Falco Strangefoot, Summer 2946, Third Age
- “Ouch! That stings!” I winced as Dog applied his pungent smelling ointment to the nasty gash that goblin had left me with. “Am I going to die?”
- “Ye sure will if ye keep prancing around goblins without proper armor”, Khorum rumbled.
- “Sir Dwarf, while I respect your taste for drums as a noble instrument, surely dressing yourself in cymbals and a whole array of clattering bits of metal is taking the love of percussion instruments a bit far. I don’t think you’ll catch any civilized Hobbit doing that!”
- “Pah! Have it yer way. I’ll take clattering bits against a hole in me hide any day”. But his heart was not in it. His fight with the Ork chieftain had taken the wind out of his sails – and the brains out of the Ork, to be fair.
- “Has anybody seen the Hobbit?”, one of the caravan guards asked as he approached the fire.
- “I’m right under your nose you lumbering oaf!” – seriously, did Dog really have to make those bandages so tight?
– “Oh, um, not you, the other one. Dindy. He ain’t in his box any more.”
The visions I’d been entertaining of a hero’s welcome, warm meal and proper bed came clattering to the ground, in a fracas of Dwarven music. Giving my bandages a final tug, (ouch!) the Dog was already on his feet and looking for tracks, looking entirely too full of energy. Khorum and I could only share a shrug as we began the painful process of extirpating our bottoms from their place of rest. It is maybe fortunate that getting “up” isn’t very far at all for us. But it was Khorum who first picked up the trail.
- “Only one of yer folk would be daft enough to run down a hill barefoot in the dark. Aye, and those are goblins right ’ere. Whole band of the filthy buggers dragged him away, at least that should make for an easy track”
So off we went, following the trail into a cavern, then deeper and deeper into the bowels of the earth. I didn’t much fancy another run-in with the goblins, or whatever else might dwell here, but we had to give it a try.
- "Dog, are you sure this is even the right trail? What if…
… Elves are stringy and taste weird
Dwarves full of hair and too hard
Only humans taste just right
- “Uh, never mind. Khorum, would you mind not clanking so loudly? We don’t want to wake up the whole mountain.”
- “Yer babbling is louder than my clanking, fool Hobbit.” * Thunk *
Was that a tree trunk we’d walked into? Do tree trunks normally have toes?
- “Cave Troll!” Dog shrieked, pulling off a rather nice falsetto, for once.
The troll was big, but slow and hampered by the cavern walls. We soon had a good number of cuts and arrows in him, but it didn’t seem to do much good, and it was quickly wearing us down. Khorum attempted to get right in it’s face to either scare it off or score a fatal blow, but the troll merely seemed annoyed by that, and tried to swat away the now exposed Dwarf.
- “Khorum, watch out!” I cried as I rushed to his aid.
Then a gnarled fist the size of a barn filled my whole vision – and everything went black.
Two weeks later
- “So, how are you going to cook me?” I ask, and instantly regret it.
- “Roast the Hobbit! Roast him on a spit!”
- “Eat him raw! Cut him bit by bit!”
- “Boil him!”
- “Boil me? But that would take away all the taste! And if you roast me, you’ll waste all the fatty bits. Really after all this running I’m afraid I would taste bitter and sour.”
- “So how would you cook the Hobbit, Hobbit?”
- “Well, if you really have to do it, I suppose a stew would do nicely. With tubers and carrots, cooked nice and slow to take away the bitterness and make everything tender.”
- “No slow! Goblins hungry, eat Hobbit now!”
- “Shut your face Grishnak, or I’ll be eating it next” said the ugliest one.
It was Dindy’s fourth time telling his tale, and he kept embellishing it every time. None of the patrons seemed to mind, especially since Dody kept the ale flowing. The story had spread by word of mouth and drawn in a merry crowd. I settled back in my chair and took a good long pull off my pipe.
- “So there I was, peeling potatoes for my own stew, and trying to come up with a way to get out of this bind, when I feel a big hairy hand slap on my mouth, so I think that’s it, they’ve got too hungry and come to spit me, but instead it’s this here fellow.” The crowd looks at Dog, who isn’t particularly big or hairy – Bill takes advantage of the attention to beg around for treats.
- "He says he’s come to help me, and I’m mighty glad, but them goblins are cunning, and they’ve set this great big chain on my foot, and only the big ugly one has the key. So the Dog here, he goes back where he came from, then he comes around again all dressed up as a goblin! Almost fooled me! Then down the tunnel he goes, and I get back to peeling more potatoes, seeing as they might have some extra meat to cook now.
“I’m not too sure how he managed to make away with that key, but apparently there was a lot of belching involved, I could hear it all the way through the tunnels. Then a bell rings and suddenly the whole lot of them come barging into the room and I think they’re going to eat me for sure, but they just go out the other side. Then I hear a click and next thing I know Dog is dragging me back the way they all came from. We go up some stairs and find a big shield and a real fancy mirror on the wall, but we got to keep going so we go up again and then whoa! I kid you not, a roomful of gold and jewels that would make even Smaug green with envy! But it was a dead end so I led Dog back before all the gold could get to his head. We had no other way out so we ran the way we came from past a couple goblins and then straight into the big one, and I thought we’d go well with parsley, and maybe a bit of sage but then Dog drew his bow and cthunk!, nailed the big guy right between the eyes!
“After that it was a lot of running and clawing and screaming in the dark. We ran and we ran and we ran until we couldn’t run no more, then Dog kept dragging me on anyway. Maybe two days later we finally made it out of the caves, with gobbers still on our heels. As we got our first glimpse of daylight we ran into this Dwarf and Hobbit there, looking about as haggard as I felt. But finally the goblins gave up the chase and we were free to go…
“Then they all started singing and I wished I were back with the goblins.”
Some time later that night, after Dog and Khorum had been called to tell their part of the tale, and to prove that the rumors about their singing were not, in fact, exaggerated, I stumbled back outside for a bit of fresh air. I’d had a few pints and so had Dindy. After we’d both relieved ourselves we settled down for a smoke.
“- Still, that whole trip over the mountain was one right mess. Lost three ponies and most of our goods.
- Aye, messy business them goblins are. And the Trolls are worse.”. Dindy started playing idly with some kind of jeweled bauble.
- “Fancy bit you got there mate. Some family heirloom?”
- “Oh, no, nicked it from the goblins when we were on the run. You reckon it’s worth something? Maybe enough to recoup from this trip?”
- “I dunno, probably. It glitters all fancy like. But not elvish like, too rough and heavy. Maybe you could ask the Dwarves? They know their rocks.”
- “Aye, I might do that, too.”
Khorum had been matching each of us pint for pint and he was looking pretty ruddy at this stage. But when Dindy showed him his bauble, it was like you’d told him his ma was a cave troll and dunked him in ice water all at the same time.
- “Thorin’s beard! That… that’s me da’s woggle” he stammered.