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Chapter 4:

Now there are those, most of whom have made their appearances these later few years, who maintain the whole episode, the whole story of Sandoz Roache and Owlie Cwoss, should be disposed off, preferably in the nearest incineration chute.
But then there have also been those who argued the Gospels of St. Fmungo, and the Acts of the Nepeasians, are tripe as well. And after all, when dealing with narratives the likes of these, wherein no original record or scrap of real evidence remains (other than the Shroud of Dunholm which is still being mooted), there are no real benchmarks to assure veracity.
What it comes down to is what most of the people believe to be true, and they're told by people like me who write these things. So this is the way it happened.
And while I'm at it, these mewling self appointed experts are those who have little or no concept of the reasons for the interlude Roache spent in company with the Mage, for in all it was only some 14 or 15 years, and that in almost total isolation. But it was the time that made Roache, and thus, made the Shire, and indeed all the land we enjoy today.
So that having been established, we will continue, drowning out the heckling of the Bridgers, with the strident tones of truth. As I see it, of course.

Some years had passed since the Mage had sat with his small charge, and explained the what and the why, if not the how of the Art. During this time our young elf had scarcely changed in appearance at all, other than the characteristic deepening lines about his swampelvish eyes, which added a true sense of the sinister to his attitude. Truth be told, Roache was about as far from sinister as one could be, without being dressed in white, female, and trussed for ritual sacrifice.
For the third time is something less than three-quarters of an hour, Roache paused in his trudge down the dusty road, and wiped his brow with the back of his hand. It might be a good time to mention, that while Sandoz Roache was indeed a Swampelf, his mothers son, he was also half human, and this combination in concert with some twist of fate, the types of which always are wished for but rarely happened, had his maturing into what was quite a reasonable looking young fellow. He was not the typical shortish low-browed devious-to-a-point of near perfection-swamp elf, but was an odd hybrid, who with more than average human height, and attractive eleven features, was someone often looked upon with some longing by members of the opposite sex, and species.
Nevertheless, the sun was already more than a quarter of it's way across the sky, and the signs were obvious this would be yet another scorcher, not the conditions even a good-looking swampelf truly appreciated. Especially with the prospect of a protracted hike in the offing.
Turning, and peering back through the shimmering heat waves at a crossroad, while easily three miles distant was still perfectly visible, he stood and watched, arms akimbo, at what appeared to be a small dust cloud, moving through the crossroads and towards him.
The elf showed no concern at this; the cloud was not moving particularly fast, but his instincts for some reason made him smile. To see anything on this particular road, in this forsaken part of the country, at this time of year, was something unexpected in itself. Roache actually wasn't that sure what he was doing there himself…
Not being one to throw all caution to the wing (he hadn't quite yet reached that stage in his life..), he pulled his grey-green cloak about him, and effectively, disappeared. Moving slowly and carefully to the edge of the road, so not to disturb to much of the ubiquitous dust, he once again smiled to himself, his faith in his invisibility lending fuel to the anticipation. Roache lived to take the piss, to startle people, to scare the living excrement from them literally if possible. Nothing amused him more, even the disapprobation from the butts of his jokes taking little from the joy..

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