Categories > Books > Lord of the Rings

Taking Leave from Rivendell

by bellemainec 0 Reviews

A Missing Scene from the Movie. We saw Arwen bind herself to Aragorn and forsake her immortal life. Yet we did not see their farewell before he left with the Fellowship. So......

Category: Lord of the Rings - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Aragorn, Arwen - Published: 2006/11/08 - Updated: 2006/11/09 - 2585 words - Complete

The soft whisper of the wind outside mirrored that of her velvet skirts over the cold hard flagstones. She paused momentarily by the arched window, allowing her stormy gaze to fall onto the courtyard far below her. She loved Rivendell, it's stately beauty, the intertwining of nature and construction. Her people had spent an age perfecting the technique, and Rivendell shone as a magnificent achievement. Stone mirrored the properties of wood, wood mirrored stone, glass curved into carvings as intricate as silk - whatever medium was required, her people had the skill to transform the material into a thing of beauty. After all, any addition to these buildings would be seen for many years. One of the consequences of being immortal was an inability to cope with ugliness. Thus when one was an elf, an object of beauty oneself that never faded or withered a yearning came from within to surround oneself with beauty and to shun ugliness.

Rivendell was an ode to beauty, to the quest to create perfect beauty of material items. And yet, even now, Rivendell held an object that could only be described as ugliness in its purest form. Arwen was not unaware of the irony of the Ring. Forged from soft gold into a perfect band, the delicate script inscribed around the outer circle; the Ring was beautiful to behold. It shone in the light, it cried out to be worn; it called to be used. Its beauty masked its evil nature, the shining gold hid treachery, the perfection of its form hid deceit and the luscious appeal of the ring concealed the darkness for which it was created to serve.

The Ring must be destroyed, her Father was correct. It must be cast back into the fires of Mount Doom; the Dark Lord must be stripped of his most powerful weapon. She felt the certainty of this with every beat of her heart, yet a small voice deep within her cried out to find another way. The Fellowship would take the Ring into Mordor; and Aragorn would go with them. Deep into that forsaken land, away from her, away from his people, away from any and all who would aid him in times of trouble. Many times had she watched Aragorn leave her, many times she had seen him stride away to walk the edges of the darkness that surrounded them, to keep the borders of their world safe. Each time she had been certain that he would return unharmed. And the small voice that demanded another course of action, rose to a silent scream within her as she realised that this time that certainty was missing. This time she truly feared he would be lost.

She heard the door behind her open. She remained facing the window. His footsteps had always been recognisable to her. He crossed the room to stand behind her, waiting patiently for her to turn and face him.

She took longer to turn to him than he had expected. He was not to know that she had to desperately search for the calm serenity that characterised the elves. She would not face him with anything less than perfect calm.

She turned and held his gaze, and realised in that moment that her effort had been in vain. His eyes widened, as his hand flew to cup her cheek. His thumb brushed softly over the curve of her jaw, before he gathered her into his arms.

Silently he stroked her hair as she rested her cheek over his heart. Long moments passed as both sought comfort in the presence of the other. At length, his hand stilled upon her hair, as he stated, "Elrond has told you of the Fellowship."

She nodded, and he had to strain to hear her quiet response. "He told me that you will accompany Frodo into the depths of Mount Doom."

"The One Ring must be destroyed."

Arwen drew a shaky breath. "I know. Father told Gandalf that the Ring could not stay here, as we have not the strength to fight both Mordor and Isenguard.
The Ring must be destroyed."

Aragorn paused, then withdrew slightly from her embrace. Arwen let him go. He stepped around her to look outside. "I swore to protect Frodo with my life."

His words seemed to echo in Arwen's ears. Her head bowed under the sudden weight of them. She caught her lower lip between her teeth, and desperately fought the tears that sprang to her eyes. She fought a battle within herself to keep her next words calm and clear, and she was victorious. "The Ring bearer must be protected at all costs. I would expect no less of you. You would no sooner stand aside from this quest than I would ask you to remain behind. Isildur's heir is bound to the destruction of the Ring. Only with its destruction will we be free of its shadow."

She paused, as Aragorn remained silent.

"Knowing that you must go, and accepting that fact, are two different things."

Unable to look at him, to see the expression on his face, she turned from him and walked across the room. Gratefully, she sank onto one of the lush couches that dotted the room. Clasping her hands together she searched for a way to tell him what lay within her heart.

Aragorn made no move to leave the window. His voice harsh, he abruptly stated, "You regret binding yourself to me."

The look that Arwen turned upon her darling heart could conceivably have melted stone. A sudden rush of temper dragged her to her feet and she positively spat her response at him. "I will never regret binding myself to you. I simply fear that your leaving me now will ultimately have the same effect as if I had kept my immortality! I chose a mortal life to spend with you, Aragorn. To live as your wife, to grow old and die at your side. By your taking the Ring to Mordor, I fear that I shall simply be growing older and dying alone. I fear that this time you shall not return. I fear that you shall leave me. I fear your loss, and with that fear is the knowledge that I can do nothing but let you walk into darkness. The fear has always been present, but it now combines with my own certainty that you and I are both mortal."

Her strength drained, Arwen collapsed back onto the couch. She bravely fought back the sobs that gathered at the back of her throat and the tears that shimmered in her eyes.

Stunned, Aragorn could do little but gaze at her. As he watched, he realised that she was fighting back tears. This realisation finally caused him to approach her; in all the years they had known each other, he had never seen her cry. He knelt before her and took her hands in his. She refused to look at him. His voice tender, he said "My Evenstar."

Still, she refused to look at him. Keeping her gaze fixed upon her hands, she said quietly, "In all these years I have never doubted the fact that you would return to me. You strode the edges of darkness and were never harmed. I found it inconceivable that you could possibly die; I assumed, arrogantly I suppose, that you would always return to me. I assumed that my presence would be enough to stop you seeking death."

