Fantasy or Reality, Part Two - The ending
That night Legolas and Aragorn were in the courtyard admiring the castle grounds.
"You do realize that we cannot stay very long." Aragorn said.
" I know. Why would I want to stay when we have a quest to finish?" Aragorn smiled and pointed towards a balcony. Legolas looked and saw Aradia standing and gazing at the moon.
"You think I want to stay because of her? She's a sprite in a hidden city. I have no need to stay with her."
"She looks lonely. Why don't you go and keep her company."
"I'll go, but it's not what you're thinking."
"How do you know what I'm thinking?"
"I'm very perceptive." Legolas then left to see Aradia. When he reached the balcony he lightly tapped on the door. "Aradia, may I sit with you?"
"I don't see why not. Did you wish to speak with me?"
"Well there are a few things I would like to ask." He walked over to the bench and sat beside her. "My first question is why do you and the others fight so much? The tales say that sprites don't show any other emotion but happiness."
"We didn't until what happened to Isis. See, we didn't know the meaning of sadness, distrust or even anger. Queen Elenquil thinks it's because we're too `young'. Anyway, not so long ago Isis fell in love. That is sort of against everything sprites believe in. What was worse was that it was with a human, Nevelion. He was a solider who got lost in the forest, like you. Except he didn't keep our secret and told his king. The king thought it would be perfect to have magical beings to protect his kingdom so they attacked us. We knew then that Nevelion never loved Isis because he killed her best friend. Then he showed no emotion as he drew another arrow and hit Solarin. Isis blames herself for what happened and still regrets killing Nevelion. That's when we discovered all the emotions we probably never would have shown. Although we all live with that, Solarin is the one who chooses not to forget it. I know Isis is still hurt and when she sees someone like Strider, she's reminded of that. I try not to let that affect me so that's why I was drawn to you and your company. I guess it was to prove Solarin wrong."
"That does explain why Isis seems so hurt, Solarin distrusts us and why you excepted us so quickly. But why does Solarin call you the Sprite of Darkness."
"Because we're complete opposites and because she is the sprite of the day. She sees me as dark and not beautiful like she sees herself. Any other questions?"
"Just one. How could anyone see you as dark and not beautiful?" Aradia looked totally surprised by his question. She just sat there and smiled at him. She was about to say something when someone came up on the balcony.
"Am I interrupting?" it was Seralin.
"No. Did you need something?" Aradia answered.
"The queen wants to see us tomorrow morning so I thought I would relay the message."
"Thank you Seralin." She quickly left. Then Aradia turned to Legolas. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
"Alright then. Good night." Legolas left the balcony and rejoined Aragorn in the courtyard.
The next morning the company stood in front of the queen to see why she wanted to see them. "I have asked you here to ask if you would stay one more night. Today is the celebration of the day we came to this city. It won't affect your quest. Besides, I still feel that you have a purpose here. Will you accept my offer?"
"Of course we will. If you say we have a purpose then we should stay and see what that is." Aragorn accepted.
"Good. If you could please leave my court for the afternoon so I could talk to Solarin, that would be wonderful."
"Why don't Seralin, Isis and I take them for you?" Cirith said.
"Thank you, Cirith." Then they left, Cirith with Gimli, Isis with Aragorn and Seralin with Legolas. When they were gone, Aradia just stood there. Everything happened so fast that she was still trying to figure it out. A tap on her shoulder interrupted her thoughts. It was Airekris.
"Let's go to the garden and talk." They walked to their favorite spot and sat in silence for a while. Airekris knew there was something bothering Aradia but she didn't push it. Instead she just waited for Aradia to say the first thing. She finally spoke.
"Why do you think Seralin is with Legolas?"
"I don't know. Why does that matter to you."
"It doesn't. It's just that I was the one who brought them here so I think I should show him around."
"But why Legolas and not Strider or Gimli?" Airekris began to play with the flowers as she tried to coax her friend.
"I know when you want something from me so what is it?"
"Admit you feel something for Legolas and are jealous that Seralin is with him and not you."
"I do not! I just regret telling him that he would like Seralin."
"Well on a serious note, I'm glad you brought them here. Even though Solarin thinks they're going to kill us and Isis is slightly tormented...."
"This is supposed to make me feel better?"
"I'm just trying to say I'm glad you're able to take a chance on these outsiders. If not then we would still think everyone outsider our city is evil."
"Thanks Airekris. I do feel better now."
"Good, now let's make you beautiful for the party."
That night the court was filled with many citizens of the Crystal City. They felt safe as the celebrated in their protected city. On the dance floor, Cirith was trying to teach Gimli how to dance.
