A Bit of Rope: 57. Lost

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57. Lost

Lost

 

            Pippin looked up from the drawing he'd been working on and glanced once more at the cot. Too thin, he's too thin for a Hobbit... Frodo frowned in his dreams again, as he had nearly constantly since he began to shift about on the cot like someone merely deeply asleep. Before that he'd lain utterly still, like a person at death's door. But since late last night, he'd been showing more signs that something was happening within--that he was about to awaken. Pippin folded his paper, placed it in a pocket and drew his chair closer.

            Frodo's scrapes, stinger bites, bruises, cuts and scattered burns had been tended; his left forearm was bandaged. The Ring-Bearer had endured dreadful hardships and had not eaten nearly enough food in the weeks of his trek across the Enemy's desolation. Yet the Healers, Radagast and Elrohir among them, had muttered in astonishment at how well the Perian had managed to survive. He was thin, but not wasted; he was injured, but had suffered no mortal wounds. His pulse was steady and strong, an indication that despite the severing of his hand, somehow he had not lost a great deal of blood. Pippin overheard Radagast, Elrohir and Lathron musing on this lucky turn of events, exchanging theories such as spasms of the small wrist blood vessels, or an ameliorative effect of ash upon the wound. The stump itself was clean and healing remarkably quickly. The Healers were quite pleased at his condition, and expected that he would waken soon.

            "And he should not be alone when he does," Lathron had said to Pippin. "As his only kin nearby--indeed, his only available friend--you must stay at his side as much as you can." For Gimli and Legolas had ridden west toward the mysterious Fangorn Forest on the evening of the final battle, and though messages from Minas Tirith reported that friends from the City were heading their way, they would not arrive for at least another day. The Brown Wizard and the stern, handsome Peredhel had agreed with Lathron, and Meneldil had released Pip from all other duties but this one.

            "And truly, Master Took," Radagast had said in his deep gravelly voice, as he had placed his hand on the Hobbit's shoulder. "Whilst your friend the King recovers, and given the sheer numbers of wounded who must be tended, you are not only the best person available for this task, but the only one."

            The young Took felt a mixture of pride, anxiety and misery as he stared at his cousin's wan face. He had occupied the long, silent hours with scribbles on a page, drawings of an idea that he could not quite bring to life but could not put aside. Proud that any of these folk thought him worthy or capable of sitting at such a watch, alone, he  was determined to stay alert and calm. Yet he could not imagine what he was going to say when Frodo did wake up, how he would explain all the terrible things that his cousin would soon learn. And if I know Frodo, the first thing out of his mouth will be about poor Sam... What was he, Pippin, to say to his older, wiser cousin about the death of his dearest friend and all the other horrors that had come before?  

            And then there's Gandalf... He'd come to his own conclusions about that bit of news, deciding even before Radagast had advised him the same. Frodo need not know the appalling details of Gandalf's condition, nor precisely why the Enemy had brought him out of the dungeons of Barad-dur. Not now. Not yet... He's had enough grief. As for news of their other companions... At least I can assure him that old Bori and Merry are well... The messages from the City had reported the gladsome news that since the afternoon of March 25, the Steward's Heir and the Perian hero of Rohan had both made significant strides in their recoveries. And if he asks about Strider, I'll tell him he's mending from a battle wound...

            Pippin's scattered thoughts suddenly focused as he heard his cousin stir beneath the coverlet. Frodo moaned softly, then he slowly opened his eyes. Pippin swallowed hard and leaned toward him, waiting. Let him speak first... That's what Radagast had told him. Allow him to ask the questions, and try not to explain too much, too quickly... Take it slowly, lad...

            He watched as Frodo frowned up at the fabric of the tent. Sunlight diffused through the white cloth, bathing his beloved cousin's pale face with a warm glow.

            "How strange... It's light outside..."

            Pippin smiled. "That's because it is daytime, you silly goose..."

            "Pippin?"

            "Yes..."

            "Is it really you?"

            "It's me, Frodo. I'm right here..."

