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Chapter 13 – The Memory of Love
Early Spring 2946 TA
Approaching the archway to his Adar’s study, Estel was filled trepidation. He had many questions to ask and he was not sure what kind of answers he was going to receive.
“So lost in your own thoughts, young master, that you cannot acknowledge a friend?”
Estel blinked and looked up a bit startled, “I’m sorry, Elmiran. I did not see you.”
“Apparently,” Elmiran smiled and looked towards the study he had just left, “Going to see your Adar, I take it.” Estel nodded. The Elf looked at his young friend a little more closely, “And what you have to say is weighing heavily on you, I sense.” Again, Estel nodded. Elmiran raised the youth’s chin to look into his eyes, “Talk to him, he will listen.” Estel again nodded and moved on leaving the Elf to look after him. Somehow I do not think Lord Elrond going to like what that young man has to say, he thought as he sighed, continuing on his own errand.
Estel waited until he was announced and then entered his Adar’s study, finding Elrond in a familiar position bent over a scroll seated at his high writing desk. Upon hearing Estel’s footsteps Elrond looked up. “Mae Govannen, ion nin.”
“Mae Govannen, Adar.” Elrond inwardly sighed at the formal word for “father” that Estel had recently started using. He longed for the years past when Estel still called him Ada and a spice cake could solve any small problem that his little foster son might bring him. He had noticed of late that Estel was often quiet, as if he had something on his mind, something he did not share with Elrond. Looking closely at his son’s somber face however he felt that discovery was at hand and all of a sudden he was not sure that such knowledge was a good thing after all. “Are you ready to depart for the herbarium,” he ventured, hoping to delay whatever it was laying heavily upon his son.
It was not to be. “Before we go,” Estel stated, “There is something I wish to discuss.”
Inexplicable panic flared in Elrond’s breast, but outwardly he strovefor an appearance of serenity. “Aye, is there?” he said rolling up the parchment he had been studying and setting it aside.
Estel chewed his lower lip and began, “Whenever I have asked why if we are not Elves do we live here in Imladris, both you and Naneth have always said it was the best place for us to live.”
“Aye, that is what we have always said. Are you tiring of Imladris? Are you not happy here?” Elrond asked trying to divert attention away from things Estel was not yet ready to know.
“I love it here! It is my home. It is just,” Estel paused then decided there was no help for it but to blurt out everything he needed to know, “Why did we come here? Who was my real Adar? Why does Naneth look so sad sometimes?”
Estel looked at his Adar who wore a pained, saddened expression mixed with another emotion he could not quite fathom. It scared him. Quickly he said, “I have offended you. I should not have asked, Adar. It is not important.”
Elrond looked at his son. Estel had grown tall and lean, his long dark plaited hair in much the same style worn by his older brothers. He was an intelligent and compassionate boy, Elrond knew that from the myriad animals Estel found in the woods of Imladris and had brought him over the years to heal or to end their pain if nothing else could be done for them. He still had a taste for adventure, but after breaking his wrist when he was ten he had learned what was an acceptable risk and what was not. He still had an insatiable desire to learn and experience new things. He had grown into the sort of boy that Elrond had hoped he would. In short, Elrond was proud of him. But it was that insatiable curiosity that he knew one day would lead to the questions Estel had just asked.
“There is no cause for worry, ion nin. You have not offended me. Have you talked to your naneth about this?”
“I have, she would not answer and looked too upset for me to press it any further, so I did not.”
“I see,” said Elrond. He thought that might be the case. It had never sat easily with Gilraen to keep Estel’s past from him. She, at first, had argued stringently against it but in the end it was a sacrifice that she knew must be made if Estel was ever to have a chance to fulfill his destiny. Elrond knew, however, how much pain such concealment had given Gilraen, though she had rarely spoken of it in the years since Arathorn’s death. Turning his mind back to the matter at hand, Elrond in his very core knew that now was not the right time to completely reveal Estel’s past to him, but he must give the boy some answers. Estel would not rest until he had at least that.
Estel looked concerned, “Is it wrong that I ask; that I should want to know?”
