So, you want to be a Bounder.
I am Meadowlarke Sweetweed, chief of the Bounders of the Shire at Addernotch Station for quite a few years.
In case you are thinking of enlisting with us, I want to tell you something about us that may help you in your decision.
The first thing to note is that you'll need to find me or one of our voluntary assistant chiefs (Daffodilia, Dyonaea, Falibrand, Filidor, Gennyrose, Hoedown, Lyonardo) in order to enlist.
For quite some time now, Shire folk have been noticing a growing darkness. As some have noted, that the Bounders had never been busier, turning unsavory folk away at the Bounds. And, yet, still many still wander through the Shire, bring forbodings from distant lands, mostly off to the east.
The Bounders to this point are mostly concerned with what happens at and within the Bounds. However, a few years ago, some of us got concerned that maybe we should be looking at what happens outside the Bounds, helping folk stand up to the evils before it overwhelms them and comes to us next. The stronger they are, the less we need to worry.
We understand there are many who say we should not get involved in the affairs outside the Bounds. But it will do no good to sit until everything else has fallen under the Shadow. We'd be next, and we would be without friends or help at that point.
And it is not without precident. When the last king of Fornost faced off against the army of Angmar, he called upon the Shire for help. We sent a company of archers to help in the battle. Bounders then recognized that we were a part of the kingdom - a part of the world. What happened elsewhere concerned us.
The Shire itself was formed when Marco and Blanco left Staddle to settle a new and untamed land. And hobbits came originally from beyond the Misty Mountains, looking for a new and safe place to raise their childrens and live their lifes.
Well, we've run out of places that we can move off to that haven't been claimed. So, we make our stand here, and see to the safety of the Shire.
Those of us who felt the need to put in extra effort defending the Shire got together and asked the Mayor of Michel Delving for a special writ to build a station in Addernotch. We are more adventuresome than most Bounders. And we make no apologies for it.
If you want to join us, there are some things you should know first.
(1) We don't pay. Our station is made up fully of volunteers.
(2) This means that, whatever you do for a living, you will have to keep doing it. So, we make allowances, putting no demands on a Bounder serving at Addernotch Station other than to do what you are of a mind to do in the time you have.
(3) We do have some requirements though, that must be met by everybody who serves at Addernotch Station. A recruit coming to us has to be:
(a) Kind and helpful. There's too much meanness in the world and we will not have any Addernotch Station bounders adding to it.
(b) Brave. You can't defend the Shire by hiding under a bed . . . well, not often, anyways. Imagine standing up to your worst nightmares. That's a part of what it takes to be a Bounder. It doesn't mean you can't be afraid. It only means you can't let your fear cause you to abandon the Shire to evil.
(c) Have a love of the Shire. This is a very special place - the best land in all of Middle Earth, made so mostly by the quality of Shire-folk. If you are intending to stand the line and defend the Shire, you need to love what it is you are defending, more so than your own life.
If this suits you, we would be pleased to have you enlist with us. Just ask around for any of our officers. You'll be given an opportunity for an interview, giving you and us a chance to see if we can expect a proper fit. If the interview goes well, you will be enlisted as a Bounder for a testing period. If you stay with us, and if you can pass the Bounder Test of Bravery, you will come to be given a button recognizing you as a full Bounder in service to Addernotch Station.
We hope to hear from you.