1. Aragorn's Moment
"Their farewells had been said in the great hall by the fire, and they were only waiting now for Gandalf, who had not yet come out of the house. A gleam of firelight came from the open doors, and soft lights were glowing in many windows. Bilbo huddled in a cloak stood silent on the doorstep beside Frodo. Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him."
– FotR, The Ring Goes South
As the Company gathered to set out on their journey, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, rested his head on his knees in a final moment of quiet. This hour, he would take the first step down a path for which he had long prepared. From birth, he had been protected, educated, trained, apprenticed, and guided to this moment. Now must he prove himself worthy of that care and the fate that lay before him.
He breathed deeply as the weight settled about his shoulders. Long had it lain there, and his training had taught him to carry it well, though never had his destiny weighed so heavily upon him. Yet he would not cast off the burden. It was his alone, and with him would his doom lay, to come to fruition or stagnate.
The Chieftain of the Dúnedain would set in motion, with his next stride, a course that would leave none unchanged. The Quest might bring the defeat of Sauron and a King to Gondor. Or, their failure would return the Ring to Sauron, and Darkness would spread over Middle-earth.
The weight felt heavier now, as if each life sought to lean on him for support. He rolled back his shoulders, as though to stretch from the strain. He no longer had such luxury as to consider individual fortunes, even his own. The future of the lands of Gondor and Arnor were uncertain. He knew not if he might ever receive the Scepter of Annúminas. He knew not if he might ever be husband to Arwen.
A shiver went through him as Aragorn envisioned her as he had last seen her. Their parting was brief and quiet, filled with silent words. If he saw her again – no, he turned forcibly from that thought. He had forsaken such notions last night – in Elrond's study.
He might fail in this Quest. And he might never again see Arwen or wed her, in which case, he would be husband to none. And never a father. There would not be another heir. Isildur's line would end with him.
And so be it.
Those were his words to Elrond last night. He had gone to the lord of the house after wandering quiet hallways for hours. He had pondered the many directions their journey might lead, what they might gain, and all they might lose. For a moment, he had been overwhelmed by the possibilities. The expectations. The weight of duty. Then, a sudden calm had fallen upon him, along with the realization that regardless of what the future held, he would embark on the Quest in the morning. His destiny, the destiny of Gondor, of Frodo, of the Ring – all would be fulfilled as they would.
But he would not walk his path in order to bring about that destiny. He would simply do what must be done. When he walked placidly from Elrond's study in the small hours of the night, he left behind his hope. He surrendered, too, his dreams of Arwen. Let the future bring her to him if it may.
Whatever his doom, he accepted it.
The destruction of the Ring and the salvation of Gondor and Middle-earth now took precedence over such small and petty concerns as his own future. He set them aside, to be given little consideration in the coming weeks and months save in those hours of the night when the heart was weakest.
Aragorn, son of Arathorn and heir to the throne of Gondor, breathed deeply as he rose, balancing duty and destiny on his shoulders. For the moment, he knew only that he would not walk this way again. The path that had ever stretched before him he would now follow to an end he could not see. By the grace of the Valar, it would be a blessed end.
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.