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Broken Horses

Chapter 1: Chapter 1

by raniel42

Chapter 1

The Ranger could just see the clearing with the cottage ahead of him. He saw what he’d come for.

She was outside, her reddish blonde hair gleaming in the cold sunshine. He watched as she struggled to get water from the well on her own. He smiled at the determined set of her chin as the bucket came up ever so slowly. He stood just inside the trees to watch her. He had to shush Belan, his horse, as the beast was eager for food and a warm stall.

She was having a difficult time with the weight of the water filled bucket. Her brow furrowed as she finally brought the container to the edge of the well. She got the bucket down and filled the bucket at her feet, spilling some of it on the ground. She smiled to herself as she bent down to pick up the bucket.

He chose that moment to step into the clearing.

“Ada! Ada!” She squealed leaving the bucket behind. “You came! I knew you would!” The Ranger stopped as the little girl ran at him. He scooped her up into his arms and kissed her cheek.

“Of course I came, I could not miss the Yule with my princess.”

“Nana said you were busy and might not come, but I knew you’d be here.”

“How is my favorite princess?” he asked.

“I missed you. You've been gone a long time.”

“Could not be helped, Miri. You keep growing, I see.” She hugged his neck before he set her down. She raced back toward the little cottage.

“Nana! Ada’s here!” She yelled as she ran. An attractive woman with fiery red hair stepped out the door into the cold air.

“Go fetch your uncle, sweets.” Her naneth said. “He’s chopping wood for us.”

“Yes nana. I told you ada would be here!” Then she dashed off behind the wood frame home where the sounds of thumping could be heard.

The woman shook her head at the Ranger. “I told you not to come, Strider. You have more important things to be doing.”

He smiled. “What kind of foster father would I be if I couldn’t spend the Yule with her?”

“You spoil her.” She chided him. “You all do.”

“My dear Rossel, it’s a rough job, but someone must do it.” He grinned. “You know she would be far more spoiled if your husband was still here.”

Sadness passed through Rossel's grey eyes. “You are probably right.”

“Besides others sent me with gifts for her. My brothers would skin me if I didn’t deliver them.”

“I’m not sure I want to know what they sent.”

Strider chuckled. “She adores them.”

Rossel snorted softly. “They act her age more than their own. Get your horse settled. I’ll get a bath for you and tend your clothes.”

“You don’t have to wash my clothes. A few hearty meals are enough.”

“Don’t argue with me.” She scolded wagging a finger at him. “You’ve done so much for her, for us, I can wash your laundry when you’re here.” He placed his hand over his heart and bowed at Rossel before she went back inside.

00oo00oo00oo

Later in the evening, after they had eaten, Miri sat on Strider's lap while the adults talked. She tugged on his sleeve. “Ada, I’ve been practicing with my bow and my sword. Uncle Steg said I’m really good with my sword now.”

He grinned at her. “You still have a long way to go to be a Ranger, princess.”

“Why do I have to wait until I grow up?”

“You’ll be grown up sooner than you think.” Miri’s aunt, Hithel, smiled at her.

The little girl’s gaze kept wandering to the small pile of presents in the corner of the room. “Not until tomorrow, Miri.” Her naneth reminded her.

“Rangers must be patient, pigenur.” Her uncle smiled.

Miri frowned slightly. She was eager to give her ada the present she’d made him, but also very curious to know what her uncles had given her.

“How are your other lessons coming?” Strider asked her drawing her attention away from the presents.

“Good?” She said glancing at her naneth.

“She's doing very well, especially with reading.”

“Tengwar?”

“I can write a lot too,” Miri answered.

“And your Rohirric?”

“It's alright.” She shrugged. “I like Sindarin better.”

“Well, bug,if you want to be a Ranger you have to know how to speak a lot of languages.” Aunt Hithel reminded her.

“I know, some are harder than others.”

“Indeed they are.” Steg said. “You are very smart though. We are not worried so long as you listen to your nana.”

Miri yawned. “I think it is time for bed.” Rossel commented.

“I'm not tired, honest.”

“You need your rest, princess.” Strider said.

Reluctantly she got down from his lap and followed her nana. Once she was ready for bed, she returned to give hugs and kisses goodnight. “Oltho vae, pigenur.” Strider hugged her close. “Gen melon, ada.” She answered kissing him on the cheek.

Her naneth returned after tucking Miri in for the night.

“Is she doing well with her studies?” Strider inquired.

“Yes, very.” Rossel confirmed. “She has her adar's head for, well, everything.”

“He would be proud of her.” Steg confirmed. “She is going to be amazing with her sword.”

“She only wants to be a Ranger.” Rossel sighed. “She can barely sew or cook. When I was her age I could make dinner and mend my own clothes. I won't even discuss her embroidery.”

“She will not be like other girls.” Strider said softly.

“Elrond still won't tell you his vision of her?” Steg asked.

Strider shook his head. He hated lying to them all. Knowing that his sweet little girl would eventually be a broken shell of her current self hurt him more than anything. He could not bring himself to tell her naneth that. “His visions are not set in stone.” He answered instead. “Whatever he saw for her might not come to pass.”

Steg sighed. “It must be bad or at least unpleasant if Elrond won't tell you.”

“Please can we stop speaking of it.” Hithel said. “She needs to learn her bow better. She isn't coming by it as naturally we thought she would.”

“Not all elves favor bows, Hithel.” Strider said.

“Well, yes, that's true.” Hithel admitted. “Those of Imladris prefer swords. Thandir was a Sylvan elf. They are famed for their skill with bows. A skill she didn't seem to inherit.”

Rossel sighed. “She got her adar's ears, his eyes, his head for languages...”

“Your temper.” Strider said.

“And stubbornness.” Hithel added

“And willfulness.” Steg chimed in.

Rossel huffed. “Alright you three! She is the product of both of us.”

“He would be proud of her,” Hithel said softly.

“As am I.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Translations:
Ada: papa/daddy
Nana: mama/mommy
Pigenur: little fire
Oltho vae: sweet dreams
Gen Melon: I love you
Tengwar: written form of Sindarin
Ion nin: my son
Haru: Quenya word for grandfather
Gwenyn: twins
Naneth: mother
Ion: son
Nendal: Waterfoot

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Chapter 1
Created
24 Nov 2013
Last Edited
24 Nov 2013
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