Tolkien Fan Fiction Home Tolkien Fan FictionAll the tales of the Valar and the Elves are so knit together that one may scarce expound any one without needing to set forth the whole of their great history.
In Aragorn's Safekeeping
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Post A Review  Printer Friendly  Help

[Prev][Index][Next]

30
A Royal Wedding

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters; I am only borrowing them for fun for a little while. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Many thanks to my Beta Reader for this chapter – J.

Author Notes: A snippet from one of Tolkien’s letters that seemed to fit this chapter. "That is why I regard the tale of Arwen and Aragorn as the most important part of the Appendices; it is part of the essential story, and only placed so, because it could not be worked into the main narrative without destroying its structure: which is planned to be ‘hobbit-centric’, that is, primarily a study of the ennoblement (or sanctification) of the humble." Letter 181, The Letters of JRR Tolkien

Italics
are used to indicate conversations in elvish and individual elvish words are translated at the end of the chapter.


~~~

The streets of Minas Tirith were packed with people as Thomas led the company of elves and honor guards up to the Citadel. Even though King Elessar and his bride were obviously not part of their group - as no banners preceded them, only guards - the people still cheered as they passed and he forced himself to smile and nod. He was starting to become accustomed to the pageantry that occurred whenever he was part of a formal royal event, though he much preferred it when he could walk around the city by himself. Thomas smiled inwardly at that thought, for he was never truly alone. He had, for the moment, forgotten about his ever present guard. Glancing back, Thomas was surprised to see that Rebecca was walking with Erestor instead of one of the twins. Elladan had introduced them to Erestor and had told them that the elf was Elrond’s councilor, that he helped run Imladris, and that he also had been a tutor to the twins, Arwen, and Aragorn. Thomas glanced at Elrohir as the elf moved up alongside him.

“You are betrothed,” the elf noted without preamble.

“Thirty-six days ago,” Thomas replied with a grin.

Elrohir smiled and clasped Thomas on the back for a moment. “A year is a long time when one is young and a mortal. I wish you joy.”

“Thank you. Asking her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” he admitted as they started up the ramp to the Citadel.

“That is why I am not married,” Elrohir confessed in a whisper, his eyes showing his amusement and Thomas laughed. Elrohir pulled Thomas to a stop in the courtyard, his eyes fixed on the Court of the Fountain. “There is a living tree again,” he said, joy and awe evident in his voice. Elladan, Erestor, Halbarad, and Rebecca joined them while the other elves spread out around them.

“Aragorn and Gandalf found it up in the mountains,” Thomas explained quietly, leading them around to see the four foot tall blossoming White Tree from another side. The bark was silver grey and the leaves were a deep, dark green on top while the undersides were a brilliant silver.

“The people in the city were very excited,” Rebecca added as they circled the tree.

“Then this morning when Aragorn announced that he was getting married, people became excited all over again,” Thomas continued.

“Not everyone,” Rebecca disagreed with a small laugh. “I know several young ladies that I’m sure were very upset by the news.” Smiles and quiet laughter greeted that statement.

Thomas led them on to the King’s House where Master Belegion, Mistress Nimrie, and many of the other servants were waiting. Most of the elves were taken to chambers in the guest quarters, while Erestor was given a room in the royal apartments. Mistress Nimrie showed Erestor to his chambers while Elladan and Elrohir returned to their former rooms. Halbarad, Rebecca, and Thomas went to the sitting room where the three elves would join them once they were feeling refreshed from their journey. The three of them went out onto the balcony and sat around a large round table, listening to the cheers of the people as the king and his bride made their way up through the city.

“Do you like Arwen, lady?” Halbarad asked abruptly.

Rebecca thought for a moment and then nodded slowly. “I barely talked to her, but, yes, I do. She seems kind and it’s obvious that she loves Aragorn very much.”

“She does.”

“Arwen wouldn’t be marrying Aragorn if she didn’t,” Thomas pointed out quietly. “The cost is too high.” He reached over and took Rebecca’s hand.

“Do you know her very well?” Rebecca asked Halbarad curiously. “I never thought to ask you.”

Halbarad shook his head. “No. I’ve been in Rivendell several times, but Arwen was only there one of those times.”

“You’ll get to know her now.” Rebecca smiled.

“Who? Arwen?” a new voice asked as Elladan joined them, followed closely by Elrohir and Erestor.

Rebecca explained, “Halbarad said that he didn’t really know Arwen either, so he’ll get to know her just like Thomas and I will.”

“The people of this city are noisy,” Erestor commented, though he did not sound particularly upset.

“It’s not everyday they get a new queen,” Thomas reminded him.

“And Aragorn is well liked, so the people are excited,” Rebecca said.

“Arwen will be a wonderful queen for you,” Erestor said, and this time Rebecca and Thomas both heard a hint of sorrow in his voice. Thomas glanced over at Elladan and Elrohir and saw they looked impassive, though he thought there might be glimmers of pain in their usually expressive eyes. But he knew they were fully capable of keeping the pain of losing their sister locked away. They truly wanted Aragorn and Arwen to have joy on their wedding day even if it was difficult for them personally. Thomas couldn’t begin to imagine what Elrond was going through. The streets had gotten quiet and he realized that Aragorn and the rest of the party of elves had reached the Citadel and he turned to one of the servants.

“Nusirile, the king and the rest of our guests will be joining us shortly. Please make sure the drinks and the refreshments are ready to be served,” he directed.

“Yes, my lord,” she said, hurrying off to do his biding.

“Have you enjoyed your studies?” Elladan asked, his gaze moving between Thomas and Rebecca. “Your Sindarin sounded… quite proper for beginners.” He smiled faintly.

Thomas grimaced as he answered, “It’s all right, Lord Elladan, but it will never be my favorite thing to do. Sindarin is difficult,” he admitted, “but Aragorn was right, it does have a romantic quality to it that has been useful.” He smiled, glancing at Rebecca, missing the frown that crossed Erestor’s face.

“I love learning both Sindarin and the history of Gondor,” Rebecca said. “There are such interesting people and so much happened and…”

Erestor snorted, “You are only studying the history of Gondor?” he asked his eyes boring into hers.

“Well, yes, that’s all that Adar has asked the tutor to teach us… at least right now.” Rebecca glanced at the twins to see their eyes were sparkling with amusement.

“That is appalling, you need to learn about the First and Second ages as well. I must speak with Estel.”

“Speak with me about what?” Aragorn asked as he stepped out onto the balcony.

“The fact that these children…,” Rebecca and Thomas started at that and then relaxed knowing that to elves they were indeed children. “… are not being taught the history of the First and Second ages,” Erestor explained.

“Ah,” Aragorn said, taking a sip of his wine and studiously avoiding looking at his brothers, knowing he would laugh if he did so. Erestor had a crusty exterior and a heart of gold and was as much a member of his family as Glorfindel. “I was planning to have the history of those ages taught to them eventually, Erestor,” he said mildly. “However, I felt that the history of Gondor and Arnor was more important for them at this time. Perhaps you would care to instruct them during your stay?” Aragorn asked.

