Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just play in their world.

When my wife sailed across the sea into the West, I thought there was no greater pain than to lose her. Now, as I stand here watching my daughter wed a man whose love means her doom, I know now that I was wrong.

I watch Arwen's eyes as she stands beside Aragorn. They shine bluer than I have ever seen them, like a sapphire brought up from the dark mines of the dwarves and shown in the bright light of the sun for the first time. She trembles slightly, but the smile emblazoned across her face never wavers. The light from the torches lining the great hall of the palace catch in the onyx waves of her hair, sparking black fire in the lustrous waves as she looks at Aragorn. Upon her brow she wears the same jeweled circlet her mother wore on our wedding day.

My eyes mist and I remember the joy Celebrian and I shared on the day we were wed. So long ago it seems, but for the ageless, time loses its sharpness, if not its sting. Soon I too shall venture across the sea and once again embrace my long departed bride, but despite how eager I am for that long overdue reunion, I find myself reluctant to leave that which keeps me so deeply rooted in Middle-earth. My children, grown and wise in the ways only Elves might be, still love this world and all of its keepings. Whether it be land or home or love, all three of my children remain here when I leave, though my sons might yet still cross the waves in due time. My daughter, however, will never see the home of her people. Valinor will never be anything more to her than a faraway dream.

I think of the effect my daughter's choice will have on her mother. Celebrian departed before Gilraen brought her son to Imladris. She never saw the child who would one day become man's only hope. In my heart, I wonder if in her boundless wisdom, Celebrian would have sensed Arwen's doom in that babe. She was perceptive like that, much like her mother Galadriel.

It will be with mixed tidings that I tell her of Arwen's decision. It was a hope etched deeply into Celebrian's heart that she would one day see her daughter again. Now there is no chance of that happening. There will be tears, and pain, but my wife was never one to find fault in others. She will be proud of Arwen, and love Estel as a son, whether or not their paths ever crossed. And perhaps the belief that her daughter is happy will soothe the ache in her heart over her loss. It will have to be enough for me.

Gandalf's booming voice snaps me from my reverie. He stands before Aragorn and Arwen, binding their hands with silk threads. The two turn to each other, and place their hands over the other's heart, before bowing their heads in unison and allowing Gandalf to speak.

"Far too long have these two hearts beat apart. Now in their union might they finally be one and find the happiness from which they have been long detained. By Elbereth, vow now and be for ever more joined as man and wife, lord and lady, King and Queen. Hal Aragorn! Hal Arwen!"

My daughter leans into the King, her face lit and beaming. Drifting from one lover to the other, I feel my heart lose some of its ache as I see the love and joy spread across Estel's bearded face. His eyes dance before closing as he leans to place a passionate kiss on Arwen's lips. She receives the intimate gesture, and meets it with equal fervor. She throws her arms around his neck, and he lifts her against him. They part, and as my daughter laughs, her new husband spins her around. The thick velvet folds of her wedding dress spin about their bodies, the light silver material clashing with the pewter metal of Aragorn's kingly armor.

It is done. My daughter's doom has fallen and she is now as mortal as the crowd spread out before me. She retains her elven grace, her ageless beauty and the years of knowledge and wisdom her long life has gathered, but the Evenstar will one day dim, as is the lot of man to one day revoke his life. Her life's grace is spent and the privilege of her heritage is forfeit. Thought mortal she may now be, she shall always be my daughter.

Arwen turns, and I can see in her eyes the ecstatic excitement within her. She scans the crowd, and her eyes fall on me, and I find myself forgetting to inhale. She renders me speechless, my father's pride consuming me as I look upon the girl I raised from swaddling cloths to marriage. She is so very like her mother, and I smile. I may lose my daughter to death, but I shall always have this moment.

As Aragorn watches standing before his throne, Arwen calmly steps down the marble stairs to stand before me. I bow, as fitting of her new station, but also because she is justly deserving of it. I marvel at the fortitude this lovely woman contains, for she has made a hard choice wisely. She nods at me, and rushes into my arms without another moments delay.

"Ada", she whispers like an evening's breeze, and I tighten my hold on her before closing my eyes and burying my face in her soft curls. I can feel tears slipping from beneath my shut eyelids, but I can find no reason to wipe them away. I open my eyes and over Arwen's shoulder, I watch Aragorn as he smiles at us. Our gaze meets, and he places his hand over his heart, thanking me for the gift he has this day received. I look at the man I have helped raise to manhood, and I see nothing but the greatness of which he is destined. He has proved his worth, and this day I love him more than any other day.

Arwen withdraws from my arms, and smiles at me with the love only a daughter can give. "Hannon lle", she says, placing a kiss upon my cheek. I sigh and return the gesture, pressing my lips to her forehead. "This day, the true beauty of the Evenstar shines more greatly than ever. May you be happy always, Undomiel Bereth." She smiles, and takes my hand in her own. She leads me back to the Throne of her husband, who steps down the black marble to kneel at my feet. The crowd gasps at the sight of their King kneeling before another, and I can feel their eyes upon me as he presses a kiss to my ring.

"Lord Elrond, you have never failed to set me upon the truest path. Now you entrust me in the greatest joy you have. I will not falter. Arwen will be loved and revered and known for the jewel that she is. I only hope that I might make her as happy as she has done for me. I thank you for that privilege."

I offer my hand and Aragorn stands. I enfold him in my embrace and silently chant a prayer that the Valar will look over my family as it grows in my absence. We part and I smile at the Dunedain. "Estel, you have proved your worth, and as a man of honor, I will deliver what I have always promised." I hold a hand out to Arwen, and she takes it eagerly. Turning back to the King of Gondor, I place my daughter's delicate hand in his rougher palm. "I bless your marriage. Come now, and let us celebrate such an illustrious union. Might that this night even result in an heir to the newly restored throne." The crowd laughs, and I watch in silent amusement the flicker of desire that sparks in Aragorn's eyes as he watches Arwen smile.

Aragorn raises his arms, and bellows loudly "To the feast, then!" The cheering onlookers clap and shout as the King and Queen escort them out to the courtyard over looking Minas Tirith." I, along with the other elves, follow the King's subjects out of the great hall, and as the others take their seat, my gaze lingers upon the newly wed couple standing away from the others. They kiss, and Aragorn's hand drifts into her hair, drawing her closer to him. They whisper to each other, and over the loud din of the revelers, I can hear Arwen's singsong laughter echo across the celebration. I memorize the clear sound, and store it deep within the confines of my memory. When I take my seat at the King's table, I notice my daughter and her husband cleverly sneak away from the fray, no doubt to take early advantage of their wedding night.

At that I laugh outright, unaware that others stare at me as I do so. The look upon Estel's face as I instructed him on the proper etiquette for his wedding night will also stay in my mind for another hundred ages. I raise my goblet, and drink the wine within. Yes, there are many memories to consume the long journey into the west.