Silent were the streets of Rath Dínen as night approached without a star. There was solemnity and dignity in the air as though the very wind and stormy clouds were aware of the sorrow growing in the eyes of the Queen. She was kneeling at the stony bed of her Lord and gently placing his hand around the grip of Andúril. As she did this a single tear trickled down her cheek and fell on King Elessar’s hand, the same hand he reached out with to touch hers for the last time before sleeping the eternal dream.
She had been standing there for minutes that go beyond count, not thinking about anything for her mind was empty, not feeling anything, only the most terrible weight in her heart. Not even aware of her decision, she turned around and left, not even hearing her own footsteps echoing on the cold stone.
She passed the guard at the entrance, who watched her not knowing whether to say something or not for the very sight of her pale face and tears was painful for one’s soul. No one in Minas Tirth had ever seen her like that before.
She had just entered the Courtyard of the Stone when a lightning stroke somewhere in the Fields of Pelennor and a strong wind blew tearing off a single flower from the White Tree. It landed at her feet and she picked it up. She looked at it with mournful eyes and the flower was replaced with images, images of her past, of the utmost happiness her love and life with Aragorn had brought. Arwen could see herself making him the royal standard, the Midsummer’s Eve when their wedding took place, how she sang to him every morning as they sat together under the White Tree, the day she told him they were going to get an heir, smiles on Aragorn’s face when their children were born, how they made love on the sandy beaches of Dol Amroth surrounded by the magical light of the full moon and listening to the beautiful songs of Ulmo. As these memories overflowed her, tears welled in her eyes threatening to burst out.
She walked over to the edge of the courtyard still clutching the flower tightly in her hand. From this high place Arwen looked down at the lower levels of the White City. She raised her arm, opened her fist and let the flower slip from her palm. It fell on the threshold of the one of the houses in the city and was picked up by a young boy who realising what it was and where it came from, looked upwards and saw the Queen standing there, her dark hair and black dress caught high in the fierce wind.
There she stood gazing somewhere beyond the horizon and poured into a song words she had once given Aragorn to help him and guide him.
“Ae ú-esteliach nad… estelio han. Estelio ammen.”
She barely opened her lips and her song was silent, but Manwë’s wind carried the elven melody across the city and beyond. Every man, woman and child heard her singing and her words made them understand. In their hearts they knew their beloved King was with them no more.
It started to rain and heaven itself mourned her loss, but she continued to stand motionless, not noticing.
Eldarion came running from the citadel carrying in his hands a black cape with symbols of Gondor embroidered at the rim. He came to her and put the cape onto her shoulders.
“It is cold out here,” he whispered into her ear. “Naneth , come. Let’s go inside.”
She followed him and leaned her head against his chest. She could withhold her sorrow no more and so she shed many tears revealing her grief.
“Just cry, cry and let the tears be dried by the wind for I too know the weight of emptiness my father’s death has left behind.”
“But there aren’t enough tears for such pain.”
He embraced her lovingly and led her to her chambers where he left her alone at her request. Spacious, richly decorated room situated at the top of the citadel with a window to the west, the standard Arwen had made during the War of the Ring hanging over a large bed and a painting of Arwen and Aragorn standing on a bridge in Rivendell on the opposite wall. Only few hours ago the place where Arwen and her beloved one had shared many pleasures was now a mere cradle of memories that will be cherished forever.
She climbed onto the bed and softly laid her hand on the sheets. The flashes of their first wedding night rushed before her eyes: his kisses and caresses and the passion that had been withheld for a long time, time they had spent apart. All of this now seemed so far, far away. Many years ago was this pain accepted but that could not make it easier. Knowing it had to come one day could not bring any comfort.
Many hours passed as she lay there staring into the darkness outside. The city was asleep and everything was silent but no sleep came to the Queen’s eyes. How could there be any sleep without the mere presence of her Estel, of his breath and his heart’s beating? How could there be any sleep without his warm embrace and his hand holding hers every night? How could the Sun rise or set when there were no more King and Queen watching it and how could the Moon cast its silver glow when there were no more kisses for it to shine upon?
Although she didn’t want to, like everyone else in Minas Tirith that night, she fell asleep with traces of weariness and dried tears on her face.
