Journey Over the Sea
The Havens rose up out of a soft grey mist as Frodo and his companions approached. As they rode down, the mist seemed to draw back, and the Sea lay spread out in front of them. A gentle light shone in the harbor, and Frodo drew in a deep breath as he gazed at the Sea. Salty, fresh, sweet air flowed into his lungs and he momentarily closed his eyes. Never had he tasted the taste of Sea-air, and it was wonderful indeed. Opening his eyes, he gazed upwards at the seagulls circling above him, and crying out in many voices. A strange feeling came over Frodo; almost, as it were, a sense of peace and healing. Has the healing Gandalf spoke of already begun? he wondered.

   Sam at his side stirred, and Frodo saw a tall, regal Elf coming toward them. His white hair fell long down his back and over his shoulders, and he wore a robe of grey edged with deep red. A silver circlet wound about his head, but though he was old, his eyes shone keenly as if two stars from the heavens had fallen down and buried themselves there. He looked at them and bowed, and he said; “All is now ready.”

   Then Frodo knew he was Círdan of the Havens, of whom Gandalf had spoken a few times, and Elrond as well. Círdan led them down to the quay, where the Sea met the land and caressed the shore with a soft wash of waves. Beside the long, stone quay lay a great white ship, rocking gently on the flow of the waves. Its sails were as yet furled, as it lay at rest. But Frodo could see many Elves aboard the vessel, seemingly preparing it for its journey to Eressea. The prow was carved in the shape of a flying swan, gazing ahead as if it could see Eressea already. Frodo gazed wonderingly upon the graceful craft, for he had never seen a ship, much less sailed in one. Now he was to leave Middle-earth forever on this Elven-made ship.

   When Frodo’s gaze left the ship, he saw standing on the ship a tall white-robed figure standing by a great horse, and his heart leaped. Gandalf! Gandalf it was, and he came slowly toward Frodo and the others, and as he came Frodo saw that he now wore openly on his hand Narya, the Ring of Fire. The red stone set in its band glowed like fire indeed, but in a living, inspiring way - not in a destroying way, as the fires of Mount Doom had so often leaped up. Frodo shivered and quickly cast the thought away. Gladness filled his heart instead, for Gandalf was to sail with them!

   But when he looked at Sam, sadness filled his heart. Sam stood in silent grief, his head bowed and his eyes sorrowful. Frodo’s heart went out to him. He knew that the parting would be full of sorrow for Sam, but worse would be the long road home. But there was nothing to be done. Frodo put his arm around Sam, and together they walked down the quay to the ship.

   The Elves went aboard first; Galadriel and the Elves from Lothlórien who were going with her, and then Elrond and his following. But as the time drew near for Frodo to depart, a sudden clattering of hooves was heard, and up rode Merry and Pippin in great haste. Tears were in Pippin’s eyes, but amid his tears he laughed. “You tried to give us the slip once before and failed, Frodo,” he said. “This time you have nearly succeeded, but you failed again.” Pippin’s eyes twinkled merrily. “It was not Sam, though, that gave you away this time, but Gandalf himself!”

   Frodo smiled at them, and inside he felt very glad in spite of the thought of leaving them. It was wonderful to be able to see them this last time, and Sam would not be so lonely on the long road home.

   It seemed that Gandalf had had that thought in mind when he gave Frodo away. “Yes, for it will be better to ride back three together than one alone.” He smiled, and then his face grew serious. “Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our Fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”

   Then Frodo hugged Pippin tight, and Merry too, and they returned the embrace with tears in their eyes but also love. Few words passed between them for few words were needed. Then last of all Frodo embraced Sam, and closed his eyes as Sam hugged him back with a fierce affection. Frodo thought of all the time they had spent together; all the many hard miles they had traveled together. He could think of hundreds of times when it had gotten dark and painful, but Sam had never left his side - Sam had always been there. There was so much they had been through together - so much they had shared! And now, on Middle-earth’s shore, they were parting. His heart was full, and tears welled up in his eyes and fell onto Sam’s cloak, and he knew that tears of Sam’s fell onto his cloak. When they finally released each other and gazed into one another’s eyes, Frodo whispered; “Remember, dear Sam, this parting cannot last forever!”
  
   Then, he turned, and walked slowly to the ship and boarded. As his feet touched the smooth grey wood of the ship’s deck, he had a sudden feeling that this ship was alive; that the wood it was made of still lived and breathed. Once on board he turned, and waved to his friends. Merry and Pippin waved wildly in return, and Sam lifted his hand. Then the Elves cast off, and the ship slid away from the quay and out to Sea. Gulls circled above them, and the sound of their cries filled Frodo’s ears. Tears filled his eyes once more as he gazed back to his friends, three small dark figures on the quay, which was slipping away. He never left the boat’s side, gazing at them until they were nearly swallowed up in the mist that was falling over the harbor. Then he reached into his shirt and drew out Galadriel’s phial, and as it lay in his hand it glowed with a starry light. He held it aloft in a token of farewell, and for a moment it flashed out brightly. Then the harbor, and the three figures, fell away and was lost to sight in the mist. Frodo bowed his head, and his hand holding the phial fell to his side.



