Disclaimer: I don't owe anything

Preface: This is just a short story about Estel, I excpect my readers to have some background information. If you don't understand the story, please feel free to mail me. But don't bother asking me questions like 'Who is Estel?'; my only answer would be: go read the books!!! (Yes, that includes the appendices)

This is also my chance to tell everybody to read the Mellon Chronicles written by Cassia & Sio. Another author worth checking out is Emmithar, 'Family is Home' and 'A Simple Hunting Trip' are really good.

My friend puck also writes good stuff (though it isn't LOTR) and if you'd read and reviewed her stories I'd really appreciate it.

So what are you waiting for? Go read those stories (after you read & reviewed mine that is ;)

Chapter one

Estel woke up when the first rays of the sun touched his face. This was not unusual as he always woke up at dawn, he loved the morning, it was his favourite part of the day. Everything was fresh and new, the darkness was gone, replaced by the soft glow of the sun which chased away the shadows and showing all the wonderful colours in their full glory.

This morning, however, bore the forebodings of a storm, but Estel didn't recognize the signs and dressed up in his most comfortable clothes. He went to the kitchens of Rivendell in search for some food and company. Last evening there had been a fabulous feast with a lot of delicious foods and drinks, therefore the kitchens were very crowded with Elves cleaning the kitchens of the remnants of the party. Estel had enjoyed the celebration, he loved to see the Elves sing, dance and show their hunting skills. Gandalf had been there too, performing wonderful tricks and of course his firework had been magnificent. Estel had been too young to stay up during the entire feast, but had been allowed to stay past his bed time and though he had slept three hours shorter than usual it didn't seem to affect him.

'Good morning,' Estel said, greeting the Elves.

'Good morning, Estel,' answered a dark haired Elf, carrying a huge pile of dishes. 'I'm sorry but we haven't been able to make a decent breakfast yet, so you just have to grab some leftovers from yesterday. I suggest those sweet rolls, they are really delicious. Though not very wholesome,' he added, handing four tasty looking rolls. 'So don't tell Lord Elrond I gave you those instead of a healthy breakfast.'

Estel grinned. 'Don't worry, I won't.'

As the young human left the kitchens, he grabbed two apples from the fruit basket. He started looking for someone he could play with. First he went to the Gardens as they were usually crowded with Elves, who simply enjoyed the beauty of nature. However, this morning no one was to be found in the Gardens and therefore Estel decided to go inside and look for his brothers.

When he passed Elrohir's room, he saw his brother had not bothered to close the door the previous night. Estel chuckled as he realised Elrohir was still wearing his formal clothes. 'Elrohir must have had a good time yesterday!' he thought.

Elladan's room was next and after peeking around the corner, Estel saw Elladan laying in his bed, snoring softly. Sighing, he closed the door and he went to Elrond's chambers, but as he arrived there the doors were closed. It was an unwritten rule that when the doors to the chambers of the Lord of Rivendell were closed, Elrond was not to be disturbed unless it was a matter of utmost importance. Estel left with a sigh, knowing his father did not consider boredom of his youngest son as 'a matter of utmost importance'.

Mocking he returned to the Gardens and sat down on one of the many benches. It was a warm day and though the flowers in the Gardens were withering the green place still radiated tranquillity. But Estel didn't see the peace of the Gardens, he was too preoccupied with thoughts about his brothers. He wished Elladan and Elrohir were here, that he could continue with his fighting lessons. Estel followed many classes, he learned how to speak and write Sindarin, Quenya and Westron, the language of Men. Elrond taught him history and he had just started to learn the basics of botany. But the classes Estel enjoyed most were the fighting lessons his brothers taught him, especially the few hunting sessions he had attended. Under the supervision of the twins Estel had become quite handy with his small bow and could defend himself reasonably with his two daggers. He moved almost as smoothly as an Elf and the trails he left could only be discovered by an Elf or a very talented tracker.

Thinking about all the exercises his brothers had taught him, an idea popped in Estel's mind. 'I could practice my archery skills myself, I don't need Elladan or Elrohir to teach me that, I know the techniques, I only need more practice to improve my shooting. I know where the training ground is, I won't be too far from Imladris, so it will be safe.'

Estel considered this idea and decided everything was better than sitting in the Gardens having no one to talk to and went back to his room to retrieve his bow and quiver.

After another quick but unsuccessful search for company, he left the house of Elrond and followed the path leading to the training ground. Red coloured leaves of the many trees were flowing deftly on the narrow path running through the woods which surrounded the valley of Rivendell, covering it with a soft carpet. On both sides of the path one could see last flowers granting their leaves to decorate the red carpet.

However, Estel paid no attention to the magnificence of the season as he started practicing, shooting his arrows in the tree trunks imagining it were orcs. He hated the foul creatures, they had murdered his parents. Though Estel didn't remember much about that horrible night, he still had nightmares. He would wake up terrified, only feeling emotions. He didn't remember anything, all he knew he was scared and missed his parents. But then, Elrond would be there comforting him, telling him everything would be all right. Sometimes he remembered flashes from his nightmares, but those images vanished very quickly, he was never calm enough to put them into words and when he finally had his emotions under control the images were gone. However, there were two events he could see very clearly, he didn't even had to be asleep to see the frightening pictures. Orcs running through a camp, his camp, swaying with their scimitars killing everything they saw, were it wounded, women or children. It didn't matter to them, they were ruthless in their slaughter.

Yet, however frightening the orcs were, they were nothing compared to the Eye. Though the eye didn't actually do anything, it was simply there, observing the massacre. Estel couldn't see it clearly, it was vague as if covered in a mist, but still it emanated such malice, hatred and destruction it horrified the young human.

He had talked about his nightmares with Elrond, he had told the Elf Lord he didn't remember anything after the dreams, only emotions. He had told about the orcs, but had never mentioned the Eye. He was afraid Elrond would send him away, thinking he was crazy or otherwise too dangerous to keep up with.

Estel shook his head slightly as he brushed away the thoughts about his nightmares and retrieved his arrows from the tree trunk and continued shooting.

After a while Estel became restless once again. 'When would his brothers come to teach him how to climb in the trees as silently as possible? When would Ada take him to his chambers to teach him the history of Middle-Earth? When would anyone come?'

He found himself almost longing for Glorfindel's boring voice, explaining the grammar of Quenya.

A sudden noise attracted Estel's attention, it was an unsuspecting rabbit. He aimed carefully but he didn't have a clear shot. Silently he crept closer and notched an arrow and after aiming in front of the rabbit, just as Elrohir had taught him, he released it. But he missed his target by inches and cursing silently he ran after the rabbit, frustrated with himself for missing the animal. Half an hour later Estel finally gave up his fruitless chase. He sat down and looked around and though he didn't recognize where he was, he wasn't particularly worried. 'It's still morning, I have plenty of time to find my way home and besides, Ada and the twins will come to search for me if they won't find me in Imladris.'

He took an apple out of his pocket and after finishing it, he threw the core away as far as he could. He yawned and decided to take a short nap, he sought a nice spot and lay down. The lack of sleep had finally caught up with him and soon the forest was filled with the soft breathing of a sleeping Edain boy.



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