Back to the Ring of Flame: Part - A new creature in Middle Earth
The sun was peaking over the horizon bringing the dewy dawn to middle earth. The ocean waves of the Sapphire Sea washed onto the white sand and bathed Aerrianah's feet. She stood calmly in a short light blue dress and wore a gold arm brace of a sea dragon on her upper left arm. Four gold bracelets hung on each of her wrists and four gold on each of her ankles. A dark shape could be seen moving closer to her at a somewhat fast pace. A big Dragon came into view. She was shaped somewhat like a human with a long snout and big clawed feet and hands. Her tail was long and ended with two claws in the shape of a bird's head with it's beak opened. Her wings were that of a dragonfly only much, much bigger. The tops were black, the tips were gray and in the middle they were blues, purples, greens, and pinks of the sea. Her body and tail were light blue and her chest and stomach plates were two shades of green, light and sea. Her eyes were peircing green. She had horns shaped like gnarled tree branches and they were sea green. The dragon had hair that reached to her shoulders but in the back went all the way down to the center of her spine. It was streaked, purple and sea green. Her snout was long yet gentle. Not big like Smaug's. The top was curved a little like that of a parakeet. She was big but had a look of kindness. She had long pointed ears like an elf but they were somewhat hidden by her hair. Aerrianah looked into her green eyes and the dragon spoke. "I am Aerenga, Dragoness of Potions. And writer of the sea scrolls." Her voice had an eerie echo to it and it made Aerrianah shiver. She looked up at Aerenga again. The dragon was smiling. "Do not be afraid. I do not bite!" she laughed. She was six times Aerrianah's height. "I have come to help you." she continued. A blue light appeared in her hand and she directed it at Aerrianah. The light floated lazily to the elf girl and stopped, as a globe right in front of her. Aerrianah help out her hand,
"What is it?" she asked attentively. The light faded and something cold fell into her hand. She looked down at it. A pearl the size of a large marble sat in the palm of her hand. It was crystal white but had a tint of blue. A small snowflake was shining on it's surface. Aerrianah looked again at Aerenga.
"You will need this pearl. It holds the language of the sea inside it. It will allow you to talk to the waters of any ocean or river." She said. As ridiculous as it sounded, it seemed quite extraordinary. She was about to say something when Aerenga spoke again. "Your father dwells on an island across the sea. Go Aerrianah, find him." Aerrianah looked down at the pearl.
"But what of my sister?" She inquired. When she recieved no answer, she looked up. Aerenga was gone. "Bother! And here I thought I was going to get all the answers! How silly of me." She closed her hand tightly around the pearl. "I don't even know what the snowflake means!"
The cock crowed and the sun shone in the window of the cozy hobbit hole. Aerrianah groaned and sat up in her bed. Rubbing her eyes, she looked out at the morning dew. "What a queer dream. It almost seemed real. And it was just getting good too. Then that blasted cock had to go and crow." She grumbled. Aerrianah rolled out of bed and got to her feet. A small hobbit came running in.
"Wake up Aerrianah! The cock has already crowed thrice. Oh, you are up!" Aerrianah looked over at the small hobbit and smiled.
"Merry, you're back already? It has only been five months since I took you home." Merry smiled brightly at her,
"Yup! And I turned 9 only three weeks ago!" He said proudly.
"Wow, you sure are growing fast. Well happy birthday to you then. I'm afraid I haven't got a present for you." She smiled and shook her head. Merry smiled bigger.
"That's all right! I got plenty back in Buckland." Aerrianah smiled.
"That is wonderful. Now, would you mind scooting out for a time while I get dressed?" Merry nodded and ran out of the room shutting the door a bit heavily behind him.
Aerrianah shook her head and smiled to herself. Merry's spirit had not decreased one bit since the first time she met him. She opened the curtains on the window and went to the closet. Daisy and May's beds were neatly made and nothing was on the floor. She grabbed one of her new dresses from the hanger and changed into it. (Bell Gamgee had taken the liberty to make some dresses for Aerrianah so she wouldn't have to forever barrow Daisy's dresses.) Brushing her hair, she stopped and thought back to the dream. After she had convinced herself it was ONLY a dream and that it was something that she wished would happen, she finished brushing her hair and wound it into a tight braid. Aerrianah had long gotten used to the ways of Hobbiton and enjoyed it thoroughly. Even though there were chores to do, there was always plenty of time for special events and play.
