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Tales of Life  by Aelaer

In the Aragorn Angst Yahoo Group, weekly prompts are given. The rules are quite simple: tie in the given prompt word in a ficlet less than 500 words. No higher than R, no slash, no Mary Sues. (The word count rule I don't tend to follow that often...)

Though Aragorn is not required in all of them, it is my own personal goal to tie him into every single prompt. So in the following weeks (years, really), you can expect ficlets concerning Aragorn (and many other characters) in many different scenarios. I expect every ficlet will not be above the G or PG rating, and the majority of them will be book-verse with small elements of movie-verse mixed in here and there (not movie events, but perhaps a couple movie-based characteristics... but even then, not that much).

The chapters are labeled in a "Prompt: Fic Title" format, and in the chapter titles I have added which characters participate in the chapter (A, of course, being Aragorn, and vagueness such as "enemies" on purpose).

The challenge started in March 06, and has been going on since then. I have no idea how long these challenges will last, but I will attempt to write a ficlet for every single one of them. In other words, this collection of ficlets will be like the Energizer Bunny: they'll just keep going and going and going. I was going to post these up sooner or later, but Meckinock bullied me into posting them here earlier ;-) Anyways, reviews are much appreciated!

2011 update: I was rather young when I started these prompts, and the first 30 or so are less-than-perfect; they get a bit better after that. I do like these prompts as a bit of a chronology of my improvement as a writer, however, and so they will remain as-is.

Disclaimer: I haven't done one of these in ages... anywho, all canon characters, places, things, and story lines belong to Tolkien and his lovely Estate, any movie elements that may pop up belong to P. Jackson and New Line Cinema, all original characters belong to me, and one day I will buy all rights to Aragorn so I don't have to put up a disclaimer saying I don't own him. Don't worry, I'll share him... maybe. :-)

Chronological Timeline of Stories

Is one of the links wrong or not working? Please leave me a review letting me know which one is busted! Thanks!

Third Age
(For my sanity, this is in Shire Reckoning using our names for the months. Remember that the year began on "2 Yule", ended on "1 Yule", and that each month was 30 days long with 3 days outside the months in between June and July, and the two previously mentioned at the beginning and end of the year).

#31 Touch- Hands

July: #67 Decision- A Safe Haven
July: #59 Secrecy- A New Name

July: #64 Shadow- Brothers

#40 Sick- Wild Child

#70 Green- Healing Herbs

#57 Sky- Gil-Estel

#46 Shy- First Meeting

March: #8 Hidden- Line of Kings
March: #19 Mirror- Heirlooms
March: #12 Time- Forest of Neldoreth
September: #39 Cradle- Looking on the Past
September: #45 Beginnings- Family Reunion
September: #51 Cold- Merendis
November: #24 Dark- Cave-in

#17 Fight- An Average Day

#27 Journey- Down South

#69 Delegation- The Foreign Captain

#53 Buildings- It Is Large

#49 Customs- From the North

January: #22 Water- Fire and Water
March: #32 Stars- Where the Stars are Strange
July: #37 Forest- The Lady of the Wood

April: #2 Rain- Anywhere But Here

May: #41 Road- The Road Home
May: #50 Surprise- The Unexpected
May: #63 Siblings- Reconciliation
October: #3 Riddles- Riddling Games and Riddling Wizards
October: #65 Direction- Advice (Rewrite of #3)

#47 Storm- It Can't Get Any Worse

#11 Hair- Soon

March: #35 Birthday- Everlasting Memories
March: #48 Food- Second Breakfast
March: #52 Wine- Loose Tongues
March: #54 Friendship- A New Name

April: #15 Horses- Horse of the Lady

#18 Shortcut- Through Emyn Muil

January: #7 Alone- Alone in Death
March: #36 Fear- Shadows of the Night
September: #23 Stranger- The Stranger in the Corner
September: #61 Rogue- Stick-at-Naught Strider
October: #21 Home- Thoughts of Home
October: #60 Knife- Morgul-blade
October: #68 Colour- No Purer Gold
October: #16 Trust- Finding Rest
December: #38 Heat- The Forges of Rivendell

February: #26 Duty- East or West?
March: #5 Lack- The Days are Short
March: #9 Experience- Deep Thoughts
March: #34 Enemy- The Palantír
March: #14 Silence- Deafening Silence of the Dark
March: #4 Broken- Fallen
March: #71 Healing- The King's Hands
March: #10 Magic- Hands of a Healer
May: #33 Acceptance- Before the Dawn
May: #6 Outdoors- Old Habits Die Hard
June: #13 Change- Blossom
Lithe: #30 Rest- The Day After Midsummer
July: #42 Peace- The Secret Garden
September: #25 Hunger- A Quick Bite
December: #29 Guest- A Wife's Wrath

April: #73 Garden- New Growth
May: #20 Comfort- Lazy Days 

Fourth Age
Please note that I am using the New Reckoning for this. Each new year starts on T.A.'s March 25th in the New Reckoning, and that the beginning of April (the first month of the year in FA years) was moved to March 26th. March 25th took the place of what was known as 2 Yule in the Shire, and the old March 25th, along with four other dates, did not belong in any months.

January: #72 Life- Birth

#28 Childproof- Terrible Twos

June: #1 Lost- The Quest
August: #43 Cloud- Dragons
September: #58 Prank- Diplomatic Tensions

April: #55 Temper- Toys
October: #62 Celebration- Preparations
February: #66 Wildlife- The Gift

#56 Abandoned- Kitten

February: #44 Gift- Giving Back the Gift

Prompt One: 'Lost'
Ficlet: The Quest
Rating: G
Fourth Age, Minas Tirith

Elessar was in the middle of an important discussion with Prince Imrahil when his office door suddenly slammed open. They both looked up, and they were startled to see a young girl rush into the room, crying. The startled guard at the door gave an apologetic shrug at the prince and the king’s glances. However, their attention was soon back on the sobbing child.

She rushed past Imrahil and clung onto the king’s legs. He picked her up and quickly shushed her, rubbing her back and whispering to her words of comfort. Finally, she quieted, and he looked at her in the eyes.

“What is wrong, penneth?” he asked her, a frown on his face.

“I… I… I lost Elwen, ada!” she cried, and started to sob into the man’s shoulders.

‘Elwen?’ Imrahil mouthed to Elessar as he shushed her once more and rubbed her back.

‘Her doll,’ he mouthed to the prince, and Imrahil nodded, giving the king a small smile. He remembered well when his daughter was young, and often he and his wife had seen episodes such as this.

“Shh, don’t cry, Eleniel,” he whispered to his daughter. “She will turn up.”

“No she won’t!” Eleniel sobbed. “She was kidnapped and now she is gone forever!”

Imrahil made a noise which sounded oddly like he was trying to cough over a laugh, and the king shot him an exasperated look. Imrahil only gave him a helpless shrug, and then he grinned.

“How about you and your adar go on a quest to look for your dol- Elwen,” he quickly amended as Eleniel started to shoot him a withering glare. Then the young princess started to process the thought, and her tears were soon replaced by a smile.

“A quest? Like ada’s quest?” she asked eagerly.

“Yes… well, almost,” said Imrahil with a smile.

Elessar smiled at her daughter, and then glared at the prince. As much as he loved to spend time with his daughter, he did not have the time now to go looking for a missing doll. Suddenly, an idea came to him, and he grinned.

“And Prince Imrahil shall join this quest. Won’t you, Prince Imrahil?” asked the king to the prince.

Imrahil was going to refuse when Eleniel turned her eyes on him. He could not stand her gaze; it was just as beautiful as her mother’s and just as commanding as her father’s. She got the best out of both of them… and he absolutely hated it.

“Of course,” he said with false happiness. Eleniel and Elessar both looked pleased, and Elessar, still holding his daughter, left the office in search of ‘Elwen’, Imrahil trailing behind them reluctantly.

The guard at the door closed the door behind them, and when Elessar turned the corner, he was sure that he heard muffled laughter coming from behind him.

Thanks for the reviews! They are much appreciated :)

Prompt Two: 'Rain'
Ficlet: Anywhere But Here
Rating: G
Third Age, borders of the Shire

He hated the rain.

He really, really hated the rain.

There was an old saying that he heard the Halflings say often during this time of the year: April showers bring May flowers.

Well, those Halflings weren’t stuck crouching in the undergrowth in the middle of the night, with the skies releasing their fury upon you by trying to make you as miserable as possible. He would like to see them try and stick out the night. He bet that they wouldn’t last five minutes in this terrible weather. His frown deepened as he thought about them being all warm and cozy in their little holes right now. What he wouldn’t do to be back with his beloved… As he thought of her, a small smile came to his lips and he forgot about the terrible weather for a moment.

“Miserable weather, isn’t it?”

He jumped and looked to his right, to where another man had just appeared. “Aye, sir,” he said in agreement. “Miserable.”

His Chieftain nodded, and then gave the younger man a look. “Gilorn,” he started, “I have been sitting here for a few minutes and you did not even blink an eye in my direction. You know that inattentiveness could be your downfall.”

Gilorn was happy that it was dark, for he did not want his Chieftain to see him blush. “Of course, sir,” he said. “I was just thinking.”

“About how you’d rather be anywhere but here?”

The younger man hesitated, and then gave a small nod. To his amazement, the Chieftain broke out in a grin.

“Aye, as would I, and all of us,” he said with a small nod, drawing his hood closer. “Take some rest; I shall do the rest of the watch.”

“Are you sure, sir?”

“Quite,” he responded with a smile. “There should be a spot near Halbarad where it is a bit drier. Get some rest, and dream of warmer places.”

Gilorn nodded, stood up, and left his Chieftain crouching in the bushes. Aragorn stared after the young man, looked up at the sky, and tried to make himself comfortable. As it started to rain harder, only one thought was on his mind.

He hated the rain.

Prompt Three: 'Riddles'
Ficlet: Riddling Games and Riddling Wizards
Rating: G
Somewhere in Eriador, T.A. 3001

He was not surprised when a tall figure stepped out of the shadows of the wood. Nodding a greeting, he invited the man to sit with him beside the fire. The newcomer smiled, and lowered himself upon a log across from the other. He took out a wooden pipe and looked expectantly at the other.

“Well, Gandalf?” he said with a raised brow. “Will you not offer your guest some pipeweed?”

Gandalf chuckled in response. “Pipeweed? Do not tell me you have run out so soon, Aragorn! Did you not just buy some in Bree a couple weeks ago?”

Aragorn nodded. “I did, but I lost it when- wait,” he suddenly paused, “how did you know I was in Bree?”

“Butterbur’s eldest, Barliman,” replied the wizard as he handed Aragorn a small pouch of weed. “He’s quite afraid of you, you know.”

Aragorn gave a grim smile. “Many are afraid of me, Gandalf. It is unfortunately too common. But never mind that,” he said as he lit his pipe. “Tell me why you called me out here.”

“Times are changing,” Gandalf said, lowering his voice. “I was just in the Shire, at Bilbo Baggins’ eleventy-first birthday. There were events there that have made me restless and uneasy. I have suspicions that could prove fatal if they turn out to be true. I am in need of your aid.”

Aragorn nodded. “Of course. Whatever I can do, I shall do it.”

“I need help in finding the creature Gollum.”

The other frowned for a moment. “Gollum? Do you mean that creature whom Bilbo won a magic ring from?”

“Yes, him,” he replied. “That very creature who… gave that ring to Bilbo as a prize.” ‘Gave indeed,’ thought Gandalf with a slight frown. He was one of few who knew the true story of Bilbo, Gollum, and the Riddle Game. “As it is, Gollum has been missing for many a year now; he must be found. My heart tells me that he knows many things that can help answer some questions.”

Aragorn’s frown deepened as Gandalf continued. “I also need you to double your guard around the Shire’s borders. If my suspicions are correct, then all men you have to spare will be needed.”

Aragorn was still for a moment, and then nodded. “Give me a few weeks; I must go and tell Halbarad that I will be absent, and I will have him prepare men. But tell me, Gandalf, what is all this? What does Gollum have to offer, and what lies in the Shire that causes you to fear so?”

Gandalf shook his head. “All shall be revealed in due time. But for now, you must be satisfied with what information I can give you.”

They stared at one another, and finally Aragorn relented. “It shall be as you wish,” he agreed. “But oh! how I wish that you did not speak in riddles all the time!”

The wizard’s laughter broke through the silence of the dark clearing.

Thanks for everyone who is reading, and extra kudos to those who take their time to review! Each review is highly appreciated :-)

It was very difficult to do this one. I hope I did this scene justice.

Prompt Four: Broken
Ficlet: Fallen
Rating: PG
Fields of Pelennor; After the battle

He found him, but part of him wished that he hadn’t. For with discovery the edging doubt in the back of his mind disappeared; if had never found him, that doubt would always be there, and that would be a small comfort. However, now he knew the truth, and oh! how bitter that truth was.

He was not sure how it had happened. They were quickly surrounded by the Enemy; hundreds, if not thousands of them, were all around them, and already many were dead upon the field, both friend and foe. The chances of victory had been slim, but somehow they had succeeded, and had won that day.

But at such a terrible price.

Aragorn fell to his knees as he looked upon the broken staff that bore the standard, and right beside it, his kinsman. Halbarad’s eyes were closed, and though his body was covered in dark, drying blood, his face was at peace. He gently brushed a strand of hair out of his face, and stared at him, all comprehension of time gone. He was lost within his own thoughts as he remembered all of his times with him; the first time they had met, the patrols they had gone on together, the times where they had comforted one another… Halbarad’s wedding, the birth of his children, and grandchildren… Halbarad’s encouraging words in times of doubt and despair… oh, how would he live without him?

He felt a tear escape his bloodshot eyes and fall upon his knees. But suddenly, an unknown strength came to him. Right now was not a time to weep. Nay; there were other things to do. He could mourn for his lost kinsman later.

The heir of Isildur stood, taking the body and the standard into his arms. Halbarad’s sacrifice will not be in vain. They would conquer the Dark Lord, and the dead would be able to rest in peace, knowing that their sacrifice was worth it.

This one was a bit more challenging to come up with, for how could I possibly tie the word ‘lack’ with Aragorn? I mean, Aragorn doesn’t lack anything; he’s perfect! ;) Anyways, I went to The Book, and a bunny latched onto my leg very, very quickly. I also noticed that Aragorn has a bit of a temper when he’s tired. Aww… no wonder I love book!Aragorn so much. He’s stern, he’s sarcastic, and he’s cranky. What’s not to love? ;)

Prompt Five: Lack
Ficlet: The Days are Short
Rating: G
March 6th, Gap of Rohan

Two messages came to him, and both were from people he admired and loved. The first was brought by Elrohir, from Elrond: ‘The days are short. If thou art in haste, remember the Paths of the Dead.’ The second was brought by Halbarad, and was from his own beloved: ‘The days now are short. Either our hope cometh, or all hopes end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!

Both Arwen and her father he trusted, and knew that they were wise; Elrond was old, and has seen many things, and Arwen had the wisdom of her ancestors. And indeed, their messages had only confirmed his own, dark thought: the days are short. Very short, with not much time to lose. But what was he supposed to do?

The rest of Arwen’s message had not given him much more insight. She had sent him something of her making, something that would be revealed to the world at a later date. Though it had not helped solve his problem, it had given him much hope. It was Elrond’s message, however, that left him puzzled.

Remember the Paths of the Dead.’ He knew well what the Paths of the Dead were, but to travel upon that road was an invitation for death. But of course, this was not the first time that it was prophesized that he would go upon that path. Nay, Lady Galadriel had also seen what lies before him: ‘But dark is the path appointed for thee: The Dead watch the road that leads to the Sea.’ And indeed, hundreds upon hundreds of years earlier, Malbeth the Seer had prophesized the same thing: ‘From the North shall he come, need shall drive him: he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.’ It seemed as if every road led to that dark path.

But nay; he would not travel that road, not until he knew that there was no other choice. He would travel upon that road only when he knew that the days were too short for all other options.

He thought about the palantír, which lay in a sack within his keeping. To decide what he must do, he had to master the Stone and see his options. He had to know what else threatened Gondor, and if indeed there were any other choices. And when he found what he needed to know, he would decide his path. Things were now unfolding very quickly.

Aye, the days were short indeed.

Elrond’s and Arwen’s words are from ‘The Passing of the Grey Company’ of The Return of the King. Malbeth the Seer’s prophecy is an excerpt from the full prophecy, also found in ‘The Passing of the Grey Company’. Galadriel’s words are from her full message to Aragorn in ‘The White Rider’ in The Two Towers.

This one was hard; I couldn't think of a story for the longest time (because I wanted to do something unique), and it was difficult to cut it down to 500 words. In the end, I cut it down to exactly 500 words without the title *grin* I think it's not the smoothest it can be, but I like it well enough. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy :)

Prompt Six: 'Outdoors'
Ficlet: Old Habits Die Hard
Rating: G
Third Age, Minas Tirith

He would be one of the first to admit that Elessar intrigued him. When he had seen him first in the Houses of Healing, he had thought him a noble and just man. He was surprised that he would serve him as Steward, but the thought gladdened him; he wanted to learn more about the king, and he would certainly have plenty of contact with him as Steward of Gondor.

However, some of his habits and preferences were definitely a bit odd. Faramir had heard from wagging tongues that the king did not let his esquire dress him, and that he often lit his own hearth or went to the kitchens to serve himself an early breakfast. One of his odder habits was his tendency to smoke westmansweed, or pipe-weed as he called it. It was supposedly a very common habit in the North.

Faramir rapped upon the door of the king's office, and he heard Elessar call him in. He opened the door, and looked around; it was once his father's office, and like his father, the office had been dark, but organized and very clean. The king's office could be considered the exact opposite. The curtains were pulled open to let in the sunlight, and piles of books and papers were all over the place. The large desk at the end of the room was unoccupied; instead, Elessar was lounging in a cushioned chair right next to a window, reading a document. He looked up at Faramir and immediately smiled.

"Faramir! What a pleasure," he said, standing up and letting the document fall onto the chair. "What brings you here?"

"Sire," said Faramir with a bow, but Elessar shook his head.

"No formalities necessary; Aragorn would do just as well."

"Aragorn, then," said Faramir with a smile. "I wanted to inform you that the report on the damage to the city walls has been completed." He handed the king the document. "In it should be included what exactly needs to be done in each area."

"Good," responded Elessar. He glanced over it, nodded in satisfaction, and set it down on his desk. He then walked over once more to the cushioned chair and looked outside. "I never thought I'd miss it," he muttered.

"Pardon?" Faramir asked.

The king nodded towards the window. "Out there. A large portion of my life I've been outside. Often I wished to be indoors and to never sleep outside again. Now that I am here, I am wishing to be outside again."

Faramir nodded; for the last month he had been indoors, whether he was recuperating from his wounds from the war or doing state business. He had rarely had any time to go outside, and now that he was Steward, he knew he would not be leading the Rangers through Ithilien ever again.

"Aye," the younger man responded quietly. "I know exactly what you mean."

When he left the king's office, Faramir supposed that the king really wasn't that odd at all.

Not a very hard one to come up with, as Aragorn is alone much of the time; the challenge is to execute it out well ;) The name of the ficlet has a bit of a double-meaning.

Prompt Seven: 'Alone'
Ficlet: Alone in Death
Rating: PG
Third Age, the Ephel Duath

"Into what deadly perils he had gone alone I dare not guess." ... "If a man must needs walk in sight of the Black Gate, or tread the deadly flowers of Morgul Vale, then perils he will have."

In the still, dead land, a tall shadow made his way through the mist. Smoky tendrils came to meet him as he stumbled further along his jagged path on the slopes of the Ephel Duath. His weary feet stumbled over loose stones and twisted brambles. For days he had been searching through this living nightmare, with little food or water to keep him nourished, his strength deteriorating as every hour passed. Only his determination kept him from leaving this barren waste, and his fear of discovery kept him from stopping for too long.

He had been almost discovered quite a few times. Though there were no orcs looking for him, the amount of orcs roaming these lands was much more than even he had anticipated. He had been here over thirty years ago when he was a captain in Gondor, and even back then orcs were not nearly this numerous. But now, they were crawling all over the place, infecting all land that they covered.

Aragorn found himself falling once more, and this time he could not catch himself. His body landed on the uneven, rocky ground, and his hands were torn when he tried to stop himself. He lay there for a moment, wondering why he was in this barren wasteland. Should he not be back in Eriador, helping his men fight off the evil that was spreading there? Why was he here, trying to find a creature that was impossible to find?

'Because you told Gandalf that you would,' he thought to himself. 'Because it is my duty to do so.'

With that in mind, he took a deep breath, pushed himself off the ground, and continued forward once more. He would stop at nothing to fulfill his duty and find this Gollum; he would search for him everywhere... even if it meant his death.

Not at all hard to come up with; I just had to find time to write it XD It does go over the word limit, though... I could have cut it shorter if I had wished, but I loved putting in that history part, so I really didn't want to. Ah well *grin*

'But when Estel was only twenty years of age, it chanced that he returned to Rivendell after great deeds in the company of the sons of Elrond; and Elrond looked at him and was pleased, for he saw that he was fair and noble and was early come to manhood, though he would yet become greater in body and in mind. That day therefore Elrond called him by his true name, and told him who he was and whose son; and he delivered to him the heirlooms of his house.' ROTK, Appendix A, Part V.

Prompt Eight: Hidden
Ficlet: Line of Kings
Rating: G
Year 2951, Rivendell

The young man approached the door, knocked, and waited. A voice from inside the room called for him to enter, and he stepped inside Elrond's private library. The elf-lord, one he had known as a father for eighteen years, was sitting behind his desk, deep in thought. Elrond looked up, and when he saw him, he smiled.

"You have changed, Estel," he said.

The young man smiled at the comment, and replied, "We were only gone for a few months, adar."

"Yet you have changed, nevertheless," Elrond rebutted, offering his foster son a seat. Estel gladly took it, for he had not had the chance to rest just yet. When he and his older brothers had returned to Imladris after months of scouring the lands for orcs and other foul creatures, his father had asked him to see him as soon as he had cleaned himself up. Quickly he had greeted his mother, washed himself, had a quick bite to eat, and within a quarter of an hour he was ready to see what Elrond wanted with him.

Elrond could tell that his son was weary, but this had to be done. Estel was ready to hear about his name and his hidden ancestry.

"You know of Eärendil and his sons," started Elrond. Estel, clearly surprised by this question, nodded. "You know that I am his son, and that my twin brother, Elros, chose to be mortal and was the first king of Númenor." The young man nodded once more, and the elf continued. "The line of Elros continued on, even after Númenor was destroyed. Elendil and his sons came to Middle-earth and fought alongside Gil-galad in the Last Alliance against Sauron. After Elendil and his sons were dead, the lines of Isildur and Anárion continued on in Arnor and Gondor. By the year 2050 of this age, the line of Anárion is gone, and the rule of the kings ended there. Seventy-five years before, the realm of Arnor fell and King Arvedui was lost." Estel nodded once again; he did not know why Elrond was telling him this, for all of this he knew.

Elrond continued. "However, Arvedui had a son, and his line continued on. Even to this day, an heir to Isildur remains in hiding, for the Enemy is ever on the lookout to destroy the last heirs of the man who brought him his downfall." It was then that he looked at his foster-son straight in the eye. "Isildur's hidden heir is young still; he has just reached manhood, but is strong and wise for his age. He was two when his father died, and ever since then he has been in hiding. For eighteen years he has been hidden from the world, and for eighteen years he has not been called by his true name." Elrond saw slow realization come to Estel's face, but there was still a hint of disbelief; he would not think it true until Elrond completed his speech.

"His name is Aragorn... and he is you," he finally said. Estel was staring at him in shock, and truly the elf could not blame him. But he was not yet done.

"You are Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir of Isildur and the line of kings," he said. "We are distant kin, for you are also an heir of Elros." He then opened a chest that was on his desk, and took out two of the three items within it. He gave Estel, now Aragorn, the ring of Barahir and the shards of Narsil, but withheld the Sceptre of Annúminas.*

"Now go and rest," he said to Aragorn. "You have much to think about. We can talk more about this later."

The man was still for a moment, but finally, he nodded and left the room with his heirlooms.

Elrond sighed and sat down. This would be a heavy burden for the young man, and it would remain a burden for many years to come. However, if he could overcome his burden and succeed in fulfilling his destiny, he saw great, great things in store for him. But if he did not, then it could very well mean the doom of mankind.

He could only wait, and hope.

*Full dialogue of this scene can be found in Appendix A, Part V, of Return of the King.

Experience... I could not think of a ficlet for this prompt. Aragorn has had so many experiences, what could I write that could be really good? Finally, since I couldn't think up of anything specific, I instead gave into Meckinock's, erm, suggestion of writing a palantír fic. This one was difficult, so here's for hoping it turned out good. Here we go!

Prompt Nine: Experience
Ficlet: Deep Thoughts
Rating: PG
March 6th, the Hornburg

"'He has neither rested nor slept, I think. He went thither some hours ago, saying that he must take thought, and only his kinsman, Halbarad, went with him; but some dark doubt or care sits on him.'" -The Passing of the Grey Company

Halbarad silently watched Aragorn, who sat still in a chair with a small, covered item in his lap. He had followed his kinsman into the Burg, though he was not sure if Aragorn had even noticed him, so deep in his thoughts he was. For a long time he had just sat in that chair, looking down at the round object in his possession. Halbarad was not exactly sure what it was, but he knew that it brought his kinsman great doubt.

Finally, Aragorn stirred. He looked up and stared Halbarad straight in the eye. "Is there a reason you followed me?"

"Someone must look after you," said Halbarad with a small smile, but then he became serious. "Truly, Aragorn, I came out of concern. You are weary, and something is bringing grim thoughts to your mind. Tell me, what ails you? Is it something to do with that?" he asked, indicating to the covered object he had.

Aragorn did not speak at first, but after a moment, he said, "You know me well, Halbarad. Indeed, dark thoughts do plague me, and they are related to this."

Halbarad nodded, but he was still not satisfied. "What exactly is it?"

Aragorn sighed, and said quietly, "It is the Stone of Orthanc; one of the palantíri."

"A palantír!" said Halbarad, astonishment upon his face. "But how came you by it?"

"It was thrown from Orthanc after our encounter with Saruman, and Gandalf gave it to me once he went off to Minas Tirith with Pippin," he answered. "And now I intend to look into it and reveal myself to Sauron."

