a while. When the lion grew big, I used to put my head into its very mouth. True story! It smells like a sack of cinnamon stuck under a wet armpit for a month."

She turned to the children to see all five of them open their eyes and mouths in fascination. Even the driver, father of three of them and uncle to two, pricked his ears. "Can you keep a secret?" she asked, glancing around to see if the cart suddenly sprung ears. "Don't tell anyone, but there is a trick to doing that. What you do is, you take hold of the lion's lips and pull them over his fangs. Then he can't bite your head off, because the lips are in the way." Geli waited out another round of gasps and went on. "Of course, it's only the little secret. The big secret is, how the lion doesn't gut you when you grab his lips. And that one I won't tell you."

Geli the Magnificent (unless it was Tuesday, in which case she was the Incredible) surveyed her tussled-haired audience. The children seemed appropriately awed. The oldest offered her another handful of almonds with the air of one aware of how meager his gift was. Geli burrowed down to get out of the wind and resumed her munching. The road was long and gentle, and the generous Southern crowds awaited at its end. Life was magnificent.
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Postby Mithamarth » Thu May 01, 2008 6:54 am

The sound of flowing water was the only sound to be heard here. The long trunk of the great mumak settled down into the eddys and crests to drink it's fill. On the western shores the land began it's incline toward the great peaks that separated the party from Eregion of old and the lands beyond. To the north lining both sides of the river were great forested areas, to the south vast grasslands. The land was quiet. Not quite dead, but in a deep hibernation.

"What did your people call this great river?" one of the men asked. This land was completely foreign to him and his brethren, who came from warmer lands far away.

"We named it just that, 'the Great River,' Anduin in the Sindarin tongue of old," he replied, wading out a short distance into the cold waters. "I still remember the first time I espied it from the forested eaves many leagues north of here. Whereas before I had only beheld a great body of water, this one flowed fast to and from some mysterious place to an unknown destination. We named many things then, being the first of the children to make words. We stayed by the shore many years before traveling further into the west. Some of our folk stayed here by the river, out of contact with the rest of us for millenia. Many of them settled in the very forests we camp near now. In fact, this is the very location that I chose to depart from the west many years ago."

The mumak blasted a triumphant note into the air that echoed across the river throughout the rocky precipices. "It seems now that most of the firstborn are gone, or else they have faded away and are diminished. I feel no connection here," he continued. "From here we travel beside the great peak of Caradhras, which will take us into Eregion. We should not encounter any speaking people until we reach the other side. Mortals fear the pass and do not tread it willingly. Fortunately for us, I know Caradhras and we respect eachother."

"That is quite fortunate," laughed one of the listeners, "for any peak with a conscious mind bears fearing of!"

The group's laughter could be heard for miles about, but their campfire could not be seen. For as the night drew on the hide of the great beast of a creature acted as a fence against predators and other unknown foes who might be out this night. The great river flowed past them just as it always had, unthinking and clear of purpose.
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Postby shaggydog » Thu May 01, 2008 9:54 am

Bril tore a huge chunk of the meat and bread off with his teeth and gave it a token chew before swallowing. He had thought that the act of eating would at least delay the telling by a few minutes, but it was the work of only three more bites and the food was gone. Fiona continued her demure consumption of her own meal, and merely ignored her friend’s boorish yet familiar manners. Licking the last crumbs from his fingers, Bril sighed, temporarily satiated, and leaned back on his elbows. Stretching out for a short nap would have been much more to his liking. He yawned ostentatiously, but he knew the quietly persistent Fiona was not likely to let him off that easily. So he turned his thoughts to where best to begin, this tale of his.

“Erm, my father was a wolf.” That hadn’t come out quite right. Bril noted Fiona’s eyebrows raising into her brow, and knew he had best try again.

“What I mean is, he wasn’t a wolf when he met my mother, but he was later on, and then he died. Well, he was killed actually.”

Fiona had stopped nibbling at her bread and her mouth was opened slightly. Bril cursed inwardly. This was so awkward and he was absolutely no good at story telling. Now there had been some right good taletellers at some of the fairs and markets he and Fiona had attended. It would all make much more sense if he could tell one of them what he wanted to say and then they could make it sound right.

Oh well. As no bards were likely to come walking down the road in the next minute or so, he supposed he had best press on.

“You see, my dad, he was what you might call a . . . er, shapeshifter. I have no idea how that sort of thing happens. I mean, there were stories of some bear type things, bears that could change to men, or maybe it was men that could change to bears. That’s what I heard anyway. When I was a kid. And I thought it was all a lot of codswallop. Well, until I met him. My dad I mean.”

By this point Bril was expressly avoiding looking at Fiona. He knew what he was saying sounded outrageous. Perhaps she might think him completely loony. He was afraid to see what her expression might hold – fear, contempt, shock. He rolled onto his belly and lay his head on his arm, continuing his tale talking in a somewhat muffled voice into the crook of his elbow.

“When my mom and dad met, he was in his human form. They . . .they didn’t know each other for very long, if you know what I mean.” The taunting call of bast*rd rang in his ears still as he recalled his growing up years. As a wee boy, he had merely assumed it was just another name kids threw at one another. Little by little, he had come to understand all it implied, and the bruises he incurred in defense of a father he had never known had smarted despite his mother’s loving hugs and assurances that one day his father would come for him. Turns out she was right, but the pain of that memory was not one he cared to relive right now, not on this fine, bright day.

But how to explain the next part without the embarrassing details? “It wasn’t until, well, until I was becoming more grown up, you see” he hoped Fiona could read between those lines, “that I found out I was a shapeshifter too.” Somehow, his wonderful, sad, loving mother had failed to explain this possibility to her son. That first transformation had almost been the death of him, in more than one way. But he had quickly learned that being able to transform into a huge, fierce wolf definitely had its advantages. “I pretty much had to keep it hidden.” That was the understatement of the year. “So, eventually, my mother and I moved from Dale to here.”

Bril looked about at the field across the way and recalled that night, when they had fled for their lives and the great, shaggy beast that was his father had indeed lost his so that they might escape. That had been years ago, and mother and son had lived in an isolated holding on the edge of the forest, keeping to themselves, keeping their secret, his secret, hidden. And now here he was, revealing it to the one person he believed, he hoped, would keep his trust and want his friendship still, despite this odd revelation.

“So that’s about all there is to it. I can change into a wolf when I want, and back again.” He failed to add, ‘and sometimes it happens without my will and even against my will, and I don’t ever really know when it will happen.’ Or the dreams. He didn’t dare tell her about the dreams.

