The trees swayed slowly as the wind tussled their leaves; it was a warm, sunny afternoon and the forest was full of new life. Small birds chirped in the tree branches waiting for their mother to return with food for them, squirrels chattering at one another, a fox scampered across the forest floor. A small cottage could be seen deep in between many trees, the doors and windows were open and the cry of a newborn baby could be heard.
Maenem put his arm around his wife who cradled their newly born baby girl in her arms.
“She looks just like her mother. Beautiful.” Maenem told his wife, Aaecien laughed at this.
“Maenem, have you no eyes? She looks like her father.”
“She is still beautiful.”
“We should name her Ohtarwen, for she has a warrior spirit.” The new mother said to her husband. “I can sense it in her. She gives a fight until she gets what she wants.”
“You are right Aaecien. We shall call her Ohtarwen.” He gently lifted the baby and held her in his hands.
~ ~ ~
Two years later, Aaecien was attacked by Orcs, she lay on her bed with a raw gash on her face. Maenem cradled his wife in his arms.
“Be at rest, Aaecien. I will look after Ohtarwen.” he whispered quietly. Aaecien held his hand as she lay in bed. Her body was very cold yet beads of sweat were formed at her forehead.
She looked up in her husband’s face. “Tell Ohtarwen that I love her, I love you. Farewell.” she gasped. Maenem, overcome with grief, bowed over his wife and wept. Aaecien’s hand became cold, and fell from his hand. Maenem slowly rose and walked out of the room and into the kitchen; their two-year-old daughter was sitting by the open door playing with a doll. She was dressed in a little white dress that reached her mid-leg. Her long dark hair almost reached the floor; her large brown eyes gazed innocently up at her father. Maenem picked her up and went out the door. The wind swirled around the two of them as leaves blew by them.
“Where’s Mummy?” she asked, still holding her doll, Maenem looked at his child.
“Ohtarwen, Mummy has gone.” he told her. Her big brown eyes stared up at her father.
“When is she coming back?” Maenem struggled to hold back the tears. How could he tell his little girl that her mom wasn’t coming back?
“Sweetie, Mummy won’t be coming back.” Ohtarwen looked at the doll in her little hands.
“Why?” she asked again. Maenem squatted down next to a tree and put the little girl on his knee.
“Ohtarwen, Mummy can’t come back.” Ohtarwen stared at him.
“But, Ada, why?” A tear rolled down Maenem’s cheek.
“She’s gone?” she whispered. Maenem nodded at her. Ohtarwen looked down at her hands, she didn’t cry, she just crawled up to her father’s shoulder and rested her head there. Maenem carried his daughter home and put her to bed. Before he went to bed, he went out and buried his wife.
The next morning, Ohtarwen opened her door rubbing her eyes. She walked into her father’s room; he was packing a small bag.
“Ada? Where are we going?” she asked standing by the door. Maenem looked at the little girl.
“We are going to Imladris. Come.” He dressed Ohtarwen and they ate a quick breakfast and started out. They rode the whole day without a rest and finally arrived at Rivendell. Their horse quickly rode over one of the many bridges and towards Elrond’s house. Elrond greeted them as they entered his room.
“Greetings, Maenem. Is this Ohtarwen? My, has she grown! But-” Elrond looked behind him as if expecting someone else to come through the door. “Where is your wife, Aaecien?”
Maenem set his daughter down, “She is dead.”
“I am sorry, Maenem. Why have you come here?” he inquired.
“I wish you to take care of Ohtarwen. I will not be able to. I am going to help my kinsmen protect the borders of the Shire, I’m afraid I will not return. Will you take her?”
Elrond looked at him. “Yes, of course. We would be happy to; but are you sure this is what you want to do?”
Maenem sighed heavily. “Yes. I have to.” He picked Ohtarwen back up. “Namaarie Ohtarwen, remember me. Be good for Elrond.” He kissed her on the forehead, handed her to Elrond and left.
Elrond looked down at the young child in his arms and smiled weakly. “I will take care of you my little friend, you will live here as my daughter and be happy.”
At that second, a little grey hair man appeared at the door of the room. “Well, who do we have here, Elrond?” he inquired about Ohtarwen while he walked towards them.
“This is Ohtarwen, daughter of Maenem. She will be staying with us.” Elrond informed him.
“Oh! May I walk with her?”
“Of course you may, Bilbo. Go right ahead.” Elrond set Ohtarwen on her feet and Bilbo offered his hand to the little girl who took it eagerly.
“Hallo Little One. My name is Bilbo. Would you like to hear a story?” Ohtarwen looked up at him with wide eyes not quite understanding what he said. Bilbo began to tell her one of his many stories as they walked.
Elrond smiled down at the two. “She will like it here, I can see it.” He thought to himself with satisfaction.
As Bilbo walked with the small girl, he soon began to grow very fond of her. And that was the beginning of a bond that would never break.
