They stagger, in misery, down the shadowed corridors where they had capered as children. Around them, Imladris slumbers, still and sorrowing.
“She cannot be healed, Elladan; she fades,” the one twin says. “So she has to leave. There is no other way.”
“I was there when Father spoke, and heard him,” replies the other. “Should we go too?”
They turn; look at each other, mirrored faces reflecting misery. “And leave Father, as the Shadow grows?” Asks Elrohir.
“Arwen should go with her,” declares Elladan.
“But she cannot bear to leave Father, or our valley, and the Golden Wood,” Elrohir says, his eyes sad. “She is still unscathed.”
Elladan strikes the wall with his fist and does not cry out at the pain. Elrohir flinches, then throws an arm around his twin and guides him along the marbled path. Their feet, so often elven-light, scuff and stomp as they pass; their limbs seem as heavy as their hearts.
They reach a closed door. Elrohir opens it, upon the chamber they shared as children, now kept for guests. There is a wide bed with soft down quilts and feather pillows, onto which the brothers collapse. Silently, they pull off robes, tunics, and shoes, and slip under the covers.
“If we had only gone with Mother, we could have saved her,” whispers Elladan, not for the first time. “We came too late, her heart is broken. All the light is leaving her. We may never see her again. Elrohir, would you come with us into the West if I asked you to go?”
“Pray do not ask me that, brother-mine,” Elrohir answers, shivering. “My life is here. Father will see that Mother is sent safely over sea; there are many strong hands to bear her, and steer the ship from the Havens.”
He feels Elladan tense, his twin suddenly shudders against him. As they did when they were small, waking from a nightmare, the twain cling together, close enough to feel hearts beat and tears flow.
“Mother! O, brother, to have to bid her farewell!”
“Not farewell forever. We must believe that. And together we will avenge her suffering, brother. Every Orc in Middle—earth will curse the day their fellows laid hands upon her; and learn to fear the sound of our names.”
“So let it be!”
Resolved, they fall asleep, coupled as chastely as once they did in Celebrían’s warm womb.