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Halo smiled at the man "A king, eh? Can't say I've met many of those! I am Halo Black from Melnibone and I too search for treasure, though not to become a ruler. I can't say I've heard of Eriu though..."
Ja'rin Varr leaned on his axe handle and laughed again before speaking, his voice good natured and full of mirth "And I cannot say I have heard of Melnibone, though if all its people are like you then it suprises me. Tell me little one, do all the people of Melnibone bounce around like weasles on LSD?"
"No my friend," Halo shrugged "Most of my people are quite dull, very few have anything interesting about them."

Goldenberry scratched her head, trying to remember where she had heard the name Melnibone mentioned before. Elyde glanced at the hobbit and smiled reasuringly, then she marched up to Halo and Ja'rin Varr. Ja'rin towered over both Halo and Elyde, but Elyde didn't seem to bothered by this.
"You said you sought two treasures sir, perhaps we might help you find them." she said, peering up at the man.
Halo smiled at this. "Thats the best idea I've heard all day." suddenly she sighed, gloomily "Perhaps the treasure I seek is hidden somewhere with yours friend Ja'rin."

OOC: Coo! What a long post that was. Super Wow Smilie That hasn't happened for a long time. As for Melnibone; I couldn't think of a place for Halo to come from and I'm currently re-reading my Elric books, so it seemed fitting. Even though Melnibone isn't in Middle Earth. Sad Smilie

[Edited on 7/10pm03/1984 by Halo_Black]
Lol. Yes, welcome, PirateTrees!!

Elyde whistled as she walked along the forest path, her fathers cloak pulled tight around her in the cold. Her sword was strapped to her waist and an arrow taken from its quiver was being twirled in her long fingered hand. She heard footsteps and stopped, ceasing the twirling and the whistling and pulling up her hood. A man walked out of the thick trees. He sighed with relief. Elyde narrowed her eyes at him.
"Who are you?" She asked suspiciously. The man looked at her.
"I will tell you my name if you reveal yourself and tell me yours." Elyde tipped her chin and straightened up, growing a bit taller.
"My name is Elyde." The man nodded.
"An elf, I suppose?" Elyde dropped her hood, her long, blonde hair going down her back, and her Man ears clearly visible. The man nodded again.
"I see."
She leapt up into the tree and watched as the man conversed with a woman. The half elf was curious. After a while, she leapt down again, startling them.
A little hobbit-lass was walking toward them, her head down examing some mushrooms and other various herbs and plants. She bumped into the group and raised her head. Her hair was red and curly, and her face was dotted with freckles, her eyes bright green.
"Oh, hello. My names Goldenberry Chubbs!" she said enthusiastically
Elyde looked at the elf (or so it seemed), then looked at the hobbit who called herself Goldenberry Chubbs. She smiled at the hobbit lass, she frowned at the elf. Another reason why she hated elves; they were too secretive and mysterious. What did they think, she was going to eat them?
"Hello Goldenberry Chubbs, I am Elyde of Gondor. Pleased to meet you, I'm sure."
Halo against a nearby tree and watched the group in front of her as they talked. Reaching into her bag she pulled out an apple and started to munch on it.
"Hey, what am I? Invisible?"
The group whirled round to face her and the man reached for his side. For a moment or two no words were said; they stared at Halo and Halo stared right back, still chewing her apple. After Goldenberry tried unsuccesfully to stare Halo out, the tall girl walked forward and bowed.
"Halo Black, at yer sevice."

Ooc: Sorry, couldn't resist joining this role-play. PirateTrees cool name caught my attention, so I thought I'd join the fun. Disturbed Smilie
Elyde narrowed her eyes and observed the girl.
"Elyde of Gondor, not at your service."
Halo stuck out her tongue at Elyde
"My, you are a grumpy one arn't you!" she grinned at Elyde "From that welcome you'd think I was an orc." The girl shrugged and leant against another nearby tree. The tree grumbled a bit, reveiling itself to be an ent. Halo patted its bark and appologised to it before turning back to the group. The Ent watched them, curiously.
"Is that all you've got to say?" Elyde snapped "You've said more to that ent than you have to us."
Halo shrugged "The Ent's are nicer to me. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to meet anyone other than ent's here today. I appologise for if I startled you, that was not my intension at all." pulling another apple from her bag, Halo started eatting once again. "I'm not supprised you didn't notice me there, people have a tendancy not to notice me unless I catch their attention."
While the others chatted a figure walked from the shadows...
"You make more noise than a Crulin worm spawn..." laughed the large figure
Halo turned and glared at the stranger..
"And who might you be stranger?"
The stranger held a mighty axe which he set down at his side.
"I am Ja'rin Varr from Eriu and I search for treasures which shall restore me as the rightful King of my land. But I have travelled for five long years and still two of the treasures remain hidden to me."
"I am not searching for treasure, but maybe I can help you look." Elyde smiled at the others.

