Alrighty doods. I am FINALLY here. This chapter was KILLING me, and I am unhappy with a good chunk of it, but it's here now, and that's the good news. Read the bad news at the end, I wouldn't want to burden your Legolas angst time. I am EXTREMELY sorry for the wait. But there will be no more. Seriously. READ ON, YOUNG GRASSHOPPERS!!!!!!!!!

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Meriadoc Brandybuck put his arms behind his head and leaned back against one of the great stones littering the foggy landscape. A thin stream of smoke spewed from his lips when he parted them. He glanced over at his snoring companion-snoring quite loudly-and wanted very dearly to smack him good and hard. A litter of empty dishes rested around them in lazy carelessness. The day so far had been quite uneventful, but it was a well- needed rest from the great adventures of late.

Merry stared hard into the fog, but still couldn't see very far. Treebeard had bade them wait for visitors and welcome them with fitting words-visitors which he had hinted they would be please to see; as of yet, no sign of such a thing had passed their sight. But they remained, with the hope that Aragorn and Gimli may be there.

Suddenly Merry stopped in the middle of a blue smoke ring, and jumped up. For out of the mist had appeared a great host upon horseback, that through his thoughts, Merry had failed to notice. He went forward, and turned to the king.

"Welcome, my lords, to Isengard!" he said, his arms spread wide in welcome. "We are the door wardens. Meriadoc, son of Saradoc is my name; and my companion, who, alas, is overcome with weariness . . ." he gave Pippin a swift boot in the ribs, "it Peregrin, son of Paladin, of the house of Took." Legolas grinned and chuckled quietly to himself, humoured that the hobbits were indeed still very much the same. "Far in the North is our home. The Lord Saruman is within; but at the moment he is closeted with one Wormtongue, or, doubtless, he would be here to welcome such honourable guests."

Then Gandalf laughed, as if he had known the hobbits would be here. Legolas wondered how everything had come to be this way. Could the imprisonment by the uruk-hai have changed the hobbits a little? At the moment, it certainly did not seem so. Merry went on to say that he had been commanded to offer such words of welcome. Then Legolas felt Gimli shift behind him.

"And what about your companions? What about us?" the dwarf cried, unable to contain himself. He jumped off the horse. "You rascals, you woolly-footed and wool-pated truants! A fine hunt you have led us! Two hundred leagues, through fen and forest, battle and death, to rescue you! And here we find you feasting and idling-and smoking! Smoking!" Legolas was thinking that for sure, Gimli would launch into full attack and hew the little ones' heads from their shoulders. "Where did you come by the weed, you villains? Hammer and tongs! I am so torn between rage and joy, that if I do not burst, it will be a marvel!"

Then Legolas laughed. "You speak for me, Gimli!" he said happily. "Though I would sooner learn how they came by the wine."

"Legolas!" the hobbits cried together, Pippin suddenly leaping from his slumber. Their mouths gaped open as they gazed upon the fair elf, which only made Legolas laugh again. Aragorn, too, was grinning uncontrollably at the hobbits' dumbfounded expressions, though they quickly turned to unrestrained joy, and both started speaking at once.

The elf grinned and laughed again. "Ah, little hobbits! Too long it has been since last I saw you!"

Just as Merry and Pippin opened their mouths again, Gandalf held up a hand. "There will be time enough for questions in a moment. But first, tell me, where is Treebeard?"

"Away on the North side, I believe," said Merry. And so Theoden and Gandalf rode off in search of the Ent, leaving the members of the Fellowship alone. A bit of a debate took place between Merry and Gimli, until they resolved to seek out some lunch before their tales be told. Eventually, they had settled down with some food and, in Gimli, Aragorn, and the hobbits' case, some pipeweed. The vile smell made Legolas want to gag, but he held back, wondering how in all Middle-earth his friends could stand it.

First, Pippin and Merry began weaving their tale-though not after pleading for Legolas' story-and the pieces began to fall into place for Gimli and Aragorn. They nodded along, speaking up when their hunt fit in. Legolas listened carefully, intrigued by this. He noted how the hobbits had received hardly the rough treatment he had, when in the custody of the Uruk-hai. He decided that the hobbits had been sent for . . .he had not. He had merely been a prize . . .a gift . . .a trophy.

