The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings belongs to JRR Tolkien and the movies belong to Peter Jackson. I'm just a devoted fan.

So I went to the midnight premiere of The Hobbit and it totally inspired me to write my first Hobbit fanfiction! The title is from the Talking Heads song, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody), which I listened to on repeat while writing the first chapter. I think the song fully describes the story I am about to tell.

Edited as of 2/19/13.

On Her Own

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.
- Ursula K. Le Guin

"Get back here, thief!"

"She's struck my stand again!"

"Don't you know some of us have children to feed?"

"Burglar! Burglar!"

She was used to hearing the screams. The thief had heard worse than the shouts listed above, some with even darker profanities. The cries and exclamations no longer bothered her as she pulled the cloak over her face and found a tight alleyway to slide into while the fat human men tromped all around Rivertown, angrily yelling to find the swift thief and punish her. She had only lived here for the past three weeks, longer than any other town or village she had taken up residence in and frankly she was surprised she hadn't been shooed out. Yet.

Bundled up in her heavy tattered cloak, the evening sun set as the yelling died down over the crowded houses of Rivertown. Waiting until the coast was clear, she finally pulled out the loaf of freshly basked bread she had yanked from the bakery earlier this afternoon. It felt warm in her hands and the smell stirred her stomach hungry. She broke off an end piece and tossed it into her mouth, enjoying every chew. She was used to going hungry for a day or two but this was going on for three days now and she could no longer resist the hunger.

"Yum," she muttered with bread crumbs on her lips, licking them as she rested her head against the cold wall of the building, her knees to her chest as to not be seen in the alleyway.

She was a thief. A burglar, a pickpocket and a no-good, dishonest young traveler. Hardly formidable and less than intimidating, it wasn't her physical presence that caused so much alarm. It was how light she was on those bare feet of hers and how she could hardly been seen in a crowd. Being little worked to her advantage.

Thunder cracked in the night sky and the full moon shone down on the street. It began to rain and a small dent in the cobblestone path in the alleyway began to pool up with muddy rain water. She peered into the small puddle, seeing a faint dark outline of her profile in the water. Dark hair full of cowlicks, an awkward neck and those ears...Sighing, she pressed her back against the wall, hoping the rain would slide off the roof and not land on her. With no place to stay for the night, she huddled up and rested her chin against her kneecaps to keep warm.

This was Relly Crillynook's wayward life. Always travelling, always stealing, never taking up permanent residence. This was the life she had lead for the past twenty years and yet, the young thief desired more to her bare-bones existence.

It was morning and the young woman was soaked to the bone, groaning as she lifted her head off her shoulder and squinted her eyes at the morning sun. Something in her hands felt squishy and she grit her teeth in horror to learn that her bread was now damp and soggy. Disappointed, she chucked the wet loaf onto the ground, only to curse herself to doing something so stupid in the first place. Her stomach groaned and she peered out from the hood of her cloak to see if any of the shops in the open market bazaar were open yet. If she could just quickly pick an apple off the stands...

"Oi! There she is! The thief who swiped my bread!" The portly baker identified Relly as she froze up, not expecting to be caught. Without thinking, Relly turned on her heels and began running as fast as her little legs could carry her, wishing she ate more of that soggy bread for the energy. "Get back here!"

She limped, making a sharp left at a row of small tenement buildings and the one time she peered over her shoulder, it proved to be a bad idea.

Oomph! She smacked her face into the back of someone, landing on her bottom as her muscles tensed up, raising her head as she looked at whoever she just ran into. He was very tall with grey clothes, a tall pointy blue hat and carried a carved, gnarly wooden staff. The thief came to the conclusion he was homeless, powerful or just plain out of place. He certainly didn't belong here in Rivertown, that was for certain.

"Oh? I'm sorry madam, it appears I stood in your busy way. Pardon me," and he stepped aside graciously for her to exit but it was too late. The baker caught up to them and he was red in the face, ready to yell until he looked at the mysterious grey figure. He paused, allowing the young woman to actually breathe for once as Relly stood up and prepared to start running once more. Unfortunately, the baker had caught up to both the grey man and Relly. She ducked behind Gandalf.

