I met with Lobelia Sackville-Baggins; she was in a bad mood and demanded that I prove my worth as a Bounder by talking to Wilcome Tunnelly, the quarrymaster at Scary, about the rumours of goblins on the edges of the Shire.
‘Why do we even need a Mayor, or Bounders, or Shirriffs, if they can’t keep my nephew Murdo from being threatened and abducted and put through all kinds of hardship? The Sackville-Bagginses are a very important family in these parts! I’ve heard that there are goblins on the edges of the Shire. Goblins! If you ask me, you should stop running pointless errands for our fat mayor and should do something about them!’
‘But he’s the Mayor’, I protested.
‘Never mind about that, I’ve heard that Wilcome Tunnelly, the quarry supervisor in Scary, has seen goblins on the Greenfields. Talk to him and get to the bottom of this, Seolferwulf. Hmmph…goblins!’
Well, it seemed as though I had little choice so I set off towards Scary. This was a pleasant trip up through Hobbiton and on through Brokenborings. I soon found Wilcome Tunnelly who told me that he was concerned about something his sister Pansy saw out on the Greenfields.
‘My sister Pansy is a good sort, but she can be rather excitable. When she gets an idea in her head, it stays there, no matter how silly it might be, and before you know it, she’s convinced half the Shire that it’s true.
She saw something out on the Greenfields the other day, and she thinks…well, maybe you’d better talk to her about it. Folk have seen goblins on the edges of the Shire, but this…try and talk some sense into her for me, will you? You’ll find her wandering around the town square here in Scary, stirring the folk, I shouldn’t wonder.’
I spoke with Pansy Tunnelly. She, being certain that goblins are in the Shire, sent you to search rabbit holes for evidence. She said that she saw a goblin searching among the rabbit holes to the north-west of town.
Well, I spent half a day searching rabbit holes, not an easy tasks with bears about! All I found for my trouble was a small, pointy stone inside one of the rabbit holes. It seems unlikely that Pansy’s “goblin” was seeking it, but I showed it to her just in case.
Oh dear, she is convinced that the pointy stone is really a goblin-tooth! She also believes it is proof that the long-dead goblin-king Golfimbul has returned and is searching for his head. She asked me to show the “goblin-tooth” to Bounder Primstone in the Watch-house at Brockenborings. I think she has been out in the sun a touch too long.
While Bounder Primstone did not believe Pansy Tunnelly’s stories of goblins on the Greenfields, he still thinks it would be wise to investigate her sighting.
‘We’ve been under a lot of pressure lately from folk in Brockenborings and the nearby villages complaining that Mayor Whitfoot hasn’t done more to deal with problems in the Shire. Maybe we should make absolutely sure that Miss Tunnelly’s goblin is a figment of her imagination.
‘There’s a hunter of some kind who camps out on the Greenfields. His name is Halros, and for one of the Big Folk he seems to be a decent enough fellow. Show him that pointy stone of yours and ask him what he makes of it. To find his camp, follow the wall east out of Brockenborings. When it leaves the road, head off the path and follow the wall to a copse of trees.
‘He might know what that stone really is.’
I found Halros rather easily, I just had to follow the sounds of screaming goblins! I arrived in time to help him polish off the last few. Halros believes that the creatures have established a foothold somewhere to the north.
‘While I am not from the Shire, my kindred are sworn to defend its folk against all threats. I am what the folk of Bree would call a Ranger. If you will aid me in my task, you will have my gratitude, Seolferwulf.
‘The goblin encampment must be somewhere to the north, but I have not yet had an opportunity to track these goblins. We should each set out in opposite directions and search the north Greenfields. If you find the encampment, thin their numbers as much you can, then return here to my camp. I will do the same.
‘For the sake of the good folk who make their homes in this peaceful place, I hope we find the lair of these goblins, Seolferwulf.’
We scouted the area and found more goblins to the north, rather a lot of them. After thinning their ranks a little, we returned to camp.
Halros said ‘Two goblin encampments…I cannot understand what would bring goblins to the Shire after so long and in such numbers. Bounder Primstone must be warned of the grave threat these goblins pose.