Halbarad was about to argue when Aragorn interrupted him. "Nay! Do not try to deter me, kinsman. I have thought about this for many a long hour, and I am not to change my mind. If I can master the Stone, I may see other threats that could change my road. I have made my choice."

The two Dúnedain stared at one another in the eye, Aragorn's face determined, Halbarad's grim. Finally, the latter of the two relented, and his face softened.

"Very well, then," Halbarad said quietly. "I have trusted your judgment before, and you have not failed me yet."

Aragorn gave a small smile to Halbarad, but became grim once more as he looked at the covered Stone. Taking a deep breath, he looked to Halbarad one last time, and when his kinsman nodded, his features hardened and he uncovered the palantír.

Another hard one to execute; one could use magic easily with elves or someone such as Gandalf, but how could I do it with Aragorn? Suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. After a small bit of research, I was ready to write. And, I must say, it was a lot of fun to write. Some RL stuff delayed it, but I am satisfied.

“‘Would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.’” -The Houses of Healing

Prompt Ten: Magic
Ficlet: Hands of a Healer
Rating: G
March 15th, Minas Tirith

“Men came and prayed that he would heal their kinsmen or their friends whose lives were in peril through hurt or would, or who lay under the Black Shadow. And Aragorn arose and went out, and... laboured far into the night. And word went through the City: ‘The King is come again indeed.’” -The Houses of Healing

Aragorn was tired; long he had tended to the people of Minas Tirith, who begged for his aid. After he had left the Houses of Healing, men had followed him and prayed for his help. He had then come among the people- his people- and started to tend them.

Once it had been found that he had used the plant kingsfoil in order to heal those that lay in the Houses of Healing, a few had come to him with the plant for his use. This had helped greatly in some cases, for there were others who lay deeply under the Black Shadow and needed athelas in order to come back to the world of the living.

It seemed that he would need it once again. Aragorn had been led to a house on the third level of the City by an older man who claimed that his son was inflicted with the Black Breath. Aragorn listened quietly as the despairing father described his son's condition and pleaded with him to try and help.

"I shall do what I can," Aragorn had quietly replied, and had said no more.

Now, he sat beside the sick young man, who was heavily under the Black Shadow. He was not nearly as bad as his patients in the Houses of Healing had been, but without treatment this man would surely die within the next couple of days.

"What is his name?" Aragorn asked the father.

"Caunén," he replied softly, but could say no more.

Aragorn nodded, and returned his attention to the young man. Caunén looked deathly pale, and one could see that he was having an inner struggle. He put a hand upon Caunén's brow, and then Aragorn began to softly call for him. As he called, the father prepared a bowl of steaming water, as he had been directed to earlier.

After a few minutes of calling to the young soldier, he bade the father to come and bring him the steaming water. Aragorn then crushed a single leaf of athelas, and breathed upon it. Immediately the small room they were in was filled with a lovely scent that brought hope to the anxious father. Smiling, Aragorn removed his hand from Caunén's forehead, and put the young man's hand into his father's.

"Call to him," Aragorn bade him, "and he shall return. The worst has passed."

"Oh, bless you, bless you, my lord!" said the father with a newfound joy. He then sat beside his son, and began to call to him. As Aragorn left the house, he heard Caunén finally stirring, and a small, satisfied smile came to his face.

Suddenly, he felt a wave of weariness come upon him, but Aragorn quickly willed it to pass. There were still more to tend, and he would only stop when he could labor no more.

With that thought in mind, he stepped out of the house, and followed another to tend to one who needed the healing hands of the king.

Prompt Eleven: Hair
Ficlet: Soon
Rating: G
Eriador, Late 3006

In a small room a man slept, oblivious to the fact that he was not the only one in the room. At the doorway, a grey-haired woman watched as he quietly breathed in and out, relaxed and unaware of her gaze upon him.

He looks just like him, she thought. She then quietly approached him, and careful to not disturb him, sat on the edge of his bed. She gently lowered her hand upon the top of his head, and as she gently stroked his hair with her thumb, an old, forgotten memory suddenly came upon her...

"Is he asleep?" Arathorn walked over to his young wife, who smiled and nodded.

"He finally calmed down," she whispered, gently stroking his hair. "He looks just like you," she commented. "One could never mistake him for being another's son."

"Mayhap in appearance, but his disposition makes him clearly your child," said Arathorn with a smile. She returned the smile, and then faced her sleeping child again. The two were content to stand in silence as she gently stroked her son's hair.

"I shall leave soon," Arathorn whispered. "There has been news of orcs near the High Pass, and the sons of Elrond have requested the help of the Dúnedain. It shan't take too long, hopefully. However, I plan to leave tomorrow night, at the latest. I just wait for Elrond's sons to arrive."

Gilraen nodded, saddened by this news. She always feared when her husband went riding against orcs, afraid that he would not return. "Be sure to be careful," she said.

"Of course, my love," he replied, gently kissing her on the brow. "Now, I go to sleep. Be sure not to stay up too late." Gilraen nodded, and Arathorn left to their bedroom.

He never did return from that last conquest. She still remembered when Elrond's sons had delivered the news; she remembered the complete grief she had felt, and the fear for her son, the last heir of Isildur. It was for him that she had left her people and had taken refuge in Elrond's house.

Suddenly, she realized that Aragorn's eyes were open, and that he had a gentle smile on his face. He obviously had felt her stroking his head- once he became a warrior, he had always been a light sleeper, unlike the heavy sleeper he had been as a child.

"Good evening, Mother," he said quietly.

"Good evening," she replied. She stroked his hair one last time, and then stood up. "My apologies for waking you. I shall leave you to sleep."

"I do not mind," he said, as if he understood her. She simply shook her head, and turned towards the open door. As she spared one last glance at her grown son, she smiled sadly. How he looked like Arathorn... from his tall, tanned body, to his dark, wavy hair. Oh, how she missed her husband.

But she knew that she would join him soon. Soon enough, she'd see him once more.


"This is our last parting, Estel, my son. I am aged by care, even as one of lesser Men... I shall leave it soon.' ... And Aragorn went away heavy of heart. Gilraen died before the next spring." -Appendix A, Tale of Aragorn and Arwen.

This certain ficlet was a bit difficult to write because I retold a scene which Tolkien described very well: the meeting of Aragorn and Arwen. However, I am 99.9% sure I didn't copy any direct text, other than the poem, of course.

So, I'm hoping that you all will still enjoy this shorter ficlet, even though it's a scene we all know well. Reviews especially appreciated on this one, since it's the retelling of a very famous (and already detailed) meeting.

Prompt: Time
Fic: Forest of Neldoreth
Rating: G
Year 2951, Forest of Rivendell

Alone he walked the woods of Rivendell, and he sang his heart out to the world. His being was filled with happiness; just yestereve he had discovered that he was not Estel, son of an unknown father, but that he was Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir of Isildur and Chieftain of the Dúnedain. This discovery made him proud and his heart light.
And so the young man sang in the woods a melody he knew well: The Lay of Lúthien.
  ... He saw the elven-flowers spring
  About her feet, and healed again
  He longed by her to dance and sing
  Upon the grass untroubling.
  Again she fled, but swift he came.
  Tinúviel! Tinúviel!
  He called her by her elvish name;
  And there she halted listening.
  One moment stood she, and a spell
  His voice laid on her: Beren came,
  And doom fell on Tinúviel
  That in his arms lay glistening.

As he was about to go onto the next verse, he halted: he suddenly saw a maiden, fair even as the maiden Lúthien herself. It was as if he had stepped back in time, as if he were Beren, spying upon the beautiful Tinúviel in the forest of Neldoreth. He watched as she walked among the birches, her dark tresses straying in the wind, and her grey eyes shining with a bright elven-light. He watched this lovely vision of Lúthien silently, but he feared that she would pass out of his sight and that he would never see her again.
"Tinúviel, Tinúviel!" he cried to her.
She happened not to be Lúthien, but the daughter of Elrond. To Aragorn, it did not matter; from that moment on, he knew that he loved Arwen Undómiel, and would unto his dying day.

Note: The original scene of this can naturally be found in Tolkien’s Appendices of LOTR. The only direct lines from there are “Tinúviel, Tinúviel”, and the Lay of Lúthien/Leithian, whichever you prefer, and can be found in Book I of FOTR. Otherwise this scene is a complete retelling and I was careful not to take any direct lines from Tolkien’s version while still maintaining canon and the flow :-)

Prompt Thirteen: Change
Fic: Blossom
Rating: G
Late June, 3019

A bright summer sun set down on the distant horizon, its last rays of light shining upon the White City. The dimming light caused the long shadows to lengthen ever more as the sun sank lower and lower. As Anor's last rays began to disappear on the horizon, a lone figure exited from the Citadel, and quickly walked through the Court of the Fountain. He suddenly stopped in the middle of the courtyard, right near the newly-found sapling of the line of Nimloth the fair.

The King sat himself upon the bench next to the young sapling, and gazed thoughtfully at it. It was around three feet high, and already the sapling was in bloom. This little tree, it was the symbol of a new Age, a sign that things were going to change all for the better; it was the sign that he had been looking for.

His gaze turned from the sapling and to the North, where lay Pelennor Fields, the Rammas Echor, and beyond that, something that would change his life forever.

Well, someone, that is. Yes, she would be here very, very soon, and her coming would mark great change to everyone.

As the sun finally set over the horizon, and the last light of day disappeared, a smile came upon his face. Long has Gondor been without a queen; a great change it will be for the country... and for him.

He was ready for it.

Prompt Fourteen: Silence
Ficlet: Deafening Silence of the Dark
Rating: G
March 8th, Paths of the Dead

'"Keep your hoards and your secrets hidden in the Accursed Years! Speed only we ask. Let us pass, and then come! I summon you to the Stone of Erech!" There was no answer, unless it were an utter silence more dreadful than the whispers before; and then a chill blast came in which the torches flickered and went out, and could not be rekindled.' -ROTK, The Passing of the Grey Company

Deep within the Mountain, Aragorn called out to the Dead, and summoned them to the Stone of Erech. He was not sure what he should look for as an answer, and simply waited for a response. There was none; instead, this deafening silence took hold of the area, and with this silence came this unseen horror that assaulted him with the force of a thousand men. Nevertheless, he let not his fear show upon his face; all of his company looked up to him, and if he showed any fear, then the party would collapse.

All of a sudden, the torches were blown out by a swift wind, and everything was covered in a deep darkness. In this complete darkness, the silence was even more oppressing, and then he felt another presence. Beforehand, he had heard only whispers and barely felt it, but now, it was almost overwhelming. There were not only living present in this vast space anymore.

And to confirm his suspicions, he heard a small whisper in his ear. "They have come. They will follow," said Legolas. He could not see him, but he could hear the slight astonishment in his voice. There was no fear, however. Immortal beings did not fear the Dead, and were not greatly affected by their presence, or their dark and horrifying silence.

Aragorn nodded, though he knew that even the elf could not see him in such profound darkness. The Dead were here; they had responded to his call, and they would follow him to Erech. Finally, he broke the silence that encompassed the company, and started walking again. His company followed him, and behind them were the Dead, who would finally fulfill their oath.

Now, there really is not much on the relationship of Aragorn and Arwen in everyday settings. We see them when they meet, when they wed, when Aragorn dies, and a couple other instances, but we really don't seem them together in everyday life. Since there is so little on it in the books, this could be considered fanon. But this is just my own interpretation of their everyday relationship with one another.

Not completely satisfied with the ending, but I hope you all enjoy it anyways :)

Prompt 15: Horses
Fic: The Horse of the Lady
Rating: G
Imladris, 3011 Third Age

"Are your eyes closed?"


"Good. Now keep them closed. No peeking!"

"Of course."

Arwen smiled, and gently she took her beloved's hands. She led the man out of her room, through the hallways, down the stairs, and all the way out of the Last Homely House. Aragorn let his beloved lead him, a small smile on his face. As they stepped out of the building, and he felt the soft grass on his feet, he asked, "Where are we going?"

"You shall see," she answered mysteriously.

They went through the area surrounding the Last Homely House. Arwen led him through the gardens and followed a wide path that went to the stables of Rivendell. She took him through the open doors, and was satisfied to see that his eyes were still closed.

Aragorn could smell and hear horses, and his curiosity grew; what in the world were they doing in the stables? He was led past a few horse stalls, until finally Arwen stopped in front of one. She turned him around to face one of the stalls, and then he finally heard her say, "All right. Open your eyes, Estel."

He opened them, and he saw before him a tall gelding in front of him. The horse was proud and strong, and obviously intelligent. He eyed Aragorn with cautious curiosity, still unsure if this strange man was friend or foe. Gently Aragorn raised a hand to the horse's ear, whispering in Sindarin. The horse immediately calmed down, and Aragorn started to scratch him behind the ear.

"He's beautiful," Aragorn murmured, moving his hand from the horse's ear to his forehead. The horse was now completely relaxed, and was glancing at Aragorn through half-lidded eyes.

"And he's yours," said Arwen with a smile. Aragorn turned abruptly to look at her, a surprised look on his face. "I heard about your last horse through my brothers," she explained, "and your birthday was but a month ago. Think this as but a birthday gift, if you wish," she ended with a smile.

Aragorn let his hand fall from the horse, and he took Arwen's hands in his. "Thank you, Arwen," he said, and looked once more at the horse. "He shall be named Roheryn, after my own beloved lady," he spoke, and then caught his love in a kiss.

This came to me after I was rereading some chapters from FOTR. I don't think I've done a prompt from FOTR, so this is a good place to start.

As it is, this prompt also features Sam. I never thought I was really good with Sam, so I really hope you all think I did him correctly. To me, he is one of the more challenging characters to really write. Well, here's for hoping!

Prompt 16: Trust
Fic: Finding Rest
Rating: G
Rivendell, very early morning; October 24th, 3018

"'Don't despair!' said Strider. 'You must trust me now.'" -FOTR, Flight to the Ford

It was late, and midnight had come and passed a few hours ago. In the early hours of the morning, Samwise Gamgee was desperately trying to stay awake. Just a couple of hours ago, a small shard of the Morgul blade had finally been found and removed from Frodo's shoulder, and finally it seemed that he was getting better. There was now a bit of warmth in his left arm, and Sam could see that his master's breathing was deeper and more relaxed. However, Sam wanted to stay up the whole night, just in case something happened.

He was startled when he heard someone behind him. Blinking the sleep out of his eyes, the hobbit turned around and saw that Strider was standing in the doorway, a gentle smile on his face.

"Still awake, Sam?"

"Of course," the hobbit replied, as if anything else was unthinkable. "Someone needs to look after Mr. Frodo, sir, and I know just what he needs."

"Of course," said Strider, his smile widening. "However, you do need some rest. You haven't slept for two days, and even then you still have not recovered all of the strength you spent on the trek from Bree."

"Begging your pardon, Mr. Strider, but I don't feel right comfortable leaving Mr. Frodo alone," explained Sam. "While I'm sure that Master Elrond did a fine job on his shoulder, he still may need something during the night."

"I shall watch over him," said Strider. "That is, of course, if you trust me," he added, a queer smile on his face.

"Oh, yes, I do!" Sam stuttered, a slight blush coming to his face. "Begging your pardon, sir, but you were not so inviting back in Bree, if you take my meaning, but you were true and did get Mr. Frodo here to Rivendell and all-"

"Peace, Sam," said Strider. "I jest only. I do appreciate it that you do trust me, however," he added, a smile softening his features.

Sam stopped talking, and merely nodded. "Well, you helped Mr. Frodo, and that is good enough for me," said Sam. Suddenly, he yawned.

"Get some rest, Master Samwise," said Strider. "I shall watch over Frodo."

Sam bit his lip, and finally he nodded in agreement. "Wake me up if you want to sleep, or if anything happens to him." Strider nodded, and Sam left the room and Frodo with Strider, thus showing how much he now trusted this mysterious man.

"'Sam never quite trusted him, I think.' ... Gandalf smiled. 'I have heard all about Sam,' he said. 'He has no more doubts now.'" -FOTR, Many Meetings

It's been over a month since I've updated this; I was very busy in July with my Shakespeare play, Comic Con, and preparing more for the arrival of my little sister. My muses also decided to take a vacation, and while they are still not back, I thought it was high time that I posted something again. My apologies for the delay.

Now, I hate writing fight scenes. I personally don't think I can write them to save my life. Thus, this is very good practice for me XD Anyways, good or bad, I hope you all enjoy. This is the first time in probably a year where I have written an actual battle, so I hope it's satisfactory. This one is also a bit over the limit of 500 words, but I had to get it all out :)

Note: Many fan fiction writers have taken that Halbarad is Aragorn's cousin, and while in LOTR he is only called a "kinsman", I also view him as a cousin and call him such. I don't think that's straying too far from book-canon :)

Prompt 17: Fight
Fic: An Average Day
Rating: PG
The Wilds of Eriador, 2955 TA

The large band of orcs trudged their way through the woods, slashing and hacking at all wildlife in their way. The old path had overgrown in the last dozen years; the Battle of the Five Armies had greatly depleted their numbers. However, within the last few years they have been growing in numbers and in strength unseen in a long time. Darkness was beginning to grow once more, and these creatures instinctively knew it. With this growth in darkness came a growth in their confidence, and now large bands of them were roaming the wilds of Eriador, causing death and destruction wherever they went.

However, the orcs knew that there were those who fought against them. Rumors of elves were spread among their ranks, and then there were these Rangers that were mortal, but were just as silent and deadly as the First-born. These orcs hated these elf-like men, and gladly killed any such men that came across their path.

This particular horde of these foul creatures were confident that none would attack them, however. They were a good four dozen, at the least, and they knew that these Rangers traveled in solitude or in small groups, and that they were far enough away from elven territory to not worry about them. They believed that they were free to do whatever they pleased.

They were wrong.

Of a sudden, there was a loud whistle, and suddenly arrows flew from the tops of the trees. The orcs shrieked in terror and in anger, and by the time that they even realized what was happening, already a good few had fallen. Just as a few of the quicker ones were drawing their weapons, men burst from the undergrowth, swords swinging and flashing.

Once Aragorn had seen the arrows fly, he had been quick to give a piercing whistle, which had summoned his men on the ground to leave their places and attack. They caught the orcs completely by surprise, which gave them the advantage that they needed to defeat this large band. While orcs weren't the most intelligent of creatures, they could be deadly in numbers, and unfortunately there simply weren't enough men for Aragorn to summon in time to help get rid of this group.

He leapt out of the brush and immediately decapitated an orc near him. He ducked as another swung for his head, but quickly recovered himself and stabbed the orc through the stomach. He pulled the blade out and did not bother to watch the creature die as he went onto his next foe.

All around him, men were fighting with these beasts. He glanced at his kinsman, Halbarad, who was currently fighting off three of the creatures. Slipping a blade from his boot into his hand, he aimed for the orc farthest away from his cousin, and threw. The small knife hit the orc in the back of the head, and within a second the creature was on the ground, dead.

Soon enough, the fight was over. Although the Rangers were outnumbered two to one, their surprise attack had greatly helped their cause, and all of their enemy was dead. Unfortunately there had been casualties, including two deaths; but this is to be expected. Rangers always lived in the knowledge that they may die any day.

After all of the orc carcasses had been disposed of, the wounded taken care for, and the dead Dúnedain buried, Halbarad came over to his young Chieftain, who was currently smoking his pipe, deep in thought.

"What thoughts keep you awake this night, Aragorn?" asked Halbarad as he sat down beside him.

Aragorn took a couple more puffs of his pipe before he answered. "Everything. Nothing. Everything and nothing," he said vaguely.

Halbarad grunted in response. "I was looking for something a bit clearer than that."

Aragorn shook his head. "I was just thinking about... today. About every day. For the last couple of years, this has been our normal way of life. We patrol, we fight, and sometimes, we see our companions die. I was just thinking about... how it would be if it were different."

Halbarad glanced at him and shrugged. "I've only been out here a few years myself, but to me, today was just an average day."

Aragorn nodded solemnly. "An average day. I wonder how it would be if this weren't the average day."

Halbarad shrugged once more. "Well, if Arnor were to change for the better, I would welcome it."

"As would I, Halbarad," said Aragorn quietly. "As would I."

This is probably one of my favorite ficlets I have written. It looks a bit more into the relationship of Gandalf and Aragorn through a humorous situation, albeit an annoying problem.

Prompt 18: Shortcut
Fic: Through Emyn Muil
Rating: G
Emyn Muil, 3014 T.A.


"Hmm?" Gandalf grunted as he lifted himself over a larger boulder in his way.

"Are you quite sure you know where you are going?" Aragorn lifted himself over the same boulder as he followed the wizard.

"Of course I do," he replied, raising his bushy eyebrows in disbelief. "Do you not trust me?"

"I wouldn't be here if I did not," said the man with a smile. "But I am not so sure about this 'shortcut' of yours."

"Humph," he grunted. "You know as well as I do that going around the Emyn Muil would take much longer. Besides, Gollum may be lurking among these rocks somewhere."

"We haven't seen any sign of him," argued Aragorn as he carefully made his way through two large stones. "And as it is, we have been here much longer than you said it would take."

Gandalf merely grunted in reply, and Aragorn let the topic drop for the moment.

For the rest of the day they made their way past fallen boulders, through thin crevices within tall cliffs, and up steep slopes with slippery stones, always threatening to come loose under them. The hours passed, and the sun finally set behind the distant western horizon. As soon as it was dark, the two of them set up camp for the night. They did not dare to light a fire, for they were near Mordor and sometimes orcs lurked within these high cliffs. However, nothing disturbed them this night; they were the only creatures in this barren land.

As they rested, Aragorn suddenly spoke. "Do you know where we are?"

"The Emyn Muil, of course," replied Gandalf, a quizzical expression upon his face.

"No, I mean where in the Emyn Muil," explained the man.

"Somewhere near the northern edge, I'm sure," said Gandalf.

Aragorn suddenly laughed. "You have no idea where we are, do you?"

Gandalf frowned, but did not bother to answer. Once Aragorn stopped laughing, the wizard simply said, "The place has changed a bit since I was last here."

Aragorn shook his head, a smile on his face. "This is the last time I trust you and your shortcuts." Gandalf simply frowned, but Aragorn could see that his eyes were twinkling with amusement. Aragorn started to laugh once more, and soon enough the wizard started chuckling himself. Although the two were on a long and dangerous quest to find Gollum, that night they were just content to be with one another.

Since I haven't written many younger Aragorn stories, I thought to do so here. This was a bit difficult, but I reread the beginning of the "Tale of Aragorn and Arwen", and I hope it follows what a twenty-year-old Aragorn might have thought about his heritage. This could be thought of a sequel of "Hidden: Line of Kings", which can be found on Chapter Eight (Hidden: Line of Kings).

On an RL note, I am entering my junior year of high school tomorrow. It will make me much busier, but I am going to try and keep writing as much as possible.

Prompt 19: Mirror
Fic: Heirlooms
Rating: G
Year 2951, Imladris

Estel sat upon his bed, deep in thought. He had just had a short meeting with his father- nay, Master Elrond. For he was Elrond's son no more, he realized as he looked down at the small item in his hand. As he stared at the Ring of Barahir, it struck him that he finally knew who his true father was. He was Arathorn's son- Arathorn, who was of the line of Isildur, thus making himself now the Heir of Isildur.

Estel- nay, it was now Aragorn- glanced to his side, where lay the shards of Narsil. It never occurred to him that Elrond had it in his possession, though now that he thought of it, it made perfect sense. After the fall of the Northern Kingdom, Imladris would be the safest place to keep the shards.

He was surprised, however, to find that the Ring of Barahir was also in Elrond's keeping. He had believed it to be lost long ago with Arvedui in the Forochel, if not sooner; to be holding this ring right now was truly amazing. The fact that it actually belonged to him had not yet seemed to take hold. Shaking his head in disbelief, he held the beautiful piece of jewelry up to take a closer look at it.

It was exactly as history described it. This ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured.* He slowly slipped it onto his left index finger, stood up, and looked into the mirror.

He glanced at his reflection, which he had not seen in a few months due to being away from civilization. He did see that he looked older and a bit more experienced. Of course, it may have just been the small beard that had grown during his trip, for he had not yet had a chance to shave. But otherwise, he truly did not look too much different, nor did he feel different. He thought that perhaps once the shock of his heritage had lessened, he would feel something. He was not sure what, but being of the line of kings would give a person something, would it not?

Sighing, he wrapped the shards in a cloth and put them away in his trunk, but kept on the ring. Perhaps this feeling would come later; maybe he just needed to wait for a while. With that comforting thought in mind, he glanced once more at the mirror. Now that he looked closer, he did seem a little bit taller.

He grinned at his reflection, and with his heart high in him, he left the room.

*Passage from 'The Silmarillion': "Of Beren and Lúthien". You just can't get better than the Professor himself ;-)

Prompt 20: Comfort
Fic: Lazy Days
Rating: G
3020 TA, Minas Tirith

"Lazy old day
Rolling away
Dreaming the day away
Don't want to go
Now that I'm in the flow
Crazy amazing day"

It was a beautiful, warm spring day in Minas Tirith. As always, the city was bustling with activity, and today it was especially busy, for it was Market Day. However, up at the Citadel, the atmosphere was very calm and peaceful. The usually alert guards were feeling it, and for once in a long time they were not tense, but very relaxed. With the Shadow gone for but a year now, they were still not used to days like this. But, if anyone were to ask them, they certainly enjoyed it.

Resting comfortably within his private gardens was the king of this city, also enjoying this warm, lazy day. He was sitting down underneath one of the shady trees in the garden, opting for this relaxing place instead of the hard stone bench in the sun. If one were to see him, they would think him asleep, so relaxed he was.

For once, Aragorn's thoughts were not on the paperwork he had to complete, or the meetings he had to attend, but they were back in Rivendell, when he was still Estel. Often he would relax like this there; sometimes for hours upon hours on end. After he found that he was Aragorn, however, days like that became very limited and much-wished for.

Even now, with the fall of Sauron, he was still busy. The City had fallen into a great state of disrepair, and that was only a small portion of his work as the King of the Reunited Kingdoms. This was the first time in a very, very long time he could remember being so relaxed and, well, lazy.

He smiled to himself. Hopefully, after a few more years, he would be able to enjoy days like this more often.

Yes. That was a very relaxing thought.

Lyrics and title of ficlet are from Enya's "Lazy Days". Perfect for the prompt.

I have just realized my lack of Aragorn-hobbit interaction, so I have a couple of ficlets coming up that involve some hobbits. This is one of them.

