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Chapter 17—Reckonings of the heart
Aragorn left his brother’s suite and his footsteps found their way to the shards of Narsil. The shards of memory, of what was lost and what could be again. He had never touched the sword since that time when he was ten and his Adar had told him the true tale of the Sword-that-was broken. The sword and its story had haunted him ever since that time. Ten years it had been but Aragorn still remembered the awesome feelings the mere touching of it had evoked.
He stood before it and it somehow called to him silently, touching his consciousness. His hand, of its own volition, reached toward the hilt. Cool steel greeted the touch of his fingers followed by the now expected warmth. He wrapped his hand around the worn leather strapping on the hilt of the blade. Gone were the feelings of desperation and anxiety. It felt as if he were born to carry this sword. As the warmth of the metal spread though his arm an image appeared in his mind. Aragorn thought he heard the strains of a haunting melody floating past him as the vision of himself standing upon the prow of what seemed to be a great stone ship, the kind of ship that Glorfindel spoke of in the stories that he used to tell Aragorn when the boy was much younger. The vision revealed a sea of people, a happy people. Looking beyond the stone prow, he saw a large golden plain stretching out to the horizon.
“The sword is yours, it has always been yours.” Aragorn turn towards the voice, sword hilt in hand. It was his father. At first he was at a lost for words, looking into his father’s somber light blue eyes.
“Is that why I have always been drawn towards it?” He finally asked.
“I think so,” Elrond replied quietly still looking his son in the eye. Aragorn broke the gaze and looked at the hilt, jagged edge pointed up.
Elrond took a step closer so that he was standing only a step away from his son. He reached down for Aragorn’s other hand and placed it on the sword hilt, then he cupped both of his son’s hands with his own. Holding Aragorn’s grey gaze, he gently intoned, “You hold the Sword-that-was-broken, may the Valar guide us towards the day that we shall see the Sword re-forged and the light restored.” He then placed his hands on Aragorn’s shoulders and drew him forward placing a kiss on his forehead. Aragorn felt his father’s gentle light enter his mind and speak the words “You were born to this, mellion nin. You will do well. Of this I am certain.”
Arwen rode along the path leading through the ravine in which Imladris was nestled. She could hear the trees singing softly in welcome, rejoicing in the return of the fair one called the Evenstar of her people. She looked around, gazing at the willows and birches, green leaves swaying in the light breeze on this warm spring day. She looked at one of her attendants, “It is good to be back, Brelinn, is it not?”
Brelinn, one of her attendants for many years, smiled noting the look of contented happiness settling on his lady’s face. “Yes it is, My lady, yes it is.”
Lothlorien was beautiful, it had an ethereal essence that the other Elven enclaves did not possess and spending time among her mother’s people always contained certain joys, but lush, green Imladris was home. She had missed both her father and brothers terribly.
“Welcome home, my lady!” A voice interrupted her musings. “Brelinn, it is so good to see you again!” Arwen looked toward the sound of the voice. Cefzil had dropped silently from the trees and stood along with Diovan in front of the small retinue of Imladris and Lorien archers.
Brelinn laughed, “Cefzil! I see you are still on sentry duty! Who did you insult this time to get placed on duty back here!”
Cefzil feigned innocence, “Well how was I to know that last jug of wine was meant for the main table. It was just sitting there unattended!” he smiled impishly.
Arwen laughed, “Stealing wine from Adar’s table. Cefzil you have not changed since you were an Elfling! It was tarts and sweet meats then and now it is jugs of wine! What is Adar to do with you?”
Laughing, Diovan said “There is nothing to be done with him, my lady, except to keeping sending him away hoping that he will develop some sense of propriety while he is away.”
Arwen looked at the usually more quiet, dark-haired Elf that had been Cefzil’s friend since their training days. With smiling eyes, she said, “Still you keep company with this one?”
Diovan feigned resignation, “Well, my lady. I feel somebody must and I guess that is me. Somebody must try and keep him out of trouble!”
