32. Chapter Thirty-Two
A/N: *enters room* *hears crickets* Well, I was hoping that there were some people still here.
Boromir: "What did you expect? It's taking you forever to write this.
me: "Hey, I could have killed you off like Tolkien did."
Aragorn: "Yeah...she's been very kind to you. Gave you life, gave you my daughter and a son. What more do you want?
Boromir: "How about a happy ending?"
me: "Don't get too demanding...the story isn't over yet. You could still catch a stray arrow."
Boromir: "I thought you liked me..."
me: "I like angst so much better...and no snickering Strider, my love. I like making you suffer too. Beware, both of you. The pen is mightier than the sword!"
Legolas looked at Aragorn and frowned. "The Lady Laeriel is here?" he asked. He remembered meeting her on the road to the northern camp of the Dúnedain over seventy years ago. She had been a beautiful woman and he had sensed that there had been something between the two rangers.
Aragorn nodded. "She is here. I know that you all have a lot of questions. But right now, the story will have to be brief. Laeriel being here is not the most important thing. Her daughter, our daughter, has been kidnapped, along with her son, by slavers. Laeriel tracked them for months, but lost the trail in Near Harad."
"When do we leave?" Gimli asked, puffing on his pipe.
Aragorn smiled. He knew he could count on Gimli and Legolas. Leaving Boromir behind was out of the question, especially now that he knew Brannon was his son. Faramir would want to go as well, but he needed him here, to take care of matters of state while he was gone.
"I want to leave at first light tomorrow. Faramir…"
"I will take care of things here while you are gone. Boromir, I assume will be going with you?"
"Indeed. The boy is his son," Aragorn said, looking directly at Boromir. "Have you remembered my daughter?"
"I have tried, Aragorn! I can't place her. I swear it."
Faramir looked between his brother and Aragorn, confusion reigning. Boromir was the father of Aragorn's grandson? How could Boromir not know who the woman was? "How old is the boy?" Faramir asked.
Boromir looked stricken. "I don't know. How could I not know how old my son is?"
"Boromir…it will be okay. We will find them. Come with me to talk to Laeriel. I left her to rest, but I think we need to get some more answers," Aragorn said.
"While you do that, we will get the supplies ready for tomorrow," Legolas offered.
Aragorn nodded, clasping Legolas' shoulder. Without another word, he left the room, Boromir right on his heels. They walked briskly down the hall toward the stairs, intent on getting to the Halls of Healing so they could question Laeriel about Brannon.
Boromir stopped, and turned to find Arwen in the doorway to the royal apartments. He looked back at Aragorn, who had continued down the hallway, ignoring his wife. He had heard the two of them arguing earlier, and had been curious as to why. Now, knowing that Aragorn's first wife was in Minas Tirith, it all made sense.
Aragorn turned on his heel and strode back to stand before his wife. "Not now, Arwen."
"You won't find her in the Halls of Healing," she whispered as he turned away.
"What did you do?" he demanded, turning back to look her in the eye.
"I went to see her. We had a very enlightening talk."
"Arwen…what did you say to her? Why isn't she in the Houses of Healing?"
Arwen knew that he was going to misunderstand at first. After all, she hadn't given him any reason to fully trust her the last day. But she had gone to see Laeriel to try to understand herself. She needed the reassurance that her position and relationship with Estel was rock solid. After her talk with Laeriel, she knew that there was no threat from that front.
"I had her moved to guest quarters. I thought since she wasn't wounded, she would be more comfortable in rooms here. I just left her not more than fifteen minutes ago. She was resting comfortably."
Aragorn stared at her in disbelief. Just last night he wouldn't have thought she would extend such a gesture to Laeriel. She had acted completely out of character and had indeed seemed jealous of a woman he hadn't seen in seventy years.
"Thank you," he whispered, grasping her arms in his hands. "We need to talk, but I can't right now. I need to see Laeriel."
Arwen nodded. She knew they had a lot to talk about, but she also knew that finding his daughter and grandson were paramount. "Laeriel's in the blue room. I thought as it was the closest to our apartments, she should be there."
Aragorn leaned in and pressed his lips against her forehead. "I love you," he whispered. "I just need…"
"Time," she whispered. He needed time to sort through the feelings that were raging through him right now. She could not imagine how he felt, seeing Laeriel for the first time in seventy some years, after thinking she had been dead all this time. And then to find out that she had a child by him and that the child was a woman grown with a child of her own. The shock alone would send a lesser man into the pits of despair.
"Go on…I will help Legolas with the preparations. And Estel…you need to rest. Do not tarry long."
Aragorn nodded and smiled at her. She was right. He had been up for nearly a day, not that he hadn't gone so long without sleep or rest before. But he couldn't rest until he had the whole story from Laeriel. And Boromir needed to know more about Adariel and Brannon as well. He was not the only man affected by Laeriel's sudden reappearance.
