The Mayor and the Thain both looked utterly surprised at the Master's suggestion.

"Celeborn?! But he's so.."

"Tall?" The Master's eyes glinted with mischief as he tried to cut off the Mayor's objection to his plan.

"Elfish?" chipped in the Thain.

"Elvish, Pippin. Will you ever stop murdering the Westron tongue?"

"Never mind that," said Peregrin Took with a chuckle at how easily his friend could be riled. "You really want to invite Celeborn to the Free Fair?"

Meriadoc Brandybuck sighed. Pippin and Sam were plainly going to make this difficult just to tease him. But at least that meant they probably had no serious objections. "I think it's time the Shire returned the hospitality of Lorien and Rivendell. We really should invite Glorfindel, Elladan and Elrohir too," he said.

Sam and Pippin couldn't very well say nay to that. Merry saw that he had the advantage and pushed ahead. "They wouldn't be the first elves to join a Hobbit celebration. Legolas attended Pip's coming of age," he reminded them. But his friends were still concerned.

"Are you sure he would enjoy it?" asked Sam frowning at the thought of the severe elf-lord at a hobbit party.

Before Merry could answer, Estella Brandybuck popped her head around the door, carefully balancing a tea-tray out-of-sight of the trio. "Good afternoon. How go the preparations?"

The three gentlehobbits gave her a variety of hassled looks, accompanied by head-shaking and some huffing and puffing.

"Then you'll be needing some refreshment," she said, revealing the tray piled high with slices of spiced fruit cake.

"Hooray for Estella," shouted Pippin, taking the tray from her hands and setting it on the table.

Merry saw his chance to get some support for his plan. "Estella," he said. "We're just discussing whether to invite Celeborn. What do you think?"

"Oh, yes," she said. "Poor thing. He sounds so lonely. A good party would do him a world of good."

Thus it was settled that invitations to the Fair should be sent to Rivendell. Preparations for the event continued apace. Organising the annual party was one of the main duties of the Mayor, but since Merry and Pippin had inherited their positions the three King's Officers of the Shire had shared the responsibility. The parties they had thrown had been some of the greatest the Shire had ever known.


This is something of an experiment for me, since I've never started posting a WIP without knowing how it would end. But this beginning has been written for weeks and I need kick-starting.
It's set a couple of years after the end of The Mathom House Quest, so the youngsters are a little older (as, obviously, are their parents).

Please R&R. And maybe send threats. Anything to make me get on with this story. Also, it's not been beta-read (because it's in progress) - so please feel free to email me any corrections/suggestions etc. I'll probably end up reposting when it's finished.