“Ion nin!” Elrond quickly got up from his desk and came to stand before his son and look into his eyes, “It is not wrong that you should ask.” Elrond said holding his son’s head in his slender hands, “Come, let us sit,” he said, steering the confused boy toward the sofa and chair in one corner of the room.
Elrond pondered how to answer the questions so that Estel should have some answers without telling that which he could not yet know. “How do I begin?” without outright lying the thought continued in his head. “You are from the North, your naneth and adar were of the northern tribes.” That much at least is true.
Estel’s interest was piqued, “You mean the Dunedain, the Northern Rangers?”
Elrond thought, I should have monitored more of what Glorfindel has been teaching the youngster. “Did you study about the Dunedain with Lord Glorfindel?”
“Aye, we studied the history of all Middle Earth. The Dunedain are the remnants of the kingdom of Arnor and they are the sister realm to Gondor, which lies to the south. The two realms were ruled by Elendil. Both descended from Elendil who together with the Elves fought a great war to rid the lands of Sauron and his evil influence and thus usher in the Third Age.” Estel intoned as would a schoolboy reciting his lessons. “But,” his tone changed to one more of sorrow, “Elendil along with Gil-gilad, the High King of the Elves lost their lives and Isildur, Elendil’s son defeated Sauron, but was seduced Sauron’s ring of power and later killed by Orcs.”
Estel was stopped by the haunted look his Adar’s face, “Adar, are you all right?”
Elrond quickly recovered himself, “Aye, Aye, I am well, ion nin. You are right. That is the way of events. Suffice to say Arnor’s fortunes waned. But to continue, you are born of a northern tribe. This northern tribe suffered great losses and it was thought that it was best that some of its children were spirited away to live in other places and thus keep some of their people alive. You and your family were chosen and your Adar was killed en route to Rivendell bringing you to live with me.” Again a portion of the more painful whole, Arathorn did die bringing you to me Elrond thought.
“But why did you never tell me any of this before.” Estel inquired.
The boy is too inquisitive by half. Elrond mused. “For a long time it was too painful to talk about especially for your naneth. She loved your Adar very much,” he said aloud.
“Did you know him? My real--,” Estel struggled to find the right word, “my father.”
Elrond gave a rueful smile as he sensed that the boy’s desire to know and his desire to not hurt his Adar conflicting within him. “Father is a good word to use.” Elrond confirmed helpfully, albeit perhaps selfishly. He was Estel’s Adar. Arathorn had been his father. “And aye, I did know you father. He was a good man.” He paused then added, “Is there anything more you would like to ask?” with a tone of finality.
Estel wanted to press Elrond for more information on his father, but he sensed he would truly get no more answers about his past from him this day. So switching tack Estel thought perhaps a question on the future could find more fertile ground. “Adar?”
“Aye?” Elrond grew suspicious. Estel only used that tone when he wanted something. “What is it?”
“If I am northern born, I think I should like to learn more about their ways and their people.”
Elrond was not too sure that he liked the direction in which this was going, but he remained quiet while Estel thought aloud.
“Soon Elladan and Elrohir will begin another tour of the northern territories and portions of Mirkwood. I should dearly like to go and learn of these people.”
“No! The northern territories are very dangerous. Far too dangerous for a boy to travel.” As soon as he said it he knew it was a mistake.
Estel bristled, “I am not a boy, I am fifteen! 'Dan and 'Roh, and Master Seroquel say that I have made great strides in my sword work and I know much about healing. Tilade cannot make the journey as she has yet to fully recover from her injuries, I could go as a healer and be a useful member of the party and not just a young encumbrance.”
Elrond listened to the youthful tirade and he had to admit the boy’s plan had merit for more reasons than Estel could realize that moment. But still his heart refused to give in. Estel was young, too young. He was not ready to face the outside world yet. Or was he? Elrond wondered who was he really protecting, Estel or himself, and he realized that he had to let him go.
“Very well, but I have only one thing to ask you.” Elrond stated.
“What is that?” Estel could hardly contain his excitement.
