The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER01
30 Years Later ...
Rain, huge droplets of rain fell, as it didn’t just rain in the Black City, it was a monsoon. The weather forever changed by the technologies of human beings since the early 20th Century, humans were pretty lucky not to fall into an nuclear winter, but instead, obliterated each one with their use of magic and technology. The United States of America was now most probably the Broken States of America, but they were still ruled by a President ... more so a puppet to the title than to the real power.
The real power laid in those able to wield Dust and Mage-Link. The Age of Mages, as this was known, had arisen, and the Black City was on the top of it.
Formerly New York City by old Millennial terms, it had turned into a dark, decrepit, wasteful haven for those without hope, those willing to kill, and those who have gone insane. For the few who had not escaped when the various Mages captured the city and installed a puppet Mayor, they were left to fend for themselves.
But the Mayor had at least some presence of mind to recreate the Police Department, and they were the ones keeping the peace between mafias, gangs, and psycho Mages who were on the loose inside the city. The beginnings of the Mages appeared in the latter part of the 21st Century, with the advent of cloning that had gone awry, Mage-Link was created. It was a process in which scientists tested on humans, of varying races, ages, and genders, to see if humans, if not cloned, could be turned into weapons of mass destruction.
After all, it was a time of war.
The five superpowers of the former United Nations had been reduced to squabbling children, all who could not decide the fate of various warring nations in the former Middle East. China, Russian Federation, United States, United Kingdom, and France, the five permanent members of the Security Council, had gone to war with each other. Naturally, the United States had allied itself with the United Kingdom while the Russian Federation allied themselves with Communist China. France, however, remained heavily neutral, not giving in to each side and refusing to bow down to the wishes of the other four countries.
The war was near catastrophic, as nuclear devices were hurled at each other, killing many, while the countries not involved watched as a nation, in its mere teenage years, lost most of its glory in the aftermath of the war.
It was during this war, the War of the Great Nations, or as some dubbed it World War III, that the British discovered Mage-Link and the mysterious properties of Dust. When effectively combined with in the human bloodstream and through various tests, a person wielding the powers of technology and magic was as effective as a weapon.
America and the other countries got their hands on the technology and started the draft and proscriptions, rounding up various people, children even, and testing the technology on them without a care. Thus the three forms of Mages were created, Technomages, Vernomages, and Irimages.
But something went wrong in the latter years as the Mages rebelled, most of them furious at their own nations for deceiving them and taking them hostage for them to be created into weapons. Rebellion occurred, and governments changed. The world fell into shadow and darkness and now ... the lawless ruled the world.
It was a sad life, but with the creation of the New York Police Department, here in the city itself, there was at least some law to keep those innocent from becoming guilty.
And here, Alexander Richard crouched, hidden partially beneath a junk wreckage of what was once a hover car; now all mangled up and rusted. Alec, as he was known to most, didn’t really like standoffs, especially with a psychotic Technomage running around ... well the psycho couldn’t be considered a true Technomage as he was in reality, a Techno-Wilder, or Wilder.
A Technomage gone insane.
He raked a hand through his soaked hair, shivering slightly at a cold wind that blew the monsoon-like rain into his face. There were two squads, him included, waiting outside an abandoned apartment complex, long ago reduced to jagged rubble, waiting for the Wilder to show himself.
The Wilder had taken two hostages, a young boy of roughly ten, and his sister, a young girl of eight. Innocents living on the streets, runaway kids that probably had a better chance of survival on the streets rather than in foster care homes. He had taken them and demanded that the city give him transportation out of the city safely and to the rural areas, and to also treat him of his insanity.
Now, they were waiting as negotiations were falling through the roofs as the rain was, slipping out of hands and into the sewers.
“Hey, Alec!” a hushed voice called to him and he turned slightly, wiping more water from his dark brown crew cut. His partner, a just-graduated police academy kid, was beckoning to him.
“What?” he replied, trying to make the conversation short as there could be no distractions while they were stuck in this situation.
