Kalem was jitterish in her extreme excitment. Today was the day of the harvest party. This year’s harvest had been particularly good so the Lord was allowing the field and house servants to have a celebration. For almost two weeks everyone had been scrimping and saving so that there would be enough food to go around. The result was that everyone would be having leftovers for a month.
The party was to take place in the servant’s hall, a long, low, wooden building in the center of the circle of field servant’s quarters. Every servant was grateful for the harvest for two reasons. First, no one would starve this winter and second, they could have a party. For, good as the Lord was, they were not allowed to have parties often.
Well, he was good to the field servants at least. To the house servants, he was rotten (and Kalem should know). Kalem made a face, trying to mimike the Lord. She squinted her blue eyes, rimmed with black, and pinched her mouth small, “Get me some water,now!” she said in a prissy commanding tone that sounded exactly like the real man. (Kalem had always been able to do perfect imatations of anybody, peraps it was becasue she had had much practice.
Laughing at herself, she pushed her light brown braid over her shoulder and continued her walk to the well, which was near the road. Behind her lay the path to the field servant’s houses, the peasant homes. To her right , the barn and other outbuildings, the fields, the wood, and, towering, the Misty Mountains. To her left was hte stone manor house and kitchen, encircled by a high stone wall. And in front, her destination, the large well.
As Kalem filled her pail with water, nine people came up. Since the road was often frequented by travelers, Kalem paid no mind. But, one of them, an old man in gray, travel-worn robes approached her and asked, “Excuse me, fair maiden, but do you work in the manor there,” he pionted to the manor house.
Kalem jumped and looked at he others before answering. The were a strange bunch to be sure. Four were the size of children, but she could tell by their eyes that they were not. Hafligns then, she had heard of them. The fifthe was a dwarf, she had seen many on the road before. The man next him was Boromir, son of Denethor, Kalem recognized him. He had stayed at the manor not long before. Next to him was,well, Kalem was not sure.
He was tall, with long blond hair and piercing blue eyes. His hands were large and strong, with callouses that said he was an archer, as if the bow on his back was not enough. He seemed to be aware of everything and was watching Kalem with interest. His ears, Kalem’s eyes widened, his ears…were…pionted. An elf, he was an elf. Probably one of the legendary eleves of Northern Mirkwood, what with the bow and daggers.
The last of the lot was also tall, as tall as the elf. His hair and clothes were all dark, though his eyes were green. Kalem gave his sword hilt the briefest of glances, before turning to the old man, “Aye that I do. Who are ye and why are ye here?” She tried to sound like a peasant and pulled it off flawlessly.
“We are naught but nine footsore travelers, seeking shelter for the night,” the old man replied.
“That’s easy enough to see, for sure,”Kalem retorted,”But what are your names?”
“Ah,” the old man’s eyes twinkled,”I am Gandalf and these are my companions,” he pionted to the dark haired hafling,”Frodo and next him Sam, Merry and Pippin. They are hobbits, of the Shire.”
“Pleased to meet ye,” Kalem smiled. Merry and Pippin seemed to be best friends and had a mischievious air about them.
Gandalf pionted to the dwarf, “This is Gimli, son of Gloin and-“
“Boromir, son of Denethor,” Kalem crossed her arms,”I know of you.”
Boromir looked a little surprised, “Then do you not think to show some respect?”
Kalem copied his voice exactly,”‘Do you not think to show some respect?”tehn switched back, “We are equals now,” he started to protest, “Or mayhap you would like to go up to the mian gates and ask to stay, which your friends do not seem too eager to do” Kalem said sarcasticly. The dark haired man and the elf tried not to smile and the hobbits Merry and Pippin had to choke down their mirth.
Gandalf’s eyes twinkled as he went on, “Legolas Greenleaf of the elves,” the elf bowed and Kalem bobbed what she knew of a curtsy, “and-“
“Strider,” the dark haired man said quickly,” Strider the Ranger.”
“Kalem,” she replied, “Now what do you want?”
“Only shelter for one night.” Strider spoke,”if you would be so kind, that is.”
Kalem regarded them for a moment, the hobbits did look weary. They all looked a little weary, except Legolas, who looked as if he had just wokenup from a good night’s sleep, “Well, my Lord will not be happy about it, but I do not see why he has to know. He stays in his study most of the time and you can sleep on some extra blankets on the floor. Follow me,” and with that, she picked up the pail and walked off in the direction of the kitchen gate. The nine companions looked at one another for a moment, then set off after this sarcastic kitchen maid with no fear of snubbing poeple above her station.
TO BE CONTINUED…