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  1. #1

    Total Immersion: The Long Road to Esteldín

    Greetings! When I first began playing Lotro (which was my very first mmo to have played), I selected Crickhollow as my server, mostly due to that I new little of the game and the servers themselves. Over the past three years, I have played on Crickhollow, and enjoyed some very good times, met some wonderful people, and even started my very own kinship, Durin's Folk.

    My greatest enjoyment was the creation and writing of my Total Immersion stories which turned into a labour of love. The stories were well-received over on Crickhollow and was met with wonderful support and some very loyal readers during my adventures. Here are links to the first two Total Immersion stories over on Crickhollow:

    Total-Immersion: The Quest for Moria

    Total-Immersion:The Road Goes Ever On -A Hobbit's Tale

    However, after my third year, I have decided to try a hand at a rp-encouraged server for the first time, and thus I choose Landroval! Of course, the first thing I wished to do is to develop the idea and plot for a new Total Immersion story, a dwarf Minstrel named Brimbur. And thus The Long Road to Esteldín was born...

    For those who are unfamiliar with my Total Immersion stories, following is a list of the rules I adhere to while playing my toon. They are very strict and are intended to fully role play my character during the adventure set before him or her.


    1. Travel: I will only travel on foot or by regular mounts and absolutely no swift travel horses or map recall use. This can be waived when conducting toon upkeep, such as visiting a settlement to level. Except when in a quest, lair, dungeon, combat, etc, I will walk everywhere - I will allow myself to run for short periods of time, however, such as trying to run away from an enemy.

    2. Chat / Speech: I will always stay in rp character at all times during Chat. I will chat in OOC when it is necessary however, since there are times I might want to talk to someone out of game.

    3. Food and Rest: I will follow the LOTRO day/night cycle closely and force myself to rest at a safe location such as an inn or in a town if such an inn is not available. The day/night cycles are:

    Late Watches

    I must rest during the night cycles of Evening, Midnight, Late Watches and Foredawn each day (or at least camp/rest for four cycles each day/evening). I can hang around an inn, for example, and rp a bit with other players, but no going out into town to shop or craft, etc. This is to simulate my character actually resting. During the rest time I must eat a meal of some kind - Brimbur is not unfond of good food and drink, and so he will try to enjoy a morning breakfast and dinner each day.

    If I am away from a town or settlement, things will become more tricky. I will attempt to find a safe spot to camp for the evening - this means halting my journey and actually sit my toon down for rest.

    4. Promoting Realism: This rule is a catch-all for such things as no jumping off high cliffs, swimming with armour on, jumping around while I am moving, jumping every fence I come across, etc.

    5. Level Restrictions: For reasons that will be explained later, my toon, Brimbur, will be equipped with an XP Disabler - he can only gain xp during quests that will be followed for the story. He cannot gain xp by crafting at any time, unless it is a crafting quest. I will also restrict my defeating of mobs to a minimum - so no going after every mob I see. I will only target mobs that are in my path or ambush me. Additionally, Brimbur cannot advance past the level of 14th during his adventure.

    6. Death and Defeat: Since I love a challenge, I will add in a harsh rule for myself. Brimbur cannot be defeated by any means during the story - should this occur, he will be considered truly dead. To track this, I will periodically post screenshots of the Survival titles as I receive them, beginning with "The Wary", which you gain when reaching level 5 without being defeated in battle. This is followed by the Undefeated (level 10th), the Indomitable (level 14th), the Unscathed (level 17th) and finally with the Undying (level 20th).

    7. Arms and Armour: I will begin Brimbur equipped with gear gained during the Intro portion of the game. After that, he may only equip or use equipment gained via mob drops or gained by the completion of quests. So, he may not craft gear for himself, or purchase gear from a vendor or the Auction House.

    8. My Tale: As always, I will keep a log here on this thread of my travels. I will not partake in any quest that is not detailed in the general story line. This will probably limit my level advancement considerably. For sake of the adventure, I will be using the Shire calendar during the story:

    I should be starting the Total Immersion adventure within a week and hopefully will have the first chapter posted soon after that! as in all my Total Immersion stories, I must rely on the good will and aid of other role players in the game, so if anyone is interested in joining the fun, please sent me a TELL or MAIL in game, or send me forum mail. Cheers!
    Last edited by Brucha; May 11 2013 at 05:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Story Chapter List

    Chapter One: The Decision – 11th Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Two: The Road Leads Onwards – 12 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Three: The Bird and Baby – 13 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Four: Worries from Waymeet – 14 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Five: A Friend Indeed – 15 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Six: The Wolf Den – 15 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Seven: A Stroll Through the Shire – 16 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Eight: The Old Scarred Veteran – 16 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Nine: One Trouble after Another – 17 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Ten: The Maggot Farm – 18 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Eleven: At ‘Em Lads! – 18 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twelve: And a Dwarf Makes Five – 18 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirteen: The Battle of Narrowcleeve, Part One – 18 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Fourteen: The Battle of Narrowcleeve, Part Two – 18 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Fifteen: Bree at Last – 19 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Sixteen: The Prancing Pony – 19 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Seventeen: Turtles for the Soup – 20 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Eighteen: Turtle Hunting – 21 to 22 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Nineteen: Twice the Turtles – 22 to 23 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty: Murder Most Foul – 23 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-one: The Surprise – 23 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-two: A Dwarf-made Blade – 26 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-three: The Culprit – 26 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-four: The Broken Blade – 27 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-five: Unlooked-for Aid – 29 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-six: The Brigands’ Camp – 30 Rethe, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-seven: Burying the Dead – 1 to 2 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-eight: The Mad Boar – 3 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Twenty-nine: Thornley’s Farm – 4 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty: Thornley’s Rescue – 4 to 5 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-one: A Forgetful Dwarf – 5 to 6 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-two: Trestlebridge – 7 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-three: One Thing after Another – 8 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-four: One of the Fair Folk – 9 to 10 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-five: A Dwarven Thief – 11 to 12 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-six: The Greenway – 13 to 14 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-seven: Boar-hunting– 14 to 15 Astron, 3016 TA
    Chapter Thirty-eight: The Long Road to Esteldín – 16 to 18 Astron, 3016 TA
    Last edited by Brucha; Feb 04 2014 at 04:09 PM.

  3. #3

    Chapter One: The Decision– 11th Rethe, 3016 TA

    It was late winter in the high reaches of Ered Luin and the uplands and peaks of the Blue Mountains were lain cloaked in a fresh, unexpected fall of snow. As the days drew longer with every passing sunset and the winds loosened their bitter cutting edge, the first of the melt waters swelled the Lune as it flowed from the mountains and rushed to the sea. Soon, the roads down into the Low Lands would be passable with ease and trade would pick up between the dwarves of Ered Luin and Bree-land or beyond.

    Rúnulf, the proprietor of Thorin’s Hall Inn looked forward to the coming months when his tavern would be filled with thirsty drinkers and the rooms host to weary miners and travelers from far afield. The winter is a lean time for all the folk of Ered Luin, and coin is even harder to come by and even less willingly spent. Yet now, the dwarven miners, craftsmen, and traders were running up hefty slates they hope they will be able to clear in the brisk summer months, and the season of travelling markets was about to begin.

    It was a crisp night, with a rising moon, nearly full, outside the halls that shone a silvery light across the bleak mountains. Within the tavern, visitors were welcomed by a warm and cheerful glow of a roaring fire in the great stone hearth. Here or there about the vast hall were seated dwarves, in singles of pairs mostly; they spoke in low voices, of mining and gold and those things most important to their kind. Others spoke in hushed whispers of rumours of distance places and strange happenings in the world beyond the halls of Ered Luin.

    Nearer the back of the hall were seated three dwarves at a long, low table. One dwarf, his fine leather boots propped atop a smaller stool before him and clad in a tunic of crimson, sat back into his chair and reached for a brimming mug of ale on the table beside him.

    '..and many a year has passed since that fateful day…though the memory of it has never wavered in my thoughts,’ said the dwarf as he stroked his reddish beard with one gloved hand. ‘It was at Erebor, with master Gimli, son of Glóin, of course that I speak of.'

