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Yuletide in Gondor by Arwen75

Author: Arwen75
Recipient's name: dreamflower02
Title: Yuletide in Gondor
Rating: G
Request: Merry and Pippin and their first Yule in Minas Tirith after their "retirement" there; are they homesick? How do they celebrate and who is there for them?
Author's notes: I am hoping this is alright - it is unbetaed due to being finished late and the season. Tried to fulfil Dreamflower's request but the story took on a mind of its own - as they usually seem to.
Summary: Memories of past Yuletides and a surprise for the hobbits
Word Count: 1477 (according to Word)


"Do they not celebrate Yule here, Merry" came the plaintive cry from Pippin as they wandered around the city. He was missing the usual hustle & bustle from the Great Smials and around the Shire. There were none of the traditional Yule decorations he was used to either - at least here in the city.

"I am sure they do Pippin - just not in the way we are used to. At least down here in the city. In the Citadel they may celebrate as we are used to more. After all Aragorn is from the North and the Northern Dúnedain celebrate similarly to the way we do in the Shire. At least they have when we visited Aragorn at Annúminas in the past – if you remember.”

“I do remember those celebrations merry – and you are correct. The Northern Dúnedain do seem to have some of the same customs, although they also seem to be more solemn at times – much as the people here in Minas Anor are.”

“I think,” said Merry thoughtfully, “that those in the north adopted some of the customs from the other men around them. Breeland after all has very much the same customs as we do – probably because of the Hobbits who live there.”

Pippin sighed but was silent – in many ways he still missed the green hills and rolling countryside of the Shire, although now Diamond was gone he, like Merry, had less to tie him to the Shire. Indeed they had both agreed around last Yule that the time had come for them to retire, given now both their beloved wives were gone. Yes their sons had done their best to persuade them to stay but they both felt living their remaining years elsewhere would be best for them. After all Pippin was still a Knight of Gondor, and, when the summons had come in the Spring from Éomer who desired to see Master Holdwine again, they had just handed their offices over to their sons and ridden out of the Shire.

Both still had moments when they missed the Shire and their children and grandchildren, but since Sam’s departure two years earlier and the passing of first Estella then Diamond neither had ties to the Shire. Now all that remained of the Fellowship was in the South, Gimli in the Glittering Caves, Legolas in his realm in Ithlien and most of all Aragorn in Minas Anor. So South they had come, seeing Éomer before his passing and then continuing onto Gondor where they intended to live out what remained of their days in the company of the King.

However both were missing the traditional Yule festivities in the Shire in the more solemn celebration of Mettarë in Gondor, and finding themselves just a little homesick for the Shire. They had prepared gifts for their friends here in the city but were not certain how to go about distributing them although Merry at least thought that some of Yule would be celebrated up in the citadel, not just because of Aragorn but also because of Éowyn as the Rohirrim had a similar Yule celebration.

But for now he could tell that Pippin was somewhat despondent and missing the Shire, so he set about cheering him up as best as he could as they made their way back through the city levels, acknowledging the many greetings that were given to them.

***

Once back in their own quarters, Pippin returned to his earlier theme. “I do miss the greenery decorating everywhere in the Smials, and the feats, and the present giving….and in fact everything about the Shire.”

“I know Pippin. So do I. But we made the decision to come south so we will have to celebrate Mettarë as they do here in Gondor.”

“But there is no fun in it Merry – it just seems to be all about remembrance and solemnity – not the merriment and feasting that we are used to. And what about our presents…”

Merry smiled inwardly as the old excitable Pippin of his youth suddenly came out from the respectable hobbit who had been Thain for fifty years. “There will be a feast Pippin – after all isn’t there always one here on any holiday. And we will get to give people presents – that I am sure.”

“I suppose you are right about the feast Merry – and the presents, it’s just that….” His voice trailed away as he remembered past times throughout many years in the Shire. He thought of the Great Smials in all its finery and Diamond bustling around as she saw everything was in order. Or the times spent in Brandy Hall with Merry and Estella. Much further back in his childhood at the farm how much effort his parents had put into celebrating Yule even in those times when they had to be at the Great Smials. His eyes misted over a little as he thought on his memories and those who were gone.

Merry was also remembering those times – and his beloved wife Estella. How much she had enjoyed Yule in Buckland from the time they were married. Then of the times at the Great Smials with Pippin and Diamond, and the occasional visit to Annúminas when Aragorn and Arwen were in residence there.

Some time passed with both Hobbits lost in their memories of Yules past before Merry shook himself slightly, letting the memories fade and returned to the present.

