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(For those who are not familiar with "my" Shire-universe, in S.R. 1433, the year after Merry becomes Master of Brandy Hall, Buckland suffers a devastating flood. I first described it in a drabble, "Lesson Learned: Spring Flood S.R. 1433" and later on, after Hurricane Katrina struck my hometown I expanded on the event in "Hobbit Aid" In this set of vignettes, various characters affected by the flood find strength in thinking of those who are absent.)
Written for the 2010 Back to Middle-earth Month Challenge, Week Three:
Challenge: Earthquakes, starvation, natural catastrophes. Do these happen in Middle-earth? Write a story, poem or create an artwork where the characters have to deal with any natural catastrophe.
When the Storms of Life are Raging (Stand by Me)
How the wind howls, the trees creak and groan, and the water roars. Outside the windows of the Hall, the night is black and the lightning illuminates in brief flashes sheets of water pouring down, and debris floating by. The noises remind me of nothing so much as that long night at Isengard, you and I huddling together on a pile of rock, like islands in a river's current as the Ents wreaked their destruction of Isengard. Oh Pippin! You are halfway across the Shire, and there's a raging River between us. But I know if you were here, you'd lift my spirits with your own, and cheer my heart with your hope.
Saradoc my love! How I wish you were with me now! You'd be so proud of our Merry, so strong, so determined. He reminds me so much of you. You taught him well, my dear! I know it would break your heart to see what's become of Buckland on this bleak grey morning. But I can see you, standing behind him, guiding him in the care of our people. I know you are watching over him, over me, somehow.
Is this what it's going to be like? I see Merry's face, as white as the cold marble statues in the Citadel. He's carrying the burden of all Buckland on his shoulders, and it's weighing him down. It won't be long before I'll have the same responsibility for all the Shire: I have to face that. I have to start now with Merry. I have to help him, to help Buckland. But I know where to start: Strider. He's taught me what it means to lead, and he'll help us now, in our time of trouble. I can always trust my King to know what's right.
Mr. Frodo, I'm glad you don't have to see what's become of the place where you grew up. I'm glad you don't have to see how much poor Merry's hurting, nor how much Pippin's hurting for him. But I wish you was here for them. I'll do my best- to my way of thinking, you left me your cares and duties as well as your properties, and I know as you'd be trying ever so hard to take care of your cousins in a time like this. They're my friends as well, I want to help. But I'm only filling in for you- it's you as they need. I'll just have to try and think, "what would Mr. Frodo do?" And then, I guess, I'll go and do it
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