Challenge; Gardener, Farmer, Innkeeper, Carpenter, Cook.
Characters: Gilraen and Ivorwen.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only, and all rights remain with the estate of JRR Tolkien.
This was one of those times when Gilraen wondered why she had returned to her own people. Life here involved a lot more hard work, and she saw Aragorn so rarely.
But, truth be told, once he was old enough to spend time away from his mother, she had seen less and less of him and mothering him took up less and less time, whilst Imladris ran so efficiently that she had little else to do.
Here she had plenty to occupy her… she picked up the spade again and dug another spadeful of well-rotted manure into the hop bed.
Growing hops for ale was hard enough work, but more gardening than farming. Helping to harvest the barley, though; now that was definitely farming.
She had enjoyed helping sow it in spring, where one of the older men had ploughed, but helping harvest by wielding a scythe was no great pleasure.
Truth to tell she would rather have stood guard at the edge of the field, for she had learnt to handle both bow and sword well in Imladris, but an injured ranger could do that better than this, so she eased her aching back and went back to work.
Ivorwen has missed her daughter’s help during the twenty one missing years. But it was a pleasure to work together now, as they spread the newly sprouting barley out on the malting floor; two strong women, both still in their prime.
Hopefully the fine weather would hold until the newly malted grains were ready to put out for the sun to dry them. And then what a pleasure it would be to work together at the mash to make the beer Dirhael, and now his grandson too, said was a better brew than anything served by the barman at Bree.
The scythe needed a handle. The carpenter had one leg and, he said, was lucky because it, too, had been badly broken when he fell. Gilraen had considered the dangers of orcs and wargs, but those of ice, mud, steep river banks or stumbling horses had not really occurred to her until now.
Her beloved son faced all these; and now she was older, wiser, than when her husband had done likewise. Some nights she lay awake and wished Aragorn still a child, but it was no use, for time could not be reversed, this she had learnt in Imladris.
Sometimes it seemed to Gilraen that Ivorwen still thought of her as only four and twenty. As if her life had stood still from the moment she left the village until the day of her return and she knew no more than she had then.
“Let me show you… this is how to… do it this way…”
It was as if everything she had learnt during those years in Imladris was of no account.
Well… almost everything.
“The messenger says their patrol has been spotted. Show me, daughter, how to make those honey cakes the way Aragorn likes them best.”