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Old 03-24-2020, 10:13 AM   #14
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 2,965
Mithadan has been trapped in the Barrow!
*knock, knock.

Mithadan groaned and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. What was that sound? The sun was barely up, and he had not even had any coffee. Heed no nightly noises, he thought, and rolled over.

*knock, knock.

Mithadan sat up in his bed and shook his head. Groggily, he took account of his protesting joints. Low back pain, check. Creaking knees…. Then the springtime pollen did its magic and he sneezed. In response, a small dragon curled atop a bookshelf hissed quietly. Then, having ascertained that nothing justified her attention, the dragon hid her head under a wing.

“Good morning, Bird,” Mithadan muttered.

*knock, knock.

Shambling across the room, he entered the foyer and cracked open the door. On his doorstep stood a short (height-challenged, he corrected in an automatic and well-ingrained spasm of political correctness), bearded figure, dressed in a brown tunic and breeches, with a blue cape and matching hood.

“Begging your pardon, sir,” the Dwarf said. “Special delivery for you, sir.” Mithadan accepted the packet and passed a coin to the messenger. With a bow, the Dwarf trudged off. Mithadan noted that his pouch was bulging with similar packages. He squinted at the parcel in his hands, but it revealed no secrets. He took up a knife, opened the envelope, and began to read.

“Estelyn?” he mused. “I’ve not spoken to her in years.” Then he frowned as he read the balance of the message. “A party?” he exclaimed. “She knows that I vowed never to do such a thing again after the Downie Awards. When was that?”

He walked over to a wall covered with pictures and framed papers. Among them was a picture of several figures standing upon a red carpet, waving to a crowd. There he stood, with Piosenniel, Cami and Bethberry. Underneath was a small bronze label which read “Downie Awards, May, 2003.”

“2003?” he exclaimed? “That long ago?” His gaze returned to the picture and he smiled. Next to it was a picture of Kuruharan and Gravlox the Uruk discussing something of great importance with Barrow-Wight, Squatter, and Saucepan Man. In the background were Diamond, Lush, Amanaduial, Maikadilwen and Mark12_30. His smile grew broader as other names came to his mind unbidden. Then his gaze was drawn to a set of newspaper clippings and his smile vanished.

“The Hobbiton Garden Club to Protest Marileangorifurnimaluim's 'Hobbit Sex Ed' Article” read one. “Half-Elves to Sue for Equal Rights,” read another. He read on among the succession of headlines. “Shield Maidens Rise Up; RPG Management Unfair!; Admins Discriminate Against Legofans!; Too Strict; Not Strict Enough; Gay Sub-text, Yes or No?”

Mithadan shut his eyes as a flood of less-pleasant memories arrived. The cliques, the rivalries, the protests, the lawsuits, the spam, the bot attacks all replayed in his mind. The old weariness settled in again. His shoulders slumped and the corners of his mouth tilted downward.

“Nope!” he cried. “Not me. Not again. Good morning! No parties needed here, thank you.” He let the invitation drop to the floor and turned away, planning to stalk off to the kitchen and put up a pot of coffee, only to jump in surprise. There, hovering before his face, was the tiny dragon, Bird, with eyes ablaze and trails of smoke trickling from her nostrils.

“Coward,” she hissed. “A little adversity and you slink away with your tail between your legs.”

“I have no tail,” he replied, stepping past the wyrm.

“No spine either!”

“I got tired!” he exclaimed. “I had other things to do; other concerns. I didn’t have time for it anymore! And I still don’t!”

“This isn’t 2003,” she replied. “The movies are over. The fair-weather fans are gone. Those that remain are those who care.”

Mithadan scowled. “Have you seen how few there are? There’s nothing new under the sun. Everything has been discussed.”

The dragon perched upon his shoulder. “Hmpph,” Bird grunted. “I seem to recall you issuing a challenge a while back. ‘Open the books to any page! Within a few paragraphs, you’ll find something to discuss! Open a new topic!’”

“That was years ago,” he responded. “Before the social media explosion. Before everyone had better things to do.”

“What about you?” she hissed. “Do you have anything better to do? Yes, I know you have other things to do, but anything better?” She took the collar of his tunic in her teeth and dragged him back to the wall. “Look! Look here!”

In a frame was a piece of fine parchment covered with elegant writing. It read:


On May 1, 2002, the forums at the Barrow-Downs reached the ripe (and I do mean ripe!) old age of TWO! While the site itself is a bit older, the second anniversary of the opening of the forums is a cause to CELEBRATE!!!!! Therefore, we will have a PARTY in celebration of the second birthday (uh, deathday?) of the Barrow-Downs forums and all members are invited!!!!!

PLACE: The Fields of Cormallen (the Freestyle RPG Room in a thread to be opened there).

TIME: Monday, May 20, 2002 beginning at 9:00am until ????

DRESS: Formal Middle Earth Wear.

There will be an open bar, and meals will be served buffet style.



“Twenty years?” he whispered. “TWENTY YEARS!”

He rushed back into his bedroom, opened a chest and removed a carefully wrapped parcel. Placing it on his bench, he unwrapped it. Mithadan smiled as a grey velvet jerkin, a white ruffled shirt and a royal blue pair of breeches were revealed. “Good thing I had them laundered,” he said with a grin.

“Think they’ll still fit?” smirked Bird. “You’ve been a bit over-fond of your ale and porter recently…”
Beleriand, Beleriand,
the borders of the Elven-land.
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