{Why, then, would he taint a "trophy" so?"} His thoughts rang with a biting, cynical tone.

{A trophy is a possession. You would not cooperate, little elf. You had to be broken.}

Legolas snarled inwardly. {Why break a gift? Why even bruise it?}

{To make it obedient . . .to make it bend to the master's every will.}

{But you never did, did you? You never completely caught me. And now you've lost your prize.}

The voice chuckled. {You speak as if I were the one who tormented you.}

{How else would you know my secrets?}

And the voice was quiet. A soft itch of fear took the elf.

{. . .Who are you?}

{You'll find out, little prince. You're very close.}

{Cease your pretty riddles! Who are you?}

{You'll know. You'll know very soon.}


The voice snickered. {First there was sorrow . . .now there is anger.}

Legolas did not retort. He shouldn't have let the voice see his anger. Of course, it had always been there. How could he not have been angry? How could those long, long days in the dreary, hope-forsaken dungeons not have roused his anger? He knew within himself that if given such a chance, he would fight Saruman. Oh, how he would fight him! If it took his own life to do it, he would have Saruman spend his last, blurring sight, his last fading thought, on the elf he had once used to his own sadistic pleasures. What delight he would take in that moment, what satisfaction when the Istar's chest stood still. .

Then, horrified at his own evil thoughts, with a subtle shake of his head, he banished them, and returned his focus to the present. But the voice left him with one final statement.

{And you're wrong. He did not loose you. As long as you are alive, a part of you shall be his. And another shall be mine.}

Legolas could only hope that nothing showed through his face.


{. . .And your father shall forever be his.}

Almost too enraged to think properly, Legolas shook his golden-crowned head again, and tuned back in to the tales being told.

Gimli and Aragorn were just finishing their story of the hunt for the hobbits, and now were telling excitedly of Helms Deep. Legolas pasted the same animated expression on his face, and joined in, speaking of the heroics of Haldir, and of his friend Quessetal. The hobbits merely gawked all the while, mouths agape; no doubt relieved they had been left out of the mess-though apologetic that Treebeard and the Ents had not come to their aid.

Suddenly, their tale was done, and it was Legolas' turn to weave his own dark tale yet again. He felt the hobbits' eyes trained fiercely on him. Aragorn, he knew, had retreated to his own thoughts, not wishing in the least to have to hear the story another time. He shut his eyes briefly, and launched into the none-too-gentle account.

"When we were in Lothlorien, I was wandering on my own . . .a band of orcs attacked me. They were far too many, and they managed to capture me." He thought for a moment how to continue. "I was brought to Isengard, and held in the dreary dungeons. There were orcs who would whip me, for hours on end, until my own blood pooled at my feet. Then, when I could not stand on my own any longer, they would mock me. Sometimes they would only beat me more, until I could hardly move."

"But you could fight them off, couldn't you, Legolas?" Pippin asked softly, in both horror and hope that the elven warrior had not been completely helpless. In the time he had known Legolas, he had quickly dubbed him the most skilled fighter he ever had seen. He would go into battle and return with hardly a scratch. He couldn't believe that Legolas had merely . . .let them do this to him.

Legolas shook his head sadly, and continued, his voice quieter, but still a monotone. "Saruman came up with other tortures . . .he broke my hand and my leg brutally; he would scald me with a hot iron . . .once he set my leg alight . . ." He left it at that. "He called my father to him. He asked for his life in return for mine. The first time he denied." He paused, preparing himself for his own words. "But later, he returned without summoning. And . . .my father let Saruman kill him. The first time, I was the only one who stopped him from giving in. This time I was under a spell, and I couldn't see him . . .or hear him . . .I couldn't stop him . . ." Legolas forced down his furious tears. He glanced shyly up at the hobbits. "Haldir took me back to Lothlorien." Searching their faces, and glancing over at Aragorn, he then dropped his eyes. Unexpectedly, Legolas felt Aragorn's rough hand on his slender shoulder. Suddenly he was very thankful that Aragorn was there with him. Aragorn squeezed his shoulder. Legolas shut his eyes tight. Part of him wanted the comfort, while the other half shunned it, knowing that it would break his carefully crafted mask, and let everything flow free.

