Duinhir, Ranger of the North, had been in Bree for nigh on a week before taking notice of Bowen Lightbody, Hobbit of the Shire. Bowen, on the other hand, took notice of the Ranger the moment he stepped into the common room of the Prancing Pony three days earlier. As far as his friends and relations were concerned, he was in Bree on holiday to see the Autumn Fair. In reality, he was in Bree seeking “adventures” as he put it, and Duinhir’s weatherworn countenance seemed to speak volumes of adventures in the wilds of Eriador.
As is generally the case in these sort of situations, the two eventually struck up a conversation over mugs of Butterbur’s Best and healthy portions of farmers cheese and good brown bread. After polite introductions and a few pleasantries, Bowen told the tale of the Lightbody heirloom. I won’t recount it here, but suffice it to say that everyone, yours truly included, was left scratching his or her head.
As the two continued their conversation, they both became aware of what appeared to be a wild woman with the hood of her cloak pulled down low over her face and, even stranger, a wood elf. Now, Autumn Fair or no, these two would have stood out anywhere in the Bree-land. They were only adding to their conspicuousness by standing in their respective corners for some time with untouched libations; the wild woman, a mug of Butterbur’s Best; the wood elf, a glass of pale Dorwinion wine.
As is generally the case in these sort of situations, the four eventually struck up a conversation over mugs of Butterbur’s Best (and a glass of Dorwinion wine, untouched) and healthy portions of farmers cheese and good brown bread. The woman, a Beorning it turns out, was named The Widow. The elf, Alaglîr.
With a bit of prodding, Alaglîr revealed that he was in this part of Eriador seeking someone or something named Iarwain Ben-adar in the Old Forest. The Widow had little to say about where she had come from or where she was going – very mysterious, that one.
As the fair wound down for the day, merry makers and merchants alike began to filter into the common room for supper, song and drink. At one point, Bowen was overheard mentioning the name of “Mad” Ostley Grump. This drew the attention of Bill Rushlight, the miller, who warned him to avoid Ostley and his tales of the “’Fell King”.
After Bill Rushlight wandered off, the topic of conversation turned to the aforementioned “Fell King”. This drew the attention of none other than Ostley Grump himself. After rambling on for a while, our new found companions concluded that Ostley was in fact mad or deep in his cups or both. Whichever it was he could not hold a coherent conversation. Bowen was a bit disappointed at this as he had hoped that the old man would provide him with some information about his great great granddad and the fabled Lightbody heirloom.
It was then that this pleasant interlude at the Inn of the Prancing Pony was interrupted by the ringing of hand bells, the blowing of hunting horns and cries of “Fear! Fire! Foes! To arms! To arms!”