The lanes and thoroughfares of Erebor were bustling with activity, and you held your head high to greet everyone who acknowledged you with a nod or a smile as you passed, despite the tingling hum of your nerves and the clamminess of the hand that Fili held in his strong, sure grasp.
“I wonder if I should have brought the biscuits after all,” you fretted suddenly, glancing to the brown paper-wrapped package in your free hand, and Fili frowned.
“Why not? She’ll love them.”
“But it’s such a simple gift, and they’ll only remind her that I’m just a baker.”
The beads that adorned his braided mustache glinted in the light when he shook his head. “You must remember, Mum’s not led the life of the pampered princess,” he assured you. “Everyone worked hard in Ered Luin. If I brought home some dwarf lord’s spoiled daughter who didn’t know flour from talcum powder, she’d box my ears.”
You giggled, though the pattering of your heart quickened as Fili saluted the guard who stood at the entrance to the royal halls and led you down the long corridor. He drew up before an ornately carved oaken door, but showed no hurry to knock, instead stopping to slip his arms around your waist and smile warmly on you.
“Don’t worry,” he said soothingly. “It’ll be fine.”
With a steadying sigh, you nodded, distractedly smoothing the collar of his coat over his chest, though you confessed, “I want so badly for her to like me.”
Fili’s kiss was soft on your forehead, and his gaze was full of encouragement. “She’ll love you…as I love you,” he promised, brushing your lips with his own before adding, low and yearning, “and when the time comes, if you’ll have me, I know she’ll be proud to call you daughter.”
A smile brightened your anxious face and your hand strayed to the coarse, golden hair of his beard as your lips sought his again, fervently this time, his arms encircling you more securely and your eyes falling closed in bliss until, with the click of a lock, the oaken door opened and the Lady Dis stood on the threshold with a surprised expression, taking in the sight of you in her son’s arms.
The present was small. Tucked somewhere out of the way, behind much larger and more extravagant things. They may not have even noticed it until the day afterward, in one of their trips from the bed out for more to eat and drink. The card hung from the simple brown paper packaging by white string, tucked just a hair beneath a grey ribbon around its diameter.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. La’Vaye,
In the days following my own marriage, tucked into a small cottage in the Pandaren heartland, out of the way and with nothing but each other to pass the time, I had in my mind an idea. By the time I got back to the lab, it had grown into a dedication; something I could not rest until I held in my hands. The world prevented its development, but it is with great happiness that I finally can see it alive, to be given to you both.
In this package are two masks, to be worn over your eyes as you sleep. When worn, your body will enter REM sleep more easily, shifting into a lucid state as easily and instinctively as it was to lie in bed. During these hours, your experiences will be shared.
For those of us who commit entirely to others, a day is never enough. Now you can have your nights, too.
The two silk sleeping masks are soft and lightweight, barely there at all. On the back of the headband, written in cursive lettering, are the stitched words “Pleo” and “Ren”. The only indication of their true nature is a nearly imperceptible glow around those letters, linking them together.
Aries - doorbells and sleigh bells Taurus - raindrops on roses Gemini - girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes Cancer - cream colored ponies Leo - whiskers on kittens Virgo - bright copper kettles Libra - warm woolen mittens Scorpio - wild geese that fly with the moon on their wing Sagittarius - crisp apple strudels Capricorn - brown paper packages tied up with strings Aquarius - silver white winters that melt into springs Pisces - snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
“What is this for?” Sam asked curiously, looking down at the plain brown paper of the wrapped package.
You shrugged and stifled a wide smile. “Ah, for nothing. Just something I picked up that I thought you might like,” you said, sinking casually into the nearest chair.
Sam gave you a questioning look and tore off the wrapping. “Oh my God. Y/N. how did you–where did you–?” He stared down at the old cover and a wide grin grew on his face. “Thank you! So much!”
Your cheeks burned a little red as you looked at the way his face was brightened. “No problem,” you said, trying to wave it off and pretend like you hadn’t spent hours combing antique booksellers for that particular volume. “Just came across it and thought you would appreciate it.”
“I don’t even know what to say!” He suddenly grabbed you into a tight hug and you laughed as he squeezed you.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
You’ll be humming that all day ;)
1. Ray Jardine uses a Victorinox Classic, but I reckon the Signature trumps it with a pen and tweezers. A whole tool/manicure set at 22g.
2. The Photon packs such a punch. I love lots of flashlights, but for EDC this is is as ‘light’ as it gets. Sowwy.
3. A Belgian master carver made this for me. I’d love to be able to carve as well as this. In Belgium they are called porridge spoons, but can be used for anything. A work of art.
4. This French Army satchel is my everyday bag. The inside is completely lined with the same brown leather. Bombproof.
5.Timepiece, masterpiece. Art Deco, 1922, green gold Abe Lincoln, 21 jewels. I could wax, so I’ll shut it.
6.Michael Morris is a wonderful maker of knives from the USA. He will make knives to suit you. Note this little devil has a hidden bottle opener.
7. Hat is old and battered but still keeps the weather at bay. I added some paracord, just in case.
8. This is Michael Morris’ EDC 60, made from an old file.
9. I wore this at my wedding so it means a lot. I usually only wear it when I wear a waisty
10. Copper imparts its fine purities into the water. Leave in the fridge overnight and all the goodies are there ready to be absorbed.
