Healing the Blessed Isle by Shirebound

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Author note:  Based on my story “Starship” (chapter 10), in which Frodo and Sam are still very much alive and well when Gimli and Legolas arrive in the West, and Gimli accepts the hobbits’ offer to live with them.           

HEALING THE BLESSED ISLE 

Chapter 1: Conferring With the Wise              

"Put on a few eggs, there's a good fellow!" Gandalf called after him, as the hobbit stumped off to the pantries. "And just bring out the cold chicken and pickles!" "Seems to know as much about the inside of my larders as I do myself!" thought Mr. Baggins, who was feeling positively flummoxed, and was beginning to wonder whether a most wretched adventure had not come right into his house.              

‘An Unexpected Party’, The Hobbit              

 

Frodo lifted the lid of the tureen, the delicious aroma of the thick, hot soup filling the kitchen.  Elrond grinned happily, while the eyes of Galadriel and Legolas lit up with delight.  Gandalf was already reaching for the bread.     

“This can only be Bilbo’s famous vegetable soup,” Elrond told the other guests seated around the hobbits’ dining table.  “I am glad to taste it again.”  He smiled at Frodo and Sam, carrying in the tureen between them, who beamed back.  Their gardens were bursting with produce, and it was a pleasure for them to share Shire cooking with their friends – old and new.     

After serving their guests, Frodo ladled out for himself and Sam a large helping of soup.  Elrond and Gandalf smiled in satisfaction; Frodo’s appetite was, if anything, more robust than ever.     

“Where is Gimli this evening?” the Lady asked curiously.  “Has he already supped?”     

“I hope so,” Frodo sighed.  “This morning he filled a pack, took his walking stick, and wandered off again.  He’s not been his usual cheery self.”     

“He’s been eating less and less,” Sam added worriedly.     

“Something weighs heavily on him,” Legolas agreed.  “He has reached 262 years; perhaps this melancholy can be blamed on his great age catching up to him?”     

“The way he’s been trompin’ through the countryside?” Sam asked, shaking his head.  He flexed his knees under the table, and grimaced as he heard the familiar creak.  “If that’s what 262 is like, I hope to reach it meself, and in as good shape as Gimli.”     

“I knew not that Gimli was distressed,” Elrond said with concern.  “Could he be regretting his choice to sail?”     

“I think not,” Legolas said thoughtfully.  “In all our conversations aboard ship, I never sensed any remorse or grief in his words, or mien.  But recently, he has not been himself.”     

“Maybe he’s just homesick,” Frodo offered.     

“He assured me that all his tasks were done, all goodbyes said,” said Legolas.       

“Still, he couldbe homesick,” Sam mused.  “There are so many times I think of the Shire, dream of my family and gardens, wonder how the trees are doing...”     

“As do I,” Frodo agreed.  “But we were ready to leave, and you say Gimli was too, Legolas.”     

“Homesick...” the Lady murmured.  “Sea sick.  The Sea longing...”     

“But Gimli never cared about the Sea,” Sam protested.     

“Sea longing,” the Lady repeated, her eyes deep with wisdom.  “Why not stonelonging?”     

“I’ve never head of that,” Frodo said.  “Besides, there’s plenty of stone here: boulders of vast size, rocky crags...”   “Stone longing,” Elrond said thoughtfully.  “Interesting.”     

“But the whole island is one big rock,” Frodo said, still puzzled.     

Gandalf sat up straighter.  “What purpose to a Dwarf’s life, in his own mind, without stone to cleave, gems to cut, caverns to explore or excavate, a means to forge or craft whatever they might desire for themeselves or others?”     

Legolas frowned.  “I am still learning the ways of this place and its people, but I do not believe the residents of this isle would appreciate a Dwarf wandering about smashing boulders, delving caverns, or depleting the beaches of gems.  It is enough, and morethan enough, for some, that one of the Naugrim dwells among them at all.”     

“I would never suggest such an intrusion,” Gandalf said.  “A moment...”  He closed his eyes and bowed his head, and the others waited.  Frodo and Sam exchanged puzzled looks, but said nothing.  Suddenly the wizard opened his eyes, and smiled.  “Yes indeed, there could be a way to bring our friend renewed purpose.  But we must work together to see it done.”     

Frodo felt a vast sense of relief wash over him.  By the way Gandalf was now murmuring to the other guests, something was definitely in the works.  He hadn’t wanted to mind Gimli’s business, but friends watched out for one another, and did what they could.     

“So what do you think?” Gandalf asked the elves.     

“A most interesting idea,” Legolas said, nodding thoughtfully.       

“The hobbits would need to initiate it, of course,” Elrond added, to which the wizard nodded.     

“This island is indeed much like the hobbits,” the Lady mused.  “More beneath the surface than one would imagine.”     

Frodo waved a hand in the air.  “Hullo?  ‘The hobbits’ are sitting right here, thank you very much.”     

“Well of course you are,” Gandalf said.  “Frodo, Sam... you may have set something in motion that will bring Gimli great contentment in his new life here.”     

“That’s good,” Sam said with satisfaction.  Leaving the details to those he considered wiser than himself, he occupied himself with deciding between apricot and pear preserves for his bread.     

Frodo resumed eating with relish.  “I don’t suppose that much new or different happens very often on this island.  Do everyone good, I would think.  What’s your plan, Gandalf?”     

The Lady laughed merrily, a sweet sound, as always, to the hobbits’ ears.     

“Hobbits,’ Gandalf grumbled, his eyes twinkling with fondness.  “Such impertinent creatures.”  He fixed Frodo with a steady gaze.  “I might be persuaded to share my idea should there be peach cobbler for dessert.”     

“There is!” Frodo grinned with delight.  “Bilbo used to say that you knew the contents of his larder without even a peek.  It must be true.”     

“A bit of useful wizarding,” Gandalf said with a smile.  “It often comes in handy.”     

** TBC ** 




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