Ancient Languages, by Imlosiel, is a tale about a woman from Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, who falls into the world of The Lord of the Rings. Lyla Sanderson, professor of languages, arrives among the elves of Rivendell. Features a Language Barrier, as Imlosiel is among the few fan authors to remember that elves speak no English. Differs from other stories about girls falling into Middle-earth, because Lyla will get a few more chances to go between worlds, until the path closes, and Lyla must choose where to stay. Which world is her home?
Ancient Languages provides examples of:
- Childhood Friend Romance: Meredith and Gilorn. They met as children, because Meredith's parents knew Gilorn's parents. After being apart for years, they enter the romance as adults.
- Cunning Linguist: Lyla and Elhael both know many languages. The elves summon Elhael to talk to Lyla. They try many languages, but fail because they come from different worlds, and share not one language. So they work together: Lyla learns Sindarin, and Elhael learns English.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Meredith has a human mother and elf father. Also, Lyla is part-elvish; her great-great grandfather is an elf.
- Language Barrier: Lyla and the elves share no languages. At first, they communicate by pointing to things. When Lyla points to a book, she wants to go to a library. In chapter 4 "Lessons", Lyla and Elhael begin to learn words, with each person pointing to an object and saying its word in both languages. Lyla learns Sindarin, and Elhael learns English.
- Long-Lost Relative: Lyla's great-great grandfather is Celin, an elf from Rivendell. An accident with the ancient book trapped him in Nevada. Celin took the name Samuel Sanderson and married a human. Lyla Sanderson inherited the ancient book from Celin.
- Love Triangle: Two triangles, two types of Triang Relations.
- Jared↔Lyla Jared↔Rachel, from a flashback in chapter 9. Jared and Lyla almost married, but on the wedding day, Lyla found the sexual affair between Jared and Rachel. Lyla ran away from the wedding, and decided that she no longer wanted the love of any man.
- Lyla←Elhael Lyla←Glorfindel. Both male elves want Lyla, and Lyla likes both. Elhael and Glorfindel become rivals as they compete for access to Lyla. There is also confusion over whether each edge is a romance or just a friendship.
- Informed Ability: Lyla knows Latin, Greek and German, but never uses these languages during the story.
- Interspecies Romance: There is an interspecies Love Triangle. Elhael and Glorfindel, both male elves, want Lyla, a mortal woman.
- Puppy Love: Lyla supposes that little girl Meredith felt "puppy love" for older boy Gilorn.
- She Is All Grown Up: Meredith does this in chapter 29 "Youth". She stuns Gilorn by presenting herself in a "deep blue dress". Gilorn has not seen Meredith for years; the contrast is between the older Meredith here, and the "Little Meredith" from Gilorn's memory.
- Shipper on Deck: Lyla tries to pair Caleniel with someone. In chapter 16 "Decisions", Lyla uses a trick to bring the pair together.
- Spell Book: Some ancient books contain spells in the Sindarin language. One of these books brings Lyla to Rivendell in Middle-earth. Because of limits, no one can use the spells except when the plot demands.
- Trapped in Another World: Lyla must choose one of two worlds.
- Weather Report Opening: The first chapter opens with:It was a Tuesday morning, the sky was black, and the earth seemed to tremble with the mighty rumbling of the thunder. The rain was coming down in sheets, and the wind whipped the trees around like they were twigs.
Marks of Time provides examples of:
- Big Bad: It seems to be a shadow with a voice.
- Emotion Bomb: The shadow-villain triggers despair or pain in Lyla, and later, in the elves.
- Fish out of Water: Elves from The Lord of the Rings appear in Fort Collins! The locals suppose that the elves are Renaissance actors, or just weird. Technology like televisions, cell phones, and "automo-cars" confuses the elves.
- Happily Married: Meredith and Gilorn. Also, Caleniel and her husband. The worst moment is a brief argument between Meredith and Gilorn in chapter 2, but they quickly apologize and forgive each other.
- Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Chapter 24 has a scene where Lyla speaks Russian with a woman from Moscow. They pretend to talk about Fort Collins. The real topic is a man with them, who understands English but not Russian.
- Imaginary Love Triangle: Lyla and her husband each suspect that the other has found a new lover.
- Shoot the Television: Chapter 10 has a funny moment when the elves discover a television. Meredith finds the remote and presses the power button. The screen makes "frightening images and painfully loud sounds", then Gilorn shoots an arrow at the TV, destroying it.
- Shout-Out: In chapter 15, the characters watch two old films, Somewhere in Time and Titanic (1997), and make references to their plots.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: The story is set in 2024, which is twenty years into the future. Technology has some improvements: cell phones have become small earpieces, televisions and laptops are thin, and some devices understand voice commands. Also, hair dye is convenient and popular.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Some residents of Fort Collins have blue or pink hair, because in the future, hair dye is permanent until a "special shampoo" washes off the dye.