Chapter 29:

Journey's End

"Liate!" they called after her but it was too late as she ran as fast as she could to Legolas. Thranduil was persistent in getting through to his son but nothing was helping.

"Sire, please, go and stay with my father and our friends by the clearing where you will be safe. You cannot help him, only I can." She could see the worried, pleading look in his eyes. Liate gave him a sympathetic nod and lightly pushed him on his way as the dark shadow was getting closer.

So this is the dark shadow Melyanna and Altariel were speaking about...

Just like the prince's father, she cupped Legolas' face in the same fashion. "My beloved, stay strong. Our battle is only beginning."

Liate looked up again and to her surprise, the dark shadow had vanished. Legolas' breathing also began to return to normal. "Li..Li..Liate..." he managed to say.

"Oh, Legolas!" she held him in tight embrace. "The shadow has disappeared and—"

"And what, Liate?" he asked confused. She was still in his embrace when she stopped in the middle of her sentence. "Liate?" he asked again. Legolas finally pulled her away from him so he could see her face. He saw her complexion was pale, adorning a freighted expression. "Beloved?"

"She cannot hear you, prince," said a voice.

Legolas turned his head, "Who is there!"

He looked at the rest of their company, standing far in the distance wondering if maybe it was one of them who spoke.

"Do not look towards your friends, prince. No one can help you..."

"Who said that? Show yourself!" he demanded with Liate still tightly in his arms. She was unconscious, her body limp against his.

"Here I am," said the voice.

Legolas spun around in shock. It was the image of himself he often saw in his visions. "No, it cannot be you?"

"Ah, but it is," he smiled. "Put her down."

"What?"

"I said put the female down. If you want her to live, you will do as I say."

Not knowing what this evil-counterpart was capable of, he obeyed, setting Liate down gently onto the ground. "What do you want?"

"What do you think I want? The female of course!" he pointed to her with his knife.

"You cannot have her!"

"Oh, is that so?" he gave him a mocking smile. "What if I take her from you? What will you do then, dear prince?"

"I would kill you..." Legolas clinched his fists. He was determined to do anything to keep him away from Liate.

"That can be easily arranged," his counter-part gave an evil grin. "Let's say you and I fight for her?"

"What do you want with her? She means nothing to you!"

"Oh, but she does..." he walked around them while examining his knife. Legolas stayed on his toes in case a surprise attack was made. "So, what say you?"

"Tis your move," Legolas glared at him. "Do what you will but you will not have her."

"A brave prince you are indeed, protecting the one you love...and without a weapon."

"I do not need a weapon," Legolas coolly replied.

"Brave indeed!" his counter-part laughed. "But bravery will not help you," his voice quickly became dark. He swiftly lunged at Legolas even before he had a chance to blink. He moved around to the back of him with his arm around his neck, pinning him in a chock-hold. "See what I meant?" he gloated.

Legolas became angry and struggled against his form, focusing on the knife. He is much stronger than me...

"Do not struggle, prince, for it is over." His counter-part released him and before the elf knew it, they were standing face to face. "Good bye," were his final words before proceeding to stab Legolas in the heart. Only a look of shock was seen on his face before he fell to his death.

Ariphae screamed out in horror and grabbed onto Jihan's arm weeping. He, along with King Thranduil and Lord Liamen were frantic and outraged. All three tried running to their rescue only to be thrown back from the slight hand gesture of Legolas' counter-part. He picked up Liate and transformed back into the dark shadow he once was.

A lomelinde flew down and perched on top of Legolas' chest, looking curious and examining him. "Get away from him," ordered the dark shadow. The lomelinde tilted its head to side and looked at him as if it didn't understand what he was saying. The bird hopped closer to his face and stared at his features. "I said get away from him!" the dark shadow was now becoming angry. The bird still didn't listen.

The dark shadow threw his knife at it as a warning. It sliced the surface of Legolas' arm before it landed on the dirt ground. The lomelinde was startled and looked angrily at him. It let out a short high-pitched squawk that seemed to hurt him.

