Merry and Pippin
Another day is done, say goodbye to the setting sun
See what i found, turn back to the ground, just like before
And hey hey, hey hey, hey hey- hey beautiful day
- Bedouin Soundclash
The nine that left did not last long.
Two soon dwindled to shadow, and although one returned brighter than before the other did not. The Steward-Prince of Gondor was no more to stare from his high White Tower. He was no more to defend Ecthelion. The North wind may have once heard the horn of the son of Denethor, but no more.
The grey wizard rose again, however, and came out of the shadow and flame to Middle Earth again. For that, those left rejoiced, for it meant, perhaps, that hope was not all lost. The white beacon lead the way.
When war came, coming and bringing madness and fear, and they forgot, in the bitterness and bloodshed, who had fallen behind them, for a time, because there were so many others falling around them. The red dawn beckoned them, and they could not spend time reminiscing on what had been, only what could be.
They were reminded of the Steward-Prince, through his blood-kin and their own fear of being taken by the madness that had consumed him.
And then peace came, and although they did remember, minds soon wander from what has been lost. Gondor raised great honours to her fallen son, but as the ivy crept slowly up the walls people began to think of other things, of brighter days, and they did not want to remember their losses in the dark years.
Then two more sailed to the West, to better lands and longer lasting peace, (for peace, inevitably, does not last forever in the hearts of men) and then there were only six left. The Istar left, back to whence he was sent, taking his wisdom and pity back with him. The land mourned his passage, but he was destined to leave, as the ring-bearers were. He was still legend, but they knew that one day he would fade into legend, then myth, then obscurity, then nothing.
And Frodo too left, leaving a wider, gaping hole in the remaining Halflings than anything else.
And so, there were six, and for the hobbits, most of the time that felt like only three, because although peace had been established distrust still ran in Middle Earth, and messages were slow to reach the Shire lands from the fortressed lands of Man. Their Elf and Dwarfish friends visited on occasion, when time and distance allowed, and their Royal friend even more rarely.
And for Merry and Pippin sometimes it felt like just the two of them left to remember, because Sam did not like to talk about it, did not like to remember Frodo because it hurt him too much, preferred to wash himself clean with the normality of warmth and family he had always wanted, so it was just the two of them left, quiet in their homes, to think on the past.
And think they did, because it did not seem right, not after everything that they had been through, to let it fall into obscurity.
Their wives would sit in another room in their holes and laugh at their husbands softly, but with a respect, because they knew that they could never really understand. Merry never talked about it, but prompted Pippin sometimes would, only to trial off with mumbles about not understanding.
They would tell the stories though. Sitting around the fires, paying special attention to ones about the remaining Steward of Gondor for Pippin's son's sake, to prove to him that he was named for a noble soul.
They would tell the stories of the beauty and sacrifice of Arwen Evenstar, of the great King Aragorn, and the white city of Minas Tirith. They would frighten them with stories of orcs and goblins and the Black Riders, and the great ghost army that fought alongside them. They told them of the magic of Wizards, and of the great, looming Ents, so slow but so unfeasibly strong. It was the fault of these stories that many young hobbits, many more than before, left the Shire to explore with joy, for Halflings were welcomed across Middle Earth by dwarf and man alike, for those who knew of the fight and the ring and the strength of a little, pure hobbit.
They told these tales of truth as stories because they knew that one day no one would be no one left to remember, no one left who was there and who saw it. Aragorn would not live forever, and neither would they, and someday soon Legolas would pass over the sea too, and one day soon the tale of the One Ring would become nothing more than a story, a frightening story with a glorious ending to tell children before they went to bed.
But they were there, and they remembered.
They remembered glory in their hearts and fear in their mouths and the sight of death bearing down on them in hoards of unbearable creatures. They remembered the stink of the orcs and the bite when no hope seemed left. They could still feel the hilt of a sword in their hands and the coldness of another at their throats.
They remembered the silvering beauty of the last of the Elfish race, and the solid defence of man.
They remembered their friends, and their comrades, and those that had helped them, and those that had hindered, too.
So they would sit around a dying fire and remember, and wonder. Would their dear Lockbearer do as he had wondered and follow Legolas across the sea, one day in the future? How long would this peace last? What would Sam do, in the eve of his life? Would he follow his master and best friend across the sea, as he could, as a ring-bearer?
Was it really all over?
And most of all they smiled, because out of it all at least they had found happiness, and they thought that if no one else remembered it, if the future generations had no idea how or why they lived safe lives, at least they did, at least they were allowed freedom. They smiled at their families and their hobbit holes and at their exotic generations, and were glad, because life was good, and they had been a part of making it so.