“I don’t guess you have any more of that smoked meat? Or cheese?” he asked, his stomach telling him it was not yet through with lunch.
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Postby rowanberry » Fri May 02, 2008 11:02 am

Gilmith pondered which one of the two dresses she should wear during the journey. Finally, she settled on the brown one, and packed the blue dress into the trunk together with a few other ones. The trunk wasn’t very small, they were going to travel by coach after all, but it was already getting full, and yet she felt that she could still take something more with her. Oh well, they were going to Minas Tirith, where they could buy anything that might turn out necessary.

There was a knock on the door, and her brother stepped in. “Have you packed everything already?”

“Yes, I’m almost done”, she answered.

Gwinhir took a look at the contents of the trunk and grinned. “Did you actually leave anything in your closet?”

Gilmith threw him with the brown dress that she had set on her bed. “Now, aren’t you taking all your best gear with you, to look charming in the eyes of the Southern ladies?” she laughed.

Gwinhir chucked the dress back at her. “Well, of course… But, the dinner will be ready soon, come down and do the rest of the packing after we’ve eaten…”

Gilmith went quickly through the contents of the trunk, thinking once more if she had everything she needed. Then, she closed the lid. “No, I think this is all. But, if you still need to pack something, there’s time until tomorrow morning…”

Gwinhir didn’t say anything, but he thought that maybe he could still pack the red tunic he had been thinking to leave at home…
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Postby rwhen » Mon May 05, 2008 8:39 am

Fionavar listened intently to Bril share his secret. She could see how difficult it was for him to relate the depths of his tortured soul to her and realized how much he trusted her with this revelation. It was her first impulse to fear him, what would he do? Would he ever hurt her? Those doubts were soon vanquished as she recalled that she had known Bril for years and no one had ever accused him of being aggressive or losing his temper. In fact, just the opposite. He was always gentle and willing to be the one to back down in a disagreement. This did however explain how some of their chickens mysteriously had disappeared.

“Bril, all of us have something that makes us unique, different from one another. Your ability is a bit startling, to say the least, but now you have me curious. Would you mind showing me your wolfish side?” Fionavar knew this would not be a comfortable thing for Bril to do in front of her, but she thought it best to witness it for herself so she would not be alarmed when it happened in the future.

For the first time that she could recall, she heard a slight whimper out of her friend as he complied. When the transformation was complete, a large shaggy black wolf/hound looking creature stood in front of her. Instead of appearing to be huge and looming with aggression, he was shy and sat on his haunches with head down. The golden eyes captured her heart immediately. Wasting no time that would cause undue stress or a feeling of revulsion, the girl embraced Bril and hugged his neck tightly.

“It’s not every girl that has a foot warmer for those cold nights.” She tried to be cheerful and use humor to lighten the strange scene. “How many times have you had to become wolf in your past?”

Bril made a sound that was a mixture of growl, bark and whine.

“This will never do. Change back, so we can talk.”

He did as asked and once again stood as a man. Oddly enough, Fionavar now saw the shadow of the wolf in his eyes and facial structure. Why had she never noticed this before? The scratching behind the ears. The loping gait of his run. She had just been blind, that had to be the answer. Now that she knew what her friend was, her mind started turning to new and greater ways their friendship would grow.

“You know, Bril. I had thought myself safe enough for this journey, but now that I know you can protect me, my heart is lightened beyond my ability to tell you.” She hugged him tightly around the neck again. Bril stiffened under her touch and they parted.

“Sorry, Bril. I didn’t mean to…uh. Sorry.” She started to rummage in her food supply for something to eat.

“It is okay, Fiona. You just surprised me. You always surprise me. You are gentle and you seem to understand me. That is something I have not known from humans. I WILL protect you, as best I can, but there are other aspects to my morphing and past that you still do not understand.” He stopped there as his keen eyesight caught a glimpse of an enormous eagle landing just beyond the tree line. “Look at that. That is the largest bird I have ever seen.”

Fionavar quickly turned to the direction he was pointing, but saw nothing. “I don’t see anything.”

Then a small figure appeared on the road, heading in their direction.

“My stars, it is a Hobbit.” Fionavar’s voice was filed with wonder.

Bril pushed his chest forward, a rumbling started deep in his throat. Fionavar put a hand on his arm, “I don’t think there is a reason to be alarmed. Many people will be traveling in our direction. Let’s see what the stranger has to say first. Maybe he is hungry.” She laughed out loud. From her childhood stories, she was aware that most Hobbit’s were always hungry.
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The Expected Party!! is now on the road to Gondor to celebrate. Join us.

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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon May 05, 2008 5:03 pm

"Gwaeryn, all this circling is making me nauseous."

"Don't you dare." said the Eagle. "I don't like my feathers messed up. Those travelers are down there, and WHOA! Did you see that?"

"No, what?"

"That one man turned into a wolf. A dark one. I haven't seen anything like it except in the land of the Beornings. But they change into bears, this changed into a wolf. The only legends are..."

"What? Speak up."

"When Sauron changed into a wolf to fight Huan the Wolfhound. But why would one like that be in the company of that woman, who looks somewhat elvish?"

"Beats me. But evil things for the most part were destroyed in the War, or have gone into hiding. Did Huan have any descendants?"

"Not that I know of. But he's changed back. And he looks terribly distraught. As if he had this terrible fate thrust upon him. I don't think he's evil, just cursed in some way."

"That's good to know, my friend, but could you please stop this circling? I can take a straight descent."

"Your wish is my command, old friend." With that he went into a dive. "Good enough for you?"

"YEEEAAAAAHHHH!" Cock-Robin was only frightened for a moment, but couldn't stay so for long, it was so exhiliarating. He held on tight. "You could have given a little warning."

"Where's the fun in that, my dear hobbit?" The Eagle pulled up and dropped lightly on the road. "Here's where you get off. Be careful in meeting them."

Robin smiled as he dismounted. Gwaeryn was such a mother hen. But he wouldn't dare say that openly. "I'll be careful, old friend. I know you'll be watching from above. Meet you on the other side of Fornost."

"Unless you call, or get in trouble. Farewell wherever you fare."

"Until your eyrie receives you at the journey's end." The Eagle took off into the sky.

Robin had to get his land legs back. He rubbed his legs and then started walking down the road. A few minutes later he rounded the bend and found the threesome waiting for him. He heard the woman talk about him being hungry, which he was.