He waited for the hobbits, or anyone, to say something. He hadn't said everything in this account of the story. The hobbits were too young to hear such things. When he had told it to his other friends, they had indeed witnessed a wild tale. Now, as it seemed to happen every time, they sat there in an awkward and reflective silence.

Aragorn blew a ring of blue smoke, and it drifted into Legolas' face. The elf started coughing harshly. When at last he was able to take a breath, he turned to face Aragorn critically.

"Are you trying to choke me?"

Despite the grievous tale of the past moments, the small room erupted in laughter. Yet Aragorn maintained his grave expression. "Oh, no, my dear friend. I would never do that to you." And he blew another smoke ring directly into Legolas' face. The sides of his lips curled upwards slyly as his friend hacked away in front of him. He might as well smile now; he saw the death threat in Legolas' eyes.

But Legolas couldn't stop coughing for a while, and managed to be contented with a powerful smack on the back of Aragorn's head, making his friend sway back and forth for quite some time. After a single groan, Aragorn merely continued to laugh along with the rest, and an exasperated Legolas only hit him harder.

Aragorn moaned with a smile on his rugged features. "I shall need an ale after this," he laughed.

"Look!" cried Pippin. "Strider the Ranger has come back!"

"He has never been away," Aragorn replied. "I am Strider and Dunadan too, and I belong both to Gondor and the North."

{Just like you belong both to Saruman and I.}

{Your words are foolish tricks, and nothing more. Be gone!}

"I wonder what Gandalf is doing," Merry thought aloud. "The afternoon is getting on. Let us go and look round!"

So the Fellowship passed through the door to the small chamber, and stood upon a pile of great stones, gazing at the black tower of Orthanc. Legolas' elven eyes reached farther than the others.

"There is Gandalf, and Theoden and his men!" he pointed to what appeared to the others as a dark blur somewhat close to the tower. "Let us go and meet them!" The group followed what was left of the road from the gates of Orthanc, slowly, and careful of the many cracked and loose stone slabs.

The riders spotted the companions approaching, and halted to wait for them, while Gandalf rode forward. Legolas felt rather than saw the menace of Orthanc getting nearer. The walls were jagged and sharp, just as they were on the inside; just like the ones that had once cut into his back as he had hidden in the shadows, and wept.

{Do you remember, little prince?}


{Are you ready to weep again?}

"I must pay Saruman a farewell visit." Gandalf's words jolted Legolas back to reality. "Dangerous, and probably useless; but it must be done. Those of you who wish may come with me-but beware! And do not jest! This is not the time for it." With some warnings of Saruman's trickery, Gandalf rode back to the king at the foot of Orthanc. The others jogged after him, briefly reviving some memories of the traveling days before Lothlorien, when the Fellowship had once been whole. But as Legolas passed into Orthanc's long, dark shadow, a shadow too fell on his heart. Other memories panged faintly in his heart, and a glowing ember of rage brightened.

Gandalf dismounted and spoke to Theoden. The King, and his nephew, Eomer, would climb the stairs with Gandalf to see Saruman. Aragorn was also to come, and Gimli, being who he was, insisted that he go along. Then all that knew of his tale turned to silently question Legolas.

{You are up there, whoever you are. I know you are. I will find you.}

"I shall accompany you. I alone here represent my kindred, and there is a score to settle with Saruman, if it is possible."

Gandalf nodded gravely. Legolas did not desire to come any closer to Orthanc than he already had, but something waited for him at the top of those stairs; he felt it. With that, Gandalf climbed the steps, the others close behind. Merry and Pippin sat gloomily on the bottom step, feeling irrelevant and unsafe, with neither Treebeard nor another of their companions by their side.

Gandalf struck the door to Orthanc with his staff, and called for Saruman loud and clear. Anxious silence descended upon all watching until finally an answer came.

"Who is it?" came a hiss from the window above the door. "What do you wish?"

Theoden growled as he recognized the voice. "Go and fetch Saruman, since you have become his footman, Grima Wormtongue!" commanded Gandalf. "And do not waste our time!"

No further conversation came, so Legolas assumed the person called Wormtongue had done as he was told.

{What kind of pathetic person and servant does not even question a trespassing stranger?}

Legolas blinked hard as a sharp pain shot through his head, and was gone. After clearing his mind, he considered the reaction, and grinned.

