Something has troubled me for sometime on which I would appreciate your collective thoughts:
Why was Aragorn carrying the shards of Narsil (or at least the broken hilt) when he meets Frodo in Bree?
My understanding is that at some point after the fall of the northern kingdom, the shards of Narsil and the Ring of Barahir were taken to Rivendell for safekeeping (I no longer remember exactly when, it may have been as late as the death of Arathorn). Aragorn appears to have made the affirmative choice to take the shards of Narsil out of Rivendell and bear them into danger in the wild. It just doesn't make sense to me. Given the circumstances of Aragorn's daily life, I cannot understand why he would not have carried an unbroken sword for personal defense. My dilemma is premised on the assumption that Aragorn was not carrying a second, unbroken blade in a separate sheath at his side, but as far as I know there is no indication that this was the case. Even if it were true, I cannot understand why Aragorn would have risked the loss of Narsil in the event that something happened to him. Conceivably on that score he might have felt that since he was the last of his line if he were killed it might not matter - but it would still seem to be a foolish risk with no benefit.
Certainly Professor Tolkien may have included the broken hilt in the scene at the Prancing Pony simply for dramatic effect, but I am wondering if anyone has a plausible in-story explanation for why Aragorn. Many thanks for your input.