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    The Tale of Bilwise (of the Lonely Mountain Band)

    I've been sharing a story at Ales and Tales (Monday nights on Landroval) that my sweet Tamoro and I put together about friends and folks in our kin. There have been some who asked that I post the chapters as they unfold somewhere so they could read the parts they missed. This was the only forum I could think of that everyone would have access to. hehe

    So, I share with you all, the Tale of Bilwise!

    *****************************
    Chapter 1 : The Adventure Begins

    Patting a comfortably full belly, Bilwise stepped out of the cavernous building that had served as his inn for the night at Tinnudir. Offering a smile and nod to the rangers at the entrance, he took a deep breath and stepped out into the early morning sunlight that was bathing the porch in a yellow glow. A gorgeous spring morning, small white clouds speckled the bright blue sky. Warm sunshine, peeking over the mountains, had begun to nibble away at the chill of the crisp morning air. Pulling his pipe from his coat, Bilwise carefully filled the bowl with an aromatic sweetleaf pipeweed. He tamped it down several times before lighting the pipe and enjoy a long satisfying draw.

    Bilwise was well known about town for his abundantly-stocked snack cart. While he didn’t cook everything on the cart, and realistically wouldn’t have enough hours in the day to cook it all, most of the tastiest dishes were by his own hand. He had a knack for knowing when and where to find the very best ingredients. One of his special recipes required a rare mushroom that he’d found only in the area around Lake Evendim in the early spring.

    Like many hobbits, Bilwise wasn’t overly fond of water but, he wasn’t afraid of it either. There was something almost majestic about the huge lake and the lands around it, mountainous and rough though they were. And while there was danger, like any wild wooded area, there were many rangers speckled about and as such, the hobbit felt relatively safe after his many years of coming here.

    Usually, his hunter friend Sullo joined him, offering friendly conversation while keeping an eye out for coneys as well as things that might try to make dinner out of a hobbit. Today, however, the hobbit hunter and his wife, Amberflower, were busy off in the Dead Marshes hunting down an orc captain that reportedly had a fetish for turtles. There were many theories as to what he did with those turtles, from making soup to using them for things dark and strange. Amberflower was determined to find out where the turtles were being held and rescue them. Naturally, Sullo couldn’t let his wife go alone.

    However, the mushrooms at Lake Evendim should be at their peak, so Bilwise didn’t feel the luxury to wait. Others that he might have asked to come were all off in far-away lands and so, the hobbit chef had decided to venture to the lake alone.

    The hobbit adjusted the pack on his back, took another draw on his pipe and headed down the stairs and towards the lake shore. These fungi could be found growing in the shade of any of the tall evergreens that populated the hillsides. But the biggest, and tastiest, grew around a cave on the opposite side of the lake, one rumored to be inhabited by a ghost, or spirit, or some such. Bilwise never took much stock in those types of stories and in his handful of times visiting the area, had never seen anything out of the ordinary.

    It was a day’s walk or more around the lake to the waterfall and cave, depending on how many wildcats or wolves you had to dodge on your way. Fortunately, recent years had seen the addition of a boat dock. There you could catch a skiff to an island in the midst of the lake, home to many frilled lizards, or to the Eavespires, a small clearing that was home to an Ent and some elves. The Eavespires was his destination today.

    This landing was the closest he could get to the special cave and even then it would be a half day’s walk to get there. However, the walk was pleasant, the scenery was suburb and he would most likely find mushrooms under the trees as he sojourned.

    Smiling up at the boat master on the dock, Bilwise drew deeply on his pipe and blew out, producing an almost perfect circle of smoke.

    “Mornin’, Master hobbit,” the tall red clad ranger nodded, his ruddy sunbaked face completely devoid of mirth or pleasure.

    “Aye, a good morning it is at that,” Bilwise beamed a bigger smile up at the man. “I’d like to go to the Eavespires, if you please.”

    “Eavespires is it? I s’pose it doesn’t matter if I please it or not,” the tall muscular man frowned down at the hobbit.

    “Not a very friendly place though,” he gruffed, as if trying to change the hobbit’s mind.

    “Lookin’ for mushrooms, not friends,” Bilwise took another puff on his pipe and nodded.

    Seeing no sign that the hobbit was going to change his mind, the dock master held out a rough hand. “That’ll be 17 and a half silver then”, he growled. “If you please…”

    Bilwise chuckled as he pulled a plump money pouch from under his jacket, counted out the coins and deposited them in the ranger’s large outstretched hand. The tall ranger nodded to two brawny men sitting nearby who leapt to their feet, boarded one of the small boats and helped the hobbit in.

    “Take care where you be lookin’,” the dockmaster frowned. “Reports say the Guaradan’s been comin’ down from the mountain, more and more.”

    “I thank you for the warning, good sir. I assure you I am always careful.” Bilwise replied, offering a last smile as the boat pushed away from the dock. “A good day to you!”

    Guaradan were old news and had been coming down from the hills for years now. Brigands were spotted here and there as well, but both were easy enough to hide from in stealth. More troublesome were the Angmarim, as they had ways to detect you, but they confined themselves to the ruins of the old city, Annuminas, and so weren’t a real threat. That left animals, which were harder to hide from because they used their noses, not their eyes, but could be done if one was careful and minded the direction of the wind.

    With strong sure strokes, the oarsmen began to propel the small craft forward, creating larger ripples on the soft glittering ripples of the lake. It wasn’t a bad ride. The oarsmen made straight for the first island and then more or less island hopped across the lake to the opposite shore. But it was a fairly long ride. Bilwise settled himself and puffed on his pipe, watching the ebb and flow of the ripples, softly humming a tune that had been stuck in his head since the Andune concert the day before.
    Last edited by Shaeliana; Nov 28 2017 at 01:52 PM.
    "Pink makes EVERYTHING better! Cept Orcs or gobbies. Nothin' can make them better!"
    Tearna Quickfoot, Hobbit minstrel on Landroval
    Lonely Mountain Band

 

 

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