The One Ring
Hobbit of the Shire
My parents belonged to the folk of Buckland, and I was brought up on the wrong side of the Brandywine River, as they say. Now, Bucklanders were considered odd folk by the other Hobbits of the Shire because they were comfortable with boats and because they locked their doors at night (due to the proximity of the Old Forest). If half the tales be true, members of my family have always displayed a certain queerness of character, a strangeness I possess myself. In fact, my great-great-grandfather, Tolman Lightbody, was said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As the story goes, one of the big folk from Bree, Standish Grump, I think his name was, came knocking on Tolman’s door just as the poor Hobbit sat down for dinner! Whatever Standish said that night, stirred something in my great-great-grandfather because he stepped out his door and was never seen or heard from since. It must have been something important that drew Tolman away from his supper and into the night with the Lightbody heirloom in his possession and that, by the way, was unheard of, because, well, I don’t know, it had never been done before. That’s just the way it was, it never left the house, you never took it with you, it had great value and there were always nefarious people outside your door wanting to steal things of great value.
The Lightbody heirloom is, well, no one really knows what it is—it’s a secret, you see, passed down from father to son for untold generations. Some stories tell of the Lightbody clan in possession of the heirloom since before Shire-reckoning! Still other tales tell of a relative, my namesake, who was sent with other archers of the Shire (though no tales of Men record it) to aid the King at the Battle of Fornost early in the Third Age. It was after that battle, or so the tale goes, that the heirloom came into our family’s keeping. My namesake’s son watched the window for his father to return home but none of the Shire archers ever came back from that battle. And then, one day, a mysterious war-weary Man of Arthedain appeared in Buckland with a gift for that little boy, a token of remembrance for our family’s sacrifice in service to the King. There were no more kings after that battle, and the Arthedain became a wandering people but he told that little boy he would always keep the Shire in his heart and he would never stray so far away as to not come when we were in need. However the heirloom came to us, whether gifted or found, my great-grandfather, Ted, would have inherited it next if his father, Tolman, hadn’t gone missing.
In short, this is how I came to be lost and found again in the Wild places of the world. My father, Robin, had searched long and hard for what happened to old Tolman and our heirloom until, many years ago, during an exceptionally bitter winter, he fell ill and became bedridden for months. That spring, he recovered but the years had finally caught up with him and my dear mother, Ruby, convinced him it was time to let it go. It was an old family story, she said, full of half truths if there was any truth in it at all. And my father let it go for her sake, but he never lost the hope in his heart that the heirloom might one day still be found and the story of what happened told around our hearth for generations to come.
My parents are gone now, and I have taken up my father’s quest to find the heirloom though I do not know what it is or what it looks like…