Monday 9 September 2019

Buckland Pierate Treasure Hunt

On April 28th (2019), we hobbits gathered for a pierate treasure hunt in Buckland. Here is a summary of the hunt.


First, we gathered in front of the Brandy Hall. Miss Penny came with Captain Hogwash, a pierate pig. She had had some trouble with her hedgehog pierate crew, and had lost her captain hat due to the pierate crew mutiny, or somet. If the hunt would turn out to be successful, she might get her hat back. The hobbits seemed excited about the mysterious treasure.
After all had gathered up, I welcomed everyone and recapped quickly what the hunt was all about: the lost treasure the Buckland pierates had looted from a shipwreck long time ago. They said that the treasure itself was cursed, and that it had even made the ship sink on the Brandywine. The pierates had hidden it after it had caused much trouble in Buckland, and as the time passed, the treasure went forgotten. But according to the tales, the instructions to the treasure’s location were still kept safe in the Brandy hall. So, we decided to go and try to find them first.
It was clear that we could not just storm into the hall just like that. Captain Hogwash did look eager to sniff for old parchments, but his intentions were probably more eating-related, so sending him in would not be a good idea. Besides, Master Saradoc Brandybuck was standing by the entrance, looking at us suspiciously. I asked him if we could visit the library very quick, to take a look at an old parchment. Master Saradoc eyed us carefully. Shovels, pickaxes… and an eager oinker. “You don’t look like some scholars… more like treasure hunters! Maybe even pierates!” he snorted. We tried to convince him that this was just the latest scholar fashion, and the pig was just our apprentice and/or lunch. But Master Saradoc was not born yesterday. “You are after the pierate treasure instructions, aren’t you? Ha! We are not giving them away, no. The instructions are staying where they are, in the uppermost chamber of the hall. You won’t get permission to go there. The cursed treasure should remain hidden and lost too, if it even exists. Now off with you!” While Potty went to ask Master Saradoc for some tea and biscuits instead, Miss Lina peered at the uppermost levels of the Brandy Hall. “Master Saradoc’s less forthcoming than I remember. The uppermost chamber, though. Maybe…”
Soon, a dozen hobbits were climbing and huffing and puffing their way towards the uppermost chamber of Brandy Hall, a tall tower-like structure at the very top of the hill. No ladders nor dwarven stairs to use, but we could see ladders through one of the lower windows. Now, we could just toss Captain Hogwash inside, or use a burglar… Soon, all eyes were on Master Potty. “I could release Hogwash into the lower halls as a distraction”, Miss Penny suggested. It did sound like a good plan, and the oinker looked eager too. Miss Penny opened the window and let Captain Hogwash in. “Pig deployed!” she shouted, and Master Potty wriggled himself through the window. “He's quite agile when he sets his mind to it”, Miss Lina commented. We could hear sounds of confusion and oinking from the lower levels of Brandy Hall, indicating that Captain Hogwash had succeeded in his mission. We could also hear Potty making some noise inside the room. “YER SEE ANYTHING IN THERE, POTTY?” miss Lina shouted through the window. Master Ragwort was worried that Potty might empty the hall of pork before we could get our share of the loot. Master Potty crawled soon out from the window though. “No need ter shout so loud Miss Lina!” he said, but looked victorious. “I found lots of biscuits! And a piece of paper.” While Miss Lina stepped forward to claim her “two-part booty” of the biscuits (that Potty had actually still left inside the room), I took the paper for closer inspection. At this point though, someone shouted: “Oi, a bounder!” The law had arrived. It was Shirriff Nimelia, along with her auntie Tibba. “I hope there has not been any unlicensed pierate treasure finding?” Miss Nimelia enquired, clutching her pickaxe. “I think this side of the river is outside Bounder jurisdiction”, Miss Penny noted, but Miss Nimelia looked stern. “I will be the judge of that!” she said. But when she heard that no treasures had been dug up yet, plus that no unlicensed drumming had taken place, her face lightened up. “We just looted the instructions to find the treasure!” I said, waving the paper Master Potty had innocently borrowed from Brandy Hall. “Well, I consider myself instructed to find the treasure then!” Miss Nimelia said, and everyone listened carefully as I read the scribbling in the paper:

    If you look for a treasure that is cursed
    Just follow the clues during your search
    Here, you can find the first:
    Three dragons in a row
    In the air they fly and soar

