Volume One - Who Were The Silent Minority?
One of the most noteworthy features of The Silent Minority appears to be the astonishing number of hobbits included amongst their ranks. Hobbits in those days were a notoriously insular folk, not given to the unseemly delights of travel or fraternisation with other races. The most famous hobbits of the Third Age, those who feature prominently in the War of the Ring, have until recently been viewed as exceptions to this rule. The histories of The Silent Minority suggest otherwise.
It is by no means clear whether all of the Shire hobbits who were members of this mysterious organisation actually left the confines of the four farthings, but we can say with a degree of certainty that a significant number of them did. Their brethren from Breeland also appear to have been far more adventurous than previously thought.
Perhaps most astonishingly of all, it appears that The Silent Minority may even have chosen a hobbit as its leader, and the Shire as its base of operations. Quite how this came to be remains a mystery, but the following tales provide a unique insight into the hitherto unimagined activities of hobbits during the Great Years.
A Brief Introduction: Berryl and Foxglove by BerrylBerryl Bryerstream is a descendant of an old Stoor family living in Buckland since generations. She is in her youth, about 30 years old, has brown hair, blue eyes, and a friendly face, smiling almost all the time. In her childhood she spent quite some time in the Old Forest to collect mushrooms for her favourite pie recipe, so she is quite familiar with those surroundings. However, until recently, she did hardly ever leave Buckland and did not much travel around the four Farthings of the Shire.Foxglove, a keen young 20 year old hobbit girl of Fallohide origin, has always been a difficult child. Extremely curious and active, she ran away from home already a couple times, not just to "borrow" food from Farmer Maggot, but even the occasional copper coin or necklace from a unsuspecting Big Folk. Recently she has grown up a little and does no longer such bad things -- unless she is really hungry and sees a yummy pie on the table in the neighbours house. - Her parents are currently living in Waymeet, but most people there hope they will soon move away, to be able to live a more peaceful life.She is small, even for a hobbit, rather stout, has red hair, and a red face. Most of friends and family simply call her Fox.
The Tale of Beriadoc Briarbuck by FerriteBeriadoc Briarbuck, a younger cousin of the Brandybuck scoundrel Meriadoc, looked up to his older relative as a role model...
This was, with hindsight, perhaps not the best he could have chosen but none the less, that, combined with tales of an old hobbit called Bilbo, led him to have a rather over-fertile imagination as his mother saw it, and he decided at a young age to be an adventurer. However, his timing was fortuitous and he now approaches maturity as his skills are nearing their potential, and the shadow rises in the north with whispers of evil in the breeze.
This then, is a time of change in Middle Earth, and Beriadoc is riding the winds at an unstoppable pace. To the young will fall great responsibility, and the little folk in particular will have great responsibilities in this time. Their resistance to the force of evil is great, and this perhaps is why Meriadoc lends confidence and hope to his companions wherever he travels.
Beriadoc has a marked affinity with nature and seems to have an uncanny knack of reading the breeze for danger before it actually appears. His reflexes are razor sharp and his voice is maturing to a fine tenor, inspiring his fellows to great things indeed. He does however, talk far too much for his own good, and his naivety is both at once endearing and potentially dangerous, as it leads him to have a blatant disregard for the potential of evil in all other creatures, and hence extreme overconfidence!
In the 27th winter of his life, on one clear but chilly morning, Beriadoc ran into a rather sour looking (and also fat, in Berry’s opinion) dwarf accompanied by one of the Big-Folk of Ranger kin in Michel Delving auction house. Their foreign accents and strange clothing at once interested Berry, and soon he was chatting at them, and asking question after question about strange climes and fearsome beasts. The Man, Rippon, was jovial enough but found Berry’s wide-eyed innocence somewhat worrying. Ferrite as he discovered the dwarf to be called was gruff and austere, but could not keep up his grave exterior for long under the barrage of questions that ensued, and to Rippon’s amazement, soon ended up telling Beriadoc much of his life story by the fireside. The shine that Ferrite took to the young hobbit rubbed both ways however, and Berry was adamant that they would not leave town without him… Besides, two warriors such as they needed someone of wit and intelligence on this kind of adventure malarkey, and who could write down their feats of bravery in great ballads and songs.
And so it was, that a quarter-moon later, the two adventurers left Michel Delving as three. And a stranger group one could not imagine.
