Character: Halbarad, Aragorn/Estel, Elrond, Galadriel
Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s woods, his inventions.
Halbarad was given the choice of remaining in Imladris or being escorted back to the Angle, but quietly demurred, “He is my comrade, Lord. If I can serve him, I will.”
Elrond nodded assent, “He will always be our estel… for him to have someone familiar with our ways… will be… fortunate.”
So Halbarad was encouraged to explore the House, to walk the gardens, even hunt the woods, and fish the streams…
Near a deep pool below one of the falls, he realised he was being silently watched… she was tall, stern-faced, a queen among elves…
“M-my Lady”, he stuttered.
“How fare you, Halbarad, son of Haldan?” The shining lady’s voice was in his head.
“Lady.” Awed, he dropped to one knee, “My regrets if I disturbed you.”
“No matter. These are not my woods; I only visit them to see for myself who calls Estel ‘my friend’,” she said aloud.
She approached, her feet barely leaving an imprint.
“Walk with me Halbarad, I would hear you.”
He stumbled up, but soon fell entranced; she was the loveliest being he’d ever seen… perhaps save one… He couldn’t recall afterwards their conversation… only that she bade him look into a pool.
Lord Elrond took wine on his favourite terrace, high up, westward facing, somewhere to contemplate privately, and enjoy the setting sun.
“You saw him?”
“I did”, said a voice behind the column. Lady Galadriel appeared.
“As you suspected, the man loves him… though the thought has not yet truly dawned.”
Elrond nodded over his wine-glass.
“I’d be loath to despatch him…”
Galadriel shook her head, “Estel will not deviate. There may be… dalliances… that given other circumstances might be his future, we know of them already. Let them say ‘my love’ and mean it. He is still our estel.”