Erestor regarded Aragorn for a long moment and then turned his penetrating gaze on Rebecca and Thomas, only one of whom actually seemed excited about the idea. He pursed his lips and looked back at Aragorn. “I shall be glad to teach them, Estel, though I will not be here long enough to give them more than an overview. However…”

Whatever else Erestor was going to say was lost by the arrival of Arwen and Elrond. Aragorn quickly moved to her, taking her hand and leading her further out onto the balcony. Halbarad and the elves stood and Thomas hastily followed. “Please, sit,” Arwen said quietly without ever taking her eyes off of Aragorn. Thomas and Halbarad exchanged amused glances as they sat back down. Out from underneath the scrutiny of thousands of people, Aragorn wrapped his arm around Arwen’s waist possessively, drawing her to him and kissing her tenderly while those on the balcony politely looked away. The noise of a chair being pulled out from a table made Aragorn look up and his eyes met those of Elrond as the elf-lord sat down next to Rebecca and he suddenly remembered they weren’t alone on the balcony. With a small sigh, he led Arwen, though he did not remove his arm from her waist, over to the table and joined the others.

“When will the wedding take place, ion-nín?” Elrond asked, gazing at Aragorn with affection in his light grey eyes.

“At the twelfth hour, near the Court of the Fountain. I thought to combine some elvish elements with Gondorian wedding customs to honor both of our heritages,” Aragorn replied, turning to Arwen.

“That would please me, but will your people understand?” she asked, lightly tracing her fingers over the back of Aragorn’s hand.

Our people need to understand that their queen is an elf,” Aragorn said firmly, “and that I was raised among elves as well.” His voice softened, “Truly, Arwen, the ceremony is for us and our family and none will find it unusual.”

Arwen nodded. “It should be special for us,” she smiled, “we have waited for a very long time.”

“From what Faramir told me it doesn’t seem like the ceremony was very long or involved anyway, so adding something elvish can only make it better,” Thomas offered tentatively. He shifted uncomfortably as everyone turned and looked at him.

“What do you know of elvish weddings, Thomas?” Elrohir asked with a hint of amusement in his voice.

“Well, nothing, but…” he paused and gave Aragorn a sheepish grin, “… most elvish things I’ve ever seen are beautiful so I imagine a wedding would be too.”

Small smiles graced the faces of the elves while Aragorn grinned at him. “Indeed, elvish things are beautiful,” he said shifting his gaze back to Arwen. Aragorn cleared his throat and looked back at Elrond, “After the wedding there will be a celebration for the people of the city down on the Pelennor and a formal feast here.”

“Will you be gone a long time after the wedding?” Rebecca suddenly asked.

Aragorn gave her a puzzled look. “Gone? Gone where?” he finally asked, looking at Thomas to see that he had the same questioning look on his face that Rebecca had. Halbarad and the elves were also looking at Rebecca with confusion.

“Aren’t you and Arwen going to take a trip after the wedding, Adar?”

“A trip? No,” Aragorn shook his head slowly, “though I like the thought of that.” He smiled. “Is that what they do where you are from?”

Thomas nodded and smiled. “It’s called a honeymoon and the couple could be gone anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and they usually go someplace special. But wherever they go, it’s just so they have some time alone together. You don’t do that here?”

“No, we do not. However, I do like the thought of having some time alone with Arwen. It has been far too long, so I believe that we shall take our leave of you that I may show her the garden. We will join you at supper in an hour or so. Rebecca, Thomas, I would ask that you see to our guests’ needs.” They nodded mutely, hiding their uneasiness, as Aragorn stood, helping Arwen to her feet and leading her from the balcony. “I hope you did not mind, meleth-nín,” he said quietly, his tone slightly apologetic as they walked down the stairs.

Arwen just looked at him with a small smile playing about her lips. “As much as I love our family, Estel, I would rather spend time with you and you did tell me that we would have some time together this evening.”

Aragorn caressed the hand that was lying on his arm as he nodded in acknowledgement. “I actually thought we might have time after supper, so perhaps we will have time then as well.” He smiled as he led her through the door near the library and out into the garden and she gasped in surprise at the large enclosed area comprised mostly of flowers, though there were also some small trees and shrubs.

“It is beautiful, I never thought to have such a place here.”

“I was surprised to discover it, but I find it is very peaceful and restful. Our chambers,”
he indicated two doors off to their left, “open directly out here.”

“And the other doors?”

“That one leads to Rebecca’s room and the door there behind us goes into the library.”

“Where is Thomas’s room?”

“Upstairs.”
Aragorn pointed up to one of the balconies. “Halbarad and our brothers also have rooms up there. But come, I did not bring you out here to discuss whose room is where.” He smiled and led her along the paths and deeper into the large garden to where a small pond was located and they sat on a marble bench. Wrapping his strong arms around her, he drew her close and they sat for a time watching the fish play in the pond, enjoying the peace and quiet and the joy of simply being together.

“You are weary, beloved,” Arwen said finally, turning slightly so that she could see his face and eyes better.

“I am,” he admitted, “the pressures of being a king, I suppose,” he shrugged. “But the war was horrific and…” Aragorn leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees and she rubbed his back soothingly as he spoke. “Many times I despaired of ever surviving and yet we fought on and with the grace of the Valar and the courage of Frodo and Samwise somehow we prevailed. But the horrors we endured along the way will never leave my heart and mind.” He glanced up at Arwen and gave her a sad smile. “And though we won, I failed.” Aragorn paused briefly. “I failed Boromir,” he whispered, tears starting to fall as the grief and guilt from Boromir’s death was finally expressed in the presence of the one person with whom he felt totally safe and secure. Arwen said nothing as he wept quietly, simply moving closer and wrapping her arm around his shoulders and resting her cheek against his arm. “Forgive me, Arwen,” he finally said quietly, turning to look at her, “I did not mean for our first time alone to be spent like this.”

“You are in pain, Estel, and I would relieve it if I can.”
She moved her hand gently through his hair. “We will not have just brief, stolen moments here and there as you ride through Imladris on your way to somewhere else. We will have as much time as we need together now. That is, if you can spare time for me between your duties as king,” she teased him gently.

Aragorn sat up then and wrapped his arms around her again. “I may try and find a moment or two, meleth-nín,” he said in the same tone of voice before kissing her long and tenderly. Pulling back slightly, he gently trailed the back of his fingers over her cheek as he asked, “And how do you fare? I know it could not have been easy for you either, staying behind in Imladris.”

Arwen looked down at the fish pond for a moment before she responded. “It was difficult, Estel. We did not hear word of you for so long. Not that that was unusual.” Aragorn could hear a hint of amusement in her voice though he could not see her eyes. “Then when we heard from Daernaneth that Mithrandir had fallen, my heart broke for you,” she said softly, her fingers tightening around his hand. “I know how close you are to him, how long you had been friends and I feared for you.” She looked up at him. “I feared you would despair and there was nothing I could do. Then Elladan and Elrohir rode out and again I could do nothing but wait. Of course, Adar felt much the same and he provided what comfort he could, but it was difficult nonetheless. We knew when Sauron fell and then we waited to hear if you had survived, though I knew that you had.” Arwen smiled and leaned into him with a sigh of contentment and Aragorn pressed his lips into her hair.

