Summary: These are the things Legolas remembers.
These are the things Legolas remembers.
He remembers Moria, and the desperate battle that took place there, and finally watching Gandalf fall. He remembers that he did not understand, could not accept that the Istari could be mortal after all. He remembers standing a little apart, utterly confused, watching the halflings weep inconsolably as Gimli and the Men offered each other what comfort they could in the face of death. He recalls, also, the lament sung for Gandalf in Lorien, where they knew more of what death meant.
He remembers another song sung on another day, on the banks of the Anduin by Rauros Falls. He remembers how Boromir stood defiant to the very end, and fought until he could no longer stand, and fell for the last time. He remembers committing Boromir's body to the rapid river, to be carried away over the falls by the surge of the water. And he recalls that on that day, he began to understand the Doom of Men.
He remembers watching Aragorn die, old and frail and white of hair and beard, his friends and his wife at his side. He remembers finding himself alone with Arwen, and hesitating, but finally asking, "My lady... why did you make this choice?" She simply looked at him for a long moment, tearless but with a sudden pallor in her cheeks and a brittle look in her eyes, before answering, "Because I loved him. And I would have it no other way." Legolas did not have another chance to speak with her privately before she, too, was gone, but he thinks he has come to understand.
These are the things Legolas remembers. And the weight of them is a burden that drains his still-youthful energy and leaves him exhausted. But, even were he given the choice, he does not believe that feeling no grief would be a fair exchange for having known and loved those he has lost. That, he knows now, is both the tragedy and the gift of Men.
As he looks back on Middle Earth from the boat carrying him and Gimli away, Legolas begins to compose a final song. No lament this, for such would not be fitting for what he has learned. Instead, it will be a celebration.