Elrond was in his study when one of the front gate guards came knocking. He let the guard in without pausing in his work.

"Sir," the guard started hesitantly.

"Yes?" Elrond asked, slightly impatiently.

"There is a… human woman at the gate. She says she knows you, and would ask for your help."

Elrond was perturbed. He did not know many of the race of Man, and even fewer of their women. "Did she tell you a name?"

"She said it was Gilraen. Does that mean something to you?" the guard asked carefully.

Elrond had gone still at the name. Why would she be here, in Imladris? What could she need his help with? He realized he had gone too long without answering the guard, and abruptly stood up. "Yes, I know her, at least through her husband. I do not know why she is here but she would not come without good reason. Bring her up here."

"Yes, sir," the guard saluted, bowing his head and moving his hand from his chest out. "But sir, what about the child who is with her?"

"Child…? Bring him up as well." Elrond was confused as to why she would endanger a child by traveling through these lands, with all the dark creatures roaming around. He would find out soon enough.

When Gilraen walked in carrying a very young child, no more than 2 years of age, Elrond was apprehensive, but by the end of her story, he had to sit down. The death of Arathorn hit Elrond hard, as he had considered the Man a friend, but also because the great Dúnedain were now left without a chieftain. And now the child would be a target to the forces of evil as his heir.

"Your child, what is his name?" Elrond asked.

Gilraen smiled softly. "Aragorn. He will be a great chieftain when he grows up, which leads me to my question. I want him to be able to grow up safely. Will you take him in as a foster son?"

Elrond was taken aback. Him as the father of a Man child? Sure, he had sons of his own, but he knew nothing of raising a Man.

"Why would you ask this of me, Gilraen?"

She was silent for a while, but Elrond kept his patience. Eventually, she was able to order her thoughts.

"This child is the last hope of the Race of Man. He is the last in the line of Isildur, and he must reach adulthood. And… he is my son, and I want the best for him. I know that you were friends with Arathorn, please, help me keep his son safe!" Gilraen pleaded as she held back tears.

Though the elf lord was very old, he had not hardened his heart against the plight of mortals. In fact, he could sympathize well with Gilraen, as he had lost his own wife to the evils of this world nearly 400 years before.

"Very well," Elrond said. "You both can stay."

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