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Skating on thick ice

Tags: Brandebras,  Ferdo,  Bertha

Short Summary: An unusually cold spell causes Bree residents to hold a frost fair. Brandebras has an encounter with some sausages and Bertha has a lucky escape from drowning!
Date (real-life): 2011-01-27
Scene Location: Breelands: Small Valley with Pond
Date (in-game): January 3052
Time of Day: Evening
Weather: Clear
Small Valley with Pond(#25868Rn)

Bree Hill comes down from the north in folds here, forcing the Great East to bend around it. There are two main hillocks, and nestled between them is a green and grassy meadow in which is a small, but deceptively deep pond. Trees grow thickly along the hill edges themselves, but the floor of the tiny valley only has a few: ancient oaks that preside over the pond.

Obvious exits:
GER - South

================================== Bree Time ==================================
Real time: Thu Jan 27 14:40:55 2011
Bree time: Midnight <01:02:45> on Monday of Winter - January 16,1452
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent Moon

Breelands Weather                               
The midnight winter air is cold and dry around you. Heavy snows fall down from the nighttime sky. The moon is above the horizon and in its waning crescent phase.

[Nob(#16122)] Snow has fallen steadily the past few days, and the temperature has plummeted. Until finally, the night before last, the skies cleared and the air crackled with cold. Whispers and rumors buzzed about the town of Bree, and people went about their tasks with an air of suppressed excitement. And tonight, the reason is revealed!

Ribbons hang from the giant oak, waving gently in the breeze created by the heat of a bonfire nearby. Children and adults alike skate across the pond, which has been cleared of snow for the purpose. Others, less agile or less brave, sit on the banks, or sled down the hills, or stand by the fire roasting potatoes and sausages.

Where there is food, there are hobbits. And where there are hobbits - at least, one particular hobbit - there is, of course, chaos. Brandebras Bywater is out and about tonight, woolly hatted and his throat resplendent in a muffler of striped red-and-yellow. He had intended to sledge down one of the hills ... but halfway up, disaster befalls him. His feet slide out from under him and he goes tumbling one way down the slope whilst the tea-tray he'd brought in lieu of a sledge scutters off in quite a different direction.

The young hobbit continues rolling, gathering momentum as he goes, until he crashes right into the stand of the sausage-seller, a flimsy wooden frame draped with row upon row of pale pink sausages.

[Nob(#16122)] Two children are digging a fort in the snow at the bottom of the hill when Brandebras' 'sled' flies overhead, eliciting shrieks. One of them races after to appropriate the lost tray - they might as well use it, as long as the hobbit isn't!

The sausage seller - a fat lady - is knocked over backwards, skidding on her seat across the pond, until she stalls near the center (it's just as well it's been so cold!).

Sausages fly everywhere, bringing either laughter or more shrieking and ducking - several hobbits instantly get into a fight over who has the right to burn their fingers on the one that bounced off Ferdo's head. And the sausage-seller's husband, after gawking in astonishment for a blank minute, strides over to Brandebras, standing over top of him and shouting. "What on earth did you go and do that for? Can't you watch what you're doing? Look at my wife! Our sausages!!!"

Brandebras is indeed looking at sausages - a fat, juicy string of them (alas still uncooked) has caught on his woolly hat and dangles right before his nose. As he rights himself, patting his body down as though to check he still has all his limbs, he utters his usual refrain: "I didn't /mean/ to do it. I really didn't. I could - um, help you clean up?" His brown button eyes are earnest, though he's going slightly cross-eyed from trying to focus just past his nose.

He reaches for the nearest spilled string and then glances out across the pond. "Is that your wife there? You know, I think the ice at the centre isn't as strong as the rest. I fell in once, when we were out skating. I thought I saw treasure."

He's quite forgotten the tea-tray.

[Nob(#16122)] "Yes, you'd better help, after all... WHAT? Thinner?" The man stares out at the pond anxiously, then shouts, "Bertha! Bertha, are you all right? Do - do you hear anything - anything /cracking/??"

That last word falls into one of those random pauses in all the chatter and exclamations surrounding Brandebras' latest idiocy. Suddenly there is complete and utter silence. "Cracking?" someone repeats, and there is suddenly a rush amongst the skaters to get to the side and off the pond. Poor Bertha is left enthroned in solitude.

Brandebras is too busy picking up sausages to respond. He dusts off one string and hangs it round his neck; the next resists his pull. Someone's dog has got hold of the other end; growling and worrying, it tugs back, eager for a game.

[Nob(#16122)] Bertha shrieks - a high thin sound of terror - as she is left all alone in the middle of a treacherous pond! She paddles with her hands, trying to push herself back towards shore; but does nothing other than spin herself in circles.

