The Last Ship
The Last Ship
Fourth Age 120, after the death of the King Elessar Telcontar.
The youthful elf with the bright, beautiful eyes smiled sadly. His
glance was deep, and imimately sad, his blue eyes held a grief beyond
the knowledge of mortal men. His gaze swept over the small bay, as if
trying to imprint every detail of it on his memory for the last time.
In his slender hand played gently about the soft grey rope which moored
his white swan ship to the shore. Silently, the elf surveyed the white
shores of middle earth. The tall white tower of Dol Amroth, the green
wooded hills of Ithillien stretching beyond sight, the wide flow of the
Anduin as it found at last it's long home. And far off on the edge of
sight, the great white mountain of Mindolluin. The elf's face saddened,
thinking of the great king now buried deep beneath that same mountain.
In his mind's eye, the elf saw that tombs of kings, the great stone
table bearing the body of his companion, hands folded across his
breast, finely chissled features graven like stone in time immemorial.
The elf sighed, lowering his gaze. The paths of our kindreds are
sundered, and we shall not meet again . His elven eyes saw before him
things of other times; the great green woodland of his birth, clear
nights beneath the silver stars of Elbereth when the leaves were young,
a grove of high trees roofed with golden leaves, the glittering caves
of Aglarond whose beauty surpased even the stars.
A single figure stood before him upon the grey shore, a mortal man tall
and noble of bearing. Young he seemed to the eyes of the elf, who had
seen three hundred lives of men pass and fade. How brief are the lives
of mortal men. For a moment, the elf paused, remembering the green
mound upon the highest hill of Emyn Arnen where Faramir and Eowyn slept
side by side. He thought too of the long road to Edoras, and the white
evermind that covered like snow the tomb of Eomer, Lord of the Mark.
And it seemed to him that he heard his own voice speaking 'Five
thousand times have the red leaves fallen since then in Mirkwood, in my
home, and but a little while does that seem to us.'
The elf lifted a hand to his heart, and slowly, sadly the boy did the
same. His dark hair blew loose about his shoulders, and his eyes were
grey as the sea, shinning with unshed tears for this last elf of
Ithillien. In his hands he cradled a silver horn, an heirloom descended
to him from the warriors of old. Silently, Legolas embraced the young
steward, then turned swiftly away, closing his eyes in grief as the
white bearded dwarf tottered forward to say his farewell.
Slowly now, Legolas unbound the grey rope. With a hand beneath Gimli's
arm he assisted the aged dwarf aboard. Then as lightly as if the years
had left no mark upon him, Legolas leaped upon the deck. His slender
hand carressed the smooth grey wood of the rail as gently he swung the
tiller over and the great boom swung out. The white sails bellyed and
filled, and slowly, silently the ship began to move. Legolas lifted his
eyes to the masthead where the gulls were wheeling, their wings
outspread and shinning where the sunlight caught their feathers.
Plaintive their voices called to him, crying of loss and long awating.
As if in answer, the boy upon the shore lifted to his lips the silver
horn. Clear and cold it's note swelled, echoing bittersweet across the
widening distance between them. And Legolas remembered another Prince
of Gondor, in another time and place long ago, and in his head he heard
a half remembered voice. "Always I have let my horn cry at setting
forth..." Legolas' eyes rested for one last moment upon the white
gulls, and he smiled suddenly with joy, as he turned his face from the
land of his birth and pointed the tiller west towards his long home.
Gimli stood in the stern of the ship, gazing back towards the land of
his people. And he watched with failing eyes as Boromir son of Elboron,
the son of Faramir son of Denethor winded his silver horn. The dwarf's
aged hand reached out, clutching at the mithril chain about his neck,
wheron was strung a gem of great brilliance. The imperishable crystal
glowed with an inner radience and at it's heart were enshrined three
strands of golden hair. The old dwarf smiled. Slowly the shore faded
from the dwarf's dim eyes, and the young prince dwindled and was
swallowed up by the horizon. And the dwarf saw for the last time the
mountains of middle earth sinking beneath the dark wave until at last,
he too turned his gaze from middle earth, and saw before him Anar the
fire golden revealed in it's full splendour, the last fruit of
Laurellin. And Gimli the dwarf looked full into the blazing sphere, and
was blinded not, but passed west of the sun, and east of the moon, Isil
the sheen of many names. Then it seemed to Gimli that the years were
rolled back like a grey rain, and his eyes percieved a far green isle,
and he passed, the first of all Durin's race upon the straight road
into the utter West. And thus it was that that Legolas and Gimli came
last of all the fellowship to Eldamar, and saw again the faces of those
long past the shadows, as they heard the sweet song of loved ones
welcoming them home.