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Local Time: Apr 20 2018, 19:47
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Jun 7 2015, 23:48
Berard moved alone, with a hunter's silent tread, through the familiar woods on an unseasonably chilly autumn morning. The night's light frost still glittered in the shadiest pockets of old tree trunks and woodland floor. He was well camouflaged in a woolen hooded cloak as was sensible, even though the part of him that felt angry and mortally wounded, verging on bitter, tried to rebel against being sensible. He might have given in to that dark part were he a less disciplined man, and most of all did he not have two still-living children who needed him. He would rather die than fail them any worse than he felt he already had.
Even with the generous and understanding help of his aunt, twin sister, and brother-in-law, his two young children needed their father even more than ever. He knew that, could see it in their little faces, hear it in their sweet voices. Not an angry, bitter, brooding father who over-indulged in self pity and self blame, but a loving father whom they could run to and cling with confidence.
Not quite a month ago Berard had buried his beloved wife and stillborn second son. Why had Fillia sickened so badly so suddenly? Why had such tragedy struck Berard and his children? What mistake had he made, how had he failed Fillia? For somehow it must have been his fault. This feeling of guilt was what haunted him the worst, despite all his family and friends trying to reassure him.
That was the main reason why he had refused the company of his hunting partners that day. They had been very generous in keeping his family in game during the first month of his mourning, but now it was time for Berard to fully re-shoulder the work of supporting his family, and he did not want to listen to more of his best friends’ counsel, kindly well-meant words which he could not yet bear to hear.
He expected a solitary day while he checked on one of his partner’s snare lines, so he was surprised to spy someone up ahead right where the snare line ran. Being in a dark frame of mind, his thoughts were not charitable. Was this a thief? Eyes narrowed, he approached cautiously and very silently indeed, alert in case this man wasn’t alone. He nocked an arrow to his hunting bow but did not yet bend the bowstring.
Oct 20 2014, 08:25
Joint Post with Elanor Dellbrook
It was a beautiful day – crisp and cool without being cold, the autumn air stirred by a breeze of the invigorating rather than uncomfortable sort. The breeze made the dry fallen leaves crickle-clatter as they tumbled across the packed earth of the Road, though most leaves were still on their trees, decorating the vista in all directions in glorious shades of flaming yellow, orange and scarlet, with lesser accents of russet, a thin scattering of purple and blue if one looked closely, and of course some ever-green trees and shrubs.
Despite the disturbing news they'd heard recently about trouble in Bree, about dark horsemen smashing through the West Gate, the delight of the autumn day remained uppermost in the minds of Berard and his friend Mrs. Dellbrook as he drove them to Bree with a wagon load of supplies to sell and barter.
They had become friends after a lucky meeting a few months earlier when Berard had chanced to make two new friends in one early morning, the one introducing him to Elanor Dellbrook when Berard wished to acquire a supply of herbs, which were one of Elanor’s specialties. Today she was riding with him to Bree, where they planned to spend the better part of the day since this was a rare and therefore treasured occasion when neither needed to hurry back to their farms.
They both had business first with the same innkeeper, who would buy most if not all the cheeses and smoked meat Berard brought plus the herbs and powdered mushrooms Elanor brought. He also had a bale of pelts and furs to sell or trade. For Elanor, this could well be the last time before next spring that she had enough herbs and mushrooms to spare for Bree, since the lesser amounts she could grow during the cold months might all be wanted in the smaller villages. Such might also hold true for pelts and furs. The coming of winter made it all the more important to get good coin and wise trades that day. Berard was sure, though, that Elanor was even more enthusiastic about the hours after their supplies had all found customers, for she’d somehow gotten him to promise to stroll through the town marketplace with her. She'd mentioned her hopes of finding good yarn and cloth, and he had a few items to look for as well, perhaps even including a few toys for the younger children in his extended family. He also hoped to introduce her to his daughter and son-in-law if they were at home.
As Berard eased his wagon along the busy streets toward the inn, Elanor suddenly sat up taller, smiling brightly, and pointed. “Oh look! My friend from the Shire!”
Berard knew some local Hobbits, but none from the Shire, so he stopped the wagon and instead of scanning the passersby simply asked, “Who?”
