(this is sort of a teaser trailer, I just wanted some feedback from someone who isn’t my mum. I’m thinking of calling this story Woodland, but if you have any other suggestions, just let me know. I might edit this some before I post it on AO3. As Earnest Hemingway said: the first draft of everything is shit.)
Should one ever wander around the Great East Road, just northeast of Bree, they may find a place that harbors many secrets. Beyond the South Downs lies a world misunderstood. Those who pass through these woods are left with a nostalgic feeling planted in their souls. For this land is like no other, as it is home to you.
Now more often than not, mumriken creachurs such as yourself don’t necessarily have homes. At least not in the way most others do. Your kind are wanderers; vagabonds, travelers, migratory people. While family is held dearly to heart, biological or otherwise, you come and go as you please. Some have places to go when homesickness should ever strike, and some don’t.
You had a home just east of the Shire, which you shared with your father, and a few other friends from your younger years. At the age of about 10, you were trusted to begin wandering without his supervision, although you mostly preferred to remain close to home, never going as far as the Last Bridge.
This place, like a few others that you had grown familiar with in your life, had become a home to you. You lived your life free of petty concerns of ordinary folk, such as social status, reputations, economics, and gender norms. You spend most of your time fishing, picking fruits from trees, napping the day away in said trees, and standing barefoot in the creek. You lived to please no one.
Anyway, your father had gone on a journey to visit some friends from his youth in the Blue Mountains almost a week ago, but was sure not to leave you without a proper goodbye, lulling you to sleep the night before and wishing you a gentle good morning whilst you were still half asleep the following day. You had grown used to it in the past few years, eventually learning to not forsake a day of your life being sad over his absence, but you would still miss him from time to time. And his returns always brought great happiness to your heart.
Today, you found yourself wandering past Bree and towards the Shire in the late afternoon, a basket in hand and a simple shawl with a hood wrapped around you, not only to keep you warm, but to also conceal your tail and markings. The skin on your hands going up your forearms was a bit darker than the rest of you, as well as your feet going up your legs. You also had a streak going up your nose to your forehead. With these markings came freckles that littered your cheeks, shoulders, back, and hips.
You were thankful to be so small in stature so that it was easy to blend in among the shirefolk. It was actually common for creachurs to be mistaken for hobbits, despite you having smaller feet, seeing as both were said to be children of the Lady Yavanna. If anyone did take notice of your claws, they never said anything about it.
“Here you are, dear.” the saleswoman said kindly as she handed you your fresh pears. “Have a good day.” “Thank you, ma’am, same to you.” you replied with a smile as you took the fruits from her and placed them into your basket.
Waving goodbye to her, you continued on your way through the market, gently swinging your basket and listening to the chatter of the shirefolk as you walked. Taking a look around you, you watched as men and women sold and bought produce, cheeses, fish, and cuts of meat. The sound of children’s laughter filled your ears as you passed by a small group of girls dancing around together in a circle, prompting you to laugh lightheartedly. Glancing past them, you saw a middle aged hobbit lady with a baby in her lap, who you made brief eye contact with. The infant smiled and giggled upon seeing you, which you returned with a little wave and a smile of your own.
As your attention turned elsewhere, you spotted a stall selling flowers out of the corner of your eye. Your smile faltered a bit when you noticed a collection of seemingly malnourished tulips among the assortment of flowers.
You took a quick glance around you for precaution, before calmly walking over to the floral stall. A soft green light emitted from your fingertips as you drew a spell circle over the wilting tulips, and with a small motion of your hand, the spell took effect, returning the flowers to their healthy and beautifully blooming forms. A smile returned to your face as you walked away, hoping no one noticed you using your magic.
With that taken care of, you took a deep breath of fresh air and sighed contentedly as you made your way towards the bridge that went over the river. You could recall visiting the Shire a few times before with your father, and all the odd looks you two got. Although most of the shirefolk were more polite than most, you and your father did receive the occasional stink eye and snide remarks, specifically from this one family you never bothered to remember the name of. Something-ville or other. No matter, best to not burden oneself with petty grudges. Why let someone as pompous and ill mannered as them take up any residence in your headspace?
Anyhow, your mind drifted to the sounds of the river below you and the cool sweetness of the afternoon breeze. You continued on your way as the sun gradually began to set over the horizon, causing the sky to begin changing in hue. Reaching a paw into your basket, you plucked out a peach and took a bite out of it, dashing your sleeve across your mouth to clean the juice off your face.
No doubt, there were probably a couple of folk talking about you behind your back right now, but you paid no real mind to that. You liked you the way you were, and found no reason to be ashamed of yourself, be it your appearance, lifestyle, or personality. You liked the feel of the dirt that covered your feet and some parts of your face. That being said, you were actually quite sanitary, keeping yourself clean by relaxing in the secluded river in the mornings, midafternoons, and just before or after sunset.
Speaking of which, you noticed that it was beginning to get dark, and it looked like it might rain later on, so you picked up the pace in a hurry to get back to the Old Forest. On your way out of the Shire, you passed by a simal at the top of a hill with a lovely green door with a round brass knob, many round windows, and a quaint little garden behind the fence, situated at the end of Bagshot Row.
You could hear many voices coming from inside the house, singing a tune you couldn’t recall, but liked anyway, and there was a soft yellow light shining through the windows.
Gently tugging on the hood of your shawl cape to secure the cotton based fabric over your ears, you continued on your way, almost unaware of the dark cloaked figure coming up the path ahead of you. Out of habit, you subtly turned your head to the opposite side to avoid eye contact until the stranger was behind you. Part of you was tempted to look back as you felt a snap tingle in your tail, but you decided against it since they were already far behind you at the point, so you just kept walking on your way back to the Old Forest.
special mention to @kumqu4t @wallymcflubberfins
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