31. A Purpose, Maybe?
It had been a long month of nearly backbreaking work. Starting shortly after they had returned from Imladris Ted and Owen had built a smoke house and started preparing fish for drying and smoking. Owen shared with the villagers several deer he had killed. In exchange, he was given a young pig. Soon it, too, found its way to the growing stores in the shed. Eli had not been enthralled with the butchering process and chose to be away from the cottage that day searching for the odd medicinal plants along the nearby river. The squeals haunted her for days afterwards.
Several new clutches of eggs had increased their small flock of chickens substantially. Eli was able to trade some of them along with eggs in the village for other dry foodstuffs and grain to be ground into flour by the local miller. After much grumbling, they had built a small snug barn to house the now fully-grown goats and store the sweet hay gathered from a nearby meadow for their winter food. Now they were taking a well-deserved rest until the fall crops of vegetables, berries and fruit were ready.
Eli washed the last of the dinner dishes and dried her hands. Turning towards the main part of the cottage, she smiled at the picture her family made. Uncle Ted was busy with his ongoing study from the material that Lord Elrond had sent back with them after their recent visit to Imladris earlier that spring. Her cousin Owen was lounging near the open door taking advantage of the late afternoon daylight to repair a piece of leather lacing on a hunting bag.
Ted frowned and pushed away with a groan from the table. The stack of books and scrolls in front of him had only added to his confusion over the history of the early Eldar years and which was myth and which was real. How could he ever understand it when there were so many conflicting sources? No wonder Tolkien had found himself rewriting so much of the story repeatedly!
“What’s the matter, pop?” Owen looked up at his father questioningly.
“There is no coherence that I can find in any of this. I will have to ask Lord Erestor for some help. Perhaps he can explain it a little better.”
“Too bad you cannot talk to the lady Galadriel, Uncle Ted. Has not she been here the longest of all the elves?” Eli remarked thoughtfully.
Ted nodded. “I agree, but I cannot see that ever occurring, Eli. I would be reluctant to even attempt such a request. She would find it impertinent at the very least. I doubt that Lord Elrond would have been so helpful except for his relationship to you.”
“According to the stories she is proud of her heritage and only grieved that the actions of her uncles led to her ultimate banishment from the Undying Lands because she accompanied them.“ Owen cut the end of the lacing from the bag and sheathed his knife before rising and placing the repaired bag on a growing pile of items next to the storage lean-to.
“She is, but part of the problem was caused by her own desire to be a ruler in her own right. Had she not been so determine to be one she might have remained in Aman.”
“She would have no problem finding out who we were and where we came from were we to meet, so she would be able to also know the outcome that lay ahead for her. That alone may be important enough to ask.” His niece continued.
Ted shook his head. “We cannot risk exposing our knowledge, Eli. There may come a time when you will be able to do so long after we are gone but to do so now is dangerous.”
“I wonder. So much has changed from what we expected. The Lady Amarie had an interesting comment. She suggested the reason we are here is to re establish the time line to the one that we had known of and expected to find.”
“That would be impossible. That would mean, among other things, the removal of Elrond’s second family from existence since there is no mention of them in Tolkien’s writings. We certainly did not expect to find them.”
“You yourself were just complaining about the gaps that existed in their records and the many rewrites that Tolkien made. Perhaps he just decided to simplify the story line and ignored them.”
Ted stared at her in surprise. “I…had not even considered that possibility.”
He paused reflectively. “I wonder what else might be a consideration, like what each of us is here to contribute in the dark days ahead for this troubled world.”
“I am not sure, but several things seem to be leading me to the rangers and I have had some rather interesting dreams.”
“First, do you remember who the Lady Gilraen’s mother was?”
“If I remember rightly, it was a woman named Ivorwen. Why?”
“Do we know who her parents were?”
Ted frowned as he tried to remember. “No, I do not believe the records ever revealed their identity except to say the father was a great warrior and the mother a beautiful lady of a noble linage among the Dunedine.”
