“Before I even begin on me, you might as well know. My great-grandmother was an Elf of Mirkwood. One day she was out in the woods, alone, and a party of Orcs came through the forest and took her prisoner. They took her deep into a cave system where they hid and held her there. One of the Orcs…well, I think you understand, and I’d really rather not elaborate anyway.” Isilmë nodded sadly. “An Elven party found the Orcs and killed them all, and she was rescued, but when it was discovered that she was with child, she fled from Mirkwood, fearing what the Elves might do. She gave birth to a son, and even though he was part Orc, she did not have the heart to destroy the child. What was truly amazing, however, was the appearance of the child. In appearance he did not resemble an Orc at all, and no one knows why that was. He had the black blood of the Orcs, and spoke the language, as I do, but on the outside, and in nature, he little resembled the race of his father. His mother thought it best that he never marry, and so not pass on the Orcin race, but…” Aramir shrugged and smiled grimly. “And several generations later, here I am. I was born in a small village outside of Minas Tirith. My father was part-Orc, part Elf- I inherited his immortal life- and my mother was mortal, though she lived many lives of men. I also have a sister, younger than I-Sicil. At the beginning, my parents kept the secret from Sicil and I, although it was never fully secret, for we were both born with the ability to speak the Black Tongue. They thought it better that we did not know, and in hindsight I know they were right. But when we grew old enough, they told us the secret, and made us swear never to tell anyone. Not that it was something that we wanted to tell all of Gondor anyway. Soon after that, my father was killed in battle, and mother and Sicil and I moved into the city of Minas Tirith. Sicil was never comfortable in the city, though, and she was often wandering in the wild for lengths of time. I enjoyed the city, however. I made many friends, and we were constantly training hard to become warriors. One day a member of the Itir saw us practicing. She thought I showed great promise as a fighter, and asked if I was interested in training as an Itir. I was elated. I accepted, of course, but that was just the beginning. They gave me several tests, watching me fight, fighting with them, throwing daggers, shooting, and all sorts of things. When that was finally over, they agreed to let me train. Now, there were many men trying to get in to the Itir then, and there were only two spaces open. I was the last accepted to train before the final tests were given, and I knew there was very little chance I could ever get in. Spaces don’t open up very often, and I had been training the shortest amount of time. Most of the others were about my age, in appearance, I mean, although there were a few that were older. There were two that were fairly close in age to me. One was an Elf of Rivendell called Kellian, the other was half Elf and called Janst.”
Isilmë fidgeted a bit at the sound of the Captain of the Guard’s name. It was well known to Isilmë that he greatly desired her to be his wife. She, however, did not like him one bit.
“Ahh, I see you recognize the name,” Aramir continued. “I became best friends with Kellian. We did everything together, including detest Janst. He thought he was something special because his father had been in the Itir. Needless to say, he was irate when Kellian and I were accepted into the Itir and he was not. We were ecstatic. Out of all the men who had trained so hard, we were the two newest Itir. Janst was even angrier when they appointed him Captain of the Guard after the present Captain was killed in battle. It was such an honor, but he wasn’t happy with that. He wanted to be in the Itir, and nothing less. Janst hated me from then on, but I just ignored him. Kellian and I trained hard until we could fight just as well as the other Itir. It took a while, because we were both so young, to them at least, but after a while the others began to accept us. The Captain of the Itir, Lee, he was always nice to us, especially to me. He adopted me, in a way; he was like a father. Aside from Kellian, I liked him best of the Itir- still do, I suppose. After a time, when I trusted Kellian so much that we shared everything, I told him my secret. He didn’t care at all; didn’t once question anything. He said I was still Aramir, Orc blood or no, and that it didn’t matter to him. I’d never had such a true friend, and I haven’t had one since.” He smiled in memory, but it was a smile filled with sadness. “And so we went on being best friends.
