And the sky full of stars: Part XXI
by: Jen

The day that passed was a happy one. Gimli shouted words of encouragement and suggestions to Legolas as he raised the sails and caught the currents that led them away from the shores of Middle-Earth. They watched as the shore became a distant speck on the horizon until they were surrounded on all sides by the open sea. The sun set in a dramatic display of red and orange, as if marking the occasion specifically for them. And the stars slowly came out as the last of the sunlight faded.

Elesia stared up at the sky. It was a moonless night. The stars in the sky were too numerous to count. Gimli was asleep on the opposite end of the ship, but she could hear him snoring from her spot on the wooden deck. The ship's gentle rocking was lulling her to sleep. She had almost dozed off when Legolas approach her. She look up at him. In the darkness, she could only see his silhouette, outlined by the millions of stars.

"I thought an Elf traveling the Straight Way would never sleep for fear of venturing off course." She said, as he stretched out beside her.

He sat up on one elbow and looked at her. "I do not plan on sleeping." he said.

He lowered his lips to hers, trailing gentle kisses along her cheeks and down her neck, but no further.

Love was the strongest emotion among the elves. Elves had been known to die of a broken heart, and because of this, love was not taken lightly. For elves, who have an eternity to learn of one another, love was something of infinite patience and exploration. It was not a hurried affair.

And so, until the winds shifted, Legolas spent the starlit night, learning the softness of her lips and the taste of her mouth. For a long while, neither were aware of the stars or the ship or the sea, but only of each other.

The days past, the closer they came to Valinor the more vigilant Legolas' watch became, until he spoke little and spent every hour staring out at the sea before them, adjusting the sails.

Legolas saw the saw the far off distant shores of Valinor first.

"I can see the shores from here." he said.

"Is it Valinor?" Gimli asked.

Legolas jumped down from the rigging and smiled. "It is." he said.

Elesia and Gimli looked at each other and grinned. They had made it down the Straight Way.

"Truly it is a day of wonder." Gimli said. "I wasn't sure we would be allowed entrance."

"Nor I." Legolas said. "But tonight we shall be walking under the great mallorn trees of Valinor!"

They sailed closer.

The closer they got to shore, the rougher the waters became. The calm waters ahead of them became a nightmare of tidal waves. Gimli and Elesia held onto the railing as the ship was tossed about violently. A wave obviously of some wizardry washed onto the ship and took Elesia over the side. She slipped into the water.

"Elesia!!!" Gimli yelled. Legolas dropped the sails and ran to the edge of the ship. He looked out into the water. He saw her briefly, amongst the waves. The sea sprayed up, blinding him momentarily. He saw a glimpse of her again but before he could take action, another wave crashed onto the ship, toppling the rigging and sending the ship rolling onto it's side. Gimli and Legolas slid off the deck into the water.

The elves that manned the docks were more than a little surprised to see a dwarf wading up onto shore. Especially one yelling and barking orders.

"I need a small boat, now! I have two people in the water!!" Gimli yelled.

The elves would not give him a boat, but looked passed Gimli into the waves. Gimli turned around to see Legolas getting out of the water.

Two elves reached into the water and helped him to shore. He fought against them. "I saw her near the edge of the bay." Legolas said. "A boat. We have to save her."

"We cannot." The elf said. "It is the will of The Valar. If she were chosen, she would have made it ashore safely as you both did."

"No." Legolas said. "I must keep looking."

Legolas ran towards a boat, but the elves held him back. He fought them, but it was a useless fight against so many. They pulled him away from the boats and back towards the edge of the beach. Legolas eyes never left the waves where he last saw her. Gimli fell onto the sandy beaches and cried.

Legolas said nothing. He stood on the beach and stared long at the waves.

Gimli watched his friend. His eyes never leaving the waves. Hours past and the sun sunk low in the sky. Legolas made no move to leave the beach. Gimli built a fire and two elves were sent from Galadriel to see them. Gimli approached them. They watched Legolas who was perched on a rock staring at the waves.

"His love was deep." one of the elves said.

Gimli nodded. "It was.... How long will he wait?"

"Some elves never recover from such a loss. Though elves are reunited with loved ones in Valinor. It is not so with mortals. We know not where they reside after they leave middle-earth." the other elf said.

The elves handed Gimli water and lembas. He thanked them and went back to sit near the fire. Gimli sat watch over him all night. Near dawn, Legolas said softly to himself.

"Mornie utulie."

Gimli stood beside him. The sun began to rise.

"Never in all my years have I not wished to be an elf." Legolas said. "Until today."

He turned from the waves and Gimli followed him up the paths through the gardens into the city. A new day was beginning.


