The Chronicles of the Fellowship
By Michael Weyer
Celebrations and Farewells
Lucy was dreaming.
Or she was dead.
She was trying to figure out which was which as it was hard to tell. She was lying on a very soft bed covered in white silk covers that felt amazing. A light gown was over her body which felt better than it had ever since they had arrived in Middle Earth. She shuffled as she sat up, brushing her hair back. She became aware of a figure before her and looked to see the kind-hearted bearded man smiling at her as he puffed on a pipe.
"Gandalf," Lucy whispered.
"Welcome back," the wizard said in a light voice. "It is good to see you again, Lucy."
"You too, sir," Lucy said, automatically smiling at him. She looked around taking in the bright white room and sighed. "Did…did we do it?"
"You did," Gandalf confirmed. "Saur on is no more."
"Good," Lucy breathed. "Good…" She frowned as she looked around more. "Strange. I thought it would be…larger."
Gandalf frowned. "What would?"
"Heaven. I mean, all the stories I've heard and from what Aslan had said, it seemed it would be a bit…different."
Gandalf looked at her with puzzlement before his eyes brightened and he removed the pipe to start chuckling. "Oh…oh, my dear child, you're not dead."
Lucy blinked. "But…you're here."
"Ah, I see," the wizard chuckled again. "I can assure you, I am not dead either."
Lucy stared. "What?"
"A long and rather involved tale," the wizard continued. "But it is true."
"But…the lava," Lucy stammered. "How could we-"
"The Winglords," Gandalf replied. "They came to rescue you, Frodo and Sam on the cliffs of Mount Doom. Your siblings were quite overwhelmed by the sight but thankfully, the healers of Gondor were able to pull you through."
Lucy sat up straight. "They…they're here? All of them?"
"Oh yes," Gandalf said. "Just waiting for you to awaken." He rose to open the door, sticking his head out. "Come in."
The door opened and Lucy felt her heart leap as Susan entered. Her sister was clad in a lighter gown than usual, a hand instantly going to her mouth as her eyes misted over at the sight of Lucy. In seconds, they were in each other's arms, sobbing and laughing together. Peter and Edmund paused at the entryway to watch for a moment before also joining in.
"You are never…ever…leaving our sight again!" Susan choked out. "I don't care how old you are, I am never letting you go!"
"That may be a bit problematic when I reach university age," Lucy managed to quip through the tears. She heard cries and had just broken away from her siblings when Merry and Pippin raced onto the bed to hug her as well. "Ah, Miss Lucy, so good to see you again!" Merry grinned.
"Aye!" Pippin added. "We have quite a tale to tell you! Ents, ghost warriors, Nazgul and more!"
"We'll save a pipe later."
"She don't smoke, Merry."
"Well, no better time to learn."
Lucy laughed as she looked up to see Gimli coming up, the dwarf's usual gruff face now in a wide smile. "Ah, lass," he softly said, hugging her quickly before pulling away. "Does my old heart good to see you safe and sound!"
"As does mine," Legolas announced as he entered with a light smile on his lips.
Lucy looked around suddenly. "Wait…where's Frodo? And Sam?"
"Frodo is still sleeping," Aragorn announced from the door. "Sam has been at his side constantly."
"Sounds about right," Lucy noted with a smile. She rubbed her stomach. "God, I'm starving. I can eat…anything."
"The kitchens of Gondor have been rather busy as of late," Aragorn noted. "But I'm sure they can spare a bit more for a heroine of your stature."
"Heroine?" Lucy shook her head. "Frodo's the true hero of this."
Peter shook his head. "You're not getting out of this with humility, Lucy. You went through thick and thin, Sam told us that. You deserve the credit for getting Frodo to the mountain."
"Sam helped a lot," Lucy said as she pulled the covers off to put her feet onto the floor, wincing a bit. Susan was there to help her stand up.
"We can talk about that later," Edmund said. "After a very, very long meal." The four siblings left as the others exchanged looks and warm smiles. "So it finally ends," Gimli sighed. "The Ring destroyed and our quest completed."
"Not quite yet," Gandalf pointed out. "Every great tale has a final epilogue, my friend."
