The Story of the Last Elf

by Dinledhwen
2  3  4  5

Part One Spring


From the first stanza of the poem The Last Elf:

He stood alone in the woods that spring
When he heard the faint voices from the west
As they were borne upon a gentle breeze which
Caressed his face and tugged his hair.
But he ignored them
For the call of the springtime woods was stronger
With the reawakened blossoms around him
Now that winter’s icy grip had been broken.

His name was Eryndil, and he was not your typical Wood Elf from Eryn Lasgallen. Now it wasn’t his physical appearance that set him apart for he was tall, slender, and fair of face like the rest. But it was his unusually strong love for his woodland home which kept this blonde haired and green eyed Elf wandering alone far and wide over its many paths and trails.

Now this meant he was often gone for long periods of time which to an immortal was of little concern until in the spring of the year 1541 when King Thranduil received word that his son Prince Legolas had sailed west with Gimli the Dwarf after the passing of King Elessar of Gondor. It was said by those who were there at the time that when the King had finished reading the message a veil of sadness fell upon his face while he carefully refolded it and then retired to his private chamber where he remained alone for the remainder of that day.

Also there was a growing problem outside the borders of Eryn Lasgallen. More and more men were starting to arrive with their families and their small settlements were popping up where once there had only been virgin open land. However not all of these new comers were friendly as they sought out areas for cutting timber for their homes. Soon the King’s boarder patrols were finding it increasing difficult to keep these loggers out.

So it was said that with the combination of the King’s sadness over Legolas’s sailing and this new problem with the settlers that he decided it was time to make preparations for all of his people, the last Elves in Middle-earth, to leave these shores to the rule of Men. But this would take time despite the King’s swift messengers to accomplish for there were many elvish settlements scattered through out Eryn Lasgallen.

It was several days after the King’s that Eryndil had paused in his wandering east along a sun dappled path far in the northern part of his woodland home when the gentle west breeze bore to him the fair voices of two of his kindred calling his name. Turning he saw two of the King’s messengers on horse back who rapidly approached and only stopped long enough to tell him of the King’s plans before galloping on their way.

Now Eryndil was dismayed at hearing about the problems with the settlers, and he should have ceased his wandering right then and there and returned to lend a hand in defense of his kindred. But the springtime woods around him was like a siren’s song he couldn’t resist for the blossoms were at their peak and so he lingered there enjoying all that was now free of winter’s icy grip.


Part Two Summer

From the second stanza of the poem The Last Elf

He stood in a tall tree overlooking the woods
When he heard the same voices again now stronger
As spring gave way to summer
And the woods were in their leafy prime.
This time he was mildly interested
As they talked of the long ago war
Involving a ring and a long bitter struggle which
Ended in triumph for goodness and their sad departure.

For over a month Eryndil lingered in the northern part of Eryn Lasgallen before he decided to head back towards the King’s Caverns where his parents had once lived until his Father had died in the Battle of Five Armies and his Mother had finally succumbed to her grief at his passing when Eryndil was old enough to look after himself. It was then that his love for the woods had grown stronger no doubt in response some close to the situation had said to the loss of his parents and his attempt to fill the void they had left behind. Now this didn’t mean he had turned his back on his kindred for he spent much time with them too and was happy. But he was at his happiest out there wandering in the woods and his kindred were willing to indulge him knowing that he would always come back to them.

So it was this latter happiness that Eryndil was feeling now while he wandered slowly southeast along an afternoon sun dappled path when he came upon his favorite beech tree. Quickly he climbed up the smooth silver grey trunk and onto the magnificent tree’s sturdy branches until he reached the perfect place close to the top where he could look out over Eryn Lasgallen. From here he had a clear view in all directions over the leafy tops of the trees which by now had turned a deeper shade of green as spring gave way to summer.

Now Eryndil sighed as his heart was filled with contentment at what he saw. However he soon heard to the north the faint sound of many fair and at times sad voices. Instantly he recognized the voices as belonging to his kindred from the northern most settlement on their way south to join up with the main Path before heading west. So he made not a move to reveal his hiding place amongst the leaves as they passed slowly beneath him on foot and horseback for he was interested in listening to what they were saying.