Days passed by, days that turned into weeks. Arwen Evenstar spent them sitting by the fountain with little warmth in her eyes. She cried no more for tears had become a feeble expression of the grief within. Every day early in the morning she would come to the fountain and water the Tree. She took care of it, nurtured it because she thought it to be of extreme importance. To her the well being of the Tree symbolised the prosperity of the Kingdom and of the newly founded dynasty of Telcontar. These were the actions of one who tried not to despair but had little success and was in search for a meaning where there was none. To Arwen death came slowly from within, though a little life seemed to linger still on the outside.
One morning after she had just finished her work, she sat to rest and watched the sunrise. In that moment she came to realise that the colours and glow in the sky no longer evoked admiration. Everything seemed to have lost its beauty as though her senses were unable to perceive it.
Her love for Aragorn had fulfilled her just as hers had fulfilled him. His passing had torn away a significant part of her soul leaving it now empty. The strength of their union could not be measured within the circles of this world. Being apart they were less than being together. Life became bare like mountain tops covered with snow. Such thoughts appeared in her mind.
In the depth of her eyes and on her grievous figure one could now see determination, a sign that she has made a decision, the heavy decision to leave. Her time to pass would come only when all that she had gained was lost. Her beloved one had departed, Eldarion was crowned as the King of Gondor and Arnor, her daughters were grown up and had lives of their own. She passed onto them all the knowledge and wisdom she had gathered during the long years of her life. Her task was done. She was left alone and the stone walls were again cold.
That evening Arwen, her children and her maiden Elanor, daughter of Samwise Gamgee, gathered beneath the throne in the great hall. Arwen was already wearing her travelling cloak.
She approached her son, kissed him on the forehead and said, “Rule well.” She then gently touched the pendant Eldarion had been wearing since the day of his birth.
“No more does the Evenstar shine as it once did,” she whispered.
“But that does not diminish its beauty. I will pass it onto my child,” replied Eldarion. Arwen smiled for the first time in many days.
She than said to her daughters, “Do not grieve for I have had a rich life and left you in the inheritance of three peoples: the Eldar, the Edain and the Ainur, through my foremother Melian who was a Maia. Namarië.”
She came to Elanor and before she could say farewell to her maiden and good friend, Elanor placed in her hands a package. Arwen looked at it and said, “I cannot accept this. I don’t think I will be needing it where I am going.”
“Trust me. I believe you will need it, my Lady,” Elanor reassured her. “Just don’t open it until the moment comes.”
Eldarion then led her to the gates of the city where a horse was waiting for her. Arwen tied the package to the saddle, mounted the horse and left the city. Eldarion stood there watching her until her dark silhouette disappeared on the horizon. Never again did he behold his mother walking the lonely paths of this earth.
When Arwen arrived to the borders of Lórien, she dismounted, untied Elanor’s gift and whispered into the horse’s ear, “Pado nan mbâr .” It obeyed.
There she was, in the land of her mother’s kin, a place she had for a very long time considered to be her home. Many days she wandered among the mallorn trees in the deserted elven city. There was no one left to take care of its beauties, but it still remained the most entrancing elven dwelling in Middle-earth.
A day came when something was different. Bitter sorrow enveloped Arwen’s heart no more. She felt serenity and stirred were the remainders of hope. She decided to open the gifted package for the moment was near. In it was the most beautiful silver white dress that shone in darkness like stars in the sky. It was the same dress she had worn that evening in Rivendell when she gave her life to Aragorn. Surprised, she wondered, “How did she know?” and then the answer came to her: Elanor had seen it on the painting in Arwen’s chamber. Reflection of a distant, but joyful past only for a moment brought to the bitter shadows of the present, will in time become a prisoner of a yet unforeseen future.
Arwen undressed and in that white dress she left Caras Galadhon. She came to the hill of Cerin Amroth, a green oasis in the snow-covered Lothlórien with elanor and niphredil springing up from the grass. She climbed to the top of the hill and laid herself down. Looking at her own reflection on the Ring of Barahir given by Aragorn on this very hill when they both forsook the shadow and the Twilight, Arwen felt glad. She knew she would see him again, kiss him again and be forever with her Estel.
Like a flower of elanor that closes its petals at sunset, Lady Undómiel closed her eyes for the last time.
The Valar and the Eldar in Aman lamented the passing of the daughter of Lord Elrond and Lady Celebrian and of the descendant of Elros, the first King of Númenor. They entered into a realm that no living child of Ilúvatar had ever seen.