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“Where is Balamor in the heat of all this? Does he run?” Gilly asked.

“No, unfortunately Balamor doesn’t know any of this, he left the Raehl alone on some journey, foolish boy… Where he travels now is hard to tell, and not in the least bit safe… Cartography he calls it. His grandfather always did defended him tooth and nail when it came to his map making…” Barris said as he shook his head.

“There was always something special about that boy... I knew it the day I sat for Aliya, Balamor was the only youngin’ whose toys were books.” Gilly said softly, her emerald eyes scanned the sunken state of Barris.

“He’ll come back Barris.” She added.

Barris nodded and put the pendant back in his pocket. Gilly stood up and grabbed their dishes from the table and walked to the kitchen. She placed them into an oak water basin and began scrubbing them with a porous Wynspur sponge. Marigold lifted herself from her seat,

“Thanks mum! I’m going to read now, Uncle Barris has so many books!” She said joyfully and proceeded to the room where Barris was staying.

“Your welcome sweetie, I will call when second breakfast is ready.” Gilly said as she scrubbed the ceramic plates rigorously.

For a short moment it was quiet aside from the sound of water occasionally splashing. Barris leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. So many people flooded his mind, Balamor, Farjadis, and now the green robed woman who hunts them both. His memories of the day he was thrown into the mix began to surface.

It was only two months after he moved to the Raehl when he met Farjadis Wisebeard. That fateful night seemed far darker than most nights as the stars were lost beyond thick clouds. Three figures came strolling into town, two hobbits and a very tall black robed man guiding them. They moved through the town quietly avoiding contact with passerby. Barris was sitting on his old porchfront — which now belongs to the old Wisebeard — as they stopped at an old shanty hobbit hole. Back then, Barris believed some hermit lived there, but he learned that night that it was a home to no one. Yet purposeful was its abandonment, for the tall figure had planned its future occupancy.

Barris was curious about the cloaked trio and so he approached them. The other two figures waited behind the black robed man who was cycling through a ring of keys. He asked who they were and the tall man was quick to speak his name, Gantis Jacs. He introduced the others as Farjadis Wisebeard and his son Ericho. But what seemed like a simple greeting quickly turned to a serious command. The black robed man told Barris that he was to not speak of the Wisebeards to anyone. He remembered his deep, distressed voice, and it would decades until he spoke of their name to others. Gantis insisted that the Wisebeards live peacefully, quietly, and undisturbed; for the fate of all hobbits was at stake, that he made sure Barris would understand.

The End

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