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CHALLENGE: Something funny/fluffy
Sam was a good cook, even by hobbit reckoning, and he had done a good deal of the camp-cooking on their travels, when there was a chance. ‘Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit’, The Two Towers
“Poor Strider,” Sam commiserated. “I should have left you some of my spices and herbs to slip into any wayward stew that came your way.”
Aragorn grinned. “Perhaps you should have.” He lowered his voice further, even though only the White Tree could possibly have been eavesdropping. “Could you please leave a few Shire recipes with Lady Éowyn? I fear for my Steward’s health.”
“Of course,” Sam grinned back.
HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE: Include the words pumpkin, spider web, spooky, ghost, bloody
Aragorn removed the bloody bandage from Frodo’s arm. “The gash is not deep. You said he fell while trying to avoid a spider web?”
“Yes,” Sam said worriedly. “The alley was dark and spooky, and he tripped on some broken stone.”
“Spooooky,” Frodo giggled, then yawned hugely.
“When’s that pain tonic going to wear off again?” Merry sighed.
“Soon,” Aragorn said with a ghost of a smile.
“Look what I found in the kitchen!” Pippin strode into the room bearing a fragrant pumpkin pie. “This will cheer Frodo up.”
But Frodo had fallen fast asleep, his head on Sam’s shoulder.
CHALLENGE: Include the words flowers, fruit, freedom, finger, flippant
“Are you certain you are old enough to marry?” Aragorn teased his bride-to-be as they walked through the crowd. The air about them was fragrant with the mingled scents of flowers and rare fruits.
“You are as flippant as your young knight,” Arwen smiled.
Pippin grinned, and nudged Merry with his elbow.
“I fear your heart will feel the constraints of this city of stone,” Aragorn murmured.
“On the contrary,” Arwen whispered. She ran one finger along Aragorn’s jaw, making him shiver. “You have granted my heart the freedom to love. Each day for us will be as an eternity.”
Sam appeared utterly shocked, and Frodo looked as if he was caught in a dream. A good dream, I hope, Aragorn found himself thinking. You have surely earned it. He noted that their new garments fit well, but soon he would see them clothed as princes.
And so with heart overflowing, and clasping his beloved’s hand, Aragorn joyously fulfilled a dream of his own; a vision he had first experienced at Cormallen, watching over Frodo and Sam as they slept. I am the first to accord them this honor, he thought humbly as his knee touched the ground. Praise them!
To Glóin, son of Gróin
From Peregrin Took, son of Paladin
It has been nearly a year since your son Gimli parted from you in Rivendell and we began our journey south in the company of my cousin Frodo Baggins. It is my fervent hope that Gimli has returned safely home. I came to know your son well, and thus I suspect that he may not have shared with you the full tale of his own valiant deeds over the past year. I am also afraid that, whatever you may have heard of him from others, you may hold much of what you hear to be either fanciful or lacking in possibility. I felt moved to write you so that you are assured that, truly, no tales could do justice to your son's valor, deeds, indomitable spirit, loyalty to his friends, and pride in his people.
There was not a race we encountered among the Free Peoples, including several of which I had not even dreamed existed, that do not now hold your son in the highest esteem. He earned the respect and admiration of kings and great lords, and of some of the oldest and wisest beings who yet remain in Middle-earth. He has also earned the lifelong gratitude, for what it is worth, of this humble hobbit of the Shire, and my family.
I am in debt to your son for my very life, but in all of our time together in Minas Tirith and the journey back north, he would accept neither praise nor word of thanks. I came to understand that once Gimli son of Glóin claims you as friend and companion, no more loyal or steadfast friend will you ever have, and no further words on that account need be spoken.
My kin will be told about your son, and honor his name. If I may be of service to you or your family in any way, at any time, be assured that, in the name of my friend Gimli, it will be my honor to receive word from you.
