The Undying Lands - what happens beyond Middle Earth?

As Frodo watched Sam, Merry and Pippin slowly being engulfed in the mist, a single tear rolled down his cheek- it was to be the final time he saw the Travellers (for that is what they were called) again. Sam's cheery face, Pippin's sense of humour and heroic Merry- he would miss them all.

Frodo looked towards Bilbo who was looking very tired and old nowadays. For the first time in an age, Bilbo looked happy, looking forward to another adventure- his last adventure- the excitement of the Undying Lands. The light of the glass of Galadriel, which Frodo held once more, lit up Bilbo's face making him seem happier still. Frodo now faced Gandalf, the red ring, Narya the Great, was worn upon the old wizard's hand openly. Gandalf also seemed pleased to be leaving Middle Earth, perhaps looking forward to being reunited with ancient friends in the Lands, or perhaps for other reasons of which were kept secret and hidden away. Elrond and Galadriel, the last two ring-bearers were silent and sad. They had left behind kin and friends and the thought of meeting, once more, the remainder of their people who left afore, was not an option because Arwen Undómiel would not survive for long for she forsake her mortality and became mortal. They had shed many tears for her. Out of the remainder of the elves, for there were many, Frodo only recognised Gildor, still, there was plenty of time to become acquainted with them.

The silence was unbearable. Círdan the Shipwright broke it first. 'Not long now.'

Frodo's thoughts were becoming relaxed as though a power was helping the sadness to leave gradually; a whisper was heard among the elves, which gradually grew to become a song, which was repeated as the ship became closer to the noise:


U'osto,
Gîl síla erin lû govaded mín,
Fear not,
A star shines upon the hour of our meeting.


'Mae govannen,' a loud voice was heard through the darkness. The music stopped and the mist cleared. There was land close to the ship where elves were gathered. Hundreds of elves were watching the ship slowing down and approaching. Frodo saw one male elf who seemed old, although obviously elves age not quickly, but he seemed old compared to others who surrounded him. This elf was handsome despite his age and reminded Frodo very much of Elrond half-elven. With this thought, Frodo turned to Elrond who had tears in his eyes and suddenly seemed a few ages younger.

'Tuor? This is truly an honour once more,' said Gandalf. Turning to Frodo, he explained himself, 'Tuor is an old and wise elf who fought in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, you must respect him or suffer the consequences.'

Tuor laughed gently but looked solemn, all the same. 'Thank you Mithrandir, a pleasure it is to meet you again too. Welcome friends- elves, wizard and hobbits alike. Here we are equals but you must abide with a few rules. First of all, respect all others. Also, only peace is allowed here. Lastly, no weapons. With no further ado, please follow Aldawen- tree maiden- who will guide you for your first few weeks throughout this sacred land.' With that, a beautiful she-elf stepped forward. She had long, flowing blonde hair, which glinted in the sunlight, causing it to seem gold. Her eyes were pale green and awe seemed to surround her. She let the large company across the lush green grass towards a large building.

Over the door of the building, were the words 'Tolo, mado a sogo.'

'Gandalf?' Frodo whispered, for there was a silence around. 'What does that writing mean'

'Mmm... Pippin would like it- Come, eat and drink! Sounds good to me' With the thought of his friends, Frodo stepped into the room. It was an immense dining hall with food of all sorts on the table. Delicacies from many different lands let their aromas fill the room. Everyone was sitting down at allocated places- somehow, Tuor must have known who was arriving.

Frodo sat down next to a fairly large elf, although he was not overweight for no elves are, who had already started to eat. The other side of Frodo was an empty place with a name written on the plate- Dînhith. The elf, who was now holding a bone with meat on, had covered his name in food but, noticing Frodo's inquisitive face, held out his other hand. Frodo shook it and introduced himself.

'Frodo Baggins of the Shire, pleased to meet you.'

'Likewise. Well, I mean I'm pleased to meet you, not that I'm called Frodo Baggins! I am Mereth, son of Mananca. I'm looking forward to meeting my father again- I haven't seen him since the Second Age when he came here with my mother. Are you expecting to meet anyone? I don't suspect you are seeing as you are one of the first hobbits to arrive here. You are a hobbit aren't you? Of course you are! Well, aren't you going to eat anything? Not that I've given you a chance though- I talk far too much! Honestly, I always talk for far too long. Do stop me when you get bored- actually, just stop me anyway for many people do!'

'I see. Well, as I said, I'm pleased to meet you Mereth, son of Mananca. I won't reply to most of your questions though, I'm sorry, but I can't quite remember them.'

'Not to worry. I ask too many, too often. Have you met this 'Dînhith' yet?'

'No, I suspect he will turn up soon though. In the mean time, I'll eat and drink to the health of us all, and in memory of my dear friends Meriadoc, Peregrin and Samwise.' And so he did. Thinking of his companions brought back floods of memories but it was hard to concentrate on them with all the goodwill and cheer in the background. Instead, Frodo listened to other conversations and tried to learn the names of people around him. Further up the table, Bilbo was deep in conversation with a she-elf. Gandalf was the centre of attention nearer to Elrond, at the opposite end of the table, and Galadriel was watching Frodo. This quite disturbed Frodo as he looked at her, for her eyes sometimes seemed as though they were trying to say something, something strange and frightening.

'Er... Frodum, is it?' asked a voice behind Frodo.

'No, it's Frodo. Frodo Baggins. I presume you are Dînhith?' he replied as he turned around.

'That I am.' Dînhith was strong, muscular and tall- but, Frodo had not anticipated this, Dînhith was a lady.

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