Chapter Thirteen - Mara's Homecoming
This chapter and the next were two of my favorites to write. I hope you enjoy! And I’m so sorry for such a long delay! DISCLAIMER
I own nothing canon from Lord of the Rings
or Star Wars
Mara was very grateful to see five animals waiting for them the next morning. Her father and the two diminutive aliens, Merry and Pippin, were waiting for her and Luke at the front gates of Minas Tirith.
“Good morning,” Aragorn said.
“Good morning, Ada,” Mara replied. “You’re coming with us?”
He nodded. “You need a guide. And while Master Brandybuck and Master Took are more than capable, I had hoped that we could make one stop on the journey back to your ship.”
Mara shrugged. “Sure.” She walked up to one of the large creatures. “What is this?” she asked.
“A horse,” Aragorn said. He gestured to the smaller ones. “And those are ponies. They are the same family, but different species of animals.”
The horse whinnied softly and bumped Mara’s shoulder with its nose. She laughed softly. Aragorn offered her a hand and helped her up onto the animal’s back. Once she was settled, he turned to Luke. “Can you climb up okay?”
Mara smirked as Luke nodded and used the Force to vault himself gracefully onto the horse. She had seen him use that trick many times before.
Her father, on the other hand, was very impressed. “I never saw Hyarion do that,” he remarked.
Soon the metallic gates opened and the small band was on their way. Riding the horse was definitely strange and it was a little uncomfortable, but Mara decided that she enjoyed it far more than walking.
They passed many of the same places as on their first journey mere days before, although on horseback the trip went twice as fast. Merry and Pippin chatted happily with Luke, both seeming glad that he was not the bad guy they originally thought.
That left Mara and Aragorn. Mara found that she was suddenly shy and nervous around him. What was she supposed to say?
Aragorn was the one to speak first. “Eldarion and the girls are quite taken with you,” he said. “Especially Elgalen.”
Mara smiled. “They are all wonderful. I hope that Luke’s sister and her family can make it here for the wedding ceremony. My niece Jaina and Elgalen would get along, I think. I mean,” she added quickly, “if that’s okay.”
There was another silence, but this one not quite so awkward. “We named Maréan in memory of you,” Aragorn said softly. He looked at her. “It had been so long. I didn’t think I would ever see you again.”
Mara nodded. “I know.”
“Nineteen years ago, I knew somehow that Hyarion had died. I knew that I would never see him again.” He looked at her. “But I never believed that you or your brother were dead. I knew if I was patient, we would meet again.”
She smiled, then lost herself for a minute in a memory. “Nineteen years ago,” she said. “Yes, it would have been nineteen. That was the year the Death Star blew up.” She remembered a day – an unexplained feeling of sadness. “I felt his death too,” she said. “Although then I didn’t know what it was.”
“He loved you so much,” Aragorn said. “Often he would spend days with you while I cared for your brother. I can’t touch the Force, Mara. Your papa wanted to make sure that your abilities developed the right way.”
Frowning, Mara asked, “What about my brother? What about his abilities?”
Aragorn shook his head. “Alar was like me. He couldn’t touch the Force.”
For some reason, the fact that her twin brother had no Jedi potential hurt Mara. It made her feel more alone than before she knew that she had a family. She looked at Luke. Both he and Leia could feel the Force. Both Jacen and Jaina were training as Jedi. Why were she and her twin brother so different?
Even with the horses, the trip was long. The landscape of Arda was varied and beautiful, but Mara looked forward to being able to fly her ship again.
In less than a month, they had recrossed the snow-capped mountain range. Aragorn had called them the Misty Mountains. He took them on a slightly different trail than the one Legolas had chosen.
Mara felt a deep sense of peace as they traveled down into a secluded valley. She squinted and motioned to Luke. “Look down there,” she said, pointing down near the river. “I think there’s a house there.”
“There is,” Aragorn said. “Lord Elrond’s Last Homely House.”
“Rivendell!” Pippin piped up.
The names struck Mara suddenly. “Rivendell?” she asked.
Aragorn looked at her and nodded. “Rivendell. It was also known as Imladris.”
They continued in silence. After a few minutes, the band of five stood in the fading empty courtyard. Mara stared at the carved designs and graceful archways. “I’ve been here before,” she murmured.
“Yes,” Aragorn replied.
But Mara did not hear him. She turned to Luke. “This is the house from my dream!”
