Aragorn quickly followed her out of the house and followed her down to the pond where she collapsed by the water’s edge, whispering to herself. “I will not cry. I will not. I mustn’t. It’s not like a ranger to cry!”
He stood there watching her for a few minutes when he couldn’t let her be alone no longer and walked towards her. “Tari?”
Tari turned to look up towards him; he was haloed by the sun’s rays so she could not really see who it was. She whispered, “Dad?”
“No, Tari, its Aragorn,” whispered Aragorn, as he went to her side. “How did your father die?”
“He was murdered, Aragorn. Not one chance to fight for his life or even face the murderer in combat,” Tari stated.
“How?” asked Aragorn, as he knelt next to her.
“We were all poisoned, even my older adopted brother was. My father was poisoned worse than my mother and much less than I was but still enough to kill him and mom. It happened about eight years ago. My older brother decided to make dinner for the whole family because it was his turn to make or pick out which restaurant we were to go to that night” Tari said, sadly. “Each day at dinner time one of us would either make dinner or pick out which restaurant we would go to eat dinner at. He made us dinner that night and we all ate a lot of the meal. But the only thing strange was that he only ate part of his meal…like he was aware of something in the food itself.”
“He was the one who killed your father?” asked Aragorn, as he went to sit by her side.
“I am not able to prove it. They didn’t even listen to me about testing the blood that they had of mine and my parents which would prove everything. I can tell the police…the magistrates that he did it but it would probably not be believed because everyone wouldn’t believe that a thirteen year old boy would do something like that. I, on the other hand know he could.” said Tari.
“What happened?” inquired Aragorn, looking at her.
“It happened right after he got into some trouble with the magistrates and when he got home, dad and mom grounded him but he swore they would be dead before the year was out. They didn’t take the threat seriously. Just assumed it was that he was just angry and it would soon be gone.” said Tari, looking towards the pond.
“But it wasn’t right?” asked Aragorn.
“No, that night, he put a lot of poison into our food. But we never knew as we ate the meal. He acted fine but just looked disinterested in eating but he did eat some of his meal. Mom, dad and I ate about three or four plates full never knowing we were getting poisoned. I spent almost three months with the healers before I was able to even get out of bed and I was not even allowed to see my parents’ grave till many weeks after that,” stated Tari, looking at him, her eyes wet with tears that threatened to fall.
“They didn’t tell you of your folks’ death?” posed Aragorn, looking at her.
“Not till after I woke up fully three months later, I was really sick. My dad died three weeks after we got into the hospital. My mom died nine days after my dad. My brother since he was not as sick as we were or in a critical state as I was in, was sent to stay with some friends of his.” Tari said, as she looked at him before she turned to look at the pond. “The detective…the head magistrate asked me some questions about what we all did that night. I told him what we did and then asked him to get my dad. I wanted to see him. He went out of the room and it took another ten minutes before my dad’s best friend came into the room along with the magistrate. My dad’s best friend showed me only one thing and it was this.”
Tari turned back to Aragorn as her hands went around her neck and removed the necklace. She held up the very same necklace that Arwen had given to him when he left her on the bridge in Rivendell to go with Frodo and the others to Mordor. She spoke once again, “I knew right then and there that my father Arden was dead. He never removed it. He told me that this was given to the sons of Gondor from their father Aragorn and it remained in the family to this date.”
Aragorn reached for his and revealed it to Tari, the very same necklace. “You are truly my descendant.”
“And the last one till I marry and bear a child, Aragorn,” spoke Tari, as she put the necklace back on. “My older brother isn’t even of our blood and he’s the one who murdered my parents! He even admitted it to me that he killed our…I mean my parents.”
Aragorn never looked angrier than he did right then and there. His descendants were murdered by their own adopted son. His fist clinched tightly and then he spoke, his voice showing his anger. “Did you tell anyone what he said?”
“Yes, but they didn’t believed me or won’t cause there is no proof that it was him, he was also poisoned so they doubt it was even him who did it. I was only an eleven year old girl who was openly grieving the loss of both her parents. I stopped talking about my parents and left school to live alone here with my memories and my animals,” said Tari, as a single tear dripped from her eye. “Away from people, living my life like a Ranger. Always lived alone, even my `brother’ doesn’t even come and visit me unless he wants more money. All I have left is my tears that I refuse to let go.”