“That you do not tell your naneth about this. I will tell her and explain why it should be.”
A few weeks later…
Gilraen had relented after much discussion with Elrond and cajoling on Estel’s part, although she was still none too pleased about the dangers that Estel would be riding into. The youth thought about the days of tensions that lead Gilraen’s eventual capitulation and shuddered at the thought as he slid his sword home into sheath after a third inspection of the blade.
“Is everything ready for your departure on the morrow?”
Estel looked up and saw his Adar standing in the doorway.
“Aye, I think so.”
“Good. Have you packed all of your necessary herbs and have a secondary supply of the most important ones.” Elrond continued on, somewhat needlessly.
“Oh Aye! Of course! You have taught me well, Adar. I know what I am doing.”
Elrond smiled ruefully, “Aye, of course,” as he sat down on the corner of Estel’s bed. He remained quiet, surveying the various objects to be stored in Estel’s saddlebags.
“Is there something you wanted to say, Adar?”
“Hmm, aye,” Elrond looked deep into his son’s eyes, “I know you are excited about the upcoming months. There will much to see and experience. You will be riding into many dangers ion nin. You must promise that you will not take unnecessary risks.”
“Adar! I am not ten any more. I will not charge recklessly into danger. I remember all you and Glorfindel have taught me. I will do you proud service.” Young, earnest grey eyes looked back at Elrond. The Elven Lord realized just how much his son had grown up in the past few years, “I know you will, my love,” he said with a heavy heart. Elrond stood and picked up Estel’s sword looking at it. “Meet me where the waterfall meets the river in fifteen minutes. There is something I wish to give to you.”
“Aye, I will be there.” Estel answered, now filled with curiosity.
Fifteen minutes later Estel was walking toward the spot where the river met the waterfall and in the distance he could see his adar, the twins and his naneth all waiting there for him. Gilraen stepped forward and held out a hand to bring him into their small circle and let his hand go with a reassuring squeeze and a smile in her eyes. Estel smiled back, relieved to see his beloved naneth happier than she had been since the news of his imminent departure. Elladan stepped forward and strapped a new quiver of deeply engraved leather and gold along with thirty newly fletched arrows over his back. Estel was about to speak but Elladan brought his finger to his lips to still Estel’s words of thanks. Elrohir then stepped forward and unsheathed and sheathed a beautifully crafted mithril dagger with an pearlescent handle in a quick, deft motion and handed it hilt first to his little brother with a smile on his lips and pride in his eyes. Estel smiled his thanks.
Elrond came forward holding a sheathed sword across his outstretched arms, and amid the noise of the crashing waterfall and the misty moist air, he presented the sword to his son. Estel handed the dagger to his naneth and grasped the sword by its scabbard. “Unsheath the sword, ion nin. Unsheath it and look upon it.”
The youth pulled the blade from its leather casing and looked upon the sword, starting with the hilt. It was made of a warm, deep coloured rosewood and inlaid with gold filigree vines that wrapped around the handle and wound their way down past the hilt and flowed in etched gold halfway down the length of the slightly curving blade. His hands followed his eyes as Estel read the inscription engraved upon the blade past the golden etchings, “Read the inscription,” Elrond requested, Estel read it in a loud, clear voice, “Estel broniatha a togithon (Hope will endure and I will lead)” and fell speechless with the beauty of both word and sword.
“Now, mellion nin, I will bestow upon you the blessing given to all Elven warriors who come of age. This blessing is traditionally bestowed amid the winds of Manwe to remind Elven warriors in times of trial what it is they are truly protecting. On one knee mellion nin and hold your sword blade down and imbed it in the earth that you will swear to protect.” Estel placed his sword in the ground and looked at his Adar. Wide grey eyes met pale blue ones full of emotion, pride and sadness chief among them as Elrond began to speak the formal incantation holding his son’s gaze. "May you strive all the days of your life to fulfill your warrior's destiny."
Estel bowed his head and felt Elrond's hands upon it, "May your mind be clear in purpose."
At this he lifted his son’s chin and touched his eyes, "May your sight see what needs to be seen."
