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Instruments  by Beethovens7th


of Tranquility

Chapter One


By Beethoven’s 7th  

For Marigolds Challenge #9


Special Thanks to Mysterious Ways for being my sounding board

and for the loan of “Wee One” the laptop and for naming chapter one.

Till and Iris Lomesdown were married in a quiet ceremony at his parents house in Deephollow.  The Lomesdowns, Till’s family, were quiet hobbits.  Till, who like his father was a farmer, looked as though he would turn out to be just a quiet and reclusive as his parents.  Many of the townsfolk wondered then what would draw a vivacious soul like Iris's to such a quiet one as Till's.  But drawn she was and thus they were married.  Iris had no family there to represent her.  Her mother died years ago when she was a very young girl and her father had died just a few short months after Iris’s 33rd birthday.  She believed, that once she was of age, he had finally succumbed to the heart, which had broken on his wife’s death and had gone on to join her.  Iris did have her good friend Flora standing with her though and that was enough.   With Till, she found happiness, companionship, love and completion.

Despite growing up with a distant, yet overprotective father and lack of a mother for a great deal of her childhood, Iris grew up as a happy, vivacious child.  The farm on which she and her father lived was some distance from any other, and so, she had few friends.  She developed ways to amuse her self at a very young age while accompanying her father wherever he went.  Sometimes even to the fields if he was in a particularly fretful mood. 

Iris loved music.  On rare occasions, she and her father would go into town, usually just to arrange for the selling and delivering of his crop.  He just didn't have the heart for large social gatherings such as would form at festive times of the year, like Yule and Lithe. But whenever they did, little Iris was always drawn to the groups of hobbits playing music that always seemed to form when hobbits got together.  The most regular excursions were those to a small local pub,  the Golden Leaf, where her father would catch up on such news as may seem important, and argue with the other farmers about what might be expected from the weather next.  On nights when her father went to the pub, he would take her with him, rather than leave her at home alone, and she would sit and listen, enraptured the music and singing.  All types of music pleased her. She never grew tired of listening and wishing one day to be able to play music herself.  After months and years of listening, she came to know almost any song played and would quietly sing along with them, twisting the curls of her brown hair around her finger and swinging her feet in time to the music.  The musicians all grew to appreciate their wee audience member and gradually coaxed her name out of her by playing her favorite songs and slipping sweet treats to her.  Her name was all they were able to learn from her.   Realizing that she would incur her overprotective father’s anger for talking to them overly much, they let her be.

One night while Gerry the fiddle player was taking a break he overheard Iris’s soft singing.  And oh what sweet singing it was.  Such a pure and sweet voice as hers should not be kept silent, to be shared with no one.  Gerry decided right then and there that he would find some way to get her father to allow her to learn a bit of music and to sing with the group.  So it was that a few inducing drinks later Iris's father's attention was directed at the sight of his daughter’s enraptured face as she listened to the music.  While he would protect her from all the dangers of the world and keep her safely sheltered, he hadn't the heart to deny her this.  He gave his permission for her to learn about music and join the group.  That day was the happiest of her quiet life.  Music filled her lonely soul.  It became her light in the darkest of days.  Music could make her cry bitter tears, or laugh the purest laughs.  At times her laughter was now so infectious she could even entice her father out of the darkness into which he had fallen. 

For her twentieth birthday, her father gave her a wooden flute made of golden wood in a dark blue velvety bag.  He had carved it himself during breaks while out in the field, or in his room late at night after Iris had gone to sleep.  The flute player at the pub, Emmolene, helped him with the design and tuning of it and even stitched the bag in which the flute would be kept.  It was a lovely thing to behold and its tone was rich.  Iris took to it straight off.  Emmolene said she had never seen anyone learn quite so quickly.  Surely, her very blood flowed with music. 

After her father died, Iris rented out much of the family's small farm, but stayed on in the house alone.  Iris continued to sing and play flute with the group at the pub.  Her evenings at home were spent in solitude at home, where she would practice her music or attend to what few chores a single hobbit needed done.  In general she was happy.  She had a comfortable home, a small but steady income and good friends in the musical group.  Her close friend Flora visited her when she could, but she was courting a lad from Buckland and so those visits did not come as often as Iris would have liked.

 It was on one of Till’s rare visits to the Golden Leaf that he first set eyes on Iris.  His quiet hermit-like soul ached for her alive and effervescent one.  His visits to the pub became more frequent.  Many months later, he finally worked up the courage to talk to her and the romance, which would end with the quiet wedding ceremony, had begun. 


~ c ~

The couple lived happily on a farm between the Thistlebrook and the river Shirebourn.  The house was a lovely low cottage with a thatched roof.  The round front doors were bright red with brass handles, which Iris kept polished to a glowing shine. There were green flower boxes filled with red geraniums in the windows and the yard surrounding was kept trimmed and neat.  In back, the vegetable garden flourished behind a sturdy white fence built to keep out rabbits, or other such creatures as may wish to eat the beautiful produce.  The farm was some distance from the nearest town; therefore, they did not leave their home very often.  The newly wed couple was content and happy in their own company, venturing into town only when supplies were needed or crops needed to be sold.

Although Till never asked her to, Iris stopped singing with the group at the Golden Leaf.  It was a long journey to make from her new home, and she found her life to be complete with Till and the beautiful home he took her to.  Her days were still filled with song, for there was always a song on her heart and her singing filled the air.  Till had never been more content.  He never failed to smile when he came in from the field to hear her in song.  For the anniversary of their first year of marriage, he used some of the proceeds of their plentiful crop to buy her a fiddle of her own.  She had only begun to learn it when Till married her, but she loved the instrument dearly and practiced daily.  Every night as they sat by the evening fire, she would play her latest tune for Till.  Then at the end of the evening, lovingly polish the already glowing red/gold wood until it shone still more.

There came a day when Till returned to his homestead to hear no music.  Fear leaped to his heart.  Breath left his lungs.  He felt as though he couldn’t run, his legs were like rocks.  Finally, he propelled himself forward.  Iris was not to be found in the house and so, he hurried around to the garden.  There he found his wife, leaning over the white fence.  He ran to her only to find her ill and vomiting.  Terrified he hurried those last few feet to her, trampling her baby lettuce plants in his hurry. 

“Oh Iris, love?!  What’s wrong?” 

Iris took a few deep breaths, wiped her mouth with her pocket-handkerchief, and turned.  The first thing she saw were his filthy feet standing in the middle of her lettuce patch.  Slowly, she raised her eyes to him.  Still carefully breathing she slowly said, “ you . . are. . standing . . in . my lettuce.”

Confused and incredulous, Till tried once again to find the cause of his adored wife’s illness.  “What?  Iris, what’s ailin' you?  Should I be fetchin' a healer?”

Gaining strength, Iris said more forcefully, “Get. . . out  . Of  MY LETTUCE you OAF!”

“But Iris!  Yer sick!  You are never sick and yet here ye are!  Sick!”

Iris, smiled at her clueless yet eager husband.  Placing a hand on the side of his worried face she said, “No Till my poor sweet hobbit, I’m not sick."

“Yes, yes you are!”  He took her hand off his face and clasped it in his.  “Don’t lie to me!  The proof of it lies beyond that fence!  Now come and I’ll tuck you into bed before I go for the healer.”  With that, he swept her into his arms and once again trampled through the lettuce patch on his way toward the house.

Once inside Iris finally convinced her over zealous husband to put her down.  Taking both of his hands in hers she looked up into the quiet brown eyes she loved so much.  “No Till, I am not unwell.  At least not any more than one in my condition can expect.”  Seeing the look of growing concern in his face at her mention of the word ‘condition’ she continued. “Till, you are going to be a father.”  His look of concern melted into one of confusion.  “Till, do you understand me?  We are going to have a child!”

When finally the information sank in, Till swung his wife into his arms and spun her around the room; that is until he remembered the ill state in which he had just found her and not wishing to cause a recurrence, he set her down.


