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of Darkness" > "Hope"
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He awoke with a start, fighting off the bed sheets
that had wrapped
themselves around his arms and tummy while he was sleeping. Sitting in
the middle of the huge elven bed, five year old Aragorn tried hard to
calm his breathing. He wiped the tears from his eyes on the sleeves of
his sleeping shirt and sniffed quietly in the dark. It was the same
dream he had been having ever since he had been dropped off here in
Rivendell only two months ago now.
He never told anyone about the demons that haunted
him in sleep; the
ones who had killed his parents. He saw them again and again. And
always it ended the same.
Lord Elrond was kind to him and the elder elf
had been very patient with the young boy and although he liked his new
family, he still missed his parents terribly. Thoughts of his mother
broke out in a sob and he began to hiccup as he sat alone in the dark
A slight breeze blew outside Elrond's house
whistling down the gorge
that Rivendell had been built into. The trees near Aragorn's room bowed
under the gentle onslaught, their branches scraping against his window
harmlessly. The noise was enough to startle the little boy and, without
further thought, he slid off the tall bed and pelted down the hallway
Standing in front of the tall oaken doors, Aragorn
stood on his tiptoes
and grasped the gold ornamented doorknob, slowly turning it and
releasing the door catch. Nervously he glanced inside the huge room.
Stopping himself, he chanced a look back down the
searching for signs that any of the elves were awake. No one was
present, however, and the only sound was the moaning of the wind as it
sighed through the gully passing on its way to the higher mountains.
Swallowing back his fears, Aragorn squeezed through the narrow opening
in the doorway and quietly padded up next to Elrond's bed.
The tall bed was covered in silken sheets that fell
in folds from where
the elf lay sleeping. Aragorn could barely see the top of the sleep
couch, so he quietly climbed the wooden frame, catching hold of the
sheets, and pulled himself up to lean over the elf and stare at him.
Elrond was asleep on his back, his mouth slightly
open and his hands
resting across his chest. But it was the elf's eyes that caused
Aragorn's heart to seize in his chest. Lord Elrond's eyes were open.
The child watched him for a few seconds to see if he would blink;
perhaps the elf were merely awake and thinking. But when Elrond did not
move or blink, horror swept through the child. The only people he had
ever seen who lay perfectly still with their eyes open were dead
Tears welled up in his eyes afresh as fear spiked
through him. Pressing
his hands against Lord Elrond's shoulder, he shook the adult, calling
out his name through the sobs that wracked his small body.
Drawing in a deep breath, the elderly elf blinked
his eyes and turned
towards the disturbance in his room. Coming fully awake, he sat up in
his bed and frowned towards the side of his bed. He was sure someone
had been in the room calling his name and shaking him, but there was no
one there now.
When the elf lord had blinked his eyes and sat up,
Aragorn had been so
surprised that he had slipped from the bed frame and jumped back into
the interior of the room. Standing perfectly still, he waited to see
what would happen. Maybe the elf would simply overlook him.
But Elrond had elf eyes and easily spotted the
frightened child when he
sat up. His frown softened to concern as he shifted his legs off the
bed and sat on the edge of the mattress, leaning down to look at the
"Aragorn? What are you doing up at this hour?" He
asked the little boy
softly, though he was sure he knew the answer. He and his sons had been
aware of the child's nightmares and had spent many nights sitting with
the human until he fell back to sleep.
Aragorn's eyes were huge and his mouth fell open as
he took a step back,
trying to understand what he had just seen with what he knew to be true.
Elrond became concerned and knelt down on the soft
himself eye level with the child. "Tell me Aragorn, what happened?" He
could see the tears streaming down the boy's face and gently held out
Pointing toward the elf but unable to move, he spoke
around the sobs
that were just settling, his words tumbling around the hitching in his
breathing, "Your eyes were open."
The elf lord frowned slightly, not quite following
the child's unease, "Yes, little one."
"But I ...I thought that meant..." Aragorn didn't
finish the sentence,
he couldn't, and he dropped his gaze guiltily to the floor.
Elrond still was at a loss as to the child's
distress. Leaning forward, he
gently hooked his long fingers under the tiny chin and lifted Aragorn's
head until the boy was forced to look into his eyes. "You thought
His voice was soft and encouraging and Aragorn
swallowed hard as he
finished speaking, his words a mere whisper as they fell from his
mouth, "I thought you were dead, sir."
"Oh Aragorn." Sudden realization hit the elf,
stealing his breath away
for a moment as he gathered the boy in his arms and held the tiny human
tightly against him.
Aragorn laid his head on the elf lord's tunic and
pressed his ear
against Elrond's chest, listening to the steady beat of the elven
heart. His hands tightened involuntarily in the folds of the silky
shirt as the elf picked him up and sat back down on the edge of the
Not quite knowing how to proceed and now finally understanding the
child's fears, Elrond rocked the boy for a few minutes before he spoke
When he spoke his voice was very soft, but it
reverberated loudly in
his chest under Aragorn's ear and the child did not move. "Aragorn,
elves sleep with their eyes open." He stroked the boy's hair with his
free hand and continued, "So when you saw me, I was merely sleeping.
You have nothing to worry about."
Aragorn nodded slightly. But then a thought wrapped
itself around his
young mind and he pushed away from the elf and stared up into the large
dark eyes, "Maybe then my parents were just sleeping? Maybe they
weren't dead after all!"