"Gandalf, yer just in the right place! This crook has been terrorizing Rivertown for weeks now, maybe you could use some of yer magicky gumbo!" the baker suggested to Gandalf. "Teach the thief a lesson!"

Her lips parted. A wizard? In Rivertown? Who would have thought it? She gulped at the thought of magic being performed on her as her hazel eyes widened, shrugging her shoulders. The old wizard curiously looked from the baker to the thief and chuckled lightly, much to her surprise. Maybe he was a kook.

"Is it true that you have been stealing from this man and others in this town?" he asked her clearly but not interrogating her like a member of the force. Not sure what to say, the thief merely nodded. She was facing the music, something she absolutely hated doing. She hadn't been caught before and now she was backed into a corner like a hurt pup. Relly's eyes darkened, rubbing her arm anxiously as she looked between the baker and the wizard.

"It's settled then. I know what to do with you, miss...?" he waited for the thief to introduce herself, his politeness almost throwing her for a loop.

Her hazel eyes narrowed a bit, not understanding why he wanted to know her name. Was he going to turn her into a bug or color her skin purple? Not wanting to change her shape anytime soon, she decided to reveal her name to the wizard in the hopes of gaining sympathy. "'s Relly. Relly Crillynook."

Her surname perked Gandalf's ears but he remained calm and kept a smile on his wrinkled face, a huge height gap between the thief and the well-respected wizard. "Relly, would you like to accompany me on a trip? At the end of it, I promise you will never have to scrape nor scrounge for food again."

The thief shifted her eyes around the town square, between the seething baker and the relaxed wizard. Not having anything else to look forward to Relly nodded, accepting the offer. As the baker finally left them alone, Relly raised her head a little higher while she brushed off the dirt from her cloak, allowing Gandalf a better look at her face. He noticed her long, straight nose, almond shaped eyes and round ears with a soft point to them. She mainly had Hobbit-ish features but even Gandalf could tell she looked rather odd.

With strange but reluctantly accepting glances, Gandalf and his new travelling companion left the gates of Rivertown. The grass was still wet from the morning dew and the smell of the day after a night of rain filled her nostrils. Relly didn't say anything at first, stuffing her hands into the sewn pockets of her cloak until she whipped her head upwards. "How do you know that I won't rob you blind and cut your throat?"

Gandalf let out a deep laugh, one that unsettled Relly to the core and left that as an answer to her question. As his laugh ended, his grey eyes fell onto Relly as the pair continued to walk. "It's a far ways away from Hobbiton, wouldn't you say? On my trips do I rarely see Hobbits outside of the Shire. Not impossible to hear of though."

Relly averted her eyes, a soft frown forming on her sharp face. "I'm not welcome there."

"Which is why you must make yourself welcome to others. I'm headed towards Hobbiton and I believe you could use a warm welcoming."

Relly inwardly groaned. Not that place, anywhere but Hobbiton. Granted, she was indebted to Gandalf for rescuing her from a rightfully angry baker, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to return to Hobbiton. Maybe she'd fare better back in Rivertown.

There was a reason why Relly left the Shire in the first place, why she had been on her own for most of her life. The Hobbit blood in her veins yearned for the pastoral fields and under-the-hill homes while the feverish Men blood in her craved more excitement. The thrill of stealing and living on the road clashed with the Hobbit desire to stay in one place. For a long time, she ignored all thoughts of her birth place, pretending she was born to be on the run.

Gandalf noticed Relly lost in her thoughts. He smiled to himself as the two made their way over the Eriador fields to reach the boundaries of the Shire. Gandalf hadn't expected another member to the party he was gathering but perhaps a real thief could be of some use to him and the company of Thorin Oakenshield. This Relly Crillynook intrigued Gandalf to say the least. A sudden light flashed behind his grey eyes but he remained silent, not sure if Relly Crillynook wanted to hear what he wanted to say.

Bilbo Baggins was going to be in for a real treat.

So, if you haven't figured it out, Relly is half-Hobbit, half-human which is a source of distress for her.

Please review and let me know your thoughts, okay?