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Tearna Quickfoot
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re: Quickfoot Adventures

This is a story I've been sharing at Ales N Tales. I thought I'd post it here after it has been shared at A&T for those who missed parts because of say bug or weren't able to make every session. This is from my master copy and so it might be a tiny bit different from what ended up in Lyrical as making sometimes I have to alter it so it doesn't produce a sea of text on the screen. *smiles*

I hope you enjoy it! Happy

Hobbits, Humans & Elves... OH MY! Part 1


Tearna's Awakening

Sleep fled suddenly as Tearna bolted upright to the explosive crack of thunder. Glancing up, the sky was crystal clear and full of stars. That could only mean one thing. A fight. She reached for Tamoro as another flash of lightning filled the sky, quickly followed by another deafening explosion of thunder.

"Close" she murmured under her breath as she untangled herself from the blanket. Tam's side of the bedroll was empty, but there was no time to wonder where he had gone.

"If they comes this way..." and her thoughts trailed off as she grabbed the bedding and stuffed it into a bag with no concern for neatness.

The fire had long since gone out but the coals still glowed softly. The sandy haired hobbit dumped what liquid was left in the coffee pot on the hot coals, stuffed the small savory turnovers in her pocket and hurriedly stashed the coffee pot and small cooking pan in the bag with everything else. They'd camped under a rocky overhang on the side of the sloping mountain, so finding a niche to hide the bags wasn't difficult. Now, whether to hide and hope this would pass her by or venture out to see what was up... and who was fighting and might need help.

But even as the thoughts came, Tearna knew there was only one answer. She and Tam would never leave anyone stranded in need if they could help it. The fact that Tam wasn't here at this moment didn't change that resolve but the back of her mind did chew on the puzzle of why he wasn't present.

Crouched in the shadows she softly canted the song that activated her warrior skald skills, checked to make sure her dagger was still sheathed in her belt, threw her shield over her back and grabbed her harp, then waited for the next flash to be sure of the direction. Brilliant light lit up the sky to the southwest.

She started moving in that direction, hands in her pockets to hide the glow, looking for what had to be a runekeeper or perhaps loremaster fighting either a sizeable or formidable force by the sound of it.

Perhaps even trolls, a not so rare sight in the Trollshaws at night.


*****

Tam's Tracking

A lighter sleeper than his wife, the soft sounds of dislodged stones rolling down the rocky slope below snapped Tamoro instantly awake. Keen hobbit ears caught the faint distant sounds of a grunt and breathing.

Fortunately it, or perhaps they, hadn't noticed the wisp of smoke from the hobbit's small campfire. 'Poor tracking on their part' thought Tam. 'First guess, I'd say brigands. They're not very subtle when they're after something and certainly not very smart.'

Slipping quietly out of his bedroll, the burglar strapped on his daggers. In the wilds, it was never smart to be far from your weapons. Experience had taught him that things were not always what they seemed. Slipping his dark cloak about him, he pulled the hood up and took a moment to look back on his sleeping wife. "Be back soon, love" he whispered.

Moving swiftly and silently, Tam easily caught up with the noise and indeed, it was brigands. A mix of orcs and half-orcs had paused in the rocky crags below. Crouching behind a scraggly bush, the hobbit studied the group looking for the leader.

"What are you slugs doing?" growled a large Half-orc. "If we don't find those boxes the chief won't be happy. And if the chief ain't happy, you won't like it! Get moving you worthless scumbags!"

"What's so precious about these stupid boxes?" growled one of the smaller orcs.

Tam smiled, 'That's right, keep talking you big lunkheads. Tell me what I need to know!'

The leader raised his arm to strike the grumbling orc and froze mid-air as a flash of lighting lit up the sky to the south. All eyes turned that way as the leader yelled, "Away slugs!" and launched into a run towards the flash.

With a disappointed sigh, Tamoro headed toward the lightening, maintaining a healthy distance between himself and the brigands who were seemingly on some sort of mission.


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Tearna Quickfoot
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re: Chapter 1 part 2

Hobbits, Humans & Elves... OH MY! Part 2

Nightmagic and Wicked's Journey

The message from her family had been terse and urgent. 'We need you in Rivendell. Now!'

Nightmagic pondered what might be amiss, clutching the note in her pocket. as she rode across the Last Bridge leaving the Lone Lands behind. Wicked rode beside her on his dark black steed. His easy relaxed manner belied his attention to the landscape about them and any threats it might contain.

The day had been nice enough. A bright sun had warmed the crisp autumn air and the only sightings of orcs, goblins, or wargs were afar off, posing no threat to their progress.

As the sun neared the horizon, the air grew chilly. The dark haired elf pulled on her cloak and looped her runestone bag over the pommel of her saddle within easy reach. The Trollshaws was infamous for trolls that liked to come out and play after dark.

A brilliant orange sky gave way to shades of purple and navy as the daylight fled. The clear night sky was full of stars and a three quarter rising moon helped illuminate the path before them. Aside from the occasional wolf that had the misfortune to venture too close and experience the sharp end of one of Wicked's arrows, it was a quiet ride with only the clip clop of horse hooves to break the silence.

Night had begun to be hopeful that they might make it to Thorenhad without incident. There, they planned a quick break and she hoped to learn more about what affairs in Rivendell might have prompted such an urgent message.

Without a sound, Wicked reached for the reins of Night's horse and stopped them both, a finger held to his lips and a shake of his head as Night opened her mouth to speak.

Wrapped in her thoughts, she hadn't seen or heard anything but had learned to trust her partner. Silently, the pair slipped off their horses and her elf ears picked a soft commotion some ways off. Wicked moved off the road towards the noise that was coming from the edge of a thickly wooded area. Taking up position behind a large boulder, Wicked crouched down. Nightmagic followed his lead.


An agonizing cry filled the air, followed by rough laughter. Near the curtain of trees three trolls were taking sport in something.

Curled up on the ground, the man, or perhaps elf, hugged his knees to his chest while the largest of three troll prodded and poked at him. The trolls continues to laugh and torment him clearly enjoying his misery. Off to one side lay another body, bloody and motionless. A large horse nickered and snorted, pulling against the tether that held it anchored to a tree. The back of the horse's legs were bloody from backing into the cart full of boxes it pulled in a frantic effort to free itself.

"What's it got in the boxes?" the largest troll snickered. "Orcs is lookin' for boxes and'll pay handsome for them maybe. But they won't pay nothin' for the likes o' you! Maybe we eats you, hmmmm?"

Notching an arrow to his bow, Wicked took aim as Nightmagic activated the magic of her runestones. With a soft ping and even softer hiss of air, the arrow was released and landed deep in the shoulder of the largest troll. Fire erupted around him, dropping him to his knees with his own howling protests of pain. The other two trolls, clearly not very bright, stood motionless at first and then began to look for the threat.

Wicked laid a quick trap and notched a second arrow while Night tossed more fire at the trolls. The largest troll was back in his feet, roaring in anger as he moved towards the rock where Wicked and Night were stationed.

"I'll squash you like a bug, nasty little bee thing with your sticker," it bellowed, the other growling trolls following behind.

"Now," Wicked urged calmly as the lead troll stepped into the trap, howling in pain as spikes rose up from the ground. A second arrow pierced the large troll's eye. On cue the air filled with the odor of burnt hair and skin as a lightening bolt crackled round the now screaming angry troll. Moving away from the trap, Wicked a quick shot into the knee of one of the smaller trolls, slowing it down as Night rained lightening down on them all.

The hunter-runekeeper duo moved like the practiced steps of a dance, each instinctively supporting the actions of the other, a skill honed through years of fighting together.

Tam arrived on the scene well ahead of the party of orcs. He raised a brow at the sight of Wicked and Night taking on the trolls, wondering if he should assist or just watch and be entertained. Moments later Tearna crept up behind her husband.

"Hello, love," he whispered to her without turning around.

"Awww, I can never surprise you," she teased and kissed his cheek.

Like her husband, she wasn't too concerned as she watched the ensuing battle. Her friends were skilled warriors and had outwitted death more than once in places much darker than this.

And they'd have soon won the battle. Two were dead and the largest troll neared death, but fate was not with them this night. From the woods erupted the sounds of heavy objects crashing through trees and troll cries rang out in the cool night air.

"Damn!" muttered Wicked as he began to scan the landscape around them for the most defensible area. Tam shook his head and beckoned to his wife to follow while activating his invisibility web that engulfed them both. The hobbits snuck into place just behind the hunter and runekeeper.

"H'lo," gruffed Wicked without turning around. Tam chuckled as the pair became visible again.

"You two out here doing good deeds or just bored and looking for trouble?" Tam grinned, drawing his dagger from its sheath.

"Holey-moley, lookin' fer trouble's about right," Tearna gasped at the scene before her.

"Tam!" Nightmagic greeted. "And Tearna! How nice to see you," she flashed a brief smile and turned her attention to the commotion before them as she threw down a healing stone.

"Ready for a fight?" she asked as raging trolls began to pour out of the woods.


Last edited by Tearna Quickfoot on 2015/01/18 2:57 pm; edited 1 time in total


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re: Quickfoot Adventures

Thank you for posting this! I often get caught up in behind the scenes details during 'Ales & Tales', so it is nice to catch up on the full story.


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

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Tearna Quickfoot
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re: Part 3 presented at Kyrian's home on 1.26.2015

Might be tiny differences in this version and what I presented. I am sooo bad to tweak things in Lyrical at the last minute. *sighs* I did remove the emote commands. hehe



Previously we saw Tamoro and Tearna was in the Trollshaws for some reason. Tam was waked up by noisy orcs what was lookin' for some mystery boxes. Then Tearna was waked up by thunder, but the sky was clear.

Both headed to the lightenin' where they finded Wicked and Nightmagic fightin' trolls what was hurting a wagon driver. They was almost winnin' when lots more trolls showed up. An that's where we leaved em last time.

T'night we finds out what happens in...

