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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.
Note: This chapter updated 10/07/2012.
Imladris, Year 14 of the Fourth Age
2 weeks earlier
Elladan and Elrohir, Lords of Imladris, sat on the balcony of their father’s old study one afternoon enjoying the view of the gardens and eagerly anticipating their upcoming trip to Gondor.
It had been two years since they had last seen Aragorn, Arwen and their beloved nephew, who would be five years old in a few short months. The little prince had included his very own note in his father’s last letter to them pleading that they visit soon - and they would not disappoint him. Glorfindel could remain as guardian of the Elven realm until they returned, as their Daerada would be accompanying them on the trip.
“Eldarion begins to master the art of the written word,” said Elrohir, fondly reminiscing on the note.
His brother smiled in answer as he sipped at a glass of fine Elvish wine.
“In fact, I would say that he has a better command of it than Estel did at his age,” Elrohir continued.
“Indeed, muindor nin,” agreed Elladan, regarding his brother in amusement. “Poor Estel did not accomplish that feat until he was -"
"- in his twenties at least.” Elrohir’s grey eyes gleamed with mischief.
Elladan nodded his agreement. “Of course,” he theorised, joining in further with the harmless teasing of their absent foster brother while studying the dark red liquid in his glass, “it could be that the blood of the Numenoreans has grown so thin these past few centuries as to render basic writing skills among the Dúnedain almost obsolete. His most recent missive, for example, was clearly in too fine a hand to be of his own doing.”
Elrohir smiled wickedly. “Then it is a good thing he took our sister to wife, else the future kings of Gondor may have lost the ability altogether!”
“Perhaps we should suggest to Estel that he have our nephew teach him the necessity of good script? What say you, brother?” ventured Elladan.
“I say that he may allow his position as King to go to his head and see to it that we lose ours!”
“I think not, foolish Elf. He has not long won a war against a Dark Lord. It would not do to start a new one with a furious Queen. I deem that we would be quite safe!”
They laughed in unison at the thought of their sister‘s ire, having both experienced it on many occasions. It would be even more satisfying to be able to tease Aragorn in person very shortly with her at their disposal.
A knock on the door disturbed their moment of fun, and before they could give the intruder permission to enter it swung open, revealing a tall Elf clad in blue.
“My lords, Radagast the Brown has arrived and urgently asks to speak with you.”
The brothers eyed him in surprise.
“Radagast the Brown?” asked Elrohir in a more serious tone.
“Yes, Lord,” confirmed the messenger. “Shall I show him in?”
“At once, thank you.”
The door closed as the twins returned with their flask of wine to sit at the great desk in the study proper. There they discussed what could have brought the normally reclusive Wizard to their threshold, for he rarely visited.
As it happened, they were not given much time to speculate. Another soft knock heralded the wizard's arrival and the door opened once more. The object of their ruminations was ushered in by the same Elven courier who had given them news of his arrival.
As suggested by his title, the Istar wore a long cloak of brown colour and held a long wooden staff in his right hand. His grey hair spilled wildly over his shoulders and hazel eyes assessed them both upon his entry.
“Aiwendil, it has been many a year since last we met. You do us a great honour with you presence here in Imladris,” greeted Elladan as the brothers rose in welcome.
Radagast replied with equal cordiality, taking the seat proffered by Elrohir. Soon he was seated in front of the bookshelves surrounding their desk, which contained literature and maps from all over Middle Earth.
“No doubt you ask yourselves what brings me to your home, my lords” he began in a deep voice, coming straight to the reason for his impromptu visit.
“The question had passed through our minds Radagast, although we are pleased that you are here, regardless,” Elrohir said with an elegant bow of his dark head, making use of the Wizard‘s more commonly known name now that conversation had been established.
Elladan handed their guest a glass of wine for his refreshment before resuming his seat.
“As you know," began their guest, "I do not normally concern myself with the affairs of the wider world, being content to do what good I may with Nature and the many birds and other creatures she sustains.”
The brothers nodded as one. “This is known to all the Eldar. We are ever thankful that the plants and creatures of Middle Earth have such a wise and powerful attendant, for they are of importance to us all,” said Elladan.
“Quite, quite,” Radagast blustered rather hurriedly. Elladan almost smiled at his obvious discomfort with praise. “What you may not know is that I am privy to various information from far and wide, thanks to even the smallest of these creatures. Gandalf was aware of this, as he should be, and he paid me a visit before he left Middle Earth for this very reason.”
They waited patiently as he paused for a sip of wine.
“He asked me to be especially alert for news my feathered friends carried from the Shire; specifically details of any ailments afflicting the Hobbit, Samwise Gamgee, that may be of a sinister nature.”
“Master Gamgee?” asked Elladan in puzzlement. “I do not understand. What sinister ailments could befall him?”
“I refer to potential illness brought on by the influence of the One Ring.”
The twin Lords of Imladris straightened immediately upon hearing this, taken by surprise for the second time in as many minutes.
Elrohir said in a sombre voice: “He carried the One Ring but for a short time and it is now destroyed. Other than the yearly reminders he must have to contend with at the time of its destruction - and I say that with the utmost respect to what he must certainly endure at such times - it can surely harm him no longer.”
“That is correct, for the most part,” countered Yavanna’s chosen one. “Frodo Baggins was the Ringbearer for many years, and so it had plenty of time to seduce and tempt him. Thus it ruined any opportunity he may have had for a normal Hobbit life after its destruction, making his departure to Valinor a necessity rather than a luxury. Frodo’s loyal friend, however, had the chance to live his life in Middle Earth to a fuller extent; to raise a family in the world he helped save and enjoy the fruits of both their labours, the damage inflicted on him being minor in comparison. It would have been folly to offer him a place on the boat before his time.
