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Author name: Dreamflower
Recipient's name: Larner
Title: Eucatastrophe: Yuletide in Annúminas
Rating: G
Request: I'd like a story in which Aragorn and Faramir find themselves facing a Yule in Annuminas, snowed in with several Hobbits.
Author's notes: This takes place in the same AU as “Eucatastrophe”. In that AU, due to Gandalf realizing in time that the idea of the Three Elven Rings fading is one of Saruman’s lying curses, they do not fade, and are actually strengthened, and freed to do what they should have done all along. As an unexpected reward it is no longer a one-way trip to Valinor, and Elves there may return to Middle-earth if they so desire. Furthermore, in that AU, Saruman was killed by Quickbeam during the storming of Isengard, so even though there had to be some Scouring of the Shire due to Lotho, the destruction there was not as bad as it would have been otherwise. As a result, although Frodo and Gandalf sailed West to deliver Bilbo to his new home on the Blessed Isle, both of them returned to Middle-earth immediately, Frodo to take up his old life in the Shire, and Gandalf to have a chance to enjoy being among his friends now that his task was ended. This story takes place six years after their return.
(In this AU, the timeline of the early Fourth Age is slightly altered.)
Summary: When the Council of Arnor is hit with bad weather at Yuletide, the King and his Counsellors must make the best of it.
Word Count:j 1,699

Eucatastrophe: Yuletide in Annúminas



First Yule, S.R. 1427

"I don't suppose this is what you had in mind when you made the journey North," said Frodo, leaning forward on the windowsill, and staring through the panes into a sea of swirling white.

Faramir, who stood behind him gazed out at the same view and chuckled. "To be honest, my friend, I do not know exactly what I expected. But this chain of events did not enter my mind."

Laughter erupted behind them as Sam finished proclaiming one of Bilbo's more fanciful humorous verses. Everyone else was huddled about the hearth, a roaring fire lending welcome warmth to the room.

"Your turn, Merry!" said Sam, flushed at the success of his recitation.

Merry grinned, thought a moment, and then said, "Have I ever told the story of the first time that Pippin ever embarrassed me?"

"Merry!" Pippin stood up. "No!"

"Yes. You see he was just a faunt at the time..."

Pippin turned pleading eyes to Frodo, who had turned around. "By all means let us hear it," Frodo said. "And then afterwards I will tell the story of when Uncle Bilbo and Aunt Dora came to tea in Brandy Hall..."

Merry shut his mouth with a snap, and glared furiously at his older cousin, who then winked at Pippin.

"Traitor!" muttered Merry.

Frodo simply laughed.

Faramir watched the byplay between the hobbits with amusement; he had arrived some weeks earlier, come to represent his fief of Ithilien, having left his Uncle Imrahil in charge of Gondor during his absence. He could not say that he had expected his trip to Annuminas to include a blizzard that kept all of them trapped at Yule in the newly finished hobbit wing of the Northern Citadel--the only completed part of the Northern Citadel, at that. The plan had been for everyone to adjourn to the Shire, to the Great Smials, when the Council was ended, where they had been invited to spend the holidays in the newly-built guest wing there. Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli were probably already there. The King had called for a gathering of his Northern Council, and all were to adjourn to the Tooklands when the meeting ended, as it should have, a few days before Yule began. Weather was generally mild enough in Foreyule that it should not have been a problem. The lower floors of the Citadel were complete enough that the Royal party could set up camp there, and the hobbit wing was finished. They would have been comfortable enough for a week of meetings. But a sudden snowstorm had changed everything. Now the week looked as though it might turn into a fortnight or longer if the snow did not abate.

Today was the last day of the year in Shire Reckoning, and the hobbits had asked some of their friends to join them in the warmer and more comfortable finished wing. It had been built with hobbits in mind; bedchambers, water closets, bathing rooms and the large kitchen were are all sized for the Small Folk, but the public spaces were spacious enough to accommodate the Big Folk without stooping or bending over or bumping heads on beams or chandeliers. The sitting and dining rooms and open halls also had furniture of various sizes, wide windows that were arched rather than completely round, and were made cosy with large hearthsides and many rugs and hangings.

The Royal couple, Faramir and his Captain Beregond, some of the King's Guards (including Beregond's son Bergil), the Northern Steward Lord Hador, his brother Lord Hiril, and a few others were among those who had joined Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. Because the planned stay had been brief, none of the hobbits had brought their wives or children. However a family of hobbits had been engaged to staff the wing for cooking and cleaning, Hob and Zinnia Diggle and their tweenaged son Hobson, and daughters Ivy and Fern. The family had prepared a fine meal for them all, while managing not to deplete the stores that might be needed in the days to come. Now all were gathered into the large sitting room that faced West over Lake Evendim.

