13. Before the Ring Went South - by Raksha the Demon
It is time, and I do not want to let her go. I cannot bear it again.
It is time, and it tears my heart to watch him go once more into peril.
How much time have we had together, over the years, since we left Lothlorien troth-plighted? A score of days, hours snatched between war-councils and plans, minutes seized from the needs of all others. And now I leave once more, perhaps for the last time.
He must come back to me, or I be free to go to him. This cannot be the last time.
What do we have to show for our love? We could not even wed, such was my doom. And now the last, desperate challenge is made, and if I fall, she shall be left alone, no sons or daughters to comfort her, no sign of our love remaining.
This parting pains us both. I must not weep, I must show him a smile, in case this is his last sight of me. He must know how proud I am to have his love.
If we had been allowed to wed, I could have given her the love of my body as well as my heart, at least a memory to warm her when I am gone.
It will be well, my love, my lord, we will meet again. See? I can smile, be as brave as you deserve.
I must rise, unclasp my hand from hers, or I will falter. I have to leave her now, set forth upon this dark road, accomplish all that must be done.
I must release his hand. No tears. I will not fail him.
One more kiss, then away! I cannot look back. I will not fail her.
I must believe. I do believe. Arwen! Estel!
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. The others could be seen as grey shapes in the darkness. The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter III: The Ring Goes South
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