Eldarion was sad the day Frodo came to tell him the time had come
for him to depart. Legolas and Gimli insisted on riding with him to
the Gulf of Lune. Frodo conceded, though he was thrilled actually
to have the company of his old companions, he felt guilty to take
them so far away from their lands. He went with Legolas to see his
home in Ithilien, and he agreed; the Elves had made it a beautiful
garden again. Their small city was made of soaring flets among
the fragrant pines, after the manner of the Galadhrim of Lorien,
and wondrous caves delved into the hillsides, which delighted the
hobbit and made him feel very cozy.
Frodo went to visit Faramir while Legolas went about setting into
order the affairs of his kingdom. He rode to Emyn Arnen with Gimli,
and spent several days with the aging Prince. Eowyn, still lovely
but no longer cold and sad, made the two visitors welcome and they
sat together for long hours, speaking without pain of the events
that had ended an Age.
Frodo felt again his great affection for this Man, and looking
upon him and seeing that soon the weariness of the world would
settle upon him and his beloved wife, Frodo held back no word of
praise or love; he sang to them and held their hands in his own,
wanting to comfort them with his friendship and respect.
He stayed for several days,until Legolas had set his affairs in
order and appointed an Elf to govern in his absence. They rode
from there to Helm's Deep, now the site of Gimli's Dwarven kingdom
in Aglarond, the Glittering Caves. His people were very friendly
with the Rohirrim, and they dwelt in peace in their own kingdoms,
involved in trade to the betterment of each race. Helm's Deep was
now rebuilt to a matchless stronghold, so formidable that Frodo
could not imagine anyone trying to storm it again. He toured the
Caves and was as impressed as any by the natural beauty that he
found there. Gimli was delighted to be his host, and there was
a great celebration among the Dwarves, honouring the Heir of
Bilbo, Hero of the Third Age; Frodo the Dwarf-friend they named
him. Frodo's face was red as a beet-root, until after his second
mug of malted beer.
Then came time for them to leave. They rode a little east and then
north through the Forest of Fangorn, which Frodo had not seen yet,
and by great luck caught Fangorn himself sunning on the little
hill where he had met Merry and Pippin. He greeted the Ringsbane
respectfully, and offered them all a draught of Ent-water. Frodo
found the drink quite stimulating, and though he did not grow any,
his hair certainly had an extra curl in it thereafter.
On they rode, singing songs and speaking merrily of the past,
and hopes of the future, which they all had in abundance. Gimli
frequently asked Frodo to describe his lady, Melyanna, and to
tell him of Valimar and Elrond's home on Tuna. He clung to any
word of Galadriel Frodo would give, for the Queen of the Elves
had bewitched his heart.
"What did I say, when we were going to Lothlorien, Frodo? 'Beware
the Lady of the Golden Wood!' Alas! I have lost my heart and will
never have it again. But safe in my Lady's keeping it lies, until
the End of the world."
The singing of Frodo and Legolas attracted the few elves who
lingered in that land. Umanyar, Grey Elves, still dwelt in the
land of Lorien, though its power had faded with the waning of
the Rings and the departure of Galadriel. Some were frightened by
the strange voices, and hid themselves, but some came forward and
welcomed them. When Frodo shared his tale with them, many asked
to accompany him back to Valimar. The last ship had sailed, and
some had missed it, tarrying or unwilling to depart. Now they saw
one last chance to answer the call of the sea in their blood.
Frodo told them he welcomed them, but he was unsure of how he
himself was going to depart, if his little boat did not return. It
certainly would not contain so many Elves. But he could not refuse
them hope; he would go and see what was there, and he allowed all
who wished to accompany him.
They had quite a merry following soon, and they travelled swiftly
through the Anduin River Valley. As word spread, more Elves came to
beg Frodo's permission to join his following. And Frodo was happy
to be with Elves again, though his failure to find his Silmiriel
weighed heavy on his heart. He began to think only of going home,
not the Shire but Tirion, and Bilbo's glade in Sam's garden.
