This story is based on the characters of the movie/book Lord of the Rings. They belong to JRR Tolkien and whoever else has substantial claims on them. They aren't mine, but the story is mine. All mine…and Songbird's…for better or for worse anyway. All disclaimers apply. No copyright infringement is intended.  Also, we take no responsibility for bouts of insanity, heart attacks, or any other infliction that is supposedly caused by this story…

This is it guys, the end, the last chapter of The Bond of Friends.  There is no more, and of that we would not kid you.  We're putting the reviews at the beginning of this chapter, well, just 'cuz I feel like it, really, so without further ado, the responses and then the finale of the first in this series, The Bond of Friends…

To the Reviewers:

Eleni – Thanks Eleni! Yep, only one chapter left. I don't know what I will do without your kind reviews daily. Hmmmmmmmmm, Still thinking about having you beta the sequel.

TCHello TC! Yep, only one more chapter. It is kinda hard to believe. As for sequels, we have one done, but you will have to beg Cube for the posting dates.

Sparx­Thanks Sparkx! Glad we didn't drive you crazy with another terrible cliffie. Just one more chapter to go. Will it end with a cliffie?

KarineHey Karine! Thanks for all the kind words. It's nice to know that we have been able to put so much into one chapter.

CathyCathy, all I can say is hehehehehe. I love your reviews. Just remember that Cube and I will be running when the next chapter is posted. So know this: if you want the sequel, you can't kill us.

CowgirlThanks Cowgirl! Yep, just one more chappie, but keep looking back, because we will be posting a sequel sometime. Glad that you've enjoyed it.

Trin - Hey Trin! It was cool to get a review from you. Are you actually gonna go read the rest of it? Lol

Chapter 44

When the four were finally allowed in to see their friends, they were overly concerned. While Aragorn had begun to remember more about what had happened that night, it seemed that Kaolith was beginning to remember less and less, and no one could explain it. None were more afraid than she, and as always, she turned to her friend for support.

As Aragorn started to remember, his body started to heal faster.  And he was soon allowed to leave the room with his friends.  Kaolith was not so lucky.

"Can I talk with Selinde alone please," the others could see the pleading in her eyes.

"No problem," they said, and filed out of the room.

"What is it mellon nin?"  Selinde asked with worry in her voice.  "You are not getting better."

"I know Selinde. I have not been truthful with the healers."  She paused while looking for the right words.  "As Strider is getting better, I'm getting, well, worse.  He is remembering, and I am forgetting."

Selinde was growing more concerned by the moment.

"What do you mean you are forgetting, my friend?"

"I'm forgetting.  Doesn't that explain it?"  Selinde tried to be patient so Kaolith would continue.  "When I first woke up, I could remember more than I can now.  I just know I could."

Selinde was starting to panic with Kaolith's words.  "What is the last thing you remember?"  She asked her friend.

Kaolith thought for a moment and then said.  "I remember talking with that lady, what was her name.  The one in Osgiliath."

Selinde was relieved when one of the healers entered the room.

"I want you to rest my friend."  Selinde tried not to let the concern in her eyes show.  "I will be back later.  You will get well, you will see."

Selinde left the room and closed the door.  She took a deep breath and then headed in the direction of the Lord and Lady's chambers.  She had to find out what was going on.  If Kaolith's memory kept degrading, it wouldn't be long before she forgot about her friends.  And there was one friend at least, who didn't want that to happen.

Selinde stalked into the Royal Chambers, waiting for neither permission nor introduction as she sought out the Lord and Lady. The two were sitting quietly at a table, seemingly waiting for her.

"What is wrong with Kaolith?" she remembered vaguely that Kaolith had told no one but her, but that piece of trivia was far from important at the moment.

"What do you mean, the healers have told us that she is healing well. Is there something that she hasn't told them?" The concern in Galadriel's voice was genuine, and Selinde paused, calming down before continuing.

"She is not getting better, and I don't know why, and neither does she. She is afraid, and quite frankly so am I. You must know what is going on with her, or at least have some idea." As she continued, she became more and more agitated.

"Yes, we have some idea, but we did not want to scare her, letting her think that it was just because Aragorn had some Elven blood in him that he was healing more quickly. What does it matter, she is only human, and doesn't belong with Elves anyway." Celeborn's mistrust came through loud and clear with his last statement, and sent the she-Elf in their presence over the edge.

"You did WHAT? You didn't tell her? She's losing her memory, and you left her in the dark. And what does it matter if she is human? She is friend to your grandsons, both biological and adopted, and a friend to Prince Legolas and myself. That alone should be enough to make you trust her and care for her." She would have continued, and likely gotten herself a sentence in the dungeons, but the twins, Aragorn, and Legolas ran past the guards as she did and respectively clamped hands over her mouth, on her shoulder, and on her arms.

"Calm down, mellon nin, if you wish to help Kaolith." Elladan was closest, and after seeing the she-Elf sag visibly as she realized her words, he turned to his grandparents. "What do you know?"

