Archive for December, 2010

Traces

Unfortunately, I have no Ales and Tales writeup for you this week, as this Monday I was with family for Christmas and couldn’t handle the A&T lag on my netbook. Someone who was there, post some pictures pretty please? 🙂

Instead, I offer the first chapter in a collaborative story project that was born from the Winter Blogmoot at the home of poor absent Telwen. Though we’ve since heard from Battlemaiden, we’re going ahead with the fictional search. I open with this chapter, and will be creating a Table of Contents page here to keep track of the chapters each writer adds. (There are eight so far, and if you want to join us in writing, feel free to do so at the google group!)

Traces

By Ranna Dylin

A flash of coppery hair. A girl’s laughing voice, singing along to the strumming of a lute. She turns, and her grey-blue eyes meet mine, for just a second, before—

Linett woke up, suddenly, with the image burned in her memory but without any idea what the dream had been about. There was something familiar about the singer, though. Was it someone Linett had met, or just caught a glimpse of, a glimpse now risen to the surface as she slept? She could not shake the feeling that she should recognize the girl with her lute and her copper hair.

It was a bit early yet, but she rose anyway, unable to sleep again with this mystery prying at her. It occupied her thoughts as she stopped by the kitchens of Duillond for a breakfast muffin; it distracted her all morning as she tried to carry on with her research tasks in the Scholars’ Enclave. It troubled her so that she barely noticed when the elf Lennidhren, senior researcher, drew near.

“A message has come for you,” Lennidhren said, jolting Linett from her reverie. The elf handed her an envelope, smiling, and drew up a chair nearby. “Good news, I hope.”

“You know,” said Linett, breaking the seal and trying to look stern, “in Bree we have a saying: Curiosity killed the cat.”

“Ah, but I am no cat,” Lennidhren pointed out, “so I think there is no danger. And after all, we would not be researchers were it not for our excessive curiosity, would we, my dear?”

Linett conceded the point with a grin and a nod as she unfolded the letter and quickly read through it. Then the grin vanished and she sat up straighter and read through it again, more slowly. Lennidhren tilted her head and frowned in concern but sat silent until Linett finally found her voice.

“From my cousin Linnore,” she said. “And now…now I remember. That face. Lennidhren, I dreamed of a woman last night, a minstrel who seemed so familiar, I’ve been trying to remember her name all day. It seemed so important somehow, yet it wasn’t much of a dream, just a glimpse of her really. But I remember her now. Linnore knows her better than I. And it seems…she’s gone.”

“Gone?” the elf prompted.

“Linnore writes that Telwen, that’s the minstrel’s name, I remember now, had invited a few friends to her house but they arrived to find it boarded up. And it seemed to have been unoccupied for some time, too. She travels a lot, Telwen – a family of traveling bards, performing in town after town. That’s how I remember her, I think, for we met when their show came to Bree some years back. Ah, but she was still just a girl then; she must be a grown woman by now. She might be on the bards’ circuit again, but for her house to be abandoned even as she invites friends there…”

Lennidhren nodded. “Something isn’t right.”

Linett rose suddenly from her desk and gathered her cloak from its hook, her staff from where it leaned against the wall. “I must see this house.”


It wasn’t far to Telwen’s home, a stately abode in a Falathlorn neighborhood near the refuge of Duillond. Linnore met her there, summoned by a message Linett sent ahead with her raven-friend, though the bird seemed to pout at being used as a carrier pigeon, and would not quite look at Linett when it arrived with her cousin at Telwen’s house.

Boarded up the house was indeed, and a note on the door indicated that it was to be reclaimed by the Housing Commission for delinquency of payments.

“Can Telwen have fallen on hard times, and been unable to afford the payments?” Linett asked.

Her cousin shook her head. “As far as I know, she owned her home outright. Shouldn’t have been any payments left to make. This notice – I think it’s to cover something. I don’t know if there even is a Housing Commission in her neighborhood.”

Linett tried to force the door but found it too firmly boarded for that. So the two of them started searching the grounds for any clue. But it was Frigga the raven-friend who found what they sought. Its loud caw drew Linett’s attention, and she looked up to see the raven flying down from a hole in a hollow tree, with a bit of paper tucked in its beak.

