This chapter is for Ancalime, born in Fourth Age 28.
Fourth Age 44
Ancalime adjusted her hood a little and shifted the weight of her backpack . She looked around once more, making sure the guards were out of sight, and stepped forward to make her escape from the White City.
"Going on a nice trip?"
Ancalime whirled around and stared into the night. "Ada?"
The dark figure that manifested from the shadows was too tall to be anyone but one person—her father. "Running away from home?"
But she was not going to back down just because she was caught. "I'm going to the Shire," she said firmly. "I'm tired of this city and its society, and I want to be a hobbit."
Aragorn gave a little grunt—he was apparently somewhat surprised by this decision. "A hobbit?"
"Yes," said Ancalime. "You always said my brown curls looked like a hobbit's, and I am not the tallest in our family; I think I would fit in quite well."
"My dear," said Aragorn, putting a hand on her shoulder. "No matter how you would fit in; how do you intend on journeying the one thousand miles between Minas Tirith and Hobbiton?" There was no answer. "Walking the entire way?"
Ancalime was grateful for the night, so that he could not see her blush. "I'll get there," she said confidently.
Aragorn laughed. "I think not." He took her arm, and began leading her up the road.
"Why can't I go live in the Shire?" she demanded, but did not dare to break free from him.
"Because you are too young to travel alone, and will probably outgrow this desire soon," he answered smoothly.
"I would not!" she said, incensed. "I mean what I say!"
"I doubt it not," he said in an amusement-laden tone. "That is just what Miriel said when she declared her desire to spend the rest of her life working in a charity house sewing blankets for orphans, and she fully meant it as well."
Ancalime opened her mouth to speak, but then shut it. Miriel's grand idealistic dreams had diminished after a few years to the more realistic plan of marrying one of the grand-nephews of Imrahil and supervising Dol Amroth charity houses on the side.
"But I do wish I could live in the Shire, and I will not ever stop wishing that!" she said stoutly.
"Do not we all?" said Aragorn with a sigh. "But life often leads us in different directions than that which we plan. And besides," he said, putting an arm around her and giving a squeeze, "I would not wish you so far from me."
She could not help but warm a little to him. "If I can't go to the Shire, may I go live with Lord Legolas in Ithilien like Idriel did? I do so hate all the stone here!"
"That is certainly a possibility," answered Aragorn. "As long as you do not try to run away, we will see."
Ancalime sighed, but after all, one thousand miles would be a long journey.
A/N: An epilogue will be up soon.
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