"I know that she appears to have spent too much time with humans, to speak to us so."  Celeborn was trying to remain calm.

Galadriel looked from her husband to the young ones.  "I will tell you what I know, and then I think you should head home.  For I'm beginning to believe that only the hands of Lord Elrond will be able to bring her back."

With those words, she explained that the young girl was not really getting better.  Physically, she wasn't getting worse, but that could change.  They had only recently suspected something might be wrong with Kaolith's memory, when she started answering the healers differently.

"As for you Lady Selinde," Galadriel put her hand on her husband's shoulder.  "You alone should be able to understand his mistrust of humans.  However, you will be forgiven, for your loyalty to your friend is inspiring to all.  Now if you will prepare to leave, I will have horses and supplies made ready for you."

Nodding, Selinde allowed herself to be led from the room and back to her friend. She watched as the child slept on, not knowing what was wrong or how to fix it. The rest of the group let her be, pulling the healers out with them, and retreating to their room to prepare for the journey home.

She was still sitting there about 20 minutes later, daydreaming of happier times, when Kaolith sat up quickly and fearfully. "Where are we? What's going on? What happened? How did we get here?"

Kaolith was frantic, and only pulled away when Selinde moved to comfort her. "You called me a traitor, get away from me. Leave me alone!"

At her yell, the rest of the Elves came running, afraid of what they had heard. Strider moved Selinde out of the way and wrapped the child in a strong embrace, comforting her. "It is all right little one, you are safe. We are in Lothlorien, it's all right, shh, calm down." The pain in his eyes was clearly evident at the distress his protégée was experiencing.

"Strider, what happened? Where is Breg? What about Fildan and Riadoc? Where are they?" Kaolith looked up into the man's eyes imploringly.

"Oh Kaolith, all is well, relax. You are safe. Breg is gone, and you are safe now. There is no need to fear."

When Kaolith let go of her fears, she collapsed into the man's arms, asleep before any of the companions could ask if she was okay. "We need to get her to Ada quickly, this is bad, and it looks like it's only going to get worse." Elladan was already picking up his pack, and handed the youngest Ranger's weapons to Selinde. "I think she would want you to hold on to these for her."

With haste, Aragorn picked up Kaolith, grabbing the blankets around her in the process, and followed the group out, only stopping for Elrohir to wrap the blankets more tightly around his charge's shoulders.

They only accepted five of the six horses.  They planned to take turns holding the young girl.  They thanked the Lord and Lady of the wood, and Selinde apologized for her rash words.

So it was that the four Elves and the two Rangers headed once again for Rivendell.  They rode as far as the Gladden Fields before Kaolith became to agitated to ride anymore.

"Selinde," Kaolith searched for her friend.

"I'm here, mellon nin.  What can I do for you?"

Kaolith was looking around frantically.  "Where is Tanad?  I didn't mean to scare him away with my prank.  He could get hurt, will you please find him?"

"Yes sweetie, I will find him for you."  Selinde then nodded at Aragorn and they gave Kaolith a draught to drink that would make her relax and sleep once again.

As soon as she was relaxed again, they mounted their horses and rode on.  The four males could tell that Selinde would go alone if they should stop to rest for too long.

They kept riding.  They only stopped when the horses needed rest, to tend to Kaolith, or when Aragorn was so desperate for rest that he was ready to fall off his horse.  They finally reached the old forest road, and once again needed to treat Kaolith.  She once again called out for Selinde.

"Selinde, please don't leave me!"  She cried.

"I will not leave you, I am here."  The others could see that all of this was beginning to take a toll on the female Elf as well.

"I'm so sorry I teased you about falling out of the tree.  I won't ever do it again my friend.  Just don't leave me again."

Selinde wasn't sure which tree incident she was speaking of, but tried once again to comfort her friend.

"I promise upon all that is dear to me, that I will never leave you."  The other friends were beginning to wonder, if Kaolith died, would Selinde hold to that promise and follow behind.

Aragorn approached Kaolith and checked her over and soon realized that her physical well being was now also starting to deteriorate.

"We cannot rest anymore."  He told the others.  "If we don't reach Ada soon, she will die."

They mounted their horses for one last ride.  A ride that should take several days, they would make into a record run.

The guards posted on the edges of Imladris saw the five horses coming at a run.  No one would ever treat a horse so cruelly, unless it was life and death.  As the riders got closer, they recognized the sons of Elrond and the Prince of Mirkwood.  They did not attempt to stop the horses as they passed.

So it was that Lord Elrond was waiting when they reached the stables.  He didn't even pause to ask where his son and the Prince had been, seeing the state of the young human.

As she was lowered into Elrond's arms, she called for her friend one last time.

"Yes, Kaolith, I am here."  They could all see the toll this had taken on Selinde.

"Thank you for getting to Lord Elrond.  I promise I will fight the poison that was on that arrow."  Those were the last words they heard their friend speak for a long time.

The End…and yes we're serious