Author: Mirrordance

Title: Tempus Edax Rerum ("Time, the Devourer of All Things")

Summary: The Fellowship of the Ring runs across a time-traveling Legolas of the future whose mission is, strangely, to keep them from succeeding…

PROLOGUE: A Mission

The Undying Lands

The Near Future

      Long have these shores known a peace and prosperity that was unparalleled in all the years and histories that have ever been known.  It glowed like a beacon and it called like an elusive, beautiful dream that was only all too short, and all too distant.  But for a race that has passed into magical unreality and legend, it was as real as they were.  And it was also resting against an equally real peril.

      Legolas looked over the stretch of the sea, watching the winds stir by the hands of Manwe, and the waves rising in Ulmo's defiance against the dark gray, near-black clouds that crept with a void-like darkness towards their paradise, already having ravaged the Earth beyond, and now seeking to destroy them.

      ~Yuno knows no restraint,~ said Elrond, the older elf-lord who stood beside him, dismayed, ~And the Valar could only do so much at this point.~

      They fell into a silence that was taut with uncertainty and near-despair, as the clouds crept ever closer towards them.  The waves beneath their booted feet receded from the shore and thundered by Ulmo's will towards their frightful enemy.  But none could stop it.  Yuno had destroyed Middle-Earth, and he set his eyes towards the circles that lain beyond it, towards the Undying Lands, which would once again know darkness.

      ~What happens now?~ Legolas asked softly.

      ~We have at last allowed passage of mortals into safety here,~ replied Elrond, ~but I regret it is only a brief respite.  Yuno is coming.  And we will all perish here together.~

      ~Unless…~ Legolas said leadingly, wistfully.

      ~Unless you succeed,~ Elrond filled in, ~This is all that is left of our hope.  All that we have always known and loved rests in your able hands, Legolas.~

      ~They will not give it to me willingly,~ Legolas said stonily, ~They will die before they let anyone keep them from what they perceive they must do.  Such is their admirable nature.~

      ~They will trust you,~ said Elrond, ~If they will trust anyone at all.  No one else could do this but you.  You must be as willing to succeed as they.  Take it by force if you must.  Or else it is not only the doom of men that we face, but the doom of everything.~

      ~You ask me to raise my weapon against them in case they should resist,~ Legolas said softly, ~What do you think of me?~

      ~You know the costs of failure,~ said Elrond harshly, ~And you know where your duties ultimately lie.~  It was a point Legolas could not dispute.  He could not fail.  He could not…

      ~How much time do I have?~ Legolas asked.

      ~Think not of time,~ replied Elrond, ~You will be thousands of years ahead.  Know only that you must not fail.~

      ~They are ready for you,~ the lady Galadriel said, coming up from behind them.

      But I am not, Legolas thought, although he followed them because he was simply made that way; his heart could not turn away.  His duties would not allow it of him.

      ~It is still new,~ Galadriel told him as they walked through the intricate ways of the tower, towards its top, where a curious machine of steel-gray stood, still glowingly warm after just having been forged.  It formed a slim, heavy arc, and seemed to cackle with an electrifying strength.

      Elves stepped forward and helped him into his armor, and a light-weight, pressed-black metal band dotted with tiny silver buttons that ran from the knuckles of his fist to most of his forearm.  He glanced at it and quickly ran the details of how to run it in his tortured mind.

      He did not like the circumstances that ultimately brought him to where he was and where he was going, but he understood what had to be done, and he would do it, one way or another.

      Steeling his heart, he ensured that he had all he needed: his sleek black bow and quiver filled with shafts of arrows, a pair of slim guns, a pair of slightly curved, mithril scimitars, and a silver dagger in one of his boots. 

      ~Does anyone have a flashlight?~ he asked, looking around.  An elf tossed him a powerful, slim-handled, silver piece that he caught easily and tucked into one of the multitude of pockets in his thick black coat.  He thought he might need it, and then it suddenly crossed his mind that perhaps it would thrill the hobbits.  It was ridiculous and crazy, but once he got started thinking about his old companions, he also found himself searching for band-aids of all things, thinking perhaps Aragorn would consider them one of the finest inventions of all time…

      He looked towards Lord Elrond determinedly, suddenly eager to begin with his mission almost as much as his heart began to yearn for the company of old friends that have long been only ghosts and memories to him, all who was left after all these years.

      ~Send me away.~

TO BE CONTINUED…