My deepest respects,
Postscript: Please let Gimli know that his “truants” arrived home safely, and hope to see him again. Until then, enclosed with this message is a package of Longbottom Leaf, which I trust he (and you) will enjoy.
Pippin and Frodo were laughing so hard, Sam ran to close the door to the corridor before a host of curious Elves came to investigate.
At Pippin’s urging, and armed with a dish of lard from the kitchens, Frodo had plastered down both sides of Merry’s hair to see if it could be made to part neatly in the middle like Aragorn and Boromir’s. Merry gazed mournfully into the mirror.
“It’s not natural for hobbit hair, and that’s a fact,” Sam declared.
“Oh dear,” Frodo gasped, wiping tears of mirth from his face. “I needed that. Sorry, Merry,”
“I forgive you,” Merry sighed dramatically.
When Frodo went into his bedroom to retrieve one of Bilbo’s pocket handkerchiefs, Sam, Merry, and Pippin exchanged satisfied glances. They meant to lighten Frodo’s burden – and heart – in any way possible.
“You’re next, Pippin,” Merry whispered, trying unsuccessfully to scruffle his curls back into shape. “Tomorrow, ask to borrow Strider’s boots and clomp around in them a bit.”
“I’d like to see that myself,” Sam grinned.
“I’ll get Strider to loan them to me somehow,” Pippin said confidently. Suddenly he frowned. “Lady Arwen doesn’t need to see me doing all that clomping, though... does she?”
Challenge: Write a drabble about the unexpected. Take this in any direction you like. It can be an unexpected event, an unexpected bit of news, an unexpected meeting, an unexpected relationship, an unexpected kiss, etc.)
Author note: I tried to weave several 'unexpected' moments into this wee scene.
Word Count: 100
“Arise, Sir Peregrin,” Aragorn said solemnly. As Pippin got to his feet, awestruck by the honor being accorded to him and Merry, he saw a twinkle in Strider’s eyes... and a hint of a tear. Suddenly overcome with emotion, Aragorn knelt and embraced his young knight before the hushed crowd.
“I am overjoyed that you live,” Aragorn said quietly, “and that your courageous deeds saved the lives of two noble Men who will return to their families only because of you.”
And from behind him Beregond and Halbarad bowed deeply, causing Pippin to blush to the tips of his ears.
Sam beamed when Legolas complimented the speed with which he tied up the packs.
“It’s an easy knot,” Sam explained. “My uncle taught me.” He untied the lashing on one pack and started over. “The coney comes out of the hole, travels around the clearing, and back in the hole. See?"
Legolas smiled. The hobbit’s lessons had been far more innocent than his own. He could still hear his tutor’s voice as his small hands grasped a length of rope...
“Remember, young one. The Balrog travels out of its lair, encircles its prey, and back into the darkness it goes...”
Faramir swung wide the heavy doors with his own hands and preceded Aragorn into the vast room. There before them was the Steward’s Seat, and above it, the throne of the king.
“It has waited a thousand years for you, my liege,” Faramir said. “It has been tended well, and only one person has sat upon it to my knowledge.” He smiled slightly. “I do believe my father allowed Peregrin that honor; I am certain that it was amusing to Father, and Peregrin would have been of course unaware of the dozen or so laws he was breaking.”
“My young knight will not receive punishment from my hand,” Aragorn assured him. He walked forward, and touched the massive chair. “I deem that this seat would fit all four hobbits.” He smiled. “Perhaps I will let the People see them thus; I wish to do them every honor.”
“Then a new Age will truly have begun,” Faramir laughed. His heart felt light. “I will leave you for a time. Call if you have need of me.” He bowed deeply, then gazed with respect and love into the eyes of his king. “And may I be the first to say... welcome home.”
Prompt: "In Sickness"
“Time for your tonic, Frodo,” Faramir announced, entering the Ring-bearer’s room.
“Oh yes, please!” Frodo said enthusiastically. He sat up in bed, blue eyes sparkling with eagerness.
