It was a lovely spring day and Silvren, with nothing else to do, was walking on a dirt path that cut through the woods of Rivendell. The air around her felt sweet and comforting as the yellow sunlight streamed through the plaited treetops. Something on the path ahead of her caused her to slow down and she realized that it was a young maiden that she had never seen before. The maiden had long, light brown hair that was pulled back into a neat braid. She wore a dress of yellow satin and a small woven basket dangled from her arm as she picked small white flowers.
“Oh.” the maiden gasped in surprise when she turned and saw Silvren approaching her.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Silvren smiled. “You’re new to Rivendell, are you not?” she asked, stopping next to the young girl.
“Aye. My father and I arrived here several days ago.” the girl gazed at her with light blue eyes, sparking with happiness.
“Where from?” Silvren asked, a sudden spark of friendly interest in this young maiden.
“Lothlórien.” she replied.
“My grandmother dwells there.” Silvren piped up. “I’ve been there many times, though it’s been a while since my last visit. My name is Silvren, my father is Lord Elrond.” she rolled her eyes jokingly.
“My name is Anariel.” the girl giggled, already taking a liking to Silvren.
“Come, I’ll show you around Rivendell.”
“Oh, I’d very much like that.” Anariel smiled her eyes twinkling in the bright sunlight that was streaming through the treetops.
“I think you’ll like Rivendell a lot.” Silvren told Anariel.
“I hope so. I don’t want to move around any more.”
“You moved around a lot?” Silvren asked her.
“Yes. I was born in Lothlórien and then when I was two and a half my family and I moved to Mirkwood. Have you ever been there?” Anariel started telling her story.
“Yes. Many times. Our family is close friends to that of King Thranduil’s.” Silvren nodded as they walked up the path towards the Homely House.
“Well, it isn’t the nicest place, but it isn’t that bad either. There we stayed for five years. My older brother was killed there when he was helping patrol the borders. An orcish arrow pierced him in the heart. The news of his death crushed my mother and she could no longer stay in Mirkwood. So once more we packed up and headed elsewhere. This time they decided to travel to Gondor. That was a huge change for us, everything was different. Have you ever been there?” she asked curiously.
“No, but I would like to go there someday.” Sil answered.
“It’s a pretty city, but nothing like Lothlórien or Rivendell. Even Mirkwood is prettier than Gondor, at least to elves it would seem to be.”
“What happened after you moved there?” Silvren asked.
Anariel took a deep breath before she continued telling Silvren, who was deeply interested, about her life.
“My mother could not recover from the death of my brother and died of sorrow several months later. My father became depressed but some friends that he had made helped him through it and realize that he had to go on for my sake. We moved to a different level in Gondor five months after my mothers death. A year after that we moved to the other end of the street that we were living on. My father met a nice woman and became smitten with her even though no one could ever take the place of my mother. I looked up to her as another mother, for I had none. She taught me how to sew and read and cook and just about everything girl needs to know. She died two years later after becoming seriously ill during a harsh winter. My father had sat by her side when she took her final breath, he wouldn’t let me near her. That’s when we left for Lothlórien. We stayed there for a long time and suddenly, father decided he wanted to go somewhere new. And we ended up here.” Anariel finished.
“I’m so sorry. My mother went West when I was a young, but my pain can not exceed the pain that you’re experiencing.” Silvren said sadly, feeling sorry for her new friend.
“Don’t be. I was young and didn’t fully understand what had happened, so it doesn’t bother me as much as it does some people. I’ve learned to live with the fact that people die and that it’s a natural part of life even though most elves don’t have to deal with it.” Anariel said.
“You are very wise, I do not think I could have dealt with it as well as you do. Come let’s go have some fun.” Silvren smiled and started running towards the Elven-city with a pink and orange sun setting behind the beautiful city.
It was a beautiful sunny day in the year 2951, hardly a cloud to be seen in the bright sky. Silvren, now 551 years old, felt lonely as she walked around the Homely House. Elrond and Glorfindel were off talking with Estel, Arwen was still in Lothlórien, Anariel was off learning to sew with other maidens, and Elrohir was off flirting with some of the maidens that were visiting from Mirkwood. Everybody was off doing something, everybody but her and Elladan. `Where is he?’ she thought to herself as she strolled down a long corridor that arched over a small waterfall.
Longing for some familiar company, Silvren hiked up her red skirts and took off in search of her older brother. Her long hair flapping against her back as she ran down the stone steps and past some curious elves, that watched her with a furrowed brow as she hurried past them.
