She Is Beautiful, oh so Beautiful

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Orophor:
Master Goodsong,

As lord of your "gang" I reckon that I must bear some responsibility for your predicement. I will share what I may to aid you in this quandary, though as Master Frodo Baggins once said: "Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes" and I would agree with Gildor Inglorion's reply that : "advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill."

Your tutor Tarlwyn could no doubt confirm, it has been two-hundred and seventy-two years since the Shire was invaded. The generations of your folk since have forgotten that the Dúnedain who survived the fall of Arthedain have long defended their land. Your legends tell of Bandobras Took, called the Bullroarer in song. Yet at that time it was the campaign of Arassuil eleventh Chieftain of the Northern Dúnedain that culled the multitudes of orcs that sprang from Mount Gram who would have over-run all of Eriador including the Shire.

Likewise unsung are the Rangers and Bounders who even now guard Shire-folk from the wargs and goblins which would prey upon them. Such is the nature of peace that oft it is unnoticed until it is broken.

We find ourselves in a time when a great evil is returning. The shadows that gather threaten not only the Shire, but all of Middle-earth. The peril is all the greater because it goes cloaked, hiding in darkness, using fear and intimidation rather than open war. Alas too many have already fallen to dangers that were unseen until it was too late to prevent them.

Our kin was called to fight this evil, cleanse the land of the shadows and preserve the wisdom of the elder ages. Beyond your inspiring songs, poems, and tales, there are times when your strength of arms are needed to resist the massing orcs, goblins, wargs, and brigands. We welcome those that would fight to save Arda from a second darkness, though all are free to make that choice themselves.

Whether our struggles will result in glory and tales like Bandobras Took or  be forgotten and unsung like Arassuil remains to be seen. For my part, I fight not for recognition, nor would I attempt to force open eyes unwilling to see the evil that is plain to see. My aim is to defend the innocent and safeguard freedom, which means respecting the choices of others, remaining humble in service, heeding wisdom, and keeping faith in the Valar and Eru Ilúvatar.

If Lilly and her family are unaware of the danger that surrounds them, then it means our efforts have met the threats and protected the peace. I would counsel caution in making them aware of dangers they are not able to face. Remember that dread is a great weapon of the enemy, and we must preserve hope if we are to stand against the dark lord. Each of us has a part to play, and many wonders have emerged unforeseen from unlikely origins. If you reflect quietly, especially near the shores of pure waters, you can still hear echoes of the Great Music. Let it guide your heart in matters and you shall find the right path.

No in elenath hîlar nan hâd gîn,
Orophor

Digger:
So much has happened since I last shared my thoughts and worries with you all.  First thing I did after reading our Tur's sage but elven counsel was to go to our gardens out back and think.  I thought so much that Jeorl brought me some food to keep me from starving.  And I made a decision.  It was tough, but I decided.  This is my decision.  I do love Lilly so, but I am me and cannot be someone else.  I hope that she loves me and not who she wants me to be. 

When she accepts me as the hobbit with a strong commitment to addressing the ailments of our times and setting things to right, then she loves me.  When she accepts me but wants me to give up my commitments and 'settle down', then she loves who she wants me to be.  This may be confusing to you, but it is clear to me now.  I made my decision and this is it.  First, I will keep my pledge that I made to help others and to do my part in protecting our beloved lands, and I will be a faithful warrior to the end.  Second, I will cherish Lilly for who she is and not just who I want her to be.  (So I don't do to her what she is doing to me.)

Lilly and I went for a long ride clear up to the Northfarthing and back.  We talked a lot, and I shared my convictions with her.  I tried to help her understand that we and the whole Shire were in much more danger than she thought.  And especially, since her remark stung me, I explained that a kinship is not a gang.  We are a group bound by our values and by our care of one another without pledges or oaths. 

I give my lady credit, she listened to me very well.  And seemingly she understood what I said.  She accepted that this was me, and that she had a choice to make.  For her, it is a serious choice.  What woman doesn't want a stable, solid life with a hobbit who comes home at nights after a day of farming or work?  Such idyllic life is wonderful, but she is beginning to realize that maybe there is a threat to the things she loves and the ways she knows.

