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Old 09-03-2003, 11:26 AM   #1
piosenniel
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25 October

Elven Warrior's post

Assiram threw open the door of the Prancing Pony and walked towards Bill Ferny's usual seat in the dark corner across the room. As he briskly walked across the Common Room, Assiram never took his eyes off Bill's table, and pushed past anyone in his way without a second glance, for there was money to be made this night.

When, he reached the corner, Assiram noticed Bill sitting with his back in the corner, as he was apt to do of late, and one of Bill's many southern friends sitting on the opposite side of the small round table. Assiram stared down the southerner, his gaze seeming burn a hole through the man of the south. Finally the southerner looked stupidly at Assiram, who said simply,"Get up. You're in my seat." The southerner disregarded him and turned back to Bill. Assiram's arm suddenly lashed out and put the southerner on the ground in a heap.

Assiram then calmly took his place at the table across from Bill and said," So you're back in Bree, eh, Ferny. What kind of a job have you got for me?"

"I'm only back for a short while," Ferny said. Then switching to a businesslike tone he said,"There've been a few hobbits who won't quite submit to Sharkey. They're not giving him all they owe. I need you to find them, and if they still won't follow the Rules, then make an example of them and I can guarantee you'll be well paid. Here's a list of them." Ferny slid a piece of paper across the table to Assiram.

"I'd better be well paid, unless you'd like your head to roll,"Assiram replied, standing to leave.

"We'll leave in the morning, then," said Bill, knowing this meant "yes".

[ September 22, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:27 AM   #2
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25 October

Burzdol's post

Helios ran through the slightly crowded streets, trying to find Bill. Of course, he knew that the man would be in the Prancing Pony, but Bill had been acting strange. Deciding to give up his search, Helios went into a back alley to see if he could make some money.

"Hey, who are you?" a man called from the shadows.

"Just an innocent gambler, and you?" Helios replied.

"Well then, you came to the right place," the man pushed aside a cloth covering to reveal a doorway. The he started, "So what'll it be? We got a gambler's every single wish her..hey, where you goin'?"

Helios walked away because sitting in the corner gambling was none other than, Bill Ferny.

Helios sat down at his usual corner seat, on the other side of the room from Bill Ferny. He had just started to doze, when Assiram came into the Prancing Pony. The young man watched the meeting as it came to be. As soon as Assiram left, Helios walked over to Bill Ferny.

"Ah, back in Bree, eh? What's the job?" Helios asked before his boss even spoke.

"I'm only back for a short while," Ferny said. Then switching to a businesslike tone he said,"There've been a few hobbits who won't quite submit to Sharkey. They're not giving him the respect they owe. I need you to find them, and if they still won't follow the Rules, then make an example of them and I can guarantee you'll be well paid. Here's a list of them," he said as Bill handed Helios a paper, "I told this exact same speech to the man that just left. Assiram is his na..."

"I know who he is. So how much does this pay? It better pay well."

The men greeted and spoke and soon got on the talk of payment, "So how much you going to pay me?"

"Depends on how well you do."

*********************************************

Helios started to plan as soon as Ferny walked out. Thinking of what he'd do with the money he could earn. He joined his companions at a table in a dark corner and talked about the plan over a beer.

[ September 24, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:28 AM   #3
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25 October

*Arwen*'s post

Ahriman slowly slid out from behind the tree and crouched in the undergrowth as he watched Helios leave. He hadn’t seen Helios since the day he left Ferny either, I wonder what Ferny is up to?
He waited until Helios had disappeared into the darkness before he slipped out and into the darkness of the building. He could see the figure of Ferny in the corner and wondered whether he had seen him yet.

“Ah, Ahriman, I wondered when you’d be getting here.” Ferny turned and grinned a yellow-stained toothy grin.
Ahriman stepped out from the shadows,
“I see you haven’t changed a bit Ferny, still as sharp as ever.”

Ferny gave another of his grins and beckoned Ahriman over. He came obediently; it was not a good idea to get on the wrong side of Ferny – especially when he has positioned himself between you and the door.

“What up then Ferny? Why have you called me here?” Ahriman tried to stay control of the situation. He was not going to let Ferny walk all over him, not like last time.

“We seem to have a few hobbits that won’t submit to Sharkey. I really need some help to control them. I have already sent Helios out to find them and I would like you to join him. You two are my best – I know I can rely on you.”

Ahriman sneered, he had never liked Helios.
“What about the pay? It was really rubbish last time. I’m not working for that little money again!” Ahriman was starting to feel good. That would show Ferny.

“Do not worry my lad, just take this list and go.”

Ahriman sneered and grabbed the paper.

“So its just me and Helios?” he asked, he wanted to be sure.

“Actually, no. There is one other man. His name is Assiram, do you know him?”

Ahriman remembered vaguely hearing the name from someone, might have been Helios.

“Don’t think so.” He said, pushing the crumpled paper into his pocket.

Ferny turned around to pick up another piece of paper that had fallen of his lap.

“Ok then you can….” He began and then stopped, Ahriman was gone. Ferny leaned back in his chair slowly, a smile forming on his lips. This was going to be good.

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:29 AM   #4
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26 October

Lyra's post - Bill Ferny

“Well, will you tell me the pay now?”

Bill smiled in a way that had nothing to do with amusement. Here was Helios, and he could see the shadowy figures of Assiram and Ahriman approaching too. Waiting until they had reached him, Bill named a figure.

“Are you joking?” Ahriman asked, without amusement.
“You’ll be going after the richest family in that rich little land” Bill added lazily. “You might not even want to claim your pennies”

He watched as one by one the men in front of him nodded or grunted assent.
“Very well” he said with a vague approximation at haste. “I’m off on horseback, Sharkey’s orders, to get a few of Sharkey’s little feather-capped stooges to help you out. It’ll take you four days to get to where you’re going. Known as the “Tookland”, right?”

After a few more mumbles of comprehension Bill repeated his hollow smile and walked off to get his nag for the journey back to the land of rich pickings.

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:30 AM   #5
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27 October

Imladris' post

Two men, pipes hanging from their mouths and heads wreathed in bluish grey smoke, studied a light brown board checked with black intently; carved chess pieces of mahogany stood in military array upon the different squares. Well, at least one of the players was technically a man, the other was a fairly wealthy hobbit.

Snickering slyly, the man, Bill Ferny by name, smoothly threatened Olo Underfoot’s king with a queen. Rotten yellow teeth revealed themselves in a gloating sneer as Bill leaned back in his chair and blew a cloud of smoke into the sky. “Check, Olo.”

Olo grimaced slightly at the board and blew a smoke ring from his fat lips. Rubbing his pudgy tanned hands thoughtfully, Olo considered Bill with a pair of rich brown eyes. Ferny was a clever man, but Olo knew that he was smarter than the sallow faced man that crowed in early pride before him. With a shrug, Olo said, “You are not lackin‘ in brains, Billy. Though I must admit ye had me worried when ye took up with them southern men. Thought ye was a fool and I imagined that ye would loose everything you possessed, even though that was precious little. I see I was wrong.” He fingered his brass buttons thoughtfully before he added, “Thanks to ye, I’m richer than I ever thought possible. Technically, o’ course, it was all because o’ Sharkey. ’Twas a happy day for the Shire when he came.”

Bill Ferny laughed scornfully and said, “That’s not the tune you were dancing to when he first came. You were all afraid that Sharkey would ruin the Shire, and look at ya now: one of Sharkey’s best men.”

“That’s because ye opened me eyes, mate. ‘Twas ye that showed me that Sharkey really meant to improve the Shire, this poor land that wallowed in its unchanged state and that plodded contentedly on in ignorance of great mechanical advances. If it weren’t for ye, I’d be starving in some dank cell, becoming thinner and thinner and yearnin‘ for a bit o‘ smoke.” Olo jiggled his fat stomach appreciatively and patted a leather tobacco pouch which was stuffed so full with Leaf that it threatened to burst its seams. Glancing at the board, he countered Bill Ferny’s move with his knight and watched in unrestrained glee as Ferney’s smugness faded and was replaced with irritation.

Swiftly moving a pawn, Ferny said, “Not all the Shire folk think as we do.” Nodding towards Tookland, he said, “Thain Paladin is making plenty of trouble. Tomorrow, you and two of your fellow shirrifs are goin' to have a meeting in the morning.”

With a disdainful scoff, Olo replied, “I’m goin’ over with two o’ my fellow shirrif to see to him, try an‘ convince him to our side, if ye know what I mean. If they refuse,” he said with a careless shrug and a forefinger swiping at his throat, “Sharkey will see to ’im, Under his finger, the Tooks will bend an’ bend ’till they snap.” With a flourish, Olo maneuvered his queen to a black square and peered triumphantly into Bill Ferny‘s yellow face. “Checkmate.”

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:31 AM   #6
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27 October

Arvedui's post

The guardhouse, comfortably warm in the thickly cold night, made Brass Stonetoe inadvertently smile. "Ahh fire." He muttered as he pulled on the iron knocker. A shadowy man twice his size gave him a black-toothed grin and waved him inside. Even two weeks ago the sight of this behemoth would have been enough to send him into a stuttering ball of fear; but now he only nodded stepped inside. A great "Hoohhh!" washed over him, and Brass ambled over to the table where Bill Ferny and Olo Underfoot were playing chess. He blinked, Horribly bothersome game, chess. Straining to see what the big to-do was about.

Olo, beaming as though his birthday had come early, declared so all the cramped guardhouse could hear, "Checkmate." Brass clapped automatically along with everyone else in the room, it wasn't really important; but everyone else was doing it, so Brass figured he should do it too. He was just about ready to sit down for a good after-supper when, "Olbard!" An imperious voice made Brass turn, his blue eyes looking unfocused around the room. "Behind you." The voice corrected, pointedly.

"Oh." Brass turned and ogled at Olo Underfoot. "Sorry, I- how did you do that?" Olo's sharp brown eyes were alight with mirth. "Never mind, listen," He lowered his voice conspiratorially, "Tomorrow, you want to come with me to Tookland?" It wasn't a question, really. It was a statement. But still Brass furrowed his eyebrows. "Why?" "'Cause we're gonna straiten them out." That seemed fairly straightforward. "Okay." Olo broke into a wide grin, and handed him a hunk of cheese. "Then be at the usual spot in the morning, and not after elevenses, mind you." The other hobbit added shrewdly. That stung, but Brass looked at the wonderfully warm cheese in his hand and chose not to complain. "Sure, I know the score." His fellow sherif chuckled as he turned and walked away. "Sure you do."