He then placed his hands over his son’s as they held the sword at the meeting of hilt and guard, "May your limbs be strong and sure of purpose."
Elrond stepped behind him and placed a hand on either shoulder, saying, "May you never draw bow or raise sword except in the protection and service of others. You were born to fight against evil, but never with evil in your heart. May it know joy and love and service to others and in turn earn the respect of those you serve and who serve you."
He put a hand on each of his son's temples, the newly woven plaits of dark hair signifying his coming of age falling past his shoulder, "Wear the warriors' plaits with pride and may the Valar guide and protect you!" Inside Estel’s mind came a gentle bright light and he heard his Adar’s voice speak within his mind and heart. I will be with you always my mortal son, for as long as you have need. I love you. With a gentle kiss of the light upon Estel’s senses, his Adar departed his mind.
Estel opened his eyes and was lifted from his knee by his adar, “Hannon le, Adar.”
He turned to his brothers, “Hannon le, mellmuindyr nin.” The twins bowed and touched hand to heart before embracing their newly blessed warrior brother.
He then turned to Gilraen and bowed his head, “Hannon le, Naneth.” She smiled wide as she wiped tears from her eyes; moved as she was by the simple, spoken blessing; the words laden with deeper meaning that her son did not yet comprehend. “I’m so proud of you, my son, you will have my love always.” She kissed him on the forehead and then touched her hand to her head and heart, “The blessings of the northern tribes upon you, my son.” Estel looked into her eyes, surprised that she should mention their people. Her eyes shone with a pride that he had rarely seen and it was an image that never left him all the days of his life.
The next morning…
The sword blade was sharp. Estel made sure of that, he had spent an hour the night before going over its smooth edge with the whetstone that had been a present on his last naming day from Elmiran. At the time he could not understand why Elrond’s chief attendant had given a whetstone when he did not possess his own sword. That question was answered yesterday when his Adar gave him this specially made sword as a present. He had turned fifteen yesterday and Elrond, in a moving and simple ceremony, gave him the sword. The youth began again a thorough inspection of the blade, starting with the hilt. Estel re-read the inscription engraved upon the blade past the golden etchings, Estel broniatha a togithon “Hope will endure and I will lead” and was filled with a desire to fight bravely on this his first tour of the northern borders and Mirkwood beyond with Elladan and Elrohir, to honour the sword and his Adar who had bestowed it upon him, albeit reluctantly. He re-sheathed the sword and buckled up his saddlebags; it was time to depart for the stables.
Tearful good byes were quickly said and the patrol embarked upon their mission of more than two months duration. The departing party was a small traveling unit that would meet up with a portion of the Rangers and ride the northern reaches on patrol near the Misty Mountains. They would then part company with the rangers and cross the mountains to pay a long overdue embassage to Thranduil in Mirkwood. Northern patrol always held the possibility of danger but Elrond realized that Estel had made a valid point. He needed to know something of the peoples that he would lead, and that he needed to become battle tested by the self-same minions of darkness that it was hoped he could ultimately defeat.
The patrol consisted of Elladan, Elrohir, Estel, who would also serve as the healer in the group, Vivelle, Cefzil and Diovan, all seasoned warriors, and a young she-elf named Amaryl, who mostly been on short patrols much closer to Rivendell. This would be only her third long-term patrol. All warriors in the party were aware of Estel’s true identity and knew that Estel had been told only that he was a native of the Northern tribes. Also they had been told that Estel’s life must be protected at any and all cost.
Elladan had noticed that Amaryl and Estel had become much closer over the course of the planning stage of the expedition, so he informed her that she was to be Estel’s shadow during the expedition as it would be less obvious than if he or any of the older Elves in the group kept such close watch upon the young Heir of Isildur. As tasks went it was far from onerous, she rather liked the youth and fell into line easily with Estel atop Gil-gilath as they drew closer to Rivendell’s border.
They made camp that night along the Bruinen and Estel had the chance to sample some of Elladan’s famous or rather infamous field cooking. After settling next to Amaryl near the cooking fire Estel sniffed at his bowl of broth tentatively. Elrohir, seeing this laughed, saying, “You are right to be cautious, muindoreg! Elladan’s field cooking should not be taken internally.”
