1. Into The West
Sam embraced his beautiful daughter Elanor, outside her home at Undertowers, almost three months after his wife Rosie had died. The time had come when he would leave the Shire, for another journey. He let her go, and brushed a tear from her cheek, tenderly, as he held the red leather-bound book out to her.
"You should have this, Elanor. I reckon you should keep it. And maybe, you could write some more about your children. Beautiful, they are."
"I'll keep it safe, Papa." Elanor had always called him that. Sam smiled and turned away, mounting his pony and trotting away slowly.
What can you see, on the horizon
Why do the white gulls call?
- "Into The West", Annie Lennox
The Grey Havens were wondrously beautiful, even after all the time since he'd been here with Mr. Frodo. The Elves' magic worked here, still. A tear stole from his eye as he remembered watching Frodo sail away in the ship with Gandalf. He stood at the pier, and smiled at the Elves that were preparing the ship, rigging the white sails that would bear the ship away to the West. The Elves were singing softly as they went about their work, their voices beautiful to Sam. He sucked on his teeth as he cast his gaze to the horizon in thought, the hem of his Lorien cloak fluttering gently in the breeze off the Sea.
He could understand how the Sea could call to Elves now, though he felt it not; the constant lap of the waves against the pier was hypnotic, the cry of the gulls stirring. The air itself seemed to glow softly with the light of the
"We are ready." A melodious voice called out to him, drawing his attention.
The ship was ready. The great sails of the ship flew proud, the pennant at the tip of the mast fluttering out. An Elf stood ready at the stern, ready to cast away the rope that held the ship firmly moored to the pier, and a gangplank lay ready from the pier to the ship, ready for Elves and Hobbit to board.
He boarded the grey ship, the deck gently rising and falling beneath him, again discomfited at being on a vessel, despite the long days on the Elven-boats of Lorien, travelling down the great river Anduin with the Fellowship.
He was shown to a room below decks, with a comfortable bunk and a table. He chuckled to himself at the mushrooms on the small table in the corner, and peeped out the window at the sea below and the sun ever lower to the horizon.
"Now there's a sight and no mistake," he whispered to himself. And so it was. A million tiny amber points, gifts from the fading sun, danced on the waves, as the gulls dipped down from among the clouds in the sapphire-amethyst sky to land on their rocks, their last calls fading away mournfully.
Across the sea, a pale moon rises,
The ships have come to carry you home...
- "Into The West", Annie Lennox
Later that eve, Sam wandered out of his room, onto the deck of the great ship. The stars glittered white, diamonds in deepest azure velvet, while a round, pale Moon rose in the sky, and a tall figure stood at the bow of the ship. A soft tune drifted back on the warm air to Sam's ears, and he padded forward quietly.
Sam didn't know the Elf who sang so heartfeltedly. As the song finished, the Elf turned his golden head and bowed to him, hand over heart, a gesture that Sam returned, bringing a kind smile to the Elf's fair face. The Elf glided away gracefully, leaving him alone with the Sea and the sky.
Sam rose up on his toes to peek over the rail at the waves below, the prow of the ship cutting through the sea softly, gliding almost above the surface of the grey waters beneath. The Sea was huge. There seemed to be no end to it, no single point to focus on; the last light from the Havens had blinked out in the distance hours ago. Sam gazed up at the sky, picking out the brightest star. The star from which the light that saved him had come from. The light that had shone bright where all others had gone out, in the deep dark of Cirith Ungol.
A gentle hand was laid on his shoulder, and Sam turned to see an Elf, tall and lordly, smiling gently down at him. This Elf was fair beyond measure, and Sam gazed up at him in awe. He knew this Elf, at least.
"Lord Glorfindel! You are here!" he exclaimed in surprise. Glorfindel laughed.
"Yes, Samwise, I am."
"I haven't seen you since... Not since we went through Rivendell on the way to Minas Tirith, wasn't it?"
"Not since then, indeed. I have remained in Imladris since then, with Lord Elrond's sons."
"And how are they, if I may be so bold to ask, Lord?"
