AN: I feel as if I half-heartedly finished Estel, so now, I have suddenly been thinking and I've decided to redo the ending, so here's a second go at this chapter.
PS: I know Aragorn has gray eyes. The gold eyes are of my own making. And ArticulateAntagonist, please see Author's note at the end of the chapter. It's all for you.
He entered the room quietly and walked through into the dark, long silk and velvet robes swishing with each step. He drew back curtains and glanced around the unused office of the King. The ornate desk was empty and dusty, regal rugs and draperies everywhere. He sighed, taking it all in with his tired eyes.
"This is it." He murmmerred.
And tomorrow is the Coronation.
" And if you think about backing out, I can think of many others that will send you to the Coronation looking like a human pincushion."
Aragorn turned, half-surprised. Legolas leaned against the door frame, obviously more comfortable in his regal robes than Aragorn.
" I don't know, Legolas. Running off to the East sounds fine to me."
Legolas walked inside at first, seeming to have no heard what Aragorn said.
" Elrond will not appreciate leaving his Imladris for naught." Legolas turned to face the man. "Leastways, you should be done running. You're getting too old for it."
Aragorn motioned to the finery and kingly heritage surrounding them in the room.
" I do not belong in this. I am a Ranger of the North."
" You were a Ranger of the North." Legolas corrected, a hand clasping Aragorn's shoulder. "So now you have a decision to make, Aragorn. Do not do this King bit for Elrond, or me, or Arwen or even for your mother. Make sure that the path you choose, whether running to the East, or being brave enough to stay, will not be one you regret."
" You speak with such ease, Legolas. You know exactly what you want, who you are."
" It takes the Elves longer. I have had centuries to practice." Legolas walked towards the door. "Mithrandir says taht the Imladris party shall most likely arrive some time around Mid-year's."
" No news of Arwen?"
Legolas shook his head.
" Now come on. If we do not arrive on time for dinner, the hobbits and Gimli shall surely take our portion, not to mention what your dear foster-brothers will take."
Aragorn chuckled, closing the door firmly behind him.
" I always wondered why half my food was gone when I was late."
Legolas shrugged with a grin.
" You didn't hear it from me."
The smoke rolled lazily and thinnly from his pipe. His feet sat propped up on the balcont ledge as he watched the sunrise.
Today is the coronation.
He sighed, breathing in the sweet smoke before exhaling.
I can't do this. They deserve someone bred for this. Someone like Faramir. This is what he was trained to do, to lead Gondor.
" Usually one tries to get some sleep before appearing beore their subjects."
" Ai, Mithrandir, perhaps I don't want any subjects."
The wizard stood silently, beard jutting from his chin, hands clasped firmly behind his back as he watched the sun break over the Fields of Pelennor.
" I have no wisdom nor insight, only that this is your destiny." A hand on his shoulder. "Now get some rest. I shall have breakfast brought to you."
Aragorn sighed, setting aside the pipe.
" I know better than to argue wth a wizard."
" You were taught well then."
Aragorn nearly collapsed on the bed and was asleep before he knew it. He slipped into the gentle darkness easily. Then it faded away. The beautiful, wrinkled face of his silver haired mother replaced it, sadness and hope intermingled in her golden eyes as she gazed at him on the last day he ever saw her alive.
"Onen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim." Her husky, fading voice repeated, over and over again.
He awoke, restless, unable to sleep. He sighed, turning over to face the balcony and watch the sun.
She gave the Dúnedain hope. Me. She never truely had me though. Once we came to Imladris, I was engulfed in Elrond's family. She watched, encouraged, but she could never keep me to herself.
The linnod suddenly revealed its meaning to him. Aragorn closed his eyes.
For you, Nana, I do this.
And then he was able to push aside the looming nervousness, falling into childhood memories and then a deep, dreamless sleep.
Arwen was fussing. She had double checked her rooms, her mother's rooms, the trunks, the saddlebags, etc. Erestor walked into Elrond's study where the lord was staring at the sceptre in front of him. Erestor stiffly placed his palms on the desk.
" Elrond, I beseech you. May we leave? Your daughter is liable to drive me mad if she checks anything else."
Elrond chuckled, though his dark eyes remained sad. He rose, walking slowly towards an adjoining door that led to Celebrían's study, a place the lord had not dared go for years. He opened the door, glancing back at Erestor.
" Send Arwen to me."
Arwen entered her mother's study, finding her father standing before the large portrait of the silver haired beauty he had wed. She stood beside him silently, glancing at the picture again, memorizing what the canvas portrayed as her mother.
