Elanor ran through the vast apple orchards of the Shire. As she skipped gaily along, she managed to pluck some of the sweet, red and mouthwatering fruit, which she kept in the pockets of her little apron. All seemed perfect. It was a beautiful sunny day, warm and pleasant to the whole. But she danced on too far passed the cheery orchard and her curiosity led her into dark, menacing cave. She peeked in, but only to find a face of a horrible, black creature in her face. She cried and kicked as the evil thing picked her up roughly and brought her into all darkness-pitch black. Her cries of help were of no avail, and she continued to go on into deep, penetrating shadows. All of a sudden, she felt hopeless and full of great sorrow and horrible fear, and as her mind seemed to wander into an unfathomable gloom, she woke up. The pretty hobbit girl blinked out her sleep and looked around. Realizing she was not in a dark place full of evil, but in her large familiar room which she shared with her sister, she sighed in relief. “It was only a dream!” she whispered reassuring to herself, thankful to be back to the real from her virtual scary encounter. With that, she stretched and hopped out of her fluffy, springy bed and scampered into the kitchen, where her feast was to come- her breakfast.
“Good morning, Mommy,” she greeted her mother, giving her a little kiss. “Good morning to you also dear,” Rosie answered back, shooting a perfect smile towards her lovely eldest daughter. Elanor returned the gesture with a happy grin, and sat down, eager to eat. Sizzling sausage and crispy bacon tickled her nose unmercifully, including the freshly made scrambled eggs and hot, buttered rolls. Following the parade of delicious smells, Elanor smelt her favorite: flawless made blueberry pancakes topped with maple syrup. “Mmm…it all smells soooooooo good!!! Oh Mum, when will it be ready?” she continued to pester, watching the motherly rush to and fro, adding a little to this and a dash of salt or pepper to that. But her gaze was distracted as her father walked in. “Daddy!” Elanor cried, giving her father a huge hug. “I have missed you so much! How long has it been? A whole month? Yes, that is it! I though you would stay and live in Buckland FOREVER!”
Samwise Gamgee laughed heartily, and picked up the small 8-year old with care. “I have missed you too, my dearest Elanor! Do you think I would really stay and live with your “Uncle” Pippin and “Uncle” Merry now do you? I would miss you too much!”
Elanor had always secretly been the favorite of his four children, and Elanor knew it. But he still loved them as much. “Now,” he continued, “Where are the rest of my beloved seed?” At the sound of his voice, the others came running from their playing to Sam in utter delight. “Daddy! Look Rosie, Daddy’s finally home!” cried Frodo, the second oldest of the little family.
“Yay!” shouted Rosie, running straight into her father’s outstretched arms. Merry, two years, waddled far behind the two.
“Dada! Da!” he stuttered joyfully. Even newborn Pippin seemed to be glad that Sam was home.
After being mobbed by his children, Sam turned to his wife. “Ah, my dearest Rosie, how I have missed you!” With that he gave her a loving brush on the cheek with his lips. “Glad your back! Now you can help with all these young ones!” she chuckled teasingly.
After they all settled down, almost immediately the table was over taken by hungry youngsters, eager to eat. Once the food was set before them, the Gamgee family wasted no time whatsoever in devouring it. In the middle of chewing on a sausage, Elanor made a face of disgust. “I like when Daddy cooks better! This tastes funny! I guess smells aren’t really what they seem!” she whined. Rosie gave her a warning look, which made Sam laugh.
“I guess I will always be the cook in this house!” he snorted playfully. “Sorry, my darling!” he said, turning to his spouse.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full!” Rosie reprimanded Elanor, ignoring Sam. “You should be a good example for your younger siblings, AND be thankful for the food in front of you!” Elanor sulked for a moment, but changed the subject when she remembered her frightening dream.
“I had a strange dream last night,” she recalled, thinking deep into last evening. “I dreamed I was happily eating and playing, then wandered off into a cave and an evil, black creature took me away. It seemed so real-I was so afraid. It was as if I remembered something, because I could have sworn I had seen or heard about the creature before, it knew ME, and wanted me for something. Though I couldn’t see its face, I could FEEL the hatred and wickedness.” She shuddered for a moment, frightened by just thinking about her nightmare, as Rose began to whimper fretfully. Sam shifted in his seat uncomfortably as if he had something to hide.
“I’m afraid, Mummy!” cried young Rose, who got up and hid in her mother’s skirt. Frodo looked around and proudly announced that he was a big boy and wasn’t afraid of anything. Elanor watched her father, who seemed to be anxious for some odd reason.