Prompt 21: Home
Fic: Thoughts of Home
Rating: G
October 2nd, 3018; Midgewater Marshes

It was the evening of the third day since they had set out from Bree, and to say that they were miserable would be a complete understatement. They had just stopped for the night, but their campsite was just as miserable as their trek; there was no peace to be found in the Midgewater Marshes.

The ground was damp, the air was chilled, and there was no dry wood or brush in the area, so they could not even light a fire. As it was, Strider would probably not let the hobbits have one, anyways; without the shelter of trees or hills, the light could possibly be seen by one of their enemies.

None of the hobbits were used to these conditions. If there was one thing that a hobbit valued, that would be comfort. Their current situation was hardly one any of them would call 'comforting'. The four of them were huddled up together, their cloaks close to their bodies and their voices low. A few feet away, sitting on a small rock was their guide, gazing out into the distance. Unknown to the hobbits, the Ranger was able to hear every word of their conversation.

"I miss the Shire," said Merry. "I've always wanted to see the outside world, but not like this."

"This isn't right, none of it," Sam stated. "This Wild, and these Black Riders, and this smelly bog and all of its midges." The others nodded in agreement.

"I can't wait until we're back home," Pippin said. "Once we get... It to Rivendell, we can then go home, right, Frodo?"

"Yes, I think so," Frodo said quietly. "By then, I will be quite ready to go home."

Strider listened to their conversation with a grim expression on his face. Home indeed. He could not but help thinking that their hopes were folly; they would be lucky if they made it to Rivendell unscathed, and after that... well, he was truly not sure. Right now he was just concentrating on getting the four hobbits to Rivendell, safe and sound.

As the four of them talked a bit more about the Shire, the Ranger felt a sudden pang of homesickness. He was not sure where it came from, for, if he were honest with himself, he had no true home. It was true that he had a small residence with the Dúnedain, and he knew that he was welcome to stay in Rivendell at any time. However, none of these he could call home; at least, not in the real sense of the word.

One day, though, if fate was with him, he would have a home in Minas Tirith, and beside him would be Arwen. Then, and only then, would he have a place he could call home.

For now, however, he pushed those thoughts out of his mind. Right now he had to concentrate on getting the hobbits safely to Rivendell.

He could think about home at another time.

Good news: I'm not dead.

Bad news: I'm a junior in high school who has teachers who think it would be absolutely hilarious to pile homework on their students. I also work as a tutor, which takes even more of my time. So, whenever I do have free time, I usually don't have enough energy to write, draw, or even check my email. So, I try to write whenever I have time and I'm not falling down from exhaustion. My apologies.

Anyways, the name of this prompt fic comes from The Hobbit, Chapter 14: Fire and Water. It fit so perfectly with this ficlet; my thanks to the Professor :-)

Oh, and I hate writing anything to do with battles, thus the whole... vagueness of it. I really need to practice. I don't like the ending, either, because I sorta rushed on it. I just wanted to get something out before I go back to homework (which is right after I post this). So, hopefully you all will like it, anyways.

Prompt 22: Water
Fic: Fire and Water
Rating: G
The Sea, 2980 TA

"Is all ready, captain?"

The captain of the Falmarin looked up from his telescope to Thorongil. "Aye, sir. All ships are positioned just as we have planned."

"Good. Let us wait until night has completely fallen, and then we shall move in." The ship's captain nodded, and Thorongil walked away to see to any last-minute preparations.

It was a clear that late afternoon day, and the sun was just minutes from sinking below the western horizon. The calm atmosphere that surrounded the ships did not affect the moods of all of the men of the fleet. All of them were nervous, for never before had anything like this been done before in their own lifetime. With a small fleet of just ten ships, they were to attack the Haven of the Corsairs and destroy their ships. If it was not Thorongil leading this operation, most would have thought it suicidal. However, the legendary commander's plans rarely, if ever, went wrong, and many had complete faith in him.

The small fleet of ships were sailing now in the Bay of Umbar, just a couple of hours from reaching the large Corsair fleet. The plan was simple enough: they would surround the haven, and half of the men would be busy burning the corsair ships while the rest would hold off the Corsairs. It was a risky move, yes, but necessary. The power of Umbar was growing, and they were becoming more of a threat; they had to be subdued.

When it was completely dark, the Gondorian fleet moved in. Near all of the ships' lights were doused, and all men were as silent as the grave.

It took only a short while until they could see the lights of the port city. Those with keener eyes could just barely make out a couple of shadow shapes, all of them relaxed and completely at unawares.


The corsairs did not know what hit them, but suddenly the night was alive with roaring fire and splashing water. Gondor was attacking! The Corsairs poured out of the barracks and immediately clashed swords with the soldiers of the stone city. The fight was long and fierce, but in the end the Corsairs suffered a major defeat, and as the sun rose, Gondor left, suffering little loss but leaving behind great damage. And the waters of the sea carried the ships to Pelargir, where news of victory was given and celebrated. The news spread fast to Minas Tirith, where the captain of this amazing feat was to be honored greatly.

But Thorongil did not return to Minas Tirith; he sailed another route, and his heart took him to new lands. But the people of Gondor hoped that he would return one day.

Many years later, he did, sailing once more from the waters of the South, all the way to victory.

Hi guys. I haven't been on lately simply because life has not left me the time or inspiration to write. I'm in the most stressful and busiest year of high school, and it has left me burned out and just completely without energy. Along with work, school, and homework, there was also a death of a close family friend a couple weeks ago, and I have been having problems with my friends. Life has been just completely stressful.

I don't know how often inspiration, as well as time for writing will come. I'll just do my best.

Anyways, I came up with when inspiration to write struck me during a "down" moment, but I believe that the quality of it didn't suffer. I hope you all enjoy.

Prompt 23: Stranger
Fic: The Stranger in the Corner
Rating: G
September 29th, 3018

He always sat in the same corner every time he came to the Prancing Pony. They always sat in that same, dark corner, watching the move of every patron in the inn with just a quick glance. All of their eyes were keen, but his were the keenest. Sometimes he was with others, but most of the time he was by himself. That especially made him stand out.

Rangers tended to come in twos or threes, but this one usually was alone. He certainly was a Ranger: tall with dark hair, sharp eyes, and a mysterious persona. He hardly spoke about himself or his business, if he spoke at all; but when he did, even Bree-landers could hear a silent power in his voice. His tales of the outside world were entrancing, and unlike anything they could imagine in their small village.

He was certainly a stranger.

It didn't matter how often he came, for the people would always treat him as a stranger. He didn't even have a proper name, for he had never given one. One day, someone had watched him walking, and had bestowed on him a name that soon everyone used. And so Strider he was known by, and Strider he remained.

On a chilly day in late September, four hobbits entered the Prancing Pony, wanting a room. Unknown to them, the stranger had followed them to the inn. He immediately went to the dark corner, and as a bar maid took his order, he watched the hobbits leave; into a private parlor or their rooms, he presumed. When Barliman himself came back with his tankard of ale, he tried to convince Butterbur to let him see the four hobbits, or at least to send them a message. The innkeeper refused him, and he was left with the slim hope of them not coming into the common-room that night.

His hopes were dashed when he saw three of them enter the common-room. As Barliman introduced all of the Bree-landers to the hobbits, he was not surprised to be conveniently forgotten by the landlord. He was, after all, a stranger.

When he saw one of the hobbits- Underhill, he thought with a queer smile- watching him, he beckoned him over. However, things turned ill when one of the hobbits started a tale that would make curious minds even more curious about these Shire-folk, and that was the last thing he wanted.

Things went from bad to worse when 'Underhill' distracted the patrons by reenacting the young hobbit's story and disappearing into thin air. Strider could have groaned; this was one of the worst things that could happen.

But in the end, all turned well enough, he supposed. He managed to convince Master Underhill- or Baggins, as he finally admitted- to take this strange Strider as a guide.

He watched the hobbits sleep that night, and while Gandalf's letter had certainly supported him, he knew he wasn't quite trusted- not yet.

After all, he was only a stranger.

This one stumped me for a while. I was originally going to do something on his first trip in Moria, but then I realized I really had no ideas for that. So, in the end, I decided to use a relatively cliché plot and make it my own. And I could not help but making it humorous. Because of the two protagonist's ages, the whole situation, and just the slight hilarity in it, they both act in a way that one doesn't see too often. But, in the end, I think it fit well. Hopefully.

Prompt 24: Dark
Fic: Cave-in
Rating: G
2951 TA, On the foothills of the Misty Mountains

As the dust finally settled and the last stones stopped rolling, there was a brief stillness in the utter darkness of the cave. After a short moment, there was a cough, and a short groan.

"Aragorn? Is that you?"

"Yes. Who else would it be?" A sarcastic bite could be heard in the young man's voice.

The other decided to treat that question as a rhetorical one, and ignored it. "Are you well?"

"A few bruises, but naught else. And you?"

"As well as can be expected. I do believe there is some dust in my eyes, though." He blinked, and went to rub them, but realized his hands were covered in dirt. Sighing, he crawled his way over to where he heard Aragorn's voice come from.

He soon found a leg, and when he tapped at it, Aragorn said, "Yes, Halbarad, that is me."

"Oh, sorry!" Halbarad gave a rueful grin and sat back. When Aragorn said naught in response, Halbarad spoke again. "I cannot believe you got us stuck in here."

"Are you saying that this is my fault?"

"You were the one that wanted to get closer to the cave, despite my foreboding!" Halbarad exclaimed.

"I did not know that it would cave in!" If Halbarad could see anything, he would be pretty sure that his kinsman would be throwing his arms up in the air in exasperation.

Halbarad groaned; he absolutely could not believe his luck right now.

Aragorn seemed to echo his thoughts. "I cannot believe we managed to get ourselves stuck in a cave on our first patrol."

Halbarad nodded glumly, forgetting that Aragorn could not see him. "This is probably the worst luck anyone has ever had on their first patrol, and that includes the time Maendir accidentally wounded himself with his own sword."

"You jest!"

"I do not. Father was part of that patrol, and saw the whole thing. On Maendir's first time out, he was sparring with Handil, and somehow managed to give himself a nasty leg wound. No one, including him, is still quite sure how it happened."

"I would have never thought a man such as he would make a mistake like that."

"He wasn't very good with a sword thirty years ago," Halbarad said with a chuckle. Aragorn chuckled as well, but soon the two fell into silence.

"When do you think they'll find us?" Halbarad finally asked.

"I imagine they're looking now. We weren't that far from camp, and they probably heard the rocks falling." Aragorn sighed. "They will not let me live this down."

"Probably not."

"Your father won't be too pleased with you, either."

There was a short pause as Halbarad considered that fact. "I hope they take their time finding us," he finally said.

"Me too," his cousin quickly replied.

The two young Dúnedain chuckled in the dark at the whole strange hilarity of their situation. And while they were in not the best of circumstances, they did manage to keep their spirits up in the darkness until their patrol found them, alive and well.

I completely blame my Halbarad's personality on Meckinock. He's such a crack up in her fics (and if you haven't read her fics, you really need to now). But yea, I do think that quite a bit of what I see Halbarad as was inspired by her.

And, while Halbarad is only mentioned as a "kinsman", like some other authors I believe he was Aragorn's cousin. Hope no one minds.

All right, this completely passed the five-hundred word limit... erm... let's say a prompt-inspired ficlet :-)

This idea came to me so fast it nearly knocked me down. Now, I myself always imagined Aragorn as one to do his own things and not bother anyone for his own needs. This includes doing his own things even as king. Whatever you think, I hope you all enjoy this humorous prompt :-)

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Prompt 25: Hunger
Fic: A Quick Bite
Rating: G
3019 TA, Minas Tirith

It was Autumn, and though the days were still warm, they were now becoming colder as Winter made its way in. The city of Minas Tirith, however, was better than it had been for many, many years. Despite the coming of the cold season, the people were happy, for the Dark Lord that had haunted their borders for so long was gone forever, and once more they had a king.

It was still night, and the Sun had still a little bit more time before she appeared over the eastern mountains. It was at this time that the King of Gondor suddenly awoke. At first, he was not sure what had disturbed his peaceful rest, but then he heard it. His stomach growled at him once more, and Aragorn resisted a groan. He would never be able to fall back asleep with his stomach growling at him, especially since there was food available nearby. Somehow his stomach knew this.

Careful not to awaken his wife, Aragorn got out of bed. He quickly put on some clothes, got on his boots, and left their private rooms. Quietly the Dúnadan stole through the halls, coming only upon a couple in the early morning hours who did not recognize him in the dim lighting of the hallways.

Soon after Aragorn had been made king, he had spent a day exploring the whole Citadel. He wanted to know his new home as well as he had known previous places he had resided in; it gave him some sort of comfort to know his surroundings well. As it was, his tour of his home had included the kitchens, so he knew exactly where he needed to go.

Within a few minutes of quickly walking through his home, he came to the kitchens. Other than a couple dim lanterns hanging upon the walls, the huge room was completely dark.

However, he did not let this daunt him. Stiffening a yawn, he entered the room, went to the nearest cupboards, and opened them. Bowls, not food. He glanced around the room, trying to find the most logical place for a pantry. He spotted a wooden door near the back of the kitchens, and quickly made his way to it. He yanked it open, and a big smile spread across his features. Food.

His stomach seemed to know that he was right next to a food source, for it growled in eager anticipation. Aragorn scanned quickly through the pantry, looking for a suitable midnight snack. Finding an apple barrel, he opened it, obtained one of its contents, and took a large bite out of the juicy fruit.

His stomach was very, very happy.

He put the lid back on the barrel, left the pantry, and silently closed the door behind him. Satisfied with the apple, he started to turn around when he heard a sharp voice behind him.

"Just what do you think you are doing?"

Aragorn froze, suddenly feeling as if he had committed a heinous crime. The small part of his mind that was awake pointed out that he was being ridiculous, but when one sneaks food in the middle of the night and is caught, one cannot help but feel a sort of incredible guilt.

He slowly turned around, and saw a woman- one of the cooks, he assumed- a shawl around her shoulders, a lit candle in her hand, and a deep scowl on her face. He was in a darker part of the room, so she could not see who he was.

However dark it was, she still saw that he had some type of fruit in his hand, and her scowl deepened. "Stealing food from the kitchens, I see!" She started to approach him, anger clearly on her face. "I would expect such behavior from a boy, not a man! I do not know who you think you are, but if you think you can come in here at such an hour and just help yourself, then you-" She suddenly stopped mid-sentence when the small flame of her candle lit up the face of the thief, and her scowl turned into a look of horror and despair. "Oh... oh... my lord, I did not realize..."

Aragorn raised his hand. "Be at peace, madam. I did not realize that the kitchens were off-limits."

"Oh, no, no, never to you, sire!" she said quickly, shaking her head. "But you should have called one of the servants if you desired something, my lord."

"I would not awaken another for my own trivial needs at such an hour," the king responded. When the woman looked as if she were to protest this, he added, "For all my life I have helped myself. I would not change that." He gave her a small smile. "And sometimes a short walk helps me clear my mind and allows me to sleep better."

Her protests died down, and finally, she nodded. "Well, if you insist, my lord. However, we are here to serve you, whenever you need us," she pointed out.

"I shall keep that in mind," he said with a small bow of his head. "If you shall excuse me, madam, I shall head back to my rooms."

"Oh, of course, of course!" she said, moving out of the way and managing to curtsy at the same time. "Sleep well, my lord."

"Good night, madam." Taking another bite of the apple, the king left the kitchens, with the woman looking after him.

'An odd one, our lord is,' thought she. 'An odd one, but a good man.'

This prompt was also a pain in the arse to figure out. But, as always, reading a couple chapters from the book inspired me and an idea came to my head. So I hope you enjoy, and I'll see you all in 2007! :)

Prompt 26: Duty
Fic: East or West?
Rating: G
Lothlórien, February 15th, 3019 TA

"'On which side will you journey? The way to Minas Tirith lies upon this side, upon the west; but the straight road of the Quest lies east of the River, upon the darker shore. Which shore will you now take?'" -FOTR, Farewell to Lórien

They were all thankful to the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood, but out of all of them, perhaps he was the most gratified. After Gandalf's fall in Moria, the leadership of their Company had fallen to him, and had left him with more doubt than ever before. For while he truly wished to go to Minas Tirith with Boromir and help deliver Gondor, he could not abandon the Ring-bearer or his treacherous burden.

Once they had reached their pavilion, they had debated about what they should do and which road they should take, but he had not participated nor heard much. Aragorn was lost deep within his thoughts about what he should do. He knew that his decision could- nay, would- greatly impact the outcome of the fate of the world. Lady Galadriel's words, spoken but some days ago, still echoed in his head.

'Your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all.' Her foreboding words still echoed in his head. He feared that his decision would be wrong, and that he would doom Arda with his ill choice. But truly, he did not know where to go! He was thankful that, for the time, he could delay this important decision; but time would soon pass quickly, and a choice had to be made.

Which way should he go? Should he go to the west, where he could help save his country? Or should he turn east, where only lay the hopeless void of Night?

Eleven days later...

"'All that I have done today has gone amiss. What is to be done now?'" -TTT, The Departure of Boromir

Boromir is dead. The thought hit him like a ton of bricks. His choices that day had led to an evil even he could not have predicted. The heir of the Steward was dead, two of the hobbits were taken captive, and Frodo had gone to Mordor with only Sam by his side. The Fellowship was broken, and while Minas Tirith did not look to be a road that he would follow now, he still had a choice to make, and he had to make it quickly. Gimli was correct; both roads looked hopeless, and precious hours had been lost.

Nevertheless, he had to make the right choice, and make amends to the evil that had already occurred. As the leader of the Fellowship, it was his duty to go after the Ring-bearer; however, Frodo had voluntarily left him, and if he did follow him, he would have to abandon Merry and Pippin, and that he could not do. Frodo's fate was no longer in his hands, but perhaps he could change the fate of the other hobbits.

He would turn to the west and follow the orcs. While the darkness of doubt still lay upon him in this decision, under all of that his heart was clear to him, and he kept alive the hope that not all of this would be in vain.

Well. I went There and Back again. "There" being China, back in February of 07. I brought home a darling 2 year old, now 3. Between my senior year of high school, watching over my young new sister, and my mother deciding to have a near-death experience back in early September that landed her out of work, well, put me out of writing for a long time. Hopefully my long-dead muses (that woke up at 1:30 AM a couple days ago) will decide to stay alive. I do wish they would strike me with inspiration at more appropriate times, though.

I must say that the Hobbit news also helped, too. Talk about a rush. My muses have been very much alive these past few days, and I am hoping that they stay like that.

Prompt 27: Journey
Fic: Down South
Rating: G
2956 TA, Eriador

"So," the young man frowned as he absorbed all of the counsel he was just given, "you do not believe that I am gaining experience here in the North?"

"Experience? Oh, you have learned much these past few years," the old man replied. "But you will not gain nearly enough experience here, not in Eriador."

"And you wish for me to travel South, to be among other Men."


"What of my own people?"

The old man gently puffed on his pipe. "Your lineage puts you at a distinct advantage amongst them. Your ancestors were behind you and your own strengths simply added to your popularity. However, in a land where your lineage is unknown, you would start at the bottom, and would rise through your aptitude alone."

"And you would just have me abandon the North? Abandon my duties?" the young man raised an eyebrow in disbelief.

"Your people did well enough without you for eighteen years; Haladan is a good man and a competent leader," the wizard said, blowing a small smoke ring through his lips. "And his son Halbarad is no dotard, either."

"That I know well," the Dúnadan shook his head. "And you know that is not what I meant."

"I know what you meant," Gandalf blew another ring and watched it fly away before giving his young friend an answer. "If you are to fulfill your destiny, you need to know of Men beyond those of your kin. The Dúnedain are different from many other men. I would have you travel to Rohan, and then Gondor, and learn about the people there. It would be well worth your time."

Aragorn sighed and his brow furrowed as he thought about it. He did want to see other places, yes, but he was not sure he wanted to leave his people after only being with them for a few years. How would he appear to them?

As if he read his thoughts, the wizard gave the youth a gentle smile. "They will understand. Your people know that you have a long and arduous road ahead of you, and that it will take you many places. In the end, the experiences you gain in the South will be of value to your people when you return."

Aragorn was still, and he finally nodded. "All right, then. I shall travel south, when Spring comes again. But still..." and here he groaned, "I will have to take up another name. None of my current ones will suit."

"Soon enough, you'll have as many names as I do," Gandalf said, chuckling.

Aragorn shook his head. "Elbereth forbid that day from ever happening." Gandalf simply laughed once more, and the young man couldn't help but smile. "All right then, wizard. Say more about your schemes for me."

And so the wizard did.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Decided this would be a good day to post another one.

This is another humorous prompt. The title has a bit of a double-meaning. No matter how great and lordly these two are, Aragorn and Arwen still had to suffer some problems when they had children, just like all parents do. Also, it just shows both of them in a more... human light, so to speak. It shows that they are certainly not perfect and have some doubts. And no, I did not even bother trying to stay within the word limit with this one xD

A side note: It is only mentioned that Aragorn and Arwen had "Eldarion and daughters", so I played with this vagueness in the prompt.

Prompt 28: Childproof
Fic: Terrible Twos
Rating: G
Early Fourth Age, Minas Tirith

Aragorn Elessar, King of the Reunited Kingdom, Lord of the West, the bearer of the Elessar, the Elfstone, the Envinyatar, the Renewer, etc, etc, truly and dearly loved his Queen. Those who saw the two together found that their immense love for one another was blatantly obvious; there were probably plenty of jealous wives who wished their own husbands showed that much love to them. Bards who saw them together drew inspiration for their long, romantic ballads from the passion that sparkled in the royal couple's eyes. In other words, no one could ever imagine the two ever getting frustrated with one another.

How wrong they were.

"Estel! Can't you hold Eldarion for a moment while I look for Eleniel?" Without waiting for an answer, Arwen put the wiggling two-year-old into her husband's arms.

"Eleniel is in the garden with her nannies!" He put his son on the ground. "I must go to a meeting soon. There is an emissary from Pelargir here to discuss some new shipping regulations-"

"Aragorn! Grab Eldarion!" Quickly turning around, he saw Eldarion was standing against a table, trying to grab at a small vase of flowers. He swiftly picked up the toddler, and when the king did not give into his son's demands to be put down, Eldarion started crying.

"Arwen! He's crying again!"

Arwen was already out of the room and going down a small, private flight of stairs, which led to more of their private rooms, and then into a garden. Aragorn followed her, annoyance quickly coming across his features. His son struggled to get out of his grip, wailing the whole time.

"Where are you going?" he called after her.

"I'm getting Eleniel! She should not be playing in our gardens without me! There are too many rose bushes there, and she may get hurt."

"Arwen, she has two nannies looking after her-"

"Something still may happen!"

"Arwen..." By this time Arwen had reached the gardens. Eldarion was still wailing, and Aragorn looked like he wanted to hit his head against the nearest wall.

"Suilad, Eleniel," Arwen said to her daughter with a smile, picking her up from off the grass about two feet away from the rose bushes. "You may go now," she said to the two nursemaids. "Come back tonight, after their supper."

"But-" Aragorn started.

"We'll see you tonight," Arwen said with a charming smile, touching Aragorn's arm with her free hand and gently leading him inside. The two nursemaids looked a bit befuddled by the royal couple, but they simply nodded, curtseyed, and left the gardens.

"Arwen, we need those nannies!" he said once they were back inside. "First you sent away Eldarion's nannies, and now hers! Who is going to help you take care of these two?"

"You are," she said, putting Eleniel down. The two-year-old girl happily explored her new surroundings, and immediately caught sight of the same vase that her brother had spotted. Seeing her intentions, Aragorn immediately blocked her way. Eldarion, seeing his sister was down, demanded to be let down once more. Finally admitting defeat, he let the boy join his sibling, but moved the vase to a higher shelf where the children could not reach it.

"What do you mean I will?" he asked, frowning. "I need to go to a meeting-"

"On shipping regulations?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. "Spending time with the twins is more important than that."

"It is not that I want to go-"

"But you'd rather be there than here?" she stated more than asked. "Oh, Eldarion, be careful!" She steered the child away from the fireplace, where flames were happily licking away at the air.

"No... it's just... ai, Eleniel, don't touch that!" He picked up the young girl, who was reaching for a knife left at the table from a late lunch he had finished eating just minutes ago. He sighed when Arwen shot him a look, but before he could explain himself, she interrupted him.

"You were gone on your diplomatic trip for months, Estel- you missed Eldarion's and Eleniel's second birthday when you were gone! And now that you are back, you are hardly here to see them. They need their father." Arwen sighed, picked up Eldarion, who was once more going to the fireplace, and all but plopped down onto the couch. "Eldarion did not even recognize you when you came back," she whispered.

Aragorn sighed, and sat down next to his wife, his little girl still in his arms. "I know," he said quietly. "It broke my heart." He sighed once more, and let Eleniel climb over to Arwen's lap. "I suppose I am just... afraid. Afraid that I will not be a good enough father for them. I know absolutely nothing about children, Arwen," he confessed. "There were none in Rivendell, and I did not spend much time with them in my long years of traveling."

"I do not know much, either," his wife said. "But we can learn together, Estel. However, you need to be here, with me, and with the twins."

The king sighed, but then nodded and smiled. "All right. I will do my best to spend more time with all of you. I'll start by telling Faramir that I will not be able to come to the meeting. It is truly not very important, and I am sure my steward can handle it." He smiled at his wife, and then looked down at his children, who were both on their mother's lap, laying peacefully against her. "I still cannot believe you had twins," he said, shaking his head. "Four generations of twins. Twice the trouble during their terrible twos." When Arwen gave him an inquisitive look, he explained, "Master Sam Gamgee's term. He said that it was a common expression among hobbits that when a child is around this age it is known as the 'terrible twos'."

"And we have two of them," Arwen said with a smile. "Well, we'll be able to make do."

"We should start by making this place completely childproof," he said with a chuckle. Arwen joined him, and the children, amused by their parent's laughter, started to laugh as well. This sent the royal couple into another bout of laughter, and set the mood for that afternoon, and many afternoons to come.

The four generations of twins are Eluréd and Elurín, who were brothers to Elwing. Elwing married Eärendil, and they had Elros and Elrond, also twins. Then Elrond had Elladan and Elrohir, and, here, Arwen has the twins Eldarion and his sister Eleniel. Heheh, all start with "El" as well... how amusing.

