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The Sandbox  by Celeritas

“Penny for your thoughts, cousin,” said Merry. Frodo was lying flat on his stomach on the ground, his head turned to one side and his eyes staring out unfocused.

“Shh,” said Frodo. “Don’t break it.”

“Break what?”

“I’m seeing something, and it’s very, very interesting. Shouldn’t take half a minute longer… There.” He looked and sat up.

“You’re a very strange hobbit, you know that?” said Merry.

“I aim to please,” said Frodo with a small bow.

“You were really seeing something? Below?”

Frodo nodded once. “And I have no idea what to make of it, but I know it’s important or I wouldn’t have gotten it.”

“Do you think these things will ever leave you alone?”

He laughed. “If I want them to. I’m still too interested in the mundane happenings of Middle-earth for that to be the case just yet, though.”

“So what did you see this time?”

“Something most peculiar. An old room in Brandy Hall, a child sitting in a bed in the middle of the day—”

“Steady on! What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

“It’s gone. Keep talking.”

“And another hobbit, sitting on a stool next to her with an old primer—”

“There! However do you do it, Frodo?”

“Do what?”

“Look!”

Merry gestured out in front of him, where a small scene had coalesced in front of his eyes.

“Heavens! That’s never happened before!”

“What is it?”

“I don’t know—I’d say it’s another elven gift—the ability to make song appear right before you.”

“Only this isn’t song,” said Merry. “It’s a story, a brief vision.” He looked closer. “I can’t see it very well. Do you think you could refine it?”

Frodo began talking again.

“That’s astounding,” said Merry. “Whatever do you suppose it could mean?”

Frodo looked at the vision more closely. “Well, I’d warrant that the fellow on the stool is one of yours. Look at that—teaching someone to read, though she’s much older than I’d have expected.”

“Wait—she’s one of mine, too!”

“What? She looks nothing like you!”

“But she is! Lagro’s child.”

“Oh, him? I only met him briefly; I suppose you could see a bit of a resemblance.”

“Doesn’t that just take the cake? Lagro’s child, learning how to read, and—oh, look! They’ve got your book, now.”

“Maybe we should tell him. Think he’d like that?”

“No, not yet—let’s keep looking. There’s got to be some reason you saw this.”

Frodo found himself smiling in spite of himself. “I think there is. That’s my old room!”

“What?”

“It’s my old room; look—those odd shutters with the wider slats than normal.”

“That was never your room!”

“I ought to know that it was. I lived there.”

“When?”

“Before you were born.”

Merry paused. “Oh.”

“After my parents passed but before you were born. I used to find my escape reading books in bed—and how much will you wager that she will, too?”

Merry grinned. “I like her already. Keep an eye on her for me, will you?”

“I’ll keep you apprised. There has to be more to this story than we’re currently seeing.”





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