“Hah!” An incredulous Cefzil eyed his friend and companion of long years. “We leave the confines of Imladris to do a tour of duty with the Northern Rangers or the few times we have served south of here and who is it that is constantly having to make his apologies for his rather “spirited” friend.
Diovan said innocently, “I do not know what you speak of.”
Cefzil looked sternly, “Do you not, I have one word for you. It might jog your memory. Elderberries.” Cefzil looked at his friend raising an eyebrow.
Diovan’s eye grew wide with memory, and his mouth opened, and then closed after better thought. Cefzil laughed, “I see that memory has finally served my absent-minded friend.”
Diovan shot his friend a warning glance, which of course caused Cefzil to smile even broader. “My lady,” the dark-haired Elf began, ignoring his grinning friend. “It is our pleasure and honour that you have again decided to grace us with your presence.”
Arwen laughed merrily and with a knowing look said, “I am very happy to be back home again, Diovan. Tell me, how is Adar?”
“He is well.”
“And my brothers?”
“They are well, also. Your timing is well, my lady. They have just returned from a tour with the Rangers of the North.”
Slight alarm ran through Arwen. For time out of mind her brothers had ridden with the Dunedain Rangers and she knew them to be passing excellent as warriors, but nothing would assuage the remnant fear for their safety.
Diovan saw the fear chase itself across Arwen’s fair features, and immediately sought to allay her fears. “All have returned safely, my lady.”
Arwen smiled her thanks to the guardsman, who was gratified to see the slight furrow in her brow smooth itself away.
“We’d best ride on, My lady. We are within the borders of Imladris, and my bed is calling to me.” Brelinn said without a hint of self-consciousness. Arwen looked at Brelinn, she smiled at his utter lack of pretention. For as long as she had known the plain-speaking Elf she never tired of his direct way of seeing the world. Men, it was told, often said never ask an Elf a question for you will get back all possible answers. She thought that many would change their minds after a few moments conversation with Brelinn. “Yes, my old friend. We shall continue on.” She returned her attention to the guardsmen. “We will see you at the Hall sometime soon, I hope?”
“You will soon. Our duty is nearly over and we will very soon see you for an evening meal or two.”
“Good! Until then we shall part. Brelinn onwards.”
“Yes, my lady!” And with an whispered word their horses took up a light trot through the forested ravine that lead to the Last Homely House, leaving their compatriots to their watch.
As Arwen traveled further into the ravine that protected her father’s small fiefdom she could feel the warmth of welcome from the trees and the whispering light winds. She had been away too long and had almost forgotten the suffuse joy of Imladris. She could no longer restrain herself, she needed to be alone among the trees to hear their song and feel the lifeforce of the woods. “Brelinn,” she stopped her horse, causing him to do the same, “Go on without me. Tell my Adar that I have arrived. But I must stay here, for a while. It has been too long.” Brelinn thought at first to argue. His standing orders from his lord were always to see his daughter delivered safely to home to him. But then he saw the light of joy shining in her eyes, coupled with the stubborn streak inherited from her father and knew that no argument that he could make would dissuade her from this idea. In truth he could hear the call of the forest himself and would have gladly joined her, but he knew where his duty lay. “Yes, my lady,” was all he said smiling a knowing smile. “Shall I take your horse, my lady.”
Arwen chuckled lightly, “You know me far too well, Brelinn,” she said as she lightly dismounted and handed off the reins to her faithful attendant.
“It is my job, my lady.” Brelinn answered with a twinkle in his eye. “Do not be overly long, you know how your Adar will worry.”
“Be gone!” Arwen said lightly, “I shall follow.”
Brelinn placed his free hand over his heart and inclined his head, “My lady.” Looking over his shoulder to the remainder of the small retinue, he commanded, “We ride!”
