Oh, and by the way, this might be slightly confusing: this *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** indicates flashback and this *** indicates a break in time. Sorry! Many apologies.
Disclaimer: I *sob* regret to announce, that none of these truly wonderful characters (except for Hirion. He’s mine. Yay!) belong to me. They are J.R.R. Tolkien’s. Not mine. *sigh* Poor me. Please allow me a moment to wallow in my self-pity. Thank you.
“Tol Eressëa is indeed a very lonely isle,” Frodo Baggins thought out loud in a tired, dreamy voice- as usual, not caring if anyone heard. “Very lonely, yes, and quiet too; almost annoyingly so.” He laughed softly. “Never thought I’d be one to say that!” Frodo sighed contentedly. He was lying sprawled on his back in the warm autumn sun watching the clouds, taking advantage of yet another glorious afternoon. “A dose of Merry and Pippin might do this place some good.” The Hobbit smiled fondly in the memory of his two jovial young cousins. “Not so young now, I expect. It has been after all...” Frodo did some quick calculations in his head. “Good Lord! Sixty-One years - nearly to the day since I saw those rascals last. Though-” He grinned. “I truly doubt they’ve changed much. Nothing could ever change them.” But- sadly- he knew that wasn’t, in all honesty, true. They had changed- a great deal; though it was nothing that would leave a lasting scar. “At least- not one that can be seen.” Merry and Pippin had- upon their return from the quest- gone quickly back into their (rather bothersome) ways – cracking jokes, pulling pranks, doing all they possibly could to be a nuisance to their older cousin; thus the list went on… But they had lived the horrors of war. They had seen the haunted gaze of a dying man, the bloody corpses piled upon the battlefield- friends and enemies alike. Both had been injured- nearly an inch from death. Those were not easy memories to erase from the mind. This, Frodo knew very well. He shifted gingerly to settle on his stomach so that he could view the harbour below him, marvelling at the vast endlessness of the sea. “It will never cease to amaze me. Sixty- One years and I still feel as though I’m looking at it for the first time.” This was Frodo’s favourite place on the island. It was a high grassy cliff among the fragrant trees speckled with heather and many flowers (though there were very few flowers blooming this time of year) whose names Frodo didn’t know. He had always been slightly hopeless with the names of plants. From here he could look out at the water and a fragment of the Elven city peeking out from the green beneath his perch. And he could see the ships. The grey ships with their blinding white sails billowing with a strong ocean wind. There was hardly a sight he loved more than to watch them sail in, tall and proud, and moor at the docks, their passengers stepping off lightly with looks of awe on their faces as they took in the land around them. “I remember when I arrived.” Frodo grinned. “I was so enthralled with the island that Gandalf had to guide me off the ship lest I took a wrong step and fell into the water. The Elves must have found me quite odd; I don’t suppose they’d seen a Hobbit before. I must have appeared to be a child to them.” That was one thing he disliked about being so small; people always seemed more than ready to judge his wit by his size. This, to Frodo, was completely unfair. He was never one to boast but he knew that his knowledge could easily surpass that of many of the big people, save for the Elves. But on that day- when they sailed in- nothing could ‘dampen’ his spirits.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
“When will this rain ever stop?” Gildor Inglorion looked down with a smile at the young Hobbit glaring impatiently at the downpour outside the window of the small study near the stern of the vessel.
“It will stop soon enough, Master Perian.” He laughed, knowing that his friend despised that title. The Hobbit turned his glare to the Elf.
“But not nearly soon enough! For my liking, at least.”
“You’ll find that it rains quite a lot at sea, Frodo- and where we are going as well, I suppose.” Gildor replied, sitting down.
“On the island?” Frodo followed suit and chose a large armchair opposite the Elf.
“Yes Frodo.” There was a moments silence as they stared at the slowly lightening dark sky, listening to the hard patter of the rain. Frodo picked up a book (written in the common tongue) with the hope or reading, but there were too many thoughts floating around his mind.
“What’s it like, Gildor? The island, I mean.” He queried.