“This seems as a dream, Arwen. To have you here, in my arms… to be my wife tomorrow… it does not seem real to me. I keep expecting to wake up.”

“Well, do not!”
Arwen laughed as she turned and kissed him lightly. “I am having the same dream and I do not want to wake up, beloved.”

Chuckling as well, Aragorn took Arwen’s face in his hands and looked at her for a long moment. “You bring such joy to my heart, meleth-nín,” he murmured before he kissed her deeply, all other worries and concerns fading from his mind as he focused solely on her.

----------

Rebecca and Thomas were leaving the dining room when Aragorn stopped them. The supper had been pleasant, but they were more than ready to leave and have some time alone to discuss the events of the day. “Thank you for what you did earlier, I know you were not very comfortable with being left alone with people you did not know, but I appreciated it.”

“It’s all right, you needed to have some time with Lady Arwen,” Rebecca replied. “If anyone understands that, it’s Thomas and me.” She smiled.

“I suppose you do.” He nodded with a faint smile. “Do you have plans now?”

“We were going to go…” Thomas paused, glancing at Arwen and Elrond who had joined them. He and Rebecca often spent time in the garden so they didn’t have to have a guard with them, but he realized that Aragorn might want to use it tonight for the exact same reason. “We thought we might take a walk around the Citadel,” he finished. Rebecca gave him a puzzled look, but said nothing.

“That sounds like an excellent idea,” Aragorn said, clasping Thomas lightly on the back. He pulled Thomas towards him as he did so and whispered in his ear, “We will have to make a schedule for using the garden.” Thomas nodded and grinned as Aragorn released him while the others just looked at them curiously.

“May I join you on your walk?” Elrond asked. “There are questions I would ask you and I do not know if we will have time later for such discussions.”

Rebecca and Thomas exchanged quick glances and then Thomas bowed slightly. “Of course, Lord Elrond, you are welcome to join us.”

“However,” Rebecca looked at Aragorn, “we do have guards that go with us so it will be hard to speak freely.”

Aragorn let out a long suffering sigh. “Rebecca, you know the guards keep well back when you are accompanied by others, especially when you are within the Citadel.”

“It was worth a try,” she said with a small shrug and grin.

Aragorn gave her a fond smile and turned to Arwen when she asked, “Guard? You have a guard, Rebecca?”

“Yes, Lady Arwen, I have a guard and so does Thomas. Aragorn has two. I admit it was hard at first and I was mostly teasing Aragorn just now, but there have been occasions when my guard has protected me when I have been out shopping or walking.” Aragorn raised an eyebrow at Rebecca’s use of the word ‘occasions’ as he was only aware of the one incident in the inn. He was going to have to speak with her or her guards, but he pushed that thought aside and focused on Arwen.

“Then I will have guards as well,” she stated, looking at Aragorn with a question in her eyes.

“Yes, Faramir is already arranging that for you,” he gave her a reassuring smile, “and you will become accustomed to them. Come, meleth-nín, we will take our leave so that they have time for their walk.” With quiet good nights and a promise to Elrond to return Arwen to the room they were sharing before it became too late, Aragorn and Arwen left the room.

“Shall we go, Lord Elrond?” Thomas asked politely and at the elf-lord’s nod they left the room and then the building. Unsure of where to walk as he and Rebecca would probably have gone directly to the point of the keel where they could be assured of privacy while they talked, Thomas decided to walk around the outer edge of the Citadel. “I thought we might walk around the edge of the Citadel,” he said glancing up at Elrond. The elf-lord nodded again and they walked along in silence for a time. Thomas was starting to wonder how the elf-lord was going to ask questions if he wasn’t going to speak to them and he cast a questioning sidelong glance at Rebecca to see the same puzzled look in her eyes.

“I was merely waiting for the guards to drop back out of earshot before I asked my questions,” Elrond said quietly.

Rebecca and Thomas looked at him in surprise. “Do you read minds like Lady Galadriel?” Rebecca asked.

“No, however I do read facial expressions quite well, especially those of young mortals.”

“Oh, well that’s good,” Rebecca said with a small sigh of relief before realizing she may have offended him and she looked at Elrond carefully, but he gave her a kind smile.

“It is rather disconcerting to have your thoughts read and to have someone speak in your mind in that manner.” Thomas and Rebecca nodded. “I desired to speak with you because I have heard some of your story. May I freely ask you questions? It is not my intent to cause you pain by speaking of things you would rather not recall.” Elrond’s voice had become gentle, though there was still an undercurrent of incredible strength running through it.

Glancing at Rebecca who nodded once, Thomas replied quietly, “You can ask whatever you want to, Lord Elrond. We might not be able to answer you, but we’ll try.” He looked over his shoulder to make sure the guards were, in fact, far enough away and he stopped dead in his tracks. “Lord Glorfindel! I didn’t know you were even here.”

“As you have your guards, Thomas, I guard Lord Elrond. I will not allow him to walk unprotected in this city of men.”

Thomas looked back at Elrond and realized that unlike Glorfindel and himself, the elf-lord was not wearing a sword. He turned back to Glorfindel. “I understand, my lord, but you took me by surprise.” Glorfindel acknowledged his remark with a smile.

“I’m not sure we’ll ever get used to elves, Thomas, but you are getting better at hearing Adar,” Rebecca said, smiling.

“Yes, I think I heard him once in the last twenty some times he came up behind me and that time he had a cold and I could hear him sniffling.” Thomas scowled at her briefly before remembering Elrond and Glorfindel and turning serious once again. “I’m sorry, my lords, shall we continue?” The two elves nodded, their eyes glimmering with amusement as they walked on.

“Estel sneaks up on you?” Glorfindel asked, walking alongside them now.

“Not really, but sort of. It started on our journey and it was about me learning to pay attention to my surroundings. I-I wasn’t used to having to do that, and now it’s become sort of a joke…jest between us.” Thomas smiled. “And while I very, very seldom catch Aragorn, I’m pretty good with others… except elves,” he muttered. Glorfindel and Rebecca laughed and Elrond simply smiled. Reaching the keel, the four of them walked out onto it and sat on the benches at the point, looking down on the city and out over the Pelennor in the late setting sun of mid-summer.

Finally Elrond said quietly, “As I mentioned, I have heard some of the story of your arrival in Middle-earth from my sons and from Galadriel and Celeborn, but I would prefer to hear the story from you directly. Then, if we have time, I would like to hear of your world.”

After glancing at each other, Rebecca spoke up. “Since Thomas was awake first, I’ll let him tell you what happened and I’ll fill in any details.” She smiled at Thomas who frowned slightly and then began to speak of all that had happened and what he remembered of the day he woke up in Middle-earth. Elrond and Glorfindel listened intently as Thomas, and occasionally Rebecca, spoke and Elrond asked gentle, yet probing questions as they recounted their experiences of those first few days.

