Memoirs of the Shire: Remembrances of the Past by CrystalGamgee
As the late hours of the evening fast approached a young lady silently crept through the halls of the Prancing Pony with a folded piece of paper in her hand. The night was cool on this tenth day of September and as she came into the parlor she took a cloak from the hook near the door and draped it around her shoulders. She looked to her hand and opened the letter she had written just hours earlier reading it once moreÂ…
I can not seem to find the words I truly wish to say dear uncle but the time has come for me to say farewell. I know not where my road shall take me but take comfort in knowing you will always be in my thoughts as I go along my way. Your loving niece, Lily.
A deep sigh passed by her lips as she folded the paper gently placing it upon the front desk where it would be seen with the coming morn. Her name was Lily and she had come to stay with her Uncle Barliman Butterbur early in the spring of 1420 after the sudden passing of her father. She then took a small knapsack from the table and quickly packed it with a few loaves of bread and a bottle of sweet red wine. Lily then made her way to the door opening it slowly to look out into the streets of town. There was not a soul stirring for everyone within Bree had long found rest with the falling of the sun. Lily held fast to her pack as she stepped outside gently closing the door behind her. She walked across the street and to the stables nearby where her mare awaited her arrival. Lily drew open the stable doors and went inside taking her mare from her stall. Lily took hold of the reins and pulled herself onto her mareÂ’s back whispering softly into her ear. Slowly the mare began to make her way from the stable and onto the path that ran through town. As Lily brought her to the western gate of Bree she took one last look upon her home just as a light came on within the Prancing Pony. A tear fell down her cheek as she turned away whispering Â‘onwardÂ’ to her mare as their journey finally came to its beginning.
Lily traveled on through the evening and past the rising of the sun before she came to rest along the road in the late hours of the afternoon. She came down from her horse letting her graze on the soft green grass while she sat under the shade of a nearby elm tree. Lily took her knapsack down from her shoulder and opened it taking out a small piece of her bread. She ate slowly taking in all the beauty around her. The sky seemed a much brighter hue and the song of the birds sweeter than she had heard before. After she ate Lily took a sip of her wine before closing her pack up and placing it over her shoulder. Lily stood to her feet and looked down the path off into the western sky. The sun was just now beginning to draw itself below the distant horizon. So little time had passed and such a long road still lay ahead. Already she was longing to see another face upon the lonely trail. Lily sighed and went to her mare pulling herself onto her back. She then took the reins within her hands clapping them together lightly starting on her way once more.
It was not until the stars had filled the evening sky when Lily grew weary longing for sleep. She pressed on looking for a place to stay for the night where she could make camp and build a fire. A few miles up the road she came to a clearing within a group of trees and there is where she came off the path to rest. Once there she tied her mareÂ’s reins to a small tree before leaving to find some wood for a fire. She returned shortly with twigs in hand and started a fire to warm herself by for the night. For hours Lily sat before the fire with her cloak wrapped tightly around her shoulders. The night air was chilling and many thoughts had begun to fill her mind keeping her from sleep. Lily then began fingering a silver chain that hung around her neck. Upon it was a shimmering golden band worn by her mother many years past. She had passed when Lily was young and her memory only held faintly within her mind. Lily looked down to her hand at the band as she held it between her fingers. Her father had given the ring to her earlier in the year and shortly thereafter he too passed away. Lily sighed as she let the ring fall from her fingers while she looked up into the starlit sky. Her heart was heavy and leaving everything behind seemed to be her only escape. Her eyes filled with tears as she drew her eyes to the fire taking in its warm glow. LilyÂ’s eyes began to grow heavy and she laid down upon the ground resting her head upon her folded arms where she soon fell into a peaceful sleep.
As the sun slowly came over the distant horizon Lily opened her eyes upon the coming morn. She sat up stretching her arms high above her head looking to the tree where her mare was tied. Her heart quickened in pace as she looked to the bridle and reins that lay on the ground near the tree. LilyÂ’s mare was no where to be seen. Lily began calling out hoping her mare would hear and return to her side but a fear grew within her that she had been stolen in the middle of the night. A loud cry of a horse then came through the air and Lily turned around quickly just as her mare bolted through the trees kicking up her hind feet. A rope was tied around her neck dragging along the ground as she came towards Lily rearing up in anguish. Lily raised up her hands speaking softly trying to console the animal but she turned away fiercely stamping the ground. Lily came around her side reaching for the rope but her mare came at her knocking her to the ground. Lily then heard twigs snapping behind her and she looked towards the trees. She began calling out asking if anyone was there but she heard no reply. Lily then felt the rope tied around her mareÂ’s neck brush by her leg and she turned around quickly taking it in her hand. Lily held to it fast with both her hands pulling on it and whispering softly to her mare. Slowly her mare began to calm and Lily stood up from the ground letting the rope fall from her hands. It came to rest near her feet as she reached her hand out to her mare to rest it upon her velvet nose. Just then Lily heard the twinge of a bow and her horse let out a shrill cry as an arrow came through the air striking her in the backside. Lily screamed out as her mare rose high on her hind legs before coming down swinging her head wildly from side to side. Lily fell back tripping over the rope as it became tangled around her ankle. Lily pulled at the rope trying to free her leg but as she did another arrow came flying through the trees piercing the ground beside her. The mare leaped up once more tightening the rope around LilyÂ’s ankle before bolting away dragging her along the grassy meadow. Lily yelled out hoping her cries for help would be heard. As the minutes drew by they went unanswered as LilyÂ’s body began to fill with pain. Her head ached and her leg had long grown numb. It seemed as though the end had come. LilyÂ’s eyes filled with tears as her eyes grew heavy finally closing out the world around her as she was drug off into the western sky, remembering nothing moreÂ…
Three days came into passing while Lily lay unconscious, bruised and bleeding near the Brandywine River. She opened her eyes only to be overcome by the light of the midday sun. Lily pulled her arm up over her eyes as she tried to bring herself up from the ground. Her back and legs ached with undying pain as she finally sat up pulling her arm away from her eyes. Lily looked all around her trying to remember what had happened but her thoughts were clouded with the pain in her head. Lily could not see her mare but the soft sound of flowing water filled her ears. It was the Brandywine River that lay close nearby. She did not know where she was or how to find her way home. LilyÂ’s eyes grew wet with tears as she looked down to her legs that were torn with cuts and dried of blood. For hours Lily sat within the grass lost in her fear of the unknown before finally gathering enough strength to get to her feet once more. She found herself very weak as she pulled herself up from the ground while she held onto a small sapling nearby. LilyÂ’s legs gave beneath her but she regained her footing standing still until she felt strong enough to walk. She did not know which way to go but all she knew within her heart is that she had to find the way back home. Lily sighed deeply and then began walking ever so slowly calling out to anyone who could hear. But her words were almost a whisper and were never heard until late that eveningÂ…
It was September the fifteenth and that evening four hobbits sat under the light of the stars in the field behind Bag End. They were Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. They had all come together to share supper with Frodo that evening and afterwards drew their small gathering outside to take in the cool autumn air. Merry and Pippin sat on the ground peacefully smoking from their pipes given to them by Bilbo while they were last in Rivendell. Frodo sat across from them with Sam at his side while he sang a beautiful elvish song he heard in Lothlorien. That is what drew Lily near. She could hear FrodoÂ’s singing carried to her on the wind. Lily pressed onward stumbling over brush and rocks snapping twigs beneath her feet. She let out on final cry for help, as her knees grew weak finally giving under her. Lily collapsed to the ground lightheaded, her eyes closing as she fell into unconscious.
“Did you hear that?” Frodo replied cutting his song short.
“Hear what?” Sam asked quietly.
“IÂ’m not quite sure Sam.” Frodo said standing to his feet. “It was a voice I think. A soft voice. It sounded like it came from over there.” Frodo replied looking to the east. He stood there silent listening a moment longer but he heard nothing more.
“I think IÂ’ll go and have a look.” Frodo said looking back to Sam.
“I hope you know what youÂ’re doing Mister Frodo.” Sam muttered as Frodo walked off into the night. “There is no telling what could be out there.”
Frodo walked slowly calling out whoÂ’s there but he heard no reply. The sound of the wind and PippinÂ’s voice was all that filled the air. Frodo continued walking wondering whose voice it was that he had heard. He looked back towards where everyone still sat and as he did he tripped over a rock falling to the ground. FrodoÂ’s hand fell out before him and it came to rest on something soft and cold. Frodo looked up and there before him lay a young woman, face down on the ground. Frodo quickly stood to his feet yelling out for Sam, his voice trembling. In no time at all Sam came rushing to his side.
“What is it Frodo?” Sam yelled as he came near.
“Look there.” Frodo replied pointing down to the ground. “I fear she may be dead.”
Sam let out a shout and soon enough Merry and Pippin came running down through the field to Frodo and Sam.
“What has happened?” Merry shouted as he came running with Pippin following closely behind. “You gave us both a scare!” It was then that Merry noticed Lily lying on the ground near FrodoÂ’s feet.
“Who do you suppose she is?” Sam replied as Frodo knelt down to the ground next to Lily.