He shrugged. Olo was planning something, he always was. But Brass was indifferent to it. So long as the good food kept coming, whatever he had to do, he'd do it. No sense in causing any bother, but as Brass sat down to revel in his cheese, he wondered why the Tooks didn't know that.

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:31 AM   #7
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28 October

Child's post

Hob crouched lower in his seat as he saw Bill Ferny pick up the paper with the names of the Shirriffs who were being sent to Tookland to "put the Thain in his place". He could not think of a worse assignment than this. All his old friends from home would see what he was doing in the employ of the Shirriffs and give him a mighty earful.

Plus, he couldn't imagine standing up to the Thain. It would be downright rude and ungrateful. On any number of occasions, Paladin had graciously extended a helping hand to his parents to get them through the tough times. He remembered being caught stealing a chicken out of the Took's henhouse when the drought was on, and his little brother was so hungry. Not only had Paladin agreed not to punish him; he'd actually had the missus roast the bird in the oven with that nice, savory gravy she made so well and send it home with a little note for his mother that didn't even mention what he'd actually been doing. It made Hob's mouth water even to think about it.

But that was not the worst of it. If he went to Tookland and harassed the Thain, his bride-to-be Cami would certainly learn what had happened. And she would not be pleased. Cami had practically grown up in the hallowed halls of Bag-end, learning her letters and numbers at Bilbo's kitchen table. She had been friendly with Frodo and his friends before they'd gone away, and was sure to complain about any ill treatment of Pippin's father, the 'mighty' Paladin II.

Hob crouched lower as the names were read off to the assembled Shirriffs, groaning quietly under his breath: Olbard Stonetoe....Olo Underfoot. Those hobbits were great admirers of Ferny and his crew, the sort of Shirriffs who might even be snitches. Whoever went with them would have to watch their back.

Hob closed his eyes tight and clenched his fists around the arms of his chair. Then he looked up in shock as Ferny read out the final name on the list....Hob Fields! Hob Fields? Hob moaned inwardly, then plastered a smile across his face and hastily jumped up. "Oh, yes sir. Thank you, Mister Ferny. I'll be pleased to help carry out this important duty." Inside he was screaming a loud 'no', but that would get him nowhere except the Lockholes. If he valued his neck, he'd better play along with Ferny and the other Shirriffs and try to see where all this was leading.

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:32 AM   #8
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28 October

Lyra's post - Bill Ferny

“I need to talk to the chosen Hobbits” Bill announced after the usual duty postings and reprimands. “The rest of you get back to duty”

He watched the three who remained in their seats as the rest filed out silently. Two were of the new order, the future of Hobbits. One still seemed to resist. His loyalty would have to be tested or his spirit broken.

“Well” he said with a leering grin “you’re all very lucky. Them Tooks have had far too much freedom to disrespect our Chief, but you will at last get to put them down. You’ll set off tomorrow morning and watch them. There’s a few men who’ll meet you there. And when all the Tooks are… gone you’ll have the chance to fight it out with my men over who gets the booty!”

He watched the looks on the Hobbit’s faces. They all looked a little uncomfortable. Might be fear, could be that they didn’t want to do it.
“Any problems?” he asked, leaning down threateningly.
“No no” they all said hastily.
“Go on then” Bill answered, and watched them scurry out the door.

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:33 AM   #9
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28 October

Lyra's post - Paladin

Paladin gazed with ill-concealed annoyance into the little container half full of the best Longbottom Leaf.

“Eglantine!” he called towards an open, round door.

“Yes Paladin?” His wife answered as she bustled cheerfully into the room.

“My tobacco box has not been filled. It’s less than halfway full.” Eglantine fidgeted with her gown, eyes suddenly fixed on the floor at her feet.

“Eglantine?” Paladin asked in a commanding voice, irritation growing.
Why in Heaven’s name is she acting like young Pippin after one of his scrapes? he wondered grimly.

“Well, my love…You see…” her voice trailed off.

“Come, Eglantine! Surely you don’t think I will bite your head off?” Once again she shifted uneasily.

“No of course not.” She replied doubtfully. “You see Paladin, the thing is- you’ve run out”

“What?”

“It’s those ruffians. They don’t allow trade of tobacco. We’ve haven’t had any new supplies for quite some time. For the last few weeks you’re the only person who has actually had any.”

Paladin sat slowly onto his old chair. That’s all there is left? he thought disbelievingly.

There hasn’t been a shortage of Leaf since…there hasn’t been a shortage of Leaf! And they have been going without, for me. Even Adelard, I suppose! Anger bubbled to the surface. Those...men. We have to get rid of them. Coming in, changing things. Setting up that Sackville-Baggins as chief. Sackville-Baggins! I ask you, what’s wrong with traditions? The Thain has always been in charge, if anyone has to be. And the Master, in Buckland, I suppose. Sackville-Baggins. It’s not even a proper name! Baggins, yes, and even Sackville is a respectable-

“Paladin?” His wife’s voice interrupted his thoughts. He looked up. Her cheerful face was creased in worry.

“Eglantine. This has gone on for quite long enough. It’s time we showed them that Tooks will not stand for this nonsense, whatever Grubbs or Hardbottles may do. We need more Leaf. I’ll lead a party to-”

He broke off. Eglantine had, if anything, become more agitated.
“Paladin” she began slowly “Are you sure? You were always very adventurous, but don’t you think you’re perhaps…a little old?”

He looked at her sternly, then sighed. “Maybe I am at that” he admitted with a sigh, then squeezed her hand. “Well, then. Let us find some younger volunteers. Where is everyone?”

Eglantine gave him a very pointed look. “Most are eating Elevenses, Paladin.”
”Of course, of course” Paladin murmured absently “Good, good. I’ll announce it in the Dining Hall.”

Paladin walked to the front of the great dining hall slowly. It was almost completely full, and yet he knew many Hobbits were not there. There had always been many Tooks, but now they were joined by huge numbers of Hobbits who had come because only the Tooks were doing anything against the enemy. The enemy of ALL Hobbits. Paladin had had to make some hard decisions, not least the order to kill trespassers. It was always hard for a Hobbit to kill. He could understand why others had decided to put up with the occupation, but it was not in him to accept it. Everyone had to make their own choices.

The noise had died down a little on his entrance, which simply meant that Paladin could hear himself think. Speaking was another matter entirely. With a smile he picked up the heavy bell that had been lying on the top table for centuries. As long as anyone could remember it had been rung to give the news of births, deaths and marriages in the Took family. He could still remember picking it up the first time to present himself as Thain. Recently though, Paladin had used it in more serious ways- announcing his intention to oppose the invasion, giving permission to raid the dwellings and holds of the men, and ordering the death of trespassing men. It was rumoured that it had been given to the Oldbucks by the King himself, and in those days it had certainly been used for purposes like to the ones Paladin now put it to. He was proud, in a way, to be upholding the traditions of his ancestors. Yet he would swap it all to return to his previous quiet life. And the return of his son. And a batch of good Longbottom Leaf. Deliberately he rang the bell, and silence fell.

“By the sounding of the bell I call to the notice of the Took clan a matter of grave importance.” Paladin began with the traditional words. “Listen well and tell anyone who is not here, that all will hear my words.”

Here tradition ended. Paladin was grateful that his ancestors, or the Oldbucks, had had as little desire for speeches as Hobbits of today.

“My dear Tooks” he began, from his own head “and all honoured friends. I will not make a long speech. As you all know, I am an old man” He looked significantly at Eglantine, who was standing near the entrance smiling. “and all old men have certain…caprices. Friends, we have run out of Leaf. I would call upon a number of our young Hobbits to go and get some for me and my fellow old men, who, I understand, have been going without for some weeks. I ask this not only for my own gratification, but also because the interlopers have no right to disrupt our traditions. Will any volunteers please come to my study this afternoon.”

Paladin waited for the reaction. There was a few moments silence, then a thunderstorm of clapping. There was even some cheering. He smiled a satisfied smile. Yes- you could depend on Hobbits, in the end.

The first young Hobbit into his study was a lad Paladin knew very well, his nephew Josias. The name still made Paladin smile, for this scruffy lad hardly seemed to suit it. He had lived at the Smials for some years, being taught with young Peregrin and Pervinca. Finally Emmie, the sister next-older than Paladin and the tattle-tale bane of his childhood, had taken him away for fear that he was being corrupted by his cousin’s influence. Paladin very much feared that the damage had already been done, and felt it served Emmie very well. Josh had always been in awe of Pippin, and done his best to keep up with his, and young Meriadoc Brandybuck’s, pranks. Indeed, Emmie’s taking him back to Buckland could only have brought him into more contact with Meriadoc, who could have had very little as a stabilising influence. Still, Josh was a good lad. He impressed Paladin talking of his desire to rid the Shire of those men and his wish for adventure. Paladin could remember feeling similarly himself. No doubt it was inspired, at least in part, by Pippin’s going off for adventure. Paladin nodded briskly: yes, the lad would do very well. He had excelled himself in some of the raids.

“Very well lad” He cut off Josh’s flow of speech. “I will entrust you with charge of this expedition, but make sure you listen to advice. I have found that to be the secret of leadership. I want you to go to Longbottom- you know the way by the Shirebourn do you not?”

Josh nodded eagerly.

“Good, good. I want you to try to keep out of the way of everyone. No attempted heroics. I think there will be time enough for that soon. Well, go and prepare. Send in the next, won’t you”

“Thank you very much, Uncle Paladin” the lad answered, his eyes shining.
I hope you will be as happy afterwards, Paladin thought with a sigh, knitting his hands together as he watched the boy walk out. Hard decisions…

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:34 AM   #10
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28 October

Manardariel's post

“Oh my gosh, there he is!” Tim Bracegirdle lazily turned his head towards the voices and winked, smiling pleasantly. He was sitting on a little stone wall just out side the Took residence in Great Smials. Behind him, he well knew, two or three lasses of barely fifteen were spying on him. The usual. Tim squinted at the sun and, calculating it was about time for lunch, strolled inside the house. The girls followed him, much like a very gigglelish shadow, but Tim didn´t mind. On the contrary, he loved it. In the large hall, he turned around as was about to say something, something cool, when-

“Tim, there you are! Have you heard?” Melody. Of course. Tim gave a his sister a half-annoyed look as she pulled him away from hall and fanclub into a little side-off room.

“What??” He asked, curiously. “Any distant relatives? Bad news?!”