Arwen looked after them briefly and then began to wander among the trees, reveling in the sounds of the woods, the gently swaying of the branches in the wind and the soft chittering of the woodland animals. The sweet song of the birches and willows were welcoming her home. It was not only the call of the woods caused her send her retinue traveling ahead. It had been strong indeed, but something else, a nameless desire to walk among the trees had overcome her. So she walked and sang among the trees.
Aragorn walked among the trees of his favourite path, his father’s words filling his heart. He could almost feel the life coursing through the boughs of the green leafed trees; could almost hear the trees whispering their gentle song here in verdant Imladris. He loved these woods, they were a part of his soul. He grew up among these hills learning not only the names of each living thing, but also learning of their essential essence. The twins and his other adopted Elven brethren taught him to see as they saw. To think as they thought. If Aragorn concentrated greatly then he could almost to feel the thrum of the woods as a living thing. He had come here not only to think, but to allow the woods to calm his inner conflict, to assuage the fear that he was not equal to the task. To allow the truth of what he had heard only the day before sink into his soul and calm his doubts. He could feel the possibility of what could be singing through him. He could also hear the whispered difficulties in the back of his mind.
The woods calmed him, as he knew they would. He began to sing with the joy and contentment that was filling his heart. He walked among the trees singing softly the lament of Luthien and Beren One-hand. At the edge of his consciousness he heard a sound more beautiful than any he had ever beheld before. He followed the sound through the woods to a clearing and there he beheld the most beautiful girl he had ever laid eyes on. He stood motionless by a beechwood he climbed often as a boy, beguiled by the soft lyrical voice blending in so perfectly with the song of the woods around her. It slowly dawned on him what song it was she was singing. It was the same tale, the tale of Luthien and Beren, of love undeniable. He thought of the whole tale, having heard it at Glorfindel’s knee. The story had come to life before his very eyes. “Tinuviel!” He heard a voice call only to realise in dismay that the voice was his own.
The lyrical voice stopped and the heavenly soul turned eyes of clearest pale blue unto him. Aragorn stood there transfixed, drinking in the beauty before him.
The pale blue eyes widened slightly with a curious, polite interest, “You call me Tinuviel. Why?” The musical voice stated directly.
Aragorn, at first was tongue-tied, then deciding that honesty was the best policy, spoke softly, “For I believed that I had for a few moments been granted the gift of the Elf-minstrels, conjuring what I had sung. For I, too had been singing the Lay of Luthien. If you are real, please tell me, so that I rejoice in the fact that such beauty can actually exist outside my dreams.” Aragorn stopped talking and felt a warm red colour his face, embarrassed that so much had slipped from his mouth before he could stop it. He looked wide-eyed at the lady.
“Many have made the comparision, but alas, I am not her.” A slight breeze blew lifting a few strands of the lady’s raven black hair across her face, “Although I may not be spared her fate,” she stated in a soft voice filled with wonderment as she gazed upon the young Man standing in front of her. “Tell me, who are you?”
“I was called Estel, but I have only recently learned that my true name is Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Chieftain of the Dunedain,” Aragorn paused, the restored title that had filled him with such pride seemingly of little worth when compared to the beauty and dignity of such a lovely personage as this.
The pale blue eyes grew wider, “I am Arwen and in a way, we are kin. I am Lord Elrond youngest and his only daughter.”
It was Aragorn’s turn to stare in a wide-eyed fashion. “You are Adar’s daughter? Neither Adar nor my brothers have ever mentioned a sister.”
“I have been visiting for a time with my naneth’s people in Lothlorien.”
At the word “Lothlorien” Aragorn looked into Arwen’s eyes and saw the starlight within them. It was then that knew her for Elfkind, known too late, for within those seconds he knew he loved her.
