So, so nice to see Dírmaen - and the Chieftain's guests! Such perfect words: graceful ambiguity.
Wonderful descriptions and details as always, from the practical plausibility of the Dúnedain arrangements (I can certainly go along with your author's notes, BTW, and love the RL historical parallel you pointed out), to the heir (I suspected he was someone out of the ordinary from the first, and love the reference to Elvish fostering influences and how Arador is expected to do the more menial tasks for elder Rangers), to the whole debriefing and conversation surrounding Saelon (please, someone - name at least one of those Elves!). Dírmaen's attitude towards women - or at least Saelon in particular - seems more and more atypical, making me all the more eager to meet those who influenced his maturing...
Great ending. Argonui is a perceptive and gracious lord, indeed, and I am happy that fate's fickle favor (or authorial intent, as the case may be *g*) is finally granting Dírmaen a much-needed respite. I too think that this is exactly what is needed, circling around in a lovely way to your intro quote. Although I seem to recall references to several concerned females where he is going - he may find a great many more people thinking that he needs "feeding up"!
Terrific story, and I'm going to have a terrible time waiting for the continuation to find out where you are taking us next!