Now that I think about it, 'childproof' may be a modern day term along with 'terrible twos'. I'll just throw that in with the jargon Aragorn learned from hobbits ;P

'tis my birthday, and, to the woe of the rest of the world, I am officially a legal adult. I can do quite a few things now, though I still cannot rent cars, hotel rooms, drink, or gamble. At least in my state/country. Anyways, in the ways of Hobbits, I am bestowing a little gift to you all- a little prompt ficlet.

This one is inspired by all of the King Elessar/OC interaction fics that I have read; my greatest inspiration would certainly be Allee and her Innkeeper ficlets. Those are awesome.

I have written this OC innkeeper before, but he is in an unpublished tale of mine. One day I will get it out, but for now, hope you enjoy it. This is the first meeting between Aragorn and the OC.

Another slightly humorous one, once again playing on the concept that Aragorn and Arwen are not perfect. My thanks to my parents, their beautiful, 20+ year marriage drawing constant inspiration for the Imperfect Perfect Couple concept.

And yes, I have given up with trying to limit the word count here, as well. What can I say, when my Muses are awake, they are awake.

Prompt 29: Guest
Fic: A Wife’s Wrath
Rating: G
Late 3019, Minas Tirith

Aearhil of the Stone and Sea Inn could read emotions well; it was a skill that came with serving hundreds of different people over the years as an innkeeper. While he had only been in Minas Tirith a few months, the people of the City were very alike to those in his old home in Anfalas. So he could immediately tell that his newest patron- a tall, cloaked man- was not in the best of moods. He could see it in his tense position and in his swift steps to a table in the back of the common room. With that knowledge in mind, he approached the stranger with both courtesy and caution, hoping that whatever bothered the man would not be taken out on him.

Thankfully, his worries were unfounded. He quietly and politely asked for a drink, though Aearhil could see that, despite his calm voice, his body was still tense. The ale would do him good.

He went back behind the counter, picked up a mug, and started to fill it up when his wife’s shrill voice called his name. He sighed, put the mug down, and went into the kitchen. Judging by the tone of her voice, she did not sound happy.

She was not. A couple minutes later, he came back into the common room, his ears still ringing from the tongue lashing his wife had given him. Aearhil was not quite sure what she was angry about- something about food, or another insignificant subject. She was in one of those moods, and he was going to avoid her as much as possible. Thankfully, the common room was empty except for the cloaked man, so there wasn’t a large crowd to hear him be verbally abused by his beloved.

He finished filling up the mug and brought it over to the man. “I am very sorry about the delay, sir,” he said as he set it down.

“No apologies are needed,” the cloaked man insisted, a small smile on his lips. “I completely understand your plight, Master Innkeeper.”

“Just Aearhil, please,” the innkeeper insisted with a wave of his hand. “Do you have a wife then, sir?”

“Call me Strider,” the man replied, bringing the mug to his lips. “And yes, I do.” He took a long drink from the mug and immediately began to relax. Aearhil smiled and took a seat across from Strider.

“Then you do indeed understand my plight. My wife, bless her, has a fiery temper at times. I do try and avoid her then.” Strider nodded knowingly, and Aearhil, seeing that he looked much more relaxed than when he entered, took a guess at what was bothering him when he had first arrived. “Are you in the same situation as I am in?” the innkeeper asked slyly.

Strider did not seem all that surprised by the question. “I suppose you could say that, yes,” he said, an unreadable expression on his face.

Aearhil nodded in understanding. “Women, especially wives, can be mighty fearsome at times. I imagine every husband has to hide from their wife at some point in time. I would bet that even the King has to avoid his wife at times.”

Strider, who was in the middle of drinking the ale, immediately started coughing and choking on his drink. The innkeeper winced in sympathy, and waited for the man to catch his breath. Once the other man was breathing again, he continued. “I am serious though; I heard the king has an elf for a bride, and if elf women are anything like my wife, he must have his days where he hides from her.” Aearhil frowned. “Where would a king hide, though?”

“Who knows,” Strider said with a chuckle and a smaller sip from the mug. “I imagine he has some spots. Somewhere in the City, perhaps.” He shook his head and downed the rest of the ale. “Thank you for the ale and the company, Aearhil.” He put a couple coins on the table and stood up, “but now I must go back home and face my wife.”

“You are a brave man, Strider; I’ll still be avoiding mine,” Aearhil said with a chuckle. Strider smiled and went for the exit. “If you need some extra help, I always find that flowers do the trick!” the innkeeper said after him. Strider nodded in thanks and left the inn.

Once outside, he laughed out loud. He was feeling much better after the ale and the friendly company of the innkeeper. All he had to do now was face his wife and her queenly wrath.

He went to turn back to the second gate and make his way up to the Citadel, but stopped. Instead, he turned around and made his way to the first level. He needed to find a florist; then he’d be ready.

My laptop decided to die on me a couple days after the New Year. All my writings are on the laptop. I didn't get it back up and running until a few days ago- I do have a new motherboard, which is pretty cool. My neglected Muses disappeared during the time, but I'm working on getting them back up and running. All 10 of them.

Prompt 30: Rest
Fic: The Day After Midsummer
Rating: light PG
Minas Tirith, Lithe 3019 TA

The early morning light woke him, as it usually did. But unlike other days, where he usually got out of bed- or off the ground- right away, today he was content to lie where he was, eyes closed. Beside him, a body stirred, and a small smile came to his lips. Nevertheless he kept his eyes closed, afraid that if he opened them the being who laid beside him would not be there anymore.

However, said being lightly laid a hand on his shoulder, and spoke. "Good morning, my love."

The smile on his face split into a grin. "Good morning, my Queen."

She lightly laughed and leaned closer to him. "Anor has risen."

"I know," he replied, but did not open his eyes.

"But you still rest," she said. "I have not known you to be one to rise late."

He heard the unasked question in her voice, but hesitated to answer. Finally, he said, "I am afraid that if I open my eyes, you shall be a mere voice in my imagination, and that the space beside me is still cold and bare."

She said nothing in reply, but he heard her shift. Suddenly, she was over him, and her lips were upon his. "I am here, meleth nin. Open your eyes," she requested quietly.

He could not refuse her. Slowly he opened his eyes, and he stared into the beautiful grey eyes of the daughter of Elrond. His Queen. His wife. His Arwen. She was smiling at him, and he felt his heart melt just like the first time he saw her; just like it melted whenever she smiled at him like that.

He took her into his arms and embraced her. She gladly welcomed his actions, and the newly wedded couple were content to remain in bed and rest, just for a while longer.

Happy birthday Aragorn!

Also, I made the front page of with my drawing of Aragorn and a post about, well, him for March 1st. Yes, I'm ridiculously estatic.

Prompt 31: Touch
Ficlet: Hands
Rating: G
Arnor, Spring 2931

For the first time since the birth of her child, Gilraen was alone. Arathorn, after being abroad for months, had finally come home in early February. Through letters he had known her to be with child, but had not seen her stomach grow slowly but surely as the weeks had passed. To her amusement he had tried to forbid her from moving those last couple of weeks- she, of course, knew how much her body could handle, and deftly ignored this 'command'.

Her husband was extremely nervous the couple of days before her water broke, simply knowing that his son would be born soon. Her mother had dreamed of a son, months ago, and Gilraen did not argue with her; she, too, had felt it would be a son. And so it had been; the boy, named Aragorn, was born in the early morning of March 1st.

Arathorn had spent all of his free time with her and Aragorn. She could see that he absolutely adored him, and to her it seemed that her husband would never leave Aragorn's side, if possible. Alas, the world was cruel, and once again, a few weeks after his son's birth, Arathorn had left once more with a patrol that morning.

Gilraen stood over the simple crib that held her child, deeply asleep. The woman gently stroked his cheek, and moved down his body to let her fingers rest on his small fist. 'He has a strong grip' was one of the first comments her husband had made. 'He will be a great swordsman.'

'Strong grip indeed,' she thought. Her son shifted slightly in his sleep, and took hold of two of her fingers. 'Such a soft touch- I wonder, my son, how soft will your hands be when you are your father's age?' She was no fool; she knew that he would take up the sword before long, and that he would follow in his father's steps. Gilraen deeply wished it were not so.

'Oh, Aragorn, if only your hands never had to pick up the sword,' she thought longingly. 'But that is a fool's dream.' She gently released herself from the child's grip, letting her hand linger for a second on his soft fingers before she left the room.

Ok, if you look at the quote below, it says he went South and East before he returned to Lorien. However, he got to Lorien by summer 2980, but left Gondor earlier that year. I'm going to assume that he left Gondor in the very beginning of the year, so he has three to four months to explore the east and south, and about two months to make it to Lorien (since he made it all the way from the Dead Marshes to North Mirkwood in 50 days- bloody impressive).

Prompt 32: Stars
Ficlet: Where the Stars are Strange
Rating: G
The Harad Road, March 2980

'He rode in the host of the Rohirrim, and fought for the Lord of Gondor by land and by sea; and then in the hour of victory he passed out of knowledge of Men of the West, and went alone for into the East and deep into the South, exploring the hearts of Men.'- Appendix A

Aragorn was not quite sure how long he had been in this country. He knew it was a good few weeks- at least six, perhaps as many as eight. He was usually good at keeping track of the days, but for these long, long weeks, he had more important things to concentrate on.

Immediately after leaving Gondor and Thorongil behind, he had followed the road that led to the Crossing of Poros. He crossed the river a mile west of the crossing, and from there on made way to the Harad Road. He had followed it for many a long league, going across the Harnen and beyond the dotted line drawn on the old maps of Gondor. The farther he went south and east, the easier it was to find tribes unaffiliated with the Eye. He had, of course, encountered many of the Enemy, but that is a tale for another time.

Now he traveled north along the road, making his way to an oasis he knew to be but a mile further. He slowly, but surely put one foot in front of another, doing his best to ignore the biting winds tearing at his clothing and the little skin he had exposed. He was careful to not leave the road, for there was no moon that night, and the stars shone little.

The stars- oh, how could a thing of comfort bring such confusion and sorrow? He glanced up, wishing to see the familiar stars of the North, to see the stars he grew up with. But of course, the stars were of the South, and they were unfamiliar and strange. Aragorn almost wished that he were traveling by day; Anor, at the least, was the same. However, the southern Sun was cruel and unforgiving, and the chilly night air was much more bearable in the desert.

Aragorn turned his head from the sky back to the earth; he was being a fool, wishing for familiar stars. He would see them again, but he was simply wasting time by staring and yearning for something he could not have. For now, he needed to concentrate on getting to the oasis before the dawn came; his water was nearly gone.

With that thought in mind, he continued on against the wind at a steady pace; the sooner he was out of this desolate land, the sooner he could see his stars.

Yes, I'm still plugging away at these :) Prompt fic, prompt inspired fic, whatever you want to call it.

Yes! Still book Aragorn. Because book Aragorn is love.

I always believed that, despite Aragorn's display of utmost confidence, strength, yada yada, that there was something human inside him, even if in ROTK such human feelings like doubt are not as noticeable as they are in FOTR. He surely had some feelings of doubt, even if almost no one saw them. After all, in the end, he is only human.

Prompt 33: Acceptance
Ficlet: Before the Dawn
Rating: G
Pelennor Fields, Early May 1st, 3019

He woke up from his slumber with a start. He was not sure what woke him, but it was no matter; he could not go back to sleep, as tired as he was. Surrendering to his mind's restlessness, he tossed his covers off the cot, threw on a coat and his boots, and went outside. He bade the two guards outside of his tent to stay; he did not want one of his permanent shadows with him now. That was another thing he would need to get used to as king.

King. He had dreamt it and dared to imagine it, but now that it was here, he could hardly believe it. In but a few hours time he would be crowned King of Gondor and Arnor; a lofty title, to say the least. The question was, of course, how easily would the people of both countries accept this newly found king? He doubted they would all be glad to see him.

"You are awake early."

Aragorn smiled wryly. "As are you."

Gandalf chuckled as he went to stand by the man. "I have been doing nothing but riding, eating, and sleeping the last few days. I believe I can stand to be awake a bit earlier today." He shot Aragorn a look. "You should be asleep. You have much to prepare for later this day."

Aragorn gave a slight nod. "Indeed."

Gandalf frowned, raising an eyebrow. "You are bothered by something." Aragorn began to deny this, but the wizard continued. "You may be able to mask it from everyone else, but I have known you much too long for you to hide it from me." The man closed his mouth, a slight frown coming upon his features. Gandalf simply shook his head. "It would do you well to lift this burden from your heart."

The other shook his head, and sighed in resignation. "I doubt you would let this go, as it were. Very well then; I am worried that I will not be accepted by the people."

Gandalf's eyebrows shot up. "I thought you were long past this doubt, Aragorn."

"So did I," he replied, "but I thought it just as I prepared to die for our cause. I did not hope to live beyond Pelennor and the Black Gate."

"Those are ill thoughts for one who was once named Hope," the wizard pointed out.

"They were ill times," the man rebutted.

"They were," Gandalf nodded in agreement. "Still, you were the hope for many of this country. Why do you believe that they will not accept you?"

Aragorn bit his lip, a habit from his youth that appeared rarely in his prime. "Why would the people of Gondor accept me when they rejected my ancestor?"

Gandalf chuckled. "The average citizen of Gondor would not remember that event."

"Faramir would."

"Yet the heir of the Stewards accepts you."

"What of the other lords of Gondor? And will the people accept such a stranger?"

"Such self doubt does not become you, Aragorn."

"Does it not? I am just a man."

"Yes, a man, but a strong, most formidable man- a man that will soon be the most powerful man on Arda." Gandalf paused. "Do you not want that power? Have you not been working for this for decades?"

"Yes, yes, of course," Aragorn muttered absentmindedly. "You know I would do anything for her, and I have. It is her that I desire; the power came with it. Do I want it? Not necessarily. Would I reject it? No, no. If it be my destiny, I will carry that power. But will Gondor accept it? Will the people of Arnor accept it? Gondor is used to another power, and Arnor has not had a power ruling over them for centuries."

"There will, of course, be those who doubt you," the wizard said after a moment of silence. "But you shall prove their doubts wrong."

"Will I?" he muttered to himself, moving his glance from Gandalf to the White City in the distance. "Or shall I fall like my ancestors?"

Gandalf grunted and shook his head. "As long as you remember their mistakes, you have nothing to fear. Now," he started, giving the man a gentle nudge towards his tent, "you must rest, my lord. You cannot be asleep as the White Crown is placed on your head."

"You spout exaggerations, wizard," Aragorn said good-naturedly, but complied. "Very well, I shall bow to your wisdom. Until the dawn, my friend." He left Gandalf, comforted by his words, and slept well throughout the rest of the night.

"'... and let Mithrandir set [the crown] upon my head, if he will; for he has been the mover of all that has been accomplished, and this is his victory.'" - ROTK, The Steward and the King

Well. This was difficult to write. For some reason the encounter in the palantír seems easier for me to write in movie-verse rather than book-verse (which I did in an unpublished ficlet of mine). The strength he must have had to wrestle the stone away from Sauron's grasp... well, I can only hope I did it some justice.

Prompt 34: Enemy
Ficlet: The Palantír
Rating: G
The Hornburg, March 6th, 3019

"'It was a bitter struggle, and the weariness is slow to pass. I spoke no word to him, and in the end I wrenched the Stone to my own will.'" ROTK, The Passing of the Grey Company

When Aragorn came to awareness, he found himself in nothingness. It was darker than a moonless night, and there was no sound as he took his first steps through the darkness. The shadows were dense and suffocating, and he found it difficult to breathe. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on peaceful thoughts and memories of light to help him through the unnatural dark.

He suddenly felt warmth on his brow, and light was starting to become evident behind his lids. Opening his eyes, he found that a small, but strong light came from his temple. Gently touching his forehead, Aragorn found that he adorned the Elendilmir and that the light came from it.

Before he could contemplate further on this discovery, the darkness was suddenly broken with a burst of fire. Now before the heir of Isildur stood the Lidless Eye, its flames encompassing his whole vision. Aragorn held his ground against the terrifying vision, staring unblinking into the black slit of its pupil.

A murmur of the Black Speech danced around the room with the flames, but the man paid no heed to the terrorizing, mocking tune and rather focused his will on the vision before him.

"Who are you that dares to challenge me?" echoed through his mind, but he said naught in reply. Rather he took a step forward, daring the Lord of Mordor to come see for himself. The slit grew larger, the black abyss of the pupil even darker as He took in the challenge the man before him presented.

Aragorn drew Andúril swiftly, and the Dúnadan could see that the Dark Lord recognized the blade. The murmur of Black Speech grew louder and angrier, and Isildur's heir could see images of older days playing in parts of the fire. Images of destruction and death covered in words of hatred and despair spun about him, and he nearly stumbled from the onslaught. Nonetheless he held his ground, and took another step forward, his blade out in front of him. Another step and he was closer to the abyss of the pupil of the Eye.

The words grew even louder, and the fiery images surrounding him came to life with sound. Screams of terror and cruel laughter mixed with the Black Speech formed a haunting melody that drowned his thoughts and made him stumble. The laughter became louder and echoed through his heart.

However, he did not despair. With a deep breath he straightened, rushed forward, and stabbed the darkness of the pupil straight through. A dark, angry yell broke through the Black Speech, and the images around him started to fade.

Suddenly the fire and shadow was gone, and there was nothing. With another deep breath, Aragorn regained his thoughts and then directed them to the Stone. And the Stone obeyed.

Aragorn was sadly not very descriptive in what Sauron looked like, but seeing as Frodo saw the Eye in Galadriel's mirror, and everyone references his Eye roving about, it seemed appropriate that he would be a, well, Eye looking in the palantír.

Prompt 35: Birthday
Ficlet: Everlasting Memories
Rating: G
Imladris, Spring of 3007 TA.

Aragorn had reached Rivendell before dawn, while the rest of the household was still sleeping. The night door warden for the Last Homely House had admitted him in immediately, and when asked if he wished to wake and greet the household, the man refused. The knowledge of his homecoming could wait until morning. Instead he sought out his old room with his old bed. He had noted even in his weariness that the elves still kept the room as clean as they did when he still lived in the house. It was as if they were expecting him.

Aragorn had not sent any letters warning of his coming for he had not known he would wander to Rivendell. He was at an outpost near the Shire when he received the news of his mother’s death, and found that he needed to be alone. The man had known that her passing would be soon, but the news had nonetheless hit his heart deeply. The Ranger spent three weeks in the Wild before he found himself going down the white stone path that led into the vale of his childhood home.

The moment Aragorn hit the mattress, he was asleep. His usual vigilance faded as his exhaustion finally took over his mind, and for the first time in weeks the man found himself truly resting.

As the morning came and Anor began to rise, Elrohir watched the door to Aragorn’s room silently. It had been years since he had last seen his foster brother, and while the passing years were nothing to elves, the peredhel felt it deeply. He knew that the man was getting older, and even on this day his age increased once more.

The elf could not but help to miss his presence on the man’s birthday. He recalled the many celebrations in Aragorn’s youth that celebrated the happy day and missed them. Elrohir, hit with nostalgia, opened the door to his foster brother’s room to glimpse around it once more and remember those days.

He was startled to see that there was an occupant in the bed in the room. Taking in the tangled mess of dark hair on the pillow, the worn boots on the side of the bed, and the well-known sword leaning nearby, he rushed forward, eager to see if his suspicions were correct.

Elrohir soon confirmed his beliefs when he went to the other side of the bed and found Aragorn’s face. The elf was surprised, however, to find that the man did not wake up; while elves were silent, the man was able to detect a nearby presence even in his sleep. He could only assume that the man was truly exhausted.

He quietly debated about allowing the man to sleep longer, but his eagerness to speak with him won out. The elf gently touched his shoulder, muttering, “Estel.”

When Aragorn grabbed his hand and pulled him forward, the elf smiled inwardly. ‘Not as weary as I believed.’ Elrohir let the man hold him, waiting patiently for him to wake up completely.

Aragorn blinked twice before he realized where he was and who was about to throttle in his half-sleep. “Elrohir!” He quickly released the elf, blinking once more and then shaking his head in irritation. “Why did you do that?”

“I thought you were fatigued; clearly I was wrong,” he said with a smile. “Then, of course, I had not realized you would be here.”

“Did Falasdir not tell you?” Aragorn frowned. “He let me in last night.”

“I have yet to speak with him, though I imagine adar will find out soon,” the elf replied. “I was quite surprised to see you here. I last heard you were near the Shire.”

“I was,” he replied. “However, I needed some time alone.”

Aragorn did not need to explain to Elrohir why. “Of course,” he replied lightly. “Still, it is wonderful that you managed to come on this day.”

The man frowned quizzically. “Indeed? Why is that?”

Elrohir raised an eyebrow, and then laughed lightly when he saw that Aragorn was serious. “Oh, Estel! Do not tell me you forgot your own birthday.”

“Birthday?” Aragorn’s frowned deepened. “It cannot already be March 1st.”

“But it is, brother, it is!” Elrohir laughed again and embraced the man. “You have been plagued with many troubles recently, I can see. This, however, shall be a happy day. Not every day is your birthday, after all!”

“Yes, there is always that one day of the year in which I am happily reminded that I am getting older,” Aragorn said wryly.

Elrohir laughed once more. “Your eternal optimism never fails to amuse me, Estel. Now come, get dressed and sit with us at breakfast. The rest of the household will be pleased to see you.”

“Very well. Be off, then!” he replied with a smile, shoving the elf lightly towards the door. The elf complied, shutting it as he left.

As Aragorn dressed, he could not help but be touched that his foster family still remembered his birthday, even when he was too busy to remember it. Despite any discord between them, they still loved him, and that fact made life all the more bearable.

Look, it's Another Hard One to Write. The passage that inspired this is one of my favorite passages in the book, for it says so much and leaves a lot to our imagination. Trying to find a canonical place and time for it, however, was a challenge. I hope I did it justice.

Also, if you are interested in stories with only certain characters, I'm adding which characters are in the ficlet on the chapter title. "A", of course, stands for Aragorn.

Prompt 36: Fear
Ficlet: Shadows of the Night
Rating: PG
Bree, September 29th, 3018

‘They will come on you in the wild, in some dark place where there is no help. Do you wish them to find you? They are terrible!’

The hobbits looked at him, and saw with surprise that his face was drawn as if with pain, and his hands clenched the arms of his chair. The room was very quiet and still, and the light seemed to have grown dim. For a while he sat with unseeing eyes as if walking in distant memory or listening to sounds in the Night far away.

Mirkwood, 28th March, 3018

Aragorn tensed as his horse started to dance in nervousness. He saw that he was not the only one having difficulties with his mount; the few elves of Thranduil that made up his escort through the forest started to speak quietly to the animals, but were as tense as he. While he could sense that something was amiss, the Dúnadan could see that whatever was nearby troubled the Eldar greatly.

Yrch?” he asked the captain of the escort, Thranduil’s younger son Legolas. He had met the elf in a border patrol outside of the king’s realm but ten days ago, and had taken a liking to him. The elf seemed to enjoy his company as well, and had volunteered to lead the escort out of Mirkwood.

“Yes, but there is another presence,” the elf replied in the same language, frowning. “It is darkness not unlike the evil surrounding Dol Guldur. Even with the spiders close by... it is unnatural.”

“We should hurry, lord,” another elf put in. “It is difficult to discern their number, and they are yet far enough that we may outride them.”

“Aye,” Legolas nodded. “They are not our priority, and we are beyond help until we are closer to the Forest Gate. There are few patrols on this side of the Enchanted River.” With that said, the company increased their pace.

As night fell, the few beams of light that made their way through the thick branches disappeared, and the complete darkness of the forest made Aragorn glad for the company. While he was no babe afraid of the dark, he knew of the evils that crept through all parts of Mirkwood, and he doubted he would get any rest by himself.

While the elves set up camp and a watch, Aragorn sat by the fire, deep in his thoughts. Legolas soon joined him.

“You look troubled, friend Dúnadan,” the young elf said without preamble. “Does the forest lie heavily on your spirits?”

“I will admit that it does,” the man replied. “Your own realm, lord, is beautiful in itself, but the rest of the forest is filled with darkness.”

“None of that, now!” Legolas said. “I did tell you before that it is simply Legolas to you, unless you wish me to return the favor, Lord Aragorn.”

“No, I am no lord of you,” Aragorn said with a smile, “and I will remember that, Legolas. I would ask, however, that you not use my name where unfriendly beings may hear. It is not the time for it to be revealed- though I deem that the time is approaching soon.”

“Dúnadan it is then, as you introduced yourself to me,” Thranduil’s son said with a nod. “The day where I may utter your name without cause for fear will be a joyous day, indeed.”

“Indeed,” Aragorn said absentmindedly, his eyes turned away from the fire and to the horses, which were more nervous now than before. “Unfortunately, Legolas, it seems we were unable to evade our dark pursuers.”

“So it would seem,” Legolas replied, standing up and readying his bow. His men needed not to be told to do so; they too had sensed the enemies now coming onto their position, and had their own weapons ready. Aragorn stood and drew his own blade, turning his back towards the fire.

The first orcs were dead before the lone mortal could even see them. Glad for the superior eyesight of the elves, Aragorn waited with a learned patience for his enemies to come to him.

As the creatures started appearing in the firelight, the elves soon dropped their bows and brought out their swords and knives, the melee combat useless with ranged weapons. Aragorn stepped up as well, slaying the orcs that managed to get by any of the elves. Even as his allies moved forward, however, Aragorn opted to stay closer to the fire, knowing his eyesight was greatly limited in the dark against these beasts. He could observe, however, that the orcs were dropping quickly and that the elves were still at their best. At this rate the horde would soon be dead and all of his companions unscathed.

Suddenly a foul chill filled the air. Aragorn turned to his left and found himself facing a tall, cloaked being but feet away from him. His heart froze inside of him, and while he had never encountered one of these beings before, he remembered Elrond’s old texts that he had read long ago.


He could not move, and he could barely discern the cries of terror coming from his elven companions. The elves moved further away from him, busy dealing with the orcs and avoiding the dread of this new threat.

This creature was unlike anything Aragorn had ever encountered before, and the man had never had such fear take over his body as it did now. He was not sure if the being could see him, but it did seem to sense him, and it slowly came over to the Dúnadan. The wraith stopped right in front of him, and he heard a strange sounds come from his hood, as if it were sniffing for something. His mind screamed at him to lift his sword and to be prepared to defend himself, but he could not move. After a moment of this strange sniffing, the Nazgûl stopped and without a word lifted his sword to strike the man down.

