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Antane's Anthology  by Antane

A King's Thanks


Aragorn watched the four hobbits as they lay sleeping in the Houses of Healing. Frodo and Sam he grieved for, loved, admired and respected the most. He was well aware he owed them his life and the crown he would soon wear. All of Middle-earth owed their lives to them. Would those they sacrificed so much for ever know that? he wondered. He looked at their sunken cheeks, all the weight they had lost, the cuts and bruises and whip marks, the burn around Frodo’s neck. But then he looked at their chests as they slowly rose and fell. They would survive. They must. If he could have willed it entirely on his own, they would not die. But they had to will it too.

Here the king smiled. Sam, so close to death himself, was still unwilling to let go or let his master go. Aragorn had seen their souls so near to accepting the Gift and he had wondered whether he should just let be and let them go, but he couldn’t. Selfish, perhaps, but he couldn’t. They had turned when he had called. It took some persuasion from Sam, but Frodo had come back and Sam with him. Their souls were nearly merged into one, Aragorn saw. Where one went, the other would follow. And Sam had still wanted to live. So Frodo had chosen that also. Even in their sleep, they were aware of each other and grew agitated and called out to each other weakly if they were ever more than an arm’s length apart. The king solved that problem by gently lifting the Ring-bearer and placing him in Sam’s arms. Neither woke, but slipped deeper into contented sleep as the gardener’s arms encircled his dear master and dearer friend. Frodo sighed as his arms wrapped around his beloved guardian and he placed his head where he could hear that much loved heartbeat.

So it was with Merry and Pippin who lay in the next bed, the elder with his head against his cousin’s heartbeat as though to reassure himself they were reunited. They had certainly proved their great hearts as well - Merry had helped defeat the Witch-king and Pippin had saved Faramir’s life. The king's admiration, respect and love for them was little less than it was for Frodo and Sam.

What strength in such small beings! the man thought in wonder. He leaned down and kissed each dear head softly. “Le hannon, mellyn nin,” he murmured to each of them.

A/N: Aragorn’s words are Sindarin for Thank you, my friends.

 

A/N: This is my birthday present to Queen Galadriel, harrowcat, Frodo Baggins, Larner, starfire_moonlight and all my other dear reviewers. Hannon le for so enriching my life! Im mil le, God bless, Antane :) Hope you enjoy!


Frodo had been anxious to test his strength for a long tramp through the Shire as he had used to be able to do without effort. He had started out slow at Sam’s insistence, taking small trips usually with his beloved friend and guardian and building up his strength that way. He was restless and impatient to do more, but still he paced himself as much as he could for he could not bear to see the hurt in his Sam’s eyes when he over exerted himself. And that was so easy to do these days. Frodo sighed in frustration and more than once had been close to tears or had cried when he realized that his former strength may never return, that the Quest had taken too much from him.

One day, though, he could wait no longer. The day was bright and beautiful and called to him. He ate well at both breakfasts, took an apple and some bread and a full water bottle and put on his traveling cloak as he was always so cold even in the summer. That was another thing that galled him, but he hoped that would change also. Frodo decided he was going to walk until he dropped and it was going to be a long walk. Perhaps the warmth of the day would reach into his soul where it was still so cold, so empty. He wanted to fill himself with the Shire again, instead of the void that only the Ring filled. He told Sam that he planned to be out for the day and would return well before sundown.

Sam gave him one long look, with a glance at the very short rations his master was taking for a day-long jaunt and stopped Frodo in his tracks without a word. The gardener packed a picnic for his treasure and himself, told Rose that he would be back after lunch, and then set off with Frodo. They stopped for elevenses and further on for lunch. Sam watched him the whole way and when he was satisfied that his master had eaten enough both times and showed that his stamina had improved, the younger hobbit let him continue on, but still not with a little concern. Frodo thanked him for the meals and company and then walked on alone, turning around to wave once. Sam returned it and then returned home.

Frodo had wanted to continue on further, but he had turned around shortly after he had separated from Sam. He collapsed right at their front door, unable to go a step further. His legs were trembling and he knew he would have to catch his breath for a minute and rest before he could go inside. He felt at once content with his progress that was much further than he had ever gone since he had returned and saddened that was still much less than he used to go, but perhaps he had to accept that now.

The voice of the Ring and his hated longing for it remained, though it had helped to be out among his favorite haunts. He winced at that word. He was still so haunted inside. Perhaps that was something else he had to accept, but he was not going to stop fighting it. If that fight had to be continued and could only be won outside the Shire, he would have to accept that too. He had hope for healing, even if it couldn’t be done here. The thought of leaving, this time truly not to return, pained him like nothing else, but this time it also settled and calmed him in a way that surprised him. Strangely, he felt part of the sadness lift from him with that realization, that acceptance that he couldn’t, wouldn’t be able to return to who he had been, that looking for joy and peace in the past was not the right way to go about it. His search was in front of him, not behind him. He would know joy and peace again, even if it wasn’t here. But how, he wondered as he clutched at Arwen’s gem, how can I leave my Sam and my cousins? Curiously, the calm inside still did not leave him.

The door opened and Sam nearly stepped on him before he could stop himself. “Mr. Frodo dear! Are you all right?” he asked, taking in more than the strain of the trip on the master’s features and the sweat soaked clothing and curls. Sam always did see so much more than with just his eyes, Frodo knew.

“Perhaps I overdid a little,” the elder Ring-bearer acknowledged.

The gardener sat down next to his master and wrapped his arm around his shoulder. Frodo leaned his head against his dearest friend. “It’s all right, Sam,” he said when he was surprised to hear quiet weeping.

“No,” the younger hobbit said, “no, it’s not.”

Frodo looked up into his beloved guardian’s eyes. There was so much love there and pain and concern. He wiped at Sam’s tears, then wrapped both arms around his friend and held him tightly. “Yes, my Sam, it is,” he said. “This is how things are now. Not the same, but something to grow into, like a new cloak or pair of breeches. I think I needed today to figure that out.”

Sam looked at his dearest friend and master beseechingly. “Then it truly will be all right? Everything sad will become untrue? You won’t always be so hurt?”

Frodo’s arms tightened around his beloved friend turned brother who had surrounded him for decades with such incredible love. He knew without a doubt Sam would always be with him, even if they had part physically and he felt the peace only deepen within him. He kissed his brother’s head, then rested his own head against Sam’s chest where he could hear his heart.

  “Yes, dearest Sam,” he murmured in soft, joyful assurance, “it will be all right. Sadness will turn to joy and neither of us will be hurt.”



A Little Comfort

Frodo gets a little mothering from Rose on the March 13th Sam is gone.

Rose had promised to look in on Mr. Frodo while Sam was gone replanting the damaged Shire. She checked his bedroom and found him curled around himself, tangled in his sheets. She straightened them out as best she could without waking him and draped them back over his trembling, too thin frame and wished she could do more.

Frodo raised his head at the gentle touch and looked at her with eyes that did not quite focus. “Mama?” he murmured.

Rose looked into those tormented eyes and realized he was not awake, but lost in a dream. Well, she decided, if he needed his mum, she’d do her best to accommodate. “Yes, lovey?” she asked.

“It hurts, Mama. Why does it have to hurt so much?”

Rose bit her lip to keep from crying as her heart broke within her. What had happened to him and her Sam out there? Neither would speak of it, but their eyes, especially Mr. Frodo’s, and his maimed hand that he was always trying to hide, gave mute testimony of horrors she knew she couldn’t even imagine. But she wanted to. She wanted to know. She knew it wasn’t her place, but Mr. Frodo needed his mum so she sat down on the edge of his bed and stroked his curls gently. “I don’t know, sweetling. I’m so sorry it does.”

“Can you make it go away?”

Frodo looked up at her with such pleading and hope in her eyes. Rose continued to follow her strong mothering instinct. She took him into her arms and rocked him gently as she continued to stroke his curls and sing to him softly the same song her mum sang whenever she or one of her siblings were ill. Frodo hung on tightly and slowly relaxed.

“Thank you, Mama,” he breathed and slipped into deeper sleep.

Rose continued to gently rock him. Her song became a soft hum, then when she was sure he was truly asleep, she laid him back down. In the moonlight that shone in the window, she saw how beautiful he looked, how peaceful. She kissed his head. “You’re welcome, dearling. Sleep well.”

Father’s Day

Frodo thrust his sword into the growling beast that was about to swallow him whole. His enemy staggered backward, holding his chest and with a howl crashed to the ground. Primula Baggins poked her head around the corner to survey the havoc.

Her five-year-old son was bouncing up and down. “I killed the dragon, Mama! I killed the dragon!”

Primula looked down at the defeated enemy and smiled up at her son. “I see that, sweetling. How brave of you!”

Frodo beamed. He threw his sword aside and pounced on the dragon’s chest. He ran his hands through his father’s curls and kissed his face. “I won, Papa! Wake up and let’s do it again!”

Drogo didn’t move. Frodo kept calling to him and started shaking him and then finally when both he and Primula were getting concerned, and the lad’s lower lip began to tremble as tears began to crawl up his throat, the elder Baggins opened his eyes and grabbed his son with a roar and began to mercilessly tickle him. The little lad shrieked in delight, his fears and tears instantly forgotten. Primula merely shook her head and let them be. Her lad’s giggles followed her in the kitchen where she finished cleaning the dishes. She didn’t think any hobbit could be happier than the three of them were.

“Can we go walking today, Papa?” Frodo asked when Drogo had him firmly in his arms with no wiggle room. “Maybe we’ll see a real dragon or maybe even some Elves!”

Drogo kissed his son’s dark curls. “Maybe. You better make sure you bring your sword.”

Frodo picked up the discarded weapon his father had carved from a fallen tree branch and the two went out together, the lad’s other hand firmly clutched around his father’s.

“My sword needs a name, Papa,” the child said after they had walked awhile through their favorite meadow. “All swords have names, you know,” he added in a very serious tone.

“Of course they do,” Drogo replied in the same tone.

“Uncle Bilbo showed me his sword once. It was made by the Elves and looked real sharp. He wouldn’t let me touch it. He said its name was Sting.” Frodo looked up at his father. “What do you think mine should be called, Papa?”

Drogo looked down at his beautiful son. “Well, I don’t know, how about Dragonslayer?”

Frodo giggled. “That’s me, Papa!”

“Well, you can’t have the same name as Bilbo’s, but how about something like it? Stinger, maybe?”

The child brightened at the thought of his sword having a similar name to his beloved uncle’s. “I like that, Papa!”

“Good, Stinger it is then.”

Frodo beamed and swung his weapon up and down and through the grass and then ran ahead with it, pretending to go into battle once more. He didn’t see the rock in his path, though, and went sprawling to the ground. Drogo ran and caught his son into his arms. Frodo was sniffling, trying not to cry but some tears had already escaped. His breeches were a little grass stained and there were dirt on his hands, but looking the lad over, the elder hobbit did not see any worse damage. He wiped at the tears traveling down his son’s cheeks and at the dirt in his hands, then held him tight against him. “Are you hurt anywhere, sweeting?” he asked.

Frodo held on just as tightly, hiding his head against his father’s chest where he could hear his heartbeat. “No, Papa,” he said.

“Then let’s just rest here awhile while you catch your breath a little.”

Once the pain and shock of the fall had worn off, Frodo lifted his head from his father’s chest and turned around so his back was now against Drogo. He was in no hurry though to leave his father’s arms and settled his own small arms against the elder’s hobbit’s larger ones. From that safe place, the lad looked up at the swiftly moving white clouds in the bright sky.

“Where do the clouds go when they leave the Shire, Papa?” he asked.

“I don’t know, my lad, out into the World, wherever the wind sends them I guess.”

“I wonder what it would be like to be out there. Uncle Bilbo’s told me all about his adventures. I think I would like to go on my own adventure one day.” The child raised his head to look up at his father. “Could you come along too, Papa?”

Drogo looked into those luminous, bottomless blue eyes and smiled. “Of course, dearling. I would love to come with you.”

Frodo beamed. “And we have to bring Mama too. Oh, Papa, it will be so much fun! I don’t think I would like to go alone.”

Drogo kissed the top of his son’s head. “You’ll never be alone, my sweet.”

Frodo squeezed his father’s arms. “I know, Papa.”

“Are you ready to get on home?” the elder hobbit asked after a while. “Mama’s going to have dinner all ready and she’ll be wondering if a dragon ate us or something if you don’t get back soon.”

Frodo giggled. He squirmed out of his father’s arms and picked up his sword. “I don’t think there really are dragons in the Shire, Papa, but I will protect you and Mama from them, just in case.”

“Thank you, my lad.”

Father and son took up each other’s hands again and began the walk home. That night, after eating, they stepped outside and looked up at the stars.

“Where do the stars go when it’s morning, Papa?” the child asked.

Drogo smiled down at his inquisitive child. He wondered where Frodo got all that curiosity, but then remembered there was some Took blood in the mix and there were his Uncle Bilbo’s tales that Frodo always begged to hear.

“I don’t know, my lad. Maybe they are always there, just waiting for their time to shine again. Sometimes it takes a lot of darkness to see the light best.”

The child gave that some serious thought then they went back inside.

That night, Drogo watched his son sleep. The lad’s lips were just slightly parted in sleep, his lush eyelashes lay against his cheeks and there was a faint light shining from within. He was laying on his side, clutching his favorite stuffed bear that Bilbo had given him on their last birthday. Drogo leaned down and kissed his son’s cheek softly.

“Thank you for making me a father,” he murmured. “I love you.”

“Love you, too, Papa,” Frodo murmured very sleepily.

Broken Wings


Upon finishing listening to the wonderful, heartbreaking BBC Radio adaptation of War of the Ring for the first time, I was inspired by the lovely song at the very end as Frodo is sailing. I found it very soothing and I hope he did too. I know it’s part of Bilbo’s song but in the adaptation, it was not him singing that part so I chose it to be an Elf.

On the deck of the ship that was taking him further and further from his home and nearly all he had ever loved and known, one question kept running through Frodo’s mind, a hated litany that had sounded ever since his memory and the pain returned to him of what had happened all the long months he had carried his burden, the one he still carried in his heart and soul.

Where shall I find rest?

He was held in Gandalf’s arms so he could see above the railing. He had stared long at the shore and those three beloved brothers of his heart. Long after they had disappeared from sight, he had still held aloft the phial of Galadriel’s so they could see that at least as long as they could as each moment took him farther and farther apart from them. He held it now tightly against his chest. A gentle wind rustled his curls and dried the tears that fell unheeded down his cheeks.

