And Death was his constant companion
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Aragorn noticed the strange presence as he fought the Ringwraiths on Weathertop. His eyes seemed to slide off it, parts of his mind clamouring to be heard. It felt not unlike a Nazgul, but...benign. Certainly not malevolent, and he had felt nothing alike to on his travels through Arda. He noticed it continually throughout the race to Rivendell, and it disappeared when the Nazgul were swept down the fords of Bruinen, possibly following them.
Throughout the time of the Ring War, it appeared on the edge of sight, sensed more than seen.
He sensed the presence at times of mortal peril and death, when Mithrandir confronted the Balrog of Moria, Boromir's death at the falls of Rauros, at which he chanced he could have heard, ever so faintly, YOU HAVE REGAINED YOUR HONOUR BOROMIR, SON OF DENETHOR, and a noise like tearing fabric, similar to that of a sword being swung through the air at speed.
Once more, the dark shape appeared, this time at Helms deep, moving among the fighters, even through them. As Aragorn narrowed his eyes, thinking his vision had been cheated by some magic, however an Uruk began a series of earnest attempts to behead him, by it and its fellows, so he turned back to the ferocious fight on the walls, all thoughts on the dark shape dispelled, for the moment.
As he confronted the dead army, offering them peace if they fulfilled their oaths to go to Gondor's aid, he heard a voice akin to a quiet gust of wind through a tomb say, I AM GOING TO BE VERY BUSY AFTER THIS.
On the fields of Pelenor as he sent the dead army to eternal rest, he heard that same voice on the edge of hearing command, FORM AN ORDERLY QUEUE.
As he strove to free Lady Eowyn from the influence of the Witch King of Angmar, what he maintained that she murmured in her delirium was, "a blue, glowing sword".
At the final battle in front of the Black Gate, as the Troll shaped to perform the final blow, he guessed he heard, IT IS NOT YOUR TIME ARAGORN SON OF ARATHORN, and indeed, at the next moment, Barad-Dur started to collapse, and Sauron made a terrible keening noise that signalled his demise, then exploded.
Over the years he saw the same shape at the deaths of friends, sometimes holding a sword, sometimes a scythe. Finally, many years after the end of the war of the Ring, he felt it was time. He said his goodbyes to his family and friends, in particular his beloved Evenstar, Arwen, and as he went to his rest, he met Death.
I HAVE WAITED LONG TO COLLECT YOU KING ELESSAR OF THE HOUSE TELCONTAR.
For the first time Aragorn was able to study the creature that he had seen for many years.
It was extraordinarily tall, equal in height to the great men of Numenor of time past and wore a robe made up of pure darkness. The main details however, were firstly the skull that was the apparitions face and secondly, the sword, which glowed a dangerous blue.
"Tell me, why have I been able to see something of you all these years?"
I DO NOT KNOW, THOUGH I SUSPECT IT MUST BE SOME OF THE INNATE ELVISH MAGIC THAT RESIDES IN THE NUMENOREAN RACE.
"Why did Legolas never say?"
IN HIS POSITION WOULD YOU?
Aragorn considered this last point. He wouldn't because he would have been considered insane and confined. No wonder elves have an air of joy and sorrow when with men. It is because the sadness of realised mortality is tempered by their joy of life.
YOU ARE READY NOW?
Aragorn nodded. He finally understood. For the last time Death was his companion as he escorted him to the afterlife.