In the World of Middle-earth

Before you stands a slender figure hooded and cloaked in dark forest green. You didn't hear her coming through the wood beyond. She is simply there. Coming to stand obediently at her side is a tall black horse. You don't have to look to know that there is not a white hair on his powerful body, from forelock to feathered fetlocks. The figure is distracted from you and turns to give the horse a fond rub on his velvet nose, and in doing so her hood slides back. The first thing you notice is the mass of dark, wavy hair that spills out. As she turns back to you, you see that her eyes are deep and clear. As with most eyes they are not solid brown, but flecked with grey and green. She smiles to see you staring, and asks if you perhaps expected an Orc. The words tell of a generally light heart and a quick mind, but her voice speaks of deep-rooted wisdom that even she can't always explain. You get the distinct impression that she already knows something about you, though you haven't said a word yourself and that is all it is: an impression she gives. She introduces herself as Nestael of the Dúnedain.

Aside from her cloak, she is dressed in shades of green, gray, and brown, so better to blend in with her environment. On her belt she carries a sword, a belt knife, and varying numbers of belt pouches of assorted sizes and contents. On her back is a shortbow and quiver. Her stallion, Gilwath, carries most of her gear--bedroll; blanket; flint and tinder; travel food; cooking implements; a veritable pharmacopoeia of healing herbs, some prepared, others not. The rest is stowed in a backpack, the contents of which are subject to change. Her only adornments are the silver star at her breast and a golden leaf pendant hanging about her neck. The former is a symbol of her people which she bears proudly if not always openly. The later she will not speak of, but holds equally special meaning for her.

Upon making her acquaintance you learn that she has lived approximately thirty years in Middle-earth, having been born in the year 2983 of the Third Age. By the reckoning of her people Nestael is rather young, and exhibits certain flaws in judgement from time to time that have already gotten her into certain interesting trouble. However, she has come a long way from the uncertain fledgeling she once was. She no longer fears to speak her mind, most of the time, though she isn't the most skilled with words. She can be wary around strangers, but as you get to know her further and gain her full trust, the innate confidence and pride of the Númenóreans will shine through.

Otherwise, she is a person of soft words and gentle hands and works very hard to deserve and live up to her name. She is in fact a very talented healer, knowing well the many herbs and their properties. Nestael would sooner cure than kill, but will do so in self-defense or when defending others weaker than herself. She wields her light but very efficient sword with all the skill of a warrior and the form of blade-grass in the wind. Not possessing the foresight of her race, Nestael instead is graced with deep insight into present times and circumstances, whether for the whole world or just one person. She nearly always knows if there is something amiss, and isn't shy about doing something about it. The only drawback to this insight is that it often blinds her to the possible consequences of her actions.

Nestael: Combating the Darkness. The artist apologizes for her lack of talent in drawing human faces. History:
If one were to search far back in time, one would find that Nestael is descended from the House of Bëor, hence her dark hair and penetrating glance. However, since ancient history is of no interest to you, we move on to very recent history. Nestael was born in the region known as Rhudaur, which is essentially the land West of the Misty Mountains and North of Rivendell, between the mountains and the river Hoarwell. Exactly where the settlement of her immediate family lies is not anyone's part to disclose, unless they be a member of that family. However, Nestael has a great love of running water (any water, for that matter), so it may be assumed that she grew up somewhere near the river.

Her father is himself one of the Rangers of the North, and up until the War of the Ring mostly concerned himself with the guarding of the lands between Imladris and Bree and the care of his espoused, Nestael's mother. She was not a very strong person, and he loved her dearly, delighting in caring for her when he could spare time and missing her greatly while he was away. She in turn kept their small, semi-permanent dwelling for him and others of

his kin when they had need of it, and had the gratitude of all who passed that way. What she desired most was to give her husband a child; for as stated, she was somewhat frail and didn't expect that she would live as long as he. So it happened that she conceived and gave birth to their first and only child, whom she named Annafëanel.

The first few years of the child's life were happy ones, and especially wonderful were the times when her father came out of the wilderness unlooked for to be with them. However, childbirth seemed to have sapped all the strength out of the mother, and as the years passed she seemed to fade. Gradually the girl's father was there more and more often out of worry, and as much love as was between father and daughter, Annafëanel was often pushed to the side in his concern. Then it was that her talent for healing came forth; for when she stroked her mother's hair or face with her cool hands, she seemed to improve, if only for a short while after she was shooed from her bedside. It was then also that her father began calling her little Nestael. The name stuck even after her fifth year, when her mother died.

It was a time of great sadness for her father, and Nestael felt the hurt more keenly perhaps than most children her age who don't fully understand the meaning of death. They went to stay at Rivendell for a time, until the first edge of the pain wore off and her father accustomed himself to living in a world without his beloved. In that time Nestael learned a great deal from some of the more tolerant Elves who would sit and tell her tales of times past, enduring her endless requests for more. She loved the songs, but grew frustrated when she failed to produce the right sounds herself. With her heart distracted and her mind engaged, she recovered quickly from the loss. Eventually her father also resigned to return to his duties, and took his daughter with him, and she got the second stage of her education. He had no knowledge of the 'proper' way to raise a girl-child, so he did the best he could. He brought her up to be a Ranger herself and taught her all he knew: of surviving in the wild--what one could eat, where to find it, and what to avoid, for the most part; how to use instruments of war, and how to repair the damage they caused. She proved equally adept at using weapons as healing the wounds they inflicted.

And that brings us back to the present.

Nestael with Gilwath: art and character(s?) copyright 2002 by Eleanor R. The artist again apologizes for her lack of talent in drawing human faces.

Nestael of the Dúnedain: art and character copyright 2002 by Eleanor R.
Middle-earth and all things related are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien, his family, and whoever they sold rights to. I'm only borrowing and will put them back when I'm done. Please don't sue me: all you'll get is some free-webspace and pocket lint.