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22
A Propitious Visit

Rhosgobel: animals as symbols, omens or metaphors
Radagast, Aragorn


~~~

A Propitious Visit


“I hear you!” called Radagast as he emerged from the woven trunks that comprised the walls of his house.

The thrush whose loud and intense chirps had called him forth bobbed its head politely before it recommenced its communications.

Radagast interrupted. “So—someone comes? And you are certain he comes seeking me?”

A few shrill calls, and the bird stopped, cocking its head to one side. A flight of wood doves landed nearby.

“And why should I be concerned with the petitions of a mortal?”

The thrush launched into a series of indignant cheeps and tweets, but paused as a raven arrived with its own news, and the Wizard’s attention was drawn away from the thrush.

“And you, too, bring news of the coming of a wanderer in the forest, do you?” the Wizard asked the raven. “And do not think that I give him more credence than I do you,” he suggested sharply, turning back for a moment to the thrush. “Although he tends to say a good deal more with a lot less nattering,”

As if affronted by such an accusation, the thrush launched itself across the clearing, although it stayed near enough to follow the conversation.

“Cheeky blighter,” murmured Radagast, watching after it and shaking his head.

A white owl ghosted into the clearing and alighted nearby. Surprised to see this bird coming to him some hours after sunrise, Radagast examined it closely. “So, with your wisdom you would see the one coming with your own eyes, would you? Hmm.” He gave the doves a surreptitious glance, but other than removing themselves to a different tree the other side of the door, they showed no signs of concern for the owl’s presence. The owl gave a few hoots, and mantled, then allowed its feathers to settle.

The Wizard was becoming increasingly curious about the Man approaching, and particularly as a great shadow indicated that high overhead an eagle flew. Peering upwards, he asked, “And even the Great Eagles keep a watch over this one’s progress, then? Most interesting!”

As more birds took their places about the clearing in spite of owl and raven, he became increasingly curious and cheerful. It would appear that all his friends were drawn by this one! “I’d best prepare a meal for him,” he suggested, only to receive assurance from thrush and raven that this would indeed by advisable. Before he could turn to go in once more, however, a great stag came out of the forest into the clearing before Rhosgobel, paused at the sight of him, and gave a great snort before continuing on its own way. Moments later a white doe, accompanied by two white fawns, followed after their Lord, pausing only long enough to nod their respects. They in turn were followed by a single young buck, barely old enough to boast its first set of antlers. He smiled as it hurried after the others. “And even the Prince of the Forest heralds his coming. Most interesting indeed!” With that he went within, and in moments smoke from his cooking fire could be seen rising from the midst of the canopy that rose over his houseplace.

By the time the Man himself appeared, Radagast could leave the meal to its own devices to be again upon his doorstep. The new arrival paused warily at the edge of the clearing, his eyes examining house and occupant, and noting the presence of all of the birds clustered about.

The doves launched themselves from their tree as he finally stepped into the clearing itself, and circled about him three times, pulled away, circled him three times again, and then three more times. Radagast could tell that there were seven doves in the flock, which he knew was itself propitious. He examined the Man, saw past the worn green leathers he wore, noting the shining of the Light of Being he contained within him and how it was mithril pure save for about his hands, where it shaded to the blue of healing, and at last knew the identity of his visitor. “Welcome, my Lord Aragorn,” he murmured, his head bowed with respect. “And how may I serve you?”

It was some days later he saw the Chieftain of the Dúnedain of the remnants of the North Kingdom on his way, laden with supplies and advice. So—he who hopefully would be the King Returned was heading off once again in search of the creature known as Gollum, was he? A move that indicated that the time approached for the next turning of fortunes for Middle Earth. The end of the Third Age was coming. Perhaps he would do well to seek the advice of the Chief of his own order?

Radagast gathered his own pack and ordered his house. At last pulling his great brown hat upon his head and taking his staff in hand, he headed toward the Carrock, where he’d cross the Anduin before heading southward. It would take him quite some time, he knew, perhaps a year or better. But, then, as a Wizard himself, he had nothing but time at his disposal. And a flock of starlings and finches encircled him, while his thrush and the raven followed after, just in case he needed their advice and company.

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