Paradox of the Fourth Age
The darkness would not come here, banished in Aman with the creation of Anar. The sun warmed the air, and gathered into a corona around the Laurëanna's long, golden hair as she stood amidst the colorful blooms of her mother's favorite garden. Watching her through the window, Glorfindel hoped her mother's grace and elegance melded with the strength of the House of the Golden Flower would be enough to protect his daughter. Her sweet, innocent face and deep blue eyes had never looked on the horrors he had seen, but he could shelter her no longer.
Smiling, he watched as she tried to lure the geese away from the flowers. He would simply have chased them off. As if sensing him watching her, Laureanna looked back at the window and, seeing him, laughed. Her compassion towards the geese always led to the maiming of the flowers. She offered, with unrepentant, laughing eyes the excuse that the geese would not want to eat the flowers if she gently led them away. Though it often exasperated him, the flowers usually regrew.
To Glorfindel, his daughter was perfect, a vision of love and beauty: full of joy and laughter unknown to him before her. Her heart was warm and overflowing with love. She was witty and had a wicked sense of humor to go with a beautiful, infectious laugh. He had never known he could possibly love someone so much.
"Melethen, we must tell her soon." Indil came from behind her husband, placing her hand on his arm. He continued to stand wordlessly before the window.
"Melethrilen, I will tell her. Allow me one more moment of the peace of this world, before I delve back into the horror of Middle Earth. I can hardly bear the thought, much less to speak of it to her." Shaking his head, Glorfindel sighed, "I wish my daughter could stay untouched by the evil of Middle Earth forever."
"Glorfindel, that cannot be. She has been very blessed in her life to not have suffered as we have, but she needs to know what happened. The sadness is now felt in the wind, now that all hope is lost in Middle Earth with the departure of the elves. She knows something is horribly wrong, but she does not want to press you, waiting for you to tell her in your own time. You must accept that she is no longer a child." Indil kissed him gently. "Laureanna trusts you to tell her anything this important. Do not think you can continue to shelter her from all that has happened. It is not possible. So far you have been lucky that everyone has respected your wishes and guarded her from the truth as well. She knows of the Kinslayings, deeds of Morgoth, and your death in Gondolin, yet you have kept this from her. Do you think she is unaware of the fact that the version of the past that she has been told is incomplete?"
Glorfindel watched his daughter for a moment longer. He knew his wife was correct. If he closed his eyes, he could almost see Imladris again. Soon, the visions would become horrific and he could bear it no more. Looking at his innocent daughter, he could almost forget that it had happened. For her, it never had.
"Would you prefer if I spoke of this with Laurëanna?" Indil offered.
Glorfindel smiled slightly and shook his head. Pulling Indil to him, he rested his forehead on hers and she wrapped her arms around his waist. They both stood silently for a moment, comforted with each other's presence. Reluctantly, with a sigh, Glorfindel pulled away and walked towards the gardend, while Indil watched him sympathetically.
Glorfindel knew he had put this off far too long. It was time.
Middle Earth is no more. All that once had been was now destroyed and blackness covered the land.
"The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail to the ruin of all." Galadriel, Fellowship of the Ring
After the Battle at Helm's Deep, the valiant and honorable unknowingly strayed.
Lord Elrond foretold that Aragorn must walk the Paths of the Dead. Only Isildur's heir could gather the Army of the Dead and they were essential to successfully defeating Sauron.
Swiftly, he sent his sons, Elrohir and Elladan, with the Dunedain of the North to take this message to Aragorn and aid him in this mission. They were to find the three walkers, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, in Rohan. The group of Dunedain and the sons of Elrond, known as Grey Company, rode to meet the Rohirrim traveling from Isengard to Helm's Deep.
But after a defeat of Saruman's forces at Helm's Deep, King Theoden and his nephew, Éomer of Rohan, rode to Isengard with Mithrandir, the White Wizard, to confront Saruman, while the three walkers rode instead directly to Minas Tirith.
