Dawn Rinken (aka Evenstar1)
The grey of the early morning sky grew lighter in the east. Sam set his mind to work keeping alert. On the gully’s rocky bank facing him occasional tufts of coarse grass poked out along the rim of the channel like curious hobbit-children. Sam smiled at this thought noting, too, how the endless gurgling of the stream reminded him of the old mill back home.
Abruptly he jerked up from a longish blink. ‘There you go again, Samwise,’ he scolded himself harshly, ‘daydreaming about the Shire and getting all cozy right in the armpit of Mordor! Might as well just cuddle up next to old Gollum there and make it good and easy for him to strangle us dead!’
Angrily, Sam crawled to the stream’s edge. He splashed cold water on his face then paced briskly to wake himself. Finding a large, smooth boulder he settled on it facing west, observing both Frodo and Gollum. But soon his gaze was drawn inescapably upward.
Though the western sky was now grey, a solitary star lingered. It was unusually bright and somehow defied the lightening morn. Sam stared at the star, fascinated.
‘Now this is some special star to be clinging to night long gone,’ mused the hobbit. Then a troubling thought occurred to him: ‘How is it that we’ve not noticed it ‘till now?’
Indeed, he soon began to wonder if it really was a star. But even as this thought crossed his mind he saw to his horror it began to grow larger and brighter, leaving its position in the sky and descending toward Middle Earth at rapid speed, as though Eärendil himself had suddenly hurtled a Silmaril toward them with all his might.
Sam leaped to his feet and dashed forward, throwing himself between his master and the oncoming blaze. He yelled repeatedly, ‘Mr. Frodo! Wake up!’ But neither Frodo nor Gollum stirred. The star was now an immense, white fire, illuminating everything with a blinding brilliance. Sam stood awestruck and hopeless. ‘Perhaps this is the end, then,’ he thought.
Unexpectedly, the star ceased its descent. It hovered, then began to whirl around, pirouetting to and fro in an odd sort of dance. Sam felt his fear leave him. He watched silently for long moments until the star abruptly stopped, shrank back into the sky, and was gone. All seemed suddenly dark in its absence, but a beautiful thought echoed in Sam’s mind.
‘I am Elbereth, Lady of the Stars,’ said the thought, ‘and you, Samwise, are the Protector of the Ringbearer. With this burden, I shall help you. In greatest need, though you will not know it, I shall be there. Sleep now, Samwise, while all is still safe.’
Sam felt himself suddenly flooded with feelings of content. Though thereafter he would remember nothing of these events, for the moment he was full of happiness and the comfortable drowsiness that comes with it. The hobbit did as he was told and went to sleep.