Birth of a Faerie Tale: Part III
~* Epilogue *~
Slowly, two travelers made their way across the land, the impressive
mountains looming behind them. The sun was sinking low on the
horizon, casting its last rays of light on them. Even from a
distance, they seemed an unlikely pair: one tall and slender, walking
with the natural grace of a wildcat, the other short and sturdy, his
heavy steps speaking of his enormous strength. They couldn't have
been more different, and yet they were the best friends, with a
friendship unmatched in Middle Earth. They had traveled far together,
seen many things, and encountered countless adventures, always coming
out on top and earning themselves the fame of two of Middle Earth
But the land they were traveling through now was peaceful and war and
fighting were far from their minds. They walked comfortably along a
well-treaded path, a steady flow of cheerful banter and teasing
between the two friends.
"You haven't even told me where we're going," Gimli
accused the elf
next to him.
Legolas smiled down at his smaller friend, before replying. "I
you I had a promise to keep. I didn't even ask you to accompany
you could have easily stayed in Ithilien. Your dwarven craftsmanship
would surely be appreciated there."
"What? Stay there and leave all the fun to you alone if you run
trouble? And as I recall, you always manage to find trouble wherever
you go, Master Elf. Who would be there to save your sorry, skinny elf-
hide if not for me?" Gimli demanded.
"Oh, really?" Legolas asked, pretending to be surprised.
have sworn those mercenaries we had a fight with last months were
after you, Master Dwarf, because you had cheated them at cards and
stolen their money?" he mocked, knowing exactly how sensitive the
dwarf reacted to this matter.
"And I keep telling you that I had won it in an honest game. Is
fault that they can't lose a fair game against a good dwarf?"
scratched his impressive beard that was showing the first streaks of
silver. "But I showed them what a real dwarf is made of! That was
lesson they'll never forget!"
"You mean, we showed them, don't you Master Dwarf?"
him softly. "I seem to recall saving your hide from some pretty
Gimli grunted in a sort of non-committal agreement. "But as I
we showed them that a dwarf and an elf are not easily attacked from
behind! Ha! The statement on their leader's face was priceless
he found that all his companions had fled!" The shorter wanderer
roared with laughter, causing some birds to fly up into the sky,
frightened by the loud sound. Legolas merely grinned, pleased to see
his companion in such high spirits than at the memory of their last
They walked in silence for awhile, until Gimli spoke again.
"You know, you still haven't told me where we are going,"
brining up the subject again. "Is it far? The night is
and we should set up our camp before darkness falls completely."
"No, it isn't far now. And tonight, if everything goes well,
not sleep out in the open but in comfortable beds! As to where
heading, let's just say, it's an old friend and a surprise
my impatient friend."
Gimli merely grumbled at – in his opinion – this typical
answer. `Not far and a surprise!' The dwarf had already been
opinion that elves should be forbidden to speak in such riddles and
relative terms for a long time now. It would make living with them
"Not far, you say. I bet we would already be there if you
to stop at each and every tree that we pass!" Gimli accused his
friend, trying to pull him into another argument about the elf's
and admiration for the forest. If anything, a good argument would
keep him occupied and entertained during the rest of their journey.
But Legolas merely shrugged his shoulders at the accusation and
grinned, easily seeing through the dwarf's attempt. With a few
steps, he reached the top of the little hill they were climbing and
"There, my friend, lies our destination and our place for the
Gimli followed his arm and saw, about half of a mile away, an old
farm house with a barn and two gigantic old tress behind it,
surrounded by a low stone wall. At the sight, the dwarf's brain
to recall the scene before them.
"I remember this place!" Gimli exclaimed. "We came here
fellowship of the ring, before we entered Moria!"
"Aye," Legolas assented, pleased to see that his friend was
remembering and at his obvious joy at seeing the farm. "And it
here that I gave promise to a certain lady that I intend to keep.
Come now." Slowly the two warriors made their way down the hill
towards the house.
As they came nearer the two could make out the form of somebody
sitting on a bench in front of the house, enjoying the last rays of
light. The person – an elderly woman as far as Gimli could tell
the distance – was bent over a stack of papers on her lap, so she
didn't notice the dwarf and elf coming closer. The woman kept
scribbling on a piece of paper, a smile occasionally appearing on her
face, as if something on the parchment amused her.
When they were but a few steps away, Legolas called out to get the
woman's attention. "Vedui'!" *Greetings!*
The woman's head snapped up in surprise, and she looked closely
them. Her tanned skin revealed the wrinkled lines of age, which
increased in number at the slight frown. The sun reflected off her
gray hair which was most likely blonde once, and she wore the plain
clothes of simple folk. Gimli guessed her to be about fifty years
Then suddenly an statement of recognition spread across the
face and her lips broke into a large smile. Putting the stack of
papers from her lap hastily aside, she jumped up with surprising
"Master Elf!" she exclaimed, her brown eyes shining.
saian luume'!" *At last! It has been too long!* Shiara added
elven language, smiling. "Elen sila lumenn omentilmo!" *A
shine upon the hour of our meeting!*
Legolas gave a surprised gasp at this, then bowed his head, smiling
broadly as well. "Aye," he replied. "Cormamin lindua ele
heart sings to see you.*
Gimli had spent enough time with his elven friend in the last decade
or so to get at least a basic grasp of Sindarin, especially of the
traditional, formal greetings of the elves, so he understood most of
their conversation. But still he was grateful when the two switched
to common Westron again.