Where shall I find rest?

Bilbo had gone down below almost right away, but Frodo had stayed above, not bearing to be separated from his brothers any moment sooner than had to be, safe in his dear friend’s loving arms, glad to have those around him, to help replace those he may never feel again.

Oh, Sam, you tried so hard. You have always taken care of me, almost died because you would not leave me. Can you ever forgive me for leaving you now? And Merry and Pippin, so dear, you, too, would not let me go alone and almost died as well. How can you ever forgive me for leaving you behind now?

He felt like a bird with broken wings, unable to soar as he had so often in his childhood. He had been grounded by the tragedy of his parents’ deaths and it had been a long time before he learned to fly again. But learn he did - Merry and Bilbo had been excellent teachers - and how high and far he had flown then, and laughed out his joy at such freedom. But the Quest had broken his wings once more and he had floundered again on the ground and no amount of care seemed able to mend him this time.

Where shall I find rest?

The sunset came then and he squirmed out of Gandalf’s arms. “I want to go below now,” he said. “Thank you for letting me see the last of my home.”

The Maia’s heart broke to hear such pain and stiff formality. He had hoped the beauty of the sunset would ease his dear friend’s pain, but it seemed to only increase it. It looked too much like the fire in which Frodo had lost so much.

“Oh, there you are, my boy,” Bilbo called cheerfully as his nephew came in and laid his head on his shoulder.

Frodo still clutched the phial that continued to glow. He stared at it, needing that light to counter all the darkness that was drowning him.

“I made him my heir,” Bilbo said to himself. “I gave him everything, including that blasted, confounded Ring. Oh, sticklebacks, why did I ever pick it up and worse, why did I ever give it up?”

He didn’t realize he had spoken aloud until he heard a weary voice beside him. “It was meant to happen, Uncle. Gandalf told me all about it.”

The ancient hobbit wrapped both his arms around the too frail shoulders of the child of his heart. “He told me that too, but were you also meant to be hurt so?”

Neither of them had an answer to that. Frodo wrapped his arms around his uncle and held on tightly and so they sat quietly for a long while, then they were called to dinner. Frodo walked beside his uncle down the brightly lit corridors of the ship in a daze and only picked at his food.

Where shall I find rest?

He clutched his fork with his maimed hand so tightly it cramped. His jaw ached for how tightly he kept it clenched to keep from screaming out his despair. He stood abruptly and with a murmured apology, went back on the deck again. Bilbo stood to follow but Gandalf shook his head and the ancient hobbit sat back down, his expression stricken as he watched Frodo leave.

The stars were arrayed in all their glory and Frodo mouthed his thanksgiving to Elbereth for such a beautiful, soothing sight. The breeze was pleasantly cool and tugged at his curls. A tendril of peace entered softly into his soul.

An Elf came on deck shortly afterwards and began to sing.

“Guided by the Lonely Star,

beyond the utmost harbour-bar,

I’ll find the havens fair and free,

and the beaches of the Starlit Sea.

Ship, my ship!

I seek the West,

and fields and mountains ever blest.

Farewell to Middle-earth at last,

I see the Star above your mast!”

The peace deepened as that lovely voice reached down deep into the Ring-bearer and soothed his hurts. One of his broken wings fluttered tentatively against his body.

He went down below after a while and the song followed him. He slept that night in Bilbo’s arms. “I’m glad to be with you, Uncle,” he said softly as he closed his eyes and placed his head against his beloved uncle’s heart and held him tightly. Two wings fluttered and spread a little further from his body.

The last thing he was felt was Bilbo’s soft kiss to his head and the last he heard was that ancient hobbit murmuring “I love you” and his own soft reply mingling with the song.

Where shall I find rest?

At last, the answer came. I shall find it here.

Heart of Darkness by Antane

I have the power of light and dark and have used both

I’ve been touched by the black heart of everlasting night

And saved by he who has always been my light

I’ve been in torment enough to want to die

And healed enough to want to live

My friend, my brother felt the pull of the black, but resisted

He saw the promise as fantasy from the beginning

He has been ever strong

But I had already been pulled into that black pool to the point of drowning

It came to control me

The night became my day

The black entered my soul

The dawn did not come to banish to shadows

I had sent it away

I remember feeling trapped, the darkness pressing in on all sides

I remember struggling to breathe, but the black suffocated me

No escape, no way out

Slipping, sliding, I fell

I became a stranger, a demon, the enemy

I was to be the light that would destroy Sauron’s darkness

The darkness fears the light

It boasts of its strength, but it cowers and flees from the bright

It trusts no one

It is isolated and alone, having only its own dark emotions, its own hatreds and rages

     to feed upon and like anything that feeds upon itself, it is consumed

But what light was left in me?

I have not ceased to fight since the first, but who was there to save me?

Who was left who I hadn’t tried to destroy?

I had already tried to kill my best friend, my brother

And the one I said I wanted to save

That’s what haunts my nights

And leaves me screaming in terror

That I could have hurt, that I could have killed my friend, the light to my darkness

That I did hurt him many times

My soul will carry the scars of those betrayals, the light itself, all my life

But I will also always carry my brother's love

When we stood together in the heart of darkness and the power overwhelmed me, he remained firm

He pulled me out from it all

He trusted me, believed in me, broke into my prison

He held out his hand, his love, his life

He risked everything to save me

He wouldn’t allow me to be lost

I could have held the world in my hands, but instead of that false promise, I reached for the reality of his hand

Welcome Back, Sam!


Frodo let out a whoop from the gate at Bag End, then rushed back into the smial. “Bilbo! Bilbo!” the tween shouted excitedly. “Sam’s back! I just saw him going into No. 3. He’s back!”

The older hobbit came out from the study just as his nephew skidded to a stop in front of it. His face was shining with all the light within him. Bilbo spent a moment reflecting on the unusually fair child he had named as his heir and thanked for the millionth time whatever Powers there were that he was lucky enough to be graced with such a one. “Well, well, this is good news!” he said. “We’ll have to prepare a proper welcome back, won’t we? What do you think we should make?”

Frodo didn’t hesitate. He and Sam had only known each other a short while, but they already knew one another inside and out. “Mushroom pie and blueberry tarts - Sam loves those! Can I make them?”

Bilbo laughed gently at the tween’s excitement. “Of course, my lad. I’m sure Sam will be delighted.”

Frodo practically flew into the kitchen. He brought a chair over to stand in to reach the ingredients he needed from the cabinet that he was still too small to reach on his own, then he held them tight against himself as he carefully climbed back down.

Bilbo came in more sedately and whistled a Elvish tune as he gathered the ingredients he would need for the mushroom pie. As he began to prepare the dough, he looked over at his nephew who was busy mixing everything very properly, forcing himself to take his time because he wanted these tarts to be most delicious Sam had ever tasted. Still he hopped from foot to hairy foot in his excitement and while he prepared everything, he softly sang one of the songs Bilbo had taught him. He prepared six tarts for baking and then slipped them carefully into the oven.

While he waited for them to cook, he gave his uncle a surreptitious look, then ran his fingers through the left over batter and licked them. Bilbo kept his laugh to himself, but couldn’t keep the smile off his face. Frodo looked up at him, aware then he had been caught, but the old hobbit didn’t make comment other than trailing a finger of his own through it and looking at his heir with a twinkle in his eye. Thus encouraged, the tween smiled and then repeated what he did until the batter was gone and Bilbo had more than once dipped his finger in as well.

What a beautiful lad, the elder hobbit thought for the millionth time, what a beautiful, beautiful lad. Why didn’t I bring him here years ago to light up this place and my old heart?

Oh, he had had reservations about adopting and raising a child at his age. Certainly his myriad relatives had raised a hoot and holler about it. Become a father at 99? Whoever heard of such a thing? And of a brat from Buckland who already had been in more than his fair share of trouble, was, in fact, the instigator of that trouble? It would never work. But Bilbo had blithely ignored them all. Frodo had been skittish as a colt trying to stand for the first time when he had first come, shy among so many strangers. But he had blossomed beautifully and Bilbo knew most of the credit went to that ray of bottled sunshine that was little Samwise.

By the time his musing had ended, he saw Frodo had industriously washed all the pans and utensils he had used and set them out to dry. He checked the tarts once, impatient for them to cook, then rushed to the front door and down the path to make sure that Sam wasn’t going to come too soon. Nothing. He ran back in and continued his hopping until he checked the tarts once more and saw that they were ready. Very carefully, he brought them out and put on a table to cool.

“They look lovely, Frodo, my lad,” Bilbo said with a look of love and approval that had the tween beaming. “Just a few more minutes and they’ll be ready to be devoured. You will leave one or two of them for Sam, won’t you?”

Frodo giggled. He put them carefully on a plate, blowing on his fingers a bit when he discovered the tarts were still a little too hot to touch, then when they had cooled off some more, wrapped the plate in a linen towel and put them in a basket for delivery down to No. 3. “Be careful, now, my lad. You’ll probably meet Sam barreling up here as you rush down and then what will become of the tarts?”

The tween smiled. “I’ll be careful, Uncle.”

He was barely beyond the gate, walking as quickly but carefully as he could, when his dear friend did come rushing up the Hill as fast as his little legs could carry him. “Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo! I’m back!”

Frodo stopped, set the basket down on the ground and knelt to sweep his friend into a tight hug. “I’m so glad to see you again, Sam! I’ve missed you so much!”

The child hugged him as tight as he could. “I missed you, too, Mr. Frodo.” He seemed quite reluctant to let go, even when he smelled what was in the basket.

“Yes, blueberry tarts, my Sam, fresh out of the oven. I made them just for you.”

The lad’s eyes widened. “You made them? For me?”

“Well, I had to celebrate your return somehow, didn’t I? Come, let’s go into the garden and have a snack, shall we?”

Sam vigorously nodded his head. He took up the basket himself and Frodo took his other hand and the two of them went to the bench in the garden. With the basket between them they settled down to eat all the tarts between them. Their legs dangled and swept to and fro as they talked excitedly between and through bites.

Frodo looked at his friend. “I do believe you’ve grown a couple inches since I saw you last, Sam. You’ll be up to my chest soon!”

Sam beamed up at his friend. “I can’t wait to be as tall as you, Mr. Frodo.”

Frodo smiled. “So tell me, Sam, what else have you done all this summer besides growing?”

The child lit up like the sun. “Oh, Mr. Frodo, wait until I show you everything Uncle Andy taught me about rope-making! I think it will help me Gaffer in the garden too because sometimes he has to tie stakes around the flowers and plants so they grow up right and his fingers can’t always do it right anymore with all the aches he has. Now I help in that! And I know all sorts of other knots and ties that I can show you...”

Bilbo looked out the kitchen window and listened to the chatter and smiled. The lights in the two lads were shining brighter than ever in their joyous reunion as they merged together. The old hobbit watched as Frodo set the empty basket aside and the two young ones sat on opposite ends of the long bench and stretched out toward each other and compared the sizes of their feet.

“See, Sam, I was right - you are growing. Your feet are going to be as big as mine one day and Bilbo says I haven’t stopped growing myself yet.”

The old hobbit’s smile widened. It was an unlikely friendship these two had formed, Frodo being so much older than Sam and from a different class all together, but that didn’t matter to them at all. They simply recognized a like soul in each other, something unique and very special that they treasured above nearly all else. Bilbo knew with more certainty than he had ever felt anything, that even though Frodo and Sam had only known each other for less than a year, that this friendship and love would last forever and only get deeper.

 

A/N:  This is in response to a prompt from a writing newsletter I subscribe to that said to write an obituary of your favorite fictional character.  Of course, I don't believe Frodo and Sam are fictional, but I chose them anyway. :) 


Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee died today on the island of Tol Eressea, in the Undying Lands of the West. "They accepted the Gift at nightfall," the Maia, Olorin, announced. The hobbits, two of the chief heroes of the War of the Ring who were instrumental in bringing about the downfall of Sauron almost a century before, died peacefully at the very respectable ages of 150 and 138.

The ones sung of in "The Lay of Frodo of the Nine-Fingers and the Ring of Doom", it was their task to get the One Ring the Dark Lord Sauron had forged to Mount Doom in Mordor where it could be destroyed. Their Quest was fulfilled, but the burden of carrying such an evil object for so long proved too much for Lord Frodo who was granted the extraordinary gift of being able to sail with the Elves across the Straight Road into the West, a land no other mortal of his age had been allowed to go. Thus he did, at the end of the Third Age, with his uncle, Bilbo and three of the other leaders of the war against the Ring, Olorin and the Elves Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel.

Lord Samwise remained in Hobbiton of the Shire for sixty-two more years where he and his wife, Rose, raised thirteen children and he served seven terms as Mayor. When his wife died, he, too, took the trip West to reunite with his beloved master, who he had faithfully served as gardener and companion.

The Ring-bearer’s heart stopped first as he rested in the arms of his servant and best friend, then did Lord Samwise's. Two bright lights were seen flashing briefly in the heavens at the time of their deaths. They were buried together atop a hill facing east, the direction of their beloved Shire which they had so sacrificed so much to save.

"The example of the greatness and purity of their love will never be forgotten," Olorin added. "They will be greatly missed."

Lord Frodo leaves no survivors, but Lord Samwise is survived by his thirteen children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Gift 

Only a brave man or a fool rushes into a burning building. Dedicated to all the brave men of 9/11. Set during and after the siege of Minas Tirith.

“There are some people who believe...courage represents the absence of fear. We know this is not true. Firefighters are in most ways ordinary people, but they are capable of extraordinary heroism because they do not let fear determine their actions. Their courage is found in letting their love for human life, their sense of duty and obligations to their fellow human beings, cause them to rise above their own immediate concerns. In doing so, they set an example for all of us. They remind us what each of us can become selfless, courageous and heroic at the moment when the pressure is greatest. They show us what we all are capable of in the most difficult and dramatic moments of our lives, as well as in the smaller moments all along the way.” - From Brotherhood, a book about the New York Fire Dept. on 9/11. Could describe a few hobbits we know and love and the men of Rohan and Gondor too, don’t you think?

