CHAPTER THREE: COMFORT
If Arwen had thought that the worry would lessen as time progressed, she was sorely mistaken.
It was not just the understanding of what Aragorn would be facing on this particular journey. It was the knowledge that, in offering his aid to the Ringbearer, he would soon be plunged into another, more dangerous quest – a quest that had been his since the day of his father’s death.
As the last Heir of Isildur, he was bound to the fate of the One Ring. Every time the accursed object was mentioned, she could see a fire burn behind his eyes – he wanted, he needed to see the ring destroyed.
“Arwen?” Bilbo’s voice brought her out of her thoughts. “Is something wrong?” She didn’t answer. He lay a hand on her shoulder. “Something is worrying you…”
“I wish people would stop reminding me of that!” She snapped. Seeing the hurt in Bilbo’s eyes, she bit her lip. “I am sorry. I… I just do not know what is wrong with me.”
She stared at him in partial shock. “What?”
“I worry too,” Bilbo replied with a sigh. “For him, and Frodo. I know that Aragorn is an excellent warrior, if even one tenth of what Gandalf has told me is true.”
Arwen smiled. “He is. My brothers taught him well. But…” She struggled to find the words.
“But you fear because of his adversary?”
She nodded, a single tear meandering down her ivory cheek.
“Do not fear, Lady Undomiel,” Bilbo answered, handing her a pristine handkerchief to dry her tears. “Everything will turn out fine in the end. I promise.”
“Thank you, Bilbo.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
As the crescent moon, like a sliver of pure mithril, appeared from behind the clouds, Arwen gazed pensively at the sky. “Manke naa lle, Estel?”
Closing her eyes, she allowed her voice to rise in song: the Lay of Lúthien. The chill wind carried her voice deep into the valley below; but her heart willed it further.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Who is she?” The small voice startled Aragorn out of his reverie. He turned to face the hobbit who stared at him, wide-eyed. “This woman that you sing of?”
Aragorn sighed. “‘Tis the Lay of Lúthien, the elf-maiden who gave her love to Beren, a mortal,” he answered heavily, hoping that Frodo would go back to sleep.
“What happened to her?” The Ringbearer pressed.
He bowed his head. “She died. Go back to sleep, Frodo,” he added. The hobbit obediently joined his fellows in the throes of slumber.
Thoughts of Lúthien and Beren made his heart heavy. Her sacrifice was one he had found heart-rendering; for what was a greater expression of love than to give up your life for that person?
‘She is only doing this because she loves you,’ he told himself. Yet, though he was not blessed with the foresight of his elven ancestors, the future was clear enough. If Arwen became his wife, she would inflict mortal pains upon herself: illness, age, and worse of all, death.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Like a bolt of lightning, the solution hit her.
Arwen was on her feet in an instant. Turning, she raced to her chamber, careful not to awaken her handmaidens.
The blade gleamed in the milky light of the moon as she unsheathed her sword. Lúthien had aided her beloved in his quest – could Arwen not aid hers?
* * * * * * * * * *
Manke naa lle, Estel? = Where are you, Estel?