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hold me while the world falls

Chapter Text

The night air was clear, a gentle breeze stirring Arwen's hair; it hardly seemed like a night different from any other. She looked off into the distance, to where the full moon sat far away. Its bright light lit up the sky, and beyond it stars shone.

She sat down, her eyes never once leaving the skies above. Rarely did an elf ever sleep, and when she had tried tonight she had only gotten a strange dream. Alone with her thoughts, she sat and thought.

Something, she knew, though surely not here, where sometimes she wondered if things ever truly did change, important had happened.

_

Eowyn leaned up against the wall, releasing a heavy sigh. Her uncle was looking worse and worse by the day, and there was only so much that could be done to help him. Her blond hair was messy, and from what she had seen in the mirror of herself earlier, she was paler than usual. Her eyes were hard to see, and most only noticed the bags under her eyes. Many would doubt that she was of nobility at first glance.

Not that being noble helped much these days. Most kingdoms were falling, and men ended up dead on the battlefield more and more. Many had even stopped hoping for survivors. Orcs were an ever present threat, and their numbers were growing by the day. It was a surprise that her brother had not been set off to fight yet. Still, he always looked at her intensely, and gave his goodbyes regularly. Time was moving, and days were passing quicker and quicker.

With the last of her strength, she opened the door to her bedroom. She tried to sleep, she truly did, but most nights she struggled to sleep, and she had to be quick to wake. Her dreams usually turned to nightmares, and if not they were nonsensical.

But, at least, they were not horrific.

_

For the first time, their eyes met. Arwen knew this dream, knew it quite well. She had been having it for years, whether or not she was actually asleep. Finally, Arwen could truly see who this woman was.

She was tall and thin, with messy blond hair and deep, sad eyes. They widened, recognition flashing through them. It was amazing how she had never considered the idea that maybe the woman also saw her.

But surely she did, as she stepped closer, a shaky hand out. Arwen leaned hers forward as well.

Her touch was cold, and as soon as they met, the woman was gone.

Arwen awoke in her bedroom, sitting straight up. Alone, she sat and pondered what had happened, the light of the moon and stars her only companion.

_

The seeds of trouble finally sprouted when the kingdoms of men began to fall. Behind their stone fortresses, they tried to remain strong, holding their own in the best ways that they possibly could. In the end, many went down fighting.

Perhaps, Arwen thought, that meant they died with some sense of dignity and pride, maybe even happiness.

There was no happiness in the eyes of the victims, however. Their eyes were hollow, looking forward and yet seeing nothing. Whatever had happened, few gave too many details. All Arwen knew was of battles and orcs and little else; the men were private in most matters.

Still, her father helped. She did not know why he did, or what even compelled him to do so. He could be a generous man, but even this seemed beyond him. Yet she sat beside him at his council meetings, back straight, eyes forward, and nodding when it seemed right to do so. Most did not notice her, yet she held up her background role. The men looked to the elves for hope, and she would do her best and try and give it to them. He had helped many others before, even a whole group of dwarves (and a hobbit as well as she was told) on their quest to slay a dragon.

There was only so much hope to go around, after all. If they believed that the elves still held some, then who were they to deny?

"Father," Arwen said one day after a recent meeting. It had been over trade, many of the men having started small towns near Rivendell, or passing onto whatever lay in the west.

"Yes," he responded, looking to her. His eyes were dim, and his frown deep. "Is something the matter?"

"You mentioned earlier that you were going to hire some of the men to fight off orcs..." She looked away from him. "When you said that, you looked afraid."

He sighed. "This is nothing that you should worry about. You have your own matters to attend to. What I predict may not even be correct..."

She wanted to press forward, but stopped herself. She simply nodded and turned around, walking away, hardly registering what passed her eyes. He could believe whatever he liked, even the lies that he told himself.