Aragorn and Aralorn were standing outside, just beyond Aralorn’s room, bidding farewell before the Fellowship set out from Rivendell.
“I shall miss you very much,” Aralorn said, embracing her brother. Aragorn only sighed thoughtfully, and Aralorn could tell that it wasn’t out of annoyance or impatience. “Do take care of yourself…and the others,” she said, closing her eyes tightly before drawing back. Aragorn nodded with a smile.
“You take care of yourself, as well, sister,” he said.
“I meant that as no joke,” she said, her eyes growing slightly glassy with tears. “I am worried for you. Who knows what could happen on this quest?” Aragorn stepped forward and took her hands in his.
“This was my choice. The path I chose to take,” Aragorn began reassuringly. “I deeply believe that this is where I am meant to be – protecting Frodo, and the others, and helping him make his way to Mordor with his heavy Burden.”
“I know,” Aralorn said, smiling slightly. “I am also proud. This is the right path for you, and there is no other that I would say is better suited for it.”
“Farewell, dear Aralorn,” Aragorn said. He kissed her upon the cheek before striding away.
“Good-bye,” Aralorn said quietly with a sigh.
“Lady Aralorn?” Sam asked. Aralorn blinked a few times, and slowly turned her face towards the hobbit and smiled.
“Yes, Sam – sorry,” she said. Aralorn was sitting on a bench with Sam, only minutes after she had said good-bye to Aragorn. The others were not far away, making the last packing arrangements. She had been deep in thought, feeling a twinge of regret that she was not leaving with them…that she would not be a part of this grand adventure.
“You look sad,” Sam remarked softly. “I imagine it’s because your brother is leaving.” Aralorn paused at this.
“I suppose that is part of it,” she began. “But, this is not the first time Aragorn, or others, have left. I have grown used to saying good-bye.” Aralorn could tell Sam knew by her words that she was holding something back. “All the same, though, practice does not take the pain away.” She studied Sam for a long moment, a hint of a smile on her face. How she would miss the hobbits’ jolly company. How much she had enjoyed talking with them. She noticed that the three other hobbits had arrived with Bill, and that Sam knew he was needed to finish the packing.
“I do hope I see you again,” said Sam, looking back at Aralorn.
“That is my hope, too,” Aralorn said. “You and your friends were one of the first of your kind that I have met. And to tell you the truth, you all made a good impression on me.” She grinned. “I suppose I could say that you have spoiled me, if I meet another hobbit.” Sam’s face turned a pale red at this, and he got up and walked to the rest of the group, waving a last good-bye. She waved as well. Aralorn took a careful look at each person one last time: Legolas, who was buckling his quiver across himself. She hoped that they would meet again. Gandalf, who was talking to Frodo off to the side…she would remember him for his kindness forever. She prayed that Frodo would be granted courage – for upon him, the weight was heaviest. Merry, Pippin and Sam were fiddling with something loaded onto Bill’s back. Gimli was informing Legolas of some matter, probably an insult, Aralorn guessed, to the elven race. Legolas looked a bit provoked. Aragorn, who was speaking with Arwen…both looking slightly sad, or disappointed at the other. This worried Aralorn, but she knew there was nothing that she could do. Not that she didn’t guess what it was they were discussing, for she had known for quite some time of their love for one another, and what stood in their way. Last, her eyes fell upon Boromir. He was sheathing his sword with elegance, Aralorn noted. He did indeed have the looks of a brilliant warrior, but there was something about him (other than the fact that he had insulted her brother) that cast a frown upon her face. Though she could not decide what.
It had been a fairly long while since the Fellowship had left, and Aralorn often found her mind wandering back to the yellow plains of Rohan. Back to her first home.
“I just…” Aralorn trailed off. She looked at the ground – the place her eyes always retreated. The grass was green and radiant. Gwenneth had joined her for a quiet horseback ride, and at the moment the two were leading their horses through a meadow. “I miss my former home. I was raised there, it still has a place in my heart…however long ago it was.”
“It makes perfect sense to me,” Gwenneth said, smiling. “I do understand how you feel.” Aralorn looked up, encouraged. She, at first, had thought that it was absurd. That life was gone now. She was lost, then. Why should it mean something to her? “And the people you knew…your family, Aralorn. You should miss that.”
“And I do,” Aralorn began, stroking Ithil’s soft face. “But, nothing can ever bring them back.”
“Would simple memories be enough?” Gwenneth asked. Aralorn looked at her questioningly. “Go back to your home land again, of course.” Aralorn had never thought of this.
“It does indeed sound appealing at first thought,” Aralorn stared straight ahead. A soft wind swept by them, as if it agreed.
“I think it would do you well.”
“I agree, it is worth speaking with Lord Elrond about,” Aralorn smiled. Ithil tossed her head, growing a bit restless. Aralorn leapt upon her back and gathered her stirrups. She grinned at Gwenneth and squeezed Ithil’s sides to urge her on. And with a rear, she galloped off. Gwenneth quickly caught on and mounted her large, light brown steed, and set off after Aralorn as fast as she could. It took some time for her to catch up and break even with the spirited and springy Ithil, and the two raced across the remaining bit of the meadow before sitting down in the saddle, and putting pressure on the reins. All the while Aralorn was imagining herself galloping through the Westfold as she did so many years ago…
So…how does it sound? A trip back to Rohan, what fun! I hope you all enjoyed it so far. The story is going to pick up a little after this. *covers mouth* That’s all I’m going to say!