The ceremony was quiet and private. That might seem strange for the Steward of Gondor after decades of service but there were more than enough funerals to fill the city's graveyards and churches. This one was quiet, however, with only a handful in attendance. The light of torches was the only illumination in the crypt, fitting the mood. Boromir stood by the large stone slab, his face expressionless as he read over the recently inscribed runes. He ran a gloved hand over the surface of the casket, his eyes dark as well as misty.
He felt movement and looked up to see Faramir coming next to him. His brother's face still showed fatigue but he had otherwise nearly fully recovered from his injuries. Like Boromir, he was clad in black, the traditional robes of mourning for Gondor. He rubbed his own hand across the casket and sighed. "So much I wished to say to him…Now I never shall."
"He knew," Boromir stated. "He knew at the end. How much you meant to him and to us all."
Faramir smiled softly. "I'm not burying the man he was…I'm choosing to remember the one we knew."
"Yes," Boromir said. "Yes, we can do that." The two had already discussed it and decided that as far as the people of Gondor were concerned, Denethor had fallen in defense of the city. While some might question his sanity at the end, no one would know how far he had gone. The few guards present had been sworn to secrecy and the other person behind the two wouldn't tell, either.
Edmund was quiet as he watched the two brothers mourn. He could only imagine their pain now. While he had hardly thought the best of Denethor, the man certainly hadn't deserved to die like that, lost in madness and fire. It reminded him of the worries of his own father in war, how it felt to think of him not coming home. Despite everything he'd been through here in Middle Earth, London wasn't that far away after all, especially in the pain of mourning.
The two brothers each took hold of the stone slab and pushed it into the slot in the wall. It slid in slowly before locking down. "Fare you well, Father," Boromir whispered. "May you find the peace and understanding in death that eluded you in life." He and Farmir bowed their heads and Edmund followed suit as they let Denethor join his ancestors.
The ceremony completed, the brothers stepped out of the dark tomb to the early morning light. Before them was Eowyn, clad in a lovely yellow gown, her hair braided, looking far more relaxed and beautiful than Edmund had ever seen her. She held her arms out to embrace Faramir tightly. "I am sorry," she whispered. "I know your pain too well."
"Thank you, my lady," Faramir said, hugging her tight. Edmund had to raise his eyebrows at that, looking to Boromir. "Since when have they been so close?"
Boromir shrugged. "Evidentially, they bonded while healing." He chuckled. "I remember telling her the two of them would get along splendidly."
"Be an interesting addition to the family," Edmund noted. "I understand Eomer is now the lord of Rohan."
Boromir nodded. "He is. Eowyn's standing is now..unsure. As is mine." At Edmund's frown, he elaborated. "The title of Steward will go to me as the eldest. However, the point of the Steward is to merely hold the throne for the King. Now that Aragorn is to be crowned…"
"I'm sure he'll find something for you," Edmund was quick to say. He smiled. "In fact, I heard him discussing that the areas near Mordor will need a guardian. I believe you would make a fine one."
Boromir smiled, clasping a hand to the younger man's shoulder. "Come, my friend. After a day of mourning, a good drink is called for."
"I'm still a bit young…"
"Then age will dominate the drink."
"I am fine."
"No, you're nervous. Honestly, all you've been through, war, orcs, trolls, Nazgul and this is the first time I've seen you afraid."
"I am not afraid!"
Peter simply smiled as he looked over Aragorn. The rough and tumble Ranger he had met what felt like years ago was now gone. He was clad in a suit of armor, polished to a shine with a red silk cape behind him. It seemed at once ill-fitting and yet perfect for him as well. More importantly was the air Aragorn was taking about him. The air of a man finally about to accept that which he had long denied.
"There's no shame in it, your highness…" Peter began.
"Please do not call me that," Aragorn half-pleaded.
"You'd best get used to it," Peter pointed out with a smile. Seeing Aragorn look away, he sobered. "Listen…I know how you feel. The day of our coronation, I nearly vomited beforehand. And I was far younger than you yet I knew the responsibility on hand."
"You were not alone."
"And neither are you," Peter stated. "You have friends, allies, brothers in spirit. Gandalf will help and you know you can always turn to Boromir and Faramir." He put a hand on the older man's shoulder. "But if there is one thing I have learned from being here…from fighting at your side…is that you are able to handle what is to come. You led man to victory time and again. You can lead them from the throne."
Aragorn stared at him and smiled. "You truly are wise beyond your years, my young friend." He took a final look at himself in the mirror, adjusting his collar before taking a deep breath. "It's time."
