Aragorn trotted into Imladris on his horse. It was a horse that Elrond had given him for travelling when he had left. The familiar sight of his childhood home was a welcoming vision. Aragorn felt his tension leave him, like the running of the stream beneath the bridge. As he approached Lord Elrond’s house, he noticed a hobbit sitting outside in the sun. He had seen this hobbit a few times and only recently. The hobbit was none other than Bilbo Baggins from the Shire, who had once, long ago, when Aragorn was a child, been to Erebor and played a part in slaying a dragon. Aragorn had never spoken to the hobbit before, except a quick greeting as he passed.
Today would be no different, as Aragorn was under the belief that hobbits didn’t really like his kind. In general, he was right. But Bilbo was an exception to most. “Morning, Master Baggins.” Aragorn said as his horse walked slowly past the hobbit.
“And a fine morning it is Sir!” Bilbo exclaimed cheerfully. He said it so friendly and cheerful that Aragorn did a double take in shock. Bilbo chuckled at Aragorn’s expression. “I take it your not used to people speaking to you, though you’re very polite yourself!” Bilbo remarked.
“Not quite.” Aragorn shrugged.
“Or is it that I’m a hobbit?” Bilbo asked.
“A little.” Aragorn replied awkwardly. He didn’t wish to offend the hobbit in any way.
“Or are you usually spoken to in a less cheerful tone?” Bilbo asked.
“Yes, and unfriendly. Usually. But only by men of Bree.” Aragorn replied.
“I wouldn’t pay them any mind!” Bilbo remarked.
“I don’t. It’s just a surprise to hear a change of tone.” Aragorn replied truthfully.
Bilbo chuckled again. “You’re the one they call “The Dúnadan” aren’t you?” Bilbo asked.
“Well, yes Master Baggins!” Aragorn replied. “You’ve heard of me then? Did you make enquiries or did you overhear? Or did someone just tell you?”
“I asked Lord Elrond who you were. He told me that I’d seen you before, but briefly and he hadn’t introduced us. It took me a while to fathom what he meant. Then I remembered a young boy at the merry making when I was with Thorin’s company!” Bilbo replied. “I asked Elrond if the child was you, and he smiled.”
Aragorn laughed mirthfully. “I didn’t know you had noticed me! I must admit I was curious about you. I’d never seen a hobbit before!” Aragorn remarked. “I was known as Estel back then.” Aragorn said with a smile. He dismounted his horse.
“Back then?” Bilbo asked.
Aragorn smiled at the hobbit. “Well, Master Baggins, my name isn’t REALLY The Dúnadan or Estel. My parents named me Aragorn. I was raised on the name Estel for eighteen years. Then I was told my real name and lineage by my foster father. I … left Rivendell after a certain occurrence and started wandering the wilderness on my own. Most of my people travel in groups. That’s why they call me The Dúnadan here. Because the plural of Dúnadan is Dúnedain, but there’s only me in my party. Partly because I’m the chieftain of the Dúnedain as well.” Aragorn added as an afterthought.
Bilbo smiled at Aragorn. “You know, you can call me Bilbo. You don’t have to bother with all this “Master Baggins” nonsense.” Bilbo said.
“Nonsense? It’s a show of respect sir!” Aragorn replied a little shocked at how his respect was being received.
“We’ve been properly introduced now.” Bilbo said and held out his hand.
“Oh, I see!” Aragorn laughed. It wasn’t a case of Bilbo being ungrateful of respect, but Bilbo being friendly. Aragorn took the hobbit’s hand and shook it. “Thanks.” Aragorn added, as was the courtesy shown to an elder who gave permission for you to use their first name. Bilbo began to ask questions, following Aragorn to the stables, and Aragorn answered them. “And so I’m to have the sword re-forged, and take the throne of the Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.” Aragorn finished after Bilbo had managed to reach Aragorn’s heritage in his questions.
“And then you and Lady Arwen can be together?” Bilbo guessed. Aragorn nodded and Bilbo went quiet for some time. The two were entering Elrond’s house, after sorting out the horse, when Bilbo suddenly spoke again. “You’ve just inspired me for a poem!” Bilbo exclaimed. Aragorn stopped and looked at Bilbo. Bilbo cleared his throat.
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not whither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be king!”
Aragorn looked at Bilbo for a moment, then smiled. “I’m flattered that you’d go out your way to make up a poem about me. Especially one so courteous! I really don’t know what to say!”
“Do you like it?” Bilbo asked.
“You made it up rather quickly, I’m impressed! Does that answer your question? Yes, I like it.” Aragorn laughed.
“I like making up songs and poems. I’m actually working on one at the moment, but I’m not sure about a few words. Say, are YOU able to compose songs?” Bilbo asked suddenly.
“Well, I’ve made a few in the past. But I’m not great, not compared those living here!” Aragorn replied.
“That doesn’t matter. Here, maybe you could help me with my song.” Bilbo said, and so got Aragorn’s help with a few words, Bilbo finished his song.
Aragorn and Bilbo’s friendship grew, and so it was that when Frodo was reunited with Bilbo, Bilbo’s friend was the Dúnadan. And they remained friends until Bilbo left Middle-earth, and they could never meet again.