            The healer's assistant, the Troll-Stabber, the not-quite-of-age hobbit whose unerring aim with a tossed knife and whose courage had saved the life and soul of a friend, and the Heir to the Thain of the Shire reached out, took his cousin's right hand and held it gently. Pippin drew in a breath as his old habits nearly swept him off into a flurry of nonsensical chatter and giddy talk--anything to lift the suddenly somber and uncomfortable mood. But he paused. He squeezed Frodo's hand but didn't release him. His smile was soft and sad, and his brow was knotted with worry. Had he been able to peer into a looking glass at that moment, Peregrin Took would hardly have recognized the much leaner, more serious and older appearing stranger sitting beside Frodo.

            "Where am I, and what day is it?" Frodo asked, as he continued to stare at the cloth of the tent above his head.

            "We are encamped upon a very pleasant field in the land of Ithilien, in Gondor. Today is March the 28th, and it is just an hour past noon."

            "The 28th... And... and when did... when did it all happen..."

            Pippin swallowed again; his throat was even tighter now than before. "If you mean the great Battle, and the end of the Enemy, why that was the 25th, my dear Frodo, just three days ago... Almost exactly three days ago, come to think of it, for the end came for Sauron the Great just after noon..."

            Frodo finally turned his head and looked at Pippin. His hollow eyes were glittering, and his voice was harsh and hoarse.

            "I don't understand how I can possibly be alive--but you seem alive... So I guess I must be too..."

            "Yes, my dear, you are very much alive..."

            "The last thing I remember is fire... Fire on either side of me, fire flowing toward me from above, fire far below... Smoke everywhere... I saw that, in the Lady's Mirror, looking down from above on fire, like at the Bridge in Moria, only a greater fire, and much hotter..." He squeezed Pippin's hand hard, and Pip tried not to pull away or flinch. "He didn't come out, did he, Pip? He didn't make it out of there... I don't know how I came out, but it doesn't matter, because Sam didn't, and he was the one who truly deserved to survive, not me..."

            "No, don't say that, Frodo!" Pippin pleaded as he leaned forward and pressed Frodo's shoulder. "Please, don't say that... You know that both of you had to be there, to do what you did... You were the one who got the both of you through the wretched mountains... You nursed Sam through the spider bites, and guided him across the desert... You carried It all the way there, right to the very doorway, and you would have done whatever was necessary, even thrown yourself in, if Sam hadn't..." He abruptly stopped, and both of them stared at Frodo's bandaged left arm.

            Pippin watched the shudder move through his cousin.

            "Oh, Sam... dear Sam... And Gandalf... They're gone, both of them... They're really gone, aren't they..."

            Pippin reached out again and brushed the tips of his fingers through Frodo's hair.

            "Yes, they are gone... I'm so sorry, Frodo," he whispered.

            "I knew it would be this way for Gandalf, since we parted from him... There seemed no other alternative... But not Sam, I never expected Sam would die, and not me..." He held up his left arm and stared at it as if it did not belong to him. "I should have died... I should have bled to death... But I wrapped my arm in... Wait a minute..." He turned to Pippin, his eyes raw with grief. "The scarf... Where is his scarf?" Frodo said, his voice suddenly full of panic. He turned to Pippin and reached up, clutching at his cousin's arm. "Where is it? His silver scarf... He gave it to us at the Crossroads... It was the last thing I had of him! It was as if he knew I would need it, just like Sam would need his pipeweed pouch... Where is it, Pip? Where is it?" he cried frantically. He struggled to sit, thrusting against Pippin's restraining grip, swinging his legs off the edge of the cot.

            "Frodo, you mustn't get up yet, it's too soon..."

            "But the scarf, I'm certain it saved my life... I wrapped my hand... m..my wrist with it, right after..." He was surprisingly strong, and quickly worked his way up to a sitting position. Pip placed both hands firmly on his shoulders and held him down. He's so upset, I have to find an answer for him or he'll never settle down...

            "Frodo, please, wait a moment... I'll find out what happened to the scarf... Just wait, please! Promise me, Frodo, please don't get up..."

