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It was a brisk winter night when our paths came across again -- Aragorn, uncrowned King of man and whom I held my heart faithfully for, stepped into the realm of Lothlorien. Across the Nimrodel a familiar tongue echoed, as I rushed toward the sound with caution but less necessity in guard, for it was the voice of a distant Elven kin. I halted their advance when I saw Aragorn himself leading the intruders. By courtesy I bowed my head to him, and he greeted back with warm but moist eyes. There was a trace of sorrow filled with the air whence they came, and Aragorn looked more weary and somber than I ever remembered.

I heard no words from Aragorn of late. He did however, pass through Lorien last summer, when we shared a brief time of delightful reunion. I could never forget those rare occasions in which we met. Merely a human child who took shelter under Lord Elrond of Imladris he was the first time we made acquaintances, then he returned a young man with twenty of age, innocence and cheerfulness rubbed off by deep contemplation of life and future.

I could never forget, the day he came to my sight with such rugged clothing and a heavy heart. His dark hair tangled and dirty, travel suits practical but weather-beaten, mud-stained cloak broched by a silver star, handsome face grim but determined as if no merciless storm could disrupt his journey. Off to a new quest, a kingdom of man he claimed to departure for, still I sensed a touch of worrisome laid underneath the eagerness his words displayed. His eyes, keen as they were, filled with anguish that I had not imagined to find in a cheerful young human. "Let your heavy heart be at ease for tonight, at least, and may the grace of Valar be with your dream." I whispered as our eyes locked; he smiled back. Soon enough I found myself gripping the warm hands of a man in such unique way for the very first time, and I made a vow right there, under the clear stars and golden leaves, as our lips caressed and tangled.

This time he brought a peculiar company with him, a Northern kin of woodland Elves, a man that had similarity in appearance as Aragorn himself, four hobbits which we had not heard of such creature in quite some time, and a dwarf. Though Lord Elrond had sent words of their approaching, I took extra preoccupation when it came to the dealing with dwarves. At last Lady Galadriel gave her permission for the company to persist, but the sorrow and fatigue were so evident that their shoulders burdened even when they finally reached Caras Galadhon.

It was dark when the strangers left the Elven King's chamber. By orders of the Lady, the company was granted to camp in a pavilion among the tress. I returned from patrol some time deep into the night when I caught a glance of a certain ranger sitting by a narrow stream near their camp, legs folded and head hung, alone, seeking for a moment of peace and solitude. Had I not been so familiar with his breathing pattern, I would surly believe that the human was soundly asleep.

"It seems like every time you pass through Lorien, your heart always weights a little more than before." Approaching from behind a large Mallorn-tree, I took a rather bold attempt at jesting in order to cheer him up.

The ranger lifted his head in surprise, shoulders tensed at first, but quickly loosened up as he recognized my voice.

" Meleth nín ," said he, eyes glittered with relief. "My apology. It seems that I have always failed to enchant you with my rough appearance."

"Rest assured, I am enchanted by you well enough."

There was a moment of silence flowed between us, as our fingers met naturally and gently. Aragorn sat his glance steadily at me, as I returned in unspoken enthusiasm.

I had thought the last time we met, which was only a little over a year before this night, that he was in his lowest spirit possible. He just finished a long, glooming, and exhausting quest by order of Mithrandir the grey wizard, and was on his way back to his childhood home. He looked weary in body and heart then, restless in his sleep and murmuring about an evil force when he woke in a start. For now, however, he showed no sign of weakness even in such dreary time. For long I had known that he put great faith and trust in the kind wizard, and I could only wrap him in my embrace tighter, seeking to lighten his grief at least a little. Aragorn spoke nothing of the passing of Mithrandir, though I had heard the echo of the wizard's lamentation across the city and forest. Even Elves of Lorien wept their tears for the wizard, and now the melody of Elven harps had changed from melancholy to tender, dreamy songs.

Lost in deep thought under the night sky and fair singing in distance, Aragorn looked almost carefree. He was still wearing his light ranger outfit, but freshly cleaned with a trace of olive flower scent. His curly hair rested neatly on board shoulders, grey-blue eyes which were always keen and benevolent now hidden under dark fans of long lashes. He seemed at ease now, at least in a much better state than when he arrived the day before. Strong heartbeats reverberated through his chest as he leaned closer, with that and the faint smile at the corner of his lips did I realize that he was seeking no words of condolence from me.

So I stepped back and stretched out my hand, fingers unclutched and palm upwards. "A dance, if you would be so kind?"

A brief moment of hesitance it was, then his hands gripped onto mines, while we danced to the faraway air of Elven harps. Many a time I dreamed of this sight in our long years of separation: Aragorn smiled light-heartedly, eyes glimmered under the silver starlight, warm hands around my waist, affectionate and radiant in spirit. The cheerful young man I once knew vanished in many bitter winters, but Aragorn had became so courageous and strong in mind and body. It pained me to see the weariness for the future of Middle-earth weighing on him, though while my heart following his concern, I still held a firm belief that there was always hope for this land, for his people, and for us.

