Disclaimer: Aria is mine….Everything else is Tolkien's!
Aria silently rode next to her brother as they made their way towards Helm's Deep with the Rohirrim refugees. Gimli rode on the back of Arod who was being led by Éowyn a bit in front of them. Tauriel and Legolas had decided to scout a head of everyone. Something wasn't settling right with Legolas and he'd rather be safe than sorry – especially when Saurman was involved and with Aria being pregnant, he wasn't taking any chances.
"It's true that you don't see many dwarf woman. And in fact, they are so alike in voice an appearance, that they are often mistaken for dwarf men," Gimli said as he happily chatted with Éowyn.
Éowyn turned and looked back at Aragorn with a smile on her face. Aragorn egged on the entire conversation by making a gesture of a beard on his own face and saying "It's the beards."
That only caused both Éowyn, Aria and Gimli all to laugh.
"Which of course is ridiculous…" Gimli said trying to continue but was suddenly Arod rears up and Éowyn lost her grip as he charges off and Gimli is falls from his back after a short distance. She quickly rushes to the dwarf's side.
"It's alright, it's alright. Nobody panic. That was deliberate. It was deliberate." Gimli said getting up.
Éowyn laughed as she helped him back up. She brushed him off and helped him get situated again. Aria noticed something about her brother as he watched the shield maiden of Rohan for a second – he was a bit smitten with her.
She sighed. Had something changed in two months between Arwen and Aragorn? Her thoughts were interrupted as King Théoden moved along side of them. "I haven't seen my niece smile in a long time. She was a girl when they brought her father back dead – cut down by orcs. She watched her mother succumb to grief…"
'Haven't we all lost someone we love to orcs?' Aria thought to herself. 'I've lost a father and a son…'
"Then she was left alone, to tend to her king in growing fear. Doomed to wait upon an old man who should have loved her as a father."
Seriously? Was the king trying to pawn his niece off on her brother? Sometimes she wished she had a better connection to her brother – like she had with Legolas – so that she could warn him about stuff like this. She knew how hard headed he could be.
"Ada is going to make her sail."
"And ada is just being selfish. He wants the twins to sail as well. But even they are putting off their decisions. He cannot force them. It is their own decisions whether to me counted as a mortal or immortal." Aria said as she sat next to her brother as the refugees made camp for the night. This had been the first time that she had been able to talk to her brother at all when it was just the two of them.
"But he told me that the time of the elves is over and that they are leaving for Valinor."
"Well he's right about that one. But they all aren't leaving. The Mirkwood elves haven't left yet. Still that doesn't mean she will go. She told me there wasn't anything in the world that would make her sail."
"I told her to."
Aria sighed as she slowly got to her feet. "Then that is your own damn fault for giving up to easily instead of fighting for what really matters. Simply settling isn't going to mend your heart. And please, don't lead her on if you don't really mean it."
She turned and walked off to find her husband. Aragorn watched as she walked off, wondering what she meant. Who was he possibly leading on? Then he saw Éowyn making her way towards him with a cooking pot in her hand. She walked up to Gimli and offered him some of whatever she had made and he graciously declined. Then she spotted him before softly smiling at him. She quickly made her way towards him.
"I made some stew. It isn't much, but its hot," she said filling a bowl for him and handing it to him.
"Thank you," he said trying a bite. "It's good," he said as he forced the horrific tasting stew down.
"Really?" she said as she turned and started to walk away.
He quickly tried to pour the stew on the ground, but Éowyn turned back around to ask him a question. Instead he ended up with the hot stew sloshing onto his lap. He grimaced as the heat spread across his lap.
"My uncle told me a strange thing. He said that you rode to war with Thengel, my grandfather. But he must be mistaken."
"King Théoden has a good memory. He was only a small child at the time."
"Then you must be at least 60."
Trying not to show his embarrassment about his age, Aragorn slowly shook his head no.
"Seventy?" she then asked.
Another shaking of the head no.
"But you cannot be 80!"