And so he grew slowly melancholy as they rode on, reaching the
Carrock with an escort of five score elves picked up along the
Their arrival at that landmark was timely. The King of the Greenwood
himself, Thranduil, backed by a host of Green Elves, was very nearly
ready to sail into battle with the Beorning leader, Adanbeor, and
his woodsmen. They had received word of the pilgrimage, and were
contesting the right to receive the travelers. When they saw the
size of the company, they laughed and threw in together, combining
their supplies to produce a great party. Elf-lamps and bees-wax
lanterns lit the valley like a hundred-hundred fireflies. Mead
spilled and the fruits of the forest were presented to the delighted
Thranduil greeted his son warmly, and asked if Legolas intended
to depart with Frodo. The King knew in his heart that Legolas's
spirit was lost to the sea, but the wise old Elf cared deeply for
his son, and wished to delay his inevitable sailing.
Legolas smiled at his father and reassured him; he was not ready
to go, he said. There was still much to accomplish in the south.
Thranduil greeted also Legolas's friend Gimli, and he and the Dwarf
shared some humorous tales about their people, to the amusement
The next day the travelers bid farewell to Thranduil and the
Greenwood. Adanbeor himself led them safely through the High Pass,
and refused all offers of payment. He brought them down into the
very valley where Elrond once made his Last Homely House.
Elrond had gone, but not all the Elves;
here among the fading buildings a great gathering of Elves dwelt,
singing their songs sadly and sweetly. They welcomed Frodo and his
companions, and built a great fire in the old Hall, and gathered
round eagerly listening to Frodo's tale. Their excitement was so
great that Frodo could see starlight shining from their radiant
faces even near the bright fire.
And so the escort grew to an army, following Frodo, Legolas,
and Gimli like a long silvery serpent. As they wound through the
Wold on the grassy road, they crossed and re-crossed the path that
Frodo had once taken on a different quest. The memories that came
to him brought no pain, but he grew sad, watching the barren hills
roll by, seeming to have changed not at all in all the time that
lay between, an Age ago it seemed.
As they drew near to Bree-hill, a gathering of Men were seen far
ahead on the Road. King Aragorn and his Queen were waiting there
with their daughters, having heard through the palantir of their
coming, and through other messengers of the size of the party. There
were pavilions raised and food and drink for the travelers. But
as soon as Frodo saw the tall Ranger, he leaped from his saddle
and ran into his embracing arms. Of all his companions, Strider
was the one who's guidance and friendship he desired
most at this time. He burst into tears when the strong arms
"My dear Frodo!" Aragorn's voice was rough, but he wore a joyful
smile. "I thought you had retired and given up on adventures. Had
you run out of material to write about, that you come back to
venture more?" he said, when he could speak again.
Frodo dashed the tears from his face,
smiling. "Nay, good Aragorn. I come back only to find my heart, lost
to a lady beyond my deserving. Now I know the wound of the heart, to
be parted from a loved one beyond hope," Frodo answered sadly.
"No, not beyond hope, my dear Hobbit. You have worked toward
your prize, ever unknowingly, accomplishing the means of your
success. See, you have healed the palantir of Denethor so that my
son can speak to me in need, and you have freed the Druadan Forest
of a great evil, indeed the whole of Middle-earth. What other
seeds have you sown that will grow to fruition? But listen to this
council, if you will, and I will tell you what I have seen.
"Out on the sea is the answer to your riddle, Frodo. I have seen an
island in the sea, just on the edge of the Occluding Darkness. Is
it sunken Numenor, its great peak as yet still unsubmerged, or
some other island, covered with mist and mystery?"
"I saw the sea, also, when I used the Stone, but I didn't
see anything but water. Strider, do you really think she is
there?" Frodo could not suppress the flair of hope in his
"I believe it is the next place to look. Rest here with us for
a little, and meet my other children, daughters as beautiful as
their mother. Then you shall be off to the Havens, and all our
prayers and love will go with you."
King Aragorn and his family rode with Frodo, Legolas, and Gimli
as far as the border of the Shire, and they bid farewells with
fair words and many tears. Frodo kissed the hands of Aragorn and
Arwen's daughters, each truly as beautiful as any ladies Frodo had
ever beheld. He bowed low to Queen Arwen, words failing him as he
beheld her loveliness again. She kissed him once, and once again,
'for her father', she said smiling.
Aragorn took his hand in a firm hold, wordless himself but smiling
with eyes shining. Frodo rode away with a high heart, crossing
the Brandywine Bridge in the grey evening right past the shiriff
nodded sleepily in his chair. The silver serpent wound into the
heart of the Shire through the fading twilight.
