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Thranduil awaits Legolas’s arrival in Valinor from Middle Earth. Post-trilogy.


Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings belongs to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. No infringement intended.

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Spring gave way to summer, fall to winter, and so the seasons passed for the most part uncounted, since the Elves did not care how many years went by in their unchanging lives. Only Thranduil, once King of the Elves of Mirkwood, still numbered the summers since the last of the ships had sailed to Valinor from the Grey Havens of Middle Earth, and he walked up and down the Eastern shore, searching the distant seas for the tall mast of one more ship to come.

Even Elrond Half-Elven had given up the vigil, shaking his head sadly and sighing. “They will not come,” he said, and went home, where he had been reunited with Celebrían at long last, and Elladan and Elrohir were comfort for the still-bitter loss of his daughter Arwen Evenstar. “There are no more ships to carry them.”

But Thranduil had no wife to go to, nor no child but the one who still tarried across the sea in Middle Earth, and he was content to wait a while longer. “Doubtless you are right,” he told Elrond, but in his heart he remembered the laughing son, inquisitive and fearless, who went where he pleased and found his own way, and to himself he said, “He may yet come.” So he continued to go down to the shore and watch the Eastern horizon.

Yet when the day came that his far-sighted eyes spied a ship’s mast away upon the sea, at first he could not believe what he saw, and on the shore he stood still as a stone for many hours, one long hand shading his eyes, watching it until it grew large in his sight, a grey ship with leaf-green sails. And still he watched as the day faded and at last he went back up the hill to tell the news that a ship sailed to them from the East.

Then in the morning he went back down to the shore, and this time many Elves went with him: Elrond and Celebrían, Elladan and Elrohir, Galadriel and Celeborn, Glorfindel and Haldir and others who had come hence from Mirkwood and Imladris and Lothlórien, leaving a last few kinsmen and friends behind. At noon the ship landed, and Thranduil waited as they disembarked: the last of the Elves finally come home.

Arwen Undómiel was not among their number. Elrond Half-Elven spoke no word, but turned and walked away, never to look upon the sea again. Thranduil would go to him and offer comfort, but not today, not when his own child was returning to him.

For there, walking towards him, a smile bright as the stars upon his fair face, long hair flowing like silken banners of gold, and singing in his clear voice, was Thranduil’s son: his beloved wayward child, happy and headstrong and beautiful, the very image of his quicksilver mother, who had stayed at Thranduil’s side only long enough to gift him with this precious child and then was gone, he still knew not where.

The very image of his mother in act and spirit as well as in physical beauty: for who else would dare to bring one of the Naugrim here? For Legolas was walking up the shore with a Dwarf at his side, the same strange creature he had brought home from the War of the Ring, saying, “This is my dear friend Gimli, Father, will you not welcome him?”

Thranduil smiled, his heart filled with joy, but he also sighed. How many times had this willful child broken his heart? Legolas’s mother had left him only once, but her son had left him many times, traveling hither and thither like a wisp of cloud borne forth on the wind, gathering up strange companions and stranger tales, coming home to fill his father’s halls with laughter and song, only to turn and fly away again. Sent only to bring a message to Elrond, Legolas had then gone on a quest to save all of Middle Earth; he had fought great battles and brought down a winged Nazgul; he had tarried after in Gondor to attend the King’s wedding, and then to wander a while with his Dwarf companion, and had come home only to gather up the best of Thranduil’s people and take them away south to Ithilien. When the last of the great Elven ships was leaving the Grey Havens, Thranduil had begged his son to come with them, saying, “Soon there will be no more ships, and you may not find the way.” But Legolas had laughed and kissed him goodbye, saying, “Soon I will come! I have seen the sea, and heard her call, and cannot resist it much longer. But I will remain a while yet, while Aragorn is King, and sing among the trees of Ithilien.” Now at last he had come; let him bring whom he would, a whole host of Dwarves, as long as he was home at last, as long as he would stay.

Legolas came up to his father, having parted with the Dwarf, who stopped to greet the Lady Galadriel with a low bow.

“You are your mother’s child,” Thranduil said, although that was not what he had meant to say.

Legolas took his father in his arms, and kissed him, and his lips were soft and sweet as ripe plums, and in his hair was the fresh clean scent of salt breezes. “I have come home,” he said.

“Will you stay?” And again, this was not at all what Thranduil meant to say. Where then had his tongue gone, to leave this traitor in his mouth? My beautiful son, was what he wanted to say, How I have missed you.

There was an indulgent smile on Legolas’s face. “Where else should I go?”

Thranduil had no answer, nor would he want to give one. Let Legolas discover his own destination, if he were determined to find one. Certainly, lack of a place to go had never stopped his wanderings before. “Nowhere,” he finally said.

Legolas kissed him again, and his body was warm where it pressed against him. “My dearest father. How I have missed you!”

Thranduil held tight to Legolas’s arm. He felt tears on his cheeks. “My son.” It was not, precisely, what he meant to say, but perhaps it was sufficient. “Come home with me.”

They walked arm in arm from the shore.


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