~ ~ ~
The morning was warm and beautiful. The sun was peaking out from behind a mountain, stretching its beams across the valley. Ohtarwen was eight years old, full of life, curiosity and mischief. She opened her eyes when the sun gentle touched her face through her window. The little girl jumped out of bed to put her pants and shirt on, and ran down the hall to
Aragorn, son of Arathorn, was a Ranger from the north. He had been away for a few years and he has returned for a short visit.
Ohtarwen quietly opened the door and tip-toed over to his bed. Aragorn was sprawled out on his bed on his stomach, hugging his pillow under his chest. Ohtarwen smiled eagerly. When she left the room for a moment, Aragorn opened his eyes, grinned, and then quickly laid back down. Ohtarwen came back with a feather in her hand. Slowly, she brushed the soft feather under Aragorn’s nose a few times. He wiggled his nose then gave a snort. Ohtarwen giggled quietly, she did it once more. This time he brushed his fingers across his nose. Ohtarwen cupped her small hand over her mouth to keep quiet. She decided to try her luck with his feet. She lifted the blankets off his feet. Aragorn opened one eye, but quickly closed it again. Ohtarwen ran the feather down one foot and Aragorn pulled both feet up under the covers. Ohtarwen frowned, she went back to his face; she moved the feather back and forth under his nose. Aragorn wrinkled his nose. She ran it down his cheek. At this, Aragorn suddenly grabbed her which made her scream.
“Ah-ha!” he yelled holding her captive. Ohtarwen screamed as she laughed. She tried to get out of Aragorn’s grasp, but he only held tighter. He lifted her off the ground and set her on his bed. “Now, seeing as how you tickled me, it seems only fair for me to do the same.”
“No! Aragorn stop!” Ohtarwen yelled through her laughter. She kicked and screamed as Aragorn tickled the little girl. When the door opened, the two of them paused and looked to see who it was. Legolas was surveying the scene; a smile slowly appeared across his face. He slowly walked over to the bed.
“What is going on?” he asked.
“Legolas! Help me, Aragorn kidnapped me!” Ohtarwen cried out with a smile.
“I did no such thing,’ Aragorn protested in his defense. “I’m merely….uh…showing Ohtarwen here how to…um…uh.” Aragorn tried to think of something to say. Legolas looked at them both for a moment without saying anything.
“Looks like fun. I’ll hold her, you tickle.” He said as he grasped Ohtarwen’s hands.
“Legolas! You traitor!” she screamed as she laughed uncontrollably. “Stop…..I can’t….breath!” she gasped through her giggles.
“Alright, we need a rest also.” Legolas agreed. Ohtarwen sat up and took deep breathes. She looked at them both, when they weren’t looking; she darted out of the room giggling.
“Get her!” Aragorn and Legolas yelled as they raced after her. Ohtarwen ran in and out through people, she spotted a bush and dashed behind it. Aragorn and Legolas rounded the corner and looked around; Ohtarwen was nowhere to be seen. Ohtarwen could see them through the leaves, and watched as they walked away confused. She tip-toed out from behind the bush and caught up with them, though they did not realize it.
“Where did she go?” Legolas wondered aloud to himself.
“I don’t know.” Aragorn smiled and said, “Maybe she’s a ranger!” They both laughed.
Ohtarwen smiled behind the two walking. She looked between them and saw Bilbo strolling down the hall on his cane. The two of them saw each other at the same time and Ohtarwen motioned to him not to say anything. Bilbo nodded and smiled. He continued walking, only with his head down so it seemed that he could not see where he was going. Ohtarwen saw immediately what he was doing. Suddenly, he walked right into Legolas and Aragorn. Ohtarwen quickly turned with them so that she was still behind them.
Bilbo went all the way through them. “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m not looking where I’m going again! Clumsy ol’ me! Please forgive me Prince of Mirkwood and Dunadan.” Biblo glanced between them just in time to see Ohtarwen smile her thanks and disappear behind the corner.
“There is nothing to forgive, Bilbo.” Aragorn told the old hobbit with a smile. Legolas patted Bilbo on the back and continued on. Bilbo watched them go with a satisfied smile on his face.
Ohtarwen hurried down the hall and found herself in the library. She turned to her left and went up the stairs leading to a balcony that overlooked an open courtyard. She sat down on a bench to catch her breath.
“I wonder how long it will take for them to find me?” she thought to herself. She looked down over the railing when she heard their voices. The Elf and Man entered the library slowly, talking with each other, they had not noticed her yet.
“Hello!” she called down to them. They looked around the library then up at her. They looked in disbelief at her.
“How did you get here without us seeing you?” Legolas called up to her.
“I had some help.” She said smiling at their bewilderment.
Aragorn and Legolas exchanged glances with one another and shrugged.
“Maybe I am a Ranger.” Ohtarwen laughed.
Aragorn looked up at her. “How did-“
Ohtarwen merely shrugged her shoulders and giggled.