Returning Home


A story by Scott Sparr

Chapter 4

1 The Journey Begins

An even longer time had passed, and the darkness of the night and of the forest was behind Bilbo, and though he was unconscious, Bilbo could feel cozy warmth all around him. The sky was a gray blanket except for a few hints of light blue peeking through clouds that seemed miles high in the sky. Gandalf had already told Frodo and Sam of Bilbo's true purpose in the forest.

"Bilbo!" Frodo screamed as he ran suddenly to the motionless body lying in sand and dirt a few feet from the large wooden gate. With Gandalf and Sam walking steadily behind him, Frodo shook Bilbo aggressively, unaware of the fact that Rainestar was no longer with him.

"Bilbo is not hurt, he is merely dreaming, not terribly uncommon for the forest. Gandalf said giving Frodo a stern look.

"And this is Bilbo we speak of." Gandalf added with a smile.

"The forest fairies have most likely overpowered his consciousness, for some reason, it is a rare sight, but in great numbers, these fairies can do such things." Gandalf said slowly.

Frodo was greatly relieved.

"Sam, fetch your canteen, I need fresh water to wake old Bilbo up." Frodo said calmly, holding Bilbo's head in his lap. Frodo was relieved to see Bilbo was not hurt, though he still felt anxious. Suddenly Bilbo began to mutter in his sleep.

"The…sail has fallen…we won't make…it back home…stop." He muttered.

Gandalf's eyes widened.

"What's he saying, Frodo?" Sam asked as he brought his canteen to Frodo and kneeled down beside Bilbo.

"I don't understand it…" Frodo replied, opening the canteen and sprinkling water on Bilbo's face. Suddenly Bilbo's eyes opened wide, and he began kicking and screaming,

"Help! I can't breathe, I'm drowning, Help me!" He screamed violently.

"I can't…" Bilbo stopped as he became aware of his surroundings. Bilbo was first confused, and now became angry as Sam, Frodo and Gandalf still stood still, watching him in disbelief.

Bilbo was full of rage; the fairies had played another trick on him. He felt his anger swelling up in the pit of his stomach and it slowly grew and crept to his mind. Bilbo stood up and began shaking his fists at the trees, without saying a word.

Despite the situation, this was a very comical sight.

Frodo and Sam began to speak, especially Frodo, but Gandalf hushed them quickly.

"Let Bilbo relieve his anger and confusion as he must. Gandalf said sternly, looking to Sam and Frodo again.

"Though, I believe the fairies are not as evil as they seem, perhaps they meant to warn Bilbo of returning to the shire and could only do so in one final attempt before he made it out of the forest." He continued with a slightly lighter tone in his wise voice.

"Well, Gandalf, if the fairies meant to keep Mr. Bilbo from getting' to the coast, then why did they leave us be and go without trying to steer us out too?" Sam asked, rising to his feet and brushing the sand off his pants.

"Because most fairies fear wizards, or any other being with magic, they most likely ignored us because of my presence. Though, I now realize that Bilbo's experience with the fairies may not be as terrible as you think, Samwise."

Bilbo was throwing coconuts over the large wooden gate, at the large trees of the forest. Finally, Bilbo regained himself and began to walk towards Frodo, Gandalf, and Sam, who had stopped talking at begun to watch him closely.

"Gandalf, I do not think I like this forest anymore, I think I should not like it to walk through it again without your aid." Bilbo said still walking towards the three.

Gandalf's eyes became narrow and he made no response to Bilbo's words, and it grew very quiet among the four.

Finally, Sam, the only one of the four whom did not have a great many things on his mind, broke the silence.

"When will we be going, I don't see anything that could take us to the shire, unless we've all brought our swimming clothes." Sam said in an unsure tone.

Gandalf took no notice of Sam, and began to carefully examine Bilbo once again.

Frodo looked on Gandalf with curious gleam in his eyes, and finally Sam could no longer take the silence.

"Gandalf, when and how will we be making our way to the shire, there's no boat!" Sam began to feel very uneasy, and he brushed through his hair with his muddy hands.

At that moment, as if Sam made it appear through a wish of some sort, a large grayish-brown ship appeared from out of a deep fog on the sea.

Gandalf paid no notice of the boat, though the others all stared in amazement at the large ship.

"Bilbo, I do not think the fairies meant any harm, and if harm they gave, perhaps, it is a much smaller danger than what you shall face on the journey to the shire. You have mistaken them for a beast. They are only trying to protect you, Bilbo."

Bilbo did not speak, Sam mumbled to himself, and Frodo looked up at Gandalf, with a desperate looks, as if Gandalf had said something that Frodo had hoped he would not say.

"Why do you speak as if you're not coming along, Gandalf?" Frodo asked, his eyes ever fixed on Gandalf.

Sam looked up to Gandalf after Frodo did the same, and both seemed seconds away from fear. Gandalf remained quiet but made a deep sigh.

"Because I am not going, I cannot go, this is not my journey. Come along, and steady yourselves, you have a very long way to go! Gandalf said sternly as he walked away from them, towards the shore whence the boat was approaching swiftly.

Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam, in that order, began to follow at a slightly slower pace, unsure of their trip now, more than ever. Sam began to have second thoughts of the whole idea. He wanted more than anything to help his friends, especially Frodo, on their trip, but a powerful fear overcame him.

Sam stopped suddenly without saying a word. His body became numb and though he wanted to, he could not bring himself to take any steps further. Sam could only stare at the creaky old boat on the shore. The sand was now colder then ever between his hairy toes, and his curly brownish hair dangled in the breeze.

Frodo then noticed that Sam had stopped was no longer right behind him, he turned to look behind to find Sam. Frodo's eyes darted to the ground and then to Sam's feet, and Frodo's eyes slowly made their way to Sam's. Frodo forced a smile out.

At the sight of Frodo's clearly false smile, Sam instantly overcame his fear, and pushed himself to take a step. Bilbo and Gandalf were already many yards ahead of the two; they were now very near to the boat, while Sam and Frodo were still standing in the middle of the cold, gray beach.

"Are you okay, Sam?" Frodo asked slowly.

"I am, Frodo, I was only admirin' the view of the boat, that's all." Sam said with a quick smile after thinking for a moment about Frodo's question.

Frodo smiled back and laughed. Sam walked to Frodo and the two continued the walk to the boat. By the time the two reached the boat, Gandalf and Bilbo had already boarded vanished into a room on the boat. Frodo and Sam climbed the ramp onto the boat and met with Bilbo and Gandalf in the small room.

Bilbo was lying down on a small cot with bright red sheets, and Gandalf was standing by the door of the room with an impatient look all about him. When Frodo and Sam entered the room, Gandalf spoke quickly.

"I have seen to it that you arrived safely on the boat. Please do not mistake my leave as a sign of weakness, but as an expression of strength. I cannot return to the shire, it is quite hard for me to abandon such a dream, but I must. Goodbye!"

And with that, Gandalf hastily walked out of the room and down the ramp. As soon as he had done so, the ramp vanished in an instant and the boat began to slowly pull away from the shore.

And so, the journey of Bilbo, Frodo and Sam began.

Chapter 5 "DARKNESS" coming very soon!