Many Guises and Many Names
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Rangers of the North: 11. Queen of the Lost Realm
members of the ever increasing Royal House at Elrond's
table that evening.
Chief among them the Lady Gilraen, mother to the
Lord Aragorn, a beautiful silver haired woman in a
rose red gown who reminded Hurin of a gentler, sadder
Lady Gilmith. She smiled at him. "You seem troubled,
"Say rather bewildered, my Lady." he corrected
ruefully. "For five hundred years Gondor has thought
the House of the Kings extinct, it's something of a
shock to find it flourishing here in the North."
"Would that we were." she answered wryly. "Ellemir
and Arador, our Fourteenth Chieftain, had but three
children. The eldest being my husband Arathorn." a
shadow passed over her face, "He was slain just a few
years after our marriage, Aragorn is our only child."
Hurin murmured sympathetically. She smiled again to
reassure him and continued. "You have met my husband's
younger brother Armegil and his wife Gilmith who is my
sister." Ah, that explained the likeness. "Gilvagor is
She nodded towards a youth of about nineteen years
seated farther down the table who strongly favored the
Lady Ellemir, his grandmother, meaning he looked
enough like the Lord Elrond to be his son instead of
"Arathorn had also a sister, Ellian, between
himself and Armegil in age. The twins and Iril are
the children of her daughter, Beruthiel. You have met
her son Belecthor I think?" he nodded. "Angwen there
is his daughter," she indicated a young girl, about
the same age as Gilvagor, a classic Numenorean beauty
with dark hair, creamy skin and blue-grey eyes. "and
Gelion is his son." Gilraen finished.
Hurin stared at the little boy sureptitiously
flipping nutshells at Princess Niphredil, unable to
see any resemblance at all to his grimly regal sire.
Gelion looked up unexpectedly, their eyes met and
Hurin experienced an sudden flash of Sight; a Man even
taller than Belecthor with the same grave, chisled
features and a star upon his brow. He blinked and it
was gone. Reached for his goblet and took a quick,
restorative gulp of wine.
He was not given to Seeings, that gift too had
faded in the South, and was uncertain what to make of
this one. Had he Seen young Gelion as a Man wearing
the star of the Northern Kings? or some royal ancestor
of Isildur's Line?
Gilraen didn't seem to have noticed anything amiss.
"So you see there are none so many of us as all that.
Now, tell me about my son! You know him well?"
"I cannot say anyone knows Thorongil well, save
perhaps my grandfather. He is reserved and silent and
difficult to come near." Hurin began slowly. "But he
is much admired," smiled a little, "indeed we younger
knights fairly worship the ground he treads, and not
just for his skill at arms." he struggled to put into
words the effect Thorongil had on the Men around him.
"For all his quietness there is a power in him -
no, say rather a light that draws us to him like moths
whether he will it or no. He cloaks himself in shadow
and silence trying to hide the flame within him but
ever and anon it flashes out and dazzles us -" Hurin
stumbled to a halt, flushing. "I am talking nonsense."
But Gilraen's smile held understanding not
derision. "No you're not. I know exactly what you
And no doubt she did, for had he not seen the exact
same fire in Armegil, Belecthor and the twins? And
yes, the Lady Ellemir as well. Looking down the table
he saw it again, burning bright and unconcealed in
young Gilvagor. The boy had not yet learned to hide
his power, but he would. Like his father and cousins
he would cloak himself in Ranger green and
impenetrable reserve and walk concealed and unknown
among his people all his life - unless the King should
Hurin was not surprised when the Lady Ellemir and
Lady Gilraen joined the company in Lord Elrond's
withdrawing room, which included also the twins,
Cemendur and himself. By now he was accustomed to the
manners of the North where the ladies, rather than
retreating to apartments of their own for gossip and
cakes after dining, sat with the Men in serious talk
over good wine.
Ellemir was gowned in silvery violet silk beneath a
gauzy white mantle sewn thick with pearls in intricate
interlacing patterns, a pearled circlet upon her brow.
Not young but very beautiful, stern and queenly with
the Elven light bright in her eyes.
Lord Elrond sat beside her, like enough to be her
brother rather than the remote ancestor he was, winged
brows drawn together in a slight frown. And at his
left hand was the Lady Gilraen an altogether gentler
presence, her brilliance muted.
"So Armegil has persuaded you to return to Gondor
and keep silent about the Dunedain of the North." the
Elf Lord began, almost accusingly.
"My Lord, the Prince has told us an open alliance
would mean the destruction of both our peoples, and we
have not the knowledge to gainsay him." Cemendur
replied, then ventured cautiously: "Certainly that is
not the answer we wished to take home with us."
"Armegil is the Heir and Chief of the Rangers in
Aragorn's absence but he does not speak for the
Dunedain." Elrond declared austerely. "It is not for
him to accept or reject alliance with Gondor."
"Yet my son's concerns are not unfounded." the Lady
Ellemir observed. "We Dunedain chose to disappear a
thousand years ago to protect our country folk from
the ire of the Dark Lord, which we will surely bring
down upon ourselves and them if he learns we survive.
Already we are hard pressed, it is unlikely we could
withstand an open attack."
Lord Elrond's hand slammed down on the arm of his
chair. "The Dunedain cannot hide forever! Already your
numbers have dimished over the long years. Would you
wait until your enemies have devoured all but a tithe
of your people before you move?"