The hobbit Pippin looked into the Palantír and blackness began to spread across the land from Mordor. The Dark Lord darkened the skies to allow his forces to move freely without fear of the sun. The armies that he had gathered moved to strike Gondor. Mithrandir rode with Pippin to warn Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, in Minas Tirith.
King Theoden and Éomer, with the hobbit Merry by their side, gathered the men of Rohan. When the Grey Company came upon them, Aragorn had been riding to Minas Tirith for several days, and though the Dunedain, Elrohir, and Elladan made chase through the Riddermark, they did not overtake Aragorn until he reached Minas Tirith. It was too late to travel to the Paths of the Dead and they entered the city to prepare for its defense as the siege began.
Like a house of cards that has had a single card removed, mankind began to crumble.
With the help of the Rohirrim, Aragorn was able to push back the armies of Mordor but with a devastating loss of men, including King Theoden and Denethor, Steward of Gondor. The Witch King killed King Theoden's niece Éowyn, the White Lady of Rohan, who had ridden with the army of Rohan without her uncle's knowledge. The hobbit Merry lived but had been forever maimed in the attack.
The forces of Men, far too diminished by the battle upon the Pelennor, were unable to march on the Black Gates to give Frodo and Sam the diversion they needed to climb Mount Doom and destroy the Ring. The two hobbits were captured and killed by orcs, and the Ring was taken to Barad-Dur. Once again, the Ring was returned to Sauron and he came to full power.
The One Ring had found its true master.
The elves had defended their realms during the War of the Ring in anticipation of the Ring's destruction, as Elrond and Galadriel had foretold. The attacks on Lothloríen were fought and Lothloríen remained strong. King Thranduil and the Mirkwood elves had managed to defend the attacks against their realm but at such a loss that they were left weak and vulnerable. When the fellowship failed, Thranduil led the remaining elves of his kingdom to the stronghold, Imladris, rather than risk Dol Guldur destroying them all. Thranduil sent word to his son, Legolas, in Minas Tirith.
Saruman fled from Isengard and took over the Shire. Evil filled the purest place in Middle Earth. Those who would have been able to stop it were too concerned with protecting their own people to save the littlest ones.
Soon after the battle at Minas Tirith, Arwen Undómiel and an escort of elves rode to the city against the wishes of her father, Lord Elrond. The Nazgul intercepted the party before they reached the city and only a few survived. Aragorn was crowned King Elessar unaware of Arwen's fate until the ragged remnants of her escort bore her body to Minas Tirith.
King Éomer took the remaining men of Rohan back to Edoras. Work began to repair the damage done to Helm's Deep.
But alas, some damage could never be repaired.
As King Elessar struggled with his grief over the loss of Arwen, her brothers departed for Imladris to tell their father of her fate. Gimli, Legolas, the two surviving hobbits, Merry and Pippin, and the Dunedain traveled with them despite the increasingly treacherous roads. Mithrandir remained with the king. Nazgul watched all roads to the White City.
A day away from Imladris, their small party was ambushed by Saruman's orcs and Merry and Pippin were both killed along with most of the Dunedain. Legolas was severely wounded defending his friend, Gimli, to no avail. Elladan was wounded as well. The previous day, Lord Glorfindel had heard of the orcs traveling in the area and set out from Imladris with a small band of warriors. They came upon the battle soon after Legolas and Elladan were wounded.
Glorfindel's army engaged the orcs and defeated them while Elrohir and the remaining Dunedain rushed the survivors back to Imladris for healing. Elladan was healed, but Legolas' wounds were fatal and he died with his father weeping beside him. Imladris mourned the loss of Arwen and Legolas. Glorfindel returned to Imladris, losing only a small number of his forces.
The valiant had fallen. All that remained of the fellowship were the king and the wizard.
Gondor prepared to defend itself as Sauron gathered his strength. Lothloríen prepared for another assault. Yet Sauron's forces inexplicably withdrew from the Lórien woods and lay silent behind Mordor's walls for many years.
