The Changing World

By Molly Buse

Disclaimer: I do not own anything in The Lord of the Rings. It all belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien, the literary genius who created Middle-earth and all of its inhabitants.

Summary: Legolas thinks about how Middle-earth will change once his friend, Aragorn, dies. Arwen will fade and Gimli and him will sail across the sea.

How could he be dying? I mean, this is Aragorn, King Elessar, my best friend. We have been through so much together and now, he dies? How can this be happening?

I knew that this would happen someday, but I never thought that it would affect me like this. I kept pushing the thought aside, hoping that by forgetting that it would never happen. How, after so many years and so many trials, fighting against Sauron, orcs, Uruk-hai, and everything else that you could imagine, he dies of old age? This cannot be happening.

Aragorn is, was so strong. He might be wounded, but he would never die. Never. It is amazing how after so much time of knowing one person you can become so close, even if your correspondence is mainly in letters. I had known Aragorn since he was only a teenager and now, he is dying. It seems impossible. I have not been someone who has known many people who have died, but if it is always like this, I am thankful. I hate to think that I could feel like this more than once in my life.

Aragorn has been with me through my many trials and I with him. I have seen him grow older and stronger. I watched as he accepted his fate as King of Gondor and married Arwen. I watched him raise his children; I even became an adoptive uncle to those children. Now, staying in Gondor watching those same children mourn as their father fades away, I cannot help but think of what will happen when he does fade and pass into the realms of Mandos. Eldarion will become king in his father's stead, even though he is yet to see twenty years. He will marry and rule Gondor, all the while trying to be the great king that his father had been, but never able to reach that point.

Aragorn had been the best king that Gondor had ever known. He brought them from war, into peace. He gave them courage and hope in times of great fear. He was a fair ruler and will remain in Middle-earth forever in memories, even after those people who knew him have passed on also. The tales of his lifetime would life on until this land is no longer.

I find it amazing that one day someone can be here and the next, no longer present in flesh. They will always be present in our memories and our actions but never again with us. By us I include almost all of Middle-earth. The Dunadain will always remember their leader, companion, and friend. Eldarion, his brothers, sisters, and mother... Arwen... she will fade. Everyone knows that she will not be able to live without her love.

The world without Arwen will be lacking. No more will the beauty that she carries be seen. The elves have departed. Very few of us now remain. I am one of the last and am only lingering to be with Aragorn as he dies. It will not be long before I too cross the sea. I believe that Gimli, elf-friend, will be joining me. It is very strange that now, after so much time, three ages in Middle-earth, that people other than elves will inhabit the Undying Lands. Frodo, Gandalf, Gimli, and maybe even Sam will follow.

Aragorn, my friend, why did you not also cross the sea? I understand that you have a duty to your people, but do you not also have a duty to us? To your friends, and family? The people will mourn for your death, but they will not be leaderless. The will have Eldarion to lead them. He will not be as great as Aragorn was, but he will be a wonderful King. The people will love him and most likely, they will love his chosen wife.

Life will be empty without Elessar. It will be without hope. Aragorn truly did take on the meaning of his many names: Aragorn, Strider, Telcontar, Elessar, King, Elf-stone. He is a man of many names and lives up to each of them. I do not know of anyone who had such an enjoyment for life, such joy even through his duty that did not leave him much time to himself.

As he lies in bed dying, I cannot help but think that the world will be missing one of the best men that have ever lived. With his death and Arwen's also, Middle-earth will never be the same. It will live, hopefully, in a world of peace that Aragorn and all of the Fellowship, worked so hard to give it.

Well... now I must go face Aragorn. I will be strong for everyone's sake, at least until I can be by myself. I will mourn. I am sure that everyone who knew him will. It will be difficult for Eldarion to take his father's place so quickly. I will leave myself as soon as my boat is ready to bear me across the sea where I will live without pain. I will never forget my friend, but I will not mourn...