A Helping Hand

A week or so passed and things continued to improve for Hullis. A whole string of orders had arrived and he had been able to place most of them. The result was his coin flow had increased a great deal. He’d been able to buy some new furniture for his uncle’s place as well place a decent amount in his city vault. He’d even been able to expand his vault which gave him more space for more crop storage.  Hullis was even considered purchasing a farm horse but then realized he could get anywhere he wanted to by foot while in Bree.  He judged it a silly purchase and simply placed his money back.  However, what did strike him was possibly getting his own place soon.  Maybe even a better place he could share with his Uncle.

When he had time, Hullis had taken to relaxing by a large rock next to the Inn. He liked leaning against it watching the sky, letting the ale and the dinner settle. There were performers in the plaza sometimes and it made for a relaxing hour or two. One late afternoon after he had made several runs with orders he stopped there. While getting his pipe out he witnessed a young woman come from around the Pony and calling a name. The woman wore average to rough looking clothes and seemed concerned. Hullis realized she was calling for a dog and after watching for a moment decided to help.

The lady was looking for her dog named Norman and asked if Hullis had seen the dog. Hullis had not and she next asked if he could whistle as the dog would often come for a whistle. Hullis did know how to whistle as his father had insisted on it on the farm. Hullis gave a loud whistle and within seconds a scruffy looking dog came bounding around the corner up to him.


A small conversation started between Hulls and the young woman. It was revealed she had been living on the street and in the hay bales by the Pony, to be exact. Hullis took pity on her immediately and decided he would do something to help her out. Flush with the success of the past several weeks, he offered to pay for a room at the Pony and to offer several hundred silver to help her get started.

Hullis promised her there were no strings attached. He also told her that if she wanted a job, he would give her one helping him sort and manage the crops and orders at the farm. He wasn’t sure what it was that struck him to do it. Regardless, it felt good and the right thing to do. The woman accepted and Hullis departed, heading home and feeling, for the first time, like he had truly helped someone.

The next morning he stopped by to check with Barliman and to inform him he would pay for the woman’s room. Barliman was happy with any kind of current coin and agreed to the deal. Afterwards, Hullis made another decision. It was time for new clothes. The old coat that he had worn since the burning of the farm was worn and had NewDuds2been patched numerous times. Things had changed and it was time to look the part when we went to visit city officials or just being seen about the town.

After a few stops he found a set of work clothes he liked and paid good silver for them as well. He wasn’t used to success but when he realized the cost of the clothes was nothing to his account he once again felt flushed with success. He finished up by going to the City and changing the name on the consignment form from just his simple first name to Hullis of Lakeside Farm. He was moving up in the city of Bree!

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A Bit of Mithril

The next few days passed uneventfully for Hullis. After a conversation with a few officials at the Town Hall, numerous forms and an interview, Hullis was put on the list of those merchants that could bring supplies to the Watchers outside of Bree. Hullis immediately got to work filling the order that Watcher Greenbriar had made when he visited him. After that, his goods had done very well in the market and he was enjoying a week of prosperity.

Later in that week, he was sorting out a tater crop before taking it down to the workbench. He would pick up each tater with the clumps of dirt still clinging to it and cut the green parts off. Then, he’d scrub them with his gloves, making sure to knock off the excess dirt. Suddenly, there was a tug on his glove and he felt something slice his index finger. He stopped instantly and looked at the dirt only to see a small shiny bit of what looked to be silver sticking out of the dirt. With blood in his glove from the cut, he pulled out the small piece from the dirt. It was no more than a small piece of bark, a sliver of something silver, shiny, incredibly flexible and very sharp. He placed it to the side and tended to his finger which was not badly injured.

He finished with his crops and that evening he took it to the Scholar Stair to have it examined. The scholar there claimed it was a dwarven metal called Mithril and demanded to know where he found it. Hullis had told him in the dirt by the farm field and the Scholar, in a rather rude tone, stated such a thing was impossible and Hullis asked if the man was calling him a liar. The man recanted and told the farmer it was a fascinating find and he would gladly buy the shard from him. Hullis refused and decided he’d learned enough. He’d found his third odd piece in the dirt. He thought about it that night and swore that he would find a way to add the piece to the ruby and beryl shards that now hung around his neck. A ruby for his father, beryl for his mother and now, mithril. For whom could the mithril be for?

