89. Chapter 88 - May 1438
Éowyn smiled and ducked in the door. Her head was just a few inches from the ceiling. “It’s lovely.”
“It’s even nicer when it’s been lived in,” Ivy said. She went into the parlor to open curtains and windows. Dust swirled in the shafts of sun. Ivy sneezed. “It needs a good cleaning.”
“We can work on that,” Éowyn said. “We’ll have it all ready for your honeymoon.” She grinned.
Ivy smiled and got a flutter in her stomach. Just a little over a week and she’d be married, and then she and Pippin would have a week to themselves at Crickhollow. She had come up to see what needed to be done to get the little house ready. And she’d brought Éowyn with her, to show her mother where she had grown up. Her Big Folk family had arrived a few days ago--Éowyn and Uncle Éomer and their families. Estella was entertaining Aunt Lothiríel, giving Ivy time to have her mother to herself.
She crossed the hall to the master bedroom to open windows. She glanced at the bed, covered in a fine sprinkling of dust. She’d have to come back and change all the linens, or they’d be sneezing their whole honeymoon.
“Anything I can do?” Éowyn asked.
“We’ll need to go through the pantry,” Ivy said. She went back out into the hall and into the next room. “See what’s here and what needs to be brought up from the Hall.” She opened the window and stepped back to look around the room. “This was my room,” she said. Not that there was much left to mark it as hers. Only the furniture remained. Everything that was hers was now at Brandy Hall. And would soon be moved to Great Smials.
Éowyn sat on the small bed, folding her legs to the side to fit. They’d had to have larger furniture added to Brandy Hall to accomodate her family. She smiled at Ivy. “You really liked living here, didn’t you?” she asked. “You look so happy here.”
Ivy nodded. “I was really sad when we had to leave, when we moved to Brandy Hall after Granddad died.” She sighed. “I only lived at Brandy Hall a year before I went to Gondor. It still doesn’t feel like home the way Crickhollow does.” She went and sat next to her mother. “I wish we could live here. I’m not really looking forward to being Mistress of Tuckborough.” She shrugged. “They’re just...different there. More formal. It’s kind of scary.”
Éowyn put her arm around her. “Would it make you feel any better if I told you I went through the same thing?” she asked. “Ithilien--and Gondor as a whole--is different than Rohan. ‘More formal’, like you said. I got used to it after a while. But they also had to get used to me.” She kissed Ivy’s head. “Don’t change for them, Ivy. Pippin’s accepts you as you are, just like Faramir accepts me. The rest of them will just have to do the same.”
Ivy nodded and hugged her. “Thanks, mum,” she said.
Éowyn gave her a squeeze. “You’ll do fine, léofe. You have my temper and your dad’s stubbornness.” She chuckled. “I don’t think they stand a chance.”
Ivy giggled into her mother’s shoulder. “That’s what Pippin said.”
“Getting nervous yet?” Faramir asked Pippin.
Pippin shrugged and gave a crooked smile. “A little, I suppose.” All right, that was a bit of a lie. His stomach had been in a constant state of butterflies the past week, ever since Ivy’s family had arrived. Their arrival had made it all real, that he really was going to marry Ivy. It was only a few days now until the wedding. He suspected the butterflies might be multiplying.
They were gathered in Merry’s study, his friends from the Quest: Merry, Sam, Legolas, Gimli, Éomer and Faramir. He wished Aragorn could have been here, but the duties of a King made such a long trip for personal reasons impossible. And both Steward and King should not be absent from Gondor. Aragorn had sent gifts and congratulations from himself and Arwen with Faramir. Pippin sighed. There were others he wished could be here as well to share in his happiness. Gandalf, who would have provided spectacular fireworks. Boromir. And Frodo.
“Ready for the ceremony?” Éomer asked.
“Yes,” Pippin said. “Sam’s already got Ivy’s ring, so I can’t lose it.” They all laughed and Pippin grinned at the jab at himself. He may be forty-seven and Thain of the Shire, but to his friends here he would always be the young hobbit with a penchant for finding trouble.
“And your sword?” Éomer asked.
Pippin sighed. “I’ll be using my own sword, from Gondor. I couldn’t find an ancestral sword good enough. We found one in the Old Took’s things, but it was rusty and the grip had rotted away. He sighed again. He’d really hoped to find something special in there. Merry had finally convinced him they wouldn’t find anything in the dusty cupboards and to use his own sword.
“Sam,” Merry said, gesturing for his friend to come over. They whispered together for a moment, then Sam smiled and nodded. Merry turned and opened a cupboard below his bookshelves. He pulled something out, something wrapped in a cloth, and handed it to Sam. They walked around Merry’s desk and Merry gestured for Pippin to stand up. The others stood up as well. Pippin suspected they were all in on whatever Merry and Sam had been whispering about. Merry gave Sam a nudge and Sam stepped forward in front of Pippin.
“You do have an ancestral sword, Mister Pippin,” Sam said. He unwrapped the object in his hands, letting the cloth drop to the floor.
Pippin heart leapt into his throat at the sight of Sting. No, Sam couldn’t be doing this... “No, Sam,” he whispered. “I can’t take that sword from you.”