This was the usual activity for Barclay. In fact, the delicate balance of Middle-Earth may well be upset if this did not happen on a regular basis. He had spent a good part of these nine long years of his life either grazing his knees, scraping his toes, or working on a rather impressive collection of bumps on the head. The reason for this current misfortune was his elder sister, Daisy. They were playing a fun little game of chase around the statue of Bandobras Took that stood on the edge of the Greenfields in Brockenborings, when Barclay had snagged his toe on a tree root and landed flat on his face.“Oh Barclay,” said his sister, standing over him with her hands on her hips, trying very much to look grown-up, “You are such a clumsy oaf! I've never known a hobbit like it.”As Barclay began to pick himself up, he heard Daisy shout from behind, “Last one to dip their feet is a bag of mouldy tomatoes.” This was quickly followed by the sound of padding footsteps getting rapidly quieter and quieter. 'Dipping the Feet' was a game they often played. They would go down to the small pond in the marketplace and dunk their feet into the water to scare the frogs and make them swim away. More than once Barclay had ended up sharing the water with them.By the time Barclay had composed himself, his sister was long gone. He could see her just crossing the path near the pond, so he launched himself at full speed over the nearby wall, clipping his knee and somersaulting onto the grass below. But Barclay was not a quitter. He pulled himself upright and hobbled awkwardly towards his goal.As he approached the pond, he has the feeling that something was wrong. A small group of grown-up hobbits were gathered around Daisy, who seemed to look upset. He recognised one as Mrs Harfoot, a friend of his mother. She trotted up to Barclay and knelt down, putting her hands on his shoulders. “Listen to me boy,” she said solemnly, “There's something I have to tell you.”But Daisy rushed towards him, tears now streaming down her face. She pushed poor Mrs Harfoot aside and grabbed Barclay, hugging him closely.“It's Daddy,” she sobbed, “Something's happened to Daddy.”
* * *
It was thirteen years since their father had drowned. They lived with their mother in Overhill now, after moving from nearby Brockenborings a few years before. Barclay had the notion that there was some sort of bother about it, but wasn't quite sure what it was. His mother had said it was just time to move on.They spent most of their time playing around in the outskirts of the wood, but they were currently taking a break from the fun and resting on one of the fallen tree trunks that would soon be chopped up and sold to woodworkers all around the Shire. Barclay was oblivious to these details of trade and commerce – he was happy to lie on his back and stare at the clouds.“What do you think of this?” said his sister, holding up a daisy-chain she had been working on. Barclay flicked his eyes down to give it a glance and replied, “It's vewwy nice. What is it made of?”“Daisies you silly thing!” she said, “Just like me.”“Fancy that,” he said, sitting up, “You are tewwibly clever, you should make weal necklaces with wubies and sapphires.”“Where would I get rubies? I'm not a queen you know, and I'm pretty sure you're not a king, for only they can afford such extravagant jewels.” She glanced at her creation for a second and had a thought. “Shall I make you one?”“I don't think daisies would suit me weally,” he said, “but I do like buttercups.”Daisy carefully lifted the flower-necklace over her head and onto her shoulders. “Buttercups it is then, let's go and find some.”They jumped off the log, Barclay stumbling slightly but remarkably remaining upright, and ran up the gentle slope away from Overhill. There would be more buttercups in the Greenfields, but that was quite a long walk and their mother had forbidden them from crossing the bridge alone, for fear that she might lose someone else to the water.Daisy was the first to find some. “Over here,” she shouted and Barclay came running.“Will that be enough?” he asked, looking down at the small, sad patch of flowers that he had just run through.“Barclay! You just trampled them. Why don't you look where you're going?”“I'm sowwy,” he said, “I'm sure we can find another patch awound here somewhere. We could go look over the wall, there's always a lot of them gwowing over there.”“But we can't go over the wall,” said Daisy, “I heard there is a big nest of spiders up there, and all sorts of other creatures, maybe even goblins. Mrs Pickle said that a visiting hobbit from Tuckborough went up there and never came back.”“I'm sure that anything living there is quite fwiendly. As long as we don't make a fuss or be wude to them then they shan't get upset with us. Come on, let's go.”“Hang on a minute, “ Daisy said, grabbing his arm, “You're not going in there without protection. Just stay here, I'll be back shortly.” She ran off down the slope to the south calling to him “Don't go anywhere.”
