Beauty and the Warg

Epilogue: The End of All Things

Subtitle: Just in Case You Were Wondering What Happened to Draugwen and Gimli

A/N: Yes, the time has come at last for me to put this story to rest. I want to send out a big, huge, gargantuan, mammoth thank you to everyone who has read my story. I hope you enjoy this rather short but sweet epilogue.

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Many years later…

A small grey boat sat quietly in the still waters of the great Sea. The sails were unfurled, shining silver in the moonlight. A small group of people stood on the shore. One was tall and fair, his pale skin almost fluorescent in the darkness. The others were all short(er) and rather hairy. The tall one was standing slightly away from the others as if he was not a part of that group.

The tallest of the shorter group bent down to place a kiss on the forehead of the shortest. The little boy wrapped his arms around her, weeping quietly.

"Must you go, Mummy?" he asked, his voice choked with tears and muffled due to the fact that his head was buried in her cloak.

"I'm sorry, Thorin, but it is my time to go. Your sisters will look after you until you are old enough to settle down with a nice wife and raise a family of your own," Draugwen whispered, stroking his thick, coarse hair with a soft hand.

It was the year 120 of the Fourth Age. The King of Gondor had passed away in early spring, leaving only two members of the original Fellowship on Middle-earth. Those two, Legolas the Elf and Gimli the Dwarf,  were now preparing to leave their homes behind. With Gimli was his wife Draugwen, who by human expectations should have died many, many years ago.

Gandalf always felt guilty about bringing Wendy to Middle-earth and forcing her to be stuck as a Warg for so long. When he reached Valinor, he made a plea to the Valar to grant her a longer life. They took pity on the poor girl and granted her longer life, much to the delight of Gimli and Draugwen. The years were beginning to catch up on her now, as evidenced by the streaks of grey through her hair and beard.

After the dust left by the War of the Ring had settled, Gimli set up a colony of Dwarves from the Lonely Mountain, his home, in the Glittering Caves of Helm's Deep. He and Draugwen became the first Lord and Lady of the Glittering Caves, and together with the colony Legolas set up in Ithilien they assisted Aragorn in rebuilding the kingdom of Gondor.

Draugwen and Gimli had three children together. The first, a girl, was named Wendy on Gimli's insistence. He had taken a liking to that name and wanted Draugwen to always have a connection to her past. Wendy was a lot like Draugwen in that she was obsessed with Lord of the Rings. She begged her father for stories about the Quest constantly. Their second daughter was named Galadriel in honor of Gimli's first love. By Dwarf standards, she was stunningly beautiful, with a thick, full beard of gold. She carried the name well. Their third, a son, was called Thorin in honor of Thorin Oakenshield, one of Draugwen's favorite characters in The Hobbit. (She had fought to name him Smaug, but Gimli put his foot down on naming his son after a Worm.) Thorin was an adventurous young fellow who loved to make mischief and looked up to his father with reverence. Draugwen expected him to become a renowned explorer when he grew up.

Through all the years, Legolas never forgot the call of the seagulls he had once heard while preparing to sail into battle. Loyalty to Aragorn kept him tethered to Middle-earth, but now that the King was gone, he could not remain here. He built himself a ship and pleaded with Gimli and Draugwen to come with him to the Undying Lands, not being able to bear parting with his dear friends.

Which brings us back to the group of people standing on the shores of the Sea next to a grey ship with silvery sails.

"I will always love you, Thorin. Remember that," Draugwen whispered before releasing her son and turning to her daughters. She pulled them both into her embrace, holding them tightly for a long moment.

"We'll miss you, Mom. A lot," Galadriel said quietly. "Say hi to my namesake when you get there."

Draugwen had never lost her "modern" mannerisms, and her children had picked up on much of it. (Calling her "mom" rather than "mother" and other such habits) They usually spoke modern, casual English, not the more old-fashioned style of the Common Speech that almost everyone else spoke. They were, of course, fluent in Dwarvish as well, but liked to speak English  with their mother.

"Will do, Gally. I'll make sure of it," Draugwen promised, laughing a little in spite of the tears that glittered in her eyes.

"I'll keep an eye on them, Mom. I promise. You won't have to worry about us," Wendy assured her. Draugwen smiled at her eldest daughter, the one that resembled her the most.

"I know you will, Wendy," Draugwen whispered. The tears that had been threatening to fall finally did, spilling over her cheeks and wetting her beard. Gimli stepped forward, putting a hand on his wife's back and nodding towards Legolas. The Elf looked impatient and ready to leave. Draugwen nodded to Gimli, then looked back at her children.

Gimli said goodbye to his children in turn, and then the couple went to join Legolas on the deck of the sailboat. Before boarding, the three Dwarf children hugged Legolas, or "Uncle Leggy" as he was called by them. Draugwen was surprised to see a shimmering tear sliding down his cheek when he boarded. He was closer to her children than she believed. As he had never married and therefore never fathered any children, he had taken it upon himself to help raise Thorin, Wendy, and Galadriel.

"All ready, then?" Legolas asked, his voice oddly husky. Gimli nodded, taking Draugwen's hand in his. Legolas prepared the ship to sail, then joined his two friends at the stern. As the ship began to sail away from the shore towards the wide horizon, they waved at the three half-Dwarf, half-human children who were left behind on shore.

Draugwen turned her eyes skyward, but she was not truly looking at anything. In her mind she saw herself as a young girl, a "Ring geek" growing up in New York City. Through all her years on Earth, she had been dissatisfied with life in general and her life in particular. She never had many friends and instead made friends with the characters of Lord of the Rings, spending days on end fantasizing about living in Middle-earth. Never would she have guessed that one day those dreams would come true and she would end up finding love, friendship, acceptance, and happiness in a world so many regarded as make believe.

Of course, the happiness had not come without pain. She grimaced in remembrance of her short jaunt as a Warg. The fear she invoked in people made her wish she had just died in that car crash. But then she met Legolas and later Gimli. They were the only ones willing to get to know her. Draugwen squeezed Gimli's hand, sharing a smile with her husband, then smiled at her best friend Legolas.

Her children were growing smaller and smaller by the second. Very soon they disappeared, being too far away for the naked eye to see. Draugwen's heart ached at having to leave them behind, but she knew that her time in Middle-earth was spent. Not many modern mortals ever saw that place, and the Valar liked to keep it that way. They wanted her close to them so they could keep an eye on her. Draugwen could feel their call as that far-off horizon drew ever nearer.

"I am glad you are both with me. Otherwise this would be a very lonely journey," Legolas commented, his voice very soft.

"We would not have it any other way, my friend," Gimli said, his eyes crinkling as he smiled at Legolas.

"No matter what happens, you're stuck with us, Leggy," Draugwen teased.

"And nothing could make me happier," Legolas grinned.

"My sentiments exactly."

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The End!