Thomas stopped speaking when he got to the point where Gandalf had explained about Sauron and the Ring and some of the history of Middle-earth, he didn’t know how many details Elrond wanted. He and Rebecca looked at each other as they waited patiently for the elf-lord to continue or to explain why he wanted to know about their arrival. Elrond appeared to be lost in thought, his eyes hooded and his brow furrowed. Glorfindel was looking out over the Pelennor, though it had grown dark and Thomas wasn’t sure what he could see even with elvish eyesight. After many long moments, Elrond said quietly, “The hour grows late so I believe we will have to speak of your world at another time.” He stood gracefully to his feet. Rebecca and Thomas slowly stood looking at the elf-lord with confusion. Elrond looked down at them intently, his grey eyes glittering in the light from the torches along the wall, and then his gaze softened. “I have no answers to give you, only more questions and for those I believe I must seek out Mithrandir.” They nodded, wondering what questions he had and, more importantly, what answers Gandalf would give him.

“Will you at least tell us why you wanted to know about how we arrived?” Rebecca asked.

Elrond gave her a kind smile. “Mostly it is curiosity, Lady Rebecca. I have never heard of a story like yours and it puzzles me on many levels. I am quite old,” Glorfindel snorted softly and Elrond glared at him briefly before turning back to Rebecca, “and to hear of something new and unknown to me is intriguing and I feel compelled to try and find an answer. Whether I am able to do so is another matter.”

Rebecca sighed softly. “Thank you, my lord, for explaining your reasons, it helps to know.” Thomas nodded his agreement.

“You are quite welcome. Forgive me for causing you both such concern over this, it was not my intent. I sometimes get so caught up in my own thoughts that I do not realize how others may perceive me or the questions I am asking them,” Elrond said and this time Glorfindel laughed quietly. Thomas looked at him and saw that his eyes were sparkling with amusement and affection as he looked at Elrond. Glancing back at Elrond, Thomas noticed that he was not paying the least bit of attention to Glorfindel and somehow Thomas knew that this was a long standing issue between the two elves.

Smiling inwardly at the thought of the two elf-lords, especially Elrond who seemed so serious, having some type of a long running joke between them, Thomas asked Elrond, “Are you ready to go, my lord?” At his nod, the four returned to the King’s House and to their own chambers.

-------------

Rebecca had Lothrín wake her just after dawn on the day of the wedding so that she could practice her archery. She had only seen Haldir from a distance the day before as he was in charge of Celeborn and Galadriel’s guards, but she hoped that he might practice his archery in the early morning. If not, she thought that he would be at the wedding and the feast. Slipping into leggings and a tunic Rebecca hurried out to the training field and was disappointed to find it empty. She supposed she shouldn’t be too surprised as it was the day of a big wedding and it was still rather early. Finishing her first quiver of arrows, Rebecca approached the target and looked at it with a critical eye and decided she hadn’t done too badly. She had been gradually increasing her distance and today was the first day she had shot from forty yards. Still she knew she had a lot of work to do.

“You need to take more time on each shot, Lady Rebecca.”

Rebecca quickly spun around, “Haldir!” she exclaimed, smiling. “It’s good to see you again.”

“Mae govannen.” Haldir inclined his head as he greeted her, his icy blue eyes studied Rebecca for a moment and then flicked to the target behind her before resting on her face once more. “Perhaps you need some additional lessons,” he said with just a faint twinkle in his eyes.

“I can always use the help, but I think mostly I just need time. Today was the first day I’ve shot from forty yards.” She shrugged. “I’ll get better.” Rebecca started pulling her arrows from the target and refilling her quiver, Haldir immediately started helping her which she acknowledged with a small smile.

“You were injured,” he stated and Rebecca nodded. “It must have been quite severe if you are just now shooting from that distance, the war was over three months ago.”

“I almost died,” Rebecca stared off into the distance for a moment before turning her gaze back to him, “in the battle here on the Pelennor. You did warn me, but nothing can prepare you for actually being in a battle.”

“No, it is not possible and I am grieved that you had to experience it.”

“But I’m still alive when so many others are not and I’m very thankful for that,” she said in a voice that was almost a whisper.

“I heard of Boromir’s passing.”

“That was… very difficult, Haldir. But so many others died and were wounded, people I didn’t even know and seeing that was so hard too. It was all horrible.”

“Great evil was destroyed,” he reminded her gently, “that would have taken over Middle-earth. The Dark Lord would have killed or made slaves of everyone. The sacrifices of those who died were not in vain, Lady Rebecca.”

Something in Haldir’s voice made Rebecca look at him closely and she thought she saw a glimmer of grief in his eyes. Unconsciously laying her hand on his arm in an attempt to comfort him, she asked, “What happened, Haldir?”

Haldir stared down at her for a long moment, his face stern and his eyes almost cold, but Rebecca knew him too well by now to be bothered by it and she just waited for him to speak. “There were also battles in Lothlórien, so even had you stayed, you may not have been safe. We were attacked three times by forces from Dol Guldur, before we were able to go and destroy it. I… we lost many elves during those battles,” he said quietly, his eyes now fully showing his grief for just a moment before becoming impassive once more.

“I’m so sorry, Haldir, I didn’t know. Your brothers! What about Orophin and Rúmil? Are they all right?”

Haldir nodded once. “They both live. Rúmil was wounded in the first attack, but recovered in time to be a part of the attack on Dol Guldur.”

Rebecca sighed in relief and then said quietly, “I’m so glad, but I’m sorry that your friends died.” Haldir changed the subject, much to her surprise, but also relief. She was tired of speaking of battles and death, she had done far too much of that in the past six months.

“I see you are betrothed, Lady Rebecca. I assume that Thomas is your intended?” Rebecca nodded with a shy smile. “I wish you much joy, my lady.”

“Thank you,” she said, glancing up at the sun. “That reminds me that I need to go and get ready for breakfast, we have lots of guests and I can’t be late. You do get to come to the wedding, don’t you?” she asked, walking back toward the House with Haldir falling in alongside her.

“Yes, I will be there,” he replied in a tone that Rebecca couldn’t read. It wasn’t until much later that she wondered if he too was grieved over Arwen’s decision to marry a mortal.

----------

Aragorn adjusted his richly embroidered black tunic one last time before buckling on Andúril and placing his white mantle around his shoulders and pinning it in place with the green elessar brooch. Finally, he took up the Elendilmir and carefully settled it on his brow. Glancing in the mirror one last time, he took a deep breath and walked into his sitting room where Elrond, Elladan, and Elrohir awaited him. Aragorn moved right to Elrond, searching the grey eyes that were so like his own, hoping to see love and approval, but fearing to see only grief and pain. What he found in his Adar’s eyes was love and he sighed inwardly in relief.

“Ion-nín,” Elrond said quietly, his hands gently grasping Aragorn’s shoulders as he regarded him steadily. “Long have you awaited this day and your journey has been arduous. May the Valar bless you,” he paused briefly and glanced away for a moment, “and may you and Arwen know much joy.” Elrond looked at Aragorn’s crown with a frown and then smiled slightly and kissed him lightly on the cheek instead before embracing him firmly for a long moment.

“Thank you, Adar,” Aragorn whispered hoarsely in his ear. Released from the embrace, he turned to his brothers. Elladan was watching him and Elrond, but Elrohir was staring into the garden. Aragorn gazed at Elrohir with concern, but moved to Elladan. The elf had an unreadable expression and he embraced Aragorn, saying simply, “Enjoy this day, Muindor nín and all the days ahead of you.”