The hope in the little boy's eyes stabbed through
the elder elf's heart
and he looked away with a sigh before returning the gaze that was
begging him to agree. "Such hope in such a little person. You should
have been named Estel." He
smiled down at the boy. He couldn't bear to
explain the truth to the child and stare into the huge tear filled
eyes. Pulling the child back into his arms he waited until Aragorn had
once again settled against him and continued to explain.
"Humans don't sleep with their eyes open, Aragorn.
Only elves do." He waited to see how the boy would respond.
When Aragorn didn't speak, he leaned down to look
into the child's face. "Aragorn?"
The boy nodded, trying hard not to cry again. "I
understand. I just...
hoped." He fidgeted with the button on the elf's shirt near his hand,
not meeting the elf's eyes.
"Estel." Elrond rocked back, holding the boy a
little tighter and looked
off to the far wall shaking his head. The deals fate handed them were
sometimes cruel and hard. Humans lived such short lives. He really
hadn't wanted to grow attached to the child when they had brought him
to Rivendell. Now as he comforted Aragorn he realized it was too late
and smiled wryly to himself.
After several minutes, Elrond spoke again. "Are you
ready to go back to your own bed now?"
Aragorn stalled. It felt so safe to sit here in the
older elf's arms
and it had been a long time since he had remembered feeling that way.
Quietly he finally responded, "Can I just stay here for a little bit
longer?" He tightened his hold around the elf's waist, dreading being
denied the safety. "Please?"
Elrond smiled as he felt the small human clutch him
Placing his hand on the child's head, he returned the embrace. "Of
course you can."
Aragorn sighed against him and released his grip,
relaxing into the
strong arms that held him. As he sat there with his ear pressed to the
elf's chest, listening to the steady heartbeat, Elrond softly began to
hum. It was an old evlish lullaby that he remembered his wife singing
to his own twin sons. The child in his arms smiled against him and
relaxed further, the soft humming lulling him back to sleep.
In moments the boy was fast asleep. Elrond brushed
the stray locks of
hair from the small face and watched the sleeping child. The human's
long dark eyelashes brushed his pale cheeks and his mouth was slightly
open as he breathed slowly and deeply.
Carefully readjusting the boy in his arms, Elrond
stood and walked out of
his room and back down the hallway.
Elladan was leaning in the doorway
to his own room, arms crossed over his chest and smiling at the elderly
elf as Elrond approached him. "More nightmares?' The twin asked his
father. His hair was sleep
tousled and his eyes half open as he yawned around the question.
Elrond smiled, looking down at the child in his
arms. "Yes. I am afraid
so." He laughed lightly as he continued, "and he just discovered that
elves sleep with their eyes open."
Elladan chuckled softly at that thought, "Oh yes,
humans don't. I had forgotten that. What a revelation."
"Well it would have been humorous had not the only
beings Aragorn has
ever seen who lie with their eyes open been dead ones." Elrond sighed
and stared at his son who instantly sobered.
"Oh, that would be like me finding you with your
"Yes." Elrond shook his head, "He hoped it meant his
parents were still alive."
Elladan looked to the floor beneath his feet, his
heart going out to the human. "Poor child."
"I think his parents named him wrong." Elrond smiled
as he gazed at the boy
in his arms sleeping soundly. "It has been many years since this house
has had children in it, Elladan." Aragorn moved slightly, nestling his
head against the elf lord with a quiet sigh.
The twin knew that look in his father's eyes. "And
just what name have
you given the boy?" He smiled a lopsided grin at the older elf. "As if
his own weren't good enough."
"Hope." Elrond still stared into the sleeping face.
Rolling his eyes, Elladan pushed away from the
doorframe and moved
closer looking down at that human his father carried. "Estel? Father
you cant, he'll get beat up with a name like that."
"I wasn't asking your opinion." Elrond's eyes
snapped up and caught his
son's, stilling the laughter in the young elf. "That is what this child
is, what he holds for us and for all men in Middle-earth."
Elladan nodded, trying to hide his smile. His retort
was cut off as the
door to Elrohir's room cracked open and Elladan's twin stumbled out
into the hallway, bleary-eyed and confused, "What's going on,
all right? I heard voices."
"Back to sleep, Elrohir," Elladan called to him
quietly. "It's nothing."
Elrond smiled at the older twin and moved down the
hallway passing Elrohir, "Aragorn had another nightmare."
Elrohir immediately became concerned and moved
towards his father, "Is he okay?"
The soft-heartedness of his youngest twin touched
him and the elf lord smiled. "He will be. Go back to sleep, my son."
Hesitantly Elrohir turned and re-entered his room
closing the door
behind him. Elladan remained in the hallway watching his father walk
back to the human's room softly humming the lullaby their mother had
sung to them. It was good to hear the tune again under the rafters in
Rivendell. His father was right; perhaps the boy would bring them all a
new hope. The house of Elrond could use some light in these dark days.
He smiled to himself and left the hallway. Time would tell; it would be
fun to watch Estel grow up into a man. He wondered absently as he fell
back to sleep what type of man the young child would grow into and what
kind of world the boy would face.
Three doors down from Elladan's room, Elrond gently
laid Aragorn in his
own bed, covering him with the thick blanket they had brought in for
the human as the same thoughts about the youth's future flitted through
Estel. Hope. It was a good name; he nodded to
himself as he left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
Stories > Series
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of Darkness" > "Hope"
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