*sobs* This is the final chapter *wipes away tears with a sniffle*. I have a special treat for all you readers at the end of it though.
Aragorn slowly moved down the hall as his free arm reached out towards the wall to balance himself. His body was frustratingly weak and today was the first day he was allowed out of the room. Well, 'allowed' probably wasn't the best word to describe what he was doing. More like sneaking away while no one was there to guard him. He almost wished he could be a fly on the wall to see the expressions on his brothers' and friend's face when they found him missing. His soft chuckles quickly ended when his battered ribs protested.
Elrond told him that he was on his way to being well but that it would take time. Aragorn wasn't very keen on waiting for time. The bruises on his body were fading to a sickly yellow color before fading completely. His shoulder wound was on the mend but still tender. His arm was crossed across his chest and bound there to his body to put minimal strain on the muscles. Once his 'guards' had left, he had grabbed a blanket and set off to stretch his legs. He had been lucky to avoid any other Rangers and a certain wizard. Thick socks kept his feet warm as he slowly made his way up the winding staircase before reaching the top of the tower.
"Many greetings, Master Aragorn."
Aragorn looked up startled at the dragon that was perched on the battlements of the tower. Her silver scales reflected the bright sun as he gazed upon her. Her sharpened talons dug into the stone to hold her seat as her leathery wings rested lightly against her sides. His jaw dropped just barely at the sheer beauty of the she-dragon that looked at him.
"I am Aurora, daughter of Ashur. It is a pleasure," she said and dipped her head to him.
"The pleasure is all mine Lady Aurora. You must be a friend of Sauros," he said and moved to sit on the ledge next to the dragon.
Aragorn didn't know a dragon could blush but apparently the species could for she did. One of the human's eyebrows shot up in interest as he faintly smiled. It seemed his red dragon friend had an admirer in the mists.
"Did I see a slight blush Lady Aurora? Do you have feelings for Sir Sauros?" he asked, hoping that he would not offend her.
"I do, Master Human, but I fear that he does not reciprocate my feelings. He is such a powerful and brave leader; he could never be interested in me," she said and shook her head.
"It is unwise to think such things if they are not verified. I would advise you to ask Sauros and discover his feelings. If not, you will always be asking yourself 'if' questions. And those 'if' questions will eat at you until there is nothing left."
"Those are very wise words," Aurora admitted quietly. "Do you have a loved one?"
Aragorn bowed his head and looked down to the courtyard. Did he ever think of Arwen? Of course; did he breathe, did he blink? He dreamed of holding her tightly in his arms. Her scent invaded his dreams and clung to his very being.
"I apologize if I brought forward unwanted emotions," Aurora apologized softly and Aragorn shook his head.
"There is no need to apologize. I have not seen her for five or six years and I dearly miss her. I hope she has not forgotten of me," he said quietly.
"No one can forget you Estel."
He turned and looked at the blonde haired elf as he walked up the final steps. Inwardly, Legolas was relieved to have found the human. When the twins and he arrived back at the room, all three were shocked to find the room empty when they really shouldn't have been. Once the human deemed himself well enough to move, someone had to keep a constant eye on him and keep him from stretching his limits. Elladan and Elrohir were still hunting the lower parts of the castle, leaving Legolas with the upper levels. He was actually surprised that he found the Ranger this quickly and easily.
"No one could forget you Estel. You have the uncanny ability of leaving your specialized mark," Legolas said and stood beside the human as he crossed his arm across his chest.
"And what would be my 'specialized mark', elf?" Aragorn asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Always leaving a bloody trail where ever you go. Destruction, mayhem, chaos; everything else related to those words," Legolas suggested as he ticked it off on his fingers.
"I really sense the love, Legolas. You are no better; one of us always carries the other back home to be healed. I seem to remember bringing you back to Mirkwood on a litter a few years ago," Aragorn joked as the elf rolled his eyes.
"Enough, human. Let us go before Elrond joins the search."
"He is currently in the courtyard passing judgment on Jasper and his closest advisors," Aragorn said and pointed down to the courtyard where he could see the dark haired elf-lord.
"Well then, let us go and join him."