And what he overheard was mostly talk about their battle against the forces from Dol Guldur while the Ring moved closer to its destruction in the fires of Mount Doom. It was during the battle that Eryndil’s extensive knowledge of the woods proved invaluable on several occasions for he knew all the short cuts and the best places for ambushes while he fought alongside his kindred. And while he helped to defeat the forces of evil, he could do nothing to save his beloved woods from its own fiery destruction unleashed as the fighting swirled amongst the trees. However with time and hard work, there were now few scars of that great fire left in Eryn Lasgallen.

Now his kindred understood their time had come to leave this woodland that had been their home for so many countless years. But that didn’t make their departure any less painful for them and that is why Eryndil returned his attention back to looking over the tree tops as his kindred’s voices faded into the distance. He also didn’t want to leave just yet and he thought he still had time for no doubt the King would be the last to leave from his Caverns so he could join up with his kindred there eventually.


Part Three Fall

From the third stanza of the poem The Last Elf

He stood beside a small brook in the woods that fall
When he heard the same voices again now urgent
While the woods laid aside her coat of green for
Another one of vibrant reds and golds.
Now he listened more attentively
As they spoke his name and pleaded for him
To put aside his love of the woods and join his
Kindred in the west ere time grew late.

So all that summer Eryndil slowly wandered southeast towards his King’s Caverns until he finally arrived at a small brook which flowed close to the main Path. Here he stopped and stood watching the clear water sparkle in the morning sunshine as it gurgled merrily amongst the smooth stones. But it was the surrounding trees which soon had his attention for their green leaves of summer had turned into the vibrant reds and golds of fall at its peak. It was such a wondrous sight that his heart leaped with joy while he gazed at them.

Suddenly Eryndil heard his name being called joyously by three of his kindred as they emerged from the trees on the opposite side of the brook. Graceful as deer they jumped the flowing water and joined the wandering Elf obviously relieved at having found him so close to the Caverns.

“The King had sent us to look for you Eryndil,” the Leader of the three said. “Tomorrow we leave these woods for the west.”

“But the woods are resplendent with color now! Surely the King could wait a while longer,” Eryndil pleaded his heart suddenly filled with the fear of leaving these woods he so cherished never to return.

“That isn’t possible,” the Leader sadly replied. “Even though the King has conceded some of his border land to the loggers this hasn’t satisfied them. Just two days ago a large group was spotted close to the Caverns. We forced them back but there will be more.”

“Then we must fight back!” Eryndil said his green eyes reflecting his anger towards these loggers which now filled his heart while he took out his bow. How could these mortals bring their axes deep into his woods close to his home? Did they not see the beauty in the trees growing there?

However the Leader only shook his head and smiled sadly while laying a reassuring hand on Eryndil’s left shoulder before saying “I too felt at one time as you are now. But even if every able bodied Elf in Eryn Lasgallen was here to fight, we still would be badly outnumbered. No Eryndil our time here has come to an end. That is why you must come with us back to the Caverns now.”

So Eryndil put his bow away and followed after his three kindred till they reached the closed double doors of King Thranduil’s Hall. Here he was instructed to go on in by himself which he did by opening one door slowly and quietly for he was keenly aware of the silence which lay like a heavy blanket in the Caverns now that most of his kindred had gone and for some unknown reason he was loath to disturb it. Once inside he closed the door the same way he had opened it and then approached the King who was sitting all alone in his chair at the far end staring at the floor apparently so deep in thought that he didn’t notice Eryndil standing before him until the wandering Elf softly cleared his throat.

At this small sound which seemed to echo greatly in Eryndil’s ears, the King suddenly looked up and a wide smile broke out on his face. Without saying a word, the King jumped to his feet and embraced the wandering Elf like a Father would to a Son thought lost which Eryndil returned although startled by it all. When the King finally stepped back there were tears of joy in his eyes.

“I feared that I had waited to long for you to return on your own from your wanderings when I sent the searchers out. While I have been forced to give up my kingdom here in Middle-earth because of men, I wasn’t about to leave you behind to live forever amongst them for they have no honor and only care about their own. So tomorrow we will all leave but the Grey Havens is no longer safe for us to use as a departure point. Too many men have also settled in that area and have taken over the harbor. So our ship lies in anchor further south down the coast,” the King said. Then he shook his head sadly. “I will miss this woodland. Tomorrow Eryn Lasgallen will exist no more.”

But in the morning King Thranduil was dismayed to learn that Eryndil was gone. Sometime during the night he had slipped out of the Caverns leaving only a note behind which read as follows;

My Dear King,

While I understand the wisdom of your decision to leave, my heart doesn’t. Please go on. I’ll catch up. I just need a little more time to let go and say good-bye to our home.