Peter nodded and then suddenly moved to give the older man a quick embrace, breaking it quickly. "Good luck."
Aragorn smiled before turning to the door to begin the walk to his destiny.
The morning light shone brightly on a Gondor recovered in the last few months from the destruction wrought by Sauron's forces. The entire populace crowded the high level of the city, the massive courtyard packed solid. Soldiers stood in formations in their proud armor as banners whipped in the cool wind. The children had gathered, now clad in the best clothes available, Lucy and Susan in lovely gold and red dresses, Susan's hair in a nice braid. Peter and Edmund wore matching dark blue outfits much like the Gondor elite. Nearby, Eomer was clad in bright golden armor to show his new position as the King of Rohan while Eowyn wore a lovely yellow gown to go with her lush hair, standing near Faramir, who wore his own fine clothes. The hobbits felt a bit out of place in just their regular clothes but did their best to handle this.
Lucy smiled as she and Frodo exchanged glances. For the first time since they'd begun their long trek, the hobbit had a smile in his eyes, his spirit lifted now that the dark curse of the Ring was gone. Lucy felt much better herself, fully recovered from her ordeal although she knew the memories would haunt her for some time.
But that was the future. Today was about one man about to accept his role as the leader of a new land, a land ready to be healed from the agonies of the last few years. A contingent of Elves stood by with banners of various lands, Elrond clear among them. All eyes were fixed at the end of a carpeted walkway to the steps leading to the main palace. Gandalf's robes were as white and bright as ever while Boromir was clad in the outfit of the Steward, the emblem of Gondor about his neck. In his hands, he held a glorious silver crown with a pointed brow. His eyes swept over the assembly as he called out.
"People of Gondor, hear now the Steward of this Realm! Behold! One has come to claim the kingship again at last! Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the Valandil, Isildur's son, Elendil's son of Númenor."
"Good Lord, and I thought we had too many titles," Edmund couldn't help muttering. He grunted as both Peter and Susan elbowed him sharply.
Boromir looked about as he held the crown up. " Shall he be king and rule the city of Minas Tirith?"
The resounding cheer was answer enough.
"People of Gondor," continued Boromir. "The lore masters tell that it was the custom of the old that the king should receive the crown from his father ere he died; or if his father in the tomb where he laid. But since things now must be done otherwise, using the authority of the Steward, we have today brought hither from Rath Dínen the crown of Eärnur the last King, whose days passed in the time of our long fathers of old." He looked to Aragorn and smiled. "And now, at long, long last…It finds its rightful home."
He handed the crown to Gandalf as Aragorn knelt before them. It reminded the children of stories of old, of how a Pope would be around to crown a new King. With obvious pride, Gandalf held the crown high to let all see it, then lowered it upon Aragorn's brow. "Now come the days of the King. May they all be blessed."
Aragorn rose to his feet, shaky but managing to steel himself as he turned to face the crowd, who erupted into loud cheers and applause. He took it in, letting it die down before speaking in a surprisingly soft and heartfelt tone. "This day does not belong to one man but to us all. Let us together rebuild this world, that we may share in the days of peace."
Cheers came up once more as from above, petals fell from the towers, covering the courtyard like snowflakes. Aragorn was singing a soft hymn in Elvish as he walked down the steps. He was soon exchanging firm handshakes and embraces with Boromir, Farmir, Eomer and Eowyn. He clapped a hand to Edmund's shoulder and there was laughter at the blush in his cheeks when both Susan and Lucy bestowed warm kisses upon his face. He and Legolas exchanged warm thanks in Elvish while Gimli just let his bright smile do all the talking.
Aragorn soon came to the elves, smiling at Elrond. His smile faded into disbelief as a banner was moved aside to show an exquisitely beautiful female elf. Her face was perfection with lush black hair and deep eyes, a silver bead across her forehead and a green dress accenting her form. From Aragorn's reaction, the Pensives knew this had to be Arwen and one sight was enough to make them understand why he loved her deeply. They stared at each other before he reached to brush her hair back and then stroke her face. Then, they were in each other's arms, sharing a long and deep kiss as more cheers broke out.
"The Irish now have competition in the celebration department," Edmund called to his siblings over the cheers. Aragorn finally came to the hobbits, who respectfully bowed. "My friends," Aragorn whispered with emotion. "You bow to no one."
