Greetings, dear reader. First of all, I want to express my most sincere appreciation and gratitude for everyone who read this story during its first incarnation and then reviewed. The barrage of positive feedback was overwhelming. To be completely honest, I never expected such a response for this little work. There aren't many characters, there's no action to speak of, and the crux of the plot is carried by dialogue, which is always a risky thing. But for some reason or another, this story seemed to go over well, and I thank you all once again for assuring me of this. Hopefully, my latest tweaking hasn't altered the tale for the worse. I like it better now, but I suppose that this is really a matter for readers to decide.
I initially wrote this story on a whim, almost as an afterthought, and also as an escape from writer's block. But once I began the first chapter, I think I was as caught up in it as the characters. I don't think I've written anything faster, either, because the entire thing was finished in three days. But I was completely driven once I started. I couldn't have stopped if I'd wanted to, and I'm glad I didn't. Of all the things I've written, I like this best, and I'm glad that so many of you like it, too.
But I stray from my purpose in this section, and that purpose is to answer some of the questions and comments that came up in the reviews, so here I go.
First of all, there will be no further epilogue with a reunion for all the Fellowship. I think such a reunion is better left to the imaginations of the readers, because I could never do justice to it. Far too many personalities, emotions, and complications to deal with. I like the ending as it is, and that's the way it will stay.
To all who wanted Legolas to live…I just couldn't see it. Remember that Legolas is an elf, and a Sindarin elf at that. Also, at least according to several statements in LotR, he seems to have quite a bit of Silvan blood in him. The connection between the Silvan elves and Arda is a tight bond that is painful when broken, as the sea-longing demonstrates when it is stirred in Legolas. On top of that, Legolas had made friends of far too many mortals during his life, and when the last of these mortals died, it was as though a part of the elf died, too. Gimli was his last real connection to Middle Earth. Legolas never truly left it behind because he took the dwarf with him when he crossed over the sea. When the dwarf died, the final bond was broken, and so was Legolas. He'd been too young to befriend mortals when he did, and when the last of those mortals died, Legolas was lost.
As far as the plausibility of an elf giving up life and following a dwarf into death…I admit it's a bit of a stretch but considering everything that was allowed for others who were valiant in the service of the Valar, I decided it was an acceptable stretch. After all, the Noldor received Gimli when he crossed to the Undying Lands. Legolas needed a break, too. And as far as the Halls of Mandos are concerned, once again, I'm stretching canon a bit but I think that because of his help in destroying the One Ring and his friendship with Gimli, an exception was made for Legolas.
And I believe that is it. Once again, sincere thanks to all who have supported me in my writing and to all who continue to support me. I hope the revision of "Beyond This World" is as enjoyable as the first attempt. Please don't hesitate to review with suggestions, comments, likes, or dislikes. In another six months or so, I'll probably revise it again. It's a bug I get from time to time. Thank you again!