When she got back, Barclay was sitting on a large stone, sucking one of his fingers.“What happened to you?” Daisy asked, tossing the armful of baking trays and pots onto the ground in front of her with a clatter.“Oh nothing. I was picking up wocks and I cut my finger.”“Well, that's just like you,” she said, “Here, grab hold of this string and help me out.”A little time and a lot of fumbling later, they had managed to tie several trays to Barclay's front and back, and Daisy finished the makeshift armour by unceremoniously shoving a large cooking pot onto his head. She took a few steps back to admire her work.“There. You look the proper hero, just like in the stories.”Barclay smiled broadly. He rather liked being compared to a hero, which was something that did not happen very often. He struck a heroic pose, the banging of metal echoing loudly between the trees.”Fair lady,” he proclaimed, “I shall bwave the evil woods and defeat the nasty monsters to bwing back the flowers you desire.”“The flowers you desire you mean,” she giggled.“A wawwior has no need of flowers, however I shall...”Daisy look at him puzzled as his words trailed off into silence. She heard a noise behind her and turned to see the two Blackwater boys coming towards them. “Barclay, let's go.”“But your flowers...”“Never mind that. You know how mean those boys are to you.”But the boys had reached them and stood there, grinning in a particularly unfriendly manner. “What have we here?” one of them said. “It looks like little Daisy and her stupid brother. Why are you covered in pots and pans, you dumb plum pudding?”“Don't call him that!” Daisy shouted at them, “He isn't dumb!”“Dumb pudding, plum pudding, dumb pudding Barclay,” they sang, dancing around him in a circle. Barclay stared at his feet. “I'm a hewo,” he mumbled.“What's that?” one of the boys said, “A hero? Hah!” He bit his thumb at Barclay, “You can't even say the word you dumb pudding!”The other boy had stopped dancing and was crouching down nearby, picking at the ground. “I hope that armour can stop arrows, hero,” he said as he stood up with a handful of stones.The first stone missed, but the second and third hit Barclay with a loud 'pang'. The other boy decided this was great sport and soon Barclay was being bombarded from both directions. But he just stood there, staring downwards as the missiles clattered against him.Suddenly, Daisy jumped at one of the boys, knocking him to the ground with unexpected strength. She planted her knee square in his chest and they struggled as he tried to kick himself free. Daisy was grabbing handfuls of dust and dirt from the ground and throwing them in him face as he battered her hands away as best he could. One of the handfuls she picked up had a sharp stone in it, and as she threw it, the stone split the boy's lip and blood started to pour from his mouth. It was that moment that the other boy gave her a swift kick that threw her off onto the ground. He helped his friend up and they ran off, cursing her as they went.Daisy remained on the ground for a few minutes, getting her breath back and trembling from the ordeal. She looked over to Barclay, who was sitting quietly nearby. As she rose and walked towards him, she could see his eyes were full of tears. She sat down by his side in silence.“Am I really dumb?” he mumbled.Daisy looked at him sharply. “Of course you're not, don't listen to those nasty boys.” She removed the pot from his head and hugged him, and there they sat until evening drew in.
They returned to Overhill, walking hand in hand. Barclay was still wearing the cooking trays, but had his pot-helmet in his other hand. Daisy had dusted off her dress, showing little sign of the previous struggle, except perhaps a cold look in her eyes. When they reached their home, their mother was standing outside the large round door. “In. Now.” she said, and the young hobbits obeyed. She slammed the door as she followed them in and stood there, coldly surveying the sight before her, and paying particular attention to her cooking gear, now dirty and dented, hanging from her son.“Mum...” started Daisy, but was cut off by her mother's raised hand. “To your room,” she said in a low, quiet voice.Daisy started to turn, but paused a moment. “But Mum, it wasn't him, it was all my idea to-”Her mother's hand came round in a swift arc and slapped her broadly across the cheek. “I said to your room young lady!” she shouted at the girl. The brief look of fear in Daisy's eyes turned cold again, but she retreated down the hall into her bedroom.Barclay stood silent. His mother walked slowly around him and her voice growled like a wolf.“It's always you isn't it, you little brat. If it's not one thing it's the other. How can I hold my head up high when the neighbours know what a stupid son I have?” Her voice gained volume as she continued. “Look at what you've done to my cooking trays. Have you no sense boy? No, you never have had, tumbling your way through life while your mother struggles to put food on the table.” She pulled sharply at the string, sending the trays clattering against the wall. “Look at me!” she shouted. “Have you nothing to say for yourself? I should have dunked you in the river that your father was drownded in!”She slapped him hard across the face. He remained silent.“I heard what happened today you little toad. You got in a fight with Will's boys didn't you. Except your sister was the one doing the fighting, at least she has some self respect.”“But...” ventured Barclay.“Don't answer me back boy!” his mother screamed, “Why did I ever give birth to you? You're just a useless waste of a hobbit that will never amount to anything!”Barclay turned and tried to open the front door, but his mother grabbed him roughly and threw him to the floor. “How dare you try to run from me.” she yelled, grabbing the broom from beside the door. “You're going to get what's coming to you.”Barclay turned away from her as she raised the broom handle. She brought it down twice on his shoulders. The third blow struck him on the head. Blood dripped onto the wooden floor. There was silence for a few moments.“I am going out,” hissed his mother, “I have a meeting tonight. You had better make sure that my floor is clean when I get back and don't you even think of leaving the house.” She grabbed her coat off the coat rack, pulled the door open and stepped out, closing it quietly behind her.Barclay heard the slip-slap of feet on the wooden floor. Daisy knelt down beside him, tears flooding down her face. Barclay's eyes were dry.“What has she done to you?” she said, pulling a handkerchief out of a pocket and dabbing Barclay's matted hair.“It's...it's my fault,” said Barclay, “If I wasn't so stupid...”“Don't let her tell you that,” Daisy snapped, “Don't let anyone tell you that.” She tried to wipe away the tears with her sleeve. “Why do you always let her do this to you? Why can't you just stand up for yourself for once in your life Barclay?”“I guess I'm just not a hewo,” he said, fingering the daisy-chain necklace that still hung around his sister's neck.