It didn’t take her a long time to find Elladan, he was out in the courtyard by the East Gate practicing his sword-work.
“Oh, hello, Silvren.” he smiled, his voice sounding like her presence surprised him.
“Elladan?” she asked quietly, her hands clutched behind her back. The ends of her long, brown hair barely touching her wrists as she stood several feet away from her brother.
“Um, how come father won’t let me be a warrior like you?” she asked, a question she asked him quite frequently.
“Oh, Silvren.” he sounded exasperated.
“What?” she asked innocently, watching as Elladan slowly returned his sword to it’s sheath and walked towards her.
“My dear sister, you are a princess, not a warrior. You know he doesn’t like you using swords and fighting, but he allows you to do it because he knows you enjoy it and that pleases him.” Elladan said, sounding wise beyond his years.
“Well if me being happy please him, then why-” Sil started.
“Because he doesn’t want anything happening to you. You practicing with us or Legolas won’t get you killed, but becoming a warrior will. He almost lost mother, he will not risk losing you as well.”
“Elladan.” She sighed heavily, hating to lose an argument with her brother.
“Listen. I believe that you would make an excellent warrior, you have the skills and intelligence that it takes, but…it is not your place. You are a woman. A beautiful, young woman that men will line up to ask for your hand in marriage. There is something about you that sets you aside from most women…something great…that could change the fate of the world. Your place is at home, Silvren, not the battlefields.” he finished softly.
“Can’t I do both?”
“What man would want to marry a warrior?” he asked her.
“Nobody…I guess. Unless he doesn’t want to defend her.” the corner of her mouth twitched in a partial smile.
“Silvren, you’re not getting the point.” he said sternly.
“Fine. But I might as well become a warrior because no man is going to want to marry me anyways.”
“Now why would you say that?” he asked, beginning to grow impatient.
“I’m always getting into trouble and I have a huge interest in weapons and fighting. What man is going to want that in a wife?” she cocked an eyebrow at him.
“You’re betrothed to Telden!”
“Against my will!” Silvren snapped at Elladan.
“Why don’t you want to marry him?”
“Elladan, haven’t you noticed? Something’s different about him. He’s never around anybody and he hides somewhere in Mirkwood. He’s not right.” she said in a hushed voice. “Besides, I don’t love him.”
“Well, I don’t know. I haven’t seen him for a while and that is a good reason for not wanting to marry him.” Elladan chuckled quietly.
Both of them were quiet for a few moments as the distant twitting of birds was the only thing they heard. Elladan was the first to speak up after the noon bell rung, sweetly tearing apart their silence.
“Come, let’s go eat some lunch.”
“I’m not that hungry.” Silvren muttered, gazing down at the ground.
“But all warriors need to eat.” Elladan smiled.
“All right.” Silvren sighed.
* * *
“Estel, you have grown to be a fair and noble young man.” Elrond said as he and Glorfindel stood in his sunlit chamber with young Estel. “You will only continue to grow great in body and in mind as you travel down the path that is set before you.”
Estel watched, standing straight and still like a stone pillar, as Elrond paced back and forth across the stone floor in front of him. His soft blue eyes following his guardian’s every move, his rough yet gentle hands clasped in front of him as he waited. Waited to hear what else this great teacher had left to tell him, though he felt as if it wouldn’t be the last time Elrond would counsel him.
“You have long sensed that something was kept hidden from you, a secret that no one would or could reveal to you. Am I not correct?” Elrond turned to face the young man.
“You are.” Estel replied simply with a small nod of the head.
“For your safety, we had to conceal your true identity. Your birth name is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. The heir of Isildur.” Elrond continued.
Estel only stared at Elrond in amazement, much like he had when he was first brought to Rivendell. His blue eyes sparkled in the bright sunlight that was streaming in through the arched windows.
“This is the Ring of Barahir, the token of our kinship from afar. And these are the shards of Narsil. With these in your possession, you may do great deeds; for I see a long life span ahead of you unless evil befalls you or you fail at the test. The test that is set before you will be long and hard. The Sceptre of Annúmminas I hold, for you have not yet earned it.” Elrond handed him the ring and showed him the remains of the legendary sword.
Moments after Elrond finished talking with Estel, the noon bell rang and Elrond dismissed the young man.
Aragorn, as he was called hereafter, gathered in the great hall where many other elves were gathering for the noontime meal. Afterwards, he spent many hours, locked within his room, pondering everything that Elrond had told him.