"Why yes, I'm hungry, thank you." said the hobbit. "Robin Smallburrow is my name, but my friends call me Cock-Robin. I was on my way to Fornost. I'd be glad of some companionship and some food."

Of course he had his bow slung across his back with his pack and his small sword at his side in case of accidents or bandits.

"And who may you be?"
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Postby shaggydog » Tue May 06, 2008 7:50 am

Bril shook his shoulders slightly and he pulled at the hem of his tunic to straighten it, unconscious gestures which invariably accompanied his transformation back into human form. Fiona’s initial acceptance of the newcomer was enough for him. Besides, the hobbit was certainly small enough. One snap of Bril’s lupine jaws would make short shrift of him. Although Bril did mark the sword at Robin’s side and the bow slung on his back.

“I’m Bril.” He stated simply, preferring to let Fiona do any elaborations on their purpose, origins or destination, if she chose to be forthcoming on any of those matters. Bril was still a bit fuzzy on the whys and wherefores, especially having transformed so quickly to wolf and back again. He reflected on Fiona’s request, but she was like that. Direct and honest, she seldom chose to hide the ball and, as far as he knew her, preferred to look the truth in the eye. Her unreserved acceptance of his wolfish self, especially the warm hug, had reassured him mightily that he had the true measure of her all along. Pushing his own fears and doubts to the back corner of his mind, he had felt . . . relieved, and grateful, for Fiona’s unspoken pledge of friendship.

That other hug though . . . that had in fact come as a surprise. But not in the way Fiona had taken it. Bril wished once more he had a way with words, that he could express all the happiness and affection he felt for her, mixed with the dread of the unthinkable. He had tried, but he knew he had fallen far short of his mark. He only knew that he would, to his last breath, protect her, no matter what that might cost them both.

The hobbit’s talk of food had called to Bril’s attention that his own stomach still demanded filling. With a light touch on Fiona’s arm, he said “I’ll be back shortly.” Turning aside into the wood, his thoughts and nose turned to the business of filling it.
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Postby Tygarya » Tue May 06, 2008 2:52 pm

Kitty drove her horse towards the main road then turned north on that road which headed from Bree to Fornost. About a mile down the road Kitty halted her horse and turned once again from the road into the dense trees that lined it. She had to dismount and walk her horse in far enough to not be seen or heard from the road. She turned then and walked back to the edgeline of trees just off the road side. She crouched down behind a large tree and waited.
Grabbing an old fallen stick, she drew out a dagger and started whittling it while she waited, leaning her back against the tree, the hood of her cloak up to hide the wealth of dark coppery hair that may attract attention.
It wasn’t long before she heard hoofs pounding up the road. She quickly flattened herself against the ground and turned her head slightly to look around the tree trunk to watch as the men that pursued her galloped past.
Kitty chuckled to herself as she leant back up against the tree trunk and continued to whittle the stick, more relaxed this time.
“Not one tracker amongst them, stupid good for nothing, back water, flea bitten brigands” Kitty spat out with venom. She got up then and walked back to her horse, disgarding the stick along the way. Grabbing her bag from the horse’s back she sat down on a nearby log and rummaged through her pack. With a small yelp of triumph she pulled a glass bottle from her pack that was half full of whiskey and pulled the cork out with her teeth, spitting the cork away. She turned the top of the bottle to her lips and took a long draught of the firey liquid inside. Kitty smacked her lips together appreciatively and laughed again at the gang of cut throats she had been able to evade so easily. Now all she had to do was head south towards Bree, by the time they realised their mistake and turned around Kitty would be long gone. Her thoughts drifted back to when she lived in Gondor, thieves there weren’t so stupid, she wondered how these forest dwelling thieves even managed to survive each other, let alone not get caught by the authorities. It seemed to her that the life of a road side cut throat was set aside only for those people known as simpletons.
“They have no honour” Kitty said to herself as she took another swig from the whiskey bottle. “Not like the Guild back in Gondor, true craftsmen back there, intelligent, sneaky…..” Kitty fell silent a moment lost in thoughts, then mumbled. “Wish I had never left, but typical my stupid mouth got me in trouble…..as usual….” The horse grazing on tufts of grass poking up through the leaf litter had stepped close to Kitty and was now watching her curiously as Kitty talked. Kitty turned and spoke to the horse then. “How was I supposed to know who he was? Huh? Tell me that? He comes to the poorest part of town, drinks in the one of the worst taverns in the city….what court official does that?? Unless he’s up to no good himself”
Kitty took another deep swig of the whiskey, pulling her cloak around her tighter in the dampness of the forest morning.
“And how dare he think he could demand anything of me! Well I showed him a doozey of a time…that I did….a night he’ll never forget….”
Kitty threw back her head and laughed. “Oh the shocked look on his face when my dagger slid between his ribs….”
Kitty chuckled again drifting into silence as she took another long draft from the bottle, wrapped her cloak closer around her and snuggled into the forks of roots under a large oak tree.
Draining the whiskey bottle, Kitty threw it a couple of feet away from her and closed her eyes, drifting towards slumber, her last thoughts of the cut throats on the 20 mile ride to Fornost and her own impending journey of the other 80 miles towards Bree.
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Postby rwhen » Fri May 09, 2008 11:58 am

:roll:
Last edited by rwhen on Fri May 09, 2008 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Love is as big or as little as a hug!!

vison! Alex!Rowanberry!

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.

Time out of Mind, forever bound to my Knight Ayslhyn

Vanadarlin', my SSOTH - 143 forever :hug:
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Fri May 09, 2008 12:07 pm

Fionavar watched as Bril blended into the bush and forest. She again turned her attention to the Hobbit. Truth be told, she was a bit in awe. The tales of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, even so long ago, were etched in her memory and now she was actually meeting a Hobbit.

"Hello," she brought her right hand up over her heart as she had been taught, "my name is Fionavar of Lake Evendim, most people call me Fiona." She nodded her head formally and smiled large to show that she was no threat.

"Fiona," the smaller of the two responded, "It would please me for you to call me Robin. I do not think I have ever met anyone from Lake Evendim. Is it far from here?"

The sound of Bril rustling in the brush was a comfort to the girl, but she had a feeling that Robin would be an easy person to get to know. "It is about five leagues back that way." She pointed to the West. "Not many people live close to our homestead, but it is lovely, should you get the chance to go."

"I just might do that." Robin looked back the way he had come and then turned back with a satisfied smile. "You mentioned food? I have food, shall we share second breakfast and news?"

