Merry, Pippin, Sam
He sat at their regular table in the corner, wrapped in the comfortable smells of the burning fire, the sharp ale and close, warm bodies wrapped in wool.
Four chairs, four pints. Everything was ready.
He smiled as the door burst open and the moonlight gleamed off the green dragon hanging near the door. His friends tumbled into their chairs, laughing, calling his name and thumping his arms with glee.
“Father of four,” they smiled, and “Another son for Samwise! Do you think he’s done?”
“Ah, no,” Pippin said. “He got that earth The Lady gave him all over himself, and now he’s trying to repopulate the Shire.”
Their laughter rang out clear and sweet, and then Merry rose and lifted his tankard.
“First things first - we’ve come to wet the baby’s head.” He gestured forward with his pint, and the others rose and brought theirs up to meet him. “To…”
He hesitated, and all eyes turned to Sam. “We’ve named him Kalimac.”
Merry’s jaw dropped, and his eyes shone. “Fancy that!”
“Get on with it,” Pip prodded, and their pints met with a pleasant clink.
“To Kalimac Gardner! A long life, and merry!”
Four chairs. Four pints.
Three friends drank to good fortune. The fourth chair remained unoccupied, but never empty.