~ c ~

A beautiful daughter was born to Till and Iris on a lovely spring day.  When Iris first held her daughter, she looked down at her with such wonder and love.  Her heart ached with the love that she felt.  “Oh Till,” she said to her husband “I knew I would love my children, but I had no idea the depth that love would be!  My poor heart feels ready to explode with it!  This wee little thing completes me in ways I had no idea needed completing.  I just don’t know how to explain it!  I think, maybe it is as if my life has been a song; a beautiful melody that to listen to, would not seem to need anything further to make it perfect.  Aye, if you were to ask, I’d have said that the song was perfect.  Now I see that it wasn’t.  `Twas missing some vital part.  The song, our song, has not changed, but simply been added to, she is like tones simultaneous sounding which enriches our song.  In fact husband of mine, I believe I have come up with the perfect name for our daughter.” 

Till looked down at the wondrous vision his wife and daughter made and replied, “Aye me lass, and what name would that be?”

“Her name will be Harmony.  For she completes our song”


~ c ~

Six years later a son was born to Till and Iris and they named him Cord.  He and the daughter, Flute, who was born three years after that; added to the joy in that happy household.  The three children grew up healthy and happy, their sadness and hurts eased by their mother’s music.  They grew up surrounded by music and learned themselves to play their mother’s fiddle and flute and to sing.  

Harmony grew to be a beautiful young hobbit lass with chestnut brown hair and deep brown eyes.  She was taller than her mother.  A bit on the scrawny side for a hobbit, but her mother was sure that once she stopped growing, she would regain her healthy hobbit plumpness.  Her personality was neither purely angelic, not overly mischievous, but a nice balance of the two.  She took her duties as big sister very seriously but that did not stop her from having arguments and tussles.  Especially with her brother Cord who seemed to delight in tormenting his elder sibling.  As for music, It seemed that she was just as naturally proficient as her mother. In fact, given time and training, Iris was convinced that her oldest daughter could be a musician of some renown someday.

Life was happy and good.

When Harmony was 18 all of that changed.


* ~ccc~ *


of Evil 

Chapter 2

by Beethoven’s 7th  

Written for Marigold’s Challenge #9

Rated PG-13 for violence

In the peaceful Shire, few gave thought to the dangers that might be outside one’s door on a late winter’s night.  When a knock was heard on the door Till opened it with no expectation of evil waiting.  On a night such as this, the worst a hobbit could be normally be expected to find is a stranded neighbor looking for a warm place to sleep until morning.  Unfortunately, evil had come to the Shire.  Standing on the doorstep was one of the Big Folk.  He was a smarmy looking creature.  Immediately, Till’s heart clenched with fear.  Surely, this man could not intend good toward them. 

He had heard rumors of men slowly filtering in to the Shire and up to no good, but remote as their farm was he had not yet seen any.  Till had given the rumors  very little thought.  Even the story he had heard a month or so back of that Baggins fellow and his friends leaving the shire in a haste with black riders on their tail had not alarmed him overly much  The Baggins and Tooks had reputations for doing and encountering unusual things, and causing unusual happenings.  The occasional dwarf that passed through muttered about darkness and evil growing in the east.  But Till was a simple hobbit with simple needs and pleasures.  Such things did not concern him nor his family.  They were a distant thing.

Moving to stand in the doorway and therefore block the man from entering the house, Till said “Good evening to ye sir.  What can such hobbits as ourselves do for ye on this cold evening?”

“Ah, little mister, me name is Stor me friends here, Gant and Froag and I are simply passing through your area and find ourselves needing a warm place to stay the night.  We mean you no harm sir.  We're on our way home from a visit with a friend of ours, Mr. Lotho Baggins.  Perhaps you've heard of him?”

The name given to him by the man further filled Till with dread.  If Lotho Baggins was involved with these men, then he was sure they were up to no good, and so he answered warily, “Aye, I have heard of him, although I don’t know him personally.”

“Well there, that’s fine then, but let me tell you.  Lotho Baggins is going to become a power in these parts, make no mistake about that.  I’m sure he would be plenty grateful to you ifen you were to let us come into your lovely house here and partake of your lovely wife there’s hospitality.  And my my, what a lovely daughter you do have!  Why, I don’t believe I’ve seen lovelier yet in this here Shire. ”

“My apologies sir, but as ye can see, our humble home would be uncomfortably cramped for such great men as yourselves.” Till told them.

“Oh but you are mistaken master hobbit.  We are accustomed to wee hobbit holes and could make ourselves comfortable quite easily.  So if you don’t mind, we’ll just be coming in and making ourselves comfortable.”  As he said this Stor tried to push past Till so as to enter the house.

With all the strength he possessed, Till pushed the man back and succeeded in shoving him back into the arms of his comrades.  “I believe it is time for you men to be leaving.  Ye will not enter my home.  I suggest ye make yer way back to Lotho’s or a public inn.  And with that he made to push the door closed.

Stor and his men dropped all pretenses of kindness now and began to force their way through the doorway.  “It was very unwise of you to refuse us welcome master hobbit.  It is very cold outside and if you won’t offer us your hospitality, why then we shall just have to find some other way to keep ourselves warm.  Perhaps your purty daughter could come and keep me warm”


~ c ~

By the time Till was trying to force the door closed, Iris fully realized the immanent danger.  She pushed the children toward the back of the house.  “Harmony, take your brother and sister to the back of the house.  Hide.  Don’t come out again until your father and I come for you.” 

Harmony led her brother and sister to the dark pantry in the back of the house, guessing it to be the least likely place the men would search for them.  Harmony knew nothing of the lengths evil would go to achieve its purposes, and so to her, hiding seemed the safest thing for the younger ones to do.  “Cord, I need you to stay here and take care of Flute.  Stay hidden until Momma comes to find you.  You have to stay very quiet!  Do you understand?”

“No Harmony I don’t!  What is going on?  Who are those large men?  Aren’t you staying here with us?

“No Cord.  I’m going to go for help.  If I take the pony maybe I can get over to the next farm and get help.”

“But Harmony!  The next farm is so far away!  How can you possibly get there in time?”

Frustrated with his questions and more scared than she had ever felt in her life, Harmony responded firmly, “I don’t KNOW Cord!  I just know I have to try!” and then seeing the tears and fear in the smaller children’s eyes, she softened her tone “Papa is trying his best, and we need to do the same.  Can you do that for me Cord?  Can you be just as brave as you can and keep little Flute here safe and hidden?”

Watching her little brother screw up his courage made Harmony swell with pride, but she didn’t have time to dwell on such matters.  It would take her time to dig out the old saddle, kept only for such emergencies as going for a healer, and then to figure out how to put it on the pony.  She had only seen her father saddle the pony once, the time he went for the healer when her sister was to be born, but she didn’t think it looked very difficult.  She was just sure she could figure it out.  And so with a last smile of encouragement at her brother and sister she turned and headed out of the back door to the barn.


~ c ~

Now thoroughly alarmed, Till dropped all pretense of hospitality and put all of his weight into trying to get the door closed.  Although even as he did so he realized the futility of it.  The Shire was unused to evil and dangerous creatures, and therefore very few doors had ways to bar anyone from entering with force.  He could seal his door against the elements, but he knew that it would not stand up against the hulking men outside.  His only thought was to protect his family in whatever way he could.  Before he could formulate a further plan however the door exploded open, removed even from its hinges, knocking him across the room. 

The men quickly followed the falling door into the hobbit home.  Their large bulk filled the space of what was to the hobbits a spacious, comfortable and love filled room.  The comfort and love were shattered now though, and the room was now a small place filled with evil and fear.  Stor grabbed hold of Till by the front of his shirt while Froag loomed over Iris grinning lecherously.  Gant began ransacking the house to see what there was to make off with.  Holding Till up close to his face he said with his foul breath washing over his victim, "It's not neighborly to refuse a man on a cold night such as this.  Me mates and I are cold see, and we think this here hobbit home looks like it could be right nice and toasty."

At this point, Till was entirely out of his element.  He had no experience nor had he even second hand knowledge of how to deal with savages such as these. He now wished that he had paid more attention to the stories being passed around at the pub last time he was in town.  He now said simply, "Please sir, don't harm me family.  Take whatever you’re wantin’, but leave my wife and children be!"

