Stories > Series
> Previous story:"Priceless Treasure" > "And So the End"
Guided by a lonely star
Beyond the utmost harbor bar
I seek the havens fair and free
And beaches of the starlit sea.
Ship by ship we’ve traveled west
Past fields and fountains ever blest
Farewell to Middle-earth at Last
I see the stars high above my mast...
stories are first told they are often told correctly but as time
passes, which it always does, they get changed bit by bit. Now it
probably isn’t exactly the fault of the storyteller mind you. Often
times in their own minds it just sounds better that way and if the
story happened to center around a person or an event in history then
more than likely the tale will grow. They are apt to take on
minds and lives of their own, unless they are written down somewhere,
which mostly doesn’t happen. Soon it’s more myth than fact and so
have many stories been passed on.
Now the times of Middle-earth have
been gone from the memory of all living things eons ago and the tales
of their heroes have grown likewise with their passing. Only some
of them, somehow in the retelling, got a little distorted and so we are
here to set at least one of them straight.
See, legend has it that
Middle-earth's greatest human king passed on and left this world like
all mortals do, but the legend was incorrect. It’s not the fault
of the storyteller mind you. By the time he heard the story it
had been passed through so many generations that it was amazing
anything of the truth was in it. For his part he got almost all
of the retelling correct but there was one tiny detail that most humans
just don’t know of.
For you see the way it really happened was like this...
Aragorn smiled at his friend. The elf was obviously pleased with
himself as he led the man off the forest path and onto the beach.
The king's heart was not in this little outing that the elven prince
had dragged him off on. They had been traveling for days heading
ever westward and he secretly dreaded that the elf had brought him to
the edge of Middle-earth to bid him farewell and follow his people to
the undying lands. His worst fears were confirmed as he spied the
large ship that sat in the small lagoon, it’s white sail huge and
unfurled, full in the slight wind that blew in the tiny cove, ready to
be off. The sea reflected the bright clear sky above it and it
seemed to the king that one could see right through the water to the
sandy shoal beneath. A lump caught in his throat as he reined his
horse in near the edge of the lapping sea.
Legolas was eyeing the craft like an artisan pleased with his
handiwork, his blue eyes sparkling. In his heart he was ready to
leave and seek out his people, but the tiny smile that tugged at his
lips confused Aragorn. In all truth the man had really thought,
hoped, that the elf would stay until he had gone on. But who
could blame him for wanting to leave and join those that had left
before? Middle-earth was not as beautiful now that the elves had
all but fled her shores. Even Raniean and Trelan had sailed off
on the last outbound elven ship. The king remembered that sad
farewell as he gazed back at the smaller replica that sat low in the
Aragorn smiled slightly, trying to return the joy that painted the
elf's face so brightly making him look younger than his thousands of
"It’s beautiful my friend, truly it is." Aragorn swallowed the
sorrow that threatened him at the thought of his friend’s leaving;
Middle-earth would be empty without him. The king's heart would
be empty without him.
"How long have you been working on it?"
"A bit." Legolas sighed as he thought of the labor it had taken to
create the vessel and make it seaworthy for their journey, the many
days and nights he and his companion had secretly worked on it.
"I did have some help though." He smiled at his friend. He
knew the man well by now and could read the sorrow in the world-weary
silver eyes. Unable to torment the human any longer, the elf
easily dismounted his horse and walked over to Aragorn's, staring up
into the dark eyes that watched him.
"It’s time to go home, my friend," he whispered to the man. His
hands absently stroked the horse’s thick neck as he watched the human’s
response to his words.
Aragorn swallowed hard and looked back into the forests behind them,
unwilling for the elf to see the tears that spilled onto his cheeks.
"Telcontar," The elvish form of his nickname and the gentle touch of
the elf's hand on his thigh redirected his attention. "It’s time
for us to go home."
A frown crossed Aragorn's face as he stared down at the prince, shaking
his head slightly as he tried to understand who exactly the elf was
referring to. Legolas watched his friend’s response. The
human's silver eyes were still the same as he had always remembered
them, but the man that was before him was so much older than the youth
he remembered meeting for the first time. Grey tinted the dark
hair that swept across his eyes and there were more lines on the older
face, attesting to the passage of time.
