SUMMARY:  Frodo's life at Brandy Hall after his parents die, and the events leading up to his adoption by Bilbo.  The first part in my "Making of a Rinbearer" trilogy, which is Frodo-centred and pre-LOTR.  The second part is currently in progress (as of January 2004) and can be found on my author page ("The Making of a Ringbearer: Anchored").

REVIEWS:  Please do.  This is my first serious fan fiction and I would greatly appreciate advice and constructive criticism.  Also, please tell me if you have a suggestion for something you want to happen later in the series.

RATING:  G.  No mature subject matter and definitely no slash.

NOTES:

I would like to explain my weird personal system of understanding hobbit ages first, so you know what the heck I was thinking when you read the actual story.  I realize that most people have probably developed their own way of relating hobbit ages to human ages, but since I'm writing this story, I might as well tell you how I see it.  If you aren't obsessed with pointless details like I am, just skip this part.

So basically, I got out my graphing calculator and created a function to describe hobbit age.  Yes, I know I am a nerd, so don't bother pointing that out.  :)  The function ended up being quadratic, and I think it works really well.  So... if any of you are in a particularly nerdish mood and feel like making your own handy reference graph for hobbit age, here is the function:  Y=0.0034X^2+0.404X+1.14, where X=hobbit age and Y=human equivalent (X^2 means "X squared").  If you are not so inclined, just look at the convenient table below:

X (hobbit age)                       Y (human equivalent)

________________                _________________

8                                              4

11  (Frodo at parents' deaths)            5

26                                            13

33  (coming of age)                  18

40                                            22

50  (Frodo at start of quest)    29

70                                            45

80                                            55

100  (avg. hobbit lifespan)       75

111                                           87

130                                           110

And so on.  My story actually starts in 1380, the year Frodo's parents die.  Frodo is thus 11 (5) – I'm assuming the accident is in the spring, before Frodo turns 12.  So, there you have it.  Evidence that your high school algebra may yet serve some purpose...  Now on with the story!  Finally!

DISCLAIMER:  I don't own the Lord of the Rings or any of its characters, all of which were created by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I do not profit financially from this story.

The Making of a Ringbearer I:  Adrift

By Obelia medusa

1.  Prologue

1380

Esmeralda sighed, glancing down at the tear-stained face of her young cousin.  She smoothed his dark curls tenderly.  They all had a great deal of grieving to do.

"Come along, Frodo, dear," she said gently.  "Your room is right over here.  I'll help you get settled, alright?"

The small hobbit clinging to her hand nodded reluctantly.  Esmeralda opened the door and settled Frodo on one of the two little beds inside.  She saw that Frodo's bags had already been brought in, and she began swiftly unpacking and hanging the small items of clothing in the cupboard.

Esmeralda worked in silence for several minutes, until all was organized to her satisfaction.  Finally, she looked up to meet the wide blue eyes of her small charge.  He was eleven years old and rather small for his age, but he was a bright little thing.

He still hadn't said a word.  Esmeralda was just recently married and had no children of her own yet, but she knew this wasn't healthy, especially for a boy as bubbly and cheerful as Frodo had been only the day before yesterday.

Yesterday.  Esmeralda sighed again, feeling the strain of the past day as everyone in Brandy Hall was.  The poor child had lost his parents only yesterday.  Accidents on the Brandywine River were rare, to be sure, but not unheard of.  Frodo's world had fallen apart, and Esmeralda would not soon forget the anguished wail that escaped the little boy on seeing the bodies of his parents brought up from the river.

Since then, Frodo had maintained this eerie silence, broken only by tears.  Esmeralda supposed he was still in shock, and she was worried.  How long could this last?