These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and New Line Cinema. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.

Dedicated to Julia

O sink hernieder,
Nacht der Liebe,
gib Vergessen,
dass ich lebe;
nimm mich auf
in deinen Schoss,
löse von
der Welt mich los!

O sink down us

Night of love,

Let me now forget

I live;

Take me up

In thy lap.

Release me

from the world ! – Tristan und Isolde - Wagner

Oh thou, my fair evening star,
how gladly have I always greeted thee;

O du, mein holder Abendstern,

wohl grüsst'ich immer dich so gern:

- Tannhäuser- Wagner

With grateful thanks to Deandra

Aragorn believed his bride deserved better than to be taken like some sacrifice upon a marriage bed, haunted by the ghosts of long dead stewards and their wives, while servants listened and gossiped behind the closed doors.

Arwen was a child of stars, not of stone. Aragorn cared only for her happiness. How he wished that they could spend their honeymoon in Rivendell or Lothlórien where his bride felt truly at home.

Arwen had been overwhelmed to see Minas Tirith the day before, regarding its elaborate architecture with a mixture of curiosity, alarm and revulsion. Only her joy at seeing her beloved had sustained her throughout the wedding ceremonies and the long drawn out Gondorian rituals of escorting the bride to her marriage bed.

When, though, the doors had finally closed behind the newly weds, leaving them alone in a vast stone walled chamber, an overwrought Arwen had collapsed sobbing into her new husband's arms. This was not how she had dreamed of spending her wedding night through the long years of their waiting. Aragorn had tried to comfort and reassure her. In truth, he was almost as fearful as his bride. At last they exchanged a chaste goodnight kiss and slept fitfully.

Galadriel had provided wise counsel the next morning, after beholding the new bride's less than radiant demeanour. She had suggested the secluded gardens would make a suitably romantic setting to relax the nervous newly weds.

Hand in hand they now tiptoed through the corridors, silent of step and unnoticed by the sentries as they stepped out into the gardens.

Arwen's steps lightened as she gazed up at the bright stars overhead.

Shedding the cloaks they wore over their night attire, they spread their blankets in a secluded spot under a vast tree, then kneeling, called upon Elbereth to witness and bless their union.

A breeze blew away what wisps of cloud veiled the sky. The stars seemed to smile upon them while the moon bathed them in a gentle glow. The balmy night air smelled of honeysuckle and a nightingale sang sweetly in the branches overhead.

Aragorn trembled with a mixture of fear and longing. How could he ever be worthy of the Evenstar? How could he ever please her; he a man beset by mortal frailties and imperfections? He kissed his bride; at first tentatively, then with ever increasing ardour at her eager response. Her perfume intoxicated him, while her unbound hair gleamed like silk in the soft glow of the moonlight.

Still he hesitated, despite the eagerness of his longing. "Are you certain?" he asked her almost shyly. "You will be giving me so much!"

"I offer myself to you freely, my Estel!" Arwen replied. "No other has touched my heart through long centuries. I would accept the Gift of Men. I would be ever at your side and bear your children. I would be wholly yours, both body and soul!" She nestled closer, pressing her body against his, revelling in the touch of his strong arms, both tender and ardent. Never before had she been so close to a man nor felt such fire in her veins. Eagerly she melted into his embrace, listening to his whispered sweet words of love, as he sought to reassure her.

Never did they think they could know such rapture, a union of both body and soul that no words would be adequate to describe. No longer apart and alone, but one with each other, man and wife.

At last they slept, snug under the blankets, entwined still in each other's arms.

Aragorn awoke first, mindful that they must return ere daybreak to their rooms. Fondly he gazed upon his sleeping bride's face. She looked so young, yet was older than the mightiest oak in the garden. He could scarce grasp that one so wondrous fair was now his wife! He had waited so long for this, forsaking all others, even when his love had seemed destined to remain forever unrequited. This night had been the most fearful and most beautiful he had ever known.

Arwen slowly opened her eyes. He hardly dared meet her gaze. Had he disappointed her in any way?

Radiantly, she smiled at him. "I love you, Estel," she whispered. "I am so happy to be your wife!"

"I am so proud to be your husband!" Aragorn replied, helping her to her feet and kissing her tenderly. She shook the leaves from her nightgown and donned her cloak.

The first pink streaks of dawn were visible as they made their way back inside. The walls took on a glow in the soft light. Arwen smiled. "The city looks far fairer now!" she exclaimed. "I shall learn to be happy here with you at my side, beloved, watching your White Tree blossom each season!"

"My Steward had a vision, which I shared, of us by the Tree surrounded by our children and our children's children," Aragorn confided.

"Such a glorious vision gladdens my heart! We will build a happy home together, you and I," said Arwen, "It will be as fair as the Elven cities of old!"

"If only I were not taking you from your people and your home!" Aragorn lamented.

"My home is where you are, for you hold my heart," Arwen replied fervently.

Hand in hand they watched the sun rise.

A/N Written to celebrate Aragorn and Arwen's Midsummer marriage.

This ficlet ties in with events in my stories "The White Tree" and "Web of Treason" also on this site. It is intended a sequel to "The White Tree."

I wrote this in a hurry to celebrate today, so fear it is not as polished as it might be.. I am also all too aware that I am no romance writer!