It was late and the fellowship had long since left the beauty and
safety of Rivendell. But still Elrond looked out in the direction the
nine had gone, as if willing his keen-eyed gaze to fly after them, to
watch them . . . as if he could still see them. But, of course, he
The night deepened and Elrond shivered as a
winter's chill desended. Elves drifted about like shadows, lighting the
hanging lanterns that threw back the cloak of darkness. It was not
until they, too, had gone that Elrond turned away from where he stood
and left, leaving the fellowship to whatever Fate.
He headed for the library. He did not know
why, but it seemed the proper place to be at the time. He had not
expected his daughter to be there.
Arwen sat upon a bench near the statue that
had once held a broken sword. Now it was empty, the large leaf-shaped
tray holding nothing now but a few wind-blown leaves. But she gazed at
it as if it were alive and she seemed hardly to notice when Elrond
walked softly by.
He left the library. He did not wish to stay
within with his daughter. Not now. He knew how she felt about the
ranger, about the Man who would one day be a King . . . he knew how she
felt about him, her father, for sending her love away. Elrond could not
face her. Not yet.
He walked through the House, from room to
room, from the library as far as he could go. He passed Elves, some
solem as him, some laughing and joking with friends, some singing
gently. Elrond spoke to none. He wished to speak to no one. Not now.
He felt as if he had betrayed her . . . he
could not except that she loved a mortal Man . . . could not except
that she would willingly die for him . . . would abandon her people for
a Man ... abandon her father.
Elrond halted. So that was it? He did not
want her to love so as she would not leave HIM? The Elf frowned and
turned to a window, gazing out at the still beauty below and all
around. He had not thought of this. He loved his daughter dearly, with
all his heart, and he wanted to see her happy. But most of all he
wanted her to be happy with HIM, with her father, and not with anyone
else--king or no. He sighed and bowed his head. He had been selfish and
in being so had not seen that he had pushed her away, had broken her
heart . . . She would love Aragorn no matter what he said or did, no
matter where the Man went. Elrond could not stop that. He could only
except it, could only except that his daughter would leave him, would
fade . . . would die alone.
He could not.