Title: All that Remains:
Author: Linda Hoyland
Characters: Ivorwen, an old nurse
Disclaimer: These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain
Notes: With thanks to Raksha
Word count: 600
It was quiet; much too quiet for Idril's liking. She had expected hushed voices and weeping , but not this deathly silence.
She had been visiting her sister, who was laid low with her rheumatism when the news came that Arathorn had been slain. Idril was saddened by these tidings but not at all surprised. Such was the lot of the Dúnedain women. The villages were full of old women, but very few of the menfolk got to die in their beds.
Her first thoughts had been for both her bereft lambs, Gilraen and Aragorn. She had come as a nursemaid when Dame Ivorwen's eldest was but a babe in arms and had accompanied Gilraen when the dour Arathorn had claimed her as his bride and taken her away. Idril had been determined to see that Aragorn treated her little girl properly. Gilraen deserved a decent husband and much to her surprise, Arathorn had made her girl happy.
But where was she? And where was the little lad? Such a lively little fellow was young Aragorn, and so bright for his age. Why hadn't he run to her like he always did, full of questions and lively chatter?
His toys were scattered around the room, Idril started to tidy them away almost without thinking. It was what she did every day. But where were his favourite wooden horse and the stuffed dog that he fell asleep clutching each night? Her lambkin would be so upset if he could not find "Huan" at bedtime.
She wandered into the bedchamber and noticed that the casket Gilraen kept on her dressing table was gone. Had some cruel thief taken away her lady's jewels while she mourned her husband? Idril knew what she would do with the scoundrel if she caught them! But would a thief not also take the silver backed looking glass that Gilraen had treasured since she was a child?
Idril flung open the wardrobe. Gilraen's cloak was missing, as was the gown she had worn at her wedding to Lord Arathorn. Idril recalled the day of her marriage as if it were yesterday and the hopes and fears she had confided in her old nurse as she had dressed her for the ceremony.
What had happened to her lady and little Aragorn? Tears pricked Idril's eyes and she fought to hold back a rising sense of panic. She must get help, tell all the neighbours, organise a search party.
"They are gone."
Idril spun round and came face to face with Dame Ivorwen.
"Gone? Where?" Her tone was unusually harsh. "We must find them!"
Ivorwen shook her head sadly. "Those of us who love them must let them go. This is no longer a safe place for the heirs of Elendil."
"But where are they? I must go to my lambs."
"I cannot tell you where they are, only that they are safe." Ivorwen said sternly.
"I would never betray my lady and her little one!" Idril said fiercely.
"I know, Idril." Ivorwen's tone softened. "But the fewer who know, the safer they will be. Now return to your sister and try to forget that you ever knew that Arathorn fathered a son."
Idril remained silent for a few moments, struggling to keep her composure. At last, she said. "Will I ever see them again?"
"Maybe," said Ivorwen. "Maybe."
"Maybe?" Idril protested. "How can I bear not knowing I might never see my little ones again?"
"We must bear it, Idril," said Ivorwen. "If I can bear it, so can you. All that remains to our people now is hope."Written for a challenge in the Great Tales LJ Community last summer.