OOC: Not too many elves, eh?
"So you wish to help in my search for the treasures then!!" laughed Ja'rin as he raised BrainBiter.
"Well my journey isn't for the light of heart we will face daemons you have never seen and though the earth goddess protects me.....little can be said for you.
But I will be interesting to see how people of this land handle themselves......."
Suddenly from behind Ja'rin came one of the sea daemons of Slough Fegg ready to kill Ja'rin but with lighting reflexes he swung round and raised BrainBiter..."Kiss my Axe" roared Ja'rin as he swung and cut of the daemons head.
"Hahahahaha it's truly a good sign for the start of any journey." laughed Ja'rin as he grabbed a nearby boar and started a fire
"Hmmm..." Halo inspected the daemons corpce "I wouldn't get too excited if I were you. This is a sea demon. We are in a forest. A forest that is nowhere near the sea."
The others looked at the demon. Goldenberry poked it with a stick. "Why should that worry us" The little hobbit asked.
"It means that this beast was summoned by a powerful magic user." Halo explaned.
"It could have come from the river." Elyde suggested, shrugging.Halo stepped away from the monsters cooling corpce "No way my friend. That rivers fresh water and fresh waters like acid to these guys. We should leave, I suspect these woods are no longer safe!"
As Halo said those very words, a Shadow came upon the forest. Far off a black speck in the pale sky could be seen. Time itself seemed to stop; a whirling vortez was sucking all the sun's rays from the sky. At the centre of the whirlwind was a mighty creature arrayed in black, luminescent scales, and armoured with a great helm, studded with veins of silver and bright jewels of amethyst. Its fearful eyes shone with malice as its great maw opened to reveal a mouth of piercing steely teeth. Its great wings shook as it rode the skies, obviously searching for something... or someone.

Upon its massive back rode a figure, apparently human, clothed in a great robe of black hue, trimmed in subtle designs of piercing blue. Eminating from him was a strong darkness; it felt as if your very life essence was being sucked into that void. His shoulder-length black hair fluttered in the cold wind, and his eyes were cold and empty. In his hand, set with cruel iron claws embedded into his fingertips, was a long cruel sword. A small iron key dangled from a fine silver chain around his neck.

His eyes roamed overhead, but apparently he could not find what he so desperately sought. He cried out in a low voice, as deep and loud as a volcano's tumultuous explosion, and kicked the dragon hard in its flanks. It turned to the north and began to fly nearer a ridge of impossibly high mountains, towering above the ground for tens of thousands of feet. They were black and cruel, and their snowy peaks were shrouded in a haze of fog.

Slowly, the dragon rose to a distant speck in the air, and all trace of it was lost. A great foreboding was taken from the hearts of those in the forest, for unbeknownst to some, he was Akh‚sazÍ, servant of the Shadowland. Formerly of the race of Men, now he warred against both Men and Elves with increasing malice, obeying the will of the Dark One.

