Little Estel's point of view is really well done, here.
A good thing that this demon turns into such a good friend!
Poor Elrohir . . . He's not much of a demon really!
Thanks for the warning! But yeah, Aragorn's not so bad as a child. He hasn't met Legolas and insulted him, dragged him too close to the sea and generally taken him for granted yet, so I can feel more sympathy for him!
I love Elrohir here. Especially that image of demon-Elrohir, smeared with blood and tearing Estel away from his mother. No wonder the boy was traumatised! It's probably a good thing he didn't see Elrohir together with Elladan when they arrived back, or he'd have thought Imladris was being invaded by demons. But I love Elrohir's patience and the trouble he takes to empathise with Estel.
I wonder how he feels about Legolas naming his son Estel. It's got to bring back painful memories of the boy Aragorn once was. I suppose Legolas never knew Aragorn as a boy (I get muddled up with your different universes sometimes, but I think Legolas didn't meet Elrohir until the Council of Elrond in this one - is that right?)
You are right. In this universe Legolas first meets Aragorn at the council of Elrond. And he never calls him Estel. Not once. Not ever. It is not a name he ever knew him by. It's always Aragorn, or Elessar when he is really angry with him.
Thats not to say he didn't name his son after him! Even Legolas realised having an elfling running through the trees of Valinor called by a Mannish name would be incongruous. Especially since in Valinor many elves don't even know Common. To make it easier he used Aragorn's elvish name thinking it more fitting.
And also little Estel was born after Gimli's death at a time when Legolas really needed some hope. So the name is important for two reasons.
And yes, for Elrohir the name Legolas has chosen for his son is a painful one. It does bring back memories of the boy he lost. I am not sure Legolas has thought too much about that. He can tend to be a bit selfish at times.
Glad you liked demon Elrohir. I can see him clearly in my mind. Wild, ferocious and dangerous!
Oh oh oh! I'm crying. You have made me so emotional reading this.
There is a dearth of little Estel fic and I truly enjoyed this. His perspective as a small unruly human in this bastion of elegant glorious Elves is intriguing to read. He is not the first fostered there of course but he is the youngest. And it has been many long years since there has been a child in Imladris. It's not that they don't love Estel but they are unused to this, after so many years and it is obvious he is lonely. An existence as a child among only adults is different and I think has shaped his later character. He is measured,thoughtful, reserved.
I knew the nightmare was likely a rescue--a battle crazed Elrohir could not be a reassuring sight for a toddler! And I am sure Elrohir was devastated by Arathorn's death and desperate to rescue Gilraen and little Aragorn.
It is so poignant to see how Elrohir immediately focuses on Aragorn on his arrival and is solicitous to go visit him and make sure he is ok. I am overcome with the gentleness of Elrohir's immediate interaction with Estel in Gilraen's quarters and with her obvious joy in seeing Elrohir.
There is a softness and gentleness to Elrohir here that I love--we often see him as bitter after the loss of his mother or distant, grumpy, growly. But there is a vulnerability peeking through here in him. He is not all battle and warrior through and through. The gift he gave Estel is making me cry again--the thought of him out in the wild, laboriously carving warriors out of wood for a child who barely knows him is just such a tender image.
His whole conversation with Estel about wanting to run the halls himself was lovely and the comment that Elrond didn't understand that resonated--because Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen at least had each other but they too were a bit anomalous as children in that environment, so Elrohir can relate.
But what completely pierced my heart as I read that was the realization that Elrond didn't have long hallways to run in when he was Estel's age. He was a refugee in Sirion. And then he was fostered in the wilds of Beleriand with the last two sons of FŽanor--no long hallways, no open fields to run in. Always wary, always on the watch for orcs and servants of the enemy. He didn't live in a safe enough place to have that freedom. And I think that's a heart-breaking realization about Elrond and Elros. I think Maedhros and Maglor did their best--they knew about little boys after all, with their brothers, but they were not in safe Tirion and they were not the same as they were when they were looking out for their brothers. So that brief exchange tells me a lot about Estel, Elrohir and Elrond too.
The trust and confidence Elrohir engenders so quickly in Estel is noteworthy. He trul acts like a friend and confidant and that is exactly what the boy needs.
This is an unexplored side of Elrohir and I love him even more after reading this. Sorry for thus novel of a comment!! You gave me lots of emotion and insight with this.
Glad you liked it!
And as usual you picked up on so much of what was going on behind the scenes in my mind.
Yes, Estel is lonely. Surrounded by love of course but the elves around him are ancient and far removed from their own childhoods, or even contact with other small children. Yes there have been fleeting, (in elven terms) fostering of other humans but they still don't really "get" little humans.
Elrohir,(in my mind at least,) not only is younger but spends much time amongst the Dunedain and so he knows how human children tick. Plus he has this strong pull to Mannish tendencies himself, and, as you say, has existed in Imladris as one of few other elflings.
Notice Elladan is absent in this story although he was there of course, even in the rescue. But baby Estel did not see him. I wanted to focus on Aragorn's relationship with the fierce, growly, Mannish Elrohir. He does also develop a strong brotherly relationship with Elladan too of course but it is different, more elven (as Elladan is) and not rooted in trauma as his one with Elrohir here.
What is missing from Aragorn's life is a male role model who is a Man, not an elf. Elrohir steps in there and provides it for him as Elrohir is the most Mannish of anyone there. I think even the child Estel sees that. Something within him grasps on to that essence of Man within Elrohir like someone dying of thirst in a desert. He NEEDS it, and so rapidly, quickly, overcomes his fear and embraces this person who is.....out of anyone he knows...the most like himself.
I have vague ideas of adding to this sometime with a second chapter later in Aragorn's life. Maybe as he becomes king? I just think there is something special there between him and his more Mannish foster brother.
Little Estel obviously means something to Elrohir. He keeps him close to his heart while wandering in the wild, taking time to patiently carve him a gift. A gift that will be, as you say, for a child that does not even know him. I do think he was close to Arathorn and when Estel saw him, wild, battle soaked and desperate....truly a demon to a small child..... (because that baby Estel would have seen a more "normal" Elrohir before that and did not recognise him) he was grief stricken, as much as you can be in the midst of battle, at the loss of Arathorn.
That grief and desperation is perhaps what prevented Elrohir handling this rescue more gently. He obviously grabbed the child and ran. No time for cuddling and reassurance. And that trauma, the loss of his only security—his mother—is what stayed in Estel's mind.
Gilraen's joy at seeing Elrohir again speaks to the time he has spent with the Dunedain, and his relationship with Arathorn. He is a welcome friendly face in this elven enclave she is stuck in. She is devastated to realise it is Elrohir her child is afraid of. None of the adults dealing with this little boy have put two and two together and realised how he has interpreted the rescue.
As for Elrond. Bang on. Why does he not understand a simple childish need to run around his house? Because he never had a house himself, not that he can remember. His childhood was not a childhood at all but survival. He just doesn't "get" this.
That he tries still to create a loving environment for Estel is meritorious. But he can only work with what he knows. I imagine he struggled a bit with his own children too. The Feanorians did their best but Elrond missed out big time as far as childhood goes.
Novel of a reply for you!