Welcome to Middle Hyrule

In the land of Hyrule, there echoes a legend. It speaks of the ultimate fanfiction destination, a place where two worlds collided. Few saw that the uniter of these two worlds was only a fourteen year old girl named H.G., for after all, heroes appear in the most unlikely of places, and even the smallest person can change the course of the future. This destination was given the name of Middle Hyrule.

Hi, I’m H.G. Welcome to Middle Hyrule, the ultimate fanfiction destination for fans of popular video game series Legend of Zelda and the award winning book/movie trilogy the Lord of the Rings. There will be some other fandoms here and there, but mainly LotR and Zelda. I hope you’ll enjoy reading these posts and fanfictions (I can assure you, most will all be appropriate for all audiences – please note that the Land of Shadow and To Hurt and to Heal are PG-13 for violence) as much as I enjoyed writing them. Namarië!

My First Guest Post!

Hello everyone! I am very lucky to have written a guest post for Mr. Steven Winter on his blog about Lord of the Rings. Here is my post!

A big thank you to all who have contributed to this short “Éowyn of Rohan” season whether you did so as bloggers, commentators or as readers. All of you have been most welcome! This is the final contribution to the season and it is a poem written by H.G Warrender. This is what she says about […]

via The Paths of The Living Dead — Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings

Chapter Eleven First and Last

Frodo: Yaaay, my chapter.

H.G.: Do I detect… sarcasm?

Frodo: Maybe just a little. I can probably sum up this chapter without even narrating it.

H.G.: Oh really?

Frodo: Sam cries.

H.G.: Yup.

Frodo: I probably cry.

H.G.: Maybe.

Frodo: And you are mean to us.