11. I copied this design shamelessly from a photograph. We need coins here so this fits the bill. I mean, the coin :)
12. This was my Grandad’s belt, handed down. Apparently it did service on my Dad’s derrière.
13. I made this to carry bits in, currently my fire stuff.
14. I always carry this loupe. At 20x it is excellent for seeing details in nature, and a splinter in your finger looks like a Cadbury’s flake in an ice cream!
15. Roger Harrington at Bison Bushcraft makes all his own excellent knives on special order. I am just about to get a new one after an 18 month backlog, so this is up for grabs.
16. I designed this case for a notebook a buddy had bought me.
17. I’m always looking at minimalist wallets and am currently designing a new one. This is an experimental fill-in, but very useful as it will just take a single folded £20 note, and about eight cards at a pinch.
18. Mr Pen in the UK is a wonderful gentleman, and gave sterling advice on purchasing a pen for life. My signature colour ink is sepia. It’s old, like me.
19. My handle on forums is White Knight, and part of my company logo. My white steeds have two wheels, however.
20. Just in case I spot that special piece of wood that has a spoon hidden in it.
21. I’m into Celtic stuff, and the triquetra is an ancient symbol, with many meanings eg eternity, earth symbols. Each of our wedding guests left with one.
22. A bandana has so many uses; I never leave home without one.
23. Fred Rowe is a wonder smithy. This feels great in the hand, and puts food on his table. Amen.
24. This compass is good enough for Ray Mears, and it works for me too. Love the magnetic declination adjuster and built-in clinometer.
25. This was supposed to last for at least ten years, and it’s 12 now. Still allows me to find my key easily in the dark.
26. This watch is so old they don’t make it any more. It is super accurate and was able to distinguish the height of two separate peaks 100m apart by three metres, saving me falling off a Scottish crag.
27. Making these bracelets is such good fun. It becomes a tad tiring when all your mates and their wives want one, however.
28. This means a lot to me as it was given by a special someone. Looks good on my sickles too.
29. Ray Mears even made me a case for my compass. Well, his lovely leather crafter Becky did, on his behest. I also use if for loads of other things - pack of cards, snifter flask etc. But not at the same time ;)
30. This was the first ever kuksa I made. It’s got lots wrong with it, but I use it all the time. Kuksa is Finnish for 'little cup’.
31.I switch cases but this is soo luxurious. Can you smell the leather from there? Samsung Note 4 fits in. I got a second Note 4 as the new 5 has no sd card / battery access. Humph, but I do love the phone, and the pen. The pen.
NB. I usually only carry one of the knives, if it is appropriate to task, especially living in the UK.
If she ever sees Robin Hood in the flesh, Regina is going to give him a good punch right in the face. Once again, he’s beaten her to a job - just like he has the last five she’s planned - and Regina is furious. Not to mention, hungry.
It’s the high season for thievery - Yuletide is coming up, and all the carriages and inns are crammed full of people carting valuable gifts that could be sold or bartered, or confections that taste a whole lot better than squirrel and wild mushrooms. She should be fat and happy, could be, if it wasn’t for that damned thief and his stupid “merry men” - what a dumb name. No, instead, she is stomping back through the woods with a growling stomach, kicking up snow with each heavy footfall.
Her boots are leaking, snow creeping in to chill her toes. She bets - she just bets - that the parcel coach she’d meant to rob today would have had a pair of boots packed somewhere inside. Or at least, would have carried enough coin she could have gotten these mended. But no, no, she is empty handed, and empty bellied, and she only has four oranges left in her stores. She’ll have to spend the rest of her afternoon foraging.
And it’s starting to snow again.
She tugs her fur more tightly around her neck and trudges back toward the hollowed log she calls home, cursing Robin Hood all the while. When she arrives, she gets that feeling… That prickle on the back of her neck. Something is different. Something has changed. Someone has been here.
She glances around and sees it immediately - on her bed, there’s a parcel. Several parcels, in fact. One larger one and one small, a little pouch nestled between them. And a decent sized jug beside that. She frowns, approaching cautiously, and then she sees the card settled on top.
HAPPY YULE! - RH
That bastard. Not only did he steal her loot, he’s rubbing her nose in it! She upends the pouch first - a small amount of coin tumbling out onto her blanket. The least he could do, she thinks with a derisive snort.
She’s thirsty, so she reaches for the jug next, uncorking it and taking a sniff. Spiced cider, she discovers, chugging down several gulps of it before setting it aside and uncovering the rest of Robin Hood’s “gifts.”
The smaller parcel has her staring dumbfounded at a pair of women’s gloves. Nice gloves - not frivolous, but useful.
Felt-lined leather, the kind of thing that will keep her fingers from
freezing but still allow her to use her bow with ease. That’s…
She saves the largest parcel for last, ripping away the crude wrapping to find a boxed cake. A fruitcake, its top glazed and sticky. It smells like rum and sugar, makes her mouth water and her stomach rumble. And it weighs a ton - it’ll take her days to eat her way through this–
She blinks. Stares at it.
Several days worth of food, a jug of cider, warmth for her hands and some coin.
Aries- Raindrops on roses
Taurus- Whiskers on kittens
Gemini- Bright copper kettles
Cancer- Warm woolen mittens
Leo- Brown paper packages tied up with strings
Virgo- Cream colored ponies
Libra- Crisp apple strudels
Sagittarius- Sleigh bells
Capricorn- Schnitzel with noodles
Aquarius- Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
Pisces- Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes