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re: The Tale of Bilwise or Bilwise's Adventure Intro

Tearna Quickfoot wrote:
no wandering off for berries or pies

AAAAAAAiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!! *ducks and covers*
You didn't say this would be a horror story!


  • main: Byrcha (pronounced: BUR-ka), Hobbit treasure-hunter

  • Landroval alts: Braxwald, Brenthiel, & Hathellaith (LMB); Belyndil (Ales and Tales); Yahr (Lonely Mountain Brewery); Byrkhild, Byrchette, & Byrchetta (Secret Pie Vault); Byrwing (Sisters of the Moon); Byraen.

Tearna Quickfoot

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re: The Tale of Bilwise or Bilwise's Adventure Intro

Byrcha wrote:
Tearna Quickfoot wrote:
no wandering off for berries or pies

AAAAAAAiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!! *ducks and covers*
You didn't say this would be a horror story!

I know! Those big people can be quite inconsiderate!! :)

Part-time treasure hunter, playwright/director wannabe and head over heels in love with her handsome husband, Tamoro.

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re: The Tale of Bilwise or Bilwise's Adventure Intro

Thank you very much for posting chapter 4 Tearna :)

Work decided to throw overtime my way this week and sadly missed Ales and Tales this week. I am now caught up with your story which I am enjoying very much...woot!

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re: The Tale of Bilwise or Bilwise's Adventure Intro

*hands out popcorn for the others listening to the story*

Very nice, Ms T!

~ Bilwise Bramblefoot: Professional Sneakologist
Tearna Quickfoot

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re: The Tale of Bilwise or Bilwise's Adventure Intro

Chapter 5 : Following Clues

Sullo and Wicked’s teams crept forward. Slowly. Methodically. Carefully. Taking note of each broken twig or the occasional hint of a footprint, they moved south towards the waterfall cave and Annuminas. Many hours later, they’d not discovered anything that firmly pointed to where Bilwise might be, but at least they’d not found his body and so they held onto hope.

It was well into the afternoon when Palafoxia, from Lhinnthel’s team, came running.

“Paly,” Nightmagic frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“We found… somethin’,” Paly, panted out between breaths. “Lhinn says… you should… come! And hurry!”

Setting off at a speedy jog, the two combined teams followed the hobbit guardian to the shoreline and then south. Just before the inlet with the waterfall and cave the beach tapered off, replaced by cliffs next to the lake.
Trudging up the rocky incline, they crested the hill and finally saw the others. Lhinn, Carica and Sonica knelt examining a patch of ground. Pinoh and Corulin were not in sight. Looking up, Lhinn beckoned to them, pointing at handful of shriveled mushrooms on the ground and the surrounding evidence of a scuffle.

“There was a fight here,” Lhinn pointed to boot prints clearly evident the moist dark soil and even the grass.

“And these have to be mushrooms that Bilwise cut along the way,” Carica added.

“This wasn’t guaradan,” Sullo spoke up. “Brigands or grave robbers?” he mused, looking at the disturbed ground more carefully.

Blynd shook his head, “Why wouldn’t Brigands and the like just kill him?”

“Or Angmarim,” Lhinn replied quietly, her voice much steadier than she felt inside.

“Why would Angmarim be out…” Amber started but trailed off. The wizardy type, in their bright red robes, rarely left the confines of the ruined city of Annuminas.

“Looks like at least five, maybe six,” Chukkato spoke up as he knelt, examining the footprints.

“Still, we are closer to the old city than anything else,” Tamoro postulated as he look southwards with a frown.

“There’s no blood. That’s good,” Wicked’s gaze turned to the ruined city.

“Whoever it was,” Miazine turned her gaze south as well, “escorted him elsewhere. That’s not so good,” the elven hunter added.

Lhinn nodded, “Pinoh and Corulin went on ahead to see what else they could find. Let’s catch up and see what they found,” she motioned southward, down the other side of the cliffs.

The trail wasn’t hard to follow. Whoever it was, they made no effort to hide their tracks, which did indeed seem to be headed back to the old city. In what felt like no time, they caught up with Corulin and Pinoh.

“Looks like they are indeed going to Annuminas,” Pinoh waved the newcomers over.

“And Bilwise has been leaving a trail,” Corulin smiled as he pointed to a large shriveled mushroom on the sandy shore.

“There’s a few more down the shoreline,” Pinoh offered.

“S’not as if we needs a trail with all these feetprints,” Tearna shook her head.

“But, that means he was conscious and walking,” Wicked responded.

“And apparently unfettered if he could fish mushrooms out of his bag and drop them,” Corulin nodded.

“And not being closely watched by his captives either,” added Amber.

“Hopefully he has enough mushrooms to keep this up inside the city,” Sullo looked towards the ruined city.

“Yes, that’s a lot of dangerous territory to search,” Lhinn frowned. “It would be great to have the trail marked.” Lhinnthel pulled out a small piece of parchment and started to write a quick note.

“Amber,” she began as she folded the note. “Send the messenger pigeon to the base with this note. We need to let them know we are going into Annuminas to look for Bilwise.”

Amber nodded, attached the note to the bird and with a whisper, sent it to Holly.

Part-time treasure hunter, playwright/director wannabe and head over heels in love with her handsome husband, Tamoro.
Tearna Quickfoot

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re: Chapter 6: Into Annuminas

Chapter 6: Into Annuminas

The trail along the shore was not hard to follow, even without mushroom tidbits dropped here and there. The captors held to the coastline, but just above the sand, where their footprints might have been blown or washed away. The booted prints in the soft dark soil were easy to see and every once in a while even a hobbit footprint showed up.

As they approached the edge of the old city, they slowed and moved up to the tree line. A group of eighteen would be too conspicuous to just march down the shoreline in case anyone inside was watching. But they reached the broken down city gates without incident and found no greeting committee made up of Angmarim waiting on them. They slipped into the city as stealthily as possible, planning to once again split into three groups to search for clues as to where their beloved Bilwise had been taken inside the city.

“So much for mushroom clues,” Sullo groaned as he shot a large rat eating a shriveled mushroom.

“Far enough!” a deep voice quietly warned and suddenly the group was surrounded by a dozen men, their clothing rough and rather dirty, their surprisingly clean weapons trained on the searchers.

Looking down at the hobbits, one of the younger men shook his head, “No place ta be bringin’ youngin’s. Are ya daft?”

“What’s yer business here?” the original deep voice interrupted. "We’ve no tolerance for thieves. And mind ya keep yer hands away from yer weapons lest ya’d like ta become a pin cushion,” he snarled.

“We’re just here looking for our missing friend,” Sonca retorted quietly before bursting into tears.

“We’re not youngin’s and you didn’t have to be so mean!” Amberflower snarled, putting an arm around the weeping hobbit standing next to her. Tearna moved in on the opposite side, protectively.

Off to the side, Sullo shook his head and mumbled to himself, “Good thing fer you Amber doesn’t have her knitting needles,” and then smiled at the thought.

“Missin’ friend is it,” a tall gritty, dark-haired man spoke up. “If he went missin’ here, like as not it’ll be the last bit of missin’ he does,” which made Sonca cry harder.

“What’s yer friend doin’ in these parts an’ what makes ya think he ended up in Annuminas,” the first man, who appeared to be the leader, asked.

“He came to the lake looking for mushrooms, about a week ago,” Lhinnthel spoke up, taking a step forward. “He’s not been seen since. We followed his trail into these ruins.”

“A week ago?” the tall dark-haired man laughed. “He’s worm food for sure then!”

“Hush!” the leader gruffed. “A week ago, huh? What’s this friend look like?”

“He’s a hobbit,” Lhinn offered. “Brown hair, short and on the portly side, like all hobbits. Why?”

Some of the rough men began shaking their heads, a few muttering under their breath about children in the ruins.

“They’ve been reports, unsubstantiated rumors mostly,” the leader shook his head. “Reports of the Angmarim bringin’ a child into the city. Inta the fortress they hold. But if the Angmarim have him,” he looked down for a moment, “it’s for something dark and unsavory. Ya may not wanna find him, assuming he’s still alive.”

“We have to know what happened to our friend,” Lhinn replied, her tone even, soft and steady. “Even if that means the news is bad. It’s better than not knowing.”

The leader nodded and pointed to two of his men, “McGuire … Fitch… go with ‘em.” Lhinn shook her head.

“We don’t need hel…,” she started but was cut off by the leader as two brawny men stepped forward.

“Keep them outta our traps and outta our way,” he added softly with a nod to Lhinnthel. “These’re two o’ my best rangers. You’ll be safe with them.”

“Rangers?” Sullo said softly, more to himself than anything as he’d never seen a scruffier, scarier lot than these and he’d had plenty of fights with the brigands in Bree.

“Aye, rangers,” the leader replied without looking at the hobbit hunter. “Tryin’ ta keep the Angmarim and tomb robbers at bay here doesn’t leave time fer much else. It’ll be safer for a smaller number ta go lookin’,” he added, scanning the large group.

Lhinnthel nodded, “Quite right. Sullo, Amber, Tamoro, Tearna, Craicwyth, Sonca, Palofoxia, and Carica, come with me. Carica, you’ll heal?” to which the hobbit minstrel smiled and nodded.

“The rest of you go with the rangers and see what else you can find out, in case this is a wild goose chase,” Lhinn looked at the ranger leader.

The lead ranger nodded, “We’ve a camp up ahead you can work from. Just follow us.”

He turned his gaze back to Lhinnthel with the slightest smile, “Good luck findin’ yer friend. But, I’ve no faith ye’ll find anythin’ but sorrow,” he nodded his head in respect.

Breathing a soft gruff, he turned and started up a small slope with his rangers and the rest of the searches following.

“If you’ll follow me, ma’am,” the youngest of the two rangers assigned to help them. “We’ll show you where the reports say the child… the hobbit, was taken.”

Lhinn nodded. “And you are…?”

“Fitch, ma’am,” he replied softly. “McGuire’ll follow and watch our backs.”

“Thank you, Fitch,” the dark haired elven woman nodded, motioning her group to follow.

Fitch headed out at a good walking pace, booted feet silent on the stony ground, keeping his distance from bushes, trees, or ruins. His head turned from side to side, ever vigilant of the landscape around him, pausing occasionally, listening.

Annuminas had once been a magnificiently beautiful city. It still retained some of that previous splendor, though it was broken down and much of it underwater. The group crept along as quietly as they were able, sandwiched between the two rangers until they drew near a raised walkway. This long bridge, spanned the current land and connected with an impressive building sitting out at the edge of the water.

Fitch stood straight and pointed. “That’s it. He was taken in there. Ost Elendil!"

Part-time treasure hunter, playwright/director wannabe and head over heels in love with her handsome husband, Tamoro.
Tearna Quickfoot

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re: Chapter 7 : Breeching the Fortress

Fitch had lead Lhinn and her searchers to a long raised walkway leading to an impressive building near the edge of the lake.

“He was taken in there,” he said softly. “Won’t be easy getting in though. See the shadowy shapes along the side of the walk? Angmarim guards.”

Lhinn frowned, then motioned to Tamoro and faded as she activated her sylvan shadows.“Let’s see what we can learn by getting closer, Tam,” she whispered. With a nod, the burglar Tamoro disappeared as well and the two moved forward. A faint shimmer of the air, like rising heat waves, was the only indication of their movement.

After what seemed like much too long, Lhinn faded back into sight and smiled. “They’re spaced out pretty good,” she reported to the group. “I think that we can take them out one at a time, if we are careful and do it quietly.”

“Emphasis on quietly,” the young ranger nodded. “Can’t let one of them utter a sound or they will all be on us.”

Lhinnthel nodded in agreement. “I left Tam there watching. Sullo and Amber, get your stun shots ready and get ready to disappear as we move closer. Craic, give us your best inspiration,” Lhinn whispered. “You and the minstrels must watch our backs lest some strays sneak up behind us.”

