Disclaimer:

I own nothing. Honestly. But you knew that already, didn't you? It's all JRR Tolkien's.

Author's Note:

It took me a rather long time to get this done … (I'm not kidding – I have typed out this chapter at least four times, changing stuff and, finally, deleting the whole thing in annoyance).

I hope the effort was worthwhile – and I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed thinking of it …

Here it is, Chapter One. Reviews are most welcome ;

Chapter One: Thoughts

Errestor walked through the deserted hallways, a thoughtful expression on his face. A cool wind blew in through the open archways, blowing his black hair around with it. He stopped walking, gazing out through one of the archways. The forests/gardens surrounding Imladris were still the same – as they had been for a long time …

… Yet they were lacking something … They were lacking the presence of Elves walking through them, talking to each other, or Elves sitting amongst the flowers and grass, leaning against the thick barks of trees, listening to the voices of the earth.

He shook his head slowly. Those times … would not come back again … saddening though it may sound, they would never come again. Why? The Elves had departed … over the Great Seas …

… To the land they should have been living on.

Then why, he thought, didn't he go with them? He wasn't a Ring Bearer – he was thankful of that – and he hadn't done any great deed that won him the favour of Manwë, the Lord of the Valar (unless he counted sitting in an office surrounded by books and rolls of parchment a great deed).

Yet, most Elves had departed to the Undying Lands … to their dwellings in the City of Tirion. And he was sure that all of them hadn't done great deeds.

Then why hadn't he gone?

Elrond, the Master of Imladris, had passed onto the Undying Lands … with the others … and had been slightly reluctant to leave his children behind. Yes, he did leave his children behind. Arwen Undómiel had married King Elessar of Gondor – and had forsaken her immortality to be with him. Elladan and Elrohir, however, had not forsaken their immortality.

They had chosen to remain on Middle Earth for a while, to tend to their sister – if she needed them at all – and to stay in the now peaceful land that they were born in. Errestor knew that Elrond wanted someone to keep an eye on his children – not that they needed it – but … just to ease his worry, being a father.

He also knew that Elrond was not willing to ask someone to stay behind on his behalf, and had kept quiet about it for a while, not willing to force an Elf to remain on Middle Earth.

Errestor, knowledgeable in people's characters as he was, had understood why Elrond had suddenly become worried and restless during his last few days in Imladris, to which he had returned after his daughter's wedding.

And being the considerate person he was, he had told Elrond that he would remain on Middle Earth. Elrond wouldn't hear of it, so he had prepared a list of arguments to give him. They were something along the lines of; I don't have any family or anything to return to in the Undying Lands, I haven't done any great deeds to become welcome there, there's really nothing for me to do there and I'll die of boredom … and last but not least, I can have some peace here with Glorfindel gone …

The first few arguments, he thought, were true. He had no family awaiting him back on the Undying Lands. Elrond did – he had his grandmother, Idril Celebrindal (if she had made it to the land of Paradise) and he had his grandfather Tuor. His father, Ëarendil, who was currently sailing the skies on his ship Vingilot would be shining brightly down on the Undying Lands, enabling Elrond to … be closer to him (in a way).

In any case, whether he had sailed with Elrond and the others or not, he would anyway have died of boredom. There was nothing much for him to do here in Imladris … and he was guessing that there would have been even less for him to do in Tirion.

He sighed, easing himself out of his thoughts and focusing his gaze back on the desolate gardens in front of him. " … Perhaps … I should clean my study …" he said aloud, remembering how he had planned on doing that many ages ago, but couldn't what with the birth of the twin sons of Elrond, and the arrival of Glorfindel before that.

He wondered how many long lost items he would find in his immaculate study. Having never cleaned it once in the past two ages … he was willing to bet that there would be many items that he had put aside, meaning to re-locate them one day.

With one last look at the gardens, he turned around and continued walking down the hallway to his office.

In Minas Tirith:

He leaned against the pillar, his eyes searching out into the Mountains of the East. He still couldn't quite believe that evil had been vanquished from the phase of Middle Earth. Whenever he thought of the Mountain of the East, he immediately thought of Sauron and great evil, regardless of the fact that the mountains were now lying peaceful, lacking the evil that had made them become despised by the inhabitants of the land.

He turned his gaze away from the mountains, and towards the White Tree that was growing in the middle of the courtyard. His eyes softened somewhat as he remembered the forests of Lórien … and of Mirkwood – or Greenwood the Great as it now was called. He wondered if the grace of the Elves would leave Middle Earth for ever.

Of course it would … the Elves were departing – if they hadn't done so already – to the Blessed Realm …

He shuddered slightly as he remembered how close he had been to losing Arwen Undómiel … as she too had begun her journey to the Havens, from which she would set sail to the Blessed Realm. Thankfully, she had chosen to remain by his side, forsaking her immortality. He sometimes wondered if it was fair on her … to have chosen him over her father. He knew, with certainty, that Elrond had not been pleased when he had learned that his daughter had given up her immortality, yet he said nothing. He could not control her every movement or decision.

