The laughter of both adults and children filled the air. It was a hot summer afternoon and the last day of harvest for my village in Rohan. All the children were excused from their daily chores and the adults were barely working themselves. I just had another bushel of wheat to tie and store away before I could also be excused and could escape to the shade of the trees that grew on the side of our village. Most of the young folk who were close to my age had gathered there, talking about the festival that was to be held later tonight. I was a very social creature and for me at least, festivals like this one were the best part of my year. I was a good dancer, and I was considered the prettiest in my village, so I never lacked a dance partner. Sighing, I realized that tonight’s festival would be different. Throughout my life these celebrations had always been about having fun but tonight would probably be more serious. I was no longer considered a child and I was sure that tonight every mother who had an unmarried son would be watching me. Most of the men in the village who were older than fifteen had taken to staring at me while I worked. At first I had enjoyed this attention but by now it was getting tiresome.
Shaking these upsetting thoughts from my head, I stood up my last bushel on one hip and glanced over at my little sister Bláilith. She was my only family, except for my mother, after my father had abandoned us and my little brother had died of a fever. Bláilith scampered over to me, laughing, and demanded for me to pick her up. She was a pretty girl, barely five years old, and full of smiles and pretty songs for those who she loves. But, very much like me, she hated sitting still for a long time and soon asked to be let down. As soon as I let her down in front of our house, my mother appeared in the doorway. My mother, Elí, used to be a beauty in her day but the erosion of time and the hardships of life had taken away most of her good looks. She had light green eyes and wavy dark blond hair, like mine, but hers had recently started to turn grey. To me she was and always had been my mother and that was reason enough to love her.
“Elína,” she called for me softly. I turned and smiled at her. “is that the last bit of wheat?”
“Yes mother.” I sighed restlessly, very eager to go join my friends under the trees. She smiled and took the last bushel from me, “Very well. Go, have fun.”
Running and skipping like a child I joined my two best friends, Roísín and Clíonai under a large oak. “Are you two not excited about the festival tonight?” I shouted as a way of greeting them. They collapsed into giggles at the mere mention of the festival.
“I hear that there are going to be drums.” Roísín whispered excitedly, “I can’t wait to hear it! Can you Elína?” I muttered my agreement. Roísín was fifteen years old, just like me, and loved music especially drums, but she also liked the man who played the drums. She was loud and vivacious and she laughed a lot. Clíonai was shyer and was considered to be timid. I fell somewhere in between these two, neither shy nor attention grabbing.
I spent the rest of my afternoon listening and joining into the conversation until the sun started to set. Then, my friends and I ran to the river to bathe in the cold, quick moving water. After that I hurried back home to my house to change into a cleaner dress. By the time I got to the village square the celebrations had already started and I was greeted by a roaring fire, three kegs of ale, music and happy couples dancing. The first hour or so of dancing, I was passed from partner to partner. Most of the young men in the village had a chance to dance with me. One gave even me a flower to tuck into my hair, a gesture which I thought was charming. Far too soon the festivities had to come to an end. I skipped home, linking arms with my two best friends until I came to my doorway. My mother chuckled quietly when she saw me and warned me not to wake up my sister, who had fallen asleep many hours before me. As soon as I walked into my house, I collapsed onto the pile of blankets that was my bed and fell asleep instantly.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.