Authoress's Notes:
Deirdre is a Celtic name which means "Sorrowful";
Kelilah is a Hebrew name which means "Victorious" (can I just say that I prefer to think of it as "Victorious one"? Perhaps "one" is understood.);
Túrmineth is the Elven equivalent of "Victorious one."

This was inspired by the ending paragraph of the last story in the series known as The Mellon Chronicles by Cassia and Siobhan.

"No matter how bad it gets you can never lose hope because just over the horizon or around that next bend you'll see for yourselves the shores of home welcoming you too. A thousand lights will be waiting for you as you make your way to shore to the sounds of singing friends and family, celebrating your homecoming. You will hear Ilúvatar's voice speaking your name and if you look closely enough you may even find a fair-haired elf and a silver-eyed ranger among those waiting for you on the far shores of home."
-And So the End

I think that in Heaven it will not matter what language(s) you spoke in the earthly life you lived, for once you get there, all tongues will be known to you -that perhaps all tongues will be one and the same- and thus there will be no language barrier, for such is an earthly ailment, I believe. That being said, this is the basis used in the story for the easy understanding of all that is being spoken there and even the significance of the names as specified by key characters within this story.

Dedication:

For my fellow Mellon Chronicles' fans,
especially those who ache when they reread the end of the series
or whoever read And So the End and wish they were there.

For anyone who has ever
felt alone,
felt pain,
felt depleted,
felt worthless,
felt lost.

For anyone who has ever
tapped on wardrobes,
longed for other worlds,
or ever wished for a fictional character to be real
because they are so much more real than real people are.

For anyone who has ever longed for those far white shores of Home.


These places and these faces are getting old,
So I'm going home.
—Home by Chris Daughtry

The room had long since fallen dark, save for the flashing of little red lights and the glow from certain hospital monitors as the machines monitored every life sign and every vital detail the doctors had to keep track of. She didn't know what all of it did; she couldn't particularly care. Her gaze, rather, was tiredly, detachedly riveted on the light streaming through the paltry blinds on the windows.

Other than herself, of course, the room was empty. There was no family crowded around her bedindeed, that would have been a difficult feat, what with her in ICU and her condition unstable at best. She didn't need anyone to tell her this; she could sense the growing disjointedness of her own life as her body struggled for survival. She didn't know where the doctors were, but they must've been doing all they could.

They had, she knew, done everything they could for her. It was up to things now beyond their control whether she lived or died. One of those factors was her will, but as she laid there, she couldn't find much of one. She was floating, suspended, and she could hardly string enough coherent thought together to decide what part she might play in her impending death or miracle of survival.

She supposed she could pull herself through this…but did she really want to? Did she want to face the recovery and the even harder nature which would overtake her life were she to live? Things had been far from easy for her already…much heartache and much struggledid she even have the strength to face much more?

It'd been a hard life. It'd been difficult on her tender heart. She'd always had to be strong, always had to be the one everyone could overlook and leave behind and forget about her heart, her feelings, her love. It made her feel sick to consider tholing anymore under even harsher conditions.

Of a truth, her will had been slipping for a long time. Oh, she would never take her own life, but weakened as she was, she could not find it within her to exercise a sense of will and purpose over her body to pull through this.

As she laid there, listening to the beeping of the heart monitor and the pounding of the rain against the window, she considered all things and for the first time in her life, felt warm tears trickle down her cheeks without any difficulty getting them to fall. This, this was her one last relief afforded to her, she knew.

Lightning flashed. The storm raged. Aye, the very reason she was here nowrain and unheeding, crazy drivers. She remembered disjoined moments out on the asphalt, the cold rain and warm blood mingling on chilled skin as her mind drifted with the haze of pain and a concussion.

In her mind's eye, she could recall each face of her family, those she loved as dear as anything she ever could. To die…her death, she could decide, would spell heartache, grief for those she loved. Why did it always take a tragedy like this to wake someone up to what has been in front of them the entire time?

Her family, who had always been the receivers of her love, those whom she had given service and deference to for so many years…those she had pulled herself through for countless times. Now, when at last their drifting away had led her to find a niche of her own, somewhere, would they come scrambling to her side?

It had taken them much too long. Indeed, perhaps it was too late. Such a deadline always comes, after all; it does not spring out of nowhere, but rather sneaks up while one lets their attention slideand as such, a severance had been creeping up for years…only it was much more finalizing than she could ever have imagined.

Her chest wearily moved upwards and far too easily slipped back down, as though its very weight had taught her lungs who was boss. Another inhale, another exhaleher lungs expanding and contracting. One more breath. But did she have enough will to do it all over once again?

