10. On The Road Again
everything he owned in the world piled up on his bed.
Turned gratefully at a knock at the door.
"Come in." delightedly: "Dan!"
The young Ranger smiled. "The Captain tells me
you're joining us."
Beomann nodded, looked again at the bed. "But I
don't know what to take."
Dan raised his eyebrows slightly. "You didn't have
any trouble packing for your last trip to Annuminas
Beomann shook his head. "But that was just for a
short visit, now I'm going there to *live* - maybe for
"That does make a difference." Dan agreed, studied
the heap on the bed. "Well you're not going to need
that," he said pointing to Beomann's holiday suit,
"but you are definitely going to be wanting *that*."
and the pointing finger shifted to the sword from the
The Breelander smiled palely. "I figured out that
much for myself."
"I think you can leave the ninepins and throwing
rings," Dan continued with twinkle in his eye as
Beomann blushed, "but take the bow and the folding
"It's not much of a bow, just for playing at
rovers." Beomann said apologetically.
"It will do for target practice at least, until we
can get you another." the Ranger answered. "What is
this, a book?"
Beomann blushed again, even redder. "Oh that. A
trader came through a few years ago with a lot of odds
and sods from some estate sale in the Shire. It's a
collection of old stories."
"So I see," Dan said, turning the pages. "'The
Coming of the King', 'The Tale of Whiteflower', 'The
Dragon of Gram Mountain', 'The Deed of the
Woodcutter's Son', 'The Song of the Lonely Queen',
'The Quest of the Knights of the North'..." he shook
his head wonderingly. "I'd never have guessed your
folk or the Little Ones remembered so much from the
"You thought we'd forgotten about the Kings didn't
you?" Beomann challenged.
"Frankly yes. It has been a dozen lives of your
kind of Men since there was a King in the North, more
than enough time to be forgotten. Or so we all
"Well you were wrong."
"So I see." Dan smiled ruefully. "And not for the
Beomann licked his lips. "Are they true, the
stories I mean."
"Oh yes," the Ranger answered, still studying the book.
"well mostly. We have histories that tell them in
Beomann's face lit up - then fell. "In Westron?"
"Some, but many more are written in Sindarin, or
the High Tongue of Old."
"Are those hard to learn?" Beomann asked anxiously.
"Very. Or so the Men of Rhudaur tell us." Dan
smiled encouragingly. "But you will have all the help
you could wish for if you want to try."
When he came downstairs, saddlebags packed, Beomann
discovered his Dad and Mum had bought him a horse
as a going away present, one of the fine Thornhill
riding stock favored by all the gentry. A beautiful
animal, bright bay with black stockings and an
intelligent eye, who must have cost a mort of silver
Beomann was touched almost to tears by the
gesture, and found himself choking up in the most
unexpected and embarrassing way - and at his age too!
- as he said his good-byes.
The Rangers - the *other* Rangers Beomann reminded
himself - had tacfully taken themselves off to the
stableyard so he had a chance to pull himself together
and dry his eyes before going to join them.
Half the town turned out to see them go. Beomann,
acutely aware of the sword buckled over his jacket,
and breeches, was certain he looked more than a little
ridiculous even on the new horse. But happily the
townsfolk's attention was mostly on young Daeron and
his sister, Ranger children being something they'd
never seen or even imagined before.
Beomann caught more than a few disapproving looks
and somber headshakings among the old gaffers, but
saw also some wistful and even envious expressions
on the faces of the younger folk. Then they were out
the open gate and on the Great Road heading westward.
"What is his name?" Gil asked.
Beomann blinked blankly up at him then realized the
Ranger was talking about his new horse. "Brandywine,
like the river."
"Which we call the Baranduin. 'Baran' meaning
golden brown and 'duin' river."
"So duin is your word for river." Beomann said
tucking the fact away.
"One of them." Gil answered. "'Sir' is also river,
deriving from an ancient High Elven root meaning
'flow' as of water. Or 'Celu' which refers
specifically to swift running waters."
"Duin, Sir, Celu." Beomann repeated. "Three
different names for the same thing?"
"Elves love words and coined many, each with its
own subtle shades of meaning." Gil explained. "One of
the things that make their languages so difficult to
learn and even harder to use correctly."
"That's encouraging." Beomann said gloomily.
The Ranger smiled. "Yet many Men have learned to
speak both tongues well, no reason why you should not
- if you are willing to work at it."
"I want to read those books Dan mentioned." Beomann
"Then we shall have to teach you the tengwar, the
Elvish script, as well."
"They can't even write with the same letters as the
rest of us?" the Breelander demanded almost
"All letters are Elven in origin." Gil replied
calmly. "Eastern Men and the Dwarves adapted the Grey
Elven cirth to their own uses. But the Tengwar is the
alphabet of the High Elves of the West, adopted by the
Fathers of Men in ancient times." he smiled. "But
since Men are changeable by nature we must needs alter
anything that comes to our hand to suit ourselves. The
letters you learned are not quite the same as those
used by my kin which have deviated least from the
Beomann sighed. "Fine. So I have to learn two
languages and a new alphabet as well. It'll give me
something to do in between fighting Wights and Bandits
and Orcs and what else."
Gil laughed. "Don't forget rebuilding long ruined
"I haven't." said Beomann.
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