Grey Days of Yore

Sometimes he climbs to the top of the hill under which his home lies, and stares out at the expanse of homes, fields, and gardens surrounding him. There is a line of trees following a small brook to the east, and the road is wide farther down the hill. It is peaceful, and it is quiet, and it is everything he had ever been taught to love.

He hates it. Those clear and warm afternoons when he stands here, Thain of all he surveys, he hates it. On those nights when he climbs up and gazes as much up at the stars as he does down into the neighborhood, counting tiny winking lights of lanterns and half-shuttered windows, Peregrin wishes for nothing more than the excuse to run, far away as he can, and leave it forgotten behind him.

He is old, though not yet ancient, and with age has come the proverbial wisdom. He understands perfectly what it is he feels, and why it is he cannot run away from his home and family and responsibilities. Figurative as his responsibilities are, he cannot let slip the noose until he has raised up at least one son to hand them over to. He is being careful as he can to shield that son from too many stories of adventure, couching what few he tells as history lessons rendered dry as dust and boring as learning letters had been.

Peregrin cannot regret anything he did as a child, as it is what has lead him here, to the respected hobbit he's become. But he cannot in good conscience torment his own heir with the desire to go, and be, and see - then bind him to the smallest hill he can find, and tell him his life lands him here, and that he cannot go.

There was a time when his hands clasped a sword. A time when his feet marched long distances, a time when his heart was full of fear and doubt and childish ignorance. He does not wish for the dark times to be returned, just so he can feel a purpose, again. But when he climbs this short hill, he thinks there must be something more. There must be something in the entire middle-earth which could pull him out of this festering, soul-destroying, maddening silence.

It is too quiet here, and no one has needed him for anything other than simply be, for decades. It has killed him, and yet his ghost has still been unable to break free. Had he known of these days to come, he would have married sooner, fathered a son as quickly as he could, and been gone the day he came of age. But he had been unwilling to let go of other things, and had not the foresight to anticipate the need for marrying young. And so he is trapped, and his only path of escape is to climb upon the hill and look out, and pray for something he knows he cannot have.