Hello, esteemed readers,
It's been a while since I've updated my diary, but since it's that special time of the year (this year, or the last one, you ask? Take your pick.), I decided to put down my thoughts about my experiences in Middle Earth in the last 12 months. Much has befallen me in that time -- some things I'll treasure for the rest of my stay in these lands, and some things I'd rather forget. But now that I've committed myself to this, I guess I'll just have to remember everything...
At the start of this year, I was a lonely traveler in the land of Dwarrowdelf -- a kinship-less, friendless hunter, learning my lessons the hard way as I trekked the plains of the North Downs and the forests of the Trollshaws. But in March, I heard of a great musical gathering called Weatherstock, in a faraway place known as Landroval. I quickly packed my bags, spent my last copper paying off my debts at the Pony, and set off, not knowing what I would find at the end of my journey.
I arrived in Landroval in pretty much the same state I had been in while journeying in Dwarrowdelf: friendless, penniless, and utterly ignorant of the ways of the land. I soon fell in with unsavory company -- a horde of thieves and wrongdoers, who delighted in terrorizing innocent Free Peoples at large concerts and other gatherings. Beguiled by their leader's words of friendship, I followed them around for about a month. In April, however, I came across a large gathering in the Midgewater Marshes. I watched in fascination as the event, which I heard referred to as "Ales and Tales", unfolded before me. Soon, I made the acquaintance of a livewire of a hobbit called Tinki, who told me all about the Lonely Mountain Band. The very next day, I sent in my application to the kinship.
After that, things changed pretty quickly. My departure from my previous kinship was not a pleasant one, but I no longer cared for their fate. By joining the Lonely Mountain Band, I came in touch with a friendly, lively group of people who loved adventure, music and fun. Journeying with them, I gained more knowledge than I had even known to exist while blundering around in Dwarrowdelf. I found stalwart companions, such as Andeon, Camara and Casinthelion, with whom I joined forces to bring down the great fortresses of the Enemy. I also found a community of fellow musicians, which included Harperella, Lennidhren, Aegthil, Beorbrand, and the rest of BBB and Old Winyards, with whom I took many a stage to delight audiences around Middle Earth (at the expense of my sanity, sobriety and good manners...). Weatherstock, of course, was a blast; I was introduced to some of the best artistes in the land, and listened to numerous manifestations of musical genius.
Now, as an experienced hunter of 75 trainings and an officer in the Lonely Mountain Band, I find myself welcoming new recruits almost on a daily basis, and watching them tread the same paths which I once took. Looking back, I can hardly believe I've been in the kinship for less than a year; I've shared so many experiences with fellow Banders, that it feels like much longer.
So I'd like to give my heartfelt thanks to the Band, for... well, just about everything. Thanks to Lennidhren, Locney, Gaiagil and the rest of the Old Winyards crew, for transforming a young runt of a musician, who could only toot out a few feeble notes on a flute, into a multi-instrumentalist capable of sharing the stage with the best musicians in Middle Earth. Thanks to Andeon and the SNS regulars, for helping me hone my fighting and teamwork skills. My Mentor says I should also thank BBB here, though I disagree -- what have they done for me, besides spiking my drinks with Beorlich produce and refusing to pay me for wearing my hands out on a drum, week after week?
My best wishes for a Happy New Year go out to this amazing community. May the next 12 months bring you all the good things in life, and may you achieve your goals! Safe travels!