Part 4: Til Death Do We Part


And the trolls came. Large, noisy and smelly even from this distance, the trolls paused as they burst into the open, searching for their prey.

Wicked laid down several traps and took aim at a large troll that seemed to be leading the others. A quick shot to the knee was followed by a triple shot to the chest. Focusing her attention on Wicked's target, Tearna let out a blood curdling scream and the hulk froze in terror. The hunter launched an arrow towards the troll's chest that exploded upon impact. Another cry from the minstrel and the beast fell to it's knees as a final arrow from Wicked pierced troll's head.

Tearna screamed a dreadful tune and another troll ran back into the woods in fear of his life.

All the while, Tam had gone invisible. He crept up and stunned one large troll, then turned to hamstring several others before going invisible again. Playing with the confused trolls, the burglar danced around them tossing dust in an eye, tossing a rock to confuse his position, even a tickle or two while the furious trolls pounded the ground blindly trying to find him.

The whole area was bathed in green as Nightmagic's healing stone pulsed and her runestones released restoring energy.

“Die!” screamed a troll, racing towards Wicked with four others close behind.

“You've been spendin' too much time with gobbies,” Tearna muttered as the beast and two right behind him all stepped into the hunter traps.

Wicked took aim on the third with a quick shot to the knee followed by a barrage of fire tipped arrows. The minstrel followed up with a couple of bursts of light and the troll crumpled to the ground, motionless.

The fourth approached and took aim on the small minstrel. Tearna shrieked a heartfelt cry of terror as a massive fist smashed in front of her, knocking her backwards. But the cry worked and the troll froze is it's tracks as Tearna rolled onto her feet and moved backwards out of arms reach.

A warm green restoring glow enveloped her while the hunter pummeled the beast with arrows to divert attention away from the hobbit.

Meanwhile, Tam was still toying with the trolls. He'd managed to get a few critical blows and one lay face down on the ground. Five still pounded the ground randomly, determined to squash the invisible pest as the hobbit darted and rolled, tickled and teased to give the others a chance to thin the ranks. He was tiring though and he knew this couldn't go on forever as he popped a tiny piece of elf bread in his mouth.

The troll Tearna had feared came rushing back from the woods. It reached the three stuck in the traps, just as the traps released and they all made a bee line for the minstrel.

“Damn!” muttered Wicked as he took aim on the lead troll with a quick arrow to the knee.

Tearna's eyes opened wide in alarm as she squealed, “Eeeeeeeek!” and collapsed possum-like on the ground.

Turning their attention to the hunter, one troll swung wide and caught Wicked on the shoulder. The blow tossed him backwards into a rock, knocking the breath out of him. A green glow covered him and, with a growl, the trolls turned to the source of the glow. Nightmagic.

“DAMN!” growled the hunter as he rose to his feet, set some more traps and let loose a handful of arrows at once. These pinned a couple of trolls to the ground and caused the others to glance at him but not stop their charge towards the healer.

“OVER HERE, STUPID!” Wicked screamed at them as he loaded up his strongest arrows to get their attention. One turned with howl of pain and headed towards the hunter. The other pursued the healer who threw down a healing stone and moved backwards. Distracted momentarily, the troll pounded the healing stone to rocks, then picked up a large rock and threw it at Nightmagic. The rock smacked into her shoulder, almost knocking the runestone from her hand.

Tearna had regained her feet by now and chanted the song to move from warrior mode to warrior-healer. Quickly, the minstrel played a tune of strength to her friend. The troll paused momentarily to glance at the minstrel before renewing it's attack on the runekeeper.

One of the trolls Tam was occupying, stopped pounding and swept his arms in a large circle around him. There was no time to duck. The arm bashed into the burglar, knocking him backwards into the treeline and rendering him visible again. With a harsh cry of glee, the troll headed towards Tamoro, the other four right behind him. The burglar looked around him for a place to shelter until he could reactivate his hiding skill.

Tearna so wanted to sing a song of courage for her husband, but he was too far away. Things weren't looking good but with a sigh she moved close enough to sing a song of health to Tam, then returned to warrior mode and concentrated on killing the one awful troll before it managed to take Nightmagic out.

From the road came the sound of voices, then the wispy zip of arrows flying as seven soldiers raced in. A warden wearing the livery of the Sons of Numenor put herself between the troll and Nightmagic and roared. Others moved to the edge of the woods where the five trolls were still trying to smack Tamoro into next week.

A cry, followed by a beam of light flashed brightly on the troll in front of Tearna, dropping it to it's knees. She recognized the sound of the voice and smiled. Tessariel, a healer and fearsome warrior. Hope returned to the hobbitess and she played boldly.

The air was now filled with the shouts and cries of battle, and howls of pain and defeat from the trolls. Seeing the battle turned, some trolls raced for the woods to make an escape, but didn't get far. Ten minutes later, it was all over.

Wicked built a fire and the four friends collapsed around it, battle weary and sore. A couple of the Sons of Numenor saw to the wounds of the elf the trolls had been tormenting.

“We sure are glad to see you, Tess,” the hunter nodded towards the elf, flinching as Nightmagic dabbed at a split lip with some ointment.

“We were on patrol,” Tess replied. “And looking for that cart and the drivers. You seem to have found it before us. And what in the name of the Valar are you doing out here this time of night?”

“Headed to Rivendell,” Night offered. “I received an urgent message from my family to come,” the runekeeper shrugged. “Not sure about our little friends,” the runekeeper chuckled and nodded to Tee and Tam.

Tearna smile, “Oh, we was out lookin' for a...”

“Treasure,” Tam interrupted her casually. “Following up a lead on some buried treasure up in the hills.” Tearna looked at her husband, then nodded.

Shaking her head, Tessariel smiled. “Well, I'd say you got more than you bargained for tonight. Still, I'm glad you followed whatever foolish notions had you traipsing through here," she added as she wiped down her harp.

"Had you not come along, both drivers would be dead and the cart and it's shipment long gone. I doubt we'd have even found the bodies back here by the woods.” the elf stowed her harp in a soft leather casing.

“What's so special about this cart?” Tam asked, nodding towards the horse now being tended by one of the Sons of Numenor soldiers.

“Nothing,” shrugged Tess. “Just a shipment of ore headed to Rivendell. However, Elrond received word that a story is circulating about some valuable artifact floating around somewhere, perhaps on it's way to Rivendell. Pure nonsense of course," the elf shook her head.

“Still, there was concern that any shipment would now become a target.” The elf pulled out a flask of something and offered it to Wicked.

“Drink!" she ordered. "All of you have a swallow. It will take some of the ache out of you. You still have a good long ride to Rivendell, but at least now you won't be traveling alone,”

Tam, feeling very warm and pleasant after his nip from the flask, stood to his feet, "We must retrieve our gear from the hills where we made camp. We can meet you at Thorenhad for a quick breakfast?”

Tessariel nodded, “I'll send Alidil with you. She's a very gifted warden and will be helpful if there is anything else out there.”

Tam nodded. He had been wondering what happened to the brigand orcs that were headed this way but never showed up. He and Tearna were in poor shape to take them on alone, should the need arise. An escort was welcomed. And, his interest in this artifact was even more intense now that word of it had reached Rivendell. Folks didn't bother Master Elrond with items of small consequences.

His thoughts wandered back two weeks earlier... back in Bree....


Next week, we find out how this adventure began.


Last edited by Tearna Quickfoot on 2015/02/04 9:27 pm; edited 1 time in total


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re: Episode 4 from Feb. 4th at Jasmine's Garden in Bree

*waves*
Welcome ta part 4 of my tale about the Quickfoot Adventure!

When we started our tale, Tam and Tearna was campin' in the Trollshaws, for reasons we doesn't know... yet. Tam was waked by noisy orc brigands and went ta see what they was up to. Turns out, them orcs was lookin' for somethin' in some sorta boxes or crates.

Tearna was waked by thunder and lightenin' ... with no clouds in the sky. Figurin' it was some runekeeper in trouble, she headed that way. Tam and the orcs headed ta where the lightenin' was too. Tam gots there a little bit ahead of Tea.

There they finded Wicked and Nightmagic fightin three trolls, what had been tormentin' some elfies what was drivin' a wagon. Things was goin' good and Wicked and Night had the three almost good as dead, when more trolls in a very bad mood, came pourin' outta the woods.

Wicked pin cushioned 'em. Tam played burglar tricks on 'em. Tearna screamed at 'em. And Nightmagic keeped everbody alive! But they was too many trolls, they was gettin' tired and the trolls had decided ta pick on poor Nightmagic.

About that time, the Sons o' Numenor showed up, out on their regular patrol, but also lookin' for a shipment of ore that was supposed ta be on this road. Hearin' the ruckus, eight of 'em rushed in and helped kill all the trolls.

Tessariel explained a rumor that there was some special artifact floatin' around and why they thinked the wagon might be attacked. She gived everbody some special elf drink and it made everone feel warm and better. Tam was rememberin' back to how come he and Tearna was out in the Trollshaws... and that is how we left it last time.


*wipes her brow*
Soooo many words! Whew! So's tonight we starts...

Chapter 2: Tam, Tea & Trouble!

Tam thought back to weeks earlier... back in Bree


It was a typical Saturday evening at the Pony, full of the sounds of eating, drinking and laughter amidst pipeweed smoke and mediocre music. Barliman had a soft spot for start up minstrels and would feed them for playing a set near the entrance. It was good practice for budding bards who occasionally scored a tip and wasn't bad for tavern business either.

Tamoro and Tearna had taken a table with their friends in the back corner near a window where the smoke was not quite so thick and the noise not quite as loud. It had been a pleasant evening of comraderie with Tam, Tea, Wicked, Nightmagic, Tromblon, Ereylen, and Palafoxia. Dinner had included roasted chicken, mouthwatering mushroom pie, mashed taters and assorted roasted root vegetables. That was followed by generous servings of apple and cherry pie.... enough to make even a hobbit happy!

