Disclaimer: This story was written for pleasure only. I do not own any of Tolkien's characters. All poetry or prose that has not been written by myself has been footnoted and appropriate acknowledgment has been given to the authors of each piece used within my text.
The Horizon (By Rossiter Worthington Raymond)
Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
The Horizon (Anonymous)
"There, she is gone. Gone, where? Gone from my sight. That is all."
The light of the fading sun still served to warm his golden countenance while its diminishing rays continued to cast shimmering shadows upon the swelling peals of waves rising up to meet the ship's wooden prow. Up until recent, the hint of the far off land he now sought had clung upon the horizon, but as the blazing orb's position dropped within the sky, its presence had been lost to him. But though he couldn't see it, he knew it was there before him. He had faith in its existence, though never having set foot upon its shores. From his youth, he had heard tales of its beauty and glory and for many years now its lure had called out to him, beckoning his arrival. He had held back, however, from embarking upon this fateful trip, one that he had been born to make. He could not leave the life he knew before this until all had been set to right.
'Right?' He questioned oddly as a part within him held back from such a strange observation. Never could he term what had happened as right, though what had taken place had logically fit into the never-ending circle which was life. For a long time he had feared its natural conclusion, though not for any physical discomfort it might bring to him. Now as he allowed himself this rare moment to think back upon it, he realized he was having a difficult time separating the physical from the spiritual, and that the pain sensed by one was inexorably felt by the other as well. 'No,' he shook his head regretfully, 'Right would never be the appropriate term. It would never sit well with him.'
Feeling the uneasy stir of emotions, he sought to placate the rising tide that threatened to overtake him. He had been successful of recent through endless toil to subdue their suffocating effect. He had not allowed himself the time to reason upon what had taken place, but had busied both his hands and mind against it with the preparations of setting out upon this final journey. But now with its end in sight, he had trouble keeping such thoughts from returning to his immediate meditations. Even with the din of resonant snoring coming from the hull, it could not distract the memories trying to resurface.
'Ah, Elf-friend.' His mind mused as his thoughts momentarily turned to those of his longtime confidant. 'How generous of you to agree to embark upon this journey with me.' He knew such a decision had not been set upon easily, but with great hesitation toward such an unprecedented undertaking. A finger of guilt played within him, for he realized in part that the Dwarf's decision had been made to ease his own misgivings, and a deep affection stirred within his breast over the unselfish actions of his companion. Still a small smile aspired to tug at the corners of his mouth as he recollected the cherished possession his grizzled friend kept upon his rugged personage, and the Elf could not help but wonder if in part this delicate treasure had influenced the Lock-bearer's final decision to set eyes once again upon the fair one, who had graciously bestowed it to him.
'The Lady of the Woods . . . Long has it been since I have born witness to your undiminishable aura . . . though the years have been scant when one considers the scheme of things. So many have come before me, and now I fear mine might be the last to set sail to this final port.' He allowed his mind to stray back to consider those, who had decided to remain behind. A growing ache claimed his heart once more as he thought of the sons of Elrond, whose fates would now be determined upon the Great Lands. The sting only intensified as his thoughts turned to the father, who would most likely be in attendance upon the welcoming shores to greet his arrival, and the cheerless news, which would be his to convey to him.
"Elrond . . . " He sighed audibly. For the archer knew his indistinguishable appearance could only prompt the Eldar to acknowledge what had preceded his departure. The former Lord of Imaldris would most assuredly realize that the Silvan elf would never have set sail before its impending wake and with its passing the fate of another, the Evenstar, would be decided as well.
As long as the one he claimed as his friend walked among the Race of Men, a part of the Elf walked with him. The two shared a tie . . . a tether . . . an unspeakable bond, and he would never have felt some hint of completion had he not lingered behind until its finality. Now as he considered the severing of this last tie to the life he was leaving behind him, the heaviness of tears began to fill his fathomless blue eyes to mix with the sea spray rising up from the curls to wet his face, and he was at last able to issue forth his final fond farewell toward the expanding horizon now in front of him.
"Namarie, mellon-nin . . . Rest well, my friend . . . "
It had been many weeks now since he set foot upon the shores of the Undying Lands. Its realization had been bittersweet, but an enduring uneasiness still hung onto his heart. He thought with the passage of time and with renewal of friendships, its heaviness upon him would ease. This had not proven to be the case, and an air of melancholy surrounded him affecting both his waking and sleeping hours. Those spent in repose, however, haunted him more, and he tried to refrain from seeking proper rest, should the lure of uncertain memories play upon the unprotected corners of his mind. What should have been a welcoming and peaceful period had not proven thus and with this additional stress, the elf found himself too weary to comply with the rigid demands he had placed upon himself. Until at last one fitful night, he could deny himself no longer the comfort of a deep and abiding slumber, and with this sleep came the dreams he believed he would so dread. For they contained the presence of another, now forever lost to him, or so he thought.
A wood stood about him. Its dense lushness shielded against the waking brilliance of the morning sun, but still its golden rays sparkled forth as its light peaked through the crowning foliage above him to dabble shadows onto the growing tender brush beneath his feet. The remnants of a smoking fire lay to his left to join the other welcoming woodland scents that filled the air. He could hear the life within the hinterland rising to greet him until its subtle harmonies were drowned out by the commanding presence of another. The blanketing leaves that carpeted the ground beneath him served to muffle the approaching intensity of the hooves that galloped toward him, but they did not totally stave off the cacophony that heralded the arrival of a splendid steed. As it neared his proximity, the horse reared up though its daring actions did little to unnerve the youthful rider seated upon his back. The commanding figure seemed to exult in the wild recklessness of the animal beneath him as a smile flashed across his bold features. The horse reared yet again, and its brisk movements served to toss back the long, dark hair of its passenger. A glint of satisfaction gleamed within the grey depths of the Man it carried upon his back as his smile increased tenfold before he bowed his head in acknowledgment toward the one who stood before him. Then hastening toward a departure, both rider and steed set off toward the covered brush ahead of them.
"No . . . don't go!..." The Elf attempted to call after him, as his disappearing figure blended into the wooded landscape.' "No . . . " Spoke out the Elf again as he awakened from this vision.
Sadness should have laid claim to his heart, and though he held the threat of tears at bay, the satisfaction so apparent in the rider was not to be his alone. For in those moments spent in dreams, the Valar had granted the Elf the birth of peace and the promise of healing. For now Legolas could acknowledge that though physically he and Aragorn might never meet up again, he had felt the stirring of faith and comfort that his friend was dwelling in a better place. And that was enough for him . . . at least for now . . .
"He is Not Dead" (by James Whitcomb Riley)
"I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead. He is just away.
With cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
He has wandered into an unknown land
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.
And you-oh you, who the wildest yearn
For an old-time step, and the glad return,
Think of him fairing on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here.
Think of him still as the same. I say,
He is not dead-he is just away."