21. Releasing Grief
Ruvemir watched after Sam Gamgee with embarrassment and compassion. He'd managed to bring more grief to the gardener's heart, and certainly he'd never wanted to do that. Consciously Sam may have expected his guest to examine his Master's room, his master's possessions; but still the revelation his guest had not only searched the room but had managed to find personal papers and work left by Frodo must feel like an intrusion of the most intimate kind. He wondered how he could manage to apologize properly. He retrieved his own night robe and slippers, started out into the passageway, and heard a call from the doorway to the bedroom just beyond his own. He turned that way and saw that Mistress Rose stood there, holding her son Frodo-Lad in her arms.
"Please, Master Ruvemir, won't you come speak with me for a moment?" she asked, and she led him into the master bedroom of the smial.
She indicated the chair by a small desk by the window, and she sat down in the padded wooden rocking chair that stood by the fireplace, where a small fire blazed cheerfully. "I saw you looking through the room as I passed this way, and I wondered if you would find anything," she said. "Apparently you did." He nodded. "What he told you about his knowin' that you'd go through his Master's things was true--he discussed this with me last night, in fact. But I see by your expression you realize that in his heart he would still feel it a betrayal of sorts."
"Yes, Lady Rose, I do recognize that, and I am heartily sorry to have brought that pain to him."
She smiled gently. "At least you're sensitive enough to realize that. Please, don't be too hard on yourself, Master Ruvemir.
"There are few as my Sam truly loves with all his heart, and the ones he loves most are me, the bairns, his sisters and brothers, his dad, and his Master--and now the King as well. From the time old Mr. Bilbo brought Mr. Frodo here as his ward, Sam has loved him, and I'll admit I've been terrible jealous of him from time to time.
"You see, I've loved and wanted Sam for my own from as when I was a tiny lass and was first able to see the shinin' of his soul. And his soul does shine--always has. And then I realized that when he was with his Master, his soul shone more, was brighter. Do you understand what I mean?"
Ruvemir looked at her for a moment, thinking. "Ferdibrand Took commented he saw a white Light at the core of the Lord Frodo's being," he said. "He says that he believes he saw it there still after he was blinded, and that he still sees it somehow when he concentrates and looks toward the West. And when he was telling the children of Brandy Hall the story of the ride to the Havens, Master Samwise said he saw the Lights of their Being surrounding Lord Frodo and his kinsman Bilbo as the Elves do."
She nodded. "Yes. I was fifteen, I think, the first time I realized there was a shinin' to Mr. Frodo as well. Sam's has always been a golden glow, but Mr. Frodo's always been pure and white." She looked past him, out the window for a moment. "I've long been able to see the lights about folks, but with most folk I have to look of a purpose to see them. But I've never had to look to see the one about Sam; and I never looked of a purpose at Mr. Frodo--just saw it one day, and once I seen it, I was always aware after.
"Once Old Mr. Bilbo left that Ring of his to Mr. Frodo, I could see as there was somethin' there with him, somethin' rubbing at his Light. But it was almost like whatever it was a-rubbing at him, instead of wearin' it away, was just shining it up all the brighter, if you take my meaning." She looked back at him, her expression begging understanding.
Ruvemir looked at her closely. He saw the earnest nature of her gaze, the protective hold she had on her son as the tiny child sat in her lap, also examining him. Finally he dropped his own gaze. "My own Ririon described the Lord Frodo as shining like a flame through a lamp of alabaster," he said. "I don't perceive a light as such in your husband, but I do feel a special warmth to him which, perhaps, is my own awareness of the quality you see in terms of light."
"Your Ririon saw Frodo?"
"Yes, in the capital when the four of them dwelt there before they returned here to the Shire. And others have spoken of the special nature of Lord Frodo, of how they were drawn to him."
"Drawn to his Light."
She nodded. After a few more moments of quiet she said, "Sam often saw the Light within his Master as well, and that it was more apparent the closer as he came to dying." Then, after another pause she added, "And he sees the same Light in the Lord Strider."
Ruvemir closed his eyes and nodded his agreement. "Yes, I've seen it, too, the Light in the King." He opened his eyes and saw she was smiling.
"Then you go and tell him, Master Ruvemir. You go and tell him as how you see the Light of the King. It will ease the grief." And she bowed her head in dismissal, the ruler of this small realm of Bag End. He smiled, rose, bowed deeply to her, and left the room, went back to the one he'd been allowed to inhabit while he was there, and retrieved the bundle of papers from the bed--then, after a moment's thought went to the clothes chest and reached down the back side to find the envelope given him by Sir Meriadoc.
He found Master Samwise sitting in the study, neither writing nor reading the book that lay open on the slanted face of the desk before him, but looking across it out of the window at the swirling snow outside made visible by the firelight in the grate. "Master Samwise," Ruvemir said, softly.
Sam straightened, turned to look at him a bit defensively, although his voice was steady enough. "Yes, Master Ruvemir, can I help you?"
Ruvemir noted that the tiny grey ship with the swan prow Samwise had pulled from his cracker at Pippin's party lay on the mantel, then he looked back to the gardener's quiet, sad face.
"I brought you these," he said, holding out the cloth-wrapped bundle and the envelope. "I haven't looked at all of them. Those in the envelope are the pictures Lord Frodo left in the rooms his parents stayed in when they visited Brandy Hall. I haven't looked at all of them, either."
