"I hear the merry singing of the wind." Legolas muttered. Gimli rolled his eyes and settled down his axe on the table. Sam glared at him and haughtily snatched the weapon from the table. The dwarf pulled it back and this began a tug-of-war between the two.
Gandalf watched amusely at the little scuffle. "They're celebrating my birthday, of course." The thirty-seven year old Frodo Baggins emerged from the tent carrying ale. Pippin and Merry not too far behind him, heaving what seemed decorations for the celebrations.
"Ah my dear old Frodo, it does seem like yesterday when Bilbo gave you the ring." The wizard said reminiscently. The wind blew at their hair swayed slightly. Sam huffed in defeat and scowled at the dwarf. Gimli only smirked.
"I wish Elessar was here." Legolas said, smiling.
"I wish that too myself." A voice came somewhere. They all turned and saw Aragorn with his wife, Arwen, walking towards them. The hobbits hopped in surprise. Legolas was the first to get to the two for his long legs and crushed the married couple in a tight hug. Gandalf stood up and opened his arms. Aragorn grinned and accepted the gesture.
"Aragorn, I never anticipated you'd come! The towns folk will be thrilled!" Frodo beamed.
"Frodo, my dear little friend, I would never miss your birthday. I was strolling down the castle and found myself contemplating about the fellowship. Then, I remembered you and it struck me today was your birthday." Aragorn replied warmly. Arwen giggled.
"Ah, melamin, I remind you I was the "it' you were referring to." Arwen said teasingly. Aragorn rubbed his neck and gazed at his wife affectionately.
"Oh, yes. She was actually the one who struck me." The group chuckled and eventually sighed inwardly and contentedly.
"No fair, Ed. It was my turn." Peter frowned.
"Your twisting me, Pete." Edmund said irritatedly. The Pevensies were in their 14th year reign in Narnia. As written in the prophecy, the siblings' rule prospered and they became the most respected people, not only in Narnia, but in the whole land. Peter had just been from one of the 'dull' dignitaries, as Edmund called it, and he invited Edmund to play chess with him. Susan and Lucy were in the hall, entertaining the visitors. Peter felt it no need to come there and be present. But as High King, his presense was requested. And be present he shall. He'd finish this game first.
"Alana, my brother's busy. No, I'm positive he's not -" The faint voice of Susan neared towards the library, following with brisk footsteps. The door of the library flashed open and Lady Alana of the Northlands barged in. The two kings stared at her in shock.
"Here." Susan closed her eyes, shaking head and giving a meaningful look to her brothers.
"Peter! Darling, I have been sending you my letters. Where are yours?" Susan thinned her lips and coughed back a laugh.
Peter look utterly beffudled. His mouth hung agape as he held the chess piece.
"Milady, I'm sorry to say I haven't receive anything from you." He lied. Oh Aslan! The woman was mental! Ever since he flirted with her, she converted his flirtations into a one-sided relationship. Damn, she even called herself already as their equal!
"What? I've send almost a thousand letters to thou, my king!" She replied heatedly. Edmund walked towards the woman.
"Milady, I assure you my brother here has gotten nothing recently from under your name." He quelled to her.
"Why, I refused to believe that!" Susan cocked an eyebrow.
"What on Narnia were you thinking dear sister to let this delusional woman in?" Edmund whispered in gritted teeth to Susan. The queen tapped her foot impatiently.
"I wasn't thinking at all." Was the reply.
"Honestly, milady. Even if I received these letter of yours, I wouldn't have time to read it!" Peter shott back. Alana gasped.
"I can't imagine - - -"
"You keep women like these, Peter?" Said by the newly entered Valiant Queen. She was calmly looking at Alana and sizing her up. The woman was older than her but there was no way she could let this insolence pass.
"Queen Lucy, I was merely - - -"
"Merely shouting at my brother? Get out before I decide to cut your connections in Narnia." Alana looked furious at first before huffing and storming off. She absolutely had no chance on winning the argument anyway. Four powerful sovereigns vs her. Edmund clapped slowly and then followed by an astounded Peter.
"That was scary, Lu." Edmund commented. Susan nodded.
"Indeed. Now, brother have thou decided to avoid thy coquetry and focus instead on diplomatic manners?" The Gentle Queen asked. Peter gulped in response.
"Dear sister, if I were to choose between that woman and the dignitaries. I would gladly choose the latter."
"The woman was just irritating, I honestly can't stand her! And I am known to like all kinds of people!" Lucy said exasperatedly. Susan winked at her. The Valiant Queen was scary. Especially, when she's in the battlefield. But no one was scarier as Susan. A woman who was rarely seen to get angry and was always gentle was frighteningly scary.
"The guests are expecting us, madam and sirs. Best to not keep the lot waiting." Susan inquired them.
"Lead the way, madam." Peter laughed.
The crowd clapped in rhythm as they watched the hobbits danced merrily. Legolas was whistling a tune while clapping. Gimli made a melodious racket by drumming the spoon and fork on the table. Aragorn and Arwen joined the dancing. Gandalf was laughing while arranging his firework display.
