Written for the "There and Back Challenge"
With thanks to Raksha.
The characters are the property of the Tolkien estate.
X - like excruciating exertions
on the way to that crucial cross
on the mouldering map.
“Ada, I’m tired,” wailed Farawyn.
“ Girls always complain!” retorted Eldarion.
“It is not far now, according to the plan. Come, Farawyn, I will carry you. Eldarion, you take the map. Be careful, it is very old!” Aragorn scooped up his little daughter in his arms, realising her short legs could carry her no further.
The children, always fascinated by their father’s tales of summoning the Army of the Dead, were eager to see where he had emerged from the mountain.
They proceeded in silence for a while. Aragorn called a halt to study the map when he found no trace of the doorway under the mountain.
“We are lost, I fear,” he conceded.
“Naneth said you were the greatest tracker on Arda!” Eldarion said reproachfully.
Farawyn burst into tears.
“I have endured many long and arduous wanderings during my life,” their father told them. “This is but a minor setback. It was dark when I was last here and I was weary.“ He studied the map again, then looked around him. ”Now I remember! We should have turned left half a league ago.”
The children brightened and there was a new spring in Eldarion’s steps as he followed his father. Farawyn contentedly tightened her chubby arms around him.
“Here we are,” announced Aragorn after a short walk.
“Let me down, Ada!”
“The ghosts will get you!” Eldarion warned.
“I released them long ere you were born,” Aragorn reassured the little girl.
“I’m not scared with you, ada,” said Farawyn. “I’m an explorer now, overcoming exhausting exertions just like you used to!”
Aragorn laughed, then lovingly embraced both children. Together with his fair Arwen they were the true destination of all his arduous journeys.