The Parting Of The Ways

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Niki The Hobbit

Anthony was woken by something small but heavy landing on him.

He opened his eyes a fraction of an inch and found a pair of bright blue eyes staring back at him intently.

“Daddy!” screamed Niki seeing that Anthony was actually awake.

“Is Uncle Tony awake?” asked Simon picking Niki off of Anthony’s bed.

“Well done poppet, now we’ve just got to wake up Uncle Mark.”

“Good luck with that,” chuckled Anthony as he pulled on his glasses.

“He sleeps like the dead.”

“Don’t you dare set that little terror on me,” mumbled Mark from deep beneath the covers.

“Why are you waking us up at six o’clock in the morning?” he grumbled glaring at Simon bleary-eyed.

“Because today is a very important day,” beamed Simon bouncing Niki on his hip.

Simon and Niki were already dressed, Simon in a pair of shorts and a polo top, and Niki in a little blue and white summer dress. Simon had even haphazardly brushed Niki’s hair into untidy bunchies.

“No, it’s not,” said Mark, “not this early in the morning.”

“Get up you idiot!” said Simon thumping his little brother, “we’re leaving in two hours.”

“Why didn’t you wake me up in two hours then!” yelled Mark as Simon left and Anthony left to go get up.

“Because you need that long for the coffee to kick in!” laughed Simon.

Anthony pulled on a pair of navy shorts, and a white polo top and brushed his hair out quickly. Other than the height the other major difference between Mark and Anthony was their hair. Mark was growing his out and his hair was curlier because of the length, whereas Anthony’s was neat and short.

It was strange to think, that only a few years ago the only way to tell the brothers apart was the glasses, but now Anthony was several inches taller than Mark and had shorter hair as well as the glasses that he couldn’t see past the end of his nose without.

Anthony came downstairs, to find Simon and Celia trying to persuade Michael and Niki to eat their breakfasts.

Michael was fine, he was still being breastfed, and Celia was nursing Michael giving him his breakfast.

But Niki seemed to be too excited to eat and wouldn’t eat her toast. From the look of Simon, she had also thrown her bowl of cereal at him as Simon was covered in oatmeal.

“Let me try,” chuckled Anthony taking Simon’s seat next to Niki.

“Thanks Tony,” said Simon smirking slightly as he went to clean himself off.

“Is somebody a bit excited this morning?” asked Anthony as he brought over a fresh bowl of oatmeal.

Niki nodded enthusiastically as her favourite uncle sat down.

“Where are going today Niki?”

“Can you say the beach?”

“Beach!” exclaimed Niki.

“Clever girl,” said Anthony, putting the spoon in the oatmeal, “I think that deserves a spoon of breakfast.”

Niki turned her nose up at the breakfast and stuck her little lip out.

“You don’t want your breakfast?” asked Anthony surprised.

“But little girls who don’t eat their breakfasts won’t have any fun at the beach today. Everyone else will be building sandcastles and collecting shells, but little Niki will be too tired because she didn’t eat her breakfast.”

Niki looked utterly miserable and seemed close to tears.

“But if you eat your breakfast,” shrugged Anthony.

Niki still looked thoroughly unconvinced.

“I’ll tell you what,” said Anthony, “how about I tell you a story as you eat?”

“Hobbitses?”

“There might be Hobbits in there,” he said evasively, “you’ll have to eat some breakfast first.”

Niki nodded again and ate a spoonful of her oatmeal.

“Once upon a time, there was a family of Hobbits who lived in a hole.”

Anthony stopped and Niki ate another spoonful of breakfast.

“There was a big strong Daddy Hobbit, a very pretty Mummy Hobbit, and a tiny little baby Hobbit.”

“Do you know who else lived there?” asked Anthony.

“No,” said Niki shaking her head.

“Well, have some more breakfast and I’ll tell you.”

Niki nodded and another one, no two spoonful’s of breakfast.

“There was also a little girl Hobbit, and this is who our story is about.”

“Me!” exclaimed Niki.

“Yes you,” chuckled Anthony.

“One day, it was very a sunny day like the one now. Niki was very excited.”

“It’s all gone,” said Niki disappointed showing him her empty bowl.

“Eat you toast then sweetheart,” laughed Celia.

“Now then, Niki was very excited because, on this very special sunny day, her best friend in the whole world was coming to visit. The Green wizard Anthony, and his friend Mark the elf.”

“Uncle Marky’s an elf!” giggled Niki.

“And you’re a hobbit,” Anthony pointed out, “Mark was very nearly a dwarf.”