"Well master hobbit!" said Stor, " It shur is right nice of ye to be offerin' such things, but te tell ye the truth, be mates and I here are right upset at yer behavior earlier, and we just don't feel inclined te be quite so forgiven, if ye take my meanin. Lotho warned us that we might me comin' upon upity hobbits such as yerself who would not be welcoming to the new order of things, so I've done decided that we are going to make a lesson of you and your'n.  First, we're gonna take whatever we be wantin' from this house, then we're gonna burn it to the ground!  I recken this house will make a right bright blaze te serve as a signal and warning to all yer upity neighbors just what will happen if they refuse the kindness of Lotho and anyone he sends their way."

"Please sir!" pleaded Till, "Take what ye want but please spare my home.  We have no other place to live!"

"Oh, heh heh, ye won't be have'tin te worry about where te live master hobbit, heh heh, Cause yer gonna be in it when it burns!  We can't be lettin' such unkindness go unpunished. heh heh" 

These words finally released Iris from her frozen state and she screamed. "NO, Not my children!"

"Ye know mistress hobbit; I do believe you are right!  I don't believe that we will leave the children. Shur, we are going to need someone to deliver the message for us aren't we? Gant, go find them hobbit brats."

Gant left the main room. Till was still hanging by his shirt front uselessly struggling to gain his freedom.  Iris tried to make a dash to the back of the house in an attempt to save her children, but was caught quickly by Froag.  She wriggled and kicked and bit with a fury that only a mother protecting her young could have.

"Oy, Stor!  I've got meself a wild one here!  What should I do wid it?"

"Bonk 'er on the head and then tie 'er up.  Can't have 'er escapin' now can we?"

At these words Till redoubled his efforts to escape to no avail.  Stor only tightened his grip and said, "Now now, Don't make me knock you out too!  Ye'll be wantin' to say g'bye te yer wee ones I'm sure."  Sensing that he should save some strength just in case the chance came for escape, Till settled his fighting and remained vigilant.  Meanwhile, Froag tied his still unconscious wife into the rocking chair.  The same rocking chair he had made for her and in which she had spent countless hours rocking their children when they were babes, or mending the family’s clothes.  The image of her burning in that chair was more than he could allow his mind to form.

Meanwhile, Gant came back to the room with the two younger children.  He was pulling them along roughly by their arms, the two young faces were already quite dirty, and tear stained.  However, at this time, they had both been terrified into silence and therefore made not a sound.  "Here's the two little-uns,” grunted Gant, “couldn't find the pretty girl though.  And these two don't seem much willing te tell me where she is."

"You, there, boy!" growled Stor.  "Where did yer sister go?  Answer right quick er I'll start beatin on yer pa here."

"No son!  Don't answer!"


Stor sent his fist into Tills face smashing his nose and sending blood pouring down.  With that bit of evidence to convince him that Stor meant to do what he said, Cord said quietly, "She left, to go find help.  She hid us and left.  She was . . was.. goin’ to t-t-try to . . to .. get the pony saddled and ride her."

"Ah, What a helpful lad you are." sneered Stor.  "See now son, ifen yer father had been as accomadatin' we may have been able te be nicer te yer family.  But as it is, I'm afraid were gonna have te make examples of yer folks here.  Seein' as how yer so helpful and all though, we're gonna let yer little sister an yerself deliver a message fer us.  Yer gonna tell the folks that's shur te come and find ye, that those what mess with Lotho and his men, well, they won't be allowed te live quietly is all, in fact, they may not be allowed te live at all."

"Um, Stor, um, I thought we was just supposed to lock up any as didn't cooperate so as te make em work fer us.  Ya know, feedin us an buildin’ things an all." said Froag hesitantly.

"You idiot, I'm the leader of this here detachment, an I'm thinking’ that a family burned te death in there own home will be just the thing te strike fear inte the rest of these here hobbits so as te make the roundin’ up of the rest of them go that much smoother.  We'd only be loosin' the two of them, seeing as how we're letting the small ones go."

"Oh, Yeah yeah, I see.  Yeah, that's a good plan Stor!" replied Froag sycophantly.

"Of course it is!  I thought of it didn't I!  Now boy, what yer gonna do is tell those as come te find ye all that happened here.  Now, you be sure te tell 'em the whole story.  Tell em how yer pa here wouldn't allow us in, and how we were forced to break our way in and take what it was we wanted an you even tell em how we've beat yer parents here and them burned them alive in their own house.  An then you tell 'em that the same'll happen te any who decide te be just as unfriendly te any of Lotho Baggin's men.  An just te be sure ye do, we’re gonna take yer lovely sister with us, just as soon as we fetch her.  Maybe you'll see her again someday, and maybe ye won't.  Mayhap it depends on how good a boy ye are fer us."

The two children were now just as terrified as they could possibly be.  In fact, terror was too small a word for the pure fear that filled them.  Seeing what these evil men had already done to their parents and hearing what they had planned to do next, caused them to go into a state of shock.  They had trouble simply taking breath and little Flute began once again to cry, furiously yet soundlessly.  Cord looked to his father, surely he, always so strong in his eyes, would be able to tell him what to do?  But no, he could see that these men were too big and strong, even for his father.  Till tried to maintain a brave face for his children, so that they wouldn't be frightened more than need be.  He was still holding out.  Hoping that at some point, he would get a chance to fight back and somehow save his family.  He hoped that at least Harmony was able to get away.  She wouldn't be soon enough back with help to save them, but at least she was out of their clutches. 

"Gant, you take them little-uns outside there, well away from the house where they'll be nice and safe like." Gant ordered, "Find a tree and tie em up to it.  Don't want em te be to close te the house ye know when it goes up in flame. Don't want our little message bearers te be hurt none.  Tie em nice an tight.  Froag, why don't you go on outside and catch hold of that lovely little hobbit lass.  She could prove to be, em, useful to us and I think we'll be taken her along when we go."

The hope that Till had clung to was draining from him.  It was all happening so fast.  How could this be happening?  He had heard stories of lurking evil men, but this was the Shire.  It was safe.  If he had lived out near Bree or some such area where the Big Folk were common he might have expected it.  But this was the Shire!  Oh why hadn't he listened to the stories!  But would it have helped?  If he hadn't opened the door to start with, would them men have gone on and let them be?  Somehow he doubted it.  The only hope that remained to him was that Iris, that beautiful lass he had married years ago and who had born his children for him, would remain unconscious.  Remain unconscious and therefore not feel smoke she would be likely inhale, nor the flame as it ate her flesh.


~ c ~


Meanwhile, Harmony had hurried out the back door and past her mother's vegetable garden some distance from the house to where the barn stood.  She knew where the saddle to the pony was kept, but she was becoming less and less sure as she hurried along that she would be able to discover how to put it on the pony, but she knew she had to try.  So into the barn she went and back to the back of the barn where tools and such were kept.  There she found the saddle up on a rack.  Taking a deep breath, she stepped to it, put hands on either side and lifted.  She had never actually lifted the saddle before and had to try again before she was able to finally drag it off its perch and onto the floor.  How would she manage to get this then up onto the pony?  First she had to get it to the pony and so she started dragging it across the floor.

At the pony's stall she paused to catch her breath, but only for a moment as she knew that her family in the house had little time to spare.  Opening the door to the stall, she drug the saddle in.  Bracing herself, she used all of her strength to lift the heavy saddle to the pony's back.  Stepping back to see how she had done, she was distraught to realize she had put the saddle on backwards. With tears welling in her eyes, she pulled the saddle down and began again.  This time she got it on the pony facing the correct position.  She then left the stall to go back to the storage room to retrieve the rest of the tack.  In the process of pulling the mysterious assorted straps down from their pegs, she got them a bit tangled up, but she was sure that she could get the mess sorted out when she was in the stall with the pony.  Entering the stall once more, she sank against the side of the stall in frustration.  The saddle, which she had not belted around the pony's girth, was now once again on the ground.  Wiping the newest batch of tears from her eyes, she moved to the saddle with resolve and started over once again to settle the saddle on the pony's back and then to figure out the mess of mysterious straps.