Elladan glared at his younger brother, “Aye, well I see your bowl is full often enough when I cook!”
“Filial love, muindor. I eat only to show my love and support for all your endeavors.”
“Hmm, That’s what you call it? I was wondering.” Elladan ended disgruntedly but with an amused glint in his eye.
Estel apprehensively lifted the spoonful of broth to his mouth under the watchful eye of both twins. An indescribable taste spread across his tongue and he had to quell his first instinct to spit it out, only because his beloved, but obviously culinarily challenged, oldest brother was looking on, expectant. “Mmmm!” he managed to voice without opening his mouth and swallowed the vile concoction down in a sacrificing show of filial love.
Elladan crowed, “You see! He does like it! So I will thank you to remember that, muindoreg!” With a triumphant look at his brother he walked to the riverbank to refill the water skins of the company.
Elrohir looked at Estel, whose face held a slightly sick look, and sat next to his little brother, “You can confide in me. It was not to your favour, was it?”
Estel looked him and in a fervent whisper said, “It was horrible.”
Amaryl laughed softly and said, “Then why did you eat it?”
Estel shrugged, “I did not want to hurt ‘Dan’s feelings.”
Elrohir put his arm around the boy’s slender shoulders and pulled him in for an affectionate, quick hug, “Oh mellmuindoreg nin. You’ve inherited my brother’s soft heart. I fear we’ve been a bad influence on you.”
“But you ate it, too.”
“Aye, but I have built a strong resistance to muindor nin cooking disasters, so I can eat them with no real harm done. And extra spices do a world of good. I tease him but I would never deliberately insult him by not eating it. But yours is a virgin stomach. We must be careful and expose you to it in small doses.” He removed the offending bowl from Estel’s hands, “I think that is enough for one meal. What do you think, Amaryl?”
“I think so! One bite was all I could manage on my first experience.” She smiled knowingly.
“Why do you allow him to cook, if it is so bad.”
“Because, it is not really harmful and Elladan thinks himself a good cook and I will not allow him to be hurt in any way, so I protect him from the truth. Perhaps it does not make sense to another, but it is our way. In the meantime, the next time he cooks, only eat a little, and then invent a chore that needs seeing to. You will get used to it.” Elrohir smiled at his little brother and squeezed his shoulder before he got up to help Elladan with the water skins
Amaryl looked after him as he walked away. “There is a special bond between those two. I cannot bear to think what would happen to one, if the other should come to harm, or worse.”
Estel shook his head, “I do not know. And I hope we never find out,” he said as he looked at his two brothers at the riverbank, filled with wonder anew at the depth of their relationship and the lengths each would take to protect the other from all harm.
On the edge of the Trollshaws a few nights later after the watches had been set, the party was bedding down for the night when Estel set his bedroll next to Amaryl’s. He lay upon advice his bow, quiver and sword to hand, ready should a night attack come. It had been peaceful up until now, but the whole party was starting feeling anxious, waiting for an attack to come. He whispered to Amaryl, “When do you think an attack will come?”
Amaryl shushed him, “Never ask for an attack for there will always be one not long in coming. Try to get some rest.” Taking her own advice, Amaryl pulling her blanket further over her shoulder and closed her eyes falling into a light sleep. Estel as ever was amazed by the Elven ability to call sleep whenever they chose. Estel was not quite so calm and could only lay there wondering if an attack would happen. He must have dozed briefly, though, because the next sound he heard was Vivelle’s call to arms. He threw off his blanket and grabbed bow, quiver and scabbard, strapping and buckling as he made for the tree nearest him as had been discussed earlier when setting the watch. He gained the most advantageous branches with near Elven speed, schooled into him over many years of training by Elladan and Elrohir, knocked his first arrow and waited for the first Orc neck he could impale. The wait was not long in coming. A small band of Orcs began stomping through the campsite ruffling belonging and upturning cooking pots.