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” - Dorothy Bernard

____________

The smoke was thick and black as it billowed out from the many buildings struck by the flaming weapons of the enemy. It was impossible to put all the fires that sprang up simultaneously. Many tried, but most times they had no time but to flee, child or wife in tow and leave everything else behind. At least they had gotten out with their lives. They choked on the foul smoke as they ran away, coughing and wheezing. Sometimes they got caught in a fit so strong, they could do nothing but sink to the side, against a wall until they were pulled onward by a parent or a spouse, further from danger. Even as they ran, dodging falling debris and more fire from above, they could only wonder if there was such a place anymore that was away from the doom that had fallen upon their city. The tears that ran down their soot-covered cheeks were split between the stinging smoke and ash that flew through the air and the grief at the loss of their homes and livelihoods and the darkness that surrounded them.

But not everyone was running away from the conflagrations that continued to spread. Some were running directly to them and into them. They carried buckets of water to pour on the smaller fires and smote them out and rushed into the now dangerously unstable buildings to see if anyone was trapped inside. Many a frantic man or woman begged them to save the child or spouse that they hadn’t been able to save themselves, trapped under debris or simply too heavy for them to carry out. Not all of the rescuers came out alive, some were buried with those they wished to save when fire-weakened homes and shops collapsed on top of them and there was more wailing added to the chaos of the day turned night by the black smoke that came from everywhere. Only then could some be drawn away from where their hearts were now buried, to be pulled stumbling away, unable to see from the smoke and tears, only knowing that they were being drawn further and further away from those they had loved and lost.But many of the rescues were successful and the tears were of joy and the embraces tight and long as children, some holding beloved stuffed toys, wiggled out of their rescuer’s arms and were brought into their parent’s or wives and husbands stumbled into the arms of their loved ones. Then they too ran away or were spirited away if they could not move on their own. Their homes were in ruins, but not their hearts, and that was the only thing that mattered. When one rescue was accomplished and fervent thanks and not a few hugs were given and accepted with a smile, the brave men who fought the fires in the city rushed into another building to attempt another rescue. Some rushed in again and again, some survived to see that end of that day, some did not. All were praised by the king afterwards and all remembered in a memorial built later.

It was after the battle was over and won that Gandalf and Aragorn began their twice daily walks among the rows and rows of wounded soldiers and others hurt in the siege. They stopped often to offer words of comfort, praise and thanks or an arm around the shoulder to make it easier to drink or eat, a change of bandage or sometimes simply a warm look or the clasp of a hand.“I am humbled by their sacrifices,” the uncrowned healer-king said as he got up from one injured soldier and walked to the next man, a baker. “Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

“No, simply ordinary people doing ordinary things,” the wizard countered. Aragorn looked at him surprised. Gandalf smiled. “What is extraordinary about caring for each other?” He spread out his arm to encompass the huge camp, including the covered pavilion they now were coming to, where the worst of the wounded were. “That was what held them to their road, no matter how hard and dark.”

The man and wizard entered the covered tent and came to one bed that held in its center, two small beings, wrapped in each other’s arms, deep in a healing sleep. Frodo’s head was resting on Sam’s chest. As Aragorn and Gandalf watched, the younger hobbit’s arms tightened gently around his beloved master and Frodo’s around him. Aragorn looked up from the two and at the wizard. “Ordinary people?” he challenged with a smile.

Gandalf was not perturbed. “Of course. Our lives have been saved by a reader and scribe, and a gardener. What can be more ordinary than that?” he asked with the same smile. He spread his arms to include the others in the tent. “Or that baker who saved those two children? Or that printer who saved that lady who was trapped or the miller who started that brigade of buckets that stopped the fire in his building from spreading?”Aragorn smiled. “I can see, my friend, you are going to be stubborn about this, but I will be too. How about ordinary people who became extraordinary?”

Gandalf leaned on his staff and considered the soon-to-be king’s words. “No, I think the extraordinary part of it all was that they were all ordinary.”Aragorn laughed and it eased both their hearts to have such a release. “All right, have it your way. I, however, will never forget that I will have the honor of ruling over the most ordinary and extraordinary beings.”

Hope by Antane


"For the return journey."

Oh, my dear Sam, you still have hope

You say it as though it was obvious that we’d be coming home

As though no other option has occurred to you

I don’t say anything

I don’t want you to know that I gave up hope long ago

I don’t want you to lose what you have

It is the only thing keeping me going

I feel like I’m in a race

I must destroy the Ring before it destroys me

And I’m losing, Sam, I’m losing

If you gave up hope, I would gladly surrender my burden and lie down to die

I wonder if that will be my fate anyway

I see other paths before me than you do

And all of them are dark

The only light there is is coming from you

And I want so much to follow that and not what is pulling so hard on my soul

Help me, please, Sam

Yes, Mr. Frodo, I still have hope

It comes from watching you

I’ve watched for months now

You’ve grown more and more weighed down by the tremendous burden you carry

But every day you move forward nonetheless because you carry it out of love

You may think you are losing this battle

But, my beloved master, you are winning

Each step you are take toward Mordor is a step toward victory

I know you feel like you cannot go on

Take a rest then, rest in me, and let me carry what I can

I share this journey with you, but I want to share your burden also

I can see and feel how much this is changing you against your will

And I want nothing more than to be done with this as much as you

So we can return home

So you can smile and laugh again

So you can be whole again and not torn in two

If hope does not last, I will lay down with you to die

But I don’t think that will happen

I won’t let it

You are my inspiration, Mr. Frodo

Let us gone on

We will return home

And you will smile again and you will laugh

And you will know peace

Come on, dear, just a little further...


Computer Problems

Just a bit of silliness...

Frodo sat in his - well, really Sam’s - garden outside the smial the Elves had dug for him and Bilbo that was finished just in time for their arrival at Tol Eressea. But he wasn’t enjoying himself as he normally did. He stared blackly at the screen of his laptop that said ‘Page not available’ and muttered various dark imprecations under his breath. Or so it seemed, no one understood what he was saying.

“Conflustergation!” he exclaimed.

“Having troubles, my dear hobbit?” Gandalf’s voice came.

Frodo squinted up into the sun. “I can’t get in, Gandalf. Is the server down again?”

“Not that I know of. I was in earlier myself, reading the latest from Aragorn.”

“Well, it’s not up now. I can’t get into my e-mail and last night I couldn’t open that attachment Merry had sent of his and Estella’s wedding that he put on Youtube. I feel so cut off!”

“I assume you’ve tried rebooting?”

Frodo scowled. “Of course! Twice! It gets so far and I think it’s going to work, but it keeps coming up ‘Page not found’ or ‘Page unavailable.’ It did that to me last night too right as I trying to respond to Sam’s latest message. And my whole reply was lost and I couldn’t get it back. I could have screamed.” He looked back up at Gandalf. “You don’t think the message went to the Halls of Mandos and we could get it back?”

The Maia smiled and hated to disappoint the desperate hope in the hobbit’s eyes. “No, I’m afraid not. The Halls house the spirits of the dead, my dear boy, not dead messages. Next time, copy it instead into WordPerfect and if it’s lost again, you can simply paste it into a new message. That has saved me more than once.”

“I’ll remember that for next time. But I’ve got to get in, Gandalf! Sam told me months ago that I was an uncle again and he promised to send me a picture of my niece or nephew when they were born and last night, he said he would send it today.” He raised beseeching eyes back up at his friend. “Can’t you wave your staff at it or something?”

“My dear Frodo, computers can be just as surprising as hobbits. You never know what they are going to do next sometimes. I told you before there were some things stronger than me. Not even wizards can fix all the computer glitches in the world. Maybe you’ll get in later.”

“I’ve been trying all morning all ready!” This time fear was in the former Ring-bearer’s eyes. “You don’t think it got a bug in it like those midges that corrupted the message you tried to send to Aragorn’s blueberry, do you?”

“Blackberry,” Gandalf corrected.

Frodo waved a hand. “Whatever.”

“No, I don’t think that’s the problem. I don’t know what it is. It’s just about time for tea. Why don’t we have that and then I’ll talk to Lord Celdran about your problem and maybe he’ll have a solution for it.”

Frodo sighed. Just before he shut down his laptop, the screensaver he had made of pictures of Sam and his cousins and Elanor and the Shire showed Sam’s smiling, loving face and that calmed him some. He went back inside and brought out the tea kettle and two cups. After Gandalf and he had had their break, the wizard took the computer to be looked at and Frodo waited as calmly as he could for the problem to be fixed.

All his frustrations faded when the Elf lord returned his computer and watched the hobbit’s entire being lit up stronger than ever as he was able to log in and look at the picture of his newborn niece, held in the arms of her beaming, proud papa. “Oh, meldanya Sam,” he breathed. He touched the screen as though to stroke the cheek of the lass. “Aiya. Elen sila lumenn omentielvo.

He tore himself away from the site of the beautiful babe and his Sam to look up at the Elf. “Hantanyel, herunya,” he said with a deep bow.

“You are most welcome, Iorhael,” the Elf responded with a bow of his own.

A/N: For those whose Quenya might be a little rusty, meldanya is my dear. Aiya is Hail (Hello). Elen sila lumen omentielovo is A star shines upon the hour of our meeting. Hantanyel, herunya is Thank you, my lord. Conflustergation is from Queen Galadriel's story, Big Words.

A/N:  This was mostly written by a friend of mine called Leia Chick and it was originally written as "Leia's Lament", after that princess from Star Wars lost her homeworld.  As I read it, it sounded so strongly like Frodo's grief upon returning to the Shire that she allowed me to use it for him also with a few changes.

Frodo's Lament

I cannot cry, though I am dying inside

I wish to mourn, but my mind is numb and worn

I’m expected to show strength, through grief as my spirit lies broken and weak

To the universe I want to yell, but I cannot, only inside does it echo endlessly

My heart screams out in pain - my beautiful, exceptional world lost in vain

What could I have done beside what I had already set out to do?

How can I bear such as loss? Why must it have rendered such a cost?

In shock, I’m left to stare out at the torn landscape

How could I have known such an unfathomable fate on it would fall?

So devastating, so unreal, so unjust

The very thing I set out to prevent

Where is one to care, to share, to understand how I feel, to trust?

Sam knows and takes my hand, the maimed one

Merry takes the other

I feel Pippin’s caring gaze, his desire like mine,

that I had a third hand he could hold

I don’t quite know the next step to take;

it’s so hard to focus and contemplate

I sit in despair, while most of the world is yet unaware

Their lives proceed the same, while mine is forever changed

Sam, my cousins, I want you to hold me like you did

Tell me not to give up, that everything will be all right,

that wounds heal with time.

But when will mine, when will yours?

I want you to tell me that out of tragedy comes good, but I fear not in this there could

I did what I thought best

But none can ever replace...Will I just live with this empty, empty space?

With a composed air, and duty first, I know,

 while this lonely, silent sorrow does not show

My life must press on for all that’s right, and find a purpose to justify such a sacrifice

But right now, let me be selfish

Only lay down to sleep, to bring my soul ease

The Garden

There was once a garden

Full of flowers of all sorts, colors and scents

Full of sunshine and calling birds

And in its center, a white bench

A solitary hobbit liked to look and work around the garden

Or sit on the bench and remember

Always wishing to see someone come around the corner

But the one he longed for was never there

He listened for a voice he hadn’t heard in so long

But in his memory

He walked at times slowly in that garden

Sometimes by himself, sometimes with another

Sometimes in the rain

So it could hide his tears

He continued to pour his love and hope into the garden that

Had always been tended for another,

The one so long gone, but never from his heart

One day, he told himself, one day I will see him again

So he went on, waiting, tending, watching, learning

Hoping, praying

One day

Independence Day 

Bilbo and Frodo declare their independence from the Ring.  Happy 4th to all of those on this side of the pond!


It had been a struggle for them both. Even though when Bilbo had left the Ring in Gandalf’s care to be given to Frodo that night so long ago, and had declared himself as happy as he had ever been, he had not truly let it go. How hard it had been to give it up! How he had missed it all those years! How many times had he proposed to go back and get it, hold it again, possess it again. How many times had Gandalf told him not to and he had listened as he always did. But still he longed and he dreamed. It had nearly driven him mad to see it resting on its chain against the pale chest of the son of his heart as he had laid nigh to death those terrible days and nights when Elrond contended with the dark power for the hroa and fea of his dear one. How his fingers itched to reach for it. How terrible the thoughts came that if Frodo died, it would be his again. How much, however briefly, he had longed for that. How he had nearly attacked the one dearest to him when he had asked to see it again, just a peep, he had said. And he knew he was not free of it and his beloved nephew was becoming ensnared by it as well. He had seen the terrible fear and jealous possessiveness that had come into those formerly so bright and innocent, carefree eyes.

For Frodo it was worse. He had expended every ounce of his heart, will, soul and strength to carry the Ring to the Fire, while it ever ate away at him and consumed him at will. It filled him and emptied him and there was nothing left when it went into the Fire. He longed for it just as keenly, if not more so, than Bilbo and Smeagol had, but he had not the hope they had had. He had no hope of ever seeing it again, holding it, stroking it. It was gone forever and had taken the better part of himself with it. What was he but a shell that it had filled and then abandoned, leaving only its shadow and the terrible longing that could never be sated? He called to it, but heard no answer. He slept with the bloody chain between his fingers when he thought Sam would not find it. He sobbed but had no release. He clutched Arwen’s gem and loathed himself when he knew it was really the Ring he wished he held. How it had violated every part of him and left him torn and bleeding, but how still he wished to hold it again, claim it for his again just as it had claimed him.

 

* * *

Slowly, Frodo and Bilbo began to declare their freedom from the Ring’s possessiveness. It had begun on the way West on a particularly beautiful night just as the sun was setting. The two hobbits looked over the railing, standing on a box that let them see over the side. They looked at each other and saw some of the same longing reflected in beloved eyes that had once held only cheer and love and light - and a fair amount of mischief when the time called for it. How Bilbo longed to see that again in his lad instead of this terrible pain. How Frodo longed to see it as well in his beloved uncle’s eyes. They reached into their pockets and drew out the chains that had held the Ring. Frodo was still covered with his blood and a few stray curls that had been caught in it. They looked at it and each other and then with a mighty effort, flung the chains as far from themselves into the Sea as they could. The chains floated for a moment, then sank. It was one of the hardest things they had ever done. Frodo and Bilbo’s eyes both smarted, but they looked at each other again, released a pent breath, smiled tremulously and clasped each other’s hands tightly. Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel smiled. The first steps had been taken.