Harmony was just about to give up on the hopeless mess she had created with the straps when the door to the barn creaked open.  Her heart pounded with fear.  She hoped beyond hope that it was her father telling her that the men had left, and her mother and siblings were now safe inside.  Her hopes were dashed when the smarmy face of Froag appeared over the door to the stall.

She was too late.  She had wasted too much time messing with the fool saddle.  Oh why hadn't she just ridden the pony bare back, or even just run.  Anything had to be better than being caught by those men.  Grinning lecherously, Froag slowly opened the stall door and stepped inside.  What Harmony had considered to be a roomy stable for the pony was now crowded and close with the large man in it.  She couldn't breath, nor move except to step back until she reached the wall and then to slide down it to the floor. 

"Nice pony ye got here miss.  Yep, I recken she'll do just fine to haul the, er, booty we'll be taken from yer lovely little home there.  Now then, let's see, I guess this mess here is why yer still in the barn and not ridin’ off te save yer family.  What a shame.  If only ye hadn't been so long at it.  Ye may've been able te save em, but well, as it is. . . Well, time enough for that, but let's get this fine animal fixed up right."

With that, Froag sorted out the harness and got the pony saddled up correctly.  Harmony still could not move.  She was frozen with fear and shame.  Somehow the man had read her thoughts, if only she hadn't slowed herself down with that blasted saddle!  When Froag was finished he turned to her.  "Well now little miss.  Yer comin' with me.  Stor has taken a liken’ to ye see and decided yer te come with us.  So why don't ye come along peaceful like.  Stor won't be wantin’ me te be hurtin’ ye none yet, but I will iffen I hafte.  Stor ought te be bout done tiein’ yer parents up inside the house fer burnin’."

Finally Harmony was able to make her voice work, but even yet, the only sound she could me emit was a feeble "nooo"

"Ah yes!"  Froag told her as he dragged her by the arm, while leading the pony back to the back door of the house where he tied up the pony and opened the door to take Harmony inside.  "Stor says we gotta make an example of ‘em.  Can't be havin’ all you hobbits fighten’ us all the time.  Why, it'd make taken over this lovely bit of country you all've got up here right hard!  Stor figures if the other sees just what we'll do to uncooperative folk, they'll be more inclined te do our bidden as it were."

Back inside the house, Stor was holding Till on the ground while Gant, who had already tied the youngest two children to a tree some distance from the house was now tying Till’s hands behind his back in cruelly tight ropes which as he fought, cut into his skin.  Blood coated the ropes and was spreading over his hands.  Harmony entered the room to this sight of violence to her parents.  If she had any breath left in her, it now left her in a piercing scream.  At the sound of his daughter's terrified scream, Till redoubled his struggling causing the men to be even rougher with him. Harmony heard a sickening crack and saw her father's arm bend in an unnatural place, bone protruding from his skin, more blood added to the amount already covering Till.  She fought to go to him and then noticed her mother, sitting still unconscious in her rocking chair.  The tight grip Froag kept on her did not allow her to go to either parent. The nightmare had become something much worse.

"Stor.  There's a pony out back.  Ought te be right useful fer carryin' some of our, heh heh, additional supplies I was thinkin’."

Stor and Gant stood up, now finished tying up Till.  "Good work Froag." said Stor and then, "You and Gant, pack up whatever supplies ye can round up and pack them on on that nice new pony of ours.  You, girly, say g’bye to yer pa there, as yer gonna never see ‘im again.  The thatch on this roof should make fer a right nice blaze, but it may just need some help.  When you finish packin’ our new supplies, bring me any lamp oil you can find.  Oh, and we better be taking all the knives with us.  We don’t want our ‘examples’ te be gettin’ away now do we.  I'm gonna head on out te that barn and bring in more straw te stoke the fire with.”  With that the men all left the room. 

Harmony rushed to her father’s side to try to free him, but as soon as she tugged on the tightly knotted ropes, wet and slippery with blood, he cried out in pain.  “Papa! What should I do?”

“Come around here so I can see ya lass.  Ah, there ya are.  I want ya to go, escape if ya can, You’re brother and sister are to be spared also, so at least I’ll have that to comfort me.  Go, find them and run.  Hide in the forest and whatever you see or hear do not come back for us.  That and the hope that your mother’ll not be wakin’ up to witness her children taken from her and then the pain of .  . . well  . .  Let’s just hope she doesn’t come to.”

Harmony was now crying and frantic.  “No Papa!  I can’t just leave you here!  I don’t want to go with these men!  I don’t want to leave you!  I don’t want you to die!  NO!”

“Harmony my lass, shhh shhh, sweetheart, there’s nothin’ to be done for us now.  Those men will be back any moment, go, go quickly now.  Find your brother ‘n sister.  Save them Harmony!”

“Nooooo Papa I can’t, I need you.  You have to come, you have to save mommy!”

Forcing a stern tone to his voice, Till tried once again to convince his daughter to leave him to his fate. “Harmony Lomesdown, you go, and you go now! It’s your responsibility as oldest to take care of your brother and sister.  No more arguing!”  After saying that he softened his voice and added, “I love ya lass.  With all my heart.  I’ll be watching over ya never you fear.  Go now.  One last kiss, and then go.”

Harmony kissed her father on his forehead, mingling her tears with the blood still pouring out of his obliterated nose.  “I love you Papa!  I’ll go.  I’ll take care of them.”  Then running over to the unconscious form of her mother she kissed her hair, wetting it with still more tears and with that, she turned to run to the front door, through which none of the men had left and so she thought she perhaps had the best chance of escaping that direction.


* ~ccc~ *


So ends Chapter 2 of “Instruments” Stay tuned and check out Marigolds Challenge 10 to read the final chapters


of Pain

Chapter 3 

by Beethoven’s 7th 

Thanks to Mysterious Ways for naming this chapter


Rated PG-13 for violence  

The winter was a particularly cold one in the shire.  In the southern part of the Shire, where Till and Iris made their farm, they had seen no snow as of yet, but the smell of it was often on the wind.  The already plump hobbits had begun seeming even plumper due to the layers of clothes they had taken to wearing.  Between the cold weather and tales of dark times, this winter was sure to be talked of for years to come.  In a place some distance away, nine travelers sought passage across the mountains, only to be thwarted by such heavy snow as to cover the heads of the hobbits that made up four of those nine. 

That party was turned back, but a hobbit lass named Harmony had to continue on.  Her immediate hope was to find her brother and sister.  Cord and Flute were outside; tied to a tree, which one or where it was she knew not.  The men intended to leave them to deliver their threatening message to whatever hobbits may come to rescue them.  Harmony knew however that on such a cold night, her siblings were more likely to freeze to death leaving the message undelivered.  Beyond rescuing Cord and Flute, Harmony dared not think.  Running away with them would mean leaving their parents tied up and injured inside their home; maybe even leaving them to a fiery death.   She herself, she understood, was to be taken away with the evil men.  For what purpose they intended to use her, she dared not think on.  She had not the experience to think of the worst things they could do, but instinct told her to expect something horrible.

Heart breaking with the pain of leaving her parents behind, she reached out for the front door, which she hoped would lead to her freedom.  Before her eyes it opened seemingly of its own accord and all hope was lost.  She nearly sank to the floor in defeat when the door finished its swing and Stor stood in the doorway.  Harmony rouse herself made one last effort to dash passed him but her efforts only found her firmly held by the stronger man’s arms. 

“Kind of yeh teh come teh me just as I was makin’ teh retrieve yeh.  Times a wastin’ an we need teh get yeh on yer pony.”

Gant and Froag entered the room carrying several large flasks in their arms.  Froag said, “Hey, Stor, ‘Ere’s all the oil we could find”

“Good, poor it all over the place.  Splash some up on the thatch too.  I want this place to burn high and hot.” replied Stor.

Gant also held her mother’s cherished instruments, the flute and the fiddle.  “Oy Stor.  Lookee what I found!  These are right purdy.  Think we can get any money fer ‘em?”

Stor snatched them from Gant’s hands.  After studying them for a bit he broke them over the back of Iris’s rocking chair and threw them in her lap.  “Nothing but kindling.  Not good for anythin’ cept stokin’ this fire.”