“No, no, no. There´s a shortage of leaf, and Paladin wants to send a group of youngsters off to get some. People like Doderic, and Ilberic-”

“-and me,” He finished the sentence for her. She nodded, anxiously. “You seriously think, I am going to go to through half the Shire, get myself roasted by one of those ruffians, stabbed by a shiriff and drowned in a river to bring old Paladin his leaf?” He peered at her, impatiently. Adventures, that weren´t his kind of thing. No parties on the way, and it became so boring after a while. He liked it here- lot´s of food, good ale, pretty girls...

“Tim, please! They need you! You´re such a good bowsman, and someone needs to convince the farmer to give you the leaf. You´re made for something like that, you like the outdoors, walking- and if you succeed, we´ll all have our leaf back. Please, Timmy! Please! Your brother´s can´t go, they have to stay with the farm, but please, do this! Please!” She fixed him with a pleading look, her eyes tight on his. After a pause, she lowered her voice, then added: “ Paladin´s awaiting young adventures in the study. Miss Grubb would be so impressed....”

Melody winked and left the room.

He stood there, staring. He didn´t have to go. Nobody forced him. He could go into the hall, talk a word or two with those girls, make them blush... He could make himself a nice time here, find a fishy excuse to silence his sister....he could.

You just want to save your own little bum

The voice came from the back of his head, small, defiant- disgusted. He´d never would hsve thought it was there, but it was. And Tim new, it would stay there and make his life living hell if he didn´t do anything about it.

Tim pulled up his shoulders and walked into the study.

“Hello, Tim!” Paladin smiled at him, his face round and kind much like a ripe apple.

“Good day, Sir.” Tim shoved his weigt from one foot to the other. He could do this. It wasn´t hard. He just had to say something. Appear smart and winning, so Paladin would accept him on the quest. But did he want to be accepted?

“Tim? Can I help you?” Paladin asked. Come on! Tim thought. This isn´t that hard! His mind was made up: he would go. Now all he had to do was convince Paladin of his perfect skills for this.

“Sir, it´s been a pleasure for me to stay at your house for all this time. I- I´ve been wondering if there was a way for me to return that kindness to you. And... there appears to be one indeed!” Tim smiled, and dropped his head slightly, enough to appear bold, but not enough to look silly or down-putting. “Sir, it would be a great pleasure for me to organize leaf for you.” He continued, his eyes fixing Paladin with a winning smile. “I´m a rather good bowsman, if I may say so- and as I said it would be a great pleasure for me. Would you- would you consider me? I´d be honored, Sir. It would be something I could still tell my grandchildren about.” My grandchildren! Like I even want children in the first place!

But Paladin seemed charmed. He got up and put his hand on Tim´s, his eyes shining with affection. “Thank you, Tim. I´d be happy to have you. I will not forget it.”

Tim smiled and left the study. In the hall, he turned to the livingroom where, sure enough, he found cousin Doderic. “Hey, Dode! I´m going on adventure!” His voice was casual, and only Doderic could tell it was raised above normal standards. Laura had just passed by.

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:35 AM   #11
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28 October

Niluial's post

Niluial sighed as she opened the door to her cottage. She didn’t want to admit it but she felt very lonely often and wished she had some more company. She liked to visit Melody Bracegirdle for the exact reason that she was Tim Bracegirdle’s sister. She looked at the clock… my time does fly she thought.

Niluial sat on her couch and watched out the window. Little hobbits were picking berries, others were singing and some were playing games. “Oh get a grip of yourself Niluial! Please you are strong and though. Stop sulking find something to do!” she said to herself in an irritated voice. She fixed her hair and picked up a basket on her way out "picking flowers might be fun" She said to herself.

On her way back she saw the Took residence. A grand tall, rather beautiful building. In the distance she saw Melody looking rather irritated. She decided to walk up to her but before Niluial knew it Melody was inside. She saw a window open and decided to go see what Melody was doing. She snuck up and leaned against the wall, right next to the window and listened to what Melody said… “No, no, no. There’s a shortage of leaf, and Paladin wants to send a group of youngsters off to get some. People like Doderic, and Ilberic-”

“-and me,” a young mans voice said.

“You seriously think, I am going to go to through half the Shire, get myself roasted by one of those ruffians, stabbed by a shiriff and drowned in a river to bring old Paladin his leaf?” Melody said again.

Niluial always did want to interact with Tim more… this was her opportunity… so what if I go through half the shire, so what if I get myself roasted by one of those ruffians or even get stabbed by a shiriff… at least I can be with Tim… from that moment she decided she also wanted to go with the group of youngsters to bring old Paladin his leaf!

A few hours later Niluial found Paladin talking to an old friend. "Paladin...

Paladin" Niluial called waving her hands up high.

"Niluial, what is?" Paladin said. Niluial watched his face brighten as he spoke to her.

"I want to go..." Niluial demanded.

"To get my my leaf? But Niluial... you are a young..."

"I dont care I want to go please" Niluial said as she interrupted Paladin.

"Oh, well if you wish. I dont understand why"
"Well you dont need to. Thank you and keep safe!" Niluial said kissing Paladin on the cheek and running off.

"Oh bye" Niluial said in the distance. She was so happy that her heart was racing. "I always wanted to go on some kind of adventure" Niluial exclaimed knowing well that no one was listening!

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:36 AM   #12
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28 October

Dragon Elf's post

It was a fine day in the Shire. So Falco decided to go to his old friend Paladin’s house for a good smoke and some gossip. Falco walked up to Paladin’s house and he was sitting outside but he looked very puzzled.

“Hello good friend how are you today,” said Falco to his good friend.

“Oh, hi Falco why have you came to visit me on this fine day,” said Paladin, but Falco noticed that he seemed a distracted.

“Why are you distracted Paladin?” asked Falco

“Well I have a favor to ask you?”

“What is it old friend?”

“Well I would like you to help some young hobbits to get to Longbottom and get Gaffer's such as us some of the Leaf that those ruffians keep form us. I need a wise hobbit as yourself to accompany them.”

“OK when do we leave?”

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:37 AM   #13
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28 October

Durelin's post

"But honey-cake!" cried Dury, trying his best to look pathetic. His wife only stared at him. Her fists were planted on her hips, and she wore a scowl, but her eyes glittered with a certain fondness for her husband. Dury had always hoped that that fondness would come through in her actions, but he was fairly sure that his hope was in vain.
"Honey-cake?!" Dury winced at her angry shout. "Is your mind always a'lying in your stomach, Dury Greenhand?"

"Why no, muf-…uh…my dear wife. I just wanted to make sure you made it right and all, you know tha--"

"You quit worrying over whether I make my plum cakes right or not, my dear husband. Worry isn't any good for the soul."

Dury mumbled something incoherent and stalked off, as much as a hobbit can stalk, to go sit in his cushioned chair. "Play with Mirdy while you have your smoke!" came Mirda's voice from back in the kitchen. Dury sighed heavily, plopping down in his chair to stare dejectedly at his feet. Mirda came hurrying into the doorway of their little parlor, hands folded at her waste, now, and her eyes no longer glittering, but looking worried, sad, and sympathetic all at the same time. She frowned at the back of her husband's chair. "I-I'm sorry, dear. I always forget, and…but it has been over two months hasn't it." She said the last part under her breath. There was no use reminding her poor husband that they had been out of any leaf at all for such a long time. "Its alright dear," Dury answered her half-heartedly.

Shaking her head sadly, Mirda turned to go back to the kitchen, ignoring the little thing with dark curls that brushed past her skirts. "And dear?" came Dury's gloomy voice. Mirda stopped but did not turn around. "Did you hear?"

"Yes. The Tooks are being guarded."

Dury grunted. "Perhaps…no."

"Yes dear. Perhaps you should. Do something."

He grunted again, though this time it was more of a groan.

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-04-2003, 09:51 AM   #14
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Pio's post - Assiram Oct. 28

It was sixty miles from Bree to Buckland on The Great East Road. Assiram pushed the Helios and Ahriman on their run down nags as fast as he could. ‘No time time to stop,’ he yelled at them. ‘Ferny ain’t payin’ us to do any sight-seein or nappin’!’ They glared at him, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t in this for the friendship; it was the promise of cold hard cash and the notches he could add to his belt that drove him on.

The three of them crossed through the Hay Gate in the dead of night, nearing daybreak, knocking the sleepy warden out of their way as they made their way into the Shire and turned off the main road toward Stock. ‘It’s only a cuppla hours til we reach the Perch,’ he shouted at his sullen companions. ‘Keep them broke down oatbags goin’ til we get there. I’ve got a taste for summat other than brackish water from the waterskins. And an itch to show the Shire rats a little of the Boss’s power. Teach ‘em a little respect, if ya get my drift!’

His face twisted into a foul grin and he smacked his horse hard with his heels . . .

[ September 24, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-04-2003, 03:17 PM   #15
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October 28- Late Afternoon

Halfway through eating his afternoon tea Paladin suddenly jumped to his feet.

"Eglantine, I didn't explain to those volunteers exactly what they would be doing!"

Eglantine sighed and bent down to pick up the plate he had knocked over in his haste. Paladin began to pace up and down the room.

"How could I let them agree to something that they don't even understand?" he asked worriedly.

"Well sweetheart" began Eglantine rocking back on her heels "there's another day until they have to go. Perhaps you could at least finish your food?"

"No, no" answered Paladin. "I could never eat while I'm this worried."

Eglantine watched him with a smile and folded arms.

"Oh, very well" he answered and sat down. "If you insist."

********************************

"Josh, may Paladin speak to you?"

Josh looked up from the remnants of his afternoon tea to see his Aunt Eglantine smiling at him. Looking past her he an older Hobbit.

Josh nodded and stood up, then followed Eglantine and the others to where another older Hobbit was sitting.
After collecting this older Hobbit they didn't move for a while. Josh looked up to see Eglantine shaking her head and tutting.
"What is it, Aunt Eglantine?" he asked, worried for a moment.
"The fourth and fifth members of your party aren't here" she answered slowly. "Well, Paladin will have to be satisfied with three. From what I've heard of Tim Bracegirdle he won't opt out of this journey because of Paladin's dire warnings of imminent danger. I don't know about the young lass."

Josh looked at her in surprise. This was why they were being summoned? To be given the choice of giving up? He didn't know whether to be more insulted that Paladin thought he would or that Eglantine also thought that Tim Bracegirdle was less likely to give up than him. He settled on the easier solution of being angry at Tim as the root cause, and followed Eglantine to Paladin with his blood boiling. Beneath the anger he felt a pang of regret that the lass wasn't around. She really was very very pretty.