Oct 20 2014, 07:32
The evening was nearly dark, especially so deep into the woods. The snow was still much too thin and shallow to reflect much light, either. Berard had not been hunting this time, only scouting animal tracks, mostly gauging the latest movements of the elk and deer herds, though he did carry a woodchuck in his hunting bag to roast for supper and next morning’s breakfast. His hunting partners weren’t with him, since he would have no heavy haul of game to carry home this time and they both had wives who wanted them at home when they didn’t need to be out tramping through the woods.
However, Berard had noticed something unexpected and too intriguing not to investigate – the tracks of three men in the woods, not truly sticking to the trails worn through the brush by either men or animals. He’d heard about several burglaries on the fringes of Staddle and Archet recently, and one victim had seen that it was three strangers. Berard knew he might be on to nothing, but in case he had stumbled across the trail of those burglars, perhaps he could be of some service in bringing the thieves to justice, so he followed the tracks... until the light faded too much.
He judged by the tracks that he was still hours behind the men. With no chance of catching up that night, he carefully noted where he’d left off the tracks and then scouted for a good campsite. That’s when he smelled the faintest whiff of smoke. Stopping in surprise, he turned his head about and waited until he whiffed the smoke twice more, so thin that a man could easily fail to notice it.
Doubting very much that the three men he was tracking were nearby, he was still cautious, being alone a long way from home and much farther into the woods than he typically ranged. It wasn’t too difficult to locate the campfire, but it was set up in a spot that made it difficult to spy upon, even for a man who could move as quietly as he. Patiently, though, he moved closer trying to see who was there and if there seemed good reason not to chance a hello.
Oct 6 2014, 06:52
full name: Berard Burrwen
date of birth: 2982 of the Third Age (age 37 when Battle of the Pellenor happens)
home: a farm on the eastern edge of Staddle (a village about 2 miles southeast of Bree)
species: Man (descended mostly from Northmen, though his parents said his great-grandfather was Dunedain)
His hair is an unremarkable medium brown, his beard a slightly lighter shade and sprinkled with pale grey. To his eternal disappointment, his beard has never grown in thickly enough to be anything but humbling, so he keeps it trimmed very short (his father and grandfather had the same problem, but he hopes his son won’t). A faint scar above his left lip transects his equally short mustache. His eyes are blue-grey. He is tall (about 6’2”), but not unusually so for a Man of the North. Strongly built, though not bulky or heavy. He has a long, quiet stride. His voice is rather low-pitched, especially when he is upset. He does not typically express his emotions in a wide-open way, but more subtly through his eyes and tone of voice.
When out hunting he carries a bow and quiver of arrows (now always his son’s handiwork), plus a short sword and a hunting knife. He is not a great swordsman, but there are too many dangers in the woods to meet without a sword.
distinguishing features Not much, except perhaps his close-trimmed beard and low-pitched voice, and perhaps how quietly he treads.
likes/ dislikes/ strengths/ weaknesses/ bad habits:
He is a devoted provider for his family, very responsible, and has strong protective instincts. Because his overall demeanor is a private and rather tough exterior, which belies a surprisingly sensitive heart, he is often more kind than people might expect. A pain of the heart that makes him more empathetic is also one that he rarely speaks of – the sudden death of his wife and second son. What he barely realizes himself is the size of the hole that left in his heart and the loneliness he avoids thinking about.
He tends to be shy of being asked many questions about himself, beyond what he willingly speaks of. He is generally honest and sincere, but also reserved and therefore not necessarily straightforward. He will take umbrage if anyone tries to embarrass or trick him. He is cautious of strangers, though will offer aid to those in need unless he suspects them of villainy.
As a hunter and woodsman, he spends a lot of time alone or with only one or two companions, and he savors that quiet time and the independence. He is, however, loyal and cooperative with his family, friends, and community in general.
He is not gregarious outside of his family and personal friends, though he enjoys the occasional community festivity. He enjoys beer and ale, though not in crowded taverns – too noisy and boisterous, and too much drunkenness. He has some degree of skill at games of chance though rarely plays for coin, especially with strangers.