Barclay fell down.
He didn't mind, he was in a good mood, despite the argument he had with his sister the night before. He had been living in Budgeford for several years now, in the same hole as Daisy and her Husband. Daisy was expecting a baby soon, and despite her insistence that he would not be in the way, he still felt it was time to leave. He had finished his schooling now (although his learning problems had meant it took a lot longer than usual) and he was eager. Eager for what, he didn't know. He was beginning to feel a little stifled and had decided to take a trip out to Bree and see if he could get work there. Apparently it was an exciting land of opportunity, something he felt he always lacked.Picking himself up off the ground, he patted down his armour. Not pots and pans, but real armour, or at least as close to it as the Shire metalsmiths could make. He had gotten used to wearing it now and it had saved him from many a clumsy scrape and bruise over the last few months. Of course, if he were mixing with the wealthy folk in Bree, he would have to get himself something with a little more class.He scratched his head and tried to remember which direction he was headed. Eventually the sun came out from behind a cloud and he remembered. His sister had told him: Towards the sun in the morning, away from the sun in the afternoon. He remembered that. She was not happy to see him leave, hence the previous night's argument, but he was sure he could cope. He was a big boy now.Daisy's husband had told him, “Remember Barclay, put your best foot forward.”
Barclay wasn't sure which his best foot was.
He chose the left.
The Confusing Life of Rubyrose by Amillion Lightwhisper”Plotho!! Plotho come on! Come on now, I don’t feel like playing.”
Rubyrose was getting quite annoyed with her younger brother. They’ve been living at the Bird and Baby since their grandmother Lily died. Even thou it had only been two months it feels like forever. She still remembers that last night that made her world turn upside down.
On her deathbed Lily had called for Rubyrose. ”You have to take care of Plotho for me, he is still so young. Please promise me.” Rubyrose promised, for a moment completely forgetting how much work she usually put into having him as far away as possible.
”I have something I need to tell you before it is too late, dear granddaughter. Your mother is not dead.” Rubyrose blinked what felt like a hundred times. What did the old woman just say? ”Your father told you she was dead because he couldn’t bear the thought of you thinking your mother did not want you.”
Her father Munlo was her hero. She became a Minstrel because of him. There was no way he could’ve lied to her. Or was there? She had never been allowed to come to her mother’s funeral. When she said she wanted to go to her grave he always took her to the Party Tree, saying ”This is where her soul is”. ”She didn’t leave you or your brother; she just couldn’t handle having to take care of others then herself, and barely that. My daughter have always been a lone wandering Hobbit" Lily continued.
Rubyrose can’t remember her mother ever taking care of her, or her brother. It was always Munlo who was the nurturer in their home. Safhira, their mother, was nearby but never close. In her heart Rubyrose was not surprised her mother had left. And not really that she wasn’t dead either. She had seen her mother wrestle down bears four times her size; the story about a really big fish eating her had seemed somewhat unlikely. Perhaps it had just been easier to live with a dead mother then a mother who didn’t want to stay with you?
The old lady was exhausted and her death was very, very close. Rubyrose was numb. The death of her father less than a year ago and now this. It was too much too soon. She wasn’t supposed to have to take care of someone else yet. She was supposed to have her own time concentrating on getting to be a better Minstrel. This wasn’t fair and not what she wanted out of her life.
