Of Origins and Enigmas

A Prologue

Have you ever taken the time to consider the origins of some of the biggest moments of your life?

It is interesting to consider that often these important moments have their start in a seemingly un-important unrelated event. Your Uncle decides to go on vacation with a pack of dwarves and comes home with a small, rather plain looking ring. Years later you find yourself risking life, limb and sanity to toss that ring back into the fires that forged it. If only your uncle had stayed home!

Ever since I finished reading The Lord of the Rings I have been thinking of how nice it would be if Frodo's part of the story ended a little bit differently. I wanted to give Frodo a little more happiness and hope, in the form of romantic love. But was this even possible? Frodo was severely wounded on the quest, in spirit as well as in body. In order for Frodo to fall in love there would need to be a Hobbitess who on some level, could understand all that he had been through.

What seemingly unrelated events lead to the development of a truly unique Hobbitess, with the life experiences that allow her to understand Frodo's pain, and give her the power to win his love?

Enigma- a perplexing, baffling, or seemingly inexplicable matter, person, etc. –SYN. Mystery

To me this story is about numerous inexplicable matters and people. For each mystery solved several more may pop up in it's place. Events and choices both large and small, each of them key elements of a greater whole.

Chapter One

Lila Gamwich sat on a stone deep in the woods and wept quietly. Lila and Marmadas had been married for eight years and still did not have a child to fill the cradle her mother had passed down to Lila the day she was married. Lila could get pregnant, but then the pregnancy would end prematurely, breaking her heart every time. Lila had just recently lost yet another baby, and today was the first day she had been allowed a walk in the woods. She had been saving her tears for this solitary walk because she did not like to worry Marmadas with her tears. So she told him she was going berry picking, but he knew better of course. He could see the pain in her eyes, but he also knew it was better to let Lila mourn in her own way, so he let her go. But he did take note as to which direction she walked off so he could find her later in need be.

As Lila wept, she was unaware that there was another in the woods. Not so far off, a pair of keen and pointed ears heard Lila's quiet sobs filled with heartbreak and loss. Large, violet, almond-shaped eyes turned in the direction of the sound. The eyes narrowed slightly; the brow above them furrowed in a frown of puzzlement and curiosity. Slowly a long and graceful leg takes a step forward, then the other. A tall, willowy figure makes its way silently towards the sound of gentle weeping, coming to a tiny clearing in the trees, with a stone in the middle of it. There on the stone, violet eyes see the small form that is Lila sitting on the stone. The heart of the one watching feels Lila's pain; pity and curiosity compel her to step into the clearing and make her presence known. "Little one, why do you weep so?"

Lila sprang to her feet. Before her stood the most beautiful person she had ever seen. A woman of tall and graceful form clad in a dark blue gown. Dark blond hair flowing in intricate braids framed pointed ears. Violet eyes gazed upon Lila with curiosity and concern. An Elf! Lila was speechless.

"Are you injured?" asked the elf.

"What? No! I mean... that is... I am not injured," said Lila recovering from her surprise.

"Then I ask again, little one. Why do you weep so?"

"It is nothing. Please, I do apologize if I disturbed you in any way, my lady," replied Lila with as much dignity as she could muster.

The Elf was more curious than ever. "You are a halfling, are you not?"

"I am a Hobbit, yes."

"May I know your name?"

"I am Lila Gamwiche of the Bree Gamwiches at your service, my lady." Lila curtseyed.

"Well met, Lila Gamwiche. I am Merenwen Sirfalas of Rivendell. I believe it is I who should apologize to you for intruding upon you. I heard you weeping and believed someone to be in great pain. I thought I might be able to assist in some way."

Lila was quite amazed by this kindness of such a fair creature. "I thank you, Lady Merenwen Sirfalas, but what pains me I fear only time may heal." Lila lowered her face downward, looking at the ground to keep Merenwen from seeing the tears that welled up in her eyes, but Merenwen saw them anyway. A lock of her brown curly hair was plastered to Lila's tear stained cheek. Lila snuffled and tried to hold back the tears. But a quiet sob escaped her, and she wept anew. Merenwen stepped silently forward and knelt before Lila. From one sleeve Merenwen took a handkerchief and wiped away the tears from Lila's cheeks. Lila looked up again in surprise.

