Aragorn and Bór were joined by Borlach and some other men. Then they hunted down all the spiders that they could find. Upon Aragorn’s guidance, the other men found the best ways to deal with the spiders, and were able to continue without him. They purged the area of anything they could find to do with the spiders, burning the webs and eggs, killing the spiders with any means necessary.
Once the Easterlings were capable of continuing alone, Aragorn drew Bór and Borlach aside. The three sat quietly on their horses, watching the other men. Bór and Borlach knew that Elessar had something to say, and so they waited. Aragorn glanced at them. They were watching him expectantly. He sighed then looked at them. “My home is calling me already. I have responsibilities there. I have to take my leave of your…generous hospitality.” Aragorn said, pausing only to find a suitable word.
“I’d hardly call it that, Your Majesty!” Borlach remarked. “You’ve not acted like a guest from the moment you got here!”
Aragorn laughed. “You should have seen me when I first arrived at the White City! I wouldn’t sleep inside, but camped outside its walls with my Dúnedain kin!” Aragorn remarked. “It’s been in me to serve others for the majority of my long life!”
“As a prince?”
“I was only the heir to an ancient throne! I was never a prince! And I spent most of my life in exile. I was intending to remain that way too! But we’ll just say that others interfered and we’ll leave it at that!” Aragorn said with a laugh. He looked at the two men seriously. “It’d only be right now, if you were to come to my home, without bodyguards. But I’m now curious. In the short while that I have been here, conscious, I have not heard what YOUR title is. And you have continuously addressed me as Your Majesty.”
“I take it you worked out that you were down for quite a while then?”
“Spider poison worse than Shelob’s, I think it was to be expected. I suppose I’m lucky to be alive. What happened after I passed out?”
“The spiders scuttled away when that bigger one shrieked. I think they may have thought there was an ambush! We heard you cry out too. We thought you were dead. Bór found out you weren’t, but not until we were almost back at the North settlement. We heard someone else in there, but it was muffled. We investigated and found that the missing people were still alive. And I’ll be more than willing to accompany you to your land. You saved my son’s life, and that of my wife’s. I’m in your debt. And I am no King. Just a captain of outlaws. We were banished from the other Eastern town, cities and villages, because of our beliefs.” Borlach answered.
“I understand your position well. Before I took the throne, I was chieftain of the Dúnedain. We were commonly known as Rangers by people who didn’t know any better. We were treated like dirt, because people thought we were no more than vagabonds! We spent all our time wandering the wilds, destroying the servants of the Enemy, up until the War of the Ring, when we marched to war against the Dark Lord. I had already gone ahead, and they turned up, claiming that they were answering a summon. Only, I never summoned them.”
“Who did? Was it a trick?”
“No. It was a friend ensuring we had a better chance in the war.”
“So you know what it’s like to be an outcast, with no where to call a true home.”
“I wouldn’t say that. There was one place where I was more than welcome in the North. A secret dwelling hidden from the Enemy, and protected by the power of the Elves. In that dwelling, I was raised. The occupants were like family, and some WERE family.”
“Who exactly was Eärendil, or rather, WHAT was Eärendil?”
Aragorn laughed. “A man!”
“But surely there’s SOME elven blood in you?!”
Aragorn found this even more amusing. “Alright. Eärendil was half elf, and married an elf. They had two sons, and the two sons were given a choice of mortality, or immortality. They each chose a different life. I’m a descendant of the mortal brother.”
“Who were they?”
“It’s not MY place to reveal THAT to an outsider. It’s someone else’s secret.”
“How many people know it?”
“Only a few more than those connected to the story. But not many.”
“A descendant of the Eldar.” Borlach remarked. “We should have had more respect.”
“No. I’m a mortal man, same as you. If not older.” Aragorn added with a laugh.
“And how can you tell that? You look middle-aged to me! We could be the same age, or I could be older!” Borlach stated.
Aragorn shook his head smiling. “Ninety two.” He said calmly. Borlach and Bór laughed as if it were a joke. “I am. I’m one of the Dúnedain gifted with long life. I was told I’d live a lot longer too.”
“By who?” Borlach asked. He had stopped laughing and was rather shocked.
“Someone I once knew, who was gifted with foresight.” Aragorn replied quietly. “Was my age really so hard to believe? You had already worked out that I descend from elves, who are immortal.”
“I suppose.” Borlach replied.. “It’s just not common to meet someone who’s ninety two. I don’t know many people over fifty!”
“Ah, the gift of Ilúvatar to the second born!” Aragorn sighed, jokingly.
“If you can call it that.” Borlach remarked.
“Don’t speak like that! It was fear of death that helped bring the Númenoreans to their demise! Fearing death can destroy a person.” Aragorn said suddenly. “Besides, death is not the end. No one knows what happens after, so it’s a new adventure! And you wouldn’t like being immortal anyway. I can only imagine the suffering my kin go through, being immortal. They will never be free. The world itself is mortal, and the elves have to watch it change and age. We were spared from that fate. But not only that, try to imagine spending all your life mourning the ones you love when they die.”
“I’ve seen elves die!”
“You’ve seen them killed. They are reborn in the hidden land across the sea. The only TRUE escape for them is to die give up their immortality, or die of a broken heart. The fate that awaits my kin. For my wife and I were already of kin from afar. She’s the Evenstar, the most beloved daughter of her people. And most fairest. I fell for her the day I first saw her. But she took longer to return my feelings. But return them she did. When I die, she will succumb to grief and eventually pass from this world too.”
“Why would you place her in such a position?”
“I did try to turn her away. But it was her choice.”
“She gave up her immortality to be with you?” Borlach asked. Aragorn nodded. “I’ve never heard of a love so strong!”
“And her brothers chose to stay here, and die as mortals. I think they wish to pay the orcs back for a grievance the orcs caused them.” Aragorn finished. “Now, I wish to return to my wife and son. So if you have to say your goodbyes, go and do that. Unless you’d rather stay here. I’m setting out now, but I’ll make a slow pace to begin with. Will you catch up?”
“Yes. We’ll say goodbye to Alma for the time being. Then we’ll catch up. I suppose we’re putting each other through a test of trust.” Borlach remarked.
“It’s only natural that we should see each other’s lands.” Bór replied.
“Actually, don’t bother waiting for us.” Borlach said suddenly. “We know where the white city is. If we don’t catch up with you at a normal pace, we’ll see you there.”
“Very well.” Aragorn replied. “But I can leave you at quite a disadvantage to catch up. In the North I’m known as Strider. The King of Rohan called me Wingfoot. I can cover great distances in short periods of time. And I rode amongst the Rohirrim, so I’m quite capable at travelling on horseback.”
“I can well believe that!” Borlach remarked laughing. “We’ll see you in Gondor then.”
“Namárië.” Aragorn replied, and rode off on Brego. Bór and Borlach returned home to prepare for departure.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.