Eryndil


Part Four Winter


After I had written and posted the poem The Last Elf I realized that this last stanza needed to be expanded on. So I wrote another poem called The Lament of the Last Elf which I have included as the conclusion to my story.

From the fourth stanza of the poem Last Elf

He stood alone on the western shore that winter
When he heard the same voices again now faint
As the snowy cold once more reclaimed the land
Covering everything in a blanket of white.
Over the crashing surf he strained to hear for the last time
Their sad voices as they now lamented
That he did not in time put aside his love of the woods
And now must remain the last Elf on earth.


Winter was late in arriving that year which allowed the colors of fall to linger longer in Eryn Lasgallen. The end result being that Eryndil stayed until after the first heavy snow fell before he reluctantly left his beloved woodland home early one morning and headed for the west. Still he wasn’t worried that he may have lingered here to long. His kindred had waited for him in the past and he felt sure they would wait for him now.

So he ran swiftly and lightly amongst the leafless trees their bare dark branches standing out in sharp contrast with the pale blue sky as he followed the Path west. Now Eryndil had ventured outside of Eryn Lasgallen in the past and with what he had heard from his kindred, he knew what the outside world was like. Or so he thought until he was a few miles from the Forest Gate. For it was there did he see the first of the many changes he would encounter along his westward journey and this one caused him to stop and stare in horror.

Where once there had been magnificent trees and the Gate now there was nothing but rough cut stumps and wide open sky above!

Tears flowed down his fair face and he sadly knew deep in his heart that this would be the eventual fate of his beloved Eryn Lasgallen as he continued his way along the Path which had been turned into a rut filled road by the loggers. Now winter had forced the loggers and settlers to stay closer to their hearths and homes since they were not able to withstand the cold like the Elf which was fortunate for him. These men considered the land theirs alone and if they had seen him running past now in broad daylight close to their village they would have given chase and killed him if they had caught him for their tempers had not cooled from their last confrontation with the elves earlier in the fall before King Thranduil had left.

So Eryndil reached the east bank of the River Langflood unmolested. But he couldn’t cross for the river hadn’t frozen completely over and the current was too swift for swimming. This forced him to head south and to pass close by yet another village. By now it was late in the day and the wandering Elf thought he could use the cover of the scrub trees and bushes along the river bank to conceal his passing. However two of the village’s dogs picked up his scent on a sudden breeze and began to chase after him while barking loudly. Since these dogs were big and fast, Eryndil had no choice but to quickly fire two arrows in rapid succession killing them both before they could reach him.

Meanwhile their barking had alerted the men of the village who came running out of their homes to see what was going on. When they saw Eryndil standing there with his bow out and two of their dogs dead before him, they began to angrily shout such things as “It’s one of those murdering Elves!” and “C’mon boys! Let’s go get him and teach him not to come sneaking around here again!”

Wishing no further confrontation with these men, Eryndil swiftly ran off to the south and had soon outdistanced the men who sank into the snow. However they had unleashed ten more of their dogs on his trail and their barking was quickly growing louder since they were lighter and faster than their masters. It was then the Elf began to grow somewhat dismayed. If only the trees here were larger than he could use their branches as pathways so as to leave no scent on the ground for the dogs to follow. Since that wasn’t possible he soon was forced to make a stand in a small clearing with the riverbank behind him just as the lead dog leaped at him with its teeth bared. But the wandering Elf was quicker and in one smooth motion he had jumped sideways, slipped out a knife, and slit the animal’s throat in mid air. While it crashed to the ground dead where he had been standing, the rest of the pack arrived. This time Eryndil was able to quickly dispatch them with well aimed arrows and soon he was the only one left alive in the clearing. Then faintly in the distance he could hear the men calling and whistling for their now silent dogs so he gathered up his spent arrows and continued running to the south. He knew the men would follow their dog’s tracks and find their bodies but no trace of him would they see for he left no tracks in the snow. Still he didn’t feel safe enough to stop until well after dark and he had covered a considerable amount of distance.

Then Eryndil spent the remainder of the night in a dense grove of mature trees by the river. But he slept little for his thoughts were filled with these men. He had been told by the King’s messengers about the problem with these settlers in the spring of this year which had obviously now grown to such a hatred for his kind that he knew he would have to be more cautious if he was forced to pass by anymore of their villages especially those that had dogs. However he was beginning to sense that he didn’t have the time to travel only at night when it was the safest so early the next morning after making sure there were no threats, Eryndil stepped from his hiding place and continued his run to the south.

