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Frodo's Return to the Shire

Peace

A perfume in the air caught Frodo's attention.... this was not like the perfume of rain-washed air but something even more pure and refreshing. He walked slowly toward the prow of the great ship, feeling the rain on his face lighten to a gentle drizzle. It was dark and he could see nothing yet beyond the silvery curtain of water still falling. The ship lifted and dipped down as the waves carried it along. The rhythm had become very comforting to Frodo as time slipped by. Time was a thing he was only vaguely aware of now, having no need for it. He guessed it was a few weeks since the ship had left the Grey Havens, but no one had mentioned, and Frodo decided that it didn't matter. As he walked he had no need to steady himself, for he was quite accustomed to the ship's movements. The sails made soft sounds, like birds' wings, within the sound of the wind and the waves. The scent grew a little stronger and Frodo felt anticipation grow.

As he reached the prow the drizzle faded even more and then was gone. Before him the dark grey sky began to open, letting a soft light reveal a pale shore. Frodo caught his breath. Gradually he could make out, beyond the shore, low hills. The sunrise behind him was caught in mist at the shore and made the spectacle seem dream-like. Now, over the fluttering of the sails and the splashing of the waves, he could just hear voices, far away. He strained to see something else on the shore but could not, only the long expanse of white sand blending into the green hills.

The voices were singing. It seemed to be Elvish but he didn't recognize it. Whatever the words were, they lifted his heart to the very sky. 'I'm here! I've finally reached the Undying Lands.... O what a wonder to behold, and to hear! And the green of the hills, I've never seen a green like that. This now will be Home. Here my heart will rest.'

The perfume became stronger. Frodo closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. 'I thought I would be sad to leave the Sea but if this scent is on the land, I go gladly.'

"This is the scent of the flowers of the Blessed Realm," said the tranquil voice of Galadriel beside him. "You will smell it everywhere."

"Ah, then surely I will be healed! Their scent alone is enough to do that."

"And yet there is more...." She touched his shoulder. "See, we will be greeted when we arrive."

Opening his eyes, Frodo saw many horses and riders slowly coming along the water's edge, to where he could just see the dock now. The horses were all grey or white and moved with a light step, as if they were dancing. The riders wore silver and white, some with gems glinting in the fast rising sun. The horses' bridles glittered as well.

"Lady, what are they singing? I thought the voices of Elves in Rivendell were the sweetest I would ever hear, but these are more so."

"It is a welcoming song, from many generations ago. My heart is glad to see my kinsmen arriving, for I have long thought of them. At last, I have come home." Frodo looked up at her to see such a serene expression on her lovely face, he smiled. "Through much pain we have both come, my friend, and now the pain is at its end. You and I will be received into the open arms of my beloved kinsmen."

Frodo looked ahead at the line of riders. Their song was clearer now. Among the voices he could sometimes hear tinkling bells. "Lady, what will life be like here?"

"Ah, such sweetness as you have not dreamed. The City is wide and full of life. There is a Library with the knowledge of a thousand Elven lifetimes.... there are Woods to walk in and Rivers to drink from.... the Wisest of the Elves will engage you in such conversation, Frodo, you will not even think about sleeping. In the Blessed Realm the need for sleep is small. There is no want that shall go unmet."

The riders were now starting to gather at the dock. Their voices did not waver. "Lady, do you miss Arwen Evenstar?"

Galadriel sighed, so softly Frodo almost missed it. She did not take her eyes from the riders. "She has made her choice and may she be happy in it. I would be glad to see her face at this moment, were she beside me, but she is in her own Home now."

Frodo held the white gem Arwen had given him. It gleamed like the moon behind clouds. 'I am here in her stead....' he thought with intense gratitude. 'She has given me so much more than just this stone.'

Galadriel leaned down and kissed the top of his head. "Yes she has, dear one. She knew that you merited this journey perhaps more than she. And now smile, be joyful, for a new life is awaiting you. Here you will live in Honour and Peace."

As Frodo gazed ahead, Galadriel saw him smile a little and saw that all the lines on his face were gone.