Disclaimer: I don't own any characters- they belong to the Great Professor Tolkien. Not me. sigh

Spring Break- I promised myself I would post something. So here it is. I am in no way fond of Arwen- she was not at all deserving of Glorfindel's part at the Ford (I am a mad Glofindel fan), but neither does she deserve to be portrayed as the giggling, hair-braiding daughter of Lord Elrond. Hers was a subtle kind of courage, but no less potent than that of Frodo or Aragorn. She was willing to leave all she knew behind her- including immortality- for the sake of the Man she loved. Maybe now I can give her some respect! I also apologize for any problems in formatting; I'm still trying to figure out posting on a new computer...

5 May 2004: Reposted. I fixed some errors and reworded some sentences...and hope that the formatting is better this time! I had to press the "enter" button after each paragraph...I feel inept! Thanks to all who reviewed and guessed the metaphor- you were right, and some of you thought of meanings I hadn't seen yet! Thanks for all the feedback. It is greatly appreciated. : )

Till There Is Peace

They found her walking barefoot in a wooded glade near the river. Her silvery cloak covered the grass behind her as she went, though her passing left no mark. Her eyes raised to the trees, she sang a simple tune, often sung in their house. Only her fumbling hands betrayed her peaceful countenance. Elladan emerged first from the undergrowth, leaves in his hair, followed by Elrohir. She stopped her song and nodded to them, a faint smile playing at her delicate lips.

"Sister," said Elrohir, because Elladan could not find words to speak,

"Will you join us in the Hall tonight? We are leaving on the morrow."

"Of course, Brother," said she, her voice quiet. "Will you walk with me?"

Instead of returning to the house, she led them to the stony bank of the river. They followed her, perhaps because they anticipated her request, or perhaps because they knew how limited their time together had become.

"I have made a gift for Aragorn. I had hoped for you to bear it with you."

She stooped, avoiding eye contact, and picked up a flat, round stone, letting the question- unasked- ring in the twilit air. Elrohir glanced quickly at his brother, but Elladan's eyes were cast to the sky, above the setting sun.

"Undomiel..." began Elladan, but he stopped, and shook his head.

"Arwen, we are going to war," said Elrohir incredulously, "to Sauron, battle, death- and you ask us a favor for Estel?"

Arwen turned to face him, cupping the stone in her hands. "What is there to say for it, though?"

Elrohir frowned and muttered, "Do you care more for you Dunadan than us? It seems plain to my mind that you do."

"Your mind deceives you."

"Brother," Elladan interceded wearily, "do not."

"Do not ask me to choose," said she. Tears had sprung unbidden to her eyes, making them shine in the half-light, but Elrohir did not permit himself to see them.

"You have, Sister."

"I may still love my brothers, even if I have chosen a different path," she said harshly.

There was silence for a moment. The tension faded, and she dropped her hands to her sides, still clutching the stone.

"But you will be gone..."said Elrohir, hanging his head. "Forever."

She smiled, bitterly, and brushed her empty hand over his jaw.

"No. Our parting will not be so long. All things must end; you know this."

Elladan's eyes searched the sky with a restless despair.

"We may not return..." he said, weakly.

"You will, Brother. Do not doubt that."

"And if we do not, our souls will meet in Mandos," Elrohir replied, his countenance grim.

There was another pause. Arwen cupped the stone with both hands, and tossed it on its side into the calm behind a large rock. It skipped once before entering the current, where it was carried for a short distance before settling at the bottom.

"I am going back. You will come?" she asked.

"In a moment," answered Elrohir hoarsely, sitting as gracefully as he could.

She nodded, and turned back to the wood. The sun had set, and glimmers of stars were beginning to appear.

"Sister-" said Elladan. She stopped, faced him. "We will give Estel your gift."

She smiled gratefully and whispered a thank you, the stars in her eyes. Then she left, silently as a doe, or an Elf. In the distance sang a nightingale, over the gurgling music of the Bruinen.

Elladan wrapped an arm around his twin and pointed to the sky, where he had found what he sought.

"There, Brother. It is EƤrendil. He will not lead Arwen to despair, or folly. Gil- Estel. He is ever hopeful."

Elrohir nodded wordlessly.

"She will live long and be content. And so must we. We also will find our peace- and we will not always be a sundered family."

"But till there is peace..."

"We have each other."

The nightingale sang on, and the starlight shone off the river, two dark figures against it.

Fin.

It is well known that Elladan and Elrohir lived very unpeaceful lives after the capture and subsequent departure of their mother, Celebrian. Peace must have been something they sought most. The gift, of course, is the standard that is carried by Halbarad in the Battle of the Pelennor.