Simon chortled slightly as he sat back down to listen in to the story.

“So the wizard and the elf came to visit. Niki loved it when Anthony and Mark visited. Mark would play with her all day, chasing her around and playing endless games of hide and seek.

"But her favourite time was when they were all tired from running and the wizard Anthony would tell Niki stories about all his different adventures.”

“He would tell her about all his fantastic quests, fighting orcs and finding dragons treasure. Anthony was not the oldest of wizards, only about a quarter of the age of his friend Gandalf the Grey, but that did not make Anthony any less wise.”

“On this particular day, Anthony the wizard and Mark the elf came to visit and they had both brought her a present for their favourite little Hobbit.”

“Mark gave her a bow and arrow. The arrow was enchanted so that it would never miss its target. He promised to show her how to use it properly when she got older."

"Although Mark’s present seemed lots of fun, Mummy Hobbit decided to put it away safely until Niki was older, so that little Niki didn’t get hurt.”

“Mummy Hobbit’s no fun!” sulked Niki.

“Mark is a very irresponsible elf,” muttered Celia raising her eyebrows as she did her shirt back up having finished feeding Michael.

“Which is why Mummy Hobbit put the bow and arrow away until Niki was older. But Anthony’s present was even more magical. Anthony was a very wise wizard, and he knew that Niki loved stories, so he gave her an enchanted storybook."

"It contained every story in the world. If Niki wanted to find a certain story, all she had to do was think about it, and the book would fall open to the right page.”

“Wow!” said Simon.

“That’s some book,” agreed Nick as he joined them for breakfast.

“Why are Nick and I not in this story of yours hmm?” asked Isabelle smiling as she brought over a fresh pot of coffee.

“Ah yes of course!” said Anthony having entirely forgotten.

“There was also prince Nickolas, he was a man, but he was next in line to the throne of Gondor. Although he was but a mere mortal he was a brave warrior and had won many great battles.”

“Prince Nickolas was in love with the fair and beautiful Isabelle. Isabelle had a sheet of soft golden hair locks that reached all the way down to her waist and her eyes shone like stars in the sky."

"But Isabelle was an elf and therefore immortal. But even though Nickolas was a mortal, and Isabelle an immortal elf, they still fell in love and had many children, and someday they shall rule the whole of Gondor together Nickolas as king and Isabelle at his side.”

“Should that do it?” asked Anthony looking at Nick and Isabelle.

“A courageous warrior king, and his unnaturally beautiful wife?” asked Nick, “we’ll take that.”

Whilst Anthony had been talking, Niki had finished her breakfast, and Mark and Mr Pennington had shown up at the table.

Mark was dressed but still tousle-haired and looked very groggy. He was nursing his first cup of coffee of the morning and glaring at anyone who even dared to look at him.

“You know,” muttered Simon, “Mark may look like an elf most of the time, but first thing in the morning he looks more like an orc.”

“What did you say?” asked Mark threateningly.

“Nothing,” smirked Simon.

“Right,” chuckled Mr Pennington, “calling all men, wizards, hobbits and immortal elves, we’re leaving in half an hour, so eat up.”

“Let’s hope that’s long enough for Mark to transform from an orc to an elf,” smirked Simon to Nick.

“What was that?” said Mark glaring at them both.

“Nothing!” they said innocently.

Anthony finished his strawberry jam on toast and went to go fetch his things.

“Sunglasses,” he muttered collecting them, “sun cream, bucket and spade for Niki.”

“Spare jumper,” he nodded tying a cricket jumper around his neck.

“Sun hat,” grabbing his Panama.

“What am I forgetting?” he asked looking around his room.

“The kitchen sink?” asked Mark collecting a pair of sunglasses and putting them on his head before flouncing downstairs.

“Camera!” exclaimed Anthony putting the strap around his neck.

“How could I ever forget the camera,” he chuckled to himself shaking his head.

They went in two cars, Simons car had enough space for his own family and a few others.

Celia was holding Michael on her lap, and Anthony was sat in the back of the car and Niki was sitting on his lap. Anthony didn’t think it seemed very safe, he hoped that somebody would invent child-friendly car seats soon.

Mark and Mr Pennington were also in the back of the car. Mark seemed thoroughly unimpressed wedged between Anthony and his Dad and a bunch of bags and buckets and spades in the back seat.

It didn’t help that Nick and Isabelle got a car to themselves, but Nick’s car like Mark’s only had two seats. Both car boots were crammed full of deckchairs.

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