The End! I've written more about the hobbits' trip north from Rohan in "Mind to Mind", and their arrival in Rivendell in "Return to Rivendell".


Chapter Eight: Epilogue

The travellers now rode with more speed, and they made their way towards the Gap of Rohan; and Aragorn took leave of them at last close to that very place where Pippin had looked into the Stone of Orthanc. 'Many Partings', The Return of the King


"This is called Dol Baran," Aragorn said to Sam and Frodo, pointing up the slope. "We camped down here, at the base."

"It wasn't nearly this green," Merry said, gazing around at the luxuriant bushes, and up into the branches of a flowering hawthorn tree. "It's hard to believe it was nearly six months ago. So much has happened since then!"

"Look," Pippin said, pointing to something barely visible in the heather. The round stone he had substituted for the Palantír still lay upon the ground where Gandalf had left it. "I still don't know why I just had to look into that thing."

"Don't be so hard on yourself, Pip," Frodo said gently. "I know how it feels to be compelled to do something your common sense tells you is dangerous." He smiled and waggled a hand at his cousin. "At least it didn't bite off one of your fingers."

"True," Pippin said, "although Gandalf might have been relieved if it had. He told me that 'the burned hand teaches best'."

"And there," Merry pointed, "is where Gandalf swooped Pip up on Shadowfax and galloped away with him." He looked grim.

"That was difficult for you," Aragorn said softly.

Merry looked up at the King, a look of awe on his face. "That night, you told me that my road lay with Théoden King. How did you know?"

"I did not know, exactly," Aragorn admitted. "It is something I felt. Do you regret swearing allegiance to Rohan?"

"Not at all," Merry declared. "I'm proud of it."

"Éomer King is most proud of his knight," Aragorn said, then lay a gentle hand on Pippin's shoulder. "As am I." He looked at the Ringbearers. "Sir Samwise and Sir Frodo?" he asked hopefully. "It is not too late."

"No, thank you," Frodo and Sam chorused.

"I had to ask one more time," Aragorn said, and the hobbits laughed.

"I wish to return home as I left it – a simple hobbit of the Shire," Frodo said.

"So do I, sir," Sam nodded.

"Speaking of returning home..." Frodo said to Merry and Pippin, "I'm going on to Rivendell; I need to see Bilbo before I return to the Shire. But you two don't have to go so far out of your way. If you ride northwest, you'll come to the Old South Road, which leads to The Greenway, and--"

"You," Pippin announced, "are a silly Baggins, and always will be."

"Pip's right," Merry agreed. "Do you really think we'd leave you and Sam now, Frodo? What nonsense. We're going home... together."

"I had to ask one more time," Frodo smiled. He pulled a sheaf of papers from inside his jacket, and held them up to Aragorn. "Will you give these to Éomer, next time you see him?"

"Ah, the mysterious documents!" Aragorn said. "You four have been scribbling away on these for days. May I ask..."

"Recipes," Sam explained.

"They really need them," Frodo said firmly. "I don't wish to disparage the cooks at Meduseld, but..."

"I could not agree with you more," Aragorn said, unable to keep a smile from his face. "I doubt there is any gift that will be more welcome to the good folk of Edoras." He knelt before the hobbits. "You have grown even wiser and stronger than when we met, and I rejoice in it."

"Don't forget taller," Merry laughed.

"And better dressed," Pippin grinned, straightening Frodo's velvet tunic.

"Be well, my friends," Aragorn said. "You will be safe in the company of Gandalf and the Elves, but I no longer believe you have need of any protection."

The hobbits embraced him, then stepped back and bowed in unison.

"None of that, you rascals," the King chuckled. "Go on, now."

"We'll miss you, Strider," Sam said for all of them.

"And I will miss you," Aragorn said fervently.

Farewells said, the hobbits led their ponies to where Gandalf and the Elves stood waiting for them.

It was time to return to Rivendell, where Bilbo was waiting.