They crossed the Shire by night, and the Elves
camped in the woods by day and laughing at the oblivious hobbits
as they worked in their fields, sometimes mere feet away from a
score or more of dreamy Elves. One night after they had camped in
the woods of Tuckborough, they rode up a small hill and then they
could see Hobbiton and Bywater, lights twinkling in the distance
like stars nestled in the rounded terrain. Frodo breathed deep
the peace that was the very air of the land, and his memories of
happy days that he had spent there came fresh and clear into his
mind. Legolas and Gimli rode at his side, watching his glowing
face and not speaking, but dining in the warmth of Frodo's joy.
The great chain of wandering Elves insinuated itself into the
night, threading the gardens and homes of the Shire-folk. Frodo
gazed around at the world he had once known so well. There was
much that was different, new homes ad barns, and the trees were
not the same, though they were well grown and healthy. The land
was not different though, and the hills still undulated like
restless seas. Frodo sighed as he looked about, and Legolas and
Gimli exchanged glances over his head.
"Go down into the village, Frodo," said Legolas. "Look upon the
places of your youth. I see in you that you wish to do this."
"I... well, I'd like to... but I probably should not," stammered
Frodo. "What if I am seen?"
Legolas gave him a sad Elvish smile. "Who will recognize you,
Frodo? Do you ralize how many years have past since you last stood
here? I think that it is safe enough. It is unlikely that anyone
will remember your face." The Elf's words were kind, but Frodo
shook his head.
"Come on, Frodo!" urged Gimli. "If not for yourself, do it for me! I
would go with you, if you take me to the famous Green Dragon Inn. I
have not had a decent malted beer for a long dry road. I should
be distracting enough to divert any attention from an ordinary
hobbit like you."
Frodo looked at Gimli and laughed. Dressed in rich but
travel-stained clothes, the Dwarf would undoubtedly attract all
the attention in the hobbit tavern. His laugh released him from
hesitation. "All right! I will take you to the Dragon for a pint,
my friend. I owe you one, I am sure!"
"Go on with the two of you, then," said Legolas. "I will be
waiting for you on the Road. I have no desire for bitter ale or
dull hobbit parties."
Frodo and Gimli rode on, and their ponies carried them unobtrusively
to the lighted inn. Music welled from the open doors and windows
and sounds of singing drifted over the Water. Frodo left Ol'orin
grazing beside the Pool, and he stared up at the Hill rising
beyond into the evening twilight sky. Soft lights glowed in its
homey windows, and Frodo could smell the flowers of the garden
clearly. His eyes misted. He turned with the Dwarf and went inside
the noisy tavern.
There was a mighty crowd gathered, even as old as the evening
had become. A party of Dwrves were there, loud and boisterous,
along with many assorted hobbits in rustic garb. They were rinsing
the dust of a long weary day away and spared but a glance at the
The Dwarves waved to Gimli, inviting him to their table. Frodo
followed him, but paused in his stride as he passed a hobbit
sitting at a table, drinking alone. Frodo had to suppress a gasp;
the hobbit looked so much like Sam that he nearly called his name
aloud! He forced himself to walk past and join Gimli, where he
watched the lone hobbit discreetly over the rim of a mug of ale.
Mugs were quickly drained, and Frodo was picked
to take them for refilling, as the hobbit-lasses were all too
busy at the moment. Frodo juggled the over-full tray and set it
upon the bar carefully. The hobbit at the tap was a jolly fellow,
and he chattered to Frodo lightheartedly. On an impulse, Frodo
asked him about the solemn hobbit in the corner.
The chatty bartender lowered his voice and
breathed in Frodo's ear, "That there is Mr Gardner, from up t'
Bag End, sir. A right gentlehobbit he is, but he's not a happy
one, these days. Misses his ol' dad, he does." The hobbit sighed,
setting full mugs on the tray. "Aye, we all do. Mr Gamgee was a
real fine hobbit, he was. Mr Frodo there isn't the only one who
Frodo carried the mugs carefully, for his hands
were now shaking unaccountably. He glanced up at his own namesake,
and found the hobbit was gazing straight back at him. Frodo looked
away casually and joined the loud Dwarven bantering.
Gimli's elbow caught Frodo in the ribs, and
he looked up in time to see the door swing shut behind Frodo
Gardner. The Dwarf tilted his head toward the rear entrance;
Frodo slipped out the back and circled the tavern quietly.
