Characters: Young Aragorn/Estel & Young Halbarad
Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s characters... but a bit more Annie...
Estel’s horse kicked up clumps of grassy earth as he urged it away… He’d not look back, not look back… but he did. Halbarad still stood there, the dark silhouette of the cleft mountain looming behind him.
They’d parted after a night of fitful sleep and soft words, speaking farewells that felt final, while each urged the other to be of good cheer, this was a long journey, nothing more. Halbarad had stowed Estel’s gear, when he returned from washing, his pack was readied, waiting.
Estel’s gut clenched as they hugged each other in parting. “Remember” he whispered. Halbarad nodded.
Later, with many leagues behind them, Mithrandir halted for the night under a knoll of trees surrounding a shaded lawn; when he returned from gathering kindling he found Estel turning out his pack.
“Mislaid something?” he enquired, busying himself with flame.
Estel frowned, “I thought I had another shirt, but no matter.”
“You can buy more when you get to Edoras,”
By another campfire, Halbarad lay slightly apart from his fellow rangers, his head on his pack, fingers lightly tracing the stitched ties of the fine lawn shirt he’d tucked inside his own homespun… he would not forget.