Disclaimer: Though the following little piece of creative writing was written by me, Tolkien is Master and to him goes all the credit. His characters, his world, his story. My plot bunny.

AN: This is just something I had to write for English class. My teacher and a friend seemed to think it was worth reading. I personally think it sucks. I just thought I'd post it here and get your opinion. Needless to say, I expect reviews. ;-P

This story takes place long after the War of the Ring, and is basically the beginning of the End.

OF THE RETURN OF THE ELVES

It has been said that the history of Gondor and the War of the Ring has been recorded in full elsewhere. The Elves departed over the Sea to return to Aman, and with them went also the Ringbearers: Frodo, Bilbo, and Samwise, the Halflings, and Gimli the Dwarf. Behind them they left the world as it was in its changing. With the beginning of the Fourth Age began the time of Men. Of this time little is told in tales; it is only said that the memory of the Elves and the Valar diminished, and as Men grew in strength and number they took lordship of Arda, but it was known by that name no more. The hobbits grew so in stature that they became as Men are, though perhaps not so tall. Seasons passed, and of them years, and yet even the ages drifted slowly by, and all lore was forgotten. The world seemed to sleep in a dream, unaware of the Light that lay over the Sea, or the tales of what had come to pass, and what was still to come. Then, save perhaps a verse of a song or poem, or an ancient riddle whose origins were forgotten, it seemed that all Middle Earth had faded away forever.

Timothy Swiftfoot was descended down from a line of many fathers, indeed directly from the line of Isildur himself, though he knew it not. He lived in the quiet countryside near the sea, and though its waters seemed endless to him, he gave little thought to what lay beyond them. As such were the minds of his kin, and those that resided in the little valley that sheltered his town. Both home and speech were long sundered from the outside world; they spoke their own tongue, and were their own people, and cared little for the affairs of others.

To those that he called friend, Timothy was known simply as Timmy. He was a fisherman, as was his father, and his father before him, and many more fathers and grandfathers, stretching back through the years to a time none could now remember.

On this day he sat before his house, on the stone they called "The Ever- Rock," mending nets. His mother stood by hanging clothes and humming the notes of the Lay of Luthien, which she did not know, but the land did, and it sung it to her, though she knew not that she heard it. As she hummed the tune went faster, as the dancing feet of Tinuviel to Daeron's pipes. The rhythm grew quicker, but Timmy's hands grew slower, and his eyes grew keener, until he sat and moved not at all, with his fair blue eyes watching the wooded hillside before him. It seemed to him that the song came not from the lips of his mother, whose voice was hoarse from a sickness not long gone, but from a creature with a sound far sweeter. Enchanted he was, and would have believed so, had the thought of magic ever been told to him. By some strange craft Tim was lifted up onto his feet and set in a direct line for the woodland path that led up onto the cliffs.

Tim's steps were unmarked, and left no print for any to follow, and then a voice was heard only by him, and by the hidden understanding of his mother. But the doom laid of him was not given to his mother, so she saw not the fleeting footsteps that he followed, until at last he came to the tiny grove that had remained concealed from all eyes until this time.

Silence filled the forest, and Timmy stood staring in wonder at what lay before him, a basin filled with water, and a maiden, indeed, a maiden more beautiful than any fisher girl he had ever beheld. Immediately a spell was laid on him, so that he could not look away. She looked back at him, then opened her mouth to speak, and the sound that came forth was like the sound of many small bells.

"I am Niamh, a Maia, whom your people have long forgotten. The time has come for the Younger Children of Iluvatar to awaken from their slumber and sloth, and to bring forth once more the great things that were of old. You have been chosen, for you alone could hear." She walked slowly to the basin. "This once was in Lothlorien, and was called the Mirror of Galadriel. It is now called the Mirror of Doom. Look into it."

A shadow of foreboding filled Timmy's mind, yet he took his place at Niamh's side by the Mirror and looked in.

In its soft reflection of stars he saw many things: a world long gone, a thousand armies made ready for battles, the death of a many kings, and then, strangely, the rising of many dead. He moved to turn his head, but a firm hand on his shoulder stopped him.

"Touch the water," Niamh's voice spoke softly in his ear. Once more he drew back. "Touch the water," she said again. "There is no turning back now. Once this was forbidden to all, but now you have come to awaken the sleeping world and bring back the spirits of those that now reside in the Halls of Mandos. Touch the water."

The teachings of Timmy's family were simple, yet sound. The people of the village distrusted anything new and strange to them. All they had ever said remained firm fixed in Timmy's mind, yet a new feeling had awoken in him, a desire to see more than the lofty mountains and endless ocean waves, the lust of treasure and power, and the amazement that both were before his fingertips. This much he knew, though he knew nothing of Mandos or the spirits of the slain Eldar that were there. But the thought that their fate was his to control filled him, and he drew back saying, "And what will happen if I do not do as you have instructed?"

The eyes of the Maia grew bright, and she looked on him with fury. "Do you refuse the command of Eru, even now? You, whose race has lost all the knowledge and lore that was given to them, do you even now believe you can forfeit his last command? Touch the water!"

And he hesitated no more, but reached out, and laid his hand upon the waters of the Mirror of Doom.

Even as Timothy Swiftfoot touched that which was not for any being to touch, a million souls cried out in Aman from the Halls of Mandos, and were released and gathered in the Circle of Doom clad once more in flesh and their old forms.

Niamh the Maia left Timothy in the wood and fled in spirit across the Sea to join her kindred, and taking physical form once more presented herself before Manwe and all the Valar and the lesser spirits, saying, "It is done."

At this news Manwe stood silent, and those gathered waited for him to speak. But he was long delayed in doing so, for his thought was grim. The Eldar turned to Varda, hoping for some glance of understanding from her, but her eyes were fast fixed upon the King of Arda, and it appeared that she too knew not what he thought.

Then Manwe turned and spoke to all assembled, "The Elder Children of Iluvatar have been released, yet nothing is yet known of the Younger. Where now are the souls of the race of Men? Now, at the beginning of the End we see them not still, and yet know nothing of their fate. It may be that in the mind of Eru their time of return has not yet come. The Elves that have come back to us out of the Halls of Mandos may remain here in Valinor, or go over the Sea, as they will, to teach those of the race of Men that would be taught. The End is now near."

At his words a great host departed, and it is said that Feanor of the Noldor went with them, once more to step onto the shores of Middle Earth, to perhaps set right the wrongs he had done so long ago, and to bring into completion the Song of the Ainur.

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