Title: The Last Journey
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Fourth Age of the Sun
Genre: AU, Action/Adventure
Rating: M / FRM
Main characters: Aragorn, Celeborn, Elladan, Elrohir, Elrond, Éomer, Erestor, Faramir, Gandalf, Gimli, Glorfindel, Haldir, Legolas, Meriadoc, Nazgûl, Pippin, Thranduil (, OCs).
Pairings: Legolas/OMC (brief Aragorn/Arwen, Éowyn/Faramir)
Summary: After many peaceful years that have followed the war against Sauron, everything changes. Evil returns, striking without warning, and it is stronger than ever before. It is time for the final fight, but who shall achieve victory?
Work in Process.
Warnings: Characters’ death (major, OC), violence, torture, slash, mild sexual content (het and slash), plenty of evil, etc.
Rafél returned to them long after nightfall. The raft had long since disappeared from their view, and the night was now silent. Far away they could see fires burning in a nearby village, but other than that it was completely dark.
“Perhaps we should light a fire,” one of the Dwarves suggested.
“I am hungry,” Pippin seemed to agree.
“You are always hungry, Peregrin,” Gandalf decided, and that ended the discussion for the moment.
Everyone was hushed as Rafél walked back. No one talked to him, and when they finally all turned in, it was clear the Guardian was not planning to lie down and rest.
“Should we talk to him?” Shannai’s voice carried over to Gandalf’s ears in the darkness.
“We better not. He might lash out, and I think we have had enough death for a while,” Thalión decided.
Gandalf smiled hollowly, staring up to the stars. It was going to be a long, cold night with no comfort from the light above them. On the very edge of his vision he could see Rafél’s silhouette where he sat apart from the rest of the group, still staring towards the Sea.
When they headed back north towards Minas Tirith the next day, Gandalf and Rafél hung back from others. They rode in silence for a while, but the Wizard could tell something was bothering the Guardian.
Soon enough, Rafél spoke up. “What do you think happened to him?” he asked. The softness of his words and the cautiousness in his tone indicated he was speaking of the dead Prince.
“You must have some idea,” the Wizard replied thoughtfully.
“I do, but I fear the answer,” the Guardian admitted.
Gandalf nodded and looked towards the Sea for a moment. “I pray that his soul has reached the Halls of Mandos.” If not… may my prayers be not in vain, he added, but knew better than to say it out loud.
Rafél did not bring it up again, and frankly, Gandalf had no real desire to explore the matter either.
Aragorn, Faramir, and Éomer fell back to ride alongside them after a while. The Elves had spread out again; their excuse had been that they were scouting, but Gandalf knew they were just trying to seek some solace from the wilderness around them. They all had their own demons to carry now, the loss of their comrade most burning of them all.
“What do you think will happen next?” Aragorn asked. Gimli sat silent but attentive behind him. The Dwarf had been careful to show any sign of emotion after the funeral had ended.
“I cannot say,” Gandalf began, “but I know this much: Annatar will return, and her retribution will no doubt match her father’s in rage. She will be weaker now that Legolas broke Sauron’s power, but she still has power over the Dark army, and she will use it against us. Whether it will be enough to cut down our defences is up to us.”
The Men nodded. “Rohan will be ready,” Éomer stated.
“As will Gondor,” Faramir agreed. “Plans are already in motion. The people know that the enemy has gathered its strength.”
Aragorn was silent, his eyes turning towards the looming border of Mordor. “All we can do is wait; wait and dread for her next move.”
Gandalf looked at the King of Gondor, but he had no words of comfort to offer him; he had been short of them recently.
to be continued…