H.G.: True. Now let’s get going.

~~~

Chapter Eleven

Frodo

“It’s hot. I don’t like it,” I push yet another blanket off.

Sam stands by the bed and looks at me. “What do you mean? It’s November. It’s not that hot.”

“It feels hot,” I whine, rolling over under the thin sheet.

“You’ll be cold with no blankets.”

“Don’t care.”

“Well, I’ll be cold.”

“Then sleep somewhere else.”

“Where?”

I point across the room. “Chair.” I glance up from above the sheet. “I’m just kidding, you know.”

Sam laughs and sits down next to me. “I know. Why don’t you go for a walk to cool down?”

“This late at night?”

“It’s only nine o’clock.”

I shrug, but as my eyes train on his face, I see that he didn’t just want me to leave so I could cool off. Sam needs some time alone to say goodbye to any future he expected to have with Rosie, and that is something that I’m not part of. I realize that once it is gone, nearly everything about Sam – his life, his future – will belong to me. It’s a strange prospect, and sad. I’ve never cared for romance, but I know he’d like to get married someday and have children. And obviously he’s not going to marry me. I shudder at the thought. “Okay. I’ll be back soon.” I get up and quickly change back into regular clothes. “Try to sleep while I’m gone,” I add, even though I know he won’t.

“I’ll try,” Sam assures me. I go out of the room and close the door quietly behind me.

I should give him at least ten, maybe twenty minutes, and by the time I come back, he can pretend to be asleep if he wants to. Dear Sam. How hard this must be for him. I walk down the hall to the empty common room, where the fire is dying, and the bar is empty in the corner, as are all the tables and chairs. I curl up in one of the chairs by the fire for a minute, before standing up. The fire is too hot, far too hot, even though it’s dying. Maybe I have a fever.

I wonder if Merry and Pippin made it to Buckland safely. I wonder if they’ll come back here at some point, if they didn’t make it or it wasn’t safe.

I go out the door and roam silently around the inn. The orcs are probably not holding camp in this part of the Shire – my skin starts crawling again, orcs, in the Shire – but I know better than to wander too far.

It’s cold outside, and I shiver. It doesn’t seem hot anymore. The world is still damp from rain earlier this evening.  I’ll walk around the perimeter of the inn and then come back. I turn to the left and start walking, when I hear thudding hooves. I turn around, wondering who could possibly be coming to an inn this late at night. It’s definitely a hobbit and pony, not orc and horse. I stand still and watch as the rider dismounts and ties the pony up. Now that she’s in the light, I can see the rider is a girl, but she still has her hood up. She looks around, and then she sees me.

“Frodo?” she says, and as soon as I hear her voice, I know who it is.

“Hello, Rosie,” I say stiffly.

Rosie laughs and runs forward. Before I can protest, she gives me a hug. I stiffen, and she lets go of me. Her hood has fallen off, and little water droplets cling to her blond hair. She smiles brightly. “It’s so good to see you!” she says cheerfully. “Odfrin told me you and Sam were here.” She rolls her eyes. “I didn’t quite trust the idiot, so I came to see for myself. Sam’s with you, right?”

This story is poor, but maybe she doesn’t know that I’m aware of her betrayal of my best friend and is trying to seem friendly. “Yes. He’s with me,” I say coldly. “He’s inside.”

“Oh, that’s fine! Will you take me to him?”

“No. I’m sorry. Good night.” I turn to walk away. Rosie grabs my arm.

“Frodo, what’s wrong?” she asks. “We’ve always gotten on so well. Are you angry with me for something?”

It’s true, we have usually gotten along well. I look into her freckled face, flushed with riding and specked with rain, and for a moment, I wonder what it would be like to have her in my family, married to Sam. But that will never happen now.

“You left Sam,” I say.

Rosie sighs. “If you’ll let me explain -”

“There is nothing to explain,” I say. “He has been through hell. He went to the end of the world and starved himself to keep me alive, and then I lost my mind and he never left my side. And now we’ve returned home from all that to find it destroyed. And now this. It may be my fault that he’s so broken, but at least I stayed with him!” I’m so angry I can hardly speak. Sam deserves so much better than this, and there’s so much only she can give him. And now he will only have me. And what am I? A destroyed, broken wreck of a living being who will burden him forever. He will never be fully happy with me. But I will stay with him anyway. “You will never find someone better than Sam,” I tell her. “And you threw him away. You didn’t even come in person. You sent your fiancé to ridicule us. So no. There is nothing to explain.” I turn to walk away. “Now if you’ll excuse me.”

“Frodo, listen!” Rosie pleads. “I know how this must look, but I never stopped loving Sam, I promise.”

I won’t listen to this any longer. I keep walking.

“I don’t love Odfrin!” Rosie shouts, running along behind me. “I don’t know if you’ll believe me -”

I’m at the door.

“-but my parents set me up with him!” she finishes.

I stop and turn around. “What?”

“They’re trying to force me to marry him. They like him.” She swallows hard. “I don’t, though. I still love Sam, but they don’t want me to marry a gardener. At least, mother doesn’t. Father doesn’t really care, but he likes Odfrin, so he agrees with her in that. Please, will you at least send him out to see me?”

I stare at her for a long time, trying to decide. If it’s not her fault, then isn’t it wrong for me to keep them apart? But if she’s lying…

“I’ll tell him that you’re here,” I say. “But if he doesn’t want to see you, I won’t make him.”

Rosie nods. “Thank you. Um, Frodo, can I ask you something? Odfrin was saying about you and S-”

I cut her off. “Don’t say something that will make me want to change my mind about telling him.”

She nods. “Right.” I go inside and start back to our room.

 

“She still wants to see me?” Sam asks again.

“I told you that twice.”

“I know. It’s just…” He sighs happily. “This is the first good news I’ve had in a while. And do you mind?”

“No, of course not. I expect you’ll talk for a while, though.”

“Probably…” He smiles, kisses me on the cheek. “Thank you.”

And with that he heads out the door.

 

 

First and Last Chapter Ten

Sam: Waaaah….

Frodo: There, there.

Sam: It’s just so sad…

Frodo: Well, cheer up, H.G. has come to a decision.

Sam: *sniffle* what?

Frodo: She’s going to write a pre-quest fic.

Sam: Really? Good. I’ve decided any more torture would be too much.

H.G.: It will be very cute.

Frodo: Little baby us.

Sam: Well, little baby me, as you’re twelve years older.

H.G.: So cute!

~~~

Chapter Ten

Rosie

I look around the kitchen. The dishes are put away, the bread I baked is resting under a cheesecloth for tomorrow. I’m thinking maybe I should get some apple preserves from the cellar to go with it, but maybe I’ll end up being the only one eating them and it will be a waste of time.

The front door creaks on it’s hinge, and I hear my mother say, “why Odfrin, what a lovely surprise.”

I go to the cellar door. Looks like I’ll be getting those preserves after all.

“Rosie?” mother calls. “Mr. Proudfoot’s here to see you.”

“I’ll be up in a minute!” I call. Let him leave while I get the jar.

I come back up with the jar after a minute of dawdling, hoping he can’t stay long and will scram. However, when I come up the ladder again with the jar in hand, I can hear his voice still talking to mother.

“…so rude, sometimes,” he says.

“I agree. Lately she’s been very overbearing,” Mother murmurs.

I set the jar on the counter and begin to unscrew the lid very, very slowly. If I’m going to talk to Odfrin, first I need food to keep me sane. Just a little lick…

“You know, I am a bit worried, though,” Odfrin says. “Especially now that…”

“Now that they’re back,” Mother finishes. “Yes.”

