A.N: The magical elements have been borrowed from Tamora Pierce's Tortall books, particularly the Immortals. It just occurred to me that the magical rules and abilities of Tortall could actually work pretty well in Middle Earth. There is absolutely not need to have any familiarity with the other books at all, as I'll probably adjust elements to suit me as well.

The Shire is, perhaps, the greenest place in all of Middle Earth. It could be assumed that the hobbits who populate its rolling hills and verdant woodlands are significantly more magically gifted than the other races of Middle Earth. There are the elves, long lived and almost universally gifted, the Men who live as long as a candle in the face of a star but almost a third of whom have the gift in some way or form, and the dwarves who guard all knowledge of their gift and their craft jealously. The gift is rarer still among hobbits than it is among dwarves and Men and is looked upon as an inconvenience by many. They are, as a race, incredibly proud of the fact that their home is a lush safe haven without the need or use of the gift as so many of the Men living in Bree seem to seek whenever times seem to become more difficult.

This does not mean that gifted hobbits do not turn up. They are rarely capable of more than lighting a candle or fire, or if their gift runs more towards healing it is rare that they can do anything more than magically enhance a healing poltice or potion, but every now and again one is born so gifted that the only way for them to learn to control it is to visit with one of the other races.

Such was the case for young Belladonna Took who, upon reaching thirty, departed the Shire in the company of the Grey Wanderer to study the use of her healing gift with the elves in Rivendell. Belladonna spent a happy six years among the elves and while her healing gift would never be as powerful as that of her hosts it was only the fact that it was greater than that of any other in the Shire that prevented her from returning a disgraced outcast, for she did not return in the same condition in which she left. Nor did she return with Gandalf as had been the originally agreed plan. Belladonna returned in the company of two elves. On its own, that would not have been any sort of scandal. The fourth member of their party, however, was the cause of a scandal of such magnitude that it would lead to the formerly wild Belladonna Took being quietly married off to a hobbit of high enough standing in the Shire to salvage her reputation, but who was in need of enough additional funds that her dowry would allow him to over look the detail which had made the marriage so necessary.

Belladonna Took returned with a babe at her breast.

Of the child's father she would say little, only that he was a wanderer who had passed through Rivendell at midwinter. Billana, as she was named, was an unusual child. The gossips of Hobbiton, where Belladonna settled with her husband as Mrs B. Baggins, labelled the girl mad. The dark-haired child would frequently be found in fields and woodland with a squirrel on her shoulder or a mouse at her knee. Birds would flock to her and farmer's dogs would abandon their work to greet her. Billana could frequently be heard talking to the creatures who came to her as though holding a conversation, something which elicited a small amount of pity from the more open-minded residents of Hobbiton who knew that most of the children either avoided or tormented her. She did not, however, show any sign of having inherited her mother's gift and that was something that all the residents of the small town, including her stepfather, breathed more than one sigh of relief over.

They did notice, though, that animals treated by Billana would heal better and more quickly. Nor could they ignore the fact that those handled and trained by her were often more intelligent and better at performing the tasks required of them. Belladonna doted on the daughter who ended up being her only child. Her marriage to Bungo Baggins was peaceful, but loveless and lacking entirely in passion. Many would question whether it had ever been consummated and such questions would cause problems later in Billana's life.

Some speculated, due to Belladonna's reticence on the matter, that Billana's father was none other than Gandalf the Grey. Such rumours were put to rest, however, upon Billana's twelfth birthday when the wizard visited the Shire. He knew, rumours said, the identity of her father instantly, even going so far as to utter a name. None who heard it could ever recall it, save Belladonna who had grown pale and collapsed, needing to be revived by Gandalf and her appalled husband. Billana remained ignorant of the discussion by her mother's request, but every spring for the following five years Gandalf would visit and remain until autumn.

Billana grew stranger, she rarely spoke aloud to the animals around her any longer, but there were times when she would laugh and break the silence around her for a joke that only she could have heard or imagined. Often she would seem to be absent from her mind entirely, and then there were the times that a hobbit farmer would come across her stood in a field as naked as the day she was born, only for her to startle and vanish like mist. To make it worse, she learnt to hunt and could often be seen practicing with a bow delivered to her by the same elves who had escorted her mother home in disgrace.

The Tooks were said by many to have fairy blood. Perhaps Belladonna had joined with a fairy that same way that her ancient ancestor had, indeed it was almost the only explanation for the perfectly formed hobbit child who was so very different from any other of her race. Even though Gandalf's visits lessened over time, Billana did not grow any less strange. Without the wizard's tutelage, however, she became a little less likely to exhibit her oddities. That might have been all they were if not for the Fell Winter which struck when she was twenty-eight and altered her life forever.

A.N: Yes, I am aware that I have started yet another new story, it's been one of those weeks