The Departure of the Last Elf

by Dinledhwen

2 

1.

After the last ship had left The Grey Havens the harbor and its surrounding buildings lay deserted and untouched by men for countless years since any former dwelling place of elves was now thought to be haunted by them as men’s creative stories about elves were allowed to become fact. Then the deep stillness of one winter’s night was dispelled by Last Elf quickly running and occasionally stumbling through the drifts of dry leaves which had gathered during the past fall on the path and stairs leading down to the stone quay where he staggered to a stop at its very end. And when the elf whose elvish name was Eryndil saw that King Thranduil’s ship from Valinor wasn’t there, the Eryn Lasgalen elf panicked for it was his only means of escape he now had from the angry and torch carrying mob of men that had been dogging his steps ever since his path crossed theirs. Apparently they had been out searching the nearby area for a mysterious thief who had been stealing from the local farmers and when the description of the thief’s hooded grey cloak matched Eryndil’s they quickly assumed him to be the man they sought since they couldn’t see his face and ears. So the mob had tried to capture the elf and soon learned then that even though they out numbered him and had stabbed him deeply in his right thigh the elf wasn’t about to be caught yet.

However the painful and by now very bloody wound had been hindering Eryndil all during his escape toward the harbor which meant that he could only stay just ahead of the mob for only a short distance. And to make matters worst he now discovered that he could no longer put any weight on that leg while he desperately scanned the far western horizon for any sign of the ship Yavanna had said would be there for him. Then he began to wonder if the Valier really had appeared to him that past summer shortly after the presence of men had become harder for him to handle in his ever shrinking woodland home. But when Yavanna personally had beseeched him then to leave for the Grey Havens because she didn’t wish to see him dying while defending what would ultimately be destroyed he had relented since he sadly realized the truth in her words. So he had set out immediately on the long journey to the harbor which had been uneventful until now. But had it all been based on folly especially when his kindred had never used the Grey Havens to sail from because of the close proximity of new settlements of men.

Suddenly Eryndil heard the faint sound of hushed voices urging each other on and not to be afraid of no ghosts approaching from behind and belatedly the blonde haired elf realized that he was totally visible to all now that the clouds had parted which allowed the silvery moonlight to spill over the harbor. So he quickly pivoted on his good left leg and tried to hobble back down the quay. But the sudden sharp pain in his wounded leg caused him to stumble and fall to his hands and knees while he winced and groaned at the same time.

“There he is!” a booming voice called out excitedly just as the torch carrying mob appeared at the start of the path above the fallen elf.

“Quickly grab him so we can get out of this place!” ordered another before they surged forward.

Meanwhile Eryndil was trying to get up but to no avail. So he used his forearms and slowly pulled himself along on his stomach back towards the end of the quay since he knew that he wouldn’t be able to reach the other end in time to escape. There he lay on his left side while he briefly entertained the notion of rolling over backward into the water and trying to swim away. But a gut feeling told him to stay where he was at so he gladly did just that since he was so weak all of a sudden. Then he closed his eyes while he waited for the mob to grab him.



2.

“Look!” a third man suddenly cried out loud while he stopped at the entrance to the quay so he could pointed to the west where a bank of dense white fog was rapidly growing and approaching the harbor.

Now this caused the rest of the mob to stop on either side of him. Then they began to murmur uneasily amongst themselves about ghosts which forced Eryndil to open his eyes in order to see what was going on. And then he narrowed them as he attempted to see what lay hidden within since he sensed that something large was concealed there.

Suddenly a ship with three masts under full sail emerged from the now dissipating fog while it entered the moonlit Gulf of Lune which gave its grey hull and white sails a ghostly glow.

“I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m not about to let any of those ghosts catch me!” another man next to the third stated emphatically before he turned and began to quickly push his way through those behind him.

“Leave the thief to the ghosts! They’ll take care of him since they feed on mortal souls!” some one else suggested just as the rest of the mob started to retreat back up the path after him.

Meanwhile a smile of relief had appeared on Eryndil’s face while he watched them go. Then he winced while he slowly sat up after which he pulled back his hood. And it was at that moment he noticed for the first time just how blood soaked his legging was around his wound and that drops of it were now dripping onto the quay. Clearly it was the loss of blood that was now making him feel weak.