Laeriel heard the knock on the door and called out for her visitor to enter. She wasn't shocked to see Aragorn, but the man behind him was a surprise. He was tall, though a few inches shorter than Aragorn, with graying hair, that looked like it was once a sandy blonde color. His serious eyes were a blue-grey, surrounded by heavy lashes. His jaw line was covered with graying stubble, his lips in a firm straight line.
"I don't believe it!" he blurted when he saw the woman lying in the bed. "I remember Aragorn. It was the woman from Amon Hen."
"What? The one who took you to Minas Tirith? She was with a patrol of rangers, men from Lake-Town. Are you sure?"
"It's like I am looking right at her," Boromir said. "Pardon me, my lady. I am Boromir, Captain-General of the King's army and High Warden of the White Tower."
"Captain…I must admit, I had already guessed who you were. You see, if I am the exact image of Adariel, than you are a mirror image of your son, Brannon. He looks so much like you."
Aragorn eased onto the mattress, reached for her hand and squeezed it tightly. "I cannot believe I was so close to her. Had I only known…"
"She knew you were there. She said she saw you."
"Why didn't she come to me? Why didn't she say something?"
Laeriel looked at Boromir and smiled warmly. "She did not know who you were until she returned home. Besides, she had another mission to complete."
Boromir and Aragorn exchanged a startled look. Boromir eased into the chair by the window and closed his eyes. Someone had sent her, sent her to save him. But who and why?
"I can see that you are both confused. I think I should explain," Laeriel began. "She is very much your daughter, Aragorn. From the time she could walk, she was a constant handful, always getting into trouble, climbing trees, fighting with the elves in Mithlond, pulling pranks. Adariel felt that she had to keep up with the elves around her, that she wasn't good enough because she was human."
"That does sound familiar," Aragorn chuckled. "I wish I had known her then. What did you do?"
"I sent her to Lake Town when she reached maturity. I wanted her to see that she was not so different from the elves she grew up with. My father was a ranger from Lake Town. My mother was descended from Elves fostered in the House of Haladin. I wanted her to see that she had blood from both races. That it was okay to be different."
"She has blood from kings as well," Boromir said, nodding at Aragorn. "Why was she sent to Amon Hen? Who sent her?"
"I sent her," Laeriel said.
Boromir raised an eyebrow. "Why would you risk your daughter, for me?"
"Círdan had kept in touch with Lord Elrond after the birth of Adariel. We learned about the Council and the Fellowship. We prepared to leave Mithlond as soon as Círdan told us that you were going with the Ring, Aragorn. We arrived too late to join the quest. It was close to a week after the Fellowship left."
"You didn't follow? I find that hard to believe of the woman I knew," Aragorn said.
"Lord Elrond insisted that we stay. The weather was starting to turn and he convinced me to stay behind."
"What could he have said to you to keep you in Rivendell?" Aragorn asked, knowing that Laeriel and Elrond had had words once upon a time.
"He told me he was sorry. Aragorn, he told me that he had warned me away from you because he saw me with Boromir. Trouble was, the woman he had seen was Adariel, not me. When we arrived at Rivendell and he saw Adariel, he knew that the woman he had seen in his vision was her, not me."
"And he regretted scaring you into giving up what we had…" Aragorn said, shaking his head.
"He was right. You were meant to be King. I was never going to be your Queen. It was a dream that I knew I had no right to. I knew from the very beginning that what we had was never going to be more than those few years. You made me so happy, that I nearly lost sight of that."
Boromir watched the two of them, and knew that what he was witnessing was the beginning of the end of a memory that Aragorn had held close to his heart for years. This was a memory and a secret that was going to affect more than just Aragorn. Arwen, the children, the whole kingdom was affected.
"So, you sent Adariel after Boromir. Why?"
"Elrond had been in constant contact with Galadriel. We knew that the Ring was starting to affect the entire Fellowship, but Boromir and Frodo were the most in danger. After the fall of Gandalf, and your arrival in Lothlórien, Galadriel sent word to Elrond that the Fellowship was failing. I overheard Elrond, Erestor and Glorfindel speaking about the danger and ran to find Adariel.
"Elrond had seen her with Boromir and though he had been wrong thinking it was me, I knew that she was instrumental in saving the Fellowship and your quest. I helped her pack and with the help of Celairwen, we got her provisions from the kitchens. She left less than an hour later."
"And she found us at Amon Hen," Aragorn said, remembering that awful day with a heavy heart.
Laeriel looked at Boromir with a sad smile. "I wish she had gotten there sooner, Captain."
"She helped save my life, my Lady. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sending her to me," Boromir replied, tears in his eyes.
"Now we must find her, and my grandson. I need you to tell me everything from the time they were captured until you arrived here in Minas Tirith, Laeriel. I must know it all," Aragorn demanded.
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.