“But I wants ta go! Tearna blurted out. “Tam and me fights t’gethers!”

“Shhhh…“ came responses from all around the pink clad minstrel.

“Sorry Tearna,” Lhinnthel shook her head. “Minstrels have to stay here… they can’t fight quietly.” Tearna frowned and hung her head, realizing it was true but not happy just the same.

However,” the dark haired elf looked at the group soberly, “should things not work as planned, be ready to join in at any moment.” A small furrow still on her brow, Tearna nodded with a sigh.

And with that, Lhinn and the other hunters started down the bridge and faded from view. The others watched as a slight shimmer of light moved down the bridge towards the first sentry. Once they reached Tamoro and were in position, Lhinn chirped very softly.

The burglar moved forward slowly, creeping in behind the Angmarim sentry, and pulled a bag from his belt. Pouring a bit of dust, Tam blew it up towards the face of the sentry, who sneezed and shook his head groggily. Tam’s leapt up. His arm slammed down. The dagger struck the base of the man’s neck. A soft plink sounded nearby as an arrow buried itself in the man’s skull and with barely a grunt, the sentry slumped and fell. Lhinn caught him and lowered him quietly to the ground.

The second sentry was dispatched as handily and the small team of assassins were almost to the third when a commotion broke out behind them. Their companions were surrounded by Angmarim and fighting. Now the sentries ran down the walkway towards the battle. Tam tripped the closest and managed to gut him, while the hunters loosed their arrows on the others running to join the commotion. The sentries fell to the ground without the chance to put up a fight, looks of surprise on their faces.

Sentries dealt with and the need for stealth over, Lhinn and her team raced back to the confrontation at the entrance to the bridge. But by now, Angmarim were pouring out of the building behind them, as well as arriving from camps on the mainland. Though they fought valiantly and felled many of the red robed magic users, the odds were against them. One of the Angmarim held up his arm and the searchers were surrounded by a faint bubble. Try as she might, Tearna couldn’t move her feet. Neither could anyone else.

From the walkway, an Angmarim taller than the rest stepped forward. “Surrender or die,” he smirked, dark eyes scanning the invaders trapped in the bubble.

Lhinn fought the urge to throw up as bile filled the back of her throat. Was it better to capitulate and live or resist and die? If they surrendered, would there be an opportunity to escape or did it mean a slow, torturous death? The dark-haired elf’s darted around to each of her companions as the thoughts swirled through her mind. Standing tall, she faced the speaker and set her chin in defiance. The dark man’s eyes crinkled in what could only be called glee.

“Gothrogia,” he said softly and one of the red robbed men produced a red orb that shot a bolt of light at the ranger McGuire. It very neatly pulled the heart from the man’s chest. A chilling scream of pain erupted from the ranger as he fell to his knees, clutching his chest and gasping for breath before he collapsed, dead.

“We surrender!” Lhinn shouted quickly as she threw her bow to the ground. Most of the team gasped in shock, but slowly joined their leader and tossed weapons to the ground. “What now?” the elven leader asked of the Angmarim chief.

“Why we’ll escort you inside," he chuckled as he lowered his arms and the bubble dissipated. "That is where you were headed, correct?” With a nod his men moved in to collect the weapons and began to herd the group down the walkway to the building. Was Bilwise inside? They were about to find out the hard way.


Stay tuned for more... :)

Part-time treasure hunter, playwright/director wannabe and head over heels in love with her handsome husband, Tamoro.
Tearna Quickfoot

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re: Chapeter 8: Not a Pleasant Way to Die

Though in poor repair, the inside of the building was even more impressive than the outside. Stained glass windows lined the halls and ceilings, flooding the inside with beautiful shimmering colors. Lhinn and the searchers shuffled along silently,each imagining their own gruesome version of what the end might hold for them.