    The other dwarves did not speak but listened intensely to their host’s tale with breathless silence. Somewhere near the bar came a hoarse voice and the crash of mugs and plates. ‘Not again!’ cried out a surly miner as a tray of drinks crashed to the floor. The foppish dwarf turned an irritated face towards the interruption, then back to his listeners with a broad smile.

    ‘We had set out that hoary dawn, to deliver bags of ore to the smithies in the Iron Hills,’ he continued. ‘It was a glorious day, and our hearts were filled with such merriment and laughter. No finer company of kinsmen could I hope to travel with on our errand, a task set forth by master Gimli himself.’

    Suddenly, the dwarf’s blithesome demeanor changed and his face grew grim and hard, his voice dim with gravity. ‘Perhaps it was our joy that brought such a calamity that day, for our pride had not turned our eyes to the unseen dangers that lurk, and still lurk, in the lands about the Lonely Mountain. Indeed, it was not until the sun began to set when the first faintest of howls rent the cold darkening air.'

    The other dwarves looked sidelong at one another with worrisome glances. One reached forward a shaking hand to pick up his half-forgotten mug of ale as the story teller continued his engrossing tale. The other sat hypnotized by the spawning tale, his pipe clenched tightly in his teeth.

    'Without warning, I spied several large and menacing shapes of wargs over a rise or ridges out far from our camp. Master Gimli, bless his stout heart, did not see the beasts at swift as my keen eyes did – and when he did, his face paled at their very sight.' The dwarf turned his gaze towards the glittering fire in the hearth and fell silent for some time. The others looked pleadingly at him to go on; when the dwarf did, he now spoke strong and clear, pride filling his bright eyes.

    'Yet I did not blanch,’ he said finally. ‘But threw myself at them even as the others in our camp fell back in alarm and dismay around master Gimli. With no thought for my safety, I threw myself at the beasts with abandon. My blade rose and fell as I hewed at their foul hides with every stroke. Indeed! Terrible fangs they bore and little did the wargs seem to feel the sting of my blade! Yet I did not relent nor waver!’

    One of the listeners wiped foam from his long beard and shuddered nervously, as if he was standing in the snows of the hills surrounded by wargs himself. The speaker winked a gentle eye at the listener and then continued his tale.

    'Gimli held back with the others of our company, not out of fear, but in sheer awe of my prowess in battle that day! I scattered the wargs with mighty strokes and slew them each in turn until none remained! Great was the praise master Gimli put forth that evening when we sat round the crackling fire to toast my victory! All praised the name of Brimbur after that day I assure you!’

    The dwarves raised their mugs in toast with hearty cheers as the tale drew to an end, Brimbur naturally was his name, took a long draw from his foaming mug and smiled. ‘Ah, yes, a wonderful tale!’ cried one of the dwarves as Brimbur set his mug down and carefully dabbed a napkin to his short beard.

    ‘Thank you, my good kinsman,’ replied Brimbur with a smile and a nod of his head. ‘Erebor has returned to us, and great it has become, but it pales to the kingdom of King Thrór of old. Nothing could match the days of its faded glory! And yet our kin must be ever vigilant of the dangers that still threaten our ancient home there!’

    ‘Yes, that takes me back, it does,’ declared the older dwarf solemnly, his beard long and grey as coal-dust. ‘I remember those days well – alas those days will not come again.’

    Brimbur turned a stern gaze at the speaker, his voice stiff and unbending. ‘Perhaps kinsman, but we shall see!’

    ‘A great help was the force sent by Dáin, but too few, too few…,’ added the other dwarf equally grim as his companion.

    'True, but more are coming from the east,’ said Brimbur steely. ‘It was trouble in Erebor that has brought me hither, and I can only believe that others of our folk will follow in these dark times.'

    ‘Stranger, do you carry news from Bree?’ asked the older dwarf as he pushed a fresh mug towards Brimbur. Brimbur took it and thanked his questioner with a bow of his head. He then cupped his long wooden pipe in both hands, and only his sharp nose could be glimpsed in a sudden puff of smoke.

    ‘Bree?’ he quipped and blew out a beautiful ring of grey smoke over the long table. ‘Nay, I cannot give any such news of that town of Men. Why do you ask?’

    ‘My brother is away working in Bree,’ answered the dwarf. ‘I was on the trade-routes not two months ago. Curse the Dourhands and all who deal with them!’

    'No more true word my good friend! It is time that Lord Dwalin turns his attention to their ilk,’ said Brimbur as he grasped the dwarf by the shoulder and smiled broadly. ‘Dark have the days now turned and dangers seem to lurk everywhere.'

    Brimbur swung his boots from the stool and stood, draining his mug before carefully wiping the froth from his beard. ‘Well, I must be off!’ he said cheerfully. ‘I need to speak with master Kyn in the Maker’s Hall. I know not what this summons is for, but I can only imagine word of my past victories have led before me. Perhaps Lord Dwalin has chosen me to join the ranks of his personal guard!’

    He bowed low before the dwarves seated at the table, smoothed out his fine crimson tunic and strode across the bar. He hailed Rúnulf behind the bar as he passed. ‘Good day to you, master Rúnulf! Fear not, I won’t be neglecting my tab…’ he laid a hand upon his belt and smiled broadly at the proprietor. ‘It is my forgetful mind; I seemed to have left my purse back on my pony in the stables. I shall return for supper though, by dusk no doubt, after my conversation with master Kyn of course!’

    With that, Brimbur tramped past the bar with a wink and out into the rough-hewn corridor leading upwards along an uneven slope. The belated breathing of the miners working the tunnel in the flicking and smoky torchlight did little to slow his passing and soon the tunnel came to an end at the steps of a wide stairway that led up.

    As Brimbur ascended the stairs, a great draught of warmer air splashed across his face; suddenly a vast roof flew far above his head, upheld by many mighty pillars of worked stone. The hall stretched to either side, and many a dwarf were passing by on some urgent errand or important business. Brimbur bowed his head to passing guard as he looked over the hall with unbridled pride.

    This, of course, was the Hall of Kings; it easily humbled even the haughtiest of visitors with its magnificent sight, polished marble floors, and unmatched artistry. For a moment, he gazed upwards to the lofty terraces that towered over the hall below, and then Brimbur made his way across to a wide stairway leading downwards.

    He descended the stairs and into a wide crafting hall; at once the sound of ringing hammers, cries of workers, and the drone of countless dwarven craftsmen dutifully at work here. Brimbur’s eyes watched the various dwarven coming to and fro about the hall, until his gaze stopped upon a lone dwarf standing nearer the stairs. The dwarf’s flaxen hair was pulled back in a long single braid down his back, revealing very bright eyes and a long beard flowing down his broad chest.

    Brimbur snapped his fingers and strode over the dwarf with a brisk pace. He halted before the dwarf and spoke in a proud voice at once. ‘You there! Might you be master Kyn?’ he said swiftly. ‘I am master Brimbur at your service,’ he added quickly with a low bow. ‘I have come because of your summons.’

    The dwarf gazed at the newcomer with curious eyes and then spoke in an authoritative manner. 'I see that you have recently gained access to the Jeweller's Guild, friend. That is a great achievement on the path of crafting. The Guild is a faction that can grant eligible crafters advantages in their trade. In the beginning, you can access better recipes than what you normally find in the world. As you increase in reputation, you gain access to yet more recipes. It is never too early to start building your reputation with the Jeweller's Guild. The leader can be found in Esteldín, the North Downs.'

    Brimbur listened with a warm smile until the dwarf came to pause. Then a strange gaze snuck into Brimbur’s eyes and he glanced about uneasily. ‘Esteldín? The North Downs? Those lands hold a forbidding and fell name to them. Many and terrible are the stories that tell of that land…’

    Kyn did not answer, but looked at the younger kinsman with thoughtful eyes. Brimbur swallowed very loudly and then spoke slowly in a hushed voice. ‘Very well, Esteldín it is…’

    Brimbur stood tall with a straight back, and affected a look of determination and confidence that was only slightly believable. ‘I pray only that not foes come upon me unaware on the long road to reach there. Great will be their fright to face me and my trusted blade! I shall prepare this night for my departure and leave with the first dawning of the new sunrise.’