The group sat back, appetites sated, nursing mugs of ale while they shared tales and laughter. Tearna chuckled softly at something said and with a smile still on her lips, leaned towards Tamoro. Kissing his cheek she whispered, "Has you noticed they's someone watchin' us? Over by the fireplace."

Probably early 30s, the tall lanky human looked as if he'd seen better times. He was so thin it make Tearna want to put a huge plate of food in front of him. His attire was that more akin to a sell-sword, rough and worn, but it was clean. Limp dark hair framed a narrow face covered with dark stubble. His dark eyes studied the occupants of the Pony, but most often came back to the companions at this particular table.

Tam smiled and returned the kiss to his wife's cheek, "Aye. He's been there some time now. Perhaps it's time to find out what he wants," he chuckled and stood to his feet.

"I need a refill! Anyone else?" the well fed hobbit announced and looked around the group of his friends.

Tearna, Palafoxia and Ereylen shook their heads. "Not me," the three voiced at the same moment, breaking into giggles.

Tromblon grinned and held up his mug. "That would be a yes from me, please."

"Certainly," Tam smiled and took Trom's mug, looking around. The others all declined and went back to discussing the intricacies of arranging songs as the burglar headed in the direction of the fireplace.

Tam had hardly crossed half the distance when the tall man's eyes darted across the room and the watcher began to move away. He began weaving through the crowd of mostly humans, making it harder for the hobbit to follow.

Tamoro was not just a hobbit however. He was a skilled and observant burglar. He wove his way through the legs of the crowd, following the boots of his quarry. It was unclear if the watcher was moving to the exit or to the hallway leading back to the rooms of the inn. Whichever, Tam knew it was just a matter of keeping his eyes on those boots!

And he was.

Until another pair of very large boots bumped into him.

"Hey! Watch it!" came the slurred growl of a tall burly human.

"Whatcha doin' down there?" the man grabbed Tam by the collar. "You tryin' ta pick my pockets?" he bellowed while his other hand searched his own pockets to make sure nothing was missing.

"Apologies," Tam cough and twisted slightly to see if he could free himself from the meaty grip.

"I's just tryin to make m' way t'the counter for refills, Tam replied, adding a bit of slur to his speech as if he was tipsy. "Kinda hard to see with all these legs standing in the way," Tam smiled and held up his tankards, countering the gruffness of the stranger with his typical stamp of good-natured humor. All the while, his eyes kept searching that sea of boots for the one special pair.

"Oh, well I kin help that," the big man chuckled, reached out a large arm, grabbed the protesting hobbit around the waist and plucked him off the floor. Pushing the crowd out of the way, he strode to the innkeeper and plopped Tamoro on the counter.

"This 'un wants refills," the big man grunted to the innkeeper. Tam stood to his feet with a sigh, still trying to scan the crowd for the watcher from the height advantage of the counter, without luck.

"Barliman's Best, please," Tam handed his tankards to the innkeeper and leaning towards the portly fellow, lowered his voice.

"Hold 'em here for me if you would, please. I've got to get rid of what I already drank. I'll be right back," to which Barliman chuckled and nodded.

The burglar made a beeline for the exit, but there was no obvious sign of the stranger. The square outside the Pony was empty save the pacing of the town watchmen making rounds with torches and dogs. Tam hurried to the side entrance and quickly made the rounds of all the public rooms in the back, but came up empty.

With a sigh, he went back to the main room, tossed some coin to the barkeep and retrieved the two tankards of ale. Back at the table his friends were still discussing music compositions and performance, which was hardly surprising as they were all musicians.

"Took you long enough," Tromblon chided. "What did you do, go to Thorin's Hall for the good stuff?" he chuckled. Taking the tankard from his friend, Trom brought the mug up to his lips to slurp off the foamy top.

"Well, I did have to get rid of what I already drank," Tam replied matter of factly as he brought his mug up and took a deep drink.

Trom froze, lowered the mug from his lips, looked at it then back at Tam.

"You did wash your hands afterwards?" he inquired softly.

"Wash?" Tam's lips curled slightly, his eyes lit with a mischievous glow that Tearna knew well.

Tromblon sat his mug down, his joyful exuberance suddenly swallowed up with disappointment.

"Oh, Trom," Ereylen touched his arm. "Tam's just having fun with you. You burglar types and your jokes! But you wouldn't go that far!"

"Weeeelllll..." replied a sheepish Tromblon.

"Trom!" Ereylin gasped, then shook her head. "But not to someone you liked... not to a friend!"

"No, not to a friend," Tromblon agreed and smiled.

Laughing, Tam clapped his fellow hobbit burglar on the shoulder.

"It's okay Trom. Your ale is clean and so are my hands," Tam assured his friend, thinking his hands were at least as clean as they ever were.

"Drink!" Tam ordered as he took a deep draught of his own ale, his friend following suit with a wide grin.

Chuckling, Wicked stood up, "Time for us to go get ready for tonight's concert. Thank you for the food and fellowship." The Animal House bandleader nodded to the group. "We expect you all to sing, so be ready!" he smiled and reached a hand out to Nightmagic, who took it and gracefully rose to her feet.

"See you in a bit," Nightmagic smiled as she waved farewell, grabbed her bag and followed her partner out of the inn.


*toasts*
Comes back next week ta finds out about the watcher man!


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Tearna Quickfoot
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re: Quickfoot Adventures

I meant to preface this when I first starting posting this tale, and forgot. I hope you are enjoying the adventures of Tam and Tearna so far. And they truly are our adventures- a corporate venture.

Tam has been my muse, my inspiration, and even my editor/critic (such as reminding me that a palantir was rare enough that no one would leave one laying about in a brigand tent, assuming there would be one there at all.. a plot line I abandoned with haste! hehe). He wrote his own intro scene and has been instrumental in helping me with plot ideas. Tearna gets to tell the tale, but it is the brainchild of both. *hugs her sweet Tam*


Chapter 3: The Watcher's Secret


The watcher had kept an eye on the group all evening, slowly nursing an ale that was still pretty much full. He had to keep a clear head if he was to survive. He'd come out of hiding at great risk to himself, for what he carried was sought by evil even higher than the local brigand thugs.

Grub,... for that is what he had come to be called in the brigand camp once it became known that he had a talent for making the grub more appetizing... Grub shuddered when he recalled the pure terror that engulfed him when he'd walked into the commanders tent one night to clear the table.

There stood the commander and a nazgul discussing a dagger on the table.

A blackness he still couldn't fathom, dropped Grub to the ground where he curled up and wept like a tiny child. He vaguely recalled laughter as arms roughly hauled him away from the tent, away from the soul consuming evil.

There was one sure thing he had come to know as a result of that chance contact. What he now carried could never be allowed to fall into the hands of that creature. That darkness used men, but, it had no love for humanity.

Men followed because of the promises of wealth and positions or authority, promises Grub had never seen come to pass. But, many of the humans followed for the love of violence itself. Among humans, violence to your fellow man was punished.

Among the orcs, sadistic tendencies were rewarded.

Grub had fallen in with the brigands out of desperation. He had moved his family to Trestlebridge shortly after the birth of his daughter. He'd wanted to take advantage of blossoming trade opportunities in the growing town. But the town folk were not accepting of strangers.

Grub thought they were starting to fit in, when a rival pipeweed merchant was murdered, his stock burned. The lovely aroma of that pipeweed smoke had filled the city for days. The dead merchant was a local from birth. Grub was a newcomer and competitor. Angry citizens insisted that Grub must be the culprit.

Grub had not killed the man, but he'd been unable to prove his innocence and the angry townspeople were determined to see him hang. And so he left his family, slipping out in the wee hours of the morning while wife and daughter were sleeping. His plan was to get lost in the surrounding woodlands until things blew over, but his departure only convinced the town of his guilt. Word was carried to the Watch at Bree and he was named a fugitive there as well.

The brigand camps in Chetwood Forest offered safety in numbers as well as food and shelter. He had never planned to stay. Proving himself a better cook than thug, for he had no heart for violence, he was rarely asked to go out on missions. So he'd never really had to face the evil at the heart of who the brigands were and what they did.

That changed the night he bumped into the nazgul.

Days later, while collecting dirty dishes in the commander's tent, he picked up a pack and tossed it aside. The dagger he'd seen previously fell out, partially sheathed in a small soft satchel. Grub slipped the item securely into his belt, well hidden under his coat and carried it and the dirty dishes out of the tent.

He spent a tense evening, washing dishes and cleaning up his kitchen... waiting for the alarm to sound. But, it never did. To his relief, the evening proved quiet and uneventful. After much of the camp settled down to sleep, he hauled the evening garbage well outside the camp, as was his habit... and just never came back.

A good distance away there was a cave, a place he'd found long ago, before desperation drove him to join the brigands. There he pondered what action to take next for several days. But, in the end it was clear, he must have help with this.

And so he headed to Breetown in hopes of eluding the law and the brigands long enough to find a man who had been a friend in his youth. The older man was the only welcome that the ex-brigand dared hope for and even then, it was more gamble than conviction. But his old friend, Aldekim, had embrace him, offered a warm welcome, with food and a place to sleep for the night.

Over a very late breakfast the next day, Aldekim shook his head after hearing about Grub's encounter with the nazgul and examining the dagger.

"You're right to fear, lad," he mused as he took their coffee cups and carried them to the old stove for a refill.

"But I'm no real authority on dwarvish or elven constructs and that blade looks to be one or the other to me. The body that comes to mind to answer such questions, or at least know where to get them answered, would be a hobbit."

The silver haired man returned to the table with full cups and sat down across from Grub. "Calls himself a farmer and part time treasure hunter. More treasure hunter than farmer by my take," the scholar grunted, face wrinkling into a broad grin.

"Tamoro Quickfoot," the scholar nodded. "He and his wife'll likely be at the Prancing Pony tonight early in the evening as is their habit."

The reformed brigand searched the older man's face intently. "A Hobbit? You believe him trustworthy? I may not live long enough to carry this through. He will have to do so if I can't."

