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Counterpoints

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Counterpoint 1

He awoke suddenly, a cold sweat soaking his night clothes. It was still dark and he could hear the rain beating against the canvas. He groaned, turned over and tried to shut the thoughts from his mind, but they came back; round and round and round…...

Why now, why wouldn’t they stop?

Thirty years ago he had made the decision; he had lived with it all those years, but still it came back to haunt him. He had been right, hadn’t he? They were better off with him gone. He would have just destroyed them if he had stayed. He couldn’t be relied upon to give them what they needed, he was wrong for them. The Woodsman told him that the Lad had grown up and was now off adventuring, just like his Dad had done, and She was settled in her home, getting herself involved with the neighbourhood, it was what She did, what She lived for. It had been tough leaving them, with the Lad just a toddler; but he had to leave, he could not have stayed. It wasn’t for him, that life; he would have lived a lie. They had been happy before, travelling with the plays for so long; the open road, the faces, the people, the stories, always another village or town just around the next corner. But She was right; the Lad needed a stable home in which to grow. The Inn seemed just right, but after four years it was killing him, killing them. He drank, they argued. It was for the best that he left, wasn’t it? The Woodsman passed on the money he sent and set them up in a nice home, it was what they needed, but wasn’t for him. It was better that he was gone. She covered the shame by telling how he had died in a brewing accident and that was good too. Better that the Lad thought he was dead rather than know that he had just run off. It was the right thing; so why did it still haunt him?

He rolled over once more and reached for the flask beside him. He turned his thoughts to now, to today and to tomorrow. He knew that something was amiss in the world. He had studied the stories of the ancient days, he had written and performed the plays, and he had seen enough of the world to know that they were more than just stories. The dreams were something to do with it. The Lad and his Mum calling for him, shouting for help, telling him that he needed to act. He was too old now to be a hero, he had spent thirty years being anonymous, blending in, and being just a shadow. He was happy; wasn’t he?

No! He had to get involved, he had a part to play, that’s what the dreams were telling him, he just didn’t know what part it was yet. He would begin his search tommorrow and maybe, if he finally took action, the nightmares would leave him in peace .

He turned over, pulling the covers tight.

Within minutes the voices began again………

Counterpoint 2;

I was born in Bree and lived there for most of my childhood. My Mum worked in the bar of the Prancing Pony. She worked a lot; an awful lot… but always made sure that I had food, clothes and friends to play with.

The town of Bree was my playground and the children of Bree were my friends, but my Dad wasn’t from Bree. He only turned up once a year or so, but my Mum loved him. He always stayed with us for a few days before disappearing again. My Mum said that he was a very important ambassador for a kingdom far to the south, but I think he was a bit of a wheeler-dealer if the truth be told. No matter, he was my Dad, and he always made sure we had money enough to get by.

I last saw him when I was about 8 years old. He bought me a sword; well, more of a long knife if the truth be told. It was nothing fancy, just from one of the smiths in Bree, but he said I should always know how to look after myself and my Mum, and sort of hinted at dark things on the horizon, but never said much more….

I never saw him again.

My Mum was heart-broken when he didn’t reappear and it was from then that her health deteriorated. I was 11 when she died in that cold harsh winter. I think she just gave up, to be honest.

Mr Butterman, the owner of the Pony, was really kind to me; took me in, so to speak and gave me a job. He said that as I had a sword I could be a guard on his beer delivery wagons. Oh, those were good days. I sat on the barrels defending them from the flies, the boars and the bears…. and listened to the tales of the wagon-men; me, an eleven year old boy, “Defender of the Ale”, hero of Bree-land.

Which is how I met Mr & Mrs Proudgirdle, two of the finest Hobbits you could find. They ran the Green Dragon in Bywater and we delivered ale to them, and collected cider from them. Well, Mrs Lyidia ran the Inn in reality and Mr Montague did nothing but brew his special cider….

and talk… oh, how he could talk.. he knew all the old tales. We would deliver Barliman’s Ale and collect Mr Montague’s speciality cider, Stars of Old. Whilst the wagons were being loaded I would sit and listen to the tales Mr Montague used to share with his friend, the Woodsman. The two of them would sit all day long exchanging tales of the ancient days. I would imagine myself as one of the heroes of old, and would spend the entire journey back to Bree practising with my sword.

Whilst I sat and listened to the tales they told, Mr & Mrs Proudgirdles’ son, who was just a toddler, would come and sit on my knee and listen too, although he always interrupted with questions about the boring stuff , never interested in the battles and stuff like me.