    With a second, low bow, Brimbur turned and made his way out of the Maker’s Hall; yet he was not so jovial with his return to the Hall of Kings, for many thoughts weighed heavily on his otherwise mirthful mind. He paid little to the hails and greets of passing kinsmen as he stalked across the hall and into his private quarters near the Hall of Merchants.

    Brimbur closed the door slowly behind him and sat at once atop the bed, his shoulders sagging as he let out along, mournful sigh. He then climbed to his feet and walked over to the wardrobe. He first slid the small coat of studded leather over his head and laid it atop a chair. He then sat down on the chair and removed his fine crimson boots of leathers and placed them beside the bed with care.

    Standing up once more, Brimbur swung the doors to the wardrobe open and drew from the inside a finely-polished and well-tended blade and matching scabbard. For a moment, he drew the sword from the scabbard, and it glittered in the torchlight of the small room; strangely the fine weapon showed little sign of use or wears as he slid it back into the sheath and hung onto the back of the chair as well.

    Brimbur then reclined atop the bed, clasping his hands behind his head and gazed up at the ceiling. But sleep did not come to Brimbur for some time and for long minutes he simply laid there in silence.

    When at last he began to nod off to sleep, filled with vague unsettling dreams, of visions of a long uncertain and windswept road through a desolate and unwelcome land. The sinister and ill-boding sounds of unseen and menacing creatures wafted from the dark trees along the road. He was sure that the unseen beasts would surely burst from the trees at any moment. He began to sweat profusely and his hand shook as darkness overtook him and slid into a troubling sleep.
    Last edited by Brucha; May 18 2013 at 12:11 PM.

  4. #4
    And so the adventure begins!

    A couple of things to add to help out readers and those players who might wish to join me in the adventure. I always role play with npc's during the game - the rp with the dwarves from the tavern are verbatim bits of things they say when clicked on or may randomly say. I always try to use such banter to flesh out the story, as well as giving me an opportunity to role play even when there are not other players around to do so.

    Likewise, I always rp with when accepting or finishing quests - I do the same with vendors, guards at the gate, passersby in street or halls, etc. I try to treat all npcs/hostile mobs who I pass or must interact with as being no different than players I wish to role play with. It generally lends an air to the believability for myself while I play the game.

    Second, I did not start or complete any quests after leaving/completing the Intro of the game. The reasons for this will be explained later in the story should Brimbur prove successful in his journey.

    So the next part will be the long journey from Ered Luin to The Shire! Please, should any players wish to lend some aid in the long road set out before me, you only have to contact me through the forums or in-game!

  5. #5
    With how much I've enjoyed reading and being a part of your TI stories on Crickhollow, I'm excited to see how being on an RP server affects the interactions you have with other players. This should be great!

    The Éored of the West-Mark ~ Lore-accurate Rohirric Kinship on Landroval

  6. #6

    Chapter Two: The Road Leads Onwards – 12 Rethe, 3016 TA

    Brimbur had awoken early the next day and yet, as the morning drew on, he made little effort to prepare for the long journey that waited before him. For some time, he simply sat in his bed, his arms tucked behind his head, and listened to the distance, muffled sounds of the halls outside his room.

    After a time, Brimbur climbed from his bed, only to take a seat at the small table near the door. There he laid out his fine leather tunic and, with deft hands, gently cleaned the garb. When he was finished, Brimbur held up the leather to the flickering torchlight with admiring eyes before donning the tunic. He reached for his crimson boots and slid them onto his feet, then stood and clasped his wide belt round his waist.

    The dwarf strode to the closed door and flung it open; for a moment, he turned his head to the left then right and then barked at a passing runner in the hallway. Brimbur closed the door and turned to the small hearth to throw some fresh logs onto the bright fire. He gazed at the fire until he was certain it was blazing comfortably and only then did he return to sit at the table with a joyous whistle.

    Presently, the runner came bustling into the room, carrying a tray full of plates and mugs. With swift hands, a handsome meal was laid out atop the table. There was a fresh loaf of bread, some wrinkled apples, plenty of butter, some cold meats and cooked bacon, and even a hearty portion of cheese. The dwarf enjoyed a nice, slow breakfast and pushed his chair back from the table only when the last plate was bare of scraps or crumbs and the rest was carefully wrapped in cloth and stored in a small bag.

    It was when noon was fast approaching did Brimbur’s thoughts finally turn to his departure. His enthusiasm was fresh and bold the evening before, but it did not last the night and was altogether gone by the dawn. Now the task ahead seemed more a burdensome distraction than a fine adventure or a test of his famous prowess in battle. He opened the wardrobe and took out his sheathed sword and clasped it to his belt. He then took down a beautiful lute, lovingly wrapped in soft leather and strapped it across his back. The dwarf turned to a small mirror hung on the inside of the door, his face reflecting back at him with a mirthful smile. He turned his head and smoothed his beard with one hand and, finally, Brimbur reached for his small pack, placed the foodstuffs inside and hefted it onto his shoulders.

    The winds were cold and brisk as Brimbur stepped from the halls; although winter was now getting far on, the snows still fell heavily in the highlands, the mountain peaks still wrapped in blankets of white, and the boughs of the trees were still bare and shivered in the chilled air. He glanced up to gaze at the mountains that towered grim and snow-capped above the halls.

    Hitching his pack higher atop his shoulders, Brimbur strode from the doors and down the long flight of stairs leading down into Frerin’s Court. He winked at the proud statue of a dwarf (in fact, it was in the likeness of Frerin, the brother of Thorin Oakenshield) in the court’s center and bowed his head to a passing guard before reaching the point where the road ahead began to tumble downwards towards the lower gates.

    Brimbur hailed the guards in a clear voice as he approached the lower gates. 'Greetings my fine kinsmen. No time for idle chat this day, I am afraid. I have a long journey waiting before me and I cannot dawdle with mindless chat!'

    Without waiting for a response, Brimbur smiled at the dour-looking dwarves and passed through the gate. On the far side, he paused to draw his cloak tight about himself and took in a deep breath of cold mountain air. He then exhales a hoary breath with a sigh.

    ‘Ah, this snowy winter reminds me of the treacherous journey across the Misty Mountains with Lord Gloin...’ he said as he began to make his way down the road with a joyous tune at his lips.

    The land he now passed into was called the Vale of Thrain by the dwarves; through its narrow winding vale ran the main road from the eastern lowlands of Ered Luin and beyond. More than once since arriving at Thorin’s Hall, Brimbur heard tales from many of his kinsmen of bears, wild lynx and wolves that now plagued and worried the dwarves there. More dark and sinister were tales and dire whispers that goblins had slowly and insidiously creep in from the south.

    As the road descended further to the east, the occasional snow-dusted pine tree sprung from the frozen earth here or there beside the road. But soon, the scattered trees grew to stands of thicker woods. More than once, the dwarf’s sharp ears perked up to the sound of distance and unseen birds in the trees. More discomforting was the strange sounds of things moving about in the trees, and the crunch of steps in the snow all about. Brimbur’s eyes darted back and forth as he went and he quickened his pace until at last their calls fell away silent behind him.

    Brimbur muttered quietly as he plodded along in the welcomed silence down the road. 'Hrmph! You young fool, you've grown soft in your days at Thorin's Hall!’ He threw a hasty glance over his shoulder, as if in fear that some lurking unseen foe had overheard his complaining. ‘More like a stripling than a warrior such as yourself - too much food and wine I am afraid!'

    Noon was fast slipping by and the afternoon growing ever long when Brimbur’s bright eyes spied a small but forbidding fortress of stone atop a nearby hillock ahead, shrouded in the shadows of the towering peaks of the vale. This was Noglond; long ago, it was a place of the Elves in the days of Edhelion, but it had fallen into ruin in the long forgotten years after destruction of the refuge. The dwarf-exiles of the Lonely Mountain had rebuilt it and took it for their own; now, in these evil days, the guards of Noglond were ever-vigilant against the return of the treacherous Dourhands and goblins that now threatened ruin and war to their ancient foes.

