Quendi 2nd round: Conversations in Gondor
Task IV of the Quendi 2nd round:
"The Lord of the Rings as we know it is a translation of a chronicle written by Mr. Bilbo and Mr. Frodo Baggins. But it contains several scenes where the chroniclers were not present and had to rely on the stories told by others: some of whom do not like to speak much, while others would perhaps make their own roles more colourful. Describe the scene and write the dialogue between Frodo and one of his companions as he tries to find out all the details needed for his chronicle. It is even better if you can also include some of their thoughts during the conversation. Try to highlight the details amply described without the storywriter being present. How much had he to invent?"
A második fordulóban a Quendi kategória versenyzőinek azon jelenetek egyikét kellett megírniuk, ahol A Gyűrűk Ura történetén dolgozó Frodó vagy Bilbó a kaland többi résztvevőjével beszélgetve próbálja begyűjteni az infókat azokhoz a részekhez, amelyeknél nem voltak jelen. Eimeria írásában Legolas részletezi a rohani táj éjszakai szépségeit, Mirachnál pedig Trufa emlékszik vissza Théoden királyra: mindketten Frodónak mesélnek.
Conversation between Frodo and Legolas
Frodo woke up early in their house in Minas Tirith: he wanted to gather together the bits of the story the fellowship went through before mid-summer’s day. He just finished the chapter about the returning of Gandalf. As Aragorn and Gandalf were seldom nearby, he asked the help of Legolas or Gimli. Though Legolas was better in describing the details of their trip.
- I think I will write about your road to the Golden Hall in a new chapter. How was your trip to Meduseld?
- Well, we rode on through sunset, and slow dusk, and gathering night. When at last we halted and dismounted, we did not even feel our thights. The saddles of the Rohirrim are not bad, but they can’t be compared to the saddles of the Elves. As Gimli was not at all used to ride a horse of this size, the saddle totally chafed his posteriors, he literally could not stand on his foot nor walk properly. We had to put bandages on his legs, they were not something beautiful to see. Even Aragorn was stiff and weary. And Gandalf only allowed us a few hours' rest.
- Did you even have time to sleep?
- As for Gimli and me, we fell asleep within a few minutes. I don’t know if Aragorn could have slept, he was just laying flat, stretched upon his back. Before I fell asleep I saw Gandalf standing, leaning on his staff, gazing into the darkness, east and west. I doubt he had any sleep that night.
- Was he keeping guard?
- It seemed to me that he was rather immersed in his own thoughts. But we slept well for that few hours, and all was perfectly silent, there was there was no sign or sound of living thing.
- And so you departed before the rising of the sun?
- That’s it. The night was barred with long clouds, fleeting on a chill wind. That was ont he 2nd day of March, so the night was still cold. Yet Tilion steered the vessel of Isil to shine bright above our head, so we could continue our path swift as by the light of day.
- So you mean the moon was shining bright.
- You could say that. Or that „under the cold moon they went on once more, as swift as by the light of day”. It has been a long road, even on horseback. I sometimes felt as if we had been riding since years under the moon, yet it was only a few hours. Gimli was totally tired out, he fell asleep on the horse despite of his wounds. He would have fallen off Shadowfax if Gandalf would not clutch and shake him. He rode his horse before us, and Hasufel and Arod followed him proudly, as well as they could, though I felt that they were becoming weary. They were used to ride long distances with the Rohirrim but I guess they were not used to this speed for such a long time. Shadowfax gallopped like a tireless leader, and as time passed, he went far before us, till he transformed into a grey shadow hardly to be seen. I guess his strides could measure about thirteen feet. I think the strides of our horses measured about twenty-four to twenty-five feet, which is also not bad for a horse: it makes the gallop majestic, like as the animal would just fly above the grass.
- Well, that is interesting, but I don’t think it is so important in the chronicle. How about the environment?
- As the miles went by, it seemed as we were riding in an eternal sea of grey ocean, with the grass wawing under the hoof of our horses. Then the waxing moon sank into the cloudy West. A bitter chill came into the air, we could feel it on our face, though we were not cold: the warmth of our horses heated us from underneath. As the sunrise closed in, slowly in the East the dark faded to a cold grey. Pink and orange stripes of light appeared on the horizon. Then blood-red shafts of light leapt above the black walls of the Emyn Muil far away upon their left. It was hard to imagine that we just departed from there only a few days ago. Then the dawn came clear and bright; a wind swept across our path, rushing through the bent grasses. Then suddenly Shadowfax stood still and neighed, as he smelt something…
’Well, I think, I will have to shorten this a bit.’ thought Frodo ’Though it’s interesting, maybe it’s too much detailed. But I will ask also Gimli, and put together something from the two narratives.’
