There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea. --Seal, "Kiss from a Rose"
How did it ever come to this? How did things ever progress to this point? Why is it that I must now say farewell to my cousin, never to see him again? Why is it that only across the sea, in the Undying lands, can Frodo ever be healed? Why do I have to lose him forever?
The answer is truly simple, but that makes it no more easy to bear or understand. In fact, it makes it all the worse, knowing exactly why Frodo has suffered these last few years and why he must now leave forever all that he loves. I do not think that I can bear losing him, though. He is my elder cousin, my heart's brother, one of the Hobbits that I love most.
But he must go. The quest to destroy the Ring assured that he could never find peace while in Middle-earth. The Ring caused all of Frodo's ills and injuries that can only be healed in Valinor. The Ring did not stab Frodo, nor did it sting him, but it attracted the evil to him that did, causing his sickness year after year. And he is only It's most recent victim. Over the long ages of this world, the Ring has caused much destruction and devastation, ruined many lives, including those of Elendil, Isildur, and, in a way, Saruman.
The Ring was created Ages ago, but the War for it began all those long years ago, though our part in it began a few short years and a lifetime ago, when we were all just carefree hobbit lads, the day old Bilbo left to Frodo the accursed Ring. On the surface, it seemed like nothing more than a normal parting gift. No one knew, or even suspected, that it might be more, that it would cause trouble. Everyone thought that it was just a simple gold band. Everyone was wrong.
There was so much death and destruction dealt out in the war for that simple looking band of gold. And even though so many people died, it seems as if Frodo suffered the most severe blow. To have to carry the Ring across Middle-earth to destroy it almost destroyed him. The yearning to touch the Ring again is still destroying him, though not visibly. Watching him suffer through everyday, wanting the Ring, is heart-wrenching, causing me almost physical pain whenever I am around.
My dear, sweet cousin is not much changed, physically, from the last time I have seen him; a little older, perhaps, but no worse than I have ever seen him before. There were times that he was painfully thin, even before the Quest, when no one believed that he could survive another winter, but he always proved everyone wrong, pulling through stronger than ever. Now, though, there is shock clearly written upon his face as Merry and I ride up. I can almost hear what he wants to say aloud: 'How did you know? I thought I had been clever in my plans, not telling a soul in the Shire about my wanting to leave.'
If you thought you could get away without so much as a good-bye, then you are sorely mistaken, Frodo Baggins. You owe us at least that much, I think, but am unable to say as I jump from my pony. I can feel tears winding their way down my cheeks, but pay them no heed, laughing instead. I can't help but do so at seeing the comical look on Frodo's face. He looks so confused and bewildered, yet thankful at the same time.
'You tried to give us the slip once before and failed, Frodo. This time you have nearly succeeded, but you have failed again. It was not Sam, though, that gave you away this time, but Gandalf himself!'
I can hear Gandalf replying to this, but don't listen; I'm too busy watching Frodo. There is a lightness in his eyes that I have missed these last few years, and shall never see again after today. The smile gracing his features is truly sincere, though more than a little bittersweet. I know that I shall never forget him (if that is even possible), nor how he looks in this moment. He is on his way to healing, to being the Frodo that he used to be. I will treasure this memory of him for the rest of my days, knowing that he will always remember me as I am now.
Fairly lunging forward, I grab Frodo up into a strong embrace. His body is small in my arms and I can feel his gauntness through his outer clothing, but I know the Elves will keep him healthy until his last day. As he and I embrace for the last time, there is more that I want to say, but cannot force out past the large lump in my throat. I want to tell him that I love him, that I shall never forget him, nor what he sacrificed for Middle-earth, that I shall try my best to move on with my life. But I am unable to voice any of this.
When Frodo pulls back and our eyes meet for the last time, I can see that he knows. He always knows. He always was able to read my heart, better even than Merry could. And through his soulful eyes, I can read his: his love for me, Merry, Sam, the Shire, Middle-earth as a whole, his longing to stay, his need to go.
Holding Frodo at arm's length, I am not able to say good-bye. Though I know that we will never again meet, I can't help but have an irrational hope that I am wrong and some day Frodo will return or I will be granted passage to the Undying Lands. Even though I know it is irrational, I am unable to force any more words out of my mouth. With one last smile for me, Frodo moves away to share one last embrace with Merry and Sam.
At some silent urging, I raise my tear-filled eyes and look straight at the Lady Galadriel, who is now standing on aboard the graceful Elven ship. She is smiling sadly down at me, her wisdom-filled eyes sparkling slightly in the sunlight. Good-bye, Peregrin Took, her voice whispers in my head. May Eärendil shine down upon you and bless you. Namarië.
Soon, too soon for my liking or wanting, Frodo silently boards the ship and, slowly, the sails are put up. A mild breeze springs up, almost as if the Elves or Gandalf had somehow conjured it up. The ship is slowly, but steadily, being blown away, farther and farther into the sea. I never once look away or blink while the ships is still in sight, watching as first the ship itself, then light from Frodo's star-glass, slowly dwindle from sight.
When there is no sight of the ship or light anymore, I dry my tears and turn my back on the sea, turning my eyes instead to the towers visible in the distance. Never again will I look upon the sea, for it is no longer a place of wonder. It has taken my beloved cousin away from me and taken the other Ring-bearers away from Middle-earth. The Third Age of this world is over.
After a time, Merry, Sam, and I mount our ponies and turn them towards the Shire and our homes there. As we ride slowly and silently away from the Havens, a bright star slowly appears over the Towers: Eärendil. Again, I hear the Lady's words to me: May Eärendil shine down upon you and bless you.
Namarië, I think, willing the Lady and all those upon the
distant ship to hear my thoughts. Farewell, Frodo.
Author's Notes: Now, I'd like to ask you to please review, and tell me your thoughts on my first foray into the massive fanfiction world of The Lord of the Rings. Thank you so very much.
(And thank you, Elisabeth Morningstar, for pointing out a few errors. I sincerely appreciate it!)