Stories of Arda Home Page
About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search

Ponderings on a Routine Morn  by PSW

I have been a warrior and wanderer for most of my days, and the weapons I have honed to sharpest edge are not for times such as these.

I know very little of peace and plenty. Imladris of my youth seems Ages past—and even then, there was not truly so much peace in Elrond’s halls as I remember. Dark and anxious were those years for the Elves and for my kin, and yet Elrond and my mother protected and nurtured me in what seemed an endless joyful content. I would give that, if I am able, to the child who lies now beneath Arwen’s belt.

I am not certain how. Looking back, I wonder if perhaps Elrond, for all his wisdom, did not himself feel quite prepared for such a task. His life, after all, has held little more peace than mine. How then did he do it? I wish I had thought to ask before he sailed forever beyond my reach, the only father I have ever known.

Short were those sun-drenched years, in any event. I remember little more of them now than my mother’s hands, my father’s stories, my brothers’ laughter. The outside world intruded before I was grown fully to manhood—training and weapons and my first deadly skirmishes in company with loved ones who were far grimmer and more dangerous than I had realized as a child. It did not take long for me to become so as well. Long journeys, short commons, battling and skulking, hunter and prey. At times a Leader of Men, at times subordinate to some greater rank. Learned heir of kings and feral creature of the wild.

More often, in recent decades, the latter. Evil things multiplied in the untamed north, and my Rangers were too few. Rarely in those years before the Fellowship did I have the luxury to build my fire in the same place twice. An apt name, did the Bree-folk bestow upon me those many years past.

Therein, I believe, lies the dissonance which now gnaws upon my soul. I have been accustomed to the embrace of the wild upon sleeping and waking, yet here there is naught but the depth of my mattress and the sounds of the city. I have been accustomed to lean, tough fare broken only briefly by the richness of Elrond’s table. The food here is heavy, constant and far too filling. I will require a daily training regimen soon just to fit into my trousers. I have been accustomed to fighting my own battles. Here, I cannot step out of my door without a three-man honor guard always at my back (an uncomfortable place, for a man who has spent so many years watching his own). I have been accustomed to living invisibly, in the shadow of tree and rock. Here, at least a dozen eyes are always upon me. I have been accustomed to the long loneliness—I suffered it until I grew, in some strange way, to crave its silent companionship. Here, they all vie for my attention and approval. 

I am never alone here. And yet, no one knows me.

My father has gone, and though I know he yet lives, his going carried the finality of death—and greater finality still. His departure was a bitter thing for not only my Lady wife. My brothers are far afield, joined with my Rangers in the north to put down leftover pockets of Orcs and other evil things. Those of my Rangers closest to my heart suffered the greatest losses during the war, as they kept ever faithful by my side. The Fellowship has separated—some to their homes, some to new tasks. Gandalf and Frodo along the same path as Elrond, though to slightly different ends. Even my Lord Steward, so recently met yet so easily brought into my closest confidence, has more than enough to keep him occupied in the reclaiming of his beloved Ithilien.

Only Arwen now, of all who reside within Minas Tirith, knows Aragorn before Elessar.

Truly, she cannot return quickly enough. I do not begrudge her flight to Emyn Arnen—the people of Gondor do not understand my Lady’s delight in creating by her own hand the wardrobe for our coming child. Among these folk the great ladies leave their sewing for servants and for purchase. It is simply their way, and an act of charity besides. Many a widow made by accident or illness or war has supported herself and her children by this noble profession. It is not, however, Arwen’s way, and one more well-meaning lady attempting to remove a half-finished bootie from my Lady’s hands might indeed have provoked an incident. She will return from Ithilien with a great mound of tiny clothing and a much-sweetened disposition.

Without her, however, I find myself at a loss—utterly disconnected and nearly lacking the motivation to rise in the morning from my overly soft mattress. It is more difficult to drive myself forward through this strange lassitude when I need not put forth any effort to hide from her its depths. My routine tasks are certainly no enticement. Paperwork and speeches and long audiences and endless meetings are all the days hold. Perhaps a hard ride across the Pelennor ere darkness falls, if there is time and I am able to sufficiently whittle down the number who wish to attend before the hour becomes too late.

After the child is born—my son, my heir, my long-held dreams made flesh—I will insist upon riding out myself once more. Patrols, sorties … then, perhaps, concerns further afield. I understand the unease of my people. Long has tarried the return of their King, and they are not content yet for me to leave their sight. I have acceded to their wishes until my line is secure, but I will not be a King who steps never from the heights. I cannot.  If they only knew, my careful counselors and attentive guards, how many times over the decades—over the centuries, truly—the line was nearly brought to ruin… Yet it endured. endured. And I will not begin at this late hour to live my life in fear of its end.

I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.*

Yes. This malaise will pass. I am not ungrateful for the gifts I have been given. Indeed, I have been blessed far beyond all other Men. I would not trade my life for any other upon Middle Earth. But … they hold challenges I did not anticipate, these days of the King.


*Jack London

Home     Search     Chapter List