[Nob(#16122)] There is still laughter and shouting from farther away - those who haven't yet realized the magnitude of the disaster - two-plus-foot-thick ice breaking....

Brandebras, yanking for all he's worth, tries to twist his head round to see how Bertha's doing, but he can't quite manage it. And he can hear screams. His round face grows pale, and he stammers out, "Has she gone in? Oh no! Someone will have to take all their clothes off and dive in to save her."

That dog just isn't letting go - the rope of sausages stretches and distorts ...

[Nob(#16122)] Her husband jumps up and down on the bank, too afraid to go out to her - to worried to leave her to her own devices. "Help her!" he cries. "Someone...! Anyone!"

Those nearest Brandebras waver - some who might have dashed forward hesitating at the thought that they will have to undress in this frigid air! And dive into freezing water!! (No matter that no water can be seen, anywhere...)

The sausage-string stretches ... the sausage-string snaps, and Brandebras is sent bowling backwards like the shot from a sling towards poor unsuspecting Bertha.

Over at the bonfire there is the sudden sound of spluttering and coughing as though someone had just choked on his mug of beer. "Go on, Ernie," voices urge.

[Nob(#16122)] Bertha has made it to her hands and knees, and is trying to stand up on the slippery ice, when once again, she is sent skidding by a hobbity bowling ball. This time, at least, Brandebras propels the lady into a snowbank, where she sticks. Her husband, so overcome with relief that it takes him several minutes to realize that she still needs help, races around the edge of the pond and grabs an arm, heaving as he tries inexpertly to extricate the woman.

"Oh no. You ain't getting /me/ diving into no pond! It's wintertime! I don't want to get frozed solid just like .... all that ... water...." Whoever that was trails off sheepishly as he finally realizes what has been staring him in the face all this time: The pond is frozen. All the way across. Nice and thick. There are no cracks anywhere.

Now it's Brandebras turn to be at the centre of things. "Ouch!" he yells as his head bumps on the ice. "Ow!" he adds as he collides with something very large, quite knocking the wind out of him. And, when he finally recovers his breath enough to sit up he mutters, "Brr," for one glove has come off and his hand is sticking to the ice.

"What happened?" he murmurs. "Where is she?" He peers downward first, then all around. "I can't see any holes." He sounds almost disappointed.

Back by the collapsed sausage stand, the dog has swallowed down his prize in one gulp and is now making good Ferdo's absence to steal a few more tasty treats.

[Nob(#16122)] A chuckle starts, then general laughter - good-natured and teasing - as everyone realizes their foolishness. Well, nearly everyone. One squeaky hobbit voice from the back rises worriedly, "But now Brandebras has fallen in!"

Bertha grunts and heaves and finally pops out of the snowbank. Giving the hobbit a disgusted look, she waddles back towards her destroyed sausage stand. Her husband hurries after her, trying to brush her free of snow.

"No I haven't!" Brandebras pipes up eagerly. "Not yet-" There's just the start of a note of worry creeping in there. His cheeks rather pink, he crawls across the ice to locate his missing glove.

Meanwhile a bleary-eyed Ernie is being pushed toward the Crime Scene by a score of hands, ignoring his protests that he's "Not on duty tonight. Go to the Headquarters and ask for Harry." Eventually he makes the best of a bad deal and harrumphs loudly, trying to straighten his tunic. "Now then, now then. What's all this 'ere ruckus?"

[Nob(#16122)] "My sausages!" Bertha says loudly, as Ernie appears in front of her. "That - that RUFFIAN stole my sausages!" She levels an accusing finger at Brandebras.

"He's no such thing, silly," answers someone, shushing Squeaky Hobbit. "Tisn't even cracked!"

"I don't know - /I'd/ say he's a bit cracked!" The snicker of someone well-pleased with their humor.

"Stolen sausages," Ernie repeats, his face grave. Tonight it is cold rather than ale alone that reddens his features. He seems to contemplete, watching Brandebras pull on his glove and start sliding his way across the pond to its edge, mimicking the skaters who've begin to return to it. "Cheery little feller with the bobble hat? 'Im who's the old Mayor's brother?" It's hard to tell whether he is indignant or delighted at the thought of someone to pursue with the Long Arm of the Law.

But then a warm wet nose pokes into his hand and he looks down to see the dog licking its lips before gobbling up a last sausage. The portly Breeguard guffaws. "There's yer sausage-stealer," he announces, relief blossoming. "Take it up with 'is owner. I'll be over yonder if ye need me." With a jerk of his thumb he indicates the bonfire and stomps off before anyone can think of more jobs for him.

Date added: 2011-01-28 06:18:12    Hits: 34
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