King's Folk, The
8. Home Again, But Not At Home
Their folk welcomed the train home with almost tearful
relief, but listened rather skeptically to stories of
golden towers and silver trees and magic gates.
To Beomann's surprise his father seemed even less
enthusiastic about rebuilding the cities than Gil had
been. "We don't want a lot of outsiders tearing up the
Wild and making trouble. We've had enough of that!"
"Dad! This would be the Rangers." Beomann
Butterbur had the grace to look embarrassed. "Well
of course that's a little different, no offense meant."
"Naturally they want to live like decent folk
again," Mrs. Butterbur said, with a kindly smile at
Dan, "who wouldn't, the poor dears."
"Perfectly understandable you'd be concerned, Mr.
Butterbur," Treebole said with a straight face but a
fugitive glint of amusement in his eye, "given what's
happened here lately. But I promise you the Dunadan's
thinking of proper settlements of respectable folk
following the King's Law, not camps of brigands or
tramps, and none near enough to Bree to crowd you."
"Wutherington would be the closest and it's more
than twenty leagues away as the crow flies." Dan put
"Just think how good it will be for business, Dad,"
Beomann added, "what with people travelling back and
forth between the cities and all."
"That would be all to the good." Butterbur
admitted. "But the idea takes a little getting used
to, if you take my meaning. We don't like change here
in Bree, 'specially since it's mostly for the worst -
or has been."
Treebole smiled wryly. "Well if it's any comfort to
you, Mr. Butterbur, we're none to sure how we feel
about it either. It's been quite a while since we
lived like 'decent folk' and it's going to take some
getting used to for us too."
Beomann just couldn't seem to settle back down to
the hum-drum life of Bree. It wasn't that he yearned
for white marble cities with golden domes, the very
air fairly stiff with magic - far from it! What he
couldn't stand was the thought of all the things going
on out there somewhere; battles being fought, cities
rebuilt and a kingdom being reborn with him knowing
nothing about it and having no part in it at all.
His father saw his discontent and it worried him.
"We should never have let him go," he told the Missis,
"who knows what ideas it's put into his head?"
But he, Butterbur, was getting some odd notions of his
own these days.
Part of him wanted Bree to stay exactly the way it
was, just as he'd told Treebole. Yet somehow he
couldn't forget the vision Silverlock's song had shown
him; the fruitful, golden land with tall cities and
tall Kings to guard it. If Strider - the King he
should say - could bring those days back again surely
it would be a good thing? Dimly Butterbur forsaw the
possibility of a larger, more prosperous Bree. No
longer a lonely island of habitation lost in the Wild
but an important center in a greater realm.
It was more than a month since Dan and Treebole had
disappeared into the Wild, on patrol they said, and
neither they nor any other Ranger had been seen in
Bree since. The lack of news was driving Beomann half
"And they have these lamps," he told his mother and
sisters early one morning as they swept and scrubbed
the common room for another day's custom, "glassy
globes in silver cages. Perfectly clear by day but at
night they glow all silvery-blue. And they hang them
from the trees lining the streets and in the parks to
light them up at night."
"Dear me," said his mother, "how does anybody get
any sleep then?"
"Oh it's not so bright as all that." Beomann
assured her. "And it's very pretty to see, like little
moons caught in the branches of the trees."
"Hmmm." Ishbel Butterbur straightened to give her
son a thoughtful look. "Pretty maybe, but it doesn't
sound very homey to me."
"It's not." he agreed ruefully. "I'm glad to have
seen the Kings' City but I wouldn't want to live
there!" he meant it too, every word, and his mother
knew it and was satisfied.
"I'd like to see it too." Lusey, Beomann's youngest
sister, said suddenly.
Her mother frowned at her, then smiled. "To tell
the truth so would I. Maybe someday we'll let Beomann
take us there." and all four of her children looked at
her in amazment for Ishbel had never gone farther than
the Forsaken Inn, nor wanted to. Not even to the
annual fair at Hoarwelling.
The outer door opened and Mr. Butterbur hurried to
the counter to greet the first customer of the day.
Beomann dropped his broom and rushed around the bar
to see for himself. All Rangers were tall, topping the
Bree Men by a half head or more, but Longbow was a
real giant, the tallest Man Beomann had ever seen, and
carried a bow as long as he was, hence his name.
"Has there been any more trouble with the Hill
Men?" he demanded, "and have they started the
rebuilding yet? And is there any word of when the
King's coming home?"
Longbow looked at him in astonishment and his
father clucked his tongue. "Now, now, Beomann, what
kind of greeting is that? At least let the Man sit
down before you start pelting him with questions."
"That's all right, Mr. Butterbur." Longbow assured
him, smiled kindly down at Beomann. "I'm afraid I
don't know any more about the state of the northern
frontier than you, my duty lies in the south and the
east. Nor do I know when Aragorn plans to come home,
soon I hope. As for the rebuilding, that's why I've
come, to meet Gilvagor and Aranel and inspect the
sites of Wutherington and Sudbury."
"Gil's coming here?"
Longbow nodded. "Bree is a convenient meeting place
for us. They should arrive sometime today."
"That's nice," Butterbur said, perhaps a little to
heartily, "always a welcome for Rangers here." Longbow
had the courtesy to betray no surprise at this
startling new sentiment. "And what is your right
"Belegon son of Belecthor." the Innkeeper's face
congealed and he added quickly. "But Longbow does very
"No, no, Belegon it is." repeated to himself under
his breath. "Bel-e-gon, Bel-e-gon. Right, got it."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.