He shook his head. He should not dwell on things of the past. People that had no future dwelt on such things – at least that was what Elrond had told him one day when he was much younger. He had never known his real father … and until some time had passed, he had thought that Elrond was his real father. That was until he had grown up and seen the difference in appearance of him and Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir.

He remembered how fair Middle Earth had been long ago, before Sauron had re-awakened. He remembered the lush forests of Lórien, the realm of the Queen Galadriél. He remembered the Halls of Thranduil, the King of Greenwood (as darkness hadn't come into it at that time) …

Speaking of Thranduil … he wondered – his expression sobered - he wondered if Legolas would leave to the Blessed Realm. For some reason, the thought saddened him. Even though he knew that all elves must, at some point, sail away, he had never thought that the time was … coming so close …

Who would be left on Middle Earth if all the remaining elves were to leave? Who would tend to the woods and plants? Who would make Middle Earth beautiful?

"And what, is the King of Gondor doing, looking so heartbroken?" He turned around slowly, to meet the beautiful face of Arwen … his Queen.

" … Thinking of … certain things …" he replied, smiling at her. Even as a mortal, she still looked beautiful with her raven hair and grey eyes.

"Of what things?" she asked, her soft voice doing much to soothe his troubled mind. He sighed heavily.

"Things that I should not be thinking of …" he said. "For they are natural …" Arwen looked thoughtfully at him before turning her gaze to the White Tree.

"Do not dwell on the Passing of my – of the Elves," she said, correcting herself. "Their time is over. The time now, is the Time of Men … mortal though we are we have been appointed as the 'caretakers' of Middle Earth …"

"Yet what can we do, compared to what the Elves have done for this land?" asked Aragorn – King Elessar of Gondor.

"We can do much," said Arwen. "Though we cannot do what the Elves did. We can protect this land until our last days, and we can protect the people inhabiting this land. That is what we must do … protect the peoples of Middle Earth, and prevent Darkness from spreading again ..."

"Tell me, Undómiel …" said Elessar, fixing her with an intense gaze. "Are you happy here?" Arwen hid her surprise well. "Do you not think that you should have followed your kin … to the Blessed Realm?" Arwen held his gaze evenly, her grey eyes clear.

"If I wished to follow my kin to the Blessed Realm, I would never have forsaken the gift of my people … I would have remained as Arwen Undómiel, immortal daughter of Elrond Half-Elven," she said, her voice strong. "If I didn't think that I would be happy here … I wouldn't have made that decision …"

Aragorn sighed. "Forgive me …" he said. "For that was a not a question that I should have asked you …" Arwen placed her hand on his shoulder, lightly.

"You did nothing to ask for my forgiveness," she said, her eyes shining at him. "I will repeat it again; do not dwell on the past … you know what … my father used to say about that …" Aragorn nodded slowly, his shoulders slumping a little.

"You are right …" he said. "Then again, you always were …" Arwen replied with a beautiful smile, her grey eyes twinkling.

"Come … a mug of tea and a walk through the gardens will serve to soothe your worries …" she said, slipping her palm into his. With a last look at the mountains of the east, Aragorn followed his wife.

Back in Imladris:

His eyes widened in amazement as he stared at the painting in his hands. It was covered with a thick layer of dust – which was expected as he hadn't seen it for the past thousands of years – and its age showed … but it was still in a recognizable state. He had to admit that he had never thought that he would find it again.

He ran a hand through his black hair as he looked around him for a piece of cloth that he could use to remove the dust on it. He sighed as he saw the rest of his office. He wouldn't have been able to find a chair in this state. True to his thought, he had started cleaning his office … and, although he uncovered many things he had thought he had lost, it wasn't a very … pleasing bout of cleaning.

Things were scattered here and there – on the chair, table, shelves, and floor and even on the windowsill. There were books, quills, pieces of very old parchment, vases (which he had no idea where he got from), paintings, pieces of cloth (he was utterly baffled at this point), and there was also a rather large, old dinner gong.

Rummaging through the pile of parchment and books lying on the floor next to him, he managed to extract a piece of brown cloth from somewhere. Turning back to the painting, he gently pressed the cloth against it, not wanting to remove the paint. After a while, he placed the cloth aside and held the picture up in his hands.

A rare, gentle smile passed across his face as he took in the rather clumsily drawn background of mountains (which looked like they had been created by dropping two blobs of green paint onto the paper) and the elves standing in front of them. The features of the elves weren't recognizable at all … that he had to admit. In fact, when he had received it, he hadn't known who was who, until the picture had been taken and returned with the elves' names written next to the figures.