The splintered pieces of her mother’s beloved instruments lay in her mother’s laps.  Those bits of wood which had brought her mother so much joy, would now contribute to her death.  The horror of this evening continued to grow beyond any boundaries Harmony could have imagined.

Before Stor dragged her through the house to leave through the back, Harmony took would she feared would be the last look at her father and mother.  Gant and Froag were sniggering as they poured oil around the room and over her parents.  The room began to shine in the coating of oil.  Till winced, biting back a cry of pain when the oil was poured over his wounds.  Her mother was coated in oil as well, flattening her curly hair over her head.  Still she did not awaken.  Only the slight, slow movement at her chest indicated life.  Stor had grabbed up Harmony around her middle and hiked her up under his left arm, her head to his back. Terror consumed Harmony and she screamed for her parents.  She grabbed at whatever she could reach trying to slow the man’s progress to no avail.  She reached for her father.  Till simply mouthed ‘I love you’ to her, trying to keep the pain and fear from showing on his face

Once outside, Stor carried the hobbit girl to her family’s pony which was already packed heavily with her family’s food stores.  Nearby was another pack pony belonging to the men.  It looked ill-kempt and old.  It also was packed with bags both old and some newer which Harmony recognized from her own home.  The quilts from their beds, made by her mother from bits taken from outgrown clothes were even taken and used as sacks to carry off anything the men thought would be useful or fetch a price.

Stor roughly placed Harmony in the same saddle which had resisted her efforts but was no match for the large men.  He had just finished tying her hands tightly to the saddle horn when the other two men came out of the house.  Her struggles were becoming weaker and weaker.  Trying to break free from the ropes only caused them to dig into her flesh.  Soon, the ropes binding her would be as bloody as those binding her father.

Gant called out, “Oy, Stor.  You ready fer me teh light this here signal fire?” 

“Hold on there; let’s make sure we’re ready to get out of here right quick so as teh not come upon any good meaning neighbors.  I’m gonna go out front right quick and see to our message bearers.”


Out front the two small hobbit children shivered in fear and cold.  Stor tightened the ropes which secured them to the tree a small distance from the house.  “Now there we go, you two little-uns remember what it is yer supposed to say teh anyone as’ll get here afore yeh freeze right?”

Flute neither moved nor spoke, she was frozen with fear.  This fear was too great for her tears.  Silence was the only way she could cope.  Cord was old enough to want to be brave, but he was young enough for the tears of fright to flow freely down his cheeks.  He nodded his head once and then managed to say, “Please, um, sir, w-w-what about my sister and parents?  Where are they?”

“Well young master hobbit, no sense worrying about those you’ll never see again.  They’re gonna pay the price for their unfriendly behavior teh me ‘n my men.  Yer house there is about teh burn and the rest of yer family with it.  You just be sure teh pass along teh all the other uppity hobbits just what’ll happen ifen they decide teh go against any men as Mr. Lotho may choose teh send their way.”  With that the man turned away leaving the two children to their fate.  Cord was now crying as he hadn’t since he was very young.  Flute was silent and still her cheeks pale and eyes wide, staring at nothing.  The only tears shed and cries made by her were in a mind sinking into itself.




Gant stood ready with the leads to the ponies held in his hand some distance from the back house.  Froag stood near the back door with a torch held ready to light the house on fire.  The light from the torch reflected off the thatched roof and white walls of the cottage which were now wet with lamp oil.  Harmony fought tears of fear and worked at the ropes tying her hands whenever she thought the men weren’t looking; the fear she felt overcoming the pain of the ropes cutting into her flesh.  Blood seeped unnoticed down her hands. Stor came round the house, took quick stock of their readiness.  Seeing that all was as he wished he told Froag in a cold and even voice, “Light it.”

Froag held the torch to the thatch in several spots and the fire spread quickly.  Harmony wrestled against her bonds screaming for her parents.  Stor shoved a scrap of cloth she recognized as her father’s pocket handkerchief into her mouth and tied it in place with another. “Now missy, I’ll not be haven’ yer screaming tellin’ ever soul as may pass near teh us where we are.”

And so it was that all Harmony could do was sit and watch her home burn, knowing that her parents were inside, soon to be consumed by the hungry flames.  The red paint on the doors curled with the heat, the brass knob blackened.  The curtains in the windows were soon rippling with the orange and yellow fire that consumed them.

When Stor judged the fire well underway and unlikely to go out, he led the small band away from the house.  Just as he did Harmony heard the heart searing screams of one or both of her parents as the fire reached their oil soaked bodies.  With that, Harmony fainted into darkness, unable to bear anymore.




of Despair

Chapter 4


Written for Marigold’s Challenge #10

Dedicated to my hubby, who just wanted the children to live.

Days passed with little reckoning or acknowledgment by Harmony.  Once she regained consciousness, she was expected to do such housekeeping chores as those on a march would have.  She set up camp, cooked the meals from whatever game was easily caught by the men, and the next morning she would take down camp and repack the ponies.  Much of this was done while the men sat back against a tree or rock and watched her, enjoying their acquisition of a slave to do the work they were too lazy to do.  At times they tried to force her to walk instead of riding on the ponies, but her legs were so much shorter then the men’s, that they soon tired of whipping her to greater speeds, especially as it seemed to do no good.  The men were not adverse to whipping or hitting her, but they were careful not to carry on with it so as to make her incapable of seeing to their needs.  They also tried not to disfigure her overly much just in case they were to find some such being as would wish to purchase her. 

Guilt and sorrow never left her.  In her sleep Harmony was haunted by the dying screams of her parents and visions of their charred faces looking to her for help, their hands reaching out to her while the burned flesh peeled away from white bones.  The weather had been so cold.  She had very little hope that neighbors would arrive at the farm in time to save her young brother and sister.  The Lomesdowns lived some distance from even the nearest neighbor.  The farm lay between the rivers Shireborn and the Thistle Brook and a long days ride to the nearest village, Willowbottom.  The distance for help to reach the family in time was just too great.  Her parents had been eaten by fire, surely Cord and Flute had perished in the cold. 

Harmony still did not know what the men intended for her, nor their eventual destination.  Even if the men had seen fit to tell her their target though, she would not have understood.  Hobbits in general were uninformed about the world about them and words such as Isengard would have no meaning to her.  In fact, Isengard was exactly where they were going.  The men who had captured her, those same men whom had told her father that they were in the employ of Lotho Sacksville-Baggins, were actually in the employ of one known as Saruman.  Their task in the Shire was to begin the enslavement of the Hobbits in preparation to be conquered by Saruman. 

If the men spoke of these things within her hearing, Harmony did not absorb the information.  Each day the darkness consumed her a little more.  The nightmares and screams no longer haunted her only at night.   The charred, blackened faces of her parents floated before her face taunting her.  Crystalline figures like ivory statues of her frozen siblings stared accusingly, asking her why she did not save them.  If only she had just jumped on the pony bareback and ridden as fast as the pony would take her, perhaps then she could have saved them.  She was convinced that her hesitation cost her family their lives and the guilt consumed her still further.




A month or so into their slow moving journey, Stor woke with the dawn.  He stumbled across the camp to where Harmony lie, curled up tightly on her side with her back facing the fire.  Nudging her hard with his booted foot he tried to rouse her, “Hey, girly!  Get up ‘n start our breakfast.  I’m fair starved”

Harmony did not move.

Stor kicked her harder but she lay still and limp.  Meanwhile Gant and Froag had awaken and realized something was up.  Froag said, “What’s up Stor?  Why ain’t the girly up ‘n cookin’ our breakfast?”

Stor reached down and roughly rolled her over so that he could see her face.  Her eyes were open yet unseeing.  He checked her breath and found it still there.  “Well, She ain’t dead, that’s fer shur.  ‘N her eyes are open.  I think she’s just playin’ possum tryin’ ta get outa her chores.  I’ll just teach her a lesson, that’s what I’ll do.”  With that he picked her up by the arms and started shaking her.  Still he received no response from her.  Her head fell forward; every muscle in her body was limp.  His anger was now growing. 