‘Go to the Watch-house in Brockenborings and give him these tidings. Just head back along the wall and to the west. His town will be the first to fall if the goblins attack, so he deserves as much warning as we have to give.
‘Warn him to be wary, however, not to wag his tongue too much. It would do more harm than good to panic these people.’
Bounder Primstone had his own problems, as if the presence of goblins north of Brockenborings is not enough, workers at the quarry in Scary, including the once doubtful Wilcome Tunnelly, believe they have made a major discovery. He told me ‘It looks like my sister Pansy wasn’t too far wrong, after all! We’ve got Golfimbul’s head in that cave.
You’ve got to go into the cave down at the bottom of the quarry and recover that skull. My lads mentioned that a strange mist covered the floor of the room where they found the skull. I won’t blame you if you bring friends with you! In fact, I encourage you to do so! The spiders have really made themselves at home in the quarry, and who knows what other evils Golfimbul’s head might stir up down there?
‘Bring it up here so we can have a look at it, and maybe we can figure out what’s going on.’
Off I went, my poor legs, back and forth all the time. Ah well, at least the cave wasn’t complicated, I never did like twisty, turny passages! It was a simple matter to clear a path to the back end where I found what appeared to be a skull.
However, that wasn’t the end of it, Wilcome Tunnelly thinks it will be safest for all if it is kept in the same place as the famed club of Bandobras ‘Bullroarer’ Took. Wilcome has asked you to take the skull to Brombard Foxtail. Back to Michel Delving, a journey of 2 days for me, sigh.
Eventually, I arrived at the Mathom-house where I spoke to Keeper Foxtail. Alas, he did not have the famous Bullroarer’s Club, he has lent it to Bounder Primstone. Yes, the very Bounder Primstone I had so recently been talking to and who mentioned nothing of this! I’m beginning to believe in a fiendish plot within The Shire to wear my poor legs to stumps.
So back I went to see Bounder Primstone. Believing that Bullroarer’s club will enable him to scare the goblins out of the Shire, Bounder Primstone is preparing to journey to the goblin encampment which you found. He told you not to come with him, but to tell Halros that Primstone will soon have dealt with the goblins.
Halros was not amused and fears he has made a terrible mistake.
‘I have learned something of our enemy. Lubach, the leader of these goblins, is under the sway of a Man from the north, from Angmar, I believe. It was long thought that none of that people still dwelled in the north, but it seems they have returned.
‘I do not know what lies this Man of Angmar told to Lubach, but he has convinced him that he is the heir of Golfimbul, and that he must fulfil Golfimbul’s ambition: the domination of the Shire.
‘We must not delay, Seolferwulf. Gather your allies and rescue Bounder Primstone! I will seek out some of my kindred and meet you inside the goblin encampment to the north-west! Look for the cave entrance inside the camp…if the hobbit is alive, he will surely be within the cave, seeking Lubach!’
Well, to cut a long story short, I found the cave and Bounder Primstone without trouble. Once I had met up with him, we proceeded to put an end to Lubach.
Halros arrived and was greatly concerned that he was unable to find any of his kindred to stand with you against the threat of Lubach and Éogan, and worries that something has happened to them.
‘I do not know what fate has befallen my kindred, but I fear for them. I fear too for the continued safety of the Shire, for I am but one man and cannot stand alone against the dangers that even now crouch on the borders. I last received word that the Captain of my people is at The Prancing Pony, an inn of Bree. I would ask you to speak to him at once, and tell him what has happened here. He must know that Éogan is somewhere in the wild, and that the rest of our people may be in danger.
Go, Seolferwulf. Travel east across the Brandywine River into Bree-land and find my chieftain. The man you wish to speak with is named Butterbur, the owner of the Prancing Pony. He will know my captain by the name of Strider. Hurry, for the Shire may well be unprotected.’
I returned to Michel Delving for a few days well earned rest. There I was lucky to meet up with a fellow kinsman, Yido. We spent some time discussing a mutual love, fishing. Yido styled himself Lord of Streams – I thought this a little silly, why not ne Lord of Rivers! Still, a nice fellow.