Perhaps, finally, she couldn't be bothered to perform the mundane tasks anymore. Her strength had, at last, failed her.

So much for life…and hers had cost her much indeed.

Her thoughts drifted again, past the walls of the hospital, past the confines of family…into fantasy, into fiction, into her second source of comfort and strength.

A dark-haired ranger and a blond-haired archer. Strange, she knew, but the stories she had loved so well, fanfiction though they were, had been her place to turn when she needed another boost to keep going, another influx of will and strength when she herself was so depleted by it all.

Fictional characters, people would say. Perhaps that was true. Maybe they were real. What did it matter? They did what no one else bothered toinspired her to stay strong, to live well, to keep on keeping on.

They spoke to her and encouraged her. Who could make that claim?

So the web pages of two writers' endeavours had become her home away from home. Her second reality when this one could not be bothered to help her. The Mellon Chroniclesand they had become her friends, fictional though they were.

For when in hard times, she turned to these stories of struggle and survival, of pain and life and the trumping power of light, she found hope and even, occasionally, direction. They may have been imaginary, this Aragorn and Legolas, but their characters had been real and true, when no one else around her could do so much as make themselves real to her.

They couldn't be quite imaginary, now could they? If nothing else, a part of them was real, for it existed inside of her. The part of her that was a part of them.

And it was what had helped her through so many years of her short life, so much turmoil and strife, so much confusion and pain and loneliness.

When in doubt, when in pain, hardship, or suffering of some kind, she had found peace in precious few things. The Word of God and His promises; in a Cross carried for her debts; outstretched arms and a pierced side; beholding hands and nails and the very breath of life breathed into her; and the stories of hope and the overcoming of life's hardships as found in the tales of Aragorn and Legolas, as laid down in The Mellon Chronicles.

In the hardest of places, in the worst of times, she had always found a smiling face, a shoulder of comfort, an outstretched hand…and they had always belonged to these two.

When her doubts or her fears had overcome her, she could always hear the words, like a distant echo of something which struck true inside of her: "Take heart, dear one, the end is near; you will make it. There is a dawn, no matter how dark it gets before." And with that, she could find a sense of peace settling over her, one that no other person had ever brought her.

Now, as she lay alone and empty and drifting in the cold, cruel emptiness of aloof hospital walls, body frail and broken, she felt someone near. A presence, a comfort, an assurance, a voice whispering into the darkness around her.

She closed her eyes and took in what had been brought to her.

"Do not fear, little one, it will be over soon." That voice, she recognised it; could it be any other than the voice of her crutch, her support, Legolas?

The pain…the pain was a constant now. Since the accident, she had hardly felt much else and she hated it.

"Even this is a passing thing," another voice, a dark-haired, wise-eyed ranger whose character and heart had been an inspiration and a comfort.

And she knew, that like so many other times in her life, these brilliant encouragers and supporters and reminders of truth were here for her.

Perhaps it would seem ludicrous to some; perhaps it would seem as blasphemy. Perhaps even crazy. It's not like she saw imaginary people, though; and it wasn't that she believed in some false god. Nay, she knew Him and she knew He was addressed by many names, from Yahweh to the Almighty; could Eru simply be another way of addressing Him?

That question didn't really matter. He had many names, yes; and she knew that there could very well be other dimensions, other universes, other places beyond her own world…but that wasn't the point.

The point was, the blue-eyed prince and the silver-eyed ranger had been her aid, her muse, her strength in dark times. If nothing else, it was what they represented, what they stood for, what they portrayed; it was their stories, their lives, their inspiring courage, and their refusal to be swayed from the truth.

Perhaps they also awaited her on the other side, along with her saviour and greatest inspiration, greatest support, the very mainstay to her—Yeshua…Emmanuel…Jesus.

The man who had died for her; the two people who had suffered in ways she could identify with; three whose lives had strengthened her own.

"On the shores of home…."

"Home…" she whispered the word, the last familiar sound in a world of darkness and despair and uncaring depravity. She wanted to envision the home which awaited her when she let go of this life…but what would it be like, to die?

This fear gripped her. Would it hurt? Would there be darkness? Would it last? Silence—would there be that there to drive her crazy?

Should she cling to this life for the sake of those she loved? The question burned in her mind. Yet, why should she? Had she not served her purpose? Had she not been here long enough and, perhaps, outstayed the life she had come to live? Maybe it was time to go, to return, to be.

"Do not fear death, child; it passes quickly." A wise prince's admonition. "Nay, not even death can keep its clutch for long, for life outweighs it; and it is life which awaits you past this. Life and light, death flies from their faces, from their hold, from their brilliance; they make its hold weaken. Life is what you deserve and not even death itself can deprive you of it. Death will soon pass, and you have nothing to fear."