"Damn bird!" the dark shadow yelled. The bird took fight as he approached. He wanted to strangle it to death. He pulled out the knife from the ground and threw it in the air towards the bird. The lomelinde fell from the sky. Everyone in the background gasped. They thought it dead until they saw it was still struggling on the ground. The knife had only gotten one of its wings. The dark shadow growled at it.

The lomelinde wobbled as best as it could to face the dark shadow. Its damaged wing was dragging on the ground. It had a furious look in its green eyes. More lomelindi came to join it, quietly in a row behind it. The elves had no idea what was going to happen now.

"This ends now!" the dark shadow yelled again. He put down Liate and summoned his knife to him. He held it firmly marching towards the birds. The lomelinde in the front glared at him and let out an ear-piercing screech that had them all covering their ears. The elves fell to the ground with their ears still covered, trying not to lose sight of what was going on. The dark shadow tried to resist the sound and was persistent in his steps. The lomelindi screeched louder, the sound echoing throughout the entire forest.

His ears were now in agony. He dropped the knife in his and fell to his knees. Soon his arms and hands also fell to the ground. "You are not strong enough!" he managed to get out. The bird only glared at him, not breaking its concentration. The enemy stood up with great effort but stumbled against the tree. He yelled out in anguish. Slowly he started to crumble until he was nothing more than mere ashes and evaporated away like the wind. The lomelindi had won. When the shadow was no more, the green-eyed bird collapsed to the ground from exhaustion.

The elves watched them by Legolas, waiting to move in case something else happened. The other lomelindi did nothing to help. Slowly, the single lomelinde struggled to get up. With all of its might, it wobbled towards Liate's unconscious form. It touched its beak on her hand and soon, they were both glowing. The lomelinde took shape into another figure. They looked closer and saw a transparent image of Liate appear in its place. The ghostly form laid itself on top of the elf-maiden and entered her body.

Liate's body jerked up as she gasped for air. Everyone ran over to her. "Liate, darling, are you alright?" Liamen asked his daughter with still a worried look on her face.

"What…what happened?" she asked bewildered and groaned from the pain she felt on her arm. Blood was soaked through her sleeve. Jihan ripped a piece of his clothing and tied it around the wounded area.

"Do you not remember anything?" asked Thranduil.

"A little…but it was all such a blur. Like a dream." She held her arm against her frame. Liate looked at it again and suddenly gasped again.

"Oh, Liate!" Ariphae was finally free to come to her side. "Tis finally over," she gently hugged her on her uninjured side.

"I am very proud of you daughter," Liamen smiled at her.

"But, what…what about Legolas?" The elf-maiden stammered.

"I am afraid he is still…" Thranduil couldn't finish."

"No…I do not believe you!" she sobbed.

"Liate…" her father tried to sooth her.

"Do not touch me!" she yelled. "He is not dead!" She crawled over his body and caressed his pale cheeks, noticing how cold they have become.

"Liate, your hand is also bleeding," Jihan told her. "We should attend to that."

She looked at her hand where she vaguely remembered the lomelinde had touched her. Did the bird really touch her or poke her? But, why would they poke me to bleed? She wondered to herself, examining her hand. Liate looked around but the other lomelindi were nowhere to be seen. A drop of her blood fell on Legolas' collar. She wiped it away with her other hand only causing it to smear even more.

"I have a napkin you may use," Ariphae took it out of her pocket.

"Thank you," Liate motioned halfway getting it from her and paused. The knife

"What is Liate?"

"Ariphae, will you hand me the knife?"

"The knife? Oh, but of course…" she walked over to where the dark shadow dropped it and handed it to her friend.

"What will you do with it?" asked Jihan.

"They told me that Legolas and I are bound as one. And as one we shall be…" She poked his own finger.

"Who are they?" he was confused.

Liate ignored his question and began to mix the blood on her finger with his. The glow that she emitted from before was now all around her and Legolas. Everyone took a step back, covering their eyes with the back of their hands, for the light was too bright for them to bear. Liate gathered his upper body as best as she could in her arms, not caring about the pain, and whispered into his ear. "Wake up, Legolas. There is still hope. Do no leave me for I refuse to live my days alone without you…I love you." When the bright light dimmed to where they could see their figures, the elves were amazed at what they saw. Liate and Legolas were hugging each other.

