Part Ten

**Dandy’s Note: as I read from the journal several pages fall to the floor. They do not match the rest of the journal in size or in coloring. Odd, after taking such meticulous care of his journal through his 6 months journey that Sam would place these in there. I unfold them and begin to read. With the first sentence the puzzle is revealed. **

I have borrowed several sheets from one of the soldiers from Gondor. I must write this down before I forget again. And alas, I cannot find my journal. The pocket next to my heart where my journal lay is empty. I do not know where I could have possibly left it. I wonder what Rosie will think when I tell her. Soon I hope we are going home. The quest is finished; it has been quite sometime since I wrote in the journal last. So I must try to remember where it was that I left off. I know I had it with me after searching for Mr. Frodo in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. I remember writing in it after we escaped. The last few weeks in Mordor were torture. We spent as much time as we could just trying to walk, crawl, and drag our way to the mountain. The days and nights were the same; it was always either pitch dark from the night or a gray twilight during the day. I remember the smoke, the fumes, and the weighty silence, broken only by gasps for air. Our food had dwindled to crumbs of lembas. We were down to the last drop in our bottle. I could never find time to write anyways. Everything was a blur. We were either walking or dropping off into a restless sleep that neither revived us nor strengthened us. Dragging ourselves we could only move ten miles a day, except for that horrid day when the orcs caught us and forced us to march towards Udin. That just put us further from our goal, until we were finally able to escape from them. To think that we did not just die on the trek still amazes me. The strength of our mutual wills, were the only thing that kept us from lying down in the end. Without him, I would never have made it, and I think the reverse is true.

I wish I had my journal, now his story will be lost to all.

When we reached the base of the mountain. We were lucky to find that it wasn’t as tall as distance or the lands made it. Thank goodness. Our feet were cut to strips by the lava rocks. Though it seemed there was a path, walking was treacherous, as cracks would open below our feet where the ground would crumbled beneath our steps. The fumes were even worse around the base, it was far, far worse than I imagined from Boromir’s words at the council.

Then came that horrible last day. I remember so little of it. Gollum had hit me in the head twice that day. So what really happened in the cracks of doom is unknown to me. I awoke the second time to find Mr. Frodo lying near the pit, with his ring and finger missing from his hand. He mumbled that the deed was done, and when I tried to get angry with Gollum for doing that to his hand, he asked me to forgive the wretched creature. Saying that without Gollum the quest would have failed. I do not believe so. I think he would have found it in him to destroy the evil thing. We will never know for sure now, the decision was taken from us in the end. Picking him up I carried him out from the crack and started down the mountain. He laughed at me, saying to put him down, he could walk. What a golden moment that was. To hear him laugh again amongst the ruins around us, what a glorious experience, I have never felt so happy as when I heard that. Then at last the heat, the smoke and the fumes weighed us down. We sat down and waited for the end to come.

Now 14 days later we have awaken in Ithilien again. Gandalf has come and seen us a couple of times today. He is the one that told us to remain in the tent until the feast, and get use to seeing light again. Seems they are afraid that our eyes need to get use to at least torchlights before we are ready for the brightness of the day. How I wish to see the sun again, thank goodness Gandalf says it should only be for half a day. As I write I have just realized that it has been nearly a month since we have seen sunlight and that was that final gleam at the crossroads. Many torches though light the tent, so I can see quite well. And what do I see as I look around the tent. I see Mr. Frodo lying on his back with his arm over his face. My heart wrenches at the sight of his maimed hand. I choke back the tears, which threaten to fall, again. I have to look away again or else they will start to fall. I have felt very: well, weepy today.

We are dressed in our rags again. Gandalf insisted that we attend the feast in our rags. You would think that we at least could put some tidier clothes on, but Gandalf just smiled and said, not yet. They and we are at least clean again. I wonder what will happen at the feast.

Of the 6 companions we left at the waterfall, we have seen none of them. Boromir, of course, we had word of his death but I am amazed that none of the others have come to see us. Gandalf will not even give a hint as to who survived the journey to Minas Tirith and the ensuing battles. I wonder what became of Mr. Faramir also. The Gondorian soldier who loaned me the papers, quill and ink (since I seem to have lost that too) just smiles at me in answer. That is very encouraging, since I recognize him from Mr. Faramir’s patrol. But why Mr. Faramir hasn’t come to see us either is also quite remarkable. I guess we will find out at the feast tonight.

