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58
Wizardry

A double drabble for Gandalf's Apprentice, who requested Gandalf and Aragorn interactions.


~~~

"Well." Their journey in a word, as Aragorn stood scowling at the stony ledge whose crumbled end had lain concealed in the evenshade.

Gandalf grunted in reply. Months on the trail, seeking any least trace of their quarry, led ever southeast, only to stand defeated for the fifth day in a row by the Emyn Muil! If Gollum skulked here, he needn't sleep fearful of them tonight.

Growling, Gandalf slapped the unyielding rockface, then slouched wincing to the ground; Aragorn grimly joined him. Tucked uncomfortably between the proverbial rock and hard place, they sat exhausted, acutely aware of their blisters, of the day's scraped shins, strained muscles, and hands bloodied against unforgiving stone; above all conscious of acid frustrationóhere they sat, two of Middle-earth's greatest hunters, stymied by an emaciated stick of a Gollum!

'Twas too much. Of a sudden, Gandalf laughedóa wheezing chuckle swelling to a torrent of laughter, heedless of Aragorn's nonplussed look and rightly so: for a smile soon broke, and gloom with it, before the giddy rush of hilarity that had Aragorn wiping his eyes ere long.

And when at last wizard and Ranger sat sprawled, breathless and bemused, Aragorn sighed once more: "Well."

~~~

Aragorn and Gandalf, two peas in a pod. Observe:

"Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth." - "Minas Tirith", ROTK, 33.

"[Aragorn's] face was sad and stern because of the doom that was laid on him, and yet hope dwelt ever in the depths of his heart, from which mirth would arise at times like a spring from the rock" - "Appendix A", ROTK, 385-386.


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