Glorfindel smiled. "Please, I am only Glorfindel. But to answer your question, the young ones are not content to leave Middle-earth yet. They will tarry there, until the king Elessar and Arwen have both died. Then, only, will they in their grief sail to Valinor."
Sam stared with wide eyes at Glorfindel. "Then I should hope that they would meet again. Not right, it is, for Strider and the Lady to leave their loved ones."
"And you, Sam? One might say it wasn't right for Rosie to leave you."
Sam fell silent. "That it wasn't, but I couldn't stop it."
"Nor could anyone have stopped Arwen from her choice; it is the doom of the Peredhil, and they all made their choices. Even Lord Elrond. Not all things are meant to be perfect always, Samwise." Glorfindel gazed back Eastwards, and Sam almost felt as though Glorfindel's bright eyes could yet see back into Middle-earth.
"I am sorry, Glorfindel. I oughtn've brought it up," he said softly.
Glorfindel smiled enigmatically, and shrugged gracefully. "No matter. It is late, Samwise. You should rest. We will reach the shores of Valinor by sunrise."
Sam began to turn away, and mumbled, "It will be wondrous, won't it, Glorfindel? Seeing the Lord Elrond again, and all them other Elves from Rivendell," Sam stammered slightly as Glorfindel turned a surprised gaze on him. "I mean, only, Mr. Frodo said something... When he was at Rivendell... There was a great love between you and him. One of the Elves, he said," he added hastily. "Tall and dark and stern he was."
"Yes, it will," Glorfindel murmured softly. "I loved him, as he did me." Glorfindel lifted his eyes to the skies thoughtfully and smiled wistfully. "Wondrous, indeed." He made to leave, beckoning for Sam to precede him.
Sleep now, and dream of the ones who came before,
They are calling, from across a distant shore...
- "Into The West", Annie Lennox
Sam returned to his room, and cast himself on the bed, falling into a deep and peaceful sleep.
And dawn will turn to silver glass,
A light on the water grey ships pass
Into the West.
- "Into The West", Annie Lennox
The next morning, Sam woke to the beginnings of a clear sunrise, and hurried out onto the deck of the ship, where Elves stood thronged, waiting to catch the first glimpse of the Undying Lands.
Sam stared with wide eyes at the lands before him, the white shores lying at the end of the journey, and beyond, rolling hills and greenest pastures under a swift sunrise.
The ship glided into the white harbour, as Elves on deck cried out joyfully at the sight of their lost mates, or their families. Sam ducked through the legs of the tall beings around him, and raced for the rail, peering eagerly for one small figure. He could see no one, for the Elves on the pier were so packed into the small space.
He hung back as the Elves left the ship, swept into embraces with their loved ones again, tears of joy flowing down soft white cheeks. Glorfindel cocked his head at Sam as he made to leave the ship, and said, "I believe you are expected, Samwise."
Sam looked up at him and Glorfindel tilted his head down at the pier, where the Elves were lesser now, and Sam's face lit up in purest joy as a curly dark head peeped from behind a white cloak. "Mr. Frodo!" he cried, and all but threw himself off the ship, landing upon Frodo in his hurry to be with his dearest friend again.
"Sam! My dearest Hobbit!" Frodo pulled Sam close into a warm, firm embrace.
"You're all healed, Mr. Frodo! You look like a proper Hobbit again."
"So he does," rumbled a deep voice from behind Frodo, and Sam looked up to see Gandalf, in all the glory of the Istari, Narya upon his finger, laughing as he had at Minas Tirith, after the great war.
"Mr. Gandalf, sir!" he cried, beaming in joy. Gandalf laughed and raised his white staff, blue rockets shooting from it to burst into a shower of flowers, falling softly back to the ground with the sweet scent of lavenders. The Elves around cheered, and Sam, seeing Glorfindel embracing and kissing a tall, dark Elf soundly, while Lord Elrond and a silver beauty stood beside, smiling, was overcome with his joy and wept.
"Come on, Sam!" said Frodo, tugging him along as the party of Elves, Wizard, and Hobbits moved away from the pier, the fully risen sun shining out more clearly than Sam had ever seen.
~ Finis ~
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.