Journal Entry 1: Of Birds, babies, Bull-roarer's and Elf-kind in Bree

I left the hills and valleys of Linden behind with a heaviness upon my heart, in the knowledge than when next I set eyes upon the sea's beyond it shall likely be to carry me hence across the wide ocean and return to the West as did my father before me. Well it is that I rode upon the back of a good, human-bred horse purchased from the merchants of Thrain's Hall, ere my tred would have been heavy and slowed with a great weight of melancholy upon me.

Carried faster by the wide flanks of my plodding, mannish-horse I soon passed beneath the three Watch-Towers of the east without trouble or incident after a journey of some days. It was then that I found myself in the lands that were once the easternmost-part of Arnor, the peaceful shire-lands granted to the little-folk who call themselves hobbit some 12 hundred years before my birth. Though I had intended to skirt the woodlands of that realm and avoid the sullen, suspicious inhabitants of that land in the fashion of the Wandering companies a strange desire to walk among the shire-folk came upon me.

In my guise of mannish clothing and mail, I entered the chief hamlet of the hobbit lands called Michel Delving. There is a house there of what the shire-folk consider antiquities called the Mathom House which I sought to enter, but was turned away by a fierce little hobbit-woman armed only with a broom. Had my heart been lighter, the sight of so small a tiny brandishing a broom at me as though it were a spear might have proven a merry sight, but I turned away with greater melancholy than I came.

A night spent in the lodgings of the oddly named "Bird and Baby" saved only to darken the shadows upon my heart. I was watched sullenly and with great suspicion by a whole troupe of bounders, and the bed provided for my rest was wide enough but so short a length that my knees bent over the edge and my feet rested upon the ground. Despairing of the cold company and colder reception of the hobbits I took my leave and returned to the woods.

While moving through parts I had thought to be sparsely settled by the shire-folk I was drawn to a gathering at an even smaller hamlet still. There from afar I watched as all sorts of folk -small and big and dwarf-kind alike-, yet all clad in green frolicked, danced and sang beneath the crude yet mighty statue of a pipe-smoking hobbit swinging a club at some unseen foe, foot perched upon the skull of a fallen orc. For a while I considered coming down from my perch to join them, but I had no wish to draw attention with my dark clothing and darker mood midst a merry gathering of green, and so I pressed on.

In time then, I came upon the lands of the Bree-men. Trusting to my guise, I traveled then by road, but avoided what company I could until I came to the sign of the Prancing Pony, concerning which dwarf tongues oft wag. Confused I was, by the numbers of elk-kin within. For while I had heard it said that my kin were more welcome there than elsewhere in the lands of men, I had not expected to find we outnumbered even the dwarven and halfling guests. More-over, not one of my kin within seemed to be of the same company as any other, save for two sisters who performed musically in the company of two hobbits, a man-maid and a dwarf. Perplexed, I stopped to sketch the scene for my journal, but alas the charcoal did not quicken to the parchment so well as I had hoped.

Here also I exchanged my first words with a man beyond those required to inquire of directions or purchase food and wine. A young maid - I think, for how does one guess at the age of mortals?- whose heart seemed for a time as heavy as mine. Bewildered by the wonders of seeing elf and man and dwarf and halfling mingle so freely I took to my bed without asking after a guide to these "Barrow-downs" of which I have heard. I shall try to find my way their on the morrow, that I might sing to soothe the dead as, I can only hope and trust, some other sings to soothe the passing-place of my lost love.