Guardian Palafoxia shivered over thoughts of giant spiders, while other hobbits quaked over thoughts of going a day or more without food. Amberflower wished she'd brought her knitting needles. Tearna walked close to Tam, hand in hand. Lhinn mourned the fate of her companions and Craicwyth trembled over thoughts of being subjected to unhappy trees!

They passed through a room long room with anti-chambers, filled with light and up a steep stairway to another short hallway, leading to a high vaulted room. It almost looked as if it were made of glass. They were marched down the long room stopping before more stairs leading up to a throne. A tall man sat on the throne, adorned in very heavy, but very regal armor.

“Your magnificence,” the chief executed an elaborate bow. “We found these outside attempting to break in. All the sentries are…” but he stopped abruptly as the man on the throne stood, holding up his hand.

“I know," he stated calmly. "Those that perform poorly are destined to die. As these obviously did!” he added as his eyes scanned Lhinn and her team.

“What brings you to this place that most mortals avoid?” his eyes fastened on the dark-haired elf. "And most immortals as well for that matter,” he added, a hint of amusement in his voice.

“We came looking for a friend,” Lhinnthil replied simply.

“You claim an Angmarim as friend then?” his eyes smiled as he pursed his lips. “Curiouser and curiouser,” he mused as he moved down the steps, eyes scanning his captives.

“You’ve invaded my home, killed my guards,” he paused at the bottom. His eyes fastened on the hobbits of the group as if seeing them for the first time and frowned.

“What shall I do with you…” he trailed off softly, his eyes studying the hobbits.

“You should let them go, of course!” came a loud confident voice from the entrance door. “What have I told you about making friends, Balhest?” the voice continued.

“No one wants to hang around people with a bad attitude! Smile! Be a good host!" the voice came from within a circle of tall Angmarim.

"Offer your guests food… not threats!” the voice continued as the circle drew near. By now, Lhinn and some of the others were trying to hide grins, while others stood with mouths gaping, at the distinctly recognizable sound of the voice of their friend.

“Bilwise!” Lhinn nearly crowed with pleasure as the Angmarim parted, revealing the missing chef! “You’re alive!”

“Well, of course I’m alive," Bilwise looked up at his elven kinmate. "I wouldn’t be saving your skins if I was dead now, would I?” he chuckled. “Have you had your tea and hot buttered scones today, Miss Lhinn?” he asked with a bow.

A peculiar gurgling sound found its way out of the ruler’s throat. “You… you know these… invaders?” he finally managed to ask Bilwise incredulously.

“Why yes! Yes, I do,” Bilwise beamed up at the man. “Good friends, comrades and kinmates!" the hobbit added with a nod to his friends. "So you’ll be nice to them, hear me?” he demanded, hands on hips and feet set apart. Bilwise's gaze flickered back and forth between the ruler and two priestesses who stood on each side. Seeing no resistance, he turned to his friends with a smile.

“Come with me friends,” the hobbit beckoned them. “You all look famished! I’ll set out some cakes and pies and beverages!” And with that, he turned and walked back out the way he came, his escort of Angmarim following while the rest of the red robes parted to let them all through.

Behind them, the searchers heard a huff and a grumble as Balhest started to protest.

“Dinner will be served in an hour majesty,” Bilwise announced as he continued towards the exit door with his friends. “Do make sure you’re washed up and ready,” he added.

Behind him the grumbling stopped, replaced with dead silence. The cook led his friends through a maze of turns and halls, finally marching through a lovely banqueting hall to a large kitchen full of Angmarim… With words of encouragement to those cooking, Bilwise proceeded through the busy kitchen to large and comfortable living quarters on the other side.

“Bilwise!” Lhinn exclaimed when they were inside with the door close. “What in the world are you doing here?” she laughed lightly as she hugged the smiling hobbit cook. Suddenly, Bilwise was surrounded by hugs, laughter and even a few tears of happiness.

“Well, it was a beautiful day," the hobbit chef shrugged. "Just the right mix of warm sun and cool breeze for walking and exploring. And I was finding plenty of mushrooms along the way but I so wanted some from the special cave. They're just bigger and tastier.