Own grinned at his father. “A great warrior, huh? You sure there is no mention of his name or where he came from?”
Eli started to laugh. “You are kidding are you not Owen? You cannot mean to claim you will be Aragorn’s great grand father.”
Startled Ted looked at his son. “That is quite a claim, son. What makes you think it is a possibility?”
With a suddenly serious mien, Owen sighed then continued to explain. “We have all wondered why I was allowed to come. There were good reasons for you both but I was always just an addition. It never made sense to me that you were really in danger, or that there was any reason I was needed. I came because I was the only one without real ties to hold me back there and I knew it would ease both Donald’s and aunt Amanda’s minds.”
Owen gathered his thoughts to explain his earlier claim before continuing. “I have had a number of dreams lately that show me married to a fair haired Dunedine woman and we have a daughter called Ivorwen and a grand daughter named Gilraen. Now, pop, I have never known of Ivorwen but I did know of Gilraen and the time line would be compatible. If it is true than that makes you Aragorn’s great, great grandfather and ties us all into the history rather nicely.”
Ted sat down heavily in the chair he had previously vacated and stared in shock at his son. In all of his deliberations concerning their presence here in Middle Earth, he had never once considered any real purpose for his son’s inclusion. As he digested the possible explanation, he slowly began to grin and shake his head in wonderment. “Is it possible? Is it really possible, son?”
“Well it would have to mean the dreams were a true foretelling but with everything that has happened, I find it hard to believe it was not intended. I will be joining the rangers in a few weeks and Argonul has indicated I would be welcome to marry once I have proven myself.”
Dazed at her cousin’s words Eli joined her uncle in sitting down. Was it really possible that her family were to be tied in two ways to the main history time line of Middle Earth? Were her uncle and cousin to be joined to Elros’s linage as she was tied to Elrond’s? A reaffirmation of the ties binding both together again after all these millennia? If it were true what in the hell was her purpose here?
“Eli, do you think it is possible?” Ted turned towards his niece a hopeful grin spread across his face.
Smiling she shrugged. “I suppose so. Anything is possible Uncle Ted. Just consider where we are. That should be impossible, but it happened.”
“May I join you meldir nin?” A familiar voice called from the open door. All three turned in surprise to see the Gray Pilgrim standing there a broad grin on his face.
“Gandalf, come in, come in, how come you here?” Ted rose and waved him in. “Have you eaten?”
Gandalf swept off the familiar hat, and hung it on a peg beside the door and propped his staff next to it. “I have not. If you have a bit of bread and cheese, it would be most welcome. I am on my way to Lorien.”
“I think we can do a bit better then that Master Gandalf. There is some stew left over from dinner. I just need to reheat it.” Eli moved forward to relieve him of a small pack and gestured towards a pail of water on the bench just outside of the door. “ If you would like to refresh yourself, the water is fresh and cold from the spring.”
He nodded, quickly completed washing up before rejoining them at the table. “What news meldirs nin?” He looked about the cottage. “You appear to have done well for yourselves in spite of all the potential problems you faced.” Eli and Owen looked at Ted and grinned as he eagerly replied.
“We have Master Gandalf. There is much to discuss with you, and some advice I would seek as well.” Ted gestured towards a chair as Owen took a cup and wooden bowl from the nearby cupboard hanging near the fireplace and set it on the table. Eli bustled about setting the remaining stew back on the fire and setting some cheese and bread on the table in front of the wizard.
“I have a bit of peach cobbler Master Gandalf. Would you like a piece while you wait for the stew?” Eli placed the pan on the table and the old wizard leaned forward and studied it.
“Is this a dish from your world, Mistress Elieanne? It appears most curious.”
“It is based upon a recipe from my world, but I had to use honey to sweeten it. I have not found any sugar here to use.” She spooned out a portion and passed it to the wizard.
