Hilda Greenhill's Diary 20th Astron I arrived at my cousin Callum’s house a few days ago to find his wife Dieardre pottering around in the garden and the children playing nearby. The joy of seeing them almost made me forget my sadness at my parting with Kili, but then I realised that the future we had talked about had evaporated like so much fog burned away by a rising sun. Unless of course…. dare I hope? Thinking of that night in the stables…. No if I was carrying a child, there would have been some evidence of it by now, and there wasn’t, so I didn’t even have that consolation, if there even was any consolation in being a single mother. “So you decided to stay with us after all?” Dieadre asked, looking up from the herb bed that she was tending to. Trotter ran over to the children and they played with him, a little too boisterously for my taste. I was always worried that he may try to bite a child when they played with him. I nodded as I blinked away the tears that had welled up in my eyes. As we spoke, I made her think that the sadness that I so keenly felt was due to the loss of my parents and brothers, which in a sense was true, but was only a small part of it. Before leaving Kili at Hobbiton, I had only grieved for a lost past, now it was for a lost future as well. I understood now why Kili had been so cautious in telling me how he felt about me. If things turned sour, like they had, I would have a double loss to deal with. And I was still reeling from the fact that it the break-up had been over nothing that either of us had done to hurt or betray the other. Our feelings hadn’t suddenly changed towards each other, it was a lost love purely due to the cruelty of outside interference which should never have even occurred. Oh how I missed him! Dare I hope that we could still end up being together? Dare I hope that things could still be put right? Of course, the future is not set. While both of us live there is some hope, however slim it may be, that things could still go as they should. I had to cling to that. But what if in the end that it was only a false hope? No hope is better than a hope that is folly. Fate has dealt me a roll of the dice that is a failure of epic proportions. I spent the rest of that morning helping my cousin in the garden. We planted new herbs for cooking and for making home remedies. Whether the home remedies worked or not is another thing entirely, but I think I would enjoy having them taught to me. I made notes of how they were made so that if I ever saw Oin again that I could show him what my cousin made and ask him if they were of any use. I think that Ireiagia would be interested in the remedies as well as it would increase her knowledge, or so I hoped. Anything that could be of use to the dwarves I coveted. Perhaps if I made contact with them again, Thorin would realise how valuable an asset I was to him and his people and that he would change his mind concerning me. The children played around us happily and it made me miss Dwalin’s young ones, and made me ache for my own. Would it ever happen now, I wondered….Could it ever happen? Of course, I could just forget all about Kili and find a man among my own people, but I am not sure if any of them would want me when he discovered that I wasn’t a maiden anymore. Dieadre went inside to prepare lunch for Callum and my uncle because they were out working on the farm, leaving me to clear the gardening tools away. I was so busy concentrating on my own thoughts of what I should do about my future that I didn’t notice Callum enter the farmhouse garden until the children screamed his name and ran up to him. They were all excited and told him that I was here. I don’t think the young ones understood my sadness and what had brought me here. They just liked the fact that their big cousin was home. Oh the innocence of children! I wish that I still had that, but it had been buried with my family and I would never be able to regain it. It was lost to me, just like my virtue. Callum greeted me with a much needed hug and it did lessen the sorrow in my heart for a moment. Being home at last was a much needed comfort, even if it did nothing to change the grave disappointment that I felt within my heart. Uncle Farnan, Callum’s father, and once the owner of the farm that my cousin ran and lived on joined us a while later and we par took in a small picnic in the garden when Dieardre returned from the house carrying a large basket filled with sandwiches, cheeses, cakes, scones, and fruit juices. There was jam and ham for the sandwiches and the children loved their jam, and the cakes, while the adults preferred the more savory parts of the meal. Trotter was given a huge bone to gnaw on and he took it to a quiet part of the garden to eat it in peace. For a short while, my sadness was forgotten about, until I saw Callum say farewell to Deidre and he and Uncle Farnan went off to the field again. Spring is always busy for farmers as they deal with the birth of new animals, plant new crops that will grow throughout the summer to be harvested in late summer and early autumn. Callum and Deidre embraced each other and kissed, and I missed the arms of Kili around me. I wished he was there with me and not somewhere so far away. Seeing Callum and Uncle Farnan go off to work reminded me so much of my father and my brothers that I missed them so much at that moment, more than I ever had. Why had my life taken such a bad turn? Why did it have to happen to me? Why, for the love of Eru, did I have to survive that orc attack at all and not be with my family? And would I ever be able to recover from this? Would I ever be able to rebuild what had been taken away from me? At that moment in time, my hope for the future was well and truly gone.