~*~



Frodo remained long by the ship’s railing after the Havens had slipped back into the mist, silent and thoughtful. He thought of his three friends whom he had left behind him - now they were riding home, all three together. Merry and Pippin were going home to a cosy fire and a good supper in Crickhollow, and Sam had his dear Rosie and his beautiful daughter waiting for him. Sam will not always be torn, Frodo thought. He has Rosie and Elanor, and many more children to come, and the Shire. I know he will become healed and whole. . . .one day he will be able to find complete happiness in the Shire. Dear Sam! He deserves it - he suffered so much and yet never failed me. He left everything behind - his beloved Shire, his Gaffer, and Rosie whom he loved - all that he left behind to go with me on a journey that he knew would be dark but turned out to be darker than either of us could imagine. Now he has his reward. Frodo smiled. Yet still, he felt as if he was not quite whole himself......there seemed to be an empty place where Sam should have been. He missed Sam.

   He thought too of Strider, Gondor’s and all Middle-earth’s King, and Arwen his bride. Thinking of her reminded him of her gift to him, and his hand crept to his throat and fingered the jewel she had given him. It was shaped both like a star and a flower....Frodo treasured it, always wearing it close to his heart. He treasured it in a different way than he had the Ring - the gem seemed to give him life, while the Ring had seemed to tear it away from him. She had given him his place on this ship. She would die at last, but she had the happiness that she had longed and suffered for, and Frodo was glad for her.

   And Legolas, and Gimli.....they were the best Elf and Dwarf he had ever known. Gimli had taken the hobbits to his heart from the first. He had not always shown it, but he had a deep affection for them and they returned it warmly, for he was a good-hearted dwarf. And Legolas was a wonderful Elf. Many times he and Frodo had walked by the Sea while Frodo was staying in Gondor, and Legolas had told him tales of the Elves from long ago.

   And Boromir.......he was dead. Aragorn had told him how the warrior died, and Frodo was glad. He had long since forgiven Boromir for their last moments together, and had always felt sorry that he had died. He was a noble man. . .he was always looking after us hobbits and watching out for us. I know we would have been friends if he had survived. . . but he died a brave, noble death, and that I am glad for. He died for his people and his city - for his home. I nearly did. 

   Frodo sighed and slid down to the floor, curling up where he could smell the salty, gentle wind and feel the Sea’s spray cooling his face. He felt almost like he was in a gentle, beautiful dream - everything was so quiet and lovely and full of the Sea. For a long time he stayed there, listening to the waves lap against the sides of the ship and the seagulls’ far-off cries.
  


   A footstep sounded behind him, and he turned. Gandalf stood there, and looked down at the dark-haired hobbit hugging his knees.

   “Well, Frodo, how do you feel?” he asked.

   Frodo smiled wearily. “Just a bit tired, I guess, and a little lonely.”

   Gandalf nodded. “I thought it would be like that for you. Are you tired enough to sleep? There’s a little cabin just for you in the back of the ship.”

   Frodo didn’t feel like leaving the ship’s railing where he could see the Sea spread out vastly before him, but he was tired, and sleep sounded good. He got to his feet. “All right, show it to me, Gandalf,” he smiled.

   Gandalf led him aft, and took him into a small cosy cabin. Frodo looked about it in delight. A bed was built into the wall; it looked like a cosy bed indeed. There was a little table for him, carved of the same grey wood, and a chest which was made of a warmer brown wood. In the ceiling swung a beautiful, intricately crafted lamp, in which sat a thick little candle. It was not lit, since it was still light, but in the dark it would give good light. A stand with a silver pitcher and bowl stood by the wall, and near it was a hook for his cloak. On the floor lay a rug - a soft, beautiful rug woven in warm, rich colours. There was a window, too - a square window which, though small like everything else in the room, gave a beautiful view of the Sea which lay about them on all sides. Near the window was a cosy little chair, just the right size for him

“This is lovely!” He turned to thank Gandalf; the wizard just smiled and left him to himself. Frodo grinned and turned back to the cabin. Taking off his cloak, he hung it on the hook, which he noticed was carved in the shape of a little bird, and sat down in the chair. Drawing his feet up under him, he gazed out of the window for a long, long time. He could not get enough of the Sea. It fascinated him....had fascinated him since the first time he had set eyes upon it, once when he was in Gondor. Since then he had come to love it dearly, though he had seen it only once, and he dreamt of it often. Now he was to go beyond it!

   Eventually darkness fell gently, like a dark velvet blanket settling over the Sea. As Frodo gazed out of the window, stars came twinkling out, and a silver young moon swung low in the sky. Frodo sighed. He was tired, very tired, but in a good way, not like the way he had been exhausted on the journey. The bed looked warm and inviting, and Frodo slipped into it gratefully. Drawing the soft, grey blankets up to his chin, he snuggled down, and fell asleep gazing out his window at the stars.
 
He slept peacefully without waking up once.
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Journey over the Sea:
2003 by Leah D.H. aka Frodo Baggins;
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