Notify Message
The Journey of Jill Baggyns by Caiyla

Frodo and the Company had just left the Last Homely House for the Red Horn Pass when Elrond decided to undertake a most difficult task: creating a diversion for the Ringwraiths to let Frodo’s party journey toward their sinister destination a little quieter. He then sent Elladan to the Shire to find a hobbit to undertake this task. The Shire-folk were a little more than shocked at the elf’s request, and bolted their doors and opened their fifth pantry for Unwelcome Guests Who Make You Stay Indoors, but one little hobbit stepped bravely out with his walking-stick, hat and pipe.

“I’ll go, Mr. Elf! I’ve never even seen Brandywine before, don’t you know!”
“Oh that fool!” muttered Lobelia Sackville-Baggins from her spy-perch in a Michel Delving relative’s garden. “Jill Baggyns is the last hobbit who should be sticking his neck out for anything!” The Jill Baggyns in question happened to be a Modestfoot-Sidehill relative who married into the Baggins family, but as he was prone to spelling errors the minute he could read, he spelled his new name with a Y instead of a respectable I.

Elladan nodded, and gestured for his escort to post a notice on the board. Then, he turned to the hobbit. “This is a grave undertaking, do you understand? You are helping history.” The hobbit stared. “No matter. Go to the gold fish inn by the Brandywine river. A seasoned warrior by the name of Boddoburg will take you from there to the man town of Bree. He is one of your fellow hobbits, as I take that you would be more comfortable with one of your own race.”

Jill nodded, recognizing the Golden Perch by the description, and unexpectedly bowed. The elf-lord was a little surprised but patted his head. Then, he mounted and rode out of the sheltered little town toward the Last Homely House.

Eoyon wrestled the last goblin into the red ground, her surroundings a crimson haze. She wiped her grimy forehead with an equally grimy glove and stabbed her banner into the crumbling earth, wishing for some rain in the desolate wastelands of Mordor.
“Yeah, Eadric?”

Her shade ally drifted over. If shades could be dirty, this one was caked. “Summon from Lord Elrond of the Rivendell Elves. He wishes for you to help escort...a hobbit.”

Eoyon grinned, the white a shock against the dark sky. “I’ll take up that wish. Could use a break from this damned wasteland. Where are we meeting this hol-bytla?”

“Lord Elrond mentions an inn in the town of Bree, run by a Barliman Butterbur-”
“Ah, the Prancing Pony. We’re off, then. I’ll meet you there, Eadric. Until then, you’re dismissed.”
“Of course, Captain,” replied the shade, fading out into the air.

“You’re all dead! Stay dead!” roared Wotul as his axe came down on another of the dead. Nan Dhelu was the outpost of the gaunt-lords and the dwarf had been given the initiative to thin the masses (along the lines of beer). He was about to delve deeper into the ruins when his dwarf-sense had him hurry back to the Ost Guruth settlement and ask the runnerboy of any news.

“Why, funny you ask, Sir Wotul. The Elf-lord Elrond has put out a request for seasoned soldiers to escort a hobbit to the ends of the world.”

“What in Durin’s name is a hobbit?” asked Wotul, puzzled. “Is it some new breed of goat?”

“No, no,” laughed the runner, “they’re a small folk who live west of Bree. Not very hardy but they sure know how to grow pipeweed.”

“I’m in,” the dwarf growled. He strutted off to the stables but then paused and turned back. “Where is this hobbit going to be?”

“Bree-town, sir, in the home of the Blind Troll Stout.”

“Many thanks, lad.” A large gold coin sailed into the runner’s hand. “Buy yerself a decent meal.”

The lad looked up to thank the dwarf, but all that was visible was the dust of the Lone Lands and a fading figure on a goat, heading west.

Eregion was a breath of fresh air compared to the hellish scape of Angmar, not to mention more friendly to the Elven hunter. Even so, Caiyla was growing tired of the half-orcs and wood-trolls that skulked under trees and in ruins. She decided to hasten back to Rivendell for a much-deserved break, when Elladan passed her on the way to the gates.

“Ho, Elladan, son of Elrond!” she called. “From where do you travel home?”

The elf-lord turned to her. “My father has decided to fund an escort for a small one from the Shire to travel. He feels disheartened, I think, to see the Company leave with four of them to unknown depths of shadow.” He smiled, and suddenly laughed. “The ones in their land were so frightened of us! Except for one. He was a strange one. He bowed to me very solemnly.”

“I’ve seen these small folk before. They are simple but well-meaning. I remember when one came to the Woodland Realm, then escaped in a barrel.” Caiyla grinned. “Where can I find this party?”

“We’ve sent him with a hobbit-guard to the man-town of Bree, in the old lands of Arnor. They will be staying at the inn of Butterbur for a short time.” They reached the Last Homely House. “If you will pardon me, I must take rest after the journey. I trust you mean to join this party?” Caiyla nodded. “Good. I will see you when the stars align so again.”

“And I you when the moon shines her pale face on the mallorn trees.”

The chess piece clattered to the ground and was kicked under the table in the guard house for the third time in as many minutes. “Bollocks to this game!” Gil seethed, his shirt hanging loosely and his face red with drink. “I fancy a good old round of sparring, Eoyon!”

“I’m sore, you idiot. Go spar with your mother,” Eoyon said, eyeing him from the ground as she stretched. “I don’t even know why I bothered to meet you in this crowded city of walls.” He was ready to toss an insult back at her when he noticed the messenger standing in the doorway.

