Hello and welcome back to Hegg. I know it has been a long time since I posted anything and this story was the one most asked after. This story is for Kali. Incarnate. She has two fantastic Hobbit series of her own so if you are looking for something to read between chapters, please go show her some love. Now onto the story!
Chapter One: What Happens On Hegg
The story which I am about to relate to you, you've no doubt read before. It's a story about a wizard, thirteen dwarves, a hobbit, a mountain, a dragon, and a ring. That's the basic summary and it leaves out so much of what was truly important about the tale. A story about how the smallest of people could change the fate of the world and how even a bargeman could slay a dragon. It also tells how so much can be lost so quickly to greed and in one senseless battle for power. No doubt you'll notice that there are differences between this tale and the one you are familiar with. That is because this is the true version of the tale.
I, like many of you, grew up upon tales of wizards, dragons, dwarves, great battles, and magic. I never once thought I would find myself in the position that I had been in, and looking back, I wouldn't have changed anything that had happened. Because then, I wouldn't have learnt things about myself from those experiences. Things such as the resilience I already had and the strength to do things that I never would have ever imagined myself possible of, but most of all, I would have never found love.
So…we begin our tale much like it is always begun. In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole filled with the ends of worms, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat. This was a hobbit-hole and that meant good food, a warm hearth, and all the comforts of home. In this particular hobbit-hole lived a hobbit by the name of Baggins, Bilbo Baggins to be precise. But this is not a tale about Hobbits, though one is primarily featured in it. No, this is a tale about something much bigger than anyone could have imagined.
Dwarves, dragons, and wizards do feature in it, of course, but our tale begins before the quest to recover the mountain, when Smaug was still a distant thought in the minds of our adventurers. And that, dear reader, is where I come in. For quite by chance and the will of the Valar, fate decided that I too would become part of this tale. It began rather differently than you might expect.
In a home above the ground on the island of Hegg, an island that lies half drowned and wind battered, the further most point of the outer most spray that it the curling wave of the Outer Hebrides. For all of you who are lacking in any sort of geographical knowledge, the Outer Hebrides is located off the coast of Scotland.
It is here on this barren, desolate rocky island that seventy-five brave souls reside. Most of the population is…seventy-five, or even older than that. Of course, that estimation does not account for Hegg's roaring sheep population which out numbers us ten to one. Our story, unfortunately, begins here in the home of one Adaira Durinson, a woman of thirty-three summers and the only unattached woman on all of Hegg who was not neither widowed nor a bairn, more specifically, me.
It was on one of Hegg's rarer sunny days that my story begins and the first of the strange occurrences took place. The fact that the sun was shining when I awoke was already unusual. It rains more than it shines on Hegg and pours more than it rains. However, Hegg had just experienced a ghastly storm that had sent the brave souls of Hegg fleeing into their homes.
Several people were now harboring sheep who had also sought safety as the storm raged on. It was in my home that I too had discovered a sheep in the parlor attempting to eat a doily which I had knitted in youth. It had already been lopsided and holey before the sheep had gotten its jaws on it.
The light of the early morning sun filtered through my window, several drops of rain pattering onto the ledge of the outside or tapping on the glass. It was still misting outside, though the torrential rain of the storm that had assaulted Hegg for the last several days had finally come to an end.
I smiled to myself as I got up and walked over to my vanity table, running a comb through my bronze colored tresses which had become a rat's nest in the night. Though my father hair had been dark as a raven's wing, I had inherited my mother's fiery copper locks, though I had never met her and only ever seen a sketch of her that my Da had drawn. He told me it didn't do her enough justice. I looked very much like her, my face heart shaped and my skin a creamy white, almost like fresh milk.
My eyes were as blue as sapphires, a trait which I had inherited from my father. He always said that I had inherited the typical Durin blue eyes, but mine had green flecks in them also that were entirely due to my mother. Though I had never met my mum, my Da had told me many times that I looked just like her, inheriting her fiery temperament that matched the color of our hair. My father had often joked that my temper was completely due to the bonnie lass he had taken for a bride. Though from both my parents, I had inherited fierce protectiveness and a loyalty that was unshakeable. It was the hair he swore, as bright as fire against the moon and eyes as bright as my character.
As many features I received from my mother, her freckles and her stature, those of my mother's family being taller, but not by very much, than my father's family. I had only gotten my father's nose and smile and something of a slightly slimmer build, even my skin color which was lighter than my father's tanned skin.
The years might have passed since my father disappeared without a trace and yet the pain of losing him was still as sharp as a knife to the chest. I could only keep moving on, hoping to make him proud by my actions and hoping that maybe one day I would see him again. That was but a fond hope. Deep down I knew that we would only meet again by death.
I now lived in my father's home, alone, where I had lived since I was a girl of about fourteen. I had learnt how to support myself well enough as a girl and when I was sixteen, I had taken up as the apprentice to the town's only doctor. Though the term healer was more appropriate as we had no modern medical equipment on the island. No one ever got seriously injured, a broken leg or sprained ankle from getting a foot caught in a rabbit warren. There were no predators on the island save for crows and gulls which stayed by the wharf, picking off fish from the sailor's nets. There weren't even have any spiders, or at the very least I had never seen one before.
After I brushed through my hair, I quickly undid my braids and rewove them in my hair. I always kept the braid that my father had braided in my hair at the same length as when he disappeared as a tribute of remembrance to him. My hair was now past the small of my back and most times I kept it piled on the top of my hair in a messy bun, only my braid hanging near my right ear.
