Story by Miriam Lambert

Of Cabbages and Kings--

Legolas sobered. Looking back at the small tree, he said softly, “In any case I would not have slept last night. This is the first, Master Samwise, and I would bear witness to it.”

“The first?” Sam frowned, looking from the Elf to the sapling in puzzlement.

Legolas ran his long fingers through the soft earth around the tree’s roots. “It is the beginning of the end,” he murmured, his eyes distant, as though he were looking beyond the sapling, at something that Sam could not see. “Or rather, the beginning was when the Fellowship left Imladris, or perhaps before that, when Bilbo took the Ring, or when Gollum found It. But this is the first. It is the first sign that the dominion of Men is at hand, and the time of the Elves is over. The Elven Rings are fading, and the Third Age of Middle-earth is coming to an end.”

“Oh.” Sam hesitated. “I thought it was a tree.”