“IÂ’m not sure Sam.” Frodo said softly as he reached out to Lily gently turning her head. A sigh passed by her lips and Frodo looked to Merry and Pippin his face full of concern.
“We canÂ’t just leave her there.” Sam replied kneeling next to Frodo. “What should we do?”
“I know we may regret it Sam but go back and tell Rose to make my room ready and to keep watch at the door. We must take her back to Bag End and tend to her so we can return her to wherever she belongs.” Frodo said standing back to his feet. “Merry and Pippin can help me carry her. Go now and make haste!” Frodo replied as Sam stood up running off over the field.
“We must work quickly.” Merry replied. “We should not let anyone see us bringing her into Hobbiton.”
“Quite right.” Frodo said bending down to roll Lily over onto her back. As he did Merry and Pippin took her by the arms while Frodo took hold of her legs. Together they lifted her from the ground and began making their way back to Bag End. As they came over the field Frodo could see Sam and Rose standing next to the door shadowed by the light within. Quickly they made their way across the field and inside as Sam closed the door tightly behind them. Lily was then taken to FrodoÂ’s room where she was laid upon his bed. Her legs dangled over the foot of the bed, her feet touching the floor. Still she did not open her eyes but a soft breath passed though her lips.
“This is our secret and ours alone.” Frodo said looking to everyone within the room. “No one must know she is here for there is still fear left in some hearts from the year past. We must do all we can to make her well and return her home.”
“Where do you suppose home is Frodo.” Sam asked as he lit a candle in the room.
“I can not say, but I can only assume it is Bree.” Frodo replied. “We can only take it one day at a time and hope she wakes soon.”
“That would be my guess.” Merry said looking to Pippin as he shook his head agreeing. “But the night is growing long and we should be heading for home. We will see you within the week Frodo!” Merry replied leaving the room with Pippin at his side. The front door then opened and closed as Merry and Pippin left leaving Frodo standing in his room with Sam and Rose close by.
“We should leave her to rest.” Rose softly replied coming to Lily and placing her hand upon her brow. “She is cold. Put some more wood on the fire Sam.” Rose said drawing the covers over LilyÂ’s still body. Rose then left the room as Frodo sat in a chair that rested next to his bed. Sam came to Frodo and stood next to him placing his hand upon his shoulder.
“You should get some sleep Frodo.” Sam whispered. “This has been a long night for us all.” Sam patted FrodoÂ’s shoulder lightly and smiled as Frodo looked up to his dear friend. Sam then left the room as Frodo sat with his thoughts long into the evening. As the hours passed the fire slowly faded and when the last embers were lit no more FrodoÂ’s eyes drew closed as he fell into a deep peaceful sleep.
The following morning Frodo woke hearing the door of his bedroom open and then quietly shut. He lifted his head from his hand where it had rested all through the evening. Rose was standing next to the bed with a basin full of water resting on the small table nearby. She dipped a cloth into the water and gently put it to LilyÂ’s face washing away the dried blood and dirt that covered her visage.
“Hullo Frodo.” Rose whispered softly. “ItÂ’s nice to see you awake. You gave me quite a start when I seen you sleeping there this morning.”
“Sorry to have scared you Rose.” Frodo said firmly rubbing the back of his neck. “I was lost in my thoughts and must have finally gave in to sleep here in the chair.”
“Nothing to be sorry for.” Rose replied. “You were just concerned about her is all.” Rose said as she dipped the cloth back into the basin. “I can say though that she is rather fair under all this grime.”
“Rather fair indeed.” Frodo said as he stood from the chair. The soft light of the sun shone in through the partially opened shutters casting a warm glow upon LilyÂ’s tender face. Frodo then heard the knob to the door turn slowly and he looked to the door as it opened revealing SamÂ’s face.
“How is she?” Sam replied quietly as he came into the room.
“The same as when Frodo found her IÂ’m afraid.” Rose said as she wiped away the last bit of dirt upon LilyÂ’s face. “She is clean now I can say but she still looks worse for wear.” Rose replied setting the cloth into the basin and untying her apron. “Breakfast will be ready within the hour Frodo if you care for a bite to eat. IÂ’m going to start at it now.”
“No thanks Rose.” Frodo said softly. “IÂ’m not all that hungry. IÂ’ll find my way to the kitchen later.”
“You sure Mister Frodo?” Sam replied concerned. “RosieÂ’s hotcakes are the best in these parts.”
“IÂ’m sure Sam.” Frodo whispered. “IÂ’ll be fine here.” With that Rose left the room and Sam followed taking one last look at Frodo as he stood near LilyÂ’s side. FrodoÂ’s heart seemed heavy with the sight before him and Sam could feel his pain. A deep sigh passed his lips and then he closed the door quietly behind him leaving his master alone with his thoughts and their mysterious guest.
Many hours passed as Frodo sat within his room next to Lily watching her closely as she slept. FrodoÂ’s mind was full of questions that could not seem to be answered. He could not imagine what kind of fate had fallen upon such a young woman to cause her so much pain. Just then the door to his room opened slowly and Sam came in with a soft smile on his lips.
“I thought you might like this.” Sam replied holding his hand out to Frodo. “I picked a few this morning to make a cobbler but this one looked more sweet than all the others. I saved it just for you.”
“Thank you Sam.” Frodo said smiling taking the deep red apple from SamÂ’s hand. He pressed it to his lips and took a bite savoring the delicious flavor. “YouÂ’re right Sam.” Frodo replied with a gentle laugh. “It is very sweet.” Frodo then looked back to Lily as she lay upon the bed.
“I only wish I truly knew where she did belong.” Frodo said looking over to Sam. “She must be missed.”
“Aye.” Sam replied sitting on a stool near the foot of the bed. “With a face so fair it seems that someone would surly miss her smile.” Frodo sighed and then looked away to the window. The sun was falling down the sky and the light of the moon would soon fill the darkened night.
“Come now Frodo.” Sam said quietly. “DonÂ’t go worrying yourself over all that has happened. She will wake soon and when she does we can take her home. Why donÂ’t you go outside and have yourself a breath of air. It may do you a bit of good. I will stay here at her side if you wish.”
“Could you Sam.” Frodo replied as he came to his feet. Sam smiled and came off the stool putting his hand on FrodoÂ’s shoulder as he walked by.
“I shall.” Sam said patting FrodoÂ’s shoulder. “Go on now and take your time.” Frodo reached up to his shoulder and patted SamÂ’s hand before leaving the room and closing the door gently behind him.
Frodo walked though the fields of Hobbiton all though the light of day and long into the hours of the evening finding himself troubled with many thoughts. He could not seem to pull his mind away from the young woman he found and the circumstances behind her injuries. The thought of evil still hiding within the shadows of the Shire made his heart race with fear. When he at last drew himself back towards home he came to the very spot where he had found the lady the evening before. Frodo stood in silence looking off into the eastern sky towards Bree that lay some miles away. Frodo sighed deeply as he drew his hand to his chest fingering a clear gem that hung there from a silver chain. He looked down to the gem and then noticed something in the grass catching the light of the moon near his feet.
“Hullo, whatÂ’s this?” Frodo quietly whispered to himself as he knelt down to the ground. Frodo reached out his hand but drew back quickly once he noticed what lay before him. It was a golden band much resembling the very same ring he bore all the way to Mordor. Through its circle was a finely wrought silver chain with a broken clasp. Frodo stared at the ring for some time before reaching out and taking the ring within his trembling hand. Frodo looked upon the band feeling the memories of the past returning to him as he tightly closed his fingers over the ring. He then stood to his feet and made his way back home.
A single candle was lit sitting in the front window as Frodo opened the door quietly making his way inside. He then noticed the door to his room was slightly open allowing the light of the fire burning within to be seen on the walls of the hallway. Frodo slowly walked though the den and down the hall coming to rest before his door. He pushed it open and came in waking Sam from sleep. Sam yawned and stretched him arms high above his head as Frodo came into the room examining his newly found treasure.
“What have you there Frodo?” Sam replied as Frodo looked into his hand.
“ItÂ’s a ring Sam.” Frodo said walking up to him. “Here, hold out your hand.” Sam then held his hand out before him as Frodo dropped the ring and chain into his outstretched palm. Sam began to shake and the ring fell from his hand to the floor below.
“I know it looks like the ring we both once bore, but it is much smaller in size and worn with age.” Frodo replied as he bent down picking up the chain the ring hung from. “Do you suppose it is hers? I found it on the ground at the very place where she lay.”
“It could be.” Sam said looking at the ring as it dangled from its chain over FrodoÂ’s hand. “I never thought I would see something resembling that accursed thing again, but we will not know until she can tell us herself.” Sam replied looking to Lily with a sigh.
“That is true.” Frodo replied as he placed the ring into his pocket. “Until then I shall keep it safe and perhaps fix the broken chain.”
“Very well then.” Sam said yawning once more. “But if you donÂ’t mind Mister Frodo. I would like to go and have a proper sleep. My eyes are starting to close on their own.”
“Of course Sam. You can have your rest.” Frodo replied as Sam came up from the chair. Sam then left the room shutting the door behind him. Frodo sighed and came to his chair taking a blanket up from the floor. He sat down and drew the blanket tight around his shoulders as he closed his eyes bringing thoughts of his dear Uncle Bilbo to his mind as he drifted off to sleep.