Then one day there was an Orc raid on a village outside of the city. We were sent to fight them off, along with a few of the Guard under the command of Janst. In the battle, I was given a nice cut on my arm that bled fairly badly. Janst noticed it, and he also happened to notice that I was bleeding the wrong colored blood. You see, up until then, I had a small bottle of a special sort of mixture that changed my blood colour. Whenever I was cut in practice or battle, whatever, I would simply rub it on the cut, and it would make the blood appear red as it flowed. It lasted about an hour, just in case the wound was serious. Anyway, I didn’t have the bottle that day, and Janst saw my blood. He pinned me up against a tree and made me tell everyone there why my blood was black. Well, I had no choice, at sword-point, so I told them. They were shocked. I suppose the fact that it was right after an Orc-raid didn’t make it any better. Janst was elated that he finally had something against me, and he used it to his full advantage. He had most everyone’s support as well- all of the Guard, most of the Itir, except Lee and Kellian and one other, and of course the people of the city. He spread horrible rumors about me- that I was dangerous and a threat to the city. He even went so far as to claim that I was in league with the Orcs who attacked that village. So they had a public trial, and Janst told everyone his modified story. He almost started a riot. And did they ask me anything? No. Well, yes, they asked me if it was true that I was part-Orc. That’s all they wanted to know. Janst ended his speech saying that I had to be destroyed, and then he pulled out his dagger and slashed it across my face. That’s where I got this scar. I had blood all over my face; it hurt terribly. And people were crying out in fear, and in anger, saying I should be destroyed, or exiled. It was horrible.”
Aramir paused momentarily. He felt for a moment that he was going to cry. He bit his lip hard. Aramir had only cried once in his life. Not from the pain in his face, nor from the shouts of the people in the city, nor even because of the exile. He had cried because the people he had thought were his friends had turned from him because of what he was. People he thought it would not matter to had suddenly hated him. He never wanted to experience that feeling again. Isilmë gently reached over and brushed his hair out of his face. Her fingers traced the black scar across his cheek, then settled back into her lap. She smiled reassuringly, the smile of a friend that says ‘I’m here for you.’ Aramir smiled sadly.
“Thanks.” He paused again. “Exile. That’s what they decided to do with me. I sometimes think they should have killed me. But alas no, they told me to get out. They didn’t even bother with the discharge- tearing my cloak and breaking my sword. They just wanted to get rid of me. And who do you think got the job of escorting me out? Janst, or course. He was quite pleased, let me tell you. He wasn’t so pleased when I gave him a scar to match mine. He threw me off my horse, pinned me to the ground, and threatened to kill me. He would have, too, if Kell hadn’t been there to stop him.
After that, I pretty much just roamed around, making friends and enemies, fighting off Orcs, causing trouble-” he smiled, “and living in exile. I was never really welcome anywhere after that. Typically, other realms will recognize the sentence of exile, and most did. I met Morag one night near Mirkwood. He was most interested in my Orcin descent. He tried to befriend me so he could ‘teach me more about my Orc heritage.’ Needless to say, we didn’t get on very well.” He took a deep breath. “So that’s it-my life story in brief. Pretty nice, hmm? Hey!”
Isilmë had thrown her arms around him. She pulled him close to her, lying next to him and resting her head on his chest. “Aramir, I’m so sorry,” she whispered.
“Well, that isn’t the reaction I was expecting,” he whispered, sounding pleasantly surprised.
“What were you expecting?” she asked, looking into his depthless black eyes and brushing his hair from his face.
“Not sympathy,” he murmured. “Something more along the lines of horror, detestation, fear…that kind of thing.”
She leaned over and hugged him again. “I already knew,” she reminded him. “Your story changes nothing, except perhaps to make me even more convinced that I am right.”
“Right about what?” he asked, surprised.
“Right to trust you as I do, and as I will continue to do. I’ll go make dinner.” She rose suddenly, looking almost embarrassed at her show of affection, and walked silently back to the camp.
Aramir stared after her in shock. No woman he had ever met had reacted like that. No man, for that matter, except Kellian. He smiled in satisfaction. Morag had been wrong.
About half and hour later, Aramir suddenly started out of sleep by the smell of food. Well, he thought ruefully, Isilmë would be glad that he had fallen asleep. He slowly rose and moved about, glad to find that he could move at all. The medicine had done its job-most of the pain was gone, for now at least. Slowly and stiffly, he made his way over to Isilmë’s small fire and sat down. She offered him some food, which he accepted gladly.
“Thank you,” Isilmë offered quietly. “For saving me again.”
“You would have been fine,” he told her, brushing off her thanks. “I saw you with that bow.”
Isilmë blushed, knowing that was probably not true, but pleased just the same.
“Thank you, Isilmë,” Aramir said softly.
“You know for what. For trusting me. For being a friend, even when you knew, even when no one else would. I haven’t had a true friend in a long time.”
Isilmë simply bowed her head slightly. “You’re welcome.”
Chapter 6: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9136.html
Chapter 7: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9198.html
Chapter 8: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9233.html