“What? Is everyone frightened by my silly dream?” she did not want to worry anyone for any explanation.
“Da “Da “Da”Darling,” Sam started, getting up and kneeling in front of his eldest daughter, “You never, EVER have to be afraid of anything-EVER! You hear me? You just forget about that ridiculous dream and be happy! I want you to grow up perfectly content-not a single care or worry in the world. Do YOU understand? Do you ALL understand?” he said, looking around at the confused faces of his children. They nodded, not knowing what else to do.
Sam sat back down and sighed, now troubled. Elanor picked at her food. She wondered what had triggered her father so. It was very strange. But then he almost always had been to her. Sometimes he would look to the West and whisper words that she couldn’t understand. There were times when he seemed lost to her, trapped within his own thoughts and worries, if he had any of them. All these things raced through her mind, and one thought popped into her head-Sam’s story telling. It had always interested her, and filled her with excitement and joy. She had heard all the few tales and the songs that were to be told, but she wanted something new. A new adventure that would take her far away into her own world of pleasure. But her parents banished the wondrous scary, bone chilling stories for their protective reasons-which annoyed her. Why couldn’t she have the fun? It’s not like her family had EVER done anything exhilarating before, been on any adventures… afraid of anything-EVER! You hear me? You just forget
Elanor quietly excused herself from the cheery table, now that everyone seemed back to normal. She walked down the long hall of Bag End, not really going anywhere. Confused and distracted from her usually happy morning mood, she grumpily stomped outside and walked along the rows of vegetables and flowerbeds. “Gardeners! Humph! It is so fun to sit at home and play with the earth!” she muttered sarcastically, in a dark mood. She knew how much it meant to the Gamgee family, since they had always had a history with planting and such. Even though she enjoyed it, it got boring. She needed a little more liveliness and action in her life. “I feel so incredibly restless all the time!” she thought, tired of the same thing over and over. “I know that hobbits are usually so content, but I for some reason, are not! I don’t fit in PERFECTLY as I would wish!” She groaned and continued to stroll passed the yard. “I wonder if we always have had this huge hobbit hole?’ she asked herself randomly. “I don’t think we did…. I think I remember Daddy talking about the hobbits who used to live here…. But that was a long time ago! He never talks about the past, HIS past, except for the legends and stories of old… “
Continuing thoughts wracked her mind, as her usual curiosity rose. “I didn’t know the Gamgee family was so rich! How could we ever live in this wonderful hole?” But Rosie, who called for her, interrupted her questions. As Elanor got up, she made a promise to herself that she would someday find out what was going on, and what she had missed. She was determined to uncover all the unsolved mysteries that kept coming to mind, as she got older.
“Elanor,” said Rosie, as Elanor walked up to her, “I need you to go on a quick errand”
“Please go to the market for me and get some cotton green fabric! I have run out and need to sew a new dress for Rose, for her birthday party.”
“And be courteous and respectful to your elders!”
“Get me some new needles, Frodo got into mine and threw them in the fireplace, and now I cannot find them. Do you understand?”
“YES, mother!! Do not worry! I am just going to be a little ways off!”
Elanor sighed as she sauntered down the winding road, huffing and puffing. “She thinks of me as a silly little child all the time! Why is everyone so over protective of me? None of the other hobbit children have to deal with this!” She continued to darken her disposition as she kept on piling one negative thing on top of the other. Finally she reached Hobbiton marketplace, as expected. Everything was quite the same as it always had been — many hobbits running about the place, buying and selling, playing and meeting. After she bought what she was asked, she happened to hear an old voice over all the others. “Now children, settle down! I have to begin the story…” With those last words, Elanor became very alert and hesitated, tempted to sit with the many smaller ones, all clustered around the elderly hobbit. She decided to stay for a moment, to see if she had heard the tale before. The little voices soon were quiet and the plot began. “I am here to tell you a wonderful legend, now forgotten to many, who do not take heed in such believed -to- be fairy tales. And guess where it starts? Right here in Hobbiton!
It was too late for Elanor. She gasped and sat down, giving her complete and full attention to the heaven – sent storyteller. She was already sucked into her fantasy world, and could not escape from her eagerness to hear, especially if it was a story she never heard, and it began in her own home.
“Now there was this hobbit named Bilbo Baggins,” continued the old hobbit, “A regular old chap of around 50 yrs who lived in a big cozy hole not far from here – Down at dear old Bag End…”
Elanor couldn’t believe it. This beginning of a story was set in her house!!!!!! Thrilled, she listened even more intently, soaking in every word as a sponge absorbs water. So he began the old story of Bilbo Baggins, his adventure with dwarves, a wizard, and a magic ring.
