Ah, here we are, the epilogue of story I thought would never come to an end. But now it has. THANK THE VALAR! Anywho, hope you enjoy it. Doesn't the title sound promising:D
And by the way, I hope you all followed my advice and took the time to read Call of the Red Bird…
Epilogue- Wedge Between the Heart
"I wish that you did not have to leave so soon." Norui said to the small group of Muruien, gathered in the main hall of the Mirkwood palace, "You know that you are more than welcome to stay as long as you wish."
"And we have, my friend." Ricamros said with a small smile, "We are thankful for your hospitality, but now we must depart for our own home."
In reality, the Muruien had stayed longer than they had first anticipated. Almost a month had passed since they arrived and it had flown by faster than they would have liked. Though the whole group had become close friends throughout the journey, a bond seemed to have formed tighter between the Mirkwood children and the Muruien, and they were reluctant to leave each other. Inside, they all knew that they would see each other again in the future, but the idea of parting was painful for them to think of.
"Know that you may come here when ever you so desire." The Crown Prince continued as if trying to stall the inevitable, "Our doors are always open."
"Norui," Tarmikos laughed softly, "We've been coming here for years now. I do not think that we will just suddenly stop. Our sister is still here, you know."
This statement seemed to catch the attention of the mentioned Muru, who then looked up to her brothers with sorrowful eyes. Seeing this, they both smiled in reassurance at her, though they, too, were saddened that she would not return with them. Just to see her standing with the elves and not them made their hearts break. But they knew the reasoning behind her decision and would not go against them.
Then, Iaurtondariel stepped towards the elves and this seemed to somehow break any formality in the air, and so the others did the same. For the last time in many years, the two groups of friends mingled together and gave their final farewells.
The Crown Prince smiled when he saw the elleth come towards him, her fingers twitching anxiously on the hems of her traveling tunic. He stopped this by taking her hands in his own, then placing them gently to his lips. He glanced up to see her smirking playfully.
"Even after all of this, you still are hesitant to approach me." He commented teasingly and she chuckled, replacing her hands by her side.
"Not hesitant, simply… intimidated." She answered, and he raised a brow.
"Intimidated, hmm? Well, I suppose I can be quite intimidating if I choose to be." He accentuated this by crossing his arms haughtily over his chest and looking down at her arrogantly. Iaurtondariel then jabbed him gently in the side with a finger.
"Not that sort of intimidating, you dolt." She laughed, and then threw her arms around his neck when he grinned cheerfully. This seemed to sober the moment as he wrapped his own arms around her waist. She sighed heavily before saying into his neck, "I am going to miss everyone, Norui. But you most of all."
"I will miss you, too, Iaurtondariel, and I'll never forget all the times that we have shared together." He smirked, "Even some of the less pleasant times." He laughed softly when she groaned into his neck.
"Don't remind me."
"What, you regret that now? I thought you liked me."
"I used to, but now you are just teasing me."
"That's not a very good reason to dislike someone, my lady. I hereby banish you from the kingdom of Mirkwood!"
Laughing, the two elves pulled away from each other and gazed warmly into one another's eyes, relishing their last few moments together. They heard the others call for them to leave and so, placing a kiss on her forehead, Norui stepped away from her and motioned her to go. Giving him a small bow at the waist, Iaurtondariel turned and started towards the others, but stopped when he called out to her, "Farewell, my lady Rusc."
The elf paused in her steps, gazing over her shoulder thoughtfully at the ellon. He simply smiled back, and then turned to rejoin his siblings.
The companions then left the hall and came to the courtyard of the great palace. The Muruien took up their true forms, but only Jocikah took flight, her large wings pumping quickly against the ground until she was out of sight. But the two princes remained behind, Iaurtondariel perched upon one of their backs, and they gazed back at the sister they would leave behind. Espenshade acknowledged them with small, sad smiles. Snorting in response, one silver dragon leapt into the air, followed by the other, and they were gone.
The elves stood there until they were all out of sight, then began moving slowly back into the palace. Only the Muru left behind still stood there, gazing high up into the darkening sky. The golden haired prince looked over his shoulder at her, halting in his steps. The elleth on his arm looked up to him questioningly, and then glanced back to the Muru.
"Espenshade," Legolas called to her softly. She did not respond, but he knew she was listening, "You know, there is nothing that is keeping you here. If you wish, you may leave with them."
There was then a long, tense moment where the prince thought that she truly would decide to leave him. The possessive side of him hoped that she wouldn't take advantage of his offer, but he knew that it was ultimately her decision. He would rather her be happy.
Then, turning back to him, the Muru said, "You know the answer to that already, Legolas. I made a promise to your mother that I would look out for you, and I will follow through with that in honor of her memory." She paused for a moment, "Please, I would like to be alone for a little while." The ellon simply nodded, offered her a comforting smile, and then followed his siblings into the palace.
Sighing shakily, Espenshade turned her bright eyes back up to the heavens. Her brothers were long gone, she knew, but she still hoped that they may suddenly change their minds and return. They couldn't stay forever, but even one more moment with them would suffice, even if it would make it all the harder to let them go.