I stop with one finger halfway in the jar. Someone’s back? Are the orcs are back in this part of the Shire, even after the Tooks drove them to Northfarthing? Quietly, I go to the doorway of the kitchen, press my back to the wall, and strain my ears.

“But the Silver Scale, of all places,” Odfrin says, and I’m very confused. “Doesn’t seem lordly enough for the likes of Frodo Baggins, does it?”

I’d forgotten I was still holding the jar, but I remember just in time to catch it before it crashes to the ground. I clutch it to my chest with trembling hands. Frodo Baggins is back. And when he left, he took my Sam with him.

So could that mean…?

“Ah, well,”says Mother. “At least that’s far enough from here that he shan’t get the urge to drop in for a visit.”

“Dear Mrs. Cotton. Judging from today, Frodo won’t let his pet out of his sight. Not that Sam would want to leave it.”

The jar crashes into a thousand pieces on the floor, but I am too far ahead for it to be any danger to my feet. I fly into the living room, and before the sound of the crash has faded, I have Odfrin up against the wall by the sides of his coat.

“How dare you not tell me!” I scream into his face.

“Rosie Cotton!” Mother exclaims. “That is not ladylike-”

“SHUT UP, MOTHER!” I roar. I turn back to Odfrin. “HE CAME BACK! I TOLD YOU! AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME!”

“Release me,” Odfrin hisses calmly.

I let go and run to the door. Sam, Sam is here, in the Shire, so close to me, and nothing Odfrin does will stop me from going to him, from reaching him…

“You don’t want to do that,” Odfrin says.

I whip my head around. “No, I do, actually.”

“Run all those miles in the dark, when it’s all for nothing?”

“I’ll take a pony,” I say haughtily, grabbing my scarf. “And who says it’s for nothing?”

“I do. You see, I told him our little arrangement.”

I stop. “What?”

“Yes, you see, I met with him this morning and, shall we say, spilled the beans.”

I turn away and lean against the wall. “Knowing you, you said it horribly.”

“Well, wouldn’t you hate it if I disappointed you?” Odfrin asks cheerfully.

“You should have let me explain…”

“Why? It’s true. It’s true whether he hears it from me or from you.”

I close my eyes, a tear sliding out. Yes, it’s true, but if I had gone and let him explain, we could fix things. I should go, anyway. I should run to him and tell him everything, even if… even if he already hates me.

“It’s no good, even if you do go,” says Odfrin, as if reading my mind. “He was very upset. Blubbering like a little bairn, can you believe it?”

I whirl around. “He has every right to be upset!”

“And another thing,” Odfrin continues, ignoring me, “I don’t think he’s interested in you anymore. He’s staying at the inn with Frodo Baggins.”

“They’re friends!”

“Yes, but they’re odd. They’re always holding hands and kissing, it’s just so strange.”

“There are plenty of people who are affectionate with their friends,” I say coldly. “I hold hands with my friends, sometimes.”

He shrugs. “Do as you will. I find that relationships as intimate as theirs are strange and unnatural. But I shan’t complain.”

“I find that faces as ugly as yours are strange and unnatural, but do you see me complaining?”

Odfrin stares at me.

“Good evening,” I say, and with that I snatch my scarf and run to the stables while he’s still recovering.

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Chapter Nine of First and Last