“Sugar?” He questioned as he dug into the sweet treat.
“It is made from plants called sugar cane and sugar beets. I have not seen any like plants here.”
“It is most delicious, penneth. Now what news have you for me?” Their discussion extended well into the night and he was both amused and delighted with it. He nodded at Ted and Elieann’s description of the visit to Imladris and chuckled over Ted’s frustration over his problems with his efforts to understand and interpret the books Elrond had sent home with him. He watched Elieann as she straightened up after he completed his meal.
“And you penneth? Do you regret being discovered by your ada?” He asked gently.
“Yes and no, Master Gandalf. I still worry what it will mean for him and the Lady Amarie. I feel that as long as I remain unknown he will not be in danger.”
“He has agreed to your requests, has he not? He will let you study there in the healing hall.”
“Then where lies your concern?”
“I do not know. It is just a feeling of unease.”
“It is something you should discuss it with your ada, penneth. His gift of foresight might provide an answer.”
He turned to Owen, “So, you will shortly journey north to begin your training as a ranger. It looks like you will have a busy future, penneth.”
Owen and his father exchanged excited looks much to the wizard’s amusement.
“What is this?” He chuckled at their expression.
“Master Gandalf, how do you know if a repeated dream is a true foretelling?” Owen cautiously asked.
“You believe you have had such a foretelling?”
Owen nodded. “I have dreamed of a certain maiden and that we married. I saw my daughter.”
Gandalf was silent for a long moment as he considered the possibility then he smiled. “I believe it to be a true foretelling. In fact, I am certain of it. Is the maiden a worthy one? Do you believe you will be satisfied with your future here?”
Owen and Ted exchanged big grins and embraced each other in a big bear hug. Owen turned to the old man. “I do not yet know who she is or when I will meet her, sir, but I believe her to be most worthy and if it is a true foretelling then I will have an good impact in a small way on the future of Middle Earth.”
“There is more to this than you are telling me.”
The three humans exchange glances then Eli slowly said. “You know we have found much changed from the story line we expected to find Master Gandalf.”
He nodded through narrow eyes.
She hesitated and queried her uncle. “I suppose it will not hurt to tell him at least a part of what we think this means, Uncle Theodore. It should not change anything significantly.” With his agreement, she turned back to the wizard.
“We believe that the maiden that Owen weds will be among the close ancestors of the future heir of Gondor.” As the wizard straightened up in surprise, Eli shook her head. “We will not tell you how many generations lay between them, Master Gandalf. Please be content with that.”
Gandalf leaned forward on the table and folded his hands carefully. He studied each of them for some time then suddenly smiled. “That will not be necessary Elieann. I have a good idea when that will be from other sources. This must be a great source of pride for you Master Theodore, to count the heir among your descendants.”
“It is Master Gandalf. I have loved your world for so long. To be allowed to become an actual part of its history as well as a student of it is a great honor.”
Gandalf chuckled at his obvious joy and glanced at Owen who was obviously pleased he was able to give his father this gift. “You have been shown your future penneth. I am sure there will be much more ahead for both of you.”
He turned to look at Eli. “You still have to discover your purpose and place, penneth. I hope it pleases you as well.”
Eli bowed her head and sighed. “I hope so too, sir. I fear I will be required to travel this road alone if I do not find it soon.”
Gandalf tsked tsked in sympathy then shook his head. “You will not travel it alone penneth. I have seen a companion for you as well. Like you, he is a bit of a lost soul and searches for his own answers. Do not hesitate to begin your training in the healing hall at Imladris. You will begin to find your answers there. Now penneth, you must wait for the future to unveil its self to you. I cannot reveal anything further.”
Eli raised surprised and frustrated eyes. “Master Gandalf…”
The wizard shook his head. No, penneth. Now is the time for us all to seek our rest. Perhaps you too will have dreams that have a foretelling for you!”
Meldir nin-my friend
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.