When the light of morning came Sam opened FrodoÂ’s bedroom door and found Frodo fast asleep in his chair. Sam stood there smiling as Frodo slept for he reminded him of himself when he sat at FrodoÂ’s side while he lay sleeping in Rivendell. Frodo then opened his eyes and he jumped seeing Sam standing before him.
“Sorry to frighten you sir!” Sam cried.
“Nothing to be sorry for.” Frodo said with a gentle laugh. “You just gave me a scare is all. I did not expect to see you there.”
“I just came in to see where you were is all.” Sam replied his face turning red. “When I found you here sleeping you brought back memories and I could not seem to pull myself away.”
“Memories?” Frodo said softly. “How so?”
“Well of the time I sat by your side in Rivendell.” Sam replied smiling. “While I waited for you to wake.”
“Ah.” Frodo said as a bright smile came to his face. “Let us just hope she wakes soon as did I. But come, let us go out and enjoy the fresh morning. It is about time we both shared a day outside this hole together.” With that Frodo stood to his feet setting his blanket down on his chair. He and Sam then left the room sharing a bit of story and song out under the clear blue autumn sky.
Five more days soon came into passing and with them came little change. Lily still lay within FrodoÂ’s room lost within her endless sleep. Yet this day was filled with merriment. It was September 22 and it was FrodoÂ’s fifty-second birthday. Frodo bore his age well for he looked not a day older then when he came of age but his eyes seemed full of a sadness that no one could seem to place. Merry and Pippin had come by that evening to wish Frodo well and to break open a bottle of wine laid down by BilboÂ’s father. Frodo did wish that Bilbo could be there to so they could celebrate their birthdays together, but they all drank to his health and wished him well. Rose set forth a wonderful supper and afterwards the celebration was drawn into the den where Frodo sat before the fire singing elvish songs from Rivendell. His voice was soft and melodic and all listened contently. That is when the night suddenly took a drastic changeÂ…
Soft words caressed LilyÂ’s ears as she slowly opened her eyes looking all around her. She found herself in a room lit by a single candle burning on a table at her side. She tried to sit up but she became dizzy and rested herself back upon the bed. It was then she realized the bed was much too small for her for her legs hung over the edge touching the floor at the foot of the bed. Lily smiled and wiggled her toes feeling a soft rug beneath them.
“I must be dreaming.” Lily whispered softly to herself. She then pinched her arm and found that she was wide awake. Her heart began to race in her chest as she filled with panic not knowing where she was. Again she tried to sit up but she was overwhelmed with pain. Lily grabbed at the small table nearby to keep herself from falling off the bed but it fell to the floor with a loud bang.
“Did you hear that?” Frodo shouted quickly jumping to his feet. “It came from my room!” Everyone turned towards the closed door and watched as Frodo went to the door pressing his ear against it.
“SheÂ’s crying.” Frodo whispered.
“Open the door!” Sam replied motioning to Frodo. “She may be awake!”
Frodo reached for the doorknob and turned it slowly gently pressing on the door. It opened and Frodo peeked inside and seen Lily sitting upright on the bed with her head in her hands sobbing. Frodo pushed the door open more and as he did it creaked. Lily looked up and her eyes met with FrodoÂ’s as she let out a shrill scream before fainting dead away and falling off the bed and onto the floor.
“Come quick!” Frodo yelled rushing into the room. “Bring in some cold water, she has fainted!” Rose soon came into the room with everyone else close behind. She handed a bottle to Frodo as he knelt down on the floor pulling LilyÂ’s head into his lap. Frodo turned the bottle over pouring the water onto LilyÂ’s face causing her to gasp. Lily opened her eyes but everything before her was blurry. She did not dare to move but her eyes soon came into focus as Frodo caressed the side of her face.
“I found you nearby and brought you to my home.” Frodo whispered as Lily looked into his eyes. She seemed to look right through him and then she looked away to the door where Merry and Pippin stood with Sam and Rose at their side.
“Where am I?” Lily said softly her words almost a whisper.
“In Hobbiton.” Frodo said helping Lily sit up. “You are in the Shire.”
“The Shire?” Lily replied rubbing her forehead. “Where did you find me?”
“Behind my home, out in the field.” Frodo said standing to his feet. “You were unconscious but I brought you here with the help of my cousins hoping that we could find out who you were so we could return you home.” Lily was silent for a moment as she sat trying to gather all she could remember about the days past. She then looked back to Frodo her eyes wet with tears.
“May I ask your name?” Frodo said reaching his hand to LilyÂ’s face drying away her tears. At first she said nothing but then the soft whisper of Lily passed through her lips.
“So you are Lily.” Rose replied coming to her and taking her hands up into her own. “We have been worried about you for some time. My name is Rose and this here is Frodo. He is the one who found you. And those onlookers at the door are Merry and Pippin.” Rose said pointing to each of them. “And this shy one here is Sam. HeÂ’s my husband.” Rose replied smiling as Sam came to her side.
“YouÂ’re all hobbits.” Lily said with a bright smile.
“That we are.” Sam replied. “But what of you dear Lily. Where do you come from if you donÂ’t mind me asking.”
“Bree.” Lily said faintly as she looked out the window covered with one closed shutter. The stars shone brightly in the sky reminding Lily of the night she last gazed upon them while she was still on the road. “I came to live there with my uncle after my father passed away earlier this spring. My heart has been heavy and I could not stand to be there any longer. That is when I took my mare from the stables and fled on horseback in the middle of the night.”
“When was that?” Frodo asked as Lily looked back at him once more.
“On the tenth I believe.” Lily replied. “Why? What day is it now?”
“It is the twenty second.” Frodo said softly. “It is my birthday today.” Lily said nothing as she drew her legs close to her chest resting her chin upon her knees. “Would you like some help back onto the bed?” Frodo replied. “Merry and Pippin are quite strong. DonÂ’t let their size fool you.”
“Thank you.” Lily whispered as Frodo waved to Merry and Pippin motioning for them to come to his side. They took Lily by the arms and held her tightly as she slowly stood to her feet almost knocking her head on the rafters within the room. Lily sat on the bed and Frodo took her legs gently lifting them back onto the bed and covering her up with the blanket that still sat in his chair from days before.
“There now.” Frodo replied placing another blanket over Lily. “You should rest now and we can talk more with the coming day.” Merry and Pippin then turned away leaving the room as Sam and Rose followed behind. Frodo reached to the floor setting the small table Lily knocked over back up beside the bed. Frodo then turned away and began walking to the door when Lily called out to him.
“Frodo, donÂ’t leave. I donÂ’t want to be alone.” She said softly. Frodo smiled and then came back to his chair and sat down rocking back and forth slowly. Lily smiled and then closed her eyes soon finding peaceful rest.
Frodo slowly opened his eyes as a soft light filled the room with the rising of the sun. He turned to the bed and there lay Lily her eyes open wide with a bright smile on her face.
“Hello Frodo.” Lily said quietly as Frodo shifted in his chair. “Did you sleep well?”
“As well as can be expected in this old chair.” Frodo said with a soft laugh. “And you?”
“Not a wink.” Lily replied sitting up. “Too many thoughts filled my mind keeping me from sleep. And IÂ’ve been sitting here most of the night just looking at you.”
“Me?” Frodo said his face blushing.
“Well, IÂ’ve not been around many hobbits before though many live in Bree.” Lily replied. “You have a rather unique look Frodo, much different than the others that I seen last night. But it could perhaps just be your hand.” Lily said pointing to FrodoÂ’s right hand. Frodo stretched out his fingers and then put his left hand over his right rubbing it gently. “What happened if you donÂ’t mind me asking?” Lily softly replied.
“ItÂ’s a long story really.” Frodo replied. “About an adventure and a ring.”
“A ring?” Lily said reaching up to her chest. “I have a story about one myself.” Lily then felt around her neck for the chain that bore her motherÂ’s ring only she found it was not there.
“My ring!” Lily shouted. “ItÂ’s gone.”
“Then I believe this is yours.” Frodo said as he reached to his neck drawing LilyÂ’s necklace out from beneath his shirt. “I found it days ago near where I had found you. The chain was broken but I have since fixed it.” Frodo replied as he undid the clasp. “Here now.” Frodo said taking the chain away from his neck. “This belongs to you.” Lily held out her hand and Frodo placed the necklace within her palm closing her fingers tightly over the golden band.
“You can not imagine how much this ring means to me.” Lily replied as she pulled her hand behind her neck fastening the chain beneath her hair.
“I can.” Frodo said with a sigh as he looked to Lily while she held the band between her fingers admiring it. Lily then placed it beneath her blouse and turned to the door watching as the doorknob began to slowly turn. RoseÂ’s face soon emerged through the door glowing bright with a welcoming smile.
“I thought I would find you here Frodo.” Rose replied softly. “IÂ’m surprised you havenÂ’t come out of here sooner with the smell of breakfast in the air.” Rose laughed as she dried her hands in her apron. “I fixed a whole lot of everything more than enough for us all so I came by to see if you both wanted a bite to eat.”
“Of course I would!” Lily said excitedly, embarrassed that she had blurted out so suddenly.
