AUTHOR'S NOTE Here ends part two of the Arda Trilogy – part three will be coming soon!
DISCLAIMER I own nothing from either Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.
The heat coming from the engines of the Millennium Falcon and the Jade Sabre made the fields outside of Minas Tirith shimmer. Luke, Mara, Leia, Han, and the others had stayed for a week after the wedding, but the New Republic needed them back. Luke had been away from his Academy for over four months.
Jaina and Elgalen were distraught at the idea of being separated. "I would you could stay," Elgalen said, her lip trembling.
Jaina's eyes lit up. "Hey, maybe I – "
"No," said Han firmly.
Pouting again, Jaina said, "Great. I'm stuck with my stupid brothers again."
"I wish I had more brothers," Elgalen said thoughtfully.
Jaina shook her head. "No you don't. All they'd do is gang up on you and tease you."
Elgalen frowned. "Then I'd just teach back. That's what I do when Maráen teases me."
"But she's a girl," Jaina pointed out. "How do you tease a boy?"
"The same." Then the Gondorian princess grinned. "How about we write to each other about all the dumb things our siblings do?"
Crestfallen, Jaina shook her head. "We can't do that. Who would we get them to each other?"
Elgalen suddenly looked upset. "You mean you're never coming back?"
Jaina frowned. "No, I am! I mean, I don't know when, but I'll definitely come back someday."
Elgalen smiled again. "Well then just hold onto your letters and I'll hold onto mine and then the next time you come here, we'll give them to each other."
The two girls hugged each other. Mara watched her niece and her half-sister fondly. Then sadly, she turned to where her father stood with Legolas, Elladan, Elrohir, Arwen, and the other children. "Ada," she said softly.
Aragorn just looked at her for a long moment, saying nothing. He hugged her tightly.
In all of her life, Mara could not remember ever being held like that before. The love that she felt from Aragorn was unconditional. She suddenly understood the kind of love that Luke had for his niece and nephews or that Leia mourned for since Organa's death on Alderaan.
"I love you," she said. It surprised her to hear it, but as soon as the words were out, a peaceful feeling settled over her.
"I love you, too, Mara. Having you back in my life has been the greatest gift the Valar could possibly have given me."
Mara could hear a soft note of sadness in his voice. She took his hands in hers. "I will find him, Ada," she said.
Aragorn looked at the ground. Behind him, Legolas and the twins of Elrond shared a troubled looked. "I've heard that promise before," Aragorn said quietly.
Mara felt a wave of guilt from Luke. "I don't care what was promised or when, Ada," she said. "Papa tried his hardest. I really believe that he must have. But there were other things going on that he couldn't control."
She looked back at Luke, then at where Leia and Han were herding their children up the Falcon's boarding ramp. "Besides," she said, "I have people who will do anything to help me. I won't have to do it alone like Papa."
Meeting her eyes again, Aragorn said, "I couldn't bear to see you suffer his fate."
"I'm not going to die," Mara said firmly. "Luke would never let anything happen to me."
Briefly, Aragorn looked at Luke and nodded. "I know."
"I will find Alar," Mara said. "And then he and I will both come back."
Father and daughter shared one last hug. Then she said goodbye to her siblings and Arwen and finally the three male Elves. Elladan and Elrohir bowed deeply and each kissed her hand. Legolas looked at her sadly and simply said, "Good luck."
She and Luke headed toward her ship. "We'll be back soon," she said.
Aragorn nodded. "Please."
"Hey Master Skywalker!" came Han's sardonic voice. "You nearly ready?"
Luke and Mara both laughed. "We'd better go," he said quietly.
She nodded and reluctantly let Luke lead her onto the ship. In a blaze of engine fire, the Jade Sabre and the Millennium Falcon lifted off and shot into the atmosphere.
Mara watched as Arda fell away beneath them. "Don't worry, love," Luke said beside her. "We'll be back."
She nodded and turned her eyes back to a familiar sight – the stars and the blackness of space. Finally, she said, "Let's go find my brother."