Legolas helped the human stand and wrapped his arm around his friend's waist. The two slowly moved down the stairs and through the hallways. Passing by a guest room, Legolas grabbed another blanket to wrap around the human. The twins would kill him if Aragorn caught a cold on top of everything else.
Aragorn rolled his eyes as Elrohir rounded a corner and spotted him. Seconds later, Elladan found the three and reprimanded the human for sneaking off. Aragorn nodded and acted ashamed just enough to abate the elder twin. He continued on towards the main courtyard with Legolas' help while the twins protested. Reaching the courtyard, Aragorn went to stand by his father and caught the last bit of what Sauros was saying.
"-just medicine. Let him run and see if he can out maneuver four dragons," Sauros said and turned to the bound ex-king. "Would you like regular or extra-crispy?"
"Now Sauros, restrain your temper and save it for another time. The Rangers will remain in Tharbad and set up the ruling council. The offenders will be tried for their crimes and justly punished. The Rangers will help get the town back on its feet and become a trading post for travelers," Elrond said wisely as several of the Rangers nodded. "Anything you wish to add Estel?"
Elrond looked over at his human son and raised an eyebrow just slightly. He wasn't that surprised to see him up and moving so soon and was tempted to comment but decided to wait. The human wouldn't take it well if he was subjected to a lecture in front of everyone else. Elrond looked back to Jasper who was glaring at Aragorn with unrestrained hatred. The man looked disappointed that the Ranger didn't die as he hoped. Elrond was half tempted to lash out at him but that would have been a very bad example. He didn't want to scare young Lina who was currently playing with Kore's green tail. The dragons had grown close to the young girl just as the humans had. The elf-lord shook his head in amazement at the energetic young girl.
"Nothing, ada. My life as Valimer is over, it is in the past."
Elrond moved towards his sons as the prisoners were taken away. Aragorn walked to Sauros and motioned for the dragon to lower his head down to Aragorn's level.
"Sauros, unless I am mistake in my assumptions, you do have feelings for Lady Aurora. Do you now?" he asked quietly to the dragon.
"Yes, yes I do. She is so beautiful and kind hearted," Sauros said softly, sounding as a dragon in love.
"Well, I have it on very good authority that she has feelings for you also. I feel very awkward as a dragon match maker but you two are fated for each other."
Sauros lifted his head and looked down at the dragon before looking over at Aurora. Aragorn nodded when Sauros looked back at him and the dragon slowly smiled.
"Excuse me, my friend but I have someone to see about a lady," he said before lumbering off towards Aurora.
Aragorn smiled and slowly moved back towards the elves waiting for him. He was thrilled for Sauros and Aurora and hoped that they could find love in each other. They already seemed to be half way there by themselves, now they just needed to talk about their feelings.
The prisoners had already been led away and the courtyard only housed the dragons, elves, and single human. Elrond's healer eyes looked over the human before looking into his son's eyes.
"I am glad that you are better, my son. It is far too early for me to lose you now."
"I am feelings better now," Aragorn said before his face fell suddenly.
"Estel? Is something wrong?" Elrond asked, seeing the dramatic change.
The twins and Legolas leaned closer upon hearing the elf-lord's concerned tone. Elrond suddenly feared that his son was suffering a relapse from his injuries. Perhaps it was an infection he overlooked, or other internal injuries. But upon looking closer into his son's eyes he dismissed everything when he saw the mischievous sparkle in the human's eyes.
"There is something wrong ada. For the past few days I have had these three bothersome, overbearing shadows. I have tried to ignore them but they do not go away. They are as stubborn as dwarves."
Elrond covered his mouth and coughed to cover his laughter. Aragorn slowly walked away and laughed at the shocked elves. The composed elf-lord looked away and repressed his laughter. If he looked to the others, he would most definitely fail to restrain his laughter. His sons and Legolas looked shock and temporarily stumped.
"Bothersome?" Elrohir asked and slowly turned to glare at he retreating human's back.
"Overbearing?" Elladan echoed and followed his brother's gaze.
"Dwarves?" Legolas said as the twins looked at him. "I do not care if he is injured. He is mine."
The three elves shot after the human with an elf-lord trailing after them.
"Do not tear his stitches or I shall stitch all of you to a bed!"
The dragons looked at each other amused as the sound of the chase echoed in the courtyard.