Legolas stepped back and motioned towards the boat rocking gently on the incoming tide, "Come, Estel. Let’s go home."
"Legolas…I…I have duties, a kingdom…I can't…" Aragorn stuttered
glancing out towards the sea. "And Arwen? What about Eldarion?"
"Strider!" The elf laughed at the human. "Think you that I would
be so cruel as to bring you and not your beloved?" He laughed as
Gimli cleared his throat, redirecting the king’s attention.
The small dwarf stood a few hundred feet up the beach back under the
trees. He stepped out followed by the form of a woman, cloaked in
a hooded riding tunic that covered her from head to foot. Her
slim fingers wrapped around the edges of the hood and easily flipped it
back. Raven colored hair spilled down her shoulders and the
circlet of mithril on her forehead caught the glint of the morning sun.
"Gimli? Arwen?" Aragorn dismounted in a rush, his confusion
only mounting. He glared back at the elf that stood laughing next
to him, "What is this you have done, my friend? What is this
adventure you are dragging us off on now?" A small smile touched
his lips as he stared at the ever youthful being. Legolas looked
so much at that moment like he had when they were younger and were
planning some midnight escape from Rivendell to go hunt orc without
Lord Elrond’s knowledge. "Legolas?"
The sound of Arwen's laughter caused Aragorn to glance back. "And what is so funny, my love?"
"You. darling." Her footsteps barely crushed into the soft sand
beneath her feet as she walked. She remained still the elf that
she was always had been even though she had given up her
immortality. Or had she? Aragorn pondered as he watched her walk
"Did you not wonder why Eldarion would not let go of you when you
left?" She asked. “Even I saw the tears in his eyes.”
"How did you...?" He stared at his three friends. "You've
been planning this all along haven’t you?" A huge smile split his
face as he watched the dwarf wade out into the cove and climb aboard
"Yes we have, good king. Now if you all would stop chattering and get
aboard we can be off," the small being called back grumpily at them.
"What's wrong with Gimli?"
"He is heartsick and wishes to be home." The elf laughed at the
dwarf as he watched him stomp towards the forward part of the ship.
"But Legolas, it is home to elves only." Aragorn looked wistfully
to the edge of the horizon. "I would love to see my father and brothers
again but mortals are not allowed in the undying lands."
"Of course you were not there to hear." Legolas remembered the
conversation well and turned back to his friend. "Before she
left, Galadriel told me of a conversation she had with Treebeard at
your wedding feast."
Arwen hooked her slender hand around her husband's arm and listened in silence.
"We are not meant to live separately in the after-life. We are
all creations of Ilúvatar, elf, human, dwarf and hobbit
alike. As His own, He wants us all to be with Him. Not just
the elves. Where do you think the Halls of Mandos are my friend -
on some distant, dark shore? Waiting? No, we are all going
home." The elf smiled at his friend. "Your son knows you
are leaving. The kingdom is in good stead with him as its
leader. Your people have been told that you passed on and that
the Lady Arwen has gone back to Lothlórien."
The elf giggled. "It was necessary, Estel. They cannot know, they
would all want to follow you over. You know how much they love
you and now is not the time for all of them to come! Eldarion
will take care of everything; he will see to it that they think you
entered the undying lands like most mortals must. He wished for
you to come with us also."
"Today master elf?! Are we leaving today?!" Gimli's voice sounded in the small inlet.
"Have patience my dear dwarf, you will have plenty of time to gaze upon
Galadriel’s beauty when we put in and the voyage is not so long that
you will be bored. Just long enough for you to rest and regain
your strength," Legolas teased his smaller companion. The dwarf’s
cheeks reddened at the slight and the friendly taunt of his desire to
be amongst the elves once more. With a grouchy "Hrumph", the
dwarf stalked back to the forward part of the ship.
Turning once more to Aragorn, Legolas stepped forward and wrapped his
hand behind the man's head and pulled him forward, resting his forehead
against the king’s. "My friend, did you really think I would leave you
here and go without you or let you go on without me?" he whispered,
unable to bear the thought.