This waiting is interminable and I am so tired of only having broth and tea to drink. Gandalf mentioned that was how they kept us alive for these last 14 days. I do not remember any of it either. I can’t imagine being idle for that long let alone just sleeping, but by all accounts, Ok, Gandalf’s and the soldier (I really must ask him his name) it was 14 days ago that we arrived, by eagle no less. Wow. Glad I wasn’t awake for that trip. Me, being flown by an eagle, what if it had dropped me, ugh, I shudder to think of that. Well, Gandalf has come back and Mr. Frodo is awake. I will write more of the feast later. I wonder if they will have potatoes to eat, too.

Part Eleven

**Dandy’s Note: This is the second of the three pages that fell out of Sam’s Journal

The afternoon and the feast were wonderful, not sure I can give a full account of what we did, but I will try. I am too excited to sleep anyways. Everyone was all dressed in such battle finery and there we were dressed in rags. But my goodness how they cheered when they led us to the thrones, there was three of them with banners all around, a horse, a swan, and a white tree. Upon the largest of all, the one with the white tree was Mr. Strider, that rascal from Bree is going to be crowned the king of Gondor. Strider? King? I still can’t believe it. He and the other two kings? Princes? Well they stood up as we approached their thrones and then they knelt before us. Then Mr. Strider he took us by the hands and set us upon the big throne. And then told the companies surrounding us “to praise us”, I can feel my cheeks turning red again as I write this.

And then, wonder of wonder, a minstrel arrived and asked the kings if he could sing about Mr. Frodo, just like Mr. Frodo and I talked about as we waited to enter the tunnel and then afterwards on Mt. Doom. He called it Frodo of the Nine Fingers and The Ring of Doom. I will have to find this minstrel to record the song for Mr. Bilbo. He will be dreadfully disappointed in us if we don’t. I will seek for him tomorrow. He sang the song many times tonight and he seems to be very popular with the knights, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find him. I will need to ask Mablung, that is the name of the Gondorian knight that was with Faramir, tomorrow to take me to find him. Mablung doesn’t embarrass me as much as the rest do, all this bowing to me is getting ridiculous. Mr. Frodo seems to take it in stride, but I cannot get use to it. After the song came a small feast, only ate two servings at that one, we had venison, turnips, new spring carrots and sweet peas, that had been slow roasting in a kettle all day. Then they led us back to our tent and we were given fresh new clothes and I was given a new mail shirt and my elven cloak, without the scars that it bore from Mordor. Mr Frodo received back his clothes that were taken from him at Cirith Ungol.

Then came the great feast. There was more food, than I ever dreamed possible. I thought that our meal during the earlier part of the day was large. It felt so good to eat until I could burst. And the wine they served with at the feast was perfect. (I must admit I got rather tipsy, from it, it was quite potent.) At the feast we finally discovered the rest of our companions, Merry and Pippin have been made into knights. Legolas and Gimili have also survived. Mr. Faramir was wounded, and is now preparing Minas Tirith for Mr. Strider to return to as king. Merry and Pippin have grown not just in height, which is surprising, but in wisdom too. Neither one resembles the young mushroom stealing hobbits they once were. I guess none of resembles what we once were. Can I return to the simple life of a gardener now that I have seen what lies outside The Shire? I have found an inner strength in me, that was not there before, or was it, and I just never recognized it for what it was?

Mr. Frodo seemed to eat very little at the second feast; he seemed to be lost in thought so I let him alone. He did eat a little when he caught my eye on him. Chuckling he had said, “Still, looking after me are you Sam?” I replied, “Well sir, that was my job, after all, to do for Mr. Frodo and too look after his bit of garden, remember?” We both started laughing over that bit, the thought of Crickhollow’s garden after a half-a-year absence, was just too funny to keep inside ourselves. The weeds must surely be up to the windowsills by now. By the time we get back, they will be a roof top level. I would need a sickle to knock them all down rather than my rusty old shears.

It is pleasant to sit here with a pipe and listen to the night songs of the animals in Ithilian. Merry has supplied me with a pouch full of pipeweed. But it is becoming late and I must retire for the evening, I must seek out the minstrel in the morning. Since they have assigned someone to be a manservant to Mr. Frodo and I. I have no chores to attend to. Not sure if I can handle someone else taking care of Mr. Frodo, let alone taking care of me. Still it will be nice to be able to sleep in tomorrow morning, without having to make sure that breakfast is ready at half-past eight. Someone else will be taking care of that. I think I will go for a walk and finish my pipe outdoors. It will be very pleasant to see the stars and the moon again.