A/N: You didn't really think I'd leave all the plot threads loose like that, did you?
Epilogue One: So What Happened to the Prisoners?
The ground shook and trampled, and the prisoners cried out in fear as the world above them fell apart. Gradually, everything quieted. Duilin righted himself, then groped for the lamp and righted that. "What the void was that?" croaked Damrod.
"It felt like an earthquake - a really big one," said Ioreth.
"It's the volcano," said Master Nali. "But this felt more like the entire volcano exploded in one go. Where are the chalk-fea?"
"I have not seen them in the past day and more," said Duilin. "But surely they will turn up now."
They waited for half an hour, but no chalk-fea turned up and they became more and more aware of how silent everything was. The little creek stopped running and Duilin noticed that the huge crack along the creek's exist had widened in the quake - perhaps large enough for a man to walk thorugh if he stooped down. Duilin walked up the now almost impassable stairs and tried the hatch. It was jammed, and would not move. "We're trapped!" cried Ioreth. Duilin looked around him, and could see everybody was beginning to panic.
"Calm down," he said. "See how the passage along the creek is enlarged? I bet we could get out that way if we needed to." This calmed people temporarily, but nobody was willing to try it. After another half hour of quibbling, Master Nali stood up and announced that he was going down it, which prompted more argument as to what would happen if he was seen.
Master Nali ignored this, and went stumping off down the passage, although his step changed more to careful creeping as he tried to get around the fallen boulders and awkward shape of the tunnel. After a while of strained listening, Duilin heard him cry "I'm out! And don't be afraid. The tower has fallen! Barad-dur is no more!"
It was a while before they believed him, but one by one the former prisoners crept down into the tunnel and out into a world grey with falling ash over the ruins of once-mighty Barad-dur.
Epilogue Two: In Mandos' Halls
Celebrimbor looked around, seeing only grayness and the light of Gil-galad's fea near him. They were back in Mandos. Safe again. There was nothing they had to do, no responsibilities. Celebrimbor sighed imperceptibly. Now what? No Namo appeared, and he couldn't see any maiar about. Was this it? It felt awfully like an anticlimax. Namo did turn up eventually to say congratulations, well done, and no he hadn't had an influx of prisoners from Barad-dur in the past few days, but then he had to disappear again to deal with all the casualties of Sauron's recent war, leaving Celebrimbor alone again. Alone, and getting decidedly bored. He went and looked for Gil-galad.
"Celebrimbor!" Gil-galad said. "It's good to see you again. How are you?"
"As ever in these halls." said Celebrimbor. "Actually, I'm bored."
Gil-galad burst out laughing. "I know what you mean. After running around Barad-dur aiding Sauron's destruction in our own small and inventive ways, it is very quiet here." He sighed. "I find myself wondering what my friends are doing - the ones who are alive."
"Why don't you go and find out?" said Celebrimbor. "I know why I'm here, but why are you still here?"
"I don't know what I'd do in Valinor," admitted Gil-galad. "I've been a monarch of something, even if only of Nargothrond's dispossessed refugees, since before I was adult. There are dozens of Noldor princes in Aman of which I would be junior-most. I have no desire to be a minor courtier at my great-grandfather's court and I don't have the skills needed to be a craftsman."
Celebrimbor thought for a minute. "You have always been a threatening to 'run off on this kinging lark and become a fisherman.' Why don't you? You have the skills, and this is the perfect opportunity if ever there was one. You've also absorbed a lot from Cirdan about how to build ships, and about long distance voyages of exploration from the Numenoreans."
"That makes sense, I suppose." said Gil-galad. "I don't know that I'd want to be a full-time fisherman, but you're right that sitting here is not doing me any good. I need to be out and doing things again. Why are you still here?"
"I was afraid that I might be taken in again, and my inventions misused - or even that I myself was distorted and should stay here forever to avoid harming anyone again. But I'm not so sure anymore. I know Namo and his Maiar want me to leave and seem to think that I could help with healing Valinor. Eru knows I want to! But what if I do more harm than good? They say the curse on the house of Feanor was never meant to include me, but it certainly felt like I was cursed when I was alive. I hate being treated as a criminal for crimes I never committed."