    For a moment, Brimbur halted to gaze at the ancient fortress; but the passing sun was crossing the sky to the west. He bid farewell to Noglond with a wave of his hand and pushed further down the road with reluctance. The afternoon continued on cold and lonely for the dwarf and it was not long until his high spirits began to falter. His march had become very weary and quiet, and the felling of alarm and dread slowly crept back into his thoughts.

    Beyond Noglond, a stream turned from the south and began to run alongside the road; it flowed strong and swift as it went east, and the waters gleamed cold and clear as it ran. There was little sound for some time, other than the gurgling water, mingled with the harsh croak of birds in the air. More than once, Brimbur shuddered with uncertain glances about and tried not to thing to heavily about it.

    The dwarf now began to approach a narrowing in the vale, where the steep walls closed in on both sides. There stood an ancient wall of stone that spanned the narrow; the road led up and through an arch in the wall and into the land beyond. On the other side, narrowing opened wider and Brimbur grew at once apprehensive as dark trees began to crowd the edges of the road on both sides. The dwarf glanced about with nervous anticipation at the strange sounds emanating from under their deepening shadows.

    ‘Trees!’ he said with much dislike. ‘Never been one for the liking of trees!’

    But, much to his great delight, the rushing, bubbling waters suddenly swung round to the south and disappeared into the trees in a cloud of hoary vapour. The trees too sprang back from the road, though they stood very thick and worrisome to the north. Suddenly, Brimbur’s eyes brightened as a magnificent sight came into view ahead. There, atop a lofty hill could be seen the towering walls and spires of a magnificent fortress.

    This was the ancient stone fortress of Gondamon, the “Hill of Stone”; many ages ago, as Noglond, it was abandoned when the Elves of Edhelion fled to Duillond after the Dourhands’ treacherous war. Like Noglond, Gondamon was reclaimed by the dwarf-exiles from Erebor, under the leadership of Thráin and his son, Thorin, after the War of the Dwarves and Orcs.

    Brimbur turned at the crossroads, along a narrower road and up a steep slope that led towards the gate of the old fortress. Standing in the shadows of the gate were two dwarven guards; they watched Brimbur climb the long hill, their swords, held openly in their hands, gleaming in the sunlight and their eyes were dark, deep and wary.

    Brimbur halted to bow very low and proper before the guards. ‘Well met my good kinsmen! I am Brimbur, of Thorin’s Hall,’ he said with a loud voice and glanced up with admiration at the fortress. ‘What a fine fortress, and a befitting name it is…Hill of Stone as so named by the Elves! But why such arming at the gates? Has war come unlooked for to the lofty walls of Gondamon?’

    The guards looked at one another and lowered their swords, satisfied the stranger was not some loathsome and devious Dourhand or ruffian from the wilds. ‘Some of the mightiest warriors in Thorin's Hall are posted here to stop the goblin threat from the south,’ said one of the guards proudly and stiffly.

    ‘Alas!’ cried Brimbur. ‘The goblin threat has grown much since I first arrived here; perhaps we should turn our attention soon to dealing with their foul stench in our mountains!’

    ‘A few of the guards here were even in the Battle of Five Armies,’ added the other guard.

    ‘Truly?’ exclaimed Brimbur. ‘I myself travelled over the Misty Mountains on my way here with Gimli, son of Glóin. A fine kinsman he is! He was witness to my battle with terrible wargs in the Iron Hills, to which I was given Gimli’s most treasured praise! But that is a tale for another day, I think.’

    Brimbur looked up at the sun as it made its way further west and dusk slowly marched ever closer. ‘Well, I cannot tarry longer, I am afraid,’ he said with a long sigh. ‘I can only stay long enough to enjoy a brief meal and respite from the road before continuing further!’

    The guards motioned Brimbur through the wide gate and he stepped forward with a smile and nod of his head. Beyond lay a wide courtyard, surrounded by tall walls on all sides from where guards paced unceasingly, and the open space shone with many flickering torches.

    To one side of the courtyard stood a small stable for horses and upon the other was a collection of open forges, bellows, ovens and workbenches. All about the courtyard were many steps and ladders that led up to the walls and terraces of the fortress. The open space was filled with the sounds of many voices, mingled with the constant clanking of hammers, hiss of forges and the toiling of many craftsmen, and the courtyard was thronged with many hurrying feet.

    Brimbur looked about with a cheerful laugh and then found a relatively quiet spot near the gates. There he slid his pack to the ground, carefully laid his lute beside it, and then sat down. From his pack, he drew out a wrapped loaf of bread, several apples, a flask of ale, and some strips of bacon. He began his meager meal, watching the constant comings and goings in the courtyard. Only when the last piece of bread was finished, and he had drained the flask of the last drop of ale, did Brimbur begin to stir. He stood up and strode over to a fountain to wash his hands vigourously in the cold water, splashing some onto his face with a sputter.

    The afternoon was getting far on, and the winds more chilled and cold with the fast approaching dusk when Brimbur said farewell to the guards at the gate. He made his way back to the road and, with one last look at the fortress towering high above, he began to march down the road once again.

    As Gondamon slowly fell from view to the west Brimbur could see a change in the lands he now passed through. He had reached the easternmost skirts of the mountains and now the peaks rose snowy and silent over his shoulder behind him. Here the air was less cold and the earth less snow-covered than before. Upon both sides rose low hills and stands of dark pines that swayed in the wind.

    Brimbur had marched for an hour or more when the sound of a harsh croak reached his ears. He froze and glanced about nervously until he spied a dark shape in the boughs of a tall pine tree beside the road. It seemed a kind of eagle of large size, but sinister and dark of colour it was, and a gleam of evil intend shone in its eyes.

    With a croaking cry, the bird sprang from the branch, wheeling and circling above the boughs of the tress and suddenly flew straight at him, its talons spread sharp and menacing beneath it. Brimbur took a hasty step back, then turned and fled down the road, with the evil bird right behind him. The dwarf’s heart began to beat heavy in his chest as he desperately ran, and a fevered shake spread into his legs. His breath came in great gasps of hot air as the bird cried out wickedly and baleful behind him.

    Just when he thought his poor legs could not run another step, the bird cried out a mournful croak and gave up its pursuit. Yet Brimbur did not halt his flight, not until the last croak of the bird faded away and he had run until his legs had nearly given out. The dwarf collapsed to the ground, his shoulders sagging and he took in great gasps of air. He laid there for quite some time, unmoving until he at last lifted his head to look back down the road where the evil bird had returned to. When he was confident that the bird was not returning, Brimbur climbed to his feet, and brushed the dirt from his cloak and tunic with both hands.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Cala_Romello View Post
    With how much I've enjoyed reading and being a part of your TI stories on Crickhollow, I'm excited to see how being on an RP server affects the interactions you have with other players. This should be great!
    Thanks my old friend! And I am very happy to see that you have also created a couple of toons on this server as well!

    Well Brimbur has crossed through Ered Luin, with only one small mishap - to his credit, the hendroval was red-coloured, so it was 5 levels higher than Brimbur. It certainly was not a matter of fear or apprehension for the young dwarf!

    I also have not the chance yet to rp with others in the game - I hope this will change when Brimbur crosses over into the Shire!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sunny SoCal, USA
    This is very cool. I've been following since a friend of mine, who recently came from Crickhollow as well, drew attention to it.

    I do have a question, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brucha View Post
    7. Arms and Armour: I will begin Brimbur equipped with gear gained during the Intro portion of the game. After that, he may only equip or use equipment gained via mob drops or gained by the completion of quests. So, he may not craft gear for himself, or purchase gear from a vendor or the Auction House.
    What about if a RP player, who is a craftsman in-game, offers to sell you something and you can afford it? If it is not already made (like, say, a custom made weapon), would you wait out a whole month to let such a weapon be 'forged'?

    Another question- being defeated is death, which is understandable. How do you determine if you are wounded? How do you determine how serious the wounds are? If a cut or puncture of some sort, how do you determine if you avoided infection? (my main is a RP healer, so I am always thinking of such things in stories).