Suddenly regaining his senses, Aragorn parried the blow that would have taken his life, and took a swipe at the creature. He seemed to easily evade the mortal's move and quickly the wraith lashed against him. A few short, swift blows sent the man's sword flying from his hand, and a quick strike from the hilt to the side of his head brought Aragorn to the ground.

A stream of Sindarin flew from Legolas' mouth, and though Aragorn could not make it out completely, he did hear the elf call for Elbereth's aid. The shout for the Vala made the wraith recoil slightly, which the Dúnadan noted immediately.

"Elbereth Gilthoniel!" The Ranger panted out, keeping the wraith at bay for a moment longer. Searching for a decent weapon, Aragorn grabbed the nearest thing that would serve for the moment, which happened to be a long branch sticking out of the campfire. He climbed to his feet even as the creature came back towards him, and before it could kill him with a final blow, he shoved the fire brand into the black hood.

A long, shrill shriek filled the area, causing Aragorn to drop the torch and stumble backwards, but the damage had been done. The Nazgûl turned and fled off the path and into the forest. The orcs, seeing the wraith flee from the battle and their own number quickly dwindling, turned and ran from the elves one by one. Most were shot down in their path, and the few that did make it out alive would not bother them again for a long time.

Legolas ran over to his mortal companion as soon as the last of the orcs were gone. "Are you well, Dúnadan?" he asked, glancing about the forest.

Aragorn nodded, running a hand through his hair. "Yes. The sudden onslaught of dread, it- it was unusual, and caught me off guard."

"Such terror surrounds the area near Dol Guldur in the south and we rarely venture there, but we know it well," the elf replied. "The Nazgûl, however, have never ventured so far north. It is unsettling."

"The name of the Star-kindler seemed to perturb the creature," Aragorn pointed out.

"Aye, Elbereth's name is ever our hope and ever their dread, which we already knew. I did not realize, though, that the wraith had such a fear of fire. That knowledge may come to further use."

"Aye," Aragorn nodded grimly. "It is said that no man can kill the Nazgûl, yet fire will do well enough, if the time comes need for it again." Even as he spoke those words, the man repressed a shudder. The unnatural darkness that overtook his heart feared him greatly, and he fervently hoped that he would not encounter one of these wraiths ever again.

‘There!’ he cried after a moment, drawing his across his brow. ‘Perhaps I know more about these pursuers than you do. You fear them, but you do not fear them enough, yet.’

Tolkien really gave me a hard time with this. According to Unfinished Tales, Aragorn captured Gollum on Feb 1, 3018, and then reached Thranduil 50 days later on March 21st. What a miserable 87th birthday he must have had. Gandalf managed to get news of Gollum’s capture from Lorien elves, and then skedaddles up to Mirkwood and manages to get there on the 23rd (I suppose he had a horse, unlike poor Aragorn). But on May 1st, a mere 39 days and 800 or so miles away, he meets up *again* with Gandalf at Sarn Ford, southeast of the Shire. Wow, that’s some fast riding (I cannot imagine he walked that whole distance in such a time after what he already went through). I’m then going to assume that Aragorn left Mirkwood before Gandalf, and did not see one another until May 1st.

Also from the Unfinished Tales, it is assumed that spies of Dol Guldur learned of Gollum being in the hands of a Man sometime when he entered Mirkwood (mid March, most likely). It’s also assumed that the Nazgûl (Khamul and his few buddies) did more research on Gollum’s whereabouts before reporting to Sauron, who got the info about all this in late April. Thus, the best time for Aragorn to have an encounter with one of the Nine would be as he is leaving Mirkwood, after Gandalf arrives and before Gandalf leaves on March 29th.

I am of the opinion that neither Aragorn nor Legolas would have had the time to get to really meet one another until Aragorn brought Gollum to Mirkwood, thus the formality. And these notes are almost as long as the ficlet itself. *g*

I decided to give a shot and write on a character that I have written very little about. I look at her as more difficult to write, considering her age and wisdom, and it was a fun exercise.

Prompt 37: Forest
Ficlet: The Lady of the Wood
Rating: G
Lórien, Summer 2980 TA

It was his first day in Caras Galadhon, and already Aragorn felt more rested than he had in a long time. A handmaiden had led him to a small, private talan after his brief meeting with the Lord and Lady of Lothlórien. There he had already found a bath drawn for him, and he was glad; his weariness was great and he was unsure if he would have been able to reach the public bathing area. He had quickly scrubbed off the layers of dirt that had accumulated over the long months, and after pulling on a plain, yet fresh tunic and pants, had crawled into bed.

He was not sure how much time had passed when he first woke, but he saw that day had turned into night during his rest. Before he was fully awake there was a knock on his door.

Aragorn pulled himself out of bed and opened the door to none other than Lady Galadriel. “My lady,” he said with a hurried bow. He then realized his rather bedraggled state, and as he imagined how he looked in the night shirt and pants, began to apologize.

“There is nothing to apologize for,” Galadriel said with a smile. “May I come in?”

“Of course, my lady,” he replied, stepping out of the way for her. “How may I be of service?”

“I need nothing from you at this time, Aragorn, son of Arathorn,” she said, glancing at a dresser in the room. Following her gaze, he found that there was a small pile of rich clothing on top of it; he was surprised he did not catch sight of it before. “I would bade you, however, to wear the clothing I have provided you when you next leave this talan.”

“My lady?” he could not help but ask as he fingered the material. “I am unused to such richness; this cloth seems more appropriate for a lord of elves.”

“No less appropriate for a lord of the Dúnedain,” she easily rebutted. “While you may have need to hide your identity elsewhere in the world, you shall be as you were meant to be in this wood.”

“I will do as you ask, my lady, though I know not the reason behind it,” Aragorn said with a bow of his head. “Would you have me wear the circlet as well?”

“Yes,” she said, and smiled a little at his unease. “You may not be used to such riches now, Dúnadan, but perhaps one day you shall.” Aragorn bowed his head again, and Galadriel gently touched his brow. “Dress, and walk through the trees of Caras Galadhon. Be at peace in this realm, and let go of all your cares for a while.” She pulled her hand back and smiled once more. “If you have need of me, you know where to find me.” Aragorn bid her farewell, and she left the talan.

Frowning slightly at the unusual situation, Aragorn did as requested and started to dress himself in the white and grey cloth. Perhaps a small walk would help him clear his mind.

Inspired by a passage in the books that was brought up at, I decided to make a prompt out of the re-forging of Andúril and the runes inscribed on it.

I was also thinking of a character who would be interested in this event, and suddenly Gimli popped right in. I have not written this character often, so I hope I did a decent job on him, especially since it is from his point of view.

Oh, and I know very little about forging- or re-forging- weapons. Thus the vagueness. And definitely inspired by the movie inscription, which I like very much but didn't want to copy word-for-word.

Prompt 38: Heat
Ficlet: The Forges of Rivendell
Rating: G
Rivendell, December 3018 TA

"The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and above them were written many runes; for Aragorn son of Arathorn was going to war upon the marches of Mordor. Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, and its edge was hard and keen. And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Andúril, Flame of the West." -FOTR, The Ring Goes South

It was a few days before they were to set out on their great journey, and he found himself bored. The greenery was of no interest to him. The library, while extensive and impressive, did not capture his heart. His father had more of an interest in such things, though he would never admit it. He knew of one thing that would hold his attention for a while, and immediately went to Master Elrond for permission to access it. He quickly found the elf lord in his study, and was pleased to discover that the elf had no qualms with showing it to him.

The elf was about to give him an escort, but he insisted that he needn't bother and could find the place himself. So Master Elrond quickly gave him a set of thorough directions, and he was off.

Despite what elves may think of him, he was quite apt at finding places, and he soon found the point of interest without too much wandering. With an uplifted heart he took a step into the forges. He saw a couple of elves in there, and to his delight they were forging a weapon- a sword, he soon realized. It looked like they were nearly finished and were adding the last decorative touches.

"Well met, Gimli."

The dwarf nearly jumped at the voice- he had not noticed the Man, quietly sitting in the shadows. "Well met, Aragorn," he hurriedly replied, easily covering his surprise. He gave a short bow to the man, and Aragorn bowed his head in response. Gimli walked over to him, his eyes never leaving the sword.

"Is that the broken sword you showed at the Council?" the dwarf asked.

"Yes," the Ranger replied. "Narsil, the sword of Elendil."

Gimli nodded absentmindedly. "If I am not mistaken, it looked to be of dwarf-craft."

"You are not," the man confirmed. "Telchar of Nogrod created it for an Eldar prince, though who it originally belonged to not even Lord Elrond knows."

Gimli did not know if he was going to continue, for the elves were finally finished. They beckoned to Aragorn in Elvish, and he walked over to where it lay. The dwarf followed, and he stared at the long, glistening sword appreciatively.

"Narsil it was once called, but it is now Andúril, Flame of the West," Aragorn said, though if it were to him or to himself, Gimli did not know.

The dwarf looked appreciatively at the craftsmanship of the sword, and of the sun, moon, and stars decorated onto its blade. He then glanced at the runes written into the steel. "What does it say?" he asked, gesturing to them.

"In the Common Tongue it reads, 'I am Narsil remade, the Flame of the West. The thralls of Mordor flee from me.'"

"Impressive," Gimli nodded. "It will be welcome in the days ahead."

"Indeed," Aragorn said. He picked up the sword and eyed the steel. "Elendil's blade shall spill the blood of its enemies once more."

Prompt 39: Cradle
Ficlet: Looking on the Past
Rating: G
The Angle, Fall 2951

Sarnhold was the largest and longest-lived establishment of the Dúnedain in the Angle. It is where the Chieftains of the Dúnedain had lived when they were not out wandering, and where their wives had raised their children for generations. In the fortified village there stood the chieftain's house; this house, empty for nearly two decades, was about to be entered once more.

Aragorn had entered the village with the small party that had just returned from Rivendell. While they knew his identity, the leader of the group thought it best for the acting Chieftain to know about his coming before the rest of the populace caught wind of it. Therefore they had entered the village just before dawn when the town was still waking up and the people were not yet outside.

One of the Rangers had led him to the house and had left him there quite suddenly, though Aragorn could not remember the reason why. All he knew was that this house was his mother's and father's house before the latter had passed away. A sudden hesitancy took over his body as he went to go inside. Pushing aside such nonsense, he opened the door and quickly shut it before he could change his mind.

It was not much different than other houses in Sarnhold; indeed, from the outside there was little distinguishing this building from the others. Inside did not seem to be much different; the furniture was plain, the cushions worn, and there was no obvious show of wealth or power. One item, however, caught his attention.

Beyond the open door into the adjourning bedroom he saw a cradle. Slowly Aragorn approached, almost as if he were unsure as to what to make of the foreign device. There was no need for cradles in Rivendell, and he could not remember if he had one there when he was younger. He knew, however, that many years ago this cradle was his.

He laid a gentle hand on its side and moved his fingers across the wood. It was smooth, smooth enough so no splinters would hurt the child inside. It also looked newer than much of the furniture inside of the house, and he could not help but feel touched that his parents- maybe even his father- would go through the trouble of constructing him a new cradle for when he was born. When he touched the wood, he could almost feel the love that was poured into this piece. Was that the love his birth father had borne for him?

A sudden knock at his door interrupted his thoughts. Turning away from the cradle, he strode over to the door and opened it. He could think on his parents later. Right now he needed to confront the present, and go where his destiny led him.

I am pretty sure this is my first time writing young Aragorn for these prompts (with the exception of flashbacks). Young Aragorn fics were never something that interested me a lot, so I suppose this is good practice.

Prompt 40: Sick
Ficlet: Wild Child
Rating: G
Outside the Last Homely House, 2936 TA

Let the rain fall down
Everywhere around you
Give into it now
Let the day surround you
You don't need a reason
Let the rain go on and on

"Estel! Estel, child, come inside now!" Gilraen called to her son from the covered porch, a shawl wrapped around her. She held it closer as the rain grew heavier.

The boy looked at his mother with an impish grin. "I love the rain, nana! It feels nice." He stuck out his tongue to the sky and let the large raindrops fall upon it.

"You will catch your death out there, Estel! Come inside right now!" Gilraen sighed with impatience as the five-year-old simply waved at her and ignored her command. He ran around on the grass, laughing at the world about him. The woman stilled as she watched him laugh, wishing Arathorn was there to hear it. Shaking herself out of her dismal thoughts, she called to him again.

"Do not make me come out there and bring you inside myself," she warned. Whether he was too immersed in his play to note her or was simply ignoring her she did not know, but he continued to play in the rain. He went over to a small brook that ran beside the house, threw off his shoes and waded in it, giggling.

Sighing, the young woman put her shawl on a bench and made a step towards him. A gentle hand on her shoulder stopped him.

"This is no venture for a lady, Gilraen," Elrond said with a smile. "Allow me."

"Master Elrond, that is-" was all she managed to say, but Elrond was already out in the rain and halfway to the boy. She could not help but laugh as the elf lord caught Estel in his arms and carried him to the house without a word.

When he was on the covered porch, he set the child down. "You should know better than to disobey your mother, Estel," he chided the boy. "She is older and wiser than you, and it is your duty to obey her."

Estel said nothing, but his cheerful countenance was gone and he hung his head. He started to shiver from the cold water, and Gilraen rolled her eyes as she hung her shawl around him.

"Now you shiver and are sure to catch a cold. Let's get you out of these damp clothes before it turns into something worse." With that she led him into the Last Homely House, Elrond behind her.

It was difficult deciding a date for this; all I knew is that I wanted it a few years after Aragorn's betrothal to Arwen, and before Gilraen's death. That left me with a good 30 or so years to work with, so I just drew a random date and worked with it.

Also, the path to Rivendell has been difficult for me to figure out, especially since fan fiction often interprets it much more differently than the books (both LOTR and the Hobbit) do. The most accurate interpretation of the path to the hidden valley that I've seen would probably be the one in The Lord of the Rings Online, which actually has moorlands and a noticeable lack of trees in the area above the valley! Difficult placing border patrol in a bunch of heather, though.

Finally, this ridiculously goes beyond the word count, but the Muses simply did not shush.

Prompt 41: Road
Ficlet: The Road Home
Rating: G
The Vale of Imladris, 3001 TA

Rivendell. A place for healing and rest, or so it is said. Anyone of good intentions and in need would find the white stone path that led to the hidden valley. This path he now followed subconsciously; he knew the road well, despite the many years that had passed since he last walked it. Even now, he could hear the disguised bird calls from the sentries hidden among the steep walls and fallen rocks of the high moors. They, of course, knew he was there; they had known since he was still a league away from the Last Homely House.

If he were to be completely honest with himself, Aragorn was not quite sure what now led him down this path to a place that he had avoided for so long. When Elrond had learned of Arwen's betrothal to him, he had been grieved, and while they had not parted on ill terms, tension had been strong between he and the one he once called adar. And so he had avoided Imladris for a score of years, instead living with his people and making up for the many years he was abroad. Now Chieftain of the Dúnedain, he belonged solely with the remnants of his people scattered about Arnor.

If that was so, why did he give the command of his patrol to another for a couple seasons? Why did he wander down this road? He did not know.

It did not take him long to reach the steep, windy path that led down into the valley, nor did it take much longer to reach the narrow bridge that crossed the Bruinen. He slowly made his way to the courtyard that was in front of the Last Homely House. The few elves he passed did not note him, not recognizing him in the evening light. But then again, he had changed much over the years; he was not the boy they remembered.

He climbed the steps to the House but paused at the door. In his youth, he would have entered with no hesitations. But now he was not quite sure if he was even welcome in Elrond's house. Perhaps it would be better if he turned away now.

He settled for the medium approach and knocked on the great doors.

To his surprise, it was not a door warden that answered, but the master of the house himself. Elrond looked at him in astonishment; he had not expected the figure beyond the door, as well.

Aragorn managed to compose himself quickly and gave a quick bow to the peredhel. "Master Elrond."

The elf said nothing, but raised his hand to the man's shoulder. When Aragorn did not protest or move away, Elrond stepped closer and suddenly engulfed the man in an embrace. Amazement filled him, but Aragorn quickly recovered and returned the gesture, unsure what to make of this development.

When Elrond moved away, he must had seen the bewilderment in Aragorn's eyes, for he said, "The last time we spoke, I said I loved you still. Did you not believe me?"

Few beings could leave Arathorn's son speechless; his foster father was one of them. He opened his mouth, but no words came. Finally, he simply said, "I did not know what to believe."

The elf lord shook his head, smiling slightly. He took in the Ranger's filthy state of being with a critical eye, and then settled upon the lines on his face. "You have grown even older this past score of years."

"As is the way of Men," he responded, and Elrond nodded grimly.

"Elladan and Elrohir searched for you."

"I know." Indeed, he made sure that he was as far away from them as possible when he heard of their every coming. He was afraid of their judgment concerning he and Arwen, though he would not tell Elrond that he deliberately avoided them. Aragorn suspected, however, that the elf knew.

"They missed you, and wanted to see you. As did I."

Guilt washed over the man; guilt he had not felt for many years. He never suspected that, in avoiding his foster family, he may be hurting them. Then again, he did not believe that they wanted anything to do with him. Clearly he had been very wrong.

"Are they here?"

"They will be, in a few days. Will you stay and wait for them?"

He hesitated for a moment, but with a slow nod, he said, "Yes. Yes, I believe I will."

Elrond smiled, and opened the door wider, letting his foster son into the Last Homely House.

Look in Appendix A! After Aragorn's betrothal to Arwen, Elrond does say that he loves him! It's canon, not fanon! That fact makes me ridiculously happy. While their relationship can never be the same, I would be devastated if Elrond possibly lost his love for Aragorn. According to canon, he didn't! *grin*

Thank you to all who have reviewed, and special thanks to those who review so frequently.

Inspired by a fic by Silivren Tinu, and brought to life by the film The Secret Garden. The overgrown garden is her idea; whose garden is of my own creation. She too put Arwen in it, though I have my own spin on what happened there.

Prompt 42: Peace
Ficlet: The Secret Garden
Rating: G
The Citadel, July 3019

She had only been in Minas Tirith for a week, but Arwen already knew that her favorite part of the Citadel were the gardens. Between the King's House and the Tower of Ecthelion grew her favorite gardens; they were the private grounds of the Steward's family, and now they were her own. Enclosed by walls of stone, she could wander around the flora without disturbance from others.

Despite the fact that the grounds had been little trod within the last decades, the gardeners that were employed by the Citadel had kept them, even in the hard times of war; there were few dead brambles, and the paths were well-kept and clean. Nonetheless, the gardeners were few and the gardens large, so they worked harder on those outside of the King's House than in the ones where so few went. Arwen assumed that with the King's coming it would soon change, but for now she noticed that the deeper she went, the less prim the flora became. For now she enjoyed the nature growing wild as it would.

After wandering for an uncounted amount of time, she stumbled upon an enclosed part of the garden. A wall was around the area, and the only entrance to it was a wooden door. She was startled to see that the door was open; during her last time there she had found the door locked. Peering beyond it, Arwen was surprised by who she saw.

"Lord Faramir," she said, more out of wonder than in greeting.

Faramir was sitting on a bench in the enclosed garden. The garden itself was wild and overgrown, with bramble and brush covering the pathway, and weeds overtaking the flowers that grew there. A large tree shaded the area from the hot sun. He seemed to be deep in thought, though immediately came out of it at the elf's statement. "My Lady Queen," he said, standing up and bowing.

Arwen smiled and bade him to sit. "I am hope I am not disturbing you, my lord."

"Not at all, my lady," he replied.

She nodded, and looked around at the garden in wonder. "When I came here last, the door was locked. Do you have the key, then?"

He nodded. "This garden was my mother's garden; she tended to it herself. After her death, my father locked it, and I have just recently found the key. I still have memories of her working in here."

The elleth glanced at the weeds that were overtaking the other plant life that grew in the area, and gently untangled a bud from an ensnaring vine. "This garden has been overlooked for quite some time, but I would see it blossom again. If you would permit me, Lord Faramir, I would make this place my own project, and would take care of it personally."

"I would be honored, my lady," the man replied with a smile. "I would see this place tended once more." He stood and gave her the key with a small bow.

She smiled, but before she could say more, she heard footsteps coming from behind. Turning around, Arwen was gifted with the sight of her husband.

"Ah, here you are, my love. I was told you would be found in the gardens." Aragorn stepped inside the enclosed area, and looked at Faramir in surprise. "Lord Faramir, I did not realize you were here as well."

"I was just about to leave, my Lord King," Faramir said with a slight bow. "If you have need of me, I shall be in my office, sire." With another bow, he left the royal couple alone.

"Finduilas' garden," Aragorn thought aloud, "I never imagined I would see it again."

"You knew of this place?" Arwen asked.

"Aye; I sat with her here a couple of times when she needed solace." Aragorn gently brushed a few leaves from the bench. "She was young, and while she loved Denethor, she missed her home greatly. This garden was one of her comforts."

"May it be a comfort to her to see it grow again," Arwen whispered.

Prompt 43: Cloud
Ficlet: Dragons
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, Fourth Age



"There's a dragon in the sky."

Aragorn blinked and looked up from the missive he was reading. "I beg your pardon?"

The young prince, who was currently looking out of the northward window, glanced at his father briefly before turning his gaze back to the window. "There is a dragon in the sky."

The king's brows furrowed. "It must be some bird, Eldarion. There are no dragons alive now."

"It is a dragon, not a bird."

Now thoroughly confused, Aragorn rose from his chair and joined his son at the window. He glanced up at the sky and, after gazing for a moment, saw neither bird nor dragon flying through the clouds. "I'm afraid I cannot see a dragon, my son."

"It's right there," Eldarion pointed to a large, lone cloud right in sight. "But it doesn't look much like a dragon anymore."

Aragorn laughed in surprise and delight, seeing now what his son saw. "It looks more like a very large fish."

"It does, ada, it does! Do you also see the ship with the man, trying to catch the fish?"

"I do not, Eldarion; your sight is keener than mine."

The young boy pointed out that shape and many others in the sky, and the missive on the king's desk was left forgotten for many long moments.

I was listening to Evanescence and felt like writing something angsty.

Prompt 44: Gift
Ficlet: Giving Back the Gift
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, Late February 120 FA

"I am the last of the Númenóreans and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middle-earth, but also the grace to go at my will, and give back the gift." -The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

The King of the Reunited Kingdom was sitting in an armchair near the fire, a piece of needlework in his hands. It was crude and obviously the work of a beginner, but he treasured it as dearly as the embroidery his own wife did. It was the first piece dear Melian had done, and the young girl had decided to give it to her great-great grandfather.

Great-great grandfather. What a title to bear. It was one that he most cherished, yet it was one that made him think on a day that was soon to come.

Melian was his first great-great grandchild, and already another was on the way. If all went well, the baby was due for the summer. However, he was not sure he would live to see that day.

Aragorn was no dotard; he knew that he was long past his prime, and that Eldarion, if need had come, was ready to ascend the throne decades ago. His son was everything he could have hoped for, and more. The people loved him, and Aragorn knew that he and his wife would rule well.

The man sighed as he glanced down at the small piece of needlework once more. He knew that very, very soon it would be time to go. He would not be remembered as an old man who lingered past his time, but rather as one who embraced life and accepted death as a part of it.

No, death was not difficult to accept. He had lived a long and fulfilling life. The hardest part about this affair would be telling Arwen that he had made his choice.

There are many fabulous authors who have written about the Dúnedain. I can never hope to match their detail, nor their ridiculously intriguing plots, but merely offer my own interpretation about it. This should be the first of many ficlets surrounding such OCs.

This takes place mere minutes after Prompt 39 (Cradle).

Prompt 45: Beginnings
Ficlet: Family Reunion
Rating: G
The Angle, Fall 2951 TA

Maendir was the leader of the small party that had brought Arathorn's son to Sarnhold, and now he led the young man to the acting chieftain's residence. He glanced at Aragorn once more, and hoped that the heir to the chieftainship would not disappoint. He had enjoyed the young man's company on their journey to the fortified village, and, if things went well, the current chieftain would see what he had seen.

The older man soon stopped in front of the house. "This is the home of Haladan, son of Arthwen who was daughter of Argonui, and the acting Chieftain of the Dúnedain. You will meet him inside. Fare well, my lord Aragorn." With a short bow, Maendir departed without another word.

Aragorn went up the short flight of steps that led to the home, and paused at the door. He exhaled, and without further delay, knocked on the door.

It was quickly opened by a tall, lithe woman with long, wavy dark hair. Aragorn thought he was seeing his mother, but soon saw that there were a few distinct differences between Gilraen and this woman.

Before he could think on it further, the woman gasped, putting her hand to her mouth. "Oh Valar... you look just like him. But no," the woman amended, bringing her hand up to brush away a strand of hair. "No, your hair is just as unruly as Gilraen's. And you have her nose. Oh, Aragorn!" she exclaimed, suddenly engulfing him in a large embrace, "it is wonderful to see you."

Aragorn embraced her as well, but once she released him, he gave her an apologetic smile. "You obviously know who I am, my lady, but I have yet to make your acquaintance."

"Oh goodness, of course! You were only a child when you left us," the woman shook her head. "My apologies. I am Haeleth, wife to Haladan who is the residing chieftain. Gilraen is my younger sister. But enough of this talk out in the cold! Please come in, Aragorn."

He gladly took the invitation, and as she shut the door behind him, a voice called from another room to the right of the hallway.

"Haeleth! Is it him?"

"It is, mother, it is!" Haeleth said gladly, taking Aragorn's cloak and hanging it by the doorway. She quickly led the young man down the hall, and they almost bumped into a woman with dark hair speckled with grey strands. She took one look at Aragorn before she embraced him.

"Aragorn! So many years have I waited to see you once again." She looked him over closely, looking deeply into his eyes. "Yes. Yes, you are all that I have hoped for." Her smile faded slightly as she brushed his hair. "I was saddened to hear that Gilraen was not with you. She has been away for so long."

Aragorn, who recognized her as his grandmother Ivorwen, said, "If it is any comfort to you, my lady grandmother, I do have a letter from her to you and the rest of the family that remains here." He dug into a small bag he had with him, and pulled out a small tube that held the parchment inside. He gave it to the older woman, who took it graciously.

"Thank you, Aragorn," she said. "Now come, the rest of the family is waiting to meet you." She led him to a parlour, and there sat an older man, a young man who looked to be Aragorn's age, and two younger girls. The older man stood as he entered the room.