The pair wasted no time laying out a full meal for three. Fionavar called Bril back and he came out of the forest with bits of twigs and leaves in his hair, dirt smudged his face. At a previous time, she would have scolded him, now....it seemed to suit him more. Robin however, had better manners.

"Friend Bril, could you show me a place to wash before we eat?"

"Sure, there is a creek just beyond the hedge line. I'll show you." The pair retreated giving Fionavar time to check that Caloo had fodder in her neck sack and all was set. She had to admit that her stomach was rumbling in protest, food would be a good thing before setting off again.

When the two returned, Bril was much more presentable and even preened a bit. Fionavar chose not to comment. "Let us eat, men." Passing around the preserves, cheese, bread and dried meat, mouths worked on chewwing the food instead of the fat. Finally, the midday sup was complete and all three were full to the brim.

Bril and Robin laid their backs against some broad tree trunks and Fionavar tidied up the area. She buried all items that could spoil and stowwed utensils and uneaten food supplies. She then loaded up Caloo and checked her clothing for personal items. "I need to visit the forest," everyone knew that was code for a bathroom break. When she got back, both Robin and Bril were sound asleep. She sighed deeply and gazed at Bril.

While asleep, he was positively peaceful. No lines on his smooth brow, a slight grin on his face. Strangely enough, his feet were moving. She had to check herself from laughing out loud. She had seen the heeler back home do the same thing when dreaming of running. In an instant his eyes popped open, those golden eyes. She ducked her head and coughed embarrassed that he had seen her staring at him.

"Fiona," he placed a hand over hers.

"I think we should be going now." She cleared her throat loudly and moved to stand in front of Caloo. Anything to take attention away from her blunder. Robin also rose quickly, making Fionavar think that he had not really been sleeping at all. She would have to be very careful. This pair were very smart.

"So, Master Smallburrow," she started.

"Robin, if you please."

"Robin," she smiled and again felt comfort in the small things. "My friend and I are headed for Fornost before this day is done. I am unsure of which way your road leads, but we would be glad of the company." She left it hanging, not wishing to be rude but wanting to get to Fornost by nightfall.

"I would be pleased to have the companionship," the fertive smile showed Fionavar that he had a secret, but it was not anything *unnatural* (sorry couldn't help that one).

The trio set out and Bril bounded ahead calling back, "I want to see if that huge bird is still in the area." Caloo, as usual brought up the rear.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri May 09, 2008 6:00 pm

Robin laughed. "Of course the bird is still in the area. Gwaeryn is right above us. He's my usual traveling companion since we met in the Misty Mountains. We keep an eye on each other. Safety in numbers, you know."

He saw Fiona and Bril look at him questioningly. "There are bandits on the roads, which is why I am armed. I had a bit of luck on my first journey."

He showed them his sword. "I was tracing the path Bilbo took long ago to Erebor. I came upon the place of the stone trolls, and they are there still. Nearby is a cave where they kept all their loot. Of course, it had been picked clean, but I explored it anyway, and in a little cubbyhole I found something everybody had missed.

This blade happens to be the companion of Sting, the blade Bilbo, then Frodo wore. I found out from Celeborn, who is one of the old elves that still is around, that the blades of Gondolin were always forged in twos. It is why Gandalf found two swords, Glamdring and Orcrist, according to the Red Book.

It was so with Sting, though its companion wasn't found until I found it. It gleams with a cold light whenever enemies are near, as it was forged in a time orcs were numerous. I'm glad to have it with me." He sheathed it.

"I am on my way to Fornost to spend the night and pick up supplies, then I'm heading down to Bree. My eagle friend and I were planning to go from there to the house of Tom Bombadil. We're good friends and I always have a welcome there with him and Goldberry. You're welcome to come with us.

Gwaeryn will meet me on the other side of Fornost, he's not used to towns. I'm sure he would like to meet you. Until then, he watches over me. We've been through a lot of adventures together.

Eventually, we're going to end up at Gondor, where there is a celebration for the hundredth anniversary of their victory and the downfall of the Dark Lord. What would your plans be?"
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Postby shaggydog » Mon May 12, 2008 11:00 am

The washing up in the creek had been invigorating, even if the little man had looked at him a bit funny when Bril had knelt down on hands and knees and lapped up a few mouthfuls of water before splashing his face and hair. The sun on his head was making him want to pant and he knew from past experience that panting, amongst other things, was not socially acceptable in the human circle. Well, with a few exceptions. Besides, it seemed the tongue did little in the way of cooling anyway. Bril didn’t waste time puzzling over it. He merely tried to remember not to do it too openly. The earlier meal, and the chipmunk he’d managed to catch, had not put much of a dent in his hunger, so the lunch awaiting them had spurred Bril to more haste than he would have usually displayed. The water looked inviting, but he refrained from splashing in up to his belly and having a go at the frogs that croaked in the reeds.

The fine meal on top of the morning’s ramble had only one possible result. Bril had awakened refreshed, relieved, and more than a bit pleased to see Fiona, and even more so, the look on Fiona’s face. That she so quickly pulled away from him caused him no concern whatsoever. Females were like that; timing was everything. There was a time to approach and there were definitely times not to approach, not unless you wanted to get snapped at.

His spirits bounding with his stride, Bril led the way as the three set off once again. The little man’s account of the eagle caused Bril to cock his head in wonder, looking up at the spot circling far above them. What must it be like to fly like that? He himself knew the intense joy of racing over the ground, his feet barely touching the earth as they skimmed over fresh plowed fields or damp forest litter, muscles pumping, heart pounding, lungs surging in and out. But to know the freedom of the air, to truly soar over the world, surveying a panorama that stretched out to the far mountains . . . now that would be something!

Bril only listened with one ear to the little man’s voice as he told of stone goblins and orcs and swords. He had some faint recognition of such things, from tales told him by his mother, when he was very young. It was hard to remember, though, and these tales seemed to have little to do with him now. Even the little man’s question about where they were going passed through Bril’s ears, and brain, largely unnoted. He was going wherever Fiona was going. He was content to let her talk to the little fellow. For now, he kept his senses focused on the eagle, the forest, the road, smells, sounds and all that his being could absorb and filter from the surrounding world. Occasionally he would look over, or back, or ahead to where Fiona, Caloo, and the robin walked together, sometimes in friendly conversation, sometimes in amicable quiet, and he would smile and tilt his head up as if wishing to give tongue to a happy yelp. But he remained silent throughout most of the remainder of the afternoon, finally running a fair bit ahead as they approached the town Fiona called Fornost.

