Ned's Yule

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Ned's Yule

Postby Taurinor » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:44 pm

Ringulf included a story to go with his Yule gift, so I wanted to share it with you all here!

Ringulf wrote:Ned’s Yule

The Prancing Pony was crowded this night; not at all surprising for this season of Yule, in Breeland.
Men of many cultures, Hobbits, even a few Dwarves crowded the bustling streets. The recent snowfall had created a frosted wonderland of the normally rolling wooded hills and dales.

One Dwarf along with his Hobbit companion had been traveling from the little town of Staddle around the eastern side of the Hill. When he saw that the snow was getting heavier, he moved up next to the mounted Hobbit and raised his voice a bit so she could hear him over the wind, which had been raising in velocity and seemed to be coming out of the south west right into their faces.

“We need to head for the “Pony”! That is the Southgate of Bree there, head in and bear to the right up the hill past the Boar fountain. We will stable our ponies and get a room for the night. They should still be serving something hot!”

Brandwyn did not reply through her scarf which was pulled up over her rosy red cheeks and nose, but she nodded and spurred her grey spotted, white pony toward the breach in the timber palisade.

They nodded to the guards who huddled just inside the big gates around a coal fed brazier that they warmed themselves by.

Ringulf, having been in Bree many times moved his pony up ahead of Brandwyn as the past te Town Hall then on past the crafting hall and the boar fountain. Most of the vendors were gone or closing their stalls and Ringulf heaved a sigh of relief as they passed under the gated opening that lead to the Prancing Pony’s courtyard and stables.

After securing their mounts and their tack they rubbed them down and covered them with horse blankets. They walked back toward the main building and saw a young hobbit trotting through the snow toward them.

“Good evening young Nob! We gave them a rub down and covered them but if you wouldn’t mind some oats and some hay and water them both, I’ll leave some coin with Butterbur for you!” Ringulf said to the puffing Hobbit as he passed and waved.

“Right you are Sir, evening Ma’am!” he said without stopping though he did manage to get a knuckle up to his forehead in deference to the lady.

They entered through the back door, passed through the kitchen and down the hallway to the common room. The room was noisy and brightly lit compared to the rest of the year but the smell of pine boughs and the sight of Holy here and there gave it a very festive look. The stepped up to the counter and felt the warmth of the roaring fire next to them and stepped up on the box platform that was there for persons of shorter stature. It was a bit before they could capture the attention of the harried Innkeeper.

“Mister Butterbur! Would you be so kind as to give us a room for the night and a meal?” Ringulf said cheerily.

“Ah Master Ringulf isn’t it? And who is this lovely Lass?” He said with cordiality but rather more that he didn’t know if he was supposed to have recalled her name.

“This is Brandwyn of the Brandy Hall and most recently my wife.” He said a bit annoyed at the public questioning.

Brandwyn thrust out her hand and with a big smile said, “Pleased to make your acquaintance!” and pumped his large hand enthusiastically.

“Ah yes, yes likewise lass, um but Master Ringulf, would that I could but…we are all filled up! There is “no room in the Inn”, so to speak!”

“Well a Hobbit room then I can let my feet hangover the edge of the bed!” Ringulf pressed.

“No not even a Hobbit room, mores the pity.” said the man wistfully. “WWe may have an opening coming up if the folks from Trestlebridge decide to go, but I doubt they are going t’want to go out into this!”

“Alright then we will wait in the common room, please bring us something warm to eat and some mulled cider, make mine hard if you would be so kind.” Ringulf gruffly said, relenting a bit toward the end when he saw how beleaguered the poor innkeeper seemed.

They found a seat toward the back where a Bard was singing a bawdy tune to a few farmers.

They noticed as they waited for the serving girl to bring their food and libations, that there was a table over in the corner were several tall men sat dressed in grey with stars pinned upon their cloaks and hoods drawn up so that their faces were not recognizable unless illuminated by the drawing of their long pipes.

It seemed that a young man, much shorter in stature than the men in grey but lithe and strong none the less seemed to be asking them questions enthusiastically. The men were trying to be polite but their discomfort was evident to Ringulf, he had seen this look before.