It soon became clear that Sauron was merely biding his time, waiting until he was at full and unbeatable strength once more. The Rohirrim left Edoras for Helm's Deep. Lord Elrond, Círdan, and Mithrandir met in Imladris to discuss the fate of the elven rings.
Soon after the meeting in Imladris, Sauron's first strike came though not, as expected, upon Men. Disregarding their weakened and divided kingdoms, Sauron chose to first crush his most powerful foes, thus ensuring that the Elves could not align with Men to defeat him as they had once before.
The first and the harshest strike was upon Lothlórien. Dol Guldur's forces had secretly tripled in size during the years that Sauron had been silent. The orcs, goblins, and trolls of Moria attacked from one side while the forces of Dol Guldur pressed their assault from the other. Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel defended their realm but they were desperately outnumbered, their defense quickly turning into the wholesale massacre of the Lórien elves. The Silver Lord fell among his people, though at the last, Lady Galadriel led a small number of elves out of Lothloríen to the safety of Imladris. The orcs and Uruk-hai burned the city of Caras Galadhon and the surrounding wood to the ground.
The Golden Wood was now blackened and the mallorn trees grew no more.
Because of the collection of power within the elven realm, Sauron once again bided his time, readying his assault. Knowing they could not hold Sauron's forces for long, the Ring Bearers made the agonizing decision that the elves would forever depart the shores of Middle Earth for the Undying Lands.
Lord Elrond chose to send Lord Glorfindel and Lord Círdan to the Grey Havens with the first group of elves to sail to Valinor. King Thranduil, broken by losing his only son, went with them to sail to Aman and once again be with his wife. Lord Círdan and the elves of the Mithlond began to build the large number of necessary elven ships. Glorfindel and Thranduil sailed to the Undying Lands and met with the Valar about the events in Middle Earth. Mithrandir returned to Minas Tirith and King Elessar.
The attack on Gondor quickly followed and it was assailed upon all fronts over decades. Though Rohan's borders remained quiet, King Éomer could not leave his lands undefended to send aid to Gondor. After the total destruction of Gondor's cities and the people within them, Sauron's eyes fixed on Minas Tirith where he would crush Isildur's heir at last.
Sauron himself came to Minas Tirith on the final day of its destruction and killed the last descendant of the Númenor kings among the ruins of the city. With Aragorn now dead, Gandalf was the last remaining member of the Fellowship. The Witch King took the White Wizard captive to Minas Morgul. Nazgul flew over Imladris.
The King of Men's glory was dimmed and his city lay in ruin. The world was breaking.
Decades later, the remaining elves in Imladris left for the Grey Havens with Lord Elrond and his sons. They crossed over the sea to the Undying Lands in the company of Lady Galadriel. Sauron entered the empty haven of the elves and burned the Last Homely House.
As the last remaining elves in Middle Earth prepared to depart for Aman, Sauron's armies fell upon the Grey Havens and took possession of all the remaining elven ships. Despite the brave defense of their harbor, Lord Círdan was taken captive to Minas Morgul and the fate of the elves of Mithlond was never known.
The power of the elves had departed Middle Earth. Nothing stood against the Dark Lord, and the last of the free peoples of the West, dwarves, hobbits, and the folk of Rohan, were overrun.
When Glorfindel finished telling her, Laurëanna was weeping. He had not seen his daughter cry since she was a young child. When she finally looked at him, her tear-filled eyes were full of shock and confusion.
"Ada, how could this have happened? How could one of the Ainur be capable of destroying part of Eru's design? I do not understand how so much darkness...so much evil could come from such good." Her voice was barely more than a whisper.
Glorfindel did not know what to say. How could he explain Sauron's betrayal, his fall from grace, when it was something he did not understand himself? How does one explain Morgoth's deeds: the first evil in the world? Saying nothing, he drew her to him, holding her as she sobbed uncontrollably. He glanced up and, through the window, he could see Indil weeping as well and knew she was remembering her home in Mithlond. His heart ached for those elves that had never made it to Aman.
In less than a century, Middle Earth was lost forever and all of Valinor wept.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.