"I know," said Gil-galad, "and I'm sorry that you had to go through that. As I said earlier, some of it was my fault."
"I'm not angry at you," said Celebrimbor. "We were all in an impossible situation at that point, but I wouldn't have been in your position for the Silmarils and all the mithril in Arda!"
"I think you should leave Mandos." said Gil-galad. "You can't know that things will work unless you leave. And I promise you this: if you get into trouble, come to me and I will try to help you."
"I take it you're leaving too then?" said Celebrimbor.
"I suppose I am," said Gil-galad. "I don't think either of us will gain much by staying here. Why don't we go in search of a maia, and tell them we want to leave?"
"Now that sounds like a plan," said Celebrimbor.
They wandered together through the walls of search of a maia. It took some time, and when they found one she was busy trying to calm a newly arrived and visibly distraught elf. The fea went on until they almost brushed through lord Namo in the middle of the hallway. "Hello Celebrimbor, Gil-galad," Namo said. "You are looking for me?"
"We want to be reborn," said Gil-galad.
"You... what?" said Namo, giving the two his full attention for the first time.
"We'd like to be reborn," said Celebrimbor.
"It doesn't have to be right now: I know you're busy," said Gil-galad, "but you did say to both of us at various times that we would do well to leave your Halls."
"Certainly. Actually the maia and dealing with rebirth are not busy right now at all. It is the new arrivals that are needing attention. But why now? I wouldn't have thought that being in Barad-dur would make you more willing to be reborn. The opposite, in fact."
"I think it reminded both of us that elves are not meant to sit deedless," said Gil-galad, "and while there are things that were both worried about facing once we live again, putting it off won't help make the return any easier."
Namo nodded. "I'm glad you came to the decision on your own. My Halls were never meant to be aught but a fairly brief place of refuge, but with the Marring of Arda as it is there is little choice but to host many of your people for much longer. Be well in your new lives" - an odd smile played about his face - "and try not to darken my doorstep in the near future." A maia appeared next to them suddenly, and told them to follow him.
Just as they left, they heard Namo muttering... "I thought those two would never leave. I must try sending fea back out into the world again sometime."
When next Celebrimbor and Gil-galad woke, the gray halls were gone, and they opened their eyes to radiant sunlight.
But there is also:
Some of the sillier things my voice dictation software did to this story. It doesn't handle fantasy names and locations well. When using software like this it is even more important to proofread multiple times before posting.
He must have most of the world's misrule assembled here. - Sauron's Mithril Hoard, in Barad-dur
Barad-dur: Barad dear
Other names for Namo Mandos: Lord none no, but Nomo, Memo, but demo
Mandos: manned DOS
Other names for Minas Tirith: meanness terrace, Myra mysterious
Nazgul: as scroll, Nana scroll, as goal
the female nazgul: the phenol Nazgul (just imagine her teaching organic chemistry)
Sauron/Zigur/ the Great Eye: cigar, saw runs, soar on, the grade I, great cry
Dol Guldor: tall gold heir
Orodruin: Orodreth and
Celebrimbor: Killebrew war, kill a bramble are, Killebrew emperor
Gil-galad: guild ill ad, kill the lad,Gil-galaad
the crimes of the dwarves of Novgorod: I didn't know Nogrod was in Russia.
Unless he's like a dragon and consensual the tiniest piece of his sword goes missing? - talking about Sauron. That was supposed to be hoard, not sword.
They spoke, and Gil-galad recognized the language instantly. Blacktop. - black tongue. Perhaps it tastes like asphalt in the mouth.
corridor with worms leading off to either side.
and he got up fatally. I think that was 'carefully'
screaming something about Sauron's week being haunted by ghosts.
an orcish Darden room pool two of doubt: apparently orcs play pool.
The guards saluted soar on as he passed into the dungeons followed by the two CIA.: I didn't know Gil-galad and Celebrimbor were CIA...
The magnate was hanging from a cable: such a different sense from a magnet.
The roar ingredients
A/N: Now it really IS over. I hope you enjoyed it, and many thanks to all my readers for encouraging me and making me think.