            Pippin lifted his hands and slowly backed away, ready to lunge forward in an instant at the first sign that his cousin planned to rise on his own. He reached the entrance to the small pavilion and stuck his head through the door flap. A beardless youth in the livery of Dol Amroth stood on guard.

            "Hullo," Pippin said brightly as he stepped outside. "Listen, my friend: the King's friend, the Cormacolindor, has awakened, and I need either Master Radagast or the Lord Elrohir immediately--or better yet, both of them... Now go on, lad, be quick!"  The young knight blinked in the sunlight and bowed, and without a word he ran off toward the other tents. Pippin shouted after him. "And send someone with some hot soup, and a bit of bread! He's hungry!" He turned back to the tent. "And so am I..." he muttered as he entered.

            Frodo was still sitting on the side of the cot, his head in his right hand, and his left arm in his lap. He looked up the moment Pippin came through the tent flap. His eyes looked haunted.

            "How did you know, Pippin?" he said warily. "How did you know so much about what happened, in... in Mordor? Was I talking in my sleep?" Frodo's voice had a sharp edge. "What else aren't you telling me? What about the others? Aragorn, and Merry... Everyone?"

            Pippin smiled wanly as he sat in his chair again. "Two very different questions, my dear cousin. I'll start with the easier one. Everyone else is fine, or nearly so... Aragorn, Boromir and Merry were wounded, but they are all recovering... Gimli and even Legolas had some scratches, and somewhere along the way Gimli broke his ankle, but that's mended now..." He paused, and reverting to the one old habit he could not seem to leave behind, he chewed on the inside of his lower lip. "And as for how we know about what happened when you were inside the Enemy's land... Well, you see it was just like last October, in Rivendell... As near as I can understand it, Gandalf looked into your thoughts, like he'd done back then..."

            Frodo's face twisted with grief, and his voice was harsh and rough. "Gandalf? But how can that be? We saw them taking him away, chained inside a cage... They took him to the Enemy's dungeons..."

            "Yes--that's where he had been," Pippin said hoarsely. "But he was at the Gate, Frodo... They'd brought him, you see... The Enemy's troops had brought him with them, like a...a sort of trophy..."

            Frodo's eyes squeezed shut as he groaned. Pippin wrapped his arm about his cousin's shoulders. I never meant to tell him about this... I'm botching this something awful...

            "I'm so sorry, Frodo... I wish you never had to know about this... It was so horrible," Pippin continued in a whisper. "But we found him, after it was all over, and he was still alive..."

            "Correction: you found him, Master Took," a deep voice said from the entry to the tent.  "And were it not for you and your willingness to pay attention to every clue in the wreckage of that battlefield, clues others older and more experienced than you overlooked, we might well not have reached him in time."

            Radagast entered the tent. Elrohir was a step behind him, and next to the Peredhel, leaning on Halbarad, and with his right arm bound in a sling, was Aragorn. Their faces were solemn and filled with as much grief as joy, but every eye was shining as they gazed upon the Ring-Bearer.

            "Strider!" he cried. "Pippin said you'd been wounded... I'm so glad to see you alive and standing..." The Ranger crossed quickly, letting his hand rest lightly on Frodo's shoulder as he gazed down and smiled. The hobbit reached up and clasped the Man's hand as he looked toward the entrance to the tent.  "And you must be Radagast the Brown..."

            The Brown Wizard strode forward and crouched near the seated hobbits. The old man's bronzed face was creased by a thousand wrinkles as he smiled. "Apparently you've heard of me," he said as he placed one knobby hand on Frodo's knee.

            "Not very often, or very much," Frodo said hesitantly. "Gandalf..." His eyes closed again as he sighed and turned his face to the side. "Oh, Gandalf..."

            Pippin looked at the Brown Wizard worriedly. "I tried to do as you said, Radagast," he said. "I tried not to tell him too much, too quickly... But he started asking questions right off..."

            Radagast nodded toward the young hobbit. "You did as well as any could in your place, and with greater caring... Frodo, what questions can I... can we answer for you?"

            Frodo gazed up at him, and Pippin thought his heart might break at the look of utter anguish written on his cousin's face.

