LotRO: Blegba makes a decision
The sun was dancing off the long colorful red, blue and yellow ribbons streamed from the branches to the ground under the Party Tree. Blegba rubbed her eyes as she sat up and immediately dropped her head into her hands. Oh how it throbbed! She had no idea how she’d wound up asleep under her favorite childhood tree. The last thing she remembered was, well, she wasn’t too sure. What she did know was that someone was screeching at her as loudly as they could. Something about her being in the way of the party preparations. She stood, slowly, hunched over and wincing at the pain in her head and motioned for Opal Goodybody to shush. “I’m going, I’m going”, she whispered as she made her way back towards the Ivy Bush Inn. She had a hangover and every Hobbit knew the best remedy for a hangover was a bit of ale. Takes the throb away!
Her head starting to clear she sat there and thought back over her latest adventure. She remembered spiders more than twice her size, spiders coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, as she fought the biggest one. It was almost as if they were trying to protect the giant spider. How was that possible? Were they smart enough to work together? The big one, the Queen she guessed, did emit a most freighting sound right before the other spiders ran in and attacked poor Blegba. The sound nearly stopped her heart on the spot it was so terrifying! Had it really happened or was that an ale-aided memory of something far less sinister? She felt the only thing she could do was to go and find out so she left the Ivy Bush Inn and turned to make the walk towards Scary.
“Blegba! Blegba, come here!” It was Hal Hornblower excitedly calling her over. “You ready for that pony lesson?” She’d talked to Hal asking him to teach her because, at the time, she thought she was a Hobbit with a purpose and would need to be able to travel long distances faster. Now, now she wasn’t so sure anymore. She began to shake her head no when a chestnut-brown pony winked at her. “Did he just wink at me?”, she asked. “He likes you, come give him a try.”, Hal encouraged. Gingerly she took a step or two towards the stable, staring at the winking pony while a smile slowly spread across her freckly face. “Well, I dunno, Hal. What if he decides he doesn’t like me once we’re across the river?” “Don’t give it another thought, Blegba, this here pony has been eyeing you for a while. He really likes you! Don’t be scared. Let me show you how to ride him.”
This isn’t so bad, thought Blegba, as she rode the chestnut pony up the hill. He was soft to touch yet very strong and didn’t buckle even a little under her weight. She almost felt sorry for him, at first, when she thought about all the pies she’d eaten of late. She thought about that blueberry pie she’d snatched from the table at Holly’s and shuddered, her stomach turning at just the memory of it. Maybe Opal had been right about something being off in those pies after all! The pony wasn’t going too fast or too slow but had a nice even canter that allowed Blegba’s mind to drift off. It wasn’t until she heard a man’s voice calling her name that she realized she’d already made it past Brockenborings!
“Blegba, could I have a word with you?”, asked Halros. Hmm, why did he want to talk to her? Was she in trouble? Had something happened on her last visit to Scary that she couldn’t remember? She sat atop the pony with a look of puzzlement and fear on her face, a look she used to have a lot when her parents caught her stealing extra biscuits after a meal. Halros sensed she was afraid and as he patted her knee told her not to worry, that everything was fine. He took the reigns and led them back to his campsite so they could have a chat.
“But, but, how did you know about the spiders? I thought it was just a bad dream!” “No, Blegba, it wasn’t a dream. I followed you into the caves because I was curious to see what you were up to … you looked so determined. Those spiders are very dangerous and if I hadn’t been there, well …..” Blegba sat there, stunned, staring down into the flames. She hoped Halros couldn’t see the tears falling on her cheeks. How embarrassing, she thought, thinking she could go kill a few spiders and having to be rescued by a Ranger! She would never live this down and that thought turned the falling tears into a waterfall of sobs. “Now, now, Blegba, there’s no time for that. I didn’t call you over here to make you cry but instead offer you advice.” “I know,” she sobbed, “I’ll never go on another adventure again. I’m not cut out for it, you know.” “I’ll have none of that, Blegba. You have a calling just as clear as I do. We need someone of your skills to help, we just need to get you trained a bit more before you set off for new, what did you call them? Adventures?”
Blegba stood up and brushed the dirt from her bottom. “I need to think about this, Halros”, she said, finally. “Think on your way to Bree, Blegba. Talk to Henry Twiggins like I said. He’ll get you ready for what lies ahead. South, Bree, Blegba. South Bree.” She decided to lead the pony up to the Plough and Stars and make a quick stop for a mug or two before heading out. It was all happening so fast and she wasn’t sure what to make of it, just that her gut was urging her to do as Halros had asked. This Twiggins fellow was a Captain and trained a lot of folk. Maybe he could teach her, too.
It was dark when she finally made it back to the stable with the chestnut pony. Hal had been worried about her and hadn’t expected her to be gone all day. She told him she was headed for Bree and after a very long speech voicing all the merits of staying within the safe boundaries of The Shire Hal could think of, he finally relented, shaking his head in disgust she thought, and told her that he could send word to a farm north of Bree if she wanted to acquire a pony of her own. She nuzzled the beautiful face of the chestnut pony that had been hers for the day one last time and turned to Hal. “I most certainly would appreciate that, Hal”, she said, excitedly. For the first time in what felt like a very long while Blegba skipped all the way across to the Ivy Bush Inn. She wanted to pay up her tab in case she was gone for a long period of time. As she reached for the door she remembered Halros’s remark about ‘her skills’ and, chuckling, decided the tab could wait. Hal was walking up the hill to his hobbit hole as she snuck back over to the stable, grabbed the reigns of the chestnut pony and quietly led him up the path away from Hobbiton.