Summary: The gatekeeper to the Halls of Mandos meets the spirit of a certain elf prince.

A/N: I've no idea what the Halls of Mandos are meant to look like, but since it is a fortress I assume it has a gate of some sort, and would hence need some sort of gatekeeper.

The Gate

I have been the gatekeeper of the Halls of Waiting since the beginning of the Third Age, and will continue to be the keeper until the earth ceases to exist. I have seen many spirits pass through my gates, souls of Elves and souls of Men, and I remember every spirit that I see.

There is a war raging on Middle Earth, and it has taken many lives. There has not been a time I can remember when so many Elven spirits have been sent to these shores, and it saddens me to see their fair beings materialize here. A short time ago there was a battle, a fight to defend the fortress of Rohan, and on that day a great horde of spirits appeared at my gates.

There is another battle being fought today; I have allowed the spirits of many Men to enter the Halls. I know from the other Elven spirits that the living Elves have abandoned Middle Earth, and so I am not expecting to see any more Elves enter this realm of the dead. So it comes as a great surprise when a silver shadow springs up in the air in front of me, and the spirit wavers and shapes itself into the physical form it left on Earth.

It is the spirit of a Silvan Elf. He is lithe, with flaxen hair and delicate features. Unlike many others I have seen pass through here, he looks not afraid but seems to be at peace. I look into his storm-silver eyes, and I know him. I see his history and his deeds; he is a kind prince and a brave warrior. And, faster than lightning, I see the final moments of his life.

There is a battlefield surrounding the broken walls of Gondor, and it is covered in heaps of dead bodies. Bodies of Men and bodies of Orcs, as well as the injured form of a single Elf prince. Arrows protrude from his body—five of them. Elves are known for their healing abilities, but even an Elf cannot withstand five arrows, especially not with other injuries besides. The Elf is surrounded by an odd assembly: a kneeling Man, a white-robed Wizard, a grizzled Dwarf, and two red-haired halflings. The Man pulls the dying Elf onto his lap, and one of the halflings looks imploringly at the wizard.

"Gandalf...can't you help him?"

The wizard shakes his head. "No," he replies softly. "That is not in my power."

The Elf peers blearily at the Man and attempts to speak. "Muindor nin..." The rest of his words fail him, and the Man's face crumples into despair. The Elf prince breathes deeply and gazes at the others standing around him. With what is clearly great effort, he speaks again. "It has been my greatest honor...to fight alongside you..."A thin line of blood escapes from his lips and drips onto the Man's lap.

The Dwarf shakes his head. "The honor was ours," he murmurs in a gruffly gentle tone not often used by his race. The Man chokes out a name: "Legolas."

The wizard smiles kindly at the Elf. "Rest now, Legolas. We shall meet again." The Elf nods almost imperceptibly. "Belain na le." He breathes his last and closes his eyes, and the Man cries "No!" but he cannot stop the spirit that flees from the body. The spirit, invisible to the living, hovers for a moment over the grieving group before it disappears.

Had I a heart, I know it would be broken at seeing the Elf prince's story. As it is, I am merely sorrowful for the ones he leaves behind, even though they should be glad that their friend can suffer no longer. I nod at the ornate black gates, and they swing slowly open.

"Enter," I say, gesturing to the unobstructed doorway, and with a nod of thanks, Prince Legolas of Mirkwood enters the Halls of Mandos.

Fin

Muindor nin- "My brother"

Belain na le- "The Valar be with you"; an Elvish farewell