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Just skip to the next post if you want the basic layout. This is mostly just me fooling around with writing.

 

************

 

Azaelia Took didn't much like how her life in Hobbiton was going. True, she had a solid comfortable life--though her hobbit hole was rather bare due to a nagging fear that whatever she might do to improve it would only end in disaster. (She was rather clumsy.) She had a nice supportive family who often reminded her that she needed to do things like eat and drink water. Azaelia was never very good at remembering these things and had to have a schedule in order to remember them. Of course, the lack of eating was quite unhobbitlike and the other hobbits tended to worry about her--for she was a sweet creature who tended to make a good impression on whomever she met and people seemed to naturally want to care for her (though she rarely let them).

 

Despite all these wonderful things, Azaelia was terribly unhappy. She had a job organizing things--a task she detested but was good at nonetheless. She spent most of her days and nights organizing things and making sure that everything was in its proper order so that other hobbits wouldn't have to bother. She, of course, had to bother a great deal in order to do this, which was part of why she was so miserable.

 

She was very attracted to the life of the elves, and always wanted to hear stories about them and their grace. Any Took relative who came from Rivendell (after the affair had been quietly written off as a touring holiday in Bree) was bound to be bombarded with questions. She had a picture that one of the unfortunate relatives had been forced to draw up of an elf and she kept it framed on her wall (one of the pieces of decoration she owned).  She had maps of all sorts of as many different places as she could find floating around Hobbiton (these too went on her wall) and had tried to learn Elvish several times.

 

"Why don't you go on an adventure yourself?" one of the unfortunate relatives grumbled one evening after a particularly incisive series of questions.

 

So she did.

 

Azaelia travelled all over Middle Earth. She visited the elves in Rivendell, saw the great halls of Gondor, and even came close to walking into Mordor. And when she came back (somewhat leaner and more agile than when she had left), she had all kinds of stories to tell (for no one could cover up her adventures as simply a walking trip to Bree) and told them to as many people as possible.

 

While her Took relatives appreciated her enthusiasm for adventure and her stories (she was rather good at telling them), other hobbits did not. The Sackville-Baggins family in particular absolutely despised her for it. They were terribly jealous of the gold she had obtained during her travels and thought that having travelled at all made her something of a lesser hobbit. "Who do you think you are?" they said as she recounted a particularly interesting bit of Lothlorien. "These adventures of yours are absolutely appalling. How can you even think about uttering them aloud? You're shaming yourself and your family by speaking so."

 

Most Tooks would have brushed off such comments and gone to climb a tree. But Azaelia also had a little Baggins in her (her father's grandmother had been a Baggins--a most controversial marriage) and these comments struck her to the heart.

"You really think I shouldn't tell stories?" she asked.

"Without a doubt!" Lobelia replied. "You're corrupting the minds of our children and ruining our appetites."

"Whatever happened to organizing things for everyone?" Otho added. "You were a great asset then. Much better than any storytelling you could do. Besides, you're not all that good at stories and you're excellent at organizing. Go back to that!"

 

And so she did.

 

Azaelia Took went back to organizing things for the other hobbits--the Sackville-Bagginses in particular. She would occasionally day dream of her travels or of other far off places she wanted to see, but would quickly shake herself out of it and go back to organizing. "That isn't the proper way for a hobbit to think," she told herself. "Not the proper way at all."

 

Then, one Thursday, Gandalf came by. After paying his respects to Bilbo Baggins and his nephew, Frodo, he came over to Azaelia's house--for he simply loved to hear her tell stories. He knocked on the blue front door and puffed out a large smoke ring, watching it soar into the air and back again. After a few moments, he frowned and knocked again. It was taking her an awfully long time to answer the door. Gandalf tested the doorknob and found it unlocked. Taking this as an invitation, he dumped out the ashes from his pipe on the front step, ducked inside, hung his cloak and hat on the pegs by the door, and set his staff against the wall. "Hello?" he cried. "Is anyone home?"

 

Suddenly, he heard some sniffling in the kitchen. "Just a moment," Azaelia replied. It didn't take a wizard to hear the tears in her voice.

 

Gandalf rounded the corner into the kitchen to find Azaelia sitting on the floor with one of her maps spread out in front of her. She quickly got up and hid the map behind her back. "Gandalf!" she said. "What a pleasant surprise! Would you like some tea? No, wine. I know you prefer wine." And with that she scuttled off to the pantry.