{That was you, wasn't it.}

Another pang rattled his head, but Legolas showed no response.

{You are Wormtongue-and fittingly so!} Legolas could have laughed aloud, but decided against it.

Suddenly Legolas heard a different voice-low and bewitching. Almost everyone around him seemed to become entranced by it. Except Legolas. He recognized the enchantment, and did not let his mind fall into the trap.

"Well?" Saruman's voice drifted gently out to them. "Why must you disturb my rest? Will you give me no peace at all by day or night?"

Even before Saruman stepped out of the shadows, Legolas felt the Istar's eyes on him. He saw the flame in them; and oh, how it burned him. Saruman stepped into the light, his dark eyes never leaving Legolas.

Suddenly, Legolas felt the all-too-familiar sting of a whip across his back.

Not a muscle in his body flinched.

Legolas narrowed his eyes at Saruman. He wouldn't let his tormentor hurt him again. Not now, in front of so many others. Not ever again. He wouldn't allow Saruman to look upon a pain-ridden elf ever again. This he promised himself. This he promised Saruman.

Again and again, Legolas felt the magical sensation of the whip over almost every inch of his body, and again and again, he did not move. This was the art of illusion, the art of deception. And he had mastered it perfectly.

Suddenly, Saruman turned from his conversations with Gandalf and the others. "And here is my little elf," he sneered, his calm and gentle air vanishing like a wisp of shrouded smoke. Legolas glared dangerously, as he felt the sting again, in addition to the sting of so many eyes on him. If he could just make it through this one encounter, he could be free. He knew it.

"You escaped the dungeons, little elf. You escaped the shadows and the torches." Legolas could feel how they were all listening intently. Then the sting. It hurt more than it should have . . .

"But you cannot escape the past. You cannot escape the light in my eyes, can you? No, a part of you will always be burning in these eyes. A part of you will always be chained to the stone of Isengard's dungeons."

Such anger and such hatred ignited in Legolas' radiant blue eyes then, and he did nothing to hide it. That sight terrified Aragorn, for never had Legolas, in all their years of friendship, so openly shown fury or loathing. He watched with wide eyes as Saruman and Legolas continued their sort of battle.

"Do you feel the sting of the whip again, little elf? What an excellent job you do of hiding it! What an excellent job!" Saruman leaned over the railing a little and narrowed his eyes into a cruelly delighted expression. "But can you stand through the weight of them all?"

Suddenly, the weight of every whip lash that had befallen Legolas fell over the elf's slender back. Legolas fell forward and landed on his hands and knees, his breathing hard for just a moment.

But his face remained frozen in a fire of burning anger.

Aragorn started forward to his friend, but Gandalf put his arm out in front of him. The man turned in confusion and disbelief to the Istar. But Gandalf only winked one of his Gandalf-winks, and Aragorn had no choice but to trust him.

Legolas started to rise.

"Do you remember the fires that burned in those dungeons? Do you still see the bright orange glow?"

Half standing, Legolas suddenly collapsed once more, with merely a subtle cry. Those who did not know of his past were confounded, but those who did had some sort of idea of what Saruman was doing. Yet none could know the true fire that licked away at his one leg, and the other places where the skin was still scarred. They couldn't begin to guess the agony that shot through Legolas like his own arrows.

{Ai Elbereth, help me now . . .}

{Look up, elfling.}

{What do you want, Grima Wormtongue?}


Sharp pangs rattled his already severely shaken mind. Legolas looked up, to see the sheen of light off greasy black hair, dark evil eyes, and. . .a long dagger . . .

{What are you doing?}

The burning intensified, as Saruman continued to speak, though Legolas was not listening.

{Do you want me to send him down to you?}


A stifled sound escaped Legolas' lips. Saruman was growing ignorant in his sport. Legolas felt the pounding of metal-gilded orcish fists on him, the crash of iron on his bones, the lick of the whip, the burn of the fire, all at once. He wanted to squeeze tight his eyes and curl up. He felt suddenly a gaping hole in his heart. He felt all the brightness suddenly drain from his spirit. To those watching, it seemed as if Legolas had once glowed, and now had faded. Despair came again to hollow out his soul, and try to snatch away his life. Visible darkness came about him, like a sphere of hope-forsaken shadow. Everything seemed gone . . .everything that was good and worth laughing about seemed gone, and not likely to ever return. Tears wanted to flow, weakness wanted to flourish.

