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The Watcher was sprinting across the leaf strewn ground of the forest, hopping over large roots which protruded the soil. His small body was exhausted, running the entire night to catch up with the young Wisebeard.

He didn't know where Balamor was exactly, but he knew where he was going: the Mog Brush. Traveling there alone was not possible, but neither was traveling with another hobbit from the Raehl. The Wisebeard had to be with someone, but not just anyone.

The Mog Brush was not somewhere humans would travel, especially since most of them would dismiss the land as myth. It had to be someone who had been there before, someone who possessed the strength and knowledge to survive the wilderness.

The clouded sky and slight drizzle made for a timeless journey. It seemed like time stood still as the furry figure of the Watcher maneuvered the Thorned Ridge. But the urgency of the situation was a reminder that time was nearly out.

Darting past the humongous trees and thick patches of weeds he searched for the mapmaker, knowing he had to make camp away from the road, but on which side of the Greatstone Pass is what eluded the Watcher. He could only guess, and west was his first choice.

Dodging fallen branches and splintered logs, he started to lose his fast pace. His legs ached, and his lungs seemed like they were ready to burst. Miles of running took its toll on the hare and there was no way he could continue without rest. A mad sprint turned into a slow trot before finally he parked beside a log.

The sounds of birds and insects were now eerily clear, and a strange stillness gripped the hare. He crawled into the hollowed body of the log -- fungus and small bugs inhabited its interior. As the Watcher rested, his thoughts raced. He wondered where the hobbit was, but more importantly, how close he was. How long did the Wisebeard have until he was found by someone else?

The forest was quiet as the Watcher searched the brush. Glancing left, the dead trunk of a gigantic oak leaned against the remaining trees. To the right, a small clearing surrounded by bushes and littered with broken branches.

The occasional movement of birds kept the the Watcher on edge. Minutes went by before he wasn't alone. In the distance, he finally heard voices, two of them, and they were drawing closer. The sound of leaves crunching and twigs snapping grew louder as they approached. Within moments two figures stopped in the small clearing, the Watcher only yards away from them.

"Try to keep up Bear. That camp was about a mile past this tree. I'd like to catch our Dwarf while he's still sleeping."

The End

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