Do you see those men over at that table? Ringulf whispered to Brandwyn. “I do believe they are Rangers of the Grey Company.” Then in a conspiratorial voice he spoke closely to her ear, “I recognize the one in the middle, I believe that is Halbarad.”

“I have seen the young man questioning them before, he is a regular fixture around here. He is somewhat enamored of the Ranger’s out of the wild, normally the Rangers are a bit more gracious when dealing with his youthful enthusiasm, but perhaps something weighs heavily upon them. It is rather odd to see this many together at one time and dressed so.”

“Perhaps you could speak to them and see what is wrong?” Brandy said practically.

“Yes perhaps so, but it may be best if you invite the young man over to speak with us. Ask him something of the local area he might know and I will go get Halbarad’s ear.”

Brandy let Ringulf out of the booth they sat in and as he circled around the room, she crossed to the young man and tapped him on the sleeve.

“Excuse me young sir, but are you familiar with Bree and the surrounding area?”

The young man turned his attention to the direction from whence the tap and voice had come, then looked down to see Brandwyn smiling up at him with big blue eyes.

Somewhat taken aback from her interruption, as timely as it may have ben to the Rangers, He composed himself and with all the politeness and courtesy he had been raised with, Spoke to the Halfling lady.

“Good evening Ma’am, I’m sorry I did not quite fully hear your question”

“Quite alright, my name is Brandy and I was wondering if you are from around here, and if you could help me with some information?”

“Um well yes, yes I am from Bree, does it show that much? I mean I would be happy to help if I can.”

“I just noticed that you were not wearing heavy traveling clothes so I thought you might live locally.” Brandy recovered. “Won’t you sit down…?”

“Oh my apologies my name is Ned, surely lead on.” The young man said remembering the proprieties.

“My Husband Ringulf just went to speak to some friends and will be back in a moment. We are travelling back to the shire and it seems there are no rooms left here for us tonight, our ponies are stabled but I was just wondering if there are any other reputable establishments in the town where we may find lodging?”

“I am not sure Lady but I have heard that the town is just about bursting at its seems this night due to the holidays, however my own parents are away in Archet visiting relatives and I am alone myself, with a spare room for you and your husband if you would join me?”

“What’s that Brandy? Do we have room for the night, I apologize young man but I just caught the tail end of your invitation.” Ringulf said putting a large Dwarven hand on Ned’s shoulder.

Ned turned his head rather quickly not having heard the Dwarf come up behind him, and truly if he had seen him coming, he would not have taken him for the husband of a young Hobbit lass.

“Ned this is my husband Ringulf, Ringulf this is Ned and he has invited us to stay with him this evening.”

“Well met Ned, I thank you and am at your service. Are you sure it is alright, we are not putting you out are we?” questioned the Dwarf.

“Not at all Ringulf, as I was telling your..wife we have an empty room for you and I would love the company while my parents are off in Archet.”
Just then the food and cider came to the table and Ned ordered some more of the same, and within a few minutes they were all munching and talking merrily.

They spoke of many things that evening both at the “Pony”, and then rather late into the night in Ned’s home not too far from the North Gate. They spoke of the southern men that were coming up in droves along the Greenway and also up into the Southfarthing from Sarn Ford. They also spoke of the increased Brigand activity along the Great East Road and what the Bounders of the Shire were doing about it. About this mysterious Sharkey fellow who had poor Lotho stepping and fetching and making all kinds of disturbing changes in the Shire.

They retired for the evening and Ringulf spoke quietly to Brandy about the young man who had taken them in. He was most impressed with his sincerity and his knowledge of the area as well as his adventurous spirit. Brandy agreed and they hatched their plan.

The next morning Ned had a hearty breakfast on the table with coffee eggs and some sizzling slices of smoked ham as well as hot coffee. He made some tea for Brandwyn and when they had finished, he walked them back to the Prancing Pony’s stables to retrieve their mounts.
They thanked Ned for his hospitality and invited him to visit them in the Shire.