"Come on now, master dwarf! Join me." Frodo goaded Gimli. The red-headed dwarf shook his head.
"Go on, lad. I'm not exactly born to dance. Ask this princeling beside me, I'm sure he'll love it." He suggested, though grinning a bit evilly at the elf.
"Well then?" Smiled Frodo. He lent his hand to the blond Prince. Legolas looked down hesitantly.
"I'm not certain master Gimli doesn't want to dance. I think he does not know." Legolas said mockingly.
"And what are you implying lad?" Gimli asked heatedly.
"Nevermind. Let us dance, Frodo." Legolas pulled Frodo away. The dwarf glared at the elf and stood up.
"I will not be taunted by someone. And by an elf no less! Wait for me! I know the traditional durin dance that Balin taught me." Legolas laughed, inwardly jumping in triumphant that Gimli had fallen as bait into his trap.
The night slowly fell but none of them felt the drowsiness. Aragorn excused himself with his wife for a bit for Arwen was feeling a bit sleepy. He came back minutes with a smile in his face. Legolas shook his head, hinting a ghost of a smile. The urge to celebrate all night filled their nerves. All settled in their seats for it was opening the presents time, they watched and and waited as Frodo grabbed a small wrapped box from the table.
"From Merriadoc Brandybuck." He laughed and shook the gift. Something rattled inside.
"What might this be?" He muttered. Merry grinned widely but said nothing.
Frodo was in the middle of finally removing the wrapper when a man in a hooded cloak emerged just behind Gimli. Legolas was eyeing him suspiciously, his elven eyes perked in alertness. Gandalf followed his gaze.
"Ah my dear man, the night is still young. Do you desire to join our little feast? Our master hobbit has just been trying to unwrap his present." Gandalf said politely. The uninvited guest lifted his cloak and revealed an aging man. He had white hair and white beard. His eyes were smiling but his mouth was not. He gave an air of joy and hope that felt too comforting and odd for the curious crowd.
"Who are the members of the Fellowship of the Ring? Prithee, come forth." Legolas, Aragorn, Gimli, the three hobbits, and Gandalf stood up but not by the man's request. Frodo slowly put the present down and eyed the man.
"I see only eight. Where's the ninth?" The man asked.
"The ninth took his place in the heavens and he will be always sorely missed." Aragorn replied softly.
"I see. I express my condolences. Now, I shall give rings to each and every members of the fellowship. No worries, these are not like the rings you had so horribly encountered." The man produced a red bag somewhere from his cloak. Frodo looked at Gandalf inquired but the wizard only stared in confusion.
"I sense no evil from this fellow but - - -" Legolas narrowed his eyes. "Sweet and happiness."
"How could we trust you?" The man only laughed in response.
"My King, I am merely an old man who had came from a long way just to deliver rings. If you could accept a gift from an old foe, why not from a stranger?" The old man said with a twinkle in his eyes.
"Wise choice of words. You persuade me, sir." Aragorn smiled.
"I learned it from a Queen in another world. She calls it 'logic'." The old man winked. He then proceeded giving them each color-coded boxes. It reflected their personalities. Legolas seemed to be pleased with the ring he received. It reminded him of his father's green gems. Thranduil loved hoarding jewels. Gimli had a red ruby which he spat on to shine it thoroughly. Legolas rolled his eyes in disdain. Aragorn received a dark blue ring. It was tantalizing. He stared at it in amazement. It pulled him. But not that of a 'greed and power pull' but because of its beauty. It was easy on the eyes. It reminded him of his wife's eyes, Arwen. Gandalf slid his ash white gem without hesitation and scrutinized it meticulously. As if trying to find a flaw on it. Frodo was given a sky blue gem which reflects his courage and hope combined. Merry had a sapphire one, he didn't know how it reflected his personality yet instantly loved the ring once his eyes laid upon it.
All seemed to be satisfied.
"Errr... Mister white beard, Sir?" Only one hobbit named Peregrin Took seemed to be not. "Why is my ring yellow?" He inquired.
"Do you happen to not like it, my dear fellow?"
"It's not like that but I can't understand how my color is yellow when all of my life I have loved the color blue." Gandalf and Legolas smiled.
"Yellow is the color of optimism, energy, loyalty, and honor my boy."
Frodo butted in. "But it is also the color of cowardice and deceit."
The man's eyes twinkled. "Is he?" The eight exchanged glances and smiled. Pippin fought with them bravely though at first with fear and hesitation. But he was no coward.
"My work here is done. May the Queens and Kings of Narnia welcome you to their Christmas feast!" And with a pop, he vanished. A faint jingle off bells was heard from afar. A snowflake landed onto Aragorn's palm. He looked at it concernedly. Merry looked at his palm, standing on the tip of his toes to have a better sight of it.
"I wonder what Narnia and Christmas are?" Merry asked. The crowd, still silent, looked up as the snowflakes started falling one by one.
"I don't know but it sounds delightful."