Fortunately for the wandering Elf there were no more villages in his path and by noon he had reached The Carrock. Here he quickly forded the River Langflood only after he made sure that it was safe. Nor did he stop running west until late afternoon when he had reached the woods that covered the eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains. Here he paused to do some hunting before the light faded for his food supply was running low. As luck would have it, these woods were full of small game and soon he had enough meat to last for some time. Then he rested until sunrise for he planned not to stop again until he reached Rivendell.

Now the Misty Mountains can be treacherous in winter to those unprepared and the less hardy. But the intense cold and the snow that was now falling the next morning were no barriers to Eryndil as he made his steady way up to the High Pass. Here the wind was blowing in strong gusts which whipped the snow up into swirling clouds that would temporarily obscure his vision. However the Elf wasn’t worried for he had been this way before and knew where the path through the Pass lay even though he couldn’t see the land marks all the time. Still he had to walk carefully for the way was slick with ice and this slowed him down. So by the time he had crossed over and made his way down to the shadow draped floor of the deep valley where Rivendell was located it was late in the afternoon and the warmer air of the valley had turned the falling snow into a light cold rain which added its pattering sound to the faint distant roaring of the water fall on the River Bruinen. Now the last time Eryndil had been to Rivendell, Lord Elrond’s house had been filled with light and life while surrounded by well tended gardens whose beauty rivaled his beloved Eryn Lasgallen. But when he paused before the bridge over the river he saw only a dark and silent structure partially hidden in the dense tangle of overgrowth that had accumulated from many growing seasons. This stark contrast between his memory and what he was seeing at this moment caused him to feel a sadness for what was now gone forever plus a feeling of loneliness. It was the latter that had him puzzled for he had never felt lonely before even though he had spent long periods of time by himself in his woodland home.

Not knowing what to make of this new feeling Eryndil continued on and crossed the bridge before cautiously approaching the wide open main doorway in the west side of the house. While he felt sure that Rivendell was deserted and that men had yet to discover it, he decided to remain cautious. As it turned out he was right after a thorough search so he settled down in front of a small fire he had kindled in the Hall of Fire’s fireplace. Now it wasn’t the need for warmth that caused him to start it but the loneliness he was feeling again and for awhile he was comforted by the light for it brought back memories of happier times there. But the loneliness returned bringing with it this time a strong longing for his beloved Eryn Lasgallen. Briefly he thought about returning home but quickly dismissed that idea. He had to continue on and catch up with his kindred for he knew now there was no going back home for the world had changed too much. It was then for the first time that Eryndil felt a sense of urgency for he didn’t want to stay behind in a world devoid of his kind and filled with hatred from men.

Early the next morning he then set off at a run following the Main Path to the Ford of Bruinen. Here he quickly crossed without looking back and soon reached the Great East Road. Over the next several days, he ran with little rest not on the road itself for he would be too exposed but along side it where there was more cover. And so it was that he passed the Lone-lands, Weathertop, and the Midgewater Marshes unseen by the men who lived in the few scattered villages that had sprung up near the roadway.

However when Eryndil reached the village of Bree late one afternoon he was forced to stop and hide in a deserted run down shed on its outskirts. Over the years Bree had grown and now was a sprawling bustling town which meant he would need to make a wide detour either to the north or south in order to pass by unseen. But that would also mean going far out of his way something he felt he didn’t have the time to do. So he waited until the middle of the night before quietly slipping out of the shed and running swiftly and silently like a ghost through the now quiet town using the shadows for cover where ever possible. Fortunately the intense cold of that winter’s night had forced the men living there and their dogs indoors so Eryndil was able to easily pass through Bree unseen.

By mid morning the wandering Elf had left Bree far behind and paused in a small grove of trees when he had reached the Bridge of Stonebows over the Brandywine River which marked the eastern boundary of the Shire. He remembered hearing Prince Legolas speak of this place and of the hobbits who dwell there after the Prince had returned home from his side trip to Fangorn Forest after the King’s wedding. Also he had mentioned that King Elessar had issued an edict that men were not to enter the Shire. So he was puzzled when he saw only men and no hobbits living in the villages of Whitfurrows, Frogmorton, Waymeet, Michel Delving, and Greenholm while he made his way stealthily by each on his run westward through the Shire over the next several days.