It could be a picture from the Shire: four Hobbits sitting under a tree, resting after the heroic deeds at the lunch table. For that’s what they were indeed doing at the moment. Only their garb suggested they are not in Shire. One of them was clad in the livery of Rohan, and another one in the colours of Gondor, and the tree they were sitting under grew near the field of Cormallen
“Strider’s table is quite fabulous!” said Sam, and it was a compliment not easily given by one who was a great cook himself.
“He is not Strider anymore,” Pippin reminded. “He is Aragorn, or King Elessar now.”
“Which explains the table,” added Merry. “He did not cook it himself, after all.”
Pippin smiled mysteriously. “These Gondorians have some tasty meals, that’s for sure. But still they are missing one thing.”
“Mushrooms?” guessed Sam.
“Well, that too. But I meant something else. Guess what I have here…” he smiled, and took out two pipes, and a bag of pipe-weed, handing them to Frodo and Sam like a squire hands a sword to a knight.
“Oh, bless my hair feet!” exclaimed Sam. “Where did you get this? I haven’t had a smoke since…” his face darkened a bit. “Since…”
“It’s a long time…” Frodo agreed, helping Sam so he didn’t have to think back through all the darkness behind to get to the point when they had their last smoke. He accepted the pipe from Pippin, and lit it with a delighted expression.
Pippin and Sam did likewise, but Merry hesitated. He sighed when he finally lit his pipe, and closed his eyes with the first breath of smoke. There were tears in them, but he smiled in the same time just a little.
Pippin put a hand on his shoulder.
“What’s the matter, Merry?” asked Frodo gently. “Is something wrong?”
Merry opened his eyes and smiled sadly. “I’m thinking of Théoden.”
“The king of Rohan? Legolas told me about him when I asked what you have been all doing,” said Frodo. “He said you two were quite close…”
Merry nodded, looking at the smoke from his pipe. Apparently it was not easy for him to talk about it. “He died…” he said quietly. “His horse was shot under him, and crushed him in his fall. I was there. With his last words, he apologized to me… for… for not being able to sit with me in Meduseld, and listen to the herb-lore, like he promised. That was the first thing I started talking about when I met him, you see… We were smoking from this very stash – from Saruman’s supplies, to answer your question, Sam – and he wondered about it. So I started babbling about Old Toby Hornblower and Longbottom in Southfarthing, and so on. There was really no time for that, but he was very polite, and said he wished we could sit in his golden hall, and talk about the pipeweed and deeds of our people…”
“He was a fine old fellow,” Pippin nodded wistfully.
“He was like a father to me…” said Merry. “Just for a little while. Live now in blessedness; he said when he was dying, and when you sit in peace with your pipe, think of me!” He shook his head sadly. “I did not want to smoke anymore. I did not want to remember it. His death, I mean. But Strider… he said…” his voice broke.
Instead, Pippin spoke. “Smoke then, and think of him, he said”, he whispered gently, repeating Aragorn’s words. “For he was a gentle heart and a great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to a last fair morning. Though your service to him was brief, it should be a memory glad and honourable to the end of your days.”
Merry gulped, and nodded thankfully. “Farewell, Théoden King…” he whispered, and closed his eyes again, as he solemnly drew the smoke from his pipe, almost as if it would be some ceremony.
Frodo was quiet for a moment, giving Merry some time to deal with the memories. “He indeed must have been a great man…” he sighed then. “I regret I could not meet him myself. Would you tell me more about him, please? Only if it doesn’t bring you pain, though…”
Merry nodded. “It does. But I like to remember him nevertheless,” he said quietly. “The time when I knew him seems so short now. As I told you, I first met him in Isengard, after Treebeard and his Ents seized the place…”
So Merry told Frodo about all his travels from Isengard to Pelennor, and his short friendship with the king of Rohan, not omitting anything. It felt good to talk about it with friends. It felt as if the old king was sitting with them under the tree, politely listening and nodding to his talk. It was peace, and he was sitting with his pipe… and with fondness, he was thinking of Théoden.