All prior claims and rights to any character or place in this story belong to JRR Tolkien.
The following characters are my own although they are inspired by JRRT, and may share names with some of his: Gildinwen, The House of Amarnon, Argilin, Galeria, Bramar, Greeson, Deanor, Matilda, Dalbur, Daruth, Fastred, Girion, Bregor Gillow, Tom, Will, Rufus, Falcred, Ragnor, Turin, Valmar, Luinil, Brith, Halmir, Mardil.
Loreglin is real.
I have tried to stay 'within canon' and have done reasonable research on places, names, dates and characters, however I am not a Tolkien scholar, and therefore this story is probably not suitable for purists.
From Sauron's attack on Gondor to the battle of Dagorlad was some five years but for the sake of the pace of the story I have implied that it was much shorter.
At the end of the day, I have written this story entirely for pleasure, and I hope the reading of it may give you some.
Update: Originally this story had some additional scenes of an adult nature, but due to the new restrictions on fanfic.net I am no longer able to include these. However, the story in its entirety, and including some beautiful illustrations by Anna, may now be found at: http://www.magic-tortoise.co.uk/standard_bearer/index.html. I hope you will pay us a visit!
The Standard Bearer
A Secret Revealed
The last shadows of dusk were closing in as the Fellowship of the Ring crossed the bridge and took their first steps out of Rivendell and on into adventure. Many members of the House of Elrond stood in silence to watch them go. On these few did the hopes of many ride. As the mists of night swallowed up the travellers, one by one the Elves turned away, until at last only Arwen, fair daughter of Elrond, remained watching. Heavy her heart was, and yet filled with hope. She had given her love to a mortal man, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, who walked with the Ringbearer into the lands of darkness. But only if he could win through and reclaim his birthright, the thrones of Gondor and Arnor, would her father give his consent to their union.
"Arwen." The voice was as soft as the touch on her elbow. It was Galeria, her father's cousin.
Arwen smiled sadly at the elder elf, allowing her to take her arm and guide her back along the path. But as they approached the light and warmth of the Great House Arwen stopped, her face troubled.
Galeria smiled softly, "Come to my rooms, it is quiet there."
Arwen sat comfortably by the window and gazed at the slowly appearing stars, until her troubled thoughts were interrupted by Galeria bringing some hot tea.
"Here, drink this. It will help." She settled herself on some cushions nearby and sipped slowly from her own cup while she waited expectantly. She did not have to wait long.
"Oh Galeria! I cannot bear it. Why must he go away again?"
"You know why. The journey of the Ringbearer is the only hope for Middle Earth."
"Yes, yes, I know. But why must he prove himself again before Father will give his consent to the marriage? Aragorn has shown himself strong, and loyal many, many times and yet it is still not enough for him." She laid her head in one hand weeping quietly. "All this about Aragorn reaching too high - can my Father, who is so wise - really value rank and birthright above love?"
"I do not believe that he does, but that he seems to in order to protect you."
Arwen raised her head, "Protect me? From what?"
"Loving a mortal is fraught with danger. Their hearts are fickle, and their lives short and fragile. In truth, there are some, like the son of Arathorn, who are true but they are few among the many. Most are grasping and selfish, seeing only a few short years into the future."
"What does that matter? Aragorn is true – even my father cannot gainsay it."
"Because the life of even the truest of mortals comes and goes with the tide. Aragorn will know only your love, but even though the bloodline of Isildur is long-lived, his years will be soon over, he will age and die, and you will be alone. This is the pain your father would spare you."
Arwen's reply was quiet but firm, " But I have thought of this, and I believe that the joy of love, for even a few short years, will outweigh the loss to come."
"Your father does not agree."
"Oh what would he know about it!" answered Arwen crossly, getting up and stamping across the room, "I know he loved my mother, in his way, but it was not exactly a high passion. Nothing like this love that I have for Aragorn. That was why he couldn't heal her heart after the Orc attack, and why he so easily accepted her choice to go into the West."
"He is more familiar with your situation than you might think." answered Galeria quietly.
Arwen halted, and turned slowly towards the older elf. "What do you mean?"
"Your father loved a mortal woman once."
"No!" Arwen gasped, her eyes wide with disbelief.
"It is true, though it was many years before you were born."
"How is it that I have never heard of this?"
"Very few have. It took place during the time of the Last Alliance of Men and Elves, and there were a great many more important events to overshadow it."
"My father? I can hardly believe it."
Galeria smiled fondly, "It seems strange now, but your father was somewhat different in those days. There was a vitality in him, an impulsiveness, that has tempered with the years."
Arwen returned to her seat. "Tell me about her. Was she very wise and beautiful?"
"By the marks of humankind she was considered fair enough of face, and wise also, but she was naught to compare with even the lowliest elf-maiden."
"Then what was it about her that my father came to love?"
"I think that only he could truly answer that, but she had a different kind of beauty. A joy in life, and a love and a compassion that shone in her like a great light. She was brave and true, and had great skill in the reading of men's hearts."
"Tell me the story Galeria. Please, all the way from the beginning."
"From the beginning……very well. The story, like so many, has its roots in very distant times, during the first coming of Sauron. A Man by the name of Amarnon, one of the last of the Faithful, performed a great service to Gil-galad. He was rewarded with many gifts but among the greatest was a band of mithril. Wrought with great skill it could be worn only by one of his line whose heart was true, and once placed on their head could not be removed while they lived, save by their own hand. So great was the gratitude and loyalty of Amarnon to Gil-galad that he had his wife and daughters sew a banner of great beauty, and swore a heavy oath that whenever Gil-galad had need of a Man's arm, the banner would be carried in his service by one of Amarnon's heirs – even to the last of his line.
Every night that his womenfolk sewed, Amarnon had a dream, the same dream, and believing it a prophecy he commanded the words to be written thus on the banner:
When Man and Elf as in times of old,
A line against the Darkness hold,
When on the field the armies mass,
Firstborn of Amarnon, now the last,
Shall with this banner show his hand,
And none before the Light shall stand.
In the years that followed, the line of Amarnon was much reduced, their treasures dwindled and their houses lost, till at length, in the Outlands of Gondor, only one remained….."