Once they arrived at the small living room he gazed around, forgetting his anger in a moment. He remembered this room from a few years ago. Quickly he dashed towards a wooden bench, nearly pushing one of the older Hobbits out of the way. He tutted, and Josh felt he should apologise but didn't want to have to explain. As everyone else settled he bent back and tried to look discreetly at the back of the bench. Yes, there it was:
Pippin, Merry, Everard, Fredegar, Ferdibrand, Hermand, Josh, Ally- Halimath 1413

"Josh?"
Paladin's voice cut into Josh's thoughts and he twisted himself upright so fast he nearly fell off the bench. With red cheeks he stared intently at Paladin, who began to speak.

"I thought I should tell you exactly what will be expected of you, so that you can make an educated decision whether you want to withdraw your participation in this mission. You will be setting off the day after tomorrow, and journeying through Green Hill country (for as you know the roads in and out of the Tookland are watched) towards the Shirebourn. Then you will meet the road, far enough away from the Tookland for safety, I hope. You will reach Longbottom and find a farm to trade with. It may take more than one visit to find a farmer willing to deal with you. Then you will come back. If some of the farmers who you have been to report you to those abominations who call themselves "Shirriffs" you may be followed, so you will have to wary. I will expect you back on the fifth day. Does anyone wish to leave the party?"

Josh waited, and everyone stayed silent. He certainly would not withdraw, and those Shirriffs had better watch out if they came up against him! Still everyone was silent.

"Very well" answered Paladin. This would seem a good chance to get to know each other. I shall leave you here."

As Paladin walked out of the room, followed by Eglantine, Josh looked around at his companions.
"Hello" he said, with an uncertain smile.

[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: Lyra Greenleaf ]
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Old 09-05-2003, 01:54 PM   #16
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Olo Proudfoot glared malignantly at the door wishing he could glare directly at Bill Ferny's face. He swore silently and turned towards Brass and Hob. Taking his pipe from his mouth, he filled it with weed, lit a match with a slightly trembling hand, and blew a smoke ring into each of the hobbits' faces. He pictured the wealth of the Tooks and their magnificant hobbit holes. A slight dribble of saliva trickled from the corner of his mouth as he drooled over the wealth that he could gather to himself. Except for one thing. Billy had said when the Tooks were gone...a very subtle hint that they would be killed. Olo grimaced in distaste. It was one thing swindling from kin, but it was an entirely different thing to kill them.

"Well, boys," he drawled, puffing another smoke ring into their direction, "Ole Bill Ferny is one o' Sharkey's henchman. What he says, goes." He could feel a subtle resentment in the group. They obviously felt about it the same we he did.

[ September 05, 2003: Message edited by: Imladris ]
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Old 09-06-2003, 01:17 PM   #17
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Falco gets up and dusts himself off just when Paladin comes through the door. Falco just pulls up a chair and waits to be spoken to, but he isn’t until a young nevus hobbit says

“Hello”.
“Excuse me but are you Josh?” asks Falco.
“Why yes I am, and you are?” asks Josh nervously.
“Hello, I am Falco Proudfoot I think I am the oldest hobbit on your teem of resistance fighters.”
“You are?”
“Yes, and by the looks of this group I think you are doing to need my knowledge and wisdom to keep them in line and on task.”

After his little talk with Josh Falco goes and sits down in the chair he was sitting in and he pulls out his pipe and starts smoking and just reflects on what he has to do.
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Old 09-06-2003, 04:13 PM   #18
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"…report you to those abominations who call themselves "Shirriffs" you may be followed, so you will have to wary…"

"Errr…" An uncertain, harsh, gurgling sound emerged from Dury's open mouth. He was fiddling with his suspenders and kept fidgeting on his feet, his eyes still locked on old Paladin. The man had lost his wits in his age. Well, he wasn't that old, really. Truly, the man just was such a perfect grandfather, and all those cheerful wrinkles fit him so well, that Dury often forgot that the hobbit was still far from his dying day. Still, age or no, Paladin was losing his wits. This 'hike' the man spoke of was a dangerous trek into the unknown! May be followed? Those Shirrifs were sure to get in on this, and their Chief…that Lotho…he could ruin lives in… Unconsciously, Dury snapped his fingers. That startled him back to his own wits, which, no, he had not lost.

"Yes, and by the looks of this group I think you are doing to need my knowledge and wisdom to keep them in line and on task."

His ears had been opened again, and Dury did not like what he heard. Whirling around to face the hobbit who so dared to make such a comment, he put on as fierce a face as he could. Blast these Tooks! And Brandybucks too! The hobbit who had made such a nasty comment happened to be much less wrinkled than Paladin, and Dury could tell he was much younger the old grandfatherly hobbit, though still much older than Dury. This one had lost his wits quite early…quite. So, this hobbit was full of knowledge and wisdom, which would aid them on their perilous journey? Dury shivered at the thought, but quickly recovered his anger. Eyeing the hobbit before him, he could not find this wisdom. Nor anything of use in this hobbit.

"May I ask, sir, where you will pull this magical wisdom from to save us all when we are lost on our little journey?"

Dury clamped his mouth shut. Why oh why? He had just said he was going. There was no way he would ever leave his hole for more than a day, and especially not on business that was illegal! Even a good leaf was not worth the trouble. But that was his wife's family for you. His wife's family… Oh dear. No, he would not live this down if he did not go, and if he went. Oh my, oh dear. It was either the Shirrifs or his wife, one of those he had to face. I would rather face the Chief himself than Mirda, Dury thought wryly. Still, there was truth in that. In fact, if he did aid his wife's family, what then would his wife think of him? He didn't care what those Shirrifs thought, and he would get his leaf…perhaps there were more advantages than he had thought. Besides, he would be home in five days, as long as they were careful. Home, sitting in front of the fire with a pipe full of good leaf and little Mirdy on his lap. Tearing himself away from those thoughts, and keeping a smile from adorning his face, Dury went back to being indignant.

[ September 07, 2003: Message edited by: Durelin ]
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Old 09-06-2003, 07:54 PM   #19
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28 October

Hob shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other and stared down intently at the floor, as he repeated Ferny's words inside his own head for the hundreth time. He wasn't surprised the Shirriffs had been ordered to spy on the Tooks. That kind of thing was going on daily in every nook and cranny of the Shire. He didn't like the part about dividing up the property that belonged to the family, but even that was nothing new. Hob had seen folk turned out of their burrows and their possessions hauled off without as much as a 'by your leave'.

No, the thing that bothered him was those few words spoken near the end of Ferny's speech.....And when all the Tooks are...gone. Gone? Just exactly where were they going? If Ferny had said 'driven out of their burrow' or 'carted off to the Lockholes', that wouldn't have been quite so bad. But Hob didn't like the sound of that little word 'gone'. It seemed so very...final.

Hob ruefully remembered something Cami had told him about the history of the Shire. That ever since their people had settled here, there'd not been a single case of one hobbit intentionally murdering another. He figured she must have been right, since she was always poking about in one book or another.

Hob looked away and shuddered. Whatever Ferny might say or do, Hob was not going to be party to such a thing. He'd rather run away or be dragged off to the Lockholes. Anything was better than helping murder another hobbit. He wouldn't even do that to the Chief, although he'd sometimes wished he could give Lotho a good hiding for all the trouble he'd stirred up in the Shire.

Hob fidgeted deep in his picket and drew out a ratty scrap of paper that had been folded over any number of times. He set it down in front of him and carefully smoothed out the creases, rereading one part of it again:

Dearest Hob,

....Mother wants me to promise to set a date for our wedding. She says it's time I settle down like a sensible hobbit lass.

Well, perhaps it is time to wed and raise a burrowful of young ones. I'd like to stop taking care of other people's children and take care of our own. I'm quite ready to do that except for one thing.

Hob Fields - Cami Goodchild is not going to marry anyone who calls Lotho Sackville-Baggins his Chief. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever...

So if you want to carry me over your threshold, you'll have to choose. You can be a Shirriff and live by yourself, or you can say 'no' to Ferny and his crew, and come to Buckland to marry me. I just can't believe you bought into their lies. All this claptrap about bringing about improvements in the Shire with machines and such! If you believe that, you'll believe anything.

All these folk want, pure and simple, is to take over the Shire. And if they can't do it by peaceful means, they'll likely kill us off one by one.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

So Hob...it's up to you. You decide what to do. But until you decide, this is the last letter you'll have from me.

Your sorrowful sweetheart,

Cami


Hob set down the letter and sighed. Perhaps Cami had been right. Perhaps these folk weren't only greedy but murderers to boot. Perhaps Lotho's words about helping the Shire were only a smoke screen. But exactly what was he supposed to do? He was just one small hobbit in the middle of a big mess.

Hob looked over at Brass and Olo who still stood near the door. He just couldn't deal with these difficult thoughts today. Not with Ferny breathing down his neck and these two fellows likely keeping an eye on every move he made.

Hob went up to Brass and Olo, and tugged on their sleeves, thinking it might be wise to try and make some friends. Supporters of Ferny or not, at least they were hobbits. "Hey you two, I've got some pipeweed and a bit o' ale that I managed to rescue from the Big Folk's private stores. Either of you care to join me under the bridge and just relax for an hour or two? We can get our travel satchels together later today. After all, tomorrow morning will come soon enough."

[ September 06, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 09-07-2003, 09:29 AM   #20
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The steps of the guardhouse seemed rather cold, Brass thought once Bill Ferny had finished talking to them. Gone. It was the one word that was troubling him as Olo lit his pipe and Hob fingered with a paper of some kind in the quiet night. Where would the Tooks go? Brass furrowed his brow and thought, quite a bothersome activity if anyone asked him, until his head hurt and he shrugged it off. Wherever the Tooks would go, he supposed it wasn't his business, but still, the way Ferny had put it bothered him.

Gone. Well, just forget it, Brass Stonetoe. It's just a word. Words can't do no harm.

Shifting his feet in the awkward silence of the evening, Brass was beginning to wonder if and when his fellow sheriffs were going to move when he felt a tug on his left sleeve. Brass started, looking jerkily around for whoever wanted his attention. He was eyeing a particularly bright star when the voice of Hob Fields oriented him. "Hey you two, I've got some pipeweed and a bit o' ale that I managed to rescue from the Big Folk's private stores. Either of you care to join me under the bridge and just relax for an hour or two? We can get our travel satchels together later today. After all, tomorrow morning will come soon enough." It was too dark and too late for Brass to register everything Hob said, but he did hear the key words: pipeweed, ale, relax. Now there was sensible hobbit.