Aragorn closed his eyes fighting back his emotions.
"Did you really?"
"No." The human whispered softly, "Though I feared it." Arwen’s
hand slipped from his arm and he heard her splashing quietly out to the
ship, giving the two friends a moment alone.
"Did you think that Ilúvatar would be so cruel as to forever separate those whose hearts were bound as one?"
"It is what I have always been told." Aragorn opened his eyes and looked into the blue ones inches from his face.
"Then you were lied to." The elf smiled brightly and pulled the
man into a tight hug. "We go together like we always have."
A keen, clear cry split the air above them and Aragorn glanced overhead to see five huge eagles circling the inlet.
Legolas released his friend and looked up, waving to the birds.
"The last of Gwaihir's kin have offered to lead us out today.
They know the way home."
"Then what are we waiting for? Race you to the boat," Aragorn boasted, giving the elf a good shove so that he nearly fell back.
Gimli had pulled up the anchor anticipating their journey and the small
ship had floated a few feet farther into the bay, forcing them to wade
out to it.
"That was not fair, Strider! You can’t cheat!" Legolas
splashed into the water next to the human easily gaining his side and
lunged for the edge of the boat. His hands had just grasped the
railing as a strong arm wrapped around his waist and pulled him under.
Aragorn jumped for the side of the vessel as the elf got his feet under
him and pushed to the top of the water. "I didn’t cheat; a king
never cheats. And I needed the head start!" He laughed as
the prince shook the water out of his hair, the tiny beads dropping
back into the sea around them.
"Ha! You just wait until I tell Elladan you said that!"
Legolas stood and wiped the water from his face, pushing his hair back
away from his eyes.
Aragorn's hand released the boat rail and he slipped back into the
water, turning to look at his friend. Legolas tried to read the
emotions that rapidly crossed the human's face.
"What? What's wrong, Estel?"
"You said you’d tell Elladan what I did." Aragorn wiped away the
water that stung his eyes, water the sea around them had nothing to do
with. "My brother," he whispered as a huge smile split his face
and realization truly dawned in his heart. "I'm really going to
go see my brothers and my father!" With a loud shout the man
rushed the elf and grabbed him around the waist, lifting his friend
half ay out of the water in his exuberance, his booming voice filling
the cove, "I am going home!"
"Not if you don’t get in this boat you're not," Gimli's heavily
accented voice broke the moment and he leaned over the edge frowning at
the two beings in the water. "You coming now?"
Arwen watched them calmly as the two friends clambered over the edge of
the railing, soaking wet and laughing. They looked as young as
they had when she had first seen them with her brothers in her father’s
house. The Evenstar hung from a silver cord around the man's
neck, glittering in the sun as he flopped face down on the warm wooden
deck of the boat. Rolling over he looked at his friend, his eyes
bright and alive like she hadn’t seen him in years.
The elf sat up, crossing his legs and stared playfully at the human, as
he wrung out his wet clothing, flinging drops of water at the laughing
"Mendicant," he growled.
"Prissy elf," Aragorn spat back before a fit of laughter overtook
him. More slowly than his ever youthful counterpart, the man sat
up. He was no longer a ranger, no more a king, but still the
human the elf had always known. He sobered quickly, watching his
friend with sharp, silver eyes. "Thank you, Legolas."
"My pleasure, Strider." He returned the brilliant smile before
glancing back at the dwarf. "Master dwarf! Throw the line
up to Urembor; he'll tow us out of the bay and head us in the right
With a curt nod, the small being moved to the front of the ship.
Grabbing the heavy coil in his hands, Gimli held the rope above his
head offering it to the circling birds.
Urembor swept down away from his kin, signaling them with his piercing
cry. Driving straight at the dwarf, he snatched the thick rope in
his beak as the little being fell to the deck with a shout of surprise,
rolling away from the large bird. Legolas couldn’t help laughing
as he watched Gimli sit slowly up and glare at the great eagle.
“You could have been a bit more polite about that you know!” he called
after the eagle as it began to pull them slowly around, heading them
out towards the open sea.