A soft smile crossed her lips, cracking dried tear tracks and quietening the contours of her face, as though at last, she had found a place to relax into, found rest and hope and -perchance- healing.

As her breathing evened out and her fear faded, she began to relax…and felt her life fade a little more. She desperately clung to what was left…could she really leave her family? Could it be, at last, she might come into her rest instead?

"It is time to leave." A weathered striver's understanding. "It is time to come home…."

Come home…Home….

Peace at last descended upon her, as though wrapping her up in a thick blanket. She had come into this life struggling for her life, but she left it with, not defeat, but quiet, serene victory.

-0-

This girl's seen a lot of pain,
But this girl's gonna smile again.
—This Girl by Nikki Flores

Everything faded away; she left it all behind as she fled to where she was finally allowed to, into freedoms she could never remember experiencing. It was not until she registered the dark around her that she paused. Had she really run right into the arms of death, into this darkness? Fear curled around her, but for only a moment. She shook off its hold with a quiet, unshakeable knowing that it did not belong and held no relevance.

There was this crushing silence, accompanied by a complete and utter stillness—not a breath of wind stirred, not a single noise in the quiet surrounding her. Everything occurred to her as being as still, dark, and silent as…the dead.

Time had never had a total lack of meaning as it did now. Yesterday, today, tomorrow…past, present, future…what did these words mean? They had no meaning. It was like time did not exist…indeed, it did not, for she had passed beyond its oppressive confines.

And in this moment, which stretched on forever or passed in what we know as a blink of an eye, she rested secure in her waiting, such as it was or was not. The whispered words of a hospital bed's stay -which even now, the concept of pain was beginning to recede, but oh so slowly- echoed around in her mind.

She could get through this.

Then she saw it, in the distance. A glow on the horizon, a light in the darkness. Oh, it fought—indeed, the darkness fought tooth and nail, but it had no jurisdiction, and its fight was a losing—lost battle.

There was a shoreline, a life, a place… and Death lost its hold on her as night lost its control on the world -such as it was- around her with an audible snap of a sound, as though a soundproof veil had been torn asunder with an instant success.

Steadily growing cheering, joy…a beach grew before her eyes. People…there were people everywhere, among them were those she knew to be her ancestors, late friends, early lives, and predecessors—all scattered across a coastline of beautiful, pure white.

She did not recognise every face, but she felt she knew them all already. They were close to her heart somehow and, most incredibly, she was close to theirs.

People gathered, crowded close to the shoreline as she stepped foot upon it, and hands were outstretched to her, smiles on every shining face. All the cheering, all the rejoicing—pride, utter joy, unrequited, unbridled love. Tears filled her eyes, tracking down her face.

To be here, at last. To be free. To be Home. To be loved.

"Do not weep." Stepping from the crowd, he grasped her left hand in a shake, his other grasping her elbow in a symbol of greeting and respect. And as he did so, Aragorn continued, "You have always been loved, dear heart."

Another hand was laid on her shoulder and the blond elf smiled kindly as he greeted her. "Let go of the pain of the past, for it holds no more sway here. Here, there is total and complete freedom. Step into the peace of the present."

She glanced between the two, speechless with joy, numbed by thought, and dumbfounded by bliss.

"Deirdre, sorrowful…" Aragorn commented, speaking her name, translating its meaning, and the two ancient friends exchanged a look. "This does not fit you anymore."

"You are in need of a more fitting name." Legolas agreed, nodding at her. "You are a victorious one."

"Indeed!" Aragorn grinned. "Kelilah, Túrmineth. Victory over sorrow, triumph over pain—"

"—peace in truth, strength in joy. Victorious." Legolas's face shown with such a light she had never seen before.

"Welcome home, Túrmineth." The two swept out their arms and stepped aside.

Behind them, she could see, as though just appearing but it seemed to her to have been there always, a rich green field, bustling with people, with plants, animals…with life. It was so full, so pure, so alive.

A song had risen around her as she took in her new home…but it was not new in the strictest sense of the word, for it had always been hers. And among the words raised in triumph, in joy, she could catch the sentiment most oft repeated, "Kelilah, Túrmineth—for she has won her battle; she has conquered. She is a victorious one."

She was so full of joy, of hope, of light, and life. She had found what she had always sought for and she settled at last into the finding. On these far, distant, brilliant shores, this was paradise.

"Welcome home, My Child." That voice, that sweet, sweet voice… She closed her eyes and let her heart burst with the life and joy and love it brought her.

A smile erupted across her face, and in that moment she came into her full.

She was loved…she belonged.

She was Home.