“I will, Elladan, thank you.”
Aragorn hesitated briefly before crossing to Elrohir and he laid his hand on the elf’s shoulder and Elrohir looked up with a smile that surprised Aragorn.

Elrohir swiftly looked him up and down. “You look very regal, Muindor nín. Are you nervous?”

“Yes, of course.”
Aragorn smiled faintly. “Excited, but nervous.”

“I have heard it disappears as soon as the bride appears,”
Elrohir said with a graceful shrug, “but I do not know if that is true. In any case, the ceremony is not long and you have been in many situations that are much more difficult than this one.”

“But none as important!”
Aragorn said laughing, his eyes sparkling.

“No, none as important,” he agreed with a small smile. “Be well, Estel, be full of joy as you take Arwen to wife this day.” Elrohir’s eyes glimmered briefly with unshed tears, but he quickly blinked them away.

Aragorn embraced him firmly. “Thank you, Elrohir,” he whispered, “thank you.” Elrohir nodded. Stepping away from him, Aragorn gazed one more time at his brothers and his adar and with a slight bow and a deep breath he left to join Halbarad while the three elves went to see to Arwen.

------

Hundreds of people dressed in their finest filled the Citadel courtyard. They talked in whispers as they waited for the bride to appear. Aragorn saw and heard none of them as he stood near the White Tree with Halbarad at his side and Gandalf behind him. He did not hear the elves that were singing and filling the air with pure, beautiful melodies. He did not see or smell the flowers that servants had painstakingly placed all around the Citadel to add fragrance and color to the stark white that surrounded him. His sole attention was riveted on the door of the White Tower. He had slowly walked down the aisle created by his Rangers a few minutes ago and now he waited for Arwen to do the same. A few steps behind Halbarad and along the aisle stood Rebecca, Thomas, Legolas, Gimli, and the four Hobbits along with Faramir and Prince Imrahil and his family. Elladan, Elrohir, Celeborn, Galadriel, and the rest of the elves were standing directly opposite them. Aragorn drew in a sharp breath when he finally saw the Tower door open and Arwen and Elrond step outside, pausing for a moment before descending the five steps to the courtyard. Ignoring Elrond and the regal, dark green robes he wore, Aragorn only had eyes for his beloved. Arwen’s gown was a pale lavender color with embroidery around the hems and delicate beadwork that sparkled in the sun. Their eyes never left each other as she made her way down the aisle.

When she arrived at his side, Aragorn gave Arwen a long searching look, the enormity of her sacrifice hitting him once again. Arwen returned his regard with a soft smile and inclined her head almost imperceptibly and he released the breath he was not even aware he had been holding. Gandalf softly cleared his throat and they turned to find him looking at them with a mixture of love and amusement. The wizard looked out at the crowd and announced, “You are here to bear witness to and celebrate the marriage vows of Elessar Telcontar, King of Gondor and Arnor, to his beloved bride, Arwen Undómiel daughter of Elrond, Lord of Imladris.” Gandalf looked at Halbarad, who was representing Aragorn’s father, and Elrond, who was actually taking the place of Arwen’s mother, and they stepped forward turning Aragorn and Arwen to face each other once again. Halbarad took Aragorn’s hand and gently placed it in Arwen’s hand that Elrond was holding. Then, their voices very quiet as the words were meant only for Aragorn and Arwen to hear, Elrond asked for Elbereth’s blessing on their marriage and then Halbarad asked the same of Manwë, ruler of the Valar. Finished, the two of them stepped back, Halbarad lightly grasping Aragorn’s shoulder as he did so.

Aragorn smiled at Arwen, moved by this elvish addition to their ceremony and he could read in her eyes that she was as well. Gandalf held out their two gold wedding rings with a smile. “I believe the two of you have been betrothed for a fair number of years.” Light laughter rippled through their family and friends. “It is time now to exchange your betrothal rings with which you pledged yourself to one another long ago for your wedding rings in token of the vows you speak today.” Arwen and Aragorn exchanges small, secret smiles as neither of them had worn the silver rings throughout the long years of their betrothal. Times had been too uncertain and so many things had stood in their way that while they had exchanged the rings, both had been left in Arwen’s care. She had given him his ring last night and so now they carefully removed each other’s silver bands, their eyes sparkling with amusement.

Turning serious, Aragorn picked up Arwen’s gold ring and clasped it tightly in his hand as he gazed at her, waiting for Gandalf to speak. “Aragorn son of Arathorn and Gilraen, King Elessar Telcontar of Gondor and Arnor, you have chosen to take Arwen Undómiel daughter of Elrond and Celebrían of Imladris to wife. Do you do this full willing, in joy and delight in her and in your choosing?”

“Yes, yes I do,” Aragorn answered in a strong, clear voice, his eyes staring intently into Arwen’s.

“Arwen Undómiel daughter of Elrond and Celebrían of Imladris, you have chosen to take Aragorn son of Arathorn and Gilraen, King Elessar Telcontar of Gondor and Arnor to husband. Do you do this full willing, in joy and delight in him and in your choosing?”

Arwen’s voice was rich and pure, “I do indeed choose him,” she replied, returning Aragorn’s look in full.

“So be it, exchange the rings,” Gandalf directed and Aragorn and Arwen each slipped the rings on the right index finger of their beloved. Aragorn held her hand gently when they were finished, glancing at Gandalf who nodded once and then took both of their shoulders and turned them to face the assembled people. “In light of their spoken vows, King Elessar Telcontar and Arwen Undómiel are bound together now, bound in body and spirit, to rejoice with one another, to grieve with one another, to care for one another and to allow one another freedom, to argue and make up with one another from this day forth until death alone breaks this bond. Do all agree?” Gandalf looked out at the people.

Loud cries of approval burst forth across the courtyard and echoing sounds came back up from the streets below. When the noise died down, Gandalf continued. “May Eru bless you and strengthen you each day of your life together.” The wizard smiled. “I believe you may kiss your wife, Aragorn.”

Aragorn did indeed kiss his wife, deeply and thoroughly, pushing all thoughts of the watching people completely aside as he did so and she responded in the same fashion. Smiling slightly as he released her, he became aware once again of the crowd and his duty and he sighed inwardly at the thought, wishing for a brief moment that he could simply be Estel and at home in Imladris with her. Pushing those thoughts away he turned back to Gandalf. “Thank you, mellon nín.” Gandalf inclined his head in acknowledgement. “I believe there is crown for my beloved queen to wear,” Aragorn said. Gandalf turned and took the one that Thomas had been holding throughout the ceremony and handed to Aragorn a delicate, intricately interwoven mithril crown that had small blue sapphires around it with a larger stone set in the front. “Meleth-nín, as my wife, you are now the Queen of Gondor and Arnor as well and as there is not a special ceremony to mark that, it seemed to me that this was an appropriate time to give you this.” Aragorn smiled and carefully placed the crown on her brow, taking the time to brush a few stray hairs off of her face and tuck them behind her ears as he did so.

“Beloved,” Arwen said in a low, warning tone, though she was smiling, “now is not the time to do that.”

