I am now settled in The Prancing Pony in Bree and while it is not as sophisticated as I might see in Minas Tirith, it is comfortable enough for me. The landlord, Barliman Butterbur has made me very welcome and made it clear that he looks forward to hearing some new songs played.
I have spent some time pondering my life. I have said that I was raised in The White City but that I believe that I am from Harad. I may never know the truth of this but it seems to me that what makes a man is what he believes and what is said about him. This is not always truth. What I believe is fixed in my head and, over time, will become truth to me. As I am now in a strange land where no-one knows me, it seems time to begin a new life and to embrace what I believe to be my origins. So, this is my story.
My family lived on the banks of the river Poros – this rises on the borders of Mordor, and flows westwards to meet the Anduin above its mouth. The river marks the border of Gondor proper with the old land of South Gondor. Historically this region was a part of Gondor, but frequent assaults and invasions by the Corsairs of Umbar and the Haradrim meant that Gondor’s claim on this region was debatable at best. Some know this region as Near Harad. The majority of the Near Harad is desert but near the river the climate is milder and there is much use of irrigation.
Near Harad’s native people are known both as the Haradrim and the Southrons. They are often brown-skinned, with black hair and dark eyes. I have the brown skin and black hair though, strangely, my eyes are bright.
I think my parents may have been farmers or fisher-folk. This would have been a hard life at the best of times but with constant unrest between the tribes and raids from Gondor added to the dependence on good weather, there would have been real privations at times. Perhaps this was so bad at one point that my parents were forced to abandon, or even sell, me as an unwanted extra mouth to feed. Either that or I may have been carried off by Gondorians in a raid. Who knows? Nevertheless, Minas Tirith is where I ended up.
Here I was lucky as the family that “adopted” me was a fairly well-to-do merchant family. My father, or so I called him, was a tanner who made a very good living. The only problem was the smell from his tannery which meant that we lived outside of the city walls. Of course, I grew up with the smell and so didn’t notice it. My mother worked as a healer and I believe she have been a loremaster at one time. This meant that I learned a great deal of herbcraft as well as absorbing great tales and songs from her extensive repertoire.
Formally, I was also schooled in chivalry, military tactics and arms training and, when I was 14, I chose to enlist in the military in Minas Tirith. After three years serving as a Squire, I was sent to the academy in the White City with the hope of attaining an officer’s position. Alas, this dream was to end two years later when I was dismissed from the Academy when I was caught in an out-of-bounds brothel. I don’t think my parents ever recovered from the disappointment and, eventually, I resolved to make my way in the world.
So here I am in Bree with a harp, a store of songs and a hefty club. If music does not soothe the savage beast, my club will. I have also changed my garb so that it reflects, I hope, something of both Harad and Minas Tirith. I am ready to begin adventuring through Eriador.
This evening I played in the common room of the Pony. I think my songs were well received and I was pleased to meet a fellow Gondorian, Aegthil. He is famous as the finest minstrel to come from Gondor; I shall be pleased to style myself as the second best! Aegthil taught me a new song of his own composition and I shall be pleased to play it for you, it is called Hangin’ With Locney and has a rhythm that is strange but compelling to me.[audio https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D6066819_8194963_99655]