[Edited on 11/20/2003 by Arcormacolindůva]
"Right then where is that filthy dwarf at" spoke Ja'rin.
"URKO" roared Ja'rin " where are ye at???"
"I'm comin' Ja'rin * ya big useless $%*&^ * mumbled Urko
"What you say dwarf." shouted Ja'rin as he slapped Urko cross the head.
"Well friends we have been fed but we need some ale. Where is the nearest tavern at so I can wet my whistle."
Halo grinned. "Well," she said, pulling a pipe from her bag "the nearest inn is just a short way from here." She lit the pipe, inhaled it fumes and blue a smoke circle. Ja'rin lept to his feet.
"Well? what are we waiting for? You seem to know this inn well, so lead the way!" he bellowed. Suddenly something else bellowed and a black shadow flew over the canopy. Ja'rin grasped the handle of his axe and the others drew their own assorted weapons, even Goldenberry pulled a small, sharp knife from her belt. Halo looked up at the canopy as the shadow passed, then dissapeered. Silence reigned over the forrest til at long last Goldenberry spoke.
"What, in the name of the Shire, was THAT?!" she asked Ja'rin "Another of your monsters?"
Ja'rin shook his head "D*mned if I know lass."
Once again the party lapced into silence. Then, Halo spoke.
"That, friend Goldenberry, was a dragon. A kind of dragon that was long ago banished from these lands, sent to the Shadowlands by a powerful wizard. A wizard who died in the attempt, I might add." Halo frowned, then took a step forward so that she could peer up at Ja'rin. She continued "That beast had a rider and that rider was searching for something. I sence you have not told us the whole truth Ja'rin. There is more to your quest than what you have told us and you will tell us what it is." she whirled away from the warrior king and headed down the path "But it will have to wait til we get to the inn. It is a nice enough place, run by a wizard by the name of Bellos. An old friend of mine. He'll be able to use his magic to hide us from what ever is chaseing Ja'rin, but only while we are in the forest. Come with me my friends."
"Haha" roared Ja'rin as the unlikely travellers journeyed to the inn..." if you must know the treasures I seek have powers unworldly to this land but not that of my home. And the flithy Crulin will do anything to get the paws on them...but as long as I draw breath this will not happen." grinned Ja'rin
"URKO what r ye doin' now ya diseased ridden boil"
"nothing Ja'rin" as he slowly hid a bag in his pockets...
"well remember I get three quaters of it."
Goldenberry walked on in silence with her new friends. She could not remember much that had happened before then. Faint whisps of memory came back to her, of her mother yelling, and her running off into the woods.
She remember drinking from a stream. A nearby ent forewarned her, that the brooke was hazaradous, that those who drank from it should forever be cursed with amnesia.
But in her greed and quench for thrist she drank heartily.
Maybe her new friends could help her remember. As they walked into a tavern, a roudy looking place with many bruly men, she smiled. Do unto others as you wish upon you. Find this Ja'rin's things, and they can help her find her past along the way.
They headed to a table in the center of the place, and immediately a waitress was by their sides. "What can I getcha?"
Goldenberry ordered a pint of ale. She glanced about the place, and noticed a man staring at them. A shiver ran down her spine. Elyde and Halo were seated at either side of her, as she felt a bond to them from meeting.
"Elyde... Halo..." she whispered, jestering in the man's direction.
Before they could respond he was up, walking towards them. "Ja'rin me ol' matey!" A dagger slipped into his hand...
...and he made a quick thrust at Ja'rin. But with super reflexes Ja'rin jumped up and swung BrainBiter and the figure slumped to the ground and his head rolled slowly across the floor....
The others turned to Ja'rin in shock and he smiled...
"I took his bride to be the night fore their marriage and we had some unfinished business....hahaha but its finished now."
"Eeeew!" Halo stuck her tongue out and poked the mans corpce with her foot. "Just when I was gonna order something to eat, thats really put me off my food that has." She looked around for a moment, then spotted the person who she was looking for.
"Look, theres Bellos!" She stood up and waved to the man serving drinks behind the bar "Bellos! Bellos, over here!"
Goldenberry peered over the table to see...well, it had to be a man. He was big, much bigger than Ja'rin, with a long mess of curly ginger hair and a beard that was so long that he'd had to tuck it his belt. She had to admit, he didn't look much like a wizard. She had seen pictures of wizards in her fathers books, they were thin men with tall pointed hats and magic wands.
The man who stood at their table and swept Halo up into a fond embrace looked more like a bear. He hugged Halo to his chest, laughing as he did so and nearly suffocating the girl in his vast beard. He shook that hands of everyone in the party, including her own (which he shook gently between finger and thumb) and then he sat with them.
"What trouble have ye gotten yerself into this time lass?" he boomed at Halo, downing a whole flaggon of ale in one mouthful. Halo noticed that Goldenberry seemed a little shaken, so she gave the girls hand a comforting squeeze before awnsering her friends question.
"A quest it would seem." She replyed "To help our friend, King Ja'rin find some powerful magic items with which he can regain his kingdom."
She shrugged. Bellos laughed.
"The usual den lass?"
Elyde turned to Bellos "Tell me friend Bellos, is Halo usualy in the company of hunted me?" The big man looked confused, Halo reached out a hand and placed it on his arm.
"We are in grave trouble Bellos." she lowered her voice "A shadow dragon flew over the forrest, searching for Ja'rin. It had a rider. We need provisions, I suspect this quest will be a long one."
Far in the north, a black speck dove down to a small craggy gash in the rugged side of the ashen mountains.
It swooped under a low overhanging, and it stopped so that a small, obscured figure could dismount. The man, appearing to be inhuman, opened his mouth to reveal gaping, toothless maws. A cold swirl of breath came out, freezing the water vapor in the nearby air. He stepped off and slowly walked to a small cavernous opening in the dank overhanging.