Faramir set down the tray he was holding on the table beside the bed. “Which flavor today, my friend?” he asked.
Frodo surveyed the row of small bottles, finally shaking his head.
“They’re all so delicious, I cannot possibly choose."
“Perhaps you will allow me...” Faramir selected one of the bottles, opened it, and shook a few drops of a brightly-colored oil into the cup of medicine. Sitting on the bed, he helped Frodo hold the cup. The hobbit drank up every drop.
“Which one was that?” Frodo asked, licking his lips.
“It is called ‘tangerine’,” Faramir said. “You have now tasted lime, lemon, orange, and tangerine oils. You have yet to try this last one... it contains a processed bean called vanilla.”
“You’re so fortunate, here in the South, to have access to such exotic flavors,” Frodo told him. “Hobbit children would never be stubborn about taking medicine again if it tasted so good.” He looked thoughtful. “Perhaps we may take a few home with us?”
“Of course,” Faramir said. “They are well processed, and keep for at least a year if unopened.” He got to his feet and picked up the tray. “Your cousins are preparing your breakfast tray, and will be here soon. And I bear good news; Aragorn says that you may leave your bed today if you promise to take it easy. You are nearly well.”
“What a shame,” Frodo sighed, gazing longingly at the tray in Faramir’s hands.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I mean, that’s wonderful, of course,” Frodo said hastily. “It’s just that...” He coughed slightly. “I’m still a bit weak. You said something about... vanilla?”
“My childhood favorite,” Faramir said. He winked at Frodo. “I will inform my liege that you require one more day abed. I am certain he will understand.”
“Thank you, Faramir,” Frodo said happily. “I’m sure I’ll be well by tomorrow.”
“So am I,” Faramir said with a laugh. “So am I.”
Written for the Livejournal Lotr_Community challenge “The March of Power”.
NARYA THE GREAT
"For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill."
“We are either to be victorious or undone,” Gandalf murmured. “Should the One be destroyed, the Three may fail, so it has been foretold. This may be our last deed together, great one.” He bowed his head, reaching out with thought and vision and great need. He felt the pulse of energy upon his finger leap and quicken, building in intensity. Those standing closest to the wizard felt the air about them suddenly crackle with suppressed energy.
Gandalf thrust his hand out before him, crying out a single word in an ancient tongue. The Ring of Fire blazed fiercely, then the air shuddered as a great wave pulsed outward, a force of incandescent hope unleashed, guided by the wizard’s mind to pierce each heart of the Company of the West.
Then all the Captains of the West cried aloud, for their hearts were filled with a new hope in the midst of darkness.
Baranduin's post on Livejournal about the 144 elves that awakened at Cuivienen was very interesting, as 144 is also the number of hobbits Bilbo invited to the Birthday Party -- a number (one gross) that some guests took as an insult. Inspired by her post, I offer a wee scene...
No Laughing Matter
Sam hastily pounded Frodo's back as his master began to choke on his tea. Alarmed, Aragorn hurried to the hobbits' side of the fire, but Frodo waved him off.
Challenge: Written for the Livejournal Lotr_Community challenge “Celebrate!”. All stories submitted were to be exactly 144 words.
COMPANIONS OF THE HEART
Challenge: Written for the Livejournal Lotr_Community challenge “Nostalgia”. All stories submitted were to be exactly 100, 150, 200, or 300 words. My assigned prompt: "Remembrance".
Author's Note: It’s likely that the journey back to Rivendell from Gondor taken by the hobbits, Elves, and Gandalf passed through the area where the northern Dúnedain made their homes.
The Return of the King, Appendix A
At last he was done, and the word spread that everyone should assemble in the grove. When the people saw the completed memorial they gave cries of gladness, and the women stepped forward to lay armfuls of flowers and fragrant boughs before it. Pippin quickly joined the King’s knights where they stood to one side; they drew their swords as one, and held them aloft. As Elrond began to sing, villagers filed past the proud new stone, each touching it gently or murmuring soft words, weeping with joy as old griefs were healed and a new Age kindled in their hearts.
