7. Back to the Riverbank
Soon, there were two more noises. A shuffling of the rocks and plants around the bank, and voices.
"Mister Frodo! Mister Frodo!"
"Sam? Sam, where are you?"
"I'm right here, Mister Frodo!"
"Oh, Sam, I'm so glad to see you!"
The fog dissipated, leaving two hobbits embracing on the shore. One was soaking wet, while the other was mostly dry. They parted and smiled joyfully at each other.
"I'm glad to see you, too, Mister Frodo," Sam said, "You'll never believe what happened to me."
Frodo's eyebrows shot up. "Really? You might be surprised. What is it?"
"It was unbelievable," Sam sputtered through the water that still dripped off his matted hair, "I can't rightly describe it exactly, but there was an old ship and treasure, and a boy who looked a bit like me!"
Frodo laughed, "Somehow, Sam, I don't find that entirely unbelievable." Sam looked at him curiously. Frodo smiled again, "It seems someone thought we needed a break from the adventure we're on, so they sent us on another."
"But the question is," Sam said, looking across the river, "did it really happen?"
Frodo's eyebrows met and he looked over, as well. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were there. Aragorn was adjusting something on his wrist, but they seemed to be getting ready to go.
"Has any time passed at all?" Frodo asked no one in particular. Then, after another moment, he picked up his pack that was still in the boat and clapped Sam on the shoulder. "Well, we shall have plenty of time to tell the stories, whether they really happened or not. We yet have a long journey ahead of us."
And so they went, and Frodo told Sam his tale. When he finished, Sam shook his head. "To think that people would do that to their own kind. How could it happen?" There was a morose pause before he asked, "So, you just picked up your things, went back to the river and stumbled into the fog?"
"Not quite," Frodo said, "After I again had my belongings, as I was leaving, I ran into Huck again. Jim was with him and he said they were leaving, but Huck was in a hurry to get somewhere else at the moment. He said that the family had gone to fight the Shepherdsons. He meant to follow, and dragged me along with him. I went, to see that he didn't get himself killed more than anything.
"By the time we got there, the other family had killed everyone but Billy and another boy. The pain and fear in Billy's voice when he told us his father and brothers were dead made me cringe in sympathy. But then, the other men killed them, too. Rode them down like animals. It was barbaric. There was nothing we could do." Frodo's eyes grew moist and focused on the ground before him. "I could see the grief in Huck's whole body. I doubt he'd ever seen that kind of thing before. I don't blame him. Neither have I. It was horrible. Huck ran down the embankment. I couldn't stop him, so I followed him. But on the way down, I fell. When I reached the bottom and looked up, it was foggy and I was here."
"Why did he look like you, though?" Sam asked.
"I have no idea," Frodo replied, "But I have a feeling this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Nor is it likely to be the last."
"But what can that mean?"
"Who knows, Sam?" Frodo asked with a smile, "We may find out, in time. Now, tell me about this treasure ship."
They continued on, climbing the rough terrain of Emyn Muil, and for a time, their journey was not quite so arduous.
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.