King Elessar, born Aragorn son of Arathorn, great King of Gondor, was gone. Weary yet satisfied, he had passed from this life and his Queen, Arwen Evenstar, departed for the lonely woods of Lothlórien to live out the remainder of her life alone.|
Now the only remaining members of the Fellowship were Legolas the Elf and Gimli, Gloín's son and lord of the Glittering Caves. Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took had spent their last years in comfort in Gondor and then had been laid beside Aragorn, under his protection even in death.
Samwise Gamgee was also gone, having already crossed the Sea after the death of his dear wife Rosie had left him alone once again. Freed from ties to Middle-Earth, he had gone on to join Frodo in the West.
With the loss of his friends, the desire for the Sea grew even greater within the heart of Legolas. The time had come for him to leave. Many Elves of Mirkwood now dwelt in Ithilien, once again making it the fairest of all lands as in times past. Legolas had felt the desire for the West growing steadily ever since he had first heard the gulls during the War of the Ring, and now he was ready to go.
"Awake, Ancient One."
Several weeks later, there was a great rumbling and rustling in Ithilien, and the fair Elves were treated to a sight few have seen: a grand host of Ents. Treebeard came, leading several of his kind, each carrying a large grey log.
Deep in the Glittering Caves of Aglarond, the jovial, boisterous voices of Dwarves rang free and loud and their lord, Gimli Gloín's son, was happy beyond compare. Yet there was a longing inside his heart. A longing for something more beautiful and precious than any Dwarf could craft. Something that had graced his sight and imbedded itself in his mind long ago. Something his heart greatly desired. But what it was he could not uncover.
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 voice 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 are failing.
I will pass the wide waters lonely sailing.
Long are the waves on the Last Shore falling,
Sweet are the voices of the Lost Isle calling,
In EressĎa, in Elvenhome that no man can discover,
Where the leaves fall not: land of my people forever!"
Gimli smiled at the sight and sound of his old friend and moved toward the skeleton, hopping up on a pile of logs. "Your borders are well guarded, friend Elf. It is fortunate for me that I am an acquaintance!"
Legolas had heard his friend's approach and now smiled at his words, leaping down to the sandy shore. "Vendui, Gimli, my friend. It has indeed taken you long enough to visit." His laugh came merry and welcoming, an arm perched round the Dwarf's strong shoulder.
Gimli rested the head of his axe on the ground, gesturing to the ship. "Now what might this be?"
"This," Legolas rested his palm against the wood, "Is my farewell. I am leaving these shores. The call of the Sea is strong in my heart and the time has come for me to join the others in the West."
The Dwarf felt a great sadness well up in his heart at the news of his friend's departure but, at the same time, the longing grew even greater.
Then Legolas peered at his stalwart companion again. "You could come with me, if you so desire."
"Is such a thing permitted?" asked Gimli.
"You are my friend, an Elendil. It would give my heart great joy if you would join me in the West. Yet, I sense that there is a longing in your heart that points there as well." The Elf spoke gently, seating himself upon the river shore.
Gimli leaned on his axe thoughtfully. "You were always keen of sight, my friend," said he. "There is a desire in my heart, one I cannot explain nor name, except that it is beautiful beyond the skill of any hand, even a Dwarf's. A thing to be reverenced and cherished. The desire for it makes me weary and yet strong to search for it."
A smile coursed across the Elf's face. "You have seen and basked in the beauty and favor of the Lady of the Wood. It is not a sight easily forgotten, Gimli. Allow me to comfort your heart and take you with me into the West where you shall gaze on her beauty for all of time. I know it would please the Lady, for she has no more steadfast defender than yourself."
A smile came to Gimli's own face, partly due to the memory of his argument with Eómer of Rohan over the beauty and virtue of Lady Galadriel. Then he looked at Legolas in wonder and a deep kindred love. "You are a true friend to me, Legolas of Mirkwood. I gladly accept your invitation. I shall help you build your ship and then christen it with our first and last voyage from Middle-earth."
"Then it shall not be a lonely sailing after all." Legolas smiled.
So it came to pass that, together, Elf and Dwarf finished the grey ship and, when it was done, took their leave of Ithilien and sailed down the river Anduin until it opened unto the High Sea. From there they sailed ever westward, finally passing into a grand green country where summer is ever fair and flourishing.