1. Taking Leave
'After a few years Gilraen took leave of Elrond and returned to her own people in Eriador, and lived alone; and she seldom saw her son again, for he spent many years in far countries. But on a time, when Aragorn had returned to the North, he came to her, and she said to him before he went:
'"This is our last parting, Estel, my son. I am aged by care, even as one of lesser Men; and now that it draws near I cannot face the darkness of our time that gathers upon Middle-earth. I shall leave it soon."
'Aragorn tried to comfort her, saying: "Yet, there may be a light beyond the darkness; and if so, I would have you see it and be glad."
'But she answered only with this linnod:
Onen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim,
and Aragorn went away heavy of heart.'
LOTR: Appendix A.v: Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen
The fields of my childhood lie fallow, their fruit harvested long ago. The furrows stretch dark and choked with weeds beneath the moon. Stones, tumbled from the crest of the walls that hem in the pasture, lie carelessly strewn as if at the bottom of the river from which they were drawn. The forest marches dark and silent upon the edge of the meadow. It is quiet here, for my mother has forsaken the halls of Elrond and returned to her kin, to live alone in this house.
Here I return to a home that I have not known since first I learned the speech of Men. I have scant memory of this place, though once I knew the fields when they grew high with grain and the pasture when it was full of sheep and cattle. Perhaps the flash of sunlight upon the water of the river in my eyes and a mother's sharp call to her errant child when he strayed too near its depths. Or the thudding of my heart and my father's laughter when he set his young son upon the high back of his steed.
"Estel nín," she had said at our parting tonight and brushed her knuckles upon my cheek as if I were still a boy, her skin thin silk over bones as light as a bird's. For that moment, I saw her with the eyes of my father, the beauty that held him bound. Well do I understand it. And full well does my heart dread the day the door of that gentle trap shall spring open.
'Onen i-Estel Edain…'
Would that I could see these fields as she does, to know the days when she had husband and home, when she claimed hope as her own.
'ú-chebin estel anim.'
Would that she could see the world as I do, to trust the promise of days when all hopes may yet be fulfilled beyond the gathering Dark.
But, the night is cool, and though I cannot sleep, the tree against which I lean my back is strong and the leaf which I smoke smells sweet. In sleep's stead, I must content myself with watching the moon rise over the remains of my father's home, for, when this night is done, I return to the world of men.
I must away. And when I leave, I take my mother's hope with me. May she find some small peace in what memories remain.
Estel nín : My Hope
Onen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim: I gave Hope to the Dúnedain, I have kept no hope for myself.
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