A/N: WARNING: Rated T for dark, possibly disturbing content.


Arwen was gone. In the end her love for Estel had not been enough, and the seas had borne her far away – out of his reach, beyond the furthest limits of his love.

The fire dimmed, quenched by the highswept winds, and the glade was shrouded in darkness. Aragorn was alone. He was again homeless, abandoned by all who had called themselves friends; a mere tool in the hands of a far greater power. Sauron sought him tirelessly. Orcs tracked his well-covered paths, slaying all who protected him, and now, hopeless and lost, Aragorn could flee no further.

This was the end, of which so many had spoken; and it was not glorious and lovely, but he could not bring himself to care. Death would bring peace; a respite from fear, from constant running, and he would not evade its grasp any longer.

The snarling cries came nearer, and the dour ranger rose to his feet, gazing fixedly through the woods where heavy feet tramped. A fell light sparked within his empty eyes, and he drew himself proudly upright, his sword glittering in the pale light as he drew it ringing from its sheath.

Then he waited.

He would find death this night, whether by the cruel blade of an Orc or by his own hand, he did not know or care. He was a man broken, despairing, and however much he desired death, he would not go on his own.

The Orcs came.

One last breath he took as he drew himself straighter, defying them and their boundless evil... and then he fell, his blade soaked in his blood upon the grassy earth.

The dawn peeped over the trees, and summer passed slowly to autumn, but no leaves fell to cover the body of one who had fought long against the darkness.

Broken. Alone. A shattered heart, an empty soul.

Evil reigned, and the flame of Sauron's hand spread far over the land. But grey eyes, gazing heavenwards, grey as the sea-swells at dusk, saw not the darkness.

Estel, the last hope of man, had found peace.