Aerrianah made her bed, making sure it was neat like the other girls'. She then neatly hung her night dress next to Daisy's and headed out to the kitchen. Bell was doing some last minute cleaning when Aerrianah stepped into the kitchen. "Good morning Aerrianah. I trust you slept well. Young Merry got in only a few hours ago. Riding in the back of our Pony cart he was, chatting away with his cousin." Aerrianah smiled and sat down at the table. Bell bustled over and put a plate of bacon, eggs and sun dried tomatoes in front of her. "There you are dear, put some meat on your bones." She smiled down at the elf child and Aerrianah smiled back.
"Thank you." she said. Bell smiled and walked back to the kitchen. Poor dear. Alone with no parents to wake up to. Well, try your best Bell Gamgee. She thought.
Aerrianah soon finished her breakfast and took her leave. She walked out into the bright sun to join the others. Daisy and Frodo ran up to where she stood. "Well, good morning to you sleepy head!" Frodo said. Aerrianah smiled at him.
"Good Morning!" Daisy laughed and grabbed Aerrianah's wrist.
"Come on. Let's watch them play tag!" Aerrianah smiled and pulled away.
"Daisy, I've an idea. Let's PLAY tag with them." Daisy cocked her head to the side and smiiled.
"Okay. Hey May, come back down we're going to play instead." May ran down the hill to join them. Daisy turned back to Aerrianah. "So who's it?" Aerrianah shrugged.
"I am!" Frodo yelled. Aerrianah turned around and Frodo was running toward them. The girls screamed and darted away. Merry laughed and soon joined them followed by Marigold and sam.
Frodo ran at anyone he thought he could reach, but they all ran in different directions. He turned and shot after Merry. He chased after him for some time until he got so far behind that he turned for Aerrianah instead. She was too fast so he decided to try a different strategy. He climbed up the nearest tree to wait for her. She soon came and stopped underneath it to catch her breath. Frodo jumped down behind her and said, "Hello! Behind you!" Aerrianah turned around startled and started to run. Frodo did not hesitate and took off after her. With a strong lunge he grabbed hold of her and tackled her to the ground. He jumped up, "Got ya! You're it!" and he ran off laughing. Aerrianah got to her feet and tore after him. Merry ran by laughing and she swerved to the right and went after him. He yelled and ran faster. Now, the rule said you had to touch their arm or something. Aerrianah grabbed his shirt but he kept running madly, in place. Aerrianah laughed and touched his arm.
"You're it Merry!" She said, and releasing him ran the opposite way. He took off after Marigold. Their game went on until everyone was tired and slouched to the ground laughing and breathing heavily. By this time it was lunch.
The laughing hobbits and elf staggered to the Gamgees and plopped down at the table. They were talking about how much fun they had had when Bell came in with a tray of sandwiches. They each grabbed their own and claimed a glass of tea. Then they went outside to eat by the River. while they munched on their sandwiches, they chatted about virtually nothing. It moved from herbs to animals to rivers to bridges and ended with colors. after they finished eating their lunches, they laid back on the soft grass to watch the clouds and try to make shapes out of them. They soon started talking about adventures and wouldn't it be exciting if they could go on one. All of them had heard Bilbo's stories including Aerrianah and wanted an adventure of their own. It was at that moment that Aerrianah remembered her dream. She told them about it and how ridiculous the pearl sounded. They took an interest and asked Aerrianah if she was going to look for her father and sister. "Maybe. I just don't know if they're still out there, alive." She said.
"Well you won't know unless you look for them." Frodo inquired.
"He's right Aerrianah." Daisy added. The others nodded in agreement.
"I might." She said again.
At dinner time everyone was whispering softly to each other about how it would be so cool if they did go looking for Aerrianah's family. "Now what are you young ones up to? What with all the whispering and such." Bell asked. They all shrugged.
"Is it too secret to share with everyone?" Hamfast asked.
"Yes." They all said in unison. Bell and Hamfast both laughed.