After learning more about the mithril and thinking about it, he decided the mithril was for him. He took it as an omen of good things to come with the city of Bree and eagerly went back to filling orders for the city, his customers and Barliman at the Pony. All thoughts of the road, adventure and travel were placed, nice and tidy, in the back of his mind.


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Bree Farm Sunset


Just a quick screenie I thought I’d add.  Clicking on it makes it full size and can be used for a wallpaper if you’d like!  More to come as the RP experiment continues…


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An Unexpected Turn

When the day to meet Old John arrived, Hullis was nervous. Hullis had spoken to his Uncle about the encounter and the offer to travel. His Uncle seemed happy to hear the news and encouraged Hullis to go with the man. His Uncle had even offered him an old suit of armor that he himself had used to wear “in younger days.” Hullis had declined, deciding to bring what the man had purchased for him and to simply travel with the man, possibly learning some mace skills for the next few days. Given the fact he would be wandering along the stream he had also brought his fishing supplies. It would be a good way to kill an afternoon if things did not turn out. Regardless, he was planning on having a day away from the crops. Though he liked the idea of learning new plants and gaining new seeds, he would decide before leaving Bree-land if he would actually go with John. He knew very little about him and thought it prudent to get to know the man further.

That morning, Hullis walked out of the west gate of Bree and turned at the Greenway Crossing as he had been told. The day was clear and sunny. Hullis only saw one bear on the other side of the stream and it did not stay in his field of vision very long. Other than the bear, the walk was uneventful. He arrived at the cabin along the east side of the road and could see a few men stationed there. The men were Watchers from Bree and one of them a Chief. Chief Watcher Greenbriar introduced himself to Hullis and upon speaking with him and describing John, Grimbriar stated he was not around but that Hullis was welcome to stay near the cabin or leave a message. However, Grimbrier warned, do not cross the creek or wander over to the other settlements. They had been dispatched as a large group of outlaws had taken over the nearby farm and that the local area had become much more dangerous.

Hullis decided to wait and talked with the men. He discovered they could use supplies and encouraged Hullis to speak to the administrators of Bree to see if he could gain a commission to bring them. Even if John did not show, the day was proving to be a good one. Hullis spent most of the time either talking to the men or, eventually, fishing. As he fished he kept a sharp eye out for any trouble but given his nearness to the guard cabin he feared little.

With the sun fading, Hullis decided John was not coming. He would look for him at the Pony and leave a message with Barliman. It was probably better this way. Hullis mind thought about what the Chief Watcher had said regarding the brigands. They were getting worse, moving closer to town. The roads were dangerous away from Bree. The idea of new farming ideas seemed attractive but not at the cost of his life or his freedom. Perhaps, if the travel bug struck him, he would take a stroll to Adso’s Camp or out to Combe again. He might even visit Archet again. He chuckled at the thought of him traveling to Rivendell. “Elves,” he chuckled to himself. He gathered his fishing supplies and his fish and gave a wave to the Chief Watcher. The walk back was uneventful and he sold the fish to Barliman. He finished his day at the Pony and Old John was nowhere to be seen. If he didn’t have the mace hanging on his belt, he would think it had all been a dream.

As he finished up his plate of roast, carrots and potatoes he decided he would go talk to the Bree office in the morning. If he could not get a commission from Bree to help the men with supplies, perhaps he could run small personal orders out to them such as pipeweed and ale? If he began taking orders for Bree military he was going to be far too busy to travel anyway!

(OOC side note – Of course, the decision to help supply the Watcher’s there was my idea. I’m allowed inspiration just as long as it doesn’t directly involve me having Hullis leave Bree! At this point, I wasn’t quite sure what would happen with Hullis next or how long I was willing to keep going with the experiment. I didn’t have to worry long…)

