DISCLAIMER: I do not propose to own any of J. R. R. Tolkiens characters, nor any places or names that before appeared in his books. Other characters and places, however, are mine, and are copyright © of Me-Elf.
“But when King Elasser gave up his life Legolas followed at last the desire of his heart and sailed over Sea…More cannot be said of this matter.”
Okay, so it’s short, but it’s vital so read on.
“So, they are come,” he said, watching Rayn and Legolas closely, within his eyes Legolas beheld a great and fervent storm that threatened to billow up and pour over in a great torrent.
“It cannot be,” Rayn whispered. “It cannot be; Legolas, it is Ulmo.”
“God of Waters, King of the Sea, I am he that was and is yet alone,” the thing said. He drew his other hand out from under the water, and Legolas and Rayn beheld webbing between the fingers of his right hand, a clawed and a terrible weapon. He spread out his fingers, and water gathered into the bowl-shape, when it was full he tipped his hand forward, slowly, releasing the water back into the ocean.
“I have been sent by Manwë to tell you to beware your step, for evil is both behind and before you. It is ever watchful,” his voice became a whisper. “it murmurs lies into your heads, confusing you, beware!” Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the elves stumbled backward, terrified; they were thrown on their faces, bowed in the presence of the great one of the waves. The tirade died down, and Rayn ventured to stand.
“Yes, little one?” Ulmo asked, bending down as though to see the half-queen better.
“Great god of waters, what evil do you speak of?” she asked.
“That I cannot say, but your power will surely protect you, for it is sung that this evil shall pass ere the end of days, but how long ere, Manwë, nay, Mandos himself cannot tell.” His eyes glowed, and he drew back up to his full height.
“Fly, Legolas, go quickly to your mission, the world may yet have hope, even in the presence of the returning one.” He sank lower into the water.
“Remember, I am in every river, every pool, I am in the rain, I have power wherever, and I will be with you evermore. Do not forget the warning!” he said.
“What about Aer?” Rayn asked. Ulmo smlied and plucked the bird off of his shoulder with his webbed hand. He reached out to Legolas and placed the bird in his hand.
“He is my messenger, take care of him, go now, children, farewell.” The rumble grew again, and Ulmo rose up higher and higher, until Legolas felt he was looking at the tallest mountain. The god propelled himself through the air, though his feet never seemed to leave the water. He dived into the water, and Legolas was suddenly aware of the sun coming out from behind a cloud, though he had noticed no cloud. And as suddenly as he had appeared, Ulmo was gone.
Rayn collapsed into the sand. Legolas sat down beside her, Aeraew took off and circled the water over the place where Ulmo had disappeared, crying for his master.
“Were we dreaming?” Legolas asked in wonder.
“Look at the gull, do you think we were dreaming?” Rayn replied. She fell back, lying on the sand, staring up at the sky.
“I have seen Ulmo. I have seen him,” Rayn murmured to herself, wonder in her face.
“I have heard the lore of my people, but I have never thought much of the Valar.” Legolas flopped down beside Rayn.
“What kind of place has my world become?” he asked.
“Has it not always been this way?” Rayn asked.
“No,” he said slowly. “There is a certain stillness in the air that didn’t exist when I left. Like fog settling over a pool, or, or the cloud of darkness that covered the earth when Sauron put forth his power against Middle-earth. That’s what this is like.” Rayn stared at the sky, musing over Legolas’s words.
“Then it is deader than before?” she asked after a time.
“I guess you could say that,” Legolas replied.
Rayn rolled onto her side, Legolas looked at her, perceiving sorrow and grief.
“Then I may never see Middle-earth happy?” she asked.
“Middle-earth was never happy, and the shore is the happiest place there is here, in my book,” Legolas said. Rayn frowned, and lay back again in the sand.
“I expected something different, but not worse than my own land,” she said.
“Ah, but it will get better, I hope.” They looked at each other with uncertainty.
“What a journey we have embarked on,” Legolas said.
“We’ll never get it started if we don’t go back to the boat,” Rayn pointed out. Legolas nodded and they got to their feet. Without a word they began to jog back toward the fleet, followed by Aer. Legolas gave a last glance at the ocean behind, hoping for another glance of the Sea-King, but only the lapping waves stirred, and only the Sea was visible.