Warning: this chapter contains references death and suicide – nothing is attempted, just mentioned (not seriously) in a conversation. No one is actually considering doing it, but if you don’t like hearing about it in passing, you have been forewarned.

~~~

Chapter Nine

Sam

We’ve just gotten into bed when there’s a knock on the door.

“Mr. Gamgee,” I hear the innkeeper call. “May I have a word?”

Frodo lets go of me reluctantly. “Be quick,” he whispers.

I get up and go to the door and open it enough to look out. “Yes?”

“I hope I’m not bothering you,” he says. “You see, the company’s only just dispersed, so I couldn’t get away, but I was asked to bring a message to you.”

I start. “By who?” I was hoping no one would notice we’re here.

“He’s a gentleman by the name of Odfrin Proudfoot, maybe you know him?”

I shake my head.

“All the same, Mr. Proudfoot called me over after you left and said he couldn’t help but overhear Mr. Frodo’s conversation with me, and he told me to let you know that if you’ll meet with him tomorrow, he’d be happy to take the cost of another room, as he understand’s money is tight for everyone these days.”

“I’d be happy to meet with him, but we don’t need another room,” I say.

“He said you’d say that, but he really doesn’t mind -”

“It’s kind of him, but really,” I say firmly. “We don’t need another. When does he want me to meet with him?”

“Tomorrow around first breakfast in the common room,” says the innkeeper, “but I think it was to discuss renting and your paying him back.”

“Well, I can just tell him it’s not needed,” I say. “Thank you.”

I close the door and go back to Frodo, who looks up at me. “What was that about?” he mumbles drowsily, settling against me.

“Someone named Odfrin Proudfoot offering to get another room for us.”

“Hmm.”

“It’s strange, though,” I say. “We don’t know him, not at all, do we? It just seems odd that he’d offer it out of the blue because he overheard us. I’m supposed to meet with him tomorrow.”

No reply comes. Frodo is fast asleep.

 

I smooth the blanket over him and press a quick kiss onto his temple. “Try and go back to sleep.”

Frodo snorts, keeping his eyes closed. I brush back a lock of hair hanging over them.

“Just try,” I say softly. “I’ll be back soon. Love you.”

“You too,” he mumbles, pulling a pillow over his face. I smile and go out the door, closing it softly behind me.

“Mr. Proudfoot’s in the corner, sir,” says the innkeeper as I enter the common room. Someone calls to him – Boffin I hear them call him – and he goes away. I walk to the table he indicated and stand beside it. Mr. Proudfoot looks up at me and rises to greet me.

He has dark green eyes and brown hair, a square jaw with a long nose – a strange combination. Not that I’m particularly good-looking either, and yet I love the two most beautiful people in the world. He appears to be a little older than Frodo, and therefore much older than me.

“Samwise Gamgee,” he says. His voice is silky and soft. He extends a hand to me. “Odfrin Proudfoot. Such a shame we haven’t met sooner.”

I shake his hand. “Shame, indeed.”

“Do sit down.” He leans back. “I confess that, although you no doubt didn’t know me, I’ve seen you several times. You see, my father runs a shop in the market.”

“Which one?”

“He runs a cloth shop for the… upper class, so I’ve only seen you a few times when you were with your friend. Where is he, out of curiosity?”

“Sleeping, hopefully.”

“I see.” He smiles. “Do you perhaps recall what you were doing every time you visited the market together?”

“Um, shopping?” I ask, confused.

“Holding hands.” He smiles again, but it’s more like a leer. “And you’re quite sure you’re not going to take me up on my offer?”

“Quite sure.” I feel very uncomfortable all of the sudden, and hoping to wrap the meeting up soon, I say, “Well, is that it?”

“I’m afraid not.” Mr. Proudfoot smiles yet again – each smile seems more and more false. “I understand you’re close to Rosie Cotton.”

“Yes.”

“You would consider yourself her friend?”

We were more than friends. “You could say that.”

“Certainly you have her best interests at heart.”

“I think so.”

“You will be happy, then, to hear that she is engaged.”

…and I forget how to breathe.

Odfrin Proudfoot is still looking at me, but I can’t see him any more. I cannot move or breathe any more; my heart stops and my mouth dries up, and at first I’m not even sure why, because the words don’t sink in at first. And then…

Feelings return so strong I want to throw the table over and scream like a child. Engaged? To who?

Not to me.

She told me she’d wait for me…

“Sam?”

There’s a cool hand on my shoulder. Somehow I manage to turn around and see Frodo standing behind me, looking concerned.

“Mr. Baggins,” says Odfrin Proudfoot from a hundred miles away. “I thought you were resting.”

“I was,” says Frodo from behind me, “but then I decided to stop resting.” He cups my chin in his hand and turns my face towards him. “Sam? Is something wrong?”

I just look at him.

“Sam, what is it?” he asks softly.

“I…”

Please,” says Mr. Proudfoot coldly.

Frodo turns to him. “Excuse me?”

He gives another simpering smile. “Oh, nothing, only that some of us may dislike watching unusual public displays of affection.”

Frodo looks from him to me, then back to him. “I beg your pardon?”