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A Fateful Morning

After finding the second odd shard Hullis had gone home. His Uncle had pointed him in the direction of the Scholar’s Stairs to find someone there who might know what it was. Hullis went the next day and was told it was a shard of beryl and that although small it was, “an interesting find.” Over the next few days, Hullis continued farming but thought more and more about the old farmhouse and his past. He thought about friends in Archet and Combe. He found a craftsman at the craft hall who took the ruby and the beryl shard and cleaned them up, wrapped a bit of wire around them and fastened it to a leather thong. Now Hullis wore the stones as a necklace under his work shirt.He took a few days off and decided to take a walk to Combe. For some reason he was being pulled back to his old homestead but he did not know why. The walk was easy and uneventful. The weather and the road stayed calm and clear. Once at Combe, he had a meal at the Comb and Wattle and spent too much time catching up with Liz Honeymeade. She remembered him, of course, and urged him to come back, to set up a new farm. He told her he would think about it. He left the inn with memories and thoughts whirring in his mind.He made the old farmstead by late day and was surprised to see that nature had done a good job of already taking it back. Some burned timbers still remained. Someone, perhaps brigands again, had returned and burned down the small barn. Hullis stayed only a small time and took a walk down to the banks of the lake but saw nothing of interest. All he had for company were memories, the wind and the sound of crickets. The farm had been a good place and anger began to well up in him. This was all he had known and, for nothing more than violence, hate and a few silver of supplies, brigands had come and took it from him. He had a random thought that the Chetwood was nearby. It would be a short walk and perhaps he could find a brigand or two, take out his anger and… no. He stopped himself and sighed heavily. They would not be some sick boar for him to fight. It would only accomplish him getting killed or, worse, taken prisoner. He would be out of his league.Tired and frustrated he turned back to Combe. He stayed the night in the Comb and Wattle and then in the morning, with a wave to Liz, departed back to Bree. All the way home he wondered why he had decided to make the trip.Back in Bree the days passed and his wallet became more and more fat with the profits from his sales. He began to think about getting his own place but his Uncle, Flynn, would not hear of it. Instead, he spent a bit more time in the Prancing Pony and it was there that he was approached by an old and strange fellow.

In his later years with a wild gray beard and long hair kept in check by a hat similar to Hullis’, the man called himself John or “Old John.” He claimed to be a veteran and told stories of battles, death and the loss of his wife. Hullis took a liking to the man and over several encounters worked some farm fields together. John was strong, practical and seemed very kind.

One evening when Hullis had come in late to the Pony after a weary day, he saw John was there. The two sat down, once again, to talk and drink. Time passed and Hullis lost all sense of the lateness of the hour as he enjoyed the man’s company. It was during that talk that John began to ask why Hullis was a farmer. Did he intend to travel? To see the world? Out of nowhere, John stated he needed to go to Rivendell and that he would like Hullis to come with him. Hullis was startled and politely refused. He had so much to do with his pipeweed, his produce and his market sales he dare not leave. Besides, he told John, “the road to Rivendell is long and dangerous.”

“Then we best get you trained, son,” explained the older man and plucking Hullis’ hat from his head began walking for the door. Hullis chased him outside to the street where the first light of dawn had begun to lighten the sky. Chuckling, the man gave him his hat back and then insisted Hullis come with him. “We will go to Rivendell, you will talk to elves and you will learn about new seeds and see new sights.” Hullis admitted that it sounded very interesting but that he had no time and no equipment.

“Nonsense, I’ll buy it for you,” stated John and he began to run down the street like a young man.

By the time the morning sun had begun to climb into the sky, Hullis found himself holding a new mace and some new equipment. John told him that he wanted Hullis to get used to things and to meet him, in a few days, along the northern part of the Old Greenway. Hullis was not sure what the older man was saying and John took them out the northern gate and to the bridge where Hullis had previously gone fishing on an off day. John explained the directions and stated there was a small home along the Greenway and that Hullis should meet him there in a few days. They would hunt boar and bears and get Hullis’ skills up to par and then, in time, they would head to Rivendell.

Hullis asked him why he was doing all this and John explained that he was an old man and that if he could get Hullis out on the road, to see the world then he would have done one good thing in the later years of his life. He practically begged Hullis to come with him.

Then, Fate decided to play it’s final card on Hullis. While they stood near the bridge, out of the underbrush, came a massive tusker. It charged towards the men and John, whose back was to it, knew not that it was there!