“And you Frodo?” Rose replied with a smile.
“Yes please.” Frodo said trying to hold back a yawn.
“Alright then.” Rose replied looking out the door and to Sam as he hurried around through the halls. “IÂ’ll have Sam bring a plate in for each of you.” Rose then left Frodo and Lily to their own as she quickly went to the pantry and put together two plates laden with hotcakes and warm sausages. She filled two bowls with egg and mushroom omelets and handed them to Sam. He brought them to FrodoÂ’s room and set one plate up on LilyÂ’s lap and the other in FrodoÂ’s. He scurried away smiling knowing it was now his turn to have his fill of RoseÂ’s wonderful cooking. A few hours later with all plates and bowls cleared Frodo sat back in his chair watching as Lily took a slow sip of juice that Rose had brought in to her. When she finished she set the cup on the table nearby and looked to the window with a deep sigh. For almost an hour she sat in silence as the fire burning within the room shone a warm glow upon her face. It was not until she drew her hand up to her face to brush away her tears, that Frodo spoke coming up from his chair.
“What is troubling you Lily?” Frodo replied softly.
“Thinking.” Lily whispered. “Wondering why this happened to me.” Lily then grew silent once again as she brought her ring out from under her shirt holding it in her hand.
“What really happened out there?” Frodo said sitting up on the bed next to Lily. “My mind has always wondered how you came to the Shire.”
“IÂ’m not really sure.” Lily replied as she looked to her ring. “I came to rest along the road at night and I tied my mare to a tree. When I woke the next morning she was gone.” Lily said her voice trailing off. “I called for her and then a shrill cry pierced through the air. She came running at me kicking up her feet. It was then that I noticed a rope tied around her neck. I can only assume someone took her from me in the night.” Lily then let her ring fall from her fingers as she turned to Frodo looking deep into his soft blue eyes. “Someone shot her with an arrow Frodo.” Lily said her eyes filling with tears. “I seen it with my own eyes. I fell back and another arrow came hitting the ground next to me. My leg became tangled in the rope and she took off dragging me away.” LilyÂ’s head fell into her hands as tears streamed down her face.
“You are here with me now.” Frodo replied putting his hand on LilyÂ’s leg. “You are safe and soon you will be strong enough to return home.” Lily then pulled her face away from her hands as a soft smile came to her face.
“And I am so glad that someone such as you found me.” Lily whispered.
“So am I.” Frodo said with a smile as he came down from the bed. “But you should rest some more. IÂ’ll come in again later this evening.” Lily then drew herself down into the bed pulling the covers tightly around her. She closed her eyes as Frodo walked away closing the door quietly behind him.
Two weeks soon passed and with them came LilyÂ’s strength. She was now strong enough to stand on her own two feet and she often went to and from the bedroom to sit near the fire in the den. There she would sit with Frodo and Sam while they shared stories from their youth. Yet on this night she came to the den only to find Sam sitting alone next to the fire smoking his pipe. Lily sat on the floor next to FrodoÂ’s chair and began softly humming a song to herself.
“How are you this evening Lily?” Sam said drawing his pipe away from his lips.
“I am well thank you.” Lily replied pulling a blanket down from FrodoÂ’s chair. “But where is Frodo? ItÂ’s not like him to stay away. Is he alright?”
“I would imagine so.” Sam answered. “He sat by your bedside all last night. It seems he has taken a liking to you but he does care that you become well.” Sam said blushing. “I did see him about earlier. He may be in the study. IÂ’ll go and have a look.” Sam replied standing up from his chair.
“Thank you Sam.” Lily replied softly as Sam began to make his way for the study. Sam went through the hall and came to the study door. It was open and Sam peered inside. Frodo was sitting at his desk staring at the wall as a soft glowing candle burned inside. Sam quietly came into the room and went to FrodoÂ’s side. He looked very strange. His eyes were pale and his eyes seemed to see things far away.
“What is the matter Mr. Frodo?” Sam asked quietly.
“I am wounded.” Frodo answered. “Wounded; it will never really heal.” With that Frodo got up and the turn seemed to pass. Frodo said nothing more as he began to pace around the study holding tightly to his white gem. Sam then left and returned to Lily still sitting in the den near the fire.
“Is all well?” Lily asked as Sam came into the den.
“He seems to be troubled with the past.” Sam replied his face full of concern. He then sat back in his chair as a deep sigh passed through his lips. It wasnÂ’t until later that evening when Sam recalled that the date was October the sixth. Two years before on that day it was dark in the dell under Weathertop.
Three weeks later Frodo sat at LilyÂ’s bedside as she lay sleeping. The sun was shining brightly but she lay in silence warm with fever and damp with evening sweats. It seemed as if only the day before she was full of merriment and laughter. Frodo could not seem to find an answer to explain her illness but day and night he stayed at her side waiting for her to wake. Frodo rested his arm against the chair laying his head in his hand. He began to nod off to sleep when he heard a faint whisper. He opened his eyes slowly and there stood Sam.
“How is she?” Sam asked softly.
“She still has not opened her eyes.” Frodo whispered. “ItÂ’s been a day now. It seems she has been overcome with a sickness.”
“A sickness sir?” Sam replied.
“Yes Sam.” Frodo sighed as he looked to Lily. Her eyes were framed in dark circles and her lips were dry and pale. “I do now know how it happened but she is very sick. All was well until I came in the other day and could not wake her. I found her necklace lying there on the table.” Frodo said pointing to the ring and chain still resting in the same place Lily left it. “Other than that I can not say what else could be wrong.”
“She will be well again.” Sam replied putting his hand on FrodoÂ’s shoulder. “If she is half as strong as you she will be the Lily she was just days ago.”
“That is reassuring Sam.” Frodo said looking to Sam with a smile. Sam then left the room leaving Frodo at LilyÂ’s side once more. When Sam left Frodo rested his head against his hand once more and closed his eyes hoping to find a bit of rest. He then heard Lily rustling around in the bed and he opened his eyes again. Lily lay facing Frodo with her eyes open and a gentle smile on her face. FrodoÂ’s heart sank within his chest for her eyes were dim empty of all the brightness they once held.
“How are you feeling?” Frodo asked leaning towards Lily.
“Cold.” Lily whispered pulling her blankets tight around her. Frodo then got up and placed another blanket over Lily and added a few more logs to the fire already burning within the fireplace. Frodo then came back to his chair sitting down. Lily stared at him blankly breathing in heavily as she began to shiver. She sighed deeply and closed her eyes opening them again slowly.
“What has happened to me?” Lily said softly.
“YouÂ’re ill.” Frodo replied. “I do not know why but we shall do all we can to make you well again.” Lily smiled and then looked to the table at her necklace lying next to a burning candle.
“I donÂ’t remember taking it off.” Lily replied pointing to her necklace. She then reached her hand out to the table taking the ring within her hand. She pulled it under the covers and held it close to her heart as she closed her eyes. “This is all I have left of my family.” Lily whispered. “This was my mothers ring Frodo.” Lily said as she held her hand out before Frodo showing him the ring. “Her face is but a distant memory to me but my father spoke of her often. He gave this ring to me on my twenty-fifth birthday and a few months later he too died leaving me all alone. That is when I came to live with my Uncle Barliman.”
“Butterbur?” Frodo asked with a slight smile on his face.
“How did you know.” Lily replied as she fastened her necklace around her neck. She then sat up in her bed still holding her blankets close around her.
“The name is familiar to me.” Frodo said with a gentle laugh. “Our paths crossed a few years back at the Prancing Pony.” Frodo smiled. Lily sat silent for a moment and then talked to herself softly before letting out a tender laugh.
“Mr. Underhill!” Lily replied loudly. “It was you Frodo! He told me of that night when one of the Little Folk came from the Shire and danced on his tables disappearing from sight. His description of you was very fitting but I just never put two and two together.”
“YouÂ’re quite right!” Frodo said shaking his head smiling. “IÂ’ve done some rather foolish things in the past but let us save those stories for another day. Perhaps with the morrow I will share my story with you about my ring.”
“That would be wonderful.” Lily said with a yawn.
“Well it is good to see you awake again and in such good spirits.” Frodo said coming up from his chair. “I should go and tell Sam that youÂ’re awake. He has been just as worried about you as me. I will come to you again in the morning if you like.”
“I will be waiting.” Lily replied with a smile as she nestled herself back down into bed. Frodo then blew out the candle and left her to rest as he made his way into the den.
“How is she Frodo?” Sam asked as Frodo came out of the bedroom. “I heard you talking is she awake?”
“She is Sam.” Frodo said coming next to Sam and sitting in his chair. “She seems to be in good spirits and on the mend. SheÂ’s resting again. Perhaps she will return home soon if all goes well.” Frodo then looked to the fire and smiling shaking his head.
“What is it Frodo?” Sam replied noticing the smile upon his masterÂ’s face. Frodo turned to Sam and laughed.
“ItÂ’s quite odd Sam.” Frodo replied. “Her uncle she spoke of is none other than the inn keeper at the Prancing Pony.”
“You mean that old Mr. Butterbur?” Sam asked.
