A/n: Well, on to chapter two! Hope everyone likes this so far. I am really sorry it took me so long to post. I couldn’t decide whether or not to continue this or not but obviously since I’m writing this I opted to. To my wonderful reviewers thank you sooo much! More reviews would be very, very, very much appreciated. There is one major flashback in this chapter. Flashbacks are probably going to be getting on your nerves, my dear readers. Believe me my nerves are fried! No more after this chapter! … I hope?
Reminder: *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** is a flashback and this: *** is a break in time.
Frodo awoke to a morning fair and bright. The pale sun peeking over the horizon cast a friendly glow on his ledge. The rays dancing off the tips of the waves were nearly blinding. After looking away bleary-eyed Frodo could still see them in patches of blue and pink wherever he looked. He stretched and yawned widely. “Good lord am I stiff!” He looked around again, blue eyes now bright and focused, finally realizing that he wasn’t in his soft bed in his hobbit-sized room with the sunlight streaming warm through the gauzy draperies. He was lying on very cold, hard ground without a blanket or even a jacket or cloak! “What am I doing out-” He puzzled for a brief moment. “The Ship!” The thought hit him like a stone to the head. He scrambled to the edge of the grassy shelf. Almost here. Within an hour, it would dock, and his scant hope fulfilled or broken. “No, not broken. He’ll come. I-”
“Frodo, is everything alright?” A quiet voice said. Frodo reddened, unaware that he had spoken aloud.
“Yes,” He said rather abruptly. “Everything’s alright.” He turned to face the speaker. It was the Elf who had explained the lighthouse to him; the one who had grown to be his greatest friend of the Elves on Tol Eressëa. Although silent and shy, he had been a great comfort to Frodo when they came and, from what he had come to know, Frodo to him.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
“Is everything alright, Master Baggins?” A gentle voice called from the doorway. Frodo sighed, he sat on the large bed of pale wood, clutching his pack tightly, surveying his room. It was so huge, and white. Not at all like the rooms of Rivendell. They were more comfortable, more like home, in a way. This was…he didn’t know what. He shook his head to clear it and looked to the door. It was the soft-spoken Elf from the ship.
“Yes. It’s alright.” No! Nothings alright! He wanted to scream. The excitement he had earlier felt was gone. Now he was lost and feeling utterly alone. He’d left his home, his life, his friends, everything he’d ever known. Bilbo was here but, Frodo thought sadly, maybe not for long.
“Are you alright?” The Elf asked concerned.
“Yes.” He managed to choke out, swallowing the lump in his throat, shrieking inside. “No, NO, NO! I’m NOT!” The Elf’s brow’s knit with worry. “no…” Frodo whispered.
“Frodo.” He murmured. “Frodo suits me fine.” He suddenly found himself thinking of Sam. Frodo remembered saying something very similar to his friend long ago, when Sam was only a child. Still, it had not seemed to dawn on Sam that Frodo thought of them as being equals rather than servant and master. “Now he’ll never understand.”
“Frodo, then.” The Elf watched with open concern as the Hobbit tried to hide a small tear that was trailing down his face. He stepped into the room.
“Who were they?” Frodo looked at him unwillingly, blue eyes tearing up. He didn’t want to speak for fear he would begin to weep. “The three who remained on the docks.” Frodo let out a silent sob. He didn’t want to think about them. Not now.
“Th-they,” Frodo choked. “Were… companions of mine.”
“The tall ones, troublemakers- were they not?”
“My cousins,” Frodo almost chuckled. “Y-yes, yes they were.” Now he did laugh. “They w-were rather annoying at some times, well, most…most of the time.”
“They had quite the mischievous glint in their eyes.” The Elf said thoughtfully. “What of the other one?” Frodo said nothing, but another tear fell from his eye. The Elf strode over to kneel next to the Hobbit, who seemed terribly small in such a big room.
