2010 HASA Birthday Stories
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Nath's 2010 Birthday Presents: 2. Stones, Kings, and Brothers - by maeglin
2938 T. A.
Erestor recited. "Tall ships and tall kings, three times three. What brought they from the foundered land, over the flowing sea? Seven stars and seven stones, and one white tree."
This rhyme was memorized by children from Rivendell to Dol Amroth, at least those who had chosen their parents well. The counsellor of Imladris waited expectantly as the fosterling repeated the words.
"But that's nine kings and only seven stars and stones! What happened to the other two?"
The Elf smiled - the boy showed promise. "Perhaps, Estel, seven stars and seven stones were all they ever possessed. Even kings must share some things among themselves."
"Oh. Like Anarion and Isildur shared Gondor?"
"Yes, more or less. One kingdom, two kings. They did quite well, for a while. I met them both, you know. One day, I will tell you of them."
"Tell me now!"
"You are not quite ready, Estel. Soon enough. But for now, know that they were brothers, loyal both to each other and to their father Elendil, the High King. Both did many great deeds."
"Brothers? I guess that would make it easier to share. I wish I had a brother." The boy looked down sadly for a moment. "I mean, I have Elladan and Elrohir, but they're so old! I wish I had a younger brother."
Erestor at first held back a laugh at hearing the twins described as "old". But then it occurred to him that the brothers Elrondion were no longer young by any standard. Nearly twenty yeni had passed since their birth, yet he still thought of them as little more than children! This made him feel very old, for a moment. How time had flown...
"I too, wish you had a younger brother, Estel, but it is not to be. However, as you grow up, you may find Men you account as your brothers, and that is almost as good. In my youth, I had only a sister, but my best friend was as close to me as any brother could be. And here in Imladris, I account Glorfindel a brother. Though we argue over which one of us is the elder!" I do hope you find such friends, young one.
Suddenly Erestor knew he would one day tell this mortal child the true tale of the seven stars and stones. Why seven, indeed, for nine kings? Because, of course, only seven had been made. For another set of brothers who had braved many perils, and been as loyal to one another as they were to their father.
But he would not tell the boy that tale any time soon. Not until Aragorn had grown, seen battle, and borne the hardship the Elf sensed was his doom to bear. Perhaps not even before he was old and grey.
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