“Lord Gilithirros of Gondor, you have a message from your student of swords of the Woodland Realm.”

Gil straightened his shirt and sat in his chair. “Ah, Caiyla. Go on, then.”

“She speaks of your search for interesting things and wishes for you to join her and others in escorting a...small one to the far reaches of the world.” The messenger looked uncomfortable. “My lord, this hand is beautifully written and it looks to be Elven. I trust you have dealings with the Fair Folk?” He looked scared even asking. Gil pitied him.

“Ah now, they’re just a rather emotional lot. The one who writes to me is scarcely seventy years old, still a teenling. Where does she say to go?”

“I’d expect Bree,” Eoyon interjected, walking over. “If I am right, messenger, you are dismissed.”

“Y-yes Captain,” he quavered, turning to leave.

“Hey wait a minute, man,” Gil called, and tossed him a silver Amroth piece.
“Thanks for the message.” The man bowed and hurried out. “I take it you’re heading there?”

“Why else? Also, Caiyla’s a hunter, correct? She knows the secret paths. We’ll be less hampered as we journey with the hobbit.” She stood and walked toward the rooms. “I’m taking a second bath and then we can go. Grab your gear and your booze while you can.”

Gil watched her leave, then took a last swallow from a tankard and headed to the armory.


Loqutas was a little tired of the elves of Eregion. They didn’t ever relax, he thought as he cut his way through a worm. I’ve never seen them sleep.

I wonder how lembas tastes to them, he mused while in the middle of a stint with a corrupted tree. To me at least, it’s a bit like stale bread with a wood flavor.

He was relaxing on High Hollin with the goats when a messenger hawk dropped a scroll onto his head. He unrolled it and read it swiftly, then closed it again and lay back down. It was a short walk to Gwingris but longer to Bree. He could afford a nap beforehand.

What kind of hobbit travels outside of Bree anyway?

The Prancing Pony was lively as ever when the company escorts found each other in the main parlor. Their charge was nursing a wine by the fire.

“Where’s Kuz?” asked Loqutas, sitting on the floor with Gil.

“He had some business in Lothlorien to clear up so he couldn’t make it,” replied Boddoburg.

The company sat. Eventually Caiyla headed over with drinks, which Gil and Wotul each drained instantly. Seeing this, Loqutas decided to go back to the bar to request a keg-to-go in preparation. The moon cycled up and down, and the company slept, Caiyla keeping watch on the edge of the town.

“Are we all ready to go then?” Boddoburg asked the party. A chorus of yeas and nays sprung up.

“Excuse me but...if you don’t mind me asking...” Jill spoke up. The group all turned to look at him. “I never thought I’d get a band of bounders to accompany me. Who are all of you?”

“You ask rightly,” said Boddoburg. “We are the Forsaken Lonelanders. We devote ourselves to vanquishing evil and laughing in the face of darkness.”

Jill rubbed his head. “So you’re a soldierly sort of group? And you’ll be protecting me?”

“Precisely,” Gil crowed, already a little pink. “Have you met the elf yet? She’ll shoot the feathers off your chicken.” The hobbit paled a little at this. “Well not your chicken,” the man hastily added.

“So, little hol-bytla, we’ll be heading out of the East gate of the town. Anything you want to see?” asked Eoyon. The hobbit perked up at this.

“The pigs!” he cried. “The pigs in Bree are so much different than the ones in say, Budgeford.”

“There were a couple outside the East-gate, we can head there,” suggested Loqutas, itching to be on the road.

“That’s good, Loq. In the meantime, I will scout ahead,” Boddoburg replied. The door was thrust open and the company headed out, following two small figures in front.

“Surely this is an idiotic amount of trouble, even for a hobbit’s first time in the wilds,” panted Gilithirros, sweating under the Midgewater Marsh sun. Their charge had run straight into enemy after enemy, calling out “puppy!” at hostile wolves and Wargs, and shouting a loud hallo to the brigands skulking in the underbrush. Everything was more a nuisance than a real challenge, but even so, Jill Baggyns was a handful.

“Did you not know that this was the real reason?” asked Caiyla, bounding lightly from dry spot to dry spot. “Lord Elrond’s original purpose was to create a diversion to draw eyes from...a separate party ahead of us. He may not have mentioned it in the summons though. Too many Enemies’ eyes on everything.”

“So this is that wily elf-lord’s true intent. There had better be some top-quality beer at the end of this,” growled Wotul, sloshing through the marsh with his shield atop his head. There was a sudden zing and an arrow quivered on the shield’s rim.

“Lord Elrond is not ‘wily’,” snapped Caiyla, “He is wise and believes in making the right choice.”

“Now now, you two. I’m aware your kind don’t mix well but we’re all rather irritated so I’d say zip it,” Eoyon called as she cracked a neekerbreeker’s shell. “Have a shot at those goblins, Caiyla, and Wotul, take care of the spiders.”

“I’ll not be ordered by a woman,” and “None of yer business” were both muttered, but they went their ways with the captain’s suggestions.

The sun was at its zenith.

The party made camp near Weathertop with Candaith, a ranger on the lookout for Orc messengers. In the morning they made a meal of some deer Caiyla had stalked at night, and then they were off. Not long after they rounded the Weather hills, Jill spotted a “city with people, at last”. The city happened to be Naerost, a long-fallen fortress now infested with half-orcs, and the company once again grilled through the enemies with much annoyance but no lasting injuries. ......TO BE CONTINUED!!!