Frodo-lad was standing in the road, staring
up the Hill as Frodo had done himself earlier. He seemed to be
speaking, but Frodo was too far away to hear his soft words. He
shook his head slowly, losing some debate with himself, and began
to walk up the path that led to Bag End.
He stopped suddenly before he crossed the bridge
over the Water. Frodo crept nearer, keeping the thick hedge between
them. Frodo-lad was looking at the lovely little grey horse that
King Elfwine had given to Frodo. He held out a hand to Ol'orin,
who came up to him unhesitantly and nuzzled his palm. Sam's son
stroked the horse's proud neck and murmured to him. Ol'orin nickered
softly and stuck his nose in Frodo-lad's ear.
Frodo-lad laughed a rich happy laugh that
reminded Frodo of his own last sweet summer in the Shire, before
he and Sam had made that dreadful journey. Frodo's heart went out
to the lonesome hobbit. He had known that his friend would join
him eventually, but here was one who had lost his father and his
best friend as well, and had no hope of ever seeing him again,
in life. How could Frodo comfort him, without giving himself
away or making the pain worse for him? He watched impotently,
as Frodo-lad patted Ol'orin's flank and walked slowly up the Hill
into the darkness, sadness following him like a cloak.
Westmarch was laid out in a lovely landscape,
obviously lovingly designed by gardeners. Frodo had a prompting
desire to slip up to the windows of one of the holes and see
the comforts concealed within. But he held to his road, patting
Ol'orin's proud neck and trying not to increase his pace.
After the Tower Hills had been passed, and the
Blue Mountains were behind, the land began to slope down, down,
the road winding on until the three Elf-Towers sprung up before
them, and the air was faintly scented with salt.
And on they went, and it was not just Frodo
who had to restrain himself from hurrying. The Elves sprang
forward, eager to see the Havens, where so many of their people
had passed. They flowed around Frodo and his friends, a river of
starlight and laughter, the salt-smell was heavy in his air, and the
sea just beyond the rising hill. Now Frodo felt reluctant; that he
was being pulled away by forces beyond his ken. Just for a moment,
he felt like the young hobbit that once set out on an errand of
hope against all reason, to succeed beyond his own reckoning and
yet fail, to be forgiven and uplifted. He gripped Ol'orin's mane
and rode on, and there was the sea, spreading out before him like
a familiar road that led Home. Frodo sighed and urged Ol'orin to
For to his wondering eyes, bobbing at anchor
on the Gulf of Lune, were three white ships, and on the quay
a gathering of fair folk calling out a welcome. And there were
Caraborn, Ngolfin, and Arbeleg, standing before the crowd, waving
and smiling. Frodo rode down to them with a mixture trepidation
and delight, for even the faces of his rivals were comforting
to him. He introduced his friends to them, and they bowed with
Caraborn said, "Prince Legolas, Lord Gimli; Hail
to the Companions of Frodo! Your legends are told in the Blessed
Realm, and it honors this Elf to meet you in this place. Will you
be coming with us?"
"Nay, my good Caraborn," answered Legolas. "Some
day, but not yet. Though the sea calls, and she calls to me with
the voice of a lover I can hear even while I walk in fields and
mountains, I must wait. Lucky are those who dwell in the Blessed
"Lucky are they that dwell near my Lady
Galadriel," added Gimli. "Convey to her my respects, Frodo, and
tell her that I treasure all the gifts she has given."
"Thank you, Gimli. Take care of Legolas,
and keep his feet on dry land for as long as you can manage. And
Gimli my friend, do one last thing for me and I swear I shall not
ask ought of you again: Take Ol'orin back to Hobbiton. See that
Frodo-lad gives him a good home. Tell him that it is a gift from
his friend Faradoc... that is not too far from the truth.
"And you, Legolas; thank you for being my
companion, and lending your light to my life. You have been... you
both have been... the best Companions this hobbit could have
had. Peace to both of you." He embraced them again, and lingered
with them as the Elves filed onto the ships, the small boats filling
and emptying, filling again, rowing back and forth until only Frodo,
Caraborn, Ngolfin, and Arbeleg stood on the dock. Ngolfin had won
a game of chance to have the honor of bearing Frodo back to Aman
on his ship. Legolas moved slightly apart and was deep in converse
with Caraborn and Arbeleg.
