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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
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.
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