And the same was true for the village of Undertowers which was nestled at the foot of the Tower Hills. It was here on the town’s outskirts that Eryndil paused to hide and rest in the woods though it was still early in the afternoon. Now elves were a hardy race but the fast pace this Elf had set was beginning to take its toll on his strength along with the lack of food. He had hoped to have been able to hunt for small game all the way on his journey but ever since he had left Rivendell the presence of men and the intense cold had driven the game undercover. And it was men who now forced him to move on up into the hills when a group showed up near to his hiding place and began to chop on a wind fallen tree for firewood. The sound of their axes joined others that he faintly heard all around him when he reached the top of the highest hill where the three White Towers stood.

Fortunately Eryndil was able to quickly bring down with a well aimed arrow the lone rabbit who had been sunning itself on the south side of the western most of the three towers. However the Elf felt too exposed up here in this high place so with the rabbit in one hand, he went around to the west side of the tower looking for an entrance which he found wide open. Now his plan had been to take shelter inside while he had his meal and to rest. But when the stones that made up the tower began to speak to him of other elves that had dwelled here in the past he was overcome by such a sudden and intense feeling of loneliness and longing for his kindred that he abandoned his plan and continued westward down out of the hills until night fell. Once he was down on the flat land again, he finally found a hiding place amongst a grove of trees for the night where he could eat and rest in peace.

Now while the wandering Elf had been up on the high hill next to the towers he hadn’t failed to notice on the western horizon the thin blue-grey line that was the Gulf of Lune as well as the darker grey Blue Mountain Range which flanked it on either side. If the Grey Havens had been his destination, he would have been there by night fall the next day. But since men were there now he was forced to take a more southwesterly course early the next morning and for the next two days Eryndil followed the coastline and passed around the northern end of the Blue Mountains before entering South Lindon. Finally late one night he reached the spot where the ship was to be waiting in anchor just off this desolate western coastline.

In those last few days leading up to his arrival here, Eryndil had imagined many times the joy filled welcome he would receive from his kindred as he finally boarded the ship. The very thought of being surrounded by them again and to hold them in his arms made his heart feel light with happiness which dispelled his loneliness and weariness.

But Eryndil saw no ship anchored off shore that night.

The Lament of the Last Elf

He stood alone on the western shore that winter
When the moon was new and the stars
In their thousands mirrored with their brightness
The snow grains on the shore.
But he ignored them for his
Tear filled eyes were on the distant horizon
As he strained to catch a glimpse of white sails
Of his now departed kindred.

He stood alone on the western shore
While the dark ocean sent its cold waves forward
To crash themselves in a rhythmic sound
And spread their foam at his feet.
But only then did he realize
As his heart grew heavy with despair
That he had lingered to long in the woods he loved
While his kindred departed this shore.

He stood alone on the western shore
Now with tears that flowed freely down his face
And cried in a plaintive voice to his kindred
Not to leave him to this fate.
But no white sails appeared on that distant horizon
And the voices he had heard before were now forever silent
He had been left behind on that western shore
And now must remain the last Elf on earth.


Part Five:

The Story of Last Elf – Conclusion The Return Home

Eryndil lingered there on that desolate western coastline all winter and watched the horizon. He still had some hope of seeing the white sails of his kindred’s ship which would’ve been the first indication of their sailing back for him. But as the days passed and all he ever saw was an empty horizon, his hope faded and was totally gone by the time spring was starting to reclaim the land. It was then the wandering Elf decided that if he was to now spend his long life in Middle-earth he would do it in what remained of his beloved Eryn Lasgallen as soon as possible.

So with a heart laden with sorrow and loneliness, Eryndil rapidly retraced his steps back east along the Gulf of Lune and left South Lindon when he passed around the northern end of the Blue Mountains. Then he made his way through the Tower Hills. But he avoided the White Towers. Emotionally right now he couldn’t bear to be in a place that still held memories of elves for it only heightened his own feeling of sorrow and loneliness. So he detoured around them and continued alongside the Great East Road.

Now the wandering Elf wasn’t totally oblivious to his surroundings in the Shire as the days and the villages of Undertowers, Greenholm, Michel Delving, Waymeet, Frogmorton, and Whitfurrows passed by. He was fully aware that now with the warmer weather there could be more opportunities for encounters with men who were moving about as they prepared their fields for this year’s crop. But sometimes his sorrow and loneliness would drive him on recklessly in his effort to reach his beloved woods sooner so he was seen on several occasions running east on the road. Fortunately for Eryndil the men who saw him were too surprised to do anything but stare at him and he was able to quietly slip back into the surrounding trees and bushes.