“He was… he was my gardener, in the Shire, where we Hobbits come from, but in truth he was my dearest friend- though he refused to accept that. H-he always insisted on calling me ‘Mr.’ Frodo, or ‘Master’. He didn’t feel he deserved to call me by my name!” Frodo sighed in disgust. “He deserved better than the likes of me, if he was meant to have a master. I led him into so much danger!” Frodo didn’t notice that he was startling the Elf with his small outburst. “And he wanted to c-come! He f-felt that it was his duty t-to follow me. Be-because he was my servant!” He spat out the last word as though it was deathly poison. “There was no way that he could have known what would have happened!” Frodo was aware that he was probably blabbering now, and that this Elf probably didn’t have a clue what he was speaking of. “And after all he had done- they had done- I just… I just left! They- they don’t understand. They don’t know why. I couldn’t find the heart to explain.” Frodo gazed almost pleadingly straight into the Elf’s eyes. They were grey-green, like the stormy sea. “I…”
“What are their names?”
“My cousins, Merry and Pippin. They were made knights of Rohan and Gondor during the war. It makes me wonder how desperate their lords were for aid to enlist those scoundrels in their services.” The Elf nodded.
“What of your gardener?”
“Samwise - Sam.” Frodo’s face darkened. “I don’t suppose I’ll see them again.”
“But you will, Frodo.” The Hobbit’s brows rose.
“They are mortal, as are you though you live among the immortal folk. You, I am sorry for saying so, all will… pass on. Death- death is not the end of all things. It is merely another beginning.” The Elf saw that that the Hobbit was listening intently. “Beyond this world there is another place. It is a bright place, peaceful and merry. There are no troubles there, no evils lurking in the dark. Those you loved will be waiting for you. To welcome you home. ” He said smiling warmly at Frodo. “Do not be afraid, Frodo. There is yet a hope you may meet one before, before you leave.”
“You speak sadly, why? How do you know of this?
“I had a friend once, many lifetimes ago, ho told me of such things.” The Elf said almost wistfully.
“What happened to this friend?”
“He was human. He grew old as I remained unchanged. And then… he died. I did not understand death. His body I could see yet, it wasn’t him. It was like an empty shell. He was, well, not there anymore. He had gone somewhere else, leaving his form behind. I grieved terribly. I didn’t understand why he had to leave, and why I could never see him again.” His voice grew bitter. “I envy you, Frodo Baggins. You are mortal.”
“What’s so wonderful about mortality?” Frodo queried. The Elf thought for a brief time.
“It…ends. You have a great purpose to fulfil in such a short life. Then, when your journey is over, you can rest in peace, without the slightest care or fear. We must simply continue; doomed to watch all that we love wither and die, helpless against the power of time.” The Elf shuddered as if chilled by a nonexistent wind. “You will die, my friend. Your life may be long but you too will fade. And I will be here to see it. I shall grieve once more.” He paused to take several short breaths. “When someone that you have known passes you mourn but there is always the tiny spark in the back of your mind that, though you may not notice it, promises that you may meet them again. We Elves do not have that hope. When one is gone, they are lost, and we must bear that. Do you now understand?” Frodo nodded, shaken. He knew many who were jealous of those that lived forever but he had never thought that immortals would be jealous of them.
“Nothing will really last forever. It just can’t! Even, even the sun and the stars must die someday. So… so maybe you will meet your friend again.” Frodo said.
“Maybe.” A ghost of a grin flickered on the Elf’s face. “Just maybe.” His smile now brightened. “Thank you.” Frodo was shocked. What had he done?
“Your welcome but, for what?” Frodo wished to know.
“For hope.” The Elf’s smile broadened. “Hope is always a wonderful thing to have.”
“Is it ever…” Frodo murmured.
“Well, I’d best leave you to unpack.” He looked at the small satchel still in Frodo’s clutch. “Is that all you brought with you?” The bag was very small but it hardly looked half full.
“I suppose so.” Frodo said. “Goodbye then.” The Elf made to leave. “Wait!” The Elf stopped. “I forgot to ask your name!”
“Díneledh.” His face lightened in another grin. Frodo returned it. “I expect you’ll be at dinner?”
