Setting: At minas Tirith after the crowning of the King. Friendship and Healing.
Forgive me if people and timings are out of place, it is only for my story.
Disclaimer: I humbly borrow these dear characters from Master Tolkien and promise to give them back unharmedCHAPTER 7 Affirmations
As dusk fell the following day Frodo was again sitting by the side of the pool. He watched the last rays of the sun reflecting rainbows in the falling droplets of water.
His notebook was full and his hand stiff from holding the pencil in his still clumsy grip. He shivered slightly and pulled his cloak tight about him.
He would return to the palace and face the music in the morning. He hoped that Sam would forgive him for playing truant. He hated to cause his dear friend distress but he knew that he has needed his solitude. His reason telling him that it was time to go home.
Why then did his heart still feel heavy?
Why did he still feel a weight around his neck?
Would he never be free of the burden?
Curling himself into a tight ball he lay down on the grass, he screwed up his eyes to prevent tears of frustration and loneliness spilling down his cheeks. He fought hard to prevent himself howling as despair threatened to overwhelm him. He grasped the jewel at his throat and, in desperation, called on the stars to help him.
As his breathing settled he was aware of soft music filling the air. He looked out into the gathering darkness to see a fair Elf crossing the meadow towards him. He thought at first that it was Galadriel, but as she came closer he realised that this was someone of even greater power and light than the Lady of the Wood. Warm light radiated from the tall being and filled the glade with joy and music.
Frodo leaped to his feet and bowed low.
'Welcome Lady, how may I serve you?' He felt no fear in the presence of the majestic Elf
The Lady knelt down and taking his face in her hands looked deeply into his eyes. Frodo tried to look away, but she wouldn't allow him to withdraw from her gaze. He knew that all of his thoughts were visible to her and his heart ached that she should see his failure and his pain.
'Frodo, do not be afraid to face your fears and doubts' Frodo heard the words in his mind, for the Lady did not speak aloud. 'Only by accepting your past can they be laid to rest. I sense that despite everything you still feel that you failed in your task!'
'Yes Lady, how can it be otherwise? I knew of the risks to Middle Earth and despite that knowledge I claimed the Ring for my own…I wasn't strong enough, and after all I put Sam through…and still they treat me as a hero…It was poor tortured Gollum who completed the Quest'
Frodo pulled away and buried his face in his hands.
Gentle hands pulled him forward into a warm embrace. 'Frodo, you fulfilled your destiny. You accepted the quest at Rivendell, without hope of success. You carried an evil burden at great risk and cost to yourself. You delivered that burden to the very heart of Mount Doom- that was your quest. It was also part of your burden to allow Gollum his part in the Quest. You could have rejected his presence and his help, but you allowed your pity and compassion for that poor creature to override what your common sense cautioned. It was Gollums' destiny to be the means of the Rings destruction. You could not take on his destiny, as he could not take on yours'.
Frodo relaxed slightly and looked up at the beauty of the Lady as she continued. 'Frodo, all of the acts, omissions or decisions that are taken are part of a larger tapestry of events. You blamed yourself for Gandalfs fall because you had taken the decision to take the path through Moria. But consider, if Gandalf had not battled the Balrog he would not have returned, changed, to aid the quest or turn the tide of the battle of Helms Deep or to challenge and defeat Saruman. If Pippin had not looked into the Palantir he would not have been in Minas Tirith to pledge himself to Denethor and would not have been there to save Faramir!'
'Your claiming the Ring was one small stitch in the tapestry of middle earth, a tapestry that stretches back to the beginning of time and will continue forward into a future far beyond your years. Accept your part and do not regret that which you cannot change'. The Lady kissed him lightly on the forehead.
'Frodo sighed and looked up 'I will try, but it is so hard…I still miss the Ring!' he choked.
'Frodo, once before you looked into Galadriels's Pool, will you now look into mine?, there are things I want to show you?'
Nodding, Frodo walked over to the pool. He knelt down with the Lady beside him. To begin with he saw only the stars light reflected in the ripples of the water. Gradually visions spread across his vision. He saw images of tall, proud towers and bustling prosperous cities; Minas Tirith, Edoras and Osgiliath restored to splendour. The visions shifted and he saw Legolas with a company of Elves working to restore the beauty of Ithilien. Gimli with his people within the glittering caves of Rohan. Merry and Pippin proud and prosperous beneath a large, beautiful tree in the Party Field; and finally he saw Bag End, not quiet and sad but full of happy, lively fair-haired Hobbit children crowding around Rosie and Sam.
Anther shift of the vision and he saw himself sitting on a green hill overlooking the sea. At his side sat Bilbo, aged but without the frailty he had displayed at Rivendell.
A final vision brought tears to his eyes, he brushed them away not wanting anything to blur his sight- he was standing on a harbour wall, around him a company of elves, his friends, all eyes looking towards a small grey ship approaching the dock. His eyes searching for a small friend amongst the tall Elves….