Alec resisted the urge to throttle his partner into the wall, only clenching a fist to remind himself that he had taken on Tony Clemet because he had lost a bet with one of the other officers on the force, not to mention that he personally felt sorry for the poor gawky, slightly nerdy kid.
Though he did not know how Tony passed the Police Academy, the seemingly nerdy kid was very brave at times, yet didn’t really have the initiative to take charge or learn about a situation through observance and waiting.
“Nothing really ... just good ol’ Ben trying to use his persuasive arguments,” another voice replied and Alec grinned at Robert Grenado, one of his good friends on the force. With his coal black skin and dark uniform, he had almost blended into the background, and Alec had nearly forgotten that he was there.
“Yeah ... the persuasive type, that’s our Ben,” he agreed, shaking his head slightly as he peeked over to where the captain of their unit was standing with a megaphone, his shoulder length brown hair stringy and soaked along with the rest of his uniform. Though his back was towards him, Alec imagined that Captain Benjamin Greens’ face was in his usual perpetual frown, his eyes a myriad of conflicting emotion, one of his hands stroking the goatee on his face. A Technomage stood next to him to keep him protected or warn him of something if the Wilder made any sudden moves.
The Technomage was wearing a black cloak that was water repellent and she didn’t seem fazed about anything. Her blonde hair was pulled back tightly, and though he couldn’t remember her name, he knew that she was an imperious woman, always catching the gazes of at least everyone whom she walked passed, whether in her uniform or not. Of the Police Department’s six Technomages and two Vernomages, they had three Technos here and one Verno due to the seriousness of the situation.
See, the Wilder that they were dealing with was one that had given them constant headaches in the past. He had grown very powerful in the last few years and they really needed to stop him or else more innocents would die.
He knew that the Wilder wouldn’t have any qualms about killing the children, but with three Technomages and a Vernomage they would hopefully be able to take the Wilder down. In general terms, Technomages were able to use offensive attack spells, but weren’t able to cast defensive ones. That was what a Vernomage was; a healer and a defensive spell caster.
But for a Techno-Wilder, there were varying degrees as some Wilders could cast a few spells usually reserved for a Vernomage, or even cast the spells of an Irimage. It all depended on the person him or herself.
“We’re giving you one last chance Wilder! Release the hostages and come out peacefully. We would be able to give you the treatment you want, we would be able to help you cure your sickness!” Ben’s sudden voice boomed loudly from the megaphone he was holding.
The silence that ended with that statement was loud enough for Alec to hear the near by breathing of a few officers. The falling monsoon rain that pattered off everything only punctuated it. Then a sudden rumble, almost like the deep growl of a monster awakening shook the ground. The sound suddenly octave into a pitch that rattled Alec’s eardrums and he clapped his hands and gritted his teeth as it vibrated throughout the area. He dimly noticed that the rest of the officers all did the same, and only the Technos and Verno didn’t seem to be fazed at all. They just stood watching the building with their glowing green eyes, all varying degrees of brightness.
Suddenly the noise stop just as sudden as it started and Alec shook his head slightly, trying to clear the phantom ring that was left from the noise. He looked up just in time to see a pinkish shield falling overhead, a dome shaped thing encasing all of them in its protective barrier.
Looking over towards where Ben was standing he saw their Vernomage trading places with the Technomage. Her right hand was held in a fist and it glowed pink as she was generating the protective shield, that basically shield everything, including the monsoon-rain. Was the Wilder to attack or show himself soon?
“He’s coming out,” she said in her soft monotone voice echoing in the dome, in which the rain was pattering off of, sometimes hissing as steam rose from it.
The resounding crescendo of the guns being loaded or safety being pulled off was loud like firecracker and they waited ...
It was as if the building suddenly exploded outwards, sending chunks of bricks, wooden beams and various materials flying through the air. Though everyone knew that the shield their Vernomage created was going to hold it and repel the debris, it was still human to duck slightly as the debris came flying down on top of them.
