Chapter 1 : News from Afar
Valinor September 23, 1482
Frodo walked on the white sands of a Valinor beach and looked at the stars. It never got completely dark or brightened to the light of midday here but, during the nighttime hours, the soft, silvery light deepened into the blue that, in the Shire, only occurred for a brief period just before the onset of full-dark. The fact that this beautiful quality of light lasted throughout the night was one of the things the old hobbit loved about his final refuge.
The stars were incredibly bright and small, phosphorescent jellyfish glowed in the clear waters so that, if you lay on your back, it was difficult to tell sea from sky. Frodo lay on his back in the sand and laughed at the stars.
He was surprisingly hale for a hobbit of his years and history of injury. He hair was silver but it was still thick and curly and his luminous eyes were still clear. He was the only hobbit here now but Bilbo had been with him for longer than anyone thought possible. Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel were not hobbits but they cared deeply for him and made much over him, as did all the elves of this place and the cares of his old life had faded away. Still, he would like to see a hobbit again.
He sat up when he noticed something brighter and larger than any of the minuscule jellyfish glowing in the water. He watched it wash up on the beach and went to investigate. It was a white rose and it shone in the dim light. He picked it up. It looked like one of those white roses the Tooks used to grow. It reminded him of something else, but he couldn't think what it might be. He would have to ask Master Elrond.
He made his way to Elrond's hall and showed the rose to the elegant, dark-haired elf. A look of recognition and sorrow passed over the elf lord's face and he said, "I know this rose. It used to grow in Rivendell. Maybe it still does. I gave a cutting to a Took once, long ago."
Frodo was puzzled and asked, "What does it mean?"
Elrond smiled and said, "I think we may expect company."
True to Elrond's prediction, a boat arrived the next day and, to Frodo's extreme delight, Sam was a passenger.
The old friends embraced and cried tears of joy. Sam was greeted with much fanfare and song by the elves, then the two hobbits repaired to the smial that had been made for Frodo on a hill near the beach for tea and conversation.
Sam told him about the many children he and Rosie had, how well they had all done, and what a beautiful lass his dear little Elanor had grown into. Sam also told him of Merry and Pippin and their families and how prosperous the Shire was.
Frodo could tell that Sam was leaving some stories left unsaid, though, and that something was bothering his dearest friend. There was someone Sam had not mentioned, someone Frodo desperately wanted to know about. He craved news of the lass who had comforted his last days in the Shire.
In a gentle voice, Frodo asked, "Sam, how is Rosemary?"
Tears that were not of joy welled up in Sam's eyes and he said, "Oh, Frodo! It is all my fault!"