Disclaimer: All characters, places, and such are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien. Only the plot is mine.

I have recently returned to LOTR fandom from the much more modern worlds of Harry Potter, Twilight, and Maximum Ride (especially the latter). Therefore, there may be some signs of anachronism. If you happen to spot any, please tell me. Thank you very much.

This story is written for one of my closest friends, and he read it and liked it very much. I can only hope that you feel the same.


Year 2938 of the Third Age, in the woods of Imladris

"Estel, muindor-nîn, what's the matter?" wondered Elrohir as his brother hurtled himself at him.

"A bird is hurt! 'Tis large," the young human marveled, his own eyes widening as he spanned his arms to the appropriate size of the bird.

Elrohir did not object as Estel tugged urgently on his sleeve, attempting to drag him to the site. It was only due to his elven grace that he did not trip over the anxious child.

The two were met by the sight of a slightly bleeding falcon on a clump of ferns. It seemed to have tired itself from struggling. It emitted a feeble cree, having spotted the elf and the boy.

Elrohir quickly stripped off his outer tunic and cautiously approached the injured animal, which eyed him with as much wariness. He knelt down next to the bird, making sure to stay out of the way of the talons. It was not yet full-grown, but it was certainly no eyas either.

"Shh," he urged the now panicking creature, crooning soothing phrases in Elvish. The method worked, as it did with all of nature. Now that the bird had stilled, Elrohir detected a wing that was twisted horribly in the wrong direction. The sight made his heart wrench in pity; after all, the Eldar were synonymous with nature.

Elrohir inched forward, and when he was close enough, he slowly lifted the youngling, making sure the tunic covered its body so as to prevent shock, and that the wing was undisturbed. However, the bird refused to cooperate. It jabbed its feet furiously at its cloth prison, talons shredding the garment.

The elf sighed. At least it was clothing rather than his skin.

"Estel," he called. The boy followed faithfully, eyes trained on the falcon.

The cries of "Ada!" sounded throughout the House of Elrond. The elf-lord looked up from his book, sighing, but at the same time curious to see what must have excited the child this time.

He had barely reached the foyer of the library before Estel ran into him full force. After detaching the ball of energy from himself, Elrond raised his sharply arched eyebrows, causing him to appear to be scowling.

"There is a bird with a broken wing and it has need of your help!"

They rushed to the House of Healing then. Time was vital.

After a quick inspection of the now dazed falcon, Elrond pressed several leaves to the cuts, earning piercing screeches from the bird. He ordered Elrohir to boil some more of the same plant.

"'Tis not athelas," Elrohir noted in surprise.

"No, it is not," Elrond responded. He found it strange that a falcon was venturing so far from the cliffs but did not dwell on it for long.

Throughout it all, Estel silently observed. He watched in fascination as Elrond gently touched his fingertips to the wounds and murmured a few words in Elvish. The soothing aroma of various plants that had been bruised lingered in the air, and together these factors lulled the bird to a deep unconsciousness.

The lord of Imladris then reset the bones of the wing and fashioned a sling. Estel watched and admired as the adroit, nimble fingers did their work.

He decided then that he wanted to follow the footsteps of his ada and become a healer also.

Taking care of the bird of prey was not simple. For one, it could not survive on the Elves' diet, yet meat was the one necessity of the falcon. Without flight it could not hunt for itself, which meant more work for its caretakers.

For another thing, it was a bird of action. Birds only ever stayed still for more than minutes at a time, when they slept or incubated. And without flight, they were easily frustrated.

Then, when the time called for it, exercising the falcon was no easy feat either. After a period of inactivity, the muscles of the wings needed to be properly worked again, but they could not be overworked immediately. Therefore, the falcon had to be jessed. Once again, it was against the Elves' nature to hold creatures against their will, but it was necessary.

The inhabitants of Rivendell wondered if any creature—aside from Sauron and the underlying threat he posed—had ever given them this much trouble since Estel's infant years.

Even so, nobody recognized beauty better than the Elves could. The peregrine had a dark, almost black, head, and its large, bright eyes mirrored those of the Elves. Its creamy breast was mottled evenly, and its wings were a combination of both spots and solid color.

And the Elves thanked the Valar for the creation of such an aesthetic creature.

When the time came to release the bird back into the wild, all of Imladris who had been involved with it felt a sense of simultaneous sadness and joy. Such a feeling was often ineffable.

Elrohir unsnapped the jesses, and with one strong upward thrust of his arm, the bird took off. The elf whispered a blessing for it.

Watching the falcon joyously soar on its way to freedom, Estel knew it to be one of the most beautiful things he had ever experienced.

"Namárië, beautiful bird." Surely the noble tongue applied to an equally noble part of nature.

Yes, if that was what being a healer led to—the joy of recovery—then that was what he was ultimately going to be.

A/N: I purposely omitted Gilraen (yes, I know very well that she is alive at this time and living in Elrond's house) because I did not know how to include her into the story in a way that is important.