In minutes they had left the bay behind and were caught up in the
currents of the deeper water. The wind filled the sails and the
craft leapt across the tops of the waves under its own power, heading
its passengers for the distant horizon.
Aragorn stood slowly to his feet, eyes drifting back to the
shoreline. A slight sadness tugged at his heart as he watched the
land recede. Suddenly a rider on horseback burst from the foliage
to the left of the small bay, his steed raced along the cliffs that
lined the natural inlet. The young human’s long, dark hair
whipped behind him as he paced the ship and he stood in his stirrups
and called out to the passengers.
Legolas picked up the sound of the voice, recognizing the man only
moments after Aragorn had. The king ran to the railing at the
back of the boat and leaned over; cupping his hands around his mouth he
shouted to the rider, “Eldarion!! Take care of yourself, my son!”
“I will!” The boy, now a king, stopped his horse. His royal
guard, finally catching up to him, joined him on the bluff as he
shouted back, “I love you father! I’ll see you again soon, I promise!”
“I love you too! I always have.”
“I’ve always known! Goodbye!! Take care of Mother! I
love you both!” His words could barely be heard above the roar of
the ocean as the ship picked up speed.
“Ilúvatar, keep my child,” Aragorn whispered softly, waving to
the tiny figures on the beach. Arwen joined him, her eyes bright
with tears as she watched them disappear from sight.
“We already had our goodbyes,” she explained when Aragorn glanced over
at her. He placed his arm protectively around her shoulders,
“Eldarion’s known for months. That is why he has spent so much
time with you lately. He loves you so.”
“He is a good king. He will do well. The people love him but I will miss him terribly.”
“Not for long though my love,” his wife whispered cryptically and
walked away, descending below to check out the sleeping quarters.
The night was warm and the stars were bright in the dark heavens above
their heads. Legolas and Aragorn sat side by side on the edge of
the small ship. The human had removed his boots and let his feet
dangle over the edge of the boat. He rested his head on his arms
that lay crossed atop the short railing and he stared out into the sea.
He could just barely catch glimpses now and again of the dolphins that
chased the ship's wake and swam about them. The sounds of their
breathing were soft in the still night. Here and there he caught
glimpses of the fish that swam in the depths lit by their own
phosphorescence. Instinctively Aragorn pulled his feet up as a
gently glowing eel undulated by.
Legolas laughed lightly, “You are safe.” He glanced at his friend out of the corner of his eyes.
Aragorn smiled and turned his face towards his friend, resting his head
lightly back on his arms again, “Tell me what it’s like, Legolas.”
“What is it you ask of?” The elf pulled one knee up to his chest, tilting his head slightly in question.
“The undying land. What is like there? Do you know?”
“Well...” the elf paused thoughtfully, remembering all the things he
had heard and been told by others. “From what I know it’s very
beautiful. There is no winter.” He laughed as his friend
raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Yes, no winter. There is
no death for those who live there. No tears. No fear or
things that would cause you to fear, nothing evil touches its shores.
Oh and there is no sickness.” He laughed as the human gave him a
“Well thank goodness for that. I have waited for that all my
life.” The man glanced down before he continued speaking.
“But Legolas I am an old man.”
“You won't be there.”
Aragorn lifted his head and pierced his friend with a serious stare. “How is this?”
“I know not. I only know that it is true. You will be young
again, Estel.” He smiled at the wonder in the man’s eyes.
They both jumped as a whale surfaced a few feet away from them, the spray from his blowhole misting the air.
Aragorn shook his head in amazement. “What else? What do we do there?”
“That’s the best part. You will finally know what it is to live a
thousand years and have it feel like only a day.” The elf smiled
broadly at the wonder on the man’s face as he listened in rapt
attention. “The white deer run in herds so thick that there is
never want or lack. And all the ones who have gone before us will
When the man didn’t speak. the elf became worried and reached out
placing a gentle hand on his friends shoulder. “What is it?”
“Legolas are you sure I should have left Middle-earth this way?”
Aragorn let gaze his follow back the way they had come, searching the
distant horizon behind them.
“Strider, listen to me. Eldarion is a good king. The kingdom is
in good hands; you have raised him well. Besides...” the elf
stopped speaking and looked back to the dark sea beneath them.
