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Heirs of Gondor  by Aelaer

III: Return to Rivendell

It is near a fortnight past the first day of December when I finally see Imladris once more. My journey was a wearisome one. After all, one does not go to the ruins of Tharbad and back in under two months at a leisurely pace. Still, Halbarad was with me, which made the long journey all the more tolerable.

Before I came back to Imladris, I visited the largest settlement of the Dúnedain in the Angle. Before starting my own long journey, I had ordered some of my own men to scout all about the area between the two rivers, from the Last Bridge to the point where the two rivers meet. In the settlement, all of my scouts met with me and I gathered their reports for Elrond.

When I came to the Last Homely House, I gave the master of Imladris welcome news. The Dúnedain searched thoroughly along the area southwest of the valley, and there were no signs of the Nazgûl, thus adding to our hope that they had left the North and retreated back to Mordor.

It is now just a minute after my meeting with him. While I am hungry, the thought of a soft bed is much more enticing at the moment, and so I retreat to my room. Despite it being mid-morning, I am weary and in need of rest.

I walk down a couple halls to my chambers, and stumble upon one I am in no mood to banter with: Boromir. He is currently gazing at a painting of Gil-galad and Elendil. I have no ill feelings for the man, but I am not so sure what he thinks about me. While it is certainly not open animosity, I do not think he particularly likes me, either, though I cannot be certain after only a couple brief meetings.

He hears my footsteps within the silent corridor and turns to me. I can see the surprise in his eyes when he sees it is I. "Aragorn. Welcome back."

"Thank you," I reply. When it looks he is to say no more, I continue my journey to my room. His voice stops me just as I pass him.

"You said at the Council that you little resemble Elendil as he stands carven in my father's halls," he started. "I agreed with you then. You do not resemble the statue. But," he continued, staring once more at the picture, "I have never seen a painting of King Elendil. And from the paintings of Gondor I have seen here, I cannot doubt the skill of the elves." Boromir frowned slightly. "He looks different here, but real. And you resemble him quite a bit."

I turn to the painting in question, and study it for the first time in decades. I see Elendil the Tall in all of his glory, with both power and peace lying in his features. He has dark hair and grey eyes, as all of my ancestors, but I cannot see the resemblance that the son of the steward says is there.

"I am afraid I cannot see it," I tell him.

"It's quite obvious!" he replies in turn. "Look, see the shape of his chin? It is the same as yours. Granted, it's likely more obvious once you're clean-shaven, but it is there. And you both have a long forehead. And your eyes..." He takes a long look at my face, and then turns back to the painting, "yours are a bit smaller, but you both have that look in them."

"What look?" I cannot help but ask.

"Strength," he says after a moment. "And light, I suppose. I'm not quite sure what would be the best term to describe it; my brother was always better at poetics."

I glance at Boromir and study his face. He is now concentrating heavily on the painting, lost in his thoughts. I will not try to guess what the man of Gondor is thinking about. I cannot come up with an answer to his comment, so after a moment of silence I bid him farewell and walk the last few feet to my chambers.

I am not sure what Boromir meant, comparing me to Elendil. I do not dare to believe that he is accepting me; no, not yet. He is forthright and will tell me when he does believe in my strength. I can only hope that he is starting down that road, for I will need his support throughout the coming days.

And, admittedly, I wish for it.

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