"Well then if that's the case then try to take it outside for your Astronomy lesson." They all looked up at the Gaffer. "Oh yes, I forgot to tell ye all. Bilbo arranged it for the likes of all of you to go outside tonight and he'll be giving you star charts and ye all are supposed to find the constellations by looking in the directions on the chart. Have fun." Hamfast got up and went outside for a smoke. The young hobbits looked at one another in question. They didn't know how to read star charts and some didn't exactly know which way was which direction.
After they had finished eating, Frodo, Aerrianah, Daisy, and all the rest went to fetch their quills. Aerrianah went to the back bedroom and dug through the desk for her Peacock feather quill. She didn't find it so went to her bed. She moved her arm around underneath it and felt the familiar softness of her quill. She grabbed it and pulled it out. As she withdrew her hand from underneath the bed it brushed something round and cold. Aerrianah grabbed the object and brought it back out with her quill. It was round and about the size of a marble. It was crystal white with a tint of blue and had the shape of a snowflake on its smooth surface. She gasped and stood up. "What is it Aerrianah? Is it a mouse!" Aerrianah shook her head and ran over to Daisy.
"Look! Look what I've found." She said. Daisy's eyes went wide.
"Isn't that the pearl from your dream?" She wondered. "I, I think so." Aerrianah answered.
"Look, it's even got the snowflake on its surface!" Aerrianah turned the pearl in her hand to reveal the snowflake. Daisy gasped.
"It sure do!" She said. The girls stared at it for a time and it started glowing. They gasped. A blue light surrounded the pearl and then disappeared as quick as it came, taking with it, all evidence of a snowflake.
Aerrianah turned around and ran out of the room followed closely by the other girls and still clutching the pearl, ran out of the house and collided with Frodo. All four of them fell to the ground. Frodo rubbed his head and looked at the girls. Standing up and a bit angry, he asked, "What's all this then! Why such a hurry?" Aerrianah stood up and held out the pearl. "You knocked me over just to show me a pearl!" He laughed.
"When I found it, it had a snowflake on it and then a blue light appeared and disappeared and then the snowflake was gone!" Aerrianah said hurriedly. Frodo gazed at her in astonishment.
"Like the pearl in your dream! Maybe it wasn't so ridiculous after all. We've got to tell Bilbo!" Frodo turned around but Aerrianah grabbed his arm.
"No, we can't tell the grownups anything. Just us young ones." She hissed as if someone could be listening. Frodo hesitated for a moment then nodded. The hobbits, quills in hand, walked to their lesson under the stars as if nothing had happened. Only the other three, Sam, Merry, and Marigold knew something was up just by looking upon the older hobbits.
Bilbo came out of his hobbit hole with seven scrolls, four charts, (Tucked under his arm) 4 bottles of Emerald ink and a handful of hawks feather quills. "Well good evening to you all. I trust Hamfast told you what we were to do tonight." They all nodded. Bilbo walked to the top of the nearby hill and set his bundles and ink upon the grass. The other hobbits followed intently and took their seats in a circle. Daisy and Aerrianah sat on either side of Frodo and the others filled in around them. They didn't get what the point to learning astronomy was all about, until Bilbo spoke. "I'm sure by now, all of you have heard of my adventure that took place some years ago." Everyone nodded, keeping their eyes on him. "Well, on my long journey across middle earth, we had to use the constellations, maps and of course cardinal directions, which we got from looking at the constellations on the star maps. They have the directions on which the constellation is found." He paused, and looked around at all of the confused faces. "I am sorry, I'm terrible at speeches." Everyone nodded quickly. Bilbo laughed. "Anyway, what I am trying to say is, the star maps had the directions, North, South, East, and West on the corresponding sides of the map. North at the top, East to the right. South on the bottom, and West on the Left. The constellations were drawn out in a circle to represent the sky and certain ones were found in certain directions. We had to look through the sky, using 15 degree segments, which is about the size of your fist from left to right...I am teaching you this now, so's if you decide to have an adventure of your own someday, you will already know sort of where the constellations are located and you won't have to go through the trouble I did without knowing my directions." They all followed him carefully and paid extra attention to the notion that he had mentioned adventures.
Frodo noted the quantity of only 4 bottles of ink and 4 star maps among the abundance of everything else. "Uncle, how comes it that you only have 4 star maps and 4 ink?" Bilbo gazed at Frodo and smiled.
