Fading Legends
By Camilla Sandman

The world is less than it was.

The wind speaks to me of this, as I stand in the highest tower at Minas Tirith, tears flowing freely down my face. A few people look up at me, but I care not. They grieve too.

My father is dead, and my mother is gone.

And I have no idea what to do with my life.

I am of two worlds. My father was Aragorn and my mother was Arwen, and I am Elvish and human both. But there is no choice. I must be human.

Yet, as I stand up here, I see far, much further than any human should see.

Middle-earth is changing. Lothlórien is fading. Rivendell is abandoned, and no one can find the valley where it once was. My heart sings of the sea, but there are no ships. The Havens are silent. The elves have left.

All – save one.


A cold wind brushed past them, reminding Legolas winter was coming. The wind seemed colder than usual, promising a harsh winter.

"If it truly is one of the seven rings, Legolas, the beauty we could create.. We could rebuild Moria more magnificent than ever.." Gimli, son of Glòin, chatted happily, not noticing his comrade's distant look. As always, the dwarf was carrying his mighty axe, the one that had served him so well against the orcs of Sauron.

"I hear something," the Elf suddenly announced, and Gimli stopped at once, scanning the area.

"What is it?"

"I do not know." Legolas tensed. He had heard something, but the land was silent again. In the south, the mountain of Mordor towered, a reminder that no evil could ever truly vanish. It had sounded like whispers of Mordor, such as he had sometimes heard when Frodo had carried the ring.

Mordor! Even without Sauron there, it seemed dark and evil, and yet they were going there, in the vain hope that one of the seven Dwarven rings were still there.

Legolas doubted it, but Gimli had asked and he could not refuse the request. After Sauron's fall, most of his followers had run, and some were said to still hide in the mountains of Mordor. There they had one last treasure, it was said. One ring.

Gimli was convinced it was one of the seven rings, as all others were accounted for. The Three had left. The Nine had vanished with the One.

Rumours. There was nothing substantial to back it up. But even so, it was a chance to feel the pull of adventure once more, and ignore the calling of the sea.

The sea... Middle-earth was changing. Its beauty was fading. The sea called, but Legolas had ignored its call for a long time.

The whisper came again, and Legolas felt his heart turn cold. It came from Mordor. Someone there was aware of them.

"I hear it," Gimli remarked, patting his axe.

"We should tell Aragorn of this," the Elf replied, not even waiting to see if the dwarf would follow before setting of towards the Minas Tirith.

The mountains of Mordor regarded them quietly.

Chapter One

Darkness is falling. The stars have always comforted me and filled me with a strange joy, but they seem dimmer of late. Are they too fading? Or maybe they are mourning; mourning all that has been and can be no more.

Sauron has been defeated. The world is rid of his evil. Yet I wish I had lived when he still cast his great shadow over the world. When his evil vanished, Middle-earth lost great beauty. I wish I could have seen all the wonders of the Middle-earth, wonders now fading. Soon they will be legends, and the legends will fade too.

Will they be forgotten? Will my mother's race be forgotten, and it will be like she never lived?

I miss her. I miss her gentle voice singing of elves and the wonders of old. I miss my father, and his stories and fond smile. I miss the brother I grew up with, who has grown distant, as he has taken up the throne of Gondor. I miss Minas Tirith as I remember it, filled with joy and song.

Sauron's darkness was defeated. But a different darkness is falling now.

And we will forget.


Legolas could feel eyes on him as he stepped through the streets of Minas Tirith, and a few low whispers reached his ears. Gimli muttered something under his breath about humans, but it didn't sound too hostile.

It was getting dark, the moon had already appeared, a thin streak of silver, barely giving out light at all.

"Legolas!" came a familiar voice, and they turned to see an old hobbit lady approach as fast as she could. Legolas felt a sting in his heart. Elanor, the daughter of Samwise Gamgee, was no longer young. None of them were anymore.

"Gimli," the hobbit added as she reached them. Her face looked worn and tired, Legolas noted.

"You are too late."

"Too late?" Gimli asked, furrowing his brow.

An unmistakable tear trickled down her face now, and she clasped her hand over her mouth.

"The King sent for you. I though you had come.." her voice faded, as she fought bravely to keep her tears away.

"My father is dead," came a clear voice from behind them, and Legolas turned. For a brief second he thought he was looking at Queen Arwen herself, undiminished in beauty.

Then the woman stepped out of the shadows and the illusion was broken.

She was Arwen and yet not Arwen. Her long, darkish hair was tied up in a more human fashion, and the clothes she wore were unmistakably human. Yet her eyes shone with the light of the Eveningstar.

"I am Aneana," she said, as if anticipating the question. Even before she said it, Legolas knew who it had to be her, the youngest daughter of Arwen and Aragorn. No other could mirror the beauty of her mother and courage of her father.

Gimli bent his head, and the elf put a hand on his shoulder without even thinking.

"My mother has gone," Aneana continued, pain evident in her voice.

"For the Havens?" Legolas asked, but he knew the answer.

"No. There are no ships." And she looked at him with such intensity her eyes seemed to shine.

You are the last her voice whispered, yet she spoke no words.


Dark clouds drifted over the sky, covering the moon and shielding its faint light.

And the shadows moved.

The evil of Sauron could never be fully cured. Even when he would be forgotten, his shadow would still linger over Mordor. Evil would still gather there.

In the silent night something was moving. Sauron had captured the being, tormenting it, until torment and death was all it knew.

Sauron was gone, but his legacy remained.

And the being whispered to the wind, whispered to those who hid, waiting for a new evil to call them.

A new master.


Gimli let out a loud snore, one that Legolas could hear even through the wall. There were times the elf wondered if the dwarf did it on purpose, knowing that Legolas would be awake, as always.

But tonight the snoring seemed oddly comforting.

Leaning against the window frame, Legolas glanced out into the night and let his tears fall.

Aragorn was gone. One more of the fellowship gone. Middle-earth seemed so empty now, even under the great trees of Mirkwood. The trees seemed less these days.

The son of Aragorn was not Aragorn. Never again would it be so great a man.

You are the last.

The daughter of Arwen was not Arwen. Yet her bright eyes had starlight in them.

Eldarion would be a good king of Gondor, but his eyes had no starlight. He had dismissed the whispers of Mordor as orcs and had sent out a group of valiant men to hunt.

They would not come back, Legolas realised, as the wind rose once more and the whispers returned. Something greater than orcs was stirring in Mordor.

Grabbing his bow and quiver, he slipped quietly out of the room and into Gimli's. The dwarf opened his eyes as soon as the door opened, reaching for his axe before he saw who it was.

"Even elves should have the sense to knock," he remarked surly.

"We are going," Legolas interrupted.

Gimli grumbled, but made no protests. The news of Aragorn's death had affected the dwarf more than he would admit, Legolas knew. Minas Tirith seemed to be only a reminder of what had been now.

"You don't think it's orcs," the dwarf said as they wandered down the stairs. The elf shook his head.

"Alas, there are few orcs these days," Gimli continued, keeping his tone light. "I miss the great hunts we had." He looked down a moment, and Legolas could see the moisture in the dwarf's eyes.

"I feel old, Legolas. I fear I'm forgetting. Even her, beautiful beyond comparison, the lady Galadriel…" Gimli muttered, sounding more tired than the elf could ever recall hearing him before. "I wish dearly I could see her once more. I would die happily, Legolas, to see her just once more…"

Legolas offered no reply, lost in his own thoughts.

The hallways were silent as they left the palace, just a few guards here and there. Outside, the chill wind greeted them.

One last adventure.

Quietly, they slipped into the night, but they did not leave Minas Tirith alone.