A/N: Well… this is the end. Thank you to everyone who brighten my days with encouraging and uplifting reviews!
Pip4, jambaby1963, sazza-da-vampire, knighted lioness, Skitlez, szepilona10, milou8, Jedi Sapphire, Calenlass Greenleaf1, starset, Peregrin Ionad, Aya-Shoru, Calathiel of Mirkwood, Mini Librarian, Queen Su, AtlantisGirl, MakruTree, trecebo, astistic sprite, Tari Surion, FireChildSlytherin5, StrangerToTheWorld, Jimmy Candlestick, King Caspian the Seafarer, Yellow-Fluffy-Monster, fluffys-sidekick, and Protector of Canon2.
Please enjoy this last installment. – Ila
Legolas leaned on the stone balustrade of one of Cair Paravel's many terraces, staring out at the water. The waves glimmered golden under the setting sun, dazzling the elf's eyes and filling his mind with both sadness and joy. The beauty of the sea overwhelmed him, and he was almost regretful that it did not beckon to him.
The echo of laughter, music, and dancing drifted over to his secluded spot, but he paid the sounds little heed. It had been three days since the battle and the death of the Witch, and this day, the four siblings had been crowned. It had been a glorious ceremony, and the following celebrations had been going on for some time. Legolas had allowed himself to be swept along for a few hours, even teaching Susan and Lucy a simple elven dance, but had finally withdrawn.
He felt… confused. He still did not understand why he had been brought here. He had been certain that it was to kill Jadis, yet that had not come to pass. He wished to speak with Aslan but did not wish to pull the Lion from the festivities.
"What troubles you, My child?"
Legolas started and looked over to see the Lion himself studying him. The elf stepped back to Aslan's side and laid a hand on the coarse mane. "Goheno nin, Eru," he said. "I did not see you."
Aslan rumbled a soft laugh. "There is nothing to forgive." He cocked his magnificent head and looked deeply into Legolas' eyes. "You still wonder at your purpose here."
Legolas nodded wordlessly.
"Come," Aslan turned and headed for some stairs. "Walk with me."
Legolas fell into step beside him, and they made their way down from the palace to the warm sand of the beach. The quiet waves of evening licked the shore gently, and Legolas bent down to grasp a white pebble before the next wave reclaimed it.
Aslan watched him for a moment. "Look carefully at that pebble," he instructed. "Notice its smoothness and beauty. However, it was not always such. Formerly, it was rough and unattractive. What changed it?"
"The friction of the water," Legolas answered uncertainly.
Aslan nodded. "It was tossed by the waves, ground into the sand at the bottom of the sea; it was worn down and chipped until it became a thing of great beauty." He smiled softly, gazing out across the water. "You will face many trials in your life, Legolas; you have faced many already. They will wear you down, chip at your faith and resolve until there will seem no reason to go on. But if you cling to hope and to Me, you will immerge stronger than ever, and your life will be beautiful."
Legolas bowed his head, humbled by Aslan's words. He stared at the small stone cradled in his hand, running a finger gently over its surface, pondering the allegory.
"Trust in Me," the Lion continued. "I told you before that since Jadis had harmed many on Middle-earth that it was only right that one from that land be present at her judgment. You were chosen." Aslan looked up, his tender eyes catching and holding Legolas'. "I suppose your presence here could also be called a test."
Legolas blinked, surprised. "A test?" He looked away, sudden understanding and sorrow filling him. "You wanted to know how much I trust You. I failed. I disobeyed You at both the Stone Table and the battle. I refused to believe that You knew best, and I used Your blades out of anger and revenge."
Aslan stepped up to his side. "You did not fail, Legolas. You merely stumbled. Such is natural. You repented and redeemed yourself. I have already forgiven and forgotten your mistakes."
Legolas dropped to his knees, wrapping his arms around the Lion's neck, and burying his face in the mane as he had seen Lucy do many a time. "Thank you," he whispered.
Aslan purred, leaning into the embrace. "Never doubt My love for you, My son."
Legolas sighed, a warm feeling of contentment seeping through him. "I never will…" he paused "…Adar."
