Aragorn hit the ground hard, but got up immediately. He was gasping for breath, and his entire body ached.
Why did a troll have to attack tonight of all nights?
He had just become a father, as Arwen had given birth to their son only hours ago. Then panicked cries had come from the outer walls, and upon investigation, Aragorn discovered that a troll had somehow found its way into the city. The troll was obviously looking for a meal, and was furious with Aragorn for interfering.
The troll advanced again. It was a particularly large troll, and wielded a stone club to match. A look of horror spread over Aragorn’s face as he realised he was cornered, and unable to avoid this next strike.
So this fiend was smarter than the average troll as well as bigger.
Aragorn braced himself for the inevitable, but it hurt no less. Aragorn crashed through an abandoned cart, receiving a piercing from an oversized splinter through his right arm.
Aragorn rolled over onto his back and kicked the carts wheels, causing what was left of it to tumble downhill at the troll. But the troll knocked it aside with ease. The troll continued to advance. Aragorn was unable to get to his feet, and had to roll to the side as the stone club crashed down on the spot he had just lain. The stoned beneath the club was no more than dust.
But HOW had it gained access to the city? The main gate was made of Mithril. Gimli had made them and had personally seen to their creation.
The troll raised it’s club again, but then quickly pinned Aragorn with it’s foot. This was it. Aragorn thought grimly. Only a miracle would save him now. The troll was about to bring the club down over Aragorn’s trapped body, but instead, the club fell from the trolls large clumsy hands. The troll removed its foot and turned around blinking stupidly. Aragorn hastily rolled over and dragged himself away from that spot. He rested against a wall and eased the wooden splinter from his arm. It was slick with crimson blood, and the pain in his arm would cause problems for Aragorn when bearing arms.
Aragorn looked up, wondering what chance fate had just saved him, and saw Faramir fending off the troll. But he too was in trouble. The streets were just too narrow for such activity. Faramir glanced at Aragorn, just as the King discarded the splintered wood. But he had to once again turn his attention to the troll. Aragorn used the wall behind him as a prop and forced himself to his feet. The troll had recovered its club and had cornered Faramir.
Aragorn picked up a rock and hurled it at the trolls head intending no more than a diversion. But the troll had already been angry enough with Aragorn, and the rock was the final straw. The troll spun around and in turn hurled its huge stone club, aiming for Aragon’s head. The King ducked immediately, and the club shattered itself and a fraction of the wall it collided with upon missing its target. Aragorn straightened up, looked behind him and laughed. He could scarcely believe their luck.
True, the troll was still a commendable threat. But at least now it had no weapon over than its fists and sheer size. Faramir however didn’t quite realise this, and was concerned for Aragorn’s state of mind.
But Aragorn had just had a sudden inspiration at the trolls outrage. He began to back of to the wall, continuously stooping to collect stones, which he threw relentlessly at the troll’s face. The troll believed that it was pure defiance when Aragorn stopped at the wall. It roared at him in a deafening cry. Then grabbed a barrel and threw it at the Ranger, who merely ducked and stood up to continue throwing stones at the troll. The troll, blinded by its rage, charged forward, and Faramir watched in horror as the King jumped off the ledge with the troll stumbling and falling off.
Faramir rushed forward, but was relieved as Aragorn scrambled back onto the wall. He looked up and saw the concern on Faramir’s face, before it faded and was replaced with relief. “Sorry. It didn’t charge as fast as I’d hoped, and there wasn’t time to try again. I had to lead it off the edge. It was just misfortunate for the troll, that I grabbed a ledge, and he did not.” Aragorn said as he straightened up. He held his arm where the splinter had pierced it all the way through between his elbow and shoulder.
“How bad is it?” Faramir asked nodding at Aragorn’s arm.
“Could be worse. I could’ve broken it. But I didn’t. Although on the other hand, it could have been merely a scratch.” Aragorn remarked casually. “Never mind my arm. Make sure there are no casualties, and send someone to find out how that creature got in in the first place.” Aragorn ordered more seriously. Faramir nodded and turned to go carry out Aragorn’s orders, but Aragorn grabbed his arm. “You saved my life, and I do not wish you to think I’m ungrateful, but why are you here? I thought you were with your wife in Ithilien!”
“I was.” Faramir answered. “But I had a message to deliver, which I was to deliver myself.”
“Which is?” Aragorn asked, intrigued.
“There are those in the East who would have your allegiance.” Faramir replied.
“Oh indeed?!” Aragorn scoffed. “What reasons have they given to trust? No doubt they want ME to go to them?” Aragorn guessed. Faramir looked uncomfortable. “I’ll take that as a yes.” Faramir nodded. “So, they walk onto our land, and demand that I go to theirs to form an alliance, and they’ve nothing of their reasons?”
“No my Lord. They haven’t.” Faramir confirmed.
Aragorn laughed. “Surely they’d realise that a hunted Ranger recognises a trap, and grows wary of anything that seems so?” He remarked.
“I don’t know, my Lord.” Faramir answered. But a glint of humour crossed his eyes. “Shall I go and ask them?” He asked.
Aragorn laughed and clapped his hand around Faramir’s shoulder. “No. Don’t trouble yourself thus. I will go.” Aragorn said with a slight sigh.
“Are you sure? They requested that you went alone.” Faramir remarked.
“I’ll be fine. When do they wish me to present myself?” Aragorn asked.
“As soon as you are ready. They claimed that it was not their will that you should go there for any reason, other than by your own choice.” Faramir answered.
“Oh, how very considerate of them!” Aragorn remarked, and his tone was hard for Faramir to decipher. “Well, better to get it over with.” Aragorn said after a pause and a sigh. “While you’re going about my previous orders, would it be too much to ask that you order my horse saddled, and made ready to leave. I’ll be down as soon as I may.” Faramir nodded and this time Aragorn allowed him to leave.
Aragorn saw to his wound, and as no one else was hurt, he was able to go straight to Arwen. He changed into his Ranger clothing, as that was more suitable to travel in, and hid all evidence of his injury. He then went to Arwen. Arwen saw how he was clad, and understood immediately. “Where are you going?” She asked.
“I have been summoned to the East. The Easterlings claim to want an alliance, but whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.”
“It could be a trap.” Arwen remarked.
“I know. But I will go anyway. Take care of Eldarion. I’ll tell you how things went WHEN I return. Run things as I would, unless you see a better option.” Aragorn said softly, and kissed Arwen gently on the lips, then his sleeping son’s forehead.
“Take care, Estel.” Arwen said softly. She knew better than to doubt Aragorn’s safety. He seemed blessed with the devil’s luck, and seemed to come out of ANY given situation, even if he was wounded, but he always survived. Which was more than could be said for many of those who put him in those situations. And so Arwen relented and Aragorn took leave lovingly of his family.
Aragorn set out immediately, leaving Faramir to continue with the investigations. Faramir was also the one explaining why the King had just left, and calming the citizens by telling them the King would be back, and soon. He was just going to try and ensure they didn’t have to face war again so soon.
To be continued…