Everything that isn't my OC belongs to Tolkien and Peter Jackson. Don't sue me.


EPILOGUE

THE NATURE OF HOBBITS AND RUMORS

There was quite the disturbance in Hobbiton when Bilbo Baggins returned from his adventuring. He has been declared dead! But there he was, spitting and shouting, face going ruddy in frustration. Simply the return of this presumed dead hobbit would have caused rather a commotion, but even more astonishing was the human girl he had brought back with him.

She was alarmingly tall, all skin, bones, and muscle, with dark hair and pallid skin. She was rarely seen smiling upon first arriving in the Shire, and it seemed that she bore the weight of the world on her shoulders, a feature rarely seen in hobbit-kind. All of Hobbiton was abuzz, discussing Bilbo and this woman. Who was she? Where was she from? Why had she come to the Shire? Why was she living in Bag End? (The Sackville-Bagginses were particularly upset about that last one)

Rumors too, spread like wildfire. Some said that Bilbo had happened upon her throughout his adventuring, and due to a sudden onset of paranoia, taken her back with him as a bodyguard of sorts, in order to ward off any dangerous creatures he might encounter. Others speculated that she was ill and dying from some mysterious, foreign disease, and Bilbo, overcome with sympathy, had offered her a comfortable place in which to live out her last few weeks. Among these rumors, the most alarming, was that this woman was, in fact some sort of a witch, and she had put Bilbo under a wicked spell, in order to lay claim over his home and eventually all of the Shire. (That one had, of course, been mainly spread by the Sackville-Bagginses in an effort to create animosity towards this mysterious woman who'd quite rudely taken up residence in the home they sought)

Most of that was nonsense, though, and quickly dismissed as such.

As the years passed, one could see the woman changing, healing. Her smiles became more frequent, her steps lighter. A few years of hobbit-eating had softened the harsh edges off her frame, and set a much more healthy glow about her face. As she adjusted to life in Hobbiton, Hobbiton life adjusted to her. Perhaps a decade after her arrival, mad stories pertaining to her were few and far between. She was nodded to when passed on the path, smiled at, even, by a few of the friendlier folk.

The children, in particular, seemed to take a liking to her. They would spend long hours on most days in the garden of Bag-End, their attention rapt on vivid tales of dragons and peril spun by this Miss Gwen and Bilbo Baggins. In the decades the girl spent in the Shire, two conversations of particular note occurred.

The first was a sweet midsummer evening, as the time was nearing supper, the sun dipping beneath the horizon, cool air stirring the heat away from the garden's grass. Gwen had retired inside half-an-hour previous, and one of the littlest hobbits tugged at the hem of Bilbo's trousers to get his attention, looking up with wide, curious eyes. "Mister Bilbo, why is it that Miss Gwen always wears that scarf?"

The scarf that was being referred to was a worn, knit one, made of coarse yarn, that looked to have been made too short for its wearer. Gwen wore it tied or draped about her neck most days, even during the summer.

Bilbo smiled down at the young boy, and took a long draw from his pipe before speaking. "It was given to her as a gift by one of our traveling companions, like the dagger up on the wall. It has grown to be very precious to her."

The young one furrowed his brow at that, wrinkling his nose up a little. "But it's old and itchy, and it seems foolish to wear it during the summer time."

"And to her, it's worth more than all the jewels you could even dare to imagine!" Bilbo told him, widening his eyes for effect. However, the hobbit's expression remained miffed and slightly puzzled. Bilbo chuckled, reaching down to ruffle the boy's curls. "You'll understand soon enough, I'm sure."

The second conversation of interest occurred decades later, at the home of the young Frodo Baggins.

The hobbit and Gwen were seated on the old wood dock that stretched a few feet over the placid lake, soaking in the warm wash of summer sun. As she had spent time with hobbit-folk, Gwen had found herself going out without boots of any sort much more frequently. That day was no exception. She had her bare feet hanging up to the ankles in the cool, silky water below, swirling lazy circles through it. Frodo, with his rather shorter legs, could only reach to skim his toes over the surface. He leaned forward a tad precariously, squinting hard into the water, determined to see that silvery flash he had noticed a few minutes earlier again. As the seconds dragged into minutes, he huffed and sat back. If whatever it was wanted to hide from him, he very well wouldn't humor it by trying to look for it anymore.

A breeze slid past, cooling the beads of sweat on his forehead and ruffling fond fingers through his curls. A sudden flash of light in Gwen's direction caught his eye. He turned quickly to see that the locks of her hair had been lifted aside to reveal something shiny in the curls on her shoulder blades.

"Wait!" he called firmly, speaking more to the shifting strands than to the woman.

She turned her head to look down at him, a soft smile touching her lips. "Yes, Master Frodo?"

He frowned and without speaking, reached up with stubby fingers to shuffle through the locks of her hair. He found the little thing he was looking for rather soon, and saw it was a lumpy, tarnished bit of silver that secured the end of a small braid at the nape of her neck. It was heavy and cool in his fingers and he turned it a little, watching, fascinated the sparks of light it threw out. "What's this?"