“I expect I will now!” Frodo laughed. “Good bye.” Díneledh left. Frodo looked around his room again. “Oh- I hope I can arrange for a Hobbit-sized room someday. I really do…”
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Frodo turned back to face the ship. The horn was sounding again. “Almost here…” He thought.
“A ship is arriving. I assumed you’d want to greet it,” Díneledh said. “As always.” It was true. Frodo had developed quite a routine of dashing to the docks to welcome the newcomers. But few boats came now.
“As always. But,” Frodo said eagerly. “I would like something to eat first.”
“Hobbits!” The Elf scoffed. “Don’t worry my little friend; I’ve already taken care of that.” He produced a small basket containing biscuits and jam.
“Bless you!” Frodo grabbed a biscuit eagerly. “I honestly don’t know what I was thinking sleeping out here without even a cloak or jacket!”
“There is a simple explanation for that: you weren’t thinking!” Díneledh joked.
“Too true.” Frodo said with his mouth full.
“Slow down!” The Elf chided as Frodo choked.
“Sorry-” Frodo muttered. Díneledh sighed exaggeratedly. Frodo finished eating and tried to wipe the jam off of his fingers and onto the ground.
“Frodo! What is your rush, lad?” The Elf was sounding quite exasperated. He tossed his friend a cloth napkin. Frodo shrugged as he hastily attempted to make his hands less sticky. “Do you think someone special will be coming today?” Frodo pursed his lips but still remained temporarily mute. “Is Sa-”
“I don’t know!” He finally exploded. He jumped up and shoved the cloth back into the basket.
“Frodo, please- wait a moment.” Frodo reluctantly sat back down. “If he’s not on this ship… I just don’t want you to get your hopes too high again.”
“Weren’t you the one who told me that hope is always a wonderful thing to have?” Demanded Frodo.
“Not too much hope.”
“You wouldn’t have said that in Mor-”
“Frodo!” Díneledh was surprised to hear the Hobbit mention Mordor.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have lost my temper.” Frodo said sourly.
“You didn’t lose your temper and even if you had, I would understand.” It made him shudder to think of what the Hobbit must have suffered during that terrible ordeal. “Let’s go; slowly- mind you.” Frodo complied without argument. They walked carefully down the steep hill. “What did make you decide to bed out here?”
“I was too tired to come back down. I probably would have fallen and broken my neck in the dark anyways.” He tripped slightly (on purpose?) as if to prove his point. “See, I’m a klutz in the daylight too!”
“No, Frodo your not.” Díneledh sighed (again).
“What ever you say.”
“Hobbits…” Díneledh grumbled. “If your cousins are indeed worse than you are I’m glad I didn’t know them.”
“I taught them everything they know.”
“I’m finding that quite easy to believe!” The Elf laughed. Frodo scowled at him and in looking up at his friend, stumbled again. “Careful!” Díneledh said as he steadied the Hobbit. “Maybe you are a klutz.”
“I told you so!”
The sun was burning high with a pleasurable early-autumn heat by the time the companions emerged from the trees to stand on the edge of the white Elven city which served as a port for incoming vessels. Their scramble down the hillside had been easy and uneventful, save for Frodo’s occasional slipping (*to prove his point*), but the Hobbit had been nearly too excitable for the Elf to bear. At every attempt Díneledh made at conversation Frodo would burst out with a stream of incessant and greatly unintelligible chatter. He was quite relieved when the Hobbit finally fell silent to sort the contents of his cluttered mind.
They passed along a little-traveled road on the border of the city until they came to a small whitewashed dwelling, with a thatched roof, on a grassy lawn very near to the water- Frodo’s home. It looked, from the outside, to be fashioned after Crickhollow, save for the colour of the round door- green, and the low white fence surrounding it. From the time of his coming to The Island, Frodo had not been comfortable living in the Elven quarters, so, in his second year of living there, this Hobbit-sized house had been constructed for him. Bilbo had stayed there also, for a time.