There were still times when Frodo would wake and hear his uncle murmuring in his sleep for the Ring or when Bilbo gently shook him awake when he heard the same coming from him. Other times Frodo would reach up to his neck and then lower his hand again. Bilbo would reach at times into his pocket, but nothing was there anymore. They would look up at each other, smile knowingly and sadly, but then press on, holding onto each other hands instead. How many times had Bilbo apologized and begged forgiveness that he had ever left the Ring to so mark his beloved heir. How many times had Frodo held him and kissed his head and told him that forgiveness was not needed because Bilbo had not known the danger when he had left the Ring. He had pleaded instead for forgiveness from Bilbo that he had not been strong enough to withstand its terrible power in order to destroy it. And the ancient hobbit in his turn had told him that forgiveness was not necessary there either.

It was at dawn, to the sound of the voices of the Children of Iluvatar singing His praises, that Frodo and Bilbo first felt the stirrings of true freedom. It was there, at the holy place where the Elves worshiped, that Frodo felt again the Presence of the One he had felt at the Council so long ago in Rivendell. It was there that he had felt wrapped in love and compassion as he had not felt since he had left Sam’s arms. Not even the embrace of his beloved uncle had been able to compare to what filled him then. He felt for the first time that perhaps he could be filled again with something else. And though Bilbo had never ceased seeing it, Bilbo see his dear heartson’s light begin to spread out from his fea brighter than he had seen it since he had left Hobbiton so many years previously. Slowly the fractured light was becoming more whole again. And slowly, Frodo began to see the uncle he had grown up with.

It was a bright, beautiful morning that they both woke and felt no call, no whisper, no longing for the Ring. All was silent within, but not empty. It was only when they felt that for twelve more mornings that they felt that perhaps it was gone at last, that it had let them go and they had let it go. There was a light and clean feeling within that they had never noticed before it had been taken away from them but now they felt wholly anew.

“We’re free, my boy,” Bilbo said with wonder.

Frodo laughed aloud and Bilbo joined in, a strong, clear, joyful laugh that reached out into the heavens and passed over the Sea and wafted into the windows of Bag End where a slumbering Mayor Samwise roused momentarily to listen to it and smile before he embraced his Rose a little tighter and sank back into sleep.

The Sound of Laughter

Sam’s thoughts as he wakes after the Quest. Movie verse.

I woke to the marvel of hearing your laughter, so deep, full, joyful and alive! A more beautiful sound I don’t think I had ever heard and never expected to hear again. It was like rain falling onto a parched land and I soaked it up. I lay there for a long time just listening to how happy you sounded.

Then I couldn’t bear not to see you for myself. I got up and stood at the threshold of your room and just looked at you, not noticed at first. You were all right. You were clean and washed and so bright and beautiful, you could have outshone the sun. I could have looked at you like that all my life and been content. You saw me after a little bit and your smile faded some, but your face grew soft and tender. There was much our hearts and eyes spoke, things others will never know. But for all to see was how very much I love you and how proud I am of you and I saw your love for me. You did it, my dear. You did it.

 

In the Tower

A/N: This came from a writing exercise of the queen’s that gave the following words to use:

One more step.

My eyes hurt; it was.

Even with my eyes closed,.

It was so dark that.

.rushing up.

.forget the pain.

There was a sound like a.

The light intruded.

I couldn't let them.

Their laughter filled me with.

He was as innocent as.

I vowed never to.

No chains could bind me as.

I changed it from 1st person to 3rd.  She didn't mean it to be for hobbity stuff, but having the one track mind that I do...  :)

My very favorite parts of my favorite of all scenes is quoted either directly or very nearly so from the professor’s translation of the Red Book.

___________

One more step. Just one more step. It was a constant litany Frodo repeated to himself over and over, trying to drown out the voice of the Ring, trying to keep the memory of his own voice clear as the Ring took all else away. He tried not to listen to the other voice, but it was always, always speaking to him, whispering, taunting, tempting, cajoling, shouting, screaming. Sometimes Frodo wanted to scream also, just to drown it out, but he bit his lip until it was bleeding to keep Sam from hearing the battle within. Then suddenly it was over just as they were about to leave the spider’s lair. He felt a sharp stab at his neck and then nothing.

His eyes hurt; it was too bright after so much darkness. Even the dim red light of his prison room in the orc tower was too much. He tried not to move, for the nausea would just come over him again, and he'd soil himself and the floor beside him with the vomit that increasingly brought up nothing but bitter bile. And the whip would lash once more at his flesh. Even with his eyes closed, he knew it was all over. There was a great pit at his feet. It was so dark that he was sure...No, there was a light rushing up. It was the Eye. He heard a scream and it was only when the whip fell again across him that he realized it had been his own.

He could not forget the pain. It was all he had now. All. Sam was gone. The Ring was gone. The agony of that double loss pierced him through and to his great shame, he could not tell which was the greater one, for his heart screamed out for both equally, it seemed. Hot tears rolled down his cheeks.

There was a sound like a door opening. His eyes opened a crack. The light intruded and he squinted against it. He tried to curl his body further around himself as two orcs entered. He couldn't let them touch him, hurt him again. He cowered in the corner, shivering with cold and terror. Their laughter filled him with horror as they approached him. He was as innocent as any - or had been. They couldn't take that from him. The Ring had already done that. He vowed never to let them hurt him, but he knew it was an empty one. He knew if they had their way, there would be nothing he could do to stop them. They may bind him, but no chains could bind him as well as what already held him bound. It was only a matter of time until he would be taken to the Dark Lord, to be tormented with the sight of the Ring, his Ring, on the Enemy's finger. Hadn’t Boromir said they would take him and he would beg for death before the end? He began to beg.

The orcs came nearer and Frodo saw the terrible look in their eyes, but then Shagrat entered. "I told you, you maggots, that the prisoner is to remain unspoiled! Take your fun elsewhere!"

The orcs growled and would have rebelled against Shagrat, but that orc stung their legs with his whip and that stopped them.

Shagrat sneered when Frodo thanked him softly. He shoved a tray with some food and a mug of water toward the prisoner and left.

Frodo dared to take a shaky breath once the door closed again. He shivered all the more violently and his stomach heaved at the thought of what would have happened had Shagrat not come, but nothing more came up. Tears coursed down his cheeks and he could only murmur one word, "Sam..."

He looked down at the food. It smelled foul, some terrible beast flesh, he guessed, and hoped it was not worse, and he was sure it tasted the same. The water had a slick of oil and he didn't want to know what else. He was starving and dizzy with thirst though and he almost reached for it. Then he realized what was the point of it? He did not need it anymore. There was only the end to wait for, and he did not need to be strong for that. The Quest had failed. All had been in vain. Better that he die sooner than late, and better that it be before he was brought to the Eye. He continued to beg.

The horrible dreams returned, and he could not tell whether they were unreal nightmare or a reality that was nightmare. He screamed and it must have been out loud because the whip came down again and his side was aflame. His assailants demanded he eat something because it was not a corpse that they were supposed to bring to the Eye. He did so slowly, only so that they would leave. His stomach nearly revolted at once, and his eyes stung at the tremendous will he had to employ to keep from losing everything at once. He drank his fill also in a vain attempt to wash his mouth from whatever terrible thing he had just eaten. He didn't want to think of it, but at least his mouth was no longer so dry and he had not choked too badly on the foul liquid. He was left alone again, though one of the orcs said, "Shagrat won't always be there to watch out for your pretty skin, you little rat."

Frodo collapsed back into a heap upon the dirty rags to shelter himself from the cold, filthy floor. He continued to beg. Why didn’t anyone hear him?

He slipped back into the dreams then, and in them he heard a voice singing. He opened his mouth to respond. The voice grew a little louder and he sang along faintly. If this was dream, then it was one he didn't want to end; for the voice was one he had thought he would never hear again. He kept his eyes closed. He didn't want to wake up.

The whip came down again, and he cried out. His eyes opened. The dream shattered. The voice was gone. The orc stood over him, the whip poised in mid-air, and Frodo cringed to see it begin its downward arch. Then the dream began again. A face swam before his eyes as the orc fell through the trap door in the floor and gentle arms embraced him.

"Frodo! Mr. Frodo, my dear!" Sam cried, holding his beloved master to him.

"Am I still dreaming?" Frodo wondered as that dearly loved voice and face filled his vision.

"You're not dreaming at all, Master. It's real. It's me. I've come."

"I can hardly believe it," Frodo said, clutching him.

Tears nearly blinded Sam, but still he smiled through them and stared down at that dear, beautiful face. "I'd given up hope, almost. I couldn't find you."

"Well, you have now, Sam, dear Sam," said Frodo and he lay back in Sam's gentle arms, closing his eyes, like a child at rest when night-fears are driven away by some loved voice or hand.

Sam felt that he could sit like that in endless happiness, but it was not allowed. He kissed Frodo's forehead. "Come! Wake up, Mr. Frodo!" he said, trying to sound as cheerful as he had when he drew back the curtains at Bag End on a summer's morning.

Frodo opened his eyes, and once it was proved to him that the Quest had not failed, he began to beg again, but this time it was for life.

I Remember by Antane

I remember when we first met

Your eyes were bright with

innocence and enthusiasm

They are darker now

You've known such pain,

walked through such darkness

I wish I could have spared you from it all,

rescued you, saved you

But all I can do is hold you

And hope it is enough to heal the scars

______

A/N:  My apologies for those who are hearing this for the second or third time, but I know there are some who do not read my angst.  I'll be brief this time, I promise. If anyone wants the full version, go to the bottom of Hide and Seek that I just posted today.  I am seeking prayers for the spiritual and financial success of a book of the spirituality of LOTR that I am working on.  So please, my dear readers, pray for me and it!  Hantanyel and No Iluvatar na le.  *hobbity hugs for all*  Antane :)

It's All Right

A/N:  One of the most touching parts, out of a zillion wonderful parts, of the BBC Radio Adaptation is Sam saying "It's all right" to his Frodo, when it most definitely isn't, but it still is, because he said it was.  I imagine he went on saying that too. Told from Frodo's POV. 

___

The last stage of our terrible journey was at hand. We stared wearily up at the mountain that loomed so high. We were dazed and parched, exhausted and starving. I fell to the ground, but you were there to pick me up.

“It’s all right, Mr. Frodo. I’ll get you up again.”

You carried me on your back up the mountain. “It’s all right now,” you said when it couldn’t possibly be. But still it was. When you let me down, unable to go any further and fear began to overtake me and I called your name, you said again, “It’s all right.”

I knew it was when all else told me it wasn’t. You said it was, so it was. Every time you said that the madness that was drowning me quieted a bit and I could go on a little further.

When my hand sought for the chain about my neck, you knelt by me and heard me whispering, "Help me, Sam! Help me, Sam! Hold my hand! I can’t stop it."

You took my hands and laid them together, palm to palm, and kissed them and then held them gently between your own. "Oh, now, there, there. It’s all right."

The compulsion that had been so strong a moment before vanished as I stared into your eyes that were so full of love and I knew again that you had spoken true.

You said it even at the fire, holding my hand, as we waited to die. “It’s all right, now, it’s all right.” I believed you even then, for you were never one to lie. Even with the world falling into ruin around us and the fire and fumes rising, it was all right.

You said it the first night after we woke, crawling into my bed and holding me as you had on our terrible Road, and stroking my curls. “It’s all right,” you murmured before kissing my head and settling in beside me. “It’s all right.”

And each night afterwards, whenever the dreams and memories came back and were too much for me, you said that as you held me and rocked me. “It’s all right, your Sam’s here, and he’s not going to let aught happen to you.”

I held onto you and buried my face in your chest so I could hear your heartbeat and knew your words were true.

After we returned home and the nightmares came, I would wake and feel you stroking my back gently as you tried to get me back to sleep. “It’s all right, it’s all right,” you murmured and the dark would recede and there would be your light softly shining on me . You sang softly to me then, one of your mum’s favorites that we both loved, and you sang it in Sindarin. I always wondered when you found the time to learn how to do it. It was so soothing that I had the same problem I had every night you sang to me in that I grew so drowsy, but I always fought it because I wanted to stay awake to listen to you. But you sang too well and I always fell asleep again. “It’s all right,” was the last thing I would hear you say. “It’s all right.” I would fall back into sleep, still feeling your gentle strokes, your whispered “I love you, me dear” and your tender kiss to my head and I believed you that it was all right. I always believed you, even when all else was falling apart in and around my heart.

I said it to you when nightmares came to trouble your sleep as well and you cried out for me. I’d hold you and stroke your curls and sing to you and before I kissed you and told you that I loved you, I would tell you, “It’s all right,” and you would believe me because you would fall back to sleep then, wrapped up in my arms and resting against my heart, assured that I was all right.

The last night two times I said it to you, I don’t think you even heard, and I didn’t mean you to, not with your ears. The first was the night before we left for the Havens. I had heard from Elrond that he, the Lady and Bilbo would be coming soon and I had decided long before that I would be leaving with them. Did you know it was those words of yours that gave me the strength to decide to leave for the West and believe even in that incredible pain, that your words would still be true? It terrified me that there could be a more powerful force in my life than your love and it was that force I was fleeing, but I think now you are still the strongest.

I stood at the side of your bed that night before and looked at you for a very long time. You were so beautiful, shining softly in the moonlight streaming in and all wrapped up in Rose’s arms, like you had always belonged there and always would. There was a smile on your face and that brought a smile to mine. I could have stood there forever and watched you, but soon would come our parting, at least in Middle-earth, though I hoped you would come across to Sea to me, when your time came.

The second was the last night we were together and I watched you sleep then as well and both nights I touched your curls ever so lightly, not wanting to wake you and I pressed the softest of kisses to your brow.

“It’s all right, my Sam,” I whispered and I hoped somehow you would hear that in your heart and remember it as I would remember all the times you said it to me and know it to be true.


A/N: I wish to take this opportunity to announce that Larner has given me the great honor of nominating me for a MEFA for "I Can't".  You can visit the site at http://www.mefawards.net and vote for your favorite stories!

Saurman's Last Trick

Sam: So, you try and stab my master, would you, Saruman? Well, you've tried your last trick!

Frodo: No, Sam! No. Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me, you see? His blade failed against my Dwarf-mail. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain...  - BBC Radio Adaptation, Ep. 13, "The Grey Havens"

A/N:  Inspired by those three words "in any case" and also by wanting to play Larner and do a "Might Have Been" myself! :)  The Red Book is briefly quoted from.

______

As Saruman prepared to leave Bag End, he passed close by Frodo and before anyone could stop him, stabbed the hobbit in the chest.

"Mr. Frodo!" Sam cried in horror and grief as Frodo gasped in pain and fell back against Sam who caught his master in his arms and laid him gently on the ground as blood began to spread quickly from the wound. The younger hobbit tried to staunch it with his own hands and Frodo’s clothing, but it spread and spread, staining them both and the floor beneath.

