Many Guises and Many Names: 24. Fugitive

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24. Fugitive

Gilraen, Princess Isilmë of the House of Telcontar, was well hidden in the rocky slopes of Emyn Arnen. She huddled beneath an outcrop of stone and wished fervently that the rain would stop. The bad weather had one good feature, however: Any sign of her passage would now be washed away, if she had been so careless as to leave any. This was doubtful. After all, she had been trained in woodcraft by the greatest tracker and hunter in Gondor.

She intended to go back, when she was ready. She was not so childish as to dream of running away. Where—to Thranduil's kingdom, perhaps? Silliness. No, she would stay hidden for only a few days, just to teach them a lesson.

Why had they made her come? She had to sit like a statue in Lord Faramir's great hall, princess-like, and talk politely to the emissary's daughter. Mother was "indisposed," they said. Ridiculous. She was never sick. But now, supposedly, even Lady Éowyn could not help Gilraen with entertaining the foreigner: she was too busy looking after mother. And Elboron was useless, as usual.

If only it would not rain.

She had been so lonely since granny's death, for that was the name she had called her great-grandmother Ivorwen, who had died only three weeks earlier at the age of one hundred and fifty-five—an impressive age for a Númenorean woman in these late days, everyone said. Granny, who had sung to her at night and braided her thick, difficult hair. Just like my daughter's, she would laugh. My little Gilraen.

She saw some movement through the woods down the slope and smiled with satisfaction. Already they were looking for her. They will never find me.

She watched as, after some moments bent down, examining the ground, the tracker followed her precise trail up the hillside. The hooded and cloaked figure wended its way through the trees. He looks just like papa, she thought, amused. But soon the amusement began to flag. He can't really be papa, she told herself, unconvinced. The man stopped and turned his head and she recognized, with dismay, that he was indeed the greatest tracker and hunter in Gondor. Within minutes he was standing on the slope beneath her tiny ledge and looking her in the face.

"Well," said her father.

She stared at him. Behind the relief in his eyes anger sparkled. He raised his arms. "Jump down," he commanded.

Sheepishly, she gathered her pack and pulled the hood over her head. She leaped the few feet down into his arms; he caught her with precision and set her on her feet. He looked her in the eyes. "You will never do this again," he said. "Come now."

She followed him down the hillside, rage battling with humiliation in her breast.

And of all the unfair things, the rain had stopped.

A half-mile away two mounted guardsmen stood, one holding her father's great horse. The king mounted, and had the guardsman help his daughter mount before him. They set off to return to Faramir's hall.

She knew what was coming. He never shouted at her, never even scolded her. Instead, he would talk to her, and somehow he always made her see everything differently. But this time, she didn't want to see things differently. "You don't know what it's like, being eleven," she cried petulantly.

He chuckled. "You're right," he said. "I skipped that year. I went from ten to twelve."

She had to laugh then. "That's silly, papa."

"Yes," he said. "Therefore, you must admit I had to have been, once upon a time and very long ago, eleven." He was quiet for a while, as if remembering. Then he said, "Gilraen, it made me happier than I can tell you that granny could live with us for the last years of her life. I didn't know her as a boy, because, as you know, I was in Rivendell. That you knew her made up for missing that, somehow."

She began to cry. He kissed the top of her head and lifted a hand from the reins to squeeze her wrist. "Oh, papa," she said.

"Grief is hard, and we have left you too much alone," he said. "But there are reasons. Some, perhaps, you will not understand until you are older. Some are easier to explain. I have been trying to resolve through negotiation these differences with the people of Rhun. I fear I have failed, and there will be a war."

She gasped. "I'm sorry, papa. Will you have to go away again?"

"If there is war, I must," he said. "There is never a good time for war, but this is by far the worst." He sighed. "You know your mother has been unwell."

Gilraen made a most unladylike snort. "I know better than to believe that," she said. "Mother does not get sick, no more than Legolas. And if she was sick, why didn't she stay home, anyway?"

"She should have stayed," he said. "I lost that argument. As for the rest, I wish you were right. The truth is, Gilraen, she is with child, and that is very difficult for the Eldar."

Well, that was a shock. She noted the mix of worry and happiness in her father's voice. "A little sister?" she said.

"You will have a brother," her father said. "But don't tell anyone that we know the child is a son. This is our secret. So, you see, I have much on my mind, because if I must leave for war, she will bear the child without my support."

She thought this over. "But I will be here," she said.

"Yes, you will," he answered. "And that will be a very great comfort to all of us."

"I will be good," she said. "I promise, papa."

"Thank you," he said. "I knew I could count on you."

Years later, at the time of her father's death, she finally understood just what he meant.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Gandalfs apprentice

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: Multi-Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/02/08

Original Post: 04/16/05

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WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

Many Guises and Many Names

RS - 14 Jul 08 - 9:32 PM

Ch. 24: Fugitive

Found this story at another site and I wanted to share my comments here.... I love your fatherly Aragorn...calm and collective---"you will never do this again" "She knew what was coming. He never shouted at her, never even scolded her. Instead, he would talk to her, and somehow he always made her see everything differently". What a treat to find this. I have been keeping up with "Sword of Elendil" (and diligently waiting for an update) and to run into this story.... it somehow seems, to me, an extension of "Sword". I love the fact that Aragorn named one of his daughter's Gilraen and that Ivorwen was able to know her daughter's namesake.

Well, when you are done with that story, maybe you can continue this (don't hold my breath..right?) I'd like to find out if another war did break out.

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Playlists Featuring the Story

My Aragorn Stories - 8 stories - Owner: Gandalfs apprentice
Here you will find Aragorn as written by Gandalfs apprentice: drama, adventure, comedy. The list begins with a collection of short pieces spanning Aragorn's life, and continues with stories more focused on one slice of time. It ends with a few AU tales on the lighter side. Please note that while characters and themes in these tales are interlocked, some contradict others in timing and events. It's more fun that way.
Included because: Drabbles and ficlets from the creation of the Elessar to the flourishing peace of the King's late reign.

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