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24
The Tracks of Time

Several decades into the Fourth Age, Legolas considers his friends among the younger races through the lens of mortality.


~~~

…owyn's tresses have lost their gold, like the fading mellyrn of Lorien. Her face is still fair, but marked by the pitiless tracks of time. Elboron, once a youngling who merrily climbed onto my shoulders, is now a grandfather. My friend Faramir's raven hair has turned iron-grey. He will wither while the cypress trees we planted grow slowly skyward.

Aragorn, though hale, no longer runs apace with me as he once did when we hunted the Uruk-hai. I see a gleam of fear in Arwen's eyes as she, still youthful, watches Aragorn's slower steps. The Lord of the White Tree cannot defeat the frost that awaits him. And Gimli is also mortal.

Where have the seasons fled? Men and hobbits wed, have children, and hurtle toward the winter of their lives in only a small span of years. They seize life so swiftly, the sweet and the bitter, in the manner of greedy children eating sun-warmed peaches, sucking the nectar from the fruits until only the wrinkled pits remain. My people take more time to ponder and savor such bounty. But we have always had more time. We now become as trees whose few seeds are scattered on inclement winds, sowing scarcely any saplings, while the careless younger races increase at a faster pace. There might come a day when time itself will prove a burden to the Eldar that remain here.

The call of the distant Sea waxes as my mortal friends' lives begin to wane. I could not bear to linger here after they make their final journeys. Once, I rejoiced in the tumult of change. Now I yearn for more peaceful climes. I shall seek the Undying Lands, where, it is said, my people flourish in changeless grace, and time treads softly on the mellyrn's golden leaves.

-The End-


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