Aragorn gave a short bow to the older man. "Are you Haladan, the acting Chieftain of the Dúnedain?" he asked.

"I am," the man responded, "and there is no doubt in my mind as to who you are. Even if your arrival had not been revealed to me, you would be known to me; you resemble your parents greatly." Haladan smiled. "Welcome to Sarnhold, nephew." He turned to his children, all who were standing now. "This is my son, Halbarad, and my daughters Lothwen and Isthel."

They each greeted one another, and soon the family was seated around the small room.

"Of course, this is not your whole family, Aragorn," Ivorwen started. "My husband Dírhael is out on patrol, and your other grandmother, Merendis, is currently recovering from an illness.

"How ill is she?" Aragorn asked, concerned.

"Oh, she was not doing well for a while, but she is now recovering," she reassured him. "She will soon be on her feet once more."

"I will pay her a visit later," said Aragorn.

"She would be delighted," Haeleth said, "but first tell us about yourself, and how you and my sister fared in Rivendell all these years."

Aragorn did gladly, and throughout the next hour Aragorn began many new relationships that would last for years to come.

Writing Aragorn as a child is difficult for me. Writing hobbits can sometimes be challenging. So here's more practice for both XD

Prompt 46: Shy
Ficlet: First Meeting
Rating: G
Imladris, June 2941 TA

While it is a little known fact, hobbits have a rather acute sense of hearing, and so Bilbo Baggins was able to distinguish the sound of footfalls long before anyone came into sight. He knew it was no elf, for they walked completely silent, so he assumed it was either Gandalf or one of the dwarves. Rather than calling out a greeting, he waited for the visitor to approach him.

To his surprise, the footsteps stopped, but the figure was not anywhere to be seen. The hobbit casually glanced around, wondering if one of the dwarves was playing some sort of trick on him. They had rather odd senses of humor, these dwarves.

His gaze turned to a little clump of trees, and from his view Bilbo saw a bit of dark hair before the figure moved, completely hiding himself behind the trees. Both annoyed and curious, the hobbit left his bench and approached the figure to see who it was and what he was doing hiding behind the trees. He approached stealthily and so his spy never saw it coming.

"Now, what are you doing hiding here?" Bilbo said without preamble as he rounded the trees. "Oh! Goodness me, I beg your pardon. I thought you were someone else."

Instead of finding a mischievous dwarf as he had expected, the hobbit instead came upon a boy. The boy was kneeling and stood abruptly as Bilbo spoke, running his hand though his hair nervously.

"No, no, it is all right," said the boy. He recovered himself and gave the hobbit a quick bow. "I should be apologizing for interrupting your peace."

"It is no bother," said Bilbo with a bow of his own. "Now, my boy- if that is what you are- what were you doing here, hiding behind the trees?"

"I am a boy," he confirmed, "and the only one here in Rivendell, from what I know. And I was, well, wondering about you," he said with a light blush. "You do not look like a dwarf, master."

"That is because I am not a dwarf," Bilbo chuckled. "I only travel with them. I am a hobbit."

"Hobbit?" The boy frowned. "I have never heard of hobbits."

"Well, that is what I am. I live in the Shire, quite a good distance from here, and I am here to help the dwarves," said Bilbo. He left out his own doubts of his usefulness to the group.

The child nodded in acceptance of the answer. "My name is Estel."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Estel. I am Bilbo Baggins."

The boy smiled. "Master Bilbo Baggins, could you tell me more about your people?"

"I would be delighted to," said the hobbit with genuine joy. He led Estel to the bench and began his first of many conversations with this mortal known only as Estel.

Written because the world simply wouldn't be right without grumpy Rangers.

Prompt 47: Storm
Ficlet: It Can’t Get Any Worse
Rating: PG
The Middle of Nowhere, Late Third Age

He wasn’t lost. He knew exactly which direction he was headed; that was certainly easy enough to figure out. At least he knew he was heading northeast before the heavy cloud-cover completely overtook the sky a couple hours ago. The fact that he now had to use other methods to figure out which way was north was no problem. No, the problem lay with the cloud cover.

Simply put, the Dúnadan was not ready for the threatening, dark grey clouds that were above him. Last week he would have been completely ready- but last week he had all of his gear. Unfortunately for him, a small group of wandering orcs had found his campsite a couple of days ago in the dead of night. He had quickly awoken and fled the moment he heard their presence, but did not have enough time to gather much. The Ranger had quickly climbed a tree on the border of his camp, and once he saw their numbers, knew that he would not be able to retrieve his things without facing a rather meaningless death. With that realization, he had quickly used the dense trees and their overlaying branches as a makeshift path through the forest and away from the orcs.

Aragorn let out a small sigh of regret as the first drops started falling. He pulled up his hood and continued on, looking for some sort of suitable shelter from the rain. However, while the trees had been dense a couple days ago, they were hardly an adequate cover now. Nature happily reminded him of this fact as the rain turned from a drizzle into a downpour. Within minutes he was soaked.

Stuck in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a storm with absolutely no supplies was not the way he preferred to travel. ‘It cannot get any worse than this,’ he thought darkly. Nature, once again, happily reminded him that things can always get worse.

No one could say for sure what made a rather large branch break from the tree and hit his back. One can say with all certainty, however, that the branch was large enough to knock him into the ground, which at this point of time was a large mud puddle. While he was not seriously injured, his back now had a rather large bruise on it, and he was now wetter and filthier than before.

The Ranger picked himself off the ground, scowling. “Wizard or not, once I see you again Gandalf, you will suffer with me to find this Gollum.” With a few muttered curses under his breath, he continued on in the rain, all the time looking for some shelter that he was sure he would not find.

This takes place a few hours after Prompt 35 (Birthday).

Prompt 48: Food
Ficlet: Second Breakfast
Rating: G
Imladris, March 1 3007 TA

Bilbo was in the middle of his second breakfast when there was a knock on his door. "Come in!" he called cheerfully, but rather then seeing an elf as he expected, in walked a tall dark-haired man. "Oh, goodness!" he said as he stood up from his meal. "Estel! This is a pleasant surprise."

"Good morning, Bilbo. I hope I am not intruding."

"Not at all, not at all. Please join me for second breakfast!" He offered the man a seat across from him, which Aragorn took with a smile.

"I already ate this morning, Bilbo; I am afraid I am quite full."

"Only one breakfast?" Bilbo shook his head as he took a bite from his apple. "I cannot understand how you manage to function with so little food."

"I do not understand how hobbits can eat as much food as they do without bursting," Aragorn jested back. "You eat enough for an army, my friend."

Bilbo shook his head. "I limit myself to six meals a day; quite a few of my relatives never have less than eight. But you Big Folk are odd like that, I suppose." The hobbit buttered another piece of bread before he spoke again. "When did you get back, Estel?"

"Early this morning. I did not expect to come back to Imladris for a few years, but fate often has other plans."

Bilbo glanced at the man, noting the vague answer with suspicion, but said nothing on it. "I was down in the kitchens this morning," he started, "and apparently the cooks are preparing a feast."

"A feast?" Aragorn frowned. "Whatever for?"

"I was wondering that, myself. You know these elves like to celebrate whenever they can, but this feast was ill-prepared and obviously a last minute affair. Quite unlike them. So I asked, and the cooks said that there was to be a birthday celebration tonight." Bilbo eyed the man with amusement. "I have been here long enough to know that elves don't celebrate birthdays. I wonder who this party is planned for. Do you know, Estel?"

Aragorn indeed knew who it was for, and by Bilbo's expression, the hobbit knew as well. "My foster brothers certainly know how to embarrass me."

"Embarrass? Nonsense! Birthdays are a marvelous thing. I used to celebrate mine with my nephew Frodo every year. Strictly speaking he is more of a distant cousin, but we are far enough apart in age for it not to matter too greatly."

Aragorn chuckled. "I shall keep that in mind tonight. You will be there, then?"

"Of course. I may be old, but I would not miss this feast for the world."

"I cannot imagine you missing any sort of feast, Bilbo."

"One of these days they'll be a bit too much," the hobbit said thoughtfully. "But tonight I shall enjoy myself. You should do the same, young man."

The man chuckled again. "I will do as you bid." He stood. "If you will excuse me, Bilbo, but there are other things I must see to. Until tonight."

"Good day, Estel!" Bilbo said, and smiled as he left the room. He was certainly different from any other man the hobbit knew.

Prompt 49: Custom
Ficlet: From the North
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, 2976 TA

"What are you doing?"

Thorongil looked up in surprise to see the youngest of Prince Adrahil's children, Imrahil, staring at him. The young prince gave a short bow to the captain. "Forgive my intrusion, Captain Thorongil; I did not realize it was you."

Thorongil waved it off and gave a bow of his own. "You are not intruding, my lord; I meant to step out for only a moment and lost myself."

Imrahil nodded, glancing past the balcony where his sister danced with Lord Denethor. "It is rather loud in there, isn't it? Finduilas does look happy, though."

"May she be blessed with never-ending happiness."

Imrahil smiled, and then glanced once more at the strange device in Thorongil's hand. "If I may be so brash, lord, but what is that odd instrument you hold? I have never seen the likes of it before."

Thorongil chuckled as he glanced down at said instrument. "It is a pipe, my lord, used for smoking. The custom is from the North and quite common there, though it does not seem known in these lands."

"How strange," Imrahil said, obviously fascinated by the pipe. "May I see it?"

"Of course." Thorongil handed the pipe over to the young man. "I haven't smoked recently, but an old friend came down not too long ago and had some leaf. It is a comfort I have not enjoyed for a long while."

"You smoke leaf?" Imrahil asked as he inspected the pipe. "Very strange indeed! I am afraid I do not see the comfort in it, myself." He handed the device back to Thorongil. "It is a wonder to hear of such customs so unlike ours." He glanced back to the main event. "If you will excuse me, Captain Thorongil, I am sure I have some brotherly obligations to fulfill for this reception."

Thorongil bowed briefly as the young man departed, and then began to smoke once more, fondly remembering days from the North long past.

This takes place a few days after Prompt 41 (Road).

I have added a chronological listing of the ficlets in the prologue. I'll update it with every 5 or so ficlets, and I plan on putting in direct links sooner or later.

Happy Halloween, to those that celebrate it!

Prompt 50: Surprise
Ficlet: The Unexpected
Rating: PG
The Vale of Imladris, 3001 TA

It was mid-afternoon when Elrond's sons came to Imladris with the couple other elves who had completed their small hunting party. The group arrived earlier than was expected, finding a suitable deer for the Homely Houses' cooks sooner than anticipated.

As their companions gladly brought their prize down into the kitchens, Elladan and Elrohir made their way to their father's study to greet him. As they made their way through the house, the peredhil suddenly came upon an unexpected sight.

Sitting on a bench near an expansive window was a man reading a book. He was well dressed and clean shaven, and his countenance was relaxed. While they had not seen him for decades, both the elves knew immediately who he was.

"Estel," Elladan whispered, as if he were afraid that if he spoke too loudly the scene would disappear.

It did not, but the man looked up from his book to glance at the speaker. He stilled when he saw them, and a flash of emotion passed over his eyes before he managed to hide it. He put the book down and stood up to face them. Slowly, as if he were unsure of what to do, he acknowledged them with a short bow.

Elladan would have none of it. He quickly closed the gap in between them and all but shoved the man into the wall.

"Elbereth, Aragorn, where have you been all these years?" he cried to his foster brother. "If it had not been for Haladan's reassurances, we would have thought you dead!"

Elrohir joined the two and gently, but firmly, pushed his twin's arm down. However, he leveled Aragorn with his own stare. "We searched for you, and you evaded us. You did not reply to our letters, nor stay when we came to Sarnhold. Why do you come now to Rivendell after all this time?"

Aragorn's own face remained stoic as he replied. "I do not know why I came back. Nonetheless I did, and your father bid me stay until you returned. He claimed that you desired to see me."

"Desired?" Elladan said, incredulous. "Desired indeed! Is that what you say about our searches for you through these past decades?" Then, in a move that Aragorn did not anticipate, the elder twin engulfed the man in a large embrace. "Yes, I desired to see you, you fool. How could I not?"

Aragorn returned the gesture, but Elrohir remained still, his emotions kept hidden under his stoic expression. When the two parted, Elladan noted his brother's countenance, and a frown formed on his features. The two twins looked long at one another before Elrohir suddenly departed, ignoring Aragorn completely. They were silent until he was out of sight.

"I am sorry," Aragorn said suddenly. Elladan did not need clarification.

"I forgave you the moment I saw you," he said. "Elrohir will need more convincing. You hurt us."

"I see that now, and I regret it."

"How long will you be staying?"

"A season. Perhaps longer, and shorter if I am needed by my people."

"I see." Elladan frowned. "It may be enough time to mend the rift you have created." The peredhel glanced down the hall that his brother had just passed through, and then turned to the scene of the outside world beyond the window. His gaze finally fell to the bench, where the book that Aragorn was reading still lay. He read the title, and the reason for Aragorn's actions suddenly became clear to him.

"The Tale of Beren and Lúthien," he murmured, glancing at his foster brother as he did. "You did not wish to speak of Arwen with us." Aragorn said nothing, but his eyes betrayed him. "You truly are a fool," said Elladan with a small smile and a shake of his head. "I know my sister well, and I know her to be as stubborn as anyone can be. Only she could have made the choice to love you."

"You are not angered that I did not turn her away?"

"How could you? You have loved her since you were a boy, and she, too, had affections for you even then. If she decided that she loves you, she was not persuaded by others. She came to the decision on her own. Yes, we are saddened that she has chosen a mortal path," said Elladan, and his voice softened as he thought on her choice, "but both Elrohir and I have talked long on this, and we agree that she could have chosen no better a man than you, Estel."

"Thank you," the man replied, but his tone said more than words could ever say. Elladan smiled.

"I am glad I understand why you did not see us all these years- though how you could possibly believe that we would be angry with you when we searched fruitlessly for you is beyond my imagination."

"I have been a fool."

"So you have, but you have time to make amends." Elladan put an arm around the man and embraced him once more. "Give it some time, and then talk with Elrohir and explain your actions. But in the meantime, I will happily tell you one thing."


"Welcome home, Estel."

Part of the continuing mini-series about Aragorn's first time with the Dúnedain. Previous ficlets are 39- Cradle and 45- Beginnings.

While NaNoWriMo started, I have no plans to participate- though I do plan on certainly getting into the spirit of writing. I hope to be on prompt 65 by the end of this month. I'll get into it when I don't have so many darn plot bunnies already bouncing around.

Prompt 51: Cold
Ficlet: Merendis
Rating: G
The Angle, Fall 2951 TA

It was early afternoon when Haeleth led Aragorn to the home of Merendis. “After Lord Arador’s death, she stayed with your parents for the next few years,” the woman explained to her nephew. “After your father’s death and your departure, however, she moved back into her parents’ home. Her father died long ago, and her mother passed a few years back. Despite any encouragement on our part, my dear aunt has always been an independent woman and wished to stay here in solitude rather than come and live with us.”

Haeleth finally stopped at a house on the edge of the village and looked Aragorn square in the eye. “She has been ill lately but is on the road to recovery, and more importantly, on the road back to her independent ways. Do not try and discourage her; others who have known her longer have tried, and failed.” The woman glanced at the door. “She won’t answer it, so you’ll have to let yourself in; best knock anyways. Come back to my home once you’re done.” With one last smile, his aunt took off, leaving him alone at the door of his grandmother.

Aragorn glanced one last time at Haeleth before turning back to the house. He knocked loudly, waited a few seconds, and then let himself in.

The young man found himself in a small room that held a tiny kitchen, a plain dining table with a couple chairs, and a great fireplace with a crackling fire. Bent over the flames was a small woman with grey hair and an old shawl wrapped around her lithe frame.

“Close the door! You’re letting all the cold air in!” the woman said shortly without turning around. Aragorn quickly complied as she added another piece of wood to the fire. She poked at the flames with the poker until the new wood was burning as much as the others, and only then did she turn to greet her visitor. If she was startled by his appearance, she did not show it.

“Aragorn,” she said without preamble. “You’ve returned, then. Elvish upbringing do you any good?” She waved him off as he opened his mouth to answer. “I know what you would say. We’ll see if your actions prove it.” The old woman sat down on a thinly cushioned chair in front of the fire. “Come on now, sit down.” She waved him to a chair right across from her, and he complied. “Well then,” she started, frowning as she looked at him closely. “I suppose you know that I am Merendis, and I know who you are, so now that we’re past introductions we can move onto more interesting conversation.” She broke her flow of speech with a sudden cough that wracked her frame.

“I heard you have been ill recently,” Aragorn said with a small frown. “It sounds as if the sickness still lingers.”

“Bah!” she said in response to his concerns. “Naught but a cold. If you are concerned about this simple cough, I won’t be the first to wonder if your elvish upbringing made you soft.” Merendis chuckled at her grandson’s expression. “Then again, if your face is mirrored in your actions, perhaps not.” She fell silent and studied him closely, and Aragorn did the same. He noticed that the years had taken more of a toll on her than they did on Ivorwen, yet her eyes showed that she was still keen and very much aware of her surroundings.

The old woman’s expression said nothing about her thoughts, but she soon revealed some of them to Aragorn. “You look very much like my son and my husband, yet I can see traces of Gilraen in you as well. And there is something else unlike both your parents, and quite unlike Arador or his sires before him.” She tilted her head slightly, and then suddenly smiled. “Lindael would have liked you.”

Aragorn went through what he knew of his family history as he had been taught by his mother and aunt, and quickly realized that Lindael was Argonui’s wife. “How so?”

“In many ways; too many to explain at this time.” She suddenly stood, wrapping her shawl closely about her. “I have many things to think about now, Aragorn, many things. I will talk with you again soon.”

Realizing that he was being dismissed, the man stood and gave a short bow to the old woman. “It was a pleasure meeting you, daernaneth Merendis.”

“Yes,” she said with a nod. “Pleasure indeed.” Without another word she turned and went into another room. Aragorn left the small home quietly, not quite sure what to think about his first meeting with his father’s mother.

I need to spend less time on LiveJournal and more time writing.

That said, tipsy elves are fun!

Part of the continuing series that starts with 35- Birthday and 48- Food. 

Prompt 52: Wine
Ficlet: Loose Tongues
Rating: G
Rivendell, March 1, 3007 TA

Bilbo sighed with content as he listened to Lindir recite a tale concerning the old city of Gondolin. It was wonderful to relax in the Hall of Fire after a feast- and my, what a feast it was. The cooks had done well with such little time for preparation, and the old hobbit had seen that Estel was flattered and even a bit embarrassed by the attention. Right now, though, the man was speaking with a couple of elves and clearly enjoying himself. In the end, Bilbo thought that Elladan and Elrohir had done well with such short-term preparations.

The elven brothers were nearby, sipping wine and laughing with one another over some sort of inside jest. Bilbo chuckled and decided to join them and give them his compliments.

"You two did well," Bilbo said in greeting as the two turned to acknowledge them. "I have not seen Estel at such a loss of words before."

"Oh, it happens at times," Elladan chuckled. "It can be difficult, but Elrohir and I have known him long enough to know how to get such a reaction."

"Indeed," Elrohir said after a long draught from his own cup, "as Aragorn has grown it is ever more difficult to get him in such a state. Nonetheless it has been years since anyone has celebrated his birthday so lavishly; I suppose he has forgotten about all the ridiculous things the cooks can prepare for such occasions."

"Or the ridiculous stories we save for such occasions," Elladan put in. Elrohir laughed and raised his glass in acknowledgement.

Bilbo smiled, but one thing about their statement puzzled him. Encouraged by their loose tongues from the elvish wine, the hobbit approached the subject without preamble. "I did not realize that Estel was Aragorn."

Elrohir started, looking at the hobbit with surprise. "He has not told you? I am surprised; it is clear that he thinks highly of you. Have you not heard that name in this house before?"

"Oh, I have heard it a couple times throughout the years, but I did not make the association," Bilbo said. He quickly went through what Sindarin he knew in his head, frowning slightly at what his knowledge said about the name. "The 'ar' prefix- from what I know, that is a royal prefix- but I must be mistaken," he said thoughtfully, glancing at the two elves as he pondered over it.

Elladan glanced at his brother before turning to the hobbit. "I would ask Estel about it on the morrow," he said. "It is his story to tell."

Bilbo nodded in acceptance before he left the brothers to retire for the night. He sent one last glance at Aragorn, wondering what he would learn from the man in the morning.

Prompt 53: Buildings
Fic: It is Large
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, 2966 TA

When Thorongil saw the White City of Gondor for the first time, he imagined that some inspiring song would immediately burst forth from his soul. He had many thoughts about the sun glistening upon the Tower of Ecthelion and the snow-capped mountains bordering the fair city. He could not help but admire the pinnacle of the forces of good on the borders of the Black Land.

Therefore, when he was asked what he thought about Minas Tirith, he idly wondered when his mouth had disconnected from his brain, for rather than wondrous praise for the city the first thing that came out of his mouth was, "It is large."

Of all the thick-headed things to say! Thankfully his guide seemed the patient sort and did not reprimand him for his ridiculous comment, so Thorongil was left to wonder at his own stupidity as they ascended the seven levels. Now that he had said it, though, he did notice that all of the surrounding buildings were towering over him in a way that the streets of Edoras never did. The white stone was older and had seen more things than the capital of Rohan could ever claim. These buildings had weathered through years of strife and had blossomed through days of peace. They, unlike the young Edoras, had many more stories to share.

When Thorongil finally came to the seventh level, he could not help but wonder at the majesty of the Citadel. The Tower of Ecthelion rose high above the final level of the city, and the man could only begin to imagine what things it has seen throughout its long years of silent watch.

Such thoughts soon had to be left behind, however, for his guide was now leading him to the steward of the realm and he had to be at full awareness if he wished to be accepted into the service of Gondor.

This is part of the mini-series of prompts, with previous prompts in said series being 35, 48, and 52.

Prompt 54: Friendship
Fic: A New Name
Rating: G
Imladris, March 2, 3007 TA

It was just after second breakfast and Bilbo was sipping on some tea when there was a knock on his door. He called his visitor in, and felt a sense of déjà vu as Estel came through his door.

"Estel! What a pleasure to see you again," Bilbo said with a smile. "Would you like some tea?"

"No, thank you," the man chuckled, sitting himself across from the hobbit. "Elladan hinted that you wished to speak to me; is there aught wrong?" Aragorn asked, concern etched on his face.

"Oh no, no, there's nothing wrong," Bilbo said, fumbling for the correct words to approach the subject. "I'm not surprised it was Elladan rather than Elrohir, since it was the latter who let it slip last night- I do hope you are not angry with him, though, he certainly did not mean it."

"Let slip what last night?" the man asked, a slight frown on his face.

"Well- oh, goodness me, how do I say this- I suppose a direct manner would be best. I know that the elves here call you both Estel and the Dúnadan. I learned another name of yours last night, quite by accident."

Aragorn was silent for a moment. "Which one?"


The man leaned back in his chair, his gaze even on the hobbit. "You have not heard the name before?"

"Oh, I've heard it a couple times over the years, but I never made the connection."

"You know Sindarin, Bilbo, as well as much of the lore of Middle-earth."

"So I do- well, a little. I'm no lore-master like Elrond, of course, but I know my fair share."

"You know the name's significance?"

"I have my guesses, but I don't want to jump to conclusions."

Aragorn nodded, and fell silent for a while as he studied the hobbit. Finally he said, "I have only spoken with you a few times in my long life, but I have liked you since our first meeting all those years ago. Gandalf trusts you, and I trust Gandalf's judgment."

"That is quite flattering, Estel."

The man smiled. "I speak truthfully. Gandalf does trust you, and I have heard great things about your deeds from many. It is your own merit that allows me to speak as freely as I will now." Aragorn paused. "You likely noted the prefix, and guessed its meaning." At Bilbo's nod, he continued. "The prefix has been given to the eldest son of each of my ancestors since the days of Argeleb I of Arthedain."

"Arthedain, Arthedain... was that not one of the kingdoms of Arnor?" Bilbo asked.

"Indeed so. And before Arnor was split into three, my ancestors ruled over the kingdom of Arnor, while my distant relations ruled over the southern kingdom of Gondor."

Bilbo silently recalled all the history he knew about Arnor's and Gondor's kings, and his eyes widened in realization. "You are then the direct heir of King Elendil." Aragorn silently nodded. "Oh my. You have quite an interesting ancestry, my lad."

The man laughed. "You could say that, my friend." He then stood up and said, "Forgive me, but I promised this time to another. I must be going."

"Of course, of course," Bilbo said, waving him off. "Get along now, then! And thank you for entrusting me with such a secret."

"As I said, Bilbo Baggins, you earned such trust. Farewell, for now." Aragorn gave him a short bow and left the room.

Bilbo sipped on his tea thoughtfully as he absorbed this new information. As he did so, the start of a poem snuck its way through his head. The hobbit stood up suddenly, and went through his drawers to find a scrap piece of parchment before the words disappeared. For the next couple of hours Bilbo found himself creating something quite unexpected, and when he was finally finished, he knew that he had something special in his hands.

Prompt 55: Temper
Ficlet: Toys
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, 10 FA

"What is the meaning of this?"

The room fell silent as the King's stern voice broke through the bickering that came from the two small figures in front of him.

"Well?" He glanced at the broken toys that lay at their feet, and then back to their faces.

"Eldarion broke my doll," five-year-old Eleniel said with a sniffle.

"You broke my orc!" her twin rebutted angrily. "She wasn't sharing, Ada!"

"I was playing with him!"

"No you weren't!"

"Yes, I was!"


"Silence, both of you," Aragorn said softly, but his tone immediately hushed the two children. "Where is Candes?"

"She's sick, Ada," Eleniel said softly. "Nana was with us today."

"Where is your mother?"

Both of them shrugged. "She said she would be back soon," Eldarion said.

"Good." Aragorn glanced from one face to another, and then again at the broken toys at the ground. "Now do you two want to tell me how you managed to break your toys so carelessly?"

Eldarion kept his head down as he explained the situation. "Eleniel was playing with the blocks. My orc needed someone so the Ranger could rescue him. She wasn't using the doll."

"I was using him," the young girl interrupted. "I was building his house for him and his family."

"You weren't playing with him, though, and the house was taking forever to build!"

"He was going to help me build it!"