However these sightings quickly became embellished stories in the local taverns at night. So by the time the wandering Elf had stopped next to a grove of trees on the outskirts of Bree one sunny afternoon, he had been blamed for much of the mischief created by others. Meanwhile mounted hunting parties with dogs had been formed to track him down and bring him in alive so he could be made to pay for his crimes. But Eryndil was unaware of all this turmoil his recklessness had caused and he remained standing out in the open while deciding which way to go. Now he knew he couldn’t run through Bree like he had done that cold winter’s night on his journey to the west. That meant he would have to detour around Bree either to the north or south. Here luck was with him for just after he had decided to go south and disappeared into the grove of trees, one of the hunting parties appeared on the road across from where he had been standing and headed west before their dogs could pick up his scent. Nor did the hunting parties ever find him as he made his way south around that edge of Bree or when he returned north and then east along side the Great East Road at a run. So by evening he had left Bree far behind.

By now the days were all a blur for Eryndil and he was growing weary for his sorrow and loneliness wouldn’t let him break his rapid pace to rest or eat. Always in his mind’s eye did both show him tantalizing images of his green woodland home which had always spurred him on with renewed energy. However this time his body didn’t respond as it had before so he made only slow progress past the Midgewater Marshes, Weather Top, and the Lone Lands while his thoughts soon became enveloped in the haze of fatigue.

However after Eryndil reached The Last Bridge one morning he paused. He wished he could avoid having to go through Rivendell like he had done with the White Towers for he still couldn’t face a place that was filled with memories of elves. But the path through there was the quickest route to Eryn Lasgallen so he had no choice but to continue to stagger on in that direction. It wasn’t until he reached the cold fireplace in the Hall of Fire in the still deserted Rivendell did the wandering Elf collapse from sheer exhaustion and slept for the first time since he had left the coast.

When he awoke many hours later it was dark and silent inside the Hall. Suddenly the stones upon which he was lying on began to pour forth their memories of the elves that had once dwelled there. Now this was what Eryndil didn’t want to hear and before he could get up off the floor it caused his own sorrow and loneliness to become so unbearable that he couldn’t move and pleaded out loud for them to stop which shattered the tomb like silence. Then his tears began to flow and the sound of his great sobs echoed through out the hall until he was utterly spent before curling up in a ball and fell asleep again.

The next time he awoke the sun was up and shining brightly. Although physically he felt better emotionally he was still shaky so he wasted no time in leaving Rivendell at a run for The High Pass in the Misty Mountains. Once there he stopped and stared for he could see far and low on the eastern horizon the dark grayish green band which was his beloved Eryn Lasgallen. Tears of joy, sorrow, and loneliness fell from his eyes again before he continued at a run down the east slope of the Misty Mountains.

Now the wandering Elf remembered the encounter he had had with the pack of dogs that were unleashed on him by men while he passed by one of their villages earlier in his journey. So after he crossed the River Langflood at the ford by The Carrock he decided to head northeast and would enter his beloved woods there instead of retracing his steps along the river to the north and then east while using The Path now turned logging road. That way he thought he would be able to avoid all contacts with men.

Unfortunately he soon discovered how wrong his idea was when just as he was passing through the center of a small grove of trees early one sunny afternoon he suddenly felt the grassy ground give way from beneath his feet. Desperately he lunged forward and tried to grab a hold of the long grass on the edge of a large freshly dug circular pit that was now opening underneath him. But the roots of the grass he had caught hold of pulled free from the ground and he fell for several feet before landing on his stomach at the bottom with a bone jarring thud. There Eryndil lay stunned but unhurt for a couple of minutes before he slowly started to get up onto his hands and knees.

Meanwhile seven teenage boys appeared up on the rim of the pit. With excited cries of “We caught him! We caught the Elf!” they began to rapidly throw sharp rocks at the wandering Elf who managed to dodge most of their hastily aimed missiles until one of the rocks hit him hard on the left side of his head opening a nasty gash and causing an explosion of pain before everything went black.