"Sam..."

The younger hobbit looked at Saruman with murderous rage in his eyes and heart as Merry and Pippin leapt as one being at Saruman with angry cries.

Sam would have joined them, vengeance in his eyes and heart screaming for release, but even in his pain, Frodo held his arms and called out to his cousins. "No, Sam! Merry, Pippin, stand away! Do not kill him even now. I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. It would destroy you."

Saruman batted away his fierce assailants. They were torn for a moment between staying with their stricken cousin and going for help, but they sprang to the door, shouting for the healer.

The Ring-bearer looked up with pain-glazed eyes at his gloating assailant and he spoke to him and Sam both now. "He was...great once, of a noble kind that we should not...dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and..." Frodo paused to take a breath, gathering his strength to speak more. Bloody spittle came from his lips and he coughed weakly, causing more and redder blood to come up. Sam looked at him, horrified, trying in vain to stop the bleeding. "...his cure is beyond us: but...but I would still...spare him, in the hope that he may...find it."

Sam could barely see his master through his tears, but Saruman had no problem gazing coldly down at the same one. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. Frodo met his gaze as steadily as he could. The darkness was already clawing at the edges of his sight. Where was the healer?!

The cold, implacable hatred Saruman saw in Sam’s eyes in the instant he looked at him the wizard understood completely and even celebrated, but the forgiveness in the Ringbearer’s eyes Saruman found impossible to comprehend, yet he could not deny it.

"You have grown, Halfling," he said. "Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you!"

Sam tried to cover his master’s ears from hearing such vile talk. Even with Frodo cradled in his lap, and years of loving obedience given to his master’s commands, he could barely keep himself from rising up and attacking the wizard who spun on his heel to leave. Frodo’s grip was weakening, but he still tried to hold him back. "No, Sam," he whispered and closed his eyes.

Sam wept and his tears fell into Frodo’s curls. He would not have the last words Frodo ever heard to be words of hate. "I love you, master dear, I love you, I love you."

Wormtongue rose up to stab his former master. Frodo’s eyes opened in horror and grief as Saruman screamed and fell to the ground and Wormtongue shortly followed.

"He saved you, Sam," Frodo whispered and his hold on his beloved guardian went slack.

When Merry and Pippin rushed in with the portly matron who was the healer, Sam met their fearful, tear-filled eyes with his own and they knew then it was too late.

Bedtime Story


A/N: The Red Book will be briefly quoted from. As the first person would have been used in the original text when Frodo was speaking of himself, I am going to be using that.

Sam sat down and opened the Red Book as his children gathered around his chair and leaned over. Little Pippin crawled into his father’s lap and put his small hands down on the pages. This was their favorite part of the day, just before they went to sleep and their Sam-dad read about his and Uncle Frodo’s adventures and those of everyone else.

“What part should we read from tonight?” Sam asked and there were a chorus of different answers, all speaking at once.

“What part is your favorite, Sam-dad?” Elanor asked.

Sam smiled. “Oh, Ellie-lass, I’ve got a lot of those. All the times Mr. Frodo was so fearfully brave and kept on going even when he was so weak and in pain. All the times I saw his light growing ever brighter and he more fair. The time I saw the Star. The times I saw the Elves and the Lady of the Wood. The time when I saw the oliphaunt and remembered playing with your uncles and when I married your mum. I couldn’t possibly read you all my favorites because then I’d be reading the whole thing!”

“Is there really such things as oliphaunts?” Merry-lad wondered.

“Of course there is,” Elanor said, quite authoritatively, before Sam could even open his mouth. “It’s in the book, isn’t it, and Uncle Frodo and Sam-dad wouldn’t lie.”

“Do you think we’ll ever seen one in the Shire?”

“I don’t think so,” Frodo-lad said, sounding almost as certain as his sister. “They aren’t from these parts, are they, dad?”

“No,” Sam answered. “They came from far, far away, farther than any hobbit has been.”

“Even farther than you and Uncle Frodo went?” Merry asked. “I don’t think anyone had gone farther than that!”

“We certainly went a tidy distance,” Sam acknowledged, “but I don’t know how many miles it would be to where the oliphaunts were from. Much farther than I would want to go.”

“Maybe we could hear about when you and Uncle Frodo were at the Fire and when the eagles came and took you away?” Frodo-lad asked.

Sam smiled again. He looked around at the others and they all nodded, though Merry-lad looked a little disappointed that he couldn’t hear about his uncle and the Rohirrim again.

Sam saw that and promised him that they would do that next time. Then he began to read and his voice was tender and full of love.

“I am glad that you are here with me,” I said. “Here at the end of all things, Sam.”

“Yes, I am with you, Master,” said Sam, laying my wounded hand gently to his breast. “And you’re with me. And the journey’s finished. But after coming all that way I don’t want to give up yet. It’s not like me, somehow, if you understand.”

Sam read on a little while more, and his children hung onto every word, even though they had heard it many times before and the eldest even had parts of it known by heart and had used the Book to teach their younger siblings how to read. Even little Pippin was silent and listening. There was no story they liked better and no voice they loved more than to hear it from.

 

A Seat Among Them

“But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right; and though all the mighty elf-friends of old, Hador, and Hurin, and Turin, and Beren himself were assembled together, your seat should be among them.” - Elrond

The shining souls that had once been the mortals Frodo and Samwise looked up in awe at the great thrones upon which the heroes of old sat. The four solemnly bowed their heads to the newcomers.

Oh, Mr. Frodo, look, there's an empty one there, right beside Mr. Beren. It's yours, just like Lord Elrond said. The bright light that was the younger hobbit looked at his beloved master. It would make me that happy to see you sit there in your rightful place.

No, Sam, I'm afraid I can't do that.

The light dimmed just a bit in confusion. Whyever not?

The light of the elder Ring-bearer brightened in response as he looked at his guardian and heartbrother. Because, dearest, you will be sitting there with me and you won't be able to see me rightly being beside me.

Sam's light flared in alarm. Me?! That place is for you, Mr. Frodo. Sam looked back at the throne. It's too grand for the likes of me.

But didn't Aragorn place us both on his throne? This will be just like that.

That was too grand as well and this is far, far more, begging your pardon.

Well, Sam, we are both going to sit there or neither of us will. Didn't I tell you that I wouldn't have got far without you? You're the reason I could do all the good that I did. I'm not going to budge until you come too.

Frodo could have sworn he heard his beloved friend sigh. Sam could have sworn he saw his master's crossed arms and planted feet. How well he knew how stubborn his heartbrother could be.

Well, if that's the only way you are going to sit there proper like you should...

The light of the Ring-bearer brightened even more. The other figures sat solemnly still, though Beren seemed to be smiling slightly at Frodo's smug victory.’Tis so, my Sam.

Frodo's light spread out further, as though a hand was grasping onto Sam's. But even as the two lights began to meld, the younger was not about to give up. His master could be as stubborn as any, but Sam had learned a few things about being that from him.

Can't I leastways just look at you for a moment sitting there all by your own self?

Frodo's light dimmed a fraction as he considered his brother's request, trying to determine if it were a deception to get out of sitting there himself. Then it brightened as though a smile lit up his entire being.

Of course, my Sam, as long as I can also get a look at you, sitting there all yourself too.

Frodo felt Sam's frown, just as he knew that Sam could sense his victorious smile. There was another sigh.

Now, Sam dear, you should know far before now, that you can never outstubborn a Baggins.

Now it seemed all four figures were smiling a bit.

I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo mine, but I will let you get your way, if you let me get mine.

Then it's settled.

The two moved toward the empty seat. Frodo climbed onto it first, making sure not to let go of Sam's hand since he still did not trust his brother not to wish to get away. He waited patiently while his beloved guardian looked upon him with great love and satisfaction.

Happy now, my Sam?

Sam's light flared the brightest it had yet. Yes, my Mr. Frodo dear, it's just where you should be.

Frodo stepped off the seat. Now, dearest, let me see you there because you belong there even more.

Sam reluctantly sat down, but his master's joy at seeing him there overwhelmed any other discomfort he had. He began to squirm a bit though when Frodo didn't return straightaway to his rightful seat. He tugged at his hand. Come back up, m'dear.

The Ring-bearer's light brightened even further as he became the very soul of accommodation. Of course, my Sam, anything you want. He climbed back up and held Sam's hand tighter against him.

The other beings there smiled at the end of the entire exchange. The amusement deep in the air was heard clearly in the Voice that came to them.

Well done, My good and faithful servants.

Light to See By

In the dark waste that was Mordor, Sam cradled his beloved master in his arms and gave a larger bit of the lembas bread that he normally portioned out. It broke his heart that it was still so very, very far below what was right and proper for a hobbit to eat. Frodo was almost pitifully glad to receive it between his cracked lips and painfully swallowed it with two sips of water, fed to him as a mother would give to her dying child. The Ring-bearer licked his lips to make sure he got every last bit. Sam wished he had tears left so he could have them fall on his master’s face to help further relieve him. Frodo lay back in his guardian’s arms with an exhausted sigh. “Thank you, my Sam,” he croaked and closed his eyes, “for everything.” The last was a murmur, almost too soft to be heard as sleep took him.

Sam watched the frail being in his arms for a long time and even as his heart broke, it swelled with love and pride as well. His master was filthy, there was barely a clean scrap of fair skin to be seen. He was breathing heavily from lack of water and his figure was painfully thin. He was trembling and murmuring in his sleep, words that Sam could not understand. At times his hands batted at something from his dreams and the gardener stilled them with a kiss and put them back at Frodo’s side to lay limply there. There was a horrible red burn that was weeping around his neck where the chain was. The Ring lay directly over his heart, tearing it apart. To Sam, he never looked so beautiful, for he was willingly suffering for all of them. But the thing that captivated his gaze was that his master’s light was still softly shining. All the way it had, and it had guided and lit Sam’s way sure as the Star he had seen. He kissed his master’s head. “Thank you, Mr. Frodo, dear.”

____

A/N:  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates such!  My thanks to all my loyal reviewers and readers! This will likely be my last post until after Christmas so Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas to all that applies to and see you on the other side!  God bless, Antane :)

A Most Sterling Recommendation


In response to the February 2010 LOTR GenFic Community “Send a Letter” Challenge. My element was to send a letter of recommendation.  This is the first challenge I've done and it's fun! 


It was becoming clearer and clearer to Gandalf what he had to do. He had the Dragon much on his mind recently and the growing threat of the Shadow that was looming ever larger over Middle-earth and how the two could wreck the most grievous destruction if not defeated. But how, but how? That was the question that the wizard asked to himself over and over in his mind, puffing on his pipe most thoughtfully as he traveled in his horse-cart along the road to Bree. He had decided he would stop for a long overdue trip to the Shire in the hopes that a visit to such a peaceful people would settle his overburdened heart and he would come to the answer to his perplexing question.

The answer came sooner than he thought and not in the fashion he thought either, for he chanced upon Thorin Oakenshield, also on his way to Bree, and the two spoke of one of the very things that most troubled the cloaked Maia. It was agreed upon by wizard and dwarf to meet at Thorin’s home in the Blue Mountains, but Gandalf was not entirely pleased by what he heard there and left again for the Shire.

There he met not Bilbo as he wished, having been taken by the lad during his last visit, when the hobbit had not yet come of age and was full of questions and curiosity about the outside world. Apparently he still was, for Gandalf was told that he had gone off again as was his wont, sometimes even to see dwarves as they passed through, or this time in the hopes of seeing Elves for it was now the Elven New Year. This seemed to the wizard wonderful news and a plan began to form in his mind. He knew the hobbits were shy of adventure, but he also knew Bilbo, though a Baggins, was also a Took, and the Tooks were known for their ‘unrespectable’ taste for things that other hobbits considered quite out of the ordinary. He also knew how brave even timid hobbits could be when put to the test, as had been shown by their stoutheartedness and compassion during the terrible Long Winter. Bilbo seemed to be anything but timid, and more and more, sounded like the ideal candidate to help defeat the Dragon. Gandalf left the Shire, quite convinced of his good fortune and his heart lighter.

At Bree, late at night by the light of an oil lamp, he penned a letter to Thorin detailing his intentions, which he intended to present to the dwarf when he returned the Blue Mountains.

To the most inestimable Thorin Oakenshield,

I wish to purpose to you an addition to your company in your efforts to defeat the Dragon and reclaim your lost Treasure. His name is Bilbo Baggins and he is a Hobbit of the Shire and he is keen for adventures out in the Wild. I met him twenty years previously and he was athirst for news from the Outside. From all accounts he is the same now and I’m sure would be most eager for an opportunity to have an Adventure. He is well off and unmarried so you would have no responsibilities toward him, except to keep him well-fed, safe and sound, if that be at all possible, and to return him safely back home.

Knowing that there could be Objections to an additional companion, I would point out the several Advantages to having a Hobbit with you in this particular Quest: the first two being, the Dragon would have never smelled a Hobbit before and such beings are remarkably quiet in their travels so as to walk without a sound to alert the great worm. The third I cannot see clearly but it is coming to me as a bright light clouded in thick mist and somehow this Hobbit is at the center of the mystery.

I invite you and your company to come back with me to the Shire, to his home at Bag End, in Hobbiton, and see for yourselves. I cannot say more now and if this sounds like wizardly nonsense, know that I do not say it lightly, but in the most Deadly Earnestness. Indeed, I have such a feeling that all of Middle-earth would be indebted to you, for a foresight tells me if he does not accompany you, all will fall into Shadow as has never yet been seen and which would not lifted as far as even the Wisest could see. He will be the only chance you will have for Success, and to leave without him would pay court to the direst Disaster.

Trusting you to make the right Decision,

I remain,

Yours,

Gandalf the Grey

The wizard looked over the letter as the ink dried and then satisfied with its message, blew out the lamp and settled into bed with a heavy sigh of relief. He closed his weary eyes, a little less troubled by his many cares, but wondering what he had compelled him to write such things as he had foreseen so dimly. What had he seen wrapped in shadow and what did Bilbo have to do with it? Such questions followed him as he sank into sleep and his dreams did not answer him, though they did not trouble him either. For once, he felt peaceful and he knew he had made the right decision. Now all he had to do was convince Thorin - and Bilbo himself.

That shouldn’t prove too difficult, he thought.

Presents

A celebration of March 25 and April 6, 1419.

