Firiel Waits for the Packet
the first major post I ever made on the boards, as I was a major lurker
in the early days, as I am (unfortunately) now. It was written after we
had joined as charter members, and were waiting to find out what our
"grand packet" was that we were supposed to receive for joining. And
didn't get for ages. It's a little long-winded, but I don't have it
uploaded anywhere else...
In a land of rocky hills and dry valleys, a rough, half-tamed land
filled with stunted trees and thorny shrubs, dwelt a maiden. Firiel,
she was called. She was only an ordinary maiden, with ordinary duties
and pleasures, but her mind roamed lands filled with people and places
of her imagination. She loved ancient fantasies and tales of love and
honour, sacrifice, valour, and loyalty.
Years ago she had heard legends of a land called Middle Earth. Many
wonderful stories had she heard of the struggles of the inhabitants of
this land - Men, who watched over the innocent, protecting them from
harm, unthanked, and yet content; Elves, immortal beings who remembered
with longing the Undying Lands, and mightiest in battle against Evil;
Dwarves, skilled in battle with the ax, staunch in friendship, and
masters of stone and metal work; Wizards, mysterious beings with power
to help or hinder the Right; and Hobbits, astonishing creatures, who,
although they loved comfort and the simple things of life, when
threatened were surprisingly good fighters, and were loyal companions.
These were the legends she loved best.
She had grown up with these legends as a child, and when she grew
older and discovered books filled with the history of Middle Earth, she
was captivated, and read with delighted eyes all of the ancient volumes
she could find. After a time, however, she could find nothing more of
that fair land. News from Middle Earth was no more.
Or so she thought.
The legends slipped slowly to the back of her mind. She didn’t
forget them - she loved them too well for that, but she didn’t think of
them as often. Deep in her heart they stayed alive, growing unbeknownst
to her into a deep longing to see Middle Earth, to know if there were
others who loved it as she did.
Then there came the day when Firiel heard The News. She had been in
the midst of normal chores when it came - someone was taking a legend
of Middle Earth - The Lord of the Rings - and transforming it so it
could be seen - bringing it to life, as it were. She could hardly
breathe - Was it possible? Could it be true? And then she found a place
with information about it. Her life began to revolve about the weekly
proclamations, and life passed in a blur of anticipation.
It was a little more than a month before the first showing of the
Lord of the Rings when she discovered another place, a place where
people who passionately loved Middle Earth gathered. Timidly, she asked
if she could possibly join them? Certainly, they replied. And if she
joined, she would get a Packet filled with wondrous things. Eagerly she
signed up. They told her the Packet would come in a month - at the most
two months. In the meantime, she could meet new friends at the Prancing
Pony, Rivendell, the Fellowship, or Middle Earth rooms.
Being somewhat shy, she settled in a dim corner with a mug of hot
tea and a bowl of herbs and stewed rabbit. Silently she watched and
listened to everyone else. As days went by, this became her established
custom. From time to time she would offer an answer to a question, or
ask one herself, and once she made a short speech telling why she liked
the Lord of the Rings too much. She never really introduced herself,
but immensely enjoyed the lively discussions filling the rooms.
When at last she was able to see the Lord of the Rings, she laughed
and cried and wished for it to never end, just like so many others. In
some ways she was disappointed with it, but on the whole, it exceeded
her wildest dreams, and she returned to the Prancing Pony with shining
eyes, paying closer attention to the discussions than before.
Time slipped by. Among the members of the Fellowship (fondly called
Ringers by some), Firiel began to notice a growing unrest - indeed,
began to experience it herself. Something was wrong. The Packet they
had been promised had not yet come. The Ringers began to question those
in charge. Be patient, they replied. We have had some difficulties, but
all is well now. You should receive it soon. Satisfied, the Ringers
returned to their discussions. More time passed, however, and the
Packets still had not come. Disturbed the Ringers returned with more
questions. Gravely they were told that there would be a danger to the
Packet if it were sent now. They had learned that unless precautions
were taken, the Packet could be injured, perhaps even destroyed, by the
careless messengers who bore them. The utmost care must be taken to
package them in such a way that even the most careless messenger
couldn’t harm them.
Firiel listened intently from her corner. She hadn’t complained as
of yet, for she too knew of the dangers of sending things by messenger,
but her patience was being tried sorely. All at once from the other
side of the room a cheer went up. The others were talking excitedly. A
present! they were saying, A present to make up for the Packet being
late! Someone started dancing, and a moment later nearly everyone had
joined hands in a wild dance of joy. Firiel smiled to herself. A
Firiel went about her work blithely after that. True, it had been a
long wait, and she still knew not when the Packet would arrive. But she
would be patient - this would be worth it.
At the Prancing Pony that evening, Firiel sat silently in her dim corner, hands linked around her silver mug of tea, waiting.