    RIP ELENDILMIR • Jingle Jangle
    : LAERLIN (Bio + Drawings) • LAERWEN • OLORIEL • AETHELIND (Bio + Drawing) • NETHAEL

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Laire View Post
    I do have a question, however.

    What about if a RP player, who is a craftsman in-game, offers to sell you something and you can afford it? If it is not already made (like, say, a custom made weapon), would you wait out a whole month to let such a weapon be 'forged'?
    That is acceptable actually, I only wish to restrict myself from gaining new equipment from my own crafting or buying it from the AH. I would naturally have to rp the transaction would certainly have to 'wait' for the time to craft the item

    Quote Originally Posted by Laire View Post
    Another question- being defeated is death, which is understandable. How do you determine if you are wounded? How do you determine how serious the wounds are? If a cut or puncture of some sort, how do you determine if you avoided infection? (my main is a RP healer, so I am always thinking of such things in stories).
    As far as wounds, I do rp all wound effects suffered - so if I suffered a wound effect that causes bleeding I would have to stop to bind the wound. Or say I suffer a maimed limb, I would have to pause to tend to it; until it disappears, I would have to rp limping around (if it were a leg wound) or not use my arm (if it were an arm wound). Of course, poison and disease has to be rped as well. Basically, what I usually do is rp tending the wound effect and then wait until the effect disappears.

    One another note, someone asked me if I write down everything that i do to use for the stories. I do three things - first, I chat log the entire tie, and use that to be able to use all the rp chat done, as well as info for describing combat, wound effects, etc. Second, I write down hastily scribbled notes to what is happening. And finally, I take screenshot, both to post in a chapter and to use as writing material - for instance, what does the sky look like, etc.

    So effectively, the events of each chapter is verbatim what happens in the game. The only things added are the colorful descriptions of the action
    Last edited by Brucha; May 22 2013 at 03:52 PM.

  10. #10

    Chapter Four: Worries from Waymeet– 14 Rethe, 3016 TA

    With his pack and lute across his back, Brimbur made his way down the lane from the inn, along wooden fences and stone walls that ran to one side or the other. He smiled or bowed his head more than once to passing hobbits along the way, and each turned their heads down or to one side to peruse a flower or sprouting bush to avoid the strange dwarf’s gaze altogether.

    It was a fine morning to be sure; the sky, filled with billowy white clouds, shone bright blue and warm sunshine fell all about. Birmbur sniffed the gentle air and carefully wiped the damp from his brow with a handkerchief as the air warmed ever on. He had made his way round the mayoral offices atop a low hill, and towards the Great East Road when he suddenly halted and turned to glimpse a hobbit up the hill along a narrow lane.

    Brimbur watched with growing interest as the rosy-cheeked and orange-haired hobbit girl turned a letter over and over her tight-fisted hands. She sobbed briefly but quietly, a look of distress washing over her fair-coloured round face. Brimbur glanced down the main road, then shouldered his pack tighter on his shoulder and strode up the lane towards the young hobbit miss.

    ‘Hail and well met!’ he said proudly and bowed low. ‘I am Brimbur, at your illustriously service. I could not help but take notice that you seem discomforted for some inexplicable reason. Whatever is the matter?’

    'I've received a most distressing letter!’ began the young hobbit between frightful sobs. ‘My good friend Dora -- she's a chicken farmer near Waymeet -- has written to say that a pack of wolves has invaded the Shire and driven her from her farm! She's staying in Waymeet for the time being, but the sooner she can get her farm back, the better!’

    ‘Now, now young lass,’ said Brimbur softly and comfortingly. ‘I am sure the Bounders will look after your dear friend!’

    'Can you help?’ answered the hobbit with pleading, tear-filled eyes. ‘Just take the north-east road right to the centre of Waymeet. You just tell Dora Brownlock that I've sent you to help with her wolf problem.’

    Brimbur took a sudden and hasty step back, and then glanced about, his lower lip twitching ever so slightly. ‘Me? Help with some wolves?’ He then stiffened his back and stood straight up.

    'I would be gladdened to lend my sword to you Peony Grubb!’ the dwarf declared with an uncertain voice that was overlooked by the tearful young hobbit. ‘I am, or rather was, a loyal and steadfast companion of none other than master Gimli! My sword is yours and woe to these wolves that would bring tears of fear and not joy to your eyes!’

    'Dora Brownlock is a good friend of mine,’ said Peony as she dabbed the tears from her eyes and looked at the dwarf with some hope. ‘So you'd best hurry to Waymeet. Wolves! I can hardly believe it! In this day and age!'

    'I will go seek this Dora straight away,’ answered the dwarf as he patted the hobbit on her head. ‘And do not fear, these wolves will be nothing more than a distance memory for you.'

    Brimbur smiled an encouraging smile and spun round to walk back down the lane. Once on the road again, he turned back to the frightful hobbit with a wave and a gentle grin. When he had gone a few paces further, and out of sight of poor Peony, the dwarf suddenly shook his head in disbelief and muttered a low whisper.

    ‘Well, you’ve gone and done it! Wolf hunter indeed! What were you thinking? These Shire folk have their Benders…Banderers…Bounders , or whatever they call themselves…let them handle this unfortunate business!’

    The dwarf was still cursing softly as he began to wind gently up and out of the wide vale to the east; soon Michel Delving was lost from sight as the road at once began to quickly roll away down at the top of the slope. It was not long when the tiny village of Waymeet came into view ahead.

    Spread out on all sides of the road was an odd assortment of wagons and camps, carts and cooking fires, gardens and open-air tables. To the dwarf’s eyes, it certainly did not appear to be a village, rather than a campsite of vagabonds, and it definitely did not seem to be very hobbit-like to Brimbur.

    Brimbur slowly strode down the road, a hand on his pouch as he looked about with distrust and suspicion. He presently spotted a hobbit tending to a small garden beside the road ahead. The dwarf called out with a steady voice and waved one hand into the air.

    'Say, you there! I am looking for Dora Brownlock, is she here?'

    The hobbit paused only long enough to look up at the new arrival and then threw a hand over his shoulder. Brimbur followed the finger-pointed and smiled wide.

    'Ah, over there nearer the fence! Very good my helpful friend!'

    The dwarf nodded his head slightly and quickened his pace along the road as the hobbit returned to his gardening. He did not take more than a dozen paces when he noticed a hobbit standing beside a wooden fence that lined a lane that branched off the road to the north. The young lass seemed worried with fright as she wrung her hands, and her misted eyes were only just visible under the dark hair that framed her worried face. He smoothed out his tunic with both hands, then stomped over to the hobbit with an air of authority and confidence.

    ‘Greetings, young miss, might you be Dora Brownlock?’ he said with a low bow.

    The hobbit stifled back a sob and looked up at the dwarf with a slow nod of her head.

    ‘Very good then! I am Brimbur, at your service,’ he said swiftly with another low bow. ‘I was asked to come seeking you by Peony Grubb, of Michel Delving. I was informed of the wolves that have recently taken root at your farm. I offered the lass my considerable skills in dealing with this matter!’

    'Peony sent you to help me, Brimbur?’ said Dora as she wiped the mist from her eyes. ‘She's a sweet lady, and a good friend! I'm glad to have your help. Yes, the wolves came slavering near to Waymeet recently and seemed to head straight for my farm! It was all I could do to escape to Waymeet without them noticing me!'

    Brimbur gave a look of deep concern and placed a gloved hand upon the hobbit’s shoulder for comfort, the other rose to hide a growing yawn. ‘For that, I must offer my deepest condolences, Dora. But do not fear…I have dealt with their foul kind before. Why, it was in the Iron Hills not long ago, with master Gimli…’

    Brimbur was about to continue his speech when the hobbit quickly (and very rudely, thought the dwarf) interrupted with a hasty string of words.

    'When the wolves chased me off my farm, I didn't have enough time to collect my babies! My poor darlings...what was that? My chickens, of course! If those wolves have gotten hold of them, I just don't know what I'll do!’

    The dwarf’s head spun swiftly round and held a hand cupped to his ear as he blinked once or twice. ‘I am sorry…did say you chickens?’