“I believe you understood me.”

Frodo draws himself up. “Listen, Odfrin Proudfoot. I have no idea who you are or what you’ve done to Sam, but something is wrong, and I don’t let people hurt my friends physically or emotionally. Do you understand me? And I’m afraid that any threats you may have given will not work, as my social standing is far superior to yours, whatever it may be. Are you done here?”

“Yes,” says Mr. Proudfoot coldly. “We are, unless your friend has anything else to say.”

I lift my head. “Who is it?” I manage to ask.

He grins, this time not trying to keep it friendly. “Why, me, of course.”

Frodo takes my hand and pulls. I allow him to lead me away from Odfrin, down the hall, and into our room. He throws me in, slams the door, and pulls me into a furious embrace.

“You’re crushing me,” I mumble.

“Sorry.” He loosens his grip on me and looks into my eyes. “Sam, what’s wrong? Won’t you tell me?”

I struggle not to cry.

“What did he tell you?” Frodo asks gently.

I gulp. “He-he asked all these questions about you… and then he said Rosie’s engaged – to him…”

Suddenly I’m in his arms again, and this time I don’t try not to cry. “Oh, Sam,” Frodo whispers, and it sounds as though he is crying to. “Oh Sam, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I love you…”

“I love you too,” I manage to say.

Frodo squeezes me tight again, holding on to me, not letting me go. I bury my face in his neck and close my eyes, trying to shut all this out. There are orcs in the Shire, Frodo has still not recovered from carrying the ring, and Rosie is marrying someone else. Everything is so horrible I can’t even believe this is really my life.

“I want to die,” I whisper.

NO,” says Frodo firmly.

“But I can’t -”

He pulls back slightly and covers my lips with his hand. “Shush. If you died, I would kill myself.”

“No you wouldn’t,” I say dismissively.

Yes I would,” says Frodo firmly. He kisses my forehead. “Yes, I would, Sam. I couldn’t bear to go on without you. But you are not going to die. You don’t even want to die. Do you?”

I shake my head slowly.

“Then why did you say it?”

“Because… it all felt like too much.”

“We’ll get through it, though. I promise. Okay?”

I manage to nod.

“Rosie’s gone,” says Frodo. “But I’m not. I’m here for you, and I always will be. I’ll stay with you all your life. I promise I will never leave you all alone. I love you, and I don’t want you to be in pain. Right now it hurts horribly, and right now you need to cry and suffer, but someday that will pass. Everything will be alright. It hurts now, but it will be alright. Isn’t that what you always tell me?”

“Yes?”

Frodo embraces me agin, gently. “Go ahead and cry.”

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Chapter Nine: Preview

Sam: So H.G., how was camp?

H.G.: Okay.

Frodo: Did you miss us?

H.G.: Of course I did, but I was able to plot out the whole upcoming chapter, so there’s very little work involved for Sam.

Sam: *smile*

H.G.: Unfortunately there’s also very little cuddling involved for either of you.

Sam: *not smiling*

Frodo: Why? Do you do bad things to us?

H.G.: So if I say there’s little cuddling, you automatically assume that means that I’m evil?

Frodo: Well, yeah. That’s how you work.

Sam: We cuddle and act adorable, or we suffer brutal pain.

Frodo: Or we do both.

Sam: Or Rosie runs around being depressed.

H.G.: Gosh, you’re both so negative!

Sam: But I think you see what we’re saying.

H.G.: Yes, I do.

Frodo: You will wrap up this story, as it’s dying…

Sam: …and then start a new one with more effort to keep us in character.

Frodo: One that involves cuddling, kisses, and happiness, as well as lots of food.

Sam: Or, you know, something that brings people to tears as we overcome horrific torment out of love for each other.

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: What?

Frodo: No more torture!

H.G.: So basically, you want a pre-quest Shire story, or you want a torturefic.

Sam: Basically.

Frodo: Ignore Sam, there will be no torturefics.

Sam: But then she can show how much I love you.

Frodo: But she can do that in pre-quest, too. Imagine how cute little tween us would be.

Sam: …

H.G.: …

Sam and H.G.: AW!

H.G.: …

H.G.: But murder, John…

Sam: THIS IS NOT SHERLOCK H.G.

Frodo: Well, it’s your choice.

H.G.: What would the readers be interested in:

Sam: Yeah guys, what?

Frodo: Adorable, wonderful small hobbits that are sweet and pain-free…

Sam: …or torment in Mordor barely holding onto our lives and each other?

H.G.: Who said it would be Mordor?

Frodo: There’s nothing worse then Mordor.

H.G.: Oh, how little you know. Anyways, I’ll be working on chapter nine, so look for that sometime next week.

Frodo: And while you’re at it, read “Blood and Ashes” by H.G. on Archive of Our Own, even if it’s horrible.

Sam: Horribly angsty.

Frodo: Yeah, that.

 

First and Last chapter Eight

H.G.: Hello hello!

Sam: H.G. will be going away to work at a summer camp pretty soon.

Frodo: So, she thought she would give you a chapter before that happens.

Sam: …which means we get to be tortured and she gets to go swim around in a pool surrounded by little seven year olds.

Frodo: Unfair.

H.G.: Chapter time! Come on, Frodo!

Frodo: *groan*

Sam: She can’t kill us yet, it’s too early.

Frodo: Hopefully.

