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Heirs of Gondor  by Aelaer

II: After the Council

I will admit that I have always been a man of action rather than words. Why bother with talk when there are deeds to be done? But even then, I understand the necessity of words to set all straight. And indeed, today's discussions have been quite invaluable!

I was weary after my journey- understandably so. Few men can withstand such a trek alone. After speaking briefly with Lord Elrond, I managed to obtain a couple hours of rest before I discovered the answer to many riddles. I did not hope for such answers- indeed, I feared many times that my journey would end up in vain. Faramir was certain that it would not, but I still doubted. He is wiser than I. Still, now that the riddle is answered, it is not Isildur's Bane- this Ring- that interests me at the moment, but rather the Sword that was Broken, or rather its wielder.

When I met him this morning, I was curious about him. He had the look of a vagrant and yet spoke fair. And, of course, his presence in Rivendell was puzzling. It all makes sense now.

The Council of Elrond has just ended and the room is beginning to empty. The dwarves are already gone, and the three Halflings are slowly making their way out, speaking to one another in hushed voices. The wizard Mithrandir is speaking to Lord Elrond and Lord Glorfindel, and the rest of the elves are beginning to file out. The only ones who remain sitting are Aragorn and me.

I can see that the other man is lost in his thoughts, though what he thinks I cannot begin to guess. Faramir was always better at that sort of thing, though I imagine even he would have a difficult time reading Aragorn's face. The Ranger was, for the most part, careful to keep his expression neutral throughout the Council. Moments of passion would flare and, as quickly as they had come, flicker away, leaving me with a blank slate.

This leaves me only more curious about the heir of Isildur. If he indeed lives up to his forefathers, his presence in Minas Tirith would be welcome. I do wonder, however, if he has further ambitions. If he does seek the throne, I cannot be sure about my lord father's actions. It is said that the job of the steward is to look after the throne until the king returns, and yet I wonder if anyone actually believes those words now. And while I am no lore-master, I do recall that the last King of Arnor that tried to reclaim Gondor's throne was rejected.

And where does that leave me? I cannot be sure, not at this time. Faramir may be able to read the heart of a man within one meeting, but I need to get to know him further. I need to know Isildur's heir before he comes to Minas Tirith. I need to know where Gondor stands in his heart.

I finally stand, as does he. He does not seem to acknowledge my presence, but rather heads for the hall, lost in his thoughts. I quickly head after him.

"Aragorn!" I call before he can go further. The other man stops and turns to acknowledge me.

"Boromir," he says with a nod of his head. "Do you need something?"

As usual, I state my concerns with the bluntness that my brother says makes me a terrible politician. "Strictly speaking, yes, I do need something. I need to know what Gondor is to you. You will come to Minas Tirith, you say, and I will not deny that any aid will be welcome. But what is my country to you?"

As I expected, his face remains impassive and I cannot read his thoughts. He takes a moment to respond. "Gondor means many things to me. It is my past and, Elbereth will it, my future. It was my home for many years and I hold it dear to my heart. Do not doubt that I will not defend her well; I would give up my life for Gondor, if it comes to that."

I sense no falsehood in his words and I believe he speaks truly, but one part of his statement makes me curious. "When did you live in Gondor?"

"A long time ago," he responds. "I am older than I look." Before I can inquire further, he speaks again. "I apologize for cutting this conversation short, but I must go and prepare for my journey."

"Journey? Where to?" I ask.

"I am not yet sure. We shall be discussing our trails later, but we will leave before nightfall. I will likely search the Bruinen for any signs of the Black Riders, to Tharbad at the least."

Ah, yes. The Black Riders. These dark horsemen who fill the hearts of men with terrible fear have been a problem on the eastern borders of Gondor. I still remember my encounter with one at Osgiliath all those months ago, and the memory still haunts my dreams. Faramir, who was with me that night, is the only one who knows of my fears.

"I wish you the best of luck," I say, my mind still lingering on the thought of these demons. "Hopefully they have left the North."

"Hopefully," he nods. "Frodo cannot leave Rivendell until we know. If you will excuse me, I must be on my way."

"Of course." With a short nod, he turns from me and strides down the hallway.

I watch his back thoughtfully, still not quite sure what to think of him. I wish he was not leaving so soon; I want to know more about his ambitions.

For now, I will withhold my judgment.

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