Suddenly Elladan’s voice cut through the chill air, “Hado i philinn! (Release the arrows!*)” Estel loosed his first arrow straight into the thick neck of the Orc down below. He quickly knocked another arrow and let fly straight into the neck of another and still another. Then came the command to leave the trees and fight on foot, so lessened were the number of Orcs. Estel landed with an almost soundless thwump. He whipped his bow around his shoulder and drew his sword to block the downswing of an orc blade headed straight for his head. The next stroke slashed the same orc across the chest, dropping him. Estel turned and parried the blade of an oncoming Orc. It was almost too strong a thrust for him to deflect, but he turned the Orc’s weight against him and stepped to the side in order to bring his blade down over the dark creature’s back. He heard the sound of oncoming horses but he paid them no mind, because the next Orc was upon him, trying to separate his head from his body. Estel dodged the blow. With the force of momentum his next swing separated Orc head from body. In the distance he heard Elladan shout that the few orcs remaining were fleeing and for Vivelle and Diovan to finish them off. It was over. It had happened so fast that only now did he feel any fear, the ground beneath him suddenly gave way and he started to crumple to the ground, only to be caught in the strong arms of a man dressed in dark green and black. A face of grey eyes and dark hair stared at him with astonishment and then he knew no more.
Erithain and his rangers had not been camped far from where the Elves had set up and as soon as they heard the sounds of battle they saddled up and rode to give aid. As it turned out they arrived just as the Elves were chasing the stragglers down. He had seen an Elven boy dodge and then behead an Orc. As he went forward to inquire about the size of the Orc troop and if anyone was in need of assistance, the Elf fainted in his arms. Looking at the boy’s face he realized that he did not have leaf-shaped ears. In a flash he realized that it was his nephew that had collapsed in his arms. Tears streamed down Erithain’s face as he tried to revive the boy. “Aragorn!” he said sharply trying awaken his nephew.
After sending Vivelle and Diovan to kill off the remaining Orcs, Elladan chased back to the clearing to in a panic to see how Estel had fared. He had kept track of him until he made his first kill on the ground and then two Orcs charged the dark-haired Elf at once and it was all he could do to keep body and soul together. He spotted Estel just as he collapsed into his uncle’s arms. At first fear like he had never known before, coursed through him, thinking Estel grievously injured. But that fear passed as quickly as it had flared and somehow Elladan knew Estel had only fainted. He walked up to Erithain holding the boy.
“He will most likely not answer to his name, mellon nin.”
Erithain looked up and standing there, out of breath and bloodstained, although otherwise uninjured was his friend, Elladan.
“Elladan! This is my nephew, then.” Elladan nodded as he checked the boy for injury with a nervous and shaking hand. In his heart he knew Estel was uninjured; his head however would not accept that fact without a thorough look, hence the shaking hands. “What do you mean? It is his name. Why wouldn’t he answer to it.” Confusion mixed with grief and surprise shone through the Ranger’s grey eyes.
“Adar thought it best to conceal Aragorn’s name and ancestry to even the child himself. He does not know his past. Adar named him ‘Estel’ which means ‘hope’ in our language.”
“He does not know who he is? Not even his own name.” Erithain was incredulous, and he stroked the unconscious boy’s long dark plaits, “How could Elrond rob him of his heritage?”
Elladan looked on his friend with compassionate eyes, “Adar does not mean to rob him of his heritage. It was what was needed, mellon nin, for his own safety. And I must ask you not to reveal the truth. The time is not right.”
“Elladan, how can you ask that?” Erithain looked down longingly at his nephew, stroking his hair, “I have not seen him since he was two. My heart aches with the pain it has been forced to endure.”
“If you honour what we have all sacrificed for, you will not reveal the truth.” Elladan said with empathy, “I understand your pain, but this must be.”
“You understand my pain!” Erithain countered in a low, fervent voice, “You who have been allowed to see him grow up, you who have become his family. You who have stolen years from me and my fam--.” He looked to continue his tirade born of years of longing and uncertainty but stopped midword at the look of deep pain and sorrowfulness on the Sindarin Elf’s face. “Elladan, please forgive my rash words. The shock of seeing Ar--Estel after so many years has seemingly stripped me of a civil tongue."