Aragorn gently took her hand and led her up a crumbling flight of stairs. “You were born here, Mara.”
She stared at him, her mouth open. “Born here?”
“Mmhmm.” He gestured down the hall. “Follow me.”
He led her to a closed door. It creaked when he opened it, as though even before the house had been abandoned, the room had been kept shut up.
A wave of memories hit her the second she stepped through the doorway. She was young and her brother was with her. He had dark hair like Aragorn. There was a doll in her hand. “This was my room.”
Mara looked back at him. “I had a doll?”
He smiled. “Elladan made it for you. You met him and Elrohir that night you wandered into my garden.” He glanced around the room. “There is something I’d like to show your husband, if you’d like to stay up here and look around some more.”
She shook her head. “No. I don’t – it’s a little discomforting here,” she admitted.
They met Luke and the hobbits back in the courtyard. Luke must have sensed her unease, for he sent a gentle mental caress and laced his fingers through hers. Then they both followed Aragorn into the woods.
Luke cut a path with his lightsaber where Aragorn indicated. Not too far through the trees was a clearing. And at the edge of the clearing was a hulking mass crisscrossed with planets and vines.
Approaching it slowly, Luke suddenly gasped. “By the Force,” he whispered.
“Luke?” Mara asked. “What is it?”
He looked at her. “It’s an Old Republic fighter. This must have been Obi-Wan’s ship!”
Aragorn nodded. “It was.”
Luke brushed away the vegetation clinging to the hull. “I can’t believe he survived this crash.” Then he looked at a small stone structure with a vaguely familiar shape. “What is this?”
Sadly, Aragorn said, “It was a tomb. Hyarion had a mechanical friend who was trying to fix his ship. After we returned from Lothlórien, he was dead. His power was gone.”
Luke smiled. “And when Obi-Wan left, you found the tomb open and the mechanical friend gone?”
Again, Aragorn nodded. “Yes. Why the grin?”
“The Force works in mysterious ways,” Luke said.
Wryly, Aragorn replied, “So I’ve been told.”
Casting a glance at Mara, Luke gestured to the tomb. “Obi-Wan’s friend was a droid called Artoo-Detoo, yes?”
Aragorn nodded. “He was excited for me to meet him. I was never able to.”
“You may yet have that chance,” Luke said. “Artoo belongs to me now. He’s with my sister on Coruscant at the moment.” Then Mara felt his momentary panic. “Oh no, Leia! I’m sorry Aragorn, but I need to get back to our ship as soon as possible. My sister is going to kill me.”
Aragorn laughed. “All right.”
They met Merry and Pippin back in the courtyard and mounted the horses. It was an easy, steady ride from Rivendell, but Aragorn suddenly halted the party at a wide river. Mara frowned. “What’s wrong?”
He indicated the river. “This is the Brandywine. It is the border of the Shire.”
She frowned. “So?”
“Men are not allowed in the Shire,” Luke muttered. He looked at Aragorn. “Right? Legolas told us that the day he arrested me.”
Solemnly, Aragorn nodded. “It was for the protection of the hobbits. Even I do not break the rule.”
“But Ada,” Mara protested. “Our ship is in there.”
“I know.” He sighed. Then he looked sternly at Luke and Mara. “Stay on your horses. Board your ship directly from their backs. Do not set foot on the ground. Can you do that?”
They nodded. Aragorn turned to Merry and Pippin. “Is that acceptable?”
The hobbits looked at each other for a moment, then nodded. “Acceptable,” Merry said.
“What about the horses?” Mara asked. “We can’t take them on the ship with us.”
“They will find their way back to Minas Tirith,” Aragorn said.
Mara was more impressed by the beautiful creatures by the minute. But then she frowned. “What about you?”
“I will meet you back in Gondor.”
Luke shook his head. “That’s ridiculous. It will take you weeks to get back.” He looked at Mara, who nodded. “We’ll land just outside the Shire and then head for Gondor.”
Aragorn raised an eyebrow. “You want me to fly? In a ship that goes out beyond the sky?”
Luke chuckled. “We won’t go beyond the sky today. But we would be back in Gondor within a few hours.”
With a sigh and a doubtful glance at the sky, Aragorn said, “All right. I’ll wait for you here.”
Mara grinned. “We’ll see you soon!” Then she and Luke followed Merry and Pippin across the bridge.