The sound of the surf and the cries of gulls were an odd accompaniment to a cheery whistling that echoed across the rocky beach. The birds shrilly accused the small form as he moved amongst the dead. Cocking his head to the side in contemplation, he dragged one body closer to a second, clasping their hands together. Stopping at another pair, he wrapped the hands of one man around the throat of another. At a third, he slipped a pretty wild flower behind her ear.

Stepping back, he sighed in satisfaction. Any job worth doing was worth doing well, his granny had always said and this was a job well done.

He owed a lot to his granny. It was from granny he had gotten the rules: hurting animals was bad. Hurting people who hurt animals was good. Killing other hobbits was bad. Killing other folk was….well, he’d gotten confused about that one. She’d said that it depended. Aerich didn’t do well with grays. Maybe he’d just stick with the first rule.
Granny had trained him well. On the stormy days when the boats could not go out to fish, she taught him the properties of fish and plant; what was good for healing and what for harming. He paid special attention to the harming.

Today, he was especially pleased that he had paid such close attention. When the men from the mainlandwho had come to Selkirk island to mine the gold had poisoned the land with their poisonous leavings, he had known exactly what to do. After all, everyone wants a hobbit cook.

Some judicious seasoning gave them stomach cramps; they were all eager for his home remedy.

Aerich grinned broadly with mischief dancing in his eyes. It was indeed a very good day.

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