“Mister Bilbo and Mister Frodo are your family, Mister Pippin, and this sword is as important as most swords I know of. It was made by the Elves, and--”
Pippin held up his hand to stop Sam and looked at Merry. “You’re letting him do this?” he asked angrily.
“He convinced me,” Merry said. “When we were at Bag End in September, for Frodo’s birthday. After you’d gone to bed, we had a nice long argument about it.” Merry smiled. “Sam won.”
Pippin shook his head. “I can’t take Sting from you, Sam. Frodo gave it to you.”
“Only because he was leavin’ and had no need of it,” Sam said, a slight shake in his voice. “And if Mister Frodo was here today, he’d be the one handing it to you instead of me!”
Pippin squeezed his eyes shut, nearly overcome with emotion. He couldn’t argue with that. Sam was right. Frodo would have been the one handing him the sword if he were here. He nodded, took a deep breath, and opened his eyes.
Sam nodded back. “Now, the king tells me it’s tradition to recite the history of a sword before presentin’ it,” Sam said, with a nod towards Éomer. He drew Sting from its scabbard, holding it up so it glimmered in the candlelight. “Sting was found by Mister Bilbo on his adventure with Gandalf and the Dwarves,” Sam said, his eyes on he blade. “Mister Bilbo said Gandalf told him it’s a very old Elven knife, from all the way back in the First Age, and was mostly likely lost in the Fall of Gondolin. It saved Mister Bilbo from some giant spiders...” Sam paused slightly, shuddering a little, most likely remembering his own fight with Shelob, “...and he had the inscription added to it in Rivendell. Maegnas aen estar nín - dagnir in yngyl im. ‘Sting is my name, I am the spider’s bane’.” He shifted his arm a little--the blade must be getting heavy--but he pushed on. “When Mister Frodo went on his Quest, Mister Bilbo gave him Sting. It served Mister Frodo well, especially since it glows blue to warn you of orcs. And I can personally tell you it still works against giant spiders.” Sam smiled at him and around them the room murmured with chuckles. Then Sam looked back at the blade and sighed. “Mister Frodo left Sting with me, when he sailed to the West,” he said sadly. “And I know he’d want you to give it to Ivy, to pass on to your children, Mister Pippin.” He slipped the sword back in its scabbard and held it out to Pippin, pommel first.
Pippin studied the grip, the silver pattern of a vine embedded in the dark wood. He remembered as a small child staring at that sword hanging over Bilbo’s fireplace, wishing he could take it down and hold it. Of course Bilbo never let him. “You’d cut off your furry little toes!” Bilbo would tell him, then pat his head and distract him from swords with cakes and a story or two. Frodo never let him hold it either, after Bilbo had gone. “I want to keep my parlor in one piece!” Frodo would laugh. He’d mostly forgotten about the sword when he reached his tweens, too concerned with ales and lasses and running around the Shire with Merry. Swords didn’t enter his mind again until the Quest.
“Are you just going to stare at it, or are you going to take it?” Merry chided.
Pippin gave an embarrassed glance at his audience and reached out a slightly shaking hand to draw Sting from its scabbard.
It was amazingly light, compared to his Gondorian blade. He did get to hold it a few times, after the Quest, but he’d forgotten how delicate the blade seemed. Of course, appearances were deceiving. Sting was strong enough to kill orcs and giant spiders.
He looked up at Sam, holding the empty scabbard. Sam was smiling, but his eyes said something different. This was one of Sam’s links to his dearest friend, and Pippin knew what it meant for Sam to give him Sting. It would be like him giving away something Merry had given him. “Thank you, Sam,” he said and wiped away the tear that suddenly appeared.
Merry came up next to them. “You should probably put that away before you cut your toes off,” he said with a wink. Everyone laughed again and Pippin made a face at Merry. He took the scabbard from Sam and carefully put Sting away and laid it on Merry’s desk.
“Now that Pippin has a sword, I think it’s time to celebrate.” Merry said. He went and opened a cabinet and pulled out two bottles. “One of the last bottles of my father’s whiskey,” he said, “laid down just before we went on the Quest. And a bottle of wine from Pippin’s own cellars in Tuckborough. Which, I will admit, is better than our Buckland wine.” He winked at Pippin.
Pippin gave him a grateful smile. Merry always remembered to pull out something other than whiskey when he was around. He’d finally gotten to the point where the smell didn’t make him feel sick, but he didn’t have any desire to try to drink it. Too many bad memories associated with it. At least he wouldn’t be the only one drinking wine instead. Legolas preferred it as well.
Merry poured out the glasses and they raised them to toast his marriage. Then they settled back into their chairs.
“Isn’t it a human custom to give marital advice at these gatherings?” Legolas asked, a twinkle in his eyes.
“No!” Merry and Faramir exclaimed together. Pippin hid behind his cup of wine. He imagined his cheeks were as red as the liquid in his cup.
“It is a tradition,” Éomer said to Legolas. “But perhaps we should leave it up to Master Gamgee. He seems to be the expert on such matters.”
“Ten, now, isn’t it Sam?” Gimli asked with a chuckle. “And another on the way?”
Pippin smirked. At least he wasn’t the only one blushing now.
“I’m sure Mister Pippin can figure it out,” Sam mumbled.
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.