4. The Gift of the Lady
In Rivendell's pre-dawn chill they prepare to mount. The House's lamplight spills warm from the great doorway, but mist curls about their feet; their breath clouds as horses stamp and harness jingles.
Elrond gravely clasps arms with the Dunedain, man-by-man; lastly, embraces his sons. Then Arwen steps forward to Halbarad, leaning close, murmuring for his ears alone. Only when he's in the saddle does she carefully pass up to him her long, black-swathed burden; he raises it to her, spear-like, in salute; and they ride.
And thus I send into the darkness, Arwen thinks fiercely, my last token of Hope...
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