The Darkening of the Wood

At the Edge of Mirkwood

a job, some action, and a meeting with the Elves

Baldor had hoped that the three guards he’d hired would work out, and to his great relief they certainly had. After being hassled by a group the day before, and turning away some who obviously were not up to the task, he went with his gut and accepted their admittedly thin resumes and hired them for the full price. The only snag, however minor, was the older man’s odd insistence on bringing so many books, which he simply could not allow. How someone traveled from the South with such luggage was beyond him.

Their first day out had been uneventful, and even pleasant, given the weather and conversation. and he and Belgo had fallen asleep well, confident that the night would pass without event.

Unfortunately, it did not. That Tristall, or whatever his name was, had decided to try to ambush him after he’d refused the work offer – the very pushy work offer – of him and his band of road-weary slobs, was insulting. These days since Smaug’s death were both full of hope and sadness: so many opportunities were there to build and grow and do good, and yet some saw only a change to get ahead by breaking and taking.

But his new guards proved themselves not only far more capable than he’d hoped, but also decent and merciful, and in a way that honored the justice the thugs deserved. Chasing one off and capturing the other two, the determined to hand them over to the Elves, whose name and favor the scum had deceptively, and stupidly, invoked in an attempt to save themselves.

Lindar, as Baldor knew, did not recognize them and had never heard of them. Their punishment would not be cruel, but it would be long, and it was unlikely that those three would ever trouble anyone on the roads again.

His guards also made a good impression on the elves, who surprised Baldor by offering more than the basic food and water they did for visitors of humble standing. And while they were not offered entry into the inner halls, where Baldor and Belgo were again welcomed, that they were given such freedom around the grotto was impressive. Baldor again felt grateful to have hired this crew.

Two nights later, after excellent rest ensured by Elven protection, the band of five was delivered to a forest grove, wherefrom they could start on their way westward, taking the Elf Path through northern Mirkwood. Some 120 miles distant was the Forest Gate, and beyond it settlements, customers, and profit. And for the Beorning, a chance to see home.

“Stay on the path, no matter what you see or hear,” was Lindar’s parting statement, given with a curt nod. He had impressed upon Beldar the importance of this rule the night before, and reminded him and the rest of them of it now, as they began their long journey. The sun shined brightly through the boughs, breaking through the morning chill and giving all present a sense of hope and optimism as they started, slowly, down the ancient path, trundling over ruts and bumps that had felt the wheels, hooves, and feet of so many, for so many years.

Comments

Balacthor occupies his time in the elven city doing the same thing he always pasts his time with: reading and vigorously writing in his journal. He makes a point to read one particular book he brought with him, Taedorarol Shael Kyr’eil Aelor (Translated to “Meditations Beyond Good and Evil” in common), while sitting on a bench in the courtyard. The book is the only one he owns written in the Sindarin language, and is a series of philosophical arguments and correspondence back and forth between two famous elven scholars. He hopes this invites or intrigues one of the elves enough to pick up on the subtle message, and give him an opening, even if merely at some point in the future, to visit the famed Elven library.

At the Edge of Mirkwood
 

Meta
Joe starts with Inspiration – that’s good character development.

At the Edge of Mirkwood
 

Looking up at the ceiling, narrowing her eyes, she wonders what and how- and if- they grow their own food underground, or trade (and with whom), how they store it, or if they even have flowe- she stops walking abruptly and side steps before running into a wall, directly into the path of an oncoming elf. She brightens, greeting them politely, and requests the location of their gardens, hoping to chat with a gardener and perhaps charm her way into doing a little bit of gardening herself during this rare moment of downtime. She will sing old songs to Iluvatar under her breath while doing so; it is her habit. It does not matter what she is put to work doing, for it is one of the ways she feels connected to Eru Illuvatar and the traditions of her people.

At the Edge of Mirkwood
 

Meta
Amanda starts with Inspiration, too, for figuring out how to operate the OP and then posting interesting background information.

Note: from here forward the bar for INS will be higher. :)

At the Edge of Mirkwood
Sean7

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