Epilogue: Listen to Your Heart
The sun shone down brightly on the elven settlement of Asgarnen. The rushing stream nearby could be heard throughout the area, its voice cheery and complementing that of the trees song. Birds darted through the branches of the trees, while overhead, an eagle whirled, its sharp eyes searching the ground for prey.
A squirrel darted under a huge tree, searching for nuts and acorns to store away. It paused its search and tilted its head upwards as a raised voice drifted down from over him. The sharp tone caused the creature to skitter away quickly and search for a more peaceful area.
"Legolas, you can not leave now! There is too much to be done and your people need you here! It is your place as the Lord of Ithilien to be here when your father arrives. You need to put off this visit to Rohan, my lord, just for a few weeks." Tathar spoke with conviction in his voice and eyes as he stood inside Legolas' talan, high in the tree. The argument had been going on for more than half an hour and Tathar was frantic. Legolas had only returned three months ago, to the joy of all. Yet, here he wanted to leave again!
"Tathar, I know where my place is, but you do not need me here for the king's arrival. You served in the capacity of Lord for several months. You can handle this while I am gone." The elven prince impatiently told his second in command. Legolas would not be deterred from visiting Gimli. The events of the past months had strengthened the elf's resolve to keep his promises to his friends.
After leaving the Havens, Legolas and Gimli had spent a week visiting the hobbits, catching up on the many events in each other's lives, though the accident and its complications were not mentioned to the small folk. From the Shire, they had then made their way to Edoras and spent several days visiting Eomer, who had quite a few words for the elf, until the dwarf told the king of Rohan to stuff them in his helm and let his friend be. Lothiriel had laughed merrily along with the dwarf and elf at the look on Eomer's face. Thankfully, Eomer King had learned long ago not to take the dwarf too seriously.
From Edoras, they had traveled to Aglarond, where Legolas was surprised by the warm reception he received from Gimli's people. Legolas had stayed many days before heading to Gondor alone. It was time Gimli resume his responsibilities as Lord of Aglarond, just as Legolas needed to do in Ithilien, for Tathar would never keep the title once Legolas returned.
A joyous reunion was had in Minas Tirith with Aragorn and Arwen, who had more wondrous news. The heir to the throne of Gondor had been conceived and the soon-to-be parents beamed with happiness. Legolas received much teasing concerning his need to find himself a wife and have little ones of his own…much to the elf's discomfort. Fleeing the matchmaking royal couple, Legolas found himself quickly on his way to Ithilien, as Faramir, Eowyn and Tathar, as well as all his people, needed to know he had remembered and he was not sailing. A message also needed to be dispatched to Eryn Lasgalen immediately.
Welcomed with open arms by all in Ithilien, Legolas had resumed his title and duties in Asgarnen three months ago. Now, the King of Eryn Lasgalen was coming on an official visit, but Legolas would not be here to greet him. Nothing was stopping him from seeing Gimli again. His heart told him it was time.
Ithilien's Lord looked longingly towards his bedroom where his pack was laid out, ready for him to quickly put in his things. First, he had to assure Tathar it would be fine. Thranduil had come before. Tathar had known the king his entire life. There should not be any problem.
"But MY LORD! Thranduil is coming to see YOU! That is the whole reason for his visit. What shall I tell him if you are not here?" Tathar was horrified at Legolas' persistence in the matter.
"It is very simple, actually. You tell him I am in Rohan, visiting my dear friend, Gimli. He is more than welcome to come see me there. I am sure the dwarves would make him feel quite welcome!" Legolas laughed outright at the expression his words had brought to his friend's face. Tather looked positively ill.
"I'm sure we would, but as I am here, there is no reason for you to abandon Tathar to Thranduil, Legolas." Gimli's stepped in the door, catching both elves off guard. Neither had heard the heavy-footed dwarf ascending the stairs into the tree.
Legolas' eyes widened even as he smiled. "Gimli! What brings you here?"
"Something told me it was time to make sure you were not wasting away while missing me." Gimli smiled. "I thought I would surprise you, elf. I haven't been here in quite a while."
"This is a pleasant surprise, indeed." The mischievous light was back in the elf's eyes. "Whoever thought a dwarf would actually climb a tree!"
Gimli scowled at him, "I did not climb a tree; I climbed the stairs. And do not even think of asking me to stay up here when there are perfectly good rooms down in the caverns."
Tathar quietly slipped out of the talan unnoticed. He quickly descended the stairs as the sound of bantering between elf and dwarf grew louder. No longer needed to greet King Thranduil or to talk sense into his friend, the elf slipped into his own talan, and grabbed his fishing gear.
A smile on his face, Tathar slipped off silently through the trees, heading towards the rushing stream that held his favorite spot to catch trout. As the elf walked, his ears still occasionally picked up the sound of elven laughter and dwarvish cursing. Yes, all was back to normal again in Asgarnen.