The broken pattern of the stars reflected lightly in the swelling waves.
“Besides what? What aren’t you telling me, Legolas?”
With a sigh the elf prince glanced back into the silver eyes that
searched his own, “Your stay in Middle-earth has come to an end, my
friend. Either way it was time for you to leave.”
“And you know this how?”
Try as he might Legolas could not suppress the smile that tugged at his lips.
"Legolas..." Aragorn growled at the elf.
"Well let us just say that Mithrandir sent word by one of the great
eagles when we returned to Rivendell after Rhazon. He meant it to
encourage me and it did. I am not at all sure he was supposed to
tell me everything he did, but you know Gandalf. But that is the
“You’ve known that long and
never told me? How could you keep that secret from me for so
long?” the man questioned. His face reflected his astonishment as
he stared at his friend.
“Believe me, Estel, it was no easy matter. So often were the
times I wanted to tell you but could not. It actually helped with
the sea longing though. Instead of aching to leave I longed to tell you
that one day we would leave together. Mithrandir swore me to
secrecy and with a threat mind you,” Legolas answered lightly. He
laughed softly at the memory of the day when the letter came.
Aragorn chuckled lightly. "That figures. Will he be there also?"
The human beside him nodded slightly.
"Oh yes! In fact if I know him, he'll have turned out all the undying lands just to greet us."
Aragorn yawned and stretched the muscles in his back; they ached from leaning over the railing in the cool evening breeze.
"Go take your rest, my friend. We will reach the shores of home
shortly," Legolas spoke softly, his hand resting on the man's shoulder.
With a nod Aragorn stood to his feet and stared down at the elf asking
one last question. "And what about elves, Legolas? Do they
get new bodies as well?"
"Us?" he asked with a quirky smile. He contined when the human
had nodded. "No, our bodies do not tire or grow old. We
will simply continue."
"Of course only humans," the man muttered as he turned and walked away.
"Oh come on, not that same old argument," Legolas called teasingly after the retreating form.
With a short laugh the king descended the steps into the sleeping
quarters, leaving the elf alone on the deck to watch the stars dance
through the night sky.
Three nights later Legolas woke them all out of a dead sleep.
"Rise, get up quickly. We are home." He smiled at the sleepy faces that silently questioned his actions.
Aragorn threw the sheets off of him and raced to the top of the
steps. They had been sleeping in their clothes to stave off the
chill and for just such an occasion should they reach the shores before
daybreak. He shrugged into his old worn leather ranger’s coat,
pulling it about him and followed the elf to bow of the ship.
There in the pre-dawn darkness was the looming shape of land and
dotting the entire coast were tiny lights bobbing and moving
about. When he listened, he could barely catch a soft melody that
drifted to them from the shores wafting out in the night. Aragorn
could just make out the words as elvish. They were singing a
welcome home to their friends.
He turned to speak as Gimli and Arwen joined them but was stunned
speechless when the sky burst above them in a huge, dazzling display of
fireworks, proof that Gandalf was indeed among those who waited for
them on land. The little boat pulled up onto the sandbar as
thousands of tiny pinpricks of light fell, showering down into the
ocean about them as they came to a stop.
A cheer rose from the beings gathered on the shore: some familiar, some
unknown. Hands reached up to greet the newcomers, assisting them
out of the ship that now listed slightly as it caught on the
sands. They were eagerly and quickly borne to shore and he could
see now that the thousands of lights they had glimpsed from the ship
were in fact torches and candles held by those who awaited them.
“Step back now all of you; give them some room,” Gandalf’s booming
voice carried down the beach as he approached the newcomers, wading
through the crowd that greeted them.
Aragorn’s face lit with delight as he caught sight of his old
friend. But the wizard raised his hand stopping the human’s
forward motion. He gently grabbed Legolas and moved the elf away
from the man as the rest of the grouping of elves and beings backed
slowly away from Aragorn.
“Arwen?” Gandalf eyed her with a smile, inclining his head in
welcome, “It is good to see you, child; step quickly over here.”
“I don’t understand.” She glanced between her husband and their long time friend.