“In fact Friend Ned, I left a package for you on your parent’s bed, I would very much like you to consider coming to help me in the Shire. As we spoke of last night, not all is as it should be there and I need some stout young fellows to help me work behind the scenes, so to speak, to foil this Sharkey fellow. When you open the package we left and if you choose to lend your aid make sure you wear the items in it and make your way to Girdley Island on the Brandywine North of the Bridge of Stonebows. If any challenge you the word you must give them is “A Haakonson” and present your tokens.”

As the couple mounted their ponies and started to ride off as Ned asked, “Shouldn’t we let the Rangers know about all this?”

Brandwyn chuckled and whispered behind her hand to Ned, “Ringulf IS a Ranger, though you must not tell anyone.”

Ringulf turned and with a sparkle in his eye put a finger to the side of his nose, gave a wink and said, “Translate the runes on the pouch and you will understand.” And then “Fare thee well, and a very Happy Yule to you!”

It was a sparkling morning the sky was blue and the early sun glistened on the night’s snowfall. The chill nipped at Ned’s nose and fingertips, but in his bosom he felt a burning warmth, a purpose and direction, as odd as it seemed, he had finally fallen in with the Rangers!
- Ned Houndswood, Breelander
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Re: Ned's Yule

Postby Ringulf » Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:51 am

My apologies folks, it was three in the morning by the time I finished the story and did not get a chance to proof-read it, so there are some "They"s that ended up as "the"s and so on. I am thinking about continuing a short series based on some of Ringulf's activities in the Shire after the Grey Company went south and up to the "Scouring" of the Shire. I have asked Ned to join the band from Girdley Island and we will be looking for others to help if they are not presently occupied during the War of the Ring. Just drop me a note if you want to join the cast. If enough folks are interested we can do a sort of literary composite thread like we do on "Halt's Playground" and develop the plot as we go. :mrgreen: ~Ringulf
I am Ringulf the Dwarven Ranger, I craft leather, wood, metal, and clay,
I throw axes, seaxes, and pointy sticks, And I fire my bow through the day.
Come be my ally, lift up your mead! We’ll search out our foes and the Eagles we'll feed!
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Re: Ned's Yule

Postby Greg » Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:54 pm

Fun story, Scott. I've enjoyed witnessing Brandwyn hop in over the last few months.
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Re: Ned's Yule

Postby Mirimaran » Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:10 pm

A very fun read, plase continue!

"Well, what are you waiting for? I am an old man, and have no time for your falter! Come at me, if you will, for I do not sing songs of dastards!"
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Re: Ned's Yule

Postby Ringulf » Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:00 am

Greg wrote:Fun story, Scott. I've enjoyed witnessing Brandwyn hop in over the last few months.

Thanks Greg and Mirimaran, I have written very little on Halt's Playground lately but I feel the urge to write a bit in Middle Earth with Ringulf so I may start doing that a bit this year.
I agree with you Greg, about Stella. I am very enthused about her catching the Merf bug myself. It is so very nice to have her as a partner in this and we have the Southeast Ranger Moot and the MacKermaks to thank. Eric and Kiriana put together a great "Rendezvous" and we enjoyed it so much that immediately after getting home she started working on her persona for Merf.
We both do a lot in the SCA with archery, thrown weapons, Horseback riding, camping and crafting, yet being together with the Merf group and having this forum is so much more stimulating to the mind and imagination. In the SCA there is a lot of practical skill and experience, in Halt's Playground we use a lot of imagination, but in Merf there is the opportunity for both and the Forum keeps us linked to so much more.
The world of Professor Tolkien is one of Fantasy and imagination but it is based and predicated upon fact and history, as all the best fantasy should be, in my opinion. So the sky is the limit here and it can be as vast or specific as you need it to be. I have so enjoyed this group and I am very thankful that my wife now enjoys it with me. :mrgreen:
I am Ringulf the Dwarven Ranger, I craft leather, wood, metal, and clay,
I throw axes, seaxes, and pointy sticks, And I fire my bow through the day.
Come be my ally, lift up your mead! We’ll search out our foes and the Eagles we'll feed!

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