The bright, emerald green grass grew tall and lush. Homes were rebuilt or repaired from being damaged. The trees that were chopped down were now growing strong with new life and the loud sounds of children’s laughter suffused the Shire; mainly around Farmer Maggot’s fields as the sounds grew closer to Hobbiton. Even the older hobbits grinned, listening to the giggles, but their faces held a vestige of shadow. It had not been long since Sharkey and his goons had threatened their homes. Such a thing was not easy to forget but the children did except for a few nightmares from them. The children who had never lived through the Shire’s darkest days didn’t think anything could be worse, beyond getting grounded to their home.
A voice echoed over the lands, as two children stopped and listened. “Sorry guys, I have to go, mother is calling. I’ll see you later on today,” the young Hobbit said, as he rushed off with another Hobbit girl who yelled at him about catch her if he can and bolted off at a run towards their home in Hobbiton.
The two kids rushed through the fields as they neared their destination of Bag End. They broke through the high brush that blocked their view of the road and rushed right into the road without even considering the possibility of someone riding on horseback.
The screams of the two children echoed into Bag End as three Hobbits came racing out of the home to see three rearing horses and a Man in a ranger cloak trying to quiet the horses down.
The voice was no more than a whisper. Pippin raced towards the children and yanked them out of harm’s way. He glared at the `Ranger’ and snapped, “Would you control your beasts! They almost killed my son and my best friend’s daughter!”
The `Ranger’ managed to get the horses calmed down as `he’ turned towards the Hobbit. The hands were raised up and removed the hood that covered the face as she turned towards the Hobbit. “Unfortunately, they came charging into the road without looking both ways. It was obvious that it was their mistake and mine. I wasn’t watching the road either. So it is both our fault.”
“You’re an Elf!” exclaimed Pippin.
“Yes I am. I am Eärédien, and these are my horses. That is Acora. Settle down, girl, its okay. This is Amarie and that is Analdur.” Eärédien said, as she stroked Acora’s neck, calming the agitated mare.
“Why were you so occupied that you didn’t think about stopping?” snapped Pippin, glaring at the elf.
“Pippin, please calm down?” begged Rosie.
“Calm down! Calm down! Not when that Elf’s horses nearly trampled over your and my child!” Pippin snapped.
“And that I am sorry for. I was trying to make sure I was going in the right direction towards Rivendell. Oh no! No! My map!” said Eärédien, as she rushed to the map that was now stained by a dirty hoof print. “Great. Now I have to go by memory of the path to Rivendell. Hopefully, you will not step on the map to Minas Tirith.”
Pippin’s anger faded when he heard Rivendell and Minas Tirith. “Why are you heading to Rivendell and Minas Tirith?”
Sam looked at the elf and spoke, “Come inside and we’ll talk there.”
“Thank you, Master Gamgee.” Eärédien said, as she whispered some commands to the three horses and walked into the house, making sure she didn’t bump her head on the chandelier on the ceiling.
“Would you like some tea or wine? I’m sure we still have some huckleberry wine around.” Merry said, as he accepted her travel cloak from her and placed it on a hook near the back of the hallway.
“Tea will do.” Eärédien stated, as they headed through the house to the kitchen.
The three Hobbits sat down around the table as Eärédien sat down near them. Sam asked the question that Pippin had asked as he poured the hot water into the teakettle.
“I’m heading to Rivendell to see Master Elrond first and then journey to Minas Tirith to deliver a message from Galadriel to Aragorn. Oh, thank you, Merry. I have never journeyed to Rivendell before as I stayed in the West for most of my life never venturing any further than I needed to. Until three days ago, when a messenger arrived in my part of the valley and he was exhausted and a new one was needed to send a message for Estel…I mean Aragorn and then another message needed to be sent. I decided to take both messages myself and was told to hurry first to Rivendell and then to Minas Tirith,” said Eärédien, as she accepted the cup of tea from Merry.
“You have been traveling a very long time,” spoke a voice coming from the other room as the male Hobbit entered the room.
“Master Frodo, this is Eärédien. She almost…” said Sam.
“I almost ran over Sam and Pippin’s children out front with my horses, Master Baggins,” spoke Eärédien, as she stood up to make room for him at the table.
“Please sit, I have my usual seat over by the window,” said Frodo, as he walked over to the seat by the window and sat down. “So what is the message you have for Elessar, if you can share the message to us?”
“I really do not know what the message is…Frodo. It is sealed and I was told not to break it,” stated Eärédien.
“I suppose you need to hurry on your way to Rivendell and then to Minas Tirith soon,” said Pippin, looking at her with a mouthful of food.
“Yes, I’ll need to leave soon before the sun sets for the night,” Eärédien said.
“It has been a while since we last saw Lord Elrond and Aragorn. Would you not mind if we accompany you to Rivendell and Minas Tirith, Eärédien?” asked Frodo, as he looked at her and the others.
“Frodo!” exclaimed Sam, shocked that he was even suggesting such a journey.
“Sam, I’m bored here. I love the Shire but I want to see Rivendell and Minas Tirith before I leave Middle Earth,” said Frodo, softly as he looked at him.
Eärédien looked shocked at first by the offer from Frodo to accompany her to Rivendell and Minas Tirith. But then the words that Elrond said came back to her.
`You might want to go to the Shire and find the Four Hobbits; Samwise, Pippin, Merry and Frodo. They will help you gain access to the Throne Room, to save Aragorn, if you succeed in slaying the two Men, they can also help prevent them from catching you. They may be small but they are as smart and tricky as any Elf, even if they are not an Elf. They are your best bet in the past. Please be careful in the past, Tari.‘ Elrond said.
“If you want to come with me, you will be riding double on my horses.” Eärédien explained, looking at them all.
The three Hobbits quickly got up and one rushed out of the house at a run down the path towards his home. Sam and Frodo gathered their traveling gear and walked out of the house. They handed the gear to Eärédien who placed on the back of the horse that they were going to ride. Soon, they were ready to go but Pippin was not back yet. Eärédien knew he would return before they leave as she assisted Frodo and Sam up onto the back of the horse she loaned to them.
“Eärédien, what is this horse’s name?” asked Frodo, petting the flaxen mane.
“That horse’s name is Analdur, Master Baggins,” said Eärédien, tilting her head to one side.
Two forms were running up the road, panting hard. But as they neared, the forms became clearer to them.
“I almost thought we would be leaving you two behind, Master Pippin.” spoke Eärédien, as she looked at the two Hobbits.
“Well, had to get Merry and my travel bag. But we’re here now. Let’s us be off then?” Pippin asked, as he started to walk down the road with Merry looking curiously at him as he handed his pack to Eärédien.
“Pippin, we’re riding horses. The message is too important to walk when there are empty saddles on two fine horses.” Frodo said.
“You mean we be riding there?” asked Pippin.
“Yes, that way the trip will take only a few days instead of how many days it took us the last time,” said Sam, looking at him.
Pippin turned around and headed for them. He handed the pack over to Eärédien and was helped onto the back of the horse that he and Merry were going to share. After Eärédien checked the bags on the horses, she mounted her mare and turned towards the Hobbits.
“We’re going to walk till we are past Hobbiton and after that, we are going to be going at a very fast gallop to Rivendell. We may have to stop for nightfall somewhere between Bree and Rivendell. If you need to stop to answer the call of nature let me know so we can stop for you,” spoke Eärédien.