He smiled. At the center of the whole group of elves, was a black haired elf with the name 'Restor'. On either side of him were two elves called 'Dan' and 'Hir' and next to 'Dan' was 'Ada' who had a 'Naneth' next to him. Next to 'Hir' was a golden haired elf called 'Lorfi.' He smiled again. This had been one of the first paintings that he had received as a gift.

And one of the first gifts he had received as a 'thank you 'Restor!'

He was still holding the picture when his keen sense of hearing caught the sound of two sets of footsteps walking lightly towards his office. He looked towards his door, surprised. Who could that be? He doubted whether it was one of the few elves still dwelling in Imladris.

The two figures appeared at his doorway, looking confused. Errestor sighed in relief. It was them … He turned back to the picture, guessing that it would take a while for the twins to find him amongst the heaps and heaps of items littered around the room.

"Hey … 'Dan … he's not here …" said a voice, sounding surprised.

"Sina ná lá ve sambërya," said another voice, slowly. (This is not like his room). Errestor raised one of his eyebrows. It didn't look like his room, did it?

"Mana car ellë atta tul sinomë?" he asked. (Something along the lines of: What brings you two here?) The two elves jumped slightly before spotting him, seated amidst piles of books and parchments.

"Restor!" said Elrohir, grinning at the other black haired elf.

" … …"

"What have you done to your office?" asked Elladan, looking all around. Errestor sighed.

"I was cleaning it," he said. The twins stared at him, looking rather alarmed, and causing him to add; "I am not leaving." He smirked as he saw the quick expressions of relief that passed across their faces.

Now very mature elves, Elladan and Elrohir resembled their father more and more each day. Their black hair and grey eyes was one thing, but their abilities to read more than the direct meaning in people's words, and to be almost able to read people's hearts … well, those were two entirely different things.

"Why were you cleaning it then?" asked Elrohir, moving forward, avoiding stepping on any of the books or parchment. He plopped himself on the ground next to Errestor, who was sitting in front of one of the lower cupboards in the office.

"Because it was what I was planning on doing many years ago … when you two were born and needed attention …" said Errestor. "And, of course, cleaning it any time after you two were born was just pure suicide … what with your 'longing' to 'destroy' things …" Elladan grinned.

"Hey … we were in our learning stage when we accidentally set fire to the reports grandmother had asked for," he said.

"Accidentally?" muttered Errestor.

"Yeah … and we learnt not to set fire to reports ever again – especially not to Restor's reports …" said Elladan, grinning. Elrohir was staring at the painting in his hands, the expression on his face one of surprise.

"Hey! Restor is that what I think it is?" he asked, nodding at the picture. Errestor nodded, a small smile forming on his face.

"Yes … this is the painting I was given by two little imps, as a 'thank you 'Restor' present," he said. He fought the urge to laugh as he saw the rather embarrassed faces of the twins. Elladan soon joined his brother and was seated next to him and Errestor. They stared at the picture, amused.

"I remember this! You didn't know who was who, so – "

" – We took it back and returned it with everyone's names on it," finished Elrohir. Errestor nodded.

"Yes … to be honest, I thought I had lost this," he said.

"Geez! That's nice," said Elrohir, giving him a phony glare. "You give someone a present – "

" – And they loose it," said Elladan, finishing his brother's lines as usual. Errestor shrugged.

"There are plenty of other things that I found that I don't know how I got them in the first place," he said. "This dinner gong, for example …" The twins examined the dinner gong, wicked grins creeping into their faces. Errestor recognized those grins and was alert at once. "Do you by any chance happen to know where this is from?" he asked, shrewdly. Elladan grinned.

"Remember that elf from Lórien that visited us ages ago?" he asked. "The one with brown hair … who was always saying that 'this was wrong' and 'that was wrong' about Rivendell?"

"Yes …" said Errestor, warily.

"Well we sneaked into his room – accidentally of course – and found this dinner gong," said Elrohir. "It was apparently one of his prized possessions … so we took it …"

"But he was walking down the corridor when we were walking to our rooms, so we snuck into your office – "

" – My office?" spluttered Errestor, indignantly.

" – It was the only room that was close by," said Elladan. "And we hid it …" Errestor glared at them, staring distastefully at the dinner gong.

"And you never thought about returning it to him?" he asked.

"Nope. He never came back after that anyway," said Elrohir. Errestor sighed. It was a wonder, he decided, that all the Elves hadn't departed to the Undying Lands a few years after the twins were born, what with their tricks and warped up senses of humour.

He placed the picture in his hands gently on the ground, and looked back at the cupboard. He was starting to get tired of cleaning this now. He completely missed the exchange of glances going on beside him, as he was concentrating on strengthening his will enough to finish cleaning the cupboard.

"Hey … Restor …?" said Elrohir, slowly.