Aragorn swallowed hard, a chill fear creeping over him. Perhaps
the undying lands were truly not a place for humans. He glanced
at Legolas who only shook his head in confusion. Gandalf had not
let go of the elf prince but continued to pull him slightly back away
from the man.
“Gandalf?” the old king looked at his friend, questioning the wizard softly.
“Now there, young one, there is nothing to fear. You are a human
and you have just set foot on the undying lands. You are indeed
one of the first to do so in this way,” he answered as though his
cryptic words were sufficient.
“Why does everyone back away from me?”
“Gandalf, this is not funny! That’s Strider!” Legolas tried
to twist away from the Maiar but the wizard’s grip on the elf’s arm
tightened and he turned a huge smile on the prince.
“Wait and watch,” he said, quieting the elf he held.
“Aragorn take a step towards me,” the wizard instructed.
With more fear than he dared to admit even to himself, the man took a
step out of the reach of the tide and onto the dry shores of his new
The air shimmered around the human, stopping his forward
movement. Light danced on the wind, encircling his body.
When he breathed in, it seemed the very particles were charged with
electricity or was it joy; Aragorn was not sure. Bright sparks of
light leapt around the king. In retrospect no one could say
whether the light shot up from the very ground itself or fell from the
sky, but it shielded his entire body from the sight of those on the
beach, weaving in dancing colors through the curtain that rained around
him. Aragorn closed his eyes tightly as it brushed through his
body. It felt as though his entire being was aglow, on fire from
the energy that coursed through him and at once he was at peace.
There was no one else but he in the universe and he heard the sound of
a voice that he would never forget speaking softly to him.
“Welcome home, my child.”
“Gandalf?” Legolas whispered to the older man next to him. He
held tightly to the Maiar gazing in wonderment as his friend was
shielded from view.
With a small laugh the wizard turned to the elf, watching with amusement the wonder on the young face, “Yes?”
Gandalf couldn’t help the smile that broke out on his wizened old face.
“Is he...?” Legolas tried to finish the sentence again. Holding one
hand up he had to shield his eyes, as the light intensified. A
warm wind blew out across the elves generated by the energies at
work. “Is he alive?”
“Oh yes, my young friend and just wait...,” Gandalf stopped speaking as
the light dropped, disappearing into the sands beneath the human’s feet
with a small sigh. “Wait until you see him now.”
Legolas’ mouth dropped open and he simply shook his head as he walked slowly forward.
A soft blue glow emanated from the man not unlike the one that encased the elf as he walked in the now dark of night again.
At the sound of his name the ranger glanced up, smiling broadly at his
friend. Legolas fell back a step stunned. The man who gazed
upon him was not the one who had stepped off the boat moments ago; this
was the ranger he had known in his younger years. The lines of
age had smoothed, the grey that tinted the noble head was gone.
The slight stoop of the age-old shoulders had disappeared, and the
exuberance of youth shown in the silver eyes that stared back at him.
“You are Strider once more,” the elf whispered, reaching out to gently touch the youthful face with slight awe.
Soft sounds of the elves whispering around them caused the human to glance into the crowd.
"Strider!" Legolas shouted the man's name and threw himself at the
human, catching his friend in a tight hug, "You are home my friend, you
are home’" he whispered into the ranger's ear as Aragorn laughed and
tightened his arms about the elf.
"Estel!" A shout from the crowd caught the friends’ attention and
they turned as two elves pelted up the beach towards them.
"Estel?" Another elf fell in with the others racing forward to greet the human.
"Elladan! Elrohir!" Aragorn turned and opened his arms towards
the two figures heading straight for him. He braced himself as
the dark haired elves enveloped him, asking him a thousand questions at
once, each one talking over the top of the other and finishing the
other’s sentences. Behind them Moranuen stopped and stared at the
man. Tears ran down the elf’s smiling face as he watched the long
Legolas was surprised by his own welcoming committee as a roar went up
from behind them and Trelan and Raniean led a pack of elves straight
for the prince. All his loyal companions that had stayed with him
in Ithilien through the long years of restoring it swarmed the
fair-haired elf. With more dignified reserve, yet just as big a
smile, Thranduil approached his son, a beautiful elf woman on his arm,
and Legolas’ face practically shone as he greeted his father and
Aragorn reached over the top of Elrohir's head and grabbed Moranuen, pulling the elf in close to him.