“I guess I wasn’t paying as much attention to my surroundings as I should. When I stood after cutting a mushroom, I was surrounded by these men in red robes. I’d heard dreadful tales about how wicked and evil the Angmarim are,” the hobbit cook shuddered.

“I don’t mind telling you that I was awful frightened. As scared as I think I’ve ever been," he added with a slight shudder.

“Anyway, they didn’t kill me, but marched me here instead. I dropped mushrooms along the way, hoping they’d be found if someone came looking for me,” Bilwise chuckled.

“Yes! Good thinking! We found a few here and there,” Sullo chirped up.

“You should have seen it when I arrived here,” Bilwise clucked and shook his head. "I dare say a good part of the ill temper of these folks was their lack of food and what food they had was just horrid!" he shook his head.

"So, what could I do but offer to cook for them and plump them back up a bit. Balhest accepted that offer, though hesitantly. But after eating my first meal he had his old cook beheaded.

"They stuck me in the kitchen and this apartment, as if it was some sort of prison," he chuckled. It’s been a very nice arrangement," Bilwise beamed a confident smile at his friends.

“But, Bilwise,” Lhinn shook her head, eyes full of sorrow. “We don’t want to leave you here. We love you, and not just for your food!”

After a long chuckle, Bilwise looked up at the elf. "Not to worry folks. I don’t intend to stay here! I've been working to make sure I could leave when you all arrived. Just wait til dinner tonight,” and a glimmer of mischief lit up the hobbit’s eyes.

"You'll see! And a marvelous going away dinner it will be!" he chuckled.

Next week is the last chapter! :)

Part-time treasure hunter, playwright/director wannabe and head over heels in love with her handsome husband, Tamoro.
Tearna Quickfoot

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re: Chapter 9: We Gotta Get Outta This Place!

Chapter 9: We Gotta Get Outta This Place!

Dinner was as magnificently beautiful as it was tasty! The banquet hall was decked out in its full splendor. Hundreds of candles, set in fancy crystal chandeliers, bathed the hall in a golden glow. Angmarim in white aprons stood all about the hall.

The tables were laden with enough food for a birthday feast in the Shire. At a glance, Tearna recognized stuffed roasted conies and blackened beef thinly sliced. There was some sort of delicate fish dish with fried mushrooms and more varieties of savory pies than she’d ever seen in all her days.

Then there were taters! Mashed, roasted, fried, and boiled! She saw all sorts of other vegetable dishes
and a desert table covered with pies, cakes and other sweet treats!

The red robbed Angmarim filed in silently, filled the tables and sat waiting. Bilwise led his friends to a table near the front. “Make yourself comfortable,” the hobbit smiled.

Tearna’s squirmed a bit, trying to get comfy in the chair built for big sized people. Next to her, Tamoro took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. The hobbit minstrel sighed, quieted herself and smiled.

After what seemed like forever, the kingly person arrived and sat down. The men in white aprons promptly began serving everyone and the red robbed men started eating ravenously, but silently. They were served a bit of this and a bit of that and it was all perfectly scrumptious, not that any of the friends of Bilwise expected anything else.

A bard, stationed near the leader’s table, started playing and the mood of the hall lightened. The Angmarim began to talk among themselves in soft, hushed tones.

But it was not at all like a hobbit feast. Those were loud and boisterous with much laughter and joking amidst the eating. But the food was delicious and that was enough for now. Finally, even the hobbits pushed their plates back, unable to take another bite.

Balhest rose from his seat, nodded to Bilwise with a smile and burped. “Thank you master chef, delicious as always. I should reward the one who found you and brought you to me,” he crossed his arms, thinking.

“That would be difficult. You beheaded him for bringing me in to start with,” Bilwise replied simply.

“Oh, yes,” the ruler shrugged. "Well I suppose perhaps I acted in a bit too much haste."

“Not entirely your fault,” Bilwise smiled. “Hunger and poorly prepared food will do that to you.”

The ruler nodded as he used a long fingernail to pick a piece of meat from between his teeth, “That’s not a fate I will ever face again, now that I have you, Mr. Bilwise.”

