Chapter 6: Fair Weather and Fair Folk
All day Frodo tried to piece his song together. Now that his worry of sickness had passed, he could focus on other, more important things. The days near the end of March, he thought would be better than its beginning ones: for the elves were preparing a party of great importance; the grand day was not far off.
Frodo had not come out of his room and missed dinner many times. At points when he could not make song, he would go to the kitchen and grab something to eat. Often, when he did not want to leave his chamber, he brought himself a tray of food and ate in his cabin.
The elves aboard the ship wondered what had become of their little friend. They had Bilbo of course, but they got bored soon of listening to his stories of his adventures, since they already heard them many times before. They never got a chance to speak with Frodo and every time they see him, he would only say:
“I have to hurry; the party is coming and I need to get many things done!” and then he would run off. They could only watch wistfully as he would disappear behind a bend in the hallway.
So dawned the day of the party. All the crew seemed glad and was in a party frenzy. The Sun was shining with its majestical, bright glory, veiling any sign of sorrow and uneasiness. To the crew’s surprise, a light drizzle fell, that washed away all weariness from their faces, so that their pure and fair faces and eyes were shining like stars. The Heavens were tinted with gold and the clouds were like the ever-snowy Misty Mountains and were shining like newly wrought mithril. All the things about and on the ship seemed enchanted and just as merry.
All seemed gleeful, indeed, but Frodo was still in his room, door locked and the only light was off the small round windows. Bilbo crept in quietly and was about to say something, when he saw Frodo at his table and that he was sleeping. His hand was over his head and below him was a piece of paper. Bilbo gently took the paper and looked over it, glancing once or twice at Frodo. He smiled when he finished and left the room.
When Frodo woke up, he yawned and stretched. He breathed deep and decided to go on deck. As soon as he set foot on it, he stopped short. It seemed that every time he went on deck, the beauty of the outside did not vanish: the Sun was westerning and was sending out golden rays that were lost in the ever-tinting sky; it was a deep blue and in the west it was golden. Stars of many colors began to appear in the sky. There were no clouds, only a vast sky of immeasurable length and beauty. The whole ship somehow glowed. Elves were running to and fro, preparing the party table that was set once more on deck; silver and gold were the candles that were shimmering on it. As he stood, Gandalf joined him.
“You were in your room this whole past week. What were you up to?” asked Gandalf, cocking a suspicious eye at the Hobbit.
“I needed to finish something before the party. It’s for Elrond.” With that Frodo came and sat down in his place at the table. Many of the fair folk looked at him questioningly, but Frodo averted their gaze. Soon all the people were seated and Elrond stood up. All fell silent.
“As you all know this is a great day for many,” he said. Many elves cried out in unison. “I hope you all know why we are here…” at this, Elrond looked at each on at the table. Everyone nodded at his gaze. Frodo sat trying to recall what is the occasion, his brows were furrowed, and he had a look of unmistakable question; he had forgotten while he was preoccupied and locked up in his room! Elrond looked at him and said:
“Today is the day that Sauron was defeated many years ago! This is the New Year for many Elves and Men. The King of Gondor, King Elessar, established the rule!” Cried Elrond, and his deep voice carried for a great distance beyond the glimmer of the swan-ship. “So let us be merry and rejoice!” And with that, he sat down and the music started playing. Elves on every side of the table and around it were merrymaking: eating, talking, dancing and laughing. As Frodo ate, he felt happy and mirthful himself. He tried to think of what Sam and his other friends are doing.
“Celebrating like the rest of us, I suppose.” He smiled to himself. Then suddenly, somebody called for a song. Bilbo looked at Frodo and said:
“Go on, Frodo! You have a good voice!” he gave Frodo a nudge and made him stand up. He gave Bilbo a look of suspicion, wondering whether the old hobbit read his song, while he was somewhere else. Everybody hushed. Frodo looked anxious and rather comical.
“I suppose, that you would like to hear me sing…” he said quietly and looked at Bilbo once more. Bilbo was sneering! How abominable! Frodo thought, before he turned to the Elves. “You probably have been wondering what I was doing this past week in my room.” He looked at all the Elves and many of them nodded. Gandalf and Elrond sat intent. “I was actually working on a song, though it was for a friend, I guess that this is important to all of you.” At this he looked at Elrond.
“I was making a rhyme about the life of King Elessar and the Queen Evenstar, so I shall begin.” Elrond looked up and was more intent then ever.
Fair is the Lady Evenstar
In fair Imladris she dwelt
Proud is he that beheld her
Seeing her from afar.
Young they were at their first meeting
Shimmering, he thought she looked.
Tall she was that walked garden
Joyous was her greeting.
They loved each other ever since that night
Under stars and moon they met
Sad was he when he left her
Grim and sorrowful with little light.
Long he wandered all alone
By day by night by year.
Met he there Mithrandir
And hope rekindled as his eyes shone.
Went the Elfstone to the Golden Wood
And there was clothed in white.
Saw he there the Lady Arwen
And cast away his shadow hood.
Long they walked on the grass unshod
And there she bound herself to him
But he left and she returned
And she laboured as she wrought
The Standard great and kingly.
Long he wondered Middle-earth
And came to the White Tower
There he became King of Gondor
And wed the Fair Undomiel.
Thus it was King Elessar the Elfsone
Greatest of all Men
And by his side forever Queen Arwen Evenstar
Fairest of all People.
As Frodo finished, he became aware that there was a deep silence. Elrond looked at him as one deeply touched. As all gazes were turned to him, Frodo felt weak and wavered under the stare of so many piercing eyes. Elrond and Bilbo ran to him and helped him to his feet.
“Well! I must say that, that was the best piece since the time I recited that really long one in Rivendell!” exclaimed Bilbo.
“Indeed,” said Elrond as Frodo smiled and opened his eyes. “You shall be a great lore master if you wish.” All the Elves then cheered and applauded Frodo as he recovered and joined the merrymaking.
The celebration went deep into the night. Only when the first rays of the Sun appeared, did it seem to cease. Soon the deck was cleared and everybody was weary, but happy. Frodo and Bilbo returned to their cabin. As they entered, Frodo threw himself on his bed, closed his eyes and breathed deep: a sigh of relief, wonder and relaxation.
“I have not seen a night like this since the feast in Meduseld!” cried Frodo. “What a celebration!” Bilbo sat down in a chair and took a paper from the table. He looked over it and said:
“Your poem was quite nice. I liked it very much. I had a peek at it while you were sleeping,” but Frodo was too weary to listen or to protest. He had quickly fallen asleep as Bilbo’s words left his mouth. He slept late into the day and woke up at sunset. He did not leave his room anymore and stayed inside. He looked out the window and there saw the bright Moon, almost right above them. Frodo ate a small supper with Bilbo and Gandalf and finally asked a question that was bothering him.
“Gandalf,” he began. “You said that we will be on this ship for some time. Does that mean that we shall spend our birthdays here? I shall be fifty-four this year.”
“I suppose, Frodo,” Answered Gandalf. “Though you say it like its bad thing; I thought you loved the Great Sea.”
“I do—I did,” Said Frodo “But this is not the Sea any longer.” And said no more for a long time.