Safhira, A Born Wanderer by Amillion LightwhisperNo task is too small for Safhira to take on. All she can occupy herself with so she won’t have to remember suits her well. Thinking is bad; acting is good in her opinion. The other hobbits usually tease her for her lack in cooking skills and her total lack of interest in sitting on a porch, smoking a pipe. Sitting still means time to think, and Safhira don’t want that. She will run around, killing evil creatures or collecting things for others for as long as she can, until she falls asleep standing up. Not until then can she be sure of getting dreamless sleep.
She once was a happy little hobbit girl, a bit adventurous but happy. She grew up with her mother, father and four brothers in Stock. Playing or just laying in the grass all day. Life was good, happy and harmonious. The older she got, the more different she felt. She wanted to travel, to see things, to meet new and different people. When her parents started to harass her about her lack in cooking skills and said it was time she learnt to be a housewife and meet a husband, Safhira ran off.
She first went to Bree, took a job at the Prancing Pony as a waitress for a couple of weeks. But all the stories the travelers told her just made her more intent on seeing things, places, and adventures. Soon she met an elven man who told her she could accompany him to Rivendell. She never got his real name, even thou they traveled for weeks together. First she called him sir, after a few weeks friend and after the troll incident……. nothing ever again.
He was the perfect travel companion, willing to teach her everything he knew that would be of use for her on her own travels. He sang beautiful songs by the campfire at night, telling tales of wondrous places and magic beings. And he looked so beautiful to her. Tall, slender, blond …. With a smile in his eyes that made it tingle in her stomach when he looked at her. He was so gentle, never condescending even when he had to explain to her for the tenth time how to put the tent up. He was older then her in years and experience. But she felt they had known each other forever, even thou she knew almost nothing about him. After a few days travel into the Trollshaws they got caught in a terrible rainstorm. They ran into the trees to find shelter and went into a large cave. Soon after they had entered the cave they noticed it was some kind of dwelling. There were plenty of food and drink on shelves, but no other furniture. Not a minute had passed since they noticed this until a large troll came running, also looking for shelter no doubt. Her friend told her to hide and went to attack immediately and took the troll by surprise. But even thou he gave the troll the killing blow within seconds he too got hurt. And when the troll fell down dead he also fell on a bit pillar of rock that fell down, and closed the opening of the cave. She never knew how badly he had gotten hurt, he never let her know. But they were stranded no less in this cave. He told her that no one was expecting him in Rivendell for weeks to come, and she knew no one expected her to be in Trollshaws at all. She tried to make it comfortable for him the best she could, sometimes crying for not listening to her mother and learning more housewives skills. A good housewife would no doubt have made this ugly, foul-smelling cave nice and cozy. There were no more happy songs, and his once so bright aura was now fading. He still did sing sometimes, but now sad songs… sad but comforting.One late night she felt sadder than ever and very sure neither of them were ever getting out of this cave. She laid there talking to him; only get a few words now and then for response. And after a while she told him. She said the words she thought she’d never say to anyone. But no that it felt as if the end was near she saw no reason not to. And for a short while his aura shone as bright as ever, and he once more gave her the smile that warmed her whole body, almost making her feel noxious but in a good way. She crept closer and in to his arms. She felt at home like she never wanted to leave and this was the way life was supposed to be. When she woke up the next morning, happy beyond belief, she snuck up and made some kind of breakfast before going to wake him up. But he never woke up. He would never wake up again. And instead of having a happy life with the man she loved she was now enclosed in a smelly troll cave with her love dead.
Only a few days later she was found by some people from Rivendell. She never talked to them, never said a word. What could she say? How could she explain what had happened? How could she make anyone understand how this could have happened and been so right? After a few days in Rivendell, resting and healing, an elven woman came to her. “You are with child” she said. Just the thought of it made Safhira cry. She knew loving him would not be easy, but together they could’ve made it. But alone? Not a chance. Even though the lady said she was most welcome to stay in Rivendell for ever she left the next day without a single goodbye or thank you. She hadn’t said anything to them before so why start now?She had snuck onto a carriage heading for Ratchet and there she stayed for almost her whole pregnancy. The last few months, just about when her stomach was too big to be able to be taken for a regular chubby hobbit stomach, she ran into the woods. And she lived there alone for the time until the birth. She gave birth alone, out in the woods. It was avery tall child, with hobbit feet and elven ears. As soon as it got dark shesnuck into Bree and left the child on the steps of the orphanage. And she never looked back. Since that day, she had worked so hard not to think of him or their child ever again. After ten years she went back to the Shire, met a nice hobbit man and settled down in Michel Delving, had two children and played housewife. But it didn’t work. Almost every night she thought about running away again, and after another ten years she did.
And since then she had never slept two nights in the same place. She never went to bed; she just fell asleep in the woods where she was at the moment. And that suited her just fine.