Shiona Anklebiter, Fighter

Shiona wasn't always an anklebiter, though it was probably in her blood and she never knew it.

She'd lived with Granny Took just outside the Old Forest for a long time. Granny Took had been something of an oddity herself, living alone on the edge of the Forest, cultivating Old Toby pipeweed and selling it in Bree and other far off places. So Shiona was already well travelled when she moved to Michel Delving, and well used to the company of Dwarves, Humans and Elves.

Maybe that's why she could never settle and found herself now, years later, crouching on top of the snow-clad hills overlooking the Ettenmoors, keeping a wary look out for Orcs while she worked to heal an unfortunate (and pretty stupid) young dwarf who obviously thought he could take on a whole warg-pack single handed.

So much had happened since she left the Shire. So many adventures, battles won and lost, new friends made and old friends gone, some forever. This is the story of Shiona's journey through Middle Earth.

Just a scrapbook of hastily thrown together memories in no particular order, jumbled together and bulging at the seams - much like one of her kit-bags really.......

6 Feb 2010

2. Spiders and swords, part one

Running, running, running, frantic for breath but too scared to stop, Shiona dived into the ditch and burrowed down into the grass, lungs bursting.

“Please let them be gone, please let them be gone” she panted. Curling herself into a ball she waited, silently, listening for the ominous clicking but could hear nothing. As quietly as her shaking hands would allow, she stretched up to the top of the ditch, parted the tufts of grass and scanned up and down the track. There appeared to be no sign of them.

Giant Spiders, her worst nightmare. “How am I ever supposed to kill them off when they stay so close together?” she wondered, fighting the urge to be violently sick. “They’re a whole lot worse than the ones in the Old Forest and they were bad enough” she thought, ruefully rubbing the puncture wound on her arm. Sipping the last of the potion she’d bought, she slipped back down into the ditch & tried to control her heaving stomach while she waited for the liquid to take effect. “I should have bought more of this”, she thought to herself. “I didn’t realise I was going to need so much.  Oh no, I’m going to be sick again!” Shivering uncontrollably, Shiona fell into a fitful sleep, hidden from view.

Some time later she awoke with a start. Checking again for signs of any movement along the track, she crawled shakily from the ditch. It was dark now and the dew had started to seep through her clothes, chilling her to the bone. “I need to find somewhere dry to rest” she thought. She scanned her surroundings for signs of anything familiar and realised with a huge sense of relief she had practically bumped into the walls of Ost Guruth in her desperate haste to be rid of the spiders. She climbed the dark steps wearily & headed inside.

The next morning, after a hot supper and a relatively comfortable night’s sleep, Shiona re-stocked on food and dubious potions and prepared to set off again. “Hullo” said a voice from behind. She turned to see a tall young man, grinning cheekily. “I saw you come in last night, looking a bit worse for wear. What have you been up to then? It was those spiders, wasn’t it? Have you been trying to kill them with that club?" he laughed "Messy! You need a good sword, you know. Oh, my name’s Aldefrith” he said almost as an afterthought. “So where are you going now, then? To finish what you started? I’ll come with you if you like. I can show you how to kill ‘em off really quick . You need to buy a sword first, though. One like this, see!” He drew a handsome looking sword and made a few thrusts at thin air.

“Erm, I’ll stick with my club if you don’t mind, it’s more than just a bashing machine” said Shiona warily. “Anyway, it’s none of your business what my business is, and whatever it is, I wasn’t planning on meeting any more spiders, alone or accompanied”. “As you like” grinned Aldefrith “but if you’re planning on heading any further East or North, you’d do well to travel in company. Good luck anyway, I’m off to Agamaur. Maybe I’ll see you again - if the spiders don’t get you first”. Chuckling to himself, Aldefrith turned and headed down the steps.

Shiona mulled it over for while. She'd been asked to collect some rare moss from around there.
Gathering up her club and her bag, she sprinted down the steps. “Aldefrith, wait a minute…..”
She found him, sat waiting on a rock outside Ost Guruth, munching on a sandwich.
”I’m not taking you anywhere till you get rid of that club” said Aldefrith.  He grinned broadly and motioned to a grubby looking bag. Shiona peeked inside and helped herself to a large lump of bread liberally covered in tasty looking gooey scrambled egg.

“This club has been good to me” she said defensively, taking a big bite of the sandwich. “It’s a bit mucky at the end, I know, but it’ll wash up OK”
Aldefrith laughed. “That’ll be spider brains”, he chuckled. “You were covered in them when you came in yesterday. I keep telling you, get a sword, it’s not so messy. Nice clean cut to the stomach and they drop their guts in a neat little heap on the ground”
“Urrgh! do leave off” spluttered Shiona. “I think I’ll save this for later.” she said, studying the scrambled egg topping more closely.
“I’ll finish it if you don’t want it”, said Aldefrith, eyeing the remnants of the sandwich. “Right, let’s get you fixed up with a sword and then we’ll leave”

“And what if I don’t want……” Shiona’s words tailed off as Aldefrith disappeared back up the steps. She sighed and turned to follow.

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