With that, the King of Gondor knelt down before these four Halflings. After a moment of surprise, the crowd soon followed suit, elves, men, soldiers, nobles and commoners alike all kneeling in respect to the four young men who looked both embarrassed and deeply honored at the display. The Pensives were doing the same when Gandalf motioned for them to join the Hobbits. "You are as worthy as they of accolades."
"Really, we just helped as much as we could," Peter begged off.
Gandalf simply smiled as Aragorn turned to face the children and bowed to them. Soon, the crowd was following suit, the hobbits also bowing as the children stood to take it in, feeling much more like being home at Narnia now.
As the crowd stood, Edmund sighed. "Well, you know what this means, right?" His siblings looked at him in confusion. "We're in for yet another party."
"For them, a celebration. But for you, young king, your time has come."
The deep growling voice seemed to come from everywhere at once, easily heard by all in the courtyard. All eyes turned and there were gasps, but surprisingly not screams as from the doorways of the palace emerged a huge lion. His steps were easy, his golden mane shining brightly in the sun and while the power he exuded was clear, he also had a grace, a peace that set people at ease rather than cause panic.
"Aslan!" Lucy shrieked as she rushed forward, wrapping her small arms as tightly as she could around the lion's mane to hug tightly. Her brothers and sister were with her quickly, also hugging the lion tight, tears of joy in their eyes at him. The others in the courtyard were confused while Gandalf and Elrond had matching looks of wonder on their faces.
"Long has it been since the Lion-Mair walked upon our lands," Elrond stated.
Gandalf shook his head. "So many centuries and yet this is an event I never dreamed I would witness."
Aslan nodded to them. "Well met, Gandalf Grayhame. And Lord Elrond, let the Lady Galadriel know I am pleased with her aid."
"The lion is talking, Merry…"
"Shut up, Pip!"
Peter smiled broadly at Aslan. "So you sent us here. To help the Fellowship?"
"Your presence did prevent some ills that were not needed." The lion's eyes glanced over at Boromir in a way that created a brief chill in the man before feeling the warmth of Aslan's presence. "But it was also to help you four. To prepare you for a new trial ahead."
"Trial?" Edmund frowned. "What trial?"
"Much has changed in Narnia since last you reigned, Edmund," Aslan answered. "A need for you has been reborn as a young prince needs aid to take back what is rightfully his. It is a great task and one that will challenge each of you." His eyes swept over them, first to Lucy. "You had to be tempered in physical strength and spirit…" He looked to Peter. "In honor of others and relaxing your pride." He glanced at Edmund. "In your inner beliefs and how they can save those in need." Finally, he looked to Susan. "And to accepting that age is not worthy without still respecting your past. All that was needed before you could return to Narnia."
"Return?" Peter repeated. "You mean…now?"
Aslan nodded. "Yes. Your time here is at an end. Your part in this quest complete but your old land calls to you once more."
"I…." Lucy swallowed. They had all known this was coming, of course. They had believed Aslan responsible for bringing them here and that it was to help the Fellowship and they would have to leave eventually. But to have it still happening was a bit jarring.
"He is right," Gandalf said in a soft tone as he stepped forward. "This is a new age for our land. And as close as you have become to us all…Your world is not our own."
Peter took a breath. "Well…I guess at least this time, we have a chance to say goodbye first."
"Exactly what I had intended," Aslan warmly stated. "Go on…Go."
The children turned to see the Fellowship all gathered. They all seemed to understand, recognizing Aslan as something far beyond a mere animal and thus had to be obeyed. But the sadness was obvious as hugs and farewells were soon exchanged. "Be a good king," Peter told Aragorn. "And if you accept the help of others…you can be a great one."
Edmund clasped hands with both Boromir and Faramir. "It has been an experience…much like the Chinese curse…" He smiled. "But a good one in the end."
Boromir smiled back. "You saved my life and our brotherhood. We shall honor you always."
"Indeed," Faramir said as he exchanged a smile with Eowyn. "Edmund would be a fine name for a son, would it not?" The boy had to turn away before the tear in his eye became too obvious.
Susan accepted a warm hug from Gimli. "Ah, lass, I shall miss you," the dwarf grumbled. Susan nodded before looking at Legolas. She took his hand and sighed. "If we had more time…"
"It might not have worked," the elf pointed out.