“None other.” Frodo replied. All was silent for a moment and then Frodo got up from his chair and went to the fireplace taking his pipe from the mantle. “She shared something with me Sam.” Frodo said softly. “Something about that ring I found.”
“What was it?” Sam asked full of wonder.
“It was her motherÂ’s.” Frodo said as he put his pipe to his lips lighting it. “She died when she was just a child and she can barely remember her. Her father died soon after he gave the ring to Lily and now that is all she has left of her family.”
“So sad.” Sam replied looking to the fire. He too grew silent and then he looked to Frodo as he came up from his chair. “Well begging your pardon Frodo, but the day is passing by quickly and I have some things to tend to outside.”
“Quite alright Sam.” Frodo said smiling. “IÂ’ll be here or in the study when you come back.” Sam smiled and nodded his head as he made his way to the front door and out into the cool air of the late autumn day.
As the sun rose bringing with it a new day Frodo came to his room and found Lily sleeping with a smile upon her face. He sat in his chair holding a large red leather bound book in his lap. He placed his hand over the book and closed his eyes softly humming a traveling song he picked up from his Uncle Bilbo. Lily opened her eyes and turned to Frodo listening contently as he continued to hum. Lily then noticed the book in his lap and she leaned over the side of the bed trying to read the golden letters on the cover. She then reached over and gently lifted FrodoÂ’s fingers up reading the name of Bilbo Baggins. Frodo, feeling LilyÂ’s hand touch his own, opened his eyes just as Lily quickly dropped his hand laying back down in bed.
“YouÂ’re awake.” Frodo said with a smile. “How are you feeling this morning?”
“Much better I can say.” Lily replied sitting up. She then looked back to the book in FrodoÂ’s lap watching as Frodo drew his hand along the cover.
“What do you have there?” Lily asked pointing to the book.
“It belongs to my Uncle Bilbo.” Frodo replied opening the cover. “He wrote it about his travels with the dwarves many years ago. IÂ’m adding to it about my own travels and such.”
“Dwarves?” Lily said softly. “I have never seen a dwarf before. Nor an elf for that matter but IÂ’ve heard much talk about them in the Pony. Have you ever seen one Frodo?”
“That I have dear Lily.” Frodo said with a soft laugh. “Many I can say. I have even learned the language of the elves.”
“I have heard that it is a beautiful language.” Lily replied as she sat up in the bed.
“I can say that it is.” Frodo smiled. He then grew silent as he closed the book looking into LilyÂ’s eyes. They were no longer dim but bright and full of life. Their color reminded him of the soft green hue of the grass in Rivendell; a color he could still see within his mind when he remembered waking there and seeing his Uncle Bilbo after so many years had passed him by. A smile seemed to grow upon her face as she took notice of Frodo seeming lost in a dream as he looked her way. A tender laugh passed by her lips and Frodo turned away his face blushing red.
“Perhaps you could teach me someday.” Lily said with a smile. Frodo said nothing as he tried to hide his embarrassment but then he remembered something he had said while on his journey and it seemed very fitting for this occasion.
“Elen sÃla lÃºmenn’ omentielvo.” Frodo replied softly.
“What does that mean?” Lily asked.
“A star shines upon the hour of our meeting.” Frodo whispered looking back to Lily smiling. She was silent but her eyes seemed to fill with tears as a gentle smile came across her face.
“That was beautiful.” Lily said softly as Frodo gently placed his uncleÂ’s book on the table next to the bed.
Frodo blushed but said nothing as he turned to Lily smiling. Through all the morning and into the evening they stayed within FrodoÂ’s room lost among the tales they both shared from the more uplifting moments in their lives. When the moon finally hung high in the evening sky Sam came to FrodoÂ’s room to wish him and Lily a good night. Yet when Sam came in he found them both sleeping soundly shadowed by the amber glow of the fire that burned within the fireplace nearby. Sam then went to leave but as he pulled the door closed he noticed something that warmed his heart and almost brought a tear to his eye. FrodoÂ’s hand was resting over LilyÂ’s holding it within a gentle embrace as he slept soundly from his chair pulled up to the bed. Sam smiled and then turned away closing the door softly behind him as he left his master alone with his newfound friend.
Time passed and with it came a new year. Frodo still kept vigil at LilyÂ’s bedside though she was well, even when he himself was in sickness. For this day, March thirteenth, he once again fell ill to ShelobÂ’s poison sting. That evening he sat within his chair next to LilyÂ’s bed reading from his uncleÂ’s book as Lily slept soundly at his side. Time and again he would look away staring blankly at the wall as his hand came up to his chest taking the white gem he wore within his hand. He felt trapped in a dream that he could not escape from. A noise then came from the bed bringing him back to his senses and he turned towards Lily letting his gem fall from his hand. She was tossing about on the bed, turning from one side to the other, her face seemingly full of fear. She let out a yell and Frodo quickly came away from his chair and rested his hand upon her brow. Lily opened her eyes feeling FrodoÂ’s touch and she breathed in deeply as her heart raced within her chest.
“Are you well Lily?” Frodo replied gently drying away the sweat that had formed on her brow. “You gave me quite a scare.”
“I am now.” Lily sighed. “I was lost in the most horrible dream.” Lily said softly as she looked to FrodoÂ’s face. A look of concern filled her eyes for Frodo seemed distant even though he was speaking to her and standing at her side. Lily lifted her hand to his cheek and touched him gently. Frodo flinched under her hand almost as if she had woken him from a dream.
“Your eyes, they seem so pale.” Lily replied as she drew her hand along FrodoÂ’s face. A deep sigh then passed by FrodoÂ’s lips and he reached his hand to LilyÂ’s pulling it away.
“I am ill.” Frodo said holding her hand tightly. “It is an old wound that troubles me now and again. You should not worry yourself about it.”
“I can not help but worry about you my friend.” Lily replied with a smile. She then grew silent saying not another word before Frodo finally whispered her name.
“What is troubling you Lily?” Frodo asked softly. “You have not seemed yourself these past few nights.” Lily sighed deeply and then turned to the partially closed shutters staring at the full harvest moon high within the sky.
“I want to feel the grass beneath my feet and feel the air upon my face Frodo.” Lily said with a sigh. “I can not stand to stay inside a moment longer.” Frodo paused. He feared of what may happen if she was to be seen for strangers were not so easily welcomed in Hobbiton anymore. Frodo looked into LilyÂ’s eyes and he could see the tears within that she tried desperately to hold back. He closed his eyes tightly and opened them again with a sigh as Lily sat upright in bed.
“Come.” Frodo replied as he gave LilyÂ’s hand a gentle tug. “Follow me.” Lily came down from the bed and followed Frodo as he led her out of his room and into the den. There they went through the hall and past Sam and RoseÂ’s room to a small round door that led into the field behind Bag End. Frodo opened the door quietly as a cool breeze filled the hall bringing with it a scent of coming rain. Lily followed FrodoÂ’s lead out into the field finally setting her feet onto the new spring grass. She nestled her toes into the soft blades as Frodo let her hand fall to her side while a smile came to her face. Though night had fallen Lily took in everything around her looking at the Shire for the first time in all its glory. The view through the windows inside were breathtaking but she did not chance to sit long by the sill afraid she may worry Frodo if she was seen. Lily ventured from FrodoÂ’s side and walked further into the grass as the gentle breeze came through her long flowing hair. She soon came to rest as she stood looking far into the eastern sky. Tears filled her eyes and she reached her hand up to dry them as Frodo came to stand at her side.
“It is painful to remember those last few lonely nights.” Lily whispered. “They are still within my mind though they grow fainter by the day. I was so cold and worn. I felt like I had been wandering for an eternity, only calling for help in vain.” Lily sighed and came down to the ground sitting next to Frodo while he too looked out into the distance. Frodo soon began to hum softly to himself and then his humming turned to song as he softly whispered an elvish melody he heard while in Lothlorien two years before. Lily listened for a moment and then she turned to Frodo as he continued to sing. It was then that she remembered hearing the tune once before.
“It was you.” Lily said quietly. “It was your voice I heard which drew me here.”
“Come again?” Frodo replied softly.
“I heard someone singing and I followed the voice as it was carried to me upon the wind. That is how I found my way here in the darkness before I seen a light come over the hill.” Lily replied smiling. “If not for your singing I would have never turned this way.” Frodo could not seem to find any words to press beyond his lips. He could not fathom that it was he who helped draw Lily through the darkness only to fall at his feet in her hour of utmost need. Tears filled his eyes as he slowly came down and sat next to Lily. Lily quickly took Frodo within her arms embracing him tightly before leaving a gentle kiss upon his brow.
“Where would I be without you Frodo?” Lily whispered as she dried away the tears from his eyes.
“I do not wish to think it but my heart is happy that you are here.” Frodo said through a soft smile.
“As is mine.” Lily replied softly while she looked to the stars admiring how they so brightly contrasted against the darkness of the night. The moonlight shone down upon the Shire giving all the land a soft silver glow. Lily then turned to Frodo watching as he looked down to his right hand seemingly lost with a memory while he drew his hand over his remaining four fingers. Frodo sighed deeply and then slowly closed his left hand over his right setting them in his lap. Lily said nothing for a moment and then she reached into FrodoÂ’s lap pulling his right hand up into her own gently gliding her fingers over FrodoÂ’s hand.
