Narn I Auros

To Show One's Quality

Second Age 3153

by Eonwë-(Valar)
08 June 2024

Was Auros really such a fool?

Something like this, Arandil should've heard from Auros himself. He shouldn't have heard it from some onlooker who just happened to cross his path. What was Auros thinking? How could his friend not come to him for this? If he got there too late, it was Auros' own fault. Bah. He wasn't going to get there too late. He would get there in the nick of time, just like any good cavalry. Heart racing, his feet carried him as fast as he could dodge through the trees. He knew the clearing Auros used for bouts when he didn't want to be interrupted. That's where he'd be.

The distinct clack of two pieces of lumber slamming together rang through the trees. He was close. Arandil could catch his breath later. He pushed himself until his legs ached and his heart pounded. A root almost caught his foot, but with that extra burst he arrived just in time to see Auros battling five other fellows, everyone armed with wooden swords. Auros had made a valiant effort to fend them off so far, but even he couldn't hold out for long. Arandil was still panting, but those few seconds spent assessing the situation would have to suffice for rest. Charging into the clearing, he dove into one of the attackers, wrestled him to the ground and took his sword. Flourishing his new weapon, he took his place by Auros' side.

"There now, you villains! It's two against four. Let's see how you like these odds." All five opponents gaped at him. What right had they to bewilderment? "Well? Have at you!" He wasn't going to let them see he'd spent most of his energy just getting there.

Auros slid his wooden sword under his arm, then offered his hand to the fellow Arandil tackled, pulled him up and dusted off his back and shoulder. "Thanks, Heleglin. I suppose we're done here. Don't forget our match tomorrow."

What was going on? No one pressed the attack. They all said goodbye and left Auros and Arandil standing in the clearing. The odds were still in their favor. Why walk away?

"What are you doing out here?" Auros had turned to him, sword resting on his shoulder, face stuck somewhere between annoyance and amusement.

Arandil's need for breath caught up with him, then his aching legs reminded him they'd yet to be given relief. He let himself plop against a tree. "What am I doing? What are you doing! I heard you got into a fight with five fellows who went off into the woods with you, but do I hear it from you? No! I have to hear it from someone who saw you in a staring contest in the middle of the training grounds!"


"Aldawë's gone, Meneltir's gone, and Melëar's as good as gone, and I didn't expect I'd have to be the reasonable one." Auros stood silent. Good. He knew well enough not to interrupt when Arandil's making a point. "I know from Aldawë's tales you and Aldawë were some grand heroes in your town in Lindon. You stood valiantly against the rowdier sorts who would harry other kids, putting bullies in their place left and right while Dinmir stood by gazing starry-eyed at her indomitable knights." Auros' arched eyebrow raised doubts about Arandil's understanding of those events, but he was too far into his speech to stop now. "Still, you don't have to take these fights on alone just because Aldawë is gone. I thought we were friends, Auros. I thought you knew I'd stand by you, through thick and thin. If someone wants to fight you, they have to fight me too. Same with Farothel. I'm here to stand by you both, and I know you'd do the same for me. You didn't have to fight those villains alone."

"Not even when I challenged them myself." Amusement won over annoyance.

"Especially not when you challenge them yourself! ...You challenged them?"


"Why would you go and challenge five people to a fight?" And why had no one told him who challenged whom before he ran off without waiting for... oh, that was why.

Auros shrugged. "Why else? I wanted to know how I would fare."

A deep breath was what Arandil needed as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "So all this was because you didn't feel challenged enough? Why couldn't you do this at the training grounds?"

Auros grimaced. "The trainer on duty wouldn't authorize such an exercise. He thought it excessive. I decided I was freer elsewhere to train how I saw fit."

"And it didn't occur to you he was right?"

"I knew every one of my opponents. They're all as disciplined as I. There was no danger and he knew it. He was more concerned I wouldn't be willing to concede if I found myself overwhelmed, and about that, he was right. How am I supposed to know how to win against those odds if I haven't faced them? If I let myself walk away while there's still a chance I can win, how do I learn to overcome such a trial?"

It was no use. This was Auros. "So what did you learn from this?"

A smirk slid into place. "If I do get in over my head, I can count on you to barge through the woods and wrestle my enemies to the ground. I can't believe you did that, even after seeing it."

"Yeah, well, I thought you were in trouble. Had I known the truth I would've let them keep at it until you learned a more valuable lesson."

"I don't know. I thought this one was pretty useful too." Anar was close to setting. After a stretch and a glance around the clearing, Auros hefted the bag he'd brought onto his shoulder. "Well, I suppose there's no point in staying here now. You want to join me and Farothel for dinner? Our parents won't mind if yours don't."

Not that Arandil didn't appreciate the invitation, but something told him he should be more curious. "Why?"

"No reason. Except..." There it was. "Farothel's experimenting on seasoning the venison again. He's trying five different rubs! Five! You're not going to make me risk that alone, are you?"

Besides the gentle kidding about what Arandil had just done, Auros exaggerated his dread; but it was only mostly in jest. The last time, Farothel had tried seven separate seasoning combinations. Three of those turned out delicious. The other four... well, after some soaking and plenty of vegetables, they made a nice stew.

Oh well. Arandil had nothing to lose. "All right, but if it's too spicy this time, I'm going to hunt a new deer and make him start all over again!"