The King and Queen had been sitting close together on a settee sized for the Big Folk. Now Arwen leaned forward. "I should like to hear some of your famous Yule songs," she said. "It's very pleasant to listen to hobbit singing." She turned her gaze on to Pippin, who was quite helpless to resist it.

"What should we sing?" he asked. "We can't sing of greening the hall, since no one could possibly gather greens in this weather, and the fire's already blazing, so we shan't be bringing in a Yule log either."

As the hobbits began a lively discussion of which song they should begin with, the King interrupted. "Many years ago, when I was Strider the Ranger..."

All the hobbits stopped speaking and turned to him at once.

"...I recall one wintry Yule when Halbarad and I tracked a Warg into the Shire. We destroyed it near the village of Scary. As we wondered how to dispose of the beast so that no Shire-folk might find it, we heard the singing down in the village. There was one I particularly liked, it began 'Come now, good hobbits be of much cheer...'. The melody stayed in my mind, but I could never recollect the rest of the words."

This was all they needed. Pippin began, and soon enough all the others joined in, not only Frodo, Sam and Merry, but most of the worker hobbits who were also there by reason of the snow:

Come now, good hobbits, be of much cheer,
And let's raise a toast to the coming New Year~
May each day dawn bright and fair,
Free from want and free from care!
May the year be short on sorrow,
And long on joy with each new morrow!
May the Shire know peace and plenty,
That no larder may go empty!
And blessed be the earth we till,
That each belly may have its fill!
May the ties of family, too,
Be strengthened by hearts warm and true!
May each hobbit have a hand to hold,
And love for all, both young and old!
Let the halls with laughter ring,
As to the New Year we gladly sing!


The hobbits sang it again, and this time some of the Big Folk joined in. One song led to another: "Sing Tarrilee", "To Wait for Sun's Returning", "The Tuckborough Carol" "It is the Turning of the Year" and many others. Sometimes the hobbits took time to sooth their throats with mulled cider, and the Big Folk contributed songs as well. The King and Queen entranced all with a Sindarin song of the changing seasons from Rivendell, Guardsman Bergil sang a song of winter from the region of Lossarnach, while Faramir was pressed into singing himself and chose a popular song often sung at the Yestarrë festival in Dol Amroth. Pippin was asked to sing a song written by his sister Pimpernel, "The Darkest Night". This melancholy tune was followed by the rollicking tune of "Buckland Yuletide" which had all clapping and tapping their feet.

As the night waned, the snow ceased to blow and the sky cleared. "One more song," exclaimed Frodo, "and then I think we should all seek our beds!"

Good-bye, Old Year, good-bye!
On moonlit wings you fly!
Take your sadness,
Leave your gladness,
Good-bye, Old Year, good-bye!

Good-night, Old Year, good-night!
The stars are twinkling bright!
Your sorrows are past,
But good times will last,
Good-night, Old Year, good-night!

Farewell, Old Year, farewell!
Your days have ended well.
Take your fear,
And leave your cheer,
Farewell, Old Year, farewell!

Good Day, New Year, Good Day!
The Sun shall have her way.
May our joys be bright,
And our sorrows be light,
Good Day, New Year, Good Day!

Hello, New Year, Hello!
The East is all a-glow!
A new day rises,
Filled with surprises,
Hello, New Year, Hello!


As the song finished, Faramir turned once more to the window. He gave an exclamation of surprise. "Someone is coming!"

There were shouts of astonishment as all stared at the distant sight of a sled being pulled by two horses, easily seen from afar against the whiteness of the snow. Who on earth could possibly be travelling through such weather? There were two figures in the sled, and as they drew nearer, one leaped down and began to run lightly over the snow.

"Legolas!" shouted Pippin. "It's Legolas!"

"And Gandalf as well!" added Merry as it drew near enough to see the driver. "Good old Gandalf!"

"But how have they managed to come here through such dreadful weather?" asked Beregond.

Frodo laughed. "Elves pay the snow no mind," he said, "and it seems the cold does not bother the White Wizard, either."

Aragorn just laughed as the new arrivals drew closer; then he sprang to the large round door and regardless of the blast of cold air, raced out to meet the newcomers. He was quickly followed by the hobbits and the rest of the gathering. He sprang at Legolas, laughing and grabbing him in a quick embrace, while Frodo, Merry and Sam all swarmed over Gandalf, hampering him as much as helping him to alight.