"I see you learned Sindarin. I'm truly impressed,
"Yes, I have traveled far in my life, seen and learned many
especially about elves – as it was my wish when I was but a young
girl. But I'm forgetting my good manners." She turned to
bowed her head. "Greetings to you, too, Master Dwarf. I'm
to see you again."
Gimli inclined his head as well, smiling. "So am I, Lady Shiara.
has been long since I last saw you."
"The years have been very kind with you, I see," Shiara
The dwarf shrugged. "Not as kind as with my friend here, I
stroked across the silver lines in his long beard and thought about
the spots on the back of his head that had been covered with a
considerably larger amount of hair a few years ago.
"Aye, such is the way of the Eldars," the woman agreed.
"You speak like somebody who knows a lot about the elven ways,
netharwenamin," Legolas noted.
"Aye, indeed, Master Elf. I daresay I do know a lot about elves
their ways – for a human at least," Shiara said. "I know
and legends about elves and also about other magical creatures and I
have begun writing those tales down for the generations that are to
come after all elves have vanished from Middle Earth and have gone
into the West." There was a short pause at these sad words. They
knew it was true, the time for elves on Middle Earth was coming to an
end. More and more of the Eldars went into the West. The time of
humans had come and it wouldn't be long before elves were nothing
creatures of legend and myth, in stories to be told to children.
As much as this upset Gimli, there was nothing he could do about if.
Times had changed, and few elves remained in Middle Earth now. He
knew that Legolas also had been longing to go for some time. The only
thing that kept the elven Prince tied to this place were his mortal
friends – and Gimli feared what would happen if those ties proved
be too weak one day. Would his friend leave them all behind to follow
his heart's call?
A melancholy mood had settled over the three of them and darkened
their thoughts on this joyous occasion. However, Shiara spoke up,
breaking the sadness in the air.
"But will you still insist on calling me a `young lady',
The days when I was young and a child have long since passed."
tone was light, and it didn't fail in its intent to lighten the
"That may be true for humans, netharwenamin, but for me you are
a young one and a true lady, as you have always been. So, yes, I will
insist on calling you a young lady," the elven Prince replied
grin, all heavy thoughts far from his mind once more.
The old woman sighed dramatically, but one could tell from the smirk
that glittered in her eyes that it was nothing but a false
despondency and that she secretly enjoyed her elven title.
"So, will you at least tell me why you came here, Master Elf?
am delighted to see you again, but what I don't understand is why
came?" she asked finally, getting back to a more serious matter.
At this Gimli snorted loudly into his beard. "I already asked him
that question today. Took me a while to get at least a sort of
response out of the elf..." he mumbled to himself.
Sharp ears picking up his shorter friend's words, Legolas
help but grin. The way his dwarven friend could grumble about
everything never failed to amuse him.
Then he turned to answer Shiara's question. "Well,
long time ago I gave promise to a young friend. And as you might have
learned on journeys, elves have the habit to keep their promises. So
now I'm here, my friend."
The old woman looked down. "I had already begun to believe you
forgotten the both of us, the promise and me," she said in a
voice. "After all it's been a long time and I was nothing but
that you encountered on your long, legendary journey."
Legolas stepped forward and gently raised Shiara's chin. Softly
stroked her lined face and a supernatural glimmer seemed to pass from
him onto her.
"Never would I forget a friend," he told her firmly, looking
into her brown eyes. "We elves may have all the time in the world
great deeds and creating legends, but it is the gift of true
friendship that makes our lives worth something."
Shiara blinked back tears. This she had not expected. As a child she
had sometimes dreamt of this day, but never had she imagined to be
gifted with such a friendship that sprang out of a chance meeting.
Gimli, too, was fighting down a lump in his throat. Dwarven custom
taught that too many emotional shows of affection were to be avoided
since they diverted the attention from more important matters. But
regardless of custom, Gimli felt deeply moved by his friend's
It showed how much the elf really appreciated friendship, and Gimli
was proud to have the honor of such a friendship with Legolas.
"Thank you, mellonamin," Shiara whispered. "Thank you for
Legolas nodded and smiled. "You're more than welcome," he
before changing the topic. "But let's go inside now. I hope
alright with you because I already promised Gimli a warm, comfortable
bed for the night and I fear what he'll do if I have to break
The dwarf grumbled something unclear in affirmation, more for show
than for anything else – after all he had an image to maintain!
"And then I'd like to see those tales about elves that you
collected, netharwenamin. After all I have to examine what the future
generations will hear about my folk and how much of it is nothing but
exaggerated superstition!" Legolas added.
Shiara laughed goodheartedly. "Of course you're welcome in my
You shall sleep this night in warm beds and you shall see what
written so far. I sincerely hope it finds your approval, Master
With that she opened the door and led the two of them inside, to an
evening full of laughter and stories of old adventures.
And outside on the bench in front of the house lay the momentarily
forgotten pack of parchment, in which Shiara had written her stories.
The last golden-red rays of sunlight that shone over the hills
illuminated the leather bound cover of the pack, causing the
imprinted letters of the title to glow softly; the title of a
collection that was to be read in hundreds of generations to come,
brining them joy and happy hours: "Elven and Fairy Tales"
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