Something came over Hullis. He simply reacted. The new mace was in his hands as he dropped the other equipment. He sprang into action and cut the boar off before it could run it’s gorey tusks into John’s body. The older man drew his blade and sprang to one side as Hullis rushed past him. The battle was fierce but Hullis found something within him as he rained blows down on the creature’s back. A wildness took him and the two men and the creature spun in a savage circle of growls, shouts and attacks. In time, the creature was dead, bleeding at Hullis’ feet after Hullis had delivered the final death blow. Hullis stood over it, huffing and trying to gain his breath. He took a step back as the enormity of what he had done came over him. A strong breeze came from the west and Hullis was reminded of the breeze that played over him when he found the ruby and the beryl.

John slapped him on the back, congratulating him on a fine battle. “See!” he said, “You DO have it in you! You handled that mace like you were born with it. You’re a natural, son. A natural!”

Hullis thanked him and tried to catch his breath. He wanted to lay down and as he looked at the massive size of the boar his head spun. “You go take it easy, son. You’ve had a long day. Go rest. Meet me in two days!” The older man smiled at him and slapped him on the shoulder again before walking off, heading northward.

Hullis walked back to Bree in a daze. He stumbled into his Uncle’s home with a bloody mace and boar blood on his pants. Thankfully, his uncle had gone to the tannery and so Hulis had time to clean up, to clean the mace and then to fall into fitful sleep.

As he slept, he dreamt of his old home, the flames as it burned down in the middle of the night.

He dreamt of his parents and of elves and of an open road…

(Side note — And yes… this all happened just this way. I took Hullis to Combe to figure out, in game world, where the old farm might be and he stayed the night at the Comb and Wattle. John is a player who approached Hullis for some random RP and look what happened! When I asked him if he had read this forum thread he stated he had not. Big thanks to the player for the great RP! And big thanks to the random boar that jumped out at us on the bridge at JUST the right moment in the conversation. An epic RP session!)

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Things in the Dirt, Part Two

(These have been posted on the Laurelin forum and I’m trying to move quick to get things caught up here.  That way, things will be on a bit more even keel for the good stuff to come!)

Things in the Dirt, Part Two

It had been only a week or two since Hullis found the ruby shard. He’d had it identified and kept it in his pocket for luck. It reminded him of his father and every morning it was placed in his work pants, every evening taken out and put on his bed stand. It had become a small ritual for him. The days had marched on and his produce and pipeweed were doing alright in the market. He’d yet to find solid clients but that was only a matter of time. His days began and ended at the Pony, in the morning some eggs, potatoes and a cider. In the evenings he would wrap up the day with a mug of stout and a bowl of stew. On good days, he’d get a tusker steak or maybe ribs. It depended on what Barliman had going. Mostly, though, he relied on the simple fare. He’d gotten used to Bree and he liked it. It was busy and the Pony was always entertaining.

Another sunny day was coming to it’s end and Hullis was working with his pipeweed. The cross bred seeds he had been able to develop were doing well in the soil here. He was processing pipeweed plants before heading to a more comfortable bench. Suddenly, as he went to shake the dirt off the roots something caught his eye as it fell to the ground. There, newly fallen, was yet another odd gem stone. It was pale yellow and glittered slightly. It was smaller than a copper piece but the morning light hit it and through its dirt covering it still glittered from the rays of the setting sun. Hullis picked it up, examined it. He was not sure why but he suddenly thought of his mother, lying in her bed, unwell. He thought of her smile and a memory washed over him.

Hullis had been a young boy, no more than 16 seasons. A sick boar had wandered into the edge of their farmland and had killed a calf. Hullis had wanted to hunt the thing and his father forbade it. He ordered Hullis to run into Combe and to summon the guard. They were more capable of handling it and his father would lead the guard to it. “You are to have no part in it!” his father had commanded. Hullis had agreed and began his run to Combe. However, filled with youth and overconfidence, Hullis circled back through the woods, crept into the barn to find the biggest hammer he could find and went in search of the boar.

He was gone all day and in the end, the boar found him walking a path near the nearby lake. It charged him and nearly gored him but Hullis had sprung to the side. The battle had been fierce but Hullis found no difficulty in evading the slow, ill boar and using the farm tool effectively. In the end, he got a solid hit into the animal’s head with the hammer and the beast had dropped. Exhausted and covered in dirt but flush with pride he roped the dead boar’s legs together and drug it back to the farm.