Servants were sent to see to the horses and to bring in the many packages and parcels in the back of the sled.

As the two new arrivals stood near the hearth, with goblets of the mulled cider pressed into their hands, Aragorn looked at them. "What on earth possessed you to come out in such a storm?"

Gandalf laughed and exchanged a look with Legolas. "Several worried wives and children and numerous hobbit relatives who were upset that you all could not make it to the Shire; we assured them that we would find you and make sure all was well. And the storm was much less in the Shire than here."

"Well," said Frodo, "this is a pleasant beginning to a New Year!" He raised his own goblet. "A toast to the New Year! May it be filled with many blessings!"

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
baranduin
Jan. 1st, 2015 08:32 pm (UTC)
This was perfection, I love the idea of Faramir in the North :-)

By the way, I think your html might be messed up. I am seeing the story text twice.
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2015 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I think it's fixed now!

I decided to be rather minimal in explaining why he was there, but I'm sure that there would have been occasions when Aragorn would need to consult with his Gondorian steward while he was in the North.
shirebound
Jan. 1st, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
A 'hobbit wing', what a great idea! I love this reunion, and the songs, and wish them all many happy and blessed New Year gatherings.
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2015 09:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, my version of the Northern Citadel has a whole wing built just for the comfort of visiting hobbits!

I just loved the chance to play in my Eucatastrophe-verse again!
(Deleted comment)
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2015 11:20 pm (UTC)
That's my favorite this about this AU, that all the friends may be together sometimes!
kayleelupin
Jan. 1st, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC)
I really love this! I especially love the image of singing hobbits and the new Yuletide/New Year carols! :)
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)
Oh my hobbits have many Yuletide carols to sing!
blslarner
Jan. 1st, 2015 10:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, but thank you so! My fan on the computer is all but dead, and reading the site on the Nook is less than satisfactory. The laptop agreed to start, so at last I've had the chance to read this!

Love Frodo's threat to expose Merry and Merry'd intended to embarrass Pippin. And am certain that the arrival of Gandalf and Legolas would be as shown! Delightful, and thank you so again!
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2015 11:23 pm (UTC)
Frodo and his cousins will never stop teasing each other--but Frodo nearly always gets the upper hand, LOL!

I'm so glad you got your chance to read it, and that you enjoyed it so much!

And thank you for requesting such a fun prompt, which gave me the chance to play in this AU once more!
lindahoyland
Jan. 2nd, 2015 02:37 am (UTC)
What a delightful story! This is the first one I have read this year and it is a great start.
dreamflower02
Jan. 2nd, 2015 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks@ I had so much fun writing it!
drummerwench
Jan. 2nd, 2015 04:54 am (UTC)
Gosh, what fun! This is the kind of thing I love about your AU!
dreamflower02
Jan. 2nd, 2015 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I love this AU, too!
lin4gondor
Jan. 2nd, 2015 07:03 pm (UTC)
What an amazing reunion! This was so much fun, and the songs just make it better. Now I must go read the other stories in this Eucatastrophe series!
dreamflower02
Jan. 2nd, 2015 09:43 pm (UTC)
They are all posted at MPTT, SoA and ff.n. The stories were kind of written out of order, but chronologically, the first one is "Eucatastrophe: The Return".
lignota
Jan. 2nd, 2015 11:09 pm (UTC)
This is very sweet. I enjoyed the carols.
dreamflower02
Jan. 3rd, 2015 12:24 am (UTC)
Every year I try to write one or two new "Yuletide Carols" for hobbits! It's so much fun, and I like to have characters sing in my stories, just as JRRT did.
ladyelleth
Jan. 3rd, 2015 07:09 am (UTC)
This was sweet. I loved the atmospheric description and the storm (we have one here at the moment as well, just without the snow; there's not even frost, so I'll have to take a good fic as substitute), as well as the Hobbit carrols. Lovely work!
dreamflower02
Jan. 5th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really enjoy writing the "traditional carols" for the turning of the year!
talullahred
Jan. 4th, 2015 02:59 pm (UTC)
This is so cheerful! The AU premise is really interesting and I'll probably end up looking for the mother fic. I really loved that they could all gather for Yule and how song sprang.
dreamflower02
Jan. 5th, 2015 04:05 am (UTC)
The other stories were not written in chronological order, but you can find a chronological list on my profile page at ff.n. But they are also posted at Many Paths to Tread and Stories of Arda as well.
talullahred
Jan. 7th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'll take a look once the January craziness is over.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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