Elanor Bracegirdle’s wrist slipped as she attempted to give Mr Boffin (a regular at the Green Dragon) his half-pint. She apologised profusely to him as the beer slopped all over his coat, which he had been bragging about constantly for the last quarter of an hour. He was highly unimpressed and demanded another- it was not her place to refuse him, so she gave him one and watched him drink it greedily.
Elanor had been a bar-maid at the Green Dragon for years, and now- at a respectable age of 39, she was expected to find herself a husband; settle down in the nice hobbit-hole he provided for her, and care for any hobbit children.
This was not a problem; she was not a great beauty- but her long golden locks did not fail to attract attention. She was from a respectable family, and had had her fair share of admirers. But she had not been attracted to any of them.
At long last, the evening came to an end, and the Green Dragon closed for the night. She yawned; showed out the last of the stragglers, a very plump hobbit from Bywater and a handful of Tooks, before locking the door behind them and setting off for her hobbit-hole just across the field.
This was a normal day; this was how every day went- and until she got married, this was how every day was likely to go.
And it bored her; she was tired of waking up every day knowing that it was practically the same day as yesterday. Therefore, she had an incentive to marry- but there was another problem.
She did not want to marry- she knew of no hobbit she liked enough to want to spend the rest of her life with, so she was stuck. But the longer she waited, the more persistent her parents would be as to her marrying.
She waded through the corn field, the corn drowning her everywhere she looked. It was September, harvest season- and soon all this corn would be gone, which saddened her. She enjoyed her evening walk through the corn field and, true, it was not long- but it was pleasant, and it gave her time to think.
Reaching the edge of the field, she crawled through the gap in the hedge, muddying her face and snagging her dress as she did so, and stood up to see the hill which was home to her family’s hobbit-hole.
With a sigh, she opened the gate, newly painted a vivid green, and meandered up the path to the door, which she hammered upon.
“Elanor? Elanor, is that you? You’re late!”
Seconds later, the door opened to reveal a fat hobbit woman whom the voice belonged to. The woman had a fierce expression, which matched her disapproving voice; and was dressed in a navy checked dress, with an apron on top.
“Hullo Mother,” said Elanor with a faint smile, “can I come in now?”
Her Mother ignored this, “Your dress is torn- again! You silly girl, what have you been doing?! And your face too! Covered in mud! Anyone would think you’d walked through a hedge backwards!”
Elanor tried to disguise the smile, but failed miserably.
“I don’t know what you’re smiling at! It’s not at all funny!” Snapped her Mother, standing aside just a little to allow Elanor through, “Who’s going to be mending that dress? Me! And the third time this week, and it’s only Thursday!”
Elanor made her way into the kitchen where the usual dinner was laid out for her; she flopped into the chair and started wolfing down the bread and cheese.
Hearing her Mother mutter something like “ungrateful” and “muddy face again”, she turned round and shouted down the passage-
“At least I can wash off the mud on my face Mother! You needn’t deal with that! I can even do the sewing- maybe.”
“Don’t you dare give me that cheek!” Came the reply, and Elanor rolled her eyes and continued eating.
The sun shone through her bedroom window onto her bed, and she rolled over and closed her eyes. Friday, 12th September by Shire reckoning was going to be almost exactly the same as Thursday, the 11th September- with perhaps a bit of sewing added into the equation.
Allowing her mind to wander, she sat up and stretched just as her Father’s voice wandered along the passage towards her.
“Elanor,” it said with a lazy air, “that dreadful Took is here to see you.”
Elanor frowned, “that dreadful Took” could only mean one thing- but he was away, wasn’t he? She glanced out of the window and smiled; apparently not.
Peregrin (Pippin) Took and Elanor Bracegirdle had been good friends ever since the day they first learned to walk, and their friendship had flourished as they had grown.
Until the day he mysteriously vanished along with that Frodo Baggins, the gardener- Samwise Gamgee and Pippin’s friend Merry Brandybuck; who she knew a little.
They had all turned up about six months later when the Shire was in chaos, and had managed to sort out the ruffians who had taken charge in a mere few days.
Pippin had told her later about all the adventures they’d had abroad- meeting Elves; participating in great battles and being kidnapped by nasty creatures called Uruk-hai- or something like that.
It had all sounded so exciting, but so outlandish that she had struggled to believe him- until Frodo disappeared around seven years ago.
Ever since, she had longed to get out of the Shire, escape her boring life; and have adventures, like Pippin and the others had done. She knew though, that she was no longer as young as they had been- Pippin was married now, after all- and she was not getting any younger- the sooner she left, if she was going to, the better.
She pulled on a dark green dress and bounded along the passage towards the front door; she may be not as young as she had once been, but she was still reasonably athletic- for a hobbit of her age.
The door was wide open, her disapproving Mother standing beside it- ignoring Pippin entirely; but he did not seem to mind. She waved cheerily to her parents and hurried out the door, shutting it behind her.
“You took your time,” he said, grinning.
“Sorry,” she said with a faint smile.
“Diamond says you must come to lunch one day soon,” said Pippin, “you’ve evaded coming long enough. Next Sunday?”
“About that,” said Elanor, suddenly feeling slightly guilty, “I’ve been thinking Pip, I want to…to go and see places- do you know what I mean?”
“Well, when you, Merry, Frodo and Samwise went off- you went to all sorts of…places.”
“Oh! You mean you want to leave the Shire?”
“Well; yes,” she said.
“How soon is “very soon”?”
“Well- today. Maybe.”
“Ah. Today,” he said, and she thought she heard a touch of sadness in his voice, “well- what say you to a spot of lunch before you go then?”
“Come on Elanor,” he said, “you can’t go for good, if that is what you’re going to do, without having lunch with Diamond and I.”
“I can see that there’s no use in me objecting.”
“Quite right too,” he replied, and steered her towards Tuckborough.
The rest of the day passed far quicker than she had expected, and though saying good-bye to Pippin and Diamond was hard- she managed it quite well, or at least- she thought so.
The clock had just struck four when she got home, and found the hobbit-hole empty- as she had hoped. Her Mother and Father were no doubt out in the fields, and so she took advantage of their absence by heading for the pantry.
After packing several apples; a bottle of mead; some bread and cheese and a piece of pork pie in one of her handkerchiefs, she hurried upstairs to prepare the rest of her pack- which consisted of a pretty looking blade Pippin had given her (but not told her how to use); a piece of rough fabric which looked like it could come in handy, and some coins- which she doubted she would need, but packed none-the-less.
She stuffed it all into the pack, taking care not to squash the food- and pulled on her favourite green cloak before swinging the pack onto her shoulders and glancing at the clock. Half past four- her timing was perfect.
Turning to the door, she thought for a moment about what she was doing- with little effect. Leaving no note, she marched out of her bedroom; along the passage; and out the front door. Taking a deep breath, she looked out at the adventure that lay before her and walked slowly down the garden path.
The gate- the gate that symbolised the start of her new found adventure- lay before her. Stretching out her hand, she opened it effortlessly and stepped onto the path- did she really want to do this? Yes, she thought, yes. I do.
And with that thought, she turned and looked back at the hobbit-hole- her home no longer.
“I really am going now; good-bye,” she whispered, and set off along the road, and away.
Chapter End Notes:
A/N: This is my first Lord of the Rings Fan Fiction- so I hope it's alright! Please read and review! Thank you. :)