Fragments Of Truth
by Your Cruise Director

"So like a shattered column lay the King."
-- 'Idylls of the King', Alfred, Lord Tennyson

When Aragorn tells Arwen the story -- when Legolas compels him to tell Arwen the story -- these are the things that he will and will not say.

That she saved him, he will tell her; that her lips touched his and breathed life into him; that her presence called him back from death, a dark place which burned his eyes and chilled his bones. This she will understand, and it will make her smile.

Later, when she asks him why he grieves, Aragorn will murmur his thought that an exchange was made: her immortality for his salvation. He must always regret that she was given such a bitter choice.

Still, at Helm's Deep, when Legolas handed him her jewel, it filled him with certainty that he would see her again, and that belief carried him through the battle. Perhaps it saved his fellows. Perhaps it saved Rohan, and thus Gondor.

If so, then it was his Queen, not Aragorn himself, who fulfilled his promise to defend the White City. But he will not say that, for he will keep from her his last words to Boromir.

Aragorn will never speak of his fallen companion to his wife. He will not tell her that it had felt familiar to drown, with shadows covering his vision and water choking his breath, the way tears had blinded his eyes and closed his throat at Amon Hen.

Nor will he whisper of the moment he came to himself, numb and battered from the fight with the wargs, the fall from the cliff and the ice of the river. Never can he call back his relief at finding the pendant gone. Aragorn will not say that its loss brought him peace, as if its chain had borne the Ring and not the Evenstar.

He might try to explain to Arwen that he had thought her dream-kiss to be farewell, and that when he rose, it was with new focus on the world of Men. Later, he will continue, she found him in that world and the dream-kiss became real, like so many of his dreams.

He could tell Arwen that he could not have loved Eowyn, for though envy is not in her nature, he thinks that she must wonder sometimes. No, he is pleased to see his shieldmaiden wed to his Steward, to watch them grow strong and happy together.

As much as he admires them both, Aragorn's happiness is selfish. He is glad that Ecthelion's line will continue so the blood which flowed through Boromir's veins will be born again in others, and perhaps in generations hence it will mingle with his own. That, however, Aragorn will not admit to the mother of his children.

The King of Gondor will never acknowledge that he sits on the throne, not because of his ancient lineage, nor the need to wear a crown to earn the hand of his beloved, but because a dying man summoned him there. He cannot confess that he pursued the hobbits for Boromir, went to the Golden Hall for Boromir, defended the world of Men for Boromir.

And he will not tell Arwen that in the churning darkness beneath the water, when he dreamed that death had come for him, he did not resist it.


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