At the Plough and Stars



I've got a proper bed -- well, almost; it's still a bit too small for me, but only a little -- and we all got our own rooms. I guess the hobbit that runs the Plough and Stars in Brockenborings keeps a few rooms he can have made up for tall-folk. I think what it really is is a wide bed what he can turn sideways or something, but it's better than sleeping on the floor. There was venison steak and fruit pies and a mug of something he called stout that were thicker than some stews I've had. And it were all paid for for us!

This morning we opened the box back in the room at the Golden Perch and found a brooch, made of all manner of fancy metals and jewels and such, with an old crest mark on the back what turns out to be a sign of the Brockhouse family, the oldest and wealthiest and most important -- or that's how they tell it anyway -- family in the Northfarthing, mostly living in Brockenborings. There was also a note, with no names on it. Between the note and what we heard up here in Brockenborings we got something of an idea of what happened, at least up to a point.

Turns out this fellow, Bogo Brockhouse, was supposed to be courting a hobbit-lass named Mirabell Gammidge, who couldn't cook, and he didn't seem to take an interest in her. His mother -- not really his mother, Citrina's his aunt what took him in when his parents took ill and died, but seems she's like to a mother to him -- kept pushing him to this Gammidge girl anyway. Then, little more than a year ago, at the Party Tree in Hobbiton, he met a girl, family name Attereeve -- don't think we asked her proper name -- at Yulemath, and fell for her as hard as I fell for Beoda, and as quick, it seems. Then it turns out she's from Staddle, and that's much too far. The way Citrina talked on it, it'd be bad enough if she were from Stock, and Buckland would be madness, but Staddle, all the way near Bree, it's like a place that they scarcely even think is even real.

So he's pining for her, but his family won't hear of it, and keeps pushing him towards the Gammidge girl, and he's counting the days until the next Yulemath when he'll see her again, only she don't show. So he's all heartbroken and can't think of nothing but her. In the end he does something mad. He takes the brooch and writes this letter, packs them into the box, rents a pony, and sets out for the long ride to Staddle. Sounds like afore this he'd never been farther than that Party Tree, wherever that is. The bounder at the bridge warned him there were bandits out, but he went on anyway, on account he was in love and on an adventure. So we figure he met the bandits, and things went bad from there.

But after that we don't know what come of him. Citrina Brockhouse gave us a reward for returning the brooch, but also insisted we set right out to go find him and bring him back, and promised to pay for it, and put us up for the night. So we agreed, and by way of payment we're going to ask her to get us some wine-glasses. That way, instead of continuing up towards Dwaling, we can head back right away, which is what we mean to do come morning. Miss Adri has some ideas of where brigand sorts might be found near the place where the pony fell, and means to sneak into their camp to see what she can find, while Beoda and me hide nearby with bows at the ready. Not sure if we'll make it that far tomorrow. Took a whole day to ride to Brockenborings, but that were at a slow pace, while we talked -- I was teaching them Rohirric and about my family -- but we could head back a fair bit quicker and get back out of the Shire at least afore nightfall, if not as far as Adso's. But maybe we don't want to get there with tired horses. Guess we'll have to see!

As well as seeing what came of Bogo. Citrina's sure as we'll bring him home, and once we do, she can figure out how to get him settled down and put all this Attereeve girl behind him -- though it seems she's accepting a bit that that might mean getting the girl to move up to Brockenborings or something. But it ain't crossed her mind Bogo might have died, either of a bandit's arrow or of exposure in the cold winter rain. That'd be sure sad. But I reckon it's better for the Brockhouses to at least know it, instead of having to wonder.