Fading Legends
By Camilla Sandman

Chapter Eight - Epilogue

The sun had just set when Legolas sprung on light feet through the grass. Behind him, the sea glittered calmly, barely a ripple destroying the perfect reflection of the stars.

The ship was ready. Tomorrow, he and Gimli would leave Middle-earth forever. The dwarf seemed eager to set off in a way that meant he was greatly saddened too.

Legolas understood it all too well. Joy and sadness were so mixed in his heart he was not sure what was strongest.

It had been such a beautiful home, even with shadows and evil. There would be no more evil now, except for that which the humans created themselves.

Sauron was gone. And the last of the Istari had vanished, as Aneana had channelled the light of the elves and disbanded the darkness. Legolas suspected the being had actually been glad, for its last dying scream had been filled with both pain and relief.

Maybe that was all it had been seeking after all. Knowing what it had become, maybe it wished for destruction. Maybe something of the great spirit of the Istari had survived Sauron's darkness.

That was what Aneana thought. She had not said much about what she had heard in her mind, but she seemed very pensive and silent. She had given the ring to Gimli, and had come with them to the Haven, claiming it was only fitting they had a Royal goodbye.

But seeing the longing in her eyes, Legolas knew she was coming so she could pretend she was sailing away too.

She sat quietly with her back turned on a log when he walked into the clearing where they had set up camp. In the distance, an owl hooted sadly, as if it too was saying goodbye.

"The ship is ready," she said without turning.

"Yes. We set sail tomorrow."

She nodded slightly, then finally turned to look at him.

She was wearing a gown that reminded him of Elven maidens, long and white, and her hair hung loosely down her back.

He stared, mesmerised, as she got up and walked towards him.

"Legolas…" she whispered, staring into his eyes. He reached out to touch her cheek, and her skin felt as soft as velvet to his fingers.

You are beautiful his mind whispered, and she smiled. He let a finger trace her jaw line, all the way up to her ear. Her eyes never left his face as he touched her, his fingers taking in every part of her face.

She closed her eyes when he leaned forward, lips touching lips.

Legolas she whispered as gently as a summer wind and they sank onto the grass.

******

The morning came drifting in with a slight fog and a strong westward wind.

The ship rocked as waves crashed against it, and Gimli looked slightly worried to Legolas. The dwarf kept staring at the boat as if it was an orc. He patted his axe a few times, but the light in his eyes didn't fade.

"Galadriel," he said gently, lifting his eyes to the sea.

Aneana stood silently by the elf's side, watching a seagull circle above. Her hair still hung loose, and the wind whipped it around her face. She was breathing deeply, taking in the smell of the sea Legolas suspected.

"We best be off," the dwarf announced, climbing into the boat.

"Aneana…" Legolas began, then stopped. How could he say goodbye, knowing it was forever?

"I… I wanted to say thank you, Legolas." She spoke softly, reaching out to touch his cheek, but stopping herself before her hand made contact with his skin.

"I felt like an elf for a time, and now I know my mother lives on within me. Humanity will forget, but our hearts will remember. I have hope now."

She smiled, and her eyes shone at him, despite the tears that were gathering in them.

"My mother chose mortality. I am bound by her choice, even if my heart sings of the sea. But maybe we will meet again, beyond time and reckoning, Legolas, last of the elves. Remember me and all of those that do not share your curse and blessing."

"I will," he promised.

Behind them, the dwarf sniffled loudly.

Farewell, Legolas her mind whispered.

The last thing the elf saw of Middle-earth as the ship set off, was her amulet, shining with the light of a star through the fog.

~~~~~~

My mind tells me I will never see him again. He has crossed the sea, and I am bound to Middle-earth. But my heart… My heart has hope.

It was hope that led Frodo the Ringbearer to Mount Doom, despite all. It was hope that drove the Fellowship, and it was hope that drove me and Gimli into the darkness of Mordor.

Hope.

Middle-earth is less, but it has still hope. Legends will fade, but we will be forever shaped by them, whether we know it or not. Their legacy is hope.

I *will* see him again.


Fini