Sporting a grin that got successively larger with each new word of relaxation and pleasure, Brass replied, "I like the way you think, Hob, and I wouldn't be a hobbit if I refused yeh." Hob seemed to smile back, although it was a much smaller grin than Brass's. Olo also, smirked down at them and voiced his opinion with a merry, "Well then, bring on the ale, mate!"

As the three of them walked jovially toward the bridge, Brass couldn't help but thinking that this mission was going to turn out just fine.
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Old 09-08-2003, 03:08 PM   #21
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Tim was having a wonderful time. Lara and Minna Fields, sisters he´s known forever, had invited him, Dode and Ilberic over for a picnic, along with a charming girl he did not know. They were sitting in the sun by a group of trees, eating fruit and cakes, laughing. Tim turned his atention from the sisters to the new girl.

“So,” he said. “Who is this charming lady? Why haven´t we met before?”
The girl turned a sweet shade of rosé, and looked up, as their gaze met.
“I´m Lilly Boldger, from Waymoot.” She smiled, her white-and-blue checked dress quivering slightly.
“And how well the name suits you! Lillies are such beautiful flowers, I must say!” Tim grinned at her, sitting up straight. Dode groaned from the side, but Tim ingored him. This was a wondeful opportunity for some fun, before he´d be seperated from girls for who-knew how long. “Miss Boldger- would you like to go for a little stroll. There´s a charming little creek nearby, and I´ve seen a beautiful there sometime ago. She was almost as pretty as you are...” The girl blushed some more, getting up. “You jest....” They walked a few paces, speaking of this and that. Tim found out she was a distant cousin of the Field-sisters; “as am I!” he laughed. She was a sweet, charming lass. While they walked, Tim picked her some field flowers, and presented the bouqué to her. She smiled some more. Tim felt exitement, a quick heartbeat. This was going wonderful. He liked Lilly, a lot- her shyness and inncence appealed to him more than anything. Well, expect for. No, he wouldn´t think of Laura now. She was so different. He´d focus on this sweet lass whose hand was shyly gliding into his. As they walked back, their eyes hooked in each other. Tim leaned forward, barely knowing what he was doing. Her eyes were beautiful, and those lips...

When he returned back to the Tookhouse, Tim was in an expetionally good mood. He hummed a merry little tune as he walked through the sitting room, into the hall. There, he was, once again, grabbed by Melody. “Tim! Where have you been! Stealing some innocent girl´s heart I expect..”
“Ask no questions and I shall tell no lies, Melody.” Tim casually replied, rolling his eyes at his sister. “And why to you care, anyway? You don´t ahve to baysit me anymore, you know-”
“Because,” Melody hissed impatiently, “there was an important meeting about your journey, which you missed! Honestly, Tim...”
“Okay, okay, skip the lecture. Damn! why can´t they tell me earlier...” Great. Just perfect. Now he was also in trouble with Paladin, not to mention the other travelers. “I´ll talk to Paladin right away.”

He wanted to walk over into the study, but suddenly someone walked into his way.
“What d´you want in here, Hardbottle?” Josh Brandybuck. Now what did he want from him?
“For your information, that´s Bracegirlde. And what do you think I want in there? Marry a goat?! No, I want to talk to Paladin. About the trip...”
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Old 09-08-2003, 08:33 PM   #22
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Olo leaned against the cool stone of the bridge, took a swig of ale, puffed a smoke ring, and gazed at his mates in turn. Brass wasn't a bad fellow. Didn't need to expect any trouble from him. Why, the naieve hobbit didn't have enough wits to see through Bill Ferny. But that was alright, Olo thought with a scornful shrug. That just made it easier for him to manipulate ole Billy. He snorted in disgust as he took another swallow of ale. Bill would get burned one of these days. Olo smiled smugly: out of all his devious ways, he, Olo Underfoot, had never tasted the bitterness of defeat.

Turning his attention to Hob, Olo studied him carefully. That Hob...something wasn't that right about him, though he had plenty of good hobbit sense. Olo saw him fingering a piece of paper nervously. Climbing to his feet with a groan, Olo lounged over to him, and said, "Eh, what you got there, mate?"
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Old 09-08-2003, 11:18 PM   #23
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Hob eyed Olo nervously, "This? Oh, this is nothing. Just a letter from a lass. You know how they can be!" Hob shrugged his shoulders and tried to look nonchalant while he hastily stuffed the paper deep inside his vest and cursed himself for being so careless. If Olo got hold of this letter, Cami could easily land in the Lockholes, and Hob could definitely wave goodbye to all his hopes of ever marrying the lass, to say nothing of what might become of his poor Cami.

Deciding it might be best to beat a hasty retreat before his companions asked any other embarrassing questions, Hob quickly leapt to his feet and muttered, "I'd best be off now. There's still packing to do to prepare for the morning."

He tipped his cap to Olo and Brass, and set out at a rapid pace along the road making his way back towards the guard room as quickly as he dared. His leisurely afternoon with the two other Shirriffs hadn't turned out quite the way he'd planned. Even with ale and pipeweed to smooth the visit, there were still too many differences between them for Hob to feel at ease, especially with that miserable Olo. He'd need to be more cautious for the remainder of the trip, or he'd end up permanently assigned to the 'tater peeling squad, or something even worse!

After arriving at their headquarters, Hob ducked into the dingy hall that passed for a communal dorm, intentionally avoiding the looks and greetings of the others in the room and striding over to his own small cot. He began sorting through his belongings, stuffing them inside a pack, still being careful not to say anything to anyone else. As he set aside the things he'd need for the trek, he came across a small pocket knife that the Thain had presented to him while still a youth in Tookland; it was boldly engraved with the Took family crest. Despite his efforts to maintain a blank face, he shuddered at the sight and furtively stuffed the knife deep inside his back pocket making sure no one else saw it. How had he gotten himself in such a situation? And what would Ferny expect him to be doing over the next few days? But, as far as Hob could tell, there was no way out of this mess. He was just one small hobbit who'd better keep his eyes open and his mouth shut if he hoped to come out of this thing in one piece.

[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 09-09-2003, 06:21 AM   #24
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28 October
Josh eyed Tim interestedly. So this was the wonderful Hobbit who would never turn his back on the quest? He didn't seem that amazing. He was quite tall, Josh thought, unconsciously drawing himself up to his full height. But apart from that...

"Hello Tim!"
Josh trned and saw the pretty Hobbit lass smiling at him- no, past him. At Tim Hardbottle. It seemed everyone shared the same opinion then. Why talk to Josh when you could talk to Tim?

Unhappily he went and sat down in a corner. It didn't seem like there would be much for him to do on this journey. Falco and Dury were the oldest, so they would probably be in charge, and Tim and Niluial could have nice little conversations together. Which would leave just him. Tim sighed heavily.
I bet Pippin never had this problem on his adventures, he thought grumpily. Josh didn't like this feeling, like a weight on his stomach. He wasn't used to feeling grumpy at all and it wasn't pleasant. With another sigh he stood up again and plumped himself down near Dury, who was the only Hobbit who he hadn't yet talked to. He waited to see if Dury would start up a conversation.

[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: Lyra Greenleaf ]
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Old 09-09-2003, 07:32 AM   #25
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28 October

Niluial grabbed her coat and ran outside in a scurry. “Well fashionably late” Niluial murmured to herself. Niluial had been invited to a picnic by Minna Fields a good friend of hers. Niluial had known Minna Fields for most of her life. Though they were not that close they liked being in each others company. Niluial stopped running after a while for she thought it was pointless to run she was already late!

“Aha, there they all are” Niluial said as she saw the hobbits and the picnic layout. Niluial ran to them “sorry I’m late!” Niluial said with a sheepish smile.
“We are not surprised” said Minna Fields with a smiling face! Niluial walked off to the picnic layout and grabbed an apple! As she bit into the appel she saw Tim. She gasped as “ Lilly Boldger” she hissed. Lilly was sitting right next to Tim giggling and smiling. Niluial had never liked Lilly Boldger, she always did better than Niluial in everything. “And now she’s after Tim. I already know who is going to win” Niluial said with a sigh. Lilly Boldger wasn’t prettier than Niluial and she wasn’t better. She just wasn’t clumsy and forgetful like Niluial which made Lilly look elegant and graceful like a swan.

Niluial was miserable and was not having fun at the picnic anymore. She spoke to Lara Fields about the journey for Paladins Leaf. As they were talking about it Niluial kept looking over at Tim and Lilly and a wave of jealousy would come over her. It was silly to be jealous but it was understandable. Niluial had wanted Tim to be with her for years but he never really took note of her. Other hobbits would love to be with Niluial. Why didn’t Tim want her?

It was the end of the picnic and Niluial sat on a rock even after everyone left. Get a grip of yourself Niluial thought. She stood up and put her coat on. Suisun Treeblossom waved at Niluial in the far distance; Niluial waved back and put on a false smile. “Maybe I should go see my good Melody (Tims sister) I need some cheering up and she does always make me smile” Niluial said to herself. Niluial walked to the Took residence and picked flowers on the way.

Niluial knocked hard on the beautifully carven wooden door. “Melody its me!” Niluial shouted. The door opened and Melody stood there with a stunned face. “Weren’t you going on the journey too?” Melody asked.
“Yes, why?” Niluial said knowing something had gone wrong.
“First its Tim and now its you! You were on that stupid picnic weren’t you? Niluial you have missed the important meeting!” Melody said sounding aggravated!
“I am not everyone’s baby sitter. Now off you go! You shouldn’t be too far behind Tim, now shoo!” Melody hissed. Niluial was always late or forgot about something it makes no difference she thought. Well at least someone ells is late!

I wonder if trouble always finds me or if I find trouble, Niluial thought while walking to Paladins house. As she entered the door a strange fellow dressed in a suit asked “And you are?”
“I don’t even know who I am” Niluial said miserably to the strange fellow. He looked at her with and let out a grunt “I have no time for this!” he moaned
“Oh, my name is Niluial Brandywine!” Niluial exclaimed.
“Brandywine? Isn’t it Brandybuck?” the fellow said.
“I know my surname its Brandywine, ok! Just let me in” she snapped at him. He let her in. She hung her coat on the wooden coat hanger and sighed. “Well I better go see Paladin” She muttered to herself

She walked in the room and the meeting was still going. “Not that late" she said happily to everyone. They all burst out laughing! The only chair available was next to Tim she sighed and walked over. As much as she liked Tim she was a little frustrated! Tim spoke to her (like always) in a decent manner. He never seemed to flirt with her just talk. Niluial saw Josh watching her. He was sitting all alone and he looked lonely. Josh got up and sat next to Dury one of the oldest hobbits that was going on the adventure, Josh looked like he was trying to make conversation but it was no use. Dury and Falco would probably be in charge seeing that they are the oldest and they were wise. Niluial got up and walked over to Josh. “Uh, hi Josh! I am Niluial, I believe we met before, though it was a rushed conversation for we were interrupted by Melody, if I recall correctly” Niluial said with a smile showing off her beautiful white teeth.

