And Thus Came the End

Darkness has failed,

The hero's laid to earth,

Their souls have journeyed on,

Into eternal rest,

Their tasks are done,

Their battles won,

No more they lift their swords.

But one more trek,

Unto the end,

To wave farewell from past the waves,

And pass across the Sea,

Then travel on into the lands,

Where death will be undone.

~~~

Their hours were numbered, soon all would be gone and their light would fade then flicker out. One by one they bid the remaining of their company farewell, then slipped away and began their last leg.

The Fellowship was drawing nigh to it's parting, and all too soon it would diminish from mortal shores and leave its mark as a great legend in the continuing history of Middle-Earth.

First it had been Boromir, betrayed by his own conceited desire for the Ring, yet he passed in honor as a great lord of Gondor, redeemed and renewed with hope for his people.

Then Frodo had felt the call to leave for the Havens, which lay beyond the Sea's horizon. Along with Bilbo and Gandalf the White, he took his leave and departed on a great white ship, yet a short time since the end of the War. Their passing marked the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth. It was but the sweet fading of a note in the Undying Song of Illúvatar.

Next came the departing of Samwise Gamgee, after leaving the Red Book to his fair daughter, Elanor. He too, in the tradition of all Ring-bearers, was allowed to pass into the Havens, at long last, reuniting in eternal companionship with his beloved master and friend.

Not long afterwards the two mischievous hobbits, Meriadoc and now Thain Peregrin, ended their mortal days together in the shining realm of Gondor. They passed in great honor, then were laid to rest with great sadness among the lords of Gondor in Rath Dínen.

So were left the last three of the Nine Walkers, Aragorn, King Elessar with his remaining companions, Gimli son of Gloín the dwarf along with the Prince of Mirkwood, Legolas Greenleaf.

But soon one would leave the long companionship and fall to rest.

Aragorn son of Arathorn the heir of Isildur was passing into shadow. His reign was ending and his duties all but finished. The Undying Lands beckoned, and he had no cause to refuse her call. He had restored Gondor to her former glory, made friendships and restored lands to peace and safety.

Now, with the last of the Fellowship he was prepared to face his final journey, alone.

"The Fellowship never failed my friends."

Gimli and Legolas, diligent at his bedside, nodded, "Neither did it break." Gimli said.

Aragorn struggled for a breath, "But now," the King of Gondor sighed wearily, "Now, we must part, if even only for a short while."

Words were not needed between the friends as they shared these last few precious moments in each others company. Tears had not been shed, but farewells were never easy, nor to be left unsaid. Legolas and Gimli knew the time drew near, they felt no need to deny it or ignore it. Death could not separate them; Boromir had paved the path, which was to be taken. Now progressively they followed.

Legolas laid a hand on the dying king's shoulder, "We will not be long in coming my friend."

Aragorn's steely eyes lit with a smoldering flame which had not dimmed with his years, "You shall not seek this path, neither shall you wish for it. Life is a gift and you shall make what you can of it while you are allowed to abide here."

Gimli's graying eyebrows furrowed, "I would not seek death, but I would seek only the ones which it has taken."

"Nay my friend, you are mistaken. Death does not take; it is merely the doorway to change. It should not be feared," Aragorn met Gimli's troubled eyes. He shifted his tiring eyes to Legolas, "And you my immortal companion, death may not find you, but you should not seek to travel over the Sea in your own time. Only when Arda truly calls should you follow your desire."

Legolas's eyes were solemn, he knew that Aragorn spoke truth, "You need not fear for us. We will find our feet soon enough; but your guidance and friendship will not be so easy to continue without.

Aragorn smiled with a soft sigh, "The time grows near my friends."

Legolas and Gimli had been at the side of Merry and Pippen as they drew their last breaths. They had bade King Éomer goodbye along with many other veterans of the War of the Ring. They had also witnessed Boromir's last plea, but all seemed naught compared to the unavoidable loss of the beloved Ranger. He had guided and directed, governed and protected. A lone glimmering star among the nations.

An hour passed; the dawn came nigh. The sky brightened, painted in a wondrous display of color and new beginning. Then in one glorious appearance the sun peaked and rose as a flaming star. The morning larks sang clear and in harmony while the sunlight streamed through an open window, brilliant and full of comforting warmth. Its rays fell on the ailing King, caressing and soothing his pains.

A faint smile touched his lips as he felt the touch of the sun, "I have seen the dawn and felt its smile one last time. But I am weary now," the beloved King struggled for a few last breaths, "The time has come my friends. Bid me off."

Legolas's eyes were filled with sorrow, greater than Aragorn had ever seen in any elf's eyes. Gimli's face was shadowed with a great heaviness and sadness. Both laid their hands on him, "Namaarie muin mellon. Aa` menle nauva calen ar` ta hwesta e` ale`quenle." Legolas said with great difficulty.

Gimli bowed his head, "Until we next meet old friend," He could say no more.

The sun now fully shining bathed the room in wholesome light, "Farewell my friends, I go without regret." Then for the last time, Aragorn, a Ranger, king and friend, closed his eyes and fell into eternal peace.

Legolas laid a gentle hand on the Kings brow, "Go in peace my friend, for your work is done and your rest is deserved."

Neither could speak further for their grief had overcome them. It seemed that even then, the sun dimmed and the birds now sang a mournful serenade.

Thus, In the Fourth Age, on March 1st, came at last the Passing of King Elessar. It is said that the beds of Meriadoc and Peregrin were set beside the bed of the great king. Then Legolas built a grey ship in Ithilien, and sailed down Anduin and so over Sea; and with him, it is said went Gimli the Dwarf. And when that ship passed and end was come in Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring.

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A/N: So how was it? Worth the read or a waste of time, you tell me. I pretty much took the last paragraph right out of RotK's Appendix B, I changed it a smidge but it just seemed to fit. I was trying to keep it accurate but I don't know how it went, let me know if I messed up somewhere! When I penned this I was at my desk listening to the last two tracks of the soundtrack to LotR, it made it sound nice! I know I didn't get all Elvish right. I'm far from an expert. I used partially The Grey Company's http://www.grey-company.org/ dictionary and some other sources. I think the story pretty much speaks for itself so just tell me what you thought of it! Bill-the-Pony

Translations: "Namaarie muin mellon." – Farewell dear friend.

"Aa` menle nauva calen ar` ta hwesta e` ale`quenle" – May thy paths be green and the breeze on thy back.