From the cloud of debris, there was a crackling sound and the Wilder slowly rose from the debris only to hover above them. Alec craned his head up to see that he was holding the two children, one in each arm. They were crying freely and the sounds of their cries were softer than what he thought possible, but that was because of the interference the shield made in sound quality.
“You shouldn’t have challenged me,” the Wilder spoke, his voice precise, intoned ... full of malice. “Three Technomages and a Vernomage ... all to bring me down! Ha! What a pathetic excuse to be the saviors of this city, this world! I can kill these children with one blow and you can do nothing about it ... ”
“Don’t count us out, Wilder,” one of the Technomages suddenly leapt from the barrier and landed with the training and balance of a soldier on an outcropping near the Wilder who stared at him with a look of pure contempt on his face.
“Don’t make me laugh, Technomage,” he sneered, “you haven’t seen my true power yet.”
It was as if someone seared a spotlight on the whole street they were in, as suddenly the Wilder’s eyes glowed brightly, almost a bright green-yellow color, and his features became more twisted as the changes to him were wearing away. Parts of his hair started to turn into shiny white strands ... Alec drew in a sharp breath as he realized that the Wilder was more than he seemed and had been concealing all his power within himself to lure the police into a false sense of security.
“I would have gone with you to the end. Into the fires of Mordor.”
The sudden voice in his mind was enough to bring Alec into his senses and he watched, horrified as the Wilder, still glowing in his power while blinding the others, raised a lazy finger and a sudden tight white beam shot from his finger and straight through the Vernomage that was standing next to Ben.
The glow of power vanished from the Wilder and everyone was released from the temporary blindness, but Alec’s feet were already moving. He pounded up towards Ben, startling his captain, but roughly pushed him aside as he caught the falling Vernomage. She collapsed into his arms, blue eyes wide with surprise and fear, her breath quick, light ...
He had a feeling of déjà vu flash within him, as if something like this happened before, but he shook it off as he examined the wound she had received. It was straight through her heart ... she was going to die and he had seen it ... he could have saved her, but he didn’t react.
She tried to speak, but her mouth was frothing with the mixture of sputum and blood, and they bubbled lightly.
“Shh ... ” he whispered to her, not really knowing what to do ... he didn’t even know her for crying out loud, but could feel tears brimming on the edges of his eyes. It was all so confusing ... it was as if he knew her from long ago, someone he might have cared for in a past life.
“El ... ” she made an attempt to speak and Alec leaned a bit closer to hear.
“Elessar ... ” she whispered before he felt her body go limp in his arms. Drawing back, he blinked as he watched her eyes close softly, and her face lost all signs of pain. She looked like she was sleeping ...
“Run! Run for cover!” the sounds of the hostage situation came back to Alec as he was pulled back sharply. He stumbled a bit and fell to the ground, but then glanced up and saw a lightning bolt hit the place where he had been kneeling. Glancing behind him he saw that Robert had saved him from becoming a crisp policeman. However, behind him, Tony was visibly shaking, his hand twitching, the gun in it vibrating like someone threw it into a washing machine and set it on fast spin.
His partner was scared shitless and he nearly got fried. And for good reason as he turned back to see the Vernomage’s body suddenly engulfed in a blue light; little white dots that looked like stars rose from her body and shot towards the Wilder who was smiling an insane smile. Taking the powers of the dead Vernomage he had killed, he was enjoying the experience of absorbing her powers.
Another crackle of lightning lanced out everywhere and it was then that Alec realized that the shield had been demolished with the Vernomage’s death, and that the three Technomages were also lashing out with their own powers.
A column of fire struck the floating Wilder, but there was no effect as a pinkish barrier, much like the one that had been protecting them erupted around the Wilder.
“Ha! Keep on attacking me and I’ll kill the little ones!” the Wilder taunted and suddenly released the little boy who screamed as he fell.
“No!” was the outrage cry of a few officers.