"Children," Aragorn interrupted them, and silenced their protests with a single glance. "It does not matter who started it- what matters is how it ended. You both do not appreciate these toys enough to treat them with care." He picked up the stuffed male doll and the wooden figure that Eldarion had dubbed as an orc. "These toys can be fixed, but you will not see them until you two learn to respect one another and take care of your possessions. I expect better behavior out of both of you." He glanced at each child sternly as they nodded. Eleniel sniffled and Eldarion bit his lip.

"I have a meeting to attend; we will be discussing your behavior further at a later time," he said firmly. His children merely nodded, and with one last glance, Aragorn left the room.

I dedicate this to my parents and to all the fights they have broken up between their children throughout the years. Thank you for your parenting- wouldn't be the person I am today without it!

Prompt 56: Abandoned
Ficlet: Kitten
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, 17 FA

Aragorn's eldest daughter was very much an explorer. By the age of six Eleniel was doing her best to find ways out of the King's House to the rest of the Citadel. By ten she knew which guards around the Citadel were the most unobservant and the easiest to avoid. By the age of twelve Elessar had finally come to a compromise with the imaginative adventurer on where she could explore and who she had to have accompany her.

On one fine afternoon she was wandering about the clean, bright, and heavily-guarded sixth level with two of the royal family's guards trailing behind. She looked around various dark corners and down secret alleys for any signs of Adventure. Her twin brother would often tell her that she was being silly playing such childish games at twelve years old, but she did not care. Life in the Citadel was often rather dull so her imagination kept her entertained.

It was in this search that Eleniel found a kitten. The word 'kitten' seemed too fine a word for this wretched, half-starved beast, and the two accompanying guards looked at the creature with a mixture of revulsion and pity. The girl, however, immediately lost all thoughts of Adventure when she came upon the animal.

"The poor dear! He must have been abandoned." Before the kitten could scurry away, Eleniel picked up the stray and held him close. "No, no, don't be frightened, and don't try and scratch me! I must take care of you." Any objections her caretakers had to this fell on deaf ears, and the princess quickly went back to the Citadel to find the kitten some food.


"Here you are."

Eleniel looked up from her place on the floor. "Adar! What are you doing here?"

"I should be the one asking that," her father pointed out.

"I'm feeding Faermith."

Aragorn hid his amusement and kept his face stern. "You have already named the stray and have yet to ask permission to keep him. What brought on this foolish audacity?"

The girl immediately became alarmed and she sprung to her feet. "Oh no, Adar, forgive me! I completely forgot!" She took her father's hand and kissed it reverently. "I was so worried about his condition, and you must understand that I never meant to disobey your will! Punish me if you must, but please do not turn out Faermith half-dead into the cold, unforgiving world!"

The king let out a hearty laugh at the act and drew the girl into an embrace. "No need for such formalities among family, dear heart!"

"It is how a child speaks to one's parent when the elder is angry in the old tales," Eleniel pointed out.

"And those are only old tales, not the present day," said Aragorn with a smile. "And you have not angered me, though I do wish you would have come to me beforehand."

"I am sorry," she replied, "but you will not turn Faermith out, will you? I promise to take care of him, and he will stay out of your way!"

"You may keep him on one condition."


"Do not keep him out of my sight; I want to be a part of his family as well." Eleniel's face split into a grin and she embraced her father gladly while the new addition to the family continued eating nearby.

This prompt fic is appropriate for this day; for myself, and for others who are going through rough patches in their life. My thoughts with all of you.

Prompt 57: Sky
Ficlet: Gil-Estel
Rating: G
Imladris, 2939 TA

It was a warm summer night, and Estel was doing his best not to nod off to sleep. He had been looking forward to this lesson for ages; his mother had granted Elrond permission to keep the boy awake to study the stars. The star maps he had studied during the day were nothing compared to an actual lesson with the night sky.

Elrond watched with mild amusement as the boy pinched himself to keep himself awake. "You may go to sleep soon, Estel. Our lesson is almost over."

"I am not tired, Ada," Estel protested. The elf lord raised an eyebrow and the boy smiled sheepishly. "Well, maybe a little, but I can stay up a little longer."

"It is not much longer yet."

The two were on a high, wide balcony that overlooked the valley of Imladris. Estel had been delighted when he had seen his lesson would be up here for he was rarely allowed on this balcony; it was too near the council area. The balcony, however, held a great view of all the stars and was a perfect place for his astronomy lesson.

As the sky began to lighten, and Estel thought he could not keep himself awake much longer, Elrond pointed out to a single star. "Can you tell me what that star is?"

Estel followed his finger and nodded. "Of course. It is Eärendil, your father's star. You told me that it is the light of the Silmaril that makes him so bright."

"And so it is. What else is Eärendil's star known as?"

Estel smiled. "Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope."

Elrond smiled as well. "And so it is, Estel. It brought hope to many elves when it first rose, and brings hope to all good people even now. If your own days ever become dark and hopeless, just remember to look upon Gil-Estel and recall the days of joy and light. Now come, dear one, my lesson is over. It is time for you to seek your bed."

Estel nodded and followed his foster-father off of the balcony. While the peredhel's last words of the night meant little to him now, he would recall them in his darkest hours and remember to always hold onto hope.


"Now when first Vingilot was set to sail in the seas of heaven, it rose unlooked for, glittering and bright; and the people of Middle-earth beheld it from afar and wondered, and they took it for a sign, and called it Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope." - The Silmarillion

Anyone who knows me knows I cannot stay serious for long. I blame the prompt.

Prompt 58: Prank
Ficlet: Diplomatic Tensions
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, 9 FA

The friendship between Rohan and Gondor has always been strong and throughout the first years of the Fourth Age only continued to grow stronger. With the guiding hands of King Elessar and King Éomer the two countries only knew peace with one another. Despite any quarrels or differences the two nations had with each other, nothing threatened to break that peace.

Until now.

"Aragorn, you need to calm down."

"Calm down? Give me one good reason why I should calm down, Éomer."

"This is not uncommon with Elfwine and Fastred-"

"They dragged Eldarion into this!"

"He is old enough-"

"He is four years old. And your sons should be old enough to know better than this!"

"Elfwine is not yet nine, and Fastred is younger. You cannot expect anything else from boys their age."

"Mayhap in Rohan, but playing a game of 'hide and seek' and not coming out for two hours is not acceptable in Gondor!"

"Bema, Elessar, they are fine! You are beginning to sound like Lothíriel."

The arguments started anew. Beyond the doorway to the small parlor in the royal chambers sat the queens of Rohan and Gondor. Lothíriel was glancing at the closed door with bemusement.

"Should I be amused or offended that my husband compared yours to myself?" the woman asked her companion.

"Amused, of course," Arwen said as she glanced up from her embroidery at the door. "I suppose we should tell them that we can hear every word, but I am afraid that this conversation is simply too entertaining."

Lothíriel chuckled. "I am surprised King Elessar went to my husband rather than yourself on the location of our sons. Éomer is rather lenient when it comes to the boys and trusts me to look to their welfare."

The other shook her head. "Estel should have. I would have happily told him that they are down on the sixth circle and this whole situation could have been avoided."

"Indeed." A pause. "Do you plan on telling him?"

"I shall when he asks or when he begins to muster an army to search for the 'missing' children. Whichever comes first."

The two women chuckled as the nonsensical, heated conversation continued in the room next door.

Prompt 59: Secrecy
Ficlet: A New Name
Rating: G
Rivendell, July 2933 TA

The death of two chieftains in less than five years unsettled the Dúnedain. While it was quickly decided that Arador's nephew, Haladan, would rule as chieftain until Aragorn was old enough to accept his role, this was still the first time in one thousand years that the direct heir of Isildur was not old enough to assume his father's position. A mere thirty years ago there were three direct heirs; now there was only a two-year-old.

The Dúnedain worried for the safety of their future chieftain, and it was this worry that made Elrond's suggestion easier to go along with. After all, where a better place to raise a child than the haven of Rivendell? There he would be safe from all outside dangers. And so while Gilraen's parting from her family was bitter, she knew it was for the best.

The young woman nearly forgot her sorrow when she first looked upon the valley of Imladris, but it came readily back when Aragorn would shift his position in his sleep. She almost could not bear to look at her son, for every time she did she was reminded that he would grow up without a father.

On their first night in the Last Homely House Gilraen was summoned by Elrond. She came soon to the elf-lord, and rather than continue on his condolences as he had done so when she arrived, Elrond moved onto important matters. Once she was settled and more relaxed in his presence, he quickly went to the topic he wished to discuss with her.

"These sudden deaths of Arador and your husband," he started, "are not random, I deem. Throughout the recent years it has been noted by both your people and mine that attacks upon the Dúnedain are becoming more frequent and more bold. I and many of my colleagues believe that these are not mere orc attacks, but that a darker, much more powerful force moves them."

Gilraen stiffened and her lips thinned. "I have heard the reports of the Dark Lord stirring once more. You then believe he has a part to play in the rise of orc activity within the last ten years?"

"I do, and he still remembers that the people of Arnor were Isildur's people. He would know of Valandil's kingdom, and of Arvedui's downfall, yet he may not believe as others do that the line of Isildur ceases to exist." Elrond paused for a moment. "If the Enemy discovered that Imladris was harboring the last Heir of Isildur, he would bring his forces upon us."

Her calm mantle fell away and she briefly exposed herself as the young, frightened woman that she was. "Then is Aragorn not safe even here?"

"There is one option that would guarantee his safety," he started. "There is no chance of the Enemy hearing rumors of Aragorn if his identity was kept hidden from all- even himself."

Gilraen shook her head. "Keep his identity away from him?" She shook her head once more, but Elrond saw that she slowly accepted his proposal. "What would you suggest I call him? I cannot think of him as anything but Aragorn, son of Arathorn."


She blinked in surprise. "'Hope'? Why that name, my lord?"

"I see many things in store for him, Gilraen, and I believe that he will be the hope of many. Nothing is certain at this point, but I am sure he will come to be a great man."

The woman nodded in resignation. "Estel. Estel it is, then." If she had to hide her beloved son's identity to protect him, so be it.

All dialogue in this prompt ficlet is taken directly from "Flight to the Ford" in the Fellowship of the Ring.

Prompt 60: Knife
Ficlet: Morgul-blade
Rating: G
Weathertop, October 7, 3018 TA

Aragorn was weary when he returned to the dell at the light of the first dawn, but it had taken him a long time to find athelas; no other healing herb would suit for such a wound that Frodo had. He was relieved to find the hobbit awake and alert though the discomfort he bore was obvious.

With light now filling the dell the man made out a crumpled black cloak at the edge of their camp. "Look!" he called to his companions as he approached the material. He quickly explained to them that while Frodo did strike at the creature, the wraith himself was not wounded by the blade. His voice nearly died, however, as his eyes strayed to the item that lay hidden under the cloak.

"And more deadly to Frodo was this," he said, not allowing his voice to betray his initial thoughts. Aragorn knelt and picked up the fallen knife, his face becoming grim as the blade melted in the morning light. His worst fears were now confirmed: Frodo had been stabbed with a Morgul-knife. He had read of such things before, but never before had he held one in his hand. Resisting the urge to throw the hilt as far away from his person as possible, he quickly explained the situation to his companions before beginning his work on Frodo's wound.

But first there was the knife to deal with, for such a weapon, even bladeless and out of the hand of its master, could work evil. At that hour he was never gladder to have tutors such as Elrond and Gandalf for few in this Age knew how to deal with the instruments of the Morgul Vale. Laying it on his knees, he forgot about his companions for a moment as he concentrated his thoughts upon the dagger-hilt. He searched his memory for the proper words and then began to chant a slow song in Quenya. The song had much more potent with those much older than he, but he was the Heir of Westernesse and possessed some of that ancient power in his bloodline. While it would not completely dispel the evil that lingered in the hilt, it would nullify it for a time.

When he was finished he put the hilt aside. He had done all he could with it; now it was time to tend to the wound the knife had created.

Prompt 61: Rogue
Ficlet: Stick-at-naught Strider
Rating: G
Bree, September 29, 3018 TA

Aragorn kept in the shadows as he followed the hobbits from the West-gate, careful to not come close and yet not fall too far behind. He entered The Prancing Pony a moment after them, making immediately for a dark corner where he could observe the rest of the room. He was happy to see that the four of them followed the landlord down the hall to rooms in the back of the inn. Once Barliman returned, he would ask to be able to speak with the hobbits and warn them against coming into the common-room.

As he waited for Butterbur's return to the front of the inn, Aragorn's sharp ears caught a muttered conversation nearby.

"There's Stick-at-naught Strider again," said Bill Ferny with a sneer.

"Looks like a rogue, that one," said his companion, a squint-eyed man who resembled a group of southerners in another part of the common-room.

"They're all scoundrels, them Rangers. Can't trust them; they're thieves and dangerous folk."

Aragorn thought that ironic, coming from Bill Ferny out of all people; all honest men in town knew that Ferny was a man who did business with shady strangers and whose coin was less well-earned than most.

He needed not, however, a rather ill-looking stranger to know that he very much resembled a rogue; the long years in the wild did much to his appearance. He knew that his looks would be against him when he spoke with the hobbits; he only hoped that they would see beyond his outer appearance and trust him.

Now, however, was not the time for such thoughts. Butterbur had returned to the bar; he had to convince him to let him see his newest patrons before they came out to the common-room and endangered themselves.

Serious? Bah! I cannot keep serious long.

Also this passed 300 reviews. I could ask for a nicer Christmas present :) I always love reading feedback.

Prompt 62: Celebration
Ficlet: Preparations
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, Fall 10 FA

Aragorn read over the plans with a raised eyebrow. When he was finished with the document he shot his steward a look. "You agree with the master of protocol on these plans?" He handed the document to his wife, who looked it over with Legolas with ill-contained amusement.

"Yes," said Faramir with a light frown. "Is there something more that you require?"

"Something more? No, my dear Faramir, I need not more- I need not any of that."

Faramir frowned. "I am afraid I do not understand."

Aragorn nodded his head to the long document. "That. All of it. It's too much and simply not needed. I would rather have a small reception as I always have."

"Aragorn, I am afraid the master of protocol will not agree with that for this birthday."

“I will be a century old. Why is that important?”

“It is a rather magnificent landmark-”

“Yet not uncommon among my kindred, and you do not see such celebrations when they reach this age.”

“You are, nonetheless, the king of a rather large kingdom.”

“Yes, but that is no reason to make my one hundredth year stand out so greatly!”

Arwen broke into the conversation with a small chuckle as she handed the document back to the steward. "I do believe the master of protocol has been talking with my brothers. This is rather impressive."

Aragorn groaned. "Valar rue the day the three of them come together to plan an event!"

"I only regret that I have never seen one of their celebrations," said Legolas. "I will be happy to see this event come into fruition."

"I shan't! Even the cake-"

"The cake sounds like something Elladan would plan; I recall something of the same when I reached my first yén," Arwen smiled at the memory. "Whether the master of protocol is dealing with my brothers or not does not matter; it still sounds like a wonderful celebration."

"Even if you think it is too frivolous," Legolas added, "your children are bound to enjoy it."

Aragorn glanced at the three around him and shook his head in defeat. "Very well then. Tell him that I approve of his measures, since you three obviously do."

"Excellent," said Faramir with a smile. "I shall be sure to tell him in the morning."

Arwen suddenly stood. "If you will excuse us, Legolas and I need to see to- to something." Before Aragorn could get over the suddenness of her actions, the two elves were already out of the room.

Once they were out of earshot Arwen and Legolas took one look at each other and burst out laughing.

"My apologies, Legolas, but I could not contain myself any further. Estel's arguments were beyond amusing."

"I cannot believe that you hinted so boldly at Elladan's and Elrohir's involvement with this!"

Arwen could not help but smirk. "I am sure he will learn sooner or later, but I could not help myself. Estel's expression was priceless."

Legolas nodded. "Will he learn that you are the one that first suggested it, I wonder?"

"I would imagine so, yes."

The other elf chuckled at the mischievous look upon her face. "Nonetheless, I will say what I said in there: I am looking forward to a celebration planned by your brothers."

"It will surely be an event that will be remembered for many years to come."

Whoops. Meant to publish this earlier and forgot to press the publish button.

A sequel (and likely a conclusion) to the small series that started with Prompt 41 and continued with Prompt 50. Aragorn comes to Elrohir to apologize.

Prompt 63: Siblings
Ficlet: Reconciliation
Rating: G
Imladris, 3001 TA

A few days had passed since the sons of Elrond came home, and Elrohir had not sought out Aragorn since their first encounter. During meal times he would not talk to him, and while Elrond knew that a rift lay between them he could easily guess why Elrohir was angry with the Dúnadan. He did not, however, seek to mend the rift just yet; he trusted that his sons would do it themselves in due time.

Aragorn, in truth, was not quite sure how to approach the subject with the peredhel. He could not remember the last time the younger twin had been so angry with him; usually it was the elder who had a shorter temper. With the elder the situation would usually blow off within a day or so, and no words beyond a simple apology needed to be spoken. With Elrohir, however, he was slow to anger and slow to forgive, and the man could think of no words that could possibly mend the breach between them.

In these days he went to the library for comfort, for he enjoyed reading and often did not get the chance to do so in his travels. It was six days after their encounter when Aragorn found another in his sanctuary.

Elrohir sat beside the balcony, and while there was a book in his hand the man deemed that the elf's thoughts were anywhere but the words on its pages. Aragorn abruptly stopped in his tracks, unsure whether to stay or leave and find another unoccupied area. Before he could make the choice, however, the elf spoke.

"I know you are there, Aragorn; not from me can you mask your steps, even after so long."

The man silently approached his foster brother, halting a couple of feet before him. He was hesitant in making the last few steps for he did not know if he was welcome. Elrohir saved him the trouble from making a decision when the elf stood and turned to face him.

"You have always been perceptive," said Aragorn.

"Perhaps, but not on this." The peredhel's was stoic as he looked upon the other. "Why?"

"Elladan did not tell you?"

"I did not ask, and he did not say."

The man nodded; so the elder had left it up to him to say. "I- I was afraid," he answered truthfully; he would not deceive Elrohir purposefully over such a matter.

A flicker of emotion passed over the other's face before his stoic facade returned. "Afraid of what? Surely not of Elladan and I."

"Say not of you and your brother, but rather your anger and disappointment."

His stoic expression fell as enlightenment came to him. "This is about Arwen." A nod from the man confirmed this. "This whole time- this whole time it has merely been about our sister?" Another nod. "Ai Estel! Do you not think we know our sister?"

"So said your brother to me."

"Our brother, you oaf," cried Elrohir as he caught Aragorn by the shoulders. "By the Valar, Estel, think you that we would have rejected you for her choice? Think you so little of us- of me?"

"Nay!" said Aragorn with a hurried shake of his head. "Nay, rather I was the fool and remembered little of the first decades of my life I knew you."

"Foolish indeed, brother, but both Elladan and I were fools for not thinking of her as your reason for your avoidance in the first place," said Elrohir. He suddenly engulfed the man in an embrace, and Aragorn gladly returned it. "Promise me never again to assume our thoughts without speaking to us first!"

"That I gladly promise, Elrohir."

Shadow. Truly evil and dark and... usually somewhat angsty.

That would have come to be if I had never read a story by Shirebound.

Prompt 64: Shadow
Ficlet: Brothers
Rating: G
Imladris, 2934 TA

Gilraen had looked truly exhausted that morning, and Elladan needed not to ask why. It was the anniversary of Arathorn's death. A year had passed upon Arda Marred and while the world little changed that last year the effect his death had upon the young woman was obvious. She seemed older and carried more cares than was usual for someone of her age. On this day, however, she looked worse than ever before.

It was for this reason that he offered to care for three-year-old Estel for the day. She offered little protest, which was unusual; offers to help were often gently, but firmly shot down by the capable woman. Elladan was quick to take the little boy away so she could rest.

"You are going to play with me today, El-dan?" he asked as he trotted by his side.

"Yes Estel," said the peredhel with a smile, "for a while I shall."

"Where's El-hir?"

"He's in the library; do you want to go and see if he'll play with us?"

"Yes please!" Estel said with a smile.

The two quickly found themselves at the library, and there they found Elrohir reading a book concerning Tuor and his deeds. He looked up and smiled when he saw the two walk in.

"You seem to have a new shadow, Elladan," he greeted.

"So I do," said his twin. "Estel wanted to see if you would like to play with us."

Elrohir's eyebrows rose. "Where is Gil- ah," he said as he recalled what day it was. "Well, I suppose I can put this down and play for a while, if Estel wishes it."

"I would like that very much," he said respectfully. He glanced at the book with a slight frown. "What were you reading, El-hir?"

"Only some family history," said the peredhel with a smile. "Come, little brother, let us go play."

Estel shot Elrohir a large smile as he rose from his chair and gladly he walked in between the two peredhil, his smaller shadow lost among their large, protective ones.

Well, I have come upon a really nasty writer's block with the story I'm currently writing (not to be published until completion) so it's a good time to go back to these prompts, which I am now a couple years behind on :P

When I was a youngun, I wrote the encounter with Gandalf and Aragorn concerning the hunt for Gollum (Prompt 3). It, however, does not follow canon- I had completely forgotten about the passages in the Council of Elrond. I have been meaning to rewrite it for a while, and now here I have it.

Prompt 65: Direction
Ficlet: Advice
Rating: G
Eriador, October 3001 TA

'I called for the help of the Dúnedain, and their watch was doubled; and I opened my heart to Aragorn, the heir of Isildur.'

Two figures sat around a small, smokeless fire in a small clearing in what could only be described as the middle of nowhere. Despite the lack of company in the parts the two kept their voices low and even a keen-eared bird would be hard pressed to overhear their conversation.

The younger of the two exhaled, a wisp of smoke escaping his mouth as he did. A strange glint shone in his eyes as he sucked on the edge of his pipe. "So you believe Bilbo's trinket to be the One."

The elder, a pipe in his own mouth, gently blew out a smoke ring before slowly nodding. "I do, Aragorn. It would explain his strange manner and his slow aging, among other things. I am not yet certain, however- there is no proof showing that it is this thing long thought lost."

"Nevertheless Gandalf, we must be cautious," said Aragorn. "I agree with your suggestion to double the watch around the Shire. There will be questions from some," he slightly grimaced as he thought about Halbarad, "but such questions are easily avoided."

Gandalf smiled slightly at the expression, but he sobered and stared deeply into the fire. "If indeed this ring turns out to be the one the Enemy seeks," he started, "I would know how it came to the creature Gollum. Even if it does not turn out to be what I suspect it to be, Gollum is the only one who could provide information to prove- or disprove- my theories."

The dark-haired man said nothing for a while, keeping his eyes on the fire. His pipe was left forgotten in his hand as he fell deep into thought. "If that is so," he began slowly, "then he must be found."

"Do you believe him still alive?"

"Yes. And even if he is not, it must be discovered what happened to him. If this ring had the same effect on him as it did Bilbo, he would not stay in his dark home long. I believe he left long ago in search for it, and he must be found before the Enemy hears rumor of him." He lifted his gaze from the fire to the wizard's eyes. "I will search for him."

The elderly man said nothing but stared at him knowingly. Finally he said, "You mean we, of course." He chuckled at the man's startled look. "You did not think I would send you on this task by yourself, did you? No, my friend, despite what you may think, this is my task, though I do admit your help would be most beneficial."

"Very well, then," he replied with a soft smile. He lifted up his pipe in a mock toast. "To the hopeless task ahead." Gandalf repeated the gesture and then sucked on his pipe for the last time that night, releasing a small smoke ring into the dark, star-filled sky.

'And I,' said Aragorn, 'counselled that we should hunt for Gollum, too late though it may seem. And since it seemed fit that Isildur's heir should labour to repair Isildur's fault, I went with Gandalf on the long and hopeless search.' - The Council of Elrond

I like making Aragorn's life as difficult as possible. That's simply a fact. When he is a boring politician in times of peace finding such difficulties is not as hard as one may think.

In the end, it's all for my own sick amusement. Poor guy.

Prompt 66: Wildlife
Ficlet: The Gift

Rating: G

February, Late 10 FA

Princes and leaders from all parts of Middle-earth began to arrive weeks ahead of schedule for King Elessar's 100th birthday party. The first to come were Elladan and Elrohir leading a small delegation of Elves and, to Aragorn's surprise, a delegation of hobbits. Samwise Gamgee, his wife, and their five children came with Meriadoc Brandybuck and his wife as well as Peregrin Took and his wife and child. He greeted his friends and their families from the Shire with joy, though his foster brothers he greeted with less enthusiasm.

"This whole event has clear signs of you two written all over it," he hissed at them.

Elladan only laughed. "Aye, but it was your beloved who called for our help early last year."

Aragorn could only shake his head. "I thought she loved me."

"She does," Elrohir said with a smile. "That is the reason why she planned this."

"You three are terrible," was all he could mutter in reply.

Soon after them came some of his kinsmen from the North, as well as representatives from Lórien, The Lonely Mountain, Eryn Lasgalen, and Dale, and after them arrived representatives from the South. Each came bearing gifts for the king of Gondor and Arnor which he accepted gratefully. One gift, however, left him at a loss for words.

"Ada!" said young Eldarion a couple of weeks before March 1st. His father was currently trying to finish up some work before the week-long celebration began.

"Ada!" Eleniel repeated as she came into the living room right after her brother.

"There's a... a..." Eldarion fumbled for the correct word.

"It's called a momul... I think," Eleniel said.

Aragorn, now thoroughly distracted by the two children, put down his papers. 'Why did I even bother trying to work outside of my office?' "Isn't Candes supposed to be minding you two?"

"She was distracted by the momul, Ada," Eldarion said solemnly. "We came to find you to see it."

The three were suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door. A page entered and informed the king that a delegation bearing several tribal leaders from Harad had arrived. He told the page he would be with them shortly- but first he wanted to see this momul.

His children quickly led him to a window that had a clear view of the Pelennor, and it was there that Aragorn saw the momul.

"Children," he said softly, "it is called not a momul, but a mûmak by the people of Harad. If you were to ask Master Gamgee, he would call it an oliphaunt."

"Oh," said Eleniel softly. "It is large!"

"And it is wearing a lot of things- why is that, Ada?" Eldarion piped in.

"Many of the Haradric tribes decorate them as such for various occasions. This one is decorated as... well, as a gift." He did not like the sound of that.

"Oh!" Eleniel said gladly. "That must be your birthday present!"

No. He did not like the sound of that at all.

