Epilogue: Khila Amin

"Nana, Ada, look!" Our daughter ran to us, holding something small and colorful cupped in her hands. "He is injured! His wing is broken."

Haldir and I looked down at the wounded butterfly, then exchanged a glance. "Yes, he is injured," my husband agreed. "I do not think we can help him."

She raised her dark eyes in protest. "No, I can help him! Watch!" Her eyes fluttered closed and her lips moved silently. Within seconds, she released her treasure and watched him fly away on the breeze.

"Ah," Haldir teased, "you have once again proven us wrong. Where is your brother?"

I smiled as she ran off to search for her twin. The garden in which we strolled with our children was a paradise, its air perfumed with the heavy scent of flowers of every variety and color. Tall trees surrounded us, their green leaves rustling in the warm breeze, creating a music oddly unique to Valinor. And everywhere we went, the air hummed with life.

Haldir took my hand and kissed it. "She has much of your former ability, my love." His silvery blond hair hung to his waist, his golden tunic shimmering in the early morning light. I walked beside him, my dark hair adorned with elven braids, my long silken gown whispering softly around my ankles. And as of last week, a new child grew in my belly.

Ahead of us, I could see my daughter had been distracted, for she now hurried from plant to plant, calling out their names, her joy evident on her face. She had my dark hair and her father's eyes and peaked ears, and already promised to be a beauty when full grown. As for our son, he looked so much like his father that I often studied him with amazement. How could this be, I would ask. And Haldir would say it was the will of the Valar.

We turned as a vigorous shout hailed our attention, and I saw Haldir's face grow stern. "Is this the way one addresses one's parents?" he inquired.

A cheeky grin creased our young son's face as he hurled himself forward and grabbed his father around the knees. "I can throw you on the ground," he bragged, to Haldir's amusement.

"You think so?" Haldir ruffled our son's silvery hair. "Perhaps someday that may be so, but not now, unless I permit it. Which today I do not. I am wearing the new tunic your mother made for me."

As our children scampered through the pathways of the garden, we slipped our arms around each other's waists. "We need to spend some time alone," Haldir remarked casually. "Perhaps the children could spend the evening with Orophin and RĂºmil."

"Why do we need time alone?" I teased.

"A fair question. What kind of answer would you like?" He flashed me a smile, and sent one of his favorite erotic images searing through my mind. Then he started to laugh. "After all this time, you still blush, Keara! I know not how this can be so."

I swatted his arm. "You are a very naughty elf," I said severely.

"Yes," he agreed, quite smugly. "And I do not intend to change."

"Nana, Ada, come look!" Our two children reappeared, jumping up and down with excitement. "Come and see what we found. Hurry! Follow us!"

Hand in hand, we followed our children, contentment washing over us like the lapping waves of a gentle, benevolent sea.


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