"Are you mad?"
I couldn't help but take offense. I had simply came to tell my good friend goodbye and he'd dragged out of me what I had planned. Rather than be supportive, he was ripping a good one.
"Thank you for being supportive and understanding."
"I just don't know what to say. You're my friend, but...You are not the person I thought you were, obviously, and I have known you for a long, long time. Obviously, I know you have as well as I ought and like this new you less than half as well as you deserve."
"Since you're the friend I have, but obviously not the one I deserve, I'm asking you to come. I need your help. The only way I can survive this is with your help."
He looked at me horrified and hesitant. I'd brought the worst possible problem to him. One most of the people in our country would run away from as fast as possible. We were not counted as great warriors or considered to be among the very wise. We were simple folk, with a love of eating, drinking ale and smoking.
And an adventure was worst possible word to bring up for the likes of us.
Yet, it was not unheard of. Belladonna's son had one and probably was having another since he was missing. His heir was missing, too. That probably meant another adventure was underway. That family...
Well, now I was going to have one. But it was not the adventure of fun and grandiose aims. This was something darker. Some needed. Something dark. Something vengeful.
I looked at my friend. He was aghast from his curly top head down to his hairy feet. he was so horrified he'd spilled his ale and not noticed. Before today, that would have been the most horrific thing in his life and he'd have gone on about it for years...but not now. Not today. Not when I brought him this.
"My grandsire was murdered by one of them Black Riders when he was on town watch, just out with a lantern. And I mean to see vengeance. I will see them punished, Mattias Murdoch."
He looked very uncomfortable.
"You will need more than my help, Franklin Undercastle. I'm just a hobbit."
I stared at him intensely. I knew he would give in and help. He was blind to all else, but justice and friendship.
"I need to find the Nine. Nothing else matters."