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See where he comes, my beautiful Man, fresh from his bath, his tangled hair in dripping ringlets, crystal droplets beading brown skin as bare as any child of the forest, his feet leaving dark prints on the slate. Mark the grace of the scarred limbs, not Elvish elegance, but something rougher that does not mask its power with courtesy. The first time I saw him, the light of Numenor shone clearly from him, revealing majesty beneath the worn mantle of a Ranger. Until I looked into his eyes I thought of Men the way Men think of beasts. One glance and my soul was snared; I knew I gazed on one touched by high destiny, a prince in exile, a pivot around which the fate of so many would turn, with a spirit so pure I could not resist its lure. Which of the Eldar could?
Of course, I had heard the tales before I met him. Everyone knew the legend of Lord Elrond’s human fosterling, and the line of Elendil is honored in Elvendom. However, I had not reckoned upon the force of his presence, the Edain called Estel. He let it blaze forth at the Council when the Halfling brought out his ill-fated heirloom. The Flame of the West kindled a fire in my breast, and, though I had not planned it, I set aside my Sire’s instructions to return immediately to Mirkwood. Instead, I pledged my bow and my life to become one of the Nine that accompanied the Ring-bearer. It was not to protect Frodo that I went to Mordor, nor to save Middle Earth, but for love of the Lord of the White Tree. I could not let him go alone into danger, you see. I could not leave his side.
Ah, but look how Anor kisses every sweet curve and hollow of him like an over-fond lover. How I long to press my lips to each sacred spot, drinking the warmth of him like bee honey. What luxury to indulge the senses thus, safe in the green heart of the woodland realm without the fear of being hunted, or the urgency of a mission to complete. To have time to spend as we will is wealth beyond measure; not all the mithril in Moria could buy this day from me, no, not even one moment, not one glimpse of my beloved would I trade for food were I starving, or breath if I drowned. My moments with him are precious, more precious than any ring of power ever forged, and I will be as greedy as any Orc, guarding my treasure as fiercely as a dragon. I am so enthralled that I would have him ever near me that my eyes might dwell on him always. If only it could be so.
However, it is my fate to love a Man, a Man that is now crowned King of Gondor, Lord of the West, a Man that gives the greater part of his love to the folk that look to him as their shepherd. I would not have it otherwise. Were he a different Man, my soul would not have been drawn to his, but the trust and faith of the Free Peoples of Middle Earth is at times a heavy burden, as well as a blessing. It is my happy privilege to provide him with sanctuary when the cares of rulership become more than even Isildur’s Heir can carry. The Queen knows what comfort he takes here and there is no talk of dishonor between us. We did not make this world, nor cause the circumstances that brought us together and with a savage heat welded us into one. What he and I faced together on the quest to destroy the ring deepened the bond between us until there was not even a sign of where the borders once had been. I no longer saw him as a Man, or a warrior, or the heir to a throne; he was only himself and as much a part of me as my beating heart. I could deny him nothing.
Nor would I ever wish too.
For when Aragorn can be with me, he gives unstintingly of himself, and when we must be apart, I know he holds me in his heart. I could not live in the midst of so much cold stone, though I am gaining an appreciation under Gimli’s gentle tutelage. No, I am content to be here, helping to make Ithilien into a garden again. Much has been accomplished, but there is much yet left to do before the land is restored to its former beauty. It will never be the same for there are some wounds that cannot be healed, but now Aragorn has spied me. Ah, there is the smile that makes me feel as though I were light as down floating in a shaft of golden light, as free of care as the bird that sings on the branch beside me.
I must stop writing now and put away my book and my pen and stopper my ink. Aragorn is coming and some things cannot be washed off; they must wear off.
Namarie until I confide in you again.