14. The King's Hall
“Don’t worry about me, Sam,” Pippin said, adjusting the elven cloak over his Gondorian raiment.
Sam turned to him, completely serious, “That goes for you, too. I’ll not have him coming back to me half-starved and exhausted.”
Pippin smiled, “Don’t worry, Sam. Old Billy and I’ll have a grand time, I’m sure. The road isn’t as dangerous as it used to be and we won’t be dawdling, anyway.”
“Are you sure you feel up to it?” Frodo asked him.
“Yes, Frodo,” Pippin answered, glancing at the bandage around his wrist, “It’s been long enough, I think. I feel quite well, and I didn’t really lose that much to begin with.” Frodo nodded and embraced him. Pippin mounted the pony and looked down at them somberly. “You’ll keep looking?” he asked.
“We’ll scour the Shire until we find him, Pippin,” Frodo answered, “He’ll be here when you return.”
Knowing he shouldn’t waste another second, Pippin nodded one last goodbye, gave Bill a swift kick and the two charged off down the lane.
When he was just disappearing from view, Frodo turned to see someone else running toward them at what seemed the same pace. With a yelp, he realized it was Merry.
He ran toward the oncoming hobbit, “Merry! You’re back!”
“Yes,” Merry said, panting, when he caught up to him, but was in such haste that he didn’t even hug his cousin, “We have to go south! Éowyn’s in trouble!”
“Slow down, Merry,” Frodo told him as they made their way back toward Bag End, grabbing Merry’s arm to stop him from running off that instant, “What do you mean?”
“The thing that did this to me,” Merry huffed, “It’s vengeance for killing the Witchking. It said it already got Lady Éowyn.”
Frodo looked past him to meet Sam’s worried eyes. “Pippin’s gone to Aragorn for help,” he told Merry, “If there’s a problem with her, too, they should already know of it. Our job is now to find something to do with you while we wait.”
This seemed to relax Merry a bit, though it filled him with worry for Pippin’s safety. But he knew it had to be done and he couldn’t go out himself, so he allowed Sam and Frodo to lead him inside.
The white hall was silent. The king sat alone in the room, stroking the arm of his throne and thinking. His reverie was interrupted when a man strode hurriedly yet respectfully into the room.
“What is it, Beregond?” the king asked calmly.
“Excuse me, sire, but you have a visitor.”
“Not now. I am not in the right mind for visitors.”
“I know, sire, but I believe you will want to take this one. He comes with urgent news.” He paused, then added, “it is a perian, king. It is Peregrin.”
Aragorn stood suddenly, giving it now his full attention. “Send him in.” Beregond disappeared back through the door. Aragorn didn’t wait, but strode toward the door as a small figure stepped through. Despite the melancholy mood he was in, he smiled when he saw the Halfling wearing the colors of Gondor.
A smile flashed across Pippin’s face, too, when he saw his old friend. They met in the center of the room and Aragorn clapped his hands on Pippin’s shoulders. “It is good to see you, Pippin, though the timing could be better.”
“The timing was not of my choosing, I’m afraid,” the hobbit answered, “Rather by necessity’s demand. I’ve come to seek your aid.”
A cloud was now over both their faces. “You know I will give it if it is in my power to do so,” said the king.
“I hope it is,” Pippin said, worry creeping into his voice.
Aragorn picked up on this. “What is it, Pippin? Is something wrong with Frodo?”
“Actually,” Pippin began slowly, trying to find the right words. He fingered one of his curls as he formulated his explanation.
Aragorn saw this simple motion and his attention was drawn to the ugly and recent scar on Pippin’s wrist.
Pippin looked up at him with hope and despair, “It’s Merry.”
Aragorn said nothing, but at these words, his features were hardened with realization and concern. Pippin did not have time to say more before Aragorn again placed a hand on his shoulder and said, “Come with me.”
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.