The misery placed upon them was almost too much for them to endure. Missing the last boat to Valinor was something unanticipated and too horrifying for them to imagine. The Valar deemed it fit to punish them for a reason they still knew nothing of. This penalty was for them to wander the world in shadow, watching it change around them until they were nothing more than beings of mythology. Heroes of old fairy tale’s mothers would tell their children when it was time for them to sleep.
The future looked rather bleak for them, and they even discussed defying the Valar. Building a boat of their own to cross the vast oceans to where their kin dwelled, in the Undying lands in Aman. They abolished this scheme as soon as the thought crossed their minds. They knew the consequences would be worse if they chose to do so.
Years turned into centuries, which turned to millennia, and they ultimately, but not willingly, resigned themselves to their fate. They wondered whether the Valar would ever concede on their unforeseen judgement, and allow them to fade away in peace. Instead of having to abide the torment of continuing their immortality in a world which was beginning to look different to what they once knew.
They clung to the trees and forests like they were their only lasting saving grace. They never set foot beyond their borders while the world was becoming terrifying to them. They never took it upon themselves to learn the new ways of the world. From time to time, many a mortal man, woman, or child would wander into their forest, and they would walk past them, never knowing they were there, or of the unbearable suffering, they were going through. They would notice with fear they would change, their clothes becoming more bizarre to them.
The date, year, and months became lost to them while time passed without a hitch. They were only able to tell the time of the day from the position of the sun or moon in the sky. They grew restless when the millenniums past because, for them, one-millennium passing was like a single day. They would have given anything in the world to lay down and die. It seemed clear the Valar had other ideas, making them linger on in the darkness where not a soul knew they existed.
Then, without warning, one day the veil surrounding them lifted, and, it was with curiosity and shock, an old man happened upon them in the forest they took to dwelling in. The two companions, being unaware they were no longer invisible to the world of men, became startled when a man spoke to them with a nervous greeting.
‘Your eyes can see us,’ one said suspiciously, looking at his companion.
‘How is this possible?’ the other asked, keeping his eyes trained on the man who reminded him of his old friend, Gandalf the White.
‘Am I not supposed to?’ the old man answered with a question of his own.
The two lonely and wary creatures of the wood looked at each other, conferring on how to answer. The younger looking of the two turned back to the old man. ‘Alas, we are cursed creatures, bound to spend eternity in darkness with only each other for company. Now, I have answered your question it would only be polite for you to answer ours,’ he said in a silky, smooth voice which was sweet and soft like honey.
The old man smiled. ‘I can see you both,’ he answered, and the two companions raised their eyebrows, waiting for him to continue. ‘I do not know why I can see you as I was unaware you were hidden, to begin with. It would explain your sudden appearance only a moment ago,’ he answered them, looking around the forest.
The two creatures looked at each other before looking back at the old man. ‘What is your name?’ the older looking one asked.
The old man smiled. ‘I will reveal mine if you give the courtesy of telling me your own first,’ he answered, looking from one to the other.
The older looking creature stepped forward. ‘I am Haldir of Lórien,’ he answered and then gestured to his companion. ‘This is Legolas, the Prince of Mirkwood,’ he said, looking back at the old man. ‘Now, your name?’ he asked again.
‘Albus Dumbledore, at your service,’ the old man answered with a bow and a smile. When he looked back at them, he frowned as something Legolas said before came back to him. ‘You mentioned you’re cursed creatures? By “creatures”, what do you mean? You look like two ordinary men to me,’ he said with intrigue.
Haldir glanced at Legolas before looking back at Dumbledore. ‘We are not mere men. We are creatures of the woodland realm. We are Elves,’ he answered sternly.
Dumbledore’s eyebrows raised, his eyes widening. ‘Elves!? How is that possible? The Elves were lost to history a long time ago. There are only a few scrolls and scriptures left, which state the Elves sailed to the Undying Lands millions of years ago,’ Dumbledore said in astonishment.
The two Elves appeared saddened by these words, and a tense blanket of silence draped around them. After a short while, Legolas broke the silence, ‘The boat sailed without us,’ he whispered. Dumbledore’s head snapped up, looking at him. Legolas looked around at his surroundings before looking back at Dumbledore. ‘They have punished us. The penalty is wandering for eternity, immortal, and concealed from the men of the world. It seems the Valar have relented on our sentence, and now we are finally free to fade if we wish. I, for one, do,’ he told him, and Dumbledore frowned at his last words. Legolas shifted slightly, explaining, ‘I am jaded, not physically, but spiritually and psychologically. For too long have I wandered in torment, and I am astonished madness has not taken me. There is nothing in this world now which could keep me here,’ he finished, and Haldir nodded in agreement.
Dumbledore sighed sadly, looking at them. ‘You must be the last of your kind still living on earth,’ he said softly, and at their nod, he continued, ‘Allow me then, to put forward to you both a proposition.’
Haldir and Legolas looked at him curiously. ‘What proposition would that be?’ Haldir asked, narrowing his eyes.
Dumbledore smiled, ‘Well, I suppose I should start from the beginning...’