To Abandon Hope

By: The King's Lover, or Monica

Disclaimer: I do not own LotR.

A long narrow path toward a distant place lay before the maiden atop her horse. Her breath unsteady, her heart unsure, she could only ride emotionless as the beast beneath her guided her toward a fate she was unsure of. She knew naught of where she was headed, but was aware fully of that which she was leaving behind. The thought of it made her hands cling the reigns tightly.

The thought of those two soft, gray eyes haunted her every waking moment.

She was leaving them behind – leaving him behind, to face a different destiny, one unshaped by the perils of orc darkness and unseen by an eye aflame. Her heart physically pained at the thought of forever being parted from him, but she knew her choice was dire. To stay meant death, perhaps for them both.

She had realized that leaving was the only sensible option left for her, yet that did not erase the memories of his closeness that flooded her. She dared not ignore his voice in the wind, breathing her name in love and passion both, or reject a soft touch on her cheek that resembled so closely a lover's caress. It seemed that everything along the forested path reminded her of him.

She closed her eyes in an attempt to cease the feuding senses that all cried out for her to return to him, only to be further consumed by their number. The real world shut off behind closed eyes, the imagined overrun, and among all things to be remembered, one stood separate as the most vivid, the most unnervingly clear and beautiful.

Her mind, it seemed, would not let her forget those gentle eyes for even a moment. Yet it was not simply the deep, calming orbs that pursued her thoughts, but the look behind them. The man with those magnificent eyes could give her a glance so powerfully moving that it would beckon her forever with love or banish her with pain.

She was facing a choice. To stay meant death, but if she left, she would never again feel the overwhelming joy that came from his tender smile and the words "I love you," that fell so easily and wonderfully off his tongue.

Tears held back as she fought strongly not to recall the memories, or the feel of his embrace, or the gentle, sweet press of his lips to hers. She took an unsteady breath and let her horse lead her without direction, and the animal seemed to press ever forward, away from her love and her death.

Hope abandoned, even from nature. Yet just as she thought it, she knew it to be untrue.

A light bright and white beckoned her attention to a boy as he ran across her path, a vision of luster and radiance, a beautiful thing, and the maiden made her choice, turning her horse around, back to those eyes that she loved so much, and back to hope itself.