Ancestress by Dreamflower

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(Originally posted at the LiveJournal community, troubledtribble.)

Far back in time, at the beginning of the Third Age, a new race awakens. They are among the Secondborn, their fëar mortal. Akin to Men, each of them one day will accept the Gift of Ilúvatar and journey beyond the Circles of Arda. But though they are closer kin to Men than to the immortal Firstborn, they are not Men.

They are small, smaller even than the Dwarves. Their ears are pointed like those of Elves, for they will need keen hearing. Their feet are tough and covered with warm curly hair, so that they may go about the earth unshod. They are meant to be attuned to nature, and keeping their contact with the earth will help.

The Creator keeps this young race secret from all save two: He asks Nienna to bless them with compassion. They are not to be a warrior race, bloodthirsty, greedy and ambitious. They may grow fierce in defense of those they love, but it will take much to rouse that fierceness. They will not love violence, and the spilling of blood will not be a sport for them--though they will hunt for food. To Nienna, He confides that compassion and Pity will be their biggest weapon.

And he asks Yavanna to watch over them. She alone observes them as they waken to the world: so small and childlike, with a sense of joy and wonder that captivates her. She sees that they love nature and growing things, and she intensifies that love, so that the plants they nurture and the fields they till will thrive. And she sees that they will be vulnerable to the bigger and more warlike folk who are already in the world. Already they move quietly and quickly; this ability she also increases, so that they may hide easily.

She can give them no protection from those who are already under the sway of Darkness, but to them she grants something a little extra: a bit of charisma, so that they will be easily beloved when they are encountered by Free Folk. When Man or Elf or Dwarf encounter one of these little people, they will find their hearts stirred to protect them and will easily befriend them. This will be an advantage to them when they must deal with bigger folk.

And she notices one among them one who seems taller and fairer than his companions, and to him, she grants even more of this extra charisma, for she knows that from him will spring the leaders of this small people. His clan are called “Fallohide”, for their fairness.

And she sets one of her people, Mirimë, her handmaiden and a Maia, to watch over this small people and see that they thrive.

They call themselves "hole-builders", soon to become "hobbits".

Mirimë watches as they begin to form communities, building their homes by burrowing in the earth. They are not given to governance, but instead form family units, with the oldest couple being the patriarch and matriarch of their clan. And one clan (the Fallohides) are the chief family--though they do not rule the others, but are simply looked to for advice during times of difficulty. In time, she finds herself becoming enamoured of one of those Fallohides, Tûk, who will one day be the chief of the Fallohide clan. Much like Melian, she encounters him in a form similar to his own (though far more beautiful than any maiden of his own kind) and he is smitten with her immediately. However, they do not spend years standing in a trance staring at one another--Tûk is only mortal, after all. Still, she takes him as her husband, and she becomes the mother of his children. She remains with him as long as he lives, but after his death she returns to her true form. This is the truth behind the "fairy-wife" mentioned in The Hobbit.

The little hole-builders make their first tentative contacts among the Big Folk in Rhovanion, (giving rise to later legends of holbytlan long years later in another land) but they remain shy for the most part. A little over a thousand years from their first awakening, some of the Fallohides who are more adventurous than others, begin to migrate to the West, journeying into Eriador. And a family of Stoors, from a family somewhat *less* gifted with charisma than the others and also somewhat less hobbity in nature--for they have a tendency to quarrelsomeness, also begin to journey to the West. The Fallohides' trek leads them to Eriador, but the Stoors take a more southerly route and many of them end up in Dunland.

In time, some Stoor and Harfoot families join the Fallohides who have begun to make friends with both Men and Elves. The hobbits end up in Bree, where they are welcomed. A few generations later a family of Stoors quarrels with the other hobbits. They pack up and return in the direction of the Wilderland.

In TA 1599, two Fallohide brothers, Marcho and Blanco, render a service to King Argeleb II. The King is quite taken with them, and in 1601, as a reward he grants them the lands beyond the Baranduin which will become the Shire.

Many hobbits accompany them to their new home, and gradually the Shire is settled.

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