“You said you had a story to tell about a ring.” Lily said quietly. “Yet I have this feeling within me that this ring you spoke of is what lead to you losing your finger.”
“That it did.” Frodo sighed. He then fell into silence as memories from the past came to him once more making him shudder at the very thought of the day when the ring was taken from him when Gollum bit his finger from his hand. Lily sensed his discomfort and said nothing more but it was Frodo who finally took in a deep breath asking if she wished to know more.
“The adventure lives within me every waking day.” Frodo replied looking into the sky. “Yet if you wish to hear of it I will share all I can remember with you.”
“Only if you truly desire.” Lily said softly as Frodo took his hand away from her own. “I do not want to pain you with memories you do not wish to relive again.” Frodo smiled and then began telling of the One Ring and of the Dark Lord Sauron and how he so longed to take over all the lands of Middle Earth. For hours Frodo held Lily with his every word as he spoke of traveling to Bree and his first meeting with Strider who he later learned was Aragorn, son of Arathorn and now the king of Gondor. With a heavy heart he gave vivid details of the attack on Weathertop and how he escaped the Ringwraiths at the Ford. LilyÂ’s interest grew with the account of the elves and of the stay in Rivendell. She could only imagine the beauty there that Frodo beheld. Oh how she so wished to see elves but she listened on as Frodo spoke of the fellowship and their journey to the Golden Wood of Lothlorien. Frodo continued on adding many small details that she never thought one would care to think of. Like the taste of the mushrooms he ate along the path or the scent that held in the air while on the Caradhras. As the sun finally began to show over the distant horizon Frodo sighed as his tale finally came to its end when he told of awaking with Sam at his side in Ithilien. Lily sat in silence not able to find what it was she wanted to say but Frodo smiled and stood to his feet brushing away the grass from his trousers and stretching his sleeping legs.
“The story continues on in the pages of my UncleÂ’s book.” Frodo said softly. “But the night has grown long and morning has already come. Perhaps I shall read the rest to you someday.”
“I would love that.” Lily replied with a smile. “But the evening past was time well spent. Thank you Frodo for sharing your story with me.”
“You are welcome.” Frodo said as Lily stood to her feet. “We should go back now and rest. I have kept you and I both from sleep.” Frodo then made his way back for home with Lily following closely behind. They came back inside and Frodo closed the back door softly as not to wake Sam and Rose for they still slept within. Lily continued on to FrodoÂ’s room where she took to bed pulling her covers tightly around her. Frodo came in soon after and placed another blanket onto the bed before he turned away making ready to leave the room to sleep within the small bed in the study.
“Frodo.” Lily replied quietly.
“Yes Lily, what is it?” Frodo said as he came back to her standing at her side while she lay in bed.
“I think I am only now starting to miss home and my dear uncle.” Lily sighed. “How many days is it to Bree?”
Frodo said nothing. His heart ached with the thought of Lily leaving. So many months had gone by that he could not seem to imagine her no longer there.
“Only two days.” Frodo whispered turning away. Lily then took his hand holding him back and Frodo looked into her eyes with a silent stare.
“I fear that I may have been forgotten Frodo and that my uncle no longer believes I am coming back.” Lily said softly. “In all the days I have stayed within your care I could not ask for anything more but I must ask you thisÂ…” Lily paused.
“And what may that be.” Frodo said as his heart began to race within his chest fearing what her reply may be.
“To stay awhile longer in the Shire with you.” Lily quietly replied. A gentle smile then came across her lips. Frodo felt as though his eyes would tear but he too pressed a smiled past his lips giving LilyÂ’s hand a tender squeeze.
“You can stay for as long as you wish.” Frodo whispered. He then went to leave once more and Lily pulled him back once again. Frodo felt a lump come into his throat as Lily leaned towards him gently laying her hand on his cheek. As she did Frodo closed his eyes wishing to forever hold onto the memory of her tender touch. It was then he felt her silken lips meet with his own as she gave him a sweet kiss. An overwhelming warmth filled his body while Lily gently drew her hand along the side of his face as their lips slowly parted. Frodo opened his eyes and Lily smiled, her face shadowed in the light of the rising sun. Frodo could say nothing but Lily could see the bright glow within his eyes and she knew that he too was growing as fond of her as she was of him. Lily then whispered a soft goodnight and Frodo smiled as he walked away leaving Lily to find the rest they both so well deserved.
As Frodo pulled the door closed he turned around just as Sam came in through the front door pulling off his woolen cloak. He dropped it to the floor and came to Frodo his face full of worry.
“There you are Mr. Frodo.” Sam replied as he came to FrodoÂ’s side. “I came out of my room this morning hoping to sit with you a bit before the fire but I couldnÂ’t find hide nor hair of you and I began to worry. I was about to run off to Bree thinking you had taken Lily home already.”
“Oh no.” Frodo said as he put his hand on SamÂ’s shoulder. “I was only outside SamÂ…in the field with Lily.”
“Outside?” Sam replied with concern.
“It is quite alright. We were not seen.” Frodo replied as he walked towards the den. He then sat in his chair next to the fireplace and sighed deeply while he looked to the small glowing fire within. He was silent as he stared into the flames as he thought of the moment that had just passed and LilyÂ’s gentle touch he could still feel upon his skin. Sam then grew concerned thinking that Frodo was troubled with memories of the past once more and he came to his side looking down into his face.
“Are you alright sir?” Sam said softly. “You seemÂ…well different so to say.” At first Frodo said nothing and then he looked up to Sam smiling rubbing the side of his face with his hand.
“I am fine Sam.” Frodo laughed. “More so than in many days past. I was just taken by surprise a moment ago you could say.”
“Surprise?” Sam replied smiling. “Dare I ask how?”
“It was nothing Samwise, really.” Frodo said quietly.
“Nothing?” Sam said with a gentle laugh. “You are smiling from ear to ear and yet you say it was nothing. I think I know you better than that Frodo.” Sam replied as he added a few more logs to the fire before sitting in the chair next to Frodo. He sat in silence waiting for a response from Frodo but it seemed one would not come.
“Very well then, keep your secrets.” Sam said smiling. “But I think I know what they may be.” Sam replied with a wink. Frodo sighed and turned away looking to the closed door of his room.
“You know Sam she doesnÂ’t want to go home.” Frodo replied quietly. “Not yet anyhow.”
“But sir!” Sam yelped, covering his mouth realizing he had grown loud with his words. “We can not hide her here forever!”
“I know Sam.” Frodo replied. “But I do not have the heart to turn her away. She has fallen in love with the Shire it seems.”
“And you.” Sam added softly with a smile.
“Perhaps.” Frodo whispered. “Perhaps.” Frodo then closed his eyes as a calm smile came to his face before he drifted to sleep in the comforts of his chair with Sam at his side.
Eleven days soon passed and on the twenty-fifth day of March much merriment came to Bag End. It was on this day that the first of SamÂ’s children was born. All through the day Lily and Frodo sat within the den waiting for word from Sam. The creak of a door drew their attention to the hall and soon Sam emerged his face beaming with a bright smile.
“Well Sam?” Frodo replied standing from his chair.
“Well sirÂ…” Sam began as he scratched his head. “I was fixing to call him Frodo, but you see heÂ’s not a he after all. HeÂ’s a she!”
“I see.” Frodo said with a laugh as he came to SamÂ’s side.
“Now IÂ’m in a bit of a pickle you might say. We donÂ’t know what we should name her.” Sam replied as he looked into FrodoÂ’s face.
“How about a flower name.” Frodo said cheerfully. “Almost half of all the maid children are named after flowers.” All was quiet and then Frodo smiled as a thought came to mind. “How about Elanor?” Frodo replied. “After that tiny beautiful golden flower we seen in the grass of Lothlorien.”
“So Elanor it is!” Sam replied with excitement. He embraced Frodo tightly and then quickly hurried away to his room soon returning with a small bundle wrapped tightly in a knitted blanket. Sam walked by Frodo and went to Lily as Frodo followed slowly behind him. Sam then pulled away a corner of the blanket revealing a small round face surrounded with tiny golden curls. Frodo peered over SamÂ’s shoulder smiling as Lily leaned in close taking a look at the sleeping infant.
“So tiny.” Lily whispered as she gently touched the babyÂ’s face. “And look how much golden hair she has!”
“It is not that often that a child is born with golden hair.” Frodo replied looking to Sam smiling.
“Quite right!” Sam replied. “But now her name really seems to fit proper.”
“That it does.” Frodo said patting Sam on the shoulder. Sam then turned away leaving Frodo and Lily to return to Rose as she rested within their room. Lily looked to Frodo smiling and he came to her side sitting next to her in SamÂ’s chair.
“You know IÂ’ve been thinking Frodo.” Lily said softly. “The day has been long and the night has already come. I should rest but my mind has been clouded with this one thought and that has been of home.”
“Home?” Frodo replied. “But I thought you wanted to stay here in the Shire for awhile longer.”
“I do, I really do.” Lily said as she took FrodoÂ’s hand up into her own. “More than anything but I would be lying if I did not say the thought of my uncle has not come to my mind over these last few days.”