“Oy, you Gant, come ‘n hold this thing.”  Gant moved over picked her up by her upper arms and held Harmony upright and dangling in the air. Stor lifted her drooping head up by yanking up a handful of her dirty brown curls and slapped her hard across the face several times.   Finally a response.  Tears cut silent trails through the dirt on her cheeks, but no other movement did she make. 

Stor looked pleased with his progress, “There, ya see boys!  She ain’t dead, just tryin’ ta get outa her chores.  Now let’s see iffen we can perk this girly up a bit”




In the woods nearby a band of Dunadain Rangers were moving silently through the woods near the group of men who had Harmony in their keeping.  They had received a summons to join Aragorn son of Arathorn and were journeying south toward the Gap of Rohan.  The smoke from the men’s fire had been spotted and so they dismounted from their horses and approached on foot.  Now they were close enough to hear the men’s voices.  Even in times less dark than these, it was not wise to approach an unknown camp without care.  Thus, the Dunadain proceeded with extreme caution and silence.  Tharon crept ahead of the rest to scout the situation.

Like the other rangers, Tharon had taken his turn in keeping watch over various parts of north, including the Shire.  So it was that he recognized the men’s captive as a hobbit.  It angered him to see one of those happy peaceful hobbits being so tortured.  Immediately he called the other rangers to him with a small whistle like a bird indicating to them, ‘Come quickly, danger!’  Before any of the others caught up to him, Stor raised his arm to begin his assault on Harmony; Tharon loosed his first deadly arrow before Stor’s blow struck home.  There was no question of it hitting its target.  Tharon was an excellent marksman, and anger drove him to perfection.  Before his second arrow flew, many arrows sung through the air and the three evil men were shot through with arrows.  Harmony slumped to the ground with Gant, his hands still gripping her arms.  Even now when her rescue was at hand, the nightmares and shadows that plagued her did not release her.  Her eyes remained open but unseeing.

Tharon’s gentle hands released her from her captor and gently lifted her into his arms.  He carried her to the other side of the fire, away from the corpses, and lay her down.  Kneeling over her he covered her with his own cloak.  At the same time he called out to Halbarad Dunadan, the leader of their company, “These evil men have taken one of the hobbits of the shire.  A young girl if one can see through the dirt.  She has not been well treated.  It was for her rescue I called out.  They were in position, one with arm raised and this small one held upright by another, to do yet more damage to her.”

Halbarad came and knelt down on one knee and looked on the battered girl gently brushing her filthy curls from her face. “Surely these are dark times when even the Hobbits are not safe.  We will halt for a short time while we decide what is to be done for her.  We cannot halt overly long however as our quest is urgent.”

While some of the rangers saw to the corpses, others put out the fire and saw to the men’s ponies.  Another camp was set up a distance away where the horses had been left and Harmony placed near the fire bundled up in blankets to warm her.  Two elves were also with the party; Elladan and Elrohir, sons of Elrond.  These two took over care of the hobbit lass, attempting such elvish healing as was available to them away from Rivendell.  After failing to bring her to consciousness, the two spoke in quiet tones together.  Halbarad approached them.

“What news have you of the hobbit?  What ails her?”

Elladan responded, “Physical injuries she has, typical of those that would be seen on one who has been beaten.  However, these injuries are not such as would produce the state in which we find her.  A deep trauma has overcome her and it requires more healing than we can give her here, especially as we are in such haste to reach Aragorn.”

“We cannot abandon her however.” responded Halbarad. “We must do something for this small one.  What do you recommend should be done?”

“Elrohir and I have discussed this.  We believe that you should send her, with one of your swiftest riders to Rivendell. There our father will have the skills, resources and time to see to her healing.  Also, on the rider’s return, there is the possibility that more of the Dunadain will be found and may accompany him to meet with us, thus adding to our numbers.”

Halbarad thought on this for only a moment before he agreed with the wisdom of the suggestion and assigned Tharon to the task.  “She is small and should not prove too much additional weight for your horse.  There you will deliver her to Elrond and return to us with all haste, bringing with you any more of our men that you should find or that may answer your call.  These ponies should be relieved of their trappings and released to go where they will.  This area is not yet overly fraught with dangers, and there is a chance they will come to a good end.”

Therefore, Tharon set off with great speed toward Rivendell with Harmony held snug in front of him.  The ponies were released with elvish words of blessing whispered in their ears before the party of Dunadain and elves continued their long trek toward Rohan.


Instruments of Healing

  -Written for Marigold’s Challenge #10

--Especially huge thanks to Pearl Took and Mysterious Ways for editing for me!

Tharon pushed his horse to great speeds on his journey back to Rivendell, often riding through the night.  The hobbit girl’s state did not change and this worried the ranger.  The only sounds she made were at night, when she would scream or cry out in her sleep.  During the worst of her nightmares, Tharon would hold her and caress the dirty, sweaty curls from her face.  Softly he would sing to her, his mellow tenor voice soothing her soul.  Finally she would still, but come morning, no great change ever came.  She remained motionless and silent, only eating if Tharon put food in her mouth, and even then, could only manage broth, even chewing seemed beyond the small lass. 

The girl’s condition greatly angered the gentle ranger.  Gandalf had requested that the Dunadain keep an eye on the Shire while he was away.   Tharon spent a great deal of time at this task, volunteering for the duty often.  Watching the Hobbits in their happy carefree lives was a balm to his soul.  He could come back from a tour of tracking the foulest creatures of the land, with the heaviest of hearts, and be healed just by watching this innocent peaceful land.  The thought of evil taking hold of the Shire was more than he could bear.

One unseasonably warm, sunny day, they came upon a small gentle brook .  Tharon decided to halt for the day and try to see to some of the girls other needs.  He built a fire and settled the girl nearby, although not facing the fire as he had noticed the sight of fire caused her distress.  He retrieved some of the crystal clear water from the brook and began heating it over the fire.  Meanwhile he sought out a particular plant which in the spring would have pink flowers, often used by adventurers as a substitute for soap.  Easiest to use would be the leaves, but as this was the tail end of winter, no leaves were yet to be found.  So he made due with the roots. 

Gently Tharon removed her filthy garments and laid them aside to wash later.  Using a soft cloth from his pack he worked up a lather with the root and some of the now warm water.  As skillfully as one accustomed to caring for the sick, he bathed her still form.  All of the Dunadain were well versed in the healing arts.  Rangers out on their own needed to know how to look after themselves and others they may come upon needing assistance.  The entire time he kept her wrapped in several blankets, only revealing the arm, leg or other part he was washing, each time quickly covering her back up again.  He was especially mindful of the numerous bruises she received from the rough men.   Some were already starting to fade, and fortunately, Elrohir and Eladan had detected no broken bones.  After retrieving fresh water he washed her hair, combing it out as best he could with his fingers.  Leaving her to warm by the fire he took her dress to the brook and washed it using more of the root.  He then hung it over a nearby branch to dry by the fire.  She was by no means perfectly clean yet, but she must be more comfortable than she had been previously.  In fact that night she seemed to sleep more deeply, with fewer of the troubling nightmares.

The next day he dressed her again in her now cleaner, yet still very worn gown.  He packed up the horse, settled the girl in front of him and they continued on their journey north.



Tharon rode across the Fords of Bruinen late one rainy evening.   He and his charge were soaked through to the skin.    Calling forth a nearby elven guard, Tharon dismounted from his horse and lifted the girl down, cradling her in his arms as he would a small human child.  She had still not spoken.  The hobbit girl seemed to be sinking further and further into the darkness that consumed her.    

The guard approached and Tharon spoke,  “I was sent by Elrohir to come quickly to Lord Elrond.   Our company came upon evil men who had taken this hobbit captive.  What else was done to her I do not know, but she fails rapidly.   Direct me if you will to Lord Elrond.  And also, if you could find someone to see to my horse, for he has taken us over great distances quickly, but I dare not pause to see to his needs for this small ones needs are far greater.”

The guard took the horse’s reigns and replied, “Worry not for your horse, he will be seen to.  Lord Elrond can usually be found in the great hall at this time of day.” 

“Thank you my friend.”   With a bow of his head he strode quickly off to the Last Homely House in search of Elrond, the only one who may yet be able to save this innocent girl. 