Frodo quickly dashed inside. He washed his face and neck before grabbing a change of clothes. On a whim he shuffled through an old and dusty chest residing beneath his bed that had been nearly forgotten over the years, until he found what he was searching for. He threw the light grey fabric loosely over his shoulders, his usually nimble fingers fumbling at his neck to clasp the green brooch in the shape of a leaf veined with thin silver. Hastening back outside, he slammed the door loudly behind him.
Díneledh was waiting patiently beside the gate. From the time his friend had left, late in the afternoon the day before, a growing concern had formed in his head. The Hobbit had been quite irritable, rather tense and distant of late, though, as was his nature, Frodo had kept a closed mouth, refusing to speak of anything that might trouble him. It often amazed the Elf that he didn’t burst with the immensity of all the unspoken emotions bottled up inside. “Come on, now!” Díneledh’s thoughts were rudely interrupted by the impertinent urging of a very impatient someone. A small grey blur rushed by. Díneledh was momentarily shocked, realizing he hadn’t seen that particular cloak since… since the day they had arrived on Eressëa. “I wonder why…”
“Please!” Frodo pleaded. With a single long stride the other caught up and seized a fistful of finely woven material. Frodo jerked back, eyes blazing. He looked up. “That hurt.” He remarked tonelessly. With reluctance, Díneledh released him deciding that this would not be a good time to have a word with his friend. They went on in silence, skirting the main roads of the city, Elf not daring to speak. Frodo plodded down the lanes broodingly, arms folded tightly over his chest, a cloud of unease hovering about him like the foreboding presence of a dark sky waiting for a storm to be unleashed. “If he doesn’t come then… he never will…” He thought mournfully. “And what then Frodo Baggins? What then is there left to bind you here?” He turned his head to the East, to the unseen horizon. The distant memory of what once had been. “What then?” Díneledh stared at him, a question forming in his keen mind, shaking his head slowly.
Nearing the docks, Frodo felt nearly sick with anticipation. Shoved deep in the pockets of his breeches his hands were hot with sweat and trembling slightly. “What ifs” danced wildly through his head. Beneath the calloused soles of his feet he felt the ground change all too steadily from dirt to stone to smooth well worn wood. He kept his face downcast, not wishing to see the ship that may or may not end his long wait and regretting that he had not taken time to level-headedly consider his actions which, his previous ones, so he thought, had not quite been wonderful, especially his sudden flares of temper. “No time for that, now. What’s done is done.”
A high pure note shattered the momentary calm of Frodo’s mind like a mace to the bone, sending fresh waves of trepidation rolling through him. He stood still at the end of the wharf. He at last looked out scanning over harbour and to the open sea behind. He didn’t allow his vision to linger on the boat though, in his brief glimpse he saw a scattering of tall figures at the ships rail. Frodo could almost hear the gasps of awe and feel the excitement tingling between them. He leaned against a tall grey piling remembering countless times of slumping in the very spot. Closing his eyes he took a deep breath, rejoicing in the crisp, cool air. A soft breeze gently blew a fine ocean mist over him, tousling his chestnut locks.
Frodo watched the travellers as they stepped lightly in turn onto the dock. He felt as though cool lead was being slowly poured into his heart. Only a handful of passengers remained on board and to his sad dismay, none looked to be any less than six feet tall. It had used to give him pleasure, greeting the newcomers of Eressëa before, though there had always been a quiet disappointment nagging at him that had grown stronger as the years passed by but that had been nothing compared to this crushing of his soul. He had set his hope too high. A choking lump swelled in the Hobbit’s throat and his eyes stung faintly. Only one Elf left. Frodo barely saw her reach out in front to give something before her a gentle nudge. He thought heard a faint, almost childlike murmuring followed by the Elf’s melodious laughter. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw a nearly imperceptible motion. He looked to the ship again.
A curly head peeked cautiously around the sideboards. A small cloaked figure shuffled into his view. The noon light glinted off the silver veining the green brooch clasped at its neck. The person that was certainly not an Elf walked unsteadily down the gangplank, legs wobbling like those of one that overseas travel did not agree with. The trembling form lifted its head. Wide dark eyes fixed on Frodo. The Hobbit took a shaky breath.
One lonely tear trailed down Frodo’s face.
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.