“Well now," Bilwise looked up at the man. "Having a full tummy hasn’t cured all your ills, majesty. Like in-hospitality. And assumptions. As if the whole world revolved around you,” he added with an even non-threatening tone.

The leader laughed, “But here it does! Look around you,” he waved a bejeweled hand to those amassed at the tables before him.

“Yes,” Bilwise acknowledged. "They fear you, but don’t mistake that for loyalty." The cook looked up at the king.

"People become loyal friends because you share a bond of respect and friendship,” Bilwise beamed as he looked at the table where his friends and kinmates sat. “Loyal friends will get out of their comfortable homes and come looking for you, knowing they put their own lives in danger doing so."

Bilwise turned back towards the king. "Loyal friends are more precious than gold... unlike those who follow because they fear the consequences,” he added.

“I’ve filled your bellies and helped sweeten your souls, but the rest is up to you," he shrugged. "Rather than fight the rangers, you should team up against the real enemy, the tomb raiders, a foe you both hate for desecrating that which is sacred."

“However, that is your decision to make. My time is at an end here,” Bilwise stated quietly.

“What do you mean?” Belthar growled and his face started to turn red. “You are mine as long as I need you.”

Bilwise chuckled, “You no longer need me!”

“Of course I do,” the leader bellowed. “Who will cook all this wonderful food if you leave?”

The hobbit cook chuckled, “You haven’t eaten my cooking in days now.” Bilwise pointed to a trio of Angmarim standing nearby.

“They’ve been doing all the cooking. And they are quite talented at it,” Bilwise smiled with pride at his new chefs.

“AND they have been teaching others who show a talent,” he gave them a thumbs up. "You’ll be eating well for a very long time now!”

Belthar sat, mouth open, staring at Bilwise. He looked at the three budding chefs, to his empty plate and back to the cooks again.

“So," Bilwise continued cheerfully, "you can clearly see… you don’t need me. And if you tried to keep me, you know others would come looking for me and there would always be trouble! So, tomorrow morning, I’m heading home with my friends, taking what few mushrooms I have left," he ended with a determined nod of his head.

"My garden is desperate for tending, I’m sure and oh, how I long to sleep in my own hobbit sized bed!” he crowed and hugged himself before heading to the table where his friends sat.

“But…,” Belthar started.

“But what?” Bilwise asked, turning back to the ruler, who simply stared at him, wordless.

“I do thank you for sheltering me these eight days," the hobbit smiled. "But my job here is finished,” and he turned back towards his friends.

“The hour is late," he yawned, "and we have a long journey tomorrow," Bilwise motioned to his friends. "Let’s go find our beds, my friends," and he headed towards the door to his rooms.

Lhinnthel looked at the Angmarim ruler, who sat motionless, then back at Bilwise and with a shrug, she rose to follow the hobbit and the rest of the table of friends followed.

And as the sun broke over the surrounding mountains the next morning, the party departed Ost Elendil. The red robed Angmarim watched silently. Some waved at the smiling portly hobbit chef. A few, including the new head chef, bowed low and wiped away a tear.

The happy group rejoined those who’d gone to the ranger camp where there was more laughter, hugging and retelling of the how Bilwise had been rescued… or more aptly, how he had rescued them. The trek back up the shoreline back to Tinnudir was one of laughter and joy.

And there was yet a third round of rejoicing and hugging upon rejoining everyone back at Tinnudur, though Byrcha did threaten Bilwise with demerits for “getting yourself lost and dragging the kin into this!” Everyone was too happy to have Bilwise back to take demerits too seriously.

And so it was the next evening, after an uneventful trip back to Bree, Bilwise was settled in his home. There would be gardening and chores to do on the morrow. But that night, after a good meal and a peaceful pipe, Bilwise snuggled up and slept in his own, wonderful, hobbit sized bed.

The End!


Part-time treasure hunter, playwright/director wannabe and head over heels in love with her handsome husband, Tamoro.
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