~~~

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” -Audrey Hepburn.

Chapter Eight

Frodo

Today we will reach the Shire.

It has been thirteen months since I’ve seen my home, and I’m ready to be back. I know I have a lot of healing left, but I am starting to believe that if I can settle down again, Sam will help me to get better, and maybe I won’t have to use Arwen’s gift.

I still haven’t told him about the gift. We never have secrets from each other, but for some reason, I don’t think I should let him know about this just yet.

“Frodo?” asks Pippin, pulling his pony up alongside mine. “What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we get back?”

“Read.”

“Of course,” Pippin sighs. “Merry, what about you?”

“Drink a barrel of beer.”

“I’m going to eat all the mushrooms in the Shire. What about you, Sam?”

Sam shrugs.

“We all know what Sam is going to do,” I say slyly, teasing my guardian.

“Oh, I bet I know, too.” says Pippin. “I bet he’s going to kiiiiiiiss someone.”

“I wonder who?” asks Merry, getting in on the joke.

Sam tries to ride away; I spur my pony and catch up to him. “Does it start with an ‘R’?” I ask.

“Does it end with an ‘e’?” asks Merry, coming up behind.

“Haven’t you used this joke before?” Sam groans.

“Roooossssiiiiiie?” We all ask.

“I hate you all.”

“Not nice.”

Sam says nothing.

“Oh, come on,” I say, laughing. “Sam, as your best friends, we have permission to tease you. It’s our Valar-given right.”

“But if I tease you, I’m called mean?”

“I can tease you, you can’t tease me.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s how it works.”

Sam sighs. “Frodo…”

I smile innocently. “Love you, Sam.”

We keep riding, Merry and Pippin chattering away about food and beer and more food. I have to agree with them. Food is something I’m in desperate need of. Sam and I lost a lot of weight in Mordor, far more than was healthy for us. And he probably lost even more than me, because he almost never ate.

People thought I was strange before. I was always small for a hobbit, what will they say now if they see me like this? Frail. The word comes to my mind. Unfortunately it is completely true.

“Look!” says Pippin.

I look up. “What?”

“It’s the Brandywine Bridge! But there’s a gate there now.”

Sure enough, on the other side of the Brandywine is a large wooden gate with a hobbit wearing a short sword standing outside.

“Hullo!” calls Merry cheerfully, as we all dismount. “What’s all this for?”

The hobbit looks up. “Why, Meriadoc!” he exclaims. “We thought you were dead!” He scans our faces. “And Peregrine Took, and Samwise Gamgee, and Mr. Baggins? They gave up the search for you months ago.”

“Well, we’re very much alive,” says Pippin, “and we should like to come in, if that’s alright with you.”

He bows. “Of course, sir, but I’m afraid the Shire’s not the same as when you left it.”

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Well Mr. Baggins, just that there’s been an invasion and we’re not free no more. The ruffians’ve taken over.”

“Ruffians?” asks Sam, at the same time that Merry asks, “invasion?”

“Some big men came from who knows where and some hobbits with them. They’re under orders from some boss named Sharkey, and they’ve taken charge of things here. What’s more, they have some monsters with them, and they use those to keep us all in line. If you don’t listen to ’em you’re locked up.”

“What monsters?” Sam demands.

“Goblins some call ’em, but goblins they sure ain’t if you understand my meaning. They’s bigger than nary a goblin I’ve ever heard of, and they’re meaner. Ugly faces they have, the sort that makes the children cry, and big arms too. Some are bowlegged and all are bad as Sharkey himself.”

“Orcs,” I whisper.

“Orcs,” the hobbit repeats. “Maybe that’s the name. Anyways, Mr. Frodo, and you, Mr. Gamgee, you’ll not be able to go up to Hobbiton.”

“Why not?” I ask.

“Because they’ve dug up Bagshot Row, sir, and they’re using Bag End as Sharkey’s base.”

I look over at Sam, who seems to be having trouble breathing. We’re homeless now. Both of us. Since I sold Bag End to Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, the plan was for me to stay with him until we could arrange to get to Crickhollow. Could we go there now?

“What of Crickhollow?” I ask.

“Leveled to the ground and used as a lumberyard,” he replies sadly. “But maybe you cold find lodging at The Silver Scale. It’s an inn not but a few minutes from here on foot.”

Sam pulls me aside. “What are we going to do?” he asks. “We can’t go somewhere where there’s to be talk of our return, like an inn we don’t know.”

“But we can’t go to the West Farthing and try for the Green Dragon or the Ivy Bush. It’s too far and even less safe.”

Sam runs his hand through his hair, and I see just how unhealthy he looks. Thin, tired, dirty from the travel. Surely he looked worse in Mordor, but I was so blinded by pain that I didn’t even notice. I stand on my toes and kiss his cheek.

“Let’s just try it,” I say. “The Silver Scale. For one night.”

“Alright.”

Merry and Pippin join us. “Have you made a decision?” asks Merry.

“We’re going to try the Silver Scale for a night and see what we think.”

“Well, we’re going to Brandy Hall,” says Pippin.

“Leaving? Now?”

“It’s the safest place for us,” says Merry. “It’s my home.” He grabs my arm. “Come with us.”

