"For the time comes of the Dominion of Men
, and the Elder Kindred
shall fade or depart."
Words of Gandalf
from The Return of the King
VI 5The Steward and the King
The time following the end of the Third Age. With the destruction of the One Ring, the Three Rings of the Elves lost their power to hold back time, and the Elves that remained in Middle-earth began to fade. At this time the Elves had slowly been departing into the West for many centuries, but now most of them travelled away from Middle-earth to find the Blessed Realm. As the Fourth Age began, the lands that had been the realms of the Elves began to come under the power of Men.
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