" She is lovely, Atar, in the picture. It does not do her justice though."
" I should set it out where I can see it." Elrond replied quietly. "It is good enough to suffice for now." He glanced at her, an unreadable expression in his eyes. "She left you something."
" Naneth?" Arwen was surprised.
" Aye. We made sure everything was in order should you wed." He slowly sat behind Celebrían's desk, opening a bottom drawer and pulling out a cloth wrapped cube. He slid it towards her. "For you, from your mother and I."
Arwen perched herself on the desk, facing her father and pulling the bow loose that kept the cloth together. It fell apart to reveal a beautifully carved box bearing both Elrond's and Celebrían's pendents, as well as Arwen's. She glanced at her father, fingers trailing over the workmanship and knowing it was he that spent countless hours carving this.
"Open it." Elrond urged.
Arwen undid the latch, opening the top and gasping.
" Atar, you cannot expect me to take this."
The glimmering circlet with pearl and diamond strands shone brightly in the dim light. Elrond placed a gentle hand, fingering a string of pearls.
" Your mother wore this on our wedding day." He was trying hard to remain stern and not lapse into quiet sadness. He pushed a strand of hair back behind her ear. "She always said it would look beautiful in your dark hair. She decided to give it to you before she left."
Arwen threw her arms around Elrond.
" Oh, Atar."
Elrond held her tightly, pressing a kiss to her hair. He closed his eyes, allowing moisture to gather and slowly begin trails down his cheeks.
" Ok, it's time to go." He said almost, gruffly, trying to pull away quickly.
Arwen laughed, wiping his cheeks off before kissing them.
" Something in your eyes, Atar?" She asked cheekily.
He swatted at her.
" Let your old father be, Undómiel."
Arwen picked up and closed the box carefully, pausing in front of the portrait.
" Do you think she'd be proud?"
Elrond kissed her cheek, an arm linking through hers.
" She is proud of you."
Arwen smiled up at him.
" I miss her too, Atar. It's on days like this when I wish she was here, laughing and singing, crying and humming."
Elrond pressed his lips together, swallowing harshly.
" She is here, Arwen." He whispered, not trusting his voice to speak any louder. "If you listen, you can always hear her singing."
Arwen is quiet, closing her eyes, leaning against her father. A second later she is humming.
" Can you hear her, Atar?"
" Of course, Undómiel. She is always singing to me and I always hear her." He choked out. "Come. We must head out."
Arwen glanced back one last time at the portrait and then at Imladris, before riding away forever.
Aragorn's chin rested on the desk as he stared suspiciously at the crown sitting upon its royal pillow. He poked it, almost wishing it would disappear.
" Your Majesty, may we have an audience with you?"
" Yes, King Aragorn."
Aragorn scowled at his foster brothers.
" Shouldn't you be packing to leave with Eómer, Eówyn and the other Rohirrim?"
" We finished, Estel." Elladan draped his lanky form over a chair in front of Aragorn while Elrohir was content to stand.
" We have orders from Ada leastways." Elrohir added. "It seems we are to meet him between Edoras and Lórien. Guess Ada wanted to see Daeradar and Daernaneth first.
" I wonder if Ada brings someone of great interest to Aragorn." Elladan grined, eyeing the Evenstar pendent in plain view around Aragorn's neck.
Aragorn narrowed his eyes.
" Do not play with me." He growled.
Elladan glanced at Elrohir with a look of faux fear.
" Ai! Your highness, do not hurt us poor peasents!"
" I'd say!" Mithrandir inserted gruffly, walking inside. "You two ruffians have been Elrond's bane since you were born."
" Nay, that's-" Elrohir's eyes lost their light and he punctuated his ending with a shrug.
" Not Nana." Elladan replied quietly before standing. "I think I shall retired. We will meet again soon, Estel. And do not forget that as your older brother, I still can beat you, king or not."
Aragorn chuckled, clasping Elladan's and then Elrohir's hands, watching them leave.
" And what can I do for you, Gandalf?"
Mithrandir glanced at him sharply.
" Me? I've only come to shoo you out. Tomorrow you will have nobles and men out your ears. So get out of here."
Aragorn obliged, leaving the crown and office in the wizard's care.
June 14, 3019 Third Age
Elrohir greeted Arwen with a brotherly kiss on the cheek, both he and Elladan squishing her in a hug. Arwen squealed with laughter, elicting a slight frown from Elrond at her unladylike behavior.
" So she gets all the greeting?" Galadriel called coolly as she dismounted.
