17 Súlimë 3019, Minas Tirith.

My Dearest Father,

I first wrote this letter many years ago, when Elrohir and I first started hunting orcs.  I left it with Erestor, with instructions to give it to you if I did not return – and he has kept it safe since then.  Now, however, the circumstances have changed, and I feel the need to write the letter again.  I do not know if Elrohir has written a similar letter – strangely, it is one of the few things we have never discussed.  And I have not written to him – such words are not needed between us.

Together with leaders from the realms of men – the captains of the West, they call us – we spent much of the last night in debate, until the small hours – and our plan, such as it is, is simple.  We will draw the gaze of the Eye of Sauron away from the Ringbearer, that he may accomplish his task in secrecy.  We will be the bait for a trap that will unleash all the forces of evil upon us.  And I know with certainty that in this, at least, we will be successful, but it is a bitter knowledge.  The Dark Lord will be unable to resist the temptation to crush the heir of Isildur, nor Mithrandir – nor the sons of Elrond, who for so long have harried his minions.

If you read this, then I have fallen.  I know that the chances are high that Elrohir will have fallen with me – together as always – and I grieve for the sorrow that our deaths will cause you.  But if by some chance that is not the case, and he survives this last great battle, then he will need your love, healing and support so desperately. 

I will never know if we succeed or not – but I pray to the Valar that we do.  But that way will be fraught with sorrow too. 

If we succeed, and the One Ring is destroyed, then Vilya will fail, and the sanctuary of Imladris, that you have protected for so long, will fade. 

If we succeed, then Estel, little Estel, will fulfil his destiny and become the great and powerful king he was born to be – and he will be Estel no longer. 

If we succeed, then Arwen, my beautiful sister, will face all the bitterness of mortality.

If we do not succeed – then death in battle will be but the beginning of the sorrows and horrors to stalk our land.   Fair Imladris will not just fade, it will be utterly vanquished.  Even those far across the sea will be consumed by darkness.

So it is with this vain hope that we ride tomorrow, northward to whatever fate awaits us.  I leave this letter with Faramir, now Steward of Gondor, and hope he does not have to send his messengers to Imladris in the weeks to come.

No matter what the outcome of this battle, I am always

Your loving son,

Elladan