Dragons, in Buckland? Miss Nimelia shook her head. “Right. Let it be known that I am already stumped”, she said. Miss Lina fired a dragon fizzer and Miss Tibba suggested that we could go to the Green Dragon and ponder this riddle a bit there, to get inspired. “I didn't know Buckland had a dragon problem?” Miss Lina said and shrugged. Tibba suggested that the “dragons” could be the smoking stacks, and someone wondered if them were kites, or flags. Miss Nimelia wondered if we all had been drinking that crazy brandy again, having these strange illusions of dragons. Potty suggested that maybe it has something to do with the cows on rooftops, as cows might be sort of an elven dragon, or somet. We decided to stroll towards the Buckland gate and see if there was anything in a row and something preferably dragon-like. Cows and chickens were spotted, locals were asked for dragons… No proper clues though. There was a cow on the roof with some hobbits who were desperately trying to figure out a bounder strategy to get rid of the animal. Before we managed to send Miss Nimelia for help, we heard miss Penny shout: “Three dragon vanes!” She pointed at the three farm houses in a row, with a dragon vane on each rooftop. That must be the right place! So we took our pickaxes and shovels and started to dig the ground. Miss Nimelia waved her pickaxe in a professional manner and noted: “Alright, I knew them Bucklanders are strange, but why do they have dragons as weather vanes…” Miss Lina wondered where Captain Hogwash was, as he could help out too. “Captain Hogwash will be Brandybuck sausages by now. A heroic sacrifice!” Miss Penny stated solemnly. “Now that's proper oinker use” Miss Lina commented from inside a flower bush and sneezed loudly. Then, I saw that Miss Nimelia had dug up something. “What’s that you dug up?” I asked, looking at a small jar that peeped up from the dirt. “No ore yet”, Miss Nimelia noted. “Oh, wait, what am I looking for?” I took the jar and opened it. “With ore in it?” Miss Nimelia asked hopefully. There was no ore, nor biscuits, but another old note! I read it for everyone:

    Slower than snails they march
    With a fury in their hearts
    And they won’t stop until
    They reach a cousin on a hill

“Bounders?” several hobbits murmured. They were quite slow in their ways. “We tread carefully”, Miss Nimelia explained. “Quick Post?” Master Ragwort wondered. “That’s slower than snails.” Turtles? Dwarves in the morning? What could this be? Miss Lina sighed. “The treasure has cursed the locals with a desire to make rhymes and clues!” Miss Tibba scratched her head. “But a fury in their heart?” Miss Lina shrugged. “Angry turtles? ‘s not ants, is it? Them always look a bit angry”, she nodded. Once again, we peered at the cow on the roof. She was sure slow, and probably angry too, with all them hobbits pestering her. Miss Penny looked at the Old Forest. “The trees get angry I hear”, she said. “Aye.. and they say they can move too”, I added. “Trees move slow”, Master Pontin said. We headed towards the hedge that stood between Buckland and the Old Forest. There, we saw a tree that had grown through the hedge. “Chase it back, Nimelia!” Lina commanded. Miss Nimelia just shrugged. “Well, I missed the course on tree diplomacy”, she noted. However, before the others could make any treeplomacy or tree-ties with the tree, I noted that there was no lonely cousin on a hill nearby, so we should look further for another tree that had gone through the hedge. And we found one, right in Crickhollow. Miss Tibba looked worried: “Er... are we sure we want to get close to that forest?” Miss Lina shrugged. “Well, we got a bounder with us… somewhere behind us…”, but Tibba didn’t look reassured. “I'm afraid she can run pretty fast if she has to”, she noted. Then we saw it… a big hole in the hedge, with huge trees marching in from the Old Forest! And there, close up, was a hill with a tree on it (a much more friendly looking tree than the ones from the forest though). We decided to go to the hill and inspect the grounds there. It was actually a hill with hobbit burrows, so we needed to be careful not to dig too deep. We might have wake up a grumpy hobbit or somet…
Soon, Miss Stevvy dug up something: another jar! “Yeppers. Looks kinda old and dirty”, Miss Stevvy inspected and handed the jar over. Miss Tibba wondered if we could dig further and get more jars from a larder. I opened the jar and found another note. I read it for the others:

    Still want to find this cursed old treasure?
    You might consider some other leisure!
    But if you seek the hidden truth,
    Find a flower that bloomed beyond her youth
    She burrows near, and from her you’ll hear
    What happened to your treasure dear.
    If yer don’t know where to look for her
    Just let your belly lead yer