Elrond was standing on his balcony overlooking Imladris as he saw five horses arrive. His heart leaped as he glimpsed the dark hair of the first rider. It was his daughter, his only daughter and the Evenstar of her people. She had always born a special light that was her and hers alone. He turned and called to Elmiran who was standing attendance upon his door. “See that as soon as she is settled that…” He stopped himself. “Never mind! I shall see to it myself!” He rushed past a curious Elmiran. “Formality has its proper time and place. When you’ve not seen your daughter for some twenty years is not one of them.” The curious look on his attendant’s face changed from one of confusion to amusement. “As you will, my lord.” He called after Elrond, Lord of Imladris, bounding down the stairs and out the door leading to the stable.
The path to the stables seemed alive in a way Elrond rarely noticed these days. Approaching the stables he felt a lightness of heart that he did not fully understand.
“Daughter! You have returned!”
Arwen looked at her father, “Yes, I have returned. Lothlorien is beautiful but it is not home.” Elrond saw love light her star-filled eyes when she looked at him and yet there was something else. Something that he had never seen settled in her eyes. He did not know what to make of it but he put aside the thought and reveled in the joy of seeing his only daughter once again. “We shall have a feast in honour of your return.”
“No fuss, Adar! I am only glad to be home.”
“Nonsense! Daughter! We must and shall celebrate.”
“Adar!” she said in a warning voice. Relenting before the joy written on her father’s face she conceded, “Only a small feast.”
“Very well. If that is your wish,” Elrond said earnestly.
Arwen was looking through her window mesmerized by the beauty and splendor of the twin falls that fed the Loudwater. The breeze gently blew her dark tresses away from her face as she felt the feather soft spray upon her face. Her rooms were closest of all the suites to the waterfall. Her father gave her these particular rooms when she came of age knowing her love of the falls themselves. She had not realized how much she missed them until she stood once again listening to the soothing and soft crashing of the falls into the water below.
“You always did love the sound of water upon water!”
Arwen turned around and there stood her beloved brothers standing in the doorway. Running she quickly found herself smothered in a great bear hug. Two pairs of arms encircled her planting kisses on the top of her head. Breaking apart, Elladan said holding her at arms length, “So good it is to see you!” joy lighting his whole face. “how are Einadar and Einnaneth.”
“They are well. They send their love and mentioned that their only grandsons could come and visit more often.” Arwen finished with a twinkle in her eye.
“Ah, I see. Long distance guilt. Einnaneth does not miss a trick does she?” Elrohir stated amusement evident in his voice. “The next trip south.”
“I will believe it when I see it. What has kept you in the north so consistently these years. I missed our visits.”
Elladan and Elrohir exchanged looks, “It has happened,” the elder twin said. “We have found the one.”
At first Arwen looked quizzically at he older brother, then a dawning comprehension grew in her star-filled eyes. “The one, you say.”
Elrohir nodded, “His name is Estel. Well truly his name is Aragorn. Adar named him Estel when he came to live with us. You will meet him at the feast.” Arwen looked at her brother and saw the light of affection for the young man in his eyes. Arwen was about to tell her brothers that she had already met Estel, but something caused her to hold her tongue. “He must be special to keep you from the South.”
Elladan said, “He is. You’ll see. Well! We’ll let you settle and will see you after a while.” He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. “Welcome home, little sister. Oh sweet and wonderful one!” At which he proceeded to trace an over-elaborate bow. Arwen slapped him upside the head. The dark-haired Elf grabbed the offended ear, “Ow! Abuse!” Elladan comically cried.
Arwen laughed and looked completely unrepentant, “That’s what you get for being silly.”
Elrohir stepped closer to examine his brother’s ear, “I don’t know, sister.” He clucked solicitously, “It looks pretty bad.”
With a hand so quick it was a blur, Arwen delivered the same treatment to the younger twin, and laughingly replied, “Now be off with you both.” The twins beat a hasty retreat, laughing as they went.
Elrond surveyed the party field with satisfaction. Arwen was home and his heart felt lighter than it had in many a year. He reached out to halt the progress of one of the attendants roaming about the party with a cask of wine and motioned to have his goblet refilled. “Lovely evening for a feast is it not, Rhianon?” he inquired of the cask bearer.