            "You were right to ask Pippin not to tell me too much," he said softly. "I don't think I can bear to hear any more than what he's already told me, not now... Not for a long time, perhaps..." He glanced down at his left arm. "Just tell me one thing: what happened to his scarf? The silver scarf he always carried? After Sam..." Frodo paused, and his face grew grim. "After Sam cut off my hand and took it--with the Ring still clutched in my fingers--and carried out the Quest, I nearly fainted... The scarf had been tied to my left wrist, so that Sam and I wouldn't lose one another... He was wearing Narya most of the time by then, you see, to give him strength, and just as Gandalf said it would, it made him vanish from sight... "

            Elrohir and Aragorn caught one another's eye at that, wonder on their faces. Pippin wasn't entirely sure what Frodo was talking about, but he noted that even Radagast seemed mildly surprised.

            Frodo went on, his voice hesitant. "I raised my head in time to see Sam walk through the doorway, into the Chamber of Fire... Something made me look down again... I saw the scarf, and I wrapped my wrist in it, almost without thinking... The pain and bleeding stopped immediately..." He looked at Aragorn. "Where is it?" he pleaded. His eyes suddenly overran with tears. "It was all I had left of him... of either of them, for all the long way across the plain of Mordor, I could feel Sam there, tugging gently on the other end of the scarf, even in the bitterest darkness of that horrible place..."

            Pippin gathered Frodo into his arms as his cousin began weeping. He looked up at Aragorn. "Please, Strider," he whispered. "You tended him, didn't you? Did you see the scarf?"

            Aragorn shook his head sadly. "I am afraid all I noticed was that his arm was wrapped in a blood-soaked length of cloth... I did not recognize it..."

            "It must have been taken away and discarded," Elrohir murmured. "All such used bandages were collected and burned..."

            Pippin held Frodo as he shook with sobs. The others watched, helplessly. Finally, the Ring-Bearer drew in a deep breath and released it. He raised his head from where he had been pressing it upon his young kinsman's shoulder.

            "Please... All of you... Let me be..." he said in a low voice. "I don't want to hear anymore... I just want to be left alone."

            "I'll stay with you, Frodo," Pippin whispered.

            "No. Even you, Pip... Just let me be by myself, please..."

            "But you deserve renown and praise, Frodo, for your remarkable accomplishments and for your incredible courage," Aragorn said earnestly, as he dropped to one knee beside him. "There is to be a feast of celebration for the fall of Sauron and the renewal of peace and hope. And now that you have awakened you will be honored by all..."

            "No!" Frodo said sharply. "I shall refuse to attend any such thing." He glared at Aragorn. "Get out of here, all of you! Leave me alone!"

            Slowly they moved out of the tent. Pippin lingered, hoping his cousin would change his mind; but Frodo was insistent that everyone leave at once. The young Took stood helplessly just outside the tent flap, looking up at the Big People surrounding him.

            "What should we do?" he said, as he gazed at Aragorn.

            "I know not what else we can do, but wait until he is ready," he murmured.

            "Indeed," Radagast sighed. "Frodo Baggins is every bit as stubborn--determined, if you will--as Gandalf described him. An attribute that no doubt served him well during his dreadful journey..." The Brown Wizard placed a hand on Pippin's shoulder. "Be patient, my boy. Give him time to heal his heart, which has been more sorely tried than his flesh. Your kinsman needs you... Stay near him."

            That night as Pippin stood watch outside Frodo's tent, he gazed up into the sky, twinkling with myriad stars. Oh, Gandalf, he whispered. I wish you were still here... You'd know what to do... He sighed. Merry was due to arrive tomorrow, with others traveling from Minas Tirith; they were to gather for the planned celebration, which now was in doubt. Maybe Merry can reach him...

            The next day, when the party from Minas Tirith arrived, Pippin and Merry pushed aside the many questions they had for each other in their urgency to talk to Frodo. Pippin fretted outside the tent, waiting. Finally, the flap opened. Goodness, he's even taller than I remember from the City, Pippin thought, for of course, before he had left with the Host of the West upon their march to the Black Gate, his cousin had barely risen from his sickbed. Pippin had hardly had time to become accustomed to his cousin's peculiar new stature. Merry's usually cheerful face was solemn.

