To the Sea, to the Sea! The white gulls are crying,
The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying.
West, west away, the round sun is falling.
Grey ship, grey ship, do you hear them calling,
The voices of my people that have gone before me?
I will leave, I will leave the woods that bore me;
For our days are ending and our years failing.
I will pass the wide waters lonely sailing.
Long are the waves on the Last Shore falling,
Sweet are the voices in the Lost Isle calling,
In Eressëa, in Elvenhome that no man can discover,
Where the leaves fall not: land of my people for ever!
Elrond and Glorfindel raised their voices in the last few notes of the song.
It was a popular ballad among Elvenkind, and many Elves had happily sung it
as they trekked away from Imladris to the distant West.
The Hall of Fire was warm and comforting. For many, it was the favorite
room in all of Imladris. Still, it had taken a joint effort by both Elrond
and Glorfindel to get Legolas out of his room and into the Hall of Fire.
Once he was there, however, Legolas seemed to delight in the company of his
kin. It became the Prince's habit, after much coaxing from Elrond or Glorfindel,
to sit by a fireplace wrapped in a warm cloak and listen to the songs and
stories from the others.
Much remembering went on in the Hall of Fire in those days. The nostalgia
seemed far greater now, as the Third Age ended and the reign of Men began.
Everything around the Elves was either fading or changing, and many clung
to their memories of older days, days when fair ‘Lorien and Imladris bustled
with activity and burst with beauty. But now Elrond had noticed that the power
of Vilya had begun to fade, and the weather in Imladris was harsher now,
the colors less vivid.
When the song finished, Elrond put down his harp and looked over at Legolas
who was only a bundle of cloak and blonde hair and bright eyes in the corner.
He smiled at the Prince and walked over to join him as Glorfindel started
up a boisterous drinking song he had picked up from the Hobbits.
The Lord of Imladris drew up a chair and sat beside Legolas, who was looking
intently into the distance. Elrond had begun to think the Prince did not realize
he was even there when Legolas' soft voice emerged from the cloak he had
drawn around himself.
"Do you think much of Valinor?"
"I do," the Elf lord nodded, "for many long years I have dreamt of crossing,
"For your children?"
These few sentences were the most Legolas had spoken in days, and so Elrond
indulged his questions, even though they brought up painful memories for him.
"Partly for my children. Partly for my loyalty to Middle Earth, my loyalty
for Gil-Galad. I promised I would stay…until the time of the Elves was over.
Now it ends, and now I may go."
"Do you think all they say of Valinor is true?" Legolas asked. "That it
ends all pain?"
Elrond nodded. "It is true, for I have read many accounts of those that
migrated here from Valinor." He paused for a few moments and studied the
pale face before him. "Are you thinking of leaving, young Prince?"
"I too have my loyalties," Legolas said. "But…I know not if I can endure
the pain until…"
"I am a part of the Fellowship. I am loyal to all of them. I know some have
chosen to cross the sea, but for those that have not. I will stay until the
Elrond sighed. Part of him thought Legolas might do so. "I have thought
of staying until that end as well," the Lord admitted. "But Arwen…I cannot
bear it. I would have my last memories of my daughter be when she is happy,
when Estel is alive and when they have a life span ahead of them."
Legolas adjusted himself slightly, thought of how happy Aragorn and Arwen
were on their wedding day, and understood. "You have most definitely earned
your right to cross the sea. And your daughter shall not be alone."
The thought of Arwen fading away and dying was almost too much for Elrond
to bear. But the thought of her at least having Legolas, one of her people,
comforted him. "I thank you for that."
"You speak of pain…." Elrond danced around the subject slightly, trying
to bring the Prince from his shell. "Must you endure it alone?"
"I cannot speak it."
"Speaking does help…" Elrond searched his memory for those days when his
own sons were in pain, when he had to draw it out of them like poison from
a wound. He extended a hand and smoothed back Legolas' blonde hair and the
Prince leaned into the touch.
They sat like that for awhile, Elrond stroking gently and Legolas silently
leaning toward him. Until Elrond moved his chair closer, so that they were
side by side, and Legolas leaned his head on the Elf Lord's shoulder. The
Lord of Imladris traced the outline of the Prince's ear, stroking the pointed
tip and causing Legolas to relax against him and let out a small contented
Finally, the Prince spoke. "I have endured hardship before, but I did not
expect…the pain of the quest and the war to be so…"
Elrond knew well when to stay silent and he felt that this was one of those
times. So he continued running his fingers through Legolas' blonde mass, or
gently rubbing his ear. It took several minutes for the Prince to speak again,
and even then he made a lengthy pause between sentences.
"There were children at Helm's Deep. Children… We were outnumbered by so
many, there was little hope…so they used the children." He remembered so well.
He had shouted at Aragorn; ‘we are all going to die!' His impeccable cool
mask had cracked for the first time since confronting the balrog of Moria.
"So many died by the time Gandalf arrived and the Orcs were defeated…then…
the children. Visions I doubt Valinor could erase from my mind." He recalled
charred bodies and missing limbs and he shuddered in Elrond's embrace. "They
The Lord of Imladris tightened his gentle grip on Legolas. "War is often
cruel and unkind. It is an ugly truth."
"There were so many…tiny…broken bodies…" Legolas' voice cracked and then
the hot tears began to fall from his eyes. "The mothers…" he choked, and could
speak no more. The sight of the mothers was etched in Legolas' mind, cradling
their brave dead boys in their arms, some wailing, some trying to rock their
children. Some fathers who had survived knelt by and wept at the injustice
of it all. Legolas had wept too, as he did now.
He did not sob loudly, but still managed to catch the attention of more
than a few, including Glorfindel, who shot a worried look at Elrond. The
Lord of Imladris shook his head. There was little anyone could do for Legolas
except let him weep, and that is what Elrond did.
Alone by the fire, he held the Prince and rocked him through his shuddering
sobs. Whispering soft words of endearment and comfort. He knew this was only
the beginning of Legolas' pain, that he had managed to scratch the surface
and allow the words to come tumbling out. Elrond had his own memories of the
Last Alliance and the horrors that war had imbedded in his brain. He could
still summon up images as clear as day.
Finally, Legolas rested silently against Elrond, who rubbed his back gently.
There was nothing the Elf Lord could do to erase the horrible images from
Legolas' mind, but he could offer comfort. Long into the night they sat together
in silence until Elrond walked Legolas to his room and sang to him until he
Continued in Part 5
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