1. Why Must This Be?
It's a cold, dreary evening, the clouds looming overhead like portents of doom. Perfect weather for this occasion.
My heart feels like a lump of lead in my chest as I watch the Company making their final preparations before setting out. All of them, even the young lads, who are usually so cheerful, walk about with unlively steps and grim faces. Perhaps they sense, as I do, the oppressive shadows of evil hovering around them, around the Ring now in Frodo's safekeeping.
Oh, this is wrong. Why should my lad be the one to risk his life to rid the world of that Thing? It should be me. I am the one who brought it out of that mountain. It came to me; the danger should be mine!
No - I must stay these thoughts. I am too old for Quests. All I can do is sit by the fire and wait for news, while others deal with the danger I brought back from my adventures. Why is it that so often in life, innocents must pay for other people's mistakes? It isn't fair.
They are ready to leave now. How long has Elrond been speaking? I don't think I caught a word of his little speech.
Frodo is looking at me, saying goodbye with his eyes. I hope he doesn't see how much his departure grieves me. Somehow, I force my lips into a smile.
"Good . . . good luck," I say. "I don't suppose you will be able to keep a diary, Frodo my lad, but I shall expect a full account when you get back. And don't be too long! Farewell!"
He smiles back, and then turns with the others. I can't watch them walk away. I fix my eyes on a treetop, lightly swaying to and fro in the cold breeze.
At last I turn back to the Company's path, but I see no one. The shadows have swallowed them all.
I start slowly back to Elrond's Homely House, blinking away tears.
My dear Frodo, please come back to me.
A/N: Bilbo's parting words are quoted directly from The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.