1. Mind Games
A/N: this is a sort of movie verse and an extension of the ‘dream’ Aragorn had of Arwen at Dunharrow, when she was wan and lying on the bed etc. Basically too complicated to explain. Just read and you will get it. The paragraphs in italics show what she was being forced to see [or sometimes, her thoughts], at the end, there is a lack of italics to show that the ‘dreams’ and reality somehow melds together. And it’s rather disjointed to represent her thoughts.
– Mind Games –
She lay on her bed, and let its comforting warmness envelop her completely. She was feeling feverish, ill, and it was unnatural. But she no longer had the life of the Eldar flowing through her veins. She had made her choice, and now she was suffering for it. She did not even need to glance into her mirror to know that her normally pale skin was whiter than usual, and she looked wan, almost drawn. A thin sheen of perspiration covered her skin, and her every breath was a difficulty.
A large expanse of clear blue, stretching as far, and as wide as the eye could see. An endlessly moving cloth, sparkling under the Sun. Gentle coils of water lapping slowly at the uneven golden-white shore –sandy grains so fine they were invisible –flowing and ebbing, as if keeping time with an ancient melody that was composed by an invisible hand long before the world had been shaped.
The sea was beckoning to her, even in her delirium that was clear. The slow music slowly lulling her, enticing her to come forth to its shores, to feel the sea-spray on her face, to walk on the sand that will melt under her unshod feet, dancing free under the waxing Sun without restraints. Her blood called out to her mind to ride towards the shore, to go into the West, to be with her mother again.
As much as she wanted to heed the unending call from the Sea, she was bound to the world, and had chosen to die when her time came.
A grey ship, with a high prow, pearly-white sails billowing in the refreshing wind, swiftly cutting through the water like a knife, leaving bubbly foam in its wake…
She tried to shut out the thoughts in her mind, to prevent the call from the Sea from making her break her troth. But as harsh as reality was, she was fading, and fading fast. Her fate was inexplicably tied to the fate of the Ring, and the resulting darkness that would spread if the Ringbearer failed. Atar had tried to explain that much to her, though she had already known.
I wish I could have seen him…
…one last time…
She closed her eyes and tried to prevent the tears from spilling out in a flood, and saw darkness from behind her closed lids. Somehow, it slowly lessened, and the light poured forth in abundance. A figure came into view…
She opened her eyes quickly, believing that short vision was but a figment of her strained mind, but it was happening as if it never stopped.
She could see the figure quite clearly now. He was robed finely, in the Gondorian way; the White Tree proudly emblazoned on the leather tunic; the winged helm resting on his brow. His sword hung on his left, the keen blade firmly enclosed in a jewel scabbard…
Her Evenstar pendant was clasped around his neck, glittering beautifully in the unknown light. He had a smile on his face; his grey eyes were dancing with mirth, and crinkled in joy. He was reaching out with one hand to take hers, slowly walking towards her.
Dazed and confused by this sudden apparition, yet hoping that it was real, she tried to sit on her bed, her broad smile on her face, and offered her hand to his.
Just as they were about to touch, her pendant shattered into a thousand pieces, white-hot elven metal splinters flying into every conceivable space. The light that emitted from the explosion was blinding, and she closed her eyes from the light, her arms automatically raised to shield herself from the shards.
She felt them graze her arms, making minor cuts and occasionally drawing blood. The light dissipated after a moment and withdrew back into itself, and she dared herself to look.
No! By the Valar, no! Estel!
She tried to scream, to shout, but no sound came out, as though her throat was blocked by an unknown power. Instead, her mouth was open in a silent scream of horror and despair.
He was still standing, but his appearance had completely changed. Blood stained the fine leather and silk he wore, as he bled from his many sword wounds. The blood flowed down his face, his arms, and his clothes to form a dark puddle on the ground. Arrows were deeply embedded in his left chest, opening new wounds as they blatantly refused to get out. The Evenstar no longer hung around his neck, though the chain still remained. His helm lay on the ground not but a few feet from him, dirtied from the dirt and blood. His hand still held onto Anduril, from which black blood dripped, though whether it was his or the orcs she could not discern, for it seemed that his blood was black too. She tried to stifle another anguished cry as her eyes saw a sword –buried to its hilt –which had been skewered through his abdomen.
His eyes bespoke of help and hopelessness, of pain and suffering. He tried to take a confident step towards her, but stumbled; his hand, though covered with dirt and blood, till reached out for her…
And suddenly he straightened, and began to actually walk towards her, but as he came closer he morphed…
She tried to back away as the imposing figure came closer. As much as she tried to believe that it was Estel, she knew that the figure was not he anymore, even if it ever was. The figure radiated coldness, and something else that she could not identify. A chilling cold ran down her spine, and as though simultaneously, the light that made her see what was happening was gone, and replaced by darkness, that slowly engulfed the light like black smoke blotting out the Sun.
And then He came to her: the fallen Maia, fully covered in his armour, the Eye hovering above him. For a moment, she was fooled into thinking that they were both two separate beings, but she knew better.
She instinctively drew back, but to no avail. Her back touched a solid wall, though when she quickly glanced back, there was nothing hindering her. He took his time to reach her, and went he finally did, she was unwillingly forced to stand up, weak as she was, against the invisible wall, his chokehold on her leaving bruises. His eye was trained on her, trying to break her will and resolve.
He brought his other gauntlet-covered hand to her face, and she tried her best not to squirm away from it, impossible as it was. One finger slowly stroked her cheek, as he leaned in.
Elessar is dead.
The intruding thought came into her mind of a sudden, and she shook her head, as though trying to clear the unwelcome thought.
I killed him, the Heir of Isildur. The Quest is over. I have won. The shadow will rule the earth.
No, she thought plaintively, not daring to believe his dark words. Estel cannot be dead. And as though he had heard the words, he laughed into her mind, a harsh laughter, filled with evil and triumph.
Believe it. Your love for the mortal has made you weak.
And with that, his hold on her ceased, and he was gone, as was the wall. She closed her eyes and sank onto the floor, not daring to believe it. He was lying!
Light poured onto her, and she looked around. She was back in her room in the safety of Rivendell and not in that void she had been locked in moments before. The sky outside her window was tinged with crimson streaks, spreading out in a rough semicircle.
A red Sun was rising.
Blood hath been spilled this night.
She fervently hoped with all her heart that it was not her beloved’s.