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Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings is owned by J.R.R. Tolkien, his family, New Line cinema, etc. I have written this story for my own enjoyment.
Credit: www dot Tuckborough dot net, also www dot grey-company dot org which I used to aid me with the only Elvish word I used. I probably still got it wrong though, so don‘t blame them. German, I can. Elvish is beyond me.
Note: This chapter updated on 07/02/2010
Gondor, Year 14 of the Fourth Age
Aragorn entered the Royal Chambers to find Arwen had returned from visiting the Houses of Healing, where she had been visiting a guard’s wife who was recovering from a difficult childbirth. She dismissed the ladies-in-waiting who were attending to her change into formal court wear and approached her husband, smiling softly when he embraced her.
As he pulled out of the embrace she sensed his agitation.
“You are troubled, Melamin. Is all not well in Arnor?” she asked.
“All is well, Arnor thrives,” he replied. “It is Samwise who concerns me.”
Arwen’s normally smooth brow furrowed slightly in concern. “What ails Master Gamgee?” she asked, drawing Aragorn to a settee where they sat down beside each other.
“He is burdened with ill dreams.”
The monarch explained all that he had seen in the Palantír, describing Sam's troubled sleep, his great distress when dreaming, and his gaunt appearance.
“I believe he has been plagued by them for many nights,” finished Aragorn, “and he is suffering.”
Arwen took her husband’s hands in her own and held them there. “Many of those who fought against the evil of Sauron and lived have ill dreams Estel, yourself included. You cannot protect him from them.”
She regarded him as he sat next to her, saw his forehead still furrowed, and continued. “Samwise has a family who loves him and good friends close by who have shared many of his experiences outside the Shire. What can you do at this moment for him that they cannot?”
Aragorn’s concerned grey eyes focused on Arwen‘s lovely face. “I do not know. But I do know that he will not reveal his troubles to the Lady Rose, nor to Merry and Pippin. He holds his pain inside to spare them! How can they assist him if he will not unburden himself?”
“Samwise Gamgee knows the value of his loved ones. He will talk to them when he is ready. You must be patient and place your faith in him.”
The King arched his dark brows in surprise.
“I have already faith in him, Arwen! But I do not know if it is prudent to display too much patience, given his appearance in the Palantír.” He rose from the settee and began pacing before it, somewhat irritated.
Undomiel stood and placed herself in his path, effectively halting him.
“Estel, it is not my intention to dismiss your concern. But you must admit that he would not wish to see his loved ones worry on his behalf. Such is his nature.”
She placed a hand on either side of his face, forcing him to look at her. “Do not despair. Samwise will talk of that which troubles him before long. I know this.”
Aragorn looked deep into his wife’s sparkling grey eyes and saw the wisdom of Ages in them. “You are wise, beloved.”
He traced her face gently and then withdrew from her hold, walking to the settee and resuming his seat. But he was unable to find peace of mind despite her assurance. Arwen returned to Aragorn’s side, clasped one of his hands in her own, and waited patiently for him to continue.
“When Frodo and Sam were first brought from the Black Lands by the Eagles,” he began again, “I had to plead with their souls to save their very lives. Frodo’s spirit was deeply wounded from his long exposure to the Ring and I knew that - despite my best efforts - he may not survive to enjoy his victory: that the damage inflicted upon him may never heal here. And if Frodo had succumbed, Sam would have followed him into the very arms of Death.
“But Frodo did survive. He chose to remain for the sake of his friend. He recovered on the Field of Cormallen and Sam recovered with him. I allowed myself to believe that all may be well. The hobbits returned to the Shire, and reclaimed it, and thus I continued to hope that Frodo would thrive.”
He sighed in remembrance. “When he grew ill again, I knew that all my hopes were in vain. He only survived long enough to make the journey to Valinor and I know not if he survived long enough to find the peace he sought. I will not see him again in this lifetime, either way.”
Arwen soothed his brow with a kiss. “Valinor is a wondrous place, filled with beauty, light and hope. Evil cannot prevail there. If Frodo travelled there with Adar and Mithrandir, he will have survived and found freedom from his torments.”
Aragorn closed his eyes briefly and bowed his head in gratitude at her words. When he opened them again, he continued: “That eases my heart. But what of Sam? What of his torments? I know that he loves his wife dearly, yet he was devastated when Frodo left. Caring for his friend and master was a significant part of his life. It kept him going before and after the Quest, held his own traumas at bay. And since Frodo’s departure, Sam’s growing family has occupied him instead. But what if he cannot stifle his pain any longer?”
“The Ring is gone, Melamin, the Dark Lord dead; he cannot not be tormented by them any further,” answered Arwen.
“You forget that Samwise was also a Ring-bearer, Arwen. He may have carried it for a short time only, but the Ring was at the height of its power. He was tempted by it, as Frodo was. He used it on the very edge of Mordor to evade Sauron’s orcs and rescue his master. Who can tell how long he wore it during that time: Minutes? Hours? With the Ring so near its Master, who knows what it may have done to him! The effects may not be as acute on him as they were with Frodo, thank the Valar, but he has long left them untended and they may yet destroy him. I cannot watch him go through what Frodo suffered, regardless of how slow that process may be.”
“Samwise gave up the Ring of his own free will, Estel. Do you know how strong someone must be to do such a thing? Even when the evil of the Ring was yet resting, such a feat would have been almost impossible. What he did shows his great strength of character and proves that he has mastery of his own will.”
She moved closer to him, speaking with conviction. “It may be that suffers some lingering effects of his contact with the One Ring, It may yet haunt him and taunt him in his dreams; but it can do no more than that. The Ring is destroyed and Sam is resilient. Do not forget that he had more to look forward to on his return to the Shire than Frodo did, and that is what anchors him now. His Rose will allow him to wilt so long after its destruction, and neither shall his friends allow Sauron to have this last victory.”
Here, Arwen paused, smiling fondly. “Our favourite gardener also has far too much ‘plain hobbit sense’ not to know this himself. He is wiser than many. You did, after all, make him a Counsellor of the North Kingdom for this reason, among others.”
Aragorn eyes widened in understanding and suddenly, he broke into a broad grin, making the connection to his other visions. With a shout of laughter, he stood, pulled Arwen from the settle, and hugged her tightly to him. The elleth’s feet left the ground as he swung her around and she squealed in a very un-elflike manner.
“You are quite right, my Queen. He is wise and he is my Counsellor.” He placed her back on the floor and kissed her soundly.
“I believe it is long past time that we paid a visit to Annúminas and took the counsel of all my hobbit lords, do not you? And Eldarion will have to be officially presented before the people of Arnor as their Prince and future King.”
Arwen’s tinkling laughter filled the room like the sweetest of music. She was delighted by her husband’s improved humour and responded in kind with a playful curtsey. “Your wish is my command, Your Majesty.”
Melamin - My love
Estel - Hope
Adar - Father
Author's Note: All characters in this story will refer to the Ring as an entity as opposed to an object. The story will be picking up pace from the next chapter onwards, so hold on tight...
Kara’s Aunty :)
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