1. A Date's Irony
A date's irony
March 15th, year 8 4th age
"I think that it is a good thing that we do not celebrate the victory of the Pelennor fields," Aragorn observed.
Arwen looked up from the window seat where she was doing some needle work. "Mm," she replied through closed lips, her needle still pressed between them. Then, "what brings you to that thought now, beloved?"
"Halbarad would have been a hundred years old today, which is, I believe, a bit ironic. He is the only one I know who managed to die on his birthday, which, when one thinks about it, does not really surprise me. He even joked about it while we were still on the Corsair ship. I can see him now, elbows on the rail, and shaking his head while saying, 'Not this year, Estel. Your well-wishes are better spent elsewhere this year. You and I both know that I will not survive, but I regret it not. There is no more honour than to die by your side.' I can still hear his chuckle as he added, 'and look at it this way, dying on my birthday will give you a double reason to remember me on the day.' It would take far longer than the ten years it has been to forget him.
"And I must say that his words proved to be true. I miss him enormously, as you surely do realize. Today even more than on any other day of the year."
"I see," she answered simply, deciding not to interrupt him and to let him speak what was on his mind.
"Whenever we could, we would celebrate our birthdays together, which are, after all, only fifteen days apart. A beer or a little bag of pipeweed bought for the other would not come amiss, and when we found each other with the whole of the wilds of Eriador between us, we would shamelessly use the erand runners and include a letter or package amongst the reports. We called it the "captains' liberty", it was the one thing we did have, even if we lacked a kingdom." Aragorn fell silent and shook his head. "But now there are no longer small gifts or letters, and there never were grand feasts as would befit a kinsman of the king. Now I can only remember the date as both his birthday and the day of his death."
When he finally fell silent, Arwen nodded and walked over to sit on the arm of her husband's chair. Slowly she began to massage the tight muscles of his shoulders. "So you have a reason to remember the happy years and dwell less on the sad; and maybe then the pain of loss will fade. And maybe mine will fade as well."
She stilled her hands and Aragorn turned around to face her. When she met his eyes, she saw all the pain that was in his heart. The pain of loss and also the knowledge that in some cases he was the cause of it.
March 1st, year 120 4th age
As I leave the Citadel for the last time and make my way toward Rath Dínen, I cannot help but think that I am the author of irony myself. My thoughts turn towards Halbarad, who I will follow by also making my birthday my death-day. I have chosen this day because I thought it appropriate, not, of course, because Halbarad managed to do the same, but because it seems fitting to leave the world on the same date as I entered it. It makes a full round 210 years; and I am content. I have done all I could and left my mark on the world. I have had many friends during the long years of my life, saw them enter my life and some even died in my arms. And now it is my time and I welcome it. Time, indeed, for a meeting at long last beyond the Halls of Mandos.
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.