"What I did not tell master Hamfast was that you would be working in pairs." The all smiled at this assessment and began to discuss who would be who's partner. Daisy instantly moved toward Frodo. He chuckled and shook his head.
"Uh uh daisy. I'm with Aerrianah." Aerrianah looked up and smiled to herself. Merry and sam decided that they would be partners and Daisy chose May instead. That left poor Marigold. Merry went over to her and invited her into his and sams little circle. She amiled and took his hand. Bilbo chuckled to himself. For he had seen and heard every bit of the drama. After everyone was settled with who was to be with who, he stepped back in. He handed a star map and a bottle of ink to each pair and handed everyone a scroll, which they all unrolled partially. Everyone had brought their own quills, so there was really no need for Bilbo to hand hsis out, even though he did.
"Well, are we all ready to begin?" They all nodded.
"First of all, I want all of you to lay on your backs." Everyone looked at him, puzzled. "Well go on then." They hesitated nut laid down next to one another. "Now I want you to search for the old Took who was the biggest Hobbit ever to live." Aerrianah turned to Frodo.
"Which one is that?" Frodo dragged his eyes from the sky and gazed at her.
"Huh? Oh, they call him stone thrower or something like that because he was the strongest hobbit in all of middle earth as well. I'll show you. Here, bring your hand up next to mine and point to the moon." Aerrianah did as he asked. "Up, right, down, right, up." He placed his hand in front of Aerrianah's and guided it up above the moon than right a little ways. He then placed his hand behind hers and guided it down half of the wau he had gone above the moon than moved her hand another fifteen degrees to the right and placing his hand once again in front of hers, guided it 15 degrees up again. "There, can you see it?" he closed his hand and pointed to where they had stopped. Aerrianah gazed at a series of stars clustered in the shape of a man on horse back with a hand extended behind him. Just above the hand, a brighter star glittered, like a stone. Aerrianah nodded. "You think you've got the pattern I just showed you down okay?" Frodo asked.
"Uh, I don't know. Was it something like this?" Aerrianah moved her hand in some random pattern and Frodo shook his head. He moved her hand back to the moon and showed her again, whispering for the second time.
Frodo brought her hand to the same constellation and asked again. "Now have you got it?" Aerrianah nodded.
"I think so." She moved in a different pattern again but made it closer than last time. Frodop laughed.
"Nay, you still haven't got it. Let me show you again." He guided her hand once again, whispering the directions and Aerrianah smiled to herself. "Let's try it again, and this time say the words with me. Frodo guided her hand a fourth time and they chanted softly, "Up, right, down, right, up." Frodo smiled. "Now you try it." Aerrianah moved her hand back to the moon and moved her hand, up, right, down, right, up. Frodo smiled again. "You've got it." The two sat up and turned to Bilbo.
"We've found it." Aerrianah grinned. Bilbo smiled.
"Good, now wait for the others." He than turned to Frodo. "Well done my lad, you've paid attention to all I've tought you." Frodo grinned affectionately at his uncle.
Once everyone had sat up, Bilbo gave the second set of directions. "Now that you have successfully found the constellation, which is above and to the right of the moon I presume," They all nodded. "Now I want you to find it on your star maps and record the exact location in which it is found in the sky, meanings what direction it is in and by how many degrees." Everyone looked exasperated. Bilbo chuckled. "Fret not young ones, it has the degrees and directions plotted on the star maps." Everyone sighed in relief. "Once you have found it on the map, I want you to write it on your scrolls with the ink that I have provided." It seemed obvious that that was what they were to do so they did not see, why Bilbo had to tell them. They would soon find out.
Aerrianah and Frodo unrolled their star map and began to hunt out the stone thrower. "Frodo, where did you learn how to find the constellations with your hands?"
"Bilbo tought me when I was just a wee lad, before he took me from Brandy Hall." Frodo looked up at Aerrianah and smiled.
"Could you teach me haw to find some more like that?" She ventured. Frodo nodded.
"Sure, I know quite a few." Aerrianah smiled. She looked back down at the star map and continued her search. Once she pin pointed the familiar pattern of stars, she pointed it out to Frodo and together they began to copy the shape and name of the constellation and its exact location in which direction and degrees.
...To Be Continued...