Into the polished and shining monument were embedded seven clear, faceted gems that blazed in the late-afternoon sun. Below them was an inscription carved in both Westron and Elvish.
Challenge: Written for the Livejournal Lotr_Community challenge “Waiting”.
ONE SHINING MOMENT
He had wished only to use his skill to help his people; to craft a means for them to preserve what they had, and enhance what they made. But by the time his Great Work was at last complete, it was too late. There could be only furtive use, power carefully shrouded, secret, and hidden, a small fraction of what could have been. Through life and death and life again he had come, waiting, hoping, wondering if all he had wrought would fade and be forgotten before ever his vision could blaze forth unsullied and unShadowed.
One day, called by he knew not what impulse, he felt an urge to climb the highest hill atop the Lonely Isle. He gazed eastward, wondering what had called him out from his humble workshop. Then from over the Sea he felt it, a rushing, buoyant pulse of brilliant colors and unlimited potential. He cried out in exultation, pierced by bright Music and searing joy. Celebrimbor fell to his knees, his head bowed in gladness that the Three had at last been freed from the watchful Shadow. They had reached out and found one another, and had found him, and as one, they sang.
Challenge: Written for the Livejournal lotr_community drabble challenge "Gratitude". All stories submitted were to be exactly 100, 150, 200, or 300 words.
“I wonder, Frodo my dear fellow, if you would very much mind tidying things up a bit before you go? Collect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will. You see, I haven’t much time for the selection and the arrangement and all that. Get Sam to help, and when you’ve knocked things into shape, come back, and I’ll run over it.” ‘Many Partings’, The Return of the King
As if his thoughts had been a summons, Bilbo looked up to see Sam standing in the doorway.
“Is there aught you need, Mr. Bilbo?” Sam asked.
Bilbo smiled, and motioned him inside.
“Not any longer, Samwise. My burden is gone, thanks to Frodo... and you. You’ve been so kind to my lad. And you’ll stay by him still, won’t you?”
“Mr. Bilbo,” Sam said softly, “I’d never leave him, not ever.”
“Just as I hoped,” Bilbo said contentedly. “Now then, isn’t it time for luncheon?”
“Near about,” Sam agreed. He fetched Bilbo’s sturdy cane, and helped the old hobbit to his feet.
“Thank you,” Bilbo said, patting Sam on the arm. “By the way, do you still remember your letters?”
“I do, sir,” Sam said, surprised at the sudden change in the conversation. “I practice all the time.”
“Excellent,” Bilbo said happily as they headed toward the door. “Life is full of surprises, Samwise; goodness me, a person just never knows when he'll be inspired to do a bit of writing.”
Written for Lindahoyland's challenge on Livejournal: Include these six words in a story of any length:
Another Busy Day
“I’m naught but a slave to the quails, Mr. Frodo,” Sam said with a heavy sigh. “No time for myself anymore, no time at all.”
Written for Lindahoyland's challenge on Livejournal: Include these six words in a story of any length:
Wrapped in Love
“Don’ like ginger tea,” Elanor said petulantly.
“I know, my blossom,” Rosie said, “but it’ll help your tummy.”
“More honey?” the little girl asked hopefully.
Rosie smiled, having anticipated the question, then drizzled a bit more honey into the cup. “There you are.”
Elanor obediently sipped at her tea.
“There now,” Rosie crooned softly. She planted a shower of kisses on her little one’s forehead, enough to make Elanor giggle, then turned down the lamp next to the bed. “Try to sleep, sweetheart. You’ll feel better when you wake up.”
Elanor closed her eyes and nestled down into the special big quilt Uncle Frodo had left for them. Soon she drifted into one of her happy dreams of sailing little boats at the edge of a white sandy shore, while someone stood nearby, smiling down at her.
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