[notes: I didn't intend to write this; I am working on The Downside (The Mummy universe) and really tried to let LotR fandom be. Couldn't be done though. This came to me on a recent horseride in the mist.
'Written' with Dragon voice-recognition, so there may be 'speakos'.
Yes, I know the first meeting of Aragorn and Arwen was described in the appendix. Aragorn calls out “Tinuviel” and Arwen is surprised and all that. I just have a hard time picturing either of them behaving like that, and I like this version just as a little ficlet about mist…]
From Lord of the Rings Appendix A:
2951: Elrond reveals to 'Estel' his true name and ancestry, and delivers to him the shards of Narsil. Arwen, newly returned from Lorien, meets Aragorn in the woods of Imladris. Aragorn goes into the wild.
The mist rises up slowly from the ground, the way it always has done on clear autumn days toward twilight. The way it always has done in Rivendell.
Only now I realise how much I have missed the sight and smell of it; the cool moist feeling against my skin; the way it softens the landscape and adds to its beauty.
I steer my horse Brand out from under the trees to follow the small stream that rushes through the open field. The horse looks curiously at the small clouds that are formed by his breath, and it makes me smile. I ease the reins to allow him to drink.
Trusted Brand. He has carried me all the way from Lothlorien; and the very next day he is quite prepared to ride with me in the mist of Rivendell. The damp clouds have risen all around us now, and the chill is beginning to creep up on me. I do not want to go home yet though; it is pleasant to be alone for a moment. I am so rarely without servants or protectors...
Drawing my long cloak closer about me, I turn Brand back to the path. Mist dampens all sounds, so that the only thing that reaches my ears is the rustling of the grass under the feet of my horse. I sigh deeply with relaxation. It is good to be home.
Then Brand freezes and tosses up his head; he has heard something. Within the space of a heartbeat I remember exactly why no one lets me ride alone in Rivendell. Orcs!
My mother was abducted a long time ago not far from here, and never since have my father or brothers forgotten about the chance of a repeat. I curse myself softly for not being more cautious, throw back my cloak and draw my dagger. Slender and elegant it is; a work of art fit for the daughter of Rivendell, as Celeborn would put it. But above all is deadly sharp and has a good balance, Galadriël had said.
Brand is standing perfectly still, his head raised and his ears still poised in the same direction. I see nothing there.
I would flee, except that in this fog one cannot be certain where a sound came from... thus risking to run right into the arms of those who approach.
Just as I am ready to press the horse to flee anyway, Brand whickers softly. Not far ahead I hear an answering rumble.
“Elrohir?” I call out softly, relief evident in my voice. I have recognised the approaching horse by its voice; it is Nahar, the horse of my brother. I sheathe my dagger and wait for the mist to part.
“Lady Arwen?” A tentative voice calls. I startle – that is not my brothers' voice. The timbre is different – younger, and there is a deep tone in the sound that strikes me as unusual. Before I have time to be alarmed about this, Nahar appears, walking calmly through the high grass. On his back is—
Estel? No, I do believe this young man is called Aragorn now. I have been introduced to him very briefly at breakfast this morning, but he prepared to go into the forest with my brother. Our conversation did not get any further than pleasantries.
”Good evening, Aragorn,” I greet him, hiding my surprise at seeing him and not Elrohir.
”Good evening Lady,” he replies with a slight bow. “Lord Elrond bids me to ask if you will come to dinner.”
I consider that for a moment and then smile sweetly.
”I am sure that was not quite his request, was it?”
I know my father too well. Aragorn blushes slightly and shakes his head.
”It was worded… somewhat more strongly, Lady.”
I hide a smile at his reaction. Though he is fully grown, I have to remember that he is only twenty years old. A blink of the eye to me; his entire life to him. I would have thought my brothers had bestowed plenty of teasing on him, but evidently he did not expect it to come from me.
“Do not worry, I shall come to dinner,” I smile, and guide Brand to walk alongside of Nahar. Aragorn looks a little relieved.
He is tall, and already his face has the grave looks of one who knows what destiny has in store. Sharp grey eyes continuously search the surroundings, and though limited by mortal sight, I doubt that there is much he misses.
Just then, the horses greet each other with a nicker, and his face softens with a smile that makes him look his real age. A young man on his way to great deeds, or so Galadriël has hinted.
The mist closes in tighter, and I take a deep breath, enjoying the smell of it. The water settles down in droplets on my dark blue cloak, and I shake them off. With the heavy cloth shielding me from the cold, I almost wish to ride slower.
Without my command, Brand slows down. Aragorn turns back at me with questions in his eyes.