            "He wants to go home, right away," he muttered. "He won't accept any sort of honor or thanks, for all that he's done. He says if Sam can't be here to stand beside him, he wants none of it..." Merry stepped forward and clasped Pippin's shoulder. "I've convinced him to come to the City, at least long enough to see Strider crowned..."

            Pippin sighed. "I knew he'd listen to you..." The young Took pointed to the closed pavilion. "We have to get him out of this dismal, stuffy little tent," he whispered. "He hasn't stepped outside since he woke up yesterday. It can't be good for him to stay in there all alone on such a glorious spring afternoon..."

            Merry nodded. " He stepped back to the tent and pulled the flap aside. "All right, Frodo Baggins, we won't tolerate another moment of this behavior," he called into the shadows inside. "You are coming out into this lovely day with your friends! You don't have to say a thing, or accept any praise or thanks, or even smile, if you don't want to... But Pip and I have some catching up to do, and you ought to at least pretend to be interested in our tales, too. You're in for quite an earful..."

            "Yes, Frodo," Pippin said, forcing cheer he did not feel into his voice. "I simply refuse to repeat everything I've got to tell more than once, nor will I sit through a re-telling of all Merry's exaggerations... Come out and walk with us!"

            "An excellent idea," a deep voice cried. "Since old friends are gathering, might I request permission to join in the recounting of tales?"

            "Boromir!" Pippin cried delightedly, as he turned toward the Captain-General and acting Steward of Gondor. "You look wonderful!" Which was hardly true, as Boromir was thinner than he had ever been in his life, his cheeks were hollow and his color was pale, but he was smiling wholeheartedly, and his eyes shone. Pippin could still see the lines of grief in his friend's face; but he clasped the man's hand and squeezed hard, and Boromir grinned down at his young friend and winked.

            It took three determined members of the Fellowship several minutes to convince the Ring-Bearer to leave the tent, but once Frodo emerged into the sunlight, they closed ranks about him and strolled about the encampment. Frodo had no need to speak, for the others were soon in competition for who had the most interesting tale to tell, and they had weeks of news to describe. They did their best to speak of all the fascinating people they'd met and the wondrous places they had seen, steering their talk away from sad moments or difficult times. But of course, this meant that the topic of conversation often abruptly changed, and many crucial details were left out entirely. Several times their talk lagged into awkward silence as none could think of a single cheerful thing to say. Merry had been describing the raucous, terrifying, thrilling Ride of Rohan across the field of the Pelennor when he suddenly stopped, his face burning red. Frodo looked at him with a wan but encouraging half-smile.

            "You don't all have to keep avoiding every bit of bad news," he said quietly. "I'm not so thick as all that; I know the war raged on while Sam and I were... away, and I know that everyone else came through horrors too. Go on, Merry. Finish your story. I truly want to hear what happened next..."

            Later, as the afternoon light began slanting toward evening, the four friends found a place to sit on a low bench beneath a row of beeches. The bright green leaves fluttered above their heads. Pippin could see that his kinsman was tired, and was about to suggest that he return to his tent for a rest, when Frodo spoke again.

            "I suspect I should have asked this quite a while ago," he said. "But I'm embarrassed to admit that I've just thought of this now... Where have Gimli and Legolas got to? Why aren't they here, with the rest of you?"

            Merry and Boromir had heard all the news of the last several days; but they both looked to Pippin to provide the explanation.

            "They are off running an errand for Strider," he said simply.

            "That sounds mysterious. What sort of an errand?"

            Merry joined in. "Well, you remember my stories about the Ents..." Frodo nodded. "They're going to fetch something from Treebeard, the head of the Ents..."

            "...Yes, a new supply of Treebeard's special potion for galls and cankers," Pippin added. "But if you wish to hear the reason Strider needs a supply of such a thing, I think it would be best if you asked him yourself."

            Frodo sniffed. "I can't imagine our new King has time for silly questions like that. He must be terribly busy..."