“I understand.” Frodo whispered as he fell into silence. Lily looked to him her heart filled with sorrow at the look that came over his once smiling face. She caressed his hand gently and Frodo gave her hand a tender squeeze.
“Frodo?” Lily said softly.
“Yes.” Frodo answered with a whisper as he looked into LilyÂ’s eyes. Lily took in a deep breath and then closed her eyes opening them again slowly as her heart beat hard within her chest.
“I want you to come with me.” Lily replied quietly. FrodoÂ’s face grew blank. He did not know what to say. He was silent for some time before Lily came down from her chair kneeling before Frodo holding his hands tightly in her own as she looked into his pale blue eyes. A single tear fell slowly down his cheek and Lily dried it away with a gentle touch of her finger.
“I do not mean for you to stay with me in Bree Frodo.” Lily whispered trying to hold back her own tears. “I know that your place is here in the Shire and I can not take you away from Sam and Rose. I just do not wish to go back alone. It would mean so much to have you with me on the long journey home.”
“I shall come with you.” Frodo replied softly. “Though I wish you could stay here with me in the Shire forever.” Lily smiled as tears drew their way down her cheeks. Her heart ached for she could see the pain within FrodoÂ’s eyes as he thought of her returning home. Within she too wished she could stay, but deep inside both she and Frodo just knew it couldnÂ’t be so. Frodo then reached to Lily and took her face in his hands gently drying away her tears. Lily leaned into his touch closing her eyes as she brought her hands to rest over FrodoÂ’s. She then felt his lips touch hers as he brought his hand under her chin with a touch as gentle as an autumnÂ’s rain. Just as quickly as the moment began it ended and Lily opened her eyes as Frodo brought his hand away from her face to brush away his tears.
“I should rest now.” Frodo said quietly as he stood up from his chair. He still held LilyÂ’s hand gently in his own as he began to walk away letting it fall from his grasp. Lily looked on her heart breaking as Frodo slipped away in silence without saying another word. Within she felt as though she had torn his heart in two by not asking him to stay with her in Bree, but in all actuality Frodo wept within for he had grown to love Lily more than the Shire and it was she who was being taken away.
Two days later in the late hours of the evening a deafening silence filled the halls of Bag End. A small knapsack lay on the floor in the den beside FrodoÂ’s chair as Sam came out of the study carrying a large brown leather pack. Frodo soon followed out the door behind Sam as he fastened his cloak together letting it drape around him. Frodo then went to his room and gently pushed open the door looking at Lily as she sat upon his bed watching the shadows from a nearby candle reflect upon the wall. When Lily heard the door open she quickly dried away her tears so Frodo would not notice the pain she felt within her heart in leaving. She turned to Frodo and pressed a smile through her lips as she came off the bed taking her cloak up from FrodoÂ’s chair. She brought it over her shoulders and tied it together at her neck bringing the hood up over her head. Lily walked past Frodo and into the den looking down at Sam as he stood next to the door tightly clutching a pack within his arms.
“This is for you.” Sam said softly holding the pack out to Lily. “There are some cakes and tea inside for your journey home. Rose added a few things, a shawl she knitted and some trinkets too. I hope they suit you well.”
“Thank you Sam.” Lily whispered as she took the leather pack into her arms. “This is more than enough.” With that she bent down and left a tender kiss upon SamÂ’s brow bringing his face to blush. Lily then turned to Frodo as he went to his chair taking the knapsack there up off the floor and onto his shoulder. He sighed deeply as he looked into the fire seemingly lost within his thoughts. Lily whispered his name and he turned to her, his heart heavy.
“Come now.” Lily replied quietly. “It is time for us to leave.” Frodo then made his way to the door opening it slowly and stepping outside. He brought his eyes up to the stars as they shone brightly within the evening sky. Lily sighed and then turned to Sam kneeling before him. She reached into her cloak and pulled out an envelope sealed with wax and handed it to Sam. She pushed his hand to his chest and smiled as she looked to Frodo once more. He still had not turned away from the door.
“Do not open this until we have left.” Lily whispered. “YouÂ’ll know what to do with it when Frodo comes home.” She then stood to her feet and went to Frodo placing her hand onto his shoulder. Frodo sighed deeply and looked to Lily as he took her hand into his. Lily turned back to Sam and waved one last goodbye as they both stepped out of the door and began walking into the eastern sky.
After they reached the outskirts of Hobbiton, Frodo and Lily made their way onto the main path. Neither of the two had said a word for quiet some time. Lily would look to Frodo as he walked at her side still holding tightly onto her hand. His eyes never came away from the road ahead until they both grew weary and came to rest along the path under a large elm. The moon was high in the sky and the stars still shone brightly as Lily sat on the ground with her back against the tree. Frodo gathered some small scraps of wood for a fire and soon it was lit warming them both in the cool spring air.
“IÂ’m exhausted.” Lily said softly turning to Frodo. “Can we sleep here for the night?”
“Whatever you wish.” Frodo replied poking a long stick into the fire. He sighed deeply and then turned to Lily as she took her leather pack Sam had given her into her lap. She untied it pulling it open and reaching inside. She took out one of the cakes and the tea Sam had left for her inside.
“Would you like some Frodo?” Lily said breaking off a piece and holding it out before him. Frodo shook his head and Lily broke off a small morsel and put it into her mouth washing it down with a sip of refreshing tea.
“ItÂ’s rather good Frodo.” Lily replied offering him another piece. “It has been some time since you have eaten, will you not take a bite?”
“No thanks.” Frodo said pushing LilyÂ’s hand away. “SamÂ’s cooking is beyond words, but his cakes are a little too sweet for my taste. I have something here to eat.” Frodo said patting his hand against his pack. “Besides Sam meant those for you.” Lily smiled and gently touched FrodoÂ’s cheek as she took another piece of cake in her mouth. She then looked back into her pack and pulled out the white shawl Rose knitted for her. Lily held the soft covering within her hand taking in its soft touch. She then draped it over her shoulders and peered into her pack once more to see what else was inside. The light of the fire shown upon a small wooden chest and a fine silver plated brush that she knew was RoseÂ’s favorite. She then noticed beneath them a large stack of papers bound together with a leather cord. She reached inside and pulled them out setting them into her lap. Frodo looked to Lily as she pulled away the binding and taking the blank page away from the top. Underneath scribbled in FrodoÂ’s hand were lines of elvish script that Lily could not read. She then took another page up into her hand and her eyes teared as a familiar words unfolded on the pages resting before her.
“ItÂ’s your story.” Lily whispered as she looked though all the pages.
“Every last word.” Frodo said softly. “I finished it only a few days ago. Even the parts you have yet to hear. I hoped you would find it when you returned home but I am glad you have found it now.”
“Why is that?” Lily replied looking to Frodo as he reached out taking the papers into his hand.
“For now I can keep my promise and finally read you the ending.” Frodo said with a smile. He then found his way to the page where his story began shortly after the events he shared with Lily while sitting outside Bag End. Many hours quickly passed as Frodo held Lily with his every word as he told of Aragorn and his crowing as King. He then spoke of returning to Rivendell and of seeing his dear Uncle Bilbo once again. When he at last finished his tale Lily had long ago fallen asleep after lying on the ground next to Frodo. Her head rested within his lap her eyes tightly closed having given in to long awaited rest. Frodo reached to LilyÂ’s pack and pulled it to him setting the papers back inside. He closed it tightly and pulled LilyÂ’s cloak tightly around her shoulders to hold out the chill night air. She nestled herself deeper into FrodoÂ’s lap bringing her hand up under her face. Frodo rested his hand on LilyÂ’s shoulder and soon found himself gently caressing the soft outline of her cheek. Lily seemed aware of his touch though she was fast asleep. A smiled soon grew over her lips and Frodo brought his hand away from her face leaving a tender kiss upon her brow. There within the shadows of the coming dawn Frodo soon fell asleep with his dear Lily resting peacefully within his grasp.
Long after the sun had come over the horizon Frodo opened his eyes to the beautiful morn. Lily still lay sleeping soundly in his lap, his hand still resting on her shoulder. Frodo gave LilyÂ’s arm a tender squeeze and she opened her eyes slowly looking up into FrodoÂ’s smiling face.
“The morning has come.” Frodo said softly. “We should begin on our way once more. Bree is but only another day away.”
“Bree.” Lily replied with a faint whisper almost as if she was remembering the name from a distant dream. “So many months have since gone by.” Lily said as she sat up stretching her arms above her head. She then stood to her feet reaching down to her pack and taking it up into her hand. Lily pulled it up over her shoulder as Frodo too came up from the ground brushing away the dirt and grass from his trousers. He took his pack off the ground and placed it on his back holding onto the straps near his shoulders. Soon they were on their way once more leaving the Shire further behind them with every step they took.
Many hours passed and the sun had now begun to fall slowly down the sky. Bree was drawing closer with every minute that went by and LilyÂ’s pace soon began to quicken. Frodo fell back down the path as Lily walked ahead. He could not seem to look away from the ground watching as his feet kicked up the dirt along the path. Yet a cry soon drew his attention up to Lily as he seen her fall to her knees before him. Frodo quickly rushed to her side grasping her arm as she set her hands down on the ground before her trying to stand herself up again.
