1. Chapter One
Imladris did not seem to be about to give up its secrets easily either. "Who am I?" he shouted to the valley but the only reply he received was silence. He had asked many times before but Elrond had only told him he would find out when he was ready. Only now did Estel understand what Elrond meant by that. He was still not certain what to do with this new knowledge.
It was Elladan who intruded on his thoughts by giving him an old answer: "Estel."
"My name is Aragorn," Estel replied, trying out his new name. He was still unsure that he would ever get used to being called that, even after he had said it out loud.
Elladan sat and Estel dropped to the ground beside him and they both gazed out across the valley that was the only home Estel remembered. After some time sitting in silence Elladan spoke. "Tell me what is on your mind."
There was so much he had been thinking about Estel found it difficult to know where to start. "I learnt about all the Kings of Númenor, of Gondor and Arnor, and the Chieftains. I never imagined I was one of them. That my eight times great grandfather had the same name as me."
"I knew them," Elladan said. "They were my friends."
"Am I like any of them?"
Elladan thought for a moment before answering. "Perhaps, but it is difficult to tell since you are but twenty years old. Ask me again when you are older."
Estel nodded. People often commented how like Elrond his sons were but now he wondered how much of who he was had been inherited from Arathorn and how much had been learnt from Elrond. "I suppose," he said, "I have a duty to marry, have children and continue on the line of Isildur."
"Do not be in a rush, Estel. You will live for many years yet. Elrohir and I will make sure of that."
"I do not need you to protect me."
"Oh, you think so, do you? Then who would have saved you from the spider?"
Estel ducked his head in shame, yet he could tell Elladan was still laughing at him from the tone of his voice.
"It was not even as if it was a particularly big spider," Elladan continued.
"It was walking across my eyelid," Estel tried to defend himself but the incident was not likely to be one that either of his foster brothers was ever going to forget. It was not that he was scared of spiders, merely that he had been surprised in his sleep and when he woke the spider nearly fell in his eye. He had almost suspected the twins to have put it there to prove a point.
Luckily for Estel he was spared further embarrassment by the arrival of Elrohir.
"There you are," he said to Elladan as he approached. "Arwen has been looking for you."
"She is here?"
Elladan rose. "Then I had better not keep the lady waiting."
Estel briefly wondered who the lady the brothers spoke of was but dismissed her as being unimportant. Someone would have mentioned her if she were. He caught the look Elladan gave Elrohir as he left from the corner of his eye. The look was the protective one he often saw and it was, as usual, focused on him. He sighed, wondering if they would ever stop doing that, or if he really wanted them to.
Elrohir took Elladan's place beside Estel, who decided to see if he would be any more helpful in deciphering Elrond's words.
"I think," Estel began, twisting the ring of Barahir round his finger, marvelling at its fit, "Elrond thinks I will be king."
"You may very well be. The evil grows yearly and the time of war will soon be upon us."
Estel could not disagree with that statement. Even in his short lifetime the world outside Imladris had changed much. "Elrond mentioned a test, the evil is no doubt part of that, yet I am not certain if I can do it."
"Of course you cannot."
Estel looked at Elrohir, aghast. That had not been what he had expected him to say.
Elrohir laughed. "I merely mean you cannot do it now but one day in the future you will be ready."
"Do you really think so?"
"Of course I do. I know it has not been obvious to you who you are but we all know you can do it. It is in your blood. That is why we have been training you."
"So if I was not so important you would not have spent so much time on me?" Estel moved away from Elrohir slightly but Elrohir would not let him, holding onto his arm with a grip too solid for Estel to escape without a struggle.
Elrohir looked Estel in the eye. "You may be Aragorn, Chieftain of the Dúnedain. You may even be King of Gondor one day. But to us you will always be Estel, our brother. No matter what you do," he said, reassuringly.
Estel gave a small smile of relief and Elrohir relaxed his grip.
"Is that what you were worried about?"
"It is foolish, I know."
"It is true that father took you in because of who you were but once you were here you were a part of this family and you always will be. Never forget that."
Estel looked up at Elrohir. "I won't." He had not wanted to admit that he feared the members of the House of Elrond were doing all of this because they felt it was their duty. Now Elrohir had told him otherwise he wondered how he ever could have thought it.
"I have been trying to decide," Estel said, "if I want to be king."
"Did your thoughts lead you to any conclusion?"
"I think," he said slowly, "that there are many things on Middle-earth that need to be changed to make the people's lives better. If I am king I will be in a position to change them."
Elrohir laughed. "You will make a good king, Estel."
Estel smiled back and Elrohir rose. "Come, it is getting late."
"I am not longer a child," Estel said, but nevertheless took Elrohir's hand to stand beside him.
"But you are, Estel, and you will be to us, until the day you die."
Estel walked back to the house with Elrohir feeling much happier about his identity and his destiny. It was amazing how much a mere talk with a brother could achieve.
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.