He has been hunting (and therefore also tracking) since he was a young boy, and is successful at it. He hunts primarily with a bow and arrows, though also sets snares and can hunt birds and rabbits with a slingshot if necessary.
wife Iris (deceased)
daughter Belle Marsh (age 17, married less than a year ago to a merchant in Bree)
son-in-law Norren Marsh
son Elet Burrwen (age 16, becoming a fine fletcher)
twin sister Fillia Mosswood
brother-in-law Thurvan Mosswood
2 nephews and 2 nieces (Thurvan & Fillia’s children)
uncle-in-law Jack Henley (the fletcher - Iris' uncle - to whom Elet is apprenticed)
elderly aunt Rose Burrwen (widow of Daren Burrwen)
parents (deceased) Barrod and Willow Burrwen
other important people:
Hunting partners and best friends Hambry Miller and his younger brother Rory
He and his twin sister, Fillia, were born on a homestead east of Archet. His father and uncle were hunters and woodsmen by trade, and began teaching Berard when he was very young. They were killed defending theirs and their neighbors’ homesteads from raiding bandits when Berard and Fillia were 15 years old. Berard did his best to be the man of the family, but that meant spending more time away from home hunting to bring in meat and pelts. Their mother, who had never been of especially sturdy temperament, weakened much after her husband’s death and died of lung sickness that winter, which was unusually long and cold.
The villages of Archet, Combe, and Staddle had a long history of helping each other in times of trouble, and true to form, people had come to help Archet rebuild after the raids. Among those was a carpenter from Staddle named Thurvan Mosswood, who fell in love with Fillia. They soon married and moved to his farm in Staddle. Not wanting to be alone, young Berard and their widowed aunt went with them. Berard continued hunting to help provide for the enlarged family.
After less than three years in Staddle, Berard married Iris, the niece of an aging fletcher. They lived in a small cottage built on the Mosswood’s farm and were very happy. Fillia had recently given birth to her third child when Iris gave birth to their first, a daughter they named Belle. A year later Iris gave birth to their second child, a son they named Elet. Life was good again! Berard hunted to provide for his whole family while his wife and children, sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews, and aged aunt lived safe and secure on the farm.
Six years after Elet’s birth, Iris conceived again to everyone’s joy, but something went terribly wrong. About two months before the birth was expected, Iris sickened with a relentless fever. Within only two days, she went into labor and gave birth to a son who was too early to survive, and Iris died the next day. Berard was stunned and utterly heartbroken for both his wife and second son. Those were horrible days, and months, and Berard nearly drowned from grief. It was a great blessing and fortune that his aunt, sister, and brother-in-law were as big-hearted as they were strong, for from then on they helped raise Berard’s children as if they were their own.
Berard felt no interest in re-marrying, but his children continued to thrive amid the love and safety of their relatives. Berard himself eventually recovered enough from his grief that his new normal was healthy enough, despite being noticeably more serious and quiet than he used to be. Belle grew into a sweet-tempered beauty very like her mother and at barely 17 made a happy marriage to Norren Marsh, a merchant in Bree. Belle and Norren invited elderly Aunt Rose to live with them, where her life would be easier. Elet had been apprenticed young to Iris’ aged uncle, Jack Henley the fletcher. At 16, Elet was doing so well that old Mr. Henley wanted him to take over the business in a few more years.
Glad that his family were all safe and happy, Berard’s own work had developed into a steady rhythm of hunting with his two partners, who were also his best friends, and whenever they and their neighbors had accumulated enough pelts, smoked meat, and sometimes farm produce to spare, Berard was usually the one to drive a wagon into Bree to sell and trade. His family was doing well, which was what mattered the most to him, and he himself was happy enough to mostly ignore the deep-down ache in his heart that had never quite healed.
role play sample:
It was a bright late-summer morning, shadows running long and sharp in the golden rays of the rising sun, the eastward branches of the trees appearing to glow golden. The day promised to be warmer by midday, but now in the early morning the breezy air was clear and crisp.
Berard loved such mornings, so he took great pleasure in being the one entrusted to drive a wagon of merchandise to Bree to sell and trade. The wagon bed carried bales of pelts along with dried meats, rounds of cheese, and a few other things that his family and friends preferred to sell for coin or trade for Bree-town wares. It was a good arrangement between the larger town of Bree and the triplet of smaller farming villages nearby. Sale and trade between them was lively and generally fair. The four settlements supported and assisted each other while each maintained its distinct characteristics.
