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19
That We Not Fade

21. Mirkwood: East and West
Thranduil, Legolas


~~~

That We Not Fade


“So, you have deigned to return home at last, have you?”

“Are you not happy to see me, Ada?”

Softening: “You know that I am, Legolas. But to make the decision to leave off your duties to our own people to join this quest….”

“And if the quest had not been successful, it would have meant the defeat of all, and certainly the destruction of what remains of our ancient realm.”

A pause. “I cannot disagree, child. That is as it is, I suppose.” Another pause. “And what now, Legolas? Did you bring with you your strange Dwarf elvellon?”

“He, too, has returned to his own people to make his report to his Lord. We are to meet in a week’s time to decide what we will do next.”

“I find I do not fully understand you. I have seen you stand at a Man’s side as if he were your own brother, as well as at that of a Dwarf whose family has never forgiven me of holding his party imprisoned for some weeks so many Sun-rounds past. Will you not take up your proper place amongst us once more?”

With a shake of his head. “I cannot be as I was, Ada. I have been as changed by what I have been through, I suppose, as are Master Frodo or Aragorn, who is now the Lord Elessar. We have forged bonds amongst us, we who made up the Fellowship, that cannot be set aside to allow us to return to what we were before. I fought with the armies of the West against the forces of the East in Rohan, before the walls of Minas Tirith, and before the Black Gate itself! I have seen the Eastern Power thrown down and his stronghold not only crumble into dust, but have seen Lord Aulë open up the very earth to swallow up his armies and the signs of his former strength. I have learned to love Men and Hobbits and, yes, even a Dwarf, as if they were indeed of my own family, and all of the warnings about opening my heart to those who must in the fullness of their times leave this life had no power to deter this.”

Leaning closer, almost desperately: “And I have been taken by the Sea Longing! Do you appreciate that that means, Ada? Oh, I will fight it, and for perhaps a yen I might hold it at bay. But the day will come, I suspect after Elessar has quit this life, when I must give into it or fade away. And know this: I do not intend to allow myself to fade.”

A swallow. “Then you will leave us, Legolas?”

“I fear I must leave Middle Earth one day, to take up a new life in the West.” A brief pause. “But I will never fully forswear the Greenwood, Ada. I cannot. I swear to you that I will seek out my daeradar, should he be reembodied, and will cleave to him as I have ever done to you. It is my hope we will take for ourselves forested lands where those who agree to follow after me, and I hope you will eventually be among them, may dwell in peace after Men have done what they will here.”

“Then you do not think highly of the future of Middle Earth in the days to come?”

“Oh, all will appear much as it has for the three Ages of the Sun we have known all through Elessar’s time and that of his first children. But the day will come when those who take control will not remember the terror of Mordor or the honor of Aragorn son of Arathorn and his reign of renewal; and as to what will become of the world then, who can say?”

“I pray that such a day will not come, ion nín.”

“Oh, it will come. When the example of the Lord of the White Tree fades again as it has at least twice before, then it will come.”

And his father rose and reached out to his son, taking him into his embrace, seeking to offer him such comfort as he could, and taking from the younger ellon such strength as he could offer.

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