Nose working diligently, Bril realized from yet a good distance that the town they were approaching was of a good size, much larger than any of the small hamlets he had visited around the shores of Evendim. Having grown up in Dale, he recognized the mixed effluence of hundreds of different shops, work places, and homes, from the spotty cabbages of last winter displayed at the market, to pungent rosemary at the herbwife’s shed, to the delectable offal of the butcher’s midden heap. His muscles twitched in anticipation, the saliva running freely in response to the heady thought of the surety of food in a myriad of forms: cooked, on the hoof, or tossed in the gutter as waste. Anxiety, though, also welled in his breast as he thought of the strangers and their equally strange dogs that he would encounter. The hair on the nape of his neck bristled and he came to a standstill and awaited the arrival of his more leisurely paced companions.

The sun was slipping below the trees as Fiona and the little man rounded the last curve in the track.. Bril flashed them a quick smile, calling out, “It’s close, not more than half a league.” He fell in step beside Fiona, who looked up at him inquiringly. Bril merely tapped his nose and she seemed to understand. The robin looked up to where his eagle still kept him in watchful sight, and waved, saying, “Gwaeryn will find a suitable perch somewhere, no doubt. But for those of us who can’t sleep in a tree, I recommend an inn. I’d be happy to recommend one that I’ve found eminently suitable on past visits. And even happier to accompany you there, as our paths seem to be heading in the same direction, at least for now.”

Fiona nodded in agreement with the suggestion. “That would be kind of you, Robin. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Fornost again, I’ve been there once before. But it will be even better to have a guide who really knows the town. ” She forebore to add that it would be especially good to avoid the flea traps and cat stew type of inns that any town of this size would certainly place host to. “I hope your inn won’t be full up, although there haven’t seemed to be many other travelers on the road.”

“Not to worry.” Robin replied. “I’m sure Bril and I can double up if needed.”

Fiona frowned slightly, unsure of the advisability of such an arrangement, but when she looked at Bril he seemed unconcerned, so she said, slowly, “That would work , I guess.”

Bril, on the other hand, hadn’t even heard Robin’s suggestion, as he was debating whether a certain aroma was goat or sheep tripe. In short order, they arrived at the town gates, were briefly queried as to their business by a laconic guard, and duly admitted to the splendors which were Fornost, ancient capitol of Arnor, somewhat recently arisen from the ashes of decay. In less than ten minutes, the three and the pony had reached the yard of the ‘Sooty Hearth’. Rwhen handed Caloo over to the stable lad after getting his many reassurances that the mare was in good hands, and they tramped through the door into the common room, to be hailed by the proprieter and his dog.
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Postby Tygarya » Mon May 12, 2008 5:23 pm

Kitty woke with a start, sitting bolt upright, startling her horse that shied and trotted away a few feet, turning to look at her.
“What?” Kitty said to the horse as she got up, dusting her clothes off and removing her cloak. She grabbed the side of her head momentarily as she stood up, the ground beneath her feet swirling past for a few seconds. As she steadied herself she looked up and noticed the sun was now high in the sky.
Kitty cursed. “I slept too long!”
Kitty quickly rolled her cloak up and crammed it into her saddle bag, after having to grab the reins of her horse before it took off away from her.
“Oh no you don’t, you weren’t that scared by me waking up, you faker” Kitty berated the horse as she lead it back through the trees towards the road.
Once on the road Kitty re-evaluated the time of day.
“I make it about 2 hours after lunch; damn I’m not going to get in more than 10 miles today then. At least, hopefully, the ‘idiots’ will stay the night in Fornost and get drunk, so if I get an early start tomorrow I should be okay”
With that Kitty mounted up on her horse and set off in a trot south along the Great Road.

Once the sun started to go down, Kitty looked for a place to set up for the night just off the road.
She found a small cosy spot near to a bubbling creek which gave her horse some fresh water. Kitty leant over the water and splashed some on her face reviving her somewhat from the dull headache that had developed throughout the day.
She got up then and walked back a few feet, collecting small branches for a fire. Kitty then stripped the saddle and her bags off her horse and tied the horse’s reins to a nearby branch. She cleared a space free of leaf litter and stacked the sticks, collecting her tinder box and flint from her bag she lit the small fire and sat in front of it warming her hands. Retrieving her cloak again she wrapped herself up in it and grabbed from her bag also a small silver flask that she opened and took a long swig from. Placing it carefully on the ground she rummaged in her bags once more and this time took out a tied up piece of cloth. Prising open the knots she revealed a chuck of bread and some cheese, which she nibbled on as she placed more sticks on the fire. After eating half of the food, Kitty carefully folded up the cloth once again and placed the food back into her pack, she was hungry but knew that the food had to last her until she could get to Bree….or at least until she could find someone along the road she could buy food off….or steal it.
Kitty grabbed up the flask once again and took another long swig. This stuff would make her forget her hunger anyway, she thought to herself as she took another swig. As she stared into the small fire, feeding more sticks onto it slowly, the alcohol started to take affect and within an hour Kitty was once more asleep, her fire becoming embers then slowly going out as the night went on.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon May 12, 2008 7:39 pm

"Cock-Robin!" said the proprieter. "I knew you wouldn't be long in coming back. The same room as before? We still don't have too many hobbits coming through, so it's still open."

"Their loss, Beregond." said the hobbit, laughing. "Most won't leave the Shire. Like being bored, I guess. Yes, the same as before. And these are reputable travelers I met on the road from Evendim. Fionavar,"

"A pleasure." said Beregond, giving a bow.

"And Bril, her companion. Do you have room for them?"

"If you had come later, I wouldn't, but I have two nice places for both of you as well. Come on into the Common Room, and we'll set you up. Beer as usual?"

"You guessed. Give them what they like." Beregond hustled away to get that and some suitable food for them as well.

Robin sat down at a table and Bril and Fionavar joined him. "A delightful inn for so new a town. Of course, 'new' is sort of a relative term, as it's about 90-100 years old. Of course, don't tell him, but I still prefer the Prancing Pony down in Bree. More lively, and great food and drink as well. It's known for miles around. Even brings travelers from the Shire at times."

"You don't miss it?" said Fionavar.

