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Section LIII-Brief Reprieve

All is decided and yet nothing is to be done until the scouts return from their hunt for whatever word may be learned of the Black Riders. I am told this will require a fair amount of time. Part of me is anxious to be on our way. Another part of me is relieved to be able to rest a bit longer. Though the wound heals remarkably swift, it aches from time to time. As it continues to ease with each passing day, I must, on occasion, remind myself the nightmare is true by pushing my shirt a little to the side to see the scar.

The chain about my neck and the cold Ring upon my chest do not seem to weigh as heavily on my mind. I believe the power of the Elves in some way shields me? if only a little. The reprieve, for however long it may be, is gratefully received.

Of the Fellowship, only the hobbits will be left behind in Rivendell. The Elf, Legolas, and the Man, Boromir, will join Strider -- Aragorn -- in various search parties. Gimli will accompany his father part of the way home to gather information from that direction and then return. They chafe at waiting about. I must admit, though I welcome the opportunity to better acquaint myself with Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir, never would I suspect the pleasure suffusing me at the prospect of going nowhere.

But then perhaps it is for the best we are, for a time, separated. I do not know the duration of our coming journey, and I suspect no one else does either for we must continue on as unobtrusively as possible. I need only think back to our journey to Rivendell to remember how one day's travel could turn into much more. To be thrown together in such a manner as is proposed may prove wearing. Mayhap, we will wish for more distance between us before too long.

I am told we will begin when the last of the scouts return. Bilbo assures me it will be a great while and chastises me for starting so late, but there's nothing for it now. For the moment, I am content to rest.

The days pass pleasantly enough. Bilbo hungers for the tales of our travels here. He wants to add it to the Red Book. I remind him much is dark and unpleasant, to which he insists the story must end happily. We lose ourselves in the telling of stories and singing of songs. Laughter finds its way into our hearts again. If only for a little time, the future is far away.

The food... the food! Beyond compare and plentiful, in proper hobbit fashion. No hobbit could desire more or better. I once again look in a mirror and recognize the figure there a little more easily with each passing day.

As the scouts return, there is no word of the Riders. One could wish they perished in the flood, but such a hope would be both foolish and false. It seems we shall be departing at the end of December. Two months already have passed. It seems a very long time, and yet, not long at all.

Using the maps the Elves possess, Aragorn and Gandalf counsel together over the path we will follow. Often, they include me. I endeavor to listen and understand but so many of the names are unfamiliar to me. They speak of them as easily as I would Crickhollow or Hobbiton. Perhaps, in part, I am also distracted by my desire to spend as much time as possible with Bilbo.

In everything, Sam rarely leaves my side. We speak a little of the gardens here. Often we walk in silence. The serenity soothes me. Briefly, I feel safe. I smile to myself over his unwillingness for us to be parted, as though he fears I might slip away without him.