By the Road Abandoned – Part One

By the Road Abandoned – Part 1

The morning was bright, and clear, and the gold of the sunrise over the lake promised a beautiful summer day. They had passed a few days on the shores of Lake Evendim, but now they were to continue their journey eastward, and cross into the North Downs. Brassica was assured that there were Rangers to be found in this region as well and as she now bore a seven-pointed silver star pinned to the mantle about her shoulders, she would be known for a friend. There was a sense of determined industry about the Ranger camp of Tinnudir, and as she finished making the last check through her pack to ensure she had everything, Brassica found herself saddened by the thought of not being a part of it any longer. There was a nobility about their cause that it was impossible not to admire. The Dunedain had fed her and clothed her, and helped rescue her from the hands of the brigands who roamed the land. She had heard their stories and learned their history, if only in a tiny part. Enough to realize that she had lived her whole life–indeed, all of hobbit kind had lived their whole lives–in peace and safety, for which they were indebted to the guardianship of the Dunedain.


But a Day From Home – Notes


Fight with the Brigand Captain

The funny thing about this one was that it didn’t really have a solidly established plot until I started writing it. Well, and even then, it just sort of went where it wanted to. I certainly wasn’t planning on Brassica getting hobbit-napped. I think initially the thrust of the thing was going be about meeting the Elves in the Eavespires, which was the reason Beldrieth and Celebarad were heading to Evendim in the first place. But elves are a bit boring, and there’s that darn Ent up in the Eavespires, and I didn’t want to deal with him. (more…)

But a Day From Home – Part Ten

But a Day from Home – Part 10

Once the whole of the tale had been told, and the Rangers realized that they had come out looking rather badly in it from Brassica’s perspective, they became extremely gracious towards their diminutive guest. It had taken a rather stern lecture on the hobbit’s part to make it clear to the Dunedain that it was bad form to assume that their guests were spies, and especially bad form to keep them waiting when they’d been kidnapped by bandits. After that, she was privy to all manner of courtesies, and her next few days on the shore of the lake were filled with a variety of occupations at the hands of the gruff, but strangely decorous men of the North.


But a Day From Home – Part Nine

But a Day from Home – Part 9

Beldrieth’s business in the Eavespires had not been of a serious nature. Truly it had been more of a social call, made on behalf of the Lord Glorfindel of Rivendell, who had inquired after an old comrade who he had believed to have passed into the West. And so Beldrieth had sought Erchiel on the other side of the lake, and found her in the company of her husband. Though she had declined to return to Rivendell, declaring herself weary of war, and well-deserving of the peace she had sought at the edge of the wild, Erchiel had been glad of the company of another Elf in her small glade. So with Llythne’s consent, Beldrieth had sent the Ranger had accompanied them back across the lake on his own, in favour of returning to Tinnudir in the morning, and spent the night speaking of old battles and friends long lost to time.


But a Day From Home – Part Eight

But a Day from Home – Part 8

Brassica had tried. She had really tried, as Percy had dragged her up the stairs of the ruin, to where his gang of robbers had assembled, six or seven abreast, three rows deep, to keep from breaking down into sobs of fear. She had thought him fierce when he had roared at her at his own little camp. It was nothing compared to what he became, a raving, raging figure, stalking before his men, his great cloak billowing behind him. He snarled and growled and when one of the women flinched away when he came too close, he had slapped her sharply across the face, and bellowed all the louder when she wept, wretched and wailing on her knees.

Then he had seized Brassica and dragged her to the first of the men on the forward corner of the assembly. He had glowered down at her, “Is this the spy?”


But a Day From Home – Part Seven

But a Day from Home – Part 7

When the prow of their boat crunched against the gravel of Rantost’s shore, Celebarad had been the first over the gunwale, splashing in the shallows and helping haul the vessel onto solid purchase. The shield he had brought with him, but after some debate had left it in the boat. He had never before carried a shield, and worried it would slow him and make him clumsy when he most needed speed.

They had put to shore at the southernmost tip of the island, far from the ruin, which glowed in the distance, lit from the inside by the fires of the robbers. There had been only one man standing guard on the shore, and he had not seen them approach. One of the rangers had stood in the rocking boat, steadied by the hands of his fellows, as he  put arrow to string, drew, and let fly. The man on the shore had fallen almost silently, and the rest of the Rangers in the boat had heaved-to on their oars, and now they had landed.


But a Day From Home – Part Six

But a Day from Home – Part 6

The night was bright and clear, the stars like points of white fire and the moon a full, bright disk. The day had passed slowly, and Brassica had spent it napping in the dirt, hungry and lonely, feeling as though she’d been forgotten, both by her friends and by her captors. She had strained her eyes staring across the lake, hoping for some sign of rescue, but there had been nothing. The woman who had paced the bank earlier in the day was gone. But for the first time, Brassica heard voices approaching, and huddled closer to the chunk of rubble to which she was chained.

How’s the little hobbit keeping?” growled a rough voice, and a dirty-faced, raggedly dressed man peered out from behind the remnants of the wall, with an evil grin. “Been a good little hobbit, not hollerin’ cross the water, or rattlin’ her chains.”


But a Day From Home – Part Five

But a Day from Home – Part 5

When he was told that there was no way the Rangers could possibly assault Rantost until nightfall, Calenglad had needed to stop Celebarad from attempting to swim across the lake on his own. It was impossible to call an elf young, but occasionally a certain recklessness in Celebarad’s manner that made it hard to believe he was at least several centuries old.

There was no real guessing at the age of an elf; they had a certain sameness about them, a quality of being perfectly youthful and strangely ancient. Even as accustomed to the Fair Folk as the Dunedain were, and even surrounded by the ancient history of one of the once-great Kingdom of the West, it was somehow slightly unsettling to hear an elf speak about events long lost to the ages of the world. Around the fire, the evening before, Celebarad had mentioned offhandedly that the sword at his side had been his father’s, wielded when Sauron had made his war on the Elves in the Second Age. Calenglad had felt oddly sad at the sight of the blade, as bright and keen and ageless as the elf who carried it, while Arnor lay in ruins around him, and everyday they struggled to keep thieves, like the men of Rantost, from the graves of their fathers.


But a Day From Home – Part Four

But a Day from Home – Part 4

Perhaps the most irritating thing was that gathering firewood had not hastened the acquisition of breakfast–in fact, if Brassica was realistic about her current situation, the possibility of breakfast seemed to have vanished almost entirely. Still, she had to admit that she had been glad of an empty stomach for her very first excursion on the water. It was almost impossible for her to imagine a boat ride that could have been worse than the one she’d just suffered through. In fact, Brassica was almost certain that any boat ride she took after this would be a great improvement, even accounting for the rocking and the splashing and the wet. Wholly aside from being kidnapped by ruffians, knocked about and then tossed in a sack, Brassica had been especially distressed by the dampness of the boat, having been of the impression that the whole point of a boat was to keep its insides dry.


But a Day From Home – Part Three

But a Day from Home – Part 3

If not sharp of awareness, it could at least be said that Celebarad was sharp of hearing, and the sound of a faint shriek on the early morning breeze had seen him drop every stick of firewood he carried to charge down the slope of the shore to the aid of his young ward. He ran quickly and surely over the dew-soaked ground, to the place where he had last seen Brassica. He would have sworn it was mere moments ago that he had seen the young halfling looking up at the Great Keep of Tinnudir, but elves are not especially aware of the passage of time, and she was nowhere to be found. He called her name, once, then twice, beginning to fear for his friend. As his eyes swept through the underbrush again, he noticed a slight flattening of the shrubs and bushes underfoot, and the faintest trail leading away from the place Brassica had last been.