Tarlwyn is a great help, and he said that no one who hasn't experienced a bit of the world outside the Shire can ever understand fully what dangers there are.  He said that he and Lilly were also talking and that they had a plan.  I am somewhat nervous with Tarlwyn's involvement.  The ways of elves are different and sometimes they say two things at once.  But Lilly is a smart woman and knows her mind.  I do like that about her.  So I will trust the two of them whatever they are up to.  It grows ever more suspicious here with Tarlwyn's and Lilly's whispering and gathering of things.  They are up to something.

Oh good gracious, why is it so hard to simply be in love?

Digger Goodsong
a simple hobbit

Keltkin:
Master Digger,

        The other day as I was passing through Tuckborough on my way to the Postmaster in Michael Delving, I stopped by Waymeet for a bite to eat and there was this wondrous Hobbit master, painting a picture of a lovely lass. As I continued to watch, it came to me that this may be your lovely woman friend, so I offered the gentleman, 10 silver for the painting along with the 50 furs I was carrying from my last hunting expedition. I would have gladly given him more for the painting, but I had none. As a gift to you and only as an offer of friendship, I offer this to you.

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn259/Cryogenic001/lilly_penworth.jpg

Sincerely,

Keltkin of the Iron Hills
Hunter of beer....

Digger:
My friend, Keltkin, it was such a shock to see this picture.  I must say that first the artist doesn't capture her beauty though this is a fine painting and all.  He has also taken liberties with her hair which isn't like that at all.  She wears it shorter and more... well, 'lively' is the word that comes to mind.  Nonetheless, I thank you for this memento which I cherish.

The secret is out now about all this plotting behind my back.  Tarlwyn has taken Lilly and Gammer Penworth to Bree.  They were gone over a week on that trip, and what a trip it must have been since the good Gammer doesn't ride ponies.  Lilly has changed.  She says they visited several folks there including some distant relatives in Staddle.  But when Tarlwyn showed them Archet, that seemed to make an impression.  Lilly talks of it with such sympathy and sorrow.  I also can tell that she is a bit afraid now when she wasn't before.  However, she is most determined that I must continue my struggles and keep my pledge that I made so long ago now.  So once again we are a couple, and now, thanks to Tarlwyn, we share a common purpose - to be done with this darkness and rid the place of it once and for all.

There is a problem, however.  Now that Lilly has seen Bree, she wants to see more.  I have, of course, told her of Imladris and how wonderous the elves are there.  And she wants to see it.  She says that likely as not, that Master Elrond has not looked at this whole thing from a woman's point of view.  So she intends to provide him that.  This battling and fighting is one thing, but the real pain is what it does to folks back home.  Lilly is particularly worried that provisions are not made for all of the children and families at home.  Truth is, I haven't really thought of this before, and I sort of see her point.  She has some ideas, and I suspect that it is a good thing that Imladris is so far away, or Master Elrond would have an unannounced guest with a mission at his door.  I realize that he is very wise and knows marvelous things that I can't even think about, but I don't know how much experience he has with a strong-minded hobbit woman on a mission.  But Imladris is many miles and miles away, so that is one worry I won't have.

Meanwhile, Lilly is busy organizing the Women's Home League and gathering things to send to the men and women in battle.  She is a strange woman, and I do love her so.  I don't think I will ever understand her.  One time she is this and the next minute she is that.  So, the short of it is, my weekdays are spent wrapping bundles, folding blankets, and making bandages.  I am trapped now in the service of the Women during most evenings when I used to enjoy a good read and smoke.

So, my opinion is this, since no one asked.  If one wants an adventure, fall in love. 

Digger
a servant of the WHL

Drogorn:
Master Digger,

Lilly sounds like a great catch.  I am very happy for you.  It is good that she is becoming aware of the threat that is posed against all of us free people.  It warms my hear to see how she also wants to help in whatever way she can, why making care packages for our brave men and thinking of the families back home is a most excellent idea!  And to hear how you go on about your first glimpse of her, only reminds me of the time I first spotted Volora.  Those moments are life changing for sure!  Very few and far between!  You are indeed a very lucky hobbit.

-Droborn

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