"Oh yes," gray eyes twinkled as the old man nodded. "Absolutely! I'd trust the Quickfoots, and their companions, more than most. Hobbits seem to have less guile about them than other folks. They also seem ta have a knack for naturally attracting...or perhaps recognizing... those good of heart."

The silver haired man leaned back in his chair, "And whilst the wee folk have a not unwarranted reputation for being homebodies and lovers of food and comfort, they're also dependable. If Tamoro Quickfoot takes this on, he'll see it through."

"Thank you, dear friend!" Grub clasped his old friend's hand.

"Your help," the ex-brigand paused and swallowed the lump in his throat, "... and welcome... mean more to me than you can know."

Aldekim simply nodded, a soft smile on his face, and patted the younger man's hand.

"I'd best go now," Grub said abruptly as he drained his cup and stood to his feet. "My being here puts you in danger and I'll need to hide myself in the busy crowds of the city to evade those who are surely looking for me."

The younger man crossed to the door, collected his cloak and pack and turned to his host. "May your days be full and far from the evil that has invaded these lands, Aldekim" he said softly before turning to the door and letting himself out into the warm sunshine.

Gray eyes stared at the door for a long while before the scholar stood up with a troubled sigh and began to clear the dishes from the table.


Saturday afternoons in Bree bustled with activity as folks came to buy and sell various goods. The key to getting lost in a crowd was to become one of them. And so Grub became a shopper. He even purchased a tiny trinket that reminded him of his wife, not that he imagined he would see her to give it to her. But, perhaps Aldekim could arrange to have it delivered.

From the market square, Grub fell in with a group headed towards the Prancing Pony and once there, joined another group going inside. Happily, the tavern was crowded. He moved through the crowds to a partly occupied table near a wall and sat with his back against the wall. From here he could watch folks come and go without someone coming up behind unawares. He ordered stew with hard bread and an ale from a serving girl and once it came, ate slowly, tring to blend in with those around him.

From a pocket in his pack, he retrieved the trinket, a piece of light blue paper he'd purchased earlier and a pencil. Carefully, he penned a note on the paper, put Aldekim's name on the outside, then lovingly wrapped the trinket in the blue paper and tucked it back into a side pocket of his pack.

Grub's bowl was nearly empty when the hobbits showed up. The dark haired burglar and his fair haired pink-clad wife, just as Aldekim had described, were easy to spot. The pair was accompanied by three more hobbits, a human male and elven female who were all clearly friends and companions.

Picking up his tankard, the ex-brigand moved to the fireplace near the table where the congenial group settled. Grub feigned interest in a nearby storyteller while pondering the best way to approach the hobbit. Should he wait until the hobbit was alone or approach the whole group and ask to speak to Tamoro privately.

He had decided he had no choice but to approach the whole group when two things happened. First, the dark-haired hobbit stood up, collected mugs and headed in his direction. At almost the same moment, a large man, face scarred and familiar, moved out of the crowd towards him.

Setting his tankard on the mantle, Grub quickly made his way into the crowds, weaving in and out of the heaviest groups to hopefully lose his pursuers. He'd intended to go out the front door, but the area around it was too open. Instead, he wove his way down the hallway to the back door and slipped into the back alley and glanced around him.

Following the face of the cliff behind the tavern and stables, he headed in the direction of the west gate. There should be people there, around the stable. The Bree Watch would have a presence there if nothing else. There was nothing to hide his progress from watching eyes so he ran as fast as he dared in the dark.

He didn't make it to the west gate. A bulky figure lurched out from behind a building near the planting fields and tackled Grub. The two hit the ground hard, knocking the wind out of the ex-brigand who lay stunned for a moment. A huge fist bashed his face. Intense pain brought tears to Grub's eyes. It felt like maybe his nose was broken.

"Where?" growled the brigand as he punched Grub again. "Tell me where it is or you die!" to which Grub only grunted and shook his head. Pain exploded in his thigh and Grub threw his hands up desperately trying to fling the large man off of him.

"Tell me!" the man ordered through clinched teeth. Grub bucked again while grabbing at the big hand holding the dagger. Pain shot through his abdomen. The faint sound of voices grew louder. Men's voices. The Bree watch making their patrol of the streets perhaps.

Grub opened his mouth to scream for help. With a low growl, the big man covered Grub's mouth and stabbed the ex-brigand several times, wounds intended to kill. The killer grabbed Grub's pack and keeping to shadows, snuck away from the approaching noise. A dribble of small items spilled from the pack onto the ground near the body.

The voices grew louder and then softer as they moved down the street, oblivious to the soft groans of the dying man.

Be sure ta come back the week after next week ta find out what happens next!


Last edited by Tearna Quickfoot on 2015/02/11 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total


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re: Quickfoot Adventures

Woo Hoo I'm famous!


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re: Presented at Thorin's Hall 2.23.15

Here's the next part, presented in the secret rep hall at Thorin's hall!

Mystery Afoot


Back at the Pony, the hobbits lingered over their ales with casual chatter about music and cooking and warbands until a young red headed hobbit hurried up to the table. Tam had only been half heartedly paying attention to the chatter, eyes scanning the thinning crowds for more watchers. A slight frown creased his brow as Nightchade, a member of the Animal House band, hurriedly approached their table.

"Evenin' Miss Chade," greeted Palafoxia with a smile that was quickly cut short by the red headed hobbit's terse reply.

"Tam, Tee... Mr. Wicked says you should come. Now!" she said, keeping her voice low, panting for breath, face dead serious.

“Oh boy! You've done it now,” chuckled Paly with a wave. “See you at the concert later!” Ereylen and Tromblon chuckled as they waved, then went back to discussing their Sunday night concert.

"Hurry!" and Chade dashed off towards the door with a brief look over her shoulder to make sure the hobbits were behind her.

Filled with curiosity if nothing else, Tam and Tearna hopped up and followed. Tam handed their serving girl some silver in tip as he followed Chade, out into the damp night air. It had been raining since he was out last.

Nightchade lead them down past the stables towards the planting fields where Animal House liked to tune up before the Saturday evening concert. She didn't go that far though. Making a right turn around a trade building that sat on the side of the main road, she approached Wicked and Night who were standing at the back corner of the building, gazing down.

"Is this the reason why you were gone so long getting ale refills, Tam?" the band leader asked solemly, quietly.

On the ground lay the body of the man from the Prancing Pony who had been watching them. Blood oozed from several stab wounds and slashes on his arms. Clearly, he'd put up an unsuccessful fight.

Tearna inhaled sharply. "Oh noooo..."

Tam knelt beside the body. "Not sure I like what you're implying, Wicked," he replied dryly. "This appears to be a fellow that watched us in the Pony most of the evening," Tam explained. "I was going to speak with him, but he ran off before I got close to him."

Wicked nodded, "Yes, I noticed him too. Hard not to. Not sure who or what he was, but a trained spy he was not."

Something metalic protruded out from underneath the corpse. Tam carefully rolled the body to get a good look at the it and the dead man groaned and coughed. Dropping the man back onto the ground, the burglar leaned in closer.

"Not so dead after all," the burglar commented softly. "Who did this to you?"

Wicked knelt down and lifted the wounded man's head.

"Not importa..." Grub coughed, spitting up blood. "Dagger... arti... fac," he gasped out suddenly grabbing Tam's shirt.

"Don't let them get it," he urged feverishly but faintly before breaking into another fit of coughing as he turned loose of Tam.

"They.... mus...na get... th..." he gurgled, a watery sounding whisper that tapered off to a long exhale and silence.

Wicked laid the head down and closed the man's eyes. Tam pulled the item from under the man and squinted at it in the faint light from the street lamps. It was a fancy dagger with a short curved blade.

Pulling out his handkerchief, he wiped the blade clean and angled it to catch what moonlight and lamplight there was. Odd writing was etched on it and some sort of gem was embedded in the pommel.

"Looks like letters, see here?" the hobbit handed the blade to Wicked. "I don't recognize them. How about you Wicked? Night?"

With a soft whistle, Wicked shook his head and handed it to his elven partner. "Nothing like I've ever seen. Looks expensive though," he added.

Nightmagic shook her head and handed it back to Tamoro. "Could be elvish," she replied, "but if so it is very old and not from my people." the tall dark-haired elf shrugged. She glanced back at the rest of the band standing in the field waiting and noting the time, waved them on towards the Pony.

"I think I know someone who might know more," Tam replied as he wrapped the blade in his hanky. With an assenting nod from Wicked, the burglar hid the dagger in a secret pocket inside his jacket.

"Hmmm, what's this...?" the burglar murmured more to himself than anything as he felt something under his foot. Reaching down he picked up a small item wrapped in paper, a pencil and a small magnifying glass and tucked them in his pocket. He would examine them later. Perhaps they held a clue as to who this man was.

"Right! What's all this then?" The gruff voice came from the roadside. Two men, both wearing the livery of the Bree Watch, shone their torches towards the group. Their dogs whined and pulled on their leashes towards the dead body.

"Good question," Wicked responded, stepping forward. "As you are surely aware, we normally come here to rehearse before our weekly concert. This was waiting on us," explained Wicked nudging the body gently with his boot.

"Chap doesn't appear to be in the best of health," said one of the watchmen, tall and young scratching the stubble on his jaw.

The other watchman, an older more experienced man, shook his head, reaching to feel for a pulse. "Not in good health is an understatement, Brad. This fellow's dead!" Standing erect, the older man turned to Wicked and Tam. "What do you folks know about this?"

"No more than you at this point," Wicked responded curtly. "We arrived just minutes ago and found him this way," Wicked crossed his arms and looked at the watchmen. "I do hope this isn't going to affect the show tonight, gentlemen," he added. "Our fans count on us to be there and weee count on their coin to make expenses for the week."

"I see no reason why it should," the older watchman shook his head, looking up at Wicked and then back down at the dead man. "It's not a familiar face. Probably a quarrel. Could be a brigand from the looks of him. There'll be an investigation o' course, but I wouldn't worry 'bout it. However, we will increase the watch round the Pony.... just to make sure nothing more happens tonight."

