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Gilraen and Arathorn stood in the Gardens surrounding the Halls of Mandos, near the Way that went to the further Gardens. They looked up into the sky, watching the circling of the stars, set to dance this night in honor of two who had done so much for the healing of this Creation. To their right, at the beginning of the Way, stood a single figure, shining warmly white, its Light growing brighter as it awaited those who now danced above them with the stars. Gilraen’s eyes shone as brightly as the two she awaited, and Arathorn’s arm lay over her shoulder.

Then--then they were coming, the two shining ones, mithril-pure and anor-filled. She saw them, the joy of their release, the delight in the reunion, the anticipation of what was to come. Would they enter into the Halls, or go directly?

No, they never looked to the great edifice of the Halls of Mandos at all--and their Lights shone even more brightly as they looked to the further Gardens. They would go directly, Gilraen realized with understanding. No, they had no need for the Halls of Waiting--they were ready now. And the three Shining Ones headed that way, led by the clear star-light shining of he who would have been twin to Aragorn.

“Gilorhael!” she called out, unable to contain herself further. “Anorhael!”

He who would have been Gilorhael looked at her, and both recognized her and did not. He paused briefly, smiled at her, then turned back on his way. The other gave her a bow of recognition, but did not quit his fellow’s side.

He who had been Master Bilbo smiled at her, and winked.

I did my best for you, my Lady, his thought told her.

Thank you, she returned.

Will you come now?

No, I will wait for the one I was allowed to know.

He nodded his understanding. He’ll be looking for them soon enough.

She who had been Gilraen looked into the eyes of he who had been her husband. He turned back to look after the three, the two who were almost his sons and the one who had been their teacher. “So,” he said quietly, “those were lost to us, but not to Arda.”

Gilraen nodded, shining tears of joy falling from her eyes, white Elven lilies springing up where they fell. “Yes,” she said quietly. “The Hope was not lost after all.”


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