[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: Niluial ]
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Old 09-14-2003, 12:39 PM   #26
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Late Afternoon on October the 28th

Dury snorted loudly, just as his questionable companion did, and just as loudly. They both blinked in surprise, but quickly regained each of their angry composure. With a sniff, Dury turned sharply away as the other hobbit went back to his pipe. With a nod of acknowledgement for Josh, he strode of to find Paladin. The young hobbit had been about to speak, and Dury felt bad to ignore him, but he had things to take care of. He was not going. He was not. Dury squeezed his hand into a tight fist. It took far too much strength to keep his legs moving at the moment. To say yes to such a request! Five days of illegal journeying, with some of the strangest hobbits in Middle Earth…Tooks and Brandybucks! Ah, but to have leaf again, and to have done something against what this Chief -- an abomination! -- was oppressing the Shire with. Rules and more unjust rules! He would not stoop to call them laws! Angry determination set his legs right, and his mind straight. He was going, curse him, but he turned back around.

Josh was eyeing Dury strangely, and he had right to. He was acting like a startled hen! Dury Greenhand certainly was not a hen! Though, he was easily startled... Dury stifled a growl. Needlessly adjusting his coat, the hobbit ran a hand through his untamable, curly locks, and opened his mouth to speak. Josh beat him to it. "Are you alright, Mr. Dury?"

"Do I seem…," he began angrily. He paused a moment, calming himself. The answer had been all too automatic. "Yes. I am fine, thank you Josh," he said in a mild tone, as cheery as possible when being forced. A smile wouldn't come, though. "I am a bit…uncertain…concerning this journey. Though I do want my leaf!" He chuckled lamely. "Could…could you…er… What does your old uncle have in mind? This might be tricky, eh?"

Tricky? Downright dangerous! Those Shirrifs may be poppycock -- and a pile of it! -- but they held powerful positions. Powerful positions meant powerful actions. Get on the wrong side of them, and...reputation was the least of Dury's worries. There would be much more at risk. At the end of the day, would it all be worth it? How much can a group of…what was it -- five hobbits? What could five hobbits do? Five leafless hobbits…

[ September 14, 2003: Message edited by: Durelin ]
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Old 09-15-2003, 02:17 PM   #27
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Josh looked from left to right, smiling broadly. The rather strange Hobbit, Dury, had began a conversation at exactly the same time as Niluial had. Suddenly he was the one in demand! At the back of his mind he wondered if now Tim was watching. Probably not.

"Hello Niluial" he said, knowing that he was most interested in talking to her. "Have you, have you met Dury?"
"No" she said, smiling prettily at the older Hobbit who looked charmed and a little embarassed. "Hello Dury"
"Hello" he replied, fidgeting a bit.

"I don't suppose there would be much danger" Josh said consideringly. "I mean we are going through the hills for that reason and I don't think the Shirriffs at least would be violent or anything..." he trailed off, fighting the urge to look at Niluial.

"Oh..um, yes" Dury answered. "Yes" he said again, looking confused. "Very well"
With a half smile he wandered off and sat down. Josh wondered whether he was embarassed to seem scared in front of Niluial. He would be!

"Are...are you worried?" he asked the lass, looking at his feet.
"Not really" she answered.
"Me neither" Josh replied, pulling his gaze up to her face. She smiled again.

"Are-"
"My my!" Paladin's raised voice cut across Josh's thoughts. "Time for dinner already" Paladin continued. "Well, I'm sure you'll all want to be on your way"
There was a general murmur of agreement as Hobbits began to make their way out of the room.

"Goodbye" Niluial said with another beautiful smile.
"Would you... um, I mean, would you like to um... pack together tomorrow?" Josh asked, his eyes still on the floor.
"Alright" Niluial replied. "I will see you tomorrow."

****************************************

Later that night, just before he dropped off to sleep Josh thought about all that had happened that day. It seemed almost like a week. In the morning he had had very little to think about and now... He was going to have his adventure, and even if he was going to stay within the Shire it was a start. But the very last thing he thought about was a pair of very pretty blue eyes.
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Old 09-15-2003, 03:01 PM   #28
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Olo chewed thoughtfully on his pipe as he looked with a slight dismay at the miscellaneous items arrayed upon his bed. He would never be able to fit everything that was needed into his very small leather knapsack. Spitting a stray tobacco leaf out of his mouth, he muttered, "Tobacco is a must, a spare pipe wouldn't do any harm, and three changes of clothes should just about do it." Putting the items into the sack, he stared thoughtfully at each one and said aloud, "Of course, a few blankets will be in order, what with sleeping on stones and all." He grimaced in distaste and consoled himself with the thought that at least there would be a great deal of wealth awaiting him at the end of the journey. Everything boded well, except for the blood of the Tooks that would be spilt...he hastily shoved the thought from his mind. What Sharkey said went, he said to himself fiercely.

He glanced again at his small pack and said, "Somethin's missin." Frowning, he tried to snap a pudgy thumb and finger, but failed due to the amount of sweat upon them, so instead he clucked his tongue and waddled to the kitchen. "Food, mate!" he scolded himself as he rummaged in the cabinet and brought out bacon, ham, and bread. "A hobbit can't live without food!"
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Old 09-15-2003, 04:29 PM   #29
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Niluial watched Josh, he looked nervous and was fidgeting a lot. He must be very worried about the adventure she thought.
"Are...are you worried?" Dury asked.
"Not really" Niluial answered.
"Me neither" Josh replied, pulling his gaze up to Niluial’s face. Niluial smiled again.

Josh was just about to say something when Paladin said aloud “My, my! Time for dinner already. Well, I'm sure you'll all want to be on your way!” All the hobbits stood up chatting to one another as they walked out the room.
Niluial stood up “Goodbye” she said. Dury and Josh looked at her both smiling. Niluial turned around and was about to walk away when Josh said "Niluial, would you... um, I mean, would you like to um... pack together tomorrow?"
Niluial thought for second, why not? A new friend for the adventure, I need some friends and he seems really nice! "Alright" Niluial replied. "I will see you tomorrow." Niluial said smiling, she winked at Josh and walked out the room.

***************************************

Niluial brushed her hair while humming a tune. The bright stars in the sky caught her eyes and she walked over to the window. She looked out the window and could see the Took residence in the distance, the windows were lit up. She thought about Tim for a while and about his silly new crush on pathetic Lilly Boldger. Niluial let out a sigh. She remembered that she was going to meet Josh in the morning. She thought about Josh for a while and how Josh acted so strangely at Paladins meeting. Niluial climbed into bed and read a few pages of her book, she then blew out her candle and fell fast asleep.

[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: Niluial ]
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Old 09-16-2003, 07:54 PM   #30
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Olo strolled happily among the fields of the Shire. He glanced at the other hobbits, Brass and Hob and wondered if they enjoyed the walk. Olo frowned and pondered his muse. Did he really enjoy walking for for the soul delight of it? Or did he enjoy keeping a sharp eye out for profit? He shrugged. It didn't matter really.

The sky was blue above and flimsy white clouds were strewn across the firmament. The wind was light and brought the scent of bright flowers, the fetid scent of feritilizer, and...what was that? Olo's nose twitched. Tobbacco. Weed. Good weed. Olo licked his lips greedily and looked about him. A solitary hobbit hole dimpled the flat landside and a wisp of bluish grey smoke floated gently upwards and drifted to the east. The smoke was coming from behind the hole. "Come on, friends," said Olo, jerking his head towards the hobbit hole and trotting as fast as his fat carcass could carry him.

Rounding suddenly around the hole he came across a lone hobbit farmer, curls streaked with grey, his aged face creased with wrinkles and slightly sagging. Laugh wrinkles crinkled around his eyes and they were closed in a contentment that only a good smoke of good weed could bring.

Olo cleared his throat loudly and said, "Hello, mate. So just where did you get that weed, South Farthing by the smell?" The other two shirrifs grinned uneasily at the old farmer and shrugged slightly. Hob glared at his furry feet.

The old hobbit's eyes snapped awake and fear clouded them for an instant. "Oh, I had it around," he said carefully.

Olo nodded and pursed his lips. "Around? Well," he said, eyeing the man's pouch that was laid carefully upon an old rickety stool, "if it was just lyin' around, as you say, somebody must have put it there."

The old hobbit looked uncomfortable and winced slightly. He glared at Olo.

"And if somebody just put it there," Olo continued off handedly, "then the person who picked it up, that would be you, sir, would be obliged to give it back. Right?"

The hobbit nodded reluctantly. "But," Olo said, raising a finger and glancing innocently towards the sky, "that's rather hard for an old farmer like you who's busy workin' for Lotho and Sharkey, right? And that's were we shirrifs come in," said Olo, beaming brightly. "Hand the leaf over now, and we'll make sure we found the lawful owner."

The hobbit farmer hesitated and his hand went towards the weed protectively. "Now, now," Olo tutted, "you wouldn't want to be accused of stealin, now, would ye, mate?" The two hobbits glared at each other before the farmer, fuming, handed the pouch to Olo.

Underfoot, in turn, bowed his head and turning on his flabby feet said, "I thank ye, mate."
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Old 09-17-2003, 12:19 AM   #31
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29 October

What a lousy thing to do! Stealing a few plugs of leaf from a poor ol' fellow like that. Despite his determination to keep quiet, Hob made a face and felt his stomach go all queasy.

He uneasily walked away from the farmstead wishing he could somehow vanish off the face of the earth. He even thought of inventing some wild pretext hoping to slip back and offer the farmer a pouch overflowing with the finest Old Toby in the Shire. He had plenty of the stuff himself and would not have hesitated to share with a friend.

But that nasty Olo was glaring over at him with a stern look on his face. Hob had a most unpleasant feeling that if he tried to sneak back into the farmer's burrow, Olo would end up snitching to Ferny, and that could have dire consequences. Hob could definitely do without that so he kept his opinions to himself.

