Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkein's estate. Even
the one that I made up is just an inspiration to play in that world.

Author's Note: This is my first LOTR fanfic. I hope it doesn't get lost in the plethora of
post movie stories. Please read and review with fairness. Constructive criticism that
will help me improve my skills greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

On the Beach Chapter One: Misery Loves Company


Far to the west from the shores of the Grey Havens lie the Undying Lands. Removed
from the circles of the world, these lands are a place of eternal life and everlasting
happiness. Apart from Valinor where the divine Valar reside lies the island of Eressea
where the elves have taken refuge from Middle Earth. Upon its eastern shore where the
sun still rises and sets, a place has been set aside for the few mortals who have earned the
right to dwell in the Blessed Realm.

Despite the seductive beauty of this land, one mortal found it difficult to succumb to the
contentment he believed he once desired. He stared out at the blue ocean and felt the
knot in his stomach grow heavier. He fought the bitterness away as the water receded
from the sandy beach that stretched out before him. He shouldn't feel this way. He knew
it was disrespectful after all that had been granted to him. He had a life free from pain
and worry and days of comfort that stretched out to infinity. But yet he was alone. He
was not ready to reach for the bliss that was his due.

He was restless.

Unbeknownst to him, the Valar had taken note of his condition. They watched him with
growing curiosity. Although they never proclaimed to understand everything about
mortality they knew one thing. Mortals never chose to be happy with what they had.
They always wanted something else. Whatever had been denied them.

That was the essential truth beneath the conflicted emotions of Frodo Baggins. He
wanted something but he felt unworthy to ask. He needed something but he did not know
what.

The Valar knew, but granting this simple hobbit's wish would take time and
circumstance. The Valar had promised never to interfere. They could only watch him
and pity.

He knew in reality that he was not truly alone. He lived in a land full of pleasant, happy
elves all who respected and revered him. Gandalf and Bilbo were there as well. He
loved them greatly and delighted in their company. But they had become occupied with
their own pursuits, content in the quiet passing of their lives. They were old and
retirement was their happy reward for lives well lived.

Frodo was neither old nor content. His quiet and gracious manner made it impossible for
him to lament his loss. He reserved his moments of restless introspection for his time on
the beach. Visiting this spot where the ships brought in their passengers had become a
daily ritual. There he had first stepped on the shores of the Undying Lands.

He sat in solitude for hours each day letting despair and bitterness run their course
through him. No one could know how he suffered. The shame would be too much. He
would remain on the beach until he could face the cheerfulness of a friend or until the sun
set. More often than not of late, he returned home in darkness.

On this sort of day the sound of fast approaching footsteps pulled Frodo out of his dark
thoughts. He looked up to see the sullen face of an elf girl, a child, probably no older
than twelve. Hobbits were rare enough in Eressea. Children were completely unheard
of. She seemed just as surprised to see him there. Her feet had carried her along a path
without knowing their destination only to take her away from something obviously
unpleasant. Her face looked much like he felt inside. He could tell that she had been
crying. She simply stared at him unsure if she should go and if she did she had no idea
how to start.

Frodo ventured a smile. "Hello."

"Hello," she replied, her expression unchanged. Her voice came out as a tiny sound, soft
and faraway. She glanced back behind her with uncertainty as if she thought something
fearful followed her. When her eyes met his again she seemed softened somewhat with
relief. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"I am waiting for a friend," Frodo replied.

She glanced back behind her once more, than she looked back thoughtfully at the spot
next to him on the beach. "May I wait with you?" she asked shyly.

He smiled at her. "Of course," he replied. He felt a surge of warmth within him that he
could not describe. To his infinite surprise, his smile was genuine.

They sat in silence together until sunset. Then he politely took his leave. He turned once
to see if she remained on the beach. She had begun to make her way back up the path
which had brought her to him. She did not look back.

On the next afternoon, he found her waiting for him. They exchanged polite greetings
and then as they had the previous afternoon, they sat together in companionable silence
until the sun began to dip below the horizon. Although they did not speak he found his
thoughts turned to her. Who had brought a child to Eressea? Why was she so unhappy in
a land which promised infinite bliss? What was she running from?

On the third day Frodo asked for her name.

"Enaiowen," she told him simply. She did not look away from the surf. She no longer
seemed to be afraid or angry but something had taken hold of this girl, something that
filled her with such dread that she could not bear the sound of her own voice.

Frodo did not know what darkness had touched this girl but he knew the marks well
enough. He bore them in his own way. His misery had somehow brought itself
company.

"May I ask your name, sir?" she asked suddenly. She glanced at him briefly as a
necessary act of courtesy then cast her eyes down to her feet.

Frodo felt a flash of embarrassment. He had assumed that she already knew his identity.
He and his uncle being the only two hobbits in all the Blessed Realm, he thought his
uniqueness would grant him widespread familiarity. That had not been an attention he
craved but nevertheless it had been what often occurred. Everyone knew him. Everyone
but this girl.

He smiled warmly. Her ignorance was a most forgivable crime. For her he did not have
to be the Ringbearer. For her, he could just be… "Frodo," he said.

TBC

Chapter Two will clear up the mysteries behind Enaiowen's existence in Eressea and
Frodo will get an unexpected job.