Solemn star-filled eyes looked upon his friend, “I am sorry, too, my friend. The years have been long, but as you say we have had Estel to light our days. Know that Adar nin does only what he feels is necessary, but regrets as I do the sacrifices you have been asked to make.”
Erithain nodded his thanks, “I will abide by your wishes,” he agreed reluctantly, “I will not reveal to him the truth. It is enough that I see and talk with him, even if he does not yet know who I am.”
Estel began moving then, coming around to the world around him. He looked up and saw the man with the kind grey eyes and dark hair look down at him, concern written on his face.
“Estel,” the boy tore his eyes away from the strange man and towards a familiar voice.
“ ‘Dan. The Orcs are gone?”
“For now muindoreg. Are you hurt? Can you stand?”
Erithain made to move and help the boy to his feet, concern still glowing in his eyes, Estel was non-plussed by the older man and his somewhat unnerving concern.
Elladan, noticing the boy’s discomfiture, immediately introduced Erithain. “Estel, this is Erithain he is captain of the band of Rangers who came to our aid and has been a friend of mine for many a year.”
Estel had recovered enough to remember his manners, and now looked upon the stranger with interest. He bowed his head, hand on heart, “It is an honour to meet a Ranger of the North and if Elladan calls you friend then I hope that I may also.”
Erithain shot a thankful look in Elladan’s direction, and then returned his gaze to his nephew, and with a full voice, touching his hand to his head and heart in the way of the northern tribes, “The honour is all mine, young master Estel, I hope I may always call you friend,” he paused, “You swing a blade well.”
Estel colored slightly, remembering the battle and all the killing, “Thank you,” he said shakily, “But tell me one thing,” pausing with a slightly haunted look in his young grey eyes, “Does one ever become used to the killing?”
Elladan put an arm around his little brother, “No, muindoreg. One does not.”
“Do you think me a coward for asking such a question?” When asking this question he looked at Erithain. He could not have explained why, because he had only just met the Man, but for some reason the chance that the Ranger should think him lacking in courage bothered Estel. He wanted the Man to think well of him.
Erithain was a bit taken aback when the question was directed at him, but he stumbled out a response nonetheless, “N-No, Estel. I do not think you are a coward.” Gathering his thought a little more clearly, he looked into his nephew’s eyes, “A man should never grow to relish battle and the taking of life. As warriors, it is something we must do. When the battle rage comes upon us, we react as we have been trained to do. We must to stay alive and help protect those we love and a way of life we cherish. But grow accustomed to it, no. That is not a man with who I would want to claim fellowship. That being said you fought well and bravely.” He smiled and ruffled the boy’s plaited dark locks as the boy returned a relieved smile.
When the boy bent to pick up and clean his sword, Erithain looked hopefully at Elladan as if to say Do you think he somehow remembers me? Elladan smiled at the look of happiness and hope in his friend’s eyes. Elladan thought back to the time when little Aragorn had been taken away from his uncle and all that he knew. The two-year-old had been distraught, tears streaming down his face, when he discovered that his beloved uncle Erithain would not be making the journey to Imladris with him and his mother and father. He had been near inconsolable. That kind of bond never leaves the soul even if it has left the conscious memory. So in some portion of Estel’s soul the memory of love for his uncle lived. Of this Elladan was sure.
Note on Sindarin usage: Practically all construction are my own, any constructive criticism on my Sindarin usage gratefully accepted!
Estel broniatha a togithon: Hope will endure and I will lead. I gave the gloss in the text (hope it wasn’t too distracting, but I wanted it both in Sindarin for effect but also to have the meaning straight away.) :-)
mellion nin: my dear son (lit. dear son, my)
Hannon le, Adar: Thank you, father
mellmuindyr nin: My dear brothers (lit. dear brothers, my)
muindoreg: Little brother
mellmuindoreg nin: My dear little brother (lit. dear brother-let, my)
*Hado i philinn: quote from TTT film.
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