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Back at Rivendell, in Frodo’s room, Elrond still speaks to the injured hobbit healing words in the Elven tongue. Frodo’s sleep is restless, but he is sleeping nonetheless. Rest is now what he needs. Sam lies mournfully awake on his own cot watching the Elf apply ministrations to his master. He pays no heed to any advice of resting himself.
Once again, I stroll down the long hallway to another room where the other hobbit guests are resting. I open the door to a chamber lit only with a few small table candles. Both lads are breathing deeply and snoring softly. After a hot bath and a meager meal, they were asleep the minute their weary heads lay upon their pillows.
I cannot recall seeing either hobbit so...inactive. Their faces, etched with worry earlier, are now calm and serene. As I close the door I hear one of them stirring.
“Gandalf?” I hear a faint whisper from Peregrin’s direction.
I enter fully into the bedchamber and walk over to his bed to sit down in the chair beside it, giving the lad my attention.
“I...I can’t sleep,” he whispers softly so as not to waken his slumbering cousin. He looks away from my questioning eyes. “I worry about Frodo...and then,” he stops, unsure if he should continue. I raise my eyebrows for him to finish. “My legs ache, Gandalf,” he confesses. “I haven’t walked so much and so far in my whole life.”
Peregrin’s large and imploring eyes take me back again to fond memories of his great-great grandfather, Gerontius. Until the next words fall from his lips.
“Do you have any magic spell to help my aches?”
Only one word comes to my mind: Trouble.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Gerontius and I formed a warm friendship the first day we met. Thereafter, I visited him often, though not openly, due to the ridiculous notions of his kindred. It was only after his ascension party of becoming The Took and Thain that my visits became more overt. Gerontius taught me much of Hobbit life in the Shire, and in return I told him many stories of the Outlanders: Elves, Dwarves, Men, and even tales about evil beings such as Orcs.
Our friendship grew like his family. He and Adamanta Chubb had twelve children. I became familiar with each of them, as like their father, they loved tales of the outside world. I did not learn until much later that this was not ordinary for Hobbits. Tooks were special in this regard.
The youngest and most inquisitive of the lot was Isengar Took. As a child, he would often worm his way onto my lap as I told my tales to the group of children, and he hung on my every word, asking one question after the other until I cried for mercy. On more than one occasion I found the boy following me several miles from his home as I departing the Shire. This greatly worried me. What if I had not discovered his trail until it was too late to turn back?
I confided to Gerontius of Isengar’s misbehavior and was surprised at his response.
“The lad is a Took,” he said. “Let him get it out of his bones.”
Thereafter, whenever Isengar was near, trouble was not far behind. I had to watch him like a hawk or he would follow me until the horizon met the sky.
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