It was nearly Christmas before Pippin or Grandfather heard from the People, and Pippin was totally frustrated. How could they stay away? How many Guardians were there, really? Weren't there things they needed to tell them? Grandfather did his best to calm him down. They lived in a quiet corner of the world, and there were Guardians all over the world. They didn't live in the Middle East, where so much trouble happened, or in Dahrfur, where so many people were dying every day, or in Tibet. Disgruntled, Pippin would stomp upstairs, or out the back door, or off to school, and Grandfather would sigh, and shake his head at young men and their impatience. Fall came and went, the leaves in the back yard Wood tuning into a blaze of natural fire, reds and oranges and yellows that made Pippin's head spin with his improved eyesight.
Eventually, the leaves fell from their precarious holds on the trees, and the weather turned colder. Grandfather had to remind Pippin to wear a jacket- it turned out that Guardians didn't feel cold the same way as other men, either. So Pippin sweated his way to and from school, and muttered about worthless Superiority and that it was no good if he couldn't use it on something.
When he was finally released from School for the Christmas Holidays, there were several inches of snow on the ground. Pippin trudged home from school, his feet cold and soaking wet, and then he saw that still shocking ball of light form in front of him, right there in the middle of the street. His eyes grew large, and his heart began to pound. Not here, he thought, starting to panic, who knows who might see? But the ball stopped, mid form, and that silvery voice whispered straight to him, "Come Home". It faded away, Pippin still stopped dead in the street. He looked around, no one seemed to have noticed luckily. Abandoning any dignity he might have had left, he tore off for home, his heart in his throat.
He burst through the door, expecting a war in the living room. Running through the house, shouting, he finally skid to a stop in the kitchen, staring at Grandfather, sitting calmly at the kitchen table, newspaper in hand.
In response to grandfather's raised eyebrow, he gasped, out of breath, "Saw…street…Per…thought…" He trailed off, collecting himself. Clearly, nothing was happening urgently. He took a deep breath, before starting again "One of the People appeared in the street. Told me to come home. Then disappeared, without ever forming properly. Have They been here?"
Grandfather looked back to the paper. For a long moment, Pippin just stood and looked him, impatience rising in his thoughts again. Finally, Grandfather laid the newspaper down. Glancing at the headline, Pippin's impatience turned to dread, and then horror. The headline read:
MURDER! Innocent old Man, dead in his bed at 67.
Phineas Dimrode, 67, was found dead early this morning by his housekeeper. "He never hurt nobody!" The distraught woman, one Mrs. Milly Burbage, sobbed to the press. "He was always a little strange, ole Mr. Dimrode, but gentle as they come, just wanted to live quiet like and read his newspaper!"
Pippin tore his eyes away, determined not to cry, not now. Phineas… he couldn't believe it. It couldn't be true! Dear old Phineas, who had taught him so much, been with him from the beginning. It was several moments before he realized Grandfather had risen to put an arm around his shoulders, and another to realize that there were tears running down both of their faces'. "It's alright, m'boy" Grandfather said gruffly, giving them both a little shake. "This is how the old codger would have wanted it. Dying in the field, that was what Phineas always hoped for. He would be proud to have died for the People."
Pippin froze. "The People?" He asked. "You mean this has something to do with them?" "Yes, Pippin. Someone has found out that Phineas was guarding the People. And he died rather than betray them-or us."
Pippin gaped. It couldn't be! It simply couldn't be that the People had just let Phineas die for them. It just wasn't possible!
But then, Grandfather grabbed Pippin by the shoulders and faced him, looking him dead in the eyes "Pippin," he said in utmost seriousness, "you need to understand something. If whoever this was can find Phineas, they can find us. The house may not be safe. We may have to leave at a moment's notice. Until we here otherwise, do not let ANYONE into the house, and do not go anywhere alone, particularly after dark. Also, pack some essentials in your rucksack when you get a chance, in case we have to run for it." he turned away. "But until we here otherwise, we wait. On high alert, for a certainty, but waiting for a sign one way or the other…" Pippin knew Grandfather thought he hadn't heard when he whispered to the window a moment later, "He may not be that far gone yet. We can hope that it is so."
[/chapter 12: Pippin and the People]