Alec’s eyes would have bugged out had he not been used to such random things happening. As the boy fell, the Wilder pointed a finger at him and a sphere of the pink shield went up around him, holding him afloat and he hovered, mere inches above the outstretched arms ready to catch the boy.
“You will all suffer and die,” the Wilder pronounced with a cruel smile and Alec narrowed his eyes as he watched him clench a fist and the rain fell faster, almost like bee stings when the lightning started to strike in earnest.
He ducked as a particularly close one hit the ground near him. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as the electrical current passed close to him. The screams of police officers being fried by the lightning were echoed by the thunder rolling around. He drew his gun and started to fire some distracting shots at the Wilder, but they all bounced off the shield.
Taking a desperate glance at the Technomages, he noticed one limp by a pile of rubble, his arms hanging in awkward position. They were in deep shit this time, with no one to back them up. Any of the citizens to hang around this area that were smart enough were long gone by now ...
He suddenly ducked behind a slab of concrete as the scatter fire of lightning raked across his area. Catching his breath for a few seconds, he glanced around at the situation at hand. At least most of the officers were hiding, some taking pot shots at the shield surrounding the Wilder. Ben was furiously communicating with someone as he kept yelling into the communication device he held, while ducking as the occasional lightning raked by.
It seemed that only two of the Technomages were battling it out with the Wilder, and though he couldn’t see them, he could hear the furious yells and cries of spells casted.
He pounded a fist against the wet soggy ground and grounded some of the mud together. He hated this ... they shouldn’t just all be hiding and become sitting ducks. Who gave a shit about risks ... the hostages were the foremost, important to save. Peering from a corner, he noticed that while in the frenzy of battle, the Wilder had not been paying close attention to the crying boy, and he hovered just in reach ... Alec hoped that he had the element of speed and surprise ...
Launching himself from his hiding place, he ran towards the little boy, taking a flying leap off of the pile of debris where Ben had stood before, and ‘flew’ towards the little boy. He felt his body impact the shield around the little boy, its reflective power burning his skin underneath his uniform, but he willed himself to press past the pain and suddenly broke through.
In his slightly surprise, he let instinct take over as he wrapped his arms around the boy’s form, breaking the contact the Wilder had in floating the boy and the two of them crash landed onto the concrete-debris littered ground. Alec rolled to a stop, mostly keeping his body in contact with the ground as he tried to protect the little boy. His trajectory was halted as he thumped into a lamppost.
The force of the impact left him slightly breathless, but he shook his head to clear whatever dizziness he had then glanced down at the boy who was clinging onto him. He was all right ... he was fine ... he was-
“How dare you ... ” the Wilder’s cold voice made all the blood freeze within Alec’s veins and he turned slightly to see the Wilder facing him, his bright glowing green eyes ablaze with fury. To a certain irony, Alec cracked a smile as he realized that the Wilder was surely to kill him, but he didn’t really care. He had done his duty as a police officer; he had done justice in trying to protect this little boy.
Focusing his steely gaze on the Wilder at all times, he lifted his chin defiantly and watched as the Wilder raised a glowing fist, a fist crackling with lightning, then suddenly splay his fingers out at him. The lightning traveled towards him and Alec kept his eyes locked on the Wilder’s at all times. He was going to die, but by whatever Gods rule this Earth, he was going to die protecting the little boy.
The sudden impact of the lightning against what looked to be a pinkish shield, mere inches from his face was enough for Alec to start in surprise. Where had that come from? Glancing down at the little boy’s form he saw that the boy was glowing with the pinkish power of creating a shield, and that pinkish glow was radiating onto his arms and hands that were wrapped protectively around the boy. Was the boy a Vernomage?
A sudden scream brought Alec back to where the Wilder was floating ... no he wasn’t floating anymore, he was falling. Gunshots rang out, hitting the falling Wilder each time, jerking his body until he fell to the ground unmoving.
The Wilder had died.
But Alec hoped that at least one of the Technomages made the final blow and not one of the officers in the squad ... He watched as