Smiling in his own gruesome fashion, he drew back one of his hands and smashed it into the side of the rocky wall. Boulders crunched and fell down. Fascinated, he slowly as if in a trance lifted his hand and stared at the black blood running down his skeletal hand and encrusting his sharp claws.

Then, in a fit he summoned forth his raspy voice and cried out in a sibilant tongue, shrieking and groaning like he was being compressed under many miles of glacial ice. The piercing ruckus and cacophony rifted the dense stone; a small opening appeared in the rock. Licking his lips to catch the release of blood that followed his use of the maedzhiks, he shakingly puled the opening wider until an iron door was revealed, with a small emblem of a crown with three jewels set in the center. The crown of Morgoth.
" and then he asked for a table..hahahhahahahahah" roared Ja'rin as he grabbed another ale.
"it has been too long since the ale warm and the food plentiful. But can this Bellos be trusted and what of this dragon you speak off. I fear no dragon and have killed plenty in my travels why in the younger days before I was King me and Urko had a encounter with a dragon nest and they were the best eggs I ever had.." as Ja'rin bantered on to Halo
Halo smiled and knocked back another shot glass of elven vodka. "Rest asured my firends. I trust Bellos with my life and have known him since I was a child. He has always stood against evil." She paused and ordered another drink "As for the dragon...do not underestimate it. You think dragon eggs good eating? Well, you couldn't even get through the shell of a shadow dragon egg, not even with that axe of yours..."
Ja'rin laughed "I find that hard to beleive girl."
Halo smiled. It wasn't a pleasent smile. "And even if you got through the shell, friend Ja'rin, you'd find yourself up against more than just yolk. These dragons are born ready formed in their eggs, they are creatures of evil. Theres no yolk, just dragon."
Urko snorted and rolled his eyes. "You think king Ja'rin cannot handle one tiny baby dragon?" he said, smirking.
Halo smiled some more and her teeth looked somewhat pointed. She leant forward over the table, til her face was just inches away from the dwarfs "Do not mock me, dwarf." she hissed "You have no idea what danger you are in. You have heard of Smaug? He was a big dragon, one of the biggest ever known in this world. THATS how big a baby shadow dragon is. They are the size of a fully grown normal dragon and their parents are at least four times as big."
She lent back and stared at the wide eyed dwarf.
"Friend Urko, these great beasts have leveled entire mountain ranges and drank seas dry."
Goldenberry held her pint of ale in between her hands, frozen with fear.
The table was silent, until she hiccupped. Halo turned and looked at her and smiled. "There's nothing to be scared of love, Ja'rin the great and mighty here will protect you"
Ja'rin smiled and downed another mouthful of his drink. Goldenberry looked down, she was still on her first pint of ale.
The stench from the dead creature beside her was making her sick to her stomach. She guessed Bellos would give them a place to stay for the night. He must have heard her thoughts, for that second he asked them, "Will you lot be needing rooms for the night? I have two rooms available, one for the lovely ladies and one for the men"
Goldenberry hiccupped again, "That would be nice, I'm quite tired..." She dozed off in mid-sentence, her head resting on Elyde's shoulder. They carried her up to the room, thanked Bellos and settled in for the night, not knowing someone was watching from the shadows...
Ja'rin left the others with Urko not far behind...."Ja'rin why do you stay with these fools..they mock you at evey turn."
"BE QUIET dwarf for the moment this is all we have...but soon enough they will fall to the side and we can do what we have ta do."
"Worry not, King Ja'rin." Ja'rin and Urko looked up at Bellos, who smiled at them. "Halo treats everyone like that, personaly I blame her parents. But as strange as her advise may sound, listen too it. She comes from another land, far from here and knows more than someone her age should."
Bellos passed them more drinks and food. The pair tucked in, shoveling the food into their mouths, as they were still hungry.
Ja'rin spoke through a mouthfull of food. "So, wizard. what can you tell us about this girl Halo. She doesn't act like any other wench I have ever met. Her mannerisms are...odd."
"Well..." Bellos scratched his chin "really theres not a lot to tell. I have known her for ten years and she is like a daughter to me. She occasionaly earns money by working as a barmaid here, but most of her money comes from helping travelers like yourself and hunting monsters. She clames to be 19, but in my opinion as a magic user...I suspect she is much older."
Ja'rin nodded, storing away this information incase it came in handy later. Urko pressed Bellos for moor information. "Friend wizard, she mentioned a place called Melnibone, when we first met her."
"Aya, funny thing that." Bellos refilled their drinks "As I said before, its a far away place. She doesn't talk about it much. All I know is that the whole place was destroyed by its own king, can you imagine?" This caught Ja'rin's attention, Bellos continued "How she survived I do not know. I suspect she may have been a pirate for sometime, or spent a while among pirates. And I do know that the people of Melnibone knew quite alot about magic and dragons."
Ja'rin, Urko and Bellos spent a few more hours together, laughing and jokeing, swopping stories of their adventures and drinking the fine ale Bellos sold in his tavern. Urko and Ja'rin soon retired to their room to sleep, but not before Urko managed to talk Bellos into putting some wine-slins ful of the taverns home brewed ale into their provisions for their journey. He had a feeling that this adventure might get a little hair raising and he figured the alcohole would steady his nerves.

