11. Fare Well
Niphredil took leave of Frodo near the Gate on East side of the Bridge. They were in full view of the guards, but these could not hear them. She kissed Frodo on the mouth, then said:
‘Have faith. Hope. Farewell!’
‘Fare well, Niphredil, my love.’ His eyes were full of tears, hers were dry. Niphredil stepped from the cart and her heart rejoiced at the thought of being on the road again. She shouldered her bow and bag, and walked to the gate.
‘Are you leaving us, Miss Baggins?’ the guard asked.
‘Yes. I may return or I may not. Goodbye.’ He let her out, then closed the gate, and turning, faced Frodo, who gripped the iron bars like they were the rails of a prison, and stared after the girl. She did not look back, not once.
‘And who might you be?’ the guard asked.
‘Oh. Sorry.’ He turned, ‘Frodo Gardner, of Hobbiton.’
‘Nice to meet you. I’m Samkin Smallburrows.’ His face was without the least trace of a smile.
‘She definitely has you hooked,’ Samkin commented, when Niphredil disappeared from their view.
‘She. Has. You. Hooked. You look like the fish who swallowed not only the bait and hook but the line and rod as well, and kissed the hand of the fisher.’
‘What are you hinting? She is a good woman.’
‘She sure is a woman. But you’re not the first man she uses, nor the last. I suppose she’ll go fishing in Bree.’
Frodo grabbed Samkin’s tunic, scaring the youth.
‘Nobody speaks like that about Miss Baggins! Apologise at once!’
‘Sure, sure. Let go of me! I’m a guard and if you hit me it will be an offence!’
Frodo let go, but kept on staring menacingly at Samkin.
‘I apologise.’ Samkin said at last.
‘Why did you say those things about her?’
‘Because... I wanted to warn you. There are women who... take what they want from a man, then leave him, and walk away whistling. And they way she left you just now, not looking back, it reminded me of something that once happened to me.’
Frodo stared at him. Suddenly he guessed. He grabbed hold of Samkin’s collar and lifted him off the ground, although they were of a height.
‘It was you! Cretin! What you did to her is unforgivable.’
‘No! Put me down! I’ll tell you who it was!’
‘Tell me.’ Frodo let Samkin’s feet touch the ground put did not release his grasp.
‘She called him Laiqualassë Meldanya.’
Frodo slowly let go. Then he breathed in savagely, and whispered a translation:
‘Greenleaf my beloved.’ He closed his eyes and clenched his fists.
‘I’ll get that elf if it’s the last thing I do. This I swear. I will make him apologise to her. I will put him at her mercy. Witness my oath, Samkin Smallburrows.’
‘I hear. I am your witness.’
‘You will soon see me pass this gate. But first I have to return this cart to Boldo Burrows. And send a message home.’
‘Frodo Gardner. I will go with you. I mean, when you leave Shire. But how do you find the elf you seek?’
Frodo smiled a grim smile with no joy.
‘Easy. He’s in Gondor. He’s Legolas. Greenleaf. Son of King Thranduil. Friend of King Elessar, and of my father and hers.’
‘Sam Gamgee. The Mayor.’
‘Oh.’ Samkin smiled.
‘This is right. It’s destiny. Mr Gardner, I’ll be your Sam.’
So it was set.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.