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*ďGet into a corner and have a sleep, my lad,Ē I say, ďYou want sleep, I expect. I cannot get a wink, so I may as well do the watching.Ē Then I mumble something about wanting a smoke as Pippin makes his way to his bedroll. I think about many things as I sit here and blow smoke rings that I cannot see in the dark. My mind eases in the tranquility of some of the finest leaf in the South Farthing.
Once again I find myself dwelling on the young lad I just sent to sleep. Was I wrong in supporting Peregrin in accompanying the Fellowship? It is our first night in Moria, and Peregrin has already managed to either slow down our journey or give our presence away to the foul creatures that live here in the deeps of the mountain.
We had to leap over a fissure at least seven feet across as it lay in our path. It took nearly an hour of Meriadoc whispering words of encouragement in his cousinís ear before I finally told Peregrin we would have to leave him behind. Of course, it was merely an attempt to prompt the young fellow into a decision, but I will never forget the look of horror in Peregrinís eyes. I instantly rue my words, and then Meriadoc gives me a stern look. I have lived hundreds of years in Middle Earth, and here I am being admonished by a thirty-six-year-old hobbit!
Boromir calls to Peregrin from across the gap. More words from Meriadoc as he takes Peregrinís hand in his and holds it. I watch as Peregrin goes back a ways and takes a running start. Boromir is anchored by the rest of the Fellowship as he reaches out to catch the small hobbit--and I see that it is a good thing he does. I admire Meriadocís devotion to his younger cousin, as it seems to be a stronghold for the lad. Once again I am humbled by the pluck of a hobbit youth.
My mind focuses on the handholding. It is not something I have experienced outside of hobbit culture, and until now, I have not decided if this is a good thing or bad. I have concluded that there must be something in the touch of a friend when I saw the change in Peregrinís countenance. Someone who loves and is attentive to anotherís well being. I have experienced this handholding directly, and though it was not I who reached out, it was a feeling I will never forget.
* * * * *
It is the second day after setting out to sea from the Grey Havens. Prior to leaving I find a courier to take word back to the Shire to tell Gerontius his lad is with me. No good to upset my friend unnecessarily.
The first day, the sky was clear and the sea calm. With my...guidance, Isengar made himself useful by helping out with the daily tasks aboard the ship--allowing me to pursue my own. Naturally, it is the ladís charm and wit that endears him to the Men and Elves that make up Cirdanís crew. When the work is done, Isengar is laughing, dancing, and singing merrily to the amusement of everyone. He must think life is always this grand on board a sailing vessel. I know that his favorite crewmember is a Man named Mirgalond, son of Garlamund of Belfalas. Mirgalond is a simple Sailing man, though I gather that somewhere in or near Belfalas, he has a lad not much younger than Isengar. I observe as Mirgalond takes Isengar aside and teaches him how to tie knots and how the sails are handled. Isengarís eyes are wide with delight as he is allowed to steer the helm.
Today though, the sea is rough and the sky is pelting rain upon the sturdy vessel--and myself. The ship rises high and falls low with every swell. I stand outside in the weather and watch the sea foam swirling past my feet as I keep a firm hold onto Isengar. It seems he is heaving up everything he has had to eat since yesterday. He lies limp in my arms as I carry him back down below the deck to wait out the storm. There are many offers from all around to care for the little fellow, but something within me turns them all down.
I find a bench off in a corner and set the sick lad up in my lap. I have never seen a hobbit so miserable. He opens his eyes to mere slits and takes my hand in his own, and begs, ďDonít leave me, Gandalf. Please.Ē
Still grasping the ladís hand in my own, I smile and console him. ďI will not leave you.Ē
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