 

Gandalf stared after her. The moment she came back with some tea leaves for herself and a flagon of wine, he snatched up the map she had hidden in her pocket and began reading it. "Rivendell?" he said as she began brewing tea as if nothing had happened. "What is so sad about Rivendell?

"Nothing," she replied. She poured the boiling water into her teapot, accidentally scalding herself in the process.

Gandalf lowered his bushy eyebrows.

"That's new," he commented as he looked at the walls. "Have you gone on a decorating spree?"

"Yes," Azaelia replied as she poured a bit of wine out for Gandalf. "It's all antiques. Most of them were my great grandmother..."

"Delaeliah Baggins, yes, I remember her well," he interrupted. "Not the most pleasant of creatures."

"Well, she had her ways," Azaelia said off-handedly as she set the cup of wine on the table.

"Whatever happened to all those maps?" Gandalf said as he took a sip on wine. "Surely, you haven't gotten rid of them?"

"No, no. They're around somewhere. Though bless me if I know where," she replied. She sat down opposite Gandalf with a cup of tea in her hands. "I've grown up considerably since you last saw me."

"Indeed?" Gandalf said, raising a bushy eyebrow. "And what, may I ask, was the cause of all this growing up?"

"Cakes!" she cried. "Bless me, I've forgotten the cakes. If you'll excuse me for a moment." And she scuttled off to the pantry again.

"Now, what was it you were saying?" she asked as she placed two seed cakes on a nice blue plate in the middle of the table.

"I was saying how peculiar it is that you've..."

"Butter!" Azaelia cried. "My goodness, what is wrong with me this afternoon? Cakes with no butter! If you'll excuse me."

This time, as Azaelia went past, Gandalf grabbed her by the arm and sat her back down in the chair closest to him. "I've had quite enough of tea and cakes and butter," he growled. "Now tell me what has happened!"

The sight of a wizard in a temper is enough to get anyone to do as he says, particularly someone as obliging as Azaelia Took.

"I-I'm not supposed to tell stories anymore," she blurted out. "Or say anything of my adventures. I'm to organize and keep things clean and that's the end of it!" With that, she scurried out the door. Gandalf could hear the loud slam of her front door as she ran outside.

 

This was enough to really perplex the old wizard. It was not at all like the starry-eyed young hobbit he had known to be crying in the kitchen and then run off unexpectedly. He took another sup of wine before heading out to the hallway and grabbing his cloak, his hat, and his staff.

 

He found her panting against the Baggins' fence. He could see Frodo looking out the window at her with confusion. Gandalf waved him off and the face quickly disappeared. 

 

"A very wise dwarf," Gandalf said, turning to Azaelia. "Once told a very good friend of mine: 'There is more to you than you know.'" He leant against the fence. "I think the same may apply to you, Azaelia Took." He took out his pipe and stuffed it full of fresh tobacco. "I think," he said as he lit it. "That it may be time for you to go on another adventure."

"What? Another adventure?" She looked up at him with disbelief. "Adventures are what got me into this mess in the first place."

"Is it?" He blew out a beautiful blue smoke ring. "And here I thought that you liked those adventures. You said so yourself when last I saw you."

"I was a different hobbit then. A foolish one," she added as she straightened up. "I'm not a foolish hobbit anymore."

"That's exactly what you are," retorted Gandalf. "A foolish hobbit who, I fear, has been influenced by even more foolish hobbits than herself."

Azaelia clenched her jaw. "It was nice seeing you again, sir," she said stiffly. "Please do drop in next time you pass through." She then turned on her heels and was about to stomp off to her hobbit hole again when she felt the end of a wooden staff being pressed against her collarbone.

"Azaelia," said Gandalf as he crouched down in front of her.

"I have nothing more to say to you, good sir."

"But I have a good deal more to say to you," he replied. He dug his staff into the path a little ways and leant on it. "You've changed since I last saw you, and not for the better."

"What does it matter to you?" she muttered defensively.

"It matters because your great grandfather, Old Took, was a great friend of mine." He looked straight into her eyes and added, "And I thought that I was also a friend of yours."

"So you are," Azaelia said. She looked down at her feet. "So you are."