Linett took the crumpled paper from Frigga and unfolded it carefully. It seemed to be a page torn from a book, with words carefully handwritten. Names. She showed the list to Linnore.

“I recognize some of these,” her cousin said. “Hey! Even my own name! And these – they were here for the party too. Maybe it’s some sort of guest list?”

“But is it Telwen’s writing?”

Linnore shrugged. “I couldn’t say for sure. But here’s one that wasn’t at the party. And another. I’ll warrant they’re friends of Telly’s, though. Don’t you think?”

It seemed as good a theory as any other they could come up with then. “The first thing to do,” Linett decided, “is to find these friends. You write to the ones who were at the party. I’ll take the list back to Duillond and see if we can track down the rest. Between us all, maybe we can find out just what’s become of this bard.”

Merry Christmas!

Public Service Announcement: When collecting eggs for the Yulefest, beware of foxes in the henhouse.

While I’m enjoying the holiday traditions and time with my family, as well as a beautifully white Christmas and the fact that I *can*, after all, get my netbook to connect to the internet from my aunt’s house where we gather for Christmas, I am wishing for the many friends I have made here both in the game and on the blogs to have a blessed Christmas as well and take joy in the celebration of the Incarnation! What greater gift could there be? But I am also liking this quote of Tolkien’s:

“The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the *Incarnation* — This story begins and ends in joy.”

Courtesy of Tolkien’s Twitter feed. 🙂 Merry Christmas everyone! May your Christmas also be full of the joy of Easter!

Ales and Tales and Snowballs

As Christmas nears, the weekly gatherings of Ales and Tales get chillier and chillier. This week we visited the curious town of Winter-home. We started out in the center of town by the Frostbluff Theatre but found there was quite a bit of commotion there, so we carried the show to the Snowball Field, where we had not only a nice little stage but a stagehand to go with it, one Cecil Voller.


Continue reading ‘Ales and Tales and Snowballs’

Wassailing in the Shire

The Bounders of the Shire (or the Green Hill Music Society? I’m not sure which was responsible, but it was Falibrand either way…) put on a great Wassailing event Friday night. Folks gathered at the gate to the Shire Homesteads, then we went into various different neighbourhoods to hear some excellent bands play Yuletide tunes.


Continue reading ‘Wassailing in the Shire’

LMB Book Club: The Hobbit ch. 4, “Over Hill and Under Hill”

Saturday morning, the Book Club ventured into the Misty Mountains to discuss chapter 4, “Over Hill and Under Hill.” It was chilly up there with Bilbo’s old traveling companion Gloin, but at least we had as warm a fire as even Kili or Fili could have made!

Gaiagil, Lindorieh, Fuinador and Lennidhren gathered round the fire, but we also had several kinmates sending their thoughts to us from afar via the /lmbbookclub chat channel. Nathegar, Halcaric, Isilwren, and maybe one or two others that I didn’t catch, were there in spirit if not in person!

Our main topic of discussion was GOBLINS! We talked about whether goblins and orcs are different things (as in game) or the same (as is the general impression in Tolkien’s writings, though he tends to call them goblins in The Hobbit and orcs in LOTR…). We talked about what kind of culture/society they have, and how they were able to recognize Glamdring and Orcrist – whether that implies that they have long lives like the Elves or whether it was information passed down by tradition. We discussed whether passing down such traditions implies an ability to read and write, and whether they would recognize the Elven runes on the swords. Along with literacy, we wondered if goblins have art – we allowed that they do have songs, at least, as we see such a fine example in this chapter! Perhaps they also have visual arts by which the swords had been represented for future goblin generations. As for their song, we did not get to hear it at this meeting, but Lindorieh and Gaiagil are working on an interpretaion to be shared at Ales and Tales. (And if anyone has a spare goblin mask…let them know. 🙂 )

We also talked about Gandalf’s role in the story. He comes close to being a deus ex machina…er, Maia Ex Machina?…but as the narrator says in my favorite quote from this chapter, “Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight corner.” Of course it’s when the wizard is off on other business in later chapters (as well as earlier with the trolls) that we get to see Bilbo and the dwarves stretched to greater feats of heroics themselves. That is the way of a mentor or wizard! You can’t have them doing everything for the heroes.