"Oh Mora, I never thought I'd ever see any of you again." Tears
streamed down his own face as he talked quietly with his brothers and
his old friend. There were others that he recognized now in the group
that had moved back in close to him once more. But he had yet to
catch a glimpse of the one elf he longed to see above all others.
"Estel?" a deep soft voice behind him called to the man and the twins
stepped quickly back, smiling at the one who stood just beyond their
Aragorn turned and fixed his tear-filled eyes on Elrond. The elf
still looked as he always had, but there was a vibrance about him that
he noticed surrounded all the elves. He wondered absently if he
looked to them the same way, but he had no time to ponder such thoughts
long as he fell into his father’s arms and held the older elf tightly
"Father. I missed you so." His words were rough with emotion as
Elrond held the boy. He had watched as his son had been
transformed from the older man that stepped ashore into the youth that
Elrond had always remembered.
"My son,” he quieted the boy against him, holding him tightly, resting
his cheek against the top of the human’s head. "It has been so
long. I have missed you as well." Moving back slightly so
he could gaze into the silver eyes, Elrond smiled and took the human's
face in his hands, moving his thumbs gently under his sons eyes and
wiping away the tears, "Now haven’t you been told yet, there are no
tears here." He kissed Aragorn softly on the forehead. "All the
tears you will ever cry again will be left here tonight on this
beach. Welcome home, Estel."
"I heard Him father! I heard Ilúvatar, he spoke to me!" Aragorn
whispered softly his eyes locked on the older elf. "He said welcome
Elrond smiled knowingly and nodded. "Yes and you will hear Him
many times more." Looking around them, the elf motioned to
Legolas and pulled the prince close to him. "Come, let us go up from
this place. We have a celebration to attend! We have new
family that has come home!"
As one those on the beach retreated back into the woods heading home
away from the coast. Legolas turned and sought out Gimli.
The elf was standing on the sandy bar next to Galadriel. The two
watched as the boat the dwarf and his companions had made their way
over the sea in slowly faded, its substance becoming insubstantial and
light as the mists. Haltingly it disappeared into the night, a
thousand tiny pinpricks of light flying back into the starry expanse
and joining the twinkling stars that glittered above them.
"I'll be coming, master elf." The dwarf turned back, following
Galadriel towards the small knot of family and friends that still
remained. "I'm hoping there is plenty of good mead at this
celebration you were speaking of, Lord Elrond."
"Please, it is only Elrond here. And you, master dwarf, are home;
you may have all the mead you like." The older elf swept his hand
before him indicating the way they should go.
He slipped his arm around his daughter, kissing her lightly, and
escorted her back through the woods as Elladan dared the lot of them to
beat him back to their home. Raniean, Trelan, Moranuean and
Elrohir chased off after him with Legolas and Aragorn following behind
too excited to simply be among their loved ones once again to give the
dare much thought. They laughed as they ran and it was as if they
had always been here, the past long forgotten as eternity stretched out
before them. They were together once again as they had always
been in Middle-earth, elf prince and human ranger.
"Now we are almost complete," Galadriel spoke up softly as she gained Elrond’s side welcoming Arwen with a smile.
"Almost," Elrond agreed. "But there are still more that are yet
to follow. There will be many more." He glanced over his
shoulder and watched the far horizon before following the others home.
And that my friends is how it really happened but, as I said, so much
gets lost over the years and humans have forgotten that this world is
not all there is to life. No matter how bad it gets, you can
never loose hope because just over the horizon or around that next bend
you'll see for yourselves the shores of home welcoming you too. A
thousand lights will be waiting for you as you make your way to shore
to the sounds of singing friends and family, celebrating your
homecoming. You will hear Ilúvatar’s voice speaking your
name and, if you look closely enough, you may even find a fair-haired
elf and a silver-eyed ranger among those waiting for you on the far
shores of home.
Or better still, THE BEGINNING...