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B2MeM Prompt and Path: Purple path; Prompt--Things that go bump in the night
A Night By the High Hay
"Da! Wake UP!" Young Periadoc shoved his father's shoulder. Merry sat bolt upright instantly, his sword in his hand. Perry looked even more alarmed at his father's manner of waking than he had at the noises which had startled him.
Merry shook his head briskly to come fully awake and looked at his son. "What's wrong?" This had been Perry's first time to sit watch when camping with his father. Merry had business in Standelf the next day, just a half a league South of where they had set up camp. Since Pippin and Fam were visiting at Brandy Hall, they'd decided to take the lads with them and camp out.
"I heard something! Something's out there!"
Across the campfire, the other two members of the party awakened. Pippin, like his cousin woke quickly, sword in hand. His son Faramir also sat up, though more slowly. "What's going on, Papa?"
"Perry heard something," said Merry, "though we've yet to find out what."
"There it is again! What is it?"
Merry and Pippin stood up and looked in the direction from which the sound had come. Marry picked up a brand of firewood, and lit the end in the embers of the campfire. He held it up, and he and Pippin ventured slowly to the East a few steps. There just next to the High Hay, as the hedge wall was called, were two substantial broken branches. Several trees were crowded close the great green thicket that formed the wall between the Old Forest and Buckland. Two of the largest had clearly broken limbs.
"That was a warning," said Pippin.
Merry nodded. "We're too close." He raised his voice: "All right! You have made your point! We'll move further away!"
The four hobbits quickly broke camp, smothering the embers of their fire with dirt and gathering up their gear and the ponies, who had been tethered nearby, and moved a few rods further West. They did not bother with a fire, as the night was fair. They once again tethered the ponies and laid out their bedrolls.
"Won't we need a fire for breakfast?" asked Fam.
"I don't think so. We'll break our fast at the inn in Standelf," answered Merry. "Now, let's get some sleep."
"I'll keep watch the rest of the night," offered Pippin. Merry nodded his agreement.
The next morning, when they prepared to leave at first light, Fam pointed towards the High Hay. "Look!"
There were no trees visible beyond the hedge.
"Well," said Merry, "that answers one question I've always wondered about, ever since Isengard."
"Yes," said Pippin. "There are clearly huorns in the Old Forest."
As they rode to the village, Merry asked, "Did we ever tell you about Treebeard and Fangorn Forest?"
Perry had heard some of the story, but Fam had not, so their fathers regaled them with the tale until they came into Standelf. The sight of the inn, with its sign of The Watching Elf (a rather poorly rendered Elf, Merry and Pippin thought, though they'd never tell the innkeeper so) reminded them all of breakfast, and all thoughts of tales vanished.
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