The Young Traveller
"Your name, boy?" The Elf asked the young boy in front of him. The boy looked as though he had spent most of his life wandering, so covered in mud and grime he was. He wore a once white shirt and over that a shabby old waistcoat. His trousers were brown and muddy. He was barefoot. His curly brown mop of hair was tossed back as the small boy looked up at Elrond.
"My name, sir, is Callum."
"Why are you in Rivendell?" Elrond asked.
"I have spent many years in the company of one Strider, a Ranger. He told me if I ever lost him, I was to go to Rivendell and he would find me there. I have not laid eyes on him for more than a year."
"We know of no Strider here."
Elrond was about to order the boy away, when Callum said hurriedly, "He has other names, sir. The Dúnadan for one, Aragorn for another."
"Aragorn!" Elrond turned back to the boy, gesturing the other Elves to leave.
"Yes, sir, Aragorn son of Arathorn. And if you are Elrond Halfelven.?" Elrond nodded and Callum continued. "I have often heard him speak of you and of your daughter, the fair Arwen, who chose a mortal life over immortality for him."
"What of your parentage, boy?" Elrond wished to depart from the subject of his only daughter.
Callum appeared slightly startled at the entirely unrelated question, but replied, "During my seventh year of life, the old crone, I lived with, on her deathbed admitted she was not my true mother though I had spent all of my short life with her. After her death, I became a wanderer. A year later, I encountered Strider and remained in his companionship until a little more than a year ago. I know naught of my father nor my true mother."
Elrond was silenced. Just then a horse clattered into the main courtyard, where they were standing, a young Elf as the rider. The Elf dismounted and looked at Elrond. "Sir, I come with a message from the King Aragorn."
"King?" The boy turned to look at the new arrival.
"What are you doing here?" They chorused in unison.
"You know each other." Elrond seemed astonished.
"Yes, sir, the Fellowship of the Ring met him after we left here."
Callum explained further. "I had some business to attend to at The Prancing Pony, so I told Strider I would meet him outside of Rivendell."
Elrond nodded and turned back to Legolas. "Your message?" He asked of the younger Elf.
"The Lord Aragorn is arriving here tomorrow or the day after with his Queen."
"Thank you. A servant will show you to your room." Elrond dismissed Legolas, as another Elf appeared to lead the horse to the stables. Legolas bowed and left.
"Who is Queen of Gondor?" Callum asked. "My daughter, Queen Arwen. Come boy. I will tell someone to show you to your room. You will stay with us until the Lord Aragorn arrives."
Callum followed Elrond, surprised and faintly amused at his abruptness, but inwardly rejoicing at the news of the marriage and coronation for he knew it meant the quest had been accomplished and the Ring destroyed.
* * *
The next morning, true to his royal word, Aragorn arrived with his Queen Arwen and some courtiers. Elrond invited the King and Queen to a Council Meeting. Legolas, looking somewhat tired for the long night he and Callum had sat up exchanging memories and experiences since their previous meeting, was at the Meeting, together with Gimli and Gandalf, both of whom had arrived with the Royals.
The entire Fellowship was there, with the exception of Boromir who had died during the quest. However his brother, Faramir, had taken Boromir's place in the Council. The hobbits sat, their hairy feet dangling at least a foot from the ground, wondering why they'd been summoned to the Meeting. Their curiosity was soon satisfied. Elrond went through all the pleasantries and then announced he had had a visitor the day before. Legolas had been warned to remain silent. "I believe he is a friend of yours, Aragorn. Could you fetch him here?" Elrond addressed himself to Legolas for the latter sentence.
Legolas was soon back with Callum beside him. Nothing was needed to be said. Callum ran straight to Aragorn, who folded him tightly into his arms. "Callum!" The hobbits chorused clapping their hands in delight.
Callum broke free of Aragorn's grip and swung round to greet the hobbits. "Frodo! Sam! Merry! Pippin!"
After Callum had been reunited with the entire Fellowship, (he had been at the scene of Boromir's demise) Aragorn remarked, "You've met Queen Arwen before, have you not?" Callum nodded and smiled at the beautiful Queen.
"I knew not of the marriage, but I am glad of it."
"I assume Callum is the reason for this meeting, Elrond." Gandalf smiled as he addressed the Elf, who smiled.
"Of course. I thought you would wish to be reacquainted with your young friend."
"I for one am pleased to see him again." Gimli broke in.
"Dwarves are never afraid." Callum teased him, remembering an old joke of the Fellowship.
Gimli grinned good-humouredly. "Indeed they are not, Callum."
* * *
Later that day, as Elrond waited for the King to arrive at one of his private rooms, he watched Callum lark about in the courtyard with the hobbits. The boy was, of course, taller than the hobbits, despite being much younger. However the hobbits were full of fun and together with Callum they were enjoying themselves as much as Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf who were sitting in the courtyard and reminiscing about the Fellowship days, Gandalf's smoke rings wreathing his wrinkled face and grey beard.
"Lord Elrond?" Aragorn stood at the doorway.
Elrond turned around. "Come in, Estel." The Elf used the King's elvish name. "Tell me what you know of Callum's parentage. He informed me that he knew naught of his parents."
Aragorn looked awkward as he entered the room. "I have something to tell Callum and yourself. I know not who to tell first."
"Callum is amusing himself with the hobbits." Aragorn stood beside Elrond, watching the boy laugh with the hobbits.
"Father.." Aragorn was unsure of how to explain what he knew. "It is true I know of Callum's parentage more than he does himself. I will tell you then I must tell him. It is time for him to know."
Elrond's interest was aroused still further by the Lord Aragorn's peculiar comment. "Tell all then." He encouraged the King.
* * *
Later when Callum was sitting with his hobbit, elfish, and dwarfish friends and Gandalf, King Elessar of Gondor left Elrond's room and bid Callum to join him. Callum jumped up from his seat and trotted after the King, who was wondering how to tell Callum of his parentage. Together they strolled by the river in silence, happy to be together again.
Eventually, Aragorn halted and put a hand on Callum's shoulder. "Callum. I have never told you what you deserve to know, since I never knew how to say it. Now I must tell you."
Callum remained silent, wondering what Aragorn meant. "Your name is not Callum, any more than mine is Strider. Your name is Connor son of Aragorn son of Arathorn."
There was a long silence, followed by a small "Oh." After a while, Callum said, "My mother.?"
"Is Arwen." Aragorn completed the sentence for his son.
"Is that why you looked after me?"
Aragorn nodded. "You told me about your life, I realised you were my son and so I kept you with me."
* * *
The next day, the inhabitants of the House of Elrond gathered together to watch the departure of the King Aragorn, Queen Arwen and Prince Connor. The latter some of the Elves felt sure they'd seen before, but it was the first most of them had heard of Prince Connor, despite the fact he wasn't a newly- born baby.
Outside of Rivendell, the hobbits and Royals separated with many fond farewells. The hobbits to go back to the Shire and the Royals and their companions to go to Gondor.
Before tuning a corner in the road, Frodo looked back at the Royal Company. He could just see the small figure of his good friend riding proudly between his parents. The half-elf, half-boy twisted slightly in his saddle to address a comment to his mother. As Frodo watched, a grin lit up Prince Connor's face. Frodo smiled. The Prince was a cheerful young boy and all the happier for knowing his parents' identities. Frodo knew the boy deserved the happiness he felt and was pleased for him.
The Fellowship of the Ring was complete in their happiness.