Today I braided my hair in a long Dutch braid, my single braid hanging by my ear, beads hanging from it. I had several more worked in my longer braid. I threw on a pair of dark brown leggings and a deep blue tunic dress which brought out the color of my eyes before sinking my sock clad feet into a pair of supple, soft leather boots. I was glad to have my old hunting boots if the weather had turned the island into muddy moorland.
The stairs creaked under my feet as I walked down, and I sighed deeply as I saw that blasted sheep back in the kitchen. I probably had forgotten to lock the door last night and it pushed open with enough force. The sheep baaed at me and I glared at it, thinking what a lovely haggis it would make.
"Right," I grumbled as I walked around the sheep and armed myself with my cast iron skillet. "Get out of my kitchen!" I shouted, brandishing the skillet at the sheep. It baaed at me once more before I smacked it on the rump and it went fleeing from the house, still chewing on my doily. "And stay out!" I shouted after the fleeing sheep as I slammed the door close and locked it.
I shook my head and set the skillet back on the stove, taking a knife and the fresh baked bread off of the side board and bringing it over to the table. I danced around the kitchen, slicing some cheese to go on my bread and making tea.
I broke my fast on the simple breakfast before tidying up the kitchen. I grabbed my cloak from the coat rack and swung it over my shoulders, tucking my hair under it. I grabbed my book and took off in the early morning light, ready to enjoy the sunshine while it lasted.
On days where it was sunny, I took to the heath and the heather to enjoy it while it lasted. I hiked up the rolling hills, no other houses in sight. My father's house was on the outskirts of town and only rolling hills surrounded it. As I mounted the top of a rolling hill, I made a disgusted face as the smell of wet wool hit me.
"Oh look a sheep and another and let me guess if I were to turn around…there would be another sheep," I said, nodding as found a sheep much in need of shearing chomping and dripping wet chomping on the blades of grass in front of me.
"Nice to know that things never change on Hegg," I sighed as I pulled my woolen cloak off and laid it out over the wet clover so that I could sit down cross legged upon it. My cloak was a dark blue and curling vines and geometric lettering was embroidered along the edges. It fastened with a silver brooch at the throat which my father had made for me on my last birthday when I turned fourteen right before he disappeared.
My parents were not originally from Hegg. Rather, my father, and I had come to Hegg after my mother's death when I was no more than a wee child. My Da missed his home and had spoken to me often of his family as I grew up. I knew he had an older brother and a younger sister, but he had always told me when I asked that it was impossible to visit them, especially now. I never understood what he meant by that, but I had left it be. Da never liked talking of them much. But I knew that my grandfather was alive as well, though Da wasn't sure exactly where he was anymore.
Growing up, my Da had told me stories of where we were from every night, along with fairytales about a place called Middle Earth and a Dwarven kingdom which was stolen by a dragon, the Dwarves left to wander before they fought a battle with the Orcs who had taken over the Dwaven kingdom of Moria.
The hero of the story was a raven-haired Dwarf who wielded an oak branch as a shield and cut the arm from the leader of the Orcs, Azog the Defiler. The battle had been won, but many of the Dwarves were lost that day. However, the warrior become king after the Defiler cut the head off of his great grandfather, the king and his father went missing leaving him as the only heir to the throne. I grew to learn several lessons from my Da's stories. Never trust an elf for one and just as importantly always be on the watch for Orcs.
Da had always told me that an Oak would stand sure in the face of all adversary. I guess that was why I always loved Thorin, the great Dwarven King my father had told me stories about. He was a great leader, a true King. One that needed a right kick in the shin sometimes, but a king, nonetheless.
I read for a bit, looking over my herbal book until the sky started to grow grey with storm clouds. I sighed in sadness. It appeared that the sun couldn't last forever. Oh well, I would have to return my silent home sooner or later anyway. I got up and carefully tucked my book back under my arm so that the pages wouldn't get wet as soon as the downpour began.
Hegg was known for its sudden heavy rain that could start and stop as soon as you could blink. I picked up my cloak next and shook it out before throwing it over my shoulders. It would at least keep some of the water off me since I had waterproofed it. I looked up as I heard a loud bleating and I shook my head as I saw that a sheep was struggling to pull itself free from an area of grass and was thus going mental.
"Did you go and get yourself stuck in a rabbit hole?" I asked I snorted slightly and rolled my eyes. "And what would you have done if I wasn't out here?" I asked the sheep as if he could respond to me as I walked closer to him.
"Not really a smart thing to do is it, walking right into a rabbit hole," I said as I managed to grab the sheep round the middle and pull him free of the hole. I let him go quickly and he ran away from me.
"Oh yeah, no appreciation at all," I shouted after the sheep as he ran away bleating loudly, dropping the doily it had been chewing on. "Great, it's ruined. Just have it. Have that," I said in disgust before I frowned suddenly when the flashing of some sort of light got right in my eye. I looked down, trying to find where the light had reflected off of and I couldn't really find anything upon a first glance. I couldn't see the hole that the sheep had gotten himself stuck into either.
"What did you get yourself stuck into then?" I asked thoughtfully as I took a cautious step forward and saw the light glinting off of a piece of metal now. I bent over and my hand touched the cold metal and I picked it up to find that it was a Celtic Oak brooch. "Odd…," I said before I felt the ground crumble from beneath my feet, the ground seemingly opening and swallowing me whole.
I felt myself slipping downwards and I tried to grab onto something but there was nothing to grab onto and I felt my head smash against something before I blacked out. Apparently, danger could be found on Hegg and thanks to a sheep, my life was about to get a whole lot more interesting.