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23
August in Bree

August in Bree

B2MeM Challenge Weather1- humid; Emotions1- apprehension; Carolling- We won't go until we get some; Canon couples1-Aegnar/Andreth; Love1- They loved the woods and the riversides.; Rangers of the North- Fell Winter; First lines- One midwinter day off the coast

Format: ficlet

Genre: general

Rating: PG

Warnings: none

Characters: Aragorn, Halbarad, Butterbur, OMCs

Pairings: Aragorn/Arwen, Aegnar/Andreth

Summary: Three Rangers spend a hot afternoon in Bree.

These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.

"One Midwinter day off the coast of Dol Amroth the crew spotted a bottle with a note in it," Aragorn began.

"What did it say?" asked Gilavir, the youngest of the trio, who had only recently become a fully- fledged Ranger.

"Come home soon!" said Halbarad. "I felt like sending such a missive often enough while you were away on your travels."

"Am I telling this story or are you?" Aragorn's tone was irate. The three Rangers were in Bree after hearing reports of Orcs being sighted in the area. For men who loved the woods and the riversides, being in a town was bad enough, but to make matters worse, it was a day in the hottest and most humid August that any of them could remember. The three sat sprawled under the only tree they could find, which stood opposite the Prancing Pony, waiting until nightfall to repel the possible Orc attack. Most of the passers- by glared at the trio, while others ignored them completely. No one offered a smile or friendly greeting to the Rangers.

"What is the sea like?" asked Gilavir.

"Vast and ever changing," said Aragorn. "It stretches as far as the eye can see and a cool breeze always blows off it." He sighed wistfully. "I have been telling enough tales for one afternoon. It is time someone else took a turn. Gilavir, why don't you share a tale with us?"

"I have never been further than the ruins of Annúminas," Gilavir said glumly. "I have no tales of adventure to tell."

"Surely you know some of the great stories of old?" said Halbarad.

Gilavir brightened. "My mother used to tell me the old tales on winter's nights by the fireside while we waited for father to come home. I remember well one tale she used to tell about Aegnor and Andreth, who lived long ago. Andreth was a wise woman, well versed in lore, who fell in love with the Elf lord, Aegnor. Alas, their love was doomed not to end in wedlock, for it was a time of great trouble and ..."

Aragorn's expression grew increasingly grim during this narration. He found himself wondering if this too would be the fate of his beloved Arwen and himself. The boy was not to know, though, as he had confided his troth plighting to Arwen to none save his mother, Gandalf, and Halbarad.

"Do you not know any more cheerful tales, lad?" asked Halbarad, coming to his Chieftain's rescue.

"I…" Gilavir flushed scarlet.

"I have met Aegnor's sister," said Aragorn. "She is a wise and beautiful lady."

Gilavir gaped at him open mouthed.

Just then two Hobbits walked past, they both glared at the Rangers.

"Just look at them layabouts," said one, a plump fellow of middle years. "Nothing but rogues and vagabonds, them Rangers!"

"Be careful they don't hear you," said his companion, who was even plumper. "You might end up murdered in your bed. Honest folk aren't safe with the likes of them lurking around!"

Gilavir nearly exploded with indignation. "My grandmother says folk such as they would have been devoured by wolves or starved to death without the Rangers' help during the Fell Winter, and we had little enough to share as it was. Her youngest baby died, as she had no milk for him. I'd like to teach those two a lesson!"

"Easy, Gilavir," Aragorn said mildly. "We choose it to be this way. They would fear to sleep at night if they knew the horrors we protect them from."

"I think I would prefer the Fell Winter to this heat!" said Halbarad, mopping his brow.

"Let us go to the inn and order a cool beer from old Butterbur," said Aragorn. "Maybe that will refresh us."

Gilavir regarded his elders with some apprehension. "But will he serve Rangers?"

"Barliman Butterbur will serve anyone with the right coin," said Aragorn. "He is not a bad fellow, though. He appreciates a good song or a story while his ale is the best in these parts." He scrambled to his feet his companions followed his example.

Gilavir still looked worried.

"We won't go until we get some!" said Halbarad pushing open the door of the inn and calling to the innkeeper to bring some ale.

To the Rangers' amazement, Butterbur brought their drinks with a smile.

"You look happy today, Barliman," said Aragorn.

"Business is booming in this heat," Mr Butterbur replied.

The Rangers tasted their drinks and looked at each other, than at Butterbur in joyous amazement.

"They taste good, don't they, lads?" said the innkeeper. "I had an ice house built last winter. A right good investment it's proved too."

Aragorn, Halbarad, and Gilavir sipped their cold drinks. For the first time that day, they were happy.

A/n. I decided I'd better publish this while it is seasonal! Gilavir first appeared in my drabble "A woman's touch", also on this site.

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