"Naw." said Robin. It's all right for most, but I would have died of boredom if I stayed there much longer. Longing for adventure is in my blood. Really, only the Tooks make much of it. Most of the rest are happy where they are, so I leave them be. The King Elessar issued an edict that none of the Big Folk can cross the borders, so they stay unmolested by the outside world. I really wanted to see the outside world, so here I am."

Just then, Beregond came in with some beer and other drinks, some bread and cheese and delicious stew. "If you need anything else, please call. Looks like it's going to be a busy night." He rushed off.

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

After Gwaeryn saw his friend was safely in town, he circled around, looking for supper. On the other side of Fornost, about a league off, he saw some horsemen. Bandits, by the looks of them, meaning they were fair game. He didn't bother others on the roads, but he didn't like bandits at all. He set his sights on a delicious looking horse and flew like an arrow to where they were, diving at them with his battle cry.

Such chaos! Horses reared, men cried out, and some were thrown, especially the man riding the horse that he wanted. They were running around like the proverbial chickens with their heads cut off. For bandits, they were awfully stupid.

He sank his talons into the horse, and pumping his wings, he flew off, hearing the curses of the bandits behind him. and he had to laugh. They were falling all over each other.

He had a good meal off the horse. Delicious! He didn't eat the entire horse, because that usually meant a slow eagle. Washing off in a nearby stream, he headed for a good tree to roost in for the night, far away from the roads. Robin would be safe in the inn, and he could catch his beauty sleep.

Maybe someday he could persuade Robin to try some horseflesh. But he didn't set any hopes on it.
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Postby Tygarya » Tue May 20, 2008 4:26 pm

The next morning Kitty awoke with the sounds of the waking birds chirping in the trees welcoming the new day. She got up from the ground feeling as stiff as a washboard and stretched her muscles with a groan; she hated sleeping on the ground. Her mouth was dry and felt like she had swallowed a large spoonful of dirt, and her head pounded ever so slightly. She staggered down to the creek and kneeling by the waters edge cupped handfuls of water into her mouth for several minutes until the thirst had finally been sated. She then splashed some water over her face and down her neck making her feel a little less groggy from sleep.

Kitty then staggered back to where her pack and saddle were on the ground and again took out the small, and ever decreasing, amount of food. Having a couple of mouthfuls of bread she broke off a small piece of cheese and put it in her pocket. Packing away the rest of her meagre supplies Kitty grabbed a piece of leather thong from her pack, then grabbed up her wealth of hair, tying it back from her face in a rough pony tail. She then set about putting the saddle and pack back onto her horse’s back and setting off back on the road to Bree at a brisk trot. Pulling the cheese out of her pocket and nibbling on it along the way.

It was about 5 miles down the road that Kitty’s horse suddenly lurched forward, almost sending Kitty flying over its head. Kitty quickly dismounted and found that her horse was suddenly limping, holding one of it’s forelegs up by resting it lightly on the ground on the tip of the hoof. Kitty cursed the air and grabbed up the hoof looking at it. There it was, an offending stone had gone and got itself wedged into the horse’s foot. Kitty pried at it with her fingers without success so she went off to the tree line and grabbed a stout stick, returning to the foot she managed to lever the stone out using the stick, but the horse’s foot was badly bruised and had a small cut; so it refused to walk on it. Kitty looked back down the long stretch of road that she had just come up; she knew the gang of cut-throats would more than likely be back on that road by now looking for her. She scratched her head, thinking, she had to keep moving so there was only one thing to do.
Kitty grabbed her pack off the horse and threw it over her shoulder, fastening the reins to a tree she then took the horse’s saddle off and threw it down on the ground. She gave the horse a scratch on the nose then walked off up the road leaving the horse to be picked up by whom ever happened to come along, hopefully they would treat the cut so it would heal, but Kitty couldn’t wait that long. She had to get as far away as possible; as fast as possible.
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Wed May 21, 2008 9:40 am

Having finished the stew and putting a restraining hand on Bril as he attempted to literally lick the inside of the bowl, Fionavar turned her attention back to Robin. The celebration in Gondor was no secret, half of Middle Earth or better would eventually find their way there and a great traveling companion was something to be grateful for.

"We are also traveling to Gondor for the Celebration, Robin. I know it is rather early to start, but the way is long and I have never seen Middle Earth. Ents, Hobbits, Elves." The girl let the words run dreamily through her imagination.

"We are certain to see more of my kind and surely what elves are left would be there as well. I don't know about the Ents, it is also my passion to meet them." Robins words broke Fionavar's revelry and she sensed that Bril was no longer at the table with them.

When she spotted him, he was circling the innkeepers dog. Their eyes were locked as if preparing for battle. The hair on Bril's head was actually standing up in places.

"Oh dear," I think we should continue this conversation in the morning before our friend bites the hand that has fed us, so to speak." She felt herself blush to her roots.

Robin groaned at the pun, but his nod showed his approval. In fact, it was Robin who laid a steadying hand on Bril and as soon as the eye contact was broken, the other canine bolted for the door. "My friend," began Robin, "really you must at least make an effort to not pick fights indoors, it is considered rude to say the least." Robin smiled to show he was teasing the traveling companion.

Bril, frowned and as soon as it had come it was replaced with a goofy grin. "Are we leaving now?" The night had scents on it that conveyed a wealth of fun for the frolicking sort.

"No, we are sleeping now." Fionavar pulled his ear in the direction of the rooms they had been assigned. At the doors, which were across the hallway from each other, she bade them good evening. "I think we should like to accompany you to Bree and see how it goes from there, okay?"

"Good enough, tomorrow I shall introduce you to Gwaeryn," Robin looked pointedly at Bril. "Until then, we bid you good sleep." The pair closed the door to their room as Fionavar looked at hers.

It was not a large room, but the bed looked comfortable and there was fresh water in the washstand and a pot for the necessary. "Good enough," she yawned to no one and stripped to her underclothing. The bed was indeed warm and soft enough to put her into a sound sleep in just a few moments.
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Postby ^Aramir^ » Thu May 22, 2008 3:14 pm

Ilarieth was nothing if not an agreeable travelling companion, but Aramir was beginning to get the impression that he still hadn't met the real Ilarieth, and that the woman riding in front of him was just sort of a facade, an actress able to assume any mask for whatever the situation required. He wasn't quite sure why he felt this way; years of hiding his own identity had made him pretty good at reading others, at knowing when a person was sincere and when he was just playing a role. Ilarieth seemed to exude this falsity, and yet at the same time Aramir couldn't quite convince himself that there was anything at all under the mask. It was as though stripping away all of her layers would leave him with nothing at all. It seemed to him like the girl was just a compilation of different personalities without any discernible basis--and the more he thought about this, the guiltier he felt for thinking it. After all, what was he these days but whomever anyone expected him to be at the time? Just a smiling face, hiding his own secrets underneath? So Ilarieth has something to hide. He shook his head and ran a hand over Narmo's flanks. Who doesn't?

