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2
Reckoning (Gilraen, Elrond)

With a relieved sigh, Gilraen sank into a deep chair. Since waking at dawn, her son had been climbing stairs, running on his sturdy legs through gardens and hallways, shrieking with delighted glee at each new thing and befriending each new person. His mother struggled to keep up.

At last, she could rest. He was quietly playing by himself, absorbed in a pair of toy wooden horses, exquisitely carved and burnished by Elven hands. Watching him coax the horses along the carpet in jumps and trots, one in each fist, she marveled at his young resilience. What happened to the terrified little boy calling for his father? Is Lord Elrond right—he will forget Arathorn, forget our people, forget even his own name?

The door opened. "Good morning, Gilraen, Estel," said Elrond.

Her son ran to hug the Elven-lord's legs, crying, "Papa!"

"Look, Estel, I have brought you two more horses."

"I have four horses, mama," he shouted.

Her eyes blurring with sudden tears, she reached out to him. "Areg, come here."

"Not Areg, mama. Estel. Papa, play with me!"

Meeting her eyes over the boy's small, dark head, Elrond smiled sympathetically. "Go rest, Gilraen. I'll look after him now."

~~~

Note: Thanks to Gwynnyd for helping me with diminutives in Sindarin. "Areg," formed from the first syllable of Aragorn's name and the suffix –eg (roughly equivalent to the English –let), means "little king" or, perhaps, "kinglet."


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