27. Strange Dreams
It had been a long day and Owen was glad to finally head for the cottage. The smell of newly turned damp earth drifted up to the cottage and he sighed tiredly as he sat down on the stoop to remove his mud caked boots setting them aside to be cleaned later. Eli would not be happy to find dirty footprints all over her floor when she returned! He looked out over the freshly turned furrows and grinned in satisfaction knowing he had accomplished much more then his father expected during his absence. The loan of a neighbor’s horse and plow made it possible for him to complete the preparation of the main field off to one side and the kitchen garden in back of the cottage. It had been offered in part as payment for the healing assistance Eli had provided the prior winter when the neighbor’s family had become ill with fever and flu.
Not only was the soil ready for planting but Owen had managed to get most of the seedling cuttings ready to be transplanted from their initial beddings and the rest of seeds ready to be sown as well. He flexed his tired muscles and groaned as his back protested his stretching. He would wait though until they returned from Imladris so that Eli could indicate where she wanted the specific plantings to go. Once that was done he could start preparations to journey north to link up with his new companions and become a Dunedine ranger.
He had completed the repairs to the root cellar as well thanks to some help from Aravir. The Dunedine recently accompanied his chieftain south and stayed behind to spend time with his parents as well as work with Owen on his sword skills. He paused momentarily and pondered the miracle of his acceptance with wonder. His father and his cousin were going to be surprised at the turn of events in his life during their absence!
Owen plunged his head in the bucket of water he had left on the side bench earlier that day and washed his face and hands. When he finished he pulled his shirt off over his head and poured the remaining water over his sweaty body sighing in relief as the cool liquid flowed over his aching torso. He still needed to do a more thorough wash and change to clean clothes before he joined Aravir’s parents for dinner later that evening but first he had to feed the hound and goats. After that he would take a quick swim in the near by stream. A whine caught his attention and he grinned when the young hound ambled up from behind the springhouse.
“Been hunting again bottomless pit? Well you will just have to wait a bit yet, I have a few more things to take care of before I call it a day.”
The large gangly dog wagged his tail slowly and wandered over to the large tree that shaded the main area in front of the cottage. He flopped awkwardly down his muzzle resting on his front paws and his large brown soulful eyes fixed on his human. He was willing to wait a while but he could be patient for only so long!
It had been a relaxing evening and Aravir had plenty of stories of previous adventures of the Dunedine rangers. Owen found himself enthralled by their history and asked many questions, much to the amusement of his hosts. In turn, still curious about Owen’s past Aravir had questions of his own and Owen was hard put to answer them satisfactorily without revealing the whole truth or out and out lying. When the ranger asked him if there was a sweetheart left behind he was able to finally distract Aravir with his red face and stammer and questions of his own.
“No sir, I did not have any time for that. We were too busy preparing for the long trek here over the last several years. I did not want to encourage hopes among any of our young maidens nor risk my own since my family needed me to accompany them. There was no one who could have completed the trip here.”
Owen hesitated and then continued very seriously. “There is no going back for us…ever. If it is meant to be, both Eleiann and I will have to find someone here. I do not know much about your customs. Since I am an outsider, would my attentions be welcomed by the maidens or their families among your people and if someone was to accept them would a marriage between us be allowed?”
Aravir looked at his father and mother and smiled before answering. He was pleased by the young man’s sensitivities to the customs of his new people.
“Owen, intermarriage with those who join us and prove their worth has occurred in the past. Since we tend to be naturally long lived we do not normally enter into marriage at an early age.” He shook his head sadly. “It has occurred with more frequency these past few generations with the depredations the yrch have made on our numbers. Far too many of our women have seen their husbands precede them beyond the circles of the world. They are reluctant to wait to start families or risk remaining unwed should their chosen be taken before their binding.”
He placed a hand on Owen’s shoulder. “If, after a time, you have settled in and managed to survive the fighting with grace, then I have no doubt that you will find one of our young maidens more then willing to accept your suit. It does not hurt that you will already have a home to bring them too and land to be worked. It marks you as a valuable potential son-in-law.”
Owen nodded. “I know it will be some time before all of that can happen. The cottage will be home to my father and my cousin for as long as they desire, but it is understood that it will be mine eventually. Would a family accept their daughter coming so far south away from their home up north?”
“It will depend on the individual one. We have often had to move people from one village to another when the harvest has been poor or the political situation had changed for the worse. The one here is close to Imladris and has been under Lord Elrond’s protection so it has been considered a safe haven for a long time. Many parents would consider that a point in your favor.”
Later Owen said good evening to his hosts and accompanied by the hound walked slowly back to the cottage. Musing to himself he considered the possibilities in his future. If he survived the battles against the yrch, and if he were so lucky, he might be able to find a sweetheart and wed. He might even present his father with the grand children to soften the loss of those he had left behind! He knew that although Ted had not said anything and had focused on the opportunity to study in the Imladris Library, there were times that he had missed his older son and family. Heck, he missed Donald himself. He even missed his niece Morwen. He wondered what she thought over the disappearance of her grandfather and uncle. Oh well, they would never know what had occurred after they had left Earth behind.
He hoped his father had found what he sought in the library. It was just too bad that their visit was only going to be there for such a short time but he understood the need for them both to be gone before Lord Elrond returned. Owen wondered that they had not returnedn yet knowing his father he would have needed little urging to remain an extra day or two. After checking on the goats and making sure the chickens were shut up safely in their coop, Owen secured the door to the cottage and prepped the fireplace for the next day. Climbing up to his loft sleeping area, he settled down to sleep.
He found himself dreaming of the fair-haired lass who smiled up at him with a toddler in her arms. And then later he held the hand of the dark haired little girl who pulled away from him as she ran down the path towards a teenaged boy. He called out after her.
“Ivorwen, have a care. Dírhael has no time to deal with you today. He has sword practice.”
Ivorwen turned back to her grand father and standing with hands on hip, stamped her foot in irritation and frowned at him.
“Grandpa, do not be silly. I am going to marry him. Of course he has time for me.”
Owen smiled and then found him-self standing with his wife facing a grownup Ivorwen who placed a small bundle in his arms.
“Papa, this is your grand daughter, Gilran.”
Owen woke up suddenly shaking. It had to be only a dream; he was not of any importance in the grand scheme of things. Was he?
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.