"Why are you three here?" asked Frodo of
Ngolfin. "Have you given up the search for Melyanna, or were you
as stumped as I by the mystery of her whereabouts?"
Ngolfin smiled, answering, "My fellows are
shipwrights. We set sail as soon as our people could outfit our
vessels. While you were here wandering and adventuring, we were
sailing blinding seas and dark waters, lost beyond return and
hope. Then Lord Ulmo came to us in the moment of our greatest
despair, and he told us where Melyanna was hidden."
"He told you! He-" Frodo sputtered.
"Bide a moment, Frodo, and listen! He told
us, and when we found that place, we were greeted by three fair
elf-maidens. But we found not Melyanna, for they would not permit
us to seek her. And when I laid eyes upon Aerwen, I knew that she
was the Lady for whom I have labored. She is the fairest maiden
in all Aman, and other ladies are as fading flowers next to her
"Nay!" exclaimed Caraborn, who stood nearby
with Arbeleg and Legolas. "My Lady Nimiril is by far the fairest
of the three, and she will be my own by her word, when we return
"Listen to them not, Frodo." advised
Agbeleg. "You and I know who the fairest maid is; the sweet
Melyanna, who arranged this timely meeting! Yet my heart cleaves
to Tarabeth, and I graciously step back to allow you the right
you have earned beyond doubt and duty. Come with us, Frodo. We
will take you home."
So Frodo took ship, and waved to his friends
as the evening tide took them out into the open sea. The light of
Earendil's star burned in his hand, and the path opened straight
before them on waters calm and inviting. The darkness that lay on
the sea parted as if cleaved by their sharp prows, and Frodo felt
that particular sensation not unlike the feeling he had when he
crossed into Lothlorien so long ago, afeeling of moving beyond
the circle of mortal time, to a land which never changes and
But suddenly an island loomed, too soon and too
small to be Tol Eressea, and Frodo called out to the helmsman. But
the ships tacked for the islet, and as they drew near he saw a small
harbor, and shining figures waiting upon a quay. The ships sailed
right up to the pier, and Frodo walked as if in a dazed dream,
down the board to the waiting arms of Melyanna, who laid a warm
cloak over his shoulders and took him into her arms even before the
witness of all the Elves on the ships and shore, and embraced him
soundly. He thought he would die; in his chest was a sharp pain he
had never felt before, and he clung to her, saying her name softly,
"Silmiriel, Silmiriel," and brushing his lips against her hair.
"Frodo. You did not hurry, did you?" She spoke
his name, echoing a jest made long ago, and the awful pain turned
suddenly to joy. He laughed out loud, and cried out to the heavens
in excess of delight.
The Elves celebrated with them, and there was
feasting and merriment. Caraborn, Ngolfin, and Arbeleg, together
with their ladies the handmaidens of Melyanna, offered to sail
everyone on to Valimar, but Frodo and Melyanna declined. There was
a fair residence upon this isle, made by the hands of Men long ago,
for it was indeed the highest peak that once adorned Numenor. The
Elves that had accompanied Melyanna in her seclusion had added
much, installing a lovely underground house that reminded Frodo
very much of his beloved Bag End. They had decided to stay there,
and dwell in peace within the sight of Calacirya's light. Many
Elves elected to stay also, and there was much coming and going
between Tol Numenn and Aman, for this island lay on the hither side
of the sundering darkness, near the Blessed Realm. When word was
delivered to Tirion, Elrond himself came by ship to visit them,
and Gandalf came also, and many other friends; an exodus of Elves
came with blessings and eager hands to shape and fashion Tol Numenn
into a suitable home. Naturally, many guest houses and kitchens
were needed, as well as extra gardens and pantries, and there was
ever a throng of folk there, visiting and rejoicing.
One day a ship appeared om the grey horizon,
coming out of the East, and its sail was decorated with a leaf
of green bordered in glittering gold. The Companions Legolas and
Gimli landed at Tol Numenn and greeted Frodo with much excitement
and pleasure. Legolas presented his son Naugellon to Frodo and
Melyanna, and they exclaimed that he was truly the fairest child
they had ever beheld. sweet with the youth of the Eldar and not
yet saddened by the passage of time.