Meanwhile, upstares...
Halo waited until her friends were asleep, then she slipped from her bed. Creeping across the floor she opened the window and slipped outside, shutting it behind her. Now you might find this odd, especially because the girls room was on the second floor of the inn (big inn folks!).
Anyone who had been watching would have had quite a fright. Halo walked down the outside wall of the tavern as easly as she had walked down the forest path. Then she practicly skipped off through the forest, followed by a particulary inquisitive willow-the-wisp.
She returned to the inn with a small package under her arm and it wasn't till she was tucked up in bed that she realised that the willow-the-wisp had stolen all the loose change she had been carrying.
The dark man... or whatever he was... slipped his skeletal hand, blotched and encrusted with deep pools of ranky, dark blood, onto Melkor's emblem. He caressed it, apparently deep in a memory of days long gone.

Then, a massive shiver stole through his body, and spasmingly, he tore his bony palm from the symbol. His body convulsed and a bone-wrenching, deep scream slammed piercingly out of his harsh throat. His black robe twisted into new patterns as his figure twitched, arms flailing. His harsh shriek finally ended and he fell back from the slope, onto his head crashing upon the ledge. He slowly got up, shaking.

His breath came in choking gasps, and he constantly twitched and flinched at every little breath of icy wind, little noise, and snowflake falling. Later, he regained his composure. Shivering, he limped his way back up the short distance to the metal door. It remained untouched by age; still shining with a cold, black light and chilling his very soul... if he had one.

Again, he put his clawed hand upon the cool door, and seemed to be waiting for something to be happening. A soft, dark whisper crept out of the slits around the port; thin wisps of black smoke twisted out, like foul tendrils of a malevolent plant.

Akh‚sazÍ moved his face close to the door. Though no hole nor slit could be seen, he turned his gaunt face sideways to the door and slowly faced it, whispering some unheard words. The door began to have a harsh blue glow, faint at first, then piercingly bright.

The dark servant then pulled his face away quickly, keeping his hand on the door. Arrogantly, he said with an angry air, "Dark Master, thine servant is here. Wilt thou not let me in?" He appeared annoyed, looking quickly around as the situation became desperate. Why wouldn't his master have him enter? What if something had happened to the Lord?

He became more frantic and impatient. Exasprated, he pulled his hand from the door, which now was glowing a faint hue again. Or rather, tried to. It didn't budge. Eyes widening, he yanked on his arm with amazing force many times, increasing in intensity. Nothing happened. He then gave up, and sneered at the unseen force behind the door. "Very will, if that is thy wish. You shall not have more time to think it over."