Elrond was in his seat in the great hall with Lady Arwen at his side.  They were sipping wine and listening to the singing of many elves.  Despite the tranquil peace of the place and music, concern and dark thoughts creased his brow.  Tharon felt great relief at seeing him.   He approached quickly, dripping water as he went.  “Lord Elrond, I beg pardon for my hasty approach.  I have ridden at great speed over many days to find you.  I have come from the party of Dunadain that includes also Elrohir and Eladan.  I have brought back a hobbit lass whose needs exceeded your sons abilities to heal.” 

Elrond rose and approached.  “In such circumstances pardon is not needed but is given easily.  Bring the girl and we will see what can be done.  Arwen will take you to a room while I gather what I need.  Then you can tell me what you know of her and how your party came to find her.”

Arwen led Tharon to a chamber and was soon joined there by Elrond and an elven maid who was introduced to Tharon as Alatriel.  While Arwen and Alatriel began attending to the girls immediate needs, Elrond drew Tharon from the room.  Tharon resisted leaving his charge, but Elrond insisted.  “Let her be bathed and warm dry clothes put on her.  They will come for me quickly if a change occurs.”

Handing Tharon a cup of wine to warm him, Elrond requested the tale from the ranger.  Tharon complied with every possible detail.  When he told of how his singing seemed to be the only thing that could even in the smallest measurement calm the girl, Elrond nodded and made a mental note to himself to keep that bit of information in mind while deciding on the girls healing.

Presently, Alatriel came to tell them that the hobbit was settled, now warm and dry in a bed.  Upon entering the room, Tharon saw that her eyes were still open, seeing what horrors he couldn’t imagine.  He truly hoped that Elrond could heal the girl as he had become quite attached to her.  She could have been one of his own small nieces.  That such evil should be allowed to exist was deplorable to him.  He was happy to see that she was now well and truly clean.  Surely that must feel better to her.  Her hair was now made soft, slightly damp curly piles on the pillow under her head.  Tharon brushed a damp curl off her cheek before returning his attention to Elrond.

Elrond spoke softly.  “This young hobbit has clearly had the best of care with you.  You, Tharon son of Thelor, have served her honorably, but now I command you to serve also yourself.  Alatriel will guide you to a room where you may take some rest.”

“Please Lord Elrond, I wish to assist you in her healing and then I must be away.  You know of our party’s urgent mission.  I must gather those of the Dunadain as I may find and hurry to meet Halbarad and your sons.”

“I do know of your party’s mission, I know also that there is time yet.  A day or two spent here will find more of the Dunadain gathered here and thus your quest back here would be all the more rewarded.  Go now and rest, I will send for you if there is a change in the girl.”

Tharon bowed at the waist and replied, “Yes Lord Elrond.  And thank you for the news of arrival of more of my brothers, their numbers, however few, will be welcomed by Aragorn I am sure.”

As he left the room with Alatriel in the lead, Elrond turned to his small patient.




Morning found Tharon warm, dry and refreshed.  He felt as though he had slept for a week.  Bounding out of bed, he dressed promptly in clothes that had been laid out for him.  Although his training as a ranger had taught him to be a light sleeper, he had not heard someone come into his room to exchange his filthy wet clothes for these dry ones.  He was accustomed to the elves and their ways however so it did not cause him to worry about his ability to awaken instantly if needed.

As though waiting for him, an elf approached him as soon as he began down the passageway that would take him to the Hobbit girl. 

“Lord Elrond bids you good morning.  He requested that I come to you and inform you that the girl is doing well and has shown some improvement.  She is sleeping now however so he suggests that you partake of some food before meeting with him in his rooms to discuss the girl.”

“Thank you.  I will take his advice.  I feel as though I haven’t eaten for days.  Do you know how long I slept?” replied Tharon.

“You have slept for as long as you had need, as do all who visit elven lands.  Now it is morning and so time to break your fast.  If you will follow me I will take you to the dining hall and afterwards to Lord Elrond.”




After eating his fill at breakfast, Tharon joined Elrond in his rooms.  Elrond stopped his pacing to turn to the ranger’s knock on the already open door.  “Come in please.” Said Elrond.  “The hobbit girl is resting peacefully it would seem.  I have someone sitting with her at all times should her sleep grow restless.  Indeed you were correct.  Song does seem to bring her peace, where little else does, therefore those watching over her sleep are prepared with particularly restful, healing songs.”

Tharon nodded in understanding and replied, “That is well.  What is to become of her?  I know not her name, yet I feel great concern for her.  Although a hobbit, she reminds me so much of my nieces.  Also, I have become quite fond of the Hobbits in my guarding of them, and am troubled to see them so treated.  I would like to do whatever I can in the healing of her.”

Elrond placed a hand on the young rangers shoulder.  “Your caring is apparent and true.  It does you great credit.”  He then moved to sit and gestured for Tharon to join him.  “What the child needs most now is time.”

“Is there time for her?  With all the evil moving ever faster in this world, will there be time for a small hobbit girl to heal?”

“You have done well to bring her here; for here is one of the few places she can receive some of that time.  In elven lands time has less meaning.  She will be given all the time she requires.  Other things as well we will find to heal her.  I believe that music will be a large part of it.  We will teach her elvish music.  I have foreseen great music in her future.  She is destined to accomplish a great deed in her way.  This small hobbit girl will aid in the healing of the Shire, which will in turn complete her own healing.  We will heal her in mind, body and spirit in preparation for that day.”

Tharon left his conversation with Elrond feeling greatly eased in the matter of the hobbit girl.  Afterwards Elrond gave him messages to take to his sons when they met again and also any advice as he could think to give to help Tharon on his way.  Already two more of the Dunadain had gathered at Rivendell to ride out with Tharon.  Two more were expected within a day or so.  When they had arrived the small band of rangers would ride with all speed to join with Halbarad’s party on their way to meet Aragorn in Rohan. 

Tharon spent most of the time in his days remaining to him in Rivendell with the child.  Her nightmares became less and less frequent.  The elves sitting with her taught the healing songs to Tharon so that he might assist in her healing.  The songs would also provide some relief to those injured in his future on the battlefields. 

The final night that was to be spent in Rivendell by the small band of rangers was spent by Tharon with Harmony.  He sang to her off and on all night even though she did not cry out from nightmares even once.  His mellow voice wove itself into her dreams and kept them peaceful.  No evil men haunted her that night.  Her parents did not look upon her with charred faces, but as she had seen them so often, smiling in the sun, her father in the fields and her mother in the small garden of vegetables.  Her siblings she saw running toward a creek over which hung a rope swing; one of their favorite places to play during warm days. 

Tharon’s song chased the last of the dark shadows out her dreams that night.  They would in the future haunt her occasionally, but that night she knew peace.  The hobbit girl, who had been through so much, awoke in the morning to see such beauty.  Rivendell shone in the morning light and her room was more beautiful than any palace she had ever dreamed of.  Looking down on her was a handsome human face.  He was nothing like the men who had tortured her she knew right away.  In fact, somehow, he seemed familiar to her.  When he spoke “Good Morning” to her, she knew why.  His was one of the voices of her pleasant dreams.  His had played the largest part in banishing the shadows and his was the voice she would never forget.

“Good Morning dear lass.  Welcome to Rivendell.” Tharon said when she looked at him.  He had seen no fear in her eyes, and for the first time since he had rescued her from the evil men, he could tell she was truly seeing the world around her. 

When the girl realized what the man had said to her, she startled.  Rivendell?  She had heard of it of course, but had always to thought it to be a fairy tale,  a place invented for children’s stories.  As she looked around the room in which she lay, with its golden light, gauzy draperies and the silk covers over her, she could believe that she was in a fairy tale.  Still, she spoke with a voice scratchy from lack of use, “Rivendell?”

“Yes.” Said the man, “I brought you to Rivendell, the Last Homely House, Home of Lord Elrond Half-elven.”

The girl frowned in thought, “I was in a dark place, there were men, three evil men, they did, something, something. . . “

Sensing her growing distress Tharon sought to comfort her.   “Shh, Shh, It is done.  The evil is gone.  There are no dark shadows in Rivendell.  Lord Elrond has cared for you.” 