It was a horrible shock when Mr Proudgirdle died the next summer in some sort of brewing accident. Mrs Lyidia always looked out for me, even more so after Mr Montague’s death. But I was growing up by then, and inspired by the tales of Mr Montague and the Woodsman, I was off seeking fame, fortune and adventure.

But it’s nice to know that I have a Home to go to when and if I want. Mrs Lyidia always looks out for me… which is nice.

But I often wonder what happened to that Woodsman… funny fellow he was…..

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Counterpoint 3

I am a hobbit, I live with my Mum just outside of Bywater but I don't spend much time at home cos... well.. I will explain;

When I was quite little two lovely hobbits called Madam Lyidia and Mr Montague Proudgirdle came to run the Inn in Bywater called the Green Dragon for a while. They had a baby hobbit lad, called Carregiadoc, a few years younger than wot I was and I used to go and take him for walks and stuff when Madam Lyidia and Mr Montague was busy in the Inn, which was most of the time to be honest. Then when I got back I used to sit and listen as Mr Montague told bedtime tales to Carregiadoc, before I went home to do chores for my Mum.

Well those tales. Mr Montague knew so much – tales of Elfs... and Dwarfs and... Goblins!!!... and all sorts..

Mr Montague was a great story teller.. he used to be a play actor with Madam Lyidia before they stopped cos of the baby and all, and they did plays all over.. but that is another story.

Anyway I guess that is wot gave me my sense for adventures. It was very sad when Mr Montague died in the brewing accident, and Madam Lyidia had to give up running the Inn cos it was too much what with Carregiadoc growing up and all. I heard she went to stay in a house that a bloke they called the Woodsman bought for her. The Woodsman.. now he was a strange feller... he visited Mr Montague in the Inn quite a lot, but wouldn't go in the common room cos what with him being a Big Folk and all.. but he spent hours talking to Mr Montague about the stories and the plays, and he even learned how to grow Pipeweed from Mr Montague I hear. Anyway I is getting sidetracked with other peoples stories now.. did I tell you that Mr Montague invented this cider that he made and sold it to the inn keeper all the way over in Bree? well he did.. and there was this other young Big Folk boy what came with the wagon drivers to collect the cider.. always wore bright clothes all the time... he loved the stories too.. and pretended to be a great hero type, and always stood in dramatic poses.. he made me laugh lots.. I wonder what happened to him?

anyway..

So after Madam Lyidia and Carregiadoc moved away I realised I didn't really have any other friends so I decided to go and see some of the places in Mr Montague's stories for myself. And most of all I wanted to see Elfs cos the stories made them out to be pretty and well... magnificent. So I headed off East... cos I had heard of the place called The Last Homely House a long way away. It took me a long time to walk there, but I was helped by an adventuring type man ho seemed to drink a lot but was nice to me, I liked him, I even gave him a few kisses for helping me, but he didn't half smell of old beer all the time. Anyway eventually I got to the Homely House what the elfs call Rivendell and it was MAGICAL!

It was.. well.. like music made in to real things... somehow.. if you get what I mean.

I stayed there for quite a long time, but then I realised that if it was like music made real then.. well... I wasn't part of the music.. if you understand what I mean..

But I couldn't afford to pay for a horse ride home so I ended up staying too long and well I got more and more sad as I felt less and less part of the music. I tried to be useful helping serve food and drink to travellers in the Homely House until one day I was offered a ride back to the Shire by these Elfs what was going to the sea to the west.

and I that was how I got back home... I was so confused by my journey and had so wanted to be home but when I got home it didn't feel like home any more and I just felt .. well.. like not part of the music of the Shire even, and then I realised that I was just miserable.....

I had a long think and I realised what it was what was making me sad, and that was that I didn't have anything to do in my life. So I looked at what I had learned from my travels and and realised that there is Bad Things what is happening outside the Shire and maybe I could do something to help those Bad Things from hurting the Shire so I decided to learn some stuff what could be used to stop Bad Things, and maybe I could be dangerous like some of the adventurers what I had met on my travels. So I have been learning some stuff and seems I am quite good at sneakin' about and I even stabbed some goblins what was in the Greenfields by sneakin' up on them and some spiders what was in a cave too. So maybe I can be dangerous and keep bad things away.. maybe. I would like that, to keep the Shire safe and all.

Anyway.. that is me.. and what I am.. and maybe one day I can be known as "the Dangerous".. *giggle*..

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