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Isabeau's Drabbles
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The First One

Written as a birthday present for Altariel. I never thought this character would speak to me. A ding a dong dillo and all that...

MEFAs, 2010:
2nd Place, Ficlet: Eriador or Shire


Goldberry watched as Fatty Lumpkin ambled off down the hill and her husband stamped up to the door.

“Supper is waiting, Tom,” she said, her smile like a glint of sun on water. “Night has fallen. Where have you been and what have you been doing?”

He laughed long and merrily. “Seeing our small guests safe upon their way. They stumble from one trouble to another, these hobbits do! Up on to the Downs they went, and straight into a wight’s barrow! But your elf-friend remembered the rhyme I taught them and I was able to find them. Sang that old wight out of his hill and straight back to the Dark Land!”

“Then you have a new story to tell,” she said as he came into the house.

“And an old one.” And he handed to her a brooch of blue stones, many-shaded and very beautiful. She stroked the stones for a moment, then fastened it to her shoulder and laughed.

“New tales or old, both can wait till after supper! Come and eat, Tom!”

After supper, Goldberry sat upon her chair amidst the pots of lilies, sewing Tom a new pair of stockings, while Tom puffed on his pipe with his feet up on a footstool close to the hearth.

“Tell me both your tales now, Tom,” she said, her voice mirthful, “for you know I love your stories.”

And so he did, starting with the old, which caused her eyes to shimmer with unshed tears.

“So fair and brave,” she said softly when he was done, stroking the brooch. “You were right. We will not forget her.”

Then he moved on to the new, and she laughed aloud when he told of besting the wight.
“One less dark thing within our borders.” But when the tale was finished, she sobered and her face grew sad. Tom puffed his pipe, his bright blue eyes narrowed.

“What troubles you, my lily-lass?”

“Your stories this night are like two branches of a river from the same source.”

He nodded. “That they are indeed.”

“There is no water in the Dark Land. Or very little-small, choked, poisoned streams struggling to survive.” Her voice was mournful, like the last few drops of water falling upon drought-parched earth. “What will we do if He wins?”

Tom laughed. “What we have always done! I will walk my little land, and talk and watch and make and sing. And you will bathe in the Withywindle and keep my house for me. He cannot breach my boundaries. And when the emptiness within him and the emptiness without that he has made for himself devour him at last, we will still be here; I the acorn and you the spring to water it.” He took a puff on his pipe.

“For I know all the old songs,” Tom Bombadil said, “including the first one!”


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