            "Oh, he's busy, all right. He hardly has a moment to himself," Pippin said. "But I happen to know that he's been fretting anxiously about you, ever since you woke up. He told me himself that he wants very much to speak to you again. After all, you didn't really end your conversation with him yesterday on the best of terms..."

            Frodo frowned, and Pippin read his look of doubt and irritation. He blames Strider for losing the wizard's scarf... It hasn't even occurred to him that anything might have been distracting poor Aragorn...If I didn't know better, I'd begin to wonder whether our dear Frodo has fallen into a bit of a sulk... The young Took eyed his cousin. "There are other things you need to understand." He reached out and grasped Frodo's right arm. "And Strider is the best one to tell you. Please--go talk to our friend, and soon to be our King, Aragorn."

            Pippin, Merry, Boromir, Faramir, Halbarad and Elrohir waited outside the royal pavilion while the Ring-Bearer entered and had a long conversation with the new King. They could discern the tones of their two voices: Aragorn's deep baritone and Frodo's soft lilting tenor, rising and falling, urgent, thick with emotion. FInally the sounds faded into silence. After a few moments, the tent-flap twitched aside, and Frodo emerged into the twilight.

            "He's weary," he said, as he looked up at Elrohir. "He asks for you..." The Peredhel bowed and moved quickly into the tent, with Halbarad on his heels.

            "And I'm weary as well," Frodo sighed. He glanced at his companions. "Thank you... all of you... I'd like to get some sleep, now. I believe there is a banquet to attend tomorrow..."

            The next day, the survivors of the Host of the West and the defenders of Minas Tirith joined for a quiet celebration on the pleasant Field of Cormallen in northern Ithilien. The bright air was filled with sunlight and the fragrance of flowers. From the ridge overlooking the greensward, Anduin's silvery glitter could just be glimpsed to the west, and eastward, the Mountains of Shadow were half-hidden in a gilded haze. The Lord Faramir, in charge of the preparations, spoke quietly to the chief minstrel of the Citadel. The man nodded solemnly and folded his newly written lay, Frodo One-Hand And The Ring Of Doom, in half and tucked it into the leather bag that held his musical instrument. The minstrel gathered with his fellow artists, and the music they produced on their harps, viols and flutes that day was emblematic of all the music of the early years of the Fourth Age: heartbreaking and sweet, yet threaded with tender notes of sadness. Their songs had no words, nor were any required, for no words would suffice. When the music was complete, everyone gathered for the feast.

            The banquet tables were hastily rearranged. As the new King requested, a great circle of tables was made, with chairs lining up upon the outer edge and facing inward, so that many could be together in fellowship; and in rings about the innermost circle, other boards and tables were arranged for all to sit. Before the standard of Elendil, placed so that he could look to the West, sat Aragorn son of Arathorn, brought to his chair with the assistance of his lieutenant and his foster-brother. At his right, before blue and silver, sat Prince Erchirion of Dol Amroth. Upon Aragorn's left hand sat Boromir of Gondor, with Faramir beside him. Merry and Pippin flanked their older cousin, Frodo, and Radagast, Halbarad, Elrohir, Mablung, Master Lathron, Harmund of Rohan, Indor of the North, and many others sat at the same great table. No one person was given a position of honor more than any other, save the new King and the youthful Prince, who sat before their royal standards.

            When the quiet, solemn banquet was complete, Aragorn nodded toward Radagast the Brown. The old wizard pushed back from his seat, and stood. The tables were parted, and he entered the circle. He gazed at the faces surrounding him, and when he smiled, they all felt warmth enfold them as if a cloak of feathers had been wrapped about their shoulders.

            "Friends, we are gathered to mark the end of a long and terrible struggle against evil. That Dark Enemy has now been brought low, and shall never rise again to trouble these lands. Other evils may come, but today is a day of peace and renewal. Yet, the cost of peace has been very great, and our grief is greater still. I bid you, then, to speak the names of those who are no longer with us. Honor our fallen kin and friends, by remembering them to those here gathered--and hold not back your weeping, for tears must be shed, lest they fester within and sicken our souls."

