29. Epilogue: Imladris
“How is it that over five hundred years have passed, and I knew naught of this story?” he asked, bemused.
Rawien looked grave for a moment. “Much else happened at that time. The return of the lost ones brought great joy to Mirkwood, but the return of shadow is what captured the attention of the other realms.”
“The White Council first met the summer after your return,” Elrond remembered. “Now we know why King Thranduil possessed such a large amount of information about orcs, men and Dol Guldur. He focused on the information when he presented to the council and never spoke of how he had come to have such information. I should have thought to ask why elves of the woodland realm were near the Sea of Rhûn.”
“Does this tale further your belief that the Valar and perhaps Ilúvatar himself were involved in the affairs of men and elves in Middle-Earth?” Glorfindel asked with a twinkle in his eye.
“There is much to support my theory,” Elrond remained serious. “That Aragorn as the last heir of Isildur was kept alive, protected and guided to become a Man worthy of reclaiming the throne;
“that the hobbit Bilbo found the one ring , unknowingly kept it safe, and was not corrupted by its influence;
“that the hobbit Frodo would be orphaned and adopted by Bilbo, and then be willing to become the Ringbearer;
“that the Ringbearer should have such worthy friends – that Sam would stay by his side to death, if need be;
“that the young hobbits would play such roles as to eventually involve the Ents and the Huorns, without whom perhaps the battles of Helm’s Deep and Isengard would have had a very different outcome and thus the war as well;
“that Mithrandir was sent just for this purpose and he knew all those who were to become important to the quest.
“Now I may add this tale of young Legolas. It is more than the amazing fact that he is alive that I count as benefit, but that in the hunt to recover him valuable information was obtained to aid the White Council. Perhaps no other such friendship has existed in this age between dwarf and elf, and that these two were brought together on this quest was of great benefit to Aragorn and to the rebuilding of the Reunited Kingdom. I am thus inspired to learn more of what circumstances shaped Gimli’s life and led him to be in Rivendell for the forming of the fellowship.”
“And Boromir?” Glorfindel asked.
“I believe Boromir was meant to be part of the fellowship. If his brother Faramir had come, as may have been originally intended, the Ringbearer might not have received the aid and friendship Faramir provided him at Henneth-Anûn. It is indeed difficult to know the outcome if Boromir had not died at Parth Galen; for then the protection and aid provided to Rohan and Gondor may not have occurred, and there might have been no people left for Aragorn to reunite,” Elrond finished.
The three were silent as each contemplated his own thoughts regarding fate, chance and circumstance. Rawien stood and began perusing the titles of volumes on the bookshelf near his chair.
“Glorfindel, where is the account of the only other elfling we could think of who had been chased down and found by warriors seeking him?”
“I hardly think that is relevant to this discussion,” Elrond spoke, one eyebrow arching as his eyes caught Glorfindel’s.
“Ah, but it may be one of the most important ‘circumstances’ to this whole tale,” Glorfindel laughed, ignoring the warning look from Elrond. “For if young Elrond had not been found unharmed in that cave near Sirion, there might not have been a refuge for wayward hobbits or a white council or a fellowship or anyone who could gather together representatives of the free peoples of Middle-Earth and convince them of the need to destroy the One Ring! But, alas, that tale has not been set to paper.”
Rawien settled back into his chair, and poured himself another cup of wine.
“I look forward to hearing this story,” he said expectantly.
“Not this night,” Elrond laughed. “That is for another day. Let us finish this story instead. Did you ever discover the identity of the Watcher? What became of the little archer? How did the little prince adjust to civilized life? And what became of Tathiel?”
“The identity of the watcher remained a mystery. They never saw him. I think he qualifies as a ‘circumstance’ conceived by the Valar to aid them that terrible winter,” Rawien took the questions in order. “The little archer, Tinánia, has her own story to tell. It is my belief, although I am always hesitant to say it too loudly in front of any of my master archers, that only Legolas surpasses her skill with the bow.”
“The little prince appears to have adjusted well,” Glorfindel grinned.
“Legolas was very much a child of the realm,” Rawien sighed, leaning back in the comfortable chair. “All of the warriors involved in his rescue considered him as their own. No other elfling has received so much attention. You wonder why he is the finest archer of Mirkwood? He had more individual instruction than any before or after him. He was never spoiled, though. Neither his father, nor his brothers nor Tathiel would have allowed that to happen. He matured into one who was not easily led astray, yet remained amazingly adaptive to new peoples and situations.”
“And Tathiel?” Elrond prompted.
“Tathiel is my wife. I did not chase her halfway around Middle-Earth to let her go ever again. We sail together,” Rawien answered, love and pride evident in his voice and eyes.
“What has prompted you to leave now?” Elrond asked, curious.
“Legolas,” Rawien laughed. “Lathron sails with us also. It was he who said that Legolas had some part to play in this life for the good of the elves and Middle-Earth. Now that he has fulfilled that destiny, we are ready to go home. We will await him there.”
“It is a good ending, mellon-nín,” Elrond lifted his wine in salute and they drained their cups in silence.
mellon-nín = my friend