“Good Arda! I thought your cousins were the curious ones.” Gildor exclaimed in feigned astonishment earning a good- natured smirk from his companion. Frodo had been very quiet and sombre for several weeks but a good two months had passed. He was now quite like his old self- still reserved and soft-spoken but always open to a laugh or a tale as all (his cousin Bilbo in particular) were pleased to see.
“I taught them everything they know.” Frodo said in jest.
“I’m not finding that too hard to believe!” They were quiet again. The rain’s pounding slightly softer.
“Well?” Frodo questioned further.
“I’m tiring of your relentless interrogation, young Hobbit!” The Elf said with a rather strained smile. Frodo watched him with a furrowed brow.
“Do you remember?” He asked softly, gazing blankly at the book lying open on his lap.
“I…” Gildor trailed off with a sigh. He started speaking again, though too lightly for Frodo to hear. “…no… I …long ago…never…” Was all he understood.
“I’m sorry… what is that sound?” They listened keenly. “It- it’s almost like a bell.” He mused. Gildor leapt abruptly from his seat.
“The sea- bells!” He cried. “We’re close!” He looked fondly at Frodo. “You will have your answers soon enough. Come!” The Hobbit darted after him, up the steps to the (slightly slippery) deck. He skidded slightly until a gentle hand reached out to steady him.
“Careful, Master Baggins,” startled, Frodo stared wide-eyed into the fair, knowing face of Galadriel. “Look closely.” There was now a sweet fragrance on the air and, in accompaniment to the ringing of the bells, voices could be heard faint but pure. Then he saw. It was as though the grey rain- curtain had turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.(In the back of his mind, Frodo was reminded vaguely of a dream he once had, though he could not clearly recall it. It had been before the quest, most likely, or maybe early on. Perhaps in the house of Tom Bombadil? Yes, that must have been it.) “Behold, Tol Eressëa!”
“When will we be there?” Frodo asked eagerly.
“Soon,” the voice of Gandalf spoke from behind. “Yes, I know- but not soon enough for your liking.”
“My dear Gandalf, have I really become that predictable?” Frodo scoffed.
“Good heavens, a predictable Baggins? Not since your cousin Bilbo…”
The ship was drawing closer by the instant, cutting smoothly through the still water. The sky was nearly light- tinged with pink and gold. The sails against it filled with a strong breeze. Frodo could see the Island clearly now. It was heavily forested. A brilliant white city was settled in the trees by the shore. Gulls wee crying high above. A dock reached out towards them, ready to welcome them home. “Home. This is home now,” Frodo thought with slight remorse. “Not the Shire.” A clear horn sounded, perhaps to announce their arrival.
“What is that?” Frodo saw high on a grassy hill, a tall tower. In it a light was gleaming.
“It is a lighthouse,” remarked an Elf with a soft voice- one of the many who had appeared alongside them. Frodo could not recall his name. “The beam guides the wayward ships sailing in after dark.” Frodo nodded in understanding.
“Frodo, mind your step. Come, lad- wake up!” Gandalf shouted at the awestruck Halfling.
“I am awake!”
“Then show it! One foot in front of the other, now.” The wizard shoved him slightly. “Hobbits…” He placed his hands on Frodo’s small shoulders and guided him forcibly down the gangway. The Elves filed after with considerably more grace.
“Somewhere.” Gandalf was beginning to sound slightly flustered. A regal Elf, robed in silver, stood at the end of the docks to welcome them.
“Mae Govannen, Olorin.” He greeted Gandalf. “Nan Hirion.”
“Olorin? Is that what he-Hirion, was it- called you?” Frodo whispered.
“So I am named in the West.”
Hirion looked suddenly to the Halfling. “A child?” He spoke in the common tongue.
“A Hobbit… er, Perian.” Frodo corrected himself, seeing that the Elf didn’t understand his race’s self-appointed name. Though he was relieved that some here knew this tongue, he was slightly dismayed that he was mistaken for a youngling.
