And the sky full of stars: Part XX
NOTE: The poem that Aragorn recites is from Tennyson's
Ulysses. It is my favorite poem, I only slightly butchered
a few lines for it to fit into this story. :-)
The day of departure arrived. Unfortunately, new beginnings
always call for endings. Aragorn and Arwen sat in their
chambers. Waiting. Aragorn looked at Arwen.
"Do you ever regret not following your father into the
West?" Aragorn asked. The question had always plagued his
heart but he rarely mentioned it.
"Never. Not even for one moment." Arwen said.
They both stood as Gimli and Legolas entered the room.
It wasn't often that such loved friends left Middle-Earth.
They had not been present at Galadriel and Elrond's
departure and they would not be present for this one. The
sight of sailing ships was too much for Arwen to bear. But
they would see their friends off with one last happy memory
to carry with them. Legolas kept his pace even with Gimli's
slow deliberate steps. Gimli hobbled on crutches, wincing
with every step. His gritted teeth statement had become
all too common since his accident. And though his legs had
both healed enough to walk, they would never be good enough
to carry him any long distances. They stopped in front of
Aragorn. He stood tall and proud.
"There is a verse passed down from the great mariners of
Numenor. When after many years had passed the great king
Aldarion longed again for the sea and it is said he spoke
these words to his crew:
"Come, my friends -
'Tis not to late to seek a newer world
For my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunsets
And the baths of all the westerns stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Blessed Realm
And see the great Valar, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides, and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are-
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
To strive, To seek, To find, and not to yield."
Aragorn and Arwen embraced their dear friends one last time,
before watching as Legolas and Gimli walk out of the castle
chamber and out of their lives forever.
Gimli slowly made his way down the trail to the beach,
grimacing with every step he took. He stopped at the on the
sand near the docks, were Elesia was waiting. She smiled at
him and he opened his arms to her. She hugged him tightly.
"I shall miss you Gimli. You have been like a brother." She
"I shall miss you, too." Gimli said, he saw Legolas
approaching. "There have been far too many goodbyes for one
day. I can not stand to watch another. So I will take my
leave." He bowed low.
He walk up the dock and climbed into the ship. Legolas
stood beside her. His eyes scanned the horizon. The
mountains in the distance. The trees. The coast line. And
finally turned to face her. They gazed long into each
others eyes, but neither could find the words to say.
"I did not envision a departure such as this. I wanted… I
wanted… … …" he sighed, knowing the futility of his words.
"I wanted a great many things." Legolas said, his voice
full of emotion.
Contained in those words were all the feelings that he would
never say aloud. Could never say. There was a deep sadness
and regret that filled his eyes.
"Good journey." Elesia said.
"Good journey." He said. He reached a hand out as if to
touch her, but thought better of it, and simply turned to
walk away. He hesitated for a long moment as if he were
going to turn back to her, but he did not. He instead
rushed up the docks and climbed onto the ship.
The ship set sail. She watched as they drifted out to sea.
Legolas was busy working the sails. They got smaller and
smaller as the sails caught wind. She strained to see him
against the ship, but they were too far out. She would
never see him again. In that moment, she understood the
meaning of goodbye, with a certainty she had never known
before. With no one around to watch, her statement
crumbled. She sat down in the soft sand and cried.
On the ship Legolas and Gimli looked back at land.
"I shall miss it." Gimli said.
Legolas looked back. He could see her. His hands gripped
the railings. He turned his face away. His eyes filled
"What is it?" Gimli asked. Gimli was still staring back at
the shore line but lacking elvish sight could see nothing.
He glanced at Legolas.
Legolas looked to the endless seas and then turned and
looked back at the shoreline. He could see her. Small.
"Gimli there is no life in Valinor if she isn't part of that
life." Legolas said.
Gimli smiled. "It's about time you fool came to your
senses. Go back and get her."
"Bring her with us?" he asked astonished.
"A dwarf and a mortal. Why not. She has as much of a
chance of getting into Valinor as I do." Gimli said.
"If we do not find the Straight Way?" he asked.
Gimli shrugged, "Then we have one last adventure together
and you drop us back on the shores of Middle Earth."
He looked back at the shore line and smiled at Gimli.
"Wait for us." he said. And without another word he dove
into the ocean.
"Legolas!" Gimli yelled. Legolas began the swim back to
Elesia's gaze was fixed upon the ship, but she did not see
him dive into the water. Nor did she see him as he swam
towards shore. It was only when he stood and began wading
out of waves directly in front of her that she saw him.
He walked over to her and extended his hand. She took it
and he pulled her to her feet. He was dripping wet. She
looked up at him and opened her mouth to say something but
words would not come.
"Come with me." he said.
"I thought.." she began but he covered her lips with his
"I care not what the Eldars think. I only care about you."
he said. "Come with us. If you desire it."
She looked at their hands, hers were hidden inside his
"I desire it." she said at a whisper.
Her eyes rose to meet his. He bent down meeting her lips
with his. His kiss was gentle, sweet. It was patient,
whispering promises that there were more of these kisses
waiting only for her. And all she need to do were ask. Her
hands went to his face, soft as silk, behind his neck,
through his hair. His arms wrapped around her waist,
pulling her ever closer to him, until her small frame was
pressed full against his. They knew not hold long they
stood there. Hours, minutes, centuries could have passed
while they tried to memorize each others faces with a touch.
They were interrupted by Gimli, who had managed to turn the
sails and head back to the docks.
"You could have just turned the ship around." Gimli said.
| Part XXI |
| Index |