Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: Tolkien made this world… Kortirion made this drabble(s)
He’d never seen them come to the village before… probably we are too small: three farms and cots, watermill, blacksmith, a farrier who also mended carts. The inn as such was the other room of the smithy; the brewer shared the mill-house, and the baker shared both… eight interlinked families at the head of the valley who fended for themselves. What were Rangers doing here?
That evening, everyone who could, packed into the smithy’s back room hoping to get a glimpse of the tall, dour men who rode horses with old scars… ‘Came across the mountain…’ the word went round.
He’d seen them ride by, and when he heard they’d stay the night, he finished his chores and was away before his uncle could say ‘no’. Now he sat at the back corner and nursed a mug of cider, trying to edge closer, eager to hear them talk. After all… these were his kinsman too. They all came from Dúnedain stock, some closer than others.
The ranger’s leader was telling tales about riding over the moorlands, seeing trolls at dusk, finding barrows… there’d even been a barrow-wight! He said the company needed young men to come with them, to train.
His heart was gripped; his imagination put him astride a noble steed, fighting orcs, goblins… maybe rescuing a fair maiden. He blushed at his own temerity, or maybe it was the cider! Oh the man had laid emphasis – the life was hard; they’d be empty stomachs and sore feet, wounds, and resentment from others… but the rewards were you’d be part of the age-old company who wore the Grey, you would know your worth; you would defend the right!
They were camped on the riverbank for the night and would leave tomorrow – and he was determined to be with them!
It was a matter of honour he spoke to his uncle… as expected his uncle said ‘no’: you’re too young, you’re needed here; you’ve a bow but no sword… None of it unexpected, none of it deterred him. His parents were dead, his uncle fed and clothed him, in return he worked on the farm… but he knew there was so much more out there!
Before dawn he crept out, taking clothes, blanket, cloak and bow… down through the woodlands, to the riverbank.
Their nightwatch held a knife at his throat.
“Please… I want to come.”
“Your name, boy?”