His return to the farm was not the hero’s welcome he had wanted. When he had not returned from Combe, his father had gone himself to find his son. He had brought two watchmen back with him to not only search for his wayward son but to kill the boar. His father’s words deflated any sense of victory from Hullis and the watchmen had been upset to be summoned so far without reason. His father had been furious and after throwing the farm hammer deep into the wood line in anger, he had stormed back into their house. His mother, who had been there as well, came to his side with her smile and her calm eyes. She had laid a hand gently on his head and then kneeled down. “He is upset because you scared him. It will pass by morning.” She then gave him a deep hug.

Pulling back again she had tousled his hair and said, “Don’t worry though, you’re still my hero.”

Hullis came back suddenly from the memory. He was back in Bree, standing amongst his pipeweed harvest and harvest bags. The small gem shard still in his hand. Again, a breeze blew over him as when he found the ruby shard. He furrowed his brow and looked around. He was alone on the farm field. Hullis looked at the gemstone again and rubbed it with his thumb.

He decided his day was over and tucked the stone into the same pocket with the ruby shard. He gathered his things and made for the Pony. He was hungry and he thought he may have enough light left in the day to find someone to identify the stone. As he walked, he thought about the memory and why it had come to him so strongly. It had been years since he thought of that boar hunt and the words his mother had said to him. Those words echoed in his mind as he walked up the hill towards the Prancing Pony…

(Sidenote – And yes, again, this happened in game as he found yet ANOTHER shard while farming. Just an example of how I like to take these random moments and incorporate them into a character’s development if possible.)

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Things in the Dirt

Hullis made it to Bree and was able to find his Uncle Flynn, a leather worker and tailor who owned a small apartment in the city. His Uncle was shocked to hear the news about the farm and arranged immediately for Hullis to live with him until Hullis could get on his feet. The next few days for Hullis were spent with his Uncle getting a tour of the city, learning Bree’s alleyways and short cuts. His Uncle bought him new farming equipment and helped him purchase his first batch of seeds and materials. While he re-adjusted his Uncle told him stories of bandits

In time, Hullis fell back into his old routine as he began farming again on the north side of town. Barley, onions, cabbage, all manner of crops and flowers. It helped Hullis to throw himself into his work, digging, planting, tending, sorting and running things to the market house for customers. It was the work he’d always known and it made him comfortable. He particularly liked working with pipeweed and building his seed library of unusual crossbreeds. He fell into a routine, stopping by the Pony for breakfast and dinner, resting over a flagon and listening to the talk around the tavern.

He did not like what he was hearing. He was only one person displaced in a world that seemed to having more and more trouble. More talk of brigands, more discussion of unheard creatures, goblins, in areas where there was none. He stayed clear of the adventurers that wandered through. He felt they were unpredictable and carrying far too many weapons for his liking. Given the number of different types he saw coming through the Prancing Pony there was no shortage of fighters out there fighting the good fight.

It was a sunny day and Hullis working on a green onion field. While he was harvesting, he pulled up a handful of the plants to throw in his basket when a flash of bright red caught his eye. Stuck in the dirt and poking out from the hole left from the produce was a shard of something crystal. Hullis knelt and reaching into the dirt with his thumb and forefinger he poked the object and began wiggling it free.

Once free, he rubbed the dirt off of it and held it out in the sunlight. His father had been into rock and gem gathering and he recognized it immediately as a shard of ruby. His father had worn a piece of it around his neck as long as Hullis could remember. His father had found it on the shore of the lake near their house and now Hullis had found his own. Hullis dropped some spit onto the shard and rubbed it with his thumb, rubbing more dirt off and the dull ruby shard showed even more dull crimson in the sunlight. Hullis stared at the shard for a long time and then looked out over the land around him and the city buildings. A cool wind blew around him and nearby, in the pipeweed field, a crow called. He thought he felt something drift over him with the wind. Then, it was over.

He rubbed another spot of dirt off the shard and tucked it into his coat pocket. He needed to get back to work as daylight was wearing down. He would grab a leather thong and see about making his own necklace out the shard. He also couldn’t wait to tell Flynn about his find.

For now, however, he needed to finish this round of crops.

((Sidenote — I did actually get a Ruby Shard as a drop while I was farming Green Onions. It was a huge surprise and I decided to incorporate it into Hullis’ story.))

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