Then, rolling, deep laughter came from under the door. The door suddenly became piercing white, and a rumbling noise came from it. The Dark Servant's cold, frosty eyes widened slowly. A faint gasp came out of his mouth.

He seemed to feel he was in grave danger. Increasingly, he pulled his immobile hand away from the door. It wouldn't budge. Then, it very slowly began to sink into the cold iron... the door was sucking him in.
"No! No! You can't do this to me! Master? Master! Please!! Have mercy! I've ever been your humble servant! MASTER?" Tears coming out of his undead eyes, he quickly knew what he had to do to escape his cruel fate. NŠmo the Vala was cruel indeed.

Hastily pulling a sharp, curved dagger from his belt, he set it to his thin flesh and sinew. The dagger was long and sharp; its dark hilt was set with opals and tiger eye quartzes.

Then, he began to slice at his wrist, knowing he would not be able to simply cut off his palm from the door. His scrawny hand was already submerged below the fingers. With blinding speed, he quickly stroke-after-stroke slashed at his thin, pale wrist.

Halfway parted, he grinned with satisfaction, though it stung cruelly. His master would not catch him this easily.
Maendath of Morthond, formerly, his wit was still sharp from long years of experience.

The pale flesh gave way to sliced white bone and pink muscle; the blade was almost through. Maendath, now called Akh‚sazÍ by servants of the Shadowlord, laughed grimly. He had outwitted his former master.

Then, the knife had naught but a tendon left. It was about to snap, when the flesh and sinew in his hand began to mend. Tendons and stringy flesh reached out to each other and merged once more. His hand began to heal itself. Mortified, he sharply pulled the knife out of his flesh so it would not be caught permanently in his muscle and bone. What now to do?

Racking his brain for a solution, Maendath stopped to ponder. He jumped abruptly when the door began again to suck him into itself, at faster paces. Struggling, he put his back to the iron and pulled away, crying out in pain. It sucked up his shoulder and side, his leg; he was now being pulled sideways into the metal.

His neck stetching, he yearned to be freed, and desperately flailed about, struggling for a handhold or foothold to secure himself. His hands grabbed the rocky, contoured wall near himself; iron claws left sharp scratches on the twisted rock as it was pulled away.

Now it was up to his chin. All but his upper torso was gone; he turned around and screamed defiantly at the iron, though his eyes betrayed his raw fear or what might become of him.

His eyes rolled up into the top of his head as he was pulled into the door at alarming rates now. There was no hope. One last pitiful "No, **** you!" was expelled from his lungs; he blacked out and thought no more as the last strand of his dark hair disappeared into the iron emblem on the door.

There was no trace of the tortured Darkfriend save for his dagger, cast aside on the slope below, and a faint glow still evident in the three Silmarilli emblems in Morgoth's 'crown.'

The shadow dragon he'd been riding flew away, impassive. It had other work to do. It had heard its master's voice.

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(*aside: Yes, I like to write. Lol) Cool Smilie
A small figure stood at the window and peered through the small slit..."she has gone just as you said Ja'rin do you want me to follow?"
"No you idiot,let her go for now we have other matters that concern us."
A shadow passed over Ja'rins face as he looked to Urko.
"you mean Slough Jar'rin?"
"yes Urko. Even that foul creature can reach us here....but my kingdom will not be denied to me and the treasures shall be mine."
The party set off bright and early the next morning. They hadn't left as early as they would of liked, due to Bellos fussing over them like a mother hen. Even when they seemed to be makeing progress something happened to slow them down. First Urko fell down a rabbit hole and had to be dug out, Ja'rin insisted on stopping to rescue an elven maiden from a giant spider and Halo had to stop several times to rescue Goldenberry from a particulary persistant badger.
Just when it looked like the day couldn't get any worse, it began to rain cats and dogs. Literaly.
"My friends," Ja'rin belowed as he stepped in a poodle and got hit on the head by a shocked looking moggy, which was followed by an equaly shocked looking scottie dog "I really think it is time to take shelter, perhaps in yonder woods?"
"Aye," agreed Halo as she narrowly missed being squashed by a great dane "Those woods border the shire. The place is mostly populated by hobbits, but the inns do human sized beds and the food is good!"
So they set off at a run for the woods...