Raised from the Tide by Dreamflower

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Story Notes:

Author: Dreamflower
Title: Raised from the Tide
Rating: PG (For canonical character deaths)
Theme: The Longest Day
Elements: On the Shores of the Swilly
Author's Notes: Years ago, this particular plot bunny attached itself to this particular song. I resisted it for ages, since it is such a sad tale, but I think it really wants to be told now.
Summary: It is a sorrowful day in Buckland; the River has claimed two victims..
Word Count: 1,105


Raised from the Tide


Primrose Took held firmly to the arm of her younger sister Peridot, as they watched the activity on the riverbank in front of them. She did not know which of them was holding the other up. All she was aware of was the sick feeling trying to force its way out. She no longer held any hope. The remains of the boat had washed up hours ago, and there were no signs at all of Primula or Drogo.

Rory Brandybuck, Master of the Hall, and Primula's eldest brother had been firm and confident at first when directing the search, but as the time passed and no sign of the couple had been found other than the wreckage of the boat, he had seemed to shrink in upon himself. He stood with his arms wrapped around himself, his face as bleak as winter. His son Saradoc had taken over, and was directing the searchers, his voice growing hoarse as he called out to the hobbits who were in the boats on the River, or to the ones who combed the bank.

Gradually the group of searchers had moved downstream along the bank, hoping for some signs. Those who had gathered to watch slowly wandered along behind; Primrose and Peridot were among that number. What a horrible way for their visit to Buckland to end, Primrose thought. Every summer she and Peridot had come to visit their dearest cousin Primula for as long as she could remember-- golden summers spent along the Brandywine playing at being princesses, or fishing, or searching for berries in the shady lane that ran before Brandy Hall, or when they grew older giggling and talking of lads and dresses. Primula's marriage to Drogo Baggins and Peridot's to her distant cousin Heringar Took had made no change. Their younger sister Esmeralda's marriage to the Son of the Hall, Saradoc, had seemed inevitable. And when Primula's son Frodo and Peridot's son Heribert were born it had only made the visits that much more enjoyable, as they watched the two lads playing together, digging in the muddy banks or trying to catch frogs.

If only. If only they had noticed before this morning that the couple had not returned. If only the two had not decided that the River in the moonlight would be a fine ending to the evening. If only...

The day had dragged on and on and on, as though it would never end.

Primrose felt Peridot's body tighten beneath her arm, and suddenly a sob burst forth. "Oh, Primmie! How can we tell Frodo?"

Primrose pulled her sister closer. "I think that will fall to Gilda. I'm glad she is watching over him now."

Suddenly there was a shout from one of the boats. Something had been found. Everyone moved to crowd around as the boat moved towards the bank. It was something small.

"Let me have it!" cried Saradoc, reaching out to take a small and sodden object from the hobbit in the boat. Primrose and Peridot drew in closer. It was the sad remnant of Primula's white bonnet, trimmed with ribbons of blue. And in spite of the drenched state of it, something made a collective shudder run through the hobbits who could see it-- there were traces of blood...

There was another cry. And this time there were echoes of grief among all the watchers: Drogo's body had been found, bumping against the roots of a willow, his brown jacket obscured by the shadows and the brown waters of the Brandywine.

Several hobbits, among them Saradoc and his brother Merimac, went over to carefully draw the corpse up out of the water. Primrose felt her gorge rise at the sight of the pale thing that had once been a jolly and kind hobbit, and forced it down.

Suddenly she felt a tug at her elbow. She turned in annoyance which turned to alarm. "Gilda! What are you doing here? What's wrong?" For Menegilda's face was tight with fear.

"Frodo. Frodo's gone. I put him to nap with Herbie. I went to check on them, and somehow Frodo had slipped out..."

"No!" They heard another cry, hoarse and harsh. It was Rory. He had fallen to his knees and covered his face with his hands; they were bringing Primula's body ashore now, found only a short distance from her husband. The two hobbits who had found her placed her into the waiting arms of her brother Dodinas, and weeping, he carried her up to place her next to the body of her husband.

There was a moment of utter silence and stillness, as everyone stared in shocked disbelief at what they now must accept as true.

The silence was broken by a shriek, a shriek that did not end but kept on and on, a keening as sharp as glass shards, and as brittle, that grew louder and louder. Little Frodo his hands held out fisted in front of him was standing there. His mouth was open and that sound was coming out. There was a brief hitch as he drew breath and then the shrieking continued as he stared at his parents' bodies.

Menegilda rushed over and grabbed him, picking him up to take him away. The screaming continued, though he struggled with all his might. The sound only faded with distance, as she carried him back to Brandy Hall.

The rest of the day passed into evening in a blur of agony for those who had loved the young couple that the River had taken.

Amaryllis Brandybuck, Rory's aunt and the Hall healer, dosed Frodo with as strong a soporific as she dared. He had screamed so long and loudly that his voice had finally given out. Now he lay, drugged and pale, beneath the careful watch of Esmeralda.

There was much discussion as to what had happened; after examining the wreckage of the little rowboat, and the bodies, the conclusion was that the boat had hit a rock in the darkness and that when the two went overboard, Primula, who knew how to swim, had hit her head and been rendered unconscious. Drogo, of course, could not swim a stroke.

Primrose finally managed to convince Peridot to come away with her. "You will need to explain to Herbie why he cannot be with Frodo now."

Then as she heard the soft murmur of her sister's and nephew's voices, she sat by the window of their room and looked out. There was the Brandywine, looking so peaceful and quiet in the moonlight-- but it had stolen her dearest friend.

She would not return to Buckland after this.

 




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