"Legolas?" Thranduil couldn't believe his eyes.

"Hello…father," he smiled weakly.

"Tis good to have you back, old friend," smiled Jihan.

"Tis good to be back," he looked at Liate. She kissed him on the cheek. The knife next to them disappeared. Jihan and Thranduil helped Legolas to his feet and walked side-by-side with him for support as they made their way back to the city. Ariphae had her arm around Liate's shoulder for comfort.

Just as they thought they were in the clear, the three lomelindi that were present earlier landed in front of their path. "We must get them to the Houses of Healing," said Liamen. "Please let us pass…" They flew in a circle where they landed and unexpectedly transformed into elves.

"Melyanna…Altariel…and Nania?" Liate asked bewildered.

"Hello, child," Nania smiled.

"You knew about this all along?"

"Yes, my dear. I was sent by Lady Melyanna to watch over you until you were ready to fulfill your destiny…just as I have been doing for all the chosen ones."

"You have proven yourself well Liate-ilsa…just as the previous elf-maidens in your line. You have overcome the dark shadow of separation," Nania said proudly. "The journey your predecessors faced were each different. This event will be instilled in your memory until you give birth to a female elf-babe. Once your child is born, her fate will be decided by the Gods just as yours was and those before you. During which time, your own accounts of this event will be begin to fade and become merely stories of the past."

Lord Liamen listened to her words and tried to think about his own past. Nania was right. He couldn't exactly recall what he and Liate's mother went through. The only strong memory he had was the bond they shared.

"What will happen to you now, Nania?" Liate wondered.

The old servant smiled. "I will stay here in Middle-earth until I am needed again."

"Please, someone tell me…is it truly over?" asked Ariphae.

Galadriel smiled. "Yes..it is truly over."

After a week of recovering in the Houses of Healing, the two made the announcement that they were going to finally get married. A month later they exchanged their vows in front of their fathers and all their friends from Eyrn Lasgalen and the Golden Wood. Another announcement that Legolas revealed to his father was he was ready to return to the Undying Lands with his new wife. It was a bit of a shock to the king but he understood his son's needs.

"I also hear mother's voice," he said. "But all my days there I had not seen her…" Prince looked a little disappointed.

"Maybe because it was not yet time," he placed a hand on his shoulder. "Things are much different now. I have a feeling she has been waiting for you. And, I am sure your mother will be happy to see you with your new bride." Legolas looked hopeful with hearing his words. "I thought it would be your father who would leave before you, but it seems you have beaten him," he laughed jokingly.

"I will make sure she knows what a great king and father you have been." Legolas hugged him.

"I will follow shortly…"

The following day, their fathers, friends, and other elves watched them sail the Straight Road, towards where their people first resided. It was hard leaving everyone behind but Legolas could not resist the calling of the Sea for the second time and Liate vowed to go wherever with her new husband.

When they arrived in Tirion, the fog slowly lifted revealing someone standing by the dock, cloaked in a white hood. When they got closer, the elf slowly removed it. A warm smile graced their face.

"Mother…"

"Hello, my beloved child," she caressed his tears away.

"I have missed you, nana."

"So have I. And who is this lovely silver-haired maiden?" she smiled at Liate.

"This is my wife, Liate, the one from my dreams as a child."

"Hello, your Highness," she smiled.

"She is more beautiful in person than from your descriptions, Legolas."

"I have so much to say, mother. I—"

"Shhh. There will be plenty of time for that. Come, follow me."

He and Liate followed his mother to the city. Finally in his life he felt complete and now realized that everything that had happened in his life had a reason, a purpose—something he wouldn't change even if he had to endure it all over again. He looked at Liate and squeezed her hand.

"I love you," he whispered.

THE END


Author's Note:

Thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, and criticized my work. It's helped be become a better writer. I hope you enjoy the rest of my stories.

Sincerely,

PinkMartini