“IÂ’m alright.” Lily said softly. “It felt a bit of weakness there. All this walking has seemed to take its toll on me.”
“We should rest then.” Frodo replied as Lily came to her feet. He held onto her arm waiting for her to falter again but she took in a deep breath and looked down to Frodo smiling.
“I am fine now.” Lily answered softly. She then started on her way as though nothing had happened. It seemed the turn had passed and all was well but hours later she fell again bringing Frodo down with her.
“We will rest here.” Frodo said sharply as Lily sat up beside him. “Bree shall still be there many hours from now. It will do neither of us good to go on with you falling at my feet. Rest for a moment Lily and take in a bite to eat and drink.”
“Very well.” Lily sighed as she let her pack fall down from her shoulder. She took out another one of SamÂ’s cakes and drank up the last of the tea. Frodo too took in a bite to eat and a swallow of water from his bottle he filled in the Brandywine along the way. The moon soon found her way into the sky as the sun sank under the horizon bringing life to the sleeping stars. Frodo looked on watching Lily as she sat in silence looking towards Bree. She took in a deep breath and turned away pulling up small blades of grass from the ground beside her. After a few hours had passed Frodo stood up holding his hand out to Lily as she took it into her own.
“We have only a few more hours to go.” Frodo whispered. “I will stay at your side for the rest of the way if you should fall once more.”
“Thank you Frodo.” Lily said with a smile as she stood to her feet. They began once more walking hand in hand along the darkened path.
Three hours soon passed and it was then when Lily could finally see shining lights below the hill from the Inn of the Prancing Pony. They went on down the path until they could at last see the gate. A soft rain began to fall as Lily looked down to Frodo. He was silent lost in a vast flood of emotions that could not seem to find rest. Though Lily could not see them tears fell along his cheeks shrouded in the rain as she knelt before him resting her hands on his shoulders.
“This is where we must say our good-byes.” Lily whispered as she tried to hold back her own saddened tears. Frodo said nothing as his eyes met up with LilyÂ’s and then she knew no words were needed for his eyes showed all the sadness in his heart. Lily embraced him tightly and he too held her with all his might. He did not wish to let go, not now or ever but it just couldnÂ’t be so. Lily pulled away pressing her lips against FrodoÂ’s rain soaked face. It was then that she noticed his salty tears caressing her tender lips as she kissed him farewell. FrodoÂ’s heart was breaking but he did not want the moment to end as he pulled his hands up holding LilyÂ’s face within his grasp. Their lips soon parted and Frodo opened his eyes watching as LilyÂ’s heart shattered before him.
“I shall miss you greatly my friend.” Lily said softly as she ran her hand along the side of FrodoÂ’s face. He leaned into her touch and pressed his hand against her own bringing it down against his chest.
“And I you.” Frodo whispered. “But you will be with me here.” Lily smiled and kissed him gently one last time upon his brow as she stood to her feet. Lily looked to the gate and there she seen a man standing near the closed doors holding a lantern high in his hand. Lily was silent as she turned away walking ever so slowly to the gates glancing back at Frodo once and again. As she drew closer to the gate a familiar face came into view shadowed by the light of the lantern. Lily ran to the gate calling out her uncleÂ’s name and she was quickly taken up into his arms as the lighted lantern fell to the ground. The gate then opened and Lily turned back to where Frodo stood watching for a moment as he raised his hand in a final goodbye. A deep sigh fell past LilyÂ’s lips as she was led inside the gates of Bree before they closed leaving Frodo alone with his tears as he stood in silence within the falling rain.
Five days later Frodo returned home late in the evening as Sam stood at the front door of Bag End awaiting his safe return. His trip had grown long for he left the path several times wandering with his thoughts that had overtaken his mind. As Frodo came up the front walk Sam came to his side and wrapped his arm around him. He led Frodo inside and took his cloak hanging it on the hook near the door. Frodo walked away in silence and sat before the fire burning brightly in the den. Sam soon came in and stood before Frodo trying to find the right words to say.
“I was worried when you did not come home right away.” Sam said softly as he pushed his hands into his trouser pockets. “I almost thought you did not mean to come back.” Frodo said nothing as he stared into the fire his heart aching from all that was lost. Sam sighed deeply and then his hand fell upon something in his pocket that he had been keeping since the day Frodo left. He pulled his hand out of his pocket and looked down as he opened his fingers from over top a folded piece of paper. He then held his hand out to Frodo showing him the paper resting in his palm.
“This is for you Frodo.” Sam whispered. Frodo looked away from the fire and to the paper resting in SamÂ’s hand shadowed by the light of the fire. Frodo then took the paper from Sam and opened it slowly. The paper was well wrinkled from SamÂ’s nervous hands constantly fingering it but the words written within soon brought tears to his eyes as he read them silently to himselfÂ…
My dearest Frodo
The day has come though I never wished it had come to be. You were the reason I stayed in the Shire for all this time. You have been such a dear friend to me, more so than words could ever describe. You have stayed at my side in sickness and when I became well once again. You have shared your life and journeys with me and for that I am grateful. Yet my time has come to return home. I am leaving this letter with Sam and too a special trinket that I pray you will find comfort in as it rests near your heart where you shall always reside with me.
Frodo looked up from the letter his face wet with tears as Sam reached into his shirt pocket taking out something in his closed hand. Sam reached down and took FrodoÂ’s hand away from the letter placing his closed hand onto his palm. Sam opened his hand and Frodo felt a touch of cold metal against his skin. Sam gently folded FrodoÂ’s fingers over what lay within and he pulled his hand away with a soft smile. Frodo trembled as he opened his fingers and there resting in his hand was LilyÂ’s ring strung upon itÂ’s silver chain. The golden band shone brightly as it caught the light from the fire before Frodo closed his hand and bringing it up to his chest.
“I have missed her since the day we left Samwise.” Frodo whispered through his tears. “Even when she was still by my side on the road she felt a hundred miles away. It is not going to be the same without her here.”
“I know Mr. Frodo, I know.” Sam replied placing his hand on FrodoÂ’s shoulder. No more words were said as the night drew on while Sam sat at FrodoÂ’s side until they both fell asleep within their chairs.
Spring soon came and passed, as did the warm months of summer. It was in September as the autumn drew by when Frodo called Sam into his study while he sat writing at his desk. Sam came in and Frodo did not even turn away from his writing as he quickly scribbled down things seemingly lost from his memory about the quest, while talking to Sam.
“I want you to see Rose and find out if she can spare you, so you and I can go off together this Wednesday.” Frodo said softly. “You shall not be gone long. A week at the most.” Sam stood in silence. He could not seem to press any words beyond his lips. He really wanted to stay at home with Rose, yet his heart so longed to go on another journey with Frodo.
In the next few days Frodo went through his papers with Sam and handed over his keys. Sam held then in his hand watching as Frodo looked through books and stacks of papers having seemingly misplaced something. Sam then noticed BilboÂ’s book lying nearby on the desk and he went and opened the cover looking through the pages.
“Why youÂ’ve nearly finished it Mr. Frodo.” Sam replied.
“Almost Sam.” Frodo said turning away from his search. He then went to the desk and picked up the book handing it to Sam. “The last pages are left for you.”
“I donÂ’t know what to say.” Sam muttered as he held the book close to his chest.
“DonÂ’t say anything.” Frodo replied with a smile. “Just keep it with you always.”
On September the twenty-first Frodo woke before the sun had risen in the sky. He prepared his pack and sat it in his chair next to the fireplace before silently opening the door as not to wake Sam. Frodo walked around the side of Bag End and through the garden before he came out into the party field looking out into the eastern sky. He sighed deeply and then took out something from beneath his shirt as he held it between his fingers. It was LilyÂ’s necklace. He let it fall from his grasp as it came to rest on his chest near his heart.
“IÂ’m leaving now.” Frodo replied softly to himself. “I am riding to the Grey Havens and sailing to the lands beyond. Farewell Lily.” Frodo then heard a noise and he turned around and there stood Sam drying away the tears from his eyes.
“Begging your pardon Mr. Frodo.” Sam whispered. “But I saw you sneaking away and I could not help but follow. I thought you were leaving on your journey without me.”
Frodo shook his head and smiled.
“I could never sneak away from you Sam.” Frodo replied. He then noticed SamÂ’s face was long and saddened.
“What is it Sam?” Frodo asked.
“To the Havens sir?” Sam said softly. “I thought you would stay and enjoy the Shire for many years to come.”
“I thought so too.” Frodo replied. “But I have been hurt to deeply Samwise. The Shire has been saved all but me.” Frodo said as he came to Sam placing his hand onto his shoulder. “I must leave now but you are my heir. All I have I am leaving to you. Your hands and wits will be needed everywhere. You shall become Mayor and the most famous gardener in history. You will read things from the Red Book and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone. That will keep you busy and happy as anyone can be, as long as your part of the story goes on.”
“That it will.” Sam sighed through his tears. “That it will.”
A smile then came to FrodoÂ’s face. For once in a long while he felt at peace.
“Come now Samwise.” Frodo said softly. “Ride with me.”