A few leagues down the beach, a new day was beginning. Frodo walked along the shore line at sunrise. He stared out at the water and the incoming waves. It had been many years since he'd set sail from the Grey Havens. Years since he'd said goodbye to Merry and Pippin and Sam. Sam. He often wondered if he would see Sam here someday, sailing up on some handmade ship a small dot on the horizon line that grew ever larger. He missed Sam.

Since coming to Valinor he'd felt stronger than he had since the quest of the ring. The wound from the ring wraith had finally healed, though on some lonely night's he was convinced he could still feel the blade penetrating his arm. Gandalf said it was his imagination and it would pass. In many ways, Frodo hoped it did not. Those midnight nightmares were all that he had to remember Middle Earth by. Some nights he couldn't exactly remember the where the Road to Bree intersected with the road to the forest. And exactly what house was closest to the Buckleberry Ferry.

When he'd set sail to the Blessed Realm, he'd felt the distant longing. The never ending call of the ocean waves. When he'd stepped ashore with Elrond and Galadriel and Bilbo, he'd felt like an elf. He knew this land of the Eldars would not grant him immortality, but would extend his days for a while and allow him to live those days without pain. But today, he just felt like a hobbit, who missed his friends and his home and wanted nothing more than a fresh pipe, a full belly, and a laugh with his friends.

Bilbo kept busy. He was writing again. Bilbo sometime seemed more elf than hobbit. He spent his time in quiet reflection, traveling between the elvish cities as the honorary historian. Reliving past tales and sitting in council with Elrond and Galadriel.

There were no humans in the Blessed Realm. Elrond, of course was part human, but he gave up that part of his life long ago. And spent his eternity cursed at leaving Aragorn and Arwen behind. In the thousands of years he had lived, nothing had affected him, such as this. There was a sadness in his eyes. And a rumor that passed through Valinor that perhaps, Elrond would be one of the few elves that choose the path of no return. The other elves of course, blamed this on the fact that Elrond was not all elf and it was his humanity in him that caused him so much sadness.

And so the days past, weeks turned to months turned to years. And Frodo watched the tides roll in and out. Waiting. His house near the deserted rocky shorelines was several leagues away from the nearest Elven village. He did not know of Legolas and Gimli's arrival, nor did it even cross his mind as he look out at the water.

"I wish Sam were here." he said aloud. He sat down on a rock and began humming the old songs to himself. He was listening to the sound of the waves when he saw it. A body in the water. He stood. Then he ran.

He waded into the water, the waves lapping at his ankles. Clinging to a piece of drift wood, unconscious, was a girl. Not a hobbit, nor an elf. But a mortal. Her traveling clothes had been mostly torn from her in the waves, and hung in tatters. Frodo stare at her a long time in wonder and amazement.

"You aren't Samwise Gamgee. But what a thing for the seas to wash in." Frodo said to the unconscious body. And he began the slow task of dragging her out of the water.


She awoke to the sound of singing. Not elvish singing. It wasn't pretty enough for that. But it wasn't a man either. She listened, half-asleep, wondering where she was. The past day came back to her in a rush and she sprung up in the bed.

"Legolas! Gimli!" she shouted out. Fully awake.

Frodo stare at her from a stool beside her bed. "What did you just say?" Frodo asked.

"I was on a ship, with Legolas Greenleaf and Gimli son of Gloin. It was taken over by a wave. I must find them." she said.

"Legolas and Gimli!" Frodo said and smiled, "This is a wonderful surprise. I haven't seen them since. Since. Well, since we were on our way back to the Shire and they were going.."

"I must find them!!" she said. Her voice frantic.

"Certainly. We shall go into town. After breakfast." he said.

"I must leave now. I can go alone. But I do not know the way." she said. And the despair in her voice took him back to a day long ago when he had said those words. Her voice sounded nothing like his, but the hopelessness in it was the same. Breakfast could wait.

"I will take you there." he said.


The dawn did nothing to improve Valinor. After leaving the shoreline and walking into the city. Legolas and Gimli were greeted by elves who escorted them to the chambers of the high elves. A council had convened to discuss their arrival.

Galadriel stood as they entered the room. Her beauty and grace was as lovely as it had ever been in Middle-Earth.

"Welcome, Gimli son of Gloin. Because you carry a piece of me with you, you were granted refuge in Valinor." Galadriel said.

Gimli clutched the amulet around his neck. "It has never left me, nor has the vision of your beauty," Gimli said.

Galadriel smiled as he bowed low.

"Your wounds will be healed and you will walk free of pain, until the end of your days." Galadriel said.

She turned to Legolas.

"Legolas Greenleaf, son of Thranduil, you did not heed my warning." Galadriel said.

"Beware the sea." Legolas said.

Galadriel nodded. "We welcome you to Valinor, though it be not the arrival you expected." She said.

"After so many years, all I expect is that nothing goes as expected," he said sadly.