The keen-edged shadows of sunrise ran before him as he drove westward along the Great Road toward Bree. He asked only a leisurely trot from the pair of dapple-grey horses so that he could longer enjoy the beauty of the early hour. He wore his woolen shoulder cape with the hood up, which kept him comfortable in the chill breeze. His active thoughts were mostly about looking forward to visiting his daughter and her family and their Aunt Rose while he was in Bree.
His home village of Staddle was still off to his left when he saw three men up ahead, on the Staddle side of the Road. They were on foot. As Berard drew nearer he was certain that two were strangers. Driving nearer still, he saw some ugly expressions playing across the faces of those two. Encountering serious danger on the Great Road in broad daylight within only a few miles of Bree was unlikely, but Berard was not the sort to gamble or be complacent, so he made sure his hunting bow and quiver were clearly visible. If the men’s eyes were observant, they could also see the hilt of his sword belted to his side.
He would have driven on past, only making a mental note of the strangers’ appearance so that he might recognize them afterward, for he did not wish to risk losing any of the merchandise with which he had been entrusted. However, when he drew near enough to overhear their voices he recognized the third man as a fellow villager, though he could not fit name to face. The man was aging, slightly paunchy, and obviously intimidated. He carried a stuffed shoulderpack but no weapon. The two strangers looked to be travelers, rough men with rude voices, and were mocking and menacing the hapless villager.
Berard did not want trouble, but he would not turn a blind eye to a neighbor being accosted, so he stopped his wagon at the edge of the road, his weapons in plain view though not in his hand, and a warning glint in his eyes as he took stock of the strangers. They turned from bullying the villager to size him up, looking rapacious. The villager’s expression asked for Berard’s help.
“Good morning,” Berard said, with an audible undertone of warning in his mild greeting. He watched the strangers’ eyes notice his wagonload of merchandise, where one man’s eyes dwelled long, though the other took better note of his bow and sword.
“You lookin’ for trouble, farmer?” the least sensible one challenged, obviously spoiling for trouble.
“Don’t be a fool!” his friend snapped, grabbing his arm hard. “Come on! I want cool Bree ale for breakfast, and it’s you’re turn to buy.” He pulled his grudging friend away and the two walked onward toward Bree.
“Thank you kindly, friend!” the aging villager exclaimed in open relief. “Burrwen are ye, lad? I’ve seen ye about, haven’t I? I’m Hal Cobley from Combe way.”
“Yes, Mr. Cobley, you’re most welcome,” he replied with a genuine smile, even more so because he need not admit that he could not have recalled the man’s name without help. “Berard Burrwen, at your service. I’m a hunter except when drafted as a trader. What did those strangers want?”
“Just meanness and a chance to bully, I think, lad. Though I believe they might have robbed me were I carrying anything they fancied. It seems they don’t value herbs, though. I didn’t mention the dried berries, heh heh,” he added with a satisfied twinkle.
“Well played, sir,” Berard grinned in friendly approval, responding quickly to the man’s good spirit. “Did they rob you of coin? I can get it back for you.”
“Thank ye, lad, but no coin. I paid it to good Mrs. Dellbrook for this satchel full.”
Berard looked more closely at the bobbing, aromatic greens crowding out the top of Mr. Cobley’s satchel – fresh rosemary sprigs and kingsfoil. That reminded him of how his sister tended to run low on herbs and Mrs. Miller always welcomed kingsfoil, which very few villagers cultivated. “I would be interested in some herbs, too. Has she more to sell today?”
“Oh, aye, all sorts. They’re her specialty, ye could say, and she’s a fair woman in coin or trade.”
“Mr. Cobley, I would trade you a ride to anywhere within five miles in exchange for an introduction to Mrs. Dellbrook.”
“Mr. Burrwen, we have an accord,” he replied at once with a delighted smile which transformed his face into a wreath of smile lines. After a hearty handshake, he climbed up onto the seat beside Berard and directed him down the lane leading into the woods, cheerfully talkative the whole way.