Aragorn simply grinned and gave her a slight nod. He took Arwen’s hand and they walked slowly back down the aisle towards the Tower, smiling and nodding at those they knew as they passed. He noted that Halbarad actually had a genuine smile on his face, as did most of his Rangers, which was unusual to see in the normally grim-faced men. But Aragorn knew how much this meant to them, it meant more to them then to all but their family. He knew that many of them had been worried that he would never get married and that the line of the kings would end with him. To see their former chieftain and now king married was reassuring to them.

Guards at the Tower opened the door for them and as the door closed, they knew they had a few brief minutes alone before their families and close friends joined them in the hall while they waited for the guests to move to Merethrond for the wedding feast. Quickly drawing Arwen away from the door Aragorn embraced her, his strong arms pulling her close. Arwen wrapped her arms around his neck pulling his head down and kissing him tenderly for a moment. “My husband,” she breathed out softly, kissing him once again. “Long have I desired to say those words, Estel.”

“Not as long as I have desired to hear them,”
Aragorn said with a small laugh. Arwen smiled in return and then the sound of the door opening caused a look of regret in both of their eyes as they released each other and turned to greet those closest to them.

---------

Rebecca and Thomas walked at the end of the line of family and friends heading into the Tower having lagged slightly behind to let their elders go first… which was everyone. Rangers fell in behind them as they passed and Thomas smiled at Hinluin who grinned in return. He hadn’t seen his friend for a week and hoped to do so in the next few days after the excitement of the wedding had passed.

“Thomas,” Rebecca whispered, “was that a normal wedding? I know they added some elvish parts, but it seemed so….,” her voice trailed off uncertain of how to explain what she meant.

“Well, it was quite a bit different than what Faramir explained to me. But I don’t know if it was the elvish things or the fact that he’s the king or what,” he said shrugging. “Faramir told me they used colored cords to actually bind hands together to symbolize that you’re now bound to one another, things like that.”

Rebecca shook her head slowly. “It will be different,” she murmured. Thomas nodded as they mounted the steps and entered the Tower blinking as their eyes adjusted to the dimness after the bright sunshine. Aragorn and Arwen were surrounded by elves so they waited patiently a short distance away. “This part is the same as every wedding I’ve ever been to,” Rebecca whispered and Thomas grinned in response. The elves finally moved away and Thomas and Rebecca approached the newly married couple hesitantly, almost shy in the face of the change that had just taken place in the life of the man they both cared for as a father.

Aragorn gazed at them with his head tilted slightly in question as he examined them and then he smiled. “I have not changed,” he said softly, glancing sidelong at Arwen who smiled and squeezed his hand. “I have only added someone precious to my life.”

“I know, Aragorn, I’m just not sure what to say. I-I… may you both be very happy together,” Rebecca said. She paused and looked at Arwen. “You look beautiful, Lady Arwen.”

“Thank you, Rebecca.” Arwen smiled graciously. “However, I would ask that you and Thomas simply call me Arwen now that Estel and I are married.” She moved her gaze from Rebecca to Thomas. “I do not think there should be such formality within our own household.”

Rebecca nodded and smiled shyly. “That will be nice, Arwen, thank you.”

“All right, A-arwen,” Thomas stuttered slightly, glancing at Aragorn who gave him a faint smile. “Congratulations to both of you, it was a really nice wedding and I know you’ll be happy. You certainly had to wait long enough and I know how hard that is.”

Aragorn and Arwen both laughed quietly. “Yes, we have waited longer than most, Thomas,” Aragorn said with a small smile, “and if you are making that comment to get your own wedding moved up, I assure you it will not help.”

“I would never do that,” he protested with a grin.

“I am sure not,” Aragorn responded dryly. He glanced at Faramir who was standing a short distance away and beckoned him forward.

“My Lord King, the Master of Protocol has informed me that all is in readiness for the celebration and that the guests are seated awaiting you and our Lady Queen’s arrival,” Faramir said with a smile at Arwen.

“Thank you, my lord prince.” Aragorn turned his gaze back to Rebecca and Thomas and his eyes twinkled. “Are you ready to lead us?”

“Yes, Adar,” Rebecca replied, “though I still think that it would be more appropriate if Faramir or Prince Imrahil were leading the procession.”

“I am afraid that I must disagree with you, Lady Rebecca,” Faramir said, gazing down at her, amusement in his eyes. “The Master of Protocol is correct and it is most proper to have you and Thomas lead the way.”

“No one will be looking at us anyway, they’ll all be looking at the elves and waiting for Aragorn and Arwen to come in,” Thomas said with a small shrug. “They’ve seen us before.”

“I noticed yesterday that the people were very curious about us,” Arwen commented. “But I know it has been many lives of men since elves have been in Minas Tirith.”

“Many of our people did not even believe that elves existed, meleth-nín,” Aragorn explained, “though I think they do now,” he smiled. “Come, Thomas and Rebecca the Master is looking rather impatient and I would like to start the celebration,” he gently caressed Arwen’s hand that lay on his arm.

With a small nod from Thomas and a quiet, resigned sigh from Rebecca the wedding party left the White Tower, crossing the Citadel courtyard and entered the great feasting hall of Minas Tirith.

---------

Unlike the coronation feast, Aragorn was looking forward to the dancing at his wedding celebration now that Arwen would be in his arms. As he waited for the music to start, Aragorn glanced around the room, smiling as he saw Pippin laughing with other members of the Fellowship at the table they were sharing with Haldir and his brothers. The thought of Haldir sitting with Gimli had amused him and he had asked the Master of Protocol to seat them together.

“What causes your smile?” Arwen whispered, grasping his hand under the table.

Aragorn leaned over and spoke softly into her ear, “I should say I was thinking of you, meleth-nín, but truthfully, I was watching Haldir sitting at the table with Gimli. I fear I was unkind to the Captain and his brothers, though they seem to be getting along well enough.”

“Why would they not? Haldir is an honorable elf and would be respectful to even a dwarf.”

“Yes, of course, but I will have to tell you of their first meeting.”
Aragorn’s eyes glinted with amusement.

“I look forward to the telling… but not tonight, beloved.”

“No, perhaps it would be best shared at another time,”
Aragorn agreed with a small smile as he straightened up in his chair. “We have to dance the first dance, Arwen.”

“I am aware of the custom, though it seems strange to me. Not that I mind, it is long since I danced with you.”


Aragorn furrowed his brow in thought. “I do not even remember the last time we had a proper dance,” he confessed.

Arwen smiled softly. “I do. It was Mettarë twelve years ago and you had stopped in Imladris for a brief rest on your way back to the Angle. You had been in the east on some errand for Mithrandir.”

“I remember that now.”
Aragorn nodded, smiling faintly in remembrance. “It was the last time I spent more than two days at home until I returned with Frodo last fall.” He looked away from Arwen as the musicians took their places and then he glanced back at her. “Will you dance with me, my lady wife?”

“I will, my lord husband.”
Arwen stood, taking Aragorn’s outstretched hand as he led her down off the dais and down between the tables to the dance floor. With Aragorn’s nod at the musicians, the King and Queen had their first dance with the eyes of the assembled guests watching intently, though they had eyes only for each other.