Aslan chuckled. "I have long wished for you to call Me that, elfling."
Legolas was silent for a long moment, not wanting this time to end. However, he could not hold back the question playing at the edge of his mind. "Why does this seem like a farewell?" he whispered, pulling back and searching the Lion's face.
"Your time here is done," Aslan replied.
Legolas bowed his head, feeling strangely accepting. "Will I come back?"
Aslan studied him for a moment. "Do you wish to?"
Legolas nodded. "I love it here. Now that the witch is dead, this land and her inhabitants are so peaceful and alive." His face grew troubled. "Not like Mirkwood."
"Peace, child," Aslan said gently. "Maintain hope, and Hope will come to you." He turned to face the water. "Come; follow me." Springing forward, he plunged into the water, disappearing under the calm surface.
Legolas glanced back at Cair Paravel, spotting Lucy watching them a balcony far above. His heart heavy at leaving the children, he raised his arm in farewell before turning and diving into the cool water after the Lion. The moment the water closed overtop him, a warm, welcoming darkness fell over his senses, and he allowed his consciousness to fade.
Legolas awoke to the sound of soft conversation in Sindarin and the popping and crackling of a campfire. His clothes were dry, and a blanket was laid over him, and he opened his eyes, setting them on large, dusky, and tangled boughs above him. He gave a soft sigh of relief, closing his eyes briefly. He was home.
The conversation ceased, and he reopened his eyes to the worried yet overjoyed face of his father. A moment later, he was clasp in his father's arms, breathing in the familiar smell of Thranduil's leather armor.
"Ada," he murmured, his voice muffled by the fabric of his father's tunic. "I've missed you."
Thranduil pulled back, clearly torn between relief and worry. "What happened?" he asked, still gripping Legolas' shoulders tightly as though afraid to let go. "You disappeared almost two weeks ago, and we searched everywhere. We found the remains of your patrol, but you were not there. I thought you had been taken!"
Legolas felt his heart twist painfully at the anguish in his father's eyes. "I'm sorry, Adar," he said. "We were taken by surprise. I managed to escape, but the orcs pursued me. They trapped me in a cave, and I fled deeper in but had no light. I remember falling…" he hesitated "…and then nothing."
Thranduil sighed softly. "We found you unconscious in a stream near the highlands only an hour ago. I suppose you could have fallen into an underground stream, though how the water carried you out without drowning you is beyond me."
Legolas glanced up at the stars, though they were hidden by the branches above. "Eru protected me," he said.
Thranduil gazed at him silently for a moment, his expression veiled. "Come," he said at last, standing. "If you feel well enough, let us head back to the palace immediately. Your siblings are frantic." He glanced over his shoulder at his guards, commanding them to prepare to move out. "We can talk more there," he said, and handed Legolas his weapons. "These were still on you when we found you."
Legolas took them gratefully, glad to see that they were not damaged. The king's guards greeted their prince with joy before taking to the trees, and Legolas followed them, keeping near his father. His senses were attuned to danger, but his thoughts were elsewhere, striding with a Lion across a grassy hill and walking through the sand beside the sea.
Suddenly pausing his advance, Legolas reached into a pocket of his tunic, drawing out a smooth white pebble. A soft smile crossed his face as he fingered it gently before replacing it and continuing his way toward homes.
"Maintain hope, and Hope will come to you."
Him when dark doubts assail thee,
Trust Him when thy strength is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all.
Trust Him, He is ever faithful,
Trust Him, for His will is best,
Trust Him, for the heart of Jesus
Is the only place of rest.
Goheno nin – Forgive me
Adar/Ada – Father/Daddy
A/N: It's really hard for me to believe that this story is actually completed. It's both heartbreaking and exciting to know that I've finished my first lengthy fanfiction. Because all of you who have read and reviewed, writing this story has been an extremely rewarding experience. You've encouraged me and taught me, and I thank you all for sticking with me to the end. I'd love to hear what everyone thought of this final chapter and the story overall.
Keep a look out for the sequel!
God bless you all!