There was a sudden knock at the door. “Come in.” Aragorn said turning round to face the door.
Faramir walked in. “Sorry to disturb you, but we found out something about the troll.” Faramir reported.
“Go on.” Aragorn urged.
Faramir took a deep breath, steadying himself for the King’s reaction. “It was no accident my Lord.” Faramir answered, and braced himself.
Aragorn looked at Faramir without speaking for a moment. A look of disbelief crossed his face. “Someone LET that thing in?!” He asked.
“Yes.” Faramir answered. “But it gets worse.”
“How? How is it worse?” Aragorn asked shocked.
“We found the man who did it. He seemed acquainted with you. As Strider, that is. And he let the troll in to try and kill you.” Faramir answered.
“Innocent people could have been hurt, and it was someone trying to kill me?” Aragorn asked.
“Actually, I personally thought hat it was bad because it almost succeeded.” Faramir muttered. “The people got away in time, but you went to meet it.”
Aragorn handed Eldarion to Arwen. “Where is this man?” Aragorn asked.
“That’s just the problem, my Lord.” Faramir answered. “We arrested him promptly, to await your decision on his punishment. But when we were going to feed him the next day, he was gone.”
“Gone? How? You can’t just break out of the dungeons! He must have had help!” Aragorn exclaimed, trying not to startle his son. He signalled for Faramir to follow him, and they left the room. “Who let him out?”
“No one knows.” Faramir replied.
“Did you at least get his name?!” Aragorn asked.
“No. He wouldn’t speak. We interrogated him all day when we caught him. But he kept his mouth shut.”
“What did he look like?” Aragorn asked, trying to think of anyone he knew who’d cause trouble. But then he realised he DID know someone who caused trouble and called him Strider. “Was he a swarthy, sneering fellow?” Aragorn asked quickly.
“Well, … Yes.” Faramir replied.
“Bill Ferny!!!” Aragorn exclaimed.
“Bill Ferny!! He’s a man from Bree who has a reputation for speaking to southern strangers, selling anything, and causing mischief for amusement!”
“Well, he certainly sounds like the sort. But what’s he got to do with you?”
“I was a “Ranger” in Breeland. We met in the past and Ferny hates the “Rangers”. He spent a lot of his time in The Prancing Pony, and that’s the only place that any of us “Rangers” had any interest of in Bree!” Aragorn explained. “Ferny wasn’t the only one in Bree who disliked the “Rangers”. The Landlord at The Prancing Pony wasn’t too fond of us neither.”
“But don’t your people protect that land?”
“They don’t know that!” Aragorn scoffed. “They think we’re nothing more than vagabonds!!”
“That’s not exactly true, Mister Strider sir.” Sam’s voice aid suddenly.
Aragorn spun round. It wasn’t just Sam standing there. Merry and Pippin were with him. “Sam, Merry, Pippin!” Aragorn exclaimed surprised, but not unwelcoming. “What are you doing here?”
“Visiting of course!” Pippin replied. Sam and Merry looked at him, knowing that that wasn’t quite what Aragorn meant.
“Let me rephrase that Pip.” Aragorn laughed. “Why have you travelled so far from your homeland? I thought you’d be happily resettling!”
“You don’t know?” Pippin asked. “Frodo’s gone. How are we supposed to be happy?” He looked suddenly glum. “It’s not the same now in the Shire.”
“You’ll get over it.” Aragorn shrugged, turning away to go and help find Ferny.
“Easy for you to say! He wasn’t your cousin!” Pippin retorted.
“Pippin!” Sam and Merry hissed in unison.
Aragorn turned back. “No.” Aragorn replied. “But he did mean a lot to me. However briefly we knew each other. Bilbo was dear to me also. I knew him for a good number of years. But Elrond was as a father to me. I know how you feel. It’s not easy to let go of someone you care about.” Aragorn replied.
“I’m sorry.” Pippin said quickly. “I thought you were–“
“Being callous?” Aragorn suggested helpfully.
“Um…” Pippin looked at Merry.
“He means cold. Uncaring.” Merry muttered.
“Oh, right. Yes.” Pippin said quickly.
“Long years of hardship.” Aragorn explained. “It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I know life goes on. Even though bad things happen, you can still be happy. It may take a while. But you’ll get over it.”
“He’s right.” Sam agreed. “I don’t need to be upset about Mr Frodo. I’ve got Rosie. And what about Diamond, Pip?”
“What are you talking about?!” Pippin gasped blushing.
“I saw the way you looked at her!” Sam remarked.
“No, Sam…You misunderstood! Um–” Pippin began.
“It’s alright Pippin. I was nervous about Rosie. You just have to throw caution to the winds! Go for it and don’t think about rejection! Ain’t that right Strider?” Sam said, taking the other Hobbits’s attention off of himself and onto the King.
Aragorn had been speaking quietly to Faramir while the Hobbits had argued. Aragorn turned his head. “Absolutely.” He said, and turned back to Faramir. “Did you get all that?”
“Yes, my Lord.” Faramir replied.
“Go on then.” Aragorn said quietly. Faramir bowed and took his leave.