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Many, many thanks to all of you who have faithfully left reviews, chapter by chapter, as this was being posted. Your patience and encouraging words mean the world to me. Not that any reviews left from here on out are not equally treasured, but there's a certain bravery in following a work in progress, even when the author assures everyone that it is a complete tale. All those cliffhangers... I'm amazed none of you threatened to throw me over a cliff!
As I mentioned at the beginning, a work this large requires a lot of help. My very deepest thanks to Inzilbeth, whose knowledge of canon surpasses anyone I know and certainly my own, and whose patient replies to my many questions helped me navigate around obstacles that surely would have sunk this tale. That this story reached its conclusion is due in large part to your encouragement and constant reassurances. Everyone should have a beta to hold their hand as wonderfully as you did mine. I treasure our friendship.
Thanks as well to Meckinock, one of the first people in the fandom I encountered and whose friendly, helpful advice and chats about all things Tolkien eased the intimidating first step into this giant fandom more than she will probably ever realize. Her Halbarad remains the inspiration for my own exploration of the character, and if there are any similarities between our two versions, it was done inadvertently, out of admiration.
Thanks also to Amarok, a lovely lady whose “I need to see more emotion here!!” comments helped me strengthen the characters and how they interacted. Her insight and helpfulness is greatly appreciated.
Thanks go to Estelcontar, for being a lovely and gracious "test audience", reading through the story in its entirety one last time before I posted and letting me know that it all worked, and gave me confidence to put the prologue up at long last.
Although I've never actually “met” him online, thanks to Darth Fingon for his expertise and assistance with Quenya. I have only the barest clue about the languages of Tolkien, so any errors are mine, not his. Thank you to Niriel Raina for obtaining said translations for me when I was a bit to shy to ask on my own.
Thank you to the Aragorn Angst list community, one of the friendliest neighborhoods in the fandom.
Thank you to Michelle at the Naice a Nilme website, and Nilmandra at the Stories of Arda website for granting me posting rights. Like Aragorn, I feel very blessed to have two loving homes for my stories.
And finally, thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien for creating such a wonderful, astounding, astonishingly realistic world. I only hope my explorations of his characters do them justice.
Where will things go from here? Obviously, any tale of Aragorn's life will be in essence just one pearl on the string. He goes on from here to many more adventures, and the hunt for Gollum will span nearly the next two decades of his life, far too great a period of peering into caves and under bushes and into valleys to tell in one tale. But more stories will be coming, some of which include the hunt and others that will have Aragorn back among his people, or at Rivendell, or out in the Wilds battling those dark things in the houseless hills...
I hope you come along as I continue to follow him across Middle-earth.
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