She risked a look at his face. His expression had softened and he wore that introspective look that she knew so well. She also knew with utter certainty that her next words would cause his features to harden and quite possibly send him from her presence in anger. She hoped that he would at least hear her out.

"I have always known that I do not hold your entire heart, Aragorn. No matter how much you deny it, how much you despair of it, the blood that flows in your veins carries the rights, responsibilities and demands of kingship. You have chosen exile, but your blood calls to you. It always has, and I know that you ignore it, I know that you tell yourself that you have chosen a different path. You may even honestly believe that, but I hear it as well, my love. I hear the demand. I have always known that your heart is divided between the fate you strive to avoid and myself. You are Isildur's heir. Whether you were or not, I would still love you. The heir is part of who you are, however, and I can not separate the two of you. My heart belongs to you, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Isildur's heir. It always will, just as I know that you do love me.

Yet, that love you hold for me is not enough. Is it Aragorn? It never has been."

She waited for him to deny it, then continued grimly. "Your blood calls you. To battle, to glory, to avenge wrongs, to protect others, to guide, to do right. No matter what I do or say, I can never compete with that part of you. You must fulfil your destiny, Aragorn, I know this, or the result will be the ruin of all. You have offered Frodo your sword, have you not?" A tinge of bitterness coloured her next words. "Did you also offer him your life or death if either could be of use?"

She saw her angry vocal shaft had struck home. Aragorn stepped away from her, and she almost shivered at the icy stare he focussed upon her. He inclined his head slightly and acknowledged her comment. "Yes, I did. Frodo has my sword. I swore to protect him with my death if necessary."

Something inside of Arwen snapped and for the first time her life, she did not stop to consider her actions and their possible ramifications. She darted towards him and slapped him soundly across the right cheek. "How dare you! Did you even stop to think what your death would mean to me? To us? Am I to have no interest in the matter of your life or death? Or were you to busy listening to the voices of your ancestors proclaiming your opportunity to right their wrong?" Realising she may have gone too far, she clapped a hand over her mouth to stop the torrent of words.

Too late. Aragorn flinched as if her had been struck, not by her action but at her words. The red mark on his cheek dulled as he held her gaze. "I will not deny that a part of me is happy to have this chance. I will finally have the opportunity to complete what Isildur started and failed to complete; to destroy the one ring. Arwen, you have always told me that I am his heir, and that I will overcome his failings. This is the only opportunity we will have to destroy the ultimate evil that resides in our world. I can not and will not allow this opportunity to pass. Even for you."

Sometimes, Arwen thought, he missed the point completely. "I would no more ask you to stay behind then I would ask you to join the Dark Lord himself. Or to ask that I accompany you! I know either would be impossible. I am just....I am just asking you to be careful." Liar, a small voice whispered inside her mind. For the first time you are truly feeling the fear that twists inside the minds of mortal women. If you thought begging him to stay would convince him, you would have already done so. Arwen fought against the deceptively rational voice in her mind. It may seem right to ask him to stay, but she knew it to be wrong.

Aragorn stood silently watching her. She realised that at least some part of her emotional struggle had shown on her face. He said, "Evenstar, when you bound yourself to me, even from the first time you looked at me, I swore to value my life by your measurement. If you deemed me worthy, I would value my own life. As long as you hold me in some affection, I will endure."

He paused before continuing. "You are right in that I will never be free of my past. I have tried, but never succeeded. And you have always encouraged me to embrace it, to recognise it for what it is; a part of me that will always be present. I swear to you, I will be careful. The Fellowship will return. I will return to you. You know the importance of our mission."

She nodded, the frustration and despair evident in her eyes and voice as she replied, "I know the importance of the mission, Aragorn. I just want to know that you will return alive!"

He clasped her hand and dropped to one knee in front of her. "I swear to you, my beloved, that I will return to you. I will always return to you, for you are my other half; my soul mate. Without you, I am left incomplete and abandoned. If I do not do this...."

His voice trailed off, and Arwen quietly completed his sentence, "..if you do not do this, you are not the man I fell in love with. He would be incapable of allowing the Fellowship to leave without him. He would ask my blessing and understanding." She hesitated, then forced the painful words past her lips. "A blessing and understanding which I would give him, even though my heart threatens to break with the action. Take care, my love. If harm befalls you, I shall know it. In that instant, my heart will know and in the next I shall join you."

He stood and embraced her, his lips settling over hers in a kiss that melded passion, love, despair, terror, grief and farewell together. Salty tears rained down cheeks and mingled together. Finally, they pulled apart, knowing that he must leave. He pressed a single kiss to her forehead, and said, "My heart remains here in your keeping."

She placed her hand over his heart. "Mine goes with you, my love."

He tore his gaze from her face, touched her cheek, and then strode from the room.

Arwen placed her palm over her cheek, mirroring his action, attempting to preserve the warmth of his hand. She stumbled towards the window once more, where she blindly gazed out upon the rushing waterfalls that guarded her home. She had sent him away, let him go, encouraged him to leave, even as her own mind and heart had screamed at her to be selfish. To demand that he put her first, put her above everything else. In the end, neither of them could do it, neither of them were capable of putting themselves before the good of all.

Arwen turned grimly towards the window once more. The wind whispered in the trees, the river trickled happily over stones, the sun shone golden on the earth. She fixed the picture in her mind. It was for this that he was going, and it was for this that she had let him. The vision before her blurred suddenly as a tear rolled silently down her cheek. She waited patiently for her vision to clear, and it did. Her heart ached within her as she drank in the beauty of Rivendell. He would return. He must.

Finis.
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