“Come on Pippin it is tea time and the Queen is expecting us…”

***

The following morning dawned clear and bright which cheered both hobbits up, although they still had a tendency to dwell on memories of years past. By mutual agreement both dressed in formal livery today – given the solemnity of Mettarë in Minas Anor they felt it only right. As they were finishing settling it all in a knock came at the door, followed by the entrance of Baranor, grandson of Bergil in his page’s uniform

“Sir Peregrin, Sir Meriadoc” he began formally, “you are requested to attend on their Majesties in the private dining room.”

“Thank you Baranor. Please tell their Majesties we will be with them momentarily,” answered Pippin.

As the door closed behind Baranor, the cousins exchanged glances.

Pippin glanced at a small chest saying “What do you think Merry – should we take the presents with us?”

“We may as well Pippin. After all Aragorn & Arwen are both well-versed with the customs of the Shire.”

Struggling a little, they carried the chest between them refusing offers of help from those they passed. After all it was not far to the dining room. At the door Pippin knocked and on the response to enter opened the door.

What greeted them made them both gasp as the chest dropped between them. The room was decorated with branches of holly and ivy as was custom in the Shire and the table groaned under the weight of food on it.

“Happy Yule” chorused the people inside, Eldarion and his sisters, Celebrían and Melian, along with Elboron, the Steward’s heir. Behind them the hobbits could see the King and Queen smiling broadly, with Faramir and Éowyn alongside them. Also in the room were Legolas & Gimli who neither hobbit had expected to see and who they greeted with great enthusiasm.

Then Eldarion and Elboron drew the two hobbits to suitable chairs at the table, with Eldarion explaining. “Adar and naneth thought that you would be missing the festivities of the Shire at this time of year, so they decided to bring a little of the Shire here for you. We will still have the solemn ceremony later for Mettarë, but first a proper Shire Yule.”

Laughing Pippin and Merry allowed themselves to be dragged to the table by the young men exclaiming over everything there. As they relaxed in the familiar smells and sounds, laughing with thet two young princesses, smiles were exchanged by the older people in the room

“I am glad we thought of this Aragorn,” Faramir said in a low voice to the King as they took their seats at the groaning table. “See how happy they look.”

He had forgotten the sharp ears of hobbits, as Pippin turned to them. “Merry said you would remember Aragorn, but I have to admit I was doubtful until now. Thank you friends for giving us something to remind us of the Shire here in Minas Anor.”

“As Pippin says, thank you all. It helps to remember all ways of celebrating this time of year” added Merry

“But what is in the chest?” came the plaintive question from youngest party member who had been looking at it ever since it had been dropped on entry to the room.

“Well we brought presents as is tradition in the Shire, but you will have to wait till after breakfast to see them. That is the rule.”

Pippin smiled as his words started a rush for food. Raising his full mug he said “A Happy Yule to all”.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
engarian
Jan. 1st, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
How very sweet. Every people celebrate Yule differently, yet all have something to enhance the other people's ceremony. I loved the greenery and holly placed around the room and the idea that everyone rushed to table so that they could get their gifts the sooner. Delightful.

- Erulisse (one L)
arwen75
Jan. 2nd, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I sort of drew of the traditions of Christmas here in England....

Edited at 2013-01-02 06:15 pm (UTC)
shirebound
Jan. 1st, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
This is lovely. *beams*
arwen75
Jan. 2nd, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you
blslarner
Jan. 1st, 2013 04:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, we MUST follow the Rule, after all! We are all children at heart, and so breakfast is dispensed with as swiftly as possible!

Love this!
arwen75
Jan. 2nd, 2013 06:20 pm (UTC)
LOL ... I remember many a meal eaten in haste when presents were about when I was a child,
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was delightful! I love that all their friends conspired to surprised them!

Thank you so much for a wonderful story! I LOVED it!
arwen75
Jan. 2nd, 2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it Dreamflower - I enjoyed writing it....
rhapsody11
Jan. 1st, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
Awww, Pippin will remain forever young in his heart. I just love how you described them entering the decorated hall and their awe. :)
arwen75
Jan. 2nd, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I have to admit I had no idea what I was going to write until I sat down to write - and out it came...as seems to be the case with me.
ladyelleth
Jan. 1st, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
Aw, this was sweet. :) I loved your choice of the names of Eldarion's sisters as well.
arwen75
Jan. 2nd, 2013 09:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you - the names just suggested themselves to me....
keiliss
Jan. 5th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
I've been far from home at Christmas, so I really empathised with them missing home and trying to make the best of it. What a lovely surprise at the end. This was lovely.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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