He vowed to try and keep his mind on the route itself. They'd left very early in the morning and maintained a brisk, determined pace. With so many miles to put under their belt, they would be hard pressed to make it through to Great Smials in one day, especially being on foot. But with the orders given by Ferny, they really had little choice. One way or another, they had to make it.

Once or twice a cart came rumbling along the Great East Road, and the three of them managed to commandeer a lift. The driver usually didn't look too happy at the prospect of carrying a passel of Shirriffs along with him, but the fellow was generally too frightened to refuse. Now and again, Hob tried to get a bit of gossip out of the driver, but all he garnered for his efforts was a curt 'yes' or 'no' without any really interesting news. Being a Shirriff under the new regime had some definite drawbacks!

Hob took the lead in the group, glad to leave his fellows straggling behind him by a dozen paces or so. He cut straight south across the fields and gentle hills and headed for the woodlands, since he knew the Green Hill Country like the back of his hand. The Stock Road that led from Woodhall over to Tuckburrow was the fastest and best route to get to where they wanted to go. Hob just hoped that he wouldn't see anyone he knew. Just to make sure, he pulled his cap with its jaunty feather down low over his face and threw on a cloak to further help camouflage his familiar form and features.
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Old 09-17-2003, 04:39 PM   #32
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29 October
A gentle breeze floated lazily through the green hill country as Brass and his fellow sheriffs trotted towards Tuckburrow. Or, his fellow sheriffs trotted, anyway. Brass had, from the start, absolutely no intention of walking any faster than he was required to. Walking was work, after all, and the wonderful day, which was far too pretty for any type of work, he concluded, had throughly backed Brass's thoughts on the subject. By mid-day, the journey turned uneventful. and even the lush green landscape couldn't halt Brass's untimely boredom.

Early in the day, Olo had somehow swindled a farmer out of his weed. Although Brass could not for the life of him follow what the sly hobbit said, the weed was excellent, and he supposed that was all that mattered. Afterwards, they had hitched a few rides on the east road. Despite Hob's attempts at conversation, the drivers seemed to be very disagreeable folks, answering with little more than a ‘yes' or ‘no'. So at the time, Brass was glad that they were now cutting across country to get to Tookland faster. Yet boredom set in, and now with Olo about ten paces ahead of him, and Hob a good twenty, Brass sighed against the weight of the pack on his back, the miles still ahead of them, and the lack of any apparent energy, even in such a lush part of the Shire. From farther up, Olo groaned and turned back to him, "Keep up, Brass, would you?"

Perhaps this mission wouldn't be as fine as he had first believed
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Old 09-17-2003, 08:11 PM   #33
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29 October

Yesterday morning, early, they had swaggered into The Golden Perch. Assiram bore a wicked cudgel made from blackthorn and glowered as he entered the Common Room. There were few about. Mostly the two sleepy servers and the Innkeeper who was still yawning as he polished the last of his glasses. And a few early farmers on their way to the market place in Newbury.

Assiram woke the place up with a bang of his cudgel on the bar, breaking the pyramid of pint mugs the Innkeeper had just finished stacking there.

‘Hey!’ the Innkeeper shouted, reaching for his own stout stick he kept hid behind the bar. He yelped, clutching his upper arm as Assiram landed a hard blow to it, knocking the stick from the Innkeeper’s hand.

‘Now where you two little ratties goin’, leered Assiram, as the servers, now cowering in a corner tried to creep toward the door to the kitchen. ‘You two get back here and get me and my friends here some ale, and lots of it. And one of you rouse the Cook – we’ll be needing breakfast.’

They stayed for breakfast and then for lunch. No other customers dared enter the Inn – Assiram and the other two threw their empty mugs at them as they opened the door. As soon as lunch was served, they ordered the Cook to pack up several baskets of food – they would be heading on.

‘Important business for the Boss,’ was what Assiram said as they headed out the door, already planning on the fastest way through the Green Hill country to Pincup.

The Hobbits were exceedingly glad to see the ruffians go and watched from the windows as they headed on down the path then angled west and south. None made a squeak when they saw the three take three of the finest horse from the Perch’s stable, leaving their old nags in their place.

Old nags were better than ruffians any day was their thought on the matter . . .

[ September 24, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-18-2003, 11:12 PM   #34
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Olo heaved loudly and wiped the streaming sweat from his brow. Beads of moisture glistened on his lips and he wiped them with his tongue, enjoying the salty taste. He looked impatiently ahead of him, at Hob running so swiftly across the land -- curse the hobbit for his swift feet. That Hob...much too kindly for a shirrif, Olo mused, raising his head to squint a little at the hobbit. Burdened under the corpulent body of Olo, his feet, weary as they were from the added strain of walking briskly across the Shire, stumbled upon an innocent stone that sent Olo Underfoot stumbling and rolling down a slight incline like a filled winebottle upon a disgruntled river. His shrieks could be heard rising through the air like a flock of crows as the lumps of earth poked his ribs (how they managed to find his ribs under the rolls of fat, Olo never could imagine). After some time, his tumbling roll slowed and finally, reluctantly, came to a stop. He lay still eyes closed. What bones have I broken? he whispered into the green grass. He smiled gently, licking a bit of blood from his lips. They shoudl be coming now, rushing to my aide, showering comorting upon my waiting ears. He heard a rustle and, slowly forcing one pig eye open, he saw that it was a mere rabbit. Drat and blast! Where are they? Raising his sagging self to a sitting position (his back creaking agonizingly all the while) he squinted his eyes from the baleful glare of the sun, and looked about him. Oh, there were the hobbits! he thought angrily as he saw them merrily ambling...think of that: merely ambling to his, his aide. Was he not Olo Underfoot, shirrif of the Shire, he thought indignantly as he waited from them to leisurely approach.

After a long while ( too long ) Olo thought ominously, the other hobbits, Brass and Hob, finally reached him and plopped beside him in the long grass: Hob fidgeting nervously and Brass rolling onto his back, chewing upon a piece of grass. Clearing hsi throat, Olo said, "Now we need to reach the Smials by evening, nightfall at the latest. That means no stragglers ," he said, wagging a pudgy finger into Brass's face. "Neither should we we plowing forward like a pony anxious to the feed," he added, rounding upon Hob fiercely. "Now," he said, fishing in his pocket for the stolen weed and a pipe. "We are going to have a smoke, me mates, and then we are going to walk at a suitable pace for the Smials." He fished some weed from the stolen leaf and filled his pipe. He handed the bag around, and was slightly miffed when Hob declined, though beamed with pleasure when Brass took a generous portion. "What a fool," he said scornfully, referring to the hobbit farmer. "Couldn't he see he was being hoodwinked by his own kind?"

"Maybe he was fool enough to see that you would have done him harm if he had protested," Hob muttered.

"Oh really?" said Olo indignantly. "And ye would have had him protest, would ye? It would have been more sport if he had," Olo added, blowing a smoke ring. "No matter."

Rising, he carefully replaced his pipe in his pocket and said, "Now we all walk together, no lagging no driving ahead."
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Old 09-19-2003, 04:35 PM   #35
Dragon Elf odin Ragnorock
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Eye

Falco runs home and starts to pack for the next day when they will be leaving. He grabs a backpack, his trusty walking stick, wraps some food up (for four days) a coin bag, and his trusty sling. Since he had been talking all night long Falco thought that he would get a nap before he went to get the rest of his supplies from the store. He had slept for about three hours, when he woke he grabbed his stick and headed down to the store. On the way he met up with Tim who just seemed to be going for a walk.

“ Hello Tim.” said Falco cheerfully
“Hello, um who might you be?” asked Tim
“I’m Falco, I saw you in the meeting room you were talking to Josh.”
“Oh yes I remember you now you were on of the quiet hobbits in the corner.”
“Yes the was me.”
“ What were you doing in the corner?”
“I was just reflecting on how hard the job will be for us to get people to join Pipin and Paladin in the resistance.”
“Yes that is very true.,” said Tim in a soft contemplating voice
“Well I have to get to the store I will see you tomorrow.”
“Bye.”
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Old 09-20-2003, 04:28 PM   #36
Lyra Greenleaf
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Silmaril

29 October, lunchtime

There she was! Josh felt a strange sensation of butterflies in his stomach as he looked across at Niluial where she sat eating. He had hoped to see her at breakfast but hadn't, so he spent the morning doing not much. He didn't want to pack just in case he bumped into her and then didn't have the excuse of packing together to talk to her. Now was his chance.

He felt silly just walking up to her, especially since she wasn't on her own. What if she laughed? Another problem was that in the dining hall at Great Smials everything was news, and if people saw the two of them go off together it would probably get around that they were courting. Josh wondered if there would be any way of getting the girl with Niluial to walk out of the hell with them then go away. Probably not. He sighed and took the plunge.

"Hello Niluial" he said self consciously, walking up behind her. She turned, then gave one of her dazzling smiles. Josh blinked dazedly for a moment, then managed to smile back.
"Could you help me pack?" Josh asked. "I'm afraid I'm not very practical. I don't know what to take!"

Niluial nodded. "I'm worried myself" she said slowly. Then she brightened up. "Perhaps we should find Tim? He would know, I'm sure he would"

"No, it might take forever to find him. Or he might not even be around. He might have had to do something at the last minute or..." Josh trailed off, then sighed. Niluial was lookingat him conusedly.
"We could try to look for him if you really want" Josh said glumly, looking at the floor.

******************************

Bill stroked his chin thoughtfully as he watched Helios leave the Dragon. He didn't trust him as far as he could spit. Not that he trusted anyone, but with an important job like this... Sharkey would be most upset if anything went wrong. And Sharkey upset was not a pretty sight. Besides, getting rid of them uppity- and rich- Tooks would be a pleasure. Quickly deciding he picked up his pack and left the inn.

"Hey" he hailed Helios and the other two men. "I'm coming with you. Check there's no funny business, you might say"
All three men glared. Bill leered back, pleased at their discomfiture, then wiped his forehead. It was warm for the time of year.

"Come on then" he said in a slippery voice. "No time for dawdling. There's a job to be done"
The man followed, in silence. Bill didn't suppose they had exactly been getting on like a barn on fire before, but he had obviously riled them. Worried about a smaller share of the profits, no doubt, he thought with a grin. This could turn out very interesting. Very interesting indeed...

