Format: Short story
Genre: Angst, spiritual
Characters: Arwen, Varda
Creator’s Notes (optional): I was also thinking of the SWG prompt “Strength and Beauty” when writing this, but don’t know if it qualifies.
Summary: Arwen has a memorable encounter.
Pleading tiredness, Arwen made her excuses to her father and slipped away from the near empty Hall of Fire. She went to her rooms, but lingered there only long enough to don her cloak hoping a walk might quiet the turmoil in her heart.
Estel and her brothers had been gone for months now and there was no word. She was certain she would sense if some ill had befallen them but the waiting was very hard.
She would have liked to talk to her father and ask him about what had happened during the Last Alliance, the last battle against Sauron, but he would not speak of it. Anger flared within her. She was not a child, or some fragile flower that needing protecting from the horrors lurking outside her father’s or grandmother’s borders. Ever since the tragedy that had befallen her mother, her father and brothers had sought to protect her from anything remotely unpleasant. It irked her greatly. Sometimes, she felt she was treated more like some precious ornament than a daughter of Ilúvatar with desires and feelings of her own.
She might be the Evenstar, but she was not weak simply because she was not male.
She wondered if the odds Estel was now facing were as great as the odds when his forefather, Elendil fought against Sauron. Elendil had triumphed, but at a terrible cost. Unlike many, she could understand why Isildur had claimed Sauron’s ring as weregild. She had seen the Ring around Frodo’s neck and felt its lure.
Was Estel near to the evil thing and its master? She trusted in his strength to resist the Ring, but had he the strength to prevail against Sauron?
Arwen sank down on a bench beneath a great oak and sighed deeply. If only she could be with Estel and add her strength to his. Instead, she was condemned to watch and wait from afar. After she given the banner, bearing the emblems of Elendil into Halbarad’s keeping, she no longer even had the task of making it to occupy her days.
She looked around the moonlit gardens. The early spring blossoms perfumed the night air. Overhead, the stars twinkled. On a night like these she and Estel had once stolen through the gardens holding hands. Tonight the memory could no longer comfort her. She tried to reach out to him in thought as she had done so many times before, but could sense nothing.
Tears pricked her eyes, she felt lost and alone. If only her Grandmother were here! Galadriel was the one person who seemed to understand her love for Estel. She too was far away, defending her own borders. Arwen would rather have been fighting beside her than pacing the deserted halls of Rivendell.
Suddenly, she became aware of another presence beside her. Arwen looked up and beheld a woman standing beside her. The stranger seemed to glow with an inner light. Arwen had seen many beautiful women in her long life, not least her grandmother, but this woman’s beauty far surpassed even her. The stranger wore no cloak despite the chill of the night. Her gown shimmered white and silver as if moonlight were the very fabric. In her long black hair, myriad gems twinkled and glittered like the stars in the heavens.
Overcome with awe, Arwen dropped to her knees. “Elbereth Gilthoniel!”she cried.
The woman smiled at her and bade her rise. “I thought you would recognise me, Arwen Undómiel,” she said. “Long have you been a daughter of the stars. But why is your heart so troubled, my child?”
“My heart fears for Estel. I would aid him, but I am powerless to do so.” Arwen answered without hesitation. There was something about this woman that compelled her to speak what was in her heart. “All I can do is sit here and wait!”
“The knowledge of your love aids him more than you can ever know.”
Arwen studied the Valar. She was beautiful but also strong. Power emanated from every fibre of her being. Something inside Arwen snapped. “You and your kin are all powerful, you created Arda with your music, why do you not help us defeat Sauron? You could overthrow him with a wave of your hand! ”
Varda did not appear angered by this outburst. Instead, her eyes were sorrowful when she regarded Arwen. “Child, you know not what you ask. My hands kindled the stars. With one wave of them, I could unleash destruction that could tear Arda apart.”
“So you will do nothing!”
“I did not say that, my child. I protected the Hobbit Frodo when he called upon me, even now my light guides his way. I send signs to him and his companion. I aid those who call upon me, but in such a way that my power does not destroy.”
Arwen felt small and foolish. “My apologies, Lady Star Queen, I do not comprehend the ways of the Valar.”
“Ilúvatar alone knows all,” said Varda. “I know only that Ilúvatar loves both his first second born children and will not let them be destroyed. Take heart, Undómiel , my stars will light your beloved’s way. He is not alone and neither are you”
Arwen gazed upon her and saw the light of Ilúvatar reflected in her face.”
Varda raised her hand in a gesture of blessing. Arwen was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace and love.
Arwen stirred on the hard bench. She sat upright and looked around her. “Elbereth Gilthoniel!” she called tentatively. There was no answer. Had she fallen asleep and been dreaming? Yet, the feelings of peace and love remained with her. She could not see Varda yet she still somehow sensed her presence nearby. The pathway glittered as if sprinkled by stardust. Arwen gazed up at the heavens. The moon had vanished behind a cloud, but the stars lit up the night sky, thousands upon thousands. She was but a speck amongst the stars, but she was Undómiel and she was strong.
With a renewed sense of purpose, Arwen made her way back to the Last Homely House.