Journey to Woodhall
It was a drizzly, rainy Highday morning. The Shire was serene and quiet, serenaded by the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops. Rolling dirt paths leading down from Hobbiton hill into the village were sloshed with rain and quickly carved out with deep puddles. A bleary-eyed Frodo woke up at daybreak and stretched his arms high above his head, ready to begin preparations for his trip to Woodhall. Two years had passed since he last entered that part of the Old Forest with Sam and Pippin, and had met Gildor and his noble company. As the weeks stretched on the former Ringbearer felt the insatiable itch for adventure return to him once more. He wondered… would he ever again meet Elves heading for the harbour beyond the white towers? If so, he would dearly like a chance to speak with them. He would ask them what awaited them in Valinor; what they knew about the blessings that awaited them in the Immortal lands. The quiet tides of the Western sea had often whispered in Frodo’s nightly dreams. Sometimes he felt they were beckoning him with gentle arms. Other times they felt like dark and dreadful noises of a yearning for peace; a fragile hope that was never intended for him.
He swiped dark curls from his sweaty forehead as he finished packing the last of his maps, compasses, blankets, rope, and dry foods. Once his trave supplies were situated he took one final glimpse of the large empty foyer. He breathed a quiet farewell.
“Until we meet again, Bag end,” he whispered with a smile, and then he shrugged his packs up his shoulder and disappeared out into a sea of white fog.
Four hours into the journey Frodo found himself at the familiar town of Bywater. The rain was now sprinkling softly, and thick fog fizzled into a clear pale sky. He stood thoughtfully near the banks of the Brandywine, feeling the soft grass sink beneath his bare feet. He caught his breath and shifted weight wearily from leg to leg. It would be nightfall before he made it to his destination. A rest stop was in order. The Green Dragon! he thought to himself. The best Inn in Bywater with the best ale in the Shire. A small stop won’t hurt. I miss that tavern!
With that final thought he pulled his cloak over his head to shield the rain and slowly trudged toward the Green Dragon.