Before long we found ourselves engaging in another fervent dance, this time not to the melodious songs but agitated panting and heavy drums of heartbeat. Our chest pressed tightly together as I pushed his shoulders into the soft tur of grass by the river bank. The winter stream was just a tab from mild, its coldness brothered me not, but I longed for his body-warmth nonetheless.

In all those lonely years I had walked upon this land, seldom did I feel such passion and eagerness within me -- to a point where I even heard that Elves, immortal and powerful as we were, had long lost the capability to desire and feel . No doubt that we put much of our devotion into music, combat skills, and riding excellency, and I was not so confident in sympathizing with other races of Middle-earth until I met Aragorn. Should I try to justify my obvious fascination by him, I would have failed miserably for his charm was beyond praises of any tongue could tell. I was naturally drawn to his beauty, more so in brilliant mind than in what mortal eyes could see, and I shall be eternally grateful for Valar that Aragorn returned this burning affection.

During those days he and his companions dwelled in Lorien, we had the fortune of spending much time in each other's company. We had agreed in taciturn to not mention about this dangerous quest and where our futures might lie, for this impending separation could well break our hearts. We walked around the forest land side by side and rested peaceful under golden leaves of Mallorn-trees. When Aragorn confessed of a fear of mankind's weakness, his eyes cloaked by grey, dismal fog. This perhaps was his greatest vice -- he put too little faith in himself. I wished for but to clear such distress from his beautiful eyes, yet I knew it was the one battle he had to victory with his own strength. I held him close and kissed his forehead, murmuring a gentle song until his slight frown finally ceased.

The imminent departure could not be held delayed forever despite our wish to unite. At a clear morning I bid my farewell to Aragorn, as I watched the small grey boats floated along the glittering trial up the Silverlode.

I remembered vividly the night before, when Aragorn laid in my embrace in such boneless, puppy-like manner and smirked at my question of a parting gift he might like. "I wish nothing for a parting gift, save for those cherishing memories and the love you already bore in heart for me." Our fingers twisted and locked. I smiled, breathing in the musky, delightful herbal scent that belonged to this particular human alone. "Then I wish you a safe journey, Meleth nín , and pray that we shall meet again before long."

Distant songs sounded in the woods again, as the strangers' boats disappeared into the turns of current. All those who could speak their language gathered by the river to send them farewell, and off he went, my love, to the hazardous path and gloomy fate ahead. There I stood in reticence, unable to form a word for quite some instances.

"My lord Haldir." A voice broke my thoughts out of the heavy cloud. I turned, realizing it was Ithilwae, one of the young sentinel under my command.

Ithilwae was no more than three thousand summers of age, but swift and skillful in combat. Like most of the Galadhrim here, Ithilwae was usually very preceptive and light in spirit. Though right now he glanced at me with a subtle shade in his eyes, as if he was deliberating whether he shall speak of it or not.

I waited patiently for him to continue as I tried to recover from the melancholy. "If you would pardon me for being brusque..." He weighted on his words again, "I saw the way you -- Lord Aragorn, he--"

Even with my best attempt to suppress my laugh, I could not help but muse at his uncharacteristic hesitance. There was never a sense of embarrassment in our love, therefore I answered with an airy grin. "Yes, Ithilwae, your theory would be quite precise. Unfortunately for me, today I was sending my love away, but he would be always carrying my deepest affection."

"By the Valar," the young Elf cried, blue eyes lit in astonishment. "If not for I witness it with my own eyes, my lord, I would have thought such profound love between an Elf and a man could only be found in tales and legends."

"Indeed, my friend, for I would never believe it myself until the ranger stole my heart so effortlessly."

"My compassion is with you, then," Ithilwae let out a silent sigh, turning to the trails where Aragorn departed, so placid now that not even a distant vision could be formed, "for I fear that Lord Aragorn was committing to the most dangerous route."

"Maybe you are right, Ithilwae." Slowly I shook my head, contemplating on our vows the night before. "I have seen it in the mirror, our future was never a bright one, for he is indeed human and I an Elf. Despite how marvelous our love is, we are both doomed to the fate of death -- one of the vice of mortal life, the other of a broken heart. Still Aragorn is worthy of my world, and I am yet to despair."

For a long while the young Elf seemed to be lost in thoughts. I smiled, turning and ready for going back to my duties with a sizzling heart.

"Now, please pardon me for I am no talented musician," I paused momentarily, then hummed into the faraway tender melody, " Linno anin agar, anin gurth, anin el, an angornui in gared mel... "