Paths Chosen
by Arwen Istalindir ([email protected])
Date finished: 8 February 2002
Archive: Please ask first.
Disclaimer: Alas, it belongs to Tolkien and his descendents, not me and mine. Drat.
Summary: Elrond and Arwen speak of fear and the acceptance of fate. POV (Arwen), Aragorn/Arwen
Notes: Takes place after Aragorn and Arwen’s time in Lothlórien, using Appendix A, part v as a guide. Thank you to the girls of the Halls for their beta work.


“You have forsaken your birthright for a mortal man. Daughter, I do not think you understand what it is that you have done.”

I stood still, gazing at the clear sky, watching stars appear in the dusky heavens. “Father, I do understand–” I began, but he interrupted me, the heat of anger in his voice.

“Child, you do not, or you would not have accepted this doom. You will age and die. You cannot understand what that means.”

“I am your child, my lord, but I am not a child,” I said calmly. “And I do understand. I would not have bound myself to Aragorn otherwise. I do not understand, Father, your anger. You love Estel as a son. *I* love him dearly.”

He sat in a pale-colored chair, staring at the floor, deep in thought. “Arwen, I may love Estel, but I see his weaknesses as a mortal man.”

Turning away from the balcony, I knelt at my father’s feet, taking his hands. “Forgive me for what I am about to say, Father. You see the weakness of Isildur in Aragorn, and that is unfair. It has been nearly three thousand years. Isildur’s blood may flow in Aragorn’s veins, but that does not mean he is destined to commit the same acts. He is strong and noble, Father. You helped instill that in him.”

Father’s eyes were hard and cold, but I could see the conflict there. “If he is noble, why has he not come forward and faced his responsibility? Why does he roam the lands instead of taking his place as king?”

“Nobility does not exempt one from fear, especially fear of failure. Why do you expect this from Aragorn when you did not demand it of his father? Or his grandfather, or anyone else in Isildur’s line?”

He was silent for a moment. “None other in Isildur’s line has fallen in love with my only daughter. None other has tried to take her from me.”

I looked up in surprise and saw tears in my father’s grey eyes. I had only seen such emotion from him when my mother departed over the Sea. “Father…”

“I feel what is to come bearing down on me as a terrible weight,” he said gravely, his voice troubled. “Darkness is falling upon Middle Earth once again. Estel will have to face his fate and stand strong and true. Once he has accepted this, I will give him your hand.”

Tears burned in my eyes. “What do you mean, Father?” I whispered.

He drew in a deep breath and sighed. “I have told Aragorn that when he is King of Gondor and Arnor, he may wed you. But not a moment sooner.”

With a sad smile, he took my hands in his. “Undómiel, you have proven yourself wise. As Elves, we cannot understand what the Doom of men truly is, but you are willing to accept the unknown for love. You are a strong woman, and I am proud to call you my daughter. If this fate is the one you have chosen, so be it.”

“It is, Father. I would spend the rest of my days at Estel’s side and accept his Doom. I cannot imagine living through the rest of the ages without him,” I said softly.

He smiled down at me, though the smile was full of pain. Never had I thought this would hurt Father so. I made my decision to turn from the Twilight, though I love my father dearly.


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