1. Gurthu a Kuil - Death and Life
A soft voice broke the elf-maiden’s silent thoughts, and she sat up, hurriedly wiping at her cheeks with the edges of her flowing sleeves. A gentle hand caught her wrist and handed her a pale square of cloth. She accepted it and dried her tears, although she was ashamed to be seen weeping. Sliding over on the bench, she silently extended an invitation to join her.
Legolas sat down next to the elven woman. “What ails you, my lady?” She offered him the handkerchief back, but he shook his head, seeing how the moonlight still glistened brightly in her wet eyes.
Arwen sighed and hung her head. She absently twisted the silken cloth in her fingertips as she sorted through her thoughts to find an answer. “I am thinking of death,” she at last replied in a whisper. “It comes so quickly…” her voice trailed off into the night.
“And yet for there to be death, there must first be life.” Legolas winced, hearing how hollow his own words sounded.
“I do not regret my choice,” she explained quietly. “I only regret…”
Legolas waited a moment for her to finish, but seeing that she could not, he spoke. “You regret for how short a time you may cherish the joys of your choice.”
She looked at him in surprise. “How did you…?”
Legolas smiled sadly. “Because I, too, see how quickly mortal life fades. I have also developed a sense of time foreign to our people.”
Arwen nodded, understanding. Legolas did not await his own end, but rather that of his friends. “I envy you your strength, my friend. You have such courage…”
“Nay,” Legolas protested gently, “no more than you. Perhaps less… I will in time pass over the Sea, taking with me only memories of those here that I love. You instead will dwell here with them to the end, brave enough to face a mortal life.”
“Brave?” Arwen asked with a quiet laugh. “Nay, I am not brave. I feel now little but fear—fear of time, and fear of loss. I had no choice that was not suffused with loss, and so I chose the one that at the time seemed easier to bear. Eventually it will be hard to endure, but to part from my love…I had not the courage to do that.”
“My lady, you have more courage than any I have met. You have given up much for love, more than any in this Age, I believe. You had the courage to leave your people, your parents and your brothers, to spend your life with he to whom you gave your heart. That is not a choice made of fear, my lady. That is a choice most brave.”
“Perhaps,” Arwen whispered. “Perhaps.” They fell into silence then, two ageless elves who had learned to see time as it flowed quickly around them. Two immortals who knew that in a time short to those who saw centuries, death would come for the friends they loved. They stared at the stars, lost in their thoughts, as the night deepened in darkness…
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.