3. The Jail Boat Pilot's Advice
"It is a fair exchange for passage on your raft," said Bard. He was of Lake-town, but his forbears were the line of Girion, Lord of Dale, whose wife and child had escaped down the Running River from Smaug's ruin nearly two hundred years ago. "I am glad I saw your preparations in town. I did not wish to miss the market fair."
"What a strange boat, up ahead. Do you know it?"
"Why, we have arrived at Go-Fast," said Bard. "That is the Jail Boat, where they put people who misbehave. They stay there until someone bails them out. Not much to eat, I've heard, but plenty of fresh air and all the river water you can drink."
They drifted near the Jail Boat and Bard hailed the pilot, who sat in a little tugboat tied to the cage-like platform.
"Welcome to Go-Fast," shouted the pilot. "Still looking for your father's arrow?"
"I have found out who has it, but not how to get it," said Bard.
"Why is there so much smoke in the town?" said Legolas, for when the wind gusted south, the smoke tendrils hid the yellow foliage of the river birches.
"Travelers' cook fires," said the pilot. "We have no inn except for the old great-house. If you take my advice you will not stay there because –" but a loud burst of thunder covered his words and all they heard was "…stay there."
"Thanks, we will take your advice," said Bard, and they hurried for the piers, chased by sprinkles of rain.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.