"Must be something in the water," Sauros said and looked down at Aurora with a smile.
Yes, it is true this is the last chapter. I am trying to contain my tears as best as I can. Tears and keyboards do not mix very well. I wish to express my undying love for all the reviewers that enjoyed this story and yes, there will be a sequel to this story entitled: 'Order of Glaurung.' I already have several pages written, so hopefully I will have the first chapter for the new story posted in three or four days. Again, thank you to all my reviewers for this story.
After the responses to all reviews is a preview for the sequel. It is short but it is there to…wet your appetite. Heehee, I am so evil.
Dha-Gal- Everyone please hold a moment of silence for all the trees that gave their lives for this story and all the tissues that were needed *pauses for a moment of silence* okay, enough of that. Poppy would very much like for you to sneak a bunny into your story; and he says that it better not be killed for dinner. He is very touchy about that.
Frodo16424- Thank you so much for the compliment on the chapter. I thought that would be a nice little bit to have in the story. Lina reminds you of your granddaughters? They must be adorable then.
Lady Devonny- *blushes* Thank you so much for the compliment. Believe me, it took me *pulls out a calculator* about ten years I think. I hope I got the correct age for I started to write…can not really remember that well. Bollocks, I can not remember what I did yesterday.
Yoshi-fan2003- I am at 82 now! *sequels* I can not believe it! *faints*
Elvendancer- Yes, I write much better during the night hours; do not ask me why, I have just accepted it as being me. Yes, there will be a sequel to this story as specified earlier. *dances around*
Midnight Loner- *giddily dances around* A new reviewer! YAY!!!!!!! I just love all my reviewers! *huggle* I am okay now, I hope so anyway. Heehee, anything thank you so much for the compliment.
Star-Stallion- I thought that would be a great line to put in the response when I read your review. I had to double check that I got the wording correct and it was so now I am happy! No, arrows but almost got fried a bit. "Regular or extra crispy?" Heehee, oh I need my sleep.
Snow-Glory- Yes! Baby dragon would be hilarious! I can just see it now:
Aragorn: Now we have to feed him.
Legolas: Feed it what? I do not think that it likes lembas bread.
Aragorn: It is an 'it'. He is a he and besides I think he has taken offense *glances warily at baby dragon about as tall as him* I think you had better apologize to him.
Legolas: Apologize to a baby dragon? You must be joking Aragorn!
Aragorn: Does it look like I am joking? He is only a few weeks old and he is as tall as me at the shoulders!
Legolas: He is a baby!
*baby snorts in indignation and while the two are arguing he carefully lights a patch of grass under Legolas foot on fire*
Aragorn:-take care of…of. Do you smell something burning?
*Legolas sniffs the air before looking down and jumps away with a scream*
Legolas: The little bugger set me on fire!
Aragorn: Now, Legolas, he did not set you on fire. He would never purposely do that *pats the baby dragon on the head*
Legolas: Manipulative little-
Aragorn: Legolas! Be nice to baby dragon!
*Legolas grumbles about finding an extinguisher somewhere and shoving it down *author comes in and smacks Legolas* Spades: Be nice elfie!*
Farscapeangel- *giddily dances around* Thank you so much for the compliment new reviewer.
tHe InSaNe OnE- Menfil berries to the rescue! HA! To save the human, or not to save the human. That is the question. Very difficult decision. Much thought needed to think this question through.
Grumpy- I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as the others.
Lauren- I just finished reading 'Blackwood Farm'. Very good book; I hope that they make another movie from her books. 'Queen of the Damned' was very good with Aaliyah in it as Akasha. Eh gads, I love that movie; very good soundtrack too. I am used to the sight of blood so it does not bother me any. *offers a tissue for teary eyes* This is the last chapter and I am saddened by it but am very anxious about the sequel.
"Valar, grant me peace in death that was denied me in life. Allow he that is worthy to set those souls free that have been trapped. Allow him the grace of the savior at the Hill of the Eye," he murmured as he slowly backed towards the ledge.
He stepped onto the ledge and slowly opened his arms out to his sides. Just as his pursuers emerged from the shadows, he fell back to the still wind. He fell as he looked up at the stars for the last time.
"Valar, catch me."
Till next story: Order of Glaurung. Namaarie.