Folco announced the following morning he would be selling his home and going with them to Gondor. "I have little enough to keep me here," he said. "Mother is gone, and I find the woman I love is a woman indeed. I'll give most of the books to the Library, for those are what mean the most to me. And, if he'll have his son-in-love work with him, I'll work alongside your father on his farm and learn of him, perhaps teach him a few things. For I know more of growing crops than raising beasts." He looked at Ruvemir. "I'll bring two of my own ponies, one to ride and one to carry what I'll take with me. Will you have another with you for the ride home?"
"Gladly," Ruvemir said. "But will you be handfasted here or in Gondor?"
"Here, if you will."
Samwise and Rosie insisted that the marriage take place at Bag End in two weeks time. Arrangements were made to bring Will Whitfoot to the smial at the appropriate time, and invitations began to flow out of Bag End to Tookland, Buckland, Tighfield, Overhill, Bywater, and Hobbiton--even one to Hardbottle.
On a day late in January guests began to arrive, and the next day Folco Baggins took Miriel daughter of Mardil and Elainen of Lebennin to wife, and together they set off to Overhill to spend a few days alone in the house there until it went to its new owners.
Four days later they returned and joined the party as Ruvemir and the Brandybucks began their return trip to Brandy Hall. Ruvemir had done one more sculpture for Sam, of Frodo seated on the bench before Bag End, in keeping with his dream, holding his pipe in hand, a look of happiness and pride on his face as he looked down the Hill to the preparations for Sam's coming of age in the Party Field. Sam accepted it with that special dignity that Ruvemir had come so to treasure. The two embraced and wished each other well. Then Ririon slipped a small carving of a sleeping Hobbit babe into Rosie's hands, and she kissed them all warmly. Elanor lifted up her hands to be picked up and kissed, and cried when she kissed Ruvemir. "I don't wish you to go," she said.
"I must, my lass," he said. "Elise is waiting for me, and I must complete the King's commission now that I have the ability to do an image of Lord Frodo."
Frodo-Lad simply smiled and hugged all in turn. He'd begun to stand alone in the past few weeks, and as they got into the coach he walked alone from his mother's side to the wheels of the coach, where he ran his hand along the spokes. Sam carefully retrieved him as Folco again clambered onto the box with the extra ponies tied behind, and once Pando Proudfoot had joined Ruvemir, Ririon, and Miriel inside they set out on their way, waving as they set off for the turn in the lane and the way back to Hobbiton and the road east to Buckland.
They stopped for the night at an inn, and Folco proudly paid for a room for himself and his wife; and Ririon and Ruvemir shared a room with Pando, who was feeling decidedly homesick already. Ririon soon had the Hobbit lad laughing, and Ruvemir found he was grateful that Ririon would no longer be the only young one in the group.
At Brandy Hall they were again warmly welcomed. Merimac quickly thanked Ririon for the gift of the serpent about the branch that had been his Yule gift, and the other family members all thanked them for their gifts as well. Merry accepted the return of the pictures with joy, and saw to it that that first night Ruvemir, Miriel, and Ririon opened their own Yule gifts. "We didn't want to bring them to the wedding and distract from the newlyweds, so we saved them till now." For Ririon there was a warm Hobbit cloak that he seemed to love and a wooden puzzle, for Miriel a bolt of woolen material in a dark blue and one of light green linen, for Folco a cloak from Gondor that Merry had brought back but rarely wore, and for Ruvemir a box that Merry insisted he was not to open till he was back in Gondor again.
Ruvemir quickly recovered more blocks of soapstone from the large chest as well as a good-sized block of clay for Pando, and he began to do models for the final statue. He did Sam's first, working from the picture he'd done of Sam with his Elven cloak and Sting in his hand, and soon all were exclaiming at how well it was done. Then he did the one of Pippin, standing on guard with Troll's Bane in his hand, then one of Merry leaning on his sword, although he replaced the sword he'd received from Éomer and Éowyn with as close as he could come to the one he'd used against the Nazgul, modeled both on Troll's Bane and Sam's Dúnedain blade, which hung in Bag End. Finally he began that of Frodo, standing, left foot slightly forward, his right hand, finger missing, raised, the Ring held out on its palm, the Phial of Galadriel held in his left hand against his breast. He'd held long discussions during the days between the wedding and the leaving with Sam, Merry, and Pippin on which had been taller before they left on the quest, and how each would have stood at the time. Now as he finished the models and set them as he intended the final memorial to stand on a base with small tufts of grass to represent the flowers he intended to see planted around them, all began to share in the vision of what the final grouping would look like. Master Saradoc nodded, the Thain, who came for three days to see the finished model, looked on it with pride, and the Mayor, who'd come with the Thain, looked on it with wonder.
"It is so like them all," he whispered again and again. "It is so like!"
The last day of January, with them ready to leave the following day, Sam arrived, and he brought with him a slim volume. "My Master had done some notes for the Red Book afore he wrote it all down that he never burned after or that he misplaced. I've bound them for you, along with some of the pictures he did, and hope they'll bring you pleasure."
Ruvemir was overwhelmed. "Once you get the Red Book copied, I'd love to have a copy for my own," he said.
"It'll take a while, particularly as you're taking one of the best copyists in the Shire with you," Sam commented, "But I'll see it done."
He then looked at the model for the memorial, and his eyes misted, and his head raised proudly. "Yes," he said at last, "I'll accept that." And with similar sentiments from Merry and Pippin, Ruvemir realized his design was set at last. Now, if only the Lord King would accept it. "Oh," Sam said sagely, "Strider'll like it just fine. Just you watch and see if he don't."
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.