-----------

As Aragorn and Arwen’s dance was ending, Thomas took a deep, steadying breath and turned hesitantly to Rebecca. “Will you dance the next dance with me?”

She looked at him in surprise. “You told me you didn’t know how to dance.”

“I’ve been learning,” he said with a sheepish smile. “I didn’t want to get to our wedding and not know how to dance. Aragorn found someone to teach me.”

Elrohir leaned around Rebecca. “I believe you were jealous of Estel during the coronation celebration when he was able to dance with Rebecca and all you could do was watch.” The elf’s eyes sparkled with amusement as he looked at Thomas.

Thomas blushed slightly, but otherwise ignored the teasing elf and held out his hand to Rebecca who took it with a smile and followed him out to the dance floor where many of the guests were now gathering. Licking his lips in concentration, Thomas looked down at his feet as he placed one arm around Rebecca’s waist and griped her other hand tightly.

“Thomas,” Rebecca said softly, “look at me and not your feet and you’ll be fine.” Rebecca could hear him whispering numbers to himself and then he finally looked up.

“Maybe I should have asked you to dance at a smaller celebration than this one,” he whispered nervously just as the music started. However, his feet seemed to remember the steps well enough as they automatically fell into the correct pattern and he led Rebecca somewhat smoothly into the dance and he gave her a relieved smile.

“I think this is a wonderful time to have our first dance, the only better time would be our own wedding, but now that I know you can dance we’ll have lots more fun at any of the other feasts we have to go to.”

“I suppose it might be more fun than sitting around talking and it’s definitely more fun than watching you dance with other men.”

“So Elrohir was right,” Rebecca said with a small laugh as they continued to move about the floor.

“Not about Aragorn,” Thomas said with a scowl, “but you didn’t just dance with him that night, you also danced with Erchirion, Amrothos, and Elphir.”

“And with Legolas and Faramir. I thought Elrohir was just teasing, but you really were jealous, weren’t you?”

Thomas looked away briefly. “I suppose I was,” he admitted. “It was hard watching other men holding you and you having a good time with them.”

“It’s a good thing you’re learning to dance, then, because I enjoy it,” Rebecca said, her eyes studying him intently.

“I know you do,” he said softly, “that’s one of the other reasons I’m learning.” Thomas smiled down at her. The two were quiet as the dance continued and when the music ended, Thomas gave a small sigh of relief as he led Rebecca back toward the head table. They were intercepted, however, by Aragorn and Arwen who were heading back for the next dance.

“The two of you dance well together,” Aragorn said. “Thomas, you have learned quickly.” Thomas inclined his head in acknowledgment. “I was wondering if Rebecca would care to dance with me and perhaps Thomas you would dance with Arwen.”

Smiling, Rebecca nodded while Thomas just stared at Aragorn in disbelief and then slowly began shaking his head. “I can’t, Aragorn,” he whispered. “I barely know the steps and I just can’t do it,” he glanced at Arwen who was gazing at him with an expression he couldn’t read, but he thought it might be compassion. “I’m sorry, Arwen.” Thomas turned back to Aragorn to see that he looked more apologetic than upset and he sighed inwardly in relief. “I’ll escort Arwen back to the table and talk with her though,” he offered, trying to salvage something of the awkward situation. Aragorn glanced at Arwen who nodded and taking Rebecca’s arm, he led her to the dance floor. Shifting nervously on his feet Thomas looked at Arwen as he repeated his earlier words, “I’m sorry.”

“You do not need to apologize, Thomas, as I am not offended,” Arwen replied as they returned to the table, moving to the seats at the end where Thomas had been sitting with Rebecca and Elrohir, though the elf had disappeared.

“It’s just that I’ve only been learning to dance for about a month and it was hard enough just trying to dance with Rebecca because I don’t know how to do it very well and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself trying to dance with you and…” Thomas stopped his rambling when Arwen laid a gentle hand on his arm.

“Be at peace, there is no need for you to explain and watching Estel dance is a new experience for me.” Thomas looked at her closely to see if she were serious and found that Arwen was watching Aragorn and Rebecca intently. “He will be a good father,” she murmured.

“He already is,” Thomas responded without thinking and then blushed in embarrassment. “I’m sorry, Arwen, it’s not my place to say things like that to you.” He stared down at his hands, wishing he could be anyplace else than where he was right now.

“Forgive me, for I spoke without thinking. Of course, Estel is a father to you and Rebecca.” Thomas jerked his head up at Arwen’s words and saw sincere regret in her eyes. “I know it will be different for you now that I am here,” she continued quietly, “but I do hope that in time we might become friends.”

“I’m sure we will,” Thomas said, his gaze moving out over the dancers again.

“Do you enjoy the things you do here?”

“Most of them. I like working with Aragorn and learning how the kingdom runs, it’s a lot different than I ever thought it would be. But I don’t enjoy having a tutor and lessons even though I see the need for it.” Thomas gave her a rueful smile as he continued, “I never have liked school very much.”

Arwen smiled in return. “It was not something I enjoyed either, though I had wonderful teachers. My father, Glorfindel, Erestor…,”

Thomas interrupted her. “Erestor is going to be teaching Rebecca and me history while he’s here.” He frowned and let out a resigned sigh.

“He is a wonderful teacher, though I preferred more creative pursuits such as drawing, music, and embroidery.”

“You like to draw?” Arwen nodded. “Do you paint?”

“I tried it when I was much younger, but it was never something I enjoyed as much as drawing and sketching. Is that something you enjoy?”

“I’m just learning. I’d never done it before, but when we first got here Aragorn saw me looking at the murals in the dining room and suggested I try it. I really like it.” Thomas smiled down at his hands.

“Estel often sees into the hearts of people,” Arwen said softly.

Thomas nodded. “He’s the one that first thought Rebecca should be a healer, though later Lady Galadriel thought so too.” He glanced up as the music ended, smiling at Rebecca as she and Aragorn made their way back to the head table. Thomas stood as they arrived. “Here, Rebecca you can sit down.”

“Arwen and I will return to our own seats,” Aragorn lightly clapped him on the back. “Thank you for keeping Arwen company while we danced.”

“Oh, umm you’re welcome, maybe at the next celebration I’ll actually be able to dance with her instead of just talking with her,” he replied glancing at Arwen who smiled graciously.

“Perhaps,” Aragorn smiled faintly as he drew Arwen to her feet. “Enjoy the rest of the evening and if we do not speak with you again, we will see you tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Thomas, I quite enjoyed speaking with you,” Arwen said as they walked away. Thomas nodded and then sank back down into his chair next to Rebecca, relieved that that was over, but finding that he also had enjoyed speaking with Arwen - once he had gotten over his initial nervousness.

-------------

Leaning back in his chair and taking occasional sips of wine, Aragorn watched as Arwen danced with Elrond. As he considered the events of the day, he thought that his family had done remarkably well at making this a special day for both Arwen and himself. He knew they were grieving and he knew he could not relieve them of that pain, nor did they want him to attempt to do so, yet it did not stop him from wishing that things could have been different. Elladan and Elrohir had taken their leave of him and Arwen a short time ago and he assumed they had returned to their rooms or were out walking under the stars on this wonderful summer evening. As soon as Elrond returned with Arwen, he thought that it would be time for them to take their leave as well.