“Yet Samwise Gamgee was a Bearer nonetheless: he bore it and wielded it when even the Wise would not dare, thus rendering himself forever susceptible to its evil sway. He has never truly taken time to confront the danger it presents to him, for his life is filled with family and duty. Because of this he has been left vulnerable for an attack on his very spirit which I fear may be imminent, if not underway as we speak.”
The brothers absorbed this information as Radagast took another draught from his glass.
“What reason have you for these fears?” queried Elrohir in concern.
“The yearly reminders you spoke of just now did indeed disturb him this past March. But the birds keeping watch on him have reported back to me that they have not desisted. Indeed they grow worse with each passing week. It has come to the point now that young Samwise fears the very night’s rest that should refresh him. He is now many months gone without proper sleep and his health is ailing as a result.”
Radagast placed his glass on the study desk and regarded them gravely.
“The owls tell me that when he is in the grip of his nightmares, he is in wretched torment and wakes up trembling. He has started to leave the marriage bed in the small hours of the morning in an attempt to keep the severity of them from his wife, spending many hours inhaling athelas fragrance. But he cannot keep this from her much longer: his health suffers and she already suspects.”
Elladan addressed the guardian of Nature: “Then what you say is cause for alarm on his behalf. We were unaware that he may yet suffer to such an extent because of his deeds.”
“My brother Istar had hoped that Master Gamgee would never have to know the torment of Frodo so intimately; that having the support of his family and friends, and living the life he had always desired would be ample comfort to ensure he had many long, happy years in the Shire.”
“So such an illness has always been a possibility, however unlikely,” surmised Elladan. “This will be beyond the knowledge of his fellow Hobbits to deal with.”
“And Sam is the only one other than Elves and the King who is fully able to harness the power of athelas. As a gardener with experience of its healing properties, he was the one best able to render aid to Frodo in his hours of darkness once they returned to the Shire. He was truly gifted with its use. But now he is the one facing the darkness and it will not be as effective in the hands of his friends should the worst happen,” finished his twin.
Elladan and Elrohir sat in silent contemplation of Sam’s dilemma.
“It grieves us indeed to hear that his trials with the curse of Sauron continue,” said Elrohir. “He and Frodo shared a bond as deep as my own brother and I - that he misses his Master is pain enough for him. He should not be subjected to a battle with the very thing that made their parting inevitable.”
He spared a look at his brother, whose brow was furrowed in distress, knowing he was thinking of the pain they had suffered when their mother left them. After the attack, she had been unable to find any joy in the land she had always called home, despite all they had tried to help her.
After she left, her sons had spent years hunting down the orcs responsible for her torture. Yet despite the dozens of orcs slain by their, swords and the now peaceful era enjoyed by the few of their kind that had remained in Middle Earth since the fall of Mordor, they knew that they could never be complete until they saw her whole and carefree again.
But that would not happen unless they left Imladris and abandoned Arwen and her family forever. It was an impossible choice.
So they would remain here until their foster brother accepted the Gift of Men, and his wife after him - another bitter reality. Eldarion would be the successor to the throne of the Reunited Kingdoms and they could finally sail to comfort their parents, harbingers of their own sister’s doom.
Elrohir’s respect for Sam, although great already, grew further as he realised what he had in common with them.
He felt the Wizard‘s eyes upon them.
“Gandalf would not leave Middle Earth until he was sure that aid would come to Master Gamgee swiftly in the event of such an occurrence. And I felt it necessary to travel here myself rather than sending word in any other manner, for I am greatly concerned by the potential effects this danger presents to one who has already sacrificed much for the safety of others.”
“Then we shall ensure aid does indeed arrive swiftly,” declared Elladan with fervour. “We shall leave no later than sunrise tomorrow. Our Daerada may keep counsel in Imladris while we are gone.”
Elrohir nodded his agreement. “I shall send word to Gondor immediately. Aragorn would wish to be informed of this, and to know that the Ring-bearer was receiving appropriate care.”
He asked Radagast if he would care to join them for their journey to Eriador.
“Alas, I cannot. I have left my duties in Rhosgobel untended long enough - and I feel that our noble Hobbit friend could be in no better hands in all Middle Earth, unless they were the hands of the King of Gondor and Arnor himself.” The Brown Wizard rose from his seat, adding; “But if I might impose upon you for a night’s accommodation, you would have this old man’s unending gratitude. My own journey here was long and I am unused to prolonged travel. I will have to rest before I attempt the return.”
The sons of Elrond informed him that he would always be welcome in Imladris and thanked him graciously for his timely appearance. Before he left their company to be shown to his room, Radagast voiced his confidence in Sam’s recovery at their hands and asked them to tell the Hobbit he should always be assured of the Brown Wizard’s aid if it were needed.
“For I would be a poor tender of Nature if I allowed her to be deprived of such a guardian,” he finished.
With that, he was gone and the brothers began to plan their trip to the Shire.
Muindor nin My Brother
Author's Note: There was little dialogue of Radagast's to be found in the books, so I had to improvise. His speech may be a bit formal here, but I have left it so because of the company he's in. Apologies if he sounds like Gandald # 2, I did try to avoid that.
Coming up: The One Ring versus Samwise Gamgee - Round Two (ding, ding).
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