Across the plains there was a small breeze, causing the grass to bend slightly. A few grasshoppers jumped about lazily from stem to stem. Brego's mane was being whipped about, the black hair rippling down the horse's neck. The brown stallion's side gleamed in the afternoon sun; the horse hardly showing any signs of tiring as he topped the last hill at a brisk canter.
Aragorn sat high upon his back, pausing his steed for a moment to gaze out at his city. The white tower glistened, reflecting the sunlight. The ranger smiled, and after a second had passed, urged Brego on again.
He had been made to stay underneath that tree for three more days until he had been allowed to hobble slowly back to the elven makeshift dwellings. His ribs had been re-bandaged and Legolas's cut carefully closed. He had kept the elf's company until he left.
Many of his soldiers had remained behind to offer their services to the Mirkwood allies. The others now accompanied him back to his kingdom. Upon their departure Aragorn had searched his friend's face carefully for any signs of lingering despair or wrath and had been pleased to find none. Elves had gone to Lothlorien in order to obtain some of the Lady's soil. With it they hoped to bring forth many trees before the next snowfall.
Legolas had pulled him aside to offer a few last words before parting. "As always, you have been present during times of need. Aragorn, had you not arrived when you did..." Legolas trailed off, looking Aragorn in the eye, "My friend, I do not know how to thank-you, nor how to repay this debt."
"I did no more than what you would have done for me."
The two clasped arms, and then as Aragorn turned to mount his horse, Legolas stepped back, "Try to get home without getting into trouble now." The elf prince had smiled, watching his friend ride off; then he turned to continue his work. It would be long and difficult, but he was filled with much hope.
Seeing the Minas Tirith before him now Aragorn reflected on those words and grinned. Gimli had opted to remain behind to aid Legolas in his efforts to rebuild his home, but Aragorn longed to return to his own. With a kick he rode Brego proudly down the hill and into the city.
Arwen sat inside the garden. She was gowned in a flowing white dress, with pale green hangings and cuffs. She was watching the sunlight shimmer off the water, meditating on the last few days.
The smoke had finally cleared, helping to ease some of her worry. Aragorn's absence had been much longer than she had expected, and she missed her husband dearly. Even the coming of the rains and the ending of the drought had done little to lift her spirits much. What she longed for was to see Aragorn safe and unharmed, back to be with her.
Sitting on the garden bench, she ran her fingers through her hair absentmindedly while she thought of what Aragorn might be doing right now.
A horn sounded, startling her out of her reverie. She blinked, a tad confused, and then a hopeful expression lit her face. As she stood, another horn sounded.
Gathering her skirts about her she hurried from the garden, climbing up the steps into the palace, and then raced down the stone hallways. A servant hurried out of her way as she rushed towards the throne room, and from there, to enter the courtyard.
But she didn't quite get that far. As she was halfway across the floor, the far doors opened, allowing Aragorn to walk into the room. A satisfied grin was upon his face, and though it seemed to her that his walk was a bit stiff, he held himself tall and kingly.
Arwen rushed into his embrace, a few tears spilling down her cheeks. She held him tightly, not wishing to let go. Aragorn pulled back a bit to direct her lips into a kiss. After a moment, they broke apart, Arwen holding her hand around his waist.
"I am so glad to see you safe. I worried when you did not return soon." She felt his side, feeling his slight wince, "You are injured!"
"Was injured, but am now mostly recovered." Aragorn turned to look directly at her, "Arwen, I am afraid that the fire was only one of Mirkwood's troubles."
"What happened then?"
"Later tonight I will tell you perhaps. For now..." Aragorn turned towards her again, and leaning down, met her lips in a soft, then passionate kiss. And for them, the moment was forever. The king had returned.
well, like I said, a short epilogue. Hope that you have enjoyed! For the last time in this story I give my many thanks to all of my reviewers. Everyone has been so nice to me, thank-you so much! Namarie!