"We appreciate that," the bandleader offered a dry smile and nodded to the watchmen. "Nearly time for us to start now so we'll bid you a good night," and with a nod Wicked took his wife's hand and they all headed up to the main square of the Prancing Pony for the Saturday evening concert and dance.

Up the hill and away from the lawmen, Tam whispered to Wicked, "Might have been a brigand, but I think there is more afoot here than just that. This fancy dagger and his ranting about an artifact. Feels wrong!" to which Wicked nodded.

"You're right, Tam. But right now it's best that things go as planned so we don't alert whoever... or whatever is behind this. We can do our own investigation later," he assured as they all strode into the stable area, greeting fans that had already started gathering.

In the shadow of the tall buildings that lined the road where the Bree Stage stood, a large figure wrapped in a dark cloak watched the musicians depart towards the Pony and the Bree watchmen bring up a cart and load the body into it.


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re: Mar 2 Ales N Tales at Little Delving

Chapter 5: The Investigation Begins


Sunday began much as it usually did at the Quickfoot home. After the long evening of singing and dancing the night before, first at the Animal House concert and then at BBB, Tearna slept late. Snoring softly, she was in complete oblivion until the smell of bacon tickled her nose. Inhaling deeply, the minstrel stretched and greeted the morning with a grunt. She didn't bother to check for Tamoro. He was downstairs producing the lovely aromas that floated up the stairs to the bedroom.

Slipping into a soft furry robe Tam had picked up for her in Forochel, she wobbled downstairs and greeted her husband with a smile.

“Mmmmm, yummy. My tummy is growling,” she commente as she plucked a piece of bacon off the platter and stuffed it in her mouth, earning a frown from the cook.

“Now, now... wait for the eggs, love!” he chided, but not seriously. Tearna smiled and gave him a greasy kiss on the cheek. Taking a cup off the cupboard, she made a cup of tea and sat at the table, watching her husband finish breakfast. Her thoughts wandered to the events from the night before.

“D'ya think whoever killed that man last night's still about?” she asked, keeping her tone more casual than she felt.

“Aye, most like,” replied Tam without looking up from his cooking. “Depends on why he killed him. Wasn't a drunken scuffle, though," Tam added shaking his head. "On that I'd wager! I think the killer was lookin' for the dagger. Can't imagine why he didn't see it though,” he trailed off as he slid the eggs onto the platter with the bacon.

“Maybe he was interrupted?” Tearna offered. “Maybe Wicked and Nightmagic was comin' up the hill about that time?”

“Naw, they'd have heard something. Specially Night with those elfy ears!” Tam countered as he pulled a pan of muffins out of the oven and brought them to the table. “Still, an interruption's probably the safest guess as ta why the killer didn't finish what he started and....”

“But..." Tearna frowned as she interrupted her husband. "If'n he's lookin' for that dagger...” Tam smiled and patted his wife's hand.

“He does't know we have it, love,” he sat down and heaped his plate with food. “The only folks who do know are our friends and they won't say anything."

“But...” Tearna grabbed a muffin, broke it apart and dabbed it with butter, “Not just our friends. The watch see'd us there!”

“True," the dark haired hobbit smiled and looked at his wife. "But I can't imagine why they'd go around town tellin' who was there.”

Tam reached out and took Tearna's hand. “I'll be careful, love. I'm not looking to be a hero here.”

With a sigh, Tearna nodded and put on a smile. “I knows... I just doesn't want nothin' ta happen to you. I mean, who'd cook me breakfasts then?” she chuckled, leaned towards Tam and gave him a quick kiss. “Has I told ya today that I loves you, my burglar babe?” she whispered. “Life'd be awful sad without ya!”

“And I love you, precious," he replied, "and I'm not going anywhere.” Tam grunted. “Leastwise not anywhere permanent like."

Stuffing his mouth full of breakfast, Tam pulled the dagger out and gently unwound the cloth from around it. A small bundle of blue paper tumbled out and landed with a soft thunk on the table.

“Oh yes...” the burglar trailed off and picked it up. Something was penned on the outside. “Hmmm, Aldekim...”

“What about Aldekim?” Tea looked up from her food.

“That's the name on this paper,” Tam murmured as he gently unwrapped the paper. “Might be another artifact.”

Inside was a small rooster carved out of wood. There was a vendor in town who sold novelties of the sort. A message had been penciled onto the paper.

To my darling wife,

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you, my dear. How I miss the sound of your voice, your lovely smile, the glow in your eyes, the feel of your hand in mine. If only I could go back and change things, my love.

It is my hope that Aldekim can get this to you. My heart will forever be yours, sweetheart.

It was signed... Your loving husband, Robert

*********
Tune: Run by Snow Patrol

I'm taking one last look at you
Then I really have to go
I thought that we could make it here
But fate said no.

I've always loved to see you smile
But now those days have become so rare
I loved the light that fills your eyes
Now it's not there.

My love, my love
Remember me dear, though I'm far away
Even when you can't hear my voice, my love
My heart will forever be yours.

My love, my love
The sound of your sweet laughter will stay
Wrapped up in my memories forever love
My heart will forever be yours.

To think I might never see those eyes
Makes it so hard not to stay
And as I take one last look at you
I nearly do

My love, my love
Remember me dear, though I'm far away
Even when you can't hear my voice, my love
My heart will forever be yours.

My love, my love
The sound of your sweet laughter will stay
Wrapped up in my memories forever love
My heart will forever be yours.

Time races on
There is no way to say, my love
All the things I want you to know, my love
But, my heart will forever be yours!


Take heart, my dear
We're bound to be afraid, my dear
Hopefully it will be just a few days, my dear
And all of this will be resolved.

My love, my love
Remember me dear, though I'm far away
Even when you can't hear my voice, my love
My heart will forever be yours.

******

Tearna shook her head, went to Tam and wrapped her arms around him, “That's so sad..” The burglar covered his wife's hands with his own and nodded.

“Wonder if that's the same Aldekim...” Tam mused softly. “I've got ta go to Bree and see if I can find Aldekim... see if he knows anything about this man and this mystery,” Tam kissed his wife's hands and began to carefully re-wrap the wooden rooster.

Tearna nodded and reached for the empty plates as she began to clean off the table. "I's got some errands ta do in town too.”
*******
Come back next week ta hear the next part o' the story!


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re: Quickfoot Adventures

Chapter 5: Investigation Part 2

Sunday afternoon's were busy with vendors hawking their wares and bards plying their trade. A group had already started gathering at the Bree stage for the weekly Andune Ensemble concert.

Tam and Tea purchased some savory turnovers and tea from Master Bilwise's food cart and headed to a bench. They sat near Danniwyn and Lerillos who were dancing to a tune played by Mister Berynon. After greeting the assemblage of friends the two hobbits sat down to eat. Tired of dancing, the elven lady Lerillos joined them.

Wolfing down his food, Tam kissed his wife, "I'll pick you up after the concert, if not before, precious." With a nod to those assembled, he hurried off leaving Tearna to chat with her friends.

Now, Aldekim lived in south Bree, but was often found on the Scholar's Stairs in discussions with other scholars and those who studied artifacts. Tam tied his pony to the post at the bottom of the stairs and made his way up. Unsurprisingly, he found the silver haired man in animated debate with several silver haired gentlemen over an artifact supposedly found at the Andrath ruins.

Tam smiled and found himself in agreement with his friend as he approached the trio. Andrath had been overrun by brigands for so long, it seemed highly unlikely that there would be anything left to find.

“Tamoro,” Aldekim smiled and waved. “Good to see you. What brings you up to see a bunch of old men arguing on such a pretty day?” Rising, he patted Tam on the shoulder and directed him to a more secluded portion of the platform. Tam followed the older man's lead and the two sat on empty crates well away from any other potentially listening ears.

“Two reasons,” Tam began while pulling the blue paper from his pocket. “Found this on a dead man last night,” the hobbit explained, voice low and soft. “Has your name on it.”

Eyebrows raised, Aldekim took the item, gently unwrapped it and read the message inside with a long, sad sigh.

“Dead you say?” the scholar shook his head, Tam nodding in reply. “So sad to hear that. Do they know who... or what.. killed him?”

Tam shook his head, “Not that I am aware of,” and the hobbit explained the events of the evening before. The scholar kept shaking his head in dismay as the story unfolded.

“What can you tell me about this person... this Robert?” Tam asked softly.

“Did you find something else on him?” the older man dropped his voice to a whisper, “A... dagger perhaps?”

The hobbit leaned towards his friend, “How did you know?”

“Shhhh,” the older man cautioned. “Robby came to me for help. He's not.... was not... a bad fellow. I've known him since he was a lad. He had some bad turns, made some bad choices,” the scholar shrugged.

“As a result, he came into possession of this particular blade that is of some importance to the enemy. According to Rob, had come under the scrutiny of a Nazgul. He thought that reason enough to sneak it out and bring it to me.” Aldekim shook his head and sighed, “I had actually told him to bring it to you.”

“You don't know the letters on it then?” a forlorn Tam asked, exhaling his own sigh as the scholar shook his head no.

"I could make guesses, but that is all they would be," the scholar replied. "You might check with Gori though. He's more versed in weapon's lore than me."

“Thanks," Tamoro nodded and stood to his feet, looking up at the tall scholar. "You've been helpful, Aldekim. Not specifically the sort of help I was hoping for, but helpful just the same."

“Be careful my friend,” the man's silver hair fluttered in the breeze, alert eyes studying the hobbit burglar. Those looking for this will be ruthless in their attempts to reclaim it if the Witch-king and his minions are involved," Aldekim cautioned and Tam nodded.

"Watch your back!” the scholar warned, clapping a hand on Tam's shoulder.

“I will,” the hobbit nodded. “You do the same my friend!” Tam headed down the stairs towards the dwarf quarter.

