Estel was lying on his sleeping roll gazing at the stars thinking how beautiful the night sky was and He commented to Elladan and Elrohir, “I sure am going to miss these beautiful night skies once I get home. It just isn’t the same at home.”
“I know someone who used to have those same thoughts when he was younger.” Elladan replied.
“Oh yeah, who was that?”
“His name was Arathorn.”
Elrohir Sat up and looked questioningly at his brother and Elladan gave him a look back that said trust me.
“We met him when he was about your age. He was a prince of sorts. He could trace his line all the way back to Isildur but he did not have an actual kingdom to rule over. His Father was the leader of the Dunedain Rangers.”
“Aren’t they the rangers that you two travel with?”
“Yes now if you want to hear the story stop interrupting.”
“Sorry,” Estel said as he lay back down. He liked hearing Elladan tell stories.
“Anyway it was the summer after his thirteenth birthday and his father was ready to go on patrol again. Arathorn begged his father to go along. Arador allowed him to go along. ‘Well he should learn what his duties are soon.’ His mother was not so sure he was ready but she did not argue the issue. Arathorn relished the time out and from that first time he spent more time outside than inside. He learned to be an excellent rider marksman and swordfighter. Elrohir and I gave him many lessons in the field. He had a sharp mind for all those things. He became the best tracker I ever knew, for a human. He followed all the techniques that we showed him. Oh and to see him in battle was amazing. He could quickly deduce the next move an orc before the orc even knew what he was going to do. I remember his first battle. He was about eighteen. Always his father would hide him or make sure he was not along if he knew that battle was coming. His first battle was a small patrol of about twenty ranger scouts against one hundred orcs. His first reaction was stark fear. He stood like a statue watching these orcs charge. They clashed with us and he still stood gripped with fear until he saw one particularly huge orc bearing down on his father who had his back turned fighting another. His shock left him at once and all he had learned kicked in all at once. He was fast on his feet and deadly with his sword. He severed the head of that orc before it reached his father. Then he was after two more he cut off one head and stabbed the other through the heart. He saved two more of his fellow rangers from certain death that day. He was celebrated that evening, but his face was full of confusion. Later that night he came to me because I was the one on duty. He asked me why he felt such pain at killing those orcs. It was a good thing and yet he felt so dirty from it. I told him that was normal. Everyone’s first kill is pretty bad. I said he needed to talk with his father about it but he did not want his father to think badly of him. ‘You would be surprised what your father thinks He may have gone though the same thing.’ I am sure he talked to his father because I could tell he was better the next day. I used to love to watch him fight. I don’t think I ever saw a man fight so well or so beautifully in all my life. I would stop fighting just to watch him.”
“Did he ever loose a fight?” Estel asked.
“Well eventually yes, but I have not gotten to that part yet. You must learn patience, Estel.”
“Sorry” Estel whispered.
“He never was interested in love either and I think his father was starting to worry he would never marry. Arathorn had to produce an heir, but love is never something that can be rushed. I knew one day though it would hit him and it did. We came home from a campaign, and we were riding through the streets to the cheers of all because we fought some orcs that were causing a great deal of trouble to the village. There was a very pretty young girl in the crowd that came rushing up to Arathorn and offered him a victory wreath of flowers. He took them from her and watched as she melted back into the crowd. His heart was gone from that moment on. He worked hard to be able to marry her because he was so much older than she. Her father was against the marriage but finally he gave after some persuasion from her mother. The wedding was a time of such celebration. Do you remember the wedding, Elrohir?”
“Indeed I do. It was a wedding that rivaled the wedding of Elves. In Fact many elves were there.”
“Yes everyone danced and sang at their wedding. They were a happy couple. Everything seemed to be going well for a while but one year after their marriage disaster struck. The trolls that lived near here captured Arathorn’s father. He was killed and this greatly saddened Arathorn. Now he became the ruler of the Dunedain so he had to leave his family and go back into battle more often. He was loath to leave for his wife was carrying their first child, but things are expected of one who is the ruler and so he went on patrol fought were was necessary and came home as quickly as possible. Finally she bore the child and it was boy. Arathorn was exuberant. He found happiness and sweet relief in his life. The boy grew strong and looked much like his father. Then word came that an Orc party was forming in the east. We made ready for battle. Arathorn kissed his wife and son and left that day never to return again. His fall was dreadful. He had been fighting strongly and I was fight close to his side. When from far away, an arrow came whizzing through the air and struck Arathorn right in the eye. The only comfort I was given was that he died immediately. I never felt a loss so keenly as that loss. He was a wonderfully strong man who should have had more life to live than he was given.”
“Did his son grow to be a great warrior?” Estel asked.
“I do not know that answer. His must still grow up before he can be considered a great warrior.”
“Well, I sure hope that I am as brave as that man someday. If he fights well enough to impress you two he must have been amazing.”
“Well it takes more that great fighting skills to make you a great leader and I loved him more for his great strength of character than for his fighting skill. In my mind he was a great fighter because he knew how to be ruthless and yet gentle when it was necessary. You must develop those skills of wisdom yourself in order to be like that man.”
“How will I know if I have them?”
“You need to take everything you have learned in your life from the small to the large and combine them together, and with a lot of help from Eru, you will become like Arathorn.”
Estel thought on these words as he stared at the sky some more before he could feel sleep starting to claim him. Just as he was right on the edge of sleep he heard a noise and he looked up right as a dark hand came crashing down on his head.