"Ow! Gimli, stop stepping on me!"
"I'm sorry Cirith. I'm not use to this sort of dancing."
"It's alright. I wanted to tell you that I had a lovely afternoon. I loved listening to your stories about the caves and mines in which you live. You're an odd creature but an interesting one."
"And so are you! All your tales of magic and such. I never thought I would meet a myth let alone dance with one!"
The song ended and everyone was ready for the next one. Just then, the gates of the court burst open and everyone stared at the one who came through the door. It was an elf, his clothes were tattered and blood stained. He had an arrow in his shoulder.
"Orcs!" he cried. "They're trying to break into the city."
The court was now in a frenzy. No one knew what to do. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Aragorn knew. He drew his sword and gained the attention of the room.
"If you want to defend you city then get your weapons and follow me!"
Within minutes the city was armed and fighting off orcs at the borders. The orcs were standing strong but since there was more citizens then orcs, they were held off well. Even so, people died. As Legolas was fighting, an arrow flew past his head and he heard a scream from behind him. He turned around and saw Aradia with an arrow in her. He quickly rushed to her side and laid her on the ground away from the battle. He was quickly joined by Aragorn, Gimli and Cirith.
"We have to get her back to the palace." Cirith said. Legolas nodded and picked her up. They all ran to the palace and were soon joined by the other sprites. When Queen Elenquil saw her, she set to work on her right away.
"I knew this would happen!" Solarin said with tears in her eyes. "I knew Aradia was foolish to bring you here. If she dies I blame you!" she spoke to the company.
"Why are you so cold-hearted?" Isis asked Solarin. "You never use to be this way before my incident."
"That's because I never thought mortals would want to kill us! I know how Aradia feels to be on the brink of death."
"Did you want to blame Isis if you died?" Airekris asked.
"Well, no...I mean..."
"Then why is it ok to blame them?" Seralin asked.
"It's not, I just thought...."
"You thought if you blamed someone it would make the pain go away?" Isis finished for her. "The pain will never go away. I blame Nevelion everyday but it still hurts."
"You're right." She turned to the company. "I'm sorry I treated the way I did. If you wanted us dead then you never would have helped us."
"I'm glad you finally understand our intentions." Legolas said. Then for the first time in a long time, Solarin smiled.
They were interrupted by the queen. Everyone stared at her with hope and worry. She said nothing but she didn't have to because Aradia stepped out of the shadows. They all cheered. Unfortunately, their celebration was cut short when the queen settled them.
"A messenger came to me and told me the orcs have been defeated. Even though it may sound like a joyous occasion, it isn't because many have died and the enemy knows where we are. I have decided to leave the city and take the remaining citizens back to where they belong. They cannot hide any more."
"What about us? Do you want us to help you?" Airekris asked.
"No. You must go off on your own. Protect the good in this world as you were meant to. As for our travelers, you have an important quest of your own. I knew you had a purpose, I just didn't know it was to show us that we must leave. Take care of each other." With that, Queen Elenquil left for her journey and left the others to go their separate ways.
"We better leave as well, we've lost time in our search." Aragorn was ready to turn and leave when Isis stopped him.
"You will never understand how much you helped me. Thank you and good bye."
"Good bye sprites. I won't forget you."
"Good bye Gimli the Dwarf. One day I will travel to the caves and mines and see other dwarves. I doubt they'll be as interesting as you." She bent down and kissed him on the cheek.
"Good bye Cirith Fire Sprite. I hope to see you again someday."
Aradia finally approached Legolas. She looked at him with sadness in her eyes. He could tell that she didn't want to say her final farewell.
"Why don't you come on the quest with me?" he finally said.
"I wish I could but the others need me."
"How will I ever find you? I want to see you again."
"I will make sure of that." Aradia then lifted something from her neck and placed it around Legolas. He looked at the silver chain with a sapphire crescent dangling from the end.
"Why did you give this to me?"
"So you can give it back when we see each other again. This way we don't have to say good bye. Until we meet again Legolas Greenleaf."
"Until we meet again Aradia Evening Sprite."
With tears streaming down her face she wrapped her arms around Legolas and kissed him. She turned away and before Legolas could say or do anything, she was gone. The others were gone as well. He suddenly felt all alone. He then felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Aragorn with Gimli by his side.
"Let's go find Merry and Pippin so we can tell them all about this." Legolas looked at his friends and then at Aradia's necklace. He nodded and they left the Crystal City.
Throughout his journey he thought about Aradia and the other sprites often. Sometimes at night he could he a rustle in the bush followed by soft laughter. He knew it was them, watching over him and the rest of the company. Legolas and Aradia did meet again but that is a different story entirely......