“He is a Ringbearer, and the savior of Middle-Earth.” Added ‘Olorin’. Frodo felt the blood rise hot in his cheeks. He glanced behind, pretending that Gandalf wasn’t speaking. Those who had just stepped lightly from the ship were staring wide-eyed around them. He spied Elrond supporting Bilbo who looked to be asleep.
“As usual” Frodo thought. “Dear old Bilbo.”
“Well, be all means, we would be honoured to hear this tale Master-” Hirion raised his brows.
“Baggins- Frodo, son of Drogo, my lord.” Frodo stammered, feeling rather self- conscious under the Elf’s scrutinizing eye (though he seemed kind), and more than aware of his glowing face.
“Come then, Master Baggins,” Hirion said beckoning them onward. “Welcome to Eldamar.”
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
The memory faded though the rushing adrenaline that had come with it did not, leaving him with an escalating bliss. He wondered when the next ship would come, with its world- weary sailors. Maybe… no it would be foolish to get his hopes up again.
“He’s not coming. No…” Frodo sighed sadly. “I wonder if he’s still alive, if any have-”
He shook his head. “No, he’ll come. He’ll be here. I know he will. He’s…” Frodo choked at a small lump rising in his throat. “He’s Sam.” That seemed to be enough confirmation, as images of the long gone past suddenly flooded back.
Dark. Fleeting life. An aching cold, so deep and painful. Mists furling before unseeing eyes. Shadows calling.
Gloom parting. Kind eyes watching, weeping.
Awakening to light. Life returned, to be taken.
Terror. Terror in the skies. Black shapes, flying high. Wings of hate beating slow. Piercing shrieks. Piercing pain. Black riders. Night searchers. Seeking.
Give it up. Hope lost. Hands frantic. Seeking the burden. The burden they seek.
No! Falling back. Now seeking hope. Warm arms. Gentle words.
Hope found, to be lost.
Running swift. Swifter is evil, pursuing behind. Unseen hunter. Unknowing fleer. Caught in trap. Ever blind. Veil is lifted. Too late. Time is run out. Falling.
Cold. Unmoving. No heart stirring, lungs breathing.
Weeping form. Candle in the night. Never burning dim. Will to go on. dead no more
Continuing on. Death defeated soon better than life.
Plodding on. Heavy hearted. Hope fading. Memory lost. Candle burning dim. But not gone out. Lasting night. Ash, smoke, flame. Heavy burden. Weighing down. Falling down. Hard stone. Long march almost done. Strong arms, lifting. Almost there.
Burden lost. Sorrow gone. Light ahead. Welcoming.
Sunset fading. Stars showing. Waves pounding. Friend weeping. Ship waiting. live for me
*No other choice. No other way. I had to take it. I had to pay.
“There was no other choice, there was no other way. I had to take it, I had to pay…” Frodo murmured. He wondered if the memories hurt the others too. He was surprised to find a lonely tear trailing down his fair face.
“I miss you Sam.” He heard a clear horn sound out. The sound smote his heart. “Just maybe…” He gazed out as far as he could. A ship was close. It would be here tomorrow. “Don’t get your hopes up.” But he hoped anyways. He had been lonely for so long, ever since Bilbo had died, long ago. He had friends among the Elves, of course, and Gandalf, but they weren’t the same. They weren’t Hobbits.
Dusk was coming fast. The sky touched with pink. It would be dark soon. Too dark to find his way back. “Oh well!” He could sleep outside, under the stars. “Just like old times.” He smiled slightly. He would pay for it in the morning. “I’m not young anymore, though my looks don’t show it. Thank Eru for that! ” He laughed.
“Good night Sam, wherever you are.” Frodo said to the stars out of habit. “No need for that anymore. I know just where he is.” He thought happily, watching the ship sail ever closer. “I will sleep well tonight and tomorrow…” Frodo closed his eyes. “Tomorrow my Sam will come…”
hope you liked it… reviews anyone?
*based on verse in song ‘The Destruction of the Ring’ from RotK
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.