3. Into The Wild
trust this Strider, even if he had saved them from
the Riders. "Just because he says he's a friend
of Gandalf's and wears the same kind of clothes as
Lightfoot doesn't mean it's safe to trust him!" his
cousin had pointed out acerbicly.
But to Frodo's eye the likeness went deeper than
the worn green leathers. Under the tangled hair and
scruffy beard were the same elegant bones, and eyes
bright with that same Elvish light. Frodo thought he
knew what, if not who, this strange Man and Woman had
to be. And if he was right not only was Strider to be
trusted, but with Gandalf gone he was the best
protector they could have. In any case they had no
They saw no trace of the Black Riders after leaving
Bree, apparently Strider had succeeded in shaking them
off, though the punishing pace he demanded was
begining to tell on all four Hobbits.
Once through the Midgewater Marshes the Man turned
north, following a small stream into stony highlands
he called the Weather Hills. It was growing dark when
the winding ravine they were following suddenly
widened into a valley surounded by high hills and half
filled by a shallow lake of grey water.
Floating upon the mere was a rambling house built
of fieldstone and half-timbering with yellow
candlelight showing at its many windows, reached from
the shore by a bridge of wood and rope. At once a
homely and astonishing sight here in the Wild.
"That's never Rivendell!" Pippin blurted.
Strider, for the first time in their experience of
him, laughed out loud. "No, Master Took, this is a
Ranger Holding belonging to some kinfolk of mine. We
will rest under a safe roof tonight."
He led them briskly across the swaying bridge, the
Hobbits holding tightly to the rope railings. The
great wooden door opened opened for them without a
They found themselves in a windowless, cobble
floored room with a ladderlike stair in one corner and
a second massive wooden door standing open, opposite
the first. Turning Frodo saw the outer door being
closed by a Man as tall and dark as Strider and
dressed in the same travel worn green, then followed
their guide into a torchlit courtyard.
A Woman stood at the foot of a flight of steps
wearing a soft grey gown, long black hair fluttering
in the evening breeze.
"Lightfoot!" Frodo exclaimed, somehow not entirely
She smiled slightly. "Welcome to Greymere, Frodo
Lightfoot led them up the stair and through an
anteroom into a spacious chamber its whitewashed walls
hung with tapestries, lit by bronze lamps on wall
brackets and a many candled chandelier suspended from
the high raftered ceiling. Mullioned windows looked
out over the lake, high backed settles bright with
cushions faced each other in front of the large
fireplace and a woman and two children were setting a
long table with earthenware and pewter.
The little girl, a pretty golden haired creature,
gave a delighted cry dropped the spoons she was
holding onto the table and rushed to Strider's arms,
followed more sedately by a serious, dark haired boy,
about as tall as the Hobbits and enough like Strider
to be close kin.
"Here now," the Man said laughing, "where are your
manners? Mind your guests."
"My son Shade and my daughter Laughter." Lightfoot
introduced. Bright eyes, grey and blue, turned to the
Hobbits. "Master Baggins, Master Took, Master
Brandybuck and Master Gamgee."
The boy bowed. "At your service." and his sister
bobbed a curtsy.
"And this is my foster sister Lark." Lightfoot
finished indicating the smiling brown haired woman.
"My you Rangers do have odd names." Pippin
commented and got squelching looks from his three
But Lightfoot laughed. "We do indeed." (1)
1. Lightfoot is giving the Hobbits the Westron forms of
her family's Sindarin names. Lark is Lirulin; Shade,
Daeron and his sister is Lalaith.
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