Gazing around the room, Aragorn noticed that Faramir was engaged in what appeared to be an intense conversation with Glorfindel and Erestor. Evidently his steward had gotten over his uneasiness about speaking with elves he thought with amusement. Rebecca and Thomas had joined the table where the Fellowship members were seated. Thomas was speaking with Frodo and Sam, though Frodo was again doing more listening than talking Aragorn noticed with a worried frown. Legolas, Merry, Pippin, and Gimli were laughing about something and opposite them Rebecca was speaking quietly with Haldir. Aragorn watched the two for a moment, realizing, with a bit of surprise, that Rebecca and Haldir had built at least a level of friendship during her time in Lothlórien. He had assumed that their relationship had only been that of teacher and student, but he had known Haldir for years and he could tell that the elf was enjoying his conversation with Rebecca; that he wasn’t just talking to her out of a sense of obligation. Aragorn smiled slightly at the thought of Haldir having any type of friendship with a young mortal girl, it struck him in the same way as the relationship between Legolas and Gimli often did, extremely unusual, but nonetheless very real.

Aragorn heard the music drawing to a close and his attention shifted back to Arwen and Elrond. They had stopped dancing and stood on the outer edge of the dance floor and were speaking quietly to each other. Resisting the urge to go and join them, he just watched thoughtfully as Elrond imparted whatever words of wisdom he was giving to his daughter. As the music ended, Elrond leaned down and kissed Arwen on both cheeks before leading her back to the high table. Standing as the two elves approached, Aragorn bowed slightly to Elrond and then quietly asked Arwen, “Are you ready to leave, meleth-nín? I believe that we have stayed long enough at the celebration to satisfy custom and may leave at any time.”

“I am ready, Estel,”
Arwen said with a small smile on her lips.

Returning her smile, Aragorn turned to Elrond. “With your leave, Adar, we will wish you a good night and will see you tomorrow.”

Elrond looked at Aragorn for a long moment and then a slight smile played across his lips. “I do not believe that you need my leave to depart, ion-nín, though I readily give it to you. Good night.”

With another slight bow to Elrond, Aragorn took Arwen’s hand, placing it on his arm and the two of them began making their way from the room. Pausing at the bottom of the dais, Aragorn looked across the still crowded room and made a quick decision, turning away from the main entrance he led Arwen back behind the dais to where the storerooms and kitchens were located and where he knew other, smaller doors led from the building. He glanced back to make sure that his guards were aware that he was slipping out a different way and were following – they were.

“Where are you taking me, beloved?” Arwen asked with a hint of amusement in her voice.

“I thought we should just slip quietly away and this seems the best way to do that.” Aragorn paused as they came upon two servants who were obviously taking a break and were sitting on boxes in the hallway they were walking through. Their eyes widened and they jumped to their feet as they saw who was approaching.

“My Lord King Elessar,” one said with a deep bow and then he hastily added after a look at Arwen, “and Queen Arwen.” The other servant just stood staring until the first servant pulled at him and then he bowed as well. “How may we serve you?” the first servant asked.

“If you would show us to the nearest door, your queen and I would be most grateful,” Aragorn said with a smile.

“Of course, my Lord King, but do you mean a door back into the feasting hall or a door to the outside?” he asked hesitantly.

“To the outside,” Aragorn responded quickly, glancing at Arwen who was watching him with a twinkle in her eye.

“Yes, my Lord King, it’s right this way.” The man started down the hallway and Aragorn and Arwen followed, leaving the other servant behind shaking his head. Quickly reaching a door that opened into the courtyard, the servant held it open for his king and queen and bowed as they walked outside.

“Thank you for your help,” Arwen said with a smile. “It was very much appreciated.”

“Y-you’re welcome, Queen Arwen,” the man said, bowing once again before turning and disappearing back inside the building.

Aragorn chuckled as the man disappeared and then glanced down at Arwen, his eyes twinkling as they began to stroll across the courtyard to the King’s House. “It is a good thing that we have gotten married so quickly, meleth-nín, otherwise I believe you would have many men in this city seeking after you. That is if they could stop stuttering in your presence.” Aragorn caressed Arwen’s hand that lay on his arm as he continued to laugh under his breath.

“I seem to remember a certain young Ranger that did much the same when first we met.”

“I was never that bad,
” Aragorn protested, though the smile that crossed his lips belied his words. “I was so young, Arwen,” he murmured as they entered the House and turned left towards his… their chambers. Aragorn wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him now that they were out of the public eye and only guards could see them.

“You were,” she agreed softly, “but you have matured much since that time.”

Aragorn opened the door to their chambers allowing Arwen to precede him into the sitting room, he nodded at Laegrist and Balrant who had guard duty that night and they both smiled, before he followed her. He leaned against the door, watching Arwen as she walked around their large sitting room, looking at her new home. A place that would be her refuge from the outside world for at least the next hundred years, if not longer; he knew that he could easily live to be well over two hundred years unless he was killed in battle. Aragorn had added small personal touches to the room since he had moved into it two months ago. Things he knew Arwen would like that he had found in the shops and markets on his infrequent trips to the lower circles with Rebecca and Thomas and even once with Halbarad. Finally he quietly asked, “Are you pleased, meleth-nín? If not, things may be changed to whatever you desire.”

Arwen turned to him and smiled. “I see the things that you have added, Estel.” She lightly fingered a small clear crystal dish that had streaks of colors running randomly through the glass and Aragorn nodded, not really surprised that she had picked it out as something that he had purchased for her. “It is a good room and I will add my own things and perhaps get rid of a few of these statues. I brought things with me from Imladris.”

“Make it your home… our home, Arwen. I had many things changed when I first arrived and we will do it again if we need to,”
Aragorn said, pushing off the door and crossing to her.

“You made changes to this room? What did you have done?”

“Not this room, meleth-nín, our bedchamber,”
he answered, a slight gleam entering his eyes as he took Arwen’s hand and pulled her to him. “Would you like to see the changes I had made?”

Arwen nodded, her eyes not leaving Aragorn’s. “Yes, beloved, I would like to see the bedchamber,” she whispered.

Aragorn leaned down and kissed her tenderly and then without another word led her into the bedchamber.

~~~

Special thanks go to my friend and fellow writer, Larner for allowing me to ‘steal’ some of her wedding ideas that were used her stories. Thank you Mellon nín.

Reviewers:
Many thanks to everyone who is reading this story and especially to those who reviewed, I appreciate the encouragement.

Elvish Translations:

Adar - Father
Ion-nín – My son
Meleth-nín – My love
Mellon nín – My friend


[Prev][Index][Next]

Post A Review

Report this chapter for abuse of site guidelines. (Opens new window)

CHTcnt:517
A Mike Kellner Web Site
Tolkien Characters, Locations, & Artifacts © Tolkien Estate & Designated Licensees - All Rights Reserved
Stories & Other Content © The Respective Authors - All Rights Reserved
Software & Design © 2003 - 2014 Michael G Kellner All Rights Reserved
Hosted by:Raven Studioz