    Dora nodded her head vigorously and began speaking swiftly as earnest pleas welled up in her eyes. 'You can save them for me, Brimbur, I know you can! Follow the road north up the hill and out of Waymeet, then take the first stone path to your right. You'll see a sign for my farm at the correct crossing.’

    The dwarf looked sidelong at the fussing hobbit for a long moment; he in fact was convinced that Dora’s precious chickens, lovely no doubt they may be, had certainly become a meal for the foul wolves. In fact, he was certain that the wolves, having gobbled up all the chickens on Dora’s, had moved on greener pastures in search for more goodies. Or more likely, he thought, they were not wolves at all, but were probably foxes; what do hobbits know of wolves? Yet he did not speak of this and instead only nodded reluctantly.

    ‘I will do that, Miss Dora. I will find your farm and retrieve your beloved chickens by dusk this very day! I only pray there are truly no wolves there to bar my way…else they shall taste the sting of the blade on their miserable hides!’

    Dora looked up at the dwarf, a twinkle of hope growing in her eyes. 'Quickly! You must save my little darlings!'

    With that, Brimbur tightened his pack round his shoulder and turned to begin marching down the lane that lead up to the north. As Waymeet fell out of sight behind him, Brimbur’s quick eyes scanned the road further ahead for any sign of Dora’s farm.

    ‘Hmm, let me see…’ he began to mutter. ‘First stone path on my right…’

    Yet for some time, the dwarf came onto no such path or lane, but rather he passed what seemed like an endless series of fields, each bordered by low stone walls. He was considering turning round to return to Dora, who certainly must have given him incorrect directions to her own farm, when his eyes spotted something ahead.

    Here he halted, just as the lane began to dip down towards the forbidding Rushock Bogs to the north. A dozen paces or so ahead he spied a narrow stone path that branched from the lane to the east and lead up towards a hobbit farm surrounded by fields.

    ‘There is Dora’s farm! Or I am an Orc’ said the dwarf with a wide grin. ‘Now, about these chickens…’

    He turned from the lane and began following the narrow stone path, his eyes sharp and keen for any sign of the elusive chickens. He had taken perhaps only a few, rapid steps when he caught movement ahead and he froze suddenly with apprehension. A furry head poked up from behind a stone wall that bordered the nearest field; for a moment, Brimbur stared at the head with confusion, then a look of realization crept into his pale face. It was the head of a shaggy, dusk-coloured wolf.

    The dwarf took a hesitant step backwards as his eyes caught sight of not one, but two lean, hungry wolves prowling behind the stone wall. At once, and without a briefest hesitation, Brimbur leapt forward to spring towards a tall tree beside the road. Once there, he threw himself against the far side of the tall tree trunk and shuddered as he covered his mouth with one hand.

    ‘Wolves?’ he muttered nervously. ‘Did they really have to be wolves…’

    For some time, the dwarf did not stir or utter a sound; instead he began wrestling with uncertainty and indecision as the soft patter of the wolves flooded his ears from over in the fields on the other side of the tree. Finally, after some time, he placed a shaky hand onto the hilt of his sword, and then poked his head round the trunk of tree ever so carefully.

    ‘Let’s see…’ he whispered as he began counting the dark wolf-shapes pacing around the farm. ‘One…tw..tw..two…no, no, three…four…, oh my, five…’

    When was certain he had counted all the nasty beasts, Brimbur ducked back behind the tree. Slowly, a plan, of sorts, began to formulate in his mind. However, it was several long and tense minutes before he was ready to set his masterful plan into motion.

    With a worrisome look spread across his face, Brimbur suddenly darted from the tree, sprinting low to the ground and around the very edge of the closest field. Once or twice he would drop to the ground when a wolf raised its snout to sniff the air or to let out a mournful howl before running further. It was only when he made his way round to the east side of the field, and close to the small hobbit smial, did he finally stop.

    In an instant, the dwarf threw himself to the ground, and pulled up the short grass round his face in hopes of hiding him from sight. He wipes his sweaty palms onto the ground and glanced ahead. He sighed with relief when he spotted a small white chicken that was cowering beneath a small wooden shed next to the smial. The small space beneath the shed was far too small for a wolf to crawl under, so the chicken seemed safe for now from the predatory and hungry beasts.

    Brimbur lowered his head into the short grass and took in several deep, long breaths. Then he leapt up and sprang forward on very shaky legs, his eyes watching the wolves over in the field with growing alarm and trepidation. Reaching the shed, the dwarf threw himself up against the back wall, and held his breath.

    When he was certain none of the beasts had spotted him, Brimbur swiftly dropped to the ground onto his stomach and began reaching under the shed for the chicken. The chicken began to cluck with fright as he reached vainly for it, and he bit his tongue in pain as the chicken’s claws dug into a finger. Finally, he was able grab the chicken and dragged it from under the shed.

    He looked hastily about as he stood up, tucked the chicken under one arm and ran back out of the farm to hide among the short grass. There he plopped down on his stomach and slid the protesting chicken into his pack. ‘Ok then!’ he said with but a whisper. ‘One down, two more to go…’

    Brimbur raised his head above the grass and looked about; his keen eyes soon spotted another chicken running this way or that in the yard in front of the smial. Each time a wolf came prowling nearby, the poor frightened chicken fled under the porch, only to return a minute or two later out in the open.

    Brimbur set down his pack into the grass and then flew up, sprinting towards the smial as fast as his dwarf legs could carry him. Nearing the back of the home, the dwarf scrambled up onto the roof, his feet very shaky on the uneven turfed roof. Once his legs steadied himself, Brimbur bent down to his knees and looked over the yard.

    Much to the dwarf’s dismay, the wolves had been drawn to the foolish chicken hiding under the porch and now had filled the yard. Brimbur stifled a rising cry in his throat as he watched the wolves prowl back and forth below, biting and fighting with one another, or howling as wolves tend to do.

    Suddenly, the dwarf saw his chance; several of the wolves had trotted back into the fields, snarling and growling at one another over what appeared to be a tiny shrew that desperately was trying to burrow deep under the soil. He jumped up and leapt from the roof just as the chicken scampered from under the porch. He landed right in front of it with a heavy thud, and reached down to grab the chicken with both hands very tightly.

    Without thinking, Brimbur turned to sprint across the yard and past the small wooden shed. Naturally, it was only then that he noticed his terrible mistake. From his vantage point atop the roof, the dwarf had failed to notice that only four of the five wolves were in the yard. The fifth beast had become quite tired in the bright and warm sun and had taken the opportunity to lay down in the shade of the smial. As Brimbur came round the side of the smial, he found himself staring directly into the beady eyes of the slavering, ferocious wolf.

    At once, the wolf snarled and leapt at him; Brimbur cried out with alarm and ran forward, even as the beast snapped its jaws at the hem of his beautiful cloak. He ran straight for his hiding spot in the short grass, and with the wolf right behind him, nipping at his heels and howling in frustration. As he reached the grass, the dwarf did not slow his pace, but rather scooped up his pack with one hand (and the other tucked under his right arm); with fearful determination, Brimbur strained to double his speed as best he could. For long tense moments he ran on, and the wolf chased after him.

    Just when he thought he could not take another step, the wolf halted and lifted its snout to howl mournful with regretful dark eyes as the poor dwarf faded away and out of sight. Brimbur did not pause or look over his shoulder, but continued running until he had made his way back down the path and had reached the lane once more.
    Last edited by Brucha; May 23 2013 at 04:25 PM.

  11. #11

    Chapter Five: A Friend Indeed– 15 Rethe, 3016 TA

    The sun was fast setting and the sky to the east shone in rays of deepening red when Brimbur made his way back to Waymeet. He had one chicken tucked tightly under one arm, and the head of another poked out from the pack on his back. The dwarf frowned slightly as the chickens began to squawk and fuss, but a wide smile warmed his face as he spotted Dora still standing along the side of the fence as before.

    The hobbit lass turned to the sound of squawking as the dwarf approached and bowed low before her. ‘I have returned, Dora Brownlock,’ he announced happily and handed her the chicken under his arm. ‘Here are your beloved chickens, safe and sound as I promised. They are unharmed, despite their trials at the hands of those hungry wolves!’