Looking down at the ground, Aragorn answer, "87."
"You are one of the Dúnedain. A descendant of Numenor, blessed with long life. It was said that your race had passed into legend."
"There are few of use left. The Northern kingdom was destroyed long ago."
"I'm sorry, please eat."
Aragorn reluctantly ate the rest of the stew.
That night as the refugees camped, Aragorn sat up and thought about what his sister had said to him earlier. Had she meant that he was possible leading Éowyn on? Surely not. But then again she had seemed interested in talking to him earlier about his age of all things. Very few actually knew of his Dúnedain heritage.
It wasn't that he wasn't proud of it, because he was. It was just that some people would take advantage of it for their own means.
Besides his heart belonged to Arwen.
Aria had been right. He simply couldn't settle for anyone besides her. Nor would he ever. She had told him once that if he were to trust nothing else then he should trust his heart and trust their love.
There could never be anyone for him besides her.
"How do you know Lord Aragorn?"
Aria and Tauriel both turned around at the question. They had been checking on their horses before trying to get some rest for the night. "Which one of us are you asking?" Tauriel asked.
"I'm just curious. That's all. It just seems that both of you are very close to even Gandalf before he left the other day."
Aria simply shrugged her shoulders. She hated confrontations and Tauriel knew it as well. "Narante hîn," Tauriel said urging her friend. Aria simply glared at her before turning to look at Éowyn.
"We're friends, that's all. I grew up in Rivendell with him before I married and moved away to the Woodland Realm. He's like a brother to me." Aria said, lying.
"Then why are you traveling without your husband?" Éowyn asked, motioning towards Aria's ring on her finger.
"I'm not anymore," Aria said as she turned and pointed to Legolas, who was sitting next to a campfire with Gimli. "As for Tauriel, she was sent by the Lady of Lórien to help me for a while. Anything else?"
She shook her head no.
"Then good night, Lady Éowyn. I hope that you get some rest." Aria said with a smile.
Éowyn said nothing as she watched Aria and Tauriel walk over and join Legolas and Gimli in front of the fire. Even though she had answered all of her questions without hesitation, there was still something about Aria that she couldn't put her finger on just yet. And she was determined to figure out what it was.
"What did Éowyn want?" Legolas asked as Aria curled up in his arms. He had seen the interaction between the three females from afar a few minutes ago.
"Asking how I knew Aragorn."
"Basically she lied to her about how she knew him," Tauriel added.
Legolas looked down at his wife in his arms. "What did you say?"
"That I grew up with him in Rivendell and I knew him before I got married before moved away to the Woodland Realm. How is that lying?"
"You never told her that you are his twin sister!" Tauriel said snapping at her friend.
"You're Aragorn's sister?" Gimli asked confused. "How can that be? You are an elf."
"See! That's why I didn't tell her!" Aria said.
"Aria calm down," Legolas said, rubbing his wife's back. "You don't need the stress nor do the babies."
"What babies?" Gimli then asked.
Aria groaned. This was going to be a long night. Legolas and Tauriel could explain everything to Gimli. She was just going to keep her mouth closed. This was all their fault!
"Show him," Legolas whispered, kissing her cheek softly.
Aria sighed as she stood up and moved next to Gimli. She took a hold of one of his hands and gently placed it against the small baby bump that was snuggly protected underneath both her traveling clothes and her mithril shirt. "They aren't very big right now, since I am only about four months along."
"Then why are you out in the middle of a war, lass?" Gimli asked as he pulled his hand back from her stomach.
"Because I need to be," she softly said as she placed a hand gently against his bearded cheek. Gimli felt his cheek get warm as he felt the urge to close his eyes and surrender to sleep. Eventually his eyelids slid closed, but sleep did not come. Instead he saw images and felt various feelings – he seemed to understand them all. The images quickly went past and before he knew it, he was opening his eyes again.
"What was that?" he asked, still trying to take in what just took place.
"Basically my life without the intimate moments. It's easier than explaining 87 years of my life."
