The sun shone brilliantly. The cry of a lark sounded out clear and sharp into the air. In that moment, light shone upon Gondor, illuminating it for a moment and bathing it in sunlight. Arwen stepped outside of the doors to her dwelling. The air was cool, brisk and calm. She stood there for a moment, relishing the soft kiss of the air upon her face. She moved slowly and gracefully, walking with her head down along the roads of Gondor, admiring the skill of the laborers who had worked here and built Gondor so long ago. At last, she reached a place where no trees grew, and the air was still and silent.
Arwen knelt, taking a rose from her hands and placing it upon a gray stone of wonderful craftsmanship. The stone was on a raised mound, and atop it was a stone figure attached to the base. It was a stone figure of one of the mighty and proud Kings of Old, Aragorn the Wise. A single tear fluttered in her lashes, and it came to rest upon the grave, a mark of the beauty that had once graced the face of this King. She slowly backed away, shaking her head, as if in disbelief. She suddenly fell to the ground and wept. Long she knelt there, huddled with grief, until she finally got up and left. It took her longer than usual to traverse the paths back to the main part of Gondor, and she hurried, knowing that her child, Eldarion, and his wife and children, would be waiting for her.
She arrived at her dwelling too late to slip in unnoticed, for Eldarion was already outside, reveling in the cool air. When he saw Arwen, a genuine smile brightened his face. “Mother,” he exclaimed. “It is so good to see you! When was the last time you were here?”
Arwen felt a smile tugging at her lips. Eldarion was a person that made people smile. It was one of the things about him that had made Arwen love her son from the first day she saw him. Arwen had been away for a while, visiting other folk, from the days when she was younger. Every time she came back, she had new tales to tell the children of Gondor. The children were always eager to hear of the Holbytlan who lived in the North, who were hardly four feet tall. “I am fine, son,” she said. “How are Nari and Melian? Also, how is Enila?”
“They are all fine. Come.” Eldarion motioned with his hand towards the main part of Gondor. “All of the people of Gondor, old and young, are waiting for you to tell your usual stories about the Rohirrim and the Holbytlan and the folk of Dunharrow and of Osgiliath and of Bree and of-“
Arwen smiled. “Eldarion, how did you set this up? For I know that all of the people of Gondor would not be interested in hearing me talk of my travels.”
Eldarion had a straight face. “I am serious, Mother. Come, they are all waiting.”
Arwen laughed. “I must rest my feet first. I am but an old lady, Eldarion-“
But she stopped speaking, for Eldarion had seized his mother in his arms and ran towards the main part of the city, yelling with unbridled glee. After they had covered the distance, which took a surprisingly short time, Eldarion dropped Arwen into a chair and took one of his own.
Arwen panted from the exhilaration of the “ride.” “Eldarion,” she gasped. “Never do that to me again.” But she was grinning as she said it, she knew. They all knew. Arwen sighed, settled herself into the chair, and began telling stories to the citizens.
* * *
By midmorning, most of the crowd had diminished, and only the children were still there. Eldarion had departed sometime around ten o’ clock, to resume his position on the wallguard. Enila, Eldarion’s wife, had cooked a breakfast for all of the people that were listening to Arwen;s stories, and she was at home scouring the pots and pans she had used. By twelve o’clock, Arwen had finished relating her stories.
Finally, she sat back in her chair with a sigh. “Go,” she said wearily. “I am tired, and those are all of the stories I can remember in my present state.”
The children sat there, and one of them, a female of about eleven years old, said “Lady Arwen? Why do you never mention the name of Aragorn the Wise? For you seem to know about all of the other Kings of Old, but nothing about him.”
Arwen smiled sadly. If only they knew. She beckoned to the small child who had asked the question, saying “Come.”
The other children decided not to come, for Arwen had a reputation as a storyteller and nothing more to most of the children.
Arwen led the way through a maze of streets, the same ones that she had traversed earlier in the day. One woman came out of her house. “Maya!”
The girl whom Arwen was leading started. “Yes, Mother?”
Maya sighed. In a small voice, she told Arwen “Mama says I must go home now. Goodbye.” She started up the steps to her home with a sigh. Arwen started after her. “Wait!”
Maya paused. Arwen went inside the dwelling, and immediately caught sight of Maya’s mother. Arwen softly said “I wish to take Maya for a bit of education that not many people know about. If that is all right with you?”
Her mother said yes, and Arwen once more led Maya out into the streets until they came to the barren area that Arwen had been earlier in that day.
“What is it?” Maya asked in an awed voice. She had never seen anything so solemn and grave.
Arwen sighed. “This is the Tomb of the Kings. This is the grave of Aragorn.”
Maya started. “I apologize for asking such a question. I should have known… you are Arwen, are you not? The wife of Aragorn?”
Arwen started. “How did you know?”
Maya stared into space for a second. “I dont know. There are just places…people…things floating around in my mind. I dont know what to do with them or anything. The day that Filana died, I percieved Fire. And I knew, somehow, that ill fate was in the air.”
Arwen decided to tell the something that she had never told anyone before. “You are the Seer.”
Maya looked up, confused. “Excuse me?”
Arwen explained. “I had better start with a summary of Aragorn’s life, so you aren’t completely confused at what I am saying. Aragorn was the son of Gilraen and Arathorn. Arathorn died when Aragorn was but two years old- his eye was pierced by an arrow in battle. Gilraen brouht Aragorn to Rivendell, home of the High-Elves. I was living there at that time. I met Aragorn there, and we fell in love. Aragorn had travelled far and wide, but he always came back to Rivendell. Once, when he came back, his moher told him that she was about to die. And she did, two months later. Aragorn later took part in the War of the Ring, climbing Carhadras, passing through Moria, going to Fangorn, to Rohan, and to the Path of the dead. Anyway, on his travels, he met someone. That certain someone had forseen a burning tree, with white bark. You know that this is our White Tree, Gondor’s symbol. That person was a seer. And so are you. Later, after the War of the Ring, we got married in front of the entire Middle-earth, or so it seemed.”
Maya looked asghast. “I am really… a Seer?”
“Yes. And so will be the next person in line to receive a destiny.”
In bed that night, Maya couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning, flailing in her bed, and suddenly the spasms stopped. She lay stock still upon her bed.
There was a vast amount of people, sleeping under the stars. They looked underfed and hardly alive. One person, a tiny girl who could be no more than three years of age, looked up and straight at Maya. Her eyes pierced even the toughest of Maya’s inner defenses. Maya screamed, and that sound echoed all throughout the city. Then all was silent.