Frodo was delighted to see his old companions,
and he opened his home to them, as he had to all who wished to
linger near him. Legolas bowed with much show of grace to Melyanna,
as did Gimli, now an aged Dwarf indeed, but his eyes twinkled
still with fire, and his beard was long and streaked with reddish
gold. He announced that Melyanna was the fairest lady he had ever
seen, saving only Galadriel herself. The Dwarf was obviously still
smitten with the Elf-queen, and he agreed to remain for a short
time with Frodo on Tol Numenn only after learning that she was
bound to come there soon, for a special gathering.
Frodo stared into the looking glass at his
reflection, then adjusted and smoothed his tunic for a fifth
time. He was more nervous than he had ever been, even when he had
stood up in the Council of Elrond. "What are you nervous for?" he
asked the image in the mirror.
His reflection chuckled at him. "Are you afraid
of happy endings?" it asked him.
Frodo rubbed his thumb over the scar tissue on
his right hand. "No rings," Melyanna had said, and Frodo knew it
was a joke. He had had made for her a special gift, two thin bands
of mithril, woven into an elegant knot, similar to the traceries
he had seen in the hall of Meduseld. Frodo asked Elrond to find a
smith who excelled in small delicate work to perform the task. He
had fretted about it arriving in time, but the box bearing the
ring had come by ship with Lord Elrond yesterday, and Frodo's
worries were replaced with new ones.
"Will she like it?" he had asked Elrond, gazing
into the box.
Elrond had shaken his head, not to indicate
a negative reception, but with amusement at Frodo's jittery
anxiety. "Of course she will like it. Celebrimbor wrought it
himself! Aule has blessed it, and Varda herself held it aloft and
Now Frodo was preparing for the
ceremony. Weddings were done rarely in the Shire; Samwise's
wedding had been the first and only one he had ever been to,
except for Aragorn and Arwen's in Minas Tirith. The custom among
Hobbits had always been to elope, the happy pair disappearing for
a time and then coming back and quietly settling into a cozy hole
together. There were few places on Tol Numenn to disappear to, with
all he visitors about. Frodo and Melyanna had discussed it, and
decided to arrange an official party to announce their union.
Thinking tenderly of Arwen and Aragorn, Frodo
pulled out the silver chain he still wore, and looked at the
white jewel. He wished that his friends could all be here to see
him so happy. He settled the necklace carefully upon his breast,
then fussed with his tunic again.
"Alright there, Mr Frodo?" Samwise came into
the room, carrying the pelisse that Vaire had woven for Frodo to
wear. It was beautiful leaf- green, and it shimmered with light
along the embroidered lines. Samwise put it upon him, letting the
folds of cloth fall over the shining mithril shirt, then took a
Frodo stood up straight, posing. "Well?"
Samwise nodded. "You're the picture of a groom,
Mr Frodo. Now, I got something for you, too." He held up a glowing
jewel on a thin circlet of silver. "I'd be honoured if you wore
it today, sir."
Frodo gasped. "The Star of the Dunadan! Sam,
I cannot wear this! Aragorn gave it to you." He allowed Sam to
place it on his head. It lay perfectly upon his dark curls, and
glowed in harmony with the gem in his chest. "O Sam! thank you!"
"'S only fair, Mr' Frodo, after you let me
wear your mithril shirt at my own wedding. Rosie-lass, she does
have a thing for a hobbit in ironmongery!" Sam blushed slightly
as he confessed this to Frodo. "Now you look like a Prince of
Hobbits! Mistress Melyanna, she deserves nothing less, after
the long wait you gave her." Sam laughed at Frodo's indignation,
turning him away from the mirror and leading him out of the room
by the hand.
The garden was full of Elves, sitting upon the
bright grass and standing under the trees. Elrond and Gandalf
were talking together, and they nodded in approval at Frodo's
appearance. Gimli stood nearby, surrounded with elven-maids who
seemed very interested in his neatly braided beard. Legolas was
nearby, his young son standing at his elbow; they were both laughing
at the jealous faces of the Elves who had lost their escorts to
Bilbo was standing beneath a vine covered trellis
that bore flowers of many colours. He embraced Frodo warmly, and
cast his eye over his nephew's rainment. "You look like a prince,
Frodo my lad."
Frodo's face was scarlet, but he was smiling. "I
am so glad that you are here, Bilbo!"
"I would not have missed it, not for anything! I
always knew that you would be destined for great things. And here
comes the greatest thing of all..."