When Gwaihir, Landroval and Meneldor brought Frodo and Sam back, Aragorn came immediately to take Frodo and Gandalf took Sam. The hobbits were filthy from crown to foot, their hair matted, their faces cut and bruised, their bodies emaciated. Frodo was missing a finger on a right hand liberally stained with blood and was wrapped in an Elven cloak over orc clothing. There was an red, weeping burn around his neck where the chain had bit deep into him. The feet of both hobbits were blistered and bleeding and their lips were deeply cracked and flecked with dried blood. Wizard and uncrowned king looked at each other with grave concern.

“Oh, Frodo,” Aragorn murmured as he took Frodo into his arms and kissed his brow in reverent thanks, while Gandalf kissed and held Sam, giving them comfort and company before anything else. What horrors they had seen and endured, neither hidden Maia nor king wished to imagine. They stank but it didn’t matter. It was a sweet smell for two who had wondered if they would ever see their beloved friends again.

When a full water skin was put to the lips of the hobbits, the little ones coughed and choked and much of the water at first spilled down their fronts in their haste to drink all they could.

Aragorn laughed gently. “You don’t have to drink it all at once, tithen gwador,” he told Frodo. “There’s more where that came from. You need not be so fast for fear of it running out.”

More then made it down their parched throats and the hobbits sighed in relief.

Aragon tended Frodo’s maimed hand first and frowned. “His finger was bitten off. You can see the teeth marks.”

Gandalf bowed his head. “Gollum. My heart told me he would have a part to play at the end, for good or ill.”

The wizard brought a cauldron of water in which Aragorn crushed some athelas leaves and said the invocation. As the healing fragrance filled the air, the man removed the Elven cloak and orc rags from the Ring-bearer and washed away all the ash and grime. As the water turned black and fresh, clean cloths were continually brought, the healer-king made note of all the cuts and bruises that had been previously hidden. The whip marks along the side of Frodo’s body and his shoulders and legs caused the man to blink against the tears that had been forming and now fall unheeded down his cheeks. He kissed his dear friend’s heart in honor of all the sacrifices that had been made.

After he tenderly dried the Ring-bearer’s body, he cleansed each wound and after bandaging it, kissed it, so the violence of the act that had caused the injury, could be somewhat alleviated by an act of reverent love. Last of all, he bound and kissed the feet of both Frodo and Sam in humble appreciation for all the many miles those burned and battered soles had traveled.

Gandalf inspected Sam for wounds as well as he washed him. Frodo’s faithful guardian had the same whip marks on his shoulders and legs, but deeper wounds on his feet. “He must have had to carry Frodo at some time,” he noted and Aragorn nodded. They silently thanked Iluvatar for that blessing and the many others had been given. Once all their wounds were at last bound, they were dressed in overlong nightshirts, all that could be procured at short notice.

Aragorn sent the Ring-bearer and his companion into deep sleep. “Rest now, gwedeir nin. Your bodies gave all they could. As did your hearts and fear. Let them all heal.”

He placed Frodo gently into Sam’s arms. The two curled around each other, sighed, then slept contentedly.

“In all of the ages I have lived,” Gandalf mused, “I have not seen the like. Iluvatar shows His glory more through the small than the great.”

“We have been doubly blessed,” Aragorn said as he sat back to keep vigil.

Gandalf sat beside him. “Indeed we have.”

In the morning, the king rose again, after having stayed awake, tending Frodo and Sam throughout the night. Only towards dawn did he allow himself to fall asleep, sitting up at their sides. He ordered that Pippin’s bed be put near his fellow hobbits for he knew when the tween woke, he would be anxious to know about his cousin and friend. Aragorn knew he’d bounce out of bed to find out, if he could, and the man did not want him to damage his body any worse than it already was.

For days, Aragorn toiled among those wounded at the Black Gate and was humbled by the spirits of the men he tended. Many had received horrific wounds, been blinded, paralyzed, lost an arm or leg or more than one, and each night, there were burials for those who had not survived the day. Within each tent, athelas was cast into water, but not nearly as much as the healer-king wished could be used due to the scarcity of the plant. In part due to its healing properties, the wounded men did not despair that their lives were now so drastically altered. They were glad to have made the sacrifices and they continually asked after the well-being of the Ring-bearer and his companion, whom they had not met, but who they were still proud to boast that they had been wounded in their service. Aragorn assured them that Frodo and his servant still lived and they were heartened themselves to continue their own struggles to heal because of that.

The king was right about Pippin who woke and would have moved to Frodo’s side, if not gently pushed back down. “You are not quite ready for that, my dear fool of a Took,” Gandalf said, keeping watchful vigil over the hobbits during the day.

Pippin reached over instead to touch Frodo’s bandaged hand. “Is he all right, Gandalf? He’s frightfully thin and what happened to his hand? And why isn’t he talking? He always talks in his sleep.”

“Aragorn put them both into a deep, healing sleep, just as he put you. But even if he can’t respond to you right now, he can hear you and it would cheer him to hear your voice.”

The tween smiled at that and his fears for his cousin nearly vanished as he chattered away happily non-stop for quite some time every day after that, stopping only to gulp down some food and drink, before returning to his cheerful monologue.

Each evening, Aragorn returned exhausted to the tent of the hobbits, to rest and revive his own body. He breathed deep of the scent of the athelas that permeated the small place and relaxed at last from his labors, after checking on the Ring-bearer and his companions.

Gandalf looked up at him one night in early April when the man sat down beside Frodo and checked him and then Sam and then Pippin. Merry, who had arrived some days earlier, looked up as well.

“Today is Sam’s birthday,” Pippin said. “He’s going to be most put out when he wakes up and finds that he has slept through it all and not given any presents out.”

Aragorn smiled. “Nay, my young knight, there you are wrong. Look at the two of them. I would think seeing them rest so contentedly is the greatest present for all of us and it is Sam who is giving it to us, for as I understand from a reliable source, that if Frodo can get in a word edgewise, he has begun to talk a bit in his sleep and it’s all about how wonderful Sam is.”

The tween considered these words. He tried to rise, but grimaced in pain. “When can I get up, Strider?”

“Tomorrow perhap, if you don’t strain yourself unduly tonight.”

That only gave the youngest hobbit a half moment of pause. “Then can you carry me to Sam?”

Aragorn obeyed and Pippin leaned down and kissed Sam’s head and whispered into his ear. “Happy birthday, Sam. Thank you for your presents.”

A/N: Tithen gwador is Sindarin for little brother. Gwedeir nin is my brothers. Fear is plural for spirit.

Frodo let go of his mother's hand and ran ahead into the meadow.  He plucked some of the flowers he saw there and gathered them carefully into his small hand.  Primula gazed down her lad's shining face as he handed them to her.  "These are for you, mummy!"

"Oh, there are wonderful, my dearest!" she said as she took them and hugged him.

Frodo clung to her tightly and kissed her cheek.  "I love you, mummy. You are the best mum in the world!  Thank you for being my mama."

Primula kissed him right back and ran her fingers through his unruly curls.  "And you are best son in the world, my very own lad.  Thank you for being mine.  I love you very, very much."

The little lad giggled, then snuggled more into his mother's arms, and fell asleep on the way back home.

When Primula watched her son sleep that night, his arm safely around his stuffed bear, Beorn, she marveled at his beauty and that softly shining light that Bilbo had noticed as well.  "That's Elvish light, my dear," he had said once.  "I wonder that means."

Primula wondered also but the reason didn't matter to her.  She just knew she was the luckiest mum in the world to have such a beautiful, loving lad.

Connected by Antane

A/N: I originally wrote this when I was a Star Wars nut.  Just came across again last night and I thought hmmm...  It was first about platonic love so I think it fits Frodo and Sam well, but if you want to see it as Aragorn and Arwen or Faramir's love for Eowyn, which I think fits well also, at least in most parts, feel free, since they are all pure loves, even the romantic ones.  It's just not slash.

I always knew you were mine

Didn’t matter how I knew

I knew

We were two souls looking for a home and finding one in each other’s hearts

From the point we met, we became the closest of friends, not to be parted

You gave me a refuge in your heart and soul and you found one in mine

It was as though we had always known each other

And that made me wonder

How did you relieve, just by being near, the ache of loss that had always been a part of me?

Why did I see myself when I looked into your eyes?

Why did I feel at home when you looked at me?

Why did, when you took my hand, it felt like it had always belonged there?

I found no answers, but then I realized it didn’t really matter

I just knew that my search had ended

From the first, you have been my other half, my reflection, my mirror, my echo, my strength

I love you

Worth It

Frodo smiled as he watched his Sam sleep in the rocking chair he had given as a wedding gift, his dearest friend's arms wrapped around the wonder of the newborn daughter they had all been gifted with that morning. The Ring-bearer felt a deep peace and contentment instead of the darkness that usually surrounded his heart. It had been pushed back by the marvel of that new life and now he stood in the wide circle of her light and that of her father's which warmed his cold body and soothed his torn soul. Rose watched him from the door and marveled at that light which shone from Frodo so brightly now.

He leaned down to softly kiss the brow of the little one who was already so dear to him.  "Mae tolen, tithen min," Frodo whispered.  Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo. It's all worth it to have you here. Everything bit of it."

He then kissed Sam's head. "What a wonderful father you already are, my Sam."

Frodo moved to his bedroom and was blessed that night by Irmo, lord of dreams, by visions of Elanor and some of the other flowers that Sam and Rosie's bountiful garden would be blessed with. He woke the next morning refreshed instead of more tired than he had been before resting. Seeing Sam again holding his daughter made it all very much worth it indeed.
 

Written for the July 2010 LOTR Gen Fic Community challenge of writing a story with a particular number of words. I chose 226.

Frodo and Sam looked up at the White Tree that was again vibrantly alive. The Ring-bearer squeezed his beloved guardian’s hand. “That’s because of you, my Sam, these wonderful signs of life.”

Sam squeezed back. “’Tis because of you, Mr. Frodo. See the blossoms all a-shiver? They’d clap their hands if they had any.”

Frodo smiled. “And how do you know they wouldn’t be clapping for you?”

Sam denied it but Frodo smiled further. Slowly they walked around the tree and as they did, blossoms dropped to cushion their feet. Frodo touched the bark and felt life within leap up with soothing tendrils of peace. Sam saw his master’s light flare as he caressed the bark and thought the tree itself a-lit as it welcomed the touch.

In the middle night, Sam woke, alarmed to find his master gone. He fought down panic and thought hard where Mr. Frodo could be. He raced to the tree and saw a wonderful sight. His beloved was sound asleep under the overarching branches and blossoms had fallen over him in a soft blanket. Frodo’s face was beautiful and peaceful. All the lines of care had left it and it shone with a soft radiance that matched the tree and the moon above. Sam returned to bed upon seeing those signs of life. His master was in very good hands.

Help from Above

6 October S.R. 1421 while on the way to the Undying Lands...

Frodo let a small moan as the ship gently rocked under him. The weather had been mild enough for him to sleep on a cot on the deck, though Bilbo had retired long before to their room below. Even though none of the stars were familiar to him, he still felt comforted by them as he remembered what his Sam had said so long before about the stars seeming Elvish. But he could not see them in the present darkness he woke in now, or seemed to wake. He reached for his shoulder where the pain flared and in his broken heart and torn soul. Even here it hurts, he thought in a haze of torment and near despair. Why did he leave if even here it was going to hurt? The fragile hope he had so carefully guarded within as though one would a flickering flame from the smallest contrary breeze was now whipped about by a gust and went out but for the barest smoldering. He did not know whether he had the strength to kindle it anew, but what choice did he have? There was no turning aside now. The only way lay forward...even as he felt backward into darkness. He lay curled on his side, unable to stop the tears from falling as all else faded but his agony. Even here.

For a long while he traveled alone in thick, swirling mist, seeing all too clearly the pale king and his sword. The Ring-bearer clutched at his shoulder as he felt the blade pierce him anew. He didn’t know whether he screamed aloud or just in his mind, but someone else came to him then, a gentle touch that wiped at his tears. He opened his eyes and could sense a brightness through the haze. He tried to focus on it, to pull it inside himself and shield himself if he could, for it did not feel evil to him as the pale radiance of those who also surrounded him but who now strangely began to fade before this other clean and pure light, but he had no strength to do other than simply stare at it and that was almost too much effort at first. But then the evil light faded all together and he felt stronger as the clean light then began to penetrate him. He felt then rain on his cheek, gently falling drops he realized were tears mingling with his, blessing them. He felt the other’s pain, and first grieved that he must have caused it, but then felt strangely comforted by it, as though he had found another soul that suffered as well and he did not have to pretend it didn’t hurt. He lay there for a long while, as that hand tenderly wiped at his tears and let her own fall on his curls and cheek. The gentlest stroke touched his fingers where his shoulder was gripped and drew them away so her tears fell there also. The pain faded. Frodo could only lay there in wonder.

Who are you?

The presence did not answer, only continued to weep and stroke. The Ring-bearer realized he did not need an answer but just to lie cradled in that pain and love. It felt as vast as his own, then he realized it was even larger and he wondered how it could be borne. Perhaps only the same way he had borne his own and labored to continue to do so. Though the weight of that had been enough to crush himself before she had come, it felt lighter now in her presence for he was not carrying it all himself. He lost himself in both her pain and her love, somehow knowing his way back to himself lay in a maze in which her light lit only the way before his feet.

Another came later and he felt her presence also, a softer light, a love and touch more like his mother’s had been. He felt wrapped in that second presence as around a warm, comforting blanket and he began to sink into healing slumber, instead of the swirling mist he had woken to find himself in. The Lord of Waters rocked him back to sleep. He slept under the light of stars that was his hope kindled anew as the spouse of the one who held him sent him dreams of the land he was to come to.

 

The Never-Ending Argument

Sometime after Frodo and Sam accept the Gift...

If Frodo and Sam thought the Undying Lands were full of splendor, light and healing peace, it was nothing compared to being in the very Presence of the One. And if time seemed to be slow or even almost non-existent in the Elven lands and in the West far beyond them, it was still not to be compared with true timelessness. Yet while in time, there had been a small matter between the two hobbits that had not been settled by the time of their deaths, and so they still argued about it from time to time in the time-honored manner they had adopted more than a century before when they had first tried to settle it.

The shining soul that Frodo had become turned to his most beloved friend and brother. I still believe you are the sweetest, most heroic and loving of all hobbits to ever live, my Sam, or even will ever live. That last was a new part to the argument, but being in eternity gave the elder a new perspective.

Sam was not put off. And I so still believe the same about you, my dearest master and brother.

