Mornië Utúlië, Mornië Alantië

Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings characters, settings, languages, and everything in the books is the property of J.R.R Tolkien and his family. Anything from the movie belongs to New Line Cinema. The only things I own are my storyline and original characters.

'The summer festival starts in three weeks,' said Aragorn. 'Preparations must be made.'

Arwen swallowed before speaking. 'We need decorations, food, music, and some games for the guests,' she said, ticking the items off on her fingers.

'I know the perfect cook,' Éowyn exclaimed, her eyes lighting up. 'I'm sure she would be honored to cook for the festival.'

'Very well,' Arwen said, nodding. 'Please tell her to come to the palace in the morning.'

'Yes, my Lady,' replied Éowyn.

'What kind of music will you have?' asked Faramir.

'I thought to ask some of the villagers to play,' Arwen said.

'Should we not have something more than music to entertain our guests?' questioned Aragorn. A moment of silence fell upon the group, and only the sound of silver on plate could be heard.

'Perhaps we shall have fireworks,' Arwen said finally.

'No one here knows the workings of such things,' Aragorn said carefully, adding quietly, 'and Gandalf has passed over the Sea.' A look of sadness flashed through Arwen's eyes and she sighed. Aragorn sometimes wondered if she would rather be with her people over the Sea in the Undying Lands than with him.

'Yes, you are right,' she agreed. 'If not fireworks, then what?' Silence fell upon the group as everyone thought long and hard.

'I know,' Éowyn said with a smile. 'Acrobats and jugglers. And maybe a dancer or two.'

'A brilliant suggestion,' Aragorn agreed. 'I could write Éomer and ask if he could spare them for a few days.'

'Should we also ask that Éomer join our celebration?' inquired Arwen.

'Yes,' answered Aragorn. 'I'm sure he will be pleased.' He took a bite of bread as the others continued to talk of the festival. As he swallowed, the bread became lodged in his throat. Aragorn clutched his throat, gasping for air, a wild light in his eyes.

'Aragorn! Aragorn, what's wrong, my love?' Arwen cried, fear rising in her voice. Faramir had never seen Aragorn this scared before, not even on the battlefield, and was brought out of his reverie by Arwen's frantic voice.

'Go and fetch the healer! Hurry!'

Faramir quickly left the room, breaking into a run at the door. Aragorn left his seat and staggered around the table. As he turned to the door, he stumbled over a chair and fell, but Arwen caught him.

'Éowyn, help me!' she called. Éowyn hurried to her side, and together the two women helped Aragorn to the middle of the room.

'Aragorn, you must sit and wait for the healer,' Arwen told him. He was growing paler and weaker, and his breathing was growing absent. They sat on the floor, and Aragorn lay down with his head in Arwen's lap. She stroked his hair, and he held up a hand. Arwen took it, and gently held it to her cheek.

'You are my life and I live for the love that you give,' she told him softly. 'I love you, Aragorn Elessar,' she whispered, her eyes filling with tears. 'You will always be my Estel and'—her voice faltered—'if you must go, then you must go.'

Offering her a last weak smile, Aragorn closed his eyes and took his last breath. Arwen's tears fell like rain in a thunderstorm. She bent over Aragorn's body as if to protect it. As she did so, Faramir burst into the room with the healer at his side. Éowyn took them into a corner and explained what had happened.

'He's gone,' she said mournfully.

'We must tell them, the people,' Faramir said solemnly.

'How?' asked the healer.

'There is only one way,' Faramir said grimly. 'Éowyn, please take Arwen to her room. Comfort her as best you can.'

'I will try,' Éowyn said, kissing him on the cheek. As Éowyn left, Faramir turned to the healer.

'Go down into the city. Tell everyone to go to the palace steps at once. Knock on all doors. I must notify King Éomer and others.' The healer nodded and went on his way. Faramir ran to the King's writing room. He wrote letters to Sam, Merry, Pippen, and Éomer, asking them to come to Gondor at once. There will be no festival this year, he thought to himself.

He was silent, with eyes full of sorrow, as he walked to find two messengers. Faramir picked the two fastest messengers he could find. He sent one to the Shire with the letters for the Hobbits and the other to Rohan.

'Ride as fast as you can,' Faramir told them. 'The letters must be delivered tonight.'

When he returned to the palace he was crying. He saw that the entire city had gathered on the palace steps. As he climbed the steps to the balcony, he wondered how to tell them, and asked the Valor for the strength to do it. Faramir took a deep breath, realizing he had reached the balcony. He looked at the crowd, tears streaming down his fair face.

'People of Gondor,' he said loudly. 'I have terrible news.' He hesitated, not sure how to say it. When he continued, his voice was wavering. 'The festival is cancelled. King Elessar is dead.' There were several gasps from the crowd. Everyone wore looks of shock and disbelief. 'Gondor shall be without rulers until the Queen takes over or she appoints new leadership,' he continued. 'You will be informed of the funeral as soon as it is arranged.' With that, Faramir turned on his heel and started toward the palace.

Arwen was still sobbing when she and Éowyn reached her room. Her vision obscured by tears, she almost walked into several walls, which Éowyn skillfully steered her away from. Arwen flung herself down on the bed and didn't move for hours. Éowyn sat quietly in a chair near her. That night it rained so hard it was if all the Valor were crying over Gondor's loss. Nothing could be seen through the gloom and walls of rain.