The twins quickly dragged Arwen with them to see their grandparents. Elrond walked gracefully to the obvious leader of the Rohan men that greeted them.
" My lord." The man bowed. "I am Eómer, king of Rohan; and this is my sister, Eówyn."
Elrond inclined his head.
" I thank you for giving we weary travellers a place to rest, King Eómer."
" It is the least we can do for the kin of Aragorn, even if they are foster-kin."
Arwen suddenly appeared, a breathless smile on her lips, no doubt from escaping her brothers. She bowed quickly. Elrond glanced at her fondly, allowing her to drape an arm around his waist in a half-hug.
" And this is Arwen Undómiel."
Eówyn's eyes studied Arwen almost harshly as soon as she heard the name, Elrond noted. Eómer placed a hand on his sister's arm and the two exchanged a glance before Eówyn nodded.
" I congratulate you, lady Arwen. Lord Aragorn is a fine man." Eówyn said quietly. "When we ride for Edoras, come beside me. We have much to speak of."
Aragorn was arguing with a nobleman. He was just about to lose his temper when Legolas pushed open the door and walked in past two guards, a cool, calculating expression on his face. The nobleman's words faltered and he backed down physically, eyes averted from the Elf. Legolas barely acknowledged the man, inclining his head to Aragorn.
" Messengers from Amon Dîn report os a band from the North approaching Minas Tirith."
" What day is it today?" Aragorn asked, setting down a few papers.
" The day before Mid-Summers." Legolas replied quietly.
Aragorn turned to the window, staring to the North.
"Then let the City be made ready for them."
Elrond glanced impatiently at Eówyn when the lady exited a hastily set up tent.
" My lady, could you please inform my daughter that I would like to arrive in Minas Tirith before it is just a crumbling ruin?"
Eówyn laughed, dressed in a beautiful gown to ride into Minas Tirith with them.
" Lord Elrond-" she began.
" Don't bother, Eówyn." Arwen exited the makeshift tent.
Elrond stared at her. Arwen nervously smoothed the dress, walking to him quickly, hearing the chatter and talking die off when many saw her.
" Say something, Atar."
Elrond swallowed, eyes glazed over in silent pain.
" Where did you get-"
" Your mother's dress." Celeborn finished, looking almost upset. "Galadriel?"
The Lady of the Wood remained beside her grandsons, an utterly innocent expression on her face.
" Don't look at me like that, Celeborn. I had no hand in this mischief."
Celeborn just nodded, his face revealing that he did not beleive his wife.
Arwen took Elrond's hands, gently tugging on them, a hopeful smile lighting up her face.
Elrond leaned back, motioning for her to turn before softly nodding.
" You look beautiful." He managed, looking away and then turning on his heel.
He paused at the horse, taking a deep breath before mounting. Arwen watched him go, wishing to tug on his cloak and have him lift her up like when she was a child. Elrond looked back at her, and she caught the glimmer of tears in his eyes before he turned away.
I'm really losing her.He thought.
The Lórien Elves travelling with them began the beautiful hymn to Varda as they travelled; the City in sight and night just beginning to fall.
Aragorn sat, mounted on a horse at the gates, watching the Elves approach. Elladan and Elrohir rode up first, carrying a banner of silver. Then came Glorfindel and Erestor and the rest of the Household. Each sent him a respectful nod, which he returned, before the Elves moved aside for the rest of their party. The lady Galadriel and Celeborn both shone like stars in their white and silver. Aragorn could not help sending them a small smile, the Elessar shining in the front of his cloak. Last of all came Elrond, but Aragorn's eyes were fixed upon the lady beside him. She outdid her grandmother in the light she gave off, stars glimmering on her brow and amidst her hair. Arwen lifted her eyes for a moment to send him a hesitent smile. Aragorn could not function, eyes nearly cemented to her form. Mithrandir cleared his throat.
" Welcome." Aragorn finally managed, his voice quiet, but then gaining volume as he continued with the welcomeing phrases before they alighted to the High City.
There, before the Tree of Gondor, Elrond surrendered the Sceptre of Annúminas. Hesitently, Elrond turned, taking Arwen's hand and then Aragorn's. With a silent sigh and a plea of strength, he placed Arwen's hand in Aragorn's.
" Take care of her for me, Estel." Elrond said quietly, grief in his eyes.
Arwen pressed a kiss to Elrond's cheek, a hand ghosting over his cheek.
" Thank you, Atar." She whispered.
