1. Reunion at Rivendell
In Rivendell, the fading daylight lingered on the faces of the mountains, and mists drifted through the valley in the cool evening. Within the Hall of Fire, a small figure was seated beside the hearth, and he read aloud from a great Red Book upon his lap to the few who bore him company.
“Then Gandalf said, ‘Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.'
Then Frodo kissed Merry and Pippin, and last of all Sam, and went aboard; and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost.
The evening deepened to darkness as the three hobbits stood at the Haven; and as they looked at the grey sea they saw only a shadow on the waters that was soon lost in the West. There they remained, far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth, and the sound sank deep into their hearts.”
Here the reader stopped, and sat still for a long moment, head bowed; then he sighed and closed the book. “Fifty years ago today,” he said, his voice breaking on the words.
“I miss them still,” Peregrin said.
“So do we all, old lad,” said Meriadoc, wiping away his own tears.
“Thank you, Sam,” Aragorn said gravely. “I should like a copy of the Red Book made, that in years to come, those in Gondor might remember and honour the deeds of the Shirefolk.”
“It shall be done,” said Peregrin, and bowed to the King.
Now Aragorn said, “It seems meet and fitting that we who knew the Ring-Bearers and loved them should be here in this place to mark this day and to remember. For it was here that Frodo’s quest began, and Bilbo’s, and from this hall that the Fellowship set out on the journey, so long ago.”
Rarely in these latter days was such an assembly to be seen in any land: for there at the head of the hall sat the Lord Celeborn, wisest and fairest of all the Elder Kindred that remained on Middle Earth, and with him were the brethren Elladan and Elrohir, the sons of Elrond. Beside the twins sat their sister, Arwen: she who was both the Evenstar of the Elder race and Queen of the Western Lands.
There beside Aragorn were Legolas Greenleaf and his friend Gimli Gloin’s son: and so it was that all those who remained of the Nine Walkers – three hobbits, a man, an elf, and a dwarf - were met together once more in the House of Elrond.
And the folk seated there together, mortal and immortal alike, spoke of their friends and beloved ones who were gone, into the West or beyond: now they were stirred with laughter and now with tears. Most especially they relived memories of Bilbo and Frodo; of Gandalf, the friend of all free peoples; of Elrond the Wise and of Galadriel the Lady of Light; and last but not least, they spoke of Boromir the Brave.
Then the Lady Arwen raised a golden harp and sang: of the making of the rings of power, the long fight against the darkness, and the great deeds of heroes of many races in the ages until Sauron the Enemy was thrown down at last.
And the beauty of words and voice and music seemed to take shape and fill the room with a golden tide of enchantment, and the dancing firelight conjured living visions of bygone days. Long into the autumn night the company remained there, loth to part once more, and in Rivendell, still the air of distant summers lingered with the fragrance of other days.
1. The passage that Sam reads is adapted - but of course- from the last chapter of the Return of the King.
2. In response to Aragorn’s request, Peregrin will eventually take what will become known as ‘the Thain’s Copy’ of the Red Book to Gondor (in the year 64 F.A.)
3. I sneaked in the allusion to the rings of power, but what was written to address the ‘golden’ bit in the challenge is actually in the passage about Arwen’s music.
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