A gust of cool air whipped through her golden hair as she turned and reentered the palace not long after the others had. The Muru wandered the halls alone the rest of the day until night came. As she slept, her mind and heart flew in the skies of her dreams with all of those she loved beside her; Ricamros, Tarmikos, and the one who always made her feel loved.
"Jaimea, you don't have to be nervous." Legolas said to the elleth sitting on the bed as he paced back and forth in the room, rummaging through his wardrobes.
"Legolas-" She started, but she was cut off for what must have been the hundredth time that day.
"I realize that this will be the first time you will be presented formally at a feast, but-"
"Please, Legolas, I-"
"There isn't any reason to fret. It's a simple procedure, really. All you have to do is-"
"Legolas!" The elleth shouted, stopping the ellon in his tracks with a questioning look on his face. Jaimea sighed heavily in frustration, then swung her feet up onto the bed and tucked them underneath of her, "I'm not nervous."
"Then what's wrong?" He asked, moving to sit down on the edge of the bed, "You've been acting very odd lately."
Frowning slightly, the elleth scooted towards the head of the bed and patted the space in front of her, asking the prince to sit before her. He did as she asked, then took her hands in his.
"Please, tell me what is wrong. I don't want to see you unhappy like this."
Again, she hesitated in her words, looking down at their clasped hands. Sensing her uncertainty, her drew closer to her and placed a lingering kiss on her lips, "You can tell me anything, melleth-nín."
For a long while, they sat there in silence as Jaimea gathered her thoughts. She had to tell him now, she thought over and over, she had put it off far too long. But what if he would not love her anymore? Was their relationship strong enough to withstand what she was about to tell him? She only hoped that it was.
"Legolas," She started, "There is something that you must know about me."
"I'm listening." He said encouragingly. For some reason, it did not give her the feeling that it was intended to. The elleth swallowed hard as her hands began to sweat from her nervousness. How should she begin? Start from the beginning or just come out and say it? No, that would be brash. What to do…
"You know the story behind my parents, yes?" He nodded, and she took a deep breath, "After they had died, my brother left me alone and ran away into places that I do not know of. I lived with my other family until I was old enough to leave, then I came back to my old home. That was an expanse of many years, and yet I had never heard from my brother. And it would still be many years still before anyone would know of him again.
"Then one night, he came to me, but he was not the same elf that I had grown up with. He recounted his adventures to me and I was terrified of them; he had been places that I do not want to imagine, told me things that I do not dare utter. I told him to leave me and never come back, and it angered him. But he did as he was told, though with evil intent now in his mind."
Tears began to well up in her eyes and the ellon brushed them away with a finger, "You do not have to tell me this if it pains you to do so."
"No, no, I have to." She insisted, shaking her head, "When his name had come up again, I knew that he had done something horrible. I tried to stop him but he ignored me, and that night, he performed his most horrible deed: he attacked the royal family."
As she watched him, the elleth could see the sudden realization flash in his eyes, yet they were filled with disbelief. She only wished that it was all a joke, that nothing she said was true. Legolas opened his mouth to speak, closed it again, and then whispered dangerously, "You mean that your brother was that wretch that destroyed our lives so many years ago?"
Jaimea's tears now flowed freely down her cheek as she realized that this conversation was not heading in the direction that she had hoped. Yet she knew that she had to finish what she had started. Nodding, she continued, "Yes, Legolas, he was. My brother was the one that crippled the kingdom, the one that drove a permanent wedge between your family, and the one that stole the life of the queen. I watched him burn on that pyre, watched his body go up in flames, and his ashes carried away into the air." Her voice hitched in her throat, "My brother was Elinyro."
It felt as if a cold barrier had been shoved between the two as they gazed at each other, one staring in shock and anger, the other hoping her fears would not come true. But as she looked at him, she knew that it was not so. A fire ignited in those cerulean eyes, flashing and crackling with fury. Her heart nearly leapt in her chest and she had to hold back the bile rising in her throat when the prince dropped her hands, leaving her reaching out for him desperately. Swinging his legs off the bed, Legolas stood and strode out of the room without a word, slamming the door behind him.
When that door closed, it felt as if her life had fallen down around her. Everything that had happened between them the past few months had all gone to waste; it didn't matter anymore. How could she have been so foolish to believe that he would understand?
The elleth was barely aware of the Komuned hopping up onto the bed and purring softly into ear as she threw herself down onto the thick blankets, her shoulders racking with sobs.
Well, so much for a happy ending. But, as I'm sure most of you know, there is going to be a sequel to follow up on this. Work on that will begin soon, though I plan to do it a little differently. To save the lives of both me and my beta, the chapters will be considerably shorter (compared to twenty pages each) and I'd like to make a few buffer pages before I start posting. I estimate about a month before anything comes up, but knowing me, I'll probably start posting later this week. :P
Anywho! Thank you for everyone who stuck with me through this! Incentives not quite done, but getting there, and I'll keep posting redone chapters randomly, so keep checking back for those. Other than that, THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR KEEPING ME GOING ON THIS! I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU ALL!
Now, I'm going to go start plotting for my next story while my very large cast goes on their much deserved break to Mt. Kilimanjaro! Won't they have a surprise in store for them when they return…bwahaha.