"Little prince, did you ever learn what became of your father?"

Legolas' head snapped up, his eyes boring into Saruman.

"You did. Oh, I would have loved to watch you weep at that moment! But now, let us see. . .perhaps I shall have that opportunity after all."

Suddenly, a blur hurtled down towards the group of people on the stairs, and they moved out to avoid it.

Thranduil's corpse hit the stone hard.

Legolas' eyes widened. He could only stare at his father's rotting body. He could only stare into those lifeless eyes so helplessly. Suddenly he knew what Wormtongue meant by "sending him to me".

{Send him to me!}

{Are you sure?}

Legolas felt the emptiness growing rapidly.


There was a blur of movement from above, and all eyes turned from the elf prince to the balcony, to see Wormtongue, his dagger blade sliding across Saruman's throat. Crimson dribbled down the wizard's neck, and the snake shoved him from Orthanc, and he landed just beside Thranduil.

Legolas banished the lingering pain, and leaped up, drawing his twin elven knives, his hands nearly invisible in their flurry. He struck down at Saruman's body. Now the tears ran down his fair cheeks, with hatred such as he had never felt before. Again and again, he sliced the wizard's dead form, not caring for the peering eyes. How long he slashed at the flesh he didn't know. At last, he began to slow, and then he stopped. He turned his tear-ridden face slowly to the horror stricken faces of his friends. His front side was entirely soaked in Saruman's blood, like a figure from a child's nightmare. He looked at the halflings, and he could see the fear in their eyes. In fact, he could look to Gandalf and to Aragorn, and even to Gimli, and see fear.

{Oh, excellent show, little prince.}

Legolas' hands whipped back, drawing his bow and an arrow. Hardly taking a second to aim, he shot it straight up. It soared past Wormtongue, rising, higher and higher.

Wormtongue laughed. "In all your fury, Legolas Greenleaf, prince of Mirkwood, you've lost your legendary accuracy. Rage is always a weapon; whether against ones self or ones enemy, that is your choi-"

But he never got to finish, as Legolas' arrow came streaking back down, and impaling Wormtongue's skull.

"And so I've chosen, snake," he whispered.

All was silent, as every person who had a seeing pair of eyes watched the bloody elf as he staggered to the wall of Isengard, blew out a sigh, and leaned against the jagged stone, not daring to look his friends in the eye.

"Come!" came Gandalf's voice at last. "Let us leave this place!" And so they all turned and descended the stairs of Isengard's dark tower. Gimli clunked along, Theoden stayed beside Gandalf, and Aragorn walked loyally beside Legolas, suddenly with more respect than he had ever felt for the elf. As they reached the bottom, Legolas stopped suddenly.

"Just a moment." His voice was shy, and Aragorn nodded, also halting. Legolas turned and darted back up the stairs. He scooped up Thranduil's body, and returned. A gruesome sight, the corpse was, but to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gandalf, it made no difference. And so the Fellowship and the Riders of Rohan rode from the side of Orthanc, until they were far away- Gandalf's recommendation-and darkness began to descend over the world.

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Snoring and heavy breathing drifted through the night, as the visitors to Isengard slept. All . . .except a couple.

Aragorn moved as silent as was possible for a man over the resting Riders of Rohan. He wondered what they thought of Legolas now. As he did, with more respect than before, or with fear, or maybe-the thought would have killed Legolas-disdain?

He stopped suddenly. Legolas was lying on the ground, eyes open, staring at the stars. He could have been asleep or awake.

Aragorn knew he was awake.

The man came over and lay down beside Legolas, also staring at the stars. They lay there in silence for a little, merely enjoying the clear night and hopeful glitter of light in the sky.

"Ai Elbereth, I'm going to miss him."

Aragorn turned his head to the side. They were lying beside the place where they had buried Thranduil. Gandalf and Aragorn had helped Legolas gather some flowers and leaves to decorate the grave, and even Gimli had pitched in. Legolas had spent most of the day there, in silent reflection.

"He was a great elf, Legolas. His spirit will find welcome in the Halls of Mandos."

Legolas nodded. "I know." He shifted a little. "I wonder if my purpose in this world has yet been fulfilled."

