Characters: Aragorn/Estel, Elrohir, Elladan
Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: Tolkien – to him belonga all.
“You don’t have to cut your ties with us”, Elladan said quietly to Aragorn as the brothers dismounted at the Dunedain’s settlement.
“I know,” said Aragorn.
“We will always be available, we are still your brothers” murmured Elrohir.
Aragorn nodded, all of a sudden his bravado had left him, and momentarily, he felt very small. He stood still, his horse’s reins sliding through his fingers… it would be very easy to remount and ride hard… back to Imladris… back to what he knew… back to… The sadness he’d see in Arwen’s eyes.
He snatched a breath, tethering his horse firmly.
They were welcomed into the captain’s house; Aragorn would be a foster son to the man until he proved himself able, and willing, to take his father’s role as Chieftain. All negotiations had been completed years ago; this captain had daughters but no sons, and Aragorn being the true heir… There was no conflict; the man might have ambitions for his girls, but no real hopes. He knew of the elvish princess who’d captured the lad’s heart.
“You’ll take food? Let me cut you some meat,” said the eldest, staring hard at Aragorn.
He nodded, but barely glanced at her.
Hours after the meal had ended and most of the curious Rangers were gone to their beds, Elladan and Elrohir sat before the fire’s embers. Heads close, they communed in silence in the elvish manner.
How do you judge he is?
Difficult to say. He tries to cloak his feelings so as not to cause concern.
I sense that too. He wishes to paper over the cracks in his thoughts…
Do we cut that paper?
Should we not?
He thinks himself grown…
Their combined thoughts turned towards the sleeping young Estel, and his fretful spirit eased.
Aragon mumbled sleepily, head filled with tumbling images: trees rushed by, but he’d no horse, was he running? Flying?
Then… the tavern where they’d stayed…
Estel saw the young woman; she looked straight into his eyes, then stole the fine white coat hanging outside the parlour door. She looked… hunted… For an instant, he saw her see him – his miserable, haunted eyes, long plaited hair… She scurried off. He hadn’t told the inn-keeper of the theft.
I didn’t do my duty? Am I cut from my path already?
The brothers’ golden thoughts blanketed Estel’s confusion. He drifted deeper, now dreamless.