            Radagast then turned toward Frodo. "Ring-Bearer, I ask you to speak first before all, then the Lord Aragorn, and the Prince... Then any others who wish should take their turn. And I shall take the last turn in the recitation of those whose paths have parted from ours, for now."

            Frodo drew in a slow breath, and with his right hand clutched tightly in Pippin's, he raised his head and spoke in a clear voice.

            "Samwise Gamgee, of the Shire..."

            "Elrond Eärendilion, of Imladris..."

            "Imrahil, of Amroth... Elphir and Amrothos, of Amroth..."

            "Denethor, Steward of Gondor..."

            "Elladan Elrondion, of Imladris... Celeborn and Galadriel, of Lothlorien..."

             The low murmuring voices went on and on as name after name was spoken, and none there felt shamed at the tears that slid down their faces.

            Theodred and Eomer, of Rohan... Baranor, of Minas Tirith... Grimbold, of Rohan... Bilbo Baggins, of the Shire... Broghur, of Gondor... Berengil, of Anorien... Duilin and Derufin, of the Morthond Vale... Candir and Maedgam, of the Houses of Healing... Anborn, of the Rangers of Ithilien... Hama, of Rohan... Glorfindel, of Gondolin of old...

            The full accounting of names took well over an hour. Radagast waited patiently until every man who wished to do so had a chance to speak. Finally, the wizard turned his penetrating gaze first toward Aragorn, and then to Frodo.

            "Two names shall I speak: one known to you, and the other never spoken by any in this company before this day." He drew himself up, and his deep voice carried to every ear in the gathered crowd.

            "Sharkglûb, Orc of Mordor, and once an Elf of Cuivienen... and Gandalf the Grey, of the West..."

            Silence fell on the Field of Cormallen. The long recitation of the names of the dead was replaced by the twittering of birds, and the hiss of the wind in the leaves.

            Then Radagast looked about, his face once again creased by a warm smile. "Weep no more--for though our paths are sundered for a time, I say to you that everyone seated here, and every one whose name has been spoken shall, someday, be rejoined in friendship... And we look forward to that day of rejoicing."

            At last, he bowed his head, and all followed his example. "To all the courageous individuals--Big Folk and Small; mortal and immortal--who have been named here today, and for all those who have fallen or taken hurt in the struggle against Sauron the Great: each one here gives you his heartfelt thanks, praise and honor. Your names shall never be forgotten."

 


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.

Story Information

Author: Aiwendiel

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/06/12

Original Post: 02/25/09

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Comments

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A Bit of Rope

ziggy - 24 Sep 11 - 5:36 AM

Ch. 57: Lost

I think they had better go and find that scarf...hoping beyond hope here. 

This is such a professional piece of writing- it's like reading the real thing. You keep making me cry, Aiwendiel. You get Pippin's 'voice' absolutely right and there is that layer of grief behind Elrohir andall his actions that is compelling and convincing and makes me think he moves more heavily because of it. The list of names of the fallen shocked me because I had forgotten the devastation you have wrought!!! And now I need to go back and read it all over again. Such a work this is -so skillfully written and although AU, utterly in keeping with canon.

A Bit of Rope

Aiwendiel - 24 Sep 11 - 6:50 AM

Ch. 57: Lost

Dear ziggy, thanks so much -- your words are keeping me going. I can see the end, haven't quite gotten there yet. As for that scarf... You ought to know me well enough as a writer  by now to realize that the scarf is where ruthless pragmatism took it. (Not that I wasn't tempted... But when I see any hint of romantic melodrama in my work, I beat it back with a stick...You little devil!)

I hope you and other readers find the next chapter to be at least a little more uplifting!

Aiwendiel

A Bit of Rope

ziggy - 28 Sep 11 - 1:26 PM

Ch. 57: Lost

Ah- I know you are right about the scarf... but as a hopeless romantic, I was really, really hoping!

A Bit of Rope

Larner - 30 May 12 - 9:59 PM

Ch. 57: Lost

They lost the scarf?  No wonder Frodo is upset!  And so very many gone, due to one small change....


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