"So, um, Aramir?" She turned and glanced up at him, the expression shy while the motion was bold and confident.

"Tired of riding?" he asked, hoping she would say yes. He'd been ready to stop for an hour now, but hadn't been willing to admit it to her. Travelling with someone else was oddly constraining; at the very least, it was making him think about his usual routine--which was, in essence, whatever he felt like doing. Somehow, having Ilarieth there, he felt like he couldn't just ride until he was tired, fall off his horse, and make camp. It seemed too...well, too something undesirable and inappropriate to the current situation.

She nodded, embarrassment painted on her face now. "Yes. But if you'd like to keep going, that's all right with me. After all, I'm the one imposing on you; I'm sorry I'm not used to riding so much."

"Don't worry about it!" He shook his head, dark hair falling into his eyes; he reached up to brush it away, removing one arm from where it had been resting around her waist. "I was rather tired of sitting up here too. But don't tell Narmo," he added with a wink.

She grinned back. "I just might. Anything to prevent him from turning his wrath on me and my possessions again."

"You wouldn't!" he gasped, recoiling so far as to nearly topple off the end of the gelding, who shifted uncomfortably under Aramir's sudden loss of balance. He would have been fine if Narmo, having decided he'd found the proper camping spot (or perhaps that he was tired of his rider's antics), hadn't halted just then. Unprepared and already off-centre, Aramir felt himself rolling forward, sideways, and then into the dust with an unceremonial "Oof!"

Laughter erupted from Ilarieth. Narmo snorted, satisfied to have been relieved of his burden. Aramir just rolled his eyes.

"That'll be the second time he's sent me into the dust today," he muttered as he picked himself up and helped his companion dismount. "I think he's out to make me look ridiculous in front of you."

Ilarieth smirked and twirled her long braid around her arm. "It's working," she teased.

Fronting resentment at his horse, Ar slid the rest of their belongings onto his shoulders and trudged into the woods, beckoning Ilarieth to follow him. "Well, maybe I can regain credibility if I make a good enough meal. Narmo hates my cooking, but, you know, he's a horse."

The girl bounded to his side and beamed up at him. "I'd say so! About the credibility, I mean. It's been so long since I've had a good meal. Ever since I left my home..." She trailed off and hung her head on her chest, fiddling with the tail of her braid as she walked. The transformation from energetic young woman to helpless girl was complete in a manner of seconds--it was impressive, whatever else.

One fire and three fish later, Ar was closer to getting his reputation back--at least his reputation as a good cook. Affirming his ability as a horseman (and a person with some semblance of balance) was going to take some more work, but he had time for that. And if not, well, it didn't really matter whether or not Ilarieth thought he was a fool. As long as she didn't think he was an exiled Gondorian, it didn't really matter.

"So," he began, pulling the nearest fish from the fire and handing it to Ilarieth. "If you don't mind my asking... how did you end up out here, anyway?"
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Postby Tygarya » Thu May 22, 2008 4:57 pm

Kitty trudged along the road for another hour without seeing anyone. What she did find though was a large prickly mass of blackberry brambles, ripe and ready for the picking. Taking out her kerchief that her meagre food supplies were wrapped in she went about the task of collecting the blackberries and stacking them neatly in a pile on the cloth, intermitantly broken by the occasional one going into her mouth.
It was about 5 minutes into the joyous task that Kitty heard the jingling sounds of a wagon and horse coming along the road from the direction of Bree. She stopped her collecting, pulling the leather cord out of her hair so it fell about her shoulders and adjusting her clothing slightly. She watched as the sounds turned into visuals as the wagon rounded a corner about 200 metres further up the road. Kitty grinned and waited as a jolly looking old hobbit came into view taking his barrels of ale to Fornost.
He slowed the wagon as he approached Kitty, his eyes showing slight apprehension, but still smiling and friendly.
Kitty knew her saviour had arrived and played the scene accordingly, being nice. She tucked her hair behind her ears.
“Ho there, it be a long way on this road to anywhere to be on foot and alone?”
Kitty stepped forward and came up beside the horse, placing a hand on its rump.
“I had a horse, it went lame on me, about an hour back on the road, I had to leave it there, I’m in a bit of a hurry to get to Bree”
“In such a hurry that you left your food behind too?” The hobbit asked merrily looking at the pile of berries and bread on the cloth beside the road.
Kitty responded with a light musical laugh.
“Unfortunately I have miscalculated the distance I’m afraid, my food is fast running out, thank goodness for these blackberry brambles”
The Hobbit looked at the sky a moment and muttered almost to himself.
“Well it seems to be almost time for second breakfast” he looked back at Kitty who was smiling ever so sweetly at him. “Care to join me Miss…?”
Kitty’s grin turned into a full beam.
“ Kitty, and would I ever, but let me pay you for the deed.”
The hobbit looked mortified.
“Pay? Never, I insist on you joining me for polite conversation in exchange for food, my name is Ted Longbottom, I work at the new brewery in Bree. Do you like ale?”
Kitty screwed her face up.
“Not really”
The hobbit grinned.
“Neither do I, give me a nice cup of tea any day.”
Kitty didn’t enlighten the hobbit to what kind of drink she would prefer, but it wasn’t tea.