She looked around her cautiously, and found his words to be true, there were no dark shadows here, only golden light and peace.  She settled into her pillows again as Tharon sang softly to her.  “You saved me.”  She sighed, “You chased away the shadows.  It was your voice I heard.”

Tharon didn’t know what to say to that, so he just reached up and took her hand.  She responded by clinging tightly with both hands to his much larger one.  He stayed with her, still singing as she fell into a peaceful sleep.



That evening Tharon rode along on his horse with the four Dunadain who had responded to his calls for assistance to ride to Aragorn.  He smiled remembering the afternoon spent with the hobbit girl, singing, talking and telling her stories.  By the time he bid her farewell and promised to visit her again someday, she was very tired and ready for sleep once more, this time clutching his own cloak which he had gifted to her.

She had reawakened after that first small nap with a smile, still holding tightly to his hand.  Elrond had come in earlier to check on his small patient.  Speaking quietly to Tharon, Elrond told him that the Dunadain were ready to ride out with all haste.  Tharon pleaded a few more hours of time.  “He had grown close to the girl and was reluctant to leave her.”  Elrond agreed and left the girl to his care.  Now as she smiled up at him he was doubly sure it was the right decision to make. 

“I’m hungry.”  The girl said, just has her stomach audibly announced the same message. 

“I would think you are small one, I will have food sent up to us immediately.  My name is Tharon son of Thelor by the way.  And who do I have the honor of serving?”  he asked her with a courtly  bow.

“My name, is Harmony.”



Instruments of Recovery

Chapter 6

By the time Tharon brought Harmony to Rivendell, her physical hurts had healed.  The injuries done to her soul were more illusive.  After her first awakening with Tharon at her side, she showed gradual signs of recovery.  However, there were dark times for her still.  Although she could remember her name, she remembered little else.  Neither her family nor the location of her home could she recall.  If pressed to try, a wave of panic and fear would overwhelm her, sending her back to the place of dark shadows in her mind.  So she wasn’t pressed to remember but was allowed to heal slowly in her own time.  Elrond told her that she may wander freely around Rivendell.  At first she would only leave her room if Alatriel was with her.  The elven lady most often took her to hear the songs of the elves.  There were fewer of the lighter jocular songs such as were sung when the hobbit Bilbo first came to visit this place with a party of dwarves, but for their newest hobbit patient, they strove to rekindle their sense of fun.  It became a contest among some to see who could make the girl laugh with their verses.

When she became brave enough to leave Alatriel’s side, Elrond assigned teachers for her.  She learned the elven language quickly; her young mind wrapping itself around the musical rhythm of the language with ease.  Elven music and instruments she was taught as well.  Her favorite of the instruments were the strings.  The violin in particular seemed hauntingly familiar to her.  But the instrument that she saw fleeting images of in her dreams was different than the finely crafted one found for her use in Rivendell.  In what ways this was so she could not articulate in her waking hours and did not truly seek in her mind to clarify it more.  Seeking too deeply in her memories could still cause her heart to seize up and her breath to come faster.  Shadows lurked in even her awakened vision.  Voices called and screamed that only she could hear.

Subconsciously avoiding the memories that the violin threatened to bring to mind, Harmony leaned most toward the tenor tones of her small cello.  Originally that very instrument had been used by an elf as a viola, lower pitched than a violin but held in the same manner.  For the hobbit girl though, a peg was affixed to the lower end.  The peg rested on the ground and the scroll above the neck of it held near her right ear, just as one would see a human or elf play their truer baritone cellos.  The tenor range of her modified cello sang to her heart the most, calling to mind the kind Dunadain ranger who had sung to her for so many nights. 

As days passed she spoke less and less of her native tongue, immersing herself into the elven culture.  Always she felt that there was something else she should be doing, something she was forgetting to do, but she found it easier to simply deny those feelings than to face the terror acknowledging her past would mean.  She was hungry for any knowledge the elves would impart to her.  She learned a small measure of herb lore, elven cooking, and poetry but always her true passion lie in music.  Music was everywhere in Rivendell, most especially in the evening after the final meal. This was most often the only time she saw Lord Elrond.  When he wasn’t occupied with matters of the world, he would often take a few moments to talk with her.  On one such occasion after she had been in Rivendell for what seemed like years, he decided it was time to start awakening her memories of the Shire. 

“Good evening young Harmony, how does this evening find you?” he asked in Sindarin, as was usual since she had learned their language.

Still a bit shy around him Harmony responded quietly, “It finds me well Lord Elrond.”

“And your studies?  I trust those are also well.  I have heard from your tutors.  They find you a willing student.”

“Thank you for telling me so Lord.  I enjoy my lessons very much.  Especially my viola lessons.”

“I have heard you play.  You are progressing very quickly.  Had you some musical training as a child?”  Lord Elrond prodded gently.

This smile faded from Harmony’s face to be replaced by a frown.  Fear crept over her and was visible in her face.  “I, I don’t know.” She replied quietly.

Elrond knew he still needed to be careful with her, but he also knew that part of being healed would include remembering her past.  She couldn’t deny her memories forever.  Eventually they would come to the surface.  It would be better if it happened now while she was here where he could help her through it.  He decided that it was time to start gently prodding those memories to the surface. 

“From what I know of the Shire, your homeland,” began Elrond switching now to the common language spoken in the Shire, “Music is often played at gatherings and special events.  We have had occasions to play host to hobbits in the past and they were kind enough to teach us a few of their melodies.”

Still the girl sat with her head down and silent.  She truly wished that Lord Elrond would stop talking about the Shire.  Any thought of it brought memories she didn’t think she was ready to face.  After a bit Elrond continued.

“Did you know little one, that I too play a few musical instruments?”

At this question Harmony thought that perhaps her wish had come true and they would now speak of other things; musical theory and compositions perhaps.  She never tired of discussing these things nor of learning more about them.

“Do you really Lord Elrond?  Which ones?  Which is your favorite?  Do you get to play often?” replied Harmony, herself unconsciously slipping into her native language.

“Alas that I don’t.” laughed Elrond at her sudden enthusiasm.  “Matters of the world too often claim most of my time.  But when I do, my preferred instrument is the violin.”

“Do you have your violin with you?  Can you play something for me?”

“I don’t have it with me, but that can be soon remedied and then I will play something for you.”

Someone was sent for Lord Elrond’s violin.  After taking it, he spent a few moments tuning it.  He then settled it onto his shoulder and placed the bow on the strings.  With a downward stroke he began to play a gentle melody.  It spoke to Harmony of simple pleasures; sunny days spent in a grain filled field, quiet evenings sewing in front of a fire.  The melody was hauntingly familiar to her.  As she watched Elronds bow move back and forth across the strings pictures came to mind of familiar faces she couldn’t put names to.  Smiling faces she had the feeling she should know well.  Her eyes were drawn to his violin.  The firelight made the wood glow.  Harmony was mesmerized by the glow in the wood.   Her memories took her back in time to another fireplace, another, simpler violin playing the same melody; a violin played by a seemingly familiar hobbitess. The violin in her memory burst into flame.  Darkness clouded her vision.  The violin and the music of past and present intertwined, drawing her into places she did not want to go.  She gasped for air but her lungs would not work.  Voices crowded in, of a woman, and a man, and two smaller children.  And then she knew them.  Her mother, sitting limply, tied into her rocking chair, lamp oil glistening in her hair.  Her father, bleeding and broken, his eyes pleading with her to run.  Her brother and sister, huddling in the dark, uselessly hiding from men who would find them soon and leave them to freeze. 

 Who was playing the melody now?  Was it her mother?  “Mother, where are you?  Don’t leave me!” 


Or was it Lord Elrond?  “Please Lord Elrond, take these memories back from me!  I don’t want them!  They hurt so much!”  

A gentle voice in her head, intermingled with the song, “All will be well little one.  Your family should not be forgotten.”

“But I couldn’t save them.  I tried, but the saddle was so heavy.  I failed them.  They all died because of me.  If I must keep these memories, then let me die as well for I can’t bear to carry them with me.”


“Your time to leave this earth has not yet come.  There is something yet for you to do.  But for now, rest.  Sleep.”

And for a time, she did.


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