"Hnn?" grunted Errestor, trying to pull out a rather heavy box from the cupboard. Elrohir glanced at his brother again.

"I – Elladan and I … we think …" He trailed off, not knowing how to put it. Errestor, by now, had stopped tugging at the box and was looking at the twins, curiously.

"Yes?" he asked.

"We know that Sauron has been defeated, and the One Ring destroyed …" said Elladan, hurriedly. "And we know that Darkness has been vanquished from Middle Earth …" Errestor nodded slowly, wondering where this was going.

"But … 'Dan and I have … been uneasy lately …" continued Elrohir. This made Elrond's second in command frown slightly.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well … as of late, our hearts have been troubled …" said Elladan. "I really can't explain it … but … it's as though … as though something's …"

"Something's going to happen?" asked Errestor. The twins nodded, looking – much to his surprise – afraid. They hadn't looked afraid since … since they had been little elflings.

"It's like … like Darkness will rise again …" said Elladan. Errestor frowned again.

"We know it sounds stupid," said Elrohir suddenly. "And we thought so too but – " He stopped as Errestor shook his head.

"It does not sound stupid," he said, wisely. "As long as people inhabit Middle-Earth … Darkness is sure to rise once more …" He stared absently at the twins. "Yet … what puzzles me … is as to who it could be. Who could possibly rise again from the Darkness?"

"That is what confuses us," said Elrohir. A bead of sweat trickled down Errestor's face as a voice recited something in his head. The words were simple … but their meaning … His eyes widened ever so slightly as he remembered a saying that all Elves had, at one time known, though that was before the arrival of Sauron the Deceiver.

"Restor?"

"What's wrong?" Errestor shook his head lightly, an unconvincing smile on his face.

"Nothing," he said. "Nothing at all …" The twins' expressions told him that they didn't believe him. "You … may – or may not – have felt a forewarning …"

" … That Darkness will rise again?" asked Elladan. Errestor nodded slowly.

"Yet we cannot be sure," he said. "For the thought seems somewhat absurd …" He looked at the twins. "Have you told anyone else about this?" They shook their heads.

"No … we didn't think it would be sensible in warning them about something that might not even happen," said Elrohir.

"That is true …" agreed Errestor.

"What do you think the Darkness will be, Restor?" asked Elladan. "If it were to rise again?" Errestor was having a mental debate with himself as to whether he should tell the twins or not. On one hand, it was no point in alarming them about a foe they had not been around to see … but on the other hand, it was best if they knew of the saying … just in case …

"Do you two remember your History lessons?" he asked. "The ones you had with me?" The twins shook their heads, grinning.

"You forget we didn't pay any attention to them." He sighed.

"Ah, yes," he muttered. "Yet … you do remember … that there was a Dark Lord that reigned in Middle-Earth before Sauron … don't you?"

"Yes," said Elrohir. "Morgoth – Melkor – the Valar." Errestor winced slightly.

"He is not counted amongst the Great Valar anymore," he reprimanded. "But … yes, he was the Dark Lord that lived three ages ago." He paused, wondering how he should put this. He heard the sharp intake of breath and looked up to see Elladan – the older twin – staring at him with his eyes wide.

"Are you saying … that … that he – " Errestor shook his head.

"You may not know this, but there has been a prophecy … one that was told to the Valar and the Noldor, by the Dooms man of the Valar, in the Ring of Doom …" he said. "No one knows if he spoke the truth or if it was merely a saying."

The sky outside began to darken somewhat, casting eerie shadows on the deserted hallways and inside the rooms and offices.

"He said; 'When the world is old and the Powers go weary, then Morgoth shall come back through the Door out of the Timeless Night; and he shall destroy the Sun and the Moon, but Ëarendil shall come upon him as a White Flame and drive him from the airs," Errestor paused, absently noticing the shadows that were falling inside his office. "Then shall the last battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day, Tulkas shall strive with Melkor and on his right shall stand Fionwë and on his left Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, Conqueror of Fate; and it shall be the black sword of Túrin that deals unto Melkor his death and final end."

There was a long silence after he had finished, during which the three elves sat where they were, unreadable expressions on their faces, and their minds whirling with questions.

Was it true? Or was it merely a 'saying?'

Author's Note:

Well??? Did you like it? I hope you did! As you might have noticed, Elrond, Galadriel, Frodo, Gandalf, Cirdan and Glorfindel have departed from Middle Earth. Will they return? Heh … it is supposedly impossible unless 'special' circumstances arise … but you never know!

A new character will appear in one of the next chapters … and her heritage will be rather surprising to everyone. Just to let you know, much more time has to pass before 'Darkness' rises again, so please bear with me!

The elvish I have used here, I am not a hundred percent sure about the structure … but I tried. Should I use some elvish in the next chapters? Please let me know what you think!

Reviews are most welcome ;

Till next time!

Siriusgirl1