Merenwen's gaze held Lila's. "Such weeping comes from a deeply felt pain. Tell me, Lila Gamwiche, what hurts you so?"

Lila was not able to hold back any longer. Looking into Merenwen's clear blue eyes, Lila whispered, "I am unable to have a child!"

"I am well acquainted with the healing arts, Lila fair. Will you not tell me how it goes with you?"

Lila looked into the violet depths of Merenwen's eyes and lost all resolve to continue her suffering alone. "I hardly know where to begin."

"I find the beginning is generally a good place. Tell me of your childhood. Were you healthy?"

"By Hobbit standards I was always rather slender, but that is not too terribly unusual. It comes from my being in part of the Took family."

Merenwen gave Lila a kind and encouraging smile. "Have you ever been seriously ill? Humans sometimes will have a fever that lasts for many days, have you ever experienced this?"

"Yes, when I was six years old. I had a very high fever for about three or four days. Mother says that no one was ever able to determine what my illness was, and everyone was really rather amazed that I recovered at all."

"Did you make a full recovery? Did you return to your former state of health?"

"I'm afraid I don't remember all that much before that illness, but mother said that I was not the same child I had been before. Apparently before I had been an energetic child, afterwards I tended to be more reserved and quiet. Mother also told me that during my first six years I was seldom sick but from that time on I would and still do seem to catch everything that goes around."

Merenwen thought about what Lila had told her, while Lila waited anxiously. "I think I may be able to help you," said Merenwen thoughtfully.

With that Lila looked up again, her hazel eyes filled with disbelief. "Do you really think you can?"

Merenwen smiled, "Quite possibly, yes. But I make no promises to you. Most of what I would like to try has been used only on Elvish woman, so I cannot be sure that it will work for you. But it should be of no harm to you, so there should be no risk involved."

"Oh, I will try it. I think I would try anything," said Lila in excitement "Please tell me what you propose to do."

"Tell me, Lila, are you aware that the elves are immortal?" Lila nodded her head. "Then you may also be aware that elves rarely bear children. We guard these children as the most precious of gifts from the time they are conceived. Over time we have learned ways of insuring a child is born healthy. If you like I can attempt to use these methods to insure your bearing a child."

"I want to try it!" cried Lila. "I have nothing to lose. When can we start? What do we do first?"

Merenwen laughed. "Slow down and I shall tell you. The first thing we need to do is make a tonic. It is a restorative tonic, which should give you back some part of the health you enjoyed before you were sick as a child. This will take time. I will want you to have been taking this tonic for about three months before you try to conceive again. Your being in good health is of the utmost importance. Do you understand?"

"I understand, I will do whatever you tell me to," swore Lila.

"Then I guess we had better get busy then. We have herbs to gather."

Merenwen and Lila spent a pleasant afternoon chatting as they gathered herbs, learning a great deal about one another. Merenwen told Lila that she was from Rivendell, but had taken to wondering the wilds, and exploring wherever her feet lead her. This is what had brought her to the woodlands around Bree. During these solitary wonderings Merenwen had often silently observed both Humans and Hobbits from a distance and had developed a fondness for Hobbits and their cheerful happy ways.

Lila told Merenwen about growing up in Brandy Hall, how self-conscious and shy she had become from being so much less hale and hearty than other Hobbits, and how she preferred the more secluded life she lived in Bree.

After the herbs were gathered the two woman built a fire. Then, filling Lila's berry picking pail with water and the herbs, set this to steep for a time. By the time the tonic was finished, Lila and Merenwen had become good friends.

"Lila dear, your tonic is now finished and cool enough to carry home," said Merenwen after checking the concoction in its make shift cooking pot. "I want you to take this home and strain the herbs out, then add a half equal portion of wine to it and store it in a jar that seals well. The wine should make it more palatable, as well as help preserve it. Then starting tomorrow morning you should take two spoonfuls of this every morning."

"And that is all there is to do?" asked Lila

"For now it is. I will be coming to visit on a regular basis to see how you are coming along. There will be time enough to discuss the next step when its time comes."

"Merenwen, how shall I ever thank you?" smiling warmly at her new friend.

"I hardly think a simple tonic is worth such gratitude," feeling Lila's happiness spread to her.

"It is more than the tonic. You have given me hope. More hope than I have been able to feel in a long time. No matter what happens, I will be grateful for that and the fact that you tried to help."