Prelude to #59, Secrecy. And again over the word limit. Heh.

Prompt 67: Decision
Ficlet: A Safe Haven
Rating: G
The Angle, Eriador, July 2933 TA

Three weeks had passed since Arathorn's body had been brought back to Sarnhold and the sons of Elrond had left to bring news of his death to their father. Every man, woman, and child felt the tension in the air, but the issue that plagued the Dúnedain settlement was not spoken about beyond closed doors and hushed whispers. Despite the unspoken agreement to not speak loudly about the fate of Isildur's heir, normalcy had yet to return to Sarnhold and laughter was seldom.

Gilraen rarely left her home and none but her immediate family dared to console her. Aragorn, who before often played out in the streets and open fields around the village, was not seen outside of the house after the funeral. The situation remained the same until the sons of Elrond came back to Sarnhold that late afternoon.

As always, they greeted those they came upon with courtesy, but it was obvious that they were there for a purpose. And so they were left alone, and with haste the peredhil made their way to Gilraen's home. Five minutes later, the people of Sarnhold were surprised to see the woman and her son with the Elven brothers exit the building; they quickly made their way to the newly-proclaimed chieftain's home.

"Gilraen! My lords!" Haeleth, wife to the chieftain, said in surprise as she opened the door. She glanced at Aragorn, who looked upon his surroundings from his mother's arms with open curiosity, before turning back to the woman.

"Is Haladan here?" Gilraen asked, her voice betraying no emotion.

"Yes, sister, he is here. Please come in." She stepped aside and allowed the four in before closing the door. "Mother is here helping me with Halbarad— would you like Aragorn to join them?"

The younger woman looked blankly at her elder sister for a moment before slowly nodding. "I— I suppose that would be best." She handed her son to Haeleth; he knew his aunt well and was delighted to be with her, especially since his own mother had been melancholy for such a long time. He could not quite grasp why she was so sad, but her sadness left him feeling unwell.

"Haladan should be in the parlor. I will bring Aragorn to Mother and Halbarad." The woman left with her nephew as Gilraen led Elrond's sons to the parlor, where, as expected, they found the chieftain.

"I thought I heard your voice, Gilraen," he said in greeting. "And welcome back to Sarnhold, my lords— I will admit that I was not expecting to see you again so soon."

They sat down and Elrohir smiled grimly. "I am afraid it was the ill circumstances that brought us back so quickly." He paused for a moment, as if searching for the correct words. "We told our father about Arathorn's death, and he was very concerned about the future of the Dúnedain."

"We all are," Haladan replied. "Our population is continuously dwindling and our enemy's numbers are increasing year by year. The deaths of both Arador and Arathorn—" He broke off, shooting an apologetic glance at his sister-in-law. She only smiled wanly.

"We know," said Elladan, his expression mirroring his brother's, "and our father knows of the precarious position of the Dúnedain, as well. Because of recent events, he has made a proposition. Every heir of Isildur since the fall of the North Kingdom has been tutored in Rivendell for a time. While they usually come about the age of ten, he recommends that Aragorn be brought with his mother to Imladris now."

The chieftain raised his brow. "Now? Is our situation so dire?" He sighed and glanced at the young woman. "I assume they told you this already. What think you?"

Gilraen was silent for a moment before saying, "I will do all in my power to protect my son."

"And is Sarnhold not enough?" he rebutted, but he waved them off from answering. "My apologies, my patience has been short these last days. But please tell me, my lords, why does Master Elrond think it best for young Aragorn to go so soon?"

Elrohir glanced at the other peredhel before answering. "He did not tell us much," he began, "but he was very concerned for the heir of Isildur."

Haladan's brow furrowed. "He does not believe the deaths of Arador and Arathorn to be mere misfortune? Is there another power at work here?"

"We are not sure," said Elrohir. "If Gilraen comes to Rivendell, she may ask our father herself."

"But I will say that my father does not give such advice lightly," Elladan added. "I do not believe he would advise such a move unless he feared for young Aragorn's life."

The man nodded briefly before giving his sister-in-law a long look. "You have already decided to go to Rivendell, haven't you?"

"I will do all in my power to protect my son," she repeated. "If Master Elrond believes my son is in danger where he is, I will follow his counsel. It would be foolish to ignore the advice of one of the Wise."

"I cannot argue against that," Haladan agreed, but he could not completely conceal his reluctance. His lips thinning, he continued, "There will be many that will be displeased with your decision, your father not the least."

"Let them be displeased, then," was her rebuttal.

The chieftain nodded, his reluctance fading into acceptance. "Very well, then. You and Aragorn will go to Rivendell and with my blessing. May the Valar watch over the both of you."

Well! It has been over a year and a half since I've posted a prompt fic. Never fear, I have not been idle; a fic I've been developing for many years has surpassed 250 pages in Word and, proving the Muses continue to cooperate, I will hopefully have this story out by the fall of this year.

Still, I figured it would be good to take a break and try my hand at a few prompts again, if only to show the world that I'm still alive.

Prompt 68: Colour
Ficlet: No Purer Gold
Rating: G
Rivendell, October 21st 3018 TA

For weeks he felt its presence; ever since he first spoke with Frodo he could feel the darkness edging into his soul. For weeks he ignored it, shoving its luring whispers away into the darkest recesses of his mind, and for a while he was able to do so. Simply remembering how it betrayed his ancestor was just one of the many reminders he had concerning the Ring's deceitfulness.

Yet as he became wearier with the long march and little rest, it slithered deeper into his mind, pushing logic aside and muttering alluring tales of success and love conquered. As the days crawled by he found that it became more difficult to block out the Ring's voice. As it became more powerful, he made sure to handle Frodo carefully, always cautious to never lay a hand near the pocket in which he knew the Ring lay.

And even then, despite the power he felt from it, he had yet to lay his own eyes upon it.

Glorfindel helped abate its call with his own strength, and, despite the Ranger's weariness, with the great elf-lord's presence Aragorn was once more able to completely abolish the Ring's whispers from his mind. When Frodo left upon Asfaloth it was as if a burden had been lifted from his heart, and it was not only the departing Ringwraiths that caused this.

He arrived soon after Frodo had been brought to the Last Homely House, and while he felt the weight of the last weeks heavy upon his shoulders, he would not rest until he saw the hobbit. He knew that there was nothing he could do for him that Elrond could not, but the last he saw of him Frodo had looked as if he had already passed from the world. The man had to see him for himself.

He entered the healing ward and stopped suddenly in his steps. Frodo lay in one of the beds in front of him, and already Elrond was working diligently on the evil in his shoulder. Around the hobbit's neck upon a silver chain was the Ring.

The Dúnadan was still some feet from the bed, yet even from where he stood he could see clearly its flawless beauty. The surface looked smooth and soft, and the color was the most brilliant gold he had ever seen. The bright shine it omitted challenged even the elven-light that lay within his beloved's eyes.

He knew not how long he stood there, marveling at the golden splendor of such a small trinket, but it was a hand upon his shoulder that brought him out of his reverie. The man nearly jumped at the motion and was prepared to pull away before a soft voice brought him back to reality.

"Aragorn. Estel," it called softly. He blinked and found himself looking at Glorfindel. Elrond, still deep within his healing trance, did not notice the scene taking place right in front of him. "Come," the elf-lord said softly, guiding the Dúnadan out of the room.

"It— it keeps calling my name," he confessed in a horrified whisper as the elf lead him to his room.

"And it calls mine," replied Glorfindel. "I, however, have not spent the last few weeks being chased by the Nine. And I doubt you have had much sleep. You are ill-prepared to face such a foe."

Aragorn did not seem to hear his words. "It held me in a trance," he continued. "I could not stop staring. It is so beautiful; a purer golden color does not exist." He suddenly stopped as he took in the words he just uttered. He looked to his longtime mentor and friend, unable to completely conceal his fear. "How deep is its hold upon me?"

"Not yet deep!" the elf reassured the man. "Not yet deep, for you still realize its deadly power. And it shall not take a deeper hold upon your soul, for once you have rested and eaten you will find your mind clearer!" They were now at Aragorn's room, and Glorfindel opened the door and gently prodded the mortal inside. "What you need, my friend, is rest. You are beyond weary, and you will find that your defense against this terrible evil will be stronger once you allow your body the respite it deserves. Sleep and think no more of it!"

Aragorn found little reason to protest and, just barely managing to get off his boots, collapsed into his bed and all but immediately fell asleep, finally allowing the rest he had neglected himself for many days.

Prompt 69: Delegation
Ficlet: The Foreign Captain
Rating: G
Edoras, 2963 TA

Just as Gondor had done with the birth of Thengel King's fourth child, a small delegation, led by the Steward Ecthelion, came to offer their greetings and welcome to the king of Rohan's fifth child, a girl dubbed Théodwyn. Ecthelion did this not only out of neighborly duty but also in friendship; during Thengel's many years of service in Gondor the two had become close friends, and both were saddened that visits with one another were all too rare. Because of their friendship, however, as well as Thengel's marriage to Morwen of Lossarnach, the two countries were closer than they had been for decades.

Gathered with the delegation from Gondor for that night's feast was the king and his family, his councilors and their loved ones, and the highest ranking officers of the country with many of their own families. While many of the Rohirrim looked the same with their light hair and broad figures, there was one among them that looked unlike the others.

Ecthelion would have thought him a member of his own company if it were not for the fact that he wore armaments of the Rohirrim. He was tall and dark-haired and, oddly enough, bore a striking resemblance to his son Denethor. He certainly did not look like a man of Rohan.

After the meal, the steward drew the king aside and asked about the stranger. Thengel smiled at the inquiry.

"That is Thorongil, one of the captains of Gulfard's éored. He came out of the North a few years ago with the wizard Mithrandir and offered his service to Rohan. A remarkable young man, that one."

"The North, you say?" said Ecthelion as he looked upon the man. "I would think him a man of Gondor."

"As did I when I first saw him, though his Sindarin has a different sound than what I heard in Gondor."

"He speaks Sindarin?"

"Not only that, but he seems to speak Quenya fluently, as well. He certainly knows how to recite old ballads in the language well."

Interesting: a well-learned stranger from the North. Perhaps he would speak with him before he left Rohan.

A quick warning to you guys: I am attempting to change my username. So, if you see suddenly a strange username in your inboxes a few days/weeks from now, it's me :)

Prompt 70: Green
Ficlet: Healing Herbs
Rating: G
2938 TA

The seven-year-old's eyes grew wide as he took in the healing storage room. Shelves and shelves of labeled jars filled the room. He turned about, neck strained to look at as much of the room as possible. At the doorway, his foster father chuckled.

"Quite a sight, is it not, Estel?" he asked.

"There are so many!" he exclaimed. "How do you remember all of them? How do you know which one to choose? They all look the same!"

"Practice and learning, my boy," said Elrond, smiling. "And they are not all the same."

"Yes, they are," he argued. "They're all green leaves."

Chuckling once more, Elrond walked over and lifted the child onto the table. "Perhaps you can see the jars better from here," he said. "What do you see?"

Estel squinted. "It looks like tree bark. And that's not green," he added. "And-- ugh, what is that black stuff?"

"It is more of a dark brown," said Elrond. "As for what it is, it is beech tar."

"Beech tar?"

"Yes. It has a few uses; for instance, it seems to be effective in treating skin diseases that often affect Men. While those who live here do not use it often, I have had visitors who have found it useful."

"Oh." He looked around the room once more. "I have to remember all of these?"

"Not all of them today," he reassured him. "We will only start with a couple today."

The boy relaxed at the news. "That's good. I don't think I could remember all of them today. May I choose a jar, Ada?"

"I don't see why not."

Grinning, Estel hopped down from the table. Taking the short stool used to reach the highest shelves, he moved it to another wall and climbed on top of it. Slightly frowning as he concentrated, his eyes landed on a jar and he grabbed it without hesitation. Hopping down from the stool, he took it over to the table.

Elrond's eyes lit up as he recognized the leaves. "An interesting choice, Estel. Now this is athelas, also known as kingsfoil and asëa aranion, and it has a long history behind it…"

Prompt 71: Healing
Ficlet: The King's Hands
Rating: G
March, 3018 TA

The man's forehead burned as he lay utterly still in the dimly-lit room. It was he, Aragorn deemed, who needed his aid first. Without it soon, he would surely perish. It was a miracle and a testament of his will that he still lived.

Aragorn knelt beside the bed and placed a hand upon Faramir's brow. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly and closed his eyes. The minute sounds made by the others in the room faded away, and when he opened his eyes again, he found himself in a barren land. Toxic gases emitted from gaping cracks in the earth, and there was no growth to make a stand against the dry air and sickly fumes. He looked around in dismay; somewhere Faramir lurked here, lost and alone.

No stars nor sun lit the sky to guide him through the wasteland. Aragorn followed his instincts, calling for Faramir with every other step. For a long time, he saw no sign of him.

When he had nearly given up hope of ever reaching him, he saw the silhouette of a figure in the distance, standing on the edge of an abyss. Quickening his pace, he went to the man, calling his name as he approached. The man did not look at him.

"Faramir," he said again.

The son of Denethor slightly raised his head, but did not turn to the call. "Look at what has happened to Ithilien. My beautiful Ithilien."

Aragorn watched him in dismay. He could never imagine his beloved lands in Arnor becoming so twisted and broken; for Faramir to see such a thing revealed the depths of the Shadow on his mind.

Looking down into the darkness below, Faramir continued. "The water rises. Many times I have dreamt of the great wave that brought down Númenor. Now it comes again to cleanse Middle-earth. It shall take me with it, but with my death, the world may see life again."

He shook his head. "Nay, Faramir, that is not so! Your death would only bring tears, and those tears would do nothing to help cleanse the earth. Only with your life will Arda see Ithilien restored."

The younger man said nothing for a moment, but finally he turned to face his speaker. His eyes widened in amazement. Aragorn could not have known what he saw, but to the son of Denethor he looked like one of the kings of old. A star shone on his brow and his eyes gleamed with wisdom and strength. Faramir took a couple steps forward and stared into his eyes. Aragorn kept his gaze before the other finally spoke. "My king. You have come."

He smiled slightly. "I am not king yet, Faramir."

"But you will be!" he said. "Gondor has no need for me now."

"You underestimate your value, son of Denethor," said Aragorn. "She has need of you. Her people have need of you. I have need you." He held out his hand. "Come, Faramir. There are many who await your return."

He hesitated for a moment, but when he saw the earnest look in Aragorn's eyes, he lifted his hand to his. The moment their palms touched, the barren world about them suddenly flew away.

Aragorn blinked, and when he opened his eyes again, he was back in reality. The athelas  he had requested earlier was there. He breathed upon it before crushing it over a bowl of steaming water, breathing in the scent gladly.
Not a moment passed before Faramir awoke. When he opened his eyes, he saw a weary, haggard man kneeling beside him. As he met his eyes, he remembered and knew him.

"'My lord. You called me. I come. What does the king command?'" -ROTK, Houses of Healing

This is a scene that I want to include, thoroughly fleshed out, in a story that will be a sequel to Hearts of Men (which you can find on my account), but as that is not coming anytime soon I figure I would at least write a little about it.

Prompt 72: Life
Ficlet: Birth
Rating: G
January, 4 FA

This was a moment he had been waiting for for many years.

After the first couple of miscarriages, they had been cautious with their hope. Neither he nor his wife could have ever predicted the troubles they would have had in conceiving a child, and neither of them could have ever predicted the heartache and loss they felt with each life that did not come.

But as the months passed on, and the swell in Arwen's stomach became noticeable, they truly began to hope. Unlike the others, his wife wanted to keep this child's sex a surprise, and refused to tell Aragorn what she knew. "You will be pleased," was her only response to his enquires.

The eighth month turned into the ninth, and as winter continued to pass they both wondered when their child would be born. Elves were borne by the mother for a year as opposed to nine months, and there were no records from history that revealed how long a child of mixed heritage would be in the womb.

It was still some days before the start of the tenth month when Arwen, just finishing breakfast, suddenly grabbed her stomach. "It's happening," was all she said. After Aragorn led her to their bed, he found a servant to fetch midwives from the Houses of Healing. Soon enough, four women and the Warden of the Houses came, laden with supplies, and they swiftly ushered the king out of the room despite his protests.

"We know well your healing skills, my lord," said the Warden. "But it is best if you simply wait."

And so he waited. Friends came and stayed with him in support, but he barely heeded them. His eyes remained fixed on his bedroom door.

It was well into the night when he heard a sound that changed his life forever: a loud cry. However, as the minutes passed on, no one came to get him, and he began to worry; what was taking them so long?

Suddenly the crying seemed to grow louder. Before he could come to any sort of conclusions, a woman opened the door, smiling broadly at him. "Congratulations, my lord. You have a healthy baby boy and girl. You will be able to come in in just a moment."

He looked at her in shock. "Twins?" One of his friends slapped him in hearty congratulations on the back, but he barely registered it. The midwife nodded and closed the door, leaving the king reeling.

When he finally was allowed to enter the room, Arwen was smiling at him. While her hair was askew and her face red and beaded in sweat, the glow in her eyes made her seem more beautiful than ever before— something he did not think possible. In her arms, wrapped in warm blankets, were the children— their children. Both of them had calmed down and now were sleeping.

"Happily surprised, Estel?" she whispered softly in greeting.

"Very, very much so," he replied. He knelt beside the bed and laid his hand on her arm, his eyes not leaving the small figures in his wife's arms. With his other hand he gently stroked the small hand of the infant closest to him.

"Would you like to hold her?" she asked. He nodded, and she shifted her arm slightly so he could pick her up. She wiggled in her blankets, but once Aragorn settled her in his arms she stilled. He smiled down at her and then at the boy in Arwen's arms. They were so small. So beautiful. And they were his, his and Arwen's creations.

"We discussed many names, Estel," she said. "Our children were born with the stars; I should like their names to reflect it."

He smiled. "The name Eldarion was always my favorite." He smiled softly at his sleeping son before turning to the little girl in his arms. "And I can think of no more beautiful of a name than Eleniel." Walking around the bed, he knelt, careful not to wake his daughter, and looked closely at his son. Looking again at his daughter, he whispered, "Welcome to the world, my children."

Sequel to 42: Peace.

Prompt 73: Garden
Ficlet: New Growth
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, April 3020

Spring arrived, and with it came the greatest blooming Gondor had seen in many years. Charred and broken trees in Ithilien slowly crumbled away only to be replaced with new shoots that would one day be majestic trees. Old groves that once dotted the Pelennor, thought forever gone after the War, showed new signs of life from deep roots untouched by battle and frost.

In Minas Tirith, there was little greenery yet, but in the heights of the Citadel one of the Queen's greatest joys was tending to the gardens there. Arwen loved every corner of the vast garden, but she paid special attention to the small, hidden area beyond the locked door.

Both Faramir and Aragorn gladly relayed to her stories of what it was like when Finduilas cared for it, before her death and its fading. It would be many years before it could even rival its former beauty, but her days of tender care seemed to already have an effect upon it.

Even as the old, war-torn lands about Minas Tirith saw new life, the garden did as well. Arwen's eyes lit in delight as she saw the first blossom of spring. A white rose had just opened and was beginning to widen. Several thick, closed buds were gathered around it; they would open soon.

She found her husband and took him excitedly to her garden. Aragorn smiled brightly as she presented its first growth. "It is wonderful to see this old place growing once more, and a joy to me to see you so happy."

Arwen's eyes twinkled. "This is just the beginning, my love. These flowers are eager to grow, and we shall see many more things from this garden in the years to come."

"I greatly look forward to the years ahead." He came closer and she happily met his loving embrace.

By the time you see another update to this, I will have changed my username. It's nearly eight years old, and it's in Quenya, and I want something in Sindarin :-) So, yea. Just warning you all :-)

And ack! I have not been receiving new reviews for this in my inbox. I hope you guys have been getting alerts for this, and my new story, at the least. Darn website. A couple did trickle through today, so hopefully it is fixed.

The hardest part about this ficlet? Converting the flipping third age Shire Reckoning dates in Appendix B to fourth age New Reckoning dates. I now hate calendars.

Prompt 74: Wish
Ficlet: A New Age
Rating: G
September 29, 3021 TA/October 4, 1 FA

It was not yet midnight when Aragorn awoke to soft crying. Frowning in confusion, he turned on his side to face his wife. Her back was to him and she was shuddering lightly. His sleepiness immediately disappeared and he touched her shoulder lightly. "Arwen! What is wrong?"

She stilled and he heard her sniffle. "I— I am sorry for waking you."

"Never mind that." He sat up and tried to see her face, but her long hair obscured his sight. Gently brushing it out of her face, he said softly, "Why do you weep, dear Undómiel?"

Arwen took a deep breath. "They have left Middle-earth, Estel. Daernana and Ada are gone." She turned to face him, and he felt his breath leave him as he saw the depth of sorrow in her eyes. "I remember when Nana left and the emptiness in my heart that came when she left for the West. I knew that the same would happen when they sailed, Estel, but…" Her words died and she closed her eyes as another wave of tears came to her.

Aragorn slid back down and wrapped his arms around her. "I am so sorry." He felt tears prick his own eyes as he realized that he would never see Galadriel or Elrond again. He knew it to be improbable before, but still he had hoped… now it was an impossibility. And with them, too, would have gone Gandalf, Glorfindel, and more friends beside. His tears began to fall silently as his wife sobbed softly into his shoulder.

They did not speak for several minutes, even after the tears ceased to fall. When one of them did speak, it was Arwen. "It is not fair. Why does He do this to us?"


"Ilúvatar. Why does he do this to us? Why does he allow his Children to experience such sorrow? Why does he not allow us to be together as a family?" She shook her head. "I wish… I wish we could stay together in this new Age, and remain together after our time in Middle-earth is done. Why should you and I not see Ada again, after our lives here are over? It is not fair."

He shook his head. "I do not know." He sighed softly. "I once asked Gandalf the same thing many years ago, shortly after I met him. He told me that while he did not know the mind of the One, he did not believe the separates paths of the Children would always be asunder. It is little comfort now, but perhaps…" His voice trailed off.

She moved her head off his shoulder to look into his eyes. "It does not fill the new void in my heart," she admitted, "but it does help mend it. The uncertainty frightens me, but if Mithrandir believed it was so, and you hope it so, then I will carry that hope with me."

"It is all one can do," said Aragorn. "I am glad I could bring you some small comfort."

She pressed her body against his, leaning her head once more on his shoulder. "You bring much more than small comfort, dear husband. Thank you."

Back, with a new name. Sindarin, whee.

Sequel to prompts 62 and 66... you know, the one where Aragorn sees that one of his birthday gifts is an oliphaunt. Yea. That one. That's really all that needs to be known.

Prompt 75: Morning
Ficlet: Matter of the Morn
Rating: G
Minas Tirith, February 10 FA

That morning— days before March 1st— the last delegations arrived for Elessar's party. And each one, beyond their greetings and well-wishes, could only comment upon one thing.

"My lord," said Imrahil, "that mûmak— surely he is not..."

"It is, my lord Imrahil. It is." The Dol Amroth man could only look at his liege-lord sympathetically.

Imrahil's eldest son Elphir looked surprised. "How do the Haradrim expect Gondor to care for one of those beasts?"

Aragorn smiled. "I am sure it is simple enough to do." Inside, he was already wondering how to convince the Haradrim to take back their gift without offending them.

Legolas' and Gimli's reactions to the animal only made him sour.

"You two should not be laughing at my expense. I am a very powerful man, I would have you know."

Gimli only laughed harder. "Aye, and powerful you will be indeed when you are riding upon that animal into war! Just be sure not to fall off!"

The Elf chuckled at his friend's dour look. "Come, my friend, surely having a mûmak as a neighbor is an advantage!"

"Aye— all enemies shall take one look at it and flee from its smell," Gimli added. The two looked at one another and chuckled once more.

"I'll be sending it to war upon you two if you continue with this banter at my expense," the man growled, but his eyes betrayed his amusement.

Eldarion, playing nearby, had stopped his antics and listened carefully to his father and his friends the moment he heard 'riding'. When they said no more about riding and talked about other things, the six-year-old stood up and ran over to them.

"Ada!" he interrupted. Before Aragorn could scold him for interrupting him as he spoke, the boy continued, "I want to ride the moomook!" The king opened his mouth and closed it, finding himself at a loss for words.

"It is pronounced 'mûmak'," Legolas corrected with a smile. "And I am sure something could be arranged."

With the Elf's words, the king abruptly found his voice again. "Absolutely not," he said. "Have you taken leave of your senses, Legolas?"

"He had none to begin with," the dwarf muttered.

The Elf frowned, but before he could reply, Eldarion reacted to his father's verdict. "Adaaaa," he whimpered, tears beginning to pool in his eyes. "I want to ride the mûmak."

Aragorn looked sternly at his son; he was now well-used to his children's remarkably manipulative behavior when they wanted something. Faramir reassured him that it was natural, though he did not remember crying simply to try and convince his elders to change their minds. "Crying will not change my answer, Eldarion. And do not think to ask your naneth."

The child's face suddenly grew red with anger. Letting out an angry wail, he turned and fled the room, purposefully choosing the door that lead beyond the royal family's private quarters and to the rest of the building, an area he was not yet allowed to wander alone. He left the door wide open, and beyond a guard peered in, looking utterly bewildered.

Smiling tersely at the guard, the king said, "If you would, follow the prince and see that he does not leave the building or damage anything— including himself. I will be out shortly." The man saluted and left.

Legolas blinked in surprise. "I— my apologies. I did not realize he would react so… passionately."

"According to Faramir, it's normal," Aragorn shrugged. "The boy has Arwen's temper. His twin is less— what did you say, passionate?"

"Passionate," he confirmed.

"I imagine you were just as bad at his age," Gimli argued with a smirk. "I am sure your foster brothers have some stories they can offer."

"I pray you do not ask," he remarked wryly. "This celebration has already started becoming out of hand before it has even begun; I do not need embarrassing childhood tales to be passed around the delegations, as well." Exhaling and clicking his tongue, he continued, "By the time I find Eldarion, I imagine he will be through with his tantrum, or so one would hope." He glanced at them. "I very much blame the both of you for helping it evolve."

"I did not say he could ride one of those creatures!" the dwarf protested.

"No," he agreed, "but you thought to discover some less-than-flattering childhood tales from my brothers. To make amends, the both of you can figure out a way I can return that said creature to the Haradrim without causing a diplomatic disaster." Their objections fell on deaf ears as Aragorn left the room to find his son.

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