How should one begin a story to follow the stories of old? I am no great writer… nor am I held in regard as a famed storyteller. But I shall write this all the same, for those who were lost in the great War of Naratyl need to be remembered. All heroes must be kept in our hearts- their valor cannot go unseen. For they are those that fought for what we now have, and enjoy. They died that we might survive. I know Noal did. And it is mostly for him that I recall this now.
Someone once told me that life is an extraordinary thing. One minute you’re satisfied in an ordinary life, and the next you’re thrust into an adventure, and you come out more content than when you began. Uncle Meriadoc was certainly testimony to this, his journey during the years of Sauron’s war undeniably epic. I wasn’t even alive during his exploits, born four years after his return home. Growing up in Buckland, I never realized just how much my Uncle had sacrificed to save his beloved home. I quickly became his favorite, apparently my spirit and stubbornness matching his own.
“You’ll create your own tale soon enough, Piper,” he’d laugh while I sat atop his knee, chirping my eagerness to get out and save the world against monster’s and dark lords. “You’ve got my eyes, and I’m afraid, my character as well. Know what that means, my child?” he’d ask, his once youthful gray eyes twinkling as they always did from time to time, as if reliving his excitement of old.
“What?!” I’d ask, hopping up and down while he’d tip up my small chin, grinning.
“You have strength in you, Piper. Don’t let anyone tell you different… Adventure will come your way, just as it did me. And you must follow it. Or you’ll always regret it.”
As I grew up, Uncle Merry took me under his wing more and more, finding a true confidante in me. Mother and Father always had looked upon him with unfavor, never really approving of him and his travels outside the Shire. But the two of us had a connection nonetheless. I would sneak out after supper, taking walks with my Uncle, learning more and more about the rest of Middle Earth- it’s realms, peoples, and history.
I heard of Eowyn the Fair, shield maiden of Rohan, who valiantly slew the Witch King of Angmar in battle. I would ask over and over again to have him describe the Ents to me, his travels with Treebeard my favorite of them all. Sometimes Uncle Pippin (as he became to me) joined in on our walks. It seemed as if these two hobbits, though aging in years, suddenly became young again while regaling their past to me. And quite often, while passing the Brandywine Bridge, the soft waters beneath it flapping onto the edges, I could catch a glimpse of longing in Uncle Merry’s eyes. A longing for that surge of thrill once more, the excitement of the unknown. But that would never be for Meriadoc Brandybuck ever again. Deep in his heart he knew this. Memory would be his only adventure now, the fading winds seeming to remind him daily of the rest of the world he had once seen, so long ago. But unknown to him, his valor and courage would be brought to life once more, long after his years had diminished. The courage of those four famous halflings, now long gone, would be matched.
Many still didn’t believe in the strength of hobbits, even after the War of the Ring. Those who had seen it for themselves had either died or forgotten, the new era underestimating the capable Shirefolk. But as the wind changed, and darkness stood once more, our time had come. And the past again became the present.