For the rest…well, I remembered to log the chat this week. So perhaps I shall add it to this post: once I have taken out all the emotes, regional/advice chat, kinchat etc. 🙂 It’s a bit overwhelming as is.

No meeting next week: Be merry with your families for Christmas! I for one shall be traveling and not sure if I can get in game that weekend anyway, so we will have our next meeting the weekend of New Year’s. As always, watch the LMB forums for the chapter 5 discussion thread and meeting time poll.

Signing off with Gaiagil’s suggestion of a Book Club farewell phrase: “Not for the last time!”

Ales and Tales at Gloin’s Camp

The Winter series of Ales and Tales continued this week with a trek up into the Misty Mountains, to party with the Dwarves!

We started with Nibbles and Nobs just outside of Rivendell along the path to the mountains. Arwen joined us…not like she had a choice…


Continue reading ‘Ales and Tales at Gloin’s Camp’

LMB Book Club: The Hobbit Ch. 3, A Short Rest

This week the Book Club had a restful meeting in the lovely Hall of Fire as we discussed Bilbo and company’s stay in Rivendell in chapter 3. Six attended: Five from the Lonely Mountain Band – Phaenethdre, Lindorieh, Gaiagil, Tinki, and Lennidhren, plus a friend from the Council of the Secret Fire, Zogskald. Oh, and we had a special guest: Master Bilbo Baggins, the Author himself, now a resident of the Last Homely House, joined us in the Hall of Fire to hear our talk about his first visit to that house!

We discussed the mystery of the map’s moon-letters and what they imply about the importance of Fate or Serendipity in this book. We talked about the restorative powers of Rivendell and how they seemed to be connected to the merry songs of the elves there. And most of all, we discussed this first glimpse of the elves and how unusually jolly they are at their first appearance – to the point that one might understand why the dwarves think them foolish! We talked about how different elves seem in LOTR, so serious and grim, and discussed why this might be. Phaenethdre also pointed out how his people in Mirkwood, even in The Hobbit, are quite more perilous to Bilbo’s group than the laughing Rivendell elves. In the end we realized that elves have greater depth than most people tend to be aware of, that they have both merry and solemn aspects. Why, even Galadriel sings “Tra-lally” as she sweeps out her flet, or so her cousin Gaiagil reported to us! We can only assume that Elrond too sings merrily when he is cleaning out the Hall of Fire.

We did not, however, give in to the urge to jump up and start sweeping that Hall when Gaiagil and Lindorieh performed a lively rendition of the “Tra-la-la-lally” song for us…

We did dance a bit though. 🙂 Then Gaiagil read aloud the passage right after the elves’ tra-lally song, and Lennidhren recited another “Elvish Song in Rivendell” from Tolkien’s unpublished manuscripts, as found in The Annotated Hobbit:

ELVISH SONG IN RIVENDELL
Come home, come home, ye merry folk!
The sun is sinking, and the oak
In gloom has wrapped his feet.
Come home! The shades of evening loom
Beneath the hills, and palely bloom
Night-flowers white and sweet.

Come home! The birds have fled the dark,
And in the sky with silver spark
The early stars now spring.
Come home! The bats begin to flit,
And by the hearth ’tis time to sit.
Come home, come home and sing!

Sing merrily, sing merrily, sing all together!
Let the song go! Let the sound ring!
The moon with his light, the bird with his feather:
Let the moon sail, let the bird wing!
The flower with her honey, the tree with his weather:
Let the flower blow, let the tree swing!
Sing merrily, sing merrily, sing all together!

And that wraps up this week in the Book Club. On to chapter 4 for next week!


Blogger Gatherings!



Click the button for reports from the 2010 Spring Blogger Gathering, hosted by Linett of Nimrodel!

Berethron of Brandywine hosted the 2010 Summer Blogmoot.

The Winter Blogmoot was held on December 4, 9 p.m. EST at the home of Telwen of Silverlode.

Next up: The Spring Blogmoot of 2011 shall return to Nimrodel with Tuiliel (Whart, aka user-1027520) hosting! Linett is looking forward to another local moot!

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