A gasp, a choking cough, and then Faramir is gulping great lungsful of blessed, cool air.
At first, his nostrils are still full of the stench of burning, and he shudders, seeking escape. Strong arms are there to hold him, though, and gentle hands ease him down. A quiet voice speaks his name.
A scent rises from somewhere close by: a green scent, neither fir nor new willow nor fresh-cut hay; something with the sharpness of yarrow underlain with the faintest tinge of apple blossom. Something he has not ever smelled before, but recognizes at once: the scent of hope.2007 MEFA Award Winner First Place in Times: Late Third Age: 3018-3022 TA: Gondor Drabble
On rare occasions, Aragorn and Gandalf consider their surroundings safe enough for a small campfire. Then, they all huddle together within the fire’s feeble glow, seeking to soothe battered bodies and revive aching spirits. Murmured tales and quiet songs hold the wintry dark at bay, for a little while.
Sometimes the firelight shimmers for a moment on the ring, barely concealed at Frodo’s throat. Sometimes the firelight reflects the gleam in Boromir’s eye as he steals a glance, then looks guiltily away. Sometimes the firelight shoots sparks heavenward where, like mortal lives, they blaze dazzlingly for a moment, then disappear.
Spring After Winter
Sam dreams of rain.
The soft rain of early spring that sweetens the strawberries and coaxes the fresh green shoots of new barley from the earth. The rain that blesses and renews.
He does not wish to wake, if waking means ash and smoke and dust and the thought of watching dear Frodo die on this barren rock. The end of all things. And yet –
He opens his eyes to the patter of raindrops on leaves, a tender breeze carrying a sweet, green scent, and the sight of Gandalf –Gandalf?– laughing with joy, a sound like water in a parched land.
2007 MEFA Award Winner Honorable Mention in Times: Mid Third Age Drabble