Maybe Brandy Hall is Merry’s home, but although I lived there for several years, it has never been home to me. I was there after my parents’ deaths, with no friends except baby Merry, until Bilbo took  me in and I came to know Sam. And if there is a single group of hobbits that can be counted on for gossip, it’s the Brandybucks.

“I don’t think so,” I say. “At least, not yet.”

“Sam, what about you?” asks Pippin. “What are you doing?”

“My place is right here,” says Sam. “With Frodo.”

Pippin nods. “Okay. Take care of him for us.”

“And what is that supposed to mean?” I ask as we ride through the gate. “That I can’t take care of myself?”

Pippin smiles. “Well… this is where we leave you.”

I nod. “Be careful, you two. And if there’s nothing there, or it’s not safe, come straight to the inn.”

“We will,” Merry promises. “You… stay safe.” They turn and ride away. I watch until they are lost from view.

“I’m worried for them, Sam,” I say softly. Sam says nothing.

 

We reach the inn as sunset begins to spread over the sky. I dismount and tie my pony up in the stable, then wait for Sam to do the same before going in. The Silver Scale is somewhat crowded by guests having a meal. My stomach rumbles as I realize I haven’t eaten since the luncheon we stopped for on the road. I go up to the counter. “Excuse me?”

The innkeeper turns and smiles. And then the smile falls off of his face. “Mr. Baggins!” he exclaims with a cry. “We thought you were dead! And Samwise Gamgee too! I must inform the company.”

“Oh no, please!” I cry quickly. “I’d… rather not, yet. We’re looking for lodgings.”

The innkeeper smiles knowingly. “I see, sir. Well, the prices are much lower than before the invasion, so I think I can accommodate you. Shall we say, four copper pennies?”

“For one room?” I say, amazed. That’s cheaper than anything I’ve ever seen in the Shire.

“For two rooms.”

I must look ridiculous – my mouth is probably hanging open. I was worried we wouldn’t have enough money to survive on – all we have is what we were given in Gondor, and I’ve already spent some of it. Even sharing our money as we have silently agreed to, I was nervous. Two pennies a room. We could both eat nine meals a day for a week and still have money left over at that price.

“We’ll take one room,” I say. “And maybe a meal?”

“One room?”

“Yes.”

“For both of you?”

“Yes.”

“Each room only has one bed and one dresser.”

“I know.”

The innkeeper frowns, probably because he was hoping to make more money if we both got a room. “Very well. I’ll show you to your room.”

He leads us down a hallway to a small room with a red, round door. Inside is a medium-sized bed with a brown quilt and a small bathroom to the side. Simple, but functional. We’ll be happy here. Or we would be if it weren’t for the fact that there are orcs in the Shire.

“Thank you,” I say, handing over the money. “We’ll come to the common room for dinner soon.”

He leaves and closes the door. I look over at Sam. “Well, it’s nice enough,” he says, trying to seem cheerful.

“There are orcs. Here,” I say, and then I’m finding it hard to breathe because this is all surreal and nightmarish, and I don’t want to cry. Sam opens up his arms to me, and I go right into them, burying my face in his shirt and closing my eyes. I don’t want to think of anything and for once I don’t have to. I’m safe now. I breathe in deeply of Sam’s light scent of earth and trees and rain. So soothing. So warm. My Sam.

“It’s going to be alright, isn’t it?” I ask, not wanting an answer.

Sam kisses my forehead gently. We are silent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor Moon Hunger Games

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 1.59.50 PMHello all! I really love this Hunger Games simulator. You just put in characters, their pictures, and click start and boom, you have a whole Hunger Games. Today, I put in twenty four tributes from Sailor Moon – the sailor scouts, Beryl and her crew, Luna, Art, and a few others as well. Today I present to you the first ever Hunger Games of Crystal Tokyo!

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Here is the cast before the opening bloodbath. We’ll update at the end of every day. I paired each Senshei with her Shitennou. The rest have no relevance, except Luna and Art obviously. Please note that all of the Starlights are male for the sake of this simulation. Here we go!

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Well, Hotaru is out. That didn’t take very long. Oh, and you may not know this if you haven’t read the Sailor Venus manga, but Ace is Venus’s ex-lover in her past life who doomed her to remain without love forever. It’s a great story. You should read it.

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Go Ami! That’s my girl! I hate Prince Diamond.

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Michiru and Sestina paired up with Makoto? Huh.

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Haruka scares everyone within a ten-mile radius off, if you ask me.

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For some reason, it’s referring to Luna as male. Weird.

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Six dead on day one. Let’s look at the update.

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On to night one.

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What!? Haruka’s tougher than that! Surprising that she went out so easily. Oh well. Can’t say I care too much.

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Don’t we all question Chibiusa’s sanity?

