Fredegar knelt by the fire and placed another log on the grate. The air seemed colder than usual for a late September evening . Three days ago his friends had left, passing through the hedge that bordered the Old Forest. Three days of waiting and watching. Three days of trying to make Crickhollow look lived in.
Just as he straightened up, he heard it. The sound of horse outside.
He approached a window next to the doorway. What he saw drove fear into him like an icicle plunged into his ample belly. Three men, tall and dark, robed and cloaked sat on black horses outside the gate. They sat silent, faces hidden in their robes, gazing silently at Fredegar through the window. The gate swung open of its own accord and as if on a silent command the trio dismounted, stepped forward and drew their swords.
Fatty dropped his pipe and ran for the back door as fast as his hobbit feet could carry him.
He heard the door being struck three times and the words “Open, In the Name of Mordor” follow him across the yard.