Elessar's Letters

Elessar sat in the chamber where the kings of Gondor wrote what needs must be in their own hand. The desk was simple, of lebethron wood, and the walls were bare stone save a tapestry that pictured Isildur stealing a fruit of Nimloth. All day the king had listened to counsel and to pleas and had set this and that urgent matter in order. Now the stars shone. He smiled, for a fire was kindled in the grate for him though he was clad in royal robes and had slept so often under the frosty Northern sky. With a swan-quill he wrote a letter he had mused on long.

Master Elrond Half-Elven, Rivendell

The Citadel, Minas Tirith, 2 Lothron, 3019

Dear foster-father,

Now that all has come to pass as you designed, and I am crowned the king of Gondor, I purpose to journey North when I may and rebuild the realm of Arnor. I ask you to judge me worthy of the Sceptre of Annúminas. And I ask you far more: to judge me worthy of your daughter's hand.

In the years since first we spoke of this, I have come to guess more of your grief. No justice is it, nor excuse is there, that you to whom I owe my life should pay the price for my bliss. But I put my trust in your wisdom; maybe you see reasons thus to let the tale return to its ancient beginning. I pray you to leave your daughter to the renewal of the Kings of Men, and to grant her heart's desire and the heart's desire of

Your loving foster-son,
Elessar Telcontar of Gondor

Laying it aside he wrote another letter, harder to write for all that he was harder driven to write it.

The Lady Arwen Undómiel, Rivendell

The Citadel, Minas Tirith, 2 Lothron, 3019

Beloved Lady Arwen,

I report nothing, for your father has surely informed you; I remind you of nothing, for you less than I can have forgotten; I offer you nothing, for Queen of Gondor is no greater than you are now; I demand the fulfillment of no pledge, for love is not demanded. Of one thing only do I speak, as I never cease to think of it: the joy that we shall have together. On Cerin Amroth we stepped hand in hand across the bourne of that country. Now let us learn its wonders and live each day on its yield.

I ask assurance of nothing, for I cannot doubt you, but still it is my part to ask for the last time: Will you marry me?

Answer soon to your true lover,

Elessar thought which young men might glory in riding through the lands that were now safe to render the letters to the Elves. But he grew less satisfied. He spoke aloud: "Nay, all I have written they know. My part is not to ask; it is to wait. Nor will I spy on Imladris with the palantír to watch if they start their journey hither. Did I not subscribe myself Estel?"

He tore the letter to Elrond in half and half again, and he dropped the scraps into a basket that stood by. The letter to Arwen he grasped with tongs and placed in the hottest heart of the fire.