The young blond elf nodded, “It is a fine night, my lord. So glad I am that Arwen has returned.”
Elrond smiled widely, “You and me both, Rhianon. You and me both.” Elrond returned the cask having lightened the young elf’s load in no small portion. “Make sure you get some wine also. Serving others is a fine thing, but do not let opportunity pass you by!”
Rhianon laughed, “I shall not, my lord.”
Elrond returned the laugh again and glancing across the field saw his foster son walking up the path toward the party. Again Elrond was struck at how tall and strong Aragorn, in his forest green tunic and pale green leggings, had grown in the six-month duty of tour he just returned from. He picked a goblet off the nearest table and motioned for Rhianon filled the new goblet. The attendant elf followed his lord’s eyes and saw Aragorn. He glanced back and saw the pride and love lighting his lord’s face. He smiled and said, “Young master Estel has turned out well.”
Elrond glanced back, “Yes he has,” he said with just a hint of sadness, “If you will excuse me?”
“Of course, my lord,” Rhianon bowed slightly and began again to move about the field proffering wine.
Elrond approached his foster son and offered him the fluted goblet of wine. “Ion nin!
You are well, I trust.” He looked into his son’s eyes seeking the answer and any residual forgiveness for his deception of many years.
Deep grey eyes smiled back at him, as Aragorn said fully, “I am well, Adar.”
At the use of the word “Adar” Elrond’s heart sang. He had been forgiven.
At that moment Arwen entered the party field and walked straight over to her father. “Adar!”
Aragorn shifted his gaze and saw Arwen, a vision of diaphanous beauty in flowing green silk. He was mesmerized by her light.
Words broke into his thoughts, “Aragorn! I would like to present Arwen, your foster-sister!” Elrond said in a slightly pointed voice.
Aragorn turned an abashed look upon his father, “I am sorry, Adar!” Aragorn tried to look upon Arwen with nothing more than polite interest.
Arwen responded with a polite interest of her own, but against her own instincts her eyes lingered upon his longer than she knew they should.
A small flare of fear lit in Elrond’s heart as he looked upon the two souls that were among those he loved most in the world and then dismissed it from his mind. It could never be, so therefore it was not worthy of further consideration. At least he tried to, he found himself looking upon the two whenever they were together and at times the same small fear flared briefly and then died away. He filed away such thoughts, he would not allow anything to dim his happiness this night. His family was together and all was right with the world.
A month later…
Gilraen was at her loom weaving an intricate pattern for the bedspread that was promised to Elmiran when she saw her son pass by the solar.
“Estel, may we speak please?” Gilraen gathered her thoughts as she waited for her son to reappear in the doorway.
Her son’s dark head peered around the doorjamb, “Yes, Naneth? Is there something you needed?”
“Come in here, son. We must speak.”
Aragorn noted the furrowed line of concern that had taken up residence upon her brow as he stood next her loom watching her send the shuttle of vibrant green wool through the warp threads. He had loved spending time in this room on soft rainy days as a child, watching as his mother’s deft hands wove creation after creation and listening to the stories and discussions among she and the Elleth unwind around him. He now watched as she completed a colour pattern and tie off her work.
“Sit, son. Please.” Gilraen indicated a wicker stool near an unoccupied loom. He drew the stool near and sat down noticing that the crease of concern troubling his mother’s brow had yet to unfurl itself.
“Is anything the matter, naneth?”
Instead of answering Gilraen raised a hand to gently caress Aragorn’s cheek. She smiled gently, “You have grown so strong, my son. I am so proud of you. Your father would have been proud to, I know. ”
At the mention of his father, Aragorn felt a wave of the newly minted emotions of pain and loss flow through him. He did not remember his father, but from the stories he was hearing, he felt that Arathorn was a man he would have liked and respected and within the core of his being Aragorn felt stirring a nascent desire to honour his father’s memory. “I am glad,” he replied in a full voice.
