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20
Onen i-estel Edain

B2MeM Challenge: B4: Aspects of Aragorn: Estel
Economy: luxury items
Rangers of the North: Gilraen
Roles and Names of Aragorn: Aragorn

Format: ficlet
Genre: AU, character study
Rating: K+
Characters: Gilraen
Pairings: Gilraen/Arathorn
Summary: In which I write for the AU card I didn’t adopt…


~~~

Onen i-estel Edain

The house is cold these past months. Gilraen wakes early, suddenly – expectant of disaster since the Twain rode in like a gale with the news and a blood-stained star.

But Misfortune has stayed his hand once more, and so she rises, covers her hair with her black veil, girts her waist with her sword, and goes to meet duty’s demands.

She feels she has lived her whole life in four years – child, wife, mother, widow. She had been lover and beloved – and that woman is utterly gone. From her ashes rose the Lady of the Angle and Captain-Commander of the Home Guard and the Grey Company. She has circuits to ride, harvest to manage, speeches to make, and – O Cruelty, thou prodigal wretch! – bodies to bury. There are women to comfort: all the snuffed out lives to extol, and then she must welcome the bereaved into her suffering sisterhood, between calculating grain yields.

She could have gone to Imladris – Elrohir had begged her, but who would be Lady of the Angle? Who would tell the Dúnedain their story, that they might know themselves in the time of trial? Who would lead the people? She had sent Aragorn instead: “Our hope is in your hands – keep him well!”

“And who shall keep you, my lady?” the Elf had asked.

She had smiled, cool as glass. There was business to attend to…

Her house is cold and empty, hollow as she feels, but she has no regrets. Regret is a luxury, like private grief.

Yet some nights, when she is alone, she does weep – bitter, hot, racking tears. And sometimes she goes to their wardrobe and opens it, buries her face in one of Arathorn’s shirts, breathes deep.

“Are you not afraid?” Arathorn had asked, when she had said yes to him.

“I am in love,” she had answered.

She is in love – with the Dúnedain, and this land, and the little glimmer of light against the darkness of the East, there where her son lives hidden. By grace of Master Elrond, he shall grow up into the name his father gave him to lead their people through the Night she feels descending. But against that coming Darkness, her people must have hope now that they can see, that they can touch.

They must have their Lady of the Angle – for Arathorn is gone, and Aragorn concealed, but she will stand and deliver their future.

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