Arlo Enjoying Tea While Reading Stories

Arlo Proudfoot had experienced his first taste of adventure when he was prodded out of his comfortable hobbit hole, away from his relaxing garden where he regularly enjoyed his afternoon tea, to be one of the Hobbit delegates sent to debate about what to do about a pair of young dragons with the other local races, and he had not liked it at first. The dwarves, who were hosting the event in their Great Hall, were too stingy with their jam, and the elves droned on with long explanations about the stages of dragon development from hatchlings to adults, and the humans were far too intrigued by his racial status, asking him silly questions as such did he really sit down for afternoon tea every afternoon, or do all hobbits have second breakfast, or making comments about how quaint his lifestyle must be…

So he sulked in a corner whenever they had a short break from the discussions, grumbled with his fellow hobbits, and complained about the food. He wished to be home instead.

The debate extended on, the humans thinking that they needed to hunt down the dragons, the elves arguing that the dragons would leave the area on their own once their curiosity was satiated, the hobbits shrugging when asked their opinion, and the dwarves half invested in the conversation, seriously providing a new perspective on the issue, before getting interrupted that by the news that there wasn’t much fresh milk left in the dwarven pantry, on account of the fact that this big meeting had been sprung on the dwarves quite suddenly, and they hadn’t prepared for it by buying some extra milk ahead of time. Arlo dejectedly slouched in his chair, reflecting on the fact that having a cup of tea was one of his few enjoyable moments here, and that he needed to have milk in his tea since the stuff the dwarves had wasn’t the best quality, and if all the milk was gone…

The head dwarven delegate patiently told the cook’s assistant that yes, they could go buy some more milk, no, they didn’t need to ask permission to do that, and would they please stop interrupting the debate!

Well, by the time the debate officially ended, Arlo’s perspective had developed into something more positive. The memory of each of the races contributing ingredients for the official conclusion meal, which Arlo learned was an old tradition that happened at the end any official meeting between races in this particular area, as a symbol of camaraderie and alliance, was one that he’d hold onto, and then the experience of exploring the dwarven underground complex and discovering interesting rooms that piqued his curiosity, as well as a comfy lounge that he had been quite pleased to find, had both shaped the way that he thought about the idea of journeying away from home.

Much to Arlo’s great surprise, when he left the dwarven Great Hall and the debate about the dragons behind, he didn’t go straight back home to his hobbit hole. Rather, he meandered along, taking in the scenery, and even, unfamiliarly, went down some side paths, just for the sense of adventure in not knowing where’d they take him. Arlo had been aware that this new openness to exploration was a possibility for hobbits – indeed, there was a famous novel written about one of his countrymen – and well, here he was, poking his head into new places, including Blogging Cottage.

Blogging Cottage was a cozy place, and he right away decided that he would like to spend some more time there. On the table there was a map with the route to Carrot Ranch highlighted, and in a standing frame there was a picture of a Girlie standing On The Edge of a cliff. Both the map and the picture were placed on top of an anthology collection, which were filled with stories that Arlo found enjoyable to read.

Once he was finished with the latest issues of the anthologies, he had a more thorough look around the cottage. On the counter in the kitchen was a large jar filled with a blend of elderberry tea. He immediately filled an infuser with the tea blend and brewed himself a mug. Tea in hand, he ambled over to a bookshelf that was sorted into two sections: poetry and short stories. The poems covered a decent range of topics, and were written in a range of styles, with a good mixture of poetic forms and freestyle. The short stories were also fairly varied, some contemporary, quite a few fantasy, and a fair number of them had also been published in the Carrot Ranch and Girlie On The Edge anthologies.

Yes, thought Arlo to himself, sipping his elderberry tea, the literary art in this here cottage certainly contains creative adventures through prose and poetry that are as calming and exciting as a cup of elderberry tea.

He plopped himself down on a plush couch. “I do believe I shall stick around here,” he announced.

I don’t typically write about recurring characters on my blog, nor have ongoing serial stories. I tend to enjoy the freedom of writing standalone stories where I can do something totally different each time, and that any brand new reader can click on and enjoy without confusion or complication. When I wrote the first story about Arlo, it was simply me trying to figure out how I was going to write a story about a smear of jam for a Carrot Ranch prompt. I didn’t expect Arlo to come back in a second story, but he just happened to be the perfect character to include in a story where I had two food prompts, golden onions, and zest. I was starting to get fond of him at that point, and then did deliberately write the story about the dwarven lounge around him.

This is a long winded way of saying that you can expect to see Arlo again in new stories on my blog. Do I even know that much about him besides the fact that he’s passionate about food and has a bit of an introverted personality? Nope. Not yet. But I still really like this character.

How often will he appear in new stories? No clue. Definitely won’t appear in every one. It’s even pretty likely that I might forget about him for long stretches of time.

Another thing I do not normally do: ramble on about the character in my story at the end of the story. Just felt the need to do so today after writing such a meta-story about the fact that I want to write more stories about a particular character. Just needed to add another layer to the meta-ness, like an onion – a golden onion. (Okay, I`ll stop making more and more references and end this post finally.)

Links to Carrot Ranch and Girlie on the Edge‘s blogs for anyone unfamiliar with them.


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