Aragorn’s hand reached up and wiped the tear that fell away as he whispered, “It’s all right. Cry, cry till you can’t anymore, Tari.”
Tari collapsed into Aragorn’s arms and cried as he held her close to his chest, stroking her hair as he heard the quiet footsteps of Legolas coming closer to him and Tari. Legolas placed his hand on Aragorn’s shoulder and spoke in elven.
Aragorn replied, looking up at his elven friend, “She’s my true descendant, Legolas. She has the very same necklace that I wear right now around her neck.”
“Aragorn, night is coming and we best get inside. Perhaps, we can find some food to eat,” spoke Legolas, looking at him.
“Yes. Tari, night’s falling and we best find something to eat,” whispered Aragorn, as he helped her to stand up.
“I best show you the rest of the house and then start dinner. I don’t have much food to share but I don’t really eat much anyways,” said Tari, as she finished wiping her eyes dry and headed towards the house.
They went through the same doors that she went out earlier. She explained the room as the library or as she usually calls it the living room. Up the stairs she went and then up another stair to another level where she opened two doors.
“These are the guest bedrooms. Actually, this one is my old bedroom but I don’t need it anymore, so I keep it as a guest bedroom when the need arise for it’s use which is so rare I rarely venture up to the rooms, but during the summer months to let the heat escape from the house. We have communal bathrooms at this end of the house. Shower/bath and wash basins and toilets.” spoke Tari, as she showed them the bathroom.
Legolas was the most curious about the toilet as he looked at it. “Don’t you go into the woods to pass body wastes?”
“I could but in mid winter, I doubt you want to bear your butt to the bitter winds of the snow,” chuckled Tari, as she led them out of the bathroom and back down the stairs. She could hear Aragorn asking Legolas to come on.
“Tari, where do you sleep at?” asked Legolas, as he quickly went to her side.
“Follow me,” spoke Tari, as she headed towards the north side of the building to pass though a doorway and into a big chamber where a bed and a trunk laid open. “This room was once belonged to my parents. I didn’t want to sleep in my own bed anymore and so I chose to sleep here where I could smell my folks when I go to sleep at night.”
Aragorn noticed that Tari was picking up a long grayish brown cloak from the trunk and taking it to another room. It looked very familiar to him. “Tari, is that your father’s cloak?”
“In a way, it is. It is actually your cloak, Aragorn; it has been handed down from each son to their son. It has managed to stay in one piece all these years. My mom met my dad when he was wearing this cloak at the tournament. They fell in love there and married soon after,” said Tari, as she held the cloak close to her before she put it on a hanger and put it away. “I’ll be wearing it in two months for the tournament…if I am able to learn how to wield a sword by that time.”
Aragorn looked at the cloak and spoke, “I’ll teach you how to wield a sword, Tari. But I will ask for a reward?”
“I think I know what it is. The cloak?” asked Tari, as she removed it from the closet and held it out to him. Aragorn smiled as he took hold of the cloak and wrapped it around him.
Legolas was looking at Aragorn, who looked fabulous in the cloak as he glanced over to look at Tari and judging by how she was looking at him, he must look like her father truly by now.
Aragorn removed it and held it to her. “All I wanted was to wear it one time more. I think when I return home and if we do, I’m going to get a new one probably made by Rivendell elves. They make the best cloaks.”
“A movie company wanted to use the cloak for a movie but I refused it was too priceless to use and plus if it got torn there would be no way to repair it. I would wear it and very cautious with where I walk when I have it on my shoulders.” spoke Tari. “There was one time when my dad wore it and he swore he could smell…no offense Aragorn but he could smell you in the cloak itself. It happens with each male heir. Even I got the smell when I first wore it.”
“Strange. So can we help make the meal?” asked Legolas, turning to look at her.
“It’s not going to be a big meal, Legolas. I don’t have enough meat to make three dinners. I do have deer sticks and some deer jerky it will tide us over till I’m able to go hunting in the morning for a healthy buck.” Tari stated, as they headed towards the kitchen.
Once there, Legolas and Aragorn heard a strange cry but it was muffled like someone was tied up. Tari didn’t even bat an eye as she hurriedly went into another room and brought out a small brown glove like item. She plunged her hand into the glove and opened the door where they heard the sound even louder than before.
“I hear you, Gandalf! Don’t throw a fit! I’m coming!” yelled Tari, as she went through the door.