Curiosity lightened the sadness on the Hobbit's face as he reached out to take them. Then he noticed the robe his guest carried, and commented, "You haven't had your bathe yet?"
"No, not yet. The Lady Rose asked to speak with me first. She was trying to explain, I think, just how much you love your Master, although I don't think anyone has to ever explain that to me. I have heard of it from everyone who ever saw you together, and it is apparent from the way your face and voice soften every time you speak his name. And from what I have learned of him, he deserves every bit of devotion he receives from you and the King and the rest who have come to know and love him."
Sam nodded, and sighed. Finally he said, "It's just--I miss him tonight. I truly miss him." He looked at the envelope. "Mr. Merry give those to you to look at?"
"Then you should keep 'em. They're nothing to do with me, you know."
"I'll need to return them to Merry, but you have the right to look at them before I do."
Sam looked up at him. "Then, shall we look at them together?"
They sat together on the sofa, and there began to look at the pictures together, first in the envelope, then in the packet. As they looked, if Sam knew the story of the picture he'd tell it; and as he did his mood lightened. And as they went through the writings, now and then Sam would find one he'd comment on as well.
When they got to the picture of the young mother and her infant Sam stopped and looked at it for quite some time. "She lived in the house next to the one in which we lived in Minas Tirith. We'd hear her sing to the babe and the older children. It's where Mr. Frodo learned the lullaby he used to sing to Elanor. Her husband is a healer, a fair-spoken man, well loved by his patients. Named Eldamir. Lived with her parents, who both served the citadel. Babe was a boychild. Was born just after Strider was crowned. Strider attended the birth--they almost lost both mother and bairn, but Strider called 'em back." Then, after a time he added, "She has a fair voice." And he smiled.
"The King's skill with healing is remarkable."
Sam made a noise. "Not so remarkable," he replied. "It's the Elvish in him, I think. Also he grew up as if he were son to the Lord Elrond, and he were the greatest healer in all of Middle Earth. He made sure the healing hands of the King were well trained to use their gift." He put the picture back in its packet. "Don't know if Mr. Frodo'd have made it to Rivendell if it hadn't been for his healing hands, although he wasn't strong enough to counter the Morgul wound completely. But Elrond had him right aside him when he finally searched the wound the last time and got the splinter out. Both said as the splinter were so close to the heart Frodo'd have succumbed to it within hours. He bore it for seventeen days as it was. And the wound never really healed--not while he lingered here.
"Once he got the green stone, the Elfstone as he wears now, his healing gift was stronger. It strengthens his gift. And the Light of him became stronger as well."
"Where did he receive it?"
Sam looked at the fair Elvish pair pictured in the next drawing, and smiled. "From her--the Lady Galadriel. It's the Elessar stone, and Galadriel gave that stone to her daughter Celebrían, and the Lady Celebrían gave it to her daughter the Lady Arwen. And the Lady Arwen left it with her grandmum to be given to her love if he come that way, which we did. So it and a new sheath for his sword the Lady Galadriel give him when we left Lothlorien."
"How long ago was that?"
"Almost five years past, now. A thing of beauty, that sheath. The old one was worn but also a thing of beauty. But Anduril deserves the new sheath, now it's reforged. But even when it was still Narsil and still broken, the Sword that was Broken was still filled with power, and his Light would flare as he held it."
Ruvemir found himself nodding. "I first saw the sheath in Casistir as Strider sat, looking at the figure of the girl I was working on. His clothes were so old, and his cloak stained from years of use. But his boots were fairly recent, not the wear of someone who's poor; and the sheath was almost new, and set with silver wire and fair gems."
Sam shook his head. "Not silver--mithril." He smiled in memory. "At least you could tell as the boots and all was new--we hadn't a clue when we met him in Bree. Oh, maybe Frodo did, but not the rest of us."
"I bet their Lights shone together then, the first time they met."
Sam gave him a searching look, and then his face softened with a true smile. "Yes, I think they did, but I'd not got used to others as having the same Light as my Master. Gave me a right turn, I'll tell you." He looked back at the picture of the Elves. He was quiet for a time before he spoke again. "The Lady Galadriel was the eldest of Elves in Middle Earth, I think. Was born in Aman itself, but come here to find her own land, prove her power. He offered the Ring to her, Mr. Frodo did, but she wouldn't have it--knew what it would do to her--through her. Then she could go home again, for she passed the test. Better diminished than become another like Morgoth and Sauron." He looked at her image with an expression of mixed pride and loss. "She was aside him on the deck of the ship as took him and old Mr. Bilbo to Elvenhome." He bowed his head with respect to the picture before he placed it, too, back in the packet. "Don't know when the Lord Celeborn will join her. He remained here in Middle Earth. At least there's some as was in Lothlorien still lingering here, for a time."
Decidedly Samwise Gamgee stood up, his stance straight and proud for those he'd been granted the grace to know. "Funny as how now the Third Age, as seen our births, is now become part of the Eldar Days. Now, let's go get you your bath, shall we?"
But later, after Ruvemir had checked to see his sister slept soundly and peacefully and he'd told Ririon to put away the work he was doing and get some sleep and he'd gone to his own bed, there was a knock at the door, and Sam stood there, a great volume in his hands. "You'll want to read this. Just don't try to swallow it all in one sitting, or we'll not pry you out to eat for days." And he placed the book with red covers stamped with an eight-pointed star in silver foil on the bed beside the mannikin's form. "Take care of it, understand?"