Coming of Age

Tree and Flower Awards Nominee


Coming of Age

Author: Linda Hoyland

Characters/Pairing: Aragorn, Elladan, Elrohir

Rating: PG

Warnings: none

Book/Source: LOTR book-verse

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

Dedicated to Estelcontar as a belated birthday gift.

March 5 BTME Challenge

Write a story or poem or create artwork that will
illustrate the consequences of isolation

The Dúnedain elders had told him this was the hardest test to pass to become a
fully-fledged Ranger; to spend time alone in the wilds. Aragorn, though, was
rather enjoying himself; for the first time in his short life there was no one
to tell him what he should do. He had no lessons to study and it was entirely
up to him to decide how he spent his days.

The weather was fine and food was plentiful. Aragorn spent his time perfecting
his skills as a warrior and tracking game. He loved to swim in the clear waters
of the river on the edge of the forest then lie on his back in the sun. It took
the young man some time to become accustomed to sleeping on the ground
each night, rather than on the soft beds of Rivendell, but even that hardship
did not deter him for long. He fashioned a bed of soft bracken where he was
free to sleep for as long as he chose and dream of the fair Arwen.

Sometimes he sighed and softly sang old ballads to himself, pining for the
hopelessness of his cause in gaining the love of Elrond's daughter. At other
times he was hopeful and dreamed of restoring his people to their former glory
and winning the fair lady's hand in marriage.

When it grew dark, Aragorn would light a fire and gaze into in, and wonder how
he as Chieftain of the Rangers could overcome the darkness that threatened them
all. His strength seemed as feeble as the meagre campfire.

It was then he felt very alone. He knew he could return to the others whenever
he wished, but he was determined to show that he was no pampered Elven child,
but one of the Dúnedain, well able to survive alone in the wild and worthy to
be their Chieftain.

As the days passed, sometimes he fancied that he saw Arwen walking beneath the
trees as she had beneath the birches at Rivendell, but when he approached her
she vanished and dissolved into the mist.

The birds grew ever more accustomed to his presence and he began to fancy that
they were watching him. Or was it fancy? Did not the enemy sometimes use the
crebain for his own purposes?

Aragorn stayed closer to his camp He no longer practised with sword or bow, nor
took pleasure from swimming in the river.

That night the moon was full and the trees seemed to grow faces in the silvery
shadows. He could hear them whispering. The words sounded like "Doomed to fail,
doomed to darkness!"

The shadowy branches seemed to reach out towards him to grasp him, crush him,
strangle him.

Aragorn screamed in terror.

"Hush now," familiar voices soothed. "You are safe." Strong arms embraced
Aragorn and held him tight.

"The trees!" he cried, "They mock me; they will crush me!"

"You have been alone in the wilds too long, Estel," said Elladan. "Come back to
the others. Halbarad and your other comrades are waiting to welcome you home."

"I failed," Aragorn said miserably. He took a keep breath. The trees no longer
looked so threatening.

"No other young Chieftain has endured so long in the wilds alone," said
Elrohir. " I remember them all."

"We should have made our presence known before now," said Elladan. "It was hard
to watch when the isolation began to take its toll on you."

"You mean you were there all along?" Aragorn asked.

"Of course, we could not leave you so inexperienced and unprotected," said

"Not that you needed our help until tonight," Elladan added, seeing the young
man's frown. "Now come, the Dúnedain are eager to greet their Chieftain. You
have proved yourself more than worthy."

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