When Eryndil slowly regained consciousness later that afternoon his head was painfully throbbing and he found himself kneeling stripped bare to the waist between two thick poles supporting the roof of an empty stable with his arms outstretched to either side by taut ropes tied securely around his wrists and the poles. Weakly he tried to free himself but it was of no use. Then he became aware of the crowd of men and women standing in the large open doorway before him. They were murmuring curiously about him and pointing for they apparently had never seen an Elf up close until now. Suddenly they stopped talking and moved out of the way so that five brawny men with scowling hate filled faces could enter the stable in a row. However it was the man in the middle who had the wandering Elf’s attention for he carried a coiled up black whip in his right hand.

“So Elf you decided to come sneaking around here yet again,” the man in the middle said in a low ominous tone of voice after all five had stopped two feet in front of him. Now Eryndil remembered hearing this man’s voice before. He was the one who had urged the men with him “to get him and teach him not to come sneaking around here again” before the pack of dogs had been unleashed. Obviously then this was their Leader.

“You killed twelve good dogs the last time you were here,” the Leader continued. “No doubt part of some plot so more of your murderous kind could attack without warning. But it didn’t work did it? We never let our guard down for a moment. So they sent you back again to try and find some new way of getting around our defenses.”

Now Eryndil had no idea what the man was talking about. His kindred had never attacked anyone outside of the borders of Eryn Lasgallen with the one exception being the Battle of Five Armies so long ago. And from what he had learned from King Thranduil’s messengers last spring, his kindred only fought defensively against the men who were starting to invade the woods itself and had never been on the offensive.

Suddenly the Leader walked behind him and grabbed a handful of the Elf’s long blonde hair and savagely pulled Eryndil’s head back so the Elf was forced to painfully look up at him. Then he uncoiled his whip.

“But that didn’t work either did it Elf?” the man said his tone of voice even more threatening. “We were ready for you this time! We dug a series of pit traps some distance from our village as the first line of our defense. Clearly you failed to notice this and dropped in for a visit!”

Now this caused the Leader, his four companions, and several of the spectators to laugh out loud at his bad joke. Then just as suddenly the Leader stopped laughing and pulled Eryndil’s head even further back which caused him to gasp from the unbearable pain this caused in his head.

“This time you will not escape,” the man whispered menacingly in his right ear. “You will suffer a long slow death Elf for all the pain and suffering your kind has inflicted on my people.”

Then he let go of the wandering Elf’s hair allowing him to drop his head forward so his chin rested against his chest. However what happened next had the Leader and those watching puzzled. They had expected their captive to start frantically pleading for his life to be spared which quite a few in the crowd thought would be fine entertainment to watch. But Eryndil simply remained silent and closed his eyes while he waited for the first lash to fall. He had already figured out that this would be his fate and he knew it would be of no use to try and change these men’s minds so bent were they on killing him.

It was then that a single unnoticed tear slowly trickled down his right cheek. The world of men had robbed him of his kindred by forcing them to leave forever their beloved Eryn Lasgallen although he admitted sadly to himself that he had been foolish in not joining them sooner. Now when he so desperately wished to return there and find what peace his sorrow and loneliness would allow, men were about to take his life while he was but a few short miles from it.

“What is going on here?” Eryndil suddenly heard a new man’s voice demanding with an air of authority just outside of the stable.

“Good news Lord Aradan! We caught the Elf!” one excited voice of a woman replied.

“He’s been sentenced to death!” another man’s equally excited voice added which was greeted with much approval by those around him.

By now the painful throbbing in his head was causing the wandering Elf to teeter on the brink of unconsciousness again when he dimly heard Lord Aradan call for a stop to this madness. Struggling to remain alert, he then heard a general out cry of shock and outrage from the crowd and the Leader until the Lord raised his voice and shouted above them all “ENOUGH!” Then in the silence that followed he continued in a no nonsense tone of voice “Captain I want these people cleared out of here now!”

“Yes my Lord!” was the quick reply. Once the noise of the protesting crowd being herded away from the stable had ceased did Eryndil hear the soft sound of someone kneeling down in front of him.

“Is he still alive?” Lord Aradan asked softly obviously talking to whoever was in front of him.

Then the Elf felt someone touching him on the neck as they felt for a pulse. “Yes he is my Lord although he is badly wounded judging from this deep cut on the side of his head. They must have hit him hard in order to subdue him for I doubt these ropes would be strong enough to hold an Elf determined to escape,” another man replied.

“Cut him loose and take him to the best house in this village and have my Healer look at him. If the people living there protest this throw them out! I’ve had enough of this nonsense about murderous elves roaming the countryside!” Lord Aradan said in a disgusted tone of voice.

