As Time Ends by Marina

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Story notes: Story Notes: Companion story to "In My Time" by Amy Fortuna.
He's dying. Even Numenorian blood can't last forever. He looks older. Colder. Sometimes I think the stones of his fortress are taking him away. Who am I to know where they go when they're dying?

Cold and hard like towers and fortresses. Sometimes I think Gimli would like it better here than I do. But dear friend Gimli doesn't come so often anymore.

Do I even know him, the king that is dying slowly in his splendid cold capital? Sometimes I think my Strider is already dead, the Man who walked long roads with me, who fought glorious battles with me. I dreamt about Strider last night. He laid next to me, unmoving in his sleep, cold under heavy covers, and nothing I did could warm him up. The cold stones were talking him away from me.

He says it is time. Is Men's time made from stone? If his time is building up as a grey stone wall and mine, flowing past like the river it always was, the end will come soon. The end of our time. How can time end? He knows, I see it in his eyes -- but even if I asked, would he be able to answer?

Gimli used to talk about the beauty of his stone caves, but he stopped some time ago. My friend sees much more than we expect the dwarves to see. He probably knew that I wouldn't want to listen.

The city around me is like a stone trap. I went riding with Prince Eldarion yesterday. He smiles almost like Strider, and I start breathing easier when I look at him. But then stones close around me and I wonder what I'm doing here. Am I in a dream? My life flowed between the forest and the sea, and how did it turn to this stone cave? This Man, like a stone bridge, tied it all together. But now the bridge is falling down, and the stones almost stopped the flow.

What happens when he is gone? I thought I chose my way years ago when I came to stay. I look up, and Arwen smiles at me, not a shade in her eyes. Her choice is final, mine... was it a choice? The river cannot stop its flow, no matter what happens to the bridge. The river goes to the sea.

The End
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