Gilraen’s mouth curved into a smile but Aragorn noticed it did not reach her eyes. She sighed, “Estel,” a pause drew out as if Gilraen could not quite decide how best to begin a very difficult subject. “You have, of late, been distracted. Every time I had wished to speak to you of it, there was always a need pressing. I have presumed none of it intentional, but now that we have these moments, can you tell me what has captured your attention so completely.”
Aragorn almost squirmed in his seat, but he checked himself just in time. Instead he straightened his shoulders and looked into his mother’s eyes. “I have found the one.” As he spoke Gilraen saw joy light in his eyes.
“The one?” Gilraen began, then comprehension dawned. “Indeed,” she continued caution and curiosity weighing in equal measure. “And who might the one be?”
As Aragorn spoke the name, Gilraen paled. “You aim high, ion nin! But it must not be. The path you are destined to travel is long and there is not space for two on the journey.” It tore at Gilraen’s heart to see the light in Aragorn’s eyes fade to shades of anger and disbelief.
“How can you say that? I feel she is my life and soul.” Aragorn said, his voice taut with anxiety and pain.
“Your path,” she began, “is an uncertain one. The Dunedain have denied the enemy its final victory. We have lived on in the hope that we shall survive to one day see the glory of Arnor restored and the error of Isildur assuaged.” She finished using the words that Arathorn spoke to her so many years ago when he first brought her to see the ruins of Fornost city. She remembered even now the look on Arathorn’s face when he spoke them. It had been etched in her soul, shaping and defining who she was forever since. “You are the heir to that destiny. This you cannot deny.”
Aragorn looked at his mother’s face shining with a fire that did not match the usual reticence in her personality and a purpose that he had seen only a few times in her face, the few times she spoke of her people. Aragorn had come to know the Rangers of the North over the last five years. They were a dedicated and steadfast people and he admired them greatly, from the outside looking in. His destiny revealed to him showed him so much more. So much that was possible; so much that was expected. He had always suspected that there was more to life, more to his life than anyone would tell him, but such large expectations weighed heavily upon him. “I have no wish to deny it, but in choosing it must I deny myself?”
Gilraen was silent for many moments strung together, “I have,” she replied quietly. “The heir is not usually fostered at Imladris until much later in his childhood, but the forces that would oppose us are on the move and because of this Elrond requested that your father and I send you to the safety of Imladris much earlier. You were too young to be without at least one of your parents and as Chieftain your father needed to stay at Fornost. Our destiny as a people required me to follow a path that lead away from my people. This I have done because it was necessary.”
Aragorn looked at his mother, “I’m sorry.”
“It is not for you to be sorry. It is what it is.” Gilraen saw the troubled look in her son’s eyes and reached a hand to caress a newly scarred cheek and smiled. “I have not been unhappy here. Elrond is a good and kind Elf and he has made my life comfortable. I would not have lived half so well if I had remained in Fornost.” She remained smiling, but her eyes said what she could not. Aragorn could see a longing in them, the same longing that he had often seen growing up but only now was beginning to understand. She had given everything to see her son fulfill his destiny. “Elrond is an understanding Elf and has long stood in aid of the Dunedain and given much. But in this my son, I feel he will not be so sanguine. Without his goodwill I fear the end of the Dunedain and the end of our hope.”
Elrond paced back and forth, tracing a path that well might have worn a groove in the floor in front of the book-ladened table that served as his desk in his study had a knock not interrupted his pace. He stopped and his heart lurched within his chest. In an effort to calm himself he drew a deep breath before he answered the knock. The sound came again before he could answer and he caught his voice just before answering hoping that it did not tremble with the suppressed emotions he was trying so desperately to control.
“You wished to see me, Adar?”
Elrond looked up into the expectant face of his beloved foster son, “Yes, Estel, please take a seat! Would you care to crush a cup with me?”