“Simbo should be here”, Miss Stevvy said. “Must be hungry if your belly leads ya”, Pontin noted wisely. “On to the next oven!” Tibba shouted, storming ahead. “Come, belly, lead the way!” Nawagrim declared, rolling downhill. We headed towards the festival tent, looking for an oven. Miss Lina walked straight to the first hobbit lady she saw and asked: “Hullo. Have yer bloomed beyond yer youth?” The lady reddened and steam started to pour from her ears, which sort of made her look like an oven, but we decided it best to retreat fast. Lina dodged the piece of fruit thrown after her, and Nimelia said: “Veggies is not where my belly would have led me.” Finally, we reached the festival tent, but even though there was food, no ovens were in sight. And Lina didn’t want to ask any more lasses if they have bloomed beyond their youth. Miss Stevvy wondered: “Mebbe it's in the craftin' area, by the ovens?” So to the crafting area we went, and there was an oven there. With many hobbits from the Burrows family! There was Rose Burrows, and Peony Burrows. I went to Peony and asked her about the treasure, but she shook her head. “No, I don’t know anything of that. But my mother-in-law might… she is near the kegs.” And there, nearby, stood an old lady by the kegs: Asphodel Burrows! “Don't ask her about her years, Lina!” Nimelia whispered.
When the hobbits gathered around Missus Asphodel, she smiled. “You lot look likes pierates, don’t you! Are you looking for a pie, or a treasure?” I smiled back. “Oh, we are looking for both I think! But especially for the pierate treasure that got lost!” Miss Harbella nodded. “A pie is a treasure, briefly”, she said. “Until it gets inta me belly”, Miss Stevvy added. Missus Asphodel laughed. “You have come to the right place then! I was one of them pierates long ago!” Penny scratched her head. “Did hedgehogs steal her pierate hat too?” she wondered.

 Missus Asphodel looked at us and started to tell about her past with a misty look in her eyes. “Me and my husband-to-be, Rufus, we liked to play pierate games when we were young. Quite the rascals we were. I blame me Tookish side for that. We did loot this treasure a long time ago from a shipwreck. We did fish up a bag from the wreck, we thought it was a bag of coins! After a closer inspection we realised it was empty. But the bag turned out to be something far more valuable… can you hobbits guess what this bag actually was?” Potty looked thoughtful. “Oh! A Captain's badge?” Stevvy thought for a moment, and Brambleburr for two. “A bag… gins?” Ruffin asked. “Weed? Pies?” If it wasn’t a bag of coins, could it be a bag of… Miss Lina stepped back. “Oh no no, don't say...” Miss Penny beamed. “Oooo!” Lina shook her head. “No way. Never. Can’t be!” Miss Asphodel grinned. “Yes, it was bagpipes! The cursed bagpipes that lead to the the shipwrecking. They say that the crew of the ship was dancing to the bagpipes while passing Buckland, and as the tune got faster, the ship could not take the dancing anymore, and it cracked. Me and Rufus repaired the pipes though and learnt how to play them. Useless to say, the Bucklanders were not happy about this, so we decided to hide the pipes. Well, we didn’t really hide them that well. We sent them to the Michel Delving Gammer to make more copies of them…”
    “'Copies?” Lina asked with disbelief. Miss Asphodel continued: “We did the instructions just to cover our tracks, so that the rest of the Shire couldn’t blame us for the spreading… curse, yer might say. Miss Penny looked happy. “Miss Asphodel is the cause of all Shire bagpipes!” she said happily. “A proper pierate, that one, Miss Lina said, and added in a lower voice: “And certainly far past the bloom of her youth…”
    “It seems they hid that treasure in plain sight!” Potty noted.
“So in a way, we already have looted that treasure”, I concluded. “And that was a grand story to hear. I bet the bagpipes have been cursed quite a few times!”
Ragwort raised a finger. “Can someone explain this curse to me…?” In a heartbeat, someone had a bagpipe in their lap and powerful tooting started. A yellow hobbit darted away, shouting something like “agh!”. “This bagpipe is rich of notes!” Ruffin noted, picking his ears. But Miss Penny looked happy. “The treasure can help me with my problem! I'll blast bagpipes at the mutinous piecrew until they surrender my captain’s hat!” “Yer could always make a new one out of yer bagpipes, Penny!” Lina shouted from a safe distance.
A moment of bagpipe-free silence for held in the memory of Captain Hogwash, who had been sacrificed to the Brandybucks. Or maybe it was the other way around though… Anyway, our bellies were rumbling, and there was a cooking area nearby. Our loot was waiting to be pierated! We ate happily and had some good chatter. “Good thing we did not depend on my wits for this. We'd be drowning our sorrows about the first unsolved clue in ale about now”, Nimelia said while munching some munchrooms. With full bellies, we started a happy stroll home… with our ears ringing.

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