Still seated, Aldekim scanned the crowd casually, making sure they had not drawn undue attention as he tucked he wooden rooster and love letter into his pocket. His eyes fell on a tall, rough looking fellow purchasing an apple and the hackles on the back of his neck stood up. But the man nodded pleasantly to the vendor and moved on up the stairs, in the opposite direction of the hobbit.

Chuckling, the scholar stood and scolded himself. “Let's not start finding monsters under every stone, Alde.” He stretched and noting the time, made his way towards the Andune concert on the square.


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re: Quickfoot Adventures

This is quite wonderful, Tearna! Thank you for sharing it here.

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Tearna Quickfoot
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re: Quickfoot Adventures

So glad yer enjoyin' it Miss Hollyelf! *smiles*



Chapter 5: Investigation Part 3


Tam quickly headed out the opposite way he'd come, towards south Bree and the dwarf quarter. It wasn't a long walk, down the Scholar's Stair and past Tad's house, the one with all the turtles, to the gates that guarded the dwarf area.

Tam had never understood why the dwarves segregated themselves like this, or why armed guards were needed at the gates for that matter. But the person who might have answers to his questions was hopefully behind those gates.

Gori Mithrilfist was an adventurer, master weapon smith and storyteller of some renown. Tam was hoping to find he was here in Bree, not out adventuring or at his home at Thorin's Hall.

“Stop!” gruffed a dwarf with a neatly groomed, dark flaming-red beard.

“Greetings,” smiled Tamoro, adding a small bow of deference. “I'm looking for Master Mithrilfist. Would you know if he is home today?”

The guard's eyebrows shot up while the other guard, gray haired and grizzled, chuckled.

“An what would ya be needin' with Gori,” the old dwarf asked, bright blue eyes twinkling as he studied Tam's face.

“I've some business with him.. perhaps for him,” Tam shrugged. “But the work has ta be done soon, so it is important that I see him today. Now, if possible.”

Pulling at a very impressive and complexly braided long silver beard, the older dwarf nodded and turned to his companion. “I believe Gori is in. Brom, go tell him that...” he turned back to the hobbit. “What d'ya say yer name is?”

“Tamoro. Tamoro Quickfoot,” Tam replied quickly.

“Tell Gori there's a Tamoro here ta see him and see if he's in the mood ta discourse.” The younger guard unlatched the gate and hurried inside.

“Would this business be related ta weapon smithin' or adventurin'?” the silver haired guard asked.

“A little of both,” Tam shrugged and smiled. “Or, it could be a blind alley that goes nowhere. Won't know 'til I talk with Gori.”

“Talk ta me about what, Tamoro?” Gori approached, followed by the red-headed guard. “D'ya know it isn't proper t'wake a dwarf from his nap?” he chuckled as he patted the hobbit on the back.

“This better be good,” he added as he nodded to the older dwarf and led Tam inside the dwarf quarter.

Where most of Bree had been constructed of wood, the dwarven quarter was built of intricately cut stones. It was a unique flavor that spoke strongly of the dwarf love of caves and rocks and mining. Tam tried to take it all in without obviously staring. Next to him, Gori chuckled.

“Here's my place,” he announced, opening the door and standing aside to let Tam enter. The inside was as lavishly designed as the outside without feeling overdone or gaudy. Fur rugs covered the dark marble floor lending a very warm, comfy feeling. One wall held dozens of axes of various shapes and sizes, carefully mounted and presented. Tam whistled softly.

“Those of your making, Gori?” the hobbit asked and the dwarf nodded, eyes glowing with pride.

“Aye, the best of those I've made o'er the years. Most of 'em saw battle before retiring and finding themselves hung in the place of honor here.” The dwarf motioned Tam to a leather covered seat and sat across from him.

“But that's not what yer here for, ta see an old dwarf's weapon collection,” he beamed a wide grin. Tam shook his head.

“No. Wish it were that simple,” he said as he fished inside his coat and brought out something securely wrapped in cloth. “This came inta my hands yesterday,” he explained while removing the cloth.

“I was told it is likely important to our enemies.” He handed Gori the finely wrought dagger. It was the dwarf's turn to whistle softly as he examined the blade, carefully engraved with symbols and a dark red gem set into the top of the hilt.

“Where d'ya get this, lad?” he asked, voice solemn and soft.

“Off a dead man,” the hobbit answered. “Old friend of Aldekim, got in trouble, ended up hiding out with the brigands. Said he saw a Nazgul in the camp... interested in this dagger. So, when fate presented an opportunity to escape with the blade, he did just that.

Tamoro shrugged, "Someone found him though. Killed him out by the planting fields. Wicked and Night found him and the blade was tucked under his body. Still not sure why the killer didn't see it and take it," the hobbit shook his head, bewildered.

"What can you tell me about the dagger Gori?” Tam asked.

“Nazgul, huh? Highly unlikely," the dwarf shook his head. "I've seen one of these b'fore. In Mirkwood. But it was a Cargul that carried it. Elves there seemed ta think all the Cargul carried these. Said they were similar ta morgul blades, though not as potent. I never heard them say exactly what power they thought the blades held," Gori turned the blade over.

"The elves confiscated the dagger I found and that was the last I saw of it, sadly. Nice ta have the chance ta see another,” the dwarf sighed as he turned the blade to reflect the light.

“So you don't know what the engraving on it means,” Tam asked softly.

Shaking his head, Gori replied, “Sorry lad, no. The elves weren't that forthcoming with me. I am a dwarf after all," he grinned and winked. "Truth is, I don't know that they knew themselves. But you'd have ta talk to the elves ta find out,” the dwarf shrugged and reluctantly handed the blade back to Tamoro.

“If ya do though, you'll not get ta keep it. If you take it ta the elves, this is.” Gori added softly.

The hobbit nodded his head as he began to wrap the blade in the cloth once again.

“If it's a dark blade not sure I'd want to keep it, Gori,” the burglar responded as he moved to tuck the blade into his secret coat pocket. We thought maybe it was elvish or dwarven. Never even considered it might be something else.” The burglar let out a long breath and shook his head, gaze fixed on the dagger.

Gori shook his head, “No, definitely not an elf or dwarf construct. If ya don't feel safe with it, I'd be happy ta keep it stored here in my vault for you. No place more secure in Bree than the dwarf quarter,” he grinned and nodded.

Tam looked up at Gori, blade in hand and considered the offer. "Might not be a bad idea, leastwise until I decide what we want to do with it. You going to be in Bree for awhile so we can pick it up again in a few days or so? I'm thinking we'll have to take it to Rivendell but there's a few more threads I want to run down first.”

“Aye,” Gori nodded and held out his hand. “I'll stay in Bree til you come ta recover this.”

“Thanks, Gori,” Tam handed the wrapped blade to the dwarf. Knowin' folks are looking for this, I would feel safer if I wasn't carrying it about!”

The dwarf rose and walked over to a marble pillar near the all and pressed his hand against the marble. A large drawer slid out from the wall. It was full of small boxes and at least two good sized leather coin pouches, bulging with coins. Gently, he laid the blade atop a small chest and closed the drawer. Tam smiled and nodded.

"Thanks, Gori," the hobbit smiled at his friend. "You'll have earned Tearna's undyin' gratitude. She's been frettin' about me carryin' the blade around."

The dwarf smiled and patted the burglar on the shoulder, "At's what friends is for, Tamoro. But, if she gets ta feelin' real generous and wants ta bake me a pie..." the older man's eyes twinkled as he voice trailed off.

Tam chuckled and shook his head. "If ya value yer health, you'll not encourage Tearna ta cook for you!"

"Not a very good cook, huh?" the dwarf laughed.

"Terrible cook, actually. An she'd be the first ta tell ya so," Tamoro grinned, "She let's me wear the apron in the family!" and the two laughed heartily.

"Thanks for yer help, Gori. I'll try ta get back an pick up the dagger in the next day or so. You take care in the meantime, friend."

"Anytime," Gori replied as he led Tam to the front door. "Let me escort you out ta the gate, lest some zealous young dwarf take issue with yer being back here."

The dwarf grabbed his hat and the two headed out into the bright afternoon sun, towards the gate leading out of the dwarf quarter. Outside, Tam waved to his friend and turned towards the park, his steps a bit lighter now that he didn't carry the blade with him. His thoughts turned to where he might find Wicked so he could bring him up to date.

Deep in the shadows of the nearby stable, a tall shadowy figure took one last bite of his apple and fed the core to the horse, patting the soft nose as he watched the hobbit head off in the direction of the town hall.


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re: Quickfoot Adventures

Chapter 5: Investigation Part 4

While the mystery remained as to why this dagger was so important, Tamoro’s steps felt lighter now that he wasn’t carting it about. As he headed towards the Prancing Pony, he wondered if the heaviness was a fear of losing it ...or a darker fear? A fear inherent in the blade itself.

It was a beautiful day and Tam found himself humming as he made his way past the town hall, turning towards the crafting hall. He had planned to do some cooking today, but that could wait.

Stealthed and staying hidden in the shadows of buildings, the tall burly man followed the hobbit up the lane. His gaze shifted around. The road here was as clear of other people as was likely to happen. Slowly the brigand slipped a dagger from its sheath and readied himself to yank Tamoro into a shadowed alcove.

A stray patch of pink wildflowers caught Tam's eye and with a smile, he knelt and began to pick some to take to Tearna. Behind him, the stealthed man's mouth curled into a feral grin as he prepared to attack.

"Tam!" came a voice from the now closing door of the crafting hall. "I've been looking for you!"

Tam looked up to the smiling face of Wicked and smiled back. "And I you, my friend," the hobbit replied as he stood, wrapping the flowers in his hanky. He met the hunter in the middle of the road.

The dark shadow that had been following Tam dropped back into the shade of the building, a silent snarl on his face.

"I've news ta share with you," Tam lowered his voice. "But lets find somewhere not so public to discuss it," to which Wicked nodded. "I'm going to the Andune concert to pick up Tearna," the hobbit beamed as he held out his bundle of flowers. "You know how she loves pink."