The vision faded and he looked up to find himself alone. He wrapped his arms around his chest and lay back on the soft turf. Gentle tears ran down his cheeks and he did nothing to slow them. They were tears of relief and contentment. As he closed his eyes he heard the Lady's voice in his mind.
'Your time in Middle Earth is not yet done. But when the darkness assails you remember Arwen Evenstars' gift?'
'If the time comes and you decide to make the journey to the West, do not take it in despair. Rather take it in joy and hope.'
'You will find peace and healing and will be welcomed with joy and honour.'
'Always remember Frodo that you are truly loved.'
Before the first streaks of dawn could lighten the sky Aragorn climbed the steep path to the rim of the grotto. He dismissed the guard and walked slowly to where Frodo lay sleeping, His soft leather boots silent on the dew-dampened grass.
He had come to escort Frodo back to the palace. He looked down at the sleeping Hobbit and was moved by the serene joy on the face of his friend. Unable to disturb such peaceful slumber he sat down to wait for his friend to stir. Pulling his own cloak around himself he lay back and gazed at the stars now fading as the sky lightened towards dawn. He breathed in deeply and relaxed as the murmur of the waterfall lulled him to sleep.
As if catching the stray essence of Frodo's visions he too dreamed of days of happiness and plenty, of friends and children, and of alliances made and treaties honoured.
It was Frodo who woke first. He yawned and stretched, having to untangle his hand from the folds of Aragorns' cloak. He looked at his friend and smiled. In sleep the years of hardship and strife were erased from the face of the King, he looked younger than his years.
Frodo gathered together the remains of his rations and fetched water from the stream. He returned to his place next to the King and taking the large hand within his own he called his name softly.
'I'm sorry Aragorn, this is a very sorry breakfast to set before the King- not up to Sams standards I'm afraid!'
'You look well my friend, did you find what you were seeking in this special glade?'
'Oh yes Aragorn, all that I wanted and so much more!'
Frodo looked up at the King, worry creasing his brow.
'Forgive me for setting off without your consent. I did not wish to cause you concern, but I had to be….' Before he could finish the sentence he was swept into tight embrace.
'Don't worry yourself about that Frodo. Faramir guessed your hideaway and I'm rather ashamed to say that you have had secret guardians' he looked at the Hobbit with a wry smile. 'It was not our intention to intrude on your privacy but, well, we had to assure Sam that you were safe'.
'Oh it was just for Sam was it? he said, giving the King a non-too gentle push.
'Of course, the rest of us didn't care what happened to you' he joked.
When they had finished their rather stale breakfast the two companions moved to the edge of the pool and washed the sleep out of their eyes.
They sat in companionable silence watching the fish and savouring the warmth of the sun as the morning progressed. Both reluctant to leave this oasis of tranquillity.
Frodo broke the silence.
'I've always known I was different, ever since I was a boy' he began almost to himself
'I think I realise now why I was set upon this path!' he whispered, his gaze lost in the depths of the pool.
I've never known that feeling- to be the centre of another's world. I never found that special person; maybe I am just another 'mad bachelor Baggins as half the Shire believes'.
' I know now that I will never have a family of my own, the Ring took away too much of me, I don't have enough left to give!' he felt the Kings hand on his shoulder. Turning to look into the eyes of the King he raised his hand and gently brushed away a tear from his cheek.
'Don't grieve for me Aragorn, it was never meant to be. I rejoice in your happiness, but my destiny has taken me down a different path. I look at you and Arwen, see the joy in your face when she is near. It's the same with Faramir and Eowyn, and even Sam when he talks about his Rosie. You are all the future of Middle Earth, that is you destiny and I am happy for you'.
'I will return to Rivendell to see Bilbo and then go on to the Shire. I need to see that we made a difference, that the Shire is as it was!
'But after that I do not know? My path does not end in the Shire! Who knows where it may yet lead!
The King struggled to master his emotions. He grasped the small hands of his friend.
'I would gladly give half my realm to see you happy Frodo'
'Your friendship is all I ask, It is enough'!
It was time to leave. Frodo gathered together his belongings and stowed them in his pack. He glanced around the glade and bid it a silent farewell. As he reached the head of the trail he turned round and bowed in silent reverence to the beauty of the glade.
'Do you think we will be back in time for second breakfast' asked Aragorn with a grin.
'I'm sure it can be arranged! I'm on good terms with the new ruler – he promised me half his Kingdom so I don't see any problem with a small request like that!'
'Just promise me you wont tell Sam what a poor breakfast I provided for you! I'm in his bad books already, that may be just too much for him to forgive'.
As they continued down the path Frodo broke into song. It was one of Bilbo's walking songs-
'The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began…
A/N Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to read and review my story. I really appreciate your kind comments.
I will continue to read your wonderful stories, they give me joy and inspiration.