Epilogue

The decision had been difficult but he knew it was the only way. Four years since he'd been stabbed at Weathertop and the wound still

had not healed. Elrond had informed him that it would never fully heal while Frodo remained in Middle Earth. There was no one who

could help him, not Sam, not Aragorn, not even Mariell. There was only one choice for him. When he'd told Mariell of his decision she

had been sad but she'd understood. He'd written to Sam and asked him to bring Merry, Pippin and his uncle to him at the Grey

Havens. He had told Sam that Bilbo was going to take the ship to Valinor. Bilbo had never really overcome his obsession with the ring.

He still felt his pockets for it. Old age had quickly set in once the ring was out of Bilbo's keeping. Gandalf brought the wagon with Bilbo
laying in the back with Sam while Pippin and Mariell rode horses beside it. All of the fellowship had gathered here at the Grey Havens

to see Bilbo off. Aragorn, Mariell, Gimli, and Legolas. Gandalf stopped the wagon and got down. Frodo went to help Sam get Bilbo

down.

"Ah Frodo," Bilbo said taking his hand. "Do you still have the ring I gave you"

"No Bilbo," Frodo said. "I'm afraid I lost it." He met Sam's eye and his old friend nodded in understanding.

"Pity," Bilbo said. "I would have liked to hold it one last time." Frodo took his uncle's arm and led him to the shore where the ship

waited. Bilbo looked up and saw Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn waiting.

"Oh," Bilbo said. "I think I am ready for another adventure"

"Well my friends," he said. "The time has come for me to say goodbye." Tears filled the other hobbit's eyes.

"I will not say not to weep. For not all tears are evil. Frodo, it's time." Sam, Merry and Pippin turned and looked at him in shock.

"What does he mean Mister Frodo?" Sam demanded. Frodo ducked his head sadly.

"We set out to save the Shire, Sam. And it has been saved. But not for me." Sam shook his head in denial. Frodo pulled him into a tight

hug. The rest of the fellowship came forward at that moment. Frodo turned to them. His friends, his family, it grieved him to bid them

farewell. He hugged Gimli and Legolas. Aragorn knelt before him.

"My daughter will know of you, Frodo Baggins," the king promised him. "She will know of the brave hobbit who destroyed a ring and

saved her world." Tears ran from Frodo's eyes as he hugged his friend. He released Aragorn and stepped over to Mariell who held her

daughter in her arms. He leaned down and kissed the baby's cheek.

"Goodbye little Malinda," he said to her. "May you grow to be as wise and as beautiful and as strong as your mother." Mariell handed

the baby to Aragorn and took Frodo in her arms.

"I shall miss you my sister," he whispered into her hair. "There was a time when I thought you and I would never be apart. Now I must

leave you forever." Mariell released him.

"You will never leave me completely, Frodo," she said. She reached behind her head and removed her pendant. Frodo's mouth

dropped open as she placed it around his neck.

"I cannot take this from you Mariell," he protested.

"It has seen me through the darkness," she said. "I want it to go with you and help you find peace." Tears choked him as he threw his

arms around her.

"I love you, Frodo," she whispered. He pulled away and kissed her cheek. She let him go and he turned away. Merry and Pippin

stepped forward and he embraced them both. Then at last he approached Sam. He took Bilbo's red book; which he had finally

finished.

"The last pages are for you, Sam." He leaned forward and kissed Sam on the top of his head. His steps were heavy as he boarded the

ship. The fellowship stood at the shore as Galadriel addressed them.

"The time of the elves is over. The age of men has now begun." With that Galadriel and Celeborn boarded the ship. Frodo stood at the

mast watching his friends until he could no longer see them.

It has been six years since Frodo left us and I still think of him every day. Aragorn and I have worked hard to repair this land torn apart by so much evil so that Frodo's sacrifice will not be in vain. Sometimes I cannot believe it all happened. I think I will wake up in the Shire not knowing anything. I know in my heart that I had to let him go but it does not soothe the ache in my heart. But on nights like this as I stand on my balcony and gaze across this great land, I truly know in my heart why Frodo did what he did and what it is we all fought for.

"Mama," a little voice says behind me. I turn and see my little girl standing there with a large red book in her hands.

"Tell me a story." I smile down at her and gather her in my arms.

"All right my darling," I say as I sit down in the large chair elf crafted rocking chair, a wedding gift from the Mirkwood elves. "What will it be tonight?"

"I want to hear about Frodo and the ring," she says as she hands me the red book, a gift on her last birthday from a very dear friend.

"Frodo was really brave wasn't he, Mama?"

"Yes, my darling he was." I open the book and turn to the first page.

"Chapter one. Concerning hobbits..."

The End