    Dora cried out loud with joy as she held the chicken tightly in her arms. The laughter grew more as the dwarf removed the other fowl from his pack and set it down onto the ground. The chicken clucked once or twice, and then began to peck at the dry earth at the hobbit’s feet. Dora was so overjoyed that tears welled up in her soft eyes.

    Brimbur’s grinned very wide, and a sense of pride swelled in his heart at the joy and jubilation his great victory had been brought to the precious hobbit. His thoughts drifted off to what wonderful tales he would have to relate to his fawning kinsmen once he returned to his beloved halls of Ered Luin. Suddenly, he frowned and blinked, as if brought back to the present when the hobbit said something.

    'Three chickens you say?’ he said incredulously. ‘Ah, the wolves were fierce and did not take kindly to my intrusion. I was forced to battle them right in your yard. Scattered them I did and when chance came I grabbed these two chickens and returned. I am afraid the last one must certainly be a meal for those beasts!’

    Brimbur eyed the hobbit intensely at her rambled pleadings for a moment and then sighed long and loud. 'Very well, three it is, a dwarf's word is as good as gold, as they say - don't worry; I shall fetch your last one even if I have to slay the lot of them to return it to you!’

    The dwarf bowed low once more to Dora and then turned round to stomp across the grass towards a crackling fire, surrounded by a collection of wagons, tents and crates of many sizes. There beside the fire he plopped down onto the ground, a dark look of dismay filling his face.

    For a long time, he sat there downcast and glum at his misfortune and the thought of having to return to the wolf-infested farm to seek Dora’s last missing chicken. Dusk swiftly passed and a crescent moon soon began to rise into the twinkling sky from the east. Slowly, the dwarf’s eyes grew heavy and his breath lessened until he slipped off into a snoring sleep, his head held gently in both hands atop his bent knees.

    Midnight had long passed when the dwarf’s eyes fluttered open slowly and sleepily; he stretched his numb arms over his head and yawned very loudly. He had been enjoying a wonderful dream of a scrumptious meal back in Thorin’s Hall and the sight of Waymeet that stared back at him was more than he could bear. Brimbur made a weak move to stand, and then quickly sat back down, very despondent.

    After awhile, Brimbur reached for his pack beside him and drew out a wrinkled apple or two and a piece of bread and began to eat in droopy silence. ‘Bumbling hobbits and their love of chickens,’ he grumbled between bites and loud swallows. ‘I am none other than Brimbur, loyal companion of master Gimli – have I been reduced to become a mere farmhand?’

    As he munched on the last slice of apple, a though crept into his mind. ‘Chickens…’ he muttered slowly. ‘Perhaps I could purchase one from one of the many farmers here in Waymeet…I doubt Miss Dora would be able to tell the difference…chickens, after all, look the same, right?’

    Just then, an image of the happy, smiling face of Dora crept unwanted into his mind and his pushed that silly and foolish notion from his thoughts. ‘Confound it!’ he grumbled softly. ‘Maybe the wolves have moved off elsewhere, and I can locate the last chicken for Dora without peril…’

    Suddenly a deep voice called out. ‘Ho there!’

    Brimbur looked up quite startled at the sound of heavy boot steps approaching from out of the darkness round the camp. His instant fear swiftly faded when a brown-bearded dwarf, his shoulders draped with a fine-looking fur stole, strode into the flickering light of the crackling campfire.

    ‘A fellow dwarf!’ exclaimed the newcomer with a wide grin and a hand extended down to Brimbur. ‘Durin smiles on me this night!’

    Brimbur clambered to his feet with astonishment and bowed very deeply to the dwarf. 'Hail and well met my good fellow! I am Brimbur, at your most pleasured and honoured service! And who might you be, if I may be so bold?'

    ‘I am Harkil Hearth-heart, at your service, and your family’s!’ grinned the dwarf heartily with flushed pride.

    ‘And to you and your family,’ answered Brimbur. ‘What a pleasant surprise to find one of my people here of all places!'

    ‘Indeed,’ said Harkil. ‘We are far from NeedleHole where I most commonly see the likes of us! What brings you to the Shire, Master Brimbur?'

    Brimbur did not speak straight away as a dark dejected look of sadness spread across his face. Finally he spoke aloud. ‘I came from Michel Delving to come to the aid of Miss Dora Brownlock – one of the Shire folk of course – her farm near here has been overrun by foul and despicable wolves!’

    Harkil nodded politely but remained courteously silent, waiting for the dwarf to continue.

    ‘I agreed to lend my sword in rescuing her beloved chickens…but I am afraid that I was only able to recover two of the pretty things. I am very weary from my battles with the beasts and there are still many more that still haunt her farm…’

    ‘Wolves you say?’ said Harkil as he rubbed his short beard thoughtfully. ‘Hmm...well we can't very well leave her with a field of denizens can we? I'd be honored if you'd welcome my company to aid you in the reclaiming of the farm!’

    'With a warrior such as you at one's side, master Harkil, no foe could avail against us!’ cried Brimbur aloud with bright eyes and he clapped his hands together. ‘My martial talent with a blade is without equal. As Lord Glóin discovered during our journey across the mountains! And yet against so many wolves even my blade may be spent!’

    Harkil nodded, a look of admiration sweeping across his face as Brimbur continued.

    'Forgive me, my arm is still weak from the blows of the trolls and has not fully recovered,’ Brimbur said finally with a groan and rubbed his arm as if from some old, unforgotten wound. ‘If it were not for my shield that was shattered, my arm would be nothing more than useless now!'

    ‘Fear not!’ declared Harkil boastfully. ‘Though I do not dispute your talent with a blade my axe is enough to cleave many a foe in twain! Cover my hind, kinsman, and I shall deal with the beasts!’

    'And shall I, my good and loyal friend!’ cried Brimbur as he clasped the dwarf upon the shoulder. ‘Ah but what a difference from my journey here from the east this has been! Though it has been weeks since I first arrived in Ered Luin, it seems as if only yesterday when I crossed the mountains. Ah, but a fine journey it was! Perhaps we can sit and I shall relate to you the misfortunes of that fateful trip?'

    Harkil fidgeted with his beard, and then laughed aloud. ‘A tale I shall certainly lend my ear to! Tell me of this journey you have made, Master Brimbur’

    Brimbur motioned for his new friend to sit beside the fire before he too sat down in the warm comforting glow. He stroked his fine beard and then smiled.

    ‘It was a cold, wintry day when we began to climb the pass into the mountains...’ began Brimbur grimly. ‘A bitter, lonely journey it was from Erebor, and yet the dreaded goblin-haunted mountains awaited us ahead even after our long journey through Mirkwood. There were ten of us in all in our company, led by Lord Glóin himself, whom we were escorting to the Elven refuge of Rivendell...'

    Harkil settled himself beside the fire, placed his axe onto the ground and leaned back. His eyes spread wide and intently as he listened to the growing tale with much interest.

    'It was the second day of our journey through the pass when trouble found us,’ continued Brimbur with a shudder as he recalled the day. ‘Trolls they were, terrible beasts looking for little more than wanton bloodshed and violence!'

    ‘Trolls?’ exclaimed Harkil, and his mouth dropped open with disbelief.

    'Indeed! Trolls!’ murmured Brimbur gravely. ‘Five of the beasts! Many of my kinsmen faltered at the very sight of them! But not I! I hefted my blade and came straight the lot of them without hesitation! Ever I hewed at them and ever they came on, heedless of my blows. Alone I stood even as many of my kinsmen turned and fled before the terrible trolls....'

    Harkil furrowed his brow. ‘And what of Glóin, master Brimbur? What did Lord Glóin do?’

    'Only Lord Glóin did not flee...’ answered Brimbur with delight. ‘Rather, he stood in silenced awe of my prowess and skill in battle against the trolls. And when the last troll was felled, Lord Glóin cried out with joyous laughter and praise at my hard-won victory! Lord Glóin would have surely fallen that day if had not been for my skill in battle! Yet little do I crave the praise of that, only that I could serve Lord Glóin as a proper dwarf of Durin ever could!'

