3. Withering at Full Bloom
Nonetheless, Lily did not abandon the red dress. After all, her father had explained with pitchfork in hand what it did not mean. To give up dressing the way she wanted would be admitting the human's victory. Whenever Lily walked past alone, the man whistled. Lily ignored him, holding her head high.
As summer arrived, things got worse all around the Shire. Lotho Sackville- Baggins had gained possession of more than what was good for him: mills and shops, fields and smithies, inns and homes. He held such a monopoly that he could buy things cheap and sell them dear, and poor people had no choice but to pay his prices. More often than not there was nothing to buy, even for the rich. Somehow he bribed or forced all the officials to his side: the shiriffs, the mail-carriers, the borderguards. More and more humans came to the Shire, working for Lotho, silencing oppression with their threats, building ugly big houses, felling trees. Lotho had appointed himself 'Chief' of all the Shire. He now issued all kinds of mindless laws, restricting the liberties of moving around, trading goods, or even using the post. Soon almost everything needed a permission.
The summer was wonderful: the weather mild, animals fat, the fields doing well. But on the inner skies of the minds of the shire-folk, a terrible storm was gathering. Everyone had the feeling they would not be the ones enjoying the fruits of their labour.
Lily somehow associated all this with the dark rider. Mr Baggins had been escaping something, and not long after, his relative Lotho had started dictatoring around. Lily's imagination spun the story like this: The rider had been Death, and Lotho Sackville-Baggins had summoned him to find his relative Frodo, whom he hated. Lotho had dark and mysterious powers, and he could make the humans obey him. But Frodo Baggins must also be quite powerful, for he knew elves and dwarves and wizards. And maybe, just maybe, Death had not caught him. And one day he would come back and free the Shire. And Peregrin Took would come, too. And Lily would be waiting, clad in red.
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.