"Nightmagic should be with her," Wicked replied with a knowing smile. "How about we fetch the girls and have a picnic?" Tam gave an enthusiastic nod and the two of them headed up the street at a brisk pace.

The Andune Ensemble was near the end of their concert when Tam and Wicked arrived. Tearna was dancing with Nightmagic to a robust arrangement of All Right Now. Slipping into hide mode, Tam snuck up beside Tearna and kissed her on the cheek.
.
“Hi cutie pie,” she giggled without missing a step as Tam fell in step beside her with the second dwarf dance. “How’d yer meetin’ with Mr. Gori go?” she asked, lowering her voice.

“Well enough,” the burglar nodded. “We tucked our find away in a safe place for now. Better that way,” to which Tearna nodded and smiled.

“I’s glad. It makes me feel... not good,” Tearna shuddered. “Did ya finds Mr. Wicked yet?”

"Ha! He found me,” Tam grinned and nodded over his shoulder. As the tune came to an end, he pulled out the offering of pink.

“Oooooo,” Tearna gasped, eyes wide with joy as she took the flowers. “How pretty! And pink!” she giggled and kissed her husband.

“Of course pink!” Tam replied. “Do they make other colors?” he teased.

“Last song," announced Band Leader Geoffroi to the groans and nooo's of various concert goers. "Put on your elegant elf and dance to this lovely arrangement of Have I Told You Lately That I Love You."

"After this dance, we're going to picnic up on Bree Hill... in the old ruins,” Tam told the women and Wicked nodded in agreement.

“Sounds great,” both Tearna and Nightmagic said in tandem and giggled.

With the concert finished and parting goodbyes given, the four of them stopped by Master Bilwise’s food cart to pick up food for the picnic. Though it was somewhat picked over, the cart seemed magical to Tearna. No matter how many folks carted off pies and turnovers and even small cakes (a favorite of Lhinn), the food cart never ran out.

It was a bit of a hike into the hobbit quarter, round a field of corn and up the mountainside to the ruins. But it offered a wonderful view of the city and more importantly, privacy. They sat in the grass just outside the ruins and enjoyed a mid-afternoon snack while Tam and Wicked talked about the dagger.

“Gori seems to think it is a Cargul blade, similar to the Morgul blades carried by the nine,” Tam explained. “Said he saw one like it before, in Mirkwood but the elves kept it. I left the dagger in his vault inside the dwarf quarter. I’d dare anyone to try to get in to steal it,” the burglar chuckled.

“Good idea,” Wicked nodded. “I went down to the jail and talked to the watch about it. They were pretty much as clueless today as last night. I don’t think they plan to so anything," he growled.

"Just another wanderer that crossed the wrong person and got his comeuppance.” The hunter shook his head and took a bite of bacon and tater pie.

“Gori seemed to think we’d only find the answers in Rivendell,” Tam offered between bites. “But I'd like ta hold off a bit ta see what else turns up here."

"I see no reason to rush into anything," Wicked replied. "It's possible the Watch might find something in spite of their complacency," he shrugged. "With the blade tucked safely away, we have time to consider our options."

"I’d like to know why that Cargul only looked at it," Tam shook his head, and didn't just take off with it himself. That part makes no sense,” the hobbit washed the last of his pie down with a swallow of ale.

"Well, that mystery may not reveal itself until we get to talk to the elves," the hunter mused. "And speaking of elves, we picked up a contract to go clean the trash out of someplace called Danneglor. They said it was in Mirkwood. That will take us away from here for a day or two and it pays very well. You two interested?"

"I see no reason why we shouldn't," Tam nodded and looked at his wife, who nodded in agreement.

"Well then..." the hunter began to stand to his feet, " we should probably get a move on. How long for you to collect your travel gear?"

"Already packed, just need to go to the house and pick it up," Tam replied.

"Same here," responded Nightmagic and with some playful banter, the group headed out to the Bree neighborhoods.

Hidden in a cornfield below, the stealthed brigand watched them head out. Lips pursed, he emitted a soft whistle and a raven dropped down onto his arm. He uttered some strange words to the bird, who cawed once and took to the air.


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re: Quickfoot Adventures

Investigation Part 5


It turned out that Dannenglor was a nest of harpies and many of them had fire grims as pets. It was a nasty place and hot dirty work. But it did pay very well and there was always a hope of finding a hidden gem or two.

Palafoxia and Ereylin had joined them and the six of them made good progress. By the end of the first day they had the place cleared. Wicked explained to the locals that they had to clean the stench up and send folks to live here, or more harpies would settle in. He was fairly certain they were not listening.

“Blah, blah, blah...” he murmured as he four of them headed home. Beside him, Nightmagic just chuckled as she dropped their gold coins into her coin bag. “Means more money when we have to come back and do it all over again,” she smiled and tucked her coin bag away.

It had been a long day and they were all tired. The ride home was quiet.... and thankfully rather quick with some elfy magic induced speed in their ponies. Near the homesteads, they all parted ways, heading home to clean up and rest.

“Mr. Tamoro,” the lady who manned the sales tent outside the neighborhood holler and beckoned the burglar to her. “A dwarf stopped by looking for you. He asked that I give it to you when I saw you,” she explained as she handed Tam a sealed note.

“Thankee,” he nodded to the woman, took the note, broke the seal, opened it and read: 'I have discovered something. Please come to south Bree when you receive this. Urgent! Do not delay!' It was signed simply, ‘Your friend'

/sigh .
Tam let out a long, weary sigh and tucked the note into his coat. “You go along sweetie. Looks like I need to go talk to Gori. I'll be home soon, though,” and he blew his wife a kiss.

“Awww.... it can't wait til ye've had a bath?” Tearna frowned. “Surely Mr. Gori'd want ya smellin' better'n ya does now?”

“Says urgent. Don't delay," Tam shook his head and sighed. "I can't imagine what Gori has found, but he wouldn't leave a note like this if it wasn't important. "Don't wait up for me, love,” he turned his pony towards Bree. “You look tired.”

“So does you,” Tearna whispered as she watched Tam urge his pony into a brisk walk. Slowly she turned and made her way inside the neighborhood and home feeling very alone.

It was a beautiful day and the bright sun smiling through a sky dotted with large fluffy white clouds was welcome after the dreary dark of Mirkwood. The familiar sounds of birds and frogs and crickets singing brought a smile to Tam’s face. Even the harsh cry of a raven seemed welcome here at home. Their neighborhood was a good ways out from the city proper, but not a long ride. But the road did pass a few places where brigands were known to hang out, so it wasn't like a ride in the park. One had to stay vigilant for both wild animals and wild men.

As the burglar approached what the locals called the yellow tree, his skin prickled and he was suddenly on alert. Tam scanned his surroundings but didn't notice anything at first. Then the harsh cry of a raven pierced the silence and it dawned on him. It was quiet. Too quiet.

And where were the bears? There was always a bear or two eating berries at the old tree. With a pat on the pony's neck, Tam urged more speed. Suddenly, the road before him was blocked by brigands. His pony reared back, nearly tossing Tam to the ground. It skittered nervously as half a dozen rough men moved forward, a tall burly man in the lead. Tam turned the pony to run, but there were now men behind him. Jumping down, he patted the pony's rump, “Run boy!” he shouted as he reached for his dagger and rolled towards the yellow tree. Going into hiding mode, he started to move to the backside of the tree, when the tall man laughed and grabbed at him.

“I thought that note would get your attention! You can't hide from me, little sneak!” the man snarled. “Just give me the dagger and you can go free,” he sneered.

Tam attempted to roll away again, but bumped into one of the rock pillars that studded the area around the tree. He felt his dagger connect with flesh as a hand tried to grab him again. Profanity spewed out and a boot caught the burglar in the side, hard. Tam gasped as the air was knocked out of him and tried to move away from the grasping hands and dangerous feet.

“Gotcha!” the big man shouted as he grabbed Tamoro by the collar and hoisted him up off the ground. The hobbits dagger clattered on the stone paved ground. “Just tell me where it is...” the tall man reiterated.

“Tell you where what is?” Tam replied, arm moving down to a small dagger he kept hidden in his pant leg. “I don't know what you're talkin' about!”

“Of course you don't,” the brigand sneared. “The dagger. That shiny blade you found on Grub!”

“I didn't...” Tam began but a large hand slapped him hard, interrupting him.

“You did! It wasn't in his bag and it wasn't on him. I checked the body!” The tall man grabbed Tam by the neck with one hand, holding the hobbit dangling in the air as he searched Tam's clothing. He found several daggers in fact, but none of them the one he was looking for.

“Where IS IT?” the man roared and shook Tam til his teeth rattled but the hobbit said nothing. “Marfin, take his fingernails off and we'll see if that helps his memory!”

A slight little man with greasy dark blonde hair smiled and pulled some grungy looking pliers from his pockets. “Yes, sir,” he sniggered and stepped forward.

“WHAT DAGGER?" Tam screamed. "I DON'T KNO.... ” and the hobbit was reduced to gurgling as the hand around his neck tightened.

Anger mixed with the pain ebbing through his body and he kicked out at the greasy man who just ducked, laughed and reached for Tam's right hand. The hand round Tam's neck tightened further and he clawed at the massive fist, fighting for breath.

“It's a special stone in it what finds stuff the boss wants,: the greasy man offered. "Now hold still. This'll hurt lots,” the brigand promised with a leer.

Tam’s eyes widened as an arrow sliced through the greasy man's neck. The pliers clanked as they hit the ground and brigand slowly sank to his knees, eyes already rolled up in his head.

The leader tucked Tam under his arm and turned to find the archer as the hobbit gulped air. A second arrow whizzed through the air and another brigand fell to the ground, unmoving. Two younger ruffians made a dash for the old fort nearby. One took an arrow to the thigh and was reduced to a limp. By now, most of the brigands were fleeing for safety, many falling to the ground along the way.