* * *
Elanor listened intently, and was thrown out of her trance as the teller of tales stopped. She blinked, and in awe and utter delight asked what happed next. “I am sorry little one,” the aged hobbit said, turning towards Elanor, “But we are finished for today. Tomorrow meet at the same place and we will continue where we let off: When Bilbo Baggins is confronted by the creature Gollum, and what happens to him and the dwarves thereafter.” They all dispersed, leaving Elanor in absolute disappointment but also in total bliss. Suddenly, she remembered that her mother was waiting for her to get home, and she had promised! Collecting her wits, she swiftly dashed through the market and down the worn down pathway to her home. And being the fastest in the Shire, she had no time getting there hastily, but was still late. She had not noticed how fast the time went when she was listening to the new, exciting tale.
As Elanor neared her hole, she slowed down, thinking of the excuse that she would give for being so late, or, maybe, she could try to quietly slip into her home without being noticed. But deep inside she knew that her mother would catch her. None of her sly childish tricks could fool her. “Oh well,” Elanor sighed, “I might as well get it over with and TRY….” Catching her breath, she walked up to the round, green door and tried as carefully as she could to open it without a sound. But the door chose to be loud and unforgiving, much to Elanor’s dismay. Before she could run off into her room, an angered figured stomped across her path.
There stood Rosie, steaming.
“Elanor ….. Gamgee!” cried Rosie, annoyed. “What have you been up to? It has been at least an hour or so past the time you were supposed to be home! It seems I can never trust you to do anything! And you wonder why I am always watching your back! And don’t even TRY to give out another one of your poor excuses! It won’t work no more with me! You can be nothing but trouble sometimes, young lady! If you improved your behavior, maybe I wouldn’t have to be so hard on you! But you have to understand: You can’t go off running about wildly just because you feel like it! Who knows what can happen? I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you…”
“Mother!” interrupted Elanor, upset, “Why do I have to be so careful? There’s nothing bad here! All the other children run about as freely as they wish! Their mothers don’t watch over them as if they are newborns! Why do I have to be so different and over protected? I feel so impatient here; I can’t do nothing!” Her sapphire eyes gleamed as tears filled them, and trickled down her young soft cheek. “It just feels like Im missing something, I’m so confused and troubled.” She quietly added, dropping the basket of materials at her mother’s feet. “I don’t mean to be the way I am, I’m just so restless. Sorry.” And with that she scurried to her room, leaving her mother in a state of annoyance and pity. For now she would give her daughter some time alone, and then try to help her. It was strange though, for hobbit children that age, so young an age, to be having such worries and difficulties. She was only of eight years, and should not to have to deal with uncertainties of any kind for at lest 10-12 years more. Rosie would have to try to figure out the heart of her eldest daughter, to understand.
Elanor curled up on her bed and leaned against the window. She thought: “Why does a simple thing like being late turn into a big emotional discussion? I am so tired of being reprimanded and such!” But, of course, another thought came to mind, her new story. She would HAVE to go back to hear the rest, or to ask her father if he knew the story and forgot. This cheered her up a bit, and the excitement and anticipation of waiting for the remainder of the tale was immense. She looked through the old wooden frame and watched the afternoon slowly turn into dusk. The world was in full ablaze of stunning color, swept across the sky, and the grass covered hills that lay beneath it waved in the wind, as if one big movement. Elanor sighed that of satisfaction for the moment, and enjoyed the unforgettable sight, the sight that confirmed that the day went so fast and that night would soon be present. Already.
* * *
Elanor spent the remainder of what was left of day in her room, until supper. Though, again, she did not feel like eating. Not tonight. She felt suddenly very weary, very strange. But it wasn’t about that day’s emotional strain, or the horrible feeling of trying to grow up faster before her time, but something else. She sat with the rest of them, silent, avoiding eye contact with her parents as they ate and chattered happily.
“It’s almost my birthday”, cried Rose. “I am so excited!!!”
“Yes, we all are. We are going to get you a wonderful cake with little sweets and candies and then presents….The list goes on and on! You are going to have the most wonderful party a hobbit has every had!”
“My goodness,” said Rosie, “You are going to be a whole 5 years!! How wonderful!”
Little Rose beamed with pride as she babbled on about her 5th birthday, while Elanor just sat, her mind elsewhere.
She wanted to leave and go to sleep. After the merry dinner, she quickly left her family and went straight to her room. She felt like something was drawing her to rest, and could not resist. She fell right into bed and there she fell into a fast, unpleasant sleep.
