I know not how to begin penning such a letter, and I have certainly never wished to. But it comes now.
And so, my brother, we have come at last to the end. I have no need of informing you, by land, by sea, or by any means that my Men can contrive. No, you will know from the depths of your soul to the heart of your spirit when I, in all my frailty and finality, submit myself to the One.
Strange as it may seem to the Eldar, but I have come to understand that death is the ultimate gift, from Ilúvatar to us, and from us to Him. For we do not know, when we close our eyes for the last time, what we may see upon next awakening. May it be beautiful! But we do not know. It could be the darkest, coldest sea, it could be the gentle arms of our mothers, it could be the soaring skies I have ever longed to conquer. And so we give ourselves up to our Maker in good faith that He will catch all our dreams and soothe all our sorrows and let us go in search of the Flame from which we all were born.
And I - oh, my brother! - my Men have asked me so many times, what do I believe is out there? I have seen the lives of both the Children, I have belonged to both and loved both and fought for both. What do I believe? I believe in the grand mystery of all things and in the power of Eru. I believe that what we will see is what we will see. Perhaps it will be stars colliding and grandeur unimaginable as we finally find all the answers to all the questions we asked in our lifetimes. Perhaps it will be yet more questions, brilliant, unanswerable, sublime questions over which we can wonder into eternity, perhaps it will be what each Man desires most; be it loving family or long-lost comrades or far-flung adventure. Perhaps that which lies Beyond is just that, beyond all our thoughts and hopes and greater than our minds can comprehend! Yes, that is what I believe.
But you, Elrond.
I remember - and you must allow me to indulge in wistful recollection, for I am old for my people even if young for yours - when we were children in the Havens. Do you remember, my twin? Or were all your memories burnt on that terrible day of death and doom and desire? We would lie on the beach with Naneth and look to the western skies, and she would weave tales of our dear, far father, gone to plead for two peoples. You would stay by her, lay your head on her lap and listen to her gentle tales with all your heart, and weep for a loss you could not yet understand, or perhaps you could, for you always had a depth to your spirit that I did not. But I ran off and up and down the sands and found odd little things, conch shells, starfish, bits of coral washed up from far away, and bring them back, brimming with excitement over the latest discovery. That, oh, that was who we were.
But for your wisdom my strength would have failed.
I am sorry, dear one, so sorry to have left you, that our paths have diverged, and will never cross again in our lifetimes. I am sorry that I have chosen the life and heart of the Edain and left you, whom I love above all others, to take the long road home.
That is not entirely accurate. No, no, it is not, for just as surely as my heart was of the Edain, yours was of the Eldar. And so it will be, because we have chosen. Chosen! Elros' Choice! Maybe in a time to come that my eyes cannot see, they will tell of it that way, in tale and song. As we do of Tinúviel's.
Lúthien's Choice brought her to the side of the one she loved most for all their eternity, but mine has sundered us in a parting that will endure, even as you endure, even as Arda endures, and you, my brother, will face it while I leave it behind. Perhaps, if the Valar speak true, we will meet again when the end of the world has gone its terrible course and all griefs are soothed in a place where love shall rule, and not blood.
For it is blood that has brought us here, and it will be blood that will bring you forth. Our blood, that holds the memory of the great of both Children, that has brought us to this dreadful end. You will live, little brother, and you will find joy amidst the shadows as the Ages go by. You will love a maiden both gentle and fiery, and you will bear children beautiful as the sun, and as twilight deepens outside your window perhaps you will tell them of your brother. I joy in this, that through all these Ages that will ring of swords and taste of blood you will not be alone, for you will find love in the arms of a faithful lady and in the eyes of innocent babes. I am glad.
So shall we be parted.
Perhaps! Perhaps it is not the end, and long though the years will seem to you we will meet again. We will meet again in a world that is peaceful and in a time that is kind to two young beings whose childhoods were far too short. We will meet again on the far side of the deepest of all seas, that of death and that of the world's end, where our ruin and our shame will all be as nothing beside our triumph and our love. We will meet again where the flowers will bloom unafraid of shadows and darkness marring their beauty, where battlecries shall fade to love songs and dirges to hymns. We will meet again, and never again shall we be parted.
But that is a meagre promise to keep you 'til the end of Arda!
So, dearest of all whom I have loved and lost, I leave you with this quiet hope: That I have never left, and that I never shall. The essence of Man is what is not in our bodies, for we are the strength of heart and the courage of mind as we have built our great nations. You will watch them fall, and you will watch them rise again, but through it all never doubt this, brother.
Of all the hope and strength and bravery and nobility that Men can claim, the greatest of all our accomplishments is love. It can be seen when the kings let the little children play in the royal gardens, when the grandparents grow a tree in the backyard for the grandchildren to shelter under, and it is what is left when the breath is stolen from our aged bodies and we are laid in our cold tombs. That is not the end.
And so shall my love for you be.
And so shall our hopes be.
In that hope, I now say to you: Do not despair. In that brilliant, indomitable hope, I shall remain