1. Not so like Luthien, after all
F. A. 110
This was not what she expected or had been given to understand from the tales of Luthien and Beren.
Nor Idril and Tuor - the tales had said that Tuor had felt the bite of old age at only sixty! That could not have been, and the few survivors of the Sirion colony that she had known, had claimed no frost had touched Tuor - the couple had simply sought their destiny upon the Sea.
Today her husband had reached two hundred years of age. Aragorn was still strong, though his hair was white, his face creased, and he tired far more easily than he had in the glades of Lothlorien so long ago.
She loved him no less. His aging, in itself, did not trouble her overmuch. She had always understood he would age and would soon leave Arda - had she not seen many Chieftains bounce around Imladris as youths, and then, seemingly but a few seasons later, return to Imladris at the end of their lives, creaky, sickly, old? No, Arwen had seen more than a few Mortals wither with age, and her husband was not to that stage yet. And even when he reached it, as soon he must, it would not be unbearable.
What was unbearable was that she did not age with him. In choosing a mortal life, she had assumed she had chosen all that went with it. Yet outwardly, the hundred fifty years since their trothplight had not changed her in the slightest. Even inwardly, she felt none of the weariness of feä she had expected to assail her by now.
Yet the diverging paths, while they still lived, were destroying them. Aragorn was wracked with guilt, for he too had believed in his heart that they would grow old together. But it was not so. It was, instead, as her father had warned. Aragorn would weary, and she could neither help him or even properly share his fate.
If, when he died, the grief did not kill her, what could she do? She had no desire to remain a Dowager Queen of a realm of Men and perhaps see her children age even as her husband now did.
What then? Return to Imladris? Though her brothers and a few of her friends remained, time had come there, and to look on the faded valley would grieve her to no end. Lorien was even worse, both faded and abandoned.
The path West was now barred her. Though she did not regret that gift to Frodo, in her weaker moments, she did wish that the Hobbit had declined it.
There was still her Daeradar's realm in the Greenwood, and Celeborn had begun to hint that she would be welcome there after what ... must occur. But no, that would not do either, she knew.
The truth was, there was no going back, nowhere to go. She must follow Aragorn into death, as foretold. But it seemed it would not be an easy thing. In her heart, she knew she would not simply fade from grief, unless she willed it.
The Evenstar shuddered as she realized that that was exactly what was demanded of her.
A/N: This story owes much to Gwynnyd's "The Lap of Time".
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