Characters: Aragorn and Halbarad
Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s characters, Kortirion’s ‘situation’.
Aragorn rubbed his hands together, vainly attempting to warm them. The rain had enough ice about it to make the deluge bitter. He shrugged deeper into his hood, stoic in the face of what he couldn’t control – no point railing against the weather - it was what it was…
The steady thud behind him told him Halbarad had caught up, he half-turned at the soft voice.
“I am more than ready for Butterbur’s hot ale!”
Aragorn nodded, before trudging towards Bree.
“So, gents,” Butterbur greeted them, “Looks like ‘ail out there… youm better off with ale in ‘ere, eh?” He laughed.
Rain steamed off their capes as the two rangers huddled over tankards of mulled ale by the fireside. It was a quiet evening, most folks discouraged from venturing out by the downpour. This meant the small Snug was theirs, they could stretch out tired legs without surly comments about them hogging the fire’s warmth.
Bowls of hot stew, fresh bread, good cheese, and more ale encouraged them to give rein to their appetites. They ate with gusto, mopping the platters clean of every drop of gravy.
“Tell me, when you reign, we’ll eat like this every night,” murmured Halbarad contentedly.
Aragorn threw him a warning glance. Halbarad shrugged,
“We’re alone, nobbut the two of us.”
“E’en so. It’s not something to jest about.”
“Through ‘ere gents.” Butterbur’s genial welcome reached them even through the thick door. They both looked at it expectantly, instantly on their guard, but the muffled footsteps died away. The new guests had been conducted elsewhere.
They relaxed. Aragorn shook his head ruefully. Halbarad reached to take the dúnadan’s hand, giving a comforting squeeze as he entrapped the roughened fingers.
“My Captain… my King,” he whispered softly.
Aragorn paused, the ghost of a smile on his lips.