[ September 20, 2003: Message edited by: Lyra Greenleaf ]
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Old 09-21-2003, 02:41 AM   #37
Niluial
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Pipe

29 October, lunchtime

Niluial laughed at Melody. “Now, now Niluial, it is obvious you are into my brother” Melody said with a smirk.
“Oh melody you look way too far into things. Your brother is just a hobbit with good looks and a big ego! How could I like him?”
“Well I think you do! You act like it and I heard that you were quite jealous at the picnic the other day when you saw Lilly and Tom together” Melody said.
“Ok I’ve had quite enough of this! You are making something out of nothing, just drop it” Niluial demanded. “Now let’s talk about those flowers in your garden!”
Melody rolled her eyes. “Oh and that Josh is into you too! I think so. Have you seen the way he looks at you? I am quite jealous of you Niluial, you have the looks and that dazzling smile which every lad falls for! Except my brother” Melody said looking around. “Please can we drop this awful subject!” Niluial said, turning red.
They both sat pocking their food with their forks.

"Hello Niluial" Josh said as he walked up behind Niluial. She around turned, then smiled. Josh blinked and looked as if he was in a trance. Niluial laughed and hugged Josh “talk of the devil!” Niluial said with a giggle. "Could you help me pack?" Josh asked, looking pale. "I'm afraid I'm not very practical. I don't know what to take!"

Niluial thought for a second. Now what if Melody was right, all I need is to lead Josh on. But then again Niluial you must admit you can feel that attraction for Josh coming over you. What if Tom is just an infatuation?

Niluial nodded and smiled. "I'm worried myself" she said slowly. Then Niluial brightened up. "Perhaps we should find Tim? He would know, I'm sure he would" "No, it might take forever to find him. Or he might not even be around. He might have had to do something at the last minute or..." Josh trailed off, then sighed. Niluial looked at Josh as though he had gone crazy. Now what was this about? “We could try to look for him if you really want" Josh said glumly. Niluial felt bad and hated seeing Josh upset. “Uh, no we don’t really need Tom. I am sure we can pack by ourselves.” Niluial said with a sigh. She just really didn’t want to fall inlove with anyway yet. Infatuations were good, but love just breaks hearts.

“Niluial picked up her basket with muffins inside. “Did someone give those muffins to you? Or did you make them” Josh asked curiously. “No I never made them. They are from Tom Grass, he loves giving and making me things! Niluial smiled at josh as they walked out the hall.

Niluial walked into Joshes cosy home and she handed Josh her coat which he hung up on the coat hanger. “What a lovely home you have. And it smells lovely too” Niluial said sniffing the air. Josh laughed “the flowers from outside have a strong fragrance which makes my home smell lovely!”
“Oh I must have some of your flowers then” Niluial said with a giggle. Niluial followed Josh to his bedroom and she looked around. “I never thought you would have such a nice home. I have been to many hobbits homes and they were all pretty scruffy.” Josh opened his cupboard and they both sat on the bed for about fifteen minutes laughing and decided which clothes were going and which clothes weren’t.

Josh closed his bag and looked up to Niluial “Thank you for your help. But I better go help you pack now!”
“Oh that would be great! And then we could have some tea in my garden! I have worked hard in my garden and I think it’s time I show it off” Niluial said as she winked at Josh. Josh handed her, her coat. And they both walked out his home.

Niluial opened her door and sighed. “Emily, Emily” Niluial called her maid.
Emily walked through the door. “Won’t you boil some water? And heat up a cake?” Niluial asked. Emily nodded and walked off.

Once they had finishes packing they both sat outside sipping tea and eating cake. “Oh that cake was perfect if you don’t mind me saying” Niluial said.
“Yes perfect! Well I must be off. I remembered I have to fetch my knife from the blacksmith” Josh said.
“Oh, well I’ll see you later then” Niluial smiled at Josh and kissed him on the cheek. “Bye for now” Niluial shouted as Josh left her home. She waved and closed the wooden door.

[ September 21, 2003: Message edited by: Niluial ]
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Old 09-22-2003, 10:59 AM   #38
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29 October, evening

At the very end of the Stock road lay the town of Tukborough, tucked away in the recesses of the Green Hill Country. The town's one and only claim to notority was that it was the home of the Took clan, the branch of the Fallohides best known for their love of adventure and equally outlandish behavior.

The chief burrowing place of the Tooks was known as the Great Smials. It had been established almost four hundred years before by Thain Isengrim II, the twenty-second thain of his line. Generation after generation of Tooks had lived in the comfortable tunnels and nooks of the Smials adding layer after layer of burrows for a whole assortment of hobbits. Brothers, sister, cousins, servants, and various kin --all lived comfortably under the watchful eye of Thain Paladin who had staunchly refused to let the Chief's Men enter within its borders.

All this was old news to Olo, Brass, and Hob as they made their way on the final leg of the trip, hungry and exhausted after a long day on the road. Hob kept a careful eye on the roadway relieved that they'd met none of his former neighbors or friends, since these were unlikely to take kindly to a passel of three shirriffs, even without the presence of any of the Big Folk.

Yet, at the same time, he was becoming increasingly hungry and was wondering where they would ever find a decent meal. He even thought about traipsing into the town itself, perhaps hiding his cap with its bright blue feather, and trying to pass himself off as a mere traveler on the road and get a good square meal and a half pint to boot. He mentioned this plan casually to Brass who thought the idea a good one, but it was soundly vetoed by Olo who reminded the other two of exactly why they were there, sternly adding. "And it isn't to eat plates of venison or quaff down drinks!"

Under Olo's watchful eye, the three hobbits set up camp just outside of Tukborough, in a spot that was well concealed by overhanging gorse bushes yet still gave them a good vantage point on the road and any travelers who might pass by. The pickings for dinner were thin, and there was more than one complaint. But the group had to make do with leftover bread and a thin watery soup consisting of a few herbs and mushrooms and other plants tossed into a pot, which they'd managed to collect along the side of the road.

Brass bemoaned the lack of provisions several times, until Olo took charge reminding his companions that, if they did what Ferny said, they'd be sitting pretty in just a little while and could have as many haunches of roast and eel pies as they might desire. With the thought of food dancing in their heads, even that of Hob's, the three hobbits settled down for the night.

[ September 23, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 09-22-2003, 03:01 PM   #39
Lyra Greenleaf
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Silmaril

Pio's post - Assiram - Oct. 30th - evening

The sun hung on the western rim of the world, slipping slowly down below it in a blaze of gold. Assiram, Helios and Ahriman pulled their mounts into a small dell tucked into the rolling hills just east of Tookland. They had dropped off the main road just west of Woodhall and made their way through the forested hills toward Tuckkburrough.

In the light cast by the small fire they built, Assiram crouched down and drew a map for his companions. Using a stick cut for kindling, he scratched an ‘X’ to show there present position. ‘Just about ten miles north ‘a here,’ he said, ‘is the Three-farthing Stone. We’re still in the South Farthing section of the Shire, just a short ways from the boundary to the West Farthing.’ He drew a straight line from their camp to another ‘X’ he had marked west of it. ‘Now this here’s where we’re goin’ to get to tomorrow. Called Tuckburrough. Some of the Shire Rats who think they’re important in these parts hole up there.’ Assiram drew a circle around Tuckburrough, as Ahriman and Helios drew in closer to take a look at their goal.

Ahriman cocked his head this way and that at the map. ‘What’s so important about a collection of the little fur-footed runts?’ The man rocked back on his heels, and pulled out his knife. ‘Nothing my little sweethearts here can’t whittle down to size,’ he continued, drawing out his other one.

Assiram glared at him. ‘We’re not killin’ anyone unless we have to. We got to find the old guy – the one that runs the place. He’s got gold socked away in the hills. He’s rich and so’s his family. We’re gonna hold ‘em for ransom . . . as much gold as we can wring outta them. We’ll be rich men by the time we’re through with the Took family.’ He looked slyly at his companions. ‘Ferny says we can keep all the gold we can get our hands on.’ He snickered at the prospect of getting it. ‘And while we’re at it, he wants us to teach them rebellious little squirts some manners!’

The group ate a hasty supper – leftovers from The Golden Perch and were just settling down for some sleep, when Assiram’s voice drifted over the lulling night sounds. ‘Oh, yeah . . . I forgot to tell you. Ferny’s sent those shiriff’s to meet us somewhere near Tuckborough. They’re supposed to be helping us. Keep yer eyes peeled for any sign of them.’

The other two grunted at his words, then one of them spoke up. ‘Be just like the little cowards to leave us high and dry now, wouldn’t it?’ There were sounds of assent, as the other followed up on his companions words. ‘Well, help us or no, I’m not sharin’ any ‘a my takings with ‘em!’

[ September 25, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 09-22-2003, 03:04 PM   #40
Lyra Greenleaf
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Silmaril

29th October, nighttime

A sort of nervous excitement made it unusually hard for Josh to get to sleep. Tomorrow was the big day. The chance to prove himself, the chance to get back at the big men and the chance to have adventure. It was the moment he had waited for his whole life, since he pretended to be old Bilbo fighting trolls and goblins.

There seemed to be a flock of butterflies in his stomach bumping into each other and trying to escape. He was not scared- of course not, but he was wary. The Shire wasn't the safe place it had once been, especially for the Tooks and their kin. It was right to take precautions and think things through. It didn't mean he wasn't brave like Pippin and Merry- or Tim Hardbottle. Bracegirdle. Whatever it was.

Uneasily Josh turned over and tried to sleep.

************************************

Bill Ferny didn't want to sleep. It wasn't particularly wise, staying in one of these Shirriff houses. Not with those puny little Hobbits, who might turn out to be a rat sent from those blasted Tooks or somesuch. Not to mention Helios, Ahriman and Assiram who'd probably slit his throat for a larger share of the spoils, if it wasn't that Bill was in with Sharkey. A lot of good that would do though, the amount that one changed his mind. Could even be more dangerous!

The community in Waymeet was more or less compliant though, which was one thing. They didn't have the trouble that there was in the Tookland, the Buckland or up by Hobbiton. Any dissidents had gone to join the Tooks, mostly. It meant it was easy to get whatever you wanted. Walk in and take it- no payment, no fuss. Bill fondled his lovely new dagger, liberated from the blacksmith and ostentatiously held it up to the light. Spread around the room he saw eight or ten other men, all awake, all waiting for the others to sleep first. Bill leant back against the wall. He wouldn't be first, that's for sure. It was just a waiting game, to see who was firrst to crack. He smiled grimly and leant forwards again. It would be a long night.

[ September 29, 2003: Message edited by: Lyra Greenleaf ]
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“Sylphs of the forest,” I whispered. “Spirits of oak, beech and ash. Dryads of Rowan and hazel, hear us. You who have guided and guarded our every footstep, you who have sheltered our growth, we honour you."
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