AUTHOR'S NOTE This is it! The end! You guys made it. =) About two thirds of the third story, which coincides with the movieverse RotK, is written and then Rae's trilogy is over!

And is anyone else HEARTBROKEN that there are no more LotR movies to look forward to? *sob* Although Peter Jackson is trying to do the Hobbit next…

Thanks to everyone who reviewed!

Next chapter will be the theme song only and have no story content.

DISCLAIMER I don't own Tolkien's characters and I do own my own.

The gates were left open as our warriors made their final stand against the Uruk-Hai. Dawn's light poured into the shadowy rock prison we'd been trapped in for hours.

My spirits soared. The battle was over! Legolas and Colindor were alive and would return to us. I knew they were alive.

For a moment, I felt a stab of pain as I remembered that not everyone would come back. Haldir – my rescuer, my friend, my protector – was gone. His spirit would be on its way to the Halls of Mandos, along with the other Lórien Elves slain during the night. I would mourn for Haldir, but not now.

The group of us – Emeriel, Calíme, Gauna with Daelin, and I – pushed our way through the crowd of women waiting for husbands, sons, or brothers to return. Near the doors, I saw Éowyn pacing restlessly. "Lady Éowyn!" I called.

She stopped walking and ran to me. "Raélowen! The Uruks are retreating!"

"How fare our warriors?" Emeriel asked worriedly from behind me.

Éowyn looked to her somberly. "Very few return."

Emeriel nodded miserably. I squeezed her hand reassuringly, for I knew in my heart that Colindor lived. I turned back to Éowyn. "When will they return?"

She gestured for me to gaze out of the open doors. "They now pursue the Uruks far from Helms Deep and will return once we are out of danger." She smiled. "They should return soon."

'No!' my heart screamed. 'I cannot wait any longer!'

Calíme put a hand on my shoulder. "Shh Rae," she whispered. ."He will be back soon. You must be patient." I knew she could feel my longing.

"Come!" Éowyn said, gesturing. She grinned, unable to hide her joy. "We can wait outside the caves."

Calíme, Emeriel, and I nearly trampled Éowyn in our excitement to get out into the sun. The endless hours in the caves with no air or open sky had taken more than their toll on us. Off in the distance, our warriors could be seen pursuing the surviving Uruk-Hai. Strangely, a forest had sprung up outside Helms Deep. I did not remember that from the day before. Sunlight glinted off the brilliant robes of Gandalf the White.

I could see them and that put my heart momentarily to rest. As I stood in the sun, everything that had happened returned to my mind.

The Ring of Power had been found. And Haldir, my lifelong friend and protector, had been killed by the evil it had summoned.

But there was more in the world besides evil. There were surprises. Calíme found love, but not the conventional kind. Whatever maiden he found to be with would be good to her. Emeriel had married Colindor and they were having a baby.

And me. My first days as an Elf and so much had changed. I had left my homeland and journeyed into the land of my past. I learned of grief and despair. I learned of war.

But I had also been blessed. Every moment I could feel the life within me. From my child I drew courage and determination to survive until the end of the War. I would give him or her a life of peace. And my baby would be special. I lovingly traced a hand over my stomach, over where I could feel the life.

"Rae," Calíme whispered softly. Looking side to side, I saw Emeriel's and Gauna's faces glowing. Éowyn's eyes were shining with tears of joy. I shaded my eyes against the morning sun.

My heart leapt. With a sea of warriors behind them, Théoden, flanked by Gandalf the White and Éomer, approached the fortress gate. Aragorn and Legolas followed the King, battle-worn but victorious.

"The enemy is defeated," Théoden announced. The people of Rohan cheered. "Rohan is safe again!"

A deafening cheer arose and the formality was broken. The crowds of peasants and warriors flooded together. Cries of joy or grief arose in the morning air around Helms Deep as families found their loved ones or did not. Marek found Gauna and swung Daelin high over his head. I saw Éowyn run to Aragorn, amazed to see him alive. Emeriel nearly knocked Colindor over in her exuberance to see him.

"My Lady of Lórien."

My dark blue eyes me his. I bowed my head. "Congratulations on your victory, Prince of Mirkwood."

Legolas held my gaze for a moment longer, then grinned. Without a moment's hesitation, I flung myself into his waiting arms.

**********

Legolas was safe. My heart sang and despite the death and grief around me, for a moment I was happy.

Together, Legolas, Aragorn, Théoden, Éomer, and Gandalf had ridden out together to observe the area. I watched them ride in the morning sun. They stopped for a long while, watching the east. Just beyond them, the fire mountains of Mordor spit angry red flames into the air, setting the horizon ablaze. Mordor was furious.

I knew this wasn't over by far.