*Author’s Note* Most of my stories are related. Something always seems to be a prologue, epilogue, or interlude. For example, Master Peregrin’s Advice is an interlude to Death of Merry and Pippin, and Farewell to Thee is a prologue to this story. Anyway…
The next morning, Merry on a bench outside his hobbit-hole when someone rode up. It was one of the big-folk riding on a tall steed. Half-a-dozen hobbit children were following cautiously behind. The rider wore familiar looking armor that Merry knew well. He was from Rohan.
“May I help you?” Merry asked.
The rider got off his horse. “I am looking for Lord Holdwine, Prince of the Mark, Master Holbytla, and husband to our beloved White Lady. He is known in these parts as the Master of Buckland.”
“I am he that you speak of,” said Merry. The rider dropped to his knees.
“I bring news from Edoras,” the rider said with difficulty.
Merry glanced at the children and cocked his head toward the door. “Come in.” The rider followed him inside.
“What is your name?” Merry asked.
“Haran, son of Haleth, my lord.”
“Do you care for anything, Haran?”
“No, my lord. I must give you this message and then I must ride back.”
“I feel guilty having a guest in my home without giving them any refreshments, especially if they have traveled far. Would tea be okay?”
“What ever my lord wishes.” Merry soon came to the table with a teapot and two cups.
“What has happened?” Merry asked as he poured the tea.
“My lord, King Eomer’s health has been declining for two years now. He was still quite healthy, however, until mid-November of last year..”
“When he received news of his sister’s death.” Merry continued for him.
“Yes. Now he’s confined to his bed. Queen Lothiriel has looked after himlike the best nurse and King Elessar has sent healers from Gondor. But as much care as they give him, he doesn’t get better. They don’t think he’ll survive the year. So, my Lord Holdwine, he wishes to see you one last time.”
“I will go,” Merry said. “And I will need to talk to my friend, the Thain. We will work out some things and then I will ride.” He looked up at Haran.
“Will you have dinner with my son, and his wife, my daughters, and I tonight? You can spend the night here and be off tomorrow morning.”
“I’m sorry, my lord, but I must get back on the road as soon as possible,” said Haran.
“And your lord commands you to stay. It is not wise, Haran, to refuse the hosbitality of a hobbit. It’s in our nature to make our guest feel at home, especially if they have traveled long roads. So tonight you, Haran, will dine with my daughters, my son, his wife and me. And my daughter-in-law is the best cook in the Shire!”
“My lord, the offer is too good to refuse!”
“And please call me Merry, or you might make them feel awkward.”
So Haran dined with them, spent the night, and rode back the next morning. Merry watched him ride off before heading to Great Smials.
As he was walking up the path, he ran into Faramir. “Hullo Faramir,” he said.
“Hello Merry.” Seeing Merry’s expression, he asked, “What is it?”
“Eomer is dying and he wishes to see me one more time. I’m going, but I want to tak to your father about some things first.”
“Merry, before you go any further, when was the last time you saw Dad?”
“Okay, well I better warn you. Mum’s death has left Dad devestated. He’s totally different know. There’s no light in his eyes or ring in his voice. It’s all gone now. Goldilocks and I are so worried about him. Well, I have to go. Good luck.” And he left.
Merry entered Great Smials. It seemed dark and sorrowful. He went to the living room. A black robed figure stood with it’s back toward Merry. It was staring out the window. Fear pierced Merry’s heart. His thought’s went to Pelennor, the Witch-King, and his Eowyn on her knees, helpless. Merry drew his sword. At the sound, the robed figure turned around. It was Pippin.
Merry stepped back. His sword fell from his hand.
“Hello Merry,” Pippin said. Merry told him the entire story. “If you leave the Shire, you will never return. Turn over your title to Theoden. I will miss you though.”
Merry looked at his friend. He qiuckly made a desision. He would not go to Rohan alone. “You’re coming with me.”
Preparations took two weeks. Merry and Pippin resigned and Faramir became the Took and Theoden became the Master of Buckland. They would ride to Rohan, where, they assumed, they would spend the rest of their days. Pippin bade farewell to Faramir and Goldilocks, who was very emotional because she loved Pippin dearly. Merry said goodbye to his daughters and Theoden and Marigold. Then they rode away, never to return.
As they rode, Merry heard Pippin sing softly:
“Home is behind
the world ahead.
And there are many paths to thread.
to the edge of night.
Until the stars are all alight.
Mist and shadow,
Cloud and shade,
All shall fade.
“Pippin,” Merry said. “I haven’t heard you sing in a long time.”
“Since Diamond fell ill,” Pippin answered.
They reached Edoras in three weeks. After their horses were stabled, Merry and Pippin rushed into the Golden Hall. Lothiriel ran to meet them.
“Merry, I’m glad you’re here.”
“Where is Eomer?” Lothiriel cocked her head towards his bedroom.
“May I see him?” She nodded.
Merry walked in. Lothiriel shooed the nurses away and closed the door. Merry stood by Eomet’s bed for a little while. He was asleep, or so it seemed. Eomer looked old but kingly. His hair was white, but if his health was better, Merry little doubted that he could still ride a horse and throw a spear with ease.
Eomer opened his eyes. “Lord Holdwine,” he said. “I knew you would come.”
“How do you feel?”
“Better now that you have arrived.”
Eomer looked at Merry for a long time. “Look at you,” he finally said. “You don’t look a day over forty, you sly hobbit. And you are how old? One hundred and two. How did you do it, I wonder?” He sighed. “Some people have all the luck.”
Just then a nurse came and escorted Merry out. As he was walking out, Merry said, “Don’t worry, Eomer. You will get better. I’m sure of it.”
After dinner, Merry and Pippin were shown to their bedrooms. Pippin got Theodred’s and Merry got his wife’s. After he had crawled into bed, he spent some time looking at the tapistries depicting scenes from Eowyn’s life: resisting the affections of Wormtongue, leading the people to Helm’s Deep, slaying the Witch-King. There was one tapistry, though, that held his attenion. It was their wedding. Merry loved her so much. Even since he first saw her standing outside the Golden Hall, he knew he loved her. And know she was gone, and he missed her terribly. Merry buried his face in his pillow and cried till he went to sleep.
To be continued…