    Harkil chuckled as he let out a cheer. ‘A glorious victory to behold I am sure of, master Brimbur! I am humbled by such a kinsman's presence!

    ‘Bah!’ declared Brimbur with a wave of his hand into the air and then blushed slightly. ‘Never such a thing, my good friend! I only aim to serve our people as best I can!'

    ‘Humble too!’ answered Harkil with a grin. ‘A rare quality among such hardened warriors! A true tribute to the virtues of Durin's folk!’

    'Ah, but of course, we true warriors do not crave the thanks or praise of others…only the victory of battle!' replied Brimbur.

    ‘Very true!’ said Harkil.

    Brimbur glanced up into the sky as a dim glow began to slowly grow in the east. ‘But to the business at hand! There is one more of Miss Dora's precious chickens that must be rescued from the foul wolves, lest it become food for the terrible beasts! What say you, master Harkil? Shall we depart for the farm at first light and put our blades to the beasts once and for all?'

    ‘Away then, to deal with the foul creatures!’ cried Harkil as he leapt to his feet and braced his axe across his back. ‘They shall surely rue this dawn!’

    Brimbur climbed to his feet and sniffed the air. ‘Let us enjoy a bit of breakfast and then make our way to the farm...perhaps the dim light shall aid us in battling these pesky wolves!' He then drew out his last apple from his pack and began munching on it.

    Harkil nodded and rummaged through his pack before pulling out a small tuft of salted pork and a piece of cheese. As Brimbur looked longingly at the fine pork in the dwarf’s hands, Harkil finished the meal off with a healthy amount of ale from a wine skin.

    ‘My eyes are as a sharp a hawk, even in this dim light,’ said Brimbur finally. ‘I fear that the wolves stand little chance against two such warriors as us, good Harkil!’

    ‘Aye!’ said Harkil as he raised his wine skin in toast. ‘Especially against the likes of one who protected Lord Glóin from the monstrous trolls!’

    Brimbur turned with a wink in his eyes, and then almost ran right into the pot hanging from a wooden post over the flickering fire. ‘Confound hobbits and their neglected cooking pots!’ he grumbled.

    Harkil laughed and rubbed his now full belly. ‘If they spent more time digging in their homes and less cooking they might be of grander scale!’

    Brimbur grumbled softly and he eyed the hanging pot above the fire with much distrust. He then pointed towards the narrow land than wound slowly north from Waymeet. ‘This way, master Harkil!’

    The dwarves scrambled over the low wooden fence that ran along one side of the camp and made their way through a wide patch of grass towards the lane. Once on the road, Brimbur smiled at his companion, they set off up the slope and towards Dora’s farm.

    For a long while the dwarves did not speak and, as Waymeet fell from view behind them, the soft glow in the east sky grew and the first rays of the sun began to sparkle on the horizon. The lane continued on and rolled gently up and down past the many sleepy fields to either side. Finally they reached the point where the lane began to fall steeply away towards the distant bogs. There Brimbur halted to point towards the stony path to the right.

    ‘There lies the farm we seek,’ he muttered grimly. ‘Yet I must warn you, it is filled with wolves. We best be careful not to alert them to our approach!’

    Harkil took a careful step forward with a dour nod of his head. ‘Aye,’ he said quietly.

    The dwarves cautiously approached the farm and Brimbur turned suddenly to scramble up the embankment towards the tall tree. Harkil looked about bewildered, uncertain what Brimbur had planned, then hurried after him. Brimbur pressed his back against the wide trunk of the tree, glanced about uneasily, and then spoke in a hushed whisper.

    'Ah, here is Miss Dora's farm...’ he said not daring to peek his head round the tree. ‘And it seems the wolves have not decided to depart!'

    Harkil drew his axe from over his shoulder and grasped it tightly in both hands. ‘Looks like we’ve come at just the right time!’ he whispered in return and glanced towards the farm to spy the hulking lean forms of the wolves. ‘Ready when you are, kinsman. Say the word and my axe shall go to work!’

    But Brimbur did not speak. His eyes closed and a slight shiver ran through his chest. He then blinked and looked up at his companion, a paleness gleaming in his eyes. 'Perhaps a measure of caution is in order, he said finally. ‘I spotted the last of the chickens nearer the barn over there. Might you make your way round to it, while I remain here to make sure the beasts do not out-flank you…prudence, after all, is as good as a stout sword or axe arm!’

    ‘Aye, a sound tactic!’ said Harkil thoughtfully with a hearty nod of his head. ‘I will draw them near to me. Guard my flank!’

    ‘If they catch wind of us,’ said Brimbur meekly. ‘Then we shall have them in our trap! I will watch you from this tree…’

    Harkil smiled wide at his companion then hefted his axe. ‘To the barn! Shout should you be in danger.’

    ‘I shall,’ answered Brimbur hesitantly. ‘And you as well!’

    Harkil risked a hurried glance round the tree then took a deep long breath before he began to spring round the side of the farm to the left. Brimbur watched in growing apprehension as Harkil slowly and very stealthily neared the barn. There the dwarf halted, turned and waved at Brimbur from the shadows of the squat building.

    At once, Brimbur’s eyes grew large and his shook his head vigorously in protest. Harkil lowered his arm slowly in puzzlement, then shrugged and began to creep towards the front of the barn. For a moment, Brimbur was content to hide behind the tree and watch Harkil; but a chance glance to his right drew his attention to a pair of wolves that were slowly making their way towards him.

    The dwarf’s eyes darted first to the wolves, then to Harkil on the far side of the fields, and then back again to the wolves. Finally, he pushed off from the tree and began running across the field as fast as his legs could carry him. As he neared the yard of the farm, Brimbur hurled himself over the low stone wall and fell heavily onto the ground on the other side. He shook his head and then looked round; it was then that he spotted the dusk-coloured wolf that was sprawled on the ground beside him.

    The dwarf’s eyes flared with panic as the wolf blinked once or twice at him then raised its jaws with bristling snarls. More to his shocked horror, the beast was not alone, for another wolf was trotting towards the first, evidently liking the look at the ground his friend had found to bed down onto.

    The two foes leapt up as one, Brimbur falling backwards and nearly toppling over onto his back, and the wolf starting right at him with nipping teeth. Almost as quickly, the second wolf turned its snout up towards the movement and joined his companion to leap after the dwarf.

    Just as the wolves closed and were about to bring their considerable weight down upon the dwarf to throw him to the ground, there came a resounding cry of ‘Baruk Khazâd!’ It was Harkil, of course. He had turned round to wave his companion forward (who he thought was still safely behind the tree on the other side of the field), when he spotted what has just transpired.

    Without hesitation, the dwarf howled aloud a challenge and threw himself at the wolves, who soon found themselves facing a very determined, angry, and axe-wielding dwarf. Harkil smashed the snout of the closest wolf with the butt of his axe and drove the other back with a wide swipe.

    Brimbur, meanwhile, scampered under the eaves of a tree to one aide; there he heaved in a deep breath and watched the battle unfold. One wolf lifted its head to howl into the air and leapt at the dwarf; Harkil cried out once again as his axe swept forward and back again. The wolf crashed to the ground, headless, right at the dwarf’s booted feet.

    Brimbur’s eyes grew wide as he watched the second wolf growl and slink round the dwarf, who now raised his long axe high above his head. For several tense moments the two foes danced round and round until the wolf let forth a deep shuddering howl and sprang forward. The dwarf too leapt forward and, with two quick steps and a flash of his glinting axe, cleaved the head of the wolf with a single, mighty blow.

    At once Brimbur cried out a cheer and ran from under the tree boughs to Harkil’s side. ‘Pack of boisterous pups they are!’ laughed Harkil as he gazed down at the unmoving wolves on the ground.

    ‘Indeed!’ cried Brimbur, admiration filling his bright eyes. ‘Very well played! I must say that I found that I could little but stand in awe of your skill in battle my friend!’

    Harkil blushed slightly and shook his head. ‘You flatter me with your words, kinsman! I assure you it was nothing more than lad's play! We showed them the wrath of our mighty blows!’

  12. #12
    Brimbur is such a fine gold bricker.



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