Aragorn paced restlessly across the chamber, oblivious to the fine tapestries and furniture that adorned it. The room felt oppressively stuffy after a day of humid heat.
A summer storm now raged outside in the gathering dusk, the wind and rain beating fiercely against the windows. Lightning flashed against the darkening sky, while overhead the thunder roared like an angry dragon. How many times had he craved shelter when the elements raged outside? How often had he envied the Bree folk safe and dry in their snug houses? He had lost count long ago. Now he lived in sumptuous surroundings, well protected from the wind and rain. Yet, he found he missed them! Somehow, he felt less than fully alive, sheltered as he now was from nature’s fury.
“You remind me of a wild horse, chomping at the bit,” said Arwen, looking up from her embroidery. ”Go and get some fresh air, ere you wear a hole in the carpet!”
“My guards would never let me!” Aragorn said glumly.
“What became of the Ranger I married?” asked the Queen. ”You spent many a year evading being seen, if you so chose. It should cause you little difficulty in slipping past the guards unnoticed!”
“Your words are wise, vanimelda,” said Aragorn, kissing her tenderly. Snatching up his cloak, and pulling the hood closely around his face, he slipped through the maze of corridors, skilfully dodging his guards. He made his way outside, silent and stealthy as a cat.
The King walked briskly until he came to a secluded corner of the Citadel gardens. The thunder and lightning had ceased now, leaving in its wake heavy, drenching rain and a refreshing stiff breeze.
Aragorn cast aside his cloak and lifted his face towards the heavens, rejoicing in the feel of the cool water as it ran down his face. His hair was soon drenched and plastered to his face, but he cared not.
Soon his clothing was soaked. Cold rivulets of rainwater trickled down his neck. Impulsively, he peeled off his tunic and shirt, allowing the rain to run freely down his bare chest and back. He closed his eyes. The breeze gusted fiercely against his bare skin. It seemed almost to caress him, making him feel invigorated and truly alive. He felt as if he could dance with the sheer ecstasy of feeling as one with nature; a child of wind, and storm and sky
Suddenly, his keen senses heard a twig cracking, as if trodden underfoot. Startled, he opened his eyes and made to snatch up his discarded clothing. It would not do at all for a King to be caught like this, half naked and dripping. The servants and nobility would think their new lord a madman!
“Estel! I could not resist joining you.”
It was Arwen. She came barefoot, dropping her cloak at her feet to reveal a simple linen gown beneath.
“Beloved, you surprised me!”
Arwen laughed, a sweet musical tone that always made her husband’s heart soar. ”A Peredhel can be as stealthy as a Ranger, and even closer to nature,” she said. ”At Imladris I would dance beneath the waterfall and revel in the feel of the spray. Come, dance with me!” She pulled him close, her breath warm against his skin.
Aragorn kicked off his boots and they laughingly began to dance across the grass, oblivious of the downpour. Slowly the rain ceased. The moon emerged from behind the scudding clouds, bathing the dancers in a silver glow.
Aragorn studied his wife’s lovely features. She looked fairer than ever in the moonlight, her hair dishevelled and damp, while her gown clung becomingly to her graceful figure.
Suddenly they stopped dancing. Breathlessly, they stood gazing at each other. Aragorn pulled his wife close and kissed her. She returned the kiss, her slender fingers caressing his skin, her warmth and nearness setting his body ablaze. The tempest in the heavens had abated, but nature had kindled another storm within their hearts, one of a very different kind, but no less fierce in its passion.