She twisted a little to see it, and her face instantly fell. For a moment, if you'd been looking, you would have seen a myriad of raw emotions flash across her features. Sorrow, fear, anger, and even a touch of affection. "That's..." her voice faltered, thick with all those feelings. She cleared her throat quickly, masking that storm of emotions with a crooked smile. "That's a story for another day, my dear Frodo." She saw the protest already forming on the boy's lips, but didn't allow him to start. "Now go on up to the house. Your mother'll want you to clean up before lunch." He shot her a nasty face as he slowly dragged himself to his feet, and Gwen gave him a stern look. "Don't give me that, Frodo Baggins. You've had plenty enough stories for now."

The young hobbit turned to begin trudging up the grassy hill, seeming set on moving as slow as possible. Gwen chuckled. "I heard that there was some left over bacon from breakfast. If you hurry along, you might be able to get a bit."

His eyes lit up instantly, and he was scrambling up to the house without any more fuss.

Gwen stayed where she was, letting that false smile fall from her face and leaning forward to peer into the lake. Her reflection was disrupted as a few heavy tears pulled off of her nose to create tiny ripples in the glassy surface.

Yet more decades passed, and the woman became part of life in Hobbiton. Hardly more gossiped about than flowers, pipeweed, or butter.

Then, on the rather remarkable evening of Bilbo Baggins' eleventy-first birthday, she too was gone before the sun rose the morning after.


The night was wicked. The air was cold and unforgiving, the sky clouded and black as ink. Rain pounded down in sheets, slicking stones and turning the ground into a mud pit. The smell of fire, blood, and sweat laced the air. Screaming, howling and crashing of steel on steel polluted the silence. Heavy footsteps beat against the ground, causing the whole scene to tremble.

It was on that night, that Glorawen, daughter of Venelir of Mirkwood, fell.

She collapsed first to her knees, the energy washing out of her. Then, she crumpled on to her side, the mud splashing up to soak her, leeching more energy and heat from her quivering muscles. Thick, hot iron slicked her tongue, her breaths shuddering stickily though her pierced throat. Feeling slowly drained out of her extremities, but her heart still thudded sickeningly against her ribs. Her thoughts floated out of reach as breathing became more and more of a challenge. The mud sucked angrily at her as she was rolled onto her back. Her lips fell open slightly as her lungs spasmed, a rattling cough spraying droplets of blood onto her face. They hit her cheeks warm and heavy, but were quickly sluiced away by a sheet of icy rain.

Despite the struggle of her lungs and pulse, her glassy eyes bored into the inky night sky with a sort of exhausted serenity. The sky seemed like some fathomless abyss, oozing from its vaulted hold to creep nearer to her. Her head began to throb stuffily, her lungs shuddering and trembling for one last sweep of night.

She was tired. Exhausted. She had been fighting for so many years, and in her heart, she longed so terribly for rest.

The chaos of battle soon faded in her ears, as the airy, silk soft fingers of night reached down, gathering up her prone body into it's warm hold. Her thoughts darted away from her reach, and her eyes slid closed as she at last let herself drift into the darkness.

Until the end of all things...


"Kili?"

"There you are, love. I've been waiting."

"As have I. We've a lot to catch up on."

"Too much."


And there we go. That's how you relationship. Finally.

I think that's a nice place to end it, don't you? It's no Beren and Luthien, but I think they did end up happy. I apologize if you were seeking out a super happy, cliche ending, this is all you're gonna get. For now. I hope you'll all hop over to the two stories I'm planning as spinoffs of this. I should be posting those in a week or two, as soon as I get far enough ahead in writing them that I can justify posting. Just keep an eye out, yeah?

It's probably a bit odd to hear, especially after just having read this chapter, but this was the first chapter I ever wrote of this story, almost a year ago. At that point, this whole story was just a collection of ideas in my head-I didn't even have a name for Gwen yet. I never would have thought that I would complete this story, much less end up finally getting back on this site, posting this, and actually having other people read it. But, I did manage to pull this off, and it's mostly because of each and every one of you that's reading this right now. You kept me going, kept me in high spirits, and really made my welcome back to this site a welcoming welcome indeed. So...thanks guys, you all mean the world to me, and I love all of you more than you think. (I swear, it's not creepy.)

Well...I guess this is it. Until I post again, I bid you all a very fond farewell!

LOOK AT THIS PLEASE: The AU sequel and spin-off drabble series is up! If you liked this, go check those out. And don't forget to review!

UPDATE AS OF 8/1/18

Hello, friend! If you're reading this, I figure you may be interested in knowing that this story is in the process of being completely rewritten from the ground up. I'm rewriting for a number of reasons, but mostly because what I have coming is going to be miles better than this story in plot, characterization, writing quality; basically everything. It's up right now, titled "A Path of Stone." You should hop over and read that because while it is a similar tale to this, it's a very different, and much improved read. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me, I'd love to tell you more about it. Thank you for reading, and I'll see you over at "A Path of Stone!"

-Mutterings