"Well, then, let me tell you as a friend, and one a good deal older and wiser than you are, that whatever notion has gotten into your head about respectability must stop. When last I saw you, you told wonderful stories, some almost as good as mine, and you seem much sadder for not telling them now. As for adventures, I know for a fact you enjoyed those a great deal." He paused for a moment before adding, "Why you would give them up is a mystery to me."

"I-I don't want to hurt anyone," she blurted out.

Gandalf furrowed his brow. "Whoever told you that you were hurting people?"

"The Sackville-Bagginses," she replied. "They said I was corrupting people's children and ruining everyone's appetite."

Gandalf smiled, though his eyes still spoke of sadness. "My dear hobbit," he said. "When did listening to any of the Sackville-Bagginses ever do anyone any good? Your kind heart is getting the better of your sense. But at least you have a kind heart. It is more than I can say for some." He stood up. "Yes, I believe an adventure would do you quite a bit of good and I think I have just the adventure for you. If, that is, you are willing to go."

"I have a bit more organizing to do," Azaelia said after a moment's pause. "I can't leave 'til the end of October. I most certainly can't before Mr. Bilbo's birthday party. He always counts on me to arrange the flowers and..."

Gandalf chuckled to himself. "Why is it that I find myself continually surprised by hobbits?" he said as he pulled his staff from the ground. "I did not mean that you should leave tomorrow. It would be better for you to stay past October in any case. I simply mean that an adventure would do you good and that I plan on sending you one."

"In the meantime," he continued. "You must prepare. A few less cakes to get you used to rationing food again. A journey through the Old Forest to Buckland might be in order. I'm sure your cousin Peregrin would take you in for a week or so if you asked him. And you might want to learn to protect yourself as well. The world has gotten quite a bit more dangerous since you last walked it. I shouldn't be surprised if you'll have to use that dagger I gave you or one of those hunting bows. Personally, I think the bow might be of more use to you. Good day." And with that, he left down the road with only a few smoke rings to prove that he was ever there.

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Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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Non Story Version:

 

I tried to lay out most of my goals in Gandalf's speech, but I couldn't think of how to include some of them as specifically as I would like.

 

Main Goal:

Lose 6 pounds (or more)

 

Specific Goals:

  1. Eat within my points range (Weight Watchers)

          I'm stealing from Dragoness on this one. I'm going to measure success in this by percentage of days I'm good. So...

          A=90% or above

          B=80-89%

          C=70-79%

          D=60-69%

          F=60% or below

     

      2. Walk 50 miles over the course of the challenge (11% of the way to Rivendell, and, I'm fairly sure, a good approximate for Buckland and back.)

          

          The grading system for this one is the same as above, but with miles walked rather than days.

 

     3. Hit the gold on my archery target from 20 yards.

 

         A=Hit the gold

         B=Hit the red

         C=Hit the blue

         D=Hit the black

         F=Hit the white

 

Life Side Quest:

Spend more money on myself. (I'm a bit of a cheapskate, especially in regards to things I want or need.)

Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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Right. So after the hike yesterday, I realized something.

 

I may have been a bit overambitious with 50 miles. 

 

That is 50 miles of non-work related, free time walking. I do plenty of walking and running for work. Herding actors does that to people. Hell, I parkoured my way to the top of a brick fence yesterday to get good cell reception to call an actress who was running late. And every day I move at least 2 dining room sized tables--luckily one of them has wheels--and at least 6 chairs from one room to the other and back. There's not really a good way to quantify all that work (Feel free to tell me if I'm wrong), and it leaves me exhausted at the end of the day. 

 

Especially if I add on top of that a 1.5 mile hike.

 

So, I've done some calculations. Walking 50 miles over the course of 6 weeks is 1.19 miles a day, which is 0.31 miles less than the hike I did yesterday. In other words, I'd have to do something roughly equivalent to that hike every day in order to reach my goal.

 

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That's too much for this little hobbit. 

 

So, I'm cutting back the number of miles to 30 (which is 0.95 miles a day) and making 50 miles a super special bonus thing. If I make it past 30 too quickly, I'll go to 40 and if I get to 40 I'll try to go to 50. But I figure, in this case, it's better to aim low and then surprise myself than set up something I'll end up panting and upset over in 2 weeks. 

Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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So, to recap, new second goal:

  • Walk 30 miles over the course of the challenge (about 7% of the way to Rivendell)

Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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