Characters: The Fellowship of the Ring
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s – it’s all Tolkien’s.
Pip glanced around him nervously.
“Can I sleep next to you?” He whispered.
Merry grunted; he’d already rolled himself tightly in his blanket.
“Move over a bit,” urged Pippin.
“Ssssh,” hissed Sam from the other side.
Pippin wriggled down between the other hobbits.
After a short pause Aragorn heard Pip whisper again.
“Why do his stories always have to begin ‘it was a dark and stormy night’?
“Because Gimli likes to be dramatic,” mumbled Merry.
“Dramatic? He’s bloody scary!”
Aragorn closed his eyes… I shall have to have a word with Master Gimli about his so-called ‘bedtime stories’, he thought.
Legolas told tales beautifully; his voice sonorous, his choice of words cogent, with the lilting rhythm of a ballad. The Hobbits, particularly Sam, were mesmerised by them. Even Boromir, well used to Gondor’s troubadours and Rohan’s bards, was impressed.
Frodo hung on every word, captured in the moments of long, long ago – until he caught sight of unshed tears filling Aragorn’s eyes, and the how the stance of the elf had stiffened…
It came as a dawning revelation that ‘once upon a time’ to him, were tales of people and places the Elf, and the Dunadan, actually knew and loved.
As the world closed down, as his horizon became a few steps, then one step ahead, Frodo strived to cling to sanity. Sam, ever stalwart, tried to help… speaking remembrances of times past, hopes for times to come, speculations as to how the Shire fared – because, of course they would go back… Neither could afford to let slivers of doubt enter their thoughts. They needed something to cling to amongst Mordor’s rocks and ashes.
Sam remembered Legolas’ tales of heroes and warriors, “All I want to hear is… and they all lived happily ever after…”
But Frodo could not reply.
It was a long ride down unfamiliar lanes. Sam was unusually quiet, busy with his thoughts, conscious of his new responsibility. Master Frodo had entrusted him with something important that he and Bilbo had cherished over the years… now Samwise Gamgee must make the final additions…
But what to say?
When he tried to recall all he’d seen and done… well, after a while it sort of blurred, fraying at the edges to become more senses and feelings than fine words. He’d just about decided the correct phrases as he reached the gate, but then…
“Well, I’m back”, he said…