1. Darkness is Coming
Times of darkness unwritten …
Times shrouded in myth and mystery.
As we seek to reconstruct our history from our time back we feel the constraints of attempting to decipher a design written backwards and in a code we do not understand, and as we find more and more pieces of the puzzle it seems yet harder and harder to put them together.
And a voice whispers in the back of our minds, 'Perhaps you do not look in the right places …'
And we shoo that voice away to blindly blunder along our hidden paths again.
-Professor J. Greyhem, 1835, Oxford University
Notes: This is one of those 'The Fellowship in Modern Day' stories. The concentration, however, will not be so much on the Fellowship (in all probability); it will be on the people who actually understand what's going on, such as Elrond, Galadriel, Legolas, Gandalf, etc.
'Unblinded' is not a word, but as the fic progresses, I hope you will see why it is appropriate.
Warning! There is no magic in this world, except maybe the sort of thing the Istari can do. You might, however, consider this an AU of sorts; a bit of history is prescribed to Valinor and its inhabitants, and some of our modern world's history has been ignored. Also, Sauron is back in this story, and to a certain extent, so is his mentor Melkor. If you are a Tolkien purist and cannot accept this rather decidedly AU concept, turn away now. You won't enjoy this story. This is not to say that I have not tried to adhere to the books and the rest of JRRT's writing wherever possible, but you stand warned.
Another Warning! Locations on Earth (as they are supposed to correspond to Middle-Earth) have been chosen for natural landscape features and geographical locations. Nothing political will figure into this story, unless it be a blatant manipulation by the Forces of Evil. In the first chapter I will implicate the Middle East as a place where Evil is growing, but remember that Sauron lived in Legolas' home wood – Greenwood – for quite a while, and it was clearly not an evil place until he made it one. I have chosen the Middle East because certain desert features are suitable to a Mordor-type landscape, not because of its people; I have nothing against Muslims, or Jews, or Christians. I am agnostic, myself.
Well, um … the chapters will all probably be on the short side; it's easier that way, and I'll likely update often.
If you have read 'Brothers in Arms', you may recognize certain concepts from that story, but hopefully the general plot and setting is different enough that you don't think this is some kind of spinoff. :) It's not; I've worked hard to make this original. Same for 'The Patient'; some ideas were gotten there, but I'm trying very hard to not copy Scribe's work! You can find both these lovely influences here on ff.net, here:
'Brothers in Arms' by the Nightrunners: http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=938055
'The Patient' by Scribe: http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=977316
Now, go read those fics! They're both better than mine, after all! :)
Um, enjoy! :)
* * *
Chapter 1: Darkness is Coming
"Forever and a half …"
The soft voice in the university library seemed to echo endlessly down the cavernous hall filled with shelf upon shelf of ancient and not-so-ancient texts, but if anyone else at the desk paid attention, they gave no immediate sign. Their speaker – a clean-shaven young fellow with cropped brown hair and deep grey eyes, his entire manner that of a student – remained engrossed in the book he pored through, flipping its pages reverently as he bent over the text.
"'Scuse me? You said something?" This voice, less hushed, was like a momentary din as it echoed, but the thundering waves soon dissipated.
"Ah?" The young man looked up to see the unknown face beside him gazing inquisitively. "Oh, nothing." He waved off the question. "I apologize for interrupting your work." He smiled, and it was a slightly strange smile. It seemed too old for the man's face.
"Oh no, I apologize for interrupting your reading …" said the questioner, the slightest frown crossing his face when he met the young man's eyes. He quickly averted his gaze to his own work.
They returned again to their own business, but the phrase seemed to linger unnaturally in the air. Forever and a half …
After a time the young man left, and it almost seemed the phrase followed him.
He may or may not have been surprised by the soft sighs of disappointment and relief that followed his departure.
* * *
"So, any luck?"
Just outside of the library in the heart of Chicago, the 'student' looked up at the speaker to see what might have been his mirror image, had the other young man cut off his thick brown ponytail and removed the golden earring from his earlobe. "A bit of something, perhaps," he began, his speech touched by what might have been an English accent. "It would help if Men would acknowledge the Breaking as part of their world's history." He pushed up the sleeve of his dark green sweater and glanced at a watch. "I wasn't expecting you until two."
"Ah, well," the long-haired one sighed, a slight twitch of amusement coming to his mouth. "I rather didn't expect myself until two, either, but circumstances allowed it. I like the sweater, very stylish."
