H.G.: Hey guys, guess what.
H.G.: I found another fanfic with a healer named Envin.
Sam: No way!
Frodo: Do I lose my memory?
H.G.: Sort of. More like you act like a small child. You can’t talk, either.
Frodo: Have you read it?
H.G.: A long time ago.
Sam: Did you steal the name?
H.G.: Ha ha! No, that was a coincidence. Now Frodo, to your chapter!!! In this version, you didn’t sell Bag End to the Sackville Bagginess, by the way.
I’m walking in the courtyard the morning before we depart. Sam is brining our bags to the cart, but I wanted to come outside for a breath of fresh air and some time to myself. I hum softly as I stroll around. Minas Tirith is so beautiful, with all the white stone, and especially the flowering white tree, but I am ready to go home. I’m ready to see the Shire again, the rivers, the valleys, the beautiful green, and Bag End waiting for me. I wonder if I will ever be able to enjoy the Shire the same way after all I’ve been through. I rub my shoulder absently. It’s been so long since I got that wound. It never really healed.
“Frodo, may I have a moment?” says a voice from behind me. I turn around to see Queen Arwen sitting on a bench. Aragorn is beside her. I bow respectfully.
“Of course, my Queen,” I say politely. I go and stand before them. Arwen smiles and leans against her husband.
“Frodo, do you know why I am able to remain in Middle-Earth?” she asks.
“You chose a mortal life, and gave up your passage to the Undying Lands,” I say promptly. I’ve learned of elves from Bilbo, and from the elves I’ve met on my journeys. “All elves have a choice to return there someday. The Lands are across the sea, but you renounced immortality, so you could stay with Aragorn.”
Arwen smiles. “Yes, Frodo. I did give up my place. But there is still room aboard the ship for one more.”
I pause. “Another elf will take your place?”
“Perhaps, if I give permission. But if you desire…” She reaches behind her neck and unclasps a white gemstone on a chain, and hands it to me. I hesitate, unsure if I want to wear something around my neck after the Ring. Finally I clasp the necklace around my throat.
“I don’t understand,” I say.
“In the Undying Lands, you will be healed, Frodo,” Aragorn explains. “You need not feel the effects of the Ring.”
“But if I go there, I can’t ever come back.”
“That is true,” says Arwen.
I step back, shaking my head. “I can’t leave Sam.”
Aragorn smiles. “The choice lies with you.”
Arwen comes over, takes my hand, and kneels beside me. “The valar will guide you, Frodo.” She smiles. “Go on your way. I will pray for your journey.”