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Beneath Strange Stars  by Larner

For Easter, 2017

The Last Agreement


            Yes, Samwise?

            “I’m glad I came.  Almost didn’t, don’t you know—but, then you know as how I’ve felt about water deeper’n my knees and boats.”

            Frodo laughed, and his Light shone out with delight.  I suspect that had we not been terrified of the Black Riders you would still be on the west side of the Brandywine, still needing to be coaxed onto the Bucklebury Ferry!

            Sam laughed, too, a deep, throaty chuckle that was delightful to hear.  “You’re all too right, I do believe.  I still am not too sure about that ferry—more a raft than a proper boat as it is.”

            After a moment of companionable silence, Frodo continued, We don’t have to leave any time soon, you know.  There is still much to see and do, if you wish.

            Sam was already shaking his head.  “No, I don’t want to wait too much longer.  Midsummer will do.  The Gaffer’s waitin’ for me, and my mum.”

            And my parents, Sara and Esme, and so many others.  I am almost ready now.

            “And what’s keeping you?  You don’t have t’wait till I’m ready, too, you know.”

            Frodo searched Sam’s face.  I don’t have to, but I wish to, Sam.  You stood by me when I was certain I would not return, offering your own life alongside mine.  I am only glad it was not required of you—that you were granted the grace to know the fulfillment of marriage and fatherhood.  Now it is my turn to stand by you.

            I did not have to wait.  I could have gone on at almost any time.  But, if you did come, as I so hoped you would, I did not wish for you to find yourself alone here, the only mortal amongst the immortals.  It can be a staggering thing at times.  I do not regret it, but sometimes I felt so apart.  What do the Elves understand about mortality?  What do they understand not only of the weariness of a long life and the pain of losses—they know those all too well, but of the wearing out of the body, much less of the eagerness we can feel to see just what’s beyond that secret gate?  I am now fully ready for that next adventure, but only when you are ready, too.

            “Thank you, Frodo.”  They sat side by side, smiling into one another’s eyes.  Sam suddenly straightened.  “Now—for today’s adventure.  You’ve been tellin’ me of that glade where the glass butterflies dance amongst the flowers.  Now, that’s somethin’ as I have to see afore we go on.  You up for it?”

            Up for it?  I thought you’d never ask!

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