Acorns to Oaks
It has been too long. Here in the peace of my surroundings I lay down my thoughts to parchment, and at last muse upon the yield of the waning years the Third age has to offer. I recall in my youth the moment my features were scorned from lack of skill. I recall how my dear cousin would show me the beauty of every root , moss and tree. I recall the sprawling and humble dwellings of the Angle as I trained and honed my hands, that so long desired to craft with timber, to the skills of the hunt in archery, swordplay, herb-lore and a feel for my world of trees and rolling hills. My Arnor. Our Arnor.
I remind myself of this as I sit by the spitting fire, my battered features illuminated alongside my kindred friend, Halbar, his own face mirroring mine. We have grown too old together. We speak of this and that, of passing news and rumours laced over the earth that our senses discern, our lips barely moving, our thoughts drifting freely. We have grown too old together. He mumbles, my friend Halbar, of the new 'acorns' come fresh from the Angle, ‘picked from under rocks’. Only a handful. They are the most recent of our ‘Rangers’ that this age will offer, and doubtlessly the last. They are young, foolish and over ambitious. Some speak freely of wishing to prepare the realm for our Lord’s assumed ascent to Kingship, in the presence of those whom should not bear witness to our secrets. Others claim ranks such as ‘Captain’ so soon, before they have even earned the respect from their peers and fellow wanderers. Few of them even understand the role a watcher and ‘ranger’ has to perform in these lands, blurring the duties of town guards and blundering adventurers- I wonder, when was the last time these new guardians of the wild paused for a moment's reverence beneath the feet of Aranarth? When was the last time they foraged for roots and herbs and healed the ails of a wearied traveller caught in the web of houseless hills? Too often do they strive to slay orcs by the dozens, or to flaunt their superiority, and lesser still do they understand the lore of their people. I am being too unfair. Yes, there is merit among the new rangers, and enthusiasm. Perhaps this is an old man’s foolish ramblings, but there is enough sense within this ageing oak to see the folly of small acorns caught in the vice of a closing war to end this age, imitating an ageless ancestry of limitless endurance and knowledge. Halbar looks at me as he sees all I have put woven into my clear grey eyes. He grunts in acknowledgement. We have grown too old together.
Young Dúnisthil approaches. I'd wager one of the few shining examples of our ancestors of old, not yet come to full fruition. In his face I see the youth and wonder of exploration; the dusty tomes his ships, the sprawling ruins that he peruses his vast seas. Yet he can put his hand to the skills favoured by woodsmen, his mind is focused and his sense of heritage is kept in check with a due sense of subtlety and secrecy. Subtlety... too often mistaken for a desire to appear mysterious and elusive. They are merely results of one being discreet, and unintended traits are they not? Alas, Dúnisthil carries a trait that few others of his age and kin have the privilege to bear; humility. To be humble, even in the face of his own greatness.
Dúnisthil regards his ageing seniors with a wry smile. Something amuses him. Perhaps it is the all-too-frequent dourness set upon our faces, or perhaps that our steely gaze reveal the judgement upon our younger kin. He speaks of hope, and of the faith that we must put in our new additions to the realm-wide 'watchers'. A smile dances across my face as he, the young acorn, struggles to rise up and greet the towering oaks before him. He will one day, and will suprass us in everyway. I am proud of what he has become, though he is not without fault, as are we all. Poor imitations are wearisome, and I can only hope that one among the new blood will hold true to Arnor's realm, and understand the need for subtlety. It is time the Third age yielded true Men of the West to answer the call. From acorns to oaks indeed.
I look to the young face before me as Dúnisthil questions our gloomy disposition. With a firm plant of my weathered hand upon his shoulder, and an amused grunt from Halbar as he lights his pipe, I beg for his pardon and answer;
''We have grown too old together.''