It is a sunny autumn day, when Mally Notion invites Brega, Aelfric and Alvi to step in to her office in Wibblesham. Standing before the large desk, behind which, upon a tall stool, she sits she begins brightly with a “Good Morning to you deputies.”
Before they realise it, the small party have been sworn in as full time deputy Sherriffs of the Southfarthing and have been given the task of investigating a breech of the peace in the nearby village of Longbottom. Local hobbit settlers are complaining of damage to crops. Whereas, the more established Eriadorians are complaining of a loss of foraging rights. The task of the deputies is to discover who is doing what and making sure that everything remains peaceful.
The small posse of Sherriffs set off and pass through Axbridge, noticing that here to there appears to be some ill feeling between men and hobbits. Not really pausing to investigate they arrive at Longbottom and following the advice spend some time in cognito at the villages only inn the Grey Mare. It is here that they overhear many rumours from the mannish community that indicate that the “recent” arrival of the hobbits has not been well received by all the community.
At Brega’s suggestion, they take a little time to undertake a little bit more undercover investigation; noting a gang of youths who are hanging out on the green not far from the Grey Mare and using the cover of buying goods for a cook out to discover the vehement dislike of Hobbits of the local grocer, Ælfnoð Ewart. However, it soon becomes clear that this line of investigation may prove expensive and perhaps reveal no more about local knowledge than an official approach. The deputies don their blue feathers of office and begin to make inquiries led by the ever charming Alvi. Brega begins to compile the information and during most exchanges Aelfric provides a solid sense of policing authority whilst keeping an eye on the comings and goings outside.
A number of things become clear. First, that the Durkins are the main family of Longbottom and the connections are very complicated. Second, that Baylee and Shelby are a pair of young trouble makers who seem to be a the centre of the incidents with hobbits. Third, the young trouble makers may be up to no good tonight at the Hornblower farmstead. Finally, the Stormbreaker clan and the Durkins are probably smuggling something and a run might also be happening tonight.
Making their way through the Belfine farmsteads to the south and east of Longbottom proper, they party discover more about the infringements of the Durkins and the Rivermen. A telling discovery comes at the Hornblower farmstead where Camdyn tells them of Thane Darby Durkin’s insistence upon his foraging rights to gather Kingsfoil. This confuses Camdyn as he points out he only has Westmansweed growing on the land and that’s a weed not a crop. Besides he believes the rights apply not to his land but to the wild woods beyond.
Knowing that there is likely to be something happening at the Hornblower residence, the group, with Camdyn Hornblowers knowledge, stake out the farm. Sure enough, before midnight, the group spot a pair of hulking figures making their way destructively through a crop of wheat to the market garden. Here they set about uprooting vegetables. Alvi and Aelfric move stealthly to intercept, but Brega decides that her presence may give away the pair and remains in hiding. A closer inspection reveals that the pair of miscreants are indeed Baylee and Shelby and with a lyric lullaby Alvi puts them both to sleep for Aelfric to arrest.
With both of the boys tied up and secured in one of the Hornblower barns, the deputies consider the other information they have gathered. Realising that time is short they decide to leave the hooligans where they are and travel to the Faery Creek in the South Woods. Camdyn warns them that the South woods are not safe at night warning of strange sightings deep within that no mortal should see.