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Jabit equipped the knife before returning a nod and starting down the road to Paetok. He listened to the caravan roll away as he walked on. He thought about what happened with that necklace Barris wore. It was like it had the power to convince anyone, it was magical for sure. In fact, it was just like the one around Farjadis Wisebeard's neck. Suddenly he turned back and started running to catch up with Barris. He met the road signs when he saw he was too late, the caravan was gone. He couldn’t believe he didn’t catch it sooner. Who was Barris Oakfoot? And why did he have the necklace?

Looking down the road where the encounter had taken place it sent a chill up his spine. He couldn’t remember the last time he had such a view. As he turned away he felt lost, the way home was clear but everything else wasn’t. Everyone has said years had gone by since his last visit to the Rhael, but that made no sense to him. Why would his mother skip another hobbit village on his route? Was it an accident? He needed to know when he returned to the farm.

There were so many things that seemed out of place. He remembered traveling east along the Faric but not where he was coming from. Paetok was northwest not east of the Raehl. Why was it so hard for him to remember? He became frustrated with himself at his bad memory. His mother would have the answers to such questions. Perhaps the lack of food and sleep were starting to affect his ability to think.

He finally made it out of the forest and into the vast plains where his mother’s farm was visible in the distance. The sky started to turn a light blue, after nearly an hour of walking the morning returned. He finally made it home, and his mother would kill him at the sight of his clothes. Stains of mud and torn stitches in his vest would drive her mad, but his journey was not easy and she would have to understand eventually.

His furry feet were tired when he walked up to the wooden fence of the farm. The animals were absent, but that was no surprise, the storm was one of the worse he had seen. He gently pushed the wooden gate open, a series of metal bells rung a familiar tune as he proceeded to his small hobbit hole. Neatly trimmed rose bushes bordered its font, and a small path of stones lead to its circular door. As he walked to the hole he saw his mother beside their home, it was odd for her to be up this early.

As he drew closer to her, he could see she was placing flowers in front of a stone in the ground. He started to get a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. Only yards away he spoke, his voice sounded confused.

“Mom?”

The End

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