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The Last Tide
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The Last Tide

I am the last. The rest have all gone, their fates sealed. Soon mine will be too. I feel their loss; I have searched and called out with my fea, just in case. But there is no reply, they have all gone and it is empty here.

The great cities are deserted, Glorious Lindon, that has stood for three ages of this world, silent now, save for the seagulls nesting in the rooftops. I remember the early days, when Gil-galad still lived and men were but newborn. When the city was filled with a thousand elven voices raised in song. Before the last alliance ripped the elven world apart and the circles of the world were changed. Those were good times; we were at peace for the most part and had few cares to trouble ourselves with.

Beautiful Lothlorien, called accurately by another 'The Heart of Elvendom on Earth.' Now the heartbeat has stopped, the magic vanished into the mists. Galadriel left some time ago now, called home after long ages in exile. Yet she, as I am now, was sad to leave for there had been much joy on this earth. It saddened her too that her beloved Celeborn did not journey with her; she feared that their bond had weakened after so many millennia. She need not have worried, his connection to Arda went deep, but his connection to her was always far deeper. He joined her not many years later. I will always remember the smile on his face as his ship departed.

Imladris, long a sanctuary to all who needed it stands empty, its carven halls already falling into ruin. Its last inhabitants, Elrond's twin sons, joined their parents in the undying lands almost a decade ago. I admit I was surprised the day they came here, their life had been spent much amongst the rangers I had honestly expected them to choose mortality. Still, I am glad that they did not; spirits such as theirs should not fade away.

Majestic Eryn Lasgalen, which long stood as a symbol for the elven fight against the darkness is now filled only by the wind whipping through the cavernous halls. Yes, even the wood-elves have left, they who were once as much a part of the earth as the trees themselves. Strange really, I knew the time of the elves was over but it was not until the day Thranduil sailed that I truly accepted it. I wonder what he is doing now; most likely he has built a hall for himself and his family in the forests there. I am sure he is happy to be with Legolas again, he was greatly saddened when his son sailed before him, but the longing ran deep in the prince and could not long be denied. It will be interesting to see how he is coping with the dwarf.

So many memories, recent and ancient, of people and places, lost now to the sands of time and legend. Maybe they will tell stories of us in the years to come. That would be enough for me, to be a story is not to be forgotten.

I stand here still, the sea breeze in my hair, smelling the salt in the air and hearing the cries of the gulls. I have heard that cry many times before but never has it moved anything inside me. Today is different. Perhaps it is loneliness, it is a strange feeling indeed to know that you are the only one of your kind left on Earth. Whatever the reason, it is growing stronger with each passing minute.

I should go - I have tarried too long already. I wonder what changes my departure will bring about. Legend says the world will dim when the last of the firstborn leaves. But I will never know the answer; only those who remain will discover that. In my heart, I hope that the spirit of the elves will never truly leave, that it will somehow live on in the descendents of those like Aragorn and Arwen.

How too will my departure affect those in the Halls of Waiting? With no more elves on Arda will they at last be released to Valinor? This I hope for there have been many brave souls taken in the course of our time on this earth. The light of the elves would be forever restored with the healing of so many hearts.

Yes, it is time to go.

I walk to the small ship, built just for me. I always knew I would be the last. My few possessions are already aboard. Strangely, despite living for millennia I have very little to take with me. Placing my hand on the grey prow I savour the feel of Arda under my feet one last time. It was here I first set foot on middle-earth, fitting that I should leave from the same place.

I leap lightly onto the ship, no longer wishing to prolong my departure. The deck shifts beneath my feet, the ship tugs, eager to be away. I answer the call and cast off. We move away instantly, taken out to sea by the last tide.

For a moment I am sad, this is the end. Then I smell it, the crisp scent of the open sea. As we head further out and Middle-Earth fades from view, a wonderful sense of peace fills me. This is right; this is the way it is supposed to be. I am alone, but not for long.

I am Cirdan the Shipwright and I am going home.



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