As Galadriel was dismissing them, a commotion rose in the outer courtyards. The sound grew as the doors of the chambers opened and a host of elves escorted Elesia into the room. Many in the council gasp. They stare at her a long moment, trying to decide what manner of person she was. Though, tall as a mortal, she was dressed in clothes that were clearly hobbit. Pants much too short and a shirt that did not fit at all correctly.

"You are a mortal? In the Blessed Realm? Indeed Legolas, this certainly was not expected," Galadriel said.

Elesia saw Legolas and Gimli but made no move to greet them. There would be many opportunities for reunion, but the high council of elves wasn't one of them.

"What explanation do you have child," Galadriel asked. "For no mortal has ever set foot upon Valinor until this day."

"My only explanation is this connecting stone. By accident, Legolas and I were joined to it." She said.

"Let me see this stone." Galadriel said.

Elesia removed the stone and handed it to Galadriel. In Galadriel's hands the stone began to glow. It's brightness increased in intensity until the light of the sun seemed to pour out of it. The light filled the room. The elves stared upon it in awe.

In a hushed voice Galadriel said, "Connecting stones are the remaining pieces of the 2 Silmarils that were lost in ages well before you time. Ten pieces have been recovered over the ages. Yours is another. You have done us a great service."

"I have worn the stone near my heart for many years." Elesia said.

"And for that we are grateful. Welcome to Valinor, may you walk in peace here until the end of your days." Galadriel said.

With those words, Galadriel and the high council of elves retreated to reunite the stone with the remaining pieces of Silmarils.

In the courtyard, outside the chamber, beneath the golden leafy branches of the great mallorn trees, another reunion took place. Elesia approached Legolas and Gimli, smiling.

"When you disappeared into the sea, I feared the worst." Legolas said. His gaze was so intense, she had to look away.

"As did I," Gimli said. "Though when you walk into the great hall, I thought you an over grown hobbit. To what far reaches did the waves fling you?"

"To the most unexpected place of all. To the feet of a hobbit. One who gave up his morning meal to lead me here." Elesia said.

"That is quite a sacrifice." Gimli said. "Though he did not waste time in making up his missed meal."

Gimli and Legolas saw Frodo. He was waiting patiently sitting against the trunk of a mallorn tree, eating lembas. To Legolas it seemed that Frodo had more cares in his face than he did when they first met in Rivendell. Legolas doubted that anyone truly understood Frodo's sacrifice. But as is the way of the world, sometimes one must sacrifice much in order that many may live in happiness. Frodo glanced up from his lembas and saw Legolas and Gimli. Seeing his old friends, a smile spread across his face and the years seemed to slip away from him. He rose to greet them.

"It has been a long time," Frodo said.

"Indeed it has." Legolas said.

"What news have you of Middle-Earth?" Frodo asked. "How I should dearly love to hear about the Shire."

"I shall tell you all you wish," Gimli said. "Not a year ago, I talked to Master Pippin while he was in Gondor. We spent many an evening over pipe-weed telling me tales of Hobbiton and your dear Shire."

"Then let us go and cool our feet in the rivers, while you begin these tales," Frodo said. "And leave those two to their own devices."

And walking together, the two friends disappeared up the trail of mallorn trees.

Legolas turned to Elesia. She looked into his eyes. It was not the sea she saw raging within the blue depths, but his feelings for her.

"I suppose our dreams are at an end?" Elesia said, a touch of sadness in her voice.

Legolas shook his head and pulled her to him. "I should not need another dream if you are beside me, as long as I live."

"And how long will that life be? It will stretch many times the length of my own." She said.

For that he had no answer. Only elves on the shores of Middle-Earth had the choice of forsaking immortality. By setting sail to Valinor he gave up that choice.

And like Frodo, Gimli and Elesia were given refuge only. Immortality was not a gift that could be granted. Even in Valinor.

Legolas looked to the west. On the horizon he could see the great mountain peaks. Legolas recalled the songs of Palarran. Of the elf that had traveled the paths of the great mountains and was never seen in the Blessed Realm again.

"Perhaps, the answer lies over those mountains." Legolas said.

She looked at the peaks.

"Those are the ones spoken of in songs of old?" she asked, remembering Pippin's song. "Where do they lead?"

"It is a mystery, even to the elves." Legolas said.

She gazed at the snowcapped peaks for a long time.

"It is a mystery that we shall solve." She said. "Maybe they shall sing songs of us one day."

"Maybe." Legolas said.

They looked towards the west. The snow on the mountain tops sparkled under the suns rays. The wind blew down from the peaks across the great distances to where they stood. The golden leaves from the mallorn trees began to fall. Legolas took Elesia's hand and pulled her off the path, deep into the forest, away from prying eyes, into the tall soft grasses of Valinor.

Perhaps one day, songs would be sung of them. But not today. Today belonged only to them.


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