8. Origins — Gilraen
"Where does it come from?" Eowyn asked and nodded at his pipe, the sun bouncing off the white stone walls and toasting the limp grass they sat on. It was the first time she'd said anything, though they had been sitting in the garden together for hours. Looking into the smoldering, squirming remains of his Longbottom Leaf, Merry felt his stomach drop. He knew little beyond what he had already shared with Dernhelm on the ride. It would be his luck that, for all the babbling he'd done today and the day before, when she finally spoke he would have nothing to say in reply. When he looked up at her, however, he smiled, in that instant resolving to tell as much and as merrily whatever half-remembered half-truths his great-uncle had bestowed on the soil of the South-Farthing.
He got no laughter, not even at the story of Toby Hornblower's supposed 'ride' on the Prancing Pony in exchange for a barrel of pipeweed, but she smiled briefly, shaking her head. It was a start, at any rate, and as soon as the bells rang for the sunset hour, he set out to speak to Faramir again, to ask permission to look for any herb-lore in the great library that chatty old healing woman kept going on about.
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