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So long, Haruka. Districts 5 and 7 are out of the running.

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People, it’s only day three!

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Noooo! Usagi-chan! Killed by Ami no less!

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No! Not my favorite outer Sailor!!! Gosh, this is horrible! Usagi and Setsuna in the same day? This is too much. I can’t deal.

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*sniffle*

So that means…

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Currently my girl Ami has the most kills. Go Ami-chan! Win this thing!

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Yay! Ace x Mina, my ship!

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What?! I thought you were going to truce!!! How is that a truce???

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So the status is:

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Mamo and Rei? What? What? What?

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No! Stop! This isn’t at all what I want! Not Luna now!

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And now the water girls are fighting?!? Stop it!

Although I guess it’s good that Nephrite x Makoto is working. I love the Senshei/Shitennou fandom.

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Wow, Michiru, that was stupid.

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NO! NO! AMI!!!! STOP! NO!!! NOOOOO!!!!!

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… in short, all the people I wanted to win. Great.

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Districts 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 are gone. Tragic.

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Wow. That was really anticlimactic. Everyone in the Capitol is probably bored.

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Well, that’s not so bad, I guess.

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So my girl Ami did pretty well. And Mina won, which isn’t bad.

Would you want to see another one of these? And if so, what?

 

First and Last Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

Rosie

I spread a napkin over the food in my basket and head out the doors.

Yesterday, they took my brothers, all four of them. The home seems empty without them. Tom, Jolly, Nick, Nibs – Mother has been crying nonstop since they were taken, and I’ve had to take on all the housework. I know that no one is fed well in the lockholes, so I’ve packed plenty of food.

“Rose!” Mother calls after me as I start down the path.

I sigh and turn around. “Yes, mother?”

“Where are you going?”

“To work, mother,” I lie.

“At the Green?”

“Yes.”

She frowns. “Alone?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t like that, young lady. I don’t like that at all. Why don’t you go ask Odfrin to escort you?”

“Because I hate Odfrin,” I reply. “Goodbye, mother. I’ll be back soon.”

“Rosie Cotton, you have not been dismissed.”

I turn around and she glares at me.

“Now, Odfrin is a lovely young man, and -”

“He’s vulgar! Have you heard what he says about Frodo and Sam?”

“I understand you’re a little testy when it comes to Samwise Gamgee, but -”

“I’m not testy! Odfrin’s disgusting! He’s nothing like Sam.”

“It is high time for you to get over Sam and move on. He is never coming back, dear.”

“Yes, he is,” I say firmly. “He promised he’d come back.”

Mother sighs. “Please ask Odfrin to escort you. For your mother’s sake.”

But I can’t stand the thought of Odfrin trailing along behind me, watching me, joking about my Sam, treating me like I’m nothing because I’m not a boy. “No,” I say. “I won’t.” And I start down the road to the lock holes.

 

I arrive at the lock holes in about thirty minites. A ruffian stops me at the door to ask what my business is. “I’m just taking food to my brothers,” I say lightly, flashing a smile.

“I’ll need your name and a look through the basket.”

“Fine.” I hand the basket over. “Just don’t take anything for yourself.”

“And your name is?”

“Marigold Gamgee,” I lie, using Sam’s sister’s name. I never use my real name, because they never care – they just want to make life difficult.

He hands my basket back. “You have five minutes,” he tells me, and I head in. My brothers are down the first hallway on the left, all locked in a small round room with bars for a door. Nick glances up as I sit down.

“Rosie?” he mumbles.

I smile. “Hullo. How are you?” I hand the basket through the bars. “Here, I brought you some food.”

Tom picks up the basket and rifles through it. “A whole loaf?”

I nod. “And scones, and some jam. And mushrooms, right there. I’m sorry I couldn’t bring more.”

Jolly grins. “You’re amazing, Rosie.” He reaches for a mushroom.

I peer into the cell. Nibs is asleep in a corner. “Do you know when you’ll be let out? Have you caught cold?”

“They said we have two years each,” Tom says through a mouthful of bread.

“Just for fighting back?”

Nick winks. “No, because they don’t want to deal with us for a long while.”

“And don’t worry, we’re perfectly healthy,” Jolly says with a smile. “Nibs is a little tired, but he’ll be fine.”

“You have one minute,” the guard calls, even though I’ve only been here for two.

I squeeze their hands. “I have to go. I’ll try to come back soon.” I stand up, but Jolly calls, “Rosie?”

“Yes?”

“If Odfrin bothers you, kick his sorry bum.”

“Already done that.”

Nick, Tom, and Jolly laugh, and I grin. “I’ll see you soon. Love you. Tell Nibs I dropped by.”

“We will. Love you too.”

I leave before the guard can bother me further.

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