The next morning Arwen turned to Éowyn. 'I do not think I can live without him.'

'I believe we all feel that way,' Éowyn said quietly. 'You especially, my Lady, must be strong for our people.'

'I am not a leader,' Arwen answered bitterly. 'My love has left this earth. Should I stay here in Middle Earth, or go over the Sea to my father?'

'You know that answer lies in one place alone: your heart,' Éowyn said, rising. She bowed and left.

Arwen was inconsolable over the next few days. She lay in bed and cried all day and most of the night. She ate very little and slept fitfully, always tossing and turning, and crying out in her sleep. Éowyn sat by her bed day and night, and woke her from her evil dreams.

'I never told him,' Arwen said one night after a particularly nasty dream.

'Never told him what?' Éowyn asked.

'I never told Aragorn that I am to bear him a child,' she answered slowly. I was going to tell him after dinner that night.' A single tear rolled down her cheek.

'This is wonderful news, my Lady,' Éowyn exclaimed. 'But now you must rest. We shall tell Faramir in the morning.'

The day of the King's funeral arrived, and Arwen looked worse than ever. Her eyes were red and bloodshot from crying, her face pale and thin, and her hair unkempt. Éowyn roused Arwen, clothed her in her best black dress, and combed her beautiful hair. When she was through, Arwen looked like a Queen again.

'I have made my decision,' Arwen said, turning to Éowyn. She looked at Arwen questioningly.

'I am going over the Sea to the Undying Lands and my father,' Arwen continued. 'Do you think I choose wrongly?'

'You must do what your heart tells you,' Éowyn said gently. There came a loud knock at the door, startling them both. A servant opened it, revealing Éomer.

'Éomer!' cried Éowyn. She ran to him and hugged him tightly. Then Éomer walked to Arwen and offered his grief over her loss. She thanked him, and he said to her, 'I have brought someone to see you.' Walking to the door, he opened it to reveal Legolas. Arwen cried out in surprise, for she had not been expecting him. Legolas went to her and hugged her, and when he let go, there were tears in his eyes. Éomer and Éowyn quietly left, shutting the door behind them.

They sat a long time and wept, and when they were through, Legolas spoke. 'Aragorn was a man of honor and good. Mellon nîn.'

'He was lucky to have you in his life,' Arwen said, 'and so am I.'

'I was with Éomer when he heard of Aragorn,' Legolas said quietly. 'He asked me to come with him here.'

'I am glad you came, Legolas,' Arwen said smiling. 'Legolas, will you see that everything goes as planned? I wish to gather some of Aragorn's favorite flowers.'

'As you wish, my Lady,' Legolas answered, kissing the back of her hand. As he rose to leave, he handed Arwen a single red rose. He bowed, and left her smiling and thanking the Valor for her good fortune.

She walked along silently, lost in her thoughts, for her feet knew this road well. She reflected on all they had been through together, times of joy and love, and times of sadness and war. She stopped abruptly at a field of wildflowers and stood at the edge as if she were waiting for him to join her. These were Aragorn's favorite flowers. Arwen walked to the middle of the field and looked around. She and Aragorn often came here to escape the rigors of royal life. She sat down amidst the flowers and started to cry.

'The same blood flows through my veins; the same weakness,' he had told her long ago.

'Your time will come. You will face the same evil and you will defeat it,' she had assured him. He had defeated it. He had fought the armies of Mordor and Isengard and he had won. He had become the greatest king Gondor had ever seen. Sobbing, she cried out 'I love you, Aragorn! I will always love you!'

Hearing the sound of tolling bells in the distance, she dried her eyes and gathered many of Aragorn's favorite flowers. As she started back toward the palace, she tried to think of the good times they shared, to comfort herself. She walked slowly, her keen Elf ears picking up every sound, though her mind was elsewhere. Suddenly, she stopped. A horse and cart were coming her way. Arwen turned around and tried to signal the driver, for the road was narrow, but he did not see her. She tried calling to the man, but he did not hear. Eyes filled with terror, Arwen tried to run, but to no avail. She was caught under the horse's hooves and the wagon's wheels. The cart drove away, leaving Arwen lying in the middle of the road.

Why isn't she here? Legolas could not answer this and had started to look for the Queen. He had looked everywhere and was about to return to the palace when he remembered the field. Arwen had often taken him to her flower field to talk. She must be there, he thought. Legolas turned his horse around and rode as fast as he could. He was nearing the field when he saw something in the road. He dismounted his horse and knelt down to see what it was. To his horror and astonishment, it was Arwen.

'Arwen!' he cried, gently rolling her onto her back.

'The cart…he never saw me,' she said.

'Shh…don't speak,' Legolas said gently. He laid her in his lap and held her.

'Oh Legolas, don't let me die here!' she cried.

'You are going to live,' he told her firmly, though he knew she wouldn't last. He turned away, for he did not want her to see him crying.

'Faramir must be King,' she said. Her breath was nearly spent now, and seeing this, Legolas gently kissed the top of her head.

'I will take care of Gondor, Arwen,' he said. The tears were flowing again and she smiled at him.

'Thank you, Mellon nîn,' Arwen said in her last breath.

Legolas closed her eyes. 'Mornië Utúlië, Mornië Alantië.'

My Friend

Darkness has Come, Darkness has Fallen (from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, May It Be, sung by Enya)