It was the middle of the night in the camp yet there were torches burning and men were restless, unable to sleep. Fear was like a blanket...fear of war...fear of dying...fear of failing...
I could not help but feel for them...what they had to face...yet I would not get involved more than I was...I was here to talk to Aragorn and that is all...
I would not let myself get involved in another war...I have seen too many...
I slipped silently as a shadow through the camp, my horse waited among others of the Rohirrim.
"Who goes there?" I recognised Legolas' voice, and his long dagger pointed in my direction, I raised my head slightly, "Who are you stranger? Why sneak in shadows as if you don't want to be seen."
"Peace Legolas," I can't help but smile seeing his face.
"Lord Elrond," he was surprised and made a rough bow, "What brings you here?"
"Where is Aragorn?"
"He is sleeping," a new voice spoke, I turned. "I am Théoden, King of Rohan. Come, I will take you to my tent while he is woken."
"You are very trusting," I admitted, "How do you know I would not kill you where you stand once we are alone?"
"If you were a danger I'm sure Legolas would have dealt with you by now."
Humans...always too trusting...
"Come Master Elf." He repeated.
"You ride for Gondor?" there seemed so few.
"Yes...Sauron will be defeated."
"You seem so sure..." I counter, I see him falter slightly, "how do you know he does not anticipate your arrival and will be ready to kill you?"
As I suspected he did not answer.
We reached his tent...it seemed so...lavish...for a makeshift room...furs and rugs everywhere...men always took what treasures they could...greed was oft their downfall.
I could hear Aragorn arriving, he was not fully awake by the sound of his heavy steps...
"I will take my leave," Théoden left us.
Aragorn's hair was its customary messy state; a red undershirt clung loosely to him revealing the Evenstar pendant Arwen had given him...my daughter...
I pulled back my hood, I could tell Aragorn was surprised to see me...perhaps he might have expected one of his brothers...no they were not his brothers...that was a long time ago...a different man...
"My lord Elrond," he bowed, "What brings you here?" he frowned.
"I come on behalf of one whom I love," I saw a small light flicker in his eyes, "Arwen is dying." That light faded swiftly.
Confusion and pain written over his face.
"She will not long survive the evil that now spreads from Mordor." It breaks my heart to tell him this...let alone think of my daughter dying for him...I have to control myself, "The light of the Evenstar is failing...as Sauron's power grows...her strength wanes..." his hand unconsciously reaches for the pendant and looks at me in pain... "Arwen's life is now tied to the fate of the Ring."
I can tell he is trying to gather his thoughts.
"The shadow is upon is Aragorn..."
"It has been upon us a long time my lord," he answered, "Yet we have fought our way through..."
"Not this time Estel," he smiles; I have not called him by the name I gave him for many years, "The end has come."
"It will not be our end...but His..."
So confident of that...yet something tells me otherwise.
"You ride to war but not to victory." Why can he not see this is a loosing battle, "Sauron's armies march on Minas Tirith as you know, but in secret He sends another force which will attack from the river." This I can tell he did not expect, "The fleet of corsair ships sails from the South. They'll be in the city in two days. You're outnumbered, Aragorn." I can tell he begins to realise, "You need more men."
"There are none," there is desperation in his voice, "All that were available are here..."
I know he will not like this suggestion.
"There are those...who...dwell in the mountains..."
"Murderers, traitors," there is much anger in his voice; "you would call up on them to fight?" he looks at me as if I have gone mad, "They believe in nothing. They will answer to no one."
"They will answer to the King Of Gondor." I tell him firmly, he looks at me uncertainly.
King of Gondor? But I am no king...he knows this...it was never my desire...Arwen...she was dying...because of me...she is what originally pulled me and my father apart...because I loved her so...now she is...ai Valar...what have I done...
Ada...I always thought of him as my father...no matter what comes between us...or how I address him...I know deep down we still love each other...
Ada pulls out a sword...
"Andúril, Flame of the West," he announced, "forged from the shards of Nársil..."
I am reluctant to take it...accepting this would be accepting my destiny...I was still unsure if I was ready...Arwen...I saw her in my mind...I would have to take it ready or not if I wanted her to live...
Slowly I draw it...it seems so long now...fully restored.
"Sauron will not have forgotten the sword of Elendil. The Blade that was broken shall return to Minas Tirith." My mind is set. I will follow up my destiny.
"The one, who can wield the power of this sword, can summon to him an army more deadly than any that walks this earth." He says, "Put aside the Ranger...become who you were born to be." I slowly manage to nod, "Take the Dimholt Road."
Carefully I re-sheath Andúril, and look into his eyes once more.
"Ónen i-Estel Edain. 'I gave Hope to the men'" he says, repeating words my mother said to me what seemed like a long time ago.
"Ú-chebin Estel anim. 'I have kept no hope for myself'" I finish.
I watch him carefully, he smiles softly.
"I will not fail you Ada," I swear, "I will return glory to the world of Men."
"I know ion nîn," he nods, "Take care of yourself," he starts to walk away replacing his hood.
Why do I feel this is a goodbye?
"Ada," I stop him, "I love you."
"I love you Estel," he smiled I could not help but hug him tightly, I felt him pull me closer...it was the first time I heard those words in many years or felt such warmth from him...at least no matter what happens next...we had made our peace...