CHAPTER 10 – Coming Home
For those interested in the writing process . . . this chapter does not contain any role-play but does contain direct quotes or paraphrases from Return of the King.
Elrond stood at the bow, the warm rain blowing, unheeded, in his face and a soft breeze, filled with a sweet fragrance filling his nostrils and whipping wet tendrils of dark hair about his features. Above him, clouds hid the stars of Elbereth, although his heart told him that they were still there, somewhere.
Suddenly voices rose in song behind him and Elrond turned towards the stern, where his fair companions raised a joyful anthem. For a moment it seemed incongruous to him as, at the very centre of the ship, his eyes fell upon the canopy, formed by the flag of his own household, suspended above the small shrouded figure lying on a pile of rich cushions.
At Frodo's side knelt his Uncle Bilbo. The elves had offered him a chair when it became clear that he would not leave but he had refused even that and his ancient bones were now supported by Gandalf's strong arm about his shoulders.
Elrond did not need to step closer to see the Ringbearer. Elven eyes needed no assistance to see Frodo's alabaster features. They had tried to cover his face at first but Bilbo would have none of it. He wanted Frodo to see the Blessed Realm. It mattered not to him that the thickly lashed lids were drawn closed.
The breeze played with the dark curls framing Frodo's face, even teasing at his eyelashes so that it seemed, if one did not study too long, that his lids were flickering in dreams and would soon open once more to reveal sparkling eyes the colour of warm summer skies.
Galadriel and her ladies had lovingly stitched the pure white shroud and attached to it, upon his breast, were some small squares of patchwork fabric . . . one with blue primula placed directly over his heart.
Fair voices changed song and Elrond's heart let go its burden as their words turned the key to his grief . . .
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
Moon and Star, Sky and Sun
Though I may fade, will not be done.
Flower and tree, water and loam
I'll join you all when I come home.
Home. Frodo had known, near the end, that he would not see the Undying Land. But he had also known that he was going home. Illuvatar could not have sung such a loving and true-hearted being as Frodo Baggins into life to discard him at the end. Elrond knew that the Creator had made a place for elves, so why not for hobbits?
The elven lord looked once more at Frodo's pale face. Peaceful. The features were relaxed, the pale lips bowed in a soft smile.
"Safe journey, Frodo Baggins of the Shire," the former Lord of Imladris whispered as he turned back to the prow.
The grey rain curtain turned to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise. And Elrond heard the sound of singing coming from over the water, blending with the voices of his companions.
In the corner of a sunny meadow a lone figure knelt amongst a sea of wild flowers. Before him rested three small marble markers . . . the only three of their kind in this Undying Land.
A long fingered hand gently wiped away the dust on their polished surfaces. No moss was allowed to gather here. Simple words were carved deep into the pale stone.
On the stone to the right were the words, "Bilbo Baggins, Uncle". On the one to the left were carved the words, "Samwise Gamgee, Friend". And on the small stone in the centre, nestled between the two most dear to him in life, were graven the words,
"Frodo, Son of Drogo, Ringbearer."