This story takes place not so very long ago. True, no person of this day and age remembers the time of this tale, but the race of men tends to pass knowledge into legend, and legend into myth, a bit too quickly. Then, the world was a bit more quiet. It was easier to find yourself in a place that no one had been to in a millennia, and magic was just a mite more common. Things were greener then also. All in all, people were happier, and silence was not feared as it is today…
A Message from the King
Elanor Gamgee groaned as she sank into a huge armchair. She was alone in her room, for once. A lovely lass, there wasn’t a single young gentle hobbit who didn’t know of the eldest Gamgee. At the very mention of her name, many would fall into a mild stupor, their eyes unfocused and slightly crossed. Those who kept some semblance of their wits about them stuttered for words, losing any current train of thought for several minutes.
Elanor’s long sun colored hair fell in graceful waves about her waist. Her brown eyes were earnest, and filled with emotion. Her lips were ruby red, and cherubic. Her perfect complexion was pale to the extreme except around the cheeks, which had a faint rose colored tint. Her glance melted hearts, and her smile made the most hardened Gaffer weak in the knees.
And her twelve brothers and sisters, (Frodo, Rose, Merry, Pippin, Goldilocks, Hamfast, Daisy, Primrose, Bilbo, Ruby, Robin, and Tolman, also known as Tom.)! None of them were out of their tweens, and were often to be found rampaging about the once peaceful countryside, curses and raised fists following them all the way, Elanor close behind, shouting apologies to the angered victims, and threats to her disobedient siblings. Ever since her mother had died and her father had sailed across the sea, Elanor had been in charge of their care.
Although Elanor had the beauty of her mother’s side, she had her father’s temper, bravery, and loyalty. Slowly, as Tolman, the youngest of her siblings, neared his thirty-third birthday, Elanor grew bored. She would offer room and a hot meal to those passing through the area willing to tell her a tale of far off lands. Ever-growing, there was an unnoticed feeling swelling in her heart that said the old paths were too well-trodden, that her soul was growing restless, and that she needed something more. It was about that time that Elanor received a letter.
* * *
It was early September when Elanor called on Faramir Took in Bywater. Having known each other since childhood, the two had been perfect companions, Elanor’s cleverness balancing Faramir’s spirit for adventure. They had been a bane indeed to all the Shire in their youth, reeking miscellaneous havoc and still managing to escape unpunished and unharmed.
“Let me in, you ninnyhammer!” she called from the window, startling Faramir out of his book.
“Just a moment, Elanor. You do remember that I have a door, I hope? There’s no need to go peering into windows when you could just knock.”
“But that would be so boring!”
Rising wearily, Faramir allowed Elanor into his orderly home. Bright and sunny as all hobbit holes, this hole had a special charm, not to mention the ever-present kettle of water on the hearth, just waiting to be made into tea. Pouring her a cup, he commanded Elanor to sit still as he fetched the pastries.
Faramir was for the most part a normal hobbit, excluding the fact that he was the son of the infamous Peregrin Took. His wavy brown hair often fell over one of his pure blue eyes, causing him to brush it away from his rosy cheeks and tuck it behind a pointed ear. If he had grown slightly stout in his maturity, there were none to blame him. He was the Took, and master of Tuckburough, though it had been a long time since the master had exercised any real power.
“It’s been some time since you visited me, Elanor,” Faramir said cheerfully over his shoulder. “I was beginning to think you’d forgotten me.”
Elanor spoke impatiently. “Oh, Faramir, enough pleasantries. I’ve got something interesting to tell you!”
“Meaning I’m not interesting, I take it?”
“Faramir! I’m going to Gondor, and you’re coming with me.”
The hobbit paused and looked at her. Coolly, he replied, “Excuse me?”
“We’re to attend some ‘great council’ on the tenth of January. The king wishes that representatives from each realm come, and he knows me through my father and my days in Gondor. The letter says I should bring a companion, and who else could I bring, a Bolger?”
Faramir interrupted her as he sat. “I feel so appreciated.”
“Faramir! It also says that we can meet our guide at Bree on the twenty-second of this month. Says her name is ‘Gwynna.'” Faramir remained quiet. “So are you coming? I could always find someone else…” Elanor taunted playfully.
“Elanor, who raided the Bywater Orchards with you and lured away the dogs?”
“And who was your accomplice when you stole old Estella’s flute right before the harvest dance?”
“Elanor, of course I’ll come! How could I not?”
“Oh, Faramir thank you!” Elanor cried, rising and kissed him lightly on the cheek. “I have to go home, tell my brothers and sisters, they’ll be so excited! And what will I bring, appearing before the court…” she said even as she closed the door behind her.
Faramir sat for some time with his hand on his cheek, looking slightly stricken. Finally, he murmured quietly to himself. “Of course I’ll go with you, Elanor… I’d go to the end of the Earth and over the great sea with you.”