"I would wait until the time is right." Lady
Ellemir returned coolly. Saw the Gondor Men's puzzled
looks and explained. "It is I who speak for the
Dunedain in the Chieftain's absence. As head of the
House of the King's Sword I am hereditary Steward of
the Realm and regent." She smiled at Hurin. "Not
unlike the Hurionath." (1)
Hurin blinked. He was not unaccustomed to strong
Women, his mother was one such and his sisters
promised to be two more, but he had never before met
one who held power in her own right rather than
through the indulgence of some Man, father, husband or
son. Clearly the Law of Tar-Aldarion, allowing for
female succession, was still followed in the Lost
"Gondor is also hard pressed, yet she still
stands." Hurin put forward cautiously. "If we could
divide Sauron's attention, and his forces -"
"The Dark Lord's designs are not yet complete,"
Lord Elrond agreed, "if we could strike now, Men and
Elves united as in the Elder Days -"
"But can they be united?" Ellemir asked. "Lord
Cemendur has already expressed his doubts."
"The claim of the Heirs of Isildur to the throne of
Gondor was denied twice by the Council of the Realm."
the Cemendur said unhappily, added quickly as Elrond
took breath to argue. "My Lord whether this was justly
done or not, done it was and we must deal with the
"Then let Aragorn call himself the Heir of Anarion
instead." the Elf Lord snapped. "Tis true enough."
"Say rather the Heir of Elendil." said Ellemir. "I
am the last of the Elemmirioni, in my children and
grandchildren the three lines of descent from Elendil
are united." (2)
"But will such a change in style make any
difference to the Gondorim?" Ereinion asked Cemendur.
The Councillor could only shake his head. "My Lord,
I cannot say. Maybe."
"And maybe it would be best to avoid the question
altogether." Ellenion suggested. "Are we not both
still bound by the treaty Araphant and Ondoher made?"
Lord Elrond looked as if he was going to object but
Cemendur was before him. "I'm sorry, my Lord, but that
cannot be done. Once it is known an Heir of Elendil
survives the question of the kingship will be raised
and must be faced."
"This matter of an alliance is beyond my
authority." Ellemir said crisply. "It is for the Lord
of the Dunedain himself to decide whether or no it is
time to abandon our secrecy. Just as it is for him to
decide whether to claim his throne. Go back to Gondor,
my Lord Cemendur, and make your case to my grandson."
Hurin felt his hopes rise. Of course the choice by
right belonged to Thorongil, and while none of these
Northern Dunedain could be expected to have much
feeling for Gondor Thorongil - the Lord Aragorn - knew
and loved her.
Elrond too seemed satisfied to leave the matter in
his nephew's hands. "Very well then, we must see you
get safely home."
"Ereinion and I have already undertaken to guide
them over the High Passes." Ellenion assured his uncle
and Elrond nodded his approval.
"A moment, my Lady." Hurin said suddenly, rising as
they all turned questioning eyes on him. "Lord
Ellenion spoke of the treaty between Araphant and
Ondoher. Prince Armegil told us how you have kept it
all these long years. It seems to me high time Gondor
made some return."
"It has been for us to make repayment for the fleet
King Earnur sent to our aid." the Lady Ellemir assured
"That was a thousand years and several wars ago."
Hurin retorted. "Thorongil's service has been of great
value to Gondor. Though I cannot possibly match his
deeds I would make due return by taking service with
his people." and moving forward he knelt at the Lady's
"Hurinya -" Cemendur began.
"I'm sure my Grandfather will approve once he knows
the facts of the matter." Hurin interupted firmly
without turning, continued with his eyes fixed on
Ellemir's. "I cannot claim to be the Lord Aragorn's
equal in birth but I am the only son of the Lord
Steward's elder daughter and third in line for the
White Rod after the Lord Denethor and his son
Winged eyebrows lifted slightly in thoughtful
"You say your grandsire will approve, Lord Hurin,
but what of your father and mother?" the Lady Gilraen
asked gently. "You are their only son, might they not
begrudge your absence?"
"My father is dead." Hurin said quietly. "And my
mother - will understand. As you, Lady, understand the
reasons for your only son's long absence."
"I hope that is so." Gilraen said softly.
"Very well," the Lady Ellemir decided, "if you are
resolved on this, my Lord Hurin, I accept your service
in the name of Aragorn Dunadan, Isildur's Heir." she
laid a light, firm hand upon his bent head. "As the liege
man binds himself to the Lord so is the Lord bound to
the liege." she said then continued in the High Elven
tongue: "Vanda sina termaruva Elenna-noreo alcar
enyalien ar Elendil Voronda Voronwe. Nai tiruvantes i
harar mahalmassen mi Numen ar i Eru i or ilye mahalmar
ea tennoio." (3)
Hurin shivered, recognizing the ancient Quenya
formula. Only the Kings of Old had dared to bind
themselves by oaths in Eru's name. That this Woman
should do so was a potent reminder of her Blood and
1. Ellemir owes her position as regent for Aragorn to
this hereditary office rather than her rank as widow
and mother and grandmother of three Chieftains.
2. The Elemmirioni, (aka House of the King's Sword)
descended from Elendil's daughter, Elemmire, who acted
as regent for Valandil during his minority. Her heirs,
the Princes of Dunhirion, were also Stewards of Arnor
and Constables of Annuminas.
(3) "This oath shall stand in memory of the glory of
the Land of the Star and of the faith of Elendil the
Faithful, in the keeping of those who sit upon the
thrones of the West and of the One above all thrones
Those who bound themselves by oath to the Kings of
Elendil's Line put themselves in those Kings' power
and that power could be terrible indeed as the fate of
the Oathbreakers of Dunharrow shows. In return the
Kings of Old bound themselves by the most solemn oath
possible not to abuse that power. Nor can any be said
to have ever done so.
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