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Author name: Linaewen
Recipient's name: Arwen75
Title: A Yuletide Toast
Rating: G
Request: "I would like Aragorn & the hobbits (at anytime) celebrating Yule."
Author's notes: This story recalls an incident that took place in another story I wrote, called Green Grows the Holly.
Summary: Aragorn and the hobbits recall a past Yule and how it was celebrated.

A Yuletide Toast

Four ponies and three hobbits stood shivering outside the house at Crickhollow.  The pre-dawn air was brisk with a midwinter chill, and Sam pulled his cloak closer about his shoulders in an attempt to stay warm.

"What's keepin' Mr. Merry so long?" he complained aloud.  "Weren't it his idea to get an early start so we'd reach the Pony at a decent hour?  If I'd known it'd take this long to set off, I'd've stayed in my warm bed another hour!"

Frodo laughed.  "It seemed like a good suggestion at the time, even after traveling here from Hobbiton to stay the night so as to make the journey shorter today.  But I definitely agree with you, Sam, another hour in a warm bed would have been welcome.  If he doesn't come soon, perhaps we should return to our beds and our wool blankets!"

"If we go back to bed, we'd be warm, sure enough," Pippin acknowledged, shifting from one foot to another in an effort to warm himself. "But we'd also miss our appointment with Strider.  Didn't he say in the invitation he sent all of us that he was expecting us at the Prancing Pony in Bree just after Yuletide?  That's today, if I'm not mistaken."

"You aren't mistaken, Master Peregrin, as you know full well," Frodo answered.  "But we won't miss our appointment -- that is, if Merry doesn't take any longer doing whatever it is he's doing!  I suppose he feels he has to check the locks just one more time, or make sure he didn't forget anything or leave any food out."

Frodo raised his voice to call out to the absent Merry.  "Oy, Merry!  What's keeping you?  We've a long day's ride ahead of us, so the sooner we leave, the sooner we get there!  I want to reach the Inn by evening if at all possible, so let's be on our way!  We mustn't keep the King waiting!"

"Coming, coming!" The door opened and Merry came out, pulling the door to behind him.  "I was just making sure all was in order, as we'll be gone for a few days.   Are we all set?"

"Yes, we're all set!" complained Pippin.  "And frozen, too, I might add.  Let's go, before Sam decides warm blankets and a few more hours sleep is better than seeing Strider again!"

***

That evening, four hobbits and one man sat facing each other across a wooden table laden with steaming hot food and tall mugs of ale.  The joy of their meeting and of being together again after a long absence still overflowed in broad grins and happy laughter.  Almost two years had passed since they had last seen each other, and there was much news and many memories to share.

"So Sam is married now,"  Aragorn exclaimed, raising his mug to salute the blushing hobbit.  "I am sorry I could not attend the wedding.  I hope I will have the honor of meeting Mistress Rose in the not too distant future.  Please tell her I am thankful she was willing to let you come to this little meeting, Sam, on this first Yule of your married life together; I know it is not an easy thing to be parted from your sweetheart so soon after marriage!"

Sam mumbled something unintelligible and blushed all the more.

"What of you, Aragorn?" Frodo asked.  "Did you bring the Queen north with you on this visit to the Northern Kingdom?  I would love to see her again."

"Nay," Aragorn replied.  "There is still much work to be done to set things to right in the north, and while much progress has been made in repairing the kings seat in Arnor, it is still not a fitting place to bring the Queen as yet.  She remained behind, but she sends you her love, Frodo, and her greetings to all of you, as well as her hope that one day soon she will be able to welcome you herself to restored Annúminas."

"A toast to that future!" Merry cried, lifting his mug.

"A toast to the Queen!"

They drained their mugs and called for refills.  While the innkeeper poured out the ale, Pippin watched silently, lost in thought.

"What are you thinking about, Pippin?" Merry asked.  "You look like your thoughts are miles away."

"I'm just thinking of our last Yule together, two years ago..."

"Ah!" said Aragorn softly.  "Yes, a special day, though it was spent in the barren wilderness."

"We had no fire, and nothing warm to eat," Pippin continued, "and we hardly even remembered that it was Yule.  But Boromir remembered.  He found some holly branches and brought them to our camp.  To lift our spirits, he said, since we couldn't have a fire or the sunlight to warm us."

"The green leaves and red berries brightened the day considerably, didn't they?" Frodo recalled.

"They did indeed!" Aragorn nodded.

"Then Mr. Boromir explained about how, in Gondor, they had the custom of decorating homes with greenery for Yule," Sam went on.  "Green growing things are always a good way to liven things up, I'm thinkin', and he said the same.  A bit of green cheers the heart, he said."

"I remember he gave us each a sprig of holly to wear on our cloaks," Merry said.  "I learned later that it's believed that holly can ward off evil.  Seems like Boromir was always trying to protect us, even then in the early days of our journey!"

They fell silent for a time, each one remembering a cold Yule warmed by a friend's provision and thoughtfulness.

"It was not only holly that Boromir shared with us that day, if I recall correctly," Aragorn said, breaking the silence.

"No, indeed!" grinned Merry.  "He shared a skin of wine, as well, and we toasted success and safety in the new year."

Aragorn lifted his mug and smiled.  "Shall we do so again in his honor, and to celebrate being together once again?"

"To Boromir!" cried Pippin.

"To Boromir!" they echoed.

"To success and safety in the new year, and to renewed friendship after a long parting!" added Frodo.

"To success and safety in the new year," they agreed, clinking their mugs together.  "To renewed friendship after a long parting!"

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
periantari
Jan. 1st, 2015 08:35 pm (UTC)
What a nice scene - really like how they remember boromir and acknowledge him. I always feel it's important to think about the ones who have passed during holidays.
shirebound
Jan. 1st, 2015 08:54 pm (UTC)
Seems like Boromir was always trying to protect us, even then in the early days of our journey

What a kind and good memory of Boromir, who really did do the best he could for them.
(Deleted comment)
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2015 09:29 pm (UTC)
I always love stories that pay tribute to Boromir!
lignota
Jan. 2nd, 2015 12:51 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this view of their friendship and the warmth between them.
rhapsody11
Jan. 3rd, 2015 12:19 am (UTC)
This is such a sweet and poignant scene between the five of them. Here's to Boromir! *raises her glass*
arwen75
Jan. 3rd, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC)
Loved this - thank you so much.. sorry about delay in commenting - been offline with friends staying till today.
addie71
Jan. 3rd, 2015 08:49 pm (UTC)
What a lovely tale. I love how they remembered Boromir in this.
talullahred
Jan. 4th, 2015 02:37 pm (UTC)
It's so sweet that they reunite for Yule and that they remember Boromir so fondly. :)
kayleelupin
Jan. 6th, 2015 03:36 pm (UTC)
Oh yes - to Boromir! It's so good that they remember him at Yule. I loved reading this. :)
blslarner
Jan. 9th, 2015 07:13 am (UTC)
A lovely way to remember Boromir, one that all can rejoice to call to mind! Lovely tale, and well told!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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