It was then that Eryndil lost his fight to remain conscious and slipped into a pain free darkness where he stayed until the afternoon of the next day when he finally awoke. Then he found himself in a light and airy bedroom alone except for a noble looking older man with a short grey streaked black beard sitting at his bedside. Now this man smiled kindly at him and said “I was beginning to wonder if I had intervened too late to save you Master Elf. I hope you are feeling better.”

Instantly Eryndil recognized the voice as that of Lord Aradan before he said sadly “I thank you for your effort Lord Aradan although I’m afraid you only delayed the inevitable.”

Now the Elf knowing his name didn’t surprise the man for he could have still been conscious when he overheard it. So he said with great passion and determination “But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are still some families of men who remember our allegiance with your kind. Surely we can join forces and put a stop to this growing hate!”

“It is too late for that. All of my kindred have sailed to Valinor,” the wandering Elf replied. Then he added in almost a whisper to himself “Never to return to these shores.”

Now this came as a complete shock to Lord Aradan. For several minutes he sat and simply stared at the floor next to him. Finally he looked back up at Eryndil and sadly asked “When did this happen?”

“They left during the fall last year.”

“But why then are you still here?”

“I lingered to long…I didn’t reach the boat in time…” was all Eryndil could say before he had to suddenly look away and squeeze his eyes shut when his sorrow and loneliness threatened to overwhelm him.

“You need not say anything more about it for I understand,” Lord Aradan said kindly while placing a reassuring hand on the Elf’s shoulder. “And you were trying to return to your woodland home when all this happened. Well you rest for now and when you’re healed I will personally make sure you reach there unmolested.”

“I wish to leave now,” Eryndil said softly before opening his eyes and looking at the man.

And it was the sorrow in those eyes which stopped Lord Aradan from denying this wish. So he nodded in agreement and brought forth the Elf’s clothes and weapons which he had retrieved from the Leader who had thought to keep them as a trophy. Then during that fine spring afternoon, the Lord and Elf with the Lord’s men following behind rode their horses’ east side by side in silence the last few miles to the edge of Eryn Lasgallen. There Eryndil quickly dismounted and with a hand trembling from his excitement at being home he reached out and touched lovingly the silver grey trunk of a magnificent beech tree.

Now Lord Aradan had heard all his life about the magic of elves so that was why he wasn’t surprised to see the tree react to the Elf’s touch by moving its leafy branches down slightly in the Elf’s direction. All the more reason he was now reluctant to see him go for he wished to protect this last living being of a special people. But when Eryndil turned back and looked up at him he knew he couldn’t again deny him his wish to return here for the Elf’s eyes were now shining with happiness.

“I just realized that I never asked you your name,” Lord Aradan said.

“My name is Eryndil. You are a good man Lord Aradan. I wish you and your people well.”

Then the wandering Elf quickly turned his attention back to the woods and disappeared into their shady interior at a run before Lord Aradan could say anything more. Nor did he ever see the Elf again or learn of his fate. But he remembered this encounter and wrote it down in great detail for future generations to read.

Meanwhile Eryndil ran with joyful abandon for he was now on familiar paths and there was no evidence that man had made it this far into his woods. Now he felt no ill affect from his head wound so he set a course to the northeast for in his heart there was a strong desire to see King Thranduil’s caverns. It wasn’t until after a day and a half of running that he safely reached his destination and his memories took over.

*The Memories of the Last Elf

He stood alone in the woods that spring
And looked across the swift Forest River
At the Great Gates now wide open
To the extensive caverns that were his home.
But the only people living there
Who greeted him upon his return
Were those in his bittersweet memories
Of his now departed kindred.

He stood alone before the Great Gates
While at his feet lay piled
The long dead leaves of seasons past
That the wind had drifted there.
But when he stepped across the threshold
He heard much to his surprise
The faint sound of merry voices in song
That called to him from the darkness.

He stood alone there for a moment
As a bright glimmer of hope did suddenly spark
That he was not the last Elf here
In the woods he did love.
But as he searched the halls and chambers
That glimmer of hope so bright did fade
For what he had heard was nothing more
Then the bittersweet memories he had to endure.

He stood alone outside the Great Gates
His eyes tear filled for the silence
That now would be the sole inhabitant
Of the caverns that had been his home.
But time was ever moving on
And with it a new people would come to live
So he vanished into the woods he loved
And there he remained the last Elf on earth
.*