Disclaimer: I do not own any of this. I am making no money from this story. All recognizable events, places, scenarios, concepts, items, and characters belong to J.R.R. Tolkein and possibly New Line Cinema.

A/N: Inspired by the song "Into the West" by Annie Lennox. I realize how short this is, but it is only a prologue. I was half asleep when this idea came into my head, and I couldn't just ignore it, because if I didn't write something down, I would lose it.

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He held the cloak as if he cradled all the life in Arda in his arms. The warm, soft fabric felt impossibly heavy and cold to his touch. But even through the lifeless cloak, he imagined that he could still feel the light that had radiated from the body it had kept warm until so recently.

He was too late. He had failed. Failed to protect her. Failed to keep her safe. Failed in all that mattered.

But he could still offer her something. He could still love her. He could still give her hope, even through the dark times that lay ahead.

A light sparked in his eyes. Hope. Estel. Truly, Lord Elrond had chosen a fitting name. He had no hope left for himself. But he could give hope to his beloved.

The man stood swiftly, and followed the tracks of her attackers on newly winged feet, his heart pounding through his ribcage with every stride. He would not yet give up. As long as blood rushed through his veins as water rushed through a river, he would not give in to despair. He knew that she still lived. For if she did not live, the sun would not shine, the stars would not sparkle, the moon would not gleam. They would not, because their grief for the loss of her life would snuff their light as surely as her own light had been stolen from her eyes, from her very soul.

She still lived, and if there was any reason at all for him to continue to breathe, he would find Arwen.

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A/N: In case the man's identity is unclear, our hopeless tracker is Aragorn. I tried to fit his name in, other than the cryptic line about hope, but it just didn't work. Names will certainly not be avoided in future chapters, though, so have no fear.

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