Summary: This is a series of connected vignettes that shed some light on the last years of Merry and Pippin. The vignettes cover their travels to Rohan and Gondor, and their interactions with the remaining members of the Company. In "Eomer's Funeral," Pippin tries to occupy his mind during a boring speech.
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Disclaimer: The places, situations and characters of The Lord of the Rings belong to the Tolkien Estate. This work contains no original characters. No money is being made from this work.
The Further Adventures of Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took:
Pippin was utterly uncomfortable, and could not sit still at the table. Thoughts were flying through his mind: 'Sometimes I wish I died or sailed off or what have you already. What dreariness it is to have to say good-bye to a friend--and to think that this age has lost another who remembers.' Pippin chuckled grimly to himself at that last bit—it was getting decidedly more difficult to remember things, at least for him. He wondered what Merry was thinking. Poor Merry had been upset for days, and they had to help him to his chair for the feast tonight. Pippin knew that some of his poor mood could be attributed to the fact that he had spent all of his time so far worrying about Merry. He tried to remember why he was sitting there.
He did, and it brought him little comfort, for he could not escape the fact that he was at a funeral feast. King Eomer had passed on, taking the Gift that belongs to Man, and leaving his people in great sorrow. Pippin was merely grateful that he and Merry had been able to spend a fair amount of time with the King before he died. Pippin was also happy that Eomer's son Elfwine, who was a most agreeable fellow, would be the new King. Although he was hungry, being that he was a hobbit, he did not want to appear greedy for food, so he stopped eating and looked around him. A fantastic host was gathered at Meduseld, and the faces were familiar to Pippin.
'Such a pity,' he thought to himself, 'that the only time I see these people is when we gather to mark yet another death.'
He gazed upon the assembled, and his heart was moved as he realized how dear they were to him. Of course Merry was at his side, and next to them were Legolas and Gimli. King Aragorn and Queen Arwen occupied a place of high honor, and Faramir was with them. Eowyn sat alone, at the head of the table. Pippin decided that she was serene with sorrow, if such a thing were possible. Those men of Rohan who had ridden in the War of the Ring sat in places of honor on either side of her.
'And they say the Ring was destroyed!' thought Pippin to himself. 'It is not destroyed, for it binds many of us in this room. Though it may not hold the power of life and death over us now, it controls us in other ways. Isildur's account tells of how the Ring shrunk to his finger. In being destroyed it has expanded to ensnare every last one of us who was there.'
Pippin was proud of himself for the profound, though melancholy thought, but his reverie was disrupted by the stirrings of speech. One of the younger men of Rohan, who had been dear to Eomer in his later years, began to speak. The man spoke about the great deeds Eomer had done as King, and how Rohan had increased and prospered during his reign.
Pippin was annoyed that this man had been chosen to speak, for he did not remember the War, and could not do justice to the fact that Eomer's valour had touched all the lands of Middle-Earth. Eomer could have turned simple rock to mithril with the touch of his hand, and it would have still paled to his deeds in those dark days. Eowyn could have delivered the words. Why had one of the surviving Riders not spoken instead? What about Elfwine, his son? Merry, dear Merry could have spoken! Well, perhaps not, for he was pale with sorrow and age. Still, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn—someone, surely someone could speak to this man's greatest hours!
Pippin had been looking down, for anger had been building inside him, and he did not want to betray it on his face. He peeked cautiously to see how others were reacting to the words of the young man. Horrible grief was etched upon all their faces, and it seemed as though none of them truly heeded the speaker. He nudged Merry, who did not respond. He sighed, quickly, but sharply, and this did get Merry to give him a somewhat disapproving glare. Pippin almost laughed, but figured that would just upset Merry. Dear Merry still had no idea how difficult it was to be Peregrin Took—to still have the spirit and impatience of a youth kept in the body of an old hobbit.
Finally, the young man stopped, and for some time Pippin recollected nothing, until a familiar voice pierced his thought. Aragorn had risen to speak. Finally, Eomer would be done justice! Aragorn recounted those days, and his account was true—too true. Pippin could see that his words struck almost too close to those who had been there. He saw that their grief had been replaced with something more sinister. Those who had been there were being tortured with their own memories and fears. Even the elven face of Legolas was marred. Pippin realized that they all shared a great burden and responsibility: it was paramount that those who were there not remain silent. Still, those who were there could barely speak of what they had lived through, for it consumed them, and did unnatural things to them. 'Things just don't seem to be fair sometimes,' Pippin concluded to himself.
At the end of the feast, Pippin was greatly relieved to see Merry leave under his own power with the other soldiers of Rohan. Although Legolas and Gimli motioned for him to follow them, Pippin declined so that he could be alone. Indeed, he was loath to leave the Golden Hall, for he feared that once he left, he would never have another chance to return. He also wanted to think, for the funeral of Eomer, King of Rohan proved one thing to him beyond all doubt: the Ring would not be destroyed until the last who remembered was gone. Pippin shuddered at what dangers might be allowed to seep back into Middle-Earth once no one who could remember its darkest hour drew breath. He wondered what would happen when the Ring was well and truly destroyed.