Suddenly a very familiar voice full of worry shouted out his name and when the elf looked up he saw King Thranduil standing on the bow of the ship with Legolas at his side while the ships crew was busy lowering the sails behind them in order to slow it down. So Eryndil waved back to his King to let him know that he had been heard before he tried to pull himself on his forearms back towards the middle of the quay where the ship would dock judging by its now slower speed. However he collapsed only after moving a few feet in that direction when his earlier weakness became even more pronounced. Of course this moving didn’t do anything at all to alleviate the sharp pain already in his right thigh so when the King shouted at him to lie still he did so gladly.

Meanwhile King Thranduil and Legolas had left the bow and were now standing by the opening in the ship’s starboard railing while the vessel swung around in that direction. Then they quickly jumped down onto the quay after the ship had gently bumped up against it and soon they were on either side of Eryndil and carefully rolling him over onto his back so they could help him up onto his good leg. And once they had placed his arms about their shoulders so they could help bear his weight the trio then headed back as fast as Eryndil could hop towards the ship’s gang plank which had by now been lowered into place.

“I was a fool…for not listening…to you when you…wanted me to sail…with you earlier,” Eryndil suddenly said bitterly around his clenched teeth since his hopping was jarring his wounded thigh which only made the pain there worse. “Then none of this… would have ever happened.”

“No Eryndil you’re not a fool,” King Thranduil said kindly as the trio began to make their way up the gang plank. “Your love for our former woodland home was so engrained in you that in order for you to be able to let go and come here this night required that has transpired to happen. But let us not speak of this any longer for it’s in the past and should be left behind here on this shore in favor of your new life that now awaits you in Valinor.”

“A new life…that sounds…interesting,” Eryndil replied weakly with a tired smile while the King and Legolas turned him over to the two assistants of the stern looking healer waiting for them at the top of the gang plank. Then they had him hop over to a tan awning under which was a small table that held all the healing potions and such that the healer would need in order to tend to his stabbed right thigh and a low bed for him to rest on afterwards.

“It will be!” Legolas said with a knowing smile while he and the King watched as another assistant quickly cut the material away from Eryndil’s wound before the healer began to examine it with gentle fingers which still caused him to wince. “And I will be happy to show you around the spectacular woods Yavanna has graciously provided for us in Valinor once you’re able to of course.”

Now Eryndil smiled back at Legolas while the healer gave him a goblet containing a potion. This he drank with no urging and soon his eyes drooped close and the two assistants who had been steadying him while he stood on his good leg now had to bare his full weight while he slipped into a deep sleep. Fortunately the healer soon had the bleeding stopped and the wound properly bandaged shortly after that. And once all traces of his blood had been washed from Eryndil’s leg and his remaining clothes removed he was then lowered gently down onto the bed by the two assistants.

“Eryndil will live,” the healer pronounced to King Thranduil and Legolas with a pleased smile that was mirrored by his audience while he dried his now clean hands on a clean cloth. “Now we know why the gracious Lady had Lord Ulmo suddenly speed us along quicker halfway through our journey. Obviously we would’ve been too lat under normal sails.”

“Yes and now that Eryndil is on board and safe we must leave here just as quickly for that mob could return and we are few in number,” King Thranduil said before he ordered the crew to set sail. Soon the ship was heading out of the harbor while Lord Ulmo’s dense white fog began to shroud it again. Then the ship and the fog slowly disappeared and the Grey Havens fell silent once more.

However that silence was broken for a short time after sunrise when some of the braver members of the mob returned to satisfy their curiosity concerning the fate of the thief. And when they only found dried blood on the quay they instantly assumed the ghosts had indeed taken him back from whence they came. Now this spurred them into a hasty retreat for they had no wish to share the thief’s fate if any of the ghosts still lingered about in the dark shadows. So it was that the Grey Havens was left undisturbed by men from that moment on during which the forces of weather and the passage of time took over and worked together to crumble it into ruins before erasing it from the land thus closing the chapter on Elves in Middle-earth.