”I like the mist,” I shrug with a smile. “It makes everything even more beautiful.”
He grins slightly and mutters something that sounds suspiciously alike “Elves are peculiar like that.”
I pull up an eyebrow and keep looking at him until he elaborates. It takes surprisingly long.
“Ah, it is just…” – that grin again – “I learned a long time ago never to play hide-and-seek with elves in the mist.”
That makes me laugh, and Aragorn laughs along with me. The wall of fog around us bounces the sound back.
“Oh, I am sure my brothers have been up to their usual tricks, yes…”
We are both silent. I contemplate how strange it must have been for a human to grow up between elves, and how it would have affected his abilities. I've already noticed that he sees almost as well as I do in the mist.
I glance to the side and notice his thoughtful look. When I reflect on my last words, I realise it must feel strange to him that I speak of 'usual' when the last time I had seen Elrohir – before this morning – was before he, Aragorn, was even born.
“Speaking of my notorious brothers, has Elladan returned?” I ask after a moment. Aragorn blinks as if his thoughts were far away.
“Ah, yes, he returned just a couple of hours ago.”
Brand speeds up his walk, feeling my sudden desire to get home. Even though it means a lecture from my father about the dangers of riding out alone. I have not seen Elladan in such a long time; I cannot wait to see him.
Silence again, but I can feel that he enjoys the quiet the way I do.
He wears a long leather coat that has seen a lot of wear, and his shoulders are set just so that the cold cannot reach his neck. His hair is jaw length and dark, framing a face that is both young and old at once.
He rides well, with a comfortable ease that has 'Elrohir taught me' written all over it. My brother always was a good teacher. All of a sudden I feel regret for having been away all this time; for having to hear second hand about the interesting things that have been going on in Rivendell during the time I was in Lothlorien.
In the way Brand lifts his head I sense we are nearing the house now. I halt the horse and take a deep breath, enjoying the smell of mist one last time. I know I will not be able to get out alone so easy from now on.
Aragorn has halted Nahar and simply waits, looking back to me with a soft smile playing about his lips.
After some time I pick up the reins with a rueful smile. I don't want to go back inside, not really. Aragorn simply nods as Brand pulls level with Nahar.
“You can go out other evenings,” he says softly. I shake my head.
“Not without a squad of armed guards, I think…”
He seems surprised by that.
”I am going back into the wild again tomorrow, to patrol the Rhudaur fields with your brothers. I was not aware that it is dangerous around Rivendell for a lady to ride alone?”
I feel sad at hearing that both he and my brothers will leave again so soon. I had hoped to spend some time with them. Realising that he awaits my answer, I shake myself.
“It isn't really, or it has not been for a very long time. But I am sure someone has told you about Celebrian, my mother?”
He nods gravely.
“Then you understand why Elrond will not let me take any risk.”
I could recognise that voice anywhere.
“Elladan!” I call out, pressing Brand into a canter even though we are already close to the house. Three, four leaps and then the horse comes to a sliding halt next to my brother. I am ready to jump out of the saddle, but Elladan stands sternly, a slight smile playing about his lips. He puts out his hand, and taking it, I swing myself out of the saddle and into his arms.
“Sister! My, how good you look! Your time with Galadriël has done you good, I can tell,” he exclaims, giving me a fierce hug. Then, releasing me to look over my shoulder, his face goes stern.
"But I see she has not been able to cure you of your habit of sneaking off on your own!"
“Oh, be quiet already,” I grin, giving him a playful slap on the shoulder. “Is father inside?”
“Yes he is, he asked me to send you to him directly. I'll take care of your horse, and we will see you at dinner.”
“No, I can take care of my own horse. Why is it that everybody treats me as if I would die should my hands get dirty?” I ask the world in general.
Elladan laughs. “I was just testing you. Good to see you are still the same,” he gives me a brief hug, smiles at Aragorn, and disappears into the house.
Brand nudges me good-naturedly, and I lead him to the side of the house, where the stable entrance is. Aragorn catches up with long strides, evidently used to a higher walking speed.
Inside it is warm, and the sweet, heavy smell of horses overruns my senses. When I have put Brand in his stable and have taken off his tack, I stand for a while with my arms around his neck. He nickers softly.
I have missed Rivendell so. All the smells and sights I grew up with are new to me again, and yet so familiar. Brand shifts his weight, and I lay my cheek against his withers.
We both know dinner is waiting, but Aragorn returns my rueful smile and waits patiently until I can bear to let go of the delightful freedom of this evening. I do not mind his presence. He is not intrusive.
Some things are founded long before they truly begin; like mist, and love.
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