The Haunting of Nethrida - Prolouge



Blotto Tendertoes staggered slowly through the streets of Hobbiton, moving from street light to street light in a blurry, beery promenade.

He hadn't thought he had drunk so much at the Reckless Paramour, though indeed their ale was likely the finest in the surrounding area, despite being a relative secret. Only the truly "knowledgeable" halflings drank at the Paramour. Wink, wink. He had only had two mugs of Old Lecher this evening however...or...perhaps after that he had two more...or...well...numbers seldom added up for Blotto at the best of times.

Anyway, it was a wonderful evening, as such things were every year. The official planning meeting for the Haunted Burrow was a Hobbiton tradition, just as the Haunted Burrow itself was and this years was exceptionally creative and inspired. So many wonderful shocks and scares were discussed and planned out this year by the Hobbiton Volunteer League for the Promotion of Domestic Terror. It was truly going to be a memorable event, especially as Blotto himself had finally been selected to play a leading role...the Undead Lord of Revels himself. He would have a beautiful if disgusting costume, and had already begun working on his blood curdling voice and menacing walk well in advance of the vote, having been plying the rest of the committee with mathoms and free lunches all year. It would be the crowing achievement of his short life thus far.

That of course, would depend on if poor Blotto could make it back to his Hole this moonless night. This was humiliating. He had only had six ales...or perhaps sixteen? No matter, he had always been able to liquor his hold before...umm...hold his...piece?

Blotto started wondering where the road went, then realized he was face down in it...dreadfully tired, perhaps he might sleep here until he sobered up a bit. Surely any horses or carriages would just swerve around him.

Suddenly, he felt hands lifting him gently to his feet, wiping some of the mud off his face and chest. A soft, soothing voice, one of the big folk from the sound of it, purred sympathetically to him. "Poor little fellow, had a bit too much have you? There there dearie, I have just the thing to fix you right up."

Blotto's vision cleared just long enough to see a white haired old woman helping him over to a bench. Such a sweet expression on her face, he trusted her immediately despite the fact he had never much cared for the big folk. She was offering him a small bottle and he drank by reflex, sighing as the honey sweet liquid seemed to sooth his stomach and warm his soul.

The old woman was patting his hand gently. "You just rest here for a bit young fellow. Soon you will be all set for your role this year. King of the Revels it's to be, didn't I hear back at the inn? A fine title for a fine young hobbit. I am sorry if I eavesdropped...I am a dreadful busybody that way. Silly old me..." The woman smiled and Blotto couldn't help but smile back. Yes...he DID remember her from the Paramour...at least..he thought he did.

He nodded slowly, grin growing a bit stupid, eyes growing dim. "Yesss...Blotttttto Tenertoeeesessessessess....Undead King of the Revelzzzzz...and whoze might yeee be, madammmmm?"

The woman smiled more broadly. "Undead you will certainly be, rest assured. In fact, Hobbiton will shudder when ever your name is mentioned for years to come. As for me...."

She gently closed his now sightless eyes. "You can call me Beth."