1. To Choose
Disclaimer: All of Arda belong to Professor J. R. R. Tolkien.
An early summer breeze rustled the mallorn leaves, wafting the mingled fragrance of niphredil and roses over Caras Galadhon. Somewhere in the shadows, a lone nightingale flung a cascade of song against the night. On the balcony of the flet, a single silvery lamp burned brightly. In its light sat Arwen, daughter of Elrond, Evenstar of her people, bride-to-be.
Above her, the stars poured their radiance down between the leaves, making the entire forest shimmer. She lifted her face toward them, knowing that a little distance away, on another flet, her father was also awake, watching these stars. Slowly she lowered her eyes, returning to the unfinished letter before her. Picking up her quill, she began to write again, at first hesitantly, then with increasing conviction.
With mingled sorrow and joy I write this letter, to ask your forgiveness, for I will not come to you in the Blessed Realm now. I will be wedded soon; my beloved is fair and good, among the great ones whose valour have vanquished the Dark Shadow in the East. Wisdom sits upon his brow, healing in his hands, and the nobility of his spirit shines forth like a bright flame in the night. But he is a mortal Man, and in joining my fate with his, I will be forever parted from you, and from our people.
Forgive me, mother. I know the grief you must feel at our sundering, for I see it in father's face, and I feel it in my own heart. For so many years I have counted towards the day when we will be together again; so many times I have imagined your embrace on Eressëa's glorious sun-lit shore. I did not know then how different things would be, and now the very thought tears at my heart. I wish so much to see you healed and radiant with joy once more; I wish so much to see the care and weariness erased from father's eyes. But I will not see this now, because of my own choice. I make this choice freely, yet it cannot be any other way.
I love him, mother. On the flower-laden hill of Cerin Amroth he came to me, and the world all around me was lit up with a golden light. When I am with him my spirit soars and sings, fearless and glad, and Middle-earth feels young once again, filled with splendour. I will cleave to him, for to do otherwise is to betray my very soul. Dear mother, though I add much to your sorrows, I know you will understand this, because I know of the great love between you and father. I grew up amid its radiance and its blessing, but it is only after meeting Estel that I began to truly understand it. I have learned love from you.
Be happy for me; know that I am in bliss. Be happy in each other, after all that you and father have endured. I shall miss you and father greatly, with an ache ever present in my heart, yet I shall also treasure the memory of each moment granted us with the fondest gratitude. I remember the warmth of your touch and the soft music of your voice; I remember every story you told when I was a child. I remember sitting on father's knees, while you pointed out to me the brightest star in the firmament: Grandfather Eärendil sailing the heavens in Vingilot, the Foam-flower.
When you were hurt, I looked upon the stars and was anguished to learn that this world contained creatures that would do such evil things. When I first knew of my love for Estel, I looked upon the stars and was torn to learn that we cannot always share the fates of those we love. For a long time, I could not understand the separate destinies of the Two Kindreds, so different yet both full of pain. To have the joys and beauties of Arda snatched away, when they are barely tasted; or to labour under the ever-growing burden of years, slowly losing all that one has upon Middle-earth. How could I choose between heartbreak and heartbreak?
But now, when the time is come upon me, perhaps I have gained a glimpse of understanding. It is from something that father once told me, after your passing: that he would not change his choice for any price, for it allowed him to love Middle-earth and the people in it, and most importantly it allowed him to love you. Father has suffered much in the life he chose, yet his choice is a great blessing, for it was made out of love. Likewise Lúthien chose mortality for love of her Beren, and Grandmother Elwing chose immortality for love of Lúthien and her people. And because he loved her, Grandfather Eärendil chose the life of the Eldar, though it took him from the people of his father. And because I love Aragorn, I will remain on Middle-earth to share his life and his fate, be it gift or doom, though it takes me from others whom I love: my own family, so dear to me.
For love is our only guide, and our only bulwark against time. Dear mother, when we parted at the Havens, you told me that we would meet again upon the Blessed Shore. Now we must look to a greater hope. I dare not expect that we will see each other again, even beyond the end of Arda, but I take heart in the belief that our love will endure despite our eternal separation, that it will be stronger than fate. Though the wide ocean and the deep Void lie between us, we shall not be lost to each other in our hearts; though we be never reunited in this world or beyond it, I shall for ever be
your daughter Arwen
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.