"Do you? I found it buried in my drawers this morning. I'd quite forgotten about it."
There was a momentary pause in their conversation, and the two young men simply gazed at one another. It did not even seem as if words needed to be exchanged. And then, the longhaired one spoke again, and strange words fell from his lips in a flowing, beautiful language. "Adar cân." he said gravely. "I dhúath heria no caul bo ind dîn."
"Gostannen siniath hin, muindor," replied the other young man, his own voice seeming richer for the strange words on his tongue. Several passerby glanced up at the sound, curious looks on their faces, but if they comprehended what he said, they said nothing. He continued in the same language, "Elladan, this is but the calm before the storm. We will be swept up ere long, and still the people of this world remain oblivious! How can they not see?"
The one named Elladan approached the young man and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "It is the same way that they do not seem to notice our strange eyes, or the leaf-like shape of our ears." He touched the slight point, barely noticeable at a first glance, on his brother's ear. "Elrohir, they do not want to know."
"They will know soon enough, whether they wish to or not," replied Elrohir sourly, but his grey eyes, so old for such a young face, were soft and tired. "Ten thousand years we have walked this new earth, and still the Elves do not enter into their world except by lore and tale. Men have not changed much since the last days of Gondor, have they?"
"No, they have not," agreed Elladan softly, squeezing Elrohir's shoulder before he switched the subject. "Come, let us walk and breathe the fresh air."
Elrohir allowed the topic change. "'Fresh?'" he snorted, gazing at the industrial smokestacks in the distance, for they were not far from the factory district. "Perhaps your senses have dulled in your old age, brother!"
"And you have become boring, with that conventional haircut and your insistence on dress slacks," laughed his brother. "You should have gotten your ear pierced with me."
"I have tried. My earlobe was infected. There is no need to draw any more attention to our ears than is necessary, anyway."
"In this day and age, no one notices anyhow," Elladan pointed out amiably, but he sobered as he sensed a change in his brother's mood. "You wish to know what Father had to say?"
"I do," Elrohir said hesitantly. "Is there any good news in the world?"
"I am afraid not," murmured Elladan, and he bowed his head slightly. "There is still no sign of Mithrandir. And the shadow over the Middle East grows." He paused. "He also sends instructions. We are to seek out Legolas."
"Legolas? Indeed?" Elrohir was plainly confused, and perhaps even amused. "Why?"
At this Elladan's mouth twitched. "I asked the same of Father, and I shall quote his answer for you: 'Because Glorfindel is still seeking Mithrandir in the dark places of the world.' Clearly what matters Father would speak to Legolas about are not for our ears at this time."
"Mm." Elrohir considered this with a slight smile on his lips. "Do we know where he is at the moment? I have heard naught of him for …" He seemed to count in his head. "78 years, I suppose, and unless you have been holding out on me, you have not heard aught of him either. Has he done one of his disappearing tricks again?"
"I suppose. Father did not seem to know where he is, either, and if Father does not know …"
"Neither does the Lady Galadriel," Elrohir finished for his twin. "Father always sends us the hard jobs …"
"Nay, Elrohir, I think we have the easy end of this stick," Elladan replied, his face strangely sober for what seemed to be the opening for a joke. "Glorfindel has quite a difficult task himself, for you know as well as I that if Olórin does not wish to be found, he will not be found. And when we do find Legolas …" he trailed off, and his face became graver yet. "It may be that he will be set to a task even harder than ours."
* * *
Author's notes: The history of the world will become clearer as the story progresses, but suffice to say that Elladan and Elrohir never traveled to Valinor, remaining, rather, in Middle-Earth to the last of its days. Hence their remembrance of the last days of Gondor. The twins – indeed, all the immortal characters in this story – will likely be tainted by a touch, or sometimes more, of bitterness. Immortality is as much a curse as it is a blessing, after all, in a world full of sadness and impermanence.
Please let me know if my Elvish is just horribly wrong, and if you can improve upon it, please let me know then, as well!
UPDATE 5/2/03: Many thanks to Ithildin for correcting this chapter's Elvish!
Feedback is HUGELY appreciated. No, you don't understand; REALLY appreciated! ^________________^x
 "Father calls," he said gravely. "The darkness begins to be a burden in his mind."
 "I feared this tiding, brother."
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.