Aragorn looked at his friend questioningly. "What do you mean?"

Legolas sighed. "My father's purpose was great, and long stretched, over many years as King of Mirkwood. After Moria, Mandos told me that my purpose in life has yet to be filled. I wonder if this was it . . ."

"I think that it was part of it. You've done so much in your past. You saved Haldir's life at Helms Deep; you were a mentor to young Quessetal. You likely have much ahead of you, my friend, which will benefit you and the lives of others. I think Mandos will look down upon you and smile."

Leoglas nodded, and shut his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again, a single silver tear glittered on his face. "Thank you, Aragorn." Aragorn looked at Legolas. "Thank you for supporting me. When I learned of my father's death, I thought I would die. I felt that for sure, grief would consume me and swallow me whole.

"But I came to realize that there is too much in this world to fight for to leave it now. You, Haldir, Tirdin and Nifien. . .even Gimli, let us say." Aragorn chuckled and Legolas grinned. "This war is far from over, and I will not leave it now."

Aragorn smiled. "Nor shall I, if I can help it. So, I'll see you when it's over, mellon nin."

"Aye. Namarie till then."

And so the two fell asleep, side-by-side, under the light of the stars, and the watchful eyes of a certain elven lord.


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Sigh. Alrighty doods. Now comes the bad news. It's over. Caput. Done with. I hadn't originally planned to end it here. I actually had a different ending, far in the future, and several more plot points planned. But I've decided to end it here so I can do more original writing. I'm sorry for the wait, but it was a long chapter, and, well, the good news is. . .no more long waits!

Again, guys, I'm really sorry, but I really need to do more original writing that might actually take me places. I have several ideas that need work, so I think my term at fanfiction is over. At least for now.

Katinka Inga Bogananana: Yes.that was the stalker Aragorn chapter. This one was better in terms of friendshipness.

"none as of yet": Thanks! That's what I've been working at with the characters, to make them believable. I sometimes change their personalities by the page, so it's good that you think they're believable! Thanks!

Lady of the Forest1: Hehe, Happy Very-Late Birthday! Good luck with the poster stealing, heh.

Menthol: I WAS going to write all the way into ROTK, but my recent decisions have stopped me from doing so. I'll try to read your story, but I've become very involved in a different website, and I've kind of stopped visiting fanfiction. *ducks from various thrown objects * Yes, yes, I am a traitor. *runs off *

Coolio02: Thanks for reviewing! ^.^

Zelda Saturn Mistress: Hehe. Oh, how much pleasure I'd take in killing Arwen. . .SHE STOLE GLORFINDEL'S PART! AND HIS HORSE! MAY SHE BURN IN HELL! ..Right. Sorry. Anyways, yeah. ^.^

Sparrow Greenleaf: Aaaactually, I guess I can say this as this fic is going to further. . .I had two original plans for the ending. One was that all is well and Legolas goes home to Tirdin and Nifien's wedding. The OTHER was that Legolas dies and the war against Sauron is lost. Kind of contradictory ideas, eh? But all is good now. ^.^

Irish QT: Hehe, Legolas angst plenty. But no more, sadly.

Rubber Armed Waldorf: *shoelace dance * Boomuffin hi! You can slap me Monday for ending this. Hehe.

GGJ: Hehe, the absence of Chibi in that last review was severely amusing. Especially with the @.@ness. Hehehehehehehe. But yes. It is over. And the next time we see each other we'll beat each other up. ^.^

Merrylyn: Hehe. In the book, actually, Legolas gets 41 and Gimli wins with 42. I decided "screw this, the hot elf rules all." I must say, I am going to miss your reviews. Give a psychopath a good laugh now and again. ^.^ Thanks for being of humouristicness! Hehe.

Chanra: I CAN SPELL YOUR NAME! HAAAAAAAAALELUJAH! No, you're not a wuss. I almost bawl every time I watch TTT. Bloody Peter Jackson. . .let's go kill him with staplers. But only after the extended ROTK comes out and his work is done. ^.^

THAT IS ALL FOLKS! I hope you enjoyed the show, and please be kind and review on your way out. I am very sorry to end it here, truly, I am. But things must be done and this is not the way to do them.

So Namarie to all, and to all Namarie!!!!

~Searcher of Souls~