Epilogue

And so Legolas and Fuineth began their married life together. After so much denial and hardship they now walked a path in each others' company that was wonder for those around them to see. Their love for each other never faded, but only grew and strengthened with each passing year.

There were no children. Fuineth lost two pregnancies and the second time was herself nearly lost to Legolas. Seeing her in that illness Legolas decided that there would be no children – elves being able to control such matters – and though Fuineth pleaded he would not relent. He would lose her all too soon. He was not willing to risk losing her any sooner.

Ithilien became a bright and wonderful place under their stewardship. Lord Faramir would come and visit them often, as would Túveren and the King and Queen and Gimli, of course. But at last, as was inevitable, Fuineth began to age. She was still beautiful, though grey now, proud and tall still. Legolas felt he loved her more now than ever he had before and yet his heart was filled with foreboding as he saw her beginning to weaken and tire.

Some four years before Meriadoc and Peregrin came south to Minas Tirith for their last journey there before their deaths, Fuineth was in her last sickness. Her brother had died three years previously and Legolas had grieved long at his passing, not only because he was very dear to him but also because it meant Fuineth's time would be coming soon.

As she lay in bed, her white hair upon the pillow, Legolas sat beside her and would not leave her bedside. He held her hand and they spoke quietly, remembering their life together and the times they had shared. At times Legolas would weep, unable to contain his distress and she would raise her thin hand, stroke his face, speak soft words to him and tell him not to fear.

"We knew this time would come, meleth nín. We knew, and we made our choice. Do not let me think you regret that decision now."

Legolas looked at her and shook his head and kissed her hand. "Never, meleth nín."

She smiled, "Good. I am glad."

She coughed a little and had to stop to get her breath.

Legolas looked concerned, "Do not try and speak, Fuineth, you need to rest."

She shook her head, "No. There is something I wish to tell you. I have kept this in my heart all this time. Forgive me for never telling you till now, I do not know why I did so."

He looked at her, puzzled, "What is it, meleth nín? What have you to tell me?"

She smiled, "What the Lady Galadriel said to me, that first time we went to Lothlorien on our way to Eryn Lasgalen to marry." She stopped again, catching her breath.

Legolas smiled now. He remembered well their visit, how he had first taught her love there and how she had delighted in his showing her the place now fading fast since the Lady had gone West.

Fuineth continued, "You had told me she could speak to people in their heads, without talking."

Legolas nodded, "And she did so with you?"

Fuineth's head nodded weakly. "She told me not to fear. That we had made the right decision. That you would lose me, that you would grieve terribly, but the memory you would have of our time together would be the happiest of your life. That you would carry that memory West with you and remember our time with joy."

Legolas wept openly as he heard her words, and a tear rolled down Fuineth's cheek as she saw his distress. She raised a hand to his face, "Please, meleth nín. Please don't. Haryaccë indonya."

He looked at her as she used the phrase from their wedding vows. He held her hand and kissed it and then, gently, quietly said to her, "A linda lótë nórelyo, avanya yeldë Roccoliéva ar Nunaraniva, Fuineth yendë Beriorgano, haryacce indonya. Quentin lyenna melissenya: melemma lá pole rácina an Erunen ná aina ar mána. Endanysse, meladanya, meluvanyel ambar-metta pella. Herinya; melmenya."

She smiled, breathing with difficulty now, her voice getting quieter and quieter as she replied, "A Cunduwa Laiqaitaurë ar Heruva Isilnorë, Legolas Thranduilion, haryaccë indonya. Vandea ëá mi le sí ar harmuvanyë annalya indossënya. Endanysse, meladanya, meluvanyeal ambar-metta pella. Herunya; melmenya."

The effort of speaking left her weak, and her breathing was shallow now. It would not be long. Legolas sat beside her, holding her hand, the tears wet upon his cheeks as he watched her slowly slip away from him.

Just as she took her last breaths, she held her hand out and he could see she wanted to say something. He sat upon the bed, bringing his face close to hers and his arms about her as she whispered softly, "Non melethrin lín, Legolas," and breathed her last.

He kissed her tenderly and whispered, "Non melethron lín, Fuineth," even as he held her lifeless body in his arms and wept as his heart broke.

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A ship sails down the river and then out from the harbour to the sea. Two figures are aboard: one short and helmeted, his long plaited beard now tinged with grey, the other tall and blonde, of noble bearing.

One is facing West, his heart lifted at the thought that he will once more gaze upon the face of she whose image he has carried in his heart for so long; but the other faces East watching the land disappear on the horizon. His eyes are filled with tears and his heart is breaking. His mind is on a hill of green upon which rests a mound.

As he stares toward all that he has lost he softly begins to sing. He sings a song of love found then lost, a song that he first heard from her lips in Edoras so many years before. And as he sings the tears fall upon his cheeks:-

In long ago / in simpler time

They did meet / those fated loves:

A mortal and / an elf-maid fair.

A dark elf she: / a moriquend.

.

Tall, proud and dark / a warrior bold,

He stood amazed, / his heart did stop,

As she there / before him smiled

Shining by light / of moon and star

.

I will see you never more, my love,

I will see you never more.

.

Hand in hand / they did walk

Their laughter bright / rang through the trees

Their love was clear / to all that knew

But dark indeed / her mother's thoughts.

.

O daughter mine, / O maiden fair,

I cannot bear / to see you thus.

Though your heart / in joy delights,

All too soon / your heart will break.

.

I will see you never more, my love,

I will see you never more.

.

The mortals die, / their lives too brief.

Wither they wander / is not known;

They do not return / nor cross the seas

To sit patiently / in Mandos' Halls.

.

The lovers twain / would not be swayed

But joined, betrothéd, / wed became,

They shared a love, / a passion deep,

But still she watched him / age and die.

.

I will see you never more, my love,

I will see you never more.

.

A figure stands / beside a mound

Weeping, tears / upon her breast.

A ship awaits her / at the quay:

A ship to take her / to the West.

.

Across the sea / to Valinor

Back to the arms / of waiting kin;

But forever will / her heart turn East,

Back to that turf / o'er crowned with flowers.

.

I will see you never more, my love,

I will see you never more.

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meleth nin = my love

non melethron / melethrin lín = I love you

haryaccë indonya = (Quenya) you have my heart

Wedding promises (Quenya):

'O beautiful flower of your land, the fairest daughter of the People of the Horses and the Dunedain, Fuineth daughter of Beriorgan, you have my heart. I say to you my love: our love cannot be broken for it is by Eru holy and blessed. In my heart, my beloved, I shall love you beyond the end of the world. My lady; my love.'

'O Legolas son of Thranduil, Prince of Eryn Lasgalen, Lord of Ithilien, you have my heart. A promise lives within you now and I shall treasure your gift in my heart. In my heart, my beloved, I shall love you beyond the end of the world. My lord; my love.'

THE END.

My sincere thanks to all those who have reviewed and given such positive feedback and in particular Star, Sirius, AN & Elb.