Aragorn looked at his Adar and noted a trepidation in his tenor and movements, “Thank you,” he replied as he watched his Adar pour the wine, noting with alarm the shaking of his hands on the goblet and decanter. He tried to catch his Adar’s as he reached for the goblet, but Elrond looked away. Truly alarmed Aragorn said, “Adar, what is wrong? Please tell me.”
Elrond sat down and arranged his robes with an air of delay about him before answering, “That entirely depends upon your answer, ion nin.” He looked straight into his son’s eyes. “You understand your destiny well, do you not.
Aragorn quizzically looked at Elrond, “I think so, Adar. I’m the Heir of Isildur. The Chieftain of the Dunedain. I work and wait for the day to come when I can wield the re-forged sword and unite the world of Men.”
Elrond continued to stare into his son’s grey, somber eyes. “And would you agree that nothing is more important than fulfilling that destiny.”
“Nothing.” Aragorn had only been alive to his destiny for only a short time, but in a way it felt that part of him had always been in preparation for such a life.
An incredible sadness warred with an incredible resolve within Elrond’s pale blue eyes yet he held his son’s gaze. “Then,” he paused, resolve at last showing the stronger in his eyes, “She is not for you. Nor is anyone, yet.”
Elrond’s last words went unheard. His first however broke across Aragorn’s consciousness, initially met with incomprehension and then the sense of everything shuttering to black within his soul. “Why not?” the words fell from his mouth, their sound deadened, leeched of all meaning. “How?” “Naneth?” the thought behind the word uncomprehending that his beloved Naneth would break such a confidence.
“No. Gilraen has said nothing to me. All that was needed to see you together. My heart tells me it cannot be.”
“Why can it not?” Aragorn said, the shards of pain lancing ever word. “I love her. She is my soul.”
Elrond broke the gaze, closed his eyes against the memory of love he had had for Celebrian. Memories that were pulled through to the forefront of his consciousness by his son’s words. Love shattered and denied by the scourges of this world. Not only had he lost Celebrian, but his twins, born of mercurial light and joy had traveled through the dark places in their souls for so long after their mother’s departure that he despaired of their deliverance from grief and revenge. “It cannot be.”
“You keep saying that!” Aragorn answered in a low voice, taut with restrained emotion. “But you have not given a reason.”
Elrond held the gaze of a soul tearing itself apart, “Arwen is Elfkind. She has lived in the world so many years that you may seem to her as a yearling shoot to a young birch that has seen many summers.**” Elrond stopped when he saw the doubt and torment building in his son’s eyes. “I do not mean to be unkind, my son. I only wish to prepare you for what might be.” Elrond forged ahead because what followed needed to said. “Even if for her these things matter not, a doom still awaits her. When the time comes and I depart these shores,” Aragorn looked at his father in alarm, Elrond instantly sought to placate the fear in his son’s eyes, “That will not be for many years by Men’s reckoning,” He continued “When I depart for the West my children must choose either to depart with me or separated forever in a bitter parting in this world.”
Seeing the torment still residing in Aragorn’s eyes, Elrond felt his heart relenting, he stood as he said, “It is not time yet for such decisions. Only after you have fulfilled your destiny may you turn your eye towards my daughter. Then…” his voice trailed off, “We will not speak of this matter until such time. You must leave Imladris and begin to learn that which aid you in fulfilling of your destiny.”
Aragorn rose from his chair, his clear grey eyes filled with silent reckoning. He hugged his father and departed. Elrond stared after him and it struck him that his Estel was taking his leave of him as silently as when he had arrived. Elrond thought back to the silent toddler that he first beheld in Gilraen’s begrimed and battle-besmirched arms. He thought his heart would break then beholding the little soul. It had not, until this moment when Aragorn, tall and strong, and no less tormented walked out the door of his study to begin the shaping his own destiny in the hope of someday claiming that which was necessary to his soul.
** quoted from ROTK appendices.
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