Elrond just attempted a smile, his eyes turning to Aragorn. The king nodded, glancing at his blushing fiancée and Elrond stepped away, forfieting his daughter to the mortal. Quietly Aragorn removed the Evenstar from his neck, placing it back around Arwen's.
" I thought you might want it back." He whispered. "Nightingale."
Arwen lifted a hand, caressing his cheek. Elrond cleared his throat, raising his brows at them. Aragorn grinned mischeviously at Arwen who seemed to catch the train of his thoughts. He kissed Arwen then and there before the kingdom, a tittering of laughter and applause rising up. Arwen returned the kiss before laughing and encasing him in a hug, her beautiful laughter ringing out sweeter than the singing of the Lórien Elves.
" Would you marry me, Arwen Undómiel?" Aragorn asked softly.
Arwen smiled, placing her hand in his.
" I thought you would never make good on that promise, Estel."
He kissed her knuckles.
" Is now alright?"
She laughed, pressing a short kiss to his lips.
" I would have it no other way."
He lay beside her, a finger brushing her radiant cheek. Her dark hair streamed over the pillow, a sheet pulled lovingly over her naked body. He hugged her protectively to his chest.
All these years I have wished for her, and now, she is mine. Eru, I love her.
She nestled closer to him, face a study in utter contentment. He kissed her temple before rising, picking up a discarded robe to don so he could look up at the glistening stars.
I miss you, Nana. I wish you were here now that I have achieved all this. It was all for you. Thank you for giving me hope.
Aragorn turned at Arwen's quiet murmer and rejoined her, allowing his words to linger under the stars.
Elrond sat, an old elvish pipe at his lips and a glass of wine by his hand.
" The power of the Rings is over. I grow weary of this world quickly."
Elrond closed his eyes, lifting his face to the gentle, bathing light of the stars.
" Not even Vilya kept me from longing for silver shores." He replied quietly, fisting the hand the sapphire ring encircled.
Galadriel sat beside him.
" Neither did Nenya fill her absence in my life." She sighed. "The time of the Elves is over."
" He foresaw this." Elrond whispered, chewing on the pipe end. "He asked me what I would do when Imladris began to fade."
" Who?" Galadriel asked.
Galadriel nodded with a sad expression on her ageless face.
" Perhaps he was wise to die."
Elrond's hand tightened around the wine glass, threatening to shatter the thin flute.
" Do not dare raise your voice or growl at me, Elrond Peredhel." Galadriel interrupted, unfazed by his reaction. "He is wise because he never had to watch the decay of time fade his precious Lindon."
" He wouldn't have allowed it." A sip from the wine glass to settle nerves.
" We no longer have a choice. Our power is over. We either fade here or go over the Sea. Celeborn is not yet weary, but I had hopes you might be, so I do not travel alone."
" It is time I left Elros' descendents to look after themselves." Another sip of wine. "To let them move on and allow we Elves to go to our immortal land and remain trapped in beauty."
" It is our way. If you continue to linger, the Valar may think you have taken Elros' choice also. Then what am I to tell my daughter?"
Elrond's eyes lighten with quick laughter, then darken as his mouth twists into an ironic smile.
" The things done for love. Elros chose mortality to be with his wife and now my daughter does the same." He poured Galadriel a glass, handing it to her before lifting his own. "So I toast to her and Estel. May their future be bright."
Galadriel nodded, lifting hers also.
" May it be blessed." She murmmerred.
And the night's husky song drifted to a pre-orchestrated cresendo, the stars, earth and under-earth all dealing out their notes to create a perfect harmony that would endure long after the Fourth Age of Men.
AN: Yes, I know it is a totally different ending, but it just kinda happened. Please review. If I get enough, I might just start again at Chapter 41 and finish the thing.
ArticulateAntagonist: According to Tolkien, ALL Elves have gray eyes. It is a fanon fact (a fact made up by the fans) that Legolas is blonde haired and blue eyed, whereas Tolkien never specifies hair color. As to Half-Elf's, in this time period, Elrond is the only Peredhil written about. His sons and daughter are Elves with mortal blood in which they too can choose like Elrond and Elros did. The blonde haired Elves would either be Lórien Elves, who were Sindar, Teleri or Noldor. If they were Noldor, then they would belong to the House of Finarfin, and of that house, only Galadriel survives in Middle-Earth. The other Noldor and Elves then would be dark haired, like Elrond. The Noldor made up a majority of the Elves. And on your latest one, about the Nazgul, I don't know what you're referring to. But the rest is what I have gathered from reading Tolkien.