The leader held Tam in front of him facing the direction from which the arrows seemed to be coming, a knife held to the hobbit's throat. “Throw down your bow or the hobbit dies,” the tall man ordered. “DO IT! NOW!” he growled.

From behind one of the larger trees, Wicked smiled. It wasn't a friendly smile. The hunter took out a special arrow, loaded it and whispered, “Not in this lifetime!” as he let it fly. Almost silently, the arrow buried itself in the brigand's nose. Blood sprayed everywhere as Tam fell to the ground and the tall brigand fell on top of the burglar.

“Arghhhhh,” Tam yelled as he heaved the tall man off him and crawled to his feet. He yelled again and kicked the dead man hard, then knelt to gather up his blades and return them to their hiding places.

Running a hand through his hair, he sighed and looked down at the arrow protruding from what had been the brigand's nose. "Well, that certainly gives 'On the nose' a whole new meaning, doesn't it?" the hobbit gave a wry smile.

"You could at least say thank you" Wicked quipped as he approached.

"Sorry,” Tam shrugged, “I never could pass up the opportunity to make a bad joke, you know. Much obliged" he bowed to the hunter and smiled. “Don’t tell me you had a note to go to Bree too?”

Wicked shook his head. “No, I saw Tearna riding alone, asked why and she told me about your note. The idea of this friend leaving a note with that lady outside our neighborhood seemed… wrong," Wicked explained as he pulled the arrow out of the brigand's face.

"Why didn’t the dwarf just send it through the post? So, I decided to check things out,” the hunter wiped the arrow clean on the brigand's clothes.

"Glad you did,” the hobbit whistled for his pony. “I mean… I would have been okay," Tam nodded. "I was just getting ready to do my special move and get free. You just made things… easier!” he shrugged.

Wicked chuckled, whistled for his horse and hopped into the saddle.

“Wish you hadn’t killed the big one though," Tam added wistfully. "We might have learned more about the dagger from him,” he added as he mounted his pony.

“I’ll try to remember that next time someone is preparing to remove body parts,” the hunter gruffed as he turned towards the neighborhood. "I'm tired. Let’s go home," the hunter sighed. And they did.


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re: Quickfoot Adventures

Chapter 6: Rivendell Part 1

Tam shook himself, pulling his thoughts out of the abyss of past terrors, hugged Tearna sitting beside him and smiled. The day following that attack, the group had gone back to the old ruins near the yellow tree and slaughtered the brigands to the very last one. No doubt, more would find their way to those ruins in the future, but any who might have been aware of the dagger were dead.

With a lighter heart than he’d had in many days, Tam had retrieved the dagger from Gori, then did what research he could regarding the special abilities of jewels set in weapons. He learned there were many things old weapons forgers could do, from causing weapons to glow when near an enemy to reacting when near other weapons of a similar type.

But nothing he found eluded to gems in weapons or this dagger in particular. He heard rumors that orcs were on the move in the Trollshaws, looking for something, perhaps the “artifact” that he had, perhaps something else. With the hope of learning something more, Tamoro and Tearna had gone camping in the Trollshaws.

While they had discovered much about the fancy dagger, nothing they learned led them any closer to the truth of why this blade was so special. It apparently had the power to locate.... something. That something had been elusive and now it appeared their last recourse was to take it to Rivendell and learn what they may.

The burglar was of two minds over this. He suspected the elves would be secretive, as usual. While they always welcomed outside help and assistance, they were rarely very forthcoming with the knowledge of things old and powerful.

And the blade was beautiful. He hated to part with it, but part with it he must. That the elves would lay claim to it, he had no doubt.

He downed the rest of the draught the Sons of Numenor had given them and rose to his feet. “Let’s go get our stuff, precious.” He held out his hand to Tearna and turned to Tessariel and Wicked.

“Our campsite wasn’t too far from here. We’ll meet you at Thorenhad for first breakfast!”

The warden, Alidil, of the Sons of Numenor, put the two hobbits on her horse and warden-sprinted along side for a quick trip back to the campsite. Lil’bit nickered happily when Tearna showed up. With a smile, she petted her war-pony’s soft muzzle and fed him a piece of dried apple from her pocket. Belongings packed up, they mounted up and headed across country to Thorenhad.

They made very good time, arriving just before dawn to find Wicked and Nightmagic curled up next to a fire sound asleep. The sound of sizzling caught the burglar’s attention, soon followed by the wonderful aroma of bacon frying. His stomach growled.

“Must be nice,” Tam poked at Wicked to wake him up. The hunter shifted his position slightly, eyes still closed. “Mmm… it is,” Wicked murmured. Refusing to be ignored, the hobbit leaned close and grinned.

“Mmmmm… smell that bacon ,” but the hunter just murmured something undecipherable and went back to snoring. With a sigh, Tam poured himself a cup of coffee and sat next to Tearna by the fire.
She fished the turnover from last night out of her pocket and handed it to Tam.

“This’ll hold ya over til they’s done cookin’,” she said with a chuckle. The predawn air was chilly. Tearna snuggled close to her husband and before long, both of them were lost to the land of dreams as well.

The sun was well up, golden rays streaming from behind the mountains to the east, when Tessariel woke them all for breakfast. It was enough food to feed a very large family of hobbits with a large variety of vegetable offerings, meats, pies and tarts. The company ate their fill and thanked their hosts before once again mounting their horses for the trek to Rivendell with the Sons of Numenor.

White clouds dotted deep blue skies and while the morning air was crisp, the sun was warm on their skin. The ride was uneventful. Trolls weren’t out in the day and there were no orc or gobbie threats in this area. The biggest danger during the day was the occasional bear or wolf, but the animals either ignored them or moved well off the path and out of the way. Tearna suspected elven magic. She’d made a ride or two up the mountain side chased by bears and lynx and giant flies and this just wasn’t normal.

The entrance to Rivendell was breathtaking, as always. It was early afternoon and the sun shone brightly, the waters sparkled and roared. Tam reached out and took his wife’s hand and smiled. Rivendell was special to them for more than one reason. It was here, at the Winter Ball, that he had proposed to her. Smiling back, Tea squeezed her husband’s hand and the two rode next to each other hand in hand.

There was much commotion upon their arrival at the Last Homely House and they were greeted by elves waiting out front. Nightmagic approached the waiting elves, conversing in the elven language.

“It appears they expected our coming,” Nightmagic explained as she turned back to the group. “Elrond has asked that we meet with him upon our arrival. Lunch is laid out in the Hall of Fire and he will join us there. I must go meet with my family,” she smiled and waved everyone inside.

“I’ll join you shortly,” she added and headed off down the road and across the bridge.

Always a feast for the eyes, the aromas of various foods permeated the Hall of Fire, making it a rich feast for the nose as well. The visitors had just been seated when Lord Elrond arrived and greeted them warmly… for an elf.

“News of your adventures has traveled widely,” the dark haired elf smiled as he sat at the head of the table. “It would seem you manage to turn up in the wrong places at the wrong times,” he added, eyes sparkling with something Tearna would have called mischief had it been Tam.

“Or all the right places at the right time, depending on your viewpoint,” Wicked countered with his own smile and attacked his bowl of soup.

“Or that,” the elf nodded in agreement, eyes studying his guests as he picked at a plate of green leafy things in front of him.

“I understand you are aware of our search for an artifact that was recently rumored to have been found?” Elrond asked, lifting a golden wine goblet to his mouth.

“Tessariel told us there were rumors,” Tamoro replied with a nonchalant shrug. “She didn’t say if there was anything to the rumors. But the enemy appears to believe them as they were out and about in force,” and Tam explained the group of brigands he’d seen searching in the Trollshaws.

“We believe them to be more than rumors,” Elrond nodded and sat back. “Word is that the enemy found… and then lost… a weapon that was forged long ago. "Supposition suggests that it has some connection with the rings of power and...” The elf was interrupted as Tearna choked on her wine, spewing it across the table.

“You mean that da…” she trailed off as Tam nudged her under the table. “Uhhh… sorry. That sounds horrible and dangerous,” she added hastily, face turning red as she dabbed at the mess on the table with her napkin. An elf standing nearby moved in gracefully, cleaned up the table and handed Tearna a clean napkin.

“Dangerous indeed,” Elrond raised an eyebrow, eyes fixed on the hobbitess for a moment before shifting to her husband. “You wouldn’t know anything about this found and then lost weapon?”

“Well, now that you mention it,” Tam replied casually, picking at his food. “I had been chasing down rumors of my own about an old dagger that might have been taken from the brigands. That’s why we were in the Trollshaws. I am a part time treasure hunter after all.” The burglar shrugged and filled his mouth full of pie.

He knew he should just bring the blade out and show it to Elrond. However, if he did that, he would ever see it again and some small part of him didn’t want to lose it. It was his find after all!

Tearna stared at her plate, wondering what game Tam was playing, suddenly uncomfortable under the gaze of their host, Elrond.

“What does that mean exactly,” Wicked spoke up, drawing the elf’s gaze to himself, “that it has a connection to the rings of power?”

It was Elrond’s turn to shrug. “There are old writings that claim a blade was forged that could be used to locate the seven rings. "From what little we’ve heard, we believe this may be the blade the enemy found, or at least THEY believe it to be that blade. I am not certain of the validity or truth of this claim, however, we must pursue the rumors. If such a weapon exists, it cannot be allowed to fall into enemy hands.”

Elrond turned his attention back to Tamoro, who had finished the food on his plate.

“Thank you so much for lunch, but I am very weary,” Tam yawned, avoiding the elf's gaze. “We’ve been on the move most of the night with very little sleep.”

With a nod, Elrond stood to his feet, “My apologies. Of course you should rest. "We have rooms prepared for you. Please, sleep and recover. We can… chat more later,” the elf ended with a shallow bow to the travelers.

“Please show them to their rooms, Hollyberye” he motioned to a female elf sitting nearby who rose to her feet. It was she who had originally discovered this rumor, while asking questions about a secret pie vault that might have sinister connections.

“Of course,” she nodded to the visitors. “This way, please.”


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