"True," she agreed. Her lips turned upward. "We never did have a contest to see who was the better shot."
"I would imagine any of the battles settled that."
"Yes, you were a bit sloppy."
"Sloppy?" The elf frowned. "I beg your pardon but-" His words were silenced as Susan stepped up to kiss him lightly on the lips. She backed up to join her brothers as Legolas simply stared in disbelief, not noticing Gimli's warm laugh at his reaction.
Lucy hugged Sam first, then Frodo, not wanting to let go. "I would have loved to have seen this Shire of yours," she breathed, her eyes wet with tears.
"They would have loved you there," Sam warmly told her. He broke away first, wiping at his eyes. "Here, you better get along before poor Mr. Fordo starts bawling."
Frodo's face was in a beaming smile as he looked to Lucy. "Thank you. For everything."
"Thank you, too," Lucy said. "It's good to know I can still have a future beyond merely a queen."
"Lucy, I daresay wherever you go and whatever you do…you will always be a queen."
She laughed as she kissed his cheek and hugged him one more time. She moved down the line to huge the others one by one before finally joining her siblings. "Soldiers!" Boromir called out and as one, the armored warriors of Gondor lifted their spears to chant "HOO-RAH! HOO-RAH!"
A call from Eomer had the soldiers of the Rohirrim joining in the chant and the elves, all paying tribute to the young warriors. The Pensives took it in with honor, waving to the crowd.
"Come," Aslan spoke as he turned to face the doorways leading to the castle. He opened his mouth and let out a mighty roar, the crowd instinctively stepping back at the sound and power. The doors burst open with a gust of wind but showed a shimmering blue field, like a pool of water standing on end. Aslan carefully paced to enter it, vanishing into the pool as it shimmered behind him. One by one, each of the children followed, each pausing first to take a final look around. Lucy, of course, was the last, sharing one last smile with Frodo.
As soon as she entered the portal, the doors slammed shut with a booming sound. A pair of soldiers carefully opened them but the pool was gone, simply the entrance to the palace.
"Where have they gone?" Pippin blurted.
"To their home, I guess," Merry shrugged.
"No," Gandalf corrected. "To their other home. This Narnia. It seems the Lion-Mair needs them for a new challenge there."
Frodo looked to the wizard. "Will we...ever see them again, Gandalf?"
The White Wizard shrugged. "Some things are beyond even my ken, Frodo. The work of the Great Lion is chief among them." That wry smile returned to his lips. "But if there is one thing I have learned in my long life and especially among you wonderful hobbits…it is to never be certain of what the future holds."
Aragorn took a breath before looking to the others. "Come. We shall lift glasses in celebration to them." He spoke louder to cover the courtyard. "We shall honor those who gave their lives for this day…and those from beyond our world yet are to be revered forever as brothers and sisters!"
The cheers at that were loud enough to be heard from miles as the sun fully rose upon a brand new day for the lands of Middle-Earth.
There are lands within lands. There are worlds within worlds. World beyond worlds. One world is seeing a new beginning, coming out of darkness with aid from some who did not fall as they should have. Another world is about to feel that same change as beings of legend return to a land much different but ready to restore it to glory.
For Middle-Earth, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were revered as Aragorn hoped. Statues erected as plays and poems were written extensively about them, their deeds, their strength and how they helped the Hobbit Frodo Baggins in his quest to destroy the One Ring. Those stories are even greater in the Shire as Sam, Merry and Pippin were too happy to give the Pensives credit for what happened and Frodo willing to shy from his role in things. Even as time went on and the Third Age ended, their role would never be forgotten.
And what of them now? What of these four siblings and their return to Narnia?
Well…that is another story.
Well, folks. It's done. I never thought it would take four years but it's finally completed. What began as a small lark grew into my most reviewed and popular story and in ways I didn't quite expect. Maybe it's fitting it's finally done before "The Hobbit" hits theaters although it's sad that the "Narnia" film franchise never lasted as long as it should have. I want to thank the hundreds of reviewers and people who favorite this, letting me know that they wanted this to continue. I hope this conclusion is what you expected and more than happy to finally let this journey end. It's been an amazing ride and thank you all for taking it and hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it all. Thank you so very much and you're also welcome.