The hobbit got off his cart and walked his horse over to the side of the road. He then went to the back of the cart and lifted a large canvas bag from the back. Handing it to Kitty he then grabbed a blanket and laid it out on the grass beside the road, near to the blackberry brambles, under the shade of a large tree. Taking the bag back again, he then opened it and while muttering to himself he started taking out plates of food that had been carefully piled up and displaying them on the blanket.
Kitty watched with glee as she saw plates of bread, cheese, cold meats, cake, biscuits and pastries plus pottles of honey and jam. He glanced up at Kitty.
“Would you be so good as to start a small fire, then I can make tea” he asked with a friendly grin.
“Sure, no problem” Kitty set about collecting sticks from around the nearby trees and piling them up, then collecting her tinder and flint she soon had a lovely small fire going on the side of the road. She then set up a couple of forked, stout sticks either side of the fire, the hobbit merchant then sat an iron pole across the sticks and had a small cast iron pot full of water dangling underneath it, just above the fire.
Once they had everything set they sat down on the small space available on the blanket and started to feast. It was the best food Kitty had tasted in a very long time and she made sure she tried a bit of all of it.
“So, what is a lovely lady like you doing out here all by herself?” The hobbit asked.
Kitty just about choked on the piece of bread she had just put in her mouth. Hobbits were indeed a poor judge of character, far too trusting and friendly. Even after all that had happened all those years ago with the war.
“Like I said trying to get to Bree”
“You do know it’s at least another 3 days on foot, you can’t do it with no food” The hobbit said seriously, they always took food seriously.
“Well I was hoping I could perhaps buy some off you?”
The hobbit wiped some honey off his chin, just as the kettle started to whistle that the water was boiling. He reached over and took the iron rod with the kettle off the sticks, and placed it on the ground. He grabbed some tea leaves from a small pouch and sprinkled them into the water. The aroma of the tea filled the air. The hobbit then got up and walked back to his cart, Kitty watched as he shuffled around in his packs, then he came back and sat down again. He reached out and handed Kitty a small leaf wrapped parcel.
“Here you go, this will get you to Bree”
“What is it?” Kitty asked dubiously, slowly picking at the knots of string holding the leaves, but not actually untying it.
“It is Lembas, I always travel with it. Ever since I first heard Frodo’s story”
“How do you come by something that only the elves can make?” Kitty asked a bit in awe of the little hobbit.
He grinned and merely placed a finger to the side of his nose.
Kitty laughed, she understood. He wouldn’t ask any more questions about what she was doing here, if she didn’t ask him questions about Lembas. Perhaps this hobbit wasn’t quite as unworldly as he had first seemed.
They finished their meal in short order and the hobbit then set about clearing away the plates and stacking them carefully back into his pack, and placing it carefully back into the cart. Kitty extinguished the fire with a little water from the hobbit’s canteen and placed the Lembas and blackberries into her pack, hefting it up on her shoulder.
“Would you do me at least one more favour?” Kitty asked then as the hobbit got back up into the front of his cart.
He looked at her questioningly.
“I would like it very much if you would take my horse into your care, if she is still there on the side of the road”
“Indeed I will, it was lovely to meet you Miss Kitty”
“And you Mr Longbottom, you certainly have made my day, and my journey, but please do be careful, there are thieves and brigands on this road”
“Aye, I do be careful” The hobbit said as he gave a wave and jingled the reins to get his horse moving off down the road.
“Not nearly as careful as you need to be” Kitty muttered to herself.
Kitty watched him go for a moment then turned and started her walk again, feeling much better for a fuller stomach, she knew she would be able to walk into the night.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Thu May 22, 2008 5:31 pm

Robin woke up refreshed after an uninterrupted night of sleep. It was good getting up at a reasonable hour, without that overzealous eagle friend of his waking him up at the crack of dawn, so eager to be going on for their next adventure. He was sure Gwaeryn was up and about, and would meet them at the south end of Fornost.

He washed up and put on his clothes and his traveling cloak, checking his pack to see what he had and what he needed.

Leaving the room, he went to the Common Room to find Fionavar and Bril already waiting for him. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting long."

"No." said Fionavar. "We've already ordered breakfast."

"Great! I'm hungry." said Robin. Soon, the proprieter came with a tray full of food for them, and things to drink.

"So when do we meet your eagle?" asked Brin.

"He'll be meeting us when we leave the town." said Robin. "I want to go to the market place first to pick up some supplies. I'd advise all of you to be on your guard. There are pickpockets and cutpurses there that would rob you blind and you wouldn't know it happened until you found yourself picked clean."

Bril looked as if he had spent a profitable night, checking out the sights, sounds and scents of the town when he wasn't asleep.

Robin then took a confidential tone. "By the way, Bril, I already know of your...ability. Gwaeryn saw you change, and told me about it. It's no problem with me. I hope we can be friends."

Bril said nothing, just smiled.

They finished and got up from the table. "Do you mind walking? It's about five days between here and Bree."

"Not at all." said Robin. "I thought of hiring ponies or horses in your case, but Gwaeryn would be jealous. He's got a thing about horses." he said as he said goodbye to Beregond and paid him for his trouble.

"He dislikes them?" asked Bril.

"No, he loves them." answered the hobbit. "For breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Don't worry, Caloo is safe. He's already said he won't touch the pony, even if he says it would be too stringy for his taste. You should have seen the trouble we got into in Rohan when he ate one of their best horses. The Lord of the Mark was furious. I had to clean out stables for a month as punishment. But at least we left on good terms."

They picked up supplies at the market-place as well as some choice bones for Bril, and were off on their journey.

As they passed the gates and were on their way, Robin waved. Soon, there was a gust of air from the eagle's wings as Gwaeryn landed beside the road.

"Gwaeryn, this is Fionavar of Evendim."

"Mae goevannen." said the eagle, bowing his head.

"This is Bril, her friend and mine."

"Well met." said Gwaeryn. Bril looked at the eagle in awe. He looked bigger in person than when he saw him land the day before.

"Of course this is Caloo, their pack-pony."

The eagle grinned. "Hello, delicious." he said. The pony shied a little.

"Now, Gwaeryn, behave yourself!" said CR, his hands on his hips.

"Fear not, the pony is safe with me." Looking at Fionavar, he said "But if the pony ever fails to satisfy you, let me know." Robin rolled his eyes. That eagle was irrepressible. "I assume you already had breakfast. Any news on the road ahead?"

"Oh, yes," said the eagle, licking his beak. "Somebody was very kind in leaving breakfast for me beside the road. Abandoned a horse there and all for me. It was lame anyway, so I was doing it a favor. Speaking of meals, there is a band of cutthroats, bandits prowling the road. They seem to be looking for somebody. They're not too bright, more brawn than brains, but keep your eyes open. I will. They're already missing one horse, and will probably miss more as you journey on." he laughed. "Other than that, just the usual fare of travelers. I assume you intend to walk instead of fly with me?"

"For now, my friend." said CR. "It will be a little delay, but we'll make it to Bombadil's house. They want to see the old fellow as well."

"He'd be glad of the company." said the Eagle. "I'll be watching you, and will come if there's any trouble."

Robin pulled out his sword, the companion of Sting. It was glittering slightly on the edges. "Not close, but not too far either. We'd best keep an eye open."

"Gwaeryn," said Bril, finding words at last. "There's something I'd like to know."
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