Frodo brought up another ally, one he had not often been able to bring to bear, but now could. What about you, Rose, wouldn’t you agree me?

Rose smiled. Of course, Mr. Frodo.

And you, Elanor? And Frodo-lad? And...

All of Sam’s children were addressed in turn and all agreed with smiles and laughter. Frodo turned to his Sam, looking quite pleased with himself. Well, my Sam, you can’t gainsay all these votes in your favor, can you?

Sam was not at all convinced. I still don’t believe I am any better than you, me dear. You can’t hardly use me own family as reasons to think you are right.

I agree with Iorhael, came a new Voice.

If a soul graced to stand in the Presence could look smugly triumphant, Frodo’s did, as he was quite convinced that at long last, he had finally won the argument. There you see, my Sam, even the Creator Himself agrees with me and you can’t argue with Him!

Sam was indeed at a bit of a loss at that, but then the Voice spoke again, gently amused.

I also agree with Panthael.

If Frodo’s mouth could have fallen to the ground, it would have. His brother’s soul shone brighter than ever to be so vindicated in his thinking.

Frodo, however, was not about to accept defeat. He turned to another beings beside him. Help me, Strider! Tell Sam he’s the best hobbit there ever was so we don’t spend all eternity arguing about this.

The king smiled. I’m sorry, Frodo, but you are quite right, you can’t trump the One, and He has agreed with Sam.

But He agreed with me first!

I’m afraid you two are quite an impasse, aren’t you? came another voice that tried to show concern, but was too amused to be entirely convincing.

If Frodo could stamped his foot in frustration or looked cross, he would have. You aren’t helping, Uncle.

He looked around for someone else to help him. He looked around for someone else to help him. He knew already, or guessed well enough, what the Queen would say, and had his suspicious confirmed when she smiled at him. He didn't even bother asking.

Sorry, laddie, came yet another voice, I think you are both right as well.

There was a sigh or what could have been one. Humph! You aren’t helping either, Gimli!

Frodo looked around for another ally. He knew he couldn’t ask his parents or Merry and Pippin, who, of course, would vote for him, so he didn’t even bother asking those beloved souls. He found another though that he thought could be more impartial. Boromir! What say you?

The man thought for a bit, earnestly wanting to cast a fair vote. Frodo certainly could be the best because of all he had done in service to Middle-earth in bearing the Ring. Right glad the two had been to see each other again, whole and healed and at peace. But they wouldn’t have been able to do that without Sam’s steadfast love and support. An impasse indeed and one the warrior could not see himself through. I’m sorry, Frodo, but I must agree with the One.

Was that a groan? Frodo cast about desperately. Faramir!

I’m sorry as well, dear friend, for I must agree with my king and my brother.

All those gathered could have sworn they heard a frustrated scream, if such were possible. But He chose both of us!

Exactly, my lad, came Gandalf’s amused voice. You are both the sweetest and most loving hobbits to have lived, and I’m afraid you are both going to have to settle for winning.

Frodo would have thrown up his hands if he could have. The others were smiling at him, Sam most of all. This isn’t over! he insisted.

Of course not, we have eternity to settle it.

 

Light

After all I've done to you, dear Sam, you still wish to save me.  You still love me, even though dark soul I am becoming.

I held Sting at your throat, I would have killed you, but you still forgave.  When I realized what I had tried to do to you, that I could have smothered the light that shone so brightly from you, light to conquer any darkness, light I tried to destroy, I shrank back in shame and horror, but you reached out to me and led me back to the light.  I was good once, and thanks to you, I can be good again. You freed me from self-loathing, loosened the chains that imprison me, cleansed my life and my soul, restored me by your faith in my goodness that the Ring is trying so hard to destroy. When I haven't been strong enough to fight it, when I have been lost in the blackness, you still have found me and saved me.  You have reached in through it all as though it were nothing and released me. 

I beg you, please, Sam, continue to shine brightly for me for we still have a long way to go.

And the shadows continue to deepen around me.

 

To The End

A challenge from http://community.livejournal.com/great_tales/ to write a story in 55 words. And to think I used to think I couldn't write a drabble and now this is just half 1/2 a drabble and I still did it! :)

“You are quite taken by Mr. Frodo, aren’t you, Sam-lad?” Belle said, smiling.

“Oh yes, Mum! I’d follow him to the end of the earth!”

* * *

“To the end,” Sam murmured as the Mountain erupted around them.

* * *

As the earth fell behind and the Straight Road began, Sam marveled that he now followed beyond the end.

 

Sam thinks of the great loves of his life.

Even after I thought you had died in that terrible tunnel, I was still able to see your light. It was terrible to leave you like that, dead and unburied, but there was still that light that wouldn’t be quenched. If I had buried you, then I couldn’t have seen that. How else would have I been able to find you if I ever got back, if I couldn’t have been guided by that bit of Elvishness in you?

When we were near the Mountain, I thought of the other light in my life, the one that waited at home, the one I might never see again with the eyes in my head, but could so clearly see with my heart. It was beautiful and just as much a hope of my heart to behold again, as seeing us both back where we belonged.

When I had to surrender you to the Sea, I had that light waiting for me at home, and all the other lights that came because of the sacrifices that you had made. I wish you could have seen them all, but you saw some of them I know. You named them even before I did! I had many long years bathed in those lights, and ever aware of yours also, still blooming in my heart, brighter all the time.

When my Rose light was snuffed out, I was plunged into a greater darkness than I had ever thought I could bear, worse than anything I had ever felt, worse even than standing on that shore as the light you held grew dimmer and dimmer. But in the terrible black that was that summer day when she died, was you, shining out in the night, just as you had in the spider’s lair. I stared long at that light that beckoned me on, leading me to a home where my heart could beat again. It no longer could in the Shire, that part of it had been buried when she had been. My life was ahead of me now, not behind. I was ready to follow the light once more.

Naked in the Dark

Frodo at the Fire as he claims the Ring and is claimed by it and also claimed by another. Inspired by jan-u-wine’s poem of the same name. Written in response of the April 2011 LOTR Genfic community challenge to write a poem. My element was ‘mountain’ which is very interesting as I had already written much of this before I received that so it was easy to insert the word right in!

Nominated for a 2011 MEFA! Completely slash-free as always.

I am naked before him

And he before me

The last veil swept away

He can feel my lust

And I can feel his

A terrible fire that blackens

as it consumes the sacrifice I bring

Then I feel an overwhelming fear

that I marvel is coming from him

He sees his peril, but does he not know

it is for naught?

I cannot choose to destroy this thing

that has destroyed me

I cannot choose to destroy

my self

Cruel arms surround me

I fight them, thinking they are his,

seeking after his prize

Claws rend me as his malice has this entire time,

leaving me long before now raw and bleeding before him

Hatred and rage fill me as I realize that

a greater lust has invaded our union

Teeth crueler than the arms pierce us

A howl fills the air

as our treasure is wrested away

I kneel at the edge as the flames leap up

to consume it,

him,

me

I am left alone, as the fire burns through

the empty shell that is all that is left within

The agony of my loss makes me long to

drown myself in the flames below,

to quench with it the lust that burns

with everlasting fire,

to warm the cold in which

my nothingness now shivers,

bereft of our precious,

bereft of everything

No, not everything

A different warmth comes,

a gentle hand takes me own

a light filters into the darkness

I look at the one who smiles at me,

naked to him as well

I tremble at what he must see

I stare mesmerized

as he clothes me in his love,

anoints the tears in me with his tears,

and even as the world ends around us

rejoices that I am free

I wonder what he means

Free of what?

To do what?

There are no choices left

Only the doom that brought us to this mountain,

that I brought him here to share

He mourns the loss of a single finger of mine,

regretting that he has nothing to bind or comfort it with

He is wrong there

He binds it with his love

and comforts it with his light

He says he would rather have given a whole hand of his own,

but he will soon be giving so much more than that

in the fire that will consume us both,

as it has already consumed me these long months

I would beg forgiveness but

I know it would be for naught

He will not despair even now

He still lives

I am neither alive nor dead,

empty but for the love he gives

and the lust that still burns

He cannot fill the nothingness that is within

or the nothingness that awaits

Only for love of him

do I allow him to lead me away,

to delay our doom a few moments longer,

to stretch out my agony in order not to add to his

He tenderly caresses my broken hand and heart,

telling me how much he wishes he could hear

the tale that will be told of us

I cannot help but smile as I look into his shining eyes

My hope

my love

my light

my life

He is my own

And I belong to him

Here at the end of all things,

I am glad

I am free

 

Written for the June 2011 “Mid-summer Night’s Dream” LOTR Gen Fic Community Challenge. My element was “My heart is true as steel.”

Frodo started having darker dreams once Bilbo left. This particular summer night he found himself far from the Shire in a black night devoid of stars. Sharp stones cut his feet. The wind blew harsh against his skin. In the far distance, he could see a wheel of fire burning. He shivered in an air that was chill in a way that he knew somehow unrelated to the actual temperature, a chill that went into his heart and even deeper. He wished to be away, but he could not move. At first he was glad he could not, for if he could not go backward as he desired, he also could not move forward, toward that terrible wheel that burned bright and large that he knew he must go, toward his doom.

It was in this alien land that Frodo heard a clear voice, though he sensed no other presence. "My heart is true as steel." He marveled to realize it was his own and wondered what it meant.

And as strong, came another voice he heard only within his heart.

What does it mean? Frodo asked.

You will know when the time comes.

With those words, a single star shone bright above him. Frodo stared at it for a long time, comforted by it until his otherwise disturbing and puzzling dream fled as the dawn came.


* * *


It was many years later that the hobbit saw the nightmare landscape with his waking eyes, saw the bloody footprints his steps left behind him, felt the wind pull at his curls and orc rags, felt the ash in his parched mouth and throat. The reality was far worse than his dream, but he was not alone this time as his faithful Sam trudged along beside him, leaving his own bloody prints. Frodo looked at them and would have wept if he could have.

"Remember that dream you told me about, Mr. Frodo?" his gardener and guardian asked. "That one about you saying your heart being as true and strong as steel?"

The Ring-bearer nodded, his head bowed toward the earth by the terrible weight of his burden. "Only because of you, dear Sam," he croaked out.  "Only because of you," he repeated softer and more wearily.

Sam knew that was both true and false so was not going to argue, only watched his master struggle to take one step, then another,  clutching at his clothing where the Ring lay underneath. The younger hobbit stared blackly at where that fell object was, tearing apart the most true of all hearts. He muttered something under his breath that Frodo smiled slightly at. The Ring-bearer wanted to tease his beloved friend for using such a word, but he had not the strength. He took one more step before he collapsed face down and moved no further.

Sam carefully turned his master over and placed his hand gently over that beloved, laboring heart, and listened to the ragged breathing.
"As true as steel," he murmured, kissing Frodo's filthy forehead. He took his treasure fully into his arms then to wait out the true night.


* * *

After the Ring was destroyed, the words in Frodo's dream came back to torment him.

"I did not remain true," he said softly.

"And why do you think you did not, my dear hobbit?" came another voice just as soft.

Frodo startled and looked up at his smiling visitor, unaware he was no longer alone or that he had spoken aloud. He looked away again.

"I did not remain true," the Ring-bearer repeated.

He paused for a long time, but Gandalf knew his friend well enough that all he had to do was be patient enough until Frodo was ready to continue.

"I had a dream about Mordor long before I came there. I heard myself say 'My heart is true as steel', but it wasn't. Not at the end. Not when it had to be the most. Sam's heart was far truer than mine."

Gandalf smiled further, though Frodo did not see it. "And where do you think he got his strength to be so? Your fidelity to your task was his inspiration to be true to his - and that was to be true to you as you kept faith with all Middle-earth. You kept that as far as your will and strength could carry you."

"Not far enough. It failed when it was most needed."

"No, it went exactly as far as was needed." Gandalf gently brought Frodo's chin up so the Ring-bearer looked up at him with tormented eyes. The hidden Maia smiled once more. "You must understand, my most beloved and stubborn hobbit, that no created heart could have withstood what you could not then. I fear we placed an impossible burden upon you when we thought you were to be both Ring-bearer and Ring-destroyer. But you were not, and because you had remained true to the one who was to be that destroyer, you and he were able to accomplish what you were both chosen to do. Do not blame yourself, my dear friend. You did more than we almost dared to hope. You did remain true. Do not ever think you did not."

Frodo looked into his friend's warm and loving eyes for a long time, wanting to believe. He was silent, then looked away again. "All I can hear is the words I said at the Fire, what Sam told me I said. He would not lie."

"No, he would not. And neither am I now."

Frodo remained silent, thoughtfully considering his friend’s words.

* * *
 

The first night Frodo stood on the deck of the ship bearing him to his new home. The warm wind played through his curls and the light of the setting sun sparkled in the water. He thought again of his dream, tormented still by his failure in fidelity and unable as yet to understand the other words in the dream about being strong as steel.

"But I wasn't," he murmured to himself. "I am as broken by Sauron's might as Narsil was, useless to anyone now."

Narsil was still treasured even in its brokenness, came the same Voice Frodo had heard in his dream. And it was remade even stronger.

Frodo looked up from the water. The sky was ablaze with colors. Its beauty took his breath away and slowly settled deep within him. "Flame of the West," he murmured, trying to put words to the magnificent scene before him.

Just so, and it will be the West that will smother the flame of the East that still burns within you.

Frodo remained on deck as the sunset continued to deepen, then faded. For the first time he truly believed the same could happen to him. The burning that continued to consume him would one day no longer.

Rejected

For the February 2011 Hearts and Flowers LOTR Genfic Community Challenge

Elements: unrequited love, broken heart, flower: hollyhock
Summary: Thoughts of a particular shieldmaiden

He would not have her. She had thought she had found a way out, a way to be something more than just a nursemaid to a tottering old man, no matter how beloved. But it was not to be. He had gone off to follow deadly paths from which there was no return. She felt her own heart die within her, as dead as it had been before he had come. She determined then that there would be no return for her either. She would ride with the others of her uncle’s household, for wasn’t she a shieldmaiden?

Her brother wasn’t quite sure what to make of the hollyhock he saw at the table where they had supped, but it was enough to disturb his heart to seek her out, and even more not to be able to find her.

Climbing

For the November 2010 LOTR Genfic Community "True Drabble" challenge.

Element: up, down
Summary: Frodo and a mountain. My first drabble!