"So Aragorn wasn't lying when he said he was raised by the elves."
Aria smiled, as she shook her head no.
"I still don't think you should be out in the middle of a war!"
"Oh she is going back to Rivendell as soon as it is safe." Legolas added.
The next morning Aria and Tauriel rode a ways from Aragorn since he decided to walk instead of ride. They rode more towards the front of the group of refugees.
"Where is she? The woman who gave you that jewel?" Éowyn asked as she walked beside Aragorn as they continued their journey with the refugees towards Helm's Deep. She had taken notice of the Evenstar that hung around his neck that Arwen had given him.
Aragorn didn't say anything as his thoughts drifted off to one of the last conversations he had with Lord Elrond about having Arwen sail to the Undying Lands, then trying to leave Rivendell with the Fellowship without saying goodbye to Arwen. He had tried to convince her then to sail; it had hurt him to do so. He could see the hurt in her eyes as he did it as well. He even tried to give back the Evenstar. But she insisted that he keep it because it was a gift.
"My lord?" Éowyn asked, brining him back to the present.
"She is sailing to the Undying Lands with all that is left of her kin."
Éowyn could see the sadness in Aragorn's face as she looked upon him. She knew that he was deeply in love with this elf-maiden that had won his heart. Yet why could he not be with her? Why could she have not stayed with him?
Perhaps she could mend his broken heart.
As they continued to walk, Hama and Gamling ride past them and towards Legolas who was standing on a hill looking out. The horsemen pause then a warg and its rider suddenly attack them. Hama is killed while Gamling fights the Warg. Legolas is quick to join the attack, killing the warg with an arrow before killing the rider with his knives.
Aragorn, who heard the attack, runs a head from the group of refugees to see what is going on.
"A scout!" Legolas yells. Aragorn nods as he turns back and heads towards the refugees. By then the King, along with Aria and Tauriel have made their way towards him on horseback.
"What is it? What do you see?"
"Warg! We're under attack!" he said getting on his horse.
The people of Rohan begin to panic.
"Get them out of here!" Aragorn shouts to Aria and Tauriel, who simply nod.
"All riders to the head of the column!" Théoden yells to his troops, while Gimli tries to get up on Arod as well.
Théoden spots his niece trying to calm the refugees to follow Aria and Tauriel to safety. "You must lead the people to Helm's Deep and make haste," he says.
"I can fight."
"No you must do this for me!"
Éowyn reluctantly does what is asked of her. As she moves the people forward, she turns back to see Aragorn riding off with the others. She hopes that everything goes well in the battle for everyone and that they all make it safely to the protection of Helm's Deep.
But that was not to be the case.
Aragorn, getting caught in the strapping of a warp, had taken a tumble of a cliff with the vile creature. A dying orc enlighten both Gimli and Legolas to what had happened to their friend.
"Tell me what happened and I will ease your passing," Gimli said raising his axe towards the orc.
"He's…dead. He took a little tumble off the cliff."
"You lie," Legolas said as he knelt down as grabbed the orc by the collar of his tunic. As the orc died in his hands, Legolas looked down and saw the Evenstar necklace clutched between his grimy fingers. He took it and ran to the edge of the cliff where King Théoden already was standing looking over the edge. Far down below was a fast moving river with no sign of any bodies. Gamling walks up behind them and the king turns to look at him.
"Get the wounded on horses. The wolves of Isengard will return. Leave the dead."
Legolas simply turned and looked at the king in shock. Théoden placed a hand on his shoulder. "Come," was all he said before walking away leaving Legolas and Gimli staring into the river.
"Do you really think he is dead?" Gimli asked.
"I don't know…"
AN: Not much of a cliffy, since hopefully everyone knows how it turns out. Anyways, reviews please =)
And I'm not making Éowyn seem like a 'bitch' because I really love her character! It's just that she is crushing on Aragorn and Aria is over protective of her brother! That's all! They end up becoming good friends in the end, I promise!
Narante hîn – Tell her (she)