It was dark, all around. Nothing seemed to pierce it; even unsettling screams, noises of any kind, would be swallowed and lost to the ear in that blackness. But Elanor was there, and alone. Everything was behind her, her mistakes, past incidents, everything. It was gone, left behind, in the light that seemed so far away. For she could not use these departed things in this place. She understood, but didn’t, for it was not clear why she was there or what she should do now. She scarcely remembered those old times, in the summer of her youth, they were but ghostly memories to aide in her hardship. Tears made their fine, clear rivers down her face from her azure eyes, so dim in seeing all that to be seen. So tired she was, why was she there? Abruptly, thoughts and scenes enclosed her mind, and she saw ever so faintly indescribable things: Her father, laid cold somewhere, alone. She glimpsed someone she hadn’t gotten to know, but she knew now, crying out softly to her for help. And her little Rose, sat crying, for she had not a birthday to celebrate. The final pictures were the most disturbing. They were of forgotten people and times, and horrible consequences and black monsters and things she could not imagine. For they were all once or would been, or before or after. All these hauntings ceased, and something enveloped her in a black fire, and she saw herself riding away from all she ever knew….
“Father!” Elanor screamed, awaking, terrified. “Daddy! Come!!” she sobbed, shaking uncontrollably. When he did not come, she ran as fast as she could to his bedroom, and did not find him there. She quickly remembered her horrifying dream and her heart beat so fast she thought it would pop. Searching everywhere, she finally found him lying in his favorite chair, mumbling urgent words, grasping the sides of the seat ever so tight. Beads of sweat dropped from his face. Elanor was appalled and could not think straight.
She cried, flooring many amounts of frightened tears. “What s going on?” she cried. “Daddy! Daddy!?” Afraid to touch him, she cried louder. But his unknown words silenced her to as they grew louder and louder.
“We have to go…Run! Go! Now….”
Elanor covered her ears, not knowing if she was still dreaming or not. Since just awaking from a most alarming nightmare, she wasn’t sure what was real, or what was a myth. It seemed that the whole world fell form her feet, but she still stood, standing, with her father. Suddenly, a loud cry brought her thoughts to a halt, and her father bolter upright, eyes wide open and bleary. “We have to go!”
CHAPTER 3: Samwise
Samwise jumped up, and saw his daughter standing there, dumbfounded, shuddering violently, with tears staining her face.
“Elli, dear! What is the matter?” She didn’t even look at him.
“Well, please, we must go now! Follow me!”
Grabbing her cold, tiny hand he urged her to tag along. He had no time getting everyone else mustered, for they were also up from Elanor’s piercing cries.
Seeing Rosie, Sam bellowed for her to get the children and pack only very important things. Seeing her husband so urgent, she obeyed without question, though she had many to ask. Sam left Elanor standing in the midst of it all, shivering and crying and half sleeping. He had gone out in the dark to set up the wagon for his family’s transportation.
After they had all gotten ready, they all quickly jumped onto the little cart with their provisions and Sam snapped the reigns, and old Bill the pony was sent off to a grueling pace.
Elanor sat there, in the back, covered with blankets, silent, as with the others. She didn’t know what was happening, but she thought it didn’t matter anyway. “I am probably dreaming,” she thought. But something told her that this was real-very real.
Samwise pushed the pony on in the dark. So many things were happening. So fast. “I knew something like this would happen someday,” he thought, “Ever since we came home on that day, when I thought all would be fine.” Strange visions and thoughts had crossed his mind, for at least eight long years. And now his fear drove him out of the place where he thought he would stay forever.
Elanor wanted to scream, but her lungs had not the strength, neither her body. But inside she was all tangled up, like her hair in the morning: all twisted and scrambled and messy. It hurt horribly, and she knew not what to do. Sleep crossed her mind many times subconsciously, for she could hardly think, she was so emotionally drained, and tired. She knew though, that it was definitely not an option, for her dreams would come back. But sleep did come to her, no matter how hard she fought it, and soon she settled into a slumber, dreamless but restless. Before she did, she though she heard someone feebly cry out: “Where are we going?”
And the answer was lightly flickering in her mind before she went out.
* * *
Elanor woke to a sunlit room, surrounded by pillows and blankets all spread about the floor. She stretched and looked around. “I am not at home,” she thought, “Where am I?”
Getting up, she made her way through a small hallway to a kitchen, where her family sat, exhausted and hungry. All except Sam.
Suddenly remembering the horrible events of the previous evening, she trembled as if she were in the coldest of mountains. It wasn’t a dream after all, but she could not separate the other vision she had from reality. “Was it real?’