Frodo turned, and beheld Melyanna. She was
standing in the garden, her maids arranged behind her, and she
out-shown them in loveliness as the first of day of May exceeds in
fairness the last day of December. She wore a sea-green gown that
shimmered like mother-of-pearl, and lace as delicate as sea-foam
frothed at her cuffs and hem, and trailed down behind like a
waterfall of mist. Her hair was arranged loosely with flowers and
shell combs, and she seemed to drift above the grass like a vision,
so graceful was her step. He was speechless; his heart was again
throbbing with that almost painful beat that he always felt at
the sight of her.
She floated down the petal-strewn path, and all
the host of guest gathered around them. Her maids and their escorts
stood behind her, and flanking Frodo were his Companions.
"Friends," spoke Bilbo, "Observe these people
as they plait their lives into one strand, adding to the tapistry
of life. Listen as they raise their voices in harmony, making a
song that we can all sing together."
Melyanna spoke, "I am thy companion, Frodo,
thy mate and thy love. Whither goes thou, there too I shall go,
even beyond the circles of the world, if Eru permits it."
Frodo had to swollow before he could speak. "To
thee, Melyanna, I am commited entire. All that I have I give to
thee, my heart, my body and my soul."
Frodo realized that he had forgotten something
very important, and he turned to Sam, who wordlessly handed him a
small polished wooden box. Frodo sighed with relief and breathed,
"Sam, what would I do without you?" Sam smiled.
Frodo opened the box, and drew out the ring. It
sparkled magnificently as he slid it slowly upon Melyanna's
finger. She had tears running down her cheeks. Frodo kissed them
away, and overhead fireworks exploded in an awesome display. Frodo
looked at Gandalf, who shrugged eloquently.
"Don't look at me! I didn't bring any fireworks
to this party."
Everyone watched the smokes and lights. Gimli's
eyes had grown misty watching as the lovers exchanged their vows,
but his eyes lingered upon Galadriel mostly, who stood nearby with
Celeborn, Elrond and Celebrian. The twins Elrohir and Elladan,
together with Legolas and Naugellon, raised conch horns and blew,
signalling to all the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the
feast. When Frodo heard the horns blowing and saw the fireworks
exploding overhead he laughed, for he knew then that all of the
Fellowship were gathered around him now, in his happiest moment. He
smiled deep in his heart, and it shown out through his face.
When the coloured lights had faded and the smoke
dispersed, and the guests of honour were sought, all that could
be found of them where they had last been seen, was the Star of
the Dunadan pillowed upon a veil of delicate lace, lying beneath
the flowered trellis at Bilbo's feet.
Long the friends of Frodo and Melyanna lingered
upon the fair island, and so were present in later months to
witness the birth of Frodo's twin children.
On their naming day he introduced them;
Randir, in honour of Gandalf (who bowed and smiled with delight);
and Lothithil, who was lovely as flowers sparkling in the
moonlight. Melyanna presented the babes to Elrond and Gandalf,
who became as Grandfathers to them, delighting in their first
words and steps, and teaching them games and songs.
Lothithil displayed early a gift for
languages, and Gandalf saw that she would become a great wielder
of power. Something of her mother was in her, some essence of
the Maia which made her more like the people of the Vala than
her brother. Whether it would be that she would be of that
race or that of her father's, he could not say; the answer was
hidden from him. So he taught her, with her parents permission,
all the skills and wisdom he could impart, and she grew into a
lovely maiden possessing a gentle, loving heart, and harboring
Her brother, the darling Randir, was the apple
of Frodo's eye. He was a handsome, merry lad, with curly hair on
head and feet, and as much like his father in looks as can be, but
with the sparkle of the afternoon sun on the sea in his eyes. And
he grew in body and mind much as his sister did, with a hunger to
know, and see, and absorb. He loved the stories his father told,
and he read the books that Elrond brought him, and listened to
everything the wise Elf would tell. He began to compose poetry and
songs of his own that delighted listeners, and held them spellbound
as he spoke, calling up images to the eyes of his audience, just
as the great Elvish Bards did in long ages past.
The children of Frodo and Melyanna grew into
handsome souls with much love and respect for their parents and
for their mentors, and for all the Elves who lived with them and
visited the island.
Legolas and Gimli sailed on to Valinor, but they
came as frequent visitors to the isle, and Naugellon and Randir
and Lothithil became fast friends, growing together in knowledge
and love, dwelling on the island of Home off of the coast of the
Blessed Realm, beyond the Sea.