A Black Rider Comes to Hobbiton at Nightfall
In the wee hours of the morning, four of the Ringwraiths came around the western reaches of The Shire near Waymoot
The fours riders separated, each alone searching hole, house and farm asking for the one called Baggins of The Shire
As the last rays of the sun began to set upon The Hill, a Black Rider is seen upon the road down in Bywater.
He crosses the bridge, pausing a moment by the Old Mill, which turns slowly in the growing dusk. The last rays of the sun sink down behind the hill and a purple darkness shades the green fields a misty gray. The rider continues up the hill, the solitary clippity-clop of the horses hooves on the lane are the only sound for miles around.
The rider is shrouded all in black, stopping as he comes to the the first of the Hobbit Holes along the Hill Road, which swings away out of sight around the bend in the hill. A halfling stands beside the lane, blowing smoke rings from a pipe in his mouth. The Rider closes in, his large horse leaning over the hedge, the old halfling coughs and sputters through his gray whiskers.
“See here now… where you be a going on that big horse!” The old hobbit declares in a startled tone that lets this big person know he’s put out! The old Gaffer doesn’t abide outlandish looking strangers leaning over his gate!
“Baggins… are you Baggins?” The Black Rider’s voice is strained and rasping.
“I should say not!” The old Hobbit says loudly! He won’t stand for no meddling in the business of a proper Hobbit like Mr. Bilbo Baggins. A gentle hobbit to be sure!
“Is Baggins here?” The rider rasps leaning down over the small hobbit.
“No, Mr. Baggins has gone away. Went this morning, and my Sam went with him.” The Gaffer’s voice was shrill.
“Gone?” The words came out in an angry hiss.
“Yes, sold out and gone, I tell’ee.” The gaffer says, backing up against the garden gate.
“Why has Baggins left?” The rider presses.
“Why? Why’s none of my business, or yours.” The old hobbit declares loudly, sounding cross.
“Where has Baggins gone?” The Black Rider hisses again!
“Where to? That ain’t no secret. He’s moved to Bucklebury or some such place, away down yonder.” The Gaffer points away, hoping the big black fellow will move along.
“Yes it is… a tidy way. I’ve never been so far myself, they’re queer folks in Buckland.”
“Can you give a message to Baggins.. I have gold… silver.” The Black Rider leans down, close to the face of the old halfling. The Gaffer looks straight into the dark hooded cowl and can see no face at all in the growing dark. The hobbit rubs his eyes, which grow large and fearful, a chill runs down his spine.
“No, I can’t give no message. Good night to you!” With that the hafling turns about and enters his little gate, slamming it shut behind him with a bang. He quickly disappears behind the little red door that goes into the side The Hill.
The Black Rider sits a moment and then with a long angry hiss turns and slowly rides down the hill.