Estel

It was June of the year 2941 of the Third Age. And it was evening, in Imladris. The occupants of the House of Elrond were expecting company. Thirteen Dwarves, a Wizard, a Hobbit, and their steeds, to be precise. All exept one of the occupants, anyway. In Elrond's study, a light is shining from the window, visable to the outside. The light of candles. Inside, a young boy is reading a book, too focused on what's on the pages, to heed outside.
Elrond walked in the door. "I thought I might find you here." He said to the boy.
The boy looked up. "I was reading the Lay of Luthien." The boy said. "Though, I've not got very far, father. I believe I shall have to study my Eldarin a bit harder."
"There's nothing wrong with your Eldarin, Estel." Elrond said, to his foster son, with a small laugh. "The merry making shall start soon. You're not going to sit in here and read through it, are you?"
Estel looked at the book. Then up at Elrond. "No. I suppose not." Estel replied, and placed the book aside. He stood up, and extinguished the nearest candle, when the Elves outside suddenly burst into song. They sang about several names, which Estel had not heard before, but presumed they were Dwarves, as many of them rhymed. The song also mentioned the valley. Estel looked at Elrond. "Dwarves?" He asked.
"Most of them." Elrond replied. "But not all. There are a Wizard and a Hobbit, who travel with the Dwarves. Come on. Your mother's probably wondering where you are!" Elrond said, and led Estel out.

During the Merry making, Estel saw the thirteen Dwarves, the Wizard Gandalf, and the curious creature called a Hobbit. The Hobbit was of course, Bilbo Baggins, of the Shire. On midsummer's eve, Elrond, Gandalf, Bilbo and Thorin were speaking together about swords, and a map.
Estel went to speak with his mother. Gilraen was reading a book, about the before the First Age, when Estel knocked once and opened the door. She looked up from the book, as he entered. "Estel, it's late. You should be asleep, in your bed." She said softly.
"I can't sleep. Not yet." Estel replied. "I've too much on my mind, Mother."
"Well, tell me what it is, that troubles you, and then you should go to bed, and at least TRY to get to sleep. You're ten years old, and you're supposed to get sleep." Gilraen said.
"I know, Mother." Estel replied. "But I want to know about that 'Hobbit', Who travels with Gandalf the Wizard, and the Dwarves. I thought he was a child at first glance."
Gilraen laughed. "Most people do, Estel. They are a little folk, half the size men, usually. And so men call them 'Halflings'. They are a simple people, and like to live their lives in peace."
"I heard the Dwarves were going to face a Dragon. That doesn't sound peaceful!" Estel stated.
Again, his mother laughed. She put down her book and got up. "You little rascal!" She said. She walked over to Estel. "You hear much, Estel! And you are sharp, also. I think you are beyond your years! And I don't doubt that Elrond will think the same! Away to bed with you!! And think no more about dragons, until morning!" She turned him round by his shoulders, gently, and gave him a little nudge.
"Aww, Mother. Can't I stay up a while? Please?" Estel asked, in a complaint.
"Bed, Estel. Go on. The Elves will still be singing tomorrow." Gilraen said.
Estel spun round. "How did you know?!" He gasped.
"I know what you're like Estel. Now go to bed, before I call Elrond. And you know he won't like being disturbed, while he's speaking with his guests."
"I'm going!" Estel subsided, not willing to anger Elrond. Indeed, Elrond had taken Estel's father's place, when Estel's real father had died, eight years ago. But Elrond was still the authority in Imladris.

Several days after the Dwarves had left, Elrond found that Estel, had suddenly taken an interest in maps. Estel was currently reading one of Middle Earth, and tracinc several paths with his finger. Elrond watched quietly, from behind. Estel was oblivious, and continued to look at different routes, and calculated the distances in his head. "You're not thinking of running away, are you?" Elrond joked suddenly.
Estel turned. "Oh, darn. I've been found out!" Estel returned the jest.
Elrond smiled and stepped forward, beside Estel, and looked at the map. "I thought books were your interest." Elrond said, looking troubled.
"I wanted to know how far they are going." Estel said. "It'll be a long and arduous journey. No matter what roads they take. Won't it?"
"Yes. Your mother was right about you."
"Oh?"
"She told me, that she believes you are beyond your years. And I think she may be right. I've not heard a ten year old use the word 'arduous' before. But then, you seem to hear many things, whether they are meant for your ears or not, anyway."
"I can't help it I can hear people speaking!" Estel defended.
"I know. And perhaps it's a skill which will come in usefull, in the near or distant future." Elrond said, taking the map, and putting it away. Estel sat quietly, watching him. Elrond turned. "Come on. Elladan and Elrohir will take you out into the wild today, to teach you how to hunt. But you'll have to be ready." Elrond had barely finished, when Estel jumped down from the chair, and rushed off to get ready. Elrond smiled.
A messenger, from Mirkwood, was heading towards Elrond's study, when Estel rushed past. The messanger watched him pass, then turned, to find that Elrond was standing there. "Lord Elrond." The messanger greeted.
"What brings you here, Legolas?" Elrond asked.
"My father asked me to come here, and urge the white council, to do something about the Necromancer." Legolas, the prince of Mirkwood, replied.
"Something will be done, Legolas. And soon. Gandalf has already left." Elrond replied.
"That is glad news, Lord Elrond." Legolas said in relief.
Just then, Estel rushed back, ready for his expedition. "Have you got everything?" Elrond asked.
"Yes, I have." Estel answered, short of breath, but not enthusiasm.
Elrond turned to Legolas. "My foster son, Estel." He said. Then turned to Estel. "This is Legolas, King Thranduil's son."
Estel performed an Elven bow. "I am pleased to meet you." He said.
Legolas smiled. "And I am pleased to meet you." He replied.
The sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, arrived after Estel and Legolas were introduced.
"We are ready to leave Father." Elladan informed.
"Are you ready to go, Estel?" Asked Elrohir.
"Yes. I am. And eager too." Estel replied. And so the three left the House of Elrond, and Imladris, and went out into the wild.

Estel was often out with the sons of Elrond, until ten years later, when he was 20, he learned a secret, which had been kept from him. His true name was Aragorn, and his real father was called Arathorn. This secret, Elrond revealed to him, as he (Elrond) felt the young man (Aragorn) was ready to learn the truth. Aragorn also met Arwen Undomiel that day, and fell in love. But that tale, and others about Isildur's Heir, can be read elsewhere.

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