Arwen's End

Arwen walked silently through the fading trees and falling mallorn-leaves of Lórien. She looked at nothing but the ground beneath her feet until she reached the Mirror of Galadriel. Vines had woven there way around it, covering it so completely that, had she not know it was there, she would have passed it by. At its base there was a glint of silver, a water pitcher also blanketed in vines.

Arwen walked to the Mirror and placed her hand on its rim. There was no water present therefore no reflection, yet looking through the overgrowth at the silver basin she saw in her mind's eye the past, the present, and the future which would finally come to pass. A tear escaped down her cheek as she remembered all that the Mirror had once shown her. Two different futures between which she would have to make a hard choice, for both contained a sorrowful parting.

The first was what all had wanted for her. She was stepping onto a boat, her father and grandmother at her sides. On shore was a man, his eyes shadowed by his hood, wearing the weather-beaten clothes of a Ranger. She raised a hand to him as tears rolled down her cheeks. He raised his own and she could see his cheeks were also wet with tears. She turned to her father first and than her grandmother. In their eyes she saw a joyous relief and thankfulness. They left her alone and she looked back at the man. 'Namarie' she heard him whisper, than he had mounted his horse, let out a cry, and started away from the sea, moving as fast as the horse could carry him. She watched him until he was gone, heartbroken and alone. He didn't look back and the world of Men faded and was lost.

The second was her other choice, the one she chose. She was on shore, looking lost and sorrowful. Her father and grandmother stood on the boat, both looking grave. They knew her beauty would fade like a mortals, as would her life. They waved to her, she waved back and then they turned away. She turned to the man, his hood off so his hair hung in his dark eyes. He was dressed not in the clothes of a Ranger, but those of a King. She reflected his smile, but her eyes were sad, for she knew that it was her last parting with her father and she mourned the thought of never seeing him or her people again. But she was happy, for she had her fated love at her side. She rode away with him, turning back once to see the ship disappear, and the land of Men shone and was saved.

Arwen turned from the Mirror and wandered the glades of Lórien a while, remembering the elanor and niphredil which had once grown beneath the feet of the Galadhrim who walked the Golden Woods no longer. For a season she walked with him, when he was still running from his fate as King Elessar, and she had not yet realized the decision she would have to make. They were simply Arwen and Estel, for that was the name given him by her father, Elrond, when Gilraen the Fair had brought him to Rivendell as a child. And together they were happy, but together they could not stay. For still he denied his fate and so he had to leave, for it followed him closely and never gave him peace to stay in one place long. So she parted with him and watched over him with her heart while he wandered distant lands, working against Sauron and the Shadow of Mordor.

Evening was falling when Arwen saw the fair hill of Cerin Amroth. This had been where they had parted after that season had ended, and where she had made her difficult choice on Midsummer's eve. They had looked from the growing Shadow of the east to the tranquil Twilight of the west. Knowing all to well that to be with him meant renouncing not only the Shadow, for that had been done long ago, but also the Twilight. Estel had reminded her of this to make sure she understood, for he did not want her to regret her choice. It was hard on her heart for the Twilight was where the land of her people lay and she loved them deeply. But she also loved the man who stood before her, and so, bound herself to him.

A smile graced Arwen's lips, almost reaching her eyes, which had become grey and cold. She remembered that day very well. Evenstar he had called her. Rarely did he use the name her people had given her, Evenstar, Undómiel. But how sweet they sounded when did.

Closing her eyes, Arwen listened to her heart where she could hear Estel's voice singing a song of Lúthien Tinúviel, an elvenmaid and Beren, a mortal man. Hearing this comforted her, for he would sing it when she was lonely and missing her people, and she loved to listen to him. She continued to walk, eyes still closed, until the song ended. When she opened her eyes she smiled and felt more lonely than ever she had since she had left the House of Kings in Minas Tirith.

When Arwen opened her eyes she stood on the spot where she had pledged herself to Estel. Surveying the land around her she was saddened, for the light had faded from the Lórien, Realm of her grandmother, Galadriel, Lady of the Golden Wood. Sorrowful was this thought, for Galadriel had passed away, as had Celeborn, King of Lórien. The once glittering forest was silent and dim.

The grass was still soft as Arwen laid herself down on the hill which held her most precious memory. She thought of her last moments with Estel, before he departed the world of the living. He had not the words to comfort her, for they both knew nothing could, but had told her she now faced a new choice. She could repent and go to the Havens, leaving their time together a mere memory in a fading land; or she could stay and die a mortal as he. But she knew no ship would carry her to the land where her people now dwelt, whether she chose to go or not, and this she told him. He was saddened by this and showed the guilt he had carried since the elves had sailed into the west. Always had he felt responsible for letting her forsake her people and her immortal life, and even more so for the sorrowful parting of Elrond and his only daughter. Many times she had tried to explain that the choice had been hers, and she did not regret it.

In sorrow but not despair, Estel had said, that was how they would part. Arwen closed her eyes and let her tears fall as the wished. She put her hand over her heart, remembering how he had kissed it before falling into eternal sleep. It was in that moment that she had decided to return to the lands of her mothers kin. Her love had departed, her children needed her no more, and she did not want to face his people alone. It was now the time of her children. Eldarion, their son, was king and shouldered the duties his father left him. She had nothing left in Minas Tirith.

And so she lay in the undying grass as night fell on Lórien. This was her end. She had suffered much since the passing of Estel and now it was her time to follow. Here she would wait for life's last breath to leave her body, which still held a hint of her elven beauty, though mortality had diminished it greatly. She whispered softly, 'Namarie' and left the living world of Middle-earth.

The Doom of Men had befallen Arwen Undómiel.

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