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Chapter 15- Year 2951

 

                  Elrond surveyed the land towards Mordor.  Sauron had revealed himself and was gathering his forces.  The reoccupation of Dol Guldur supported Elrond’s fears also.  And to now make matters worse, Elrond had to worry about his daughter’s safe arrival from Lorien.

                  “ You called for me, Ada?” Estel entered.

                  “ Walk with a tired old Elf,” Elrond bid.

                  Estel fell in step beside Elrond, dressed for once in regal Elvin robes and not his traveling rags.  The mortal had grown well into manhood, looking almost identical to Elros at that age.  Estel glanced around the hall curiously.  No one, save Glorfindel and others in high rank were allowed near the old library that also served as Elrond’s place of peace.  They entered the musty study and Estel’s eyes grew as he surveyed 3 things lying upon beautiful decorated short stone columns amidst beautiful fabric.

                  “ Name them,” Elrond motioned to them.

                  Estel glanced at each, knowing them by heart.

                  “ The ring of Barahir, the shards of Narsil and the Scéptre of Annúminas, all are heirlooms of the house of the Númenor.  I thought these were lost,” Estel answered.

                  “ Of your house, Aragorn,” Elrond replied.

                  “ My house?  Aragorn?  I am Estel, Ada.  The son of Arathorn was lost,” Estel said.

                  “ The son of Arathorn was as lost as these heirlooms.  He was merely concealed for a time.  You are Aragorn, son of Arathorn, descendent of my brother, Elros and the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor,” Elrond replied, “ And you know I do not jest with matters such as this.”

                  Aragorn was too stunned to say anything.  He was the heir to the throne of Gondor?  Everything in Imladris had been a lie?

                  “ Here is the Ring of Barahir,” said Elrond, “ The token of our kinship from afar; and here also are the shards of Narsil.  With these you may yet do great deeds; for I foretell that the span of your life shall be greater than the measures of Men, unless evil befalls you or you fail at the test.  But the test will be hard and long.  The Scéptre of Annúminas I withhold, for you have yet to earn it.”

                  “ Thank you, I think?” Aragorn said, his mind overwhelmed.

                  “ You are truly the hope of men, Aragorn.  Never forget your duty,” Elrond replied.

Aragorn bowed low and left, carrying the 2 gifts.  Though a shadow filled his eyes, his shoulders stood taller than before and confidence, not a arrogant type, but a self-assuring type seemed to generate from him.

~*~

                  He still was unsure of this that Elrond spoke of.  Aragorn slipped out the next night at sunset.  Joy seemed to rise in him and he began to sing his favorite song of all: The Lay of Beren and Lúthien.

                  And with his voice, he seemed to create the likeness of Lúthien.  Aragorn halted, his song trailing off.  He watched her glide among the birch tree stems.  Fearing it was a dream and she would disappear, he cried, “ Tinúviel, Tinúviel.”

                  Arwen turned, her eyes widening.  Glórhen?  It couldn’t be.  She scrutinized closer, noticing the darkness of his hair, the added brown and the unpointed ears.  This was but a mortal, but still, he had Glórhen’s manner about him.

                  “ Who are you that you call me by that name?” she asked

                  Aragorn’s head snapped up.  He looked around, making sure she was speaking to him, then licked his lips nervously.

                  “ I sang of Lúthien, M’lady and you looked to be the one I sang of,” he answered.

                  Arwen smiled softly.  He was speaking the truth, thinking he would be reprimanded.  Arwen’s smile grew a little.  He would find no reprimand from her.

                  “ I am not Lúthien, though many say I am in her likeness.  Who are you?”

                  “ Estel, I was once called, but now I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn,” Aragorn said.

                  “ We are alike then.  I am Arwen, daughter of Elrond,” Arwen replied, “ Come, walk with me.  I crave a companion.”

                  Aragorn hesitantly complied, holding out his elbow and placing a hand over the one of hers that rested in the crook of his elbow.  The doom he had sang of fell heavy upon his heart alone.  Only time knew where it would lead.

~*~

                  Êlenrana found Arwen on her balcony, humming dreamily.  Arwen brushed her long hair, staring off into space.

                  “ What Elf has caught your eye?  He must be quite charming to finally have you look at him,” Êlenrana asked.

                  “ The one called Estel,” Arwen answered, “ He is just like Glórhen and I find that refreshing after all the stuffy suitors father keeps trying to send my way.”

Êlenrana smiled with a soft chuckle.

                  “ Estel is not an Elf,” Êlenrana said gently.

                  “ I know.  He is the lord of the Dúnedain,” Arwen replied.

                  “ If I were you, I would keep this from your father.  Some things should not be addressed now and this is one of them.  There is much sorrow ahead and I believe Aragorn will be a part of it.”

~*~

                  “ You, son of the Dúnedain, your thoughts betray your heart.  My daughter is of a higher lineage than you.  Turn your eyes away.  She is to pass with me over the Sea when I do,” Elrond’s tone was one not to be argued with.

                  “ The choice to pass from Middle-Earth is your child’s decision, not yours, Master Elrond,” Aragorn said softly.

                  “ True, but Arwen would not have a choice lest you beget one.  Speak no more of this.  The days are darkening and evil is come,” Elrond replied.

Aragorn nodded, leaving.  Elrond looked up to the sky and then sat.  He was going to lose his daughter.

* How I wish you were here, Celebrian.

Elrond sighed as he picked back up his stylus.

~*~

                  Aragorn entered the library to find Êlenrana and Arwen in there.

                  “ Estel, come, sit with us for a while.  You could sing for us since my husband is away,” Êlenrana bade.

Arwen slightly blushed, hoping Aragorn did not notice and he did not.

                  “ I cannot, Nana Êlenrana.  I am called away,” Aragorn replied, “ I will see you soon again, I hope.”

He placed a kiss on Êlenrana’s cheek and then bowed to Arwen.

                  “ Twas a pleasure to meet you, Nightingale,” Aragorn murmured, kissing the top of her hand before departing.

Arwen smiled as she touched the hand he hand kissed and her mind replayed his nickname for her over and over again.

~*~

                  “ Daughter, come.  Talk to your father,” Elrond joined his daughter, “ I see a happy light in your eyes.”

                  “ I have found love, Father,” Arwen replied.

                  “ Do I know him?” Elrond asked.

                  “ Quite well,” Arwen answered.

                  “ Does he have a name?” Elrond asked.

                  “ Not for you to know,” Arwen answered.

Elrond watched his daughter walk off.  She was joyful again.  After Glórhen’s death, he had thought he would never see her smile again.  Then Elrond’s joy faded and he knew she spoke of Aragorn.  His daughter had fallen under the doom of Lúthien and Elrond knew now that she would not pass from Middle-earth with him when the time came.