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Frodo sat next to his host on the grassy sward that led to the stony beach surrounding the cove, watching the children splashing and playing in the water beneath a brilliant blue sky.
"This reminds me of the cove off the Brandywine, where the Brandybuck fry learn to swim. Only it is much warmer here." He tipped his face to catch a stray breeze.
"Not so warm as the city," said Faramir.
"No, Minas Anor is sweltering this time of year," Frodo admitted. "Thank you for inviting us to visit. I'm afraid we hobbits were wilting."
"Not so rough!" Faramir shouted. His sons Elboron and Elemir were playing catch with his namesake, flinging young Faramir Took back and forth. The hobbit lad shrieked with laughter, and the lads' dog Billie barked, swimming back and forth in an effort to join the game. Perry Brandybuck was shouting "My turn, Fam!" Meanwhile, the Gamgee brothers Merry-lad and Pippin-lad seemed content to dive for the stones that Faramir's daughter Morwen was throwing into the water. She had been swimming with the lads earlier, but now stood upon the shore, wrapped in a towel.
"I am sorry that Mithrandir did not accept our invitation as well," Faramir said. "We would have been pleased to see him again also."
Frodo laughed. "I think Gandalf was looking forward to the peace and quiet of having the house to himself for a while. He loves the lads dearly, but four rambunctious hobbit tweens and a dog the size of a small pony make a good deal of commotion." He smiled. "Did you ever imagine a day like this, all those years ago when we parted —Sam and I on our way to Mount Doom, you bound for Minas Tirith and war?"
The Prince of Ithilien shook his head. "I can truly say, such an idea would have been beyond my wildest imagining!"
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