Frodo stared up the mountain looming far above, its top hidden by clouds. He saw superimposed upon it, the mountain of Fire Sam had carried him up which he knew he must climb down if he had any hope of healing. He looked around him. Bilbo, Gandalf, Celebrian and others he sensed but could not see stood around him and smiled. “It’s so high,” he breathed, then with the same determination in which he had set out to complete his first Quest, he began his ascent - and his descent. He did not climb alone.

In the great city of Minas Tirith, Sam woke in the night in a bed he thought far too fine for such as himself. Beside him, with a book still open that had been read before falling asleep, slumbered his master. Both of them were wrapped in same purple blanket and fine linen sheets. The gardener had not wanted to use the blanket at all for it seemed much too fair and fancy for him, but let Frodo have it all. The Ring-bearer was just as insistent that Sam be the only one to use it and he wasn’t going to go to sleep until his guardian agreed. To prove it, Frodo started reading a long history of Gondor, though he could barely keep his eyes open. Sam knew even though his master was exhausted and needed his sleep, he wouldn’t close even one eye before Sam gave in. Still he had learned a thing or two about being stubborn from Frodo and climbed in beside him and with a sigh covered himself and his master with the blanket. He then closed his eyes and bore the blanket as long as he could until, after long experience on the Quest, he knew Frodo was deeply asleep. He then drew it off and put his share over his master who was the one who should be wrapped in glory. That was where such a rich and kingly thing belonged, not covering his own poor self. He was just a simple hobbit. It was Mr. Frodo who deserved such royal treatment, not him. More at peace now, Sam searched for his master’s hand under the sheets and satisfied when it curled around his, he returned to sleep.

Frodo woke later and was rather discomfited to see that Sam had moved the blanket and put it solely over him. The elder hobbit drew it off himself and put it over his faithful guardian who was the one who should be wrapped in glory. That was where such a kingly thing belonged, not covering his own poor self. He was just a simple hobbit. It was his Sam who deserved such royal treatment, not him. More at peace now, the Ring-bearer searched for Sam’s hand under the sheets and satisfied when it curled around his, he returned to sleep.

In the middle night, Aragorn came to check in on his friends. He saw the arrangement of the blankets and guessed at the cause of their lopsidedness. Gently he drew it over the two of them for they both deserved to be wrapped in glory. For good measure, he also laid the purple cloak he wore as a mark of his office. Over these dear bodies did such a kingly thing belong. He was just a simple man. It was these small beings who deserved royal treatment. He smiled as he leaned down to gently brush their brows with a humble and reverent kiss. He gave one more look at them before he left and smiled. Yes, everything was just right now.

A/N: This was for the LOTR GenFic Community November 2012 Challenge, "A River Runs Through It." It takes place between the time Frodo is adopted and his coming of age. It was inspired by reading that he had dreamed of the Sea since childhood and also by the lovely map of Middle-earth that is on my bedroom wall that I face while I write. Walking along with Frodo in this little tale gave me the same wanderlust. Oh, to be that free as he longed to be!
__

Frodo traced his finger along the line of the Mitheithel river on Bilbo’s old map that he had brought back from his travels. In one direction, it joined the Bruinen and beyond that was Rivendell. One day Frodo wanted to go there and meet the Elves that Bilbo did. It sounded like a splendid place. But today, his heart was more restless to go the opposite direction. His finger passed Swanfleet and Tharbad and traveled along the Greyflood until it emptied into the Sea. This is where Frodo wanted to go one day. It would make a lovely adventure and he determined that he would ask Bilbo if they could go together. He traced another route along the Brandywine that he had already walk part way many times. That too led to the Sea. Perhaps one day he would not turn around as he always did but keep on walking and see the great water himself.

Frodo reluctantly turned his finger back up the way he came. This time he stopped briefly at Rivendell and remembered Bilbo’s high praise of it. Yes, he certainly would have to go there one day. He continued on but skirted around Mirkwood, for he did not want to go where there were any spiders. He came then to the Lonely Mountain and paused at Long Lake. He followed the River Running for some distance before turning around again and this time followed the Great River Anduin. The Misty Mountains were on his right. Would Bilbo ever want to retrace the steps of his great adventure and this time take Frodo with him?

Frodo’s finger continued to travel. He paused at Lorien and thought that would be a nice place to travel to as well from what Bilbo had told him of what he had heard about it in Rivendell. He wondered about the land of Rohan and what it was like. Gondor he knew was where the king had once been. He stopped in Ithilien and looked over at Mordor, where instinctively he feared to go. No, that was one place on the whole map he did not want to travel to even in his imagination.

He continued until he reached the Bay of Belfalas and followed the shore of the Great Sea until he reached the Brandywine. Yes, he would definitely take such a route one day if it ever came to be. In fact, he longed to do this more than any other path for it kept him right along the Sea for leagues upon leagues. His finger stopped at last at Hobbiton and home. It had gone far and his heart had traveled with it. One day he told himself his body would actually step out and do the same.

That night Frodo dreamt of the Sea. It was vivid enough for him to feel the lap of the foam against his feet and the wind dance through his curls. He heard the wailing of the gulls and breathed deep the scent of the water. Were the gulls calling him to enter? His heart filled with longing tinged with fear and grief, but he did not understand why. He stared long at the great expanse of the water. Why did it beckon him so? What was on the other side? Was there anything or did it just go on and on? Bilbo’s map was silent on that.

 Just as Frodo started to walk deeper into the water, he woke.

Riddles in the Dark (but not *those* riddles).

He didn’t remember who he was anymore, at least not during the grey darkness that one could hardly call day and not during the black night. There would be a flash of memory at the evening meal when he heard the name that must belong to him from the one he called his shadow. He could recall no other name but that. Hearing his name would hold him fast for a moment and then awareness of any other life beside this present one in the dark would fade again.

How long had he been here in this dead land? Why was he here? He knew there was a reason but it was beyond recall. It had something to do with the red glow that he saw in the distance and in his dreams when sleep would come at all. He had been there he thought. It was where he had killed the thief that had tried to be rob him of his Precious. He clutched at his chest, at the treasure underneath, yes, he had killed for it. That he remembered or thought he did. 

In this everlasting night, he felt it hard to tell when he was awake and when he was asleep. It was rare that he felt true rest. Who was he? He had no memory of anything. He had no past and no hope for a future, if there was any such thing. He was only aware of the present. His shadow had tried to describe light, meals that contained more than a few crumbs, drinks that weren’t half foul, and much else, but he had not understood. He could not imagine anything outside what he saw and felt at the present moment, which for him was what he had always seen and felt: the darkness and the hunger that ravaged him. If it wasn’t for the fire that haunted him and the pity in his eyes of his shadow, he would thought himself blind. He was always thirsty and tired and filthy. He heard noises in the night that frightened him and then a voice that soothed the fears away. He knew he was mad but the eyes of his shadow would not abandon him and he was glad.

What was he here for? Was this his home? It had to be. He had no memory of any other. But he had no bed, no roof, no walls. There was just empty, dark expanse. He was always cold. The shivering never stopped and that was another way he knew he must be mad because at the same time there was an everlasting fire that burned inside. It was not warm but devouring and he stood in the middle of it and would not die.

There was something he was supposed to do. What was it? He clutched again at his beloved treasure still hidden under his rags. His shadow had wanted to take it once and he had nearly killed him too. But he had not. He thought if he could only remember, he could leave. And go where? If this was his home, where else could he go? His shadow had tried to tell him what he was do, but he could not comprehend. Go back to the Fire? Destroy the Precious? He shook his head. No, that was not right. That could not be. Hadn’t he killed the thief to prevent that? It was his. Hadn’t it come to him on his birthday? Yes, it had. And it was his. It was not right at all that it should be gone. It was his. That was the one thing he remembered, the one burning ember that was left to him.

How long had he been here? Days, weeks, months, years? His whole life? There was nothing that told him. All he knew was his shadow had been there just as long and they would stay until he remembered what he had to do.

There was a sound behind him and he turned to see his shadow. “Have some dinner, Mr. Frodo.”

Lady of Light - A tribute of Frodo to Celebrian

She was there when I came ashore

So bright and beautiful

There was no shadow in her

Save in memory that my heart saw

It was past and the light shone through it

Had conquered it and

Exulted at the victory achieved over it

The light pierced me with understanding

Of how hard won it was through much darkness

A long lasting black night

Had driven her here just as it now drove me

But for her the dawn had come and would never fade

Her wounds were no more

Yet I knew from how my heart wept

That they once were near to mine

Yet now the light lived, thrived, and silently shouted its life

I wished to weep as well for its beauty

And be near it always

But she had not come for me

I stood by alone while she embraced her mother

Even though Bilbo stood at my side

And Gandalf not far behind

This was to be my home now

But would it be home

The light seemed unreachable

Even though it was near enough to touch

Would it wish to touch something as defiled as I was

Would it ever be mine

Or it would be forever so near but never my own

She looked then at me, lost and broken

Sad she was not to see her daughter

But she already knew I had come in place

Of that treasure so long missed

And she knew why

I flinched at that, so needful of her cleansing light

So afraid it would turn away

She saw the phial I held close

The gem around me neck that I fingered

She touched both in silent recognition

And then knelt before me and held her hand over mine

“I offer my service

To continue what my family has already done”

As she gathered me into her arms

I wept bitterly and without control at such a blessing

I hung on afraid I would utterly swept away if I did not

She wept with me

“Now I understand”

She said it almost to herself

“Now I understand”

It was a long time before I knew what she meant

But in time as she wrapped her spirit around mine

And spread her light around my darkness

As she pierced the shadows

And I was no longer afraid my defilement

Would spoil the beauty of her light

As she held me and told me of her torment

I knew she understood mine

She heard me words from me I could not speak to anyone else

I understood then as she gently probed my wounds

And drained the evil away

As the rents in my heart mended

And my spirit become whole again

That the fruit of her wounds was

So I could see that I could heal of mine

And so she could see in the easing of my agony

The worth in her own suffering

The realization of filled us both with dreadful awe

I knew I could never repay all she had given me

But she considered the bitter cost now sweet

We are bound together in a way nothing would ever sunder

First in agony, then in triumph over it

Sam was right

The Shadow is only a passing thing

Her victory over darkness gave birth to my own

For my sister in angst and hobbity love, H.G., because she asked nicely. :)

Sam stood amidst the shattered pieces of his heart. The white-hot fury that had consumed him during his terrible fight with the monstrous spider had left him. So too the terrible anger that had come after his desperate and futile attempts to rouse his master. Whatever courage had stirred within him to fight the horrific enemy was gone. There was nothing left now, nothing at all, but the keening wail of his heart. His loss overwhelmed him in a tidal wave and drove him deep down under dark waters where there was no light. He was masterless in a cold darkness. It would be so easy just to let go, to drown, as he almost had once before in his effort to follow his treasure. But something held him back. He looked to his Frodo, silent and still, beyond any pain or strain, beyond any torment the Ring could inflict. His master had not given up. He had given his last strength of will and body to fulfill his task. Sam could do no less. He had to be his master’s arms and legs now to complete the job, and then at its finishing, he would yield to his heart and return it to his master’s keeping, and lay by his side until the end came and they were together again.

Sam took the Ring from Frodo and gently kissed his master farewell. He gave his promise to return once the job was done. He would not remain here in defeat. He would continue the Quest. He would honor his master’s faithfulness to it, no matter what the cost to himself, and give his all to complete it, just as Master had. If he fell as well, he would fall as his master had, set to the last upon completing the task appointed to him. He held the light up to that dearly beloved face, so pale and fair. He invoked the Lady’s protection and then he left. She would have to watch over Master now, and she would. She would not fail. And neither would he.


“Uncle! Uncle! Happy birthday to us!”

Bilbo Baggins bent down to grab the wee lad who hurtled himself toward him and returned his tight hug. “Yes, indeed, happy birthday to us, my dear lad. How old are you now?”

“Five! How old are you?”

“Well, if you are five, that must make me eighty-three.”

Frodo’s eyes widened. “Eighty-three! That’s old.”

Bilbo laughed and ruffled the curls of his favorite relation. “Yes, ’tis quite old.”

“But not as old as the Old Took. He was really old. Do you think you’ll be that old one day, Uncle?”

“Mayhap, if I am spared. I hope I am. I want to see you all grown up, my lad.”

Frodo squirmed out of his uncle’s arms and went to his mother and father who stood with twin smiles behind him. The lad carefully took a large piece of parchment from his mother and presented it to Bilbo.

“I made this for you, Uncle. Da helped me with the dragon, but I did the rest. I hope you like it.”

Just as carefully as Frodo gave the gift, Bilbo accepted it and looked upon it with many oooh’s and ahhh’s. “Frodo, my lad, this is just beautiful. Look there’s your name and bless me, in three different tongues! And mine too just the same and these two lovely little figures..."

“That’s us, Uncle! I wrote our names very carefully just as you taught me.”

“And there’s the dragon, yes, that is a green great dragon indeed, and those flames coming out of its mouth...did you do that part?" Frodo nodded enthusiastically. "You are quite the artist. And what’s this...” Bilbo did not know why he felt a shiver of fear as his eye fixed on something at the bottom of the page. He knew quite well it could only be one thing.

“That’s your ring, Uncle. I wanted to make sure you brought it when we go on our ’venture in case we need to disappear while we hunt for dragons.”

“Yes, my lad, that would be very useful. That was quite thoughtful of you to remember to include it. We must never leave without it.” Why a sliver of a shadow passed between himself and his beloved lad, Bilbo could not tell.

“Do you think we could go an ’venture truly, Uncle?”

Bilbo tore his eyes away from that simple black circle on the parchment and looked up into Frodo’s shining face. “We shall go on many, my lad, just like we always have.”

“I mean like you had, to see mountains and Elves and dragons. There aren’t any dragons in the Shire.”

“But there are Elves at times. Don’t be too disappointed, my lad. It is a terrifying marvel to see a dragon up close.”

“I wouldn’t be scared, because I would be with you, and Ma and Da.”

Bilbo smiled at Frodo and his parents. “I am sure we will find enough adventures here at home.”

“But one day, Uncle, one day, I hope Gandalf comes to take me on an adventure just like yours.”

“Mayhap one day he will. And you must answer the call.”

“I will, Uncle! I can’t wait!”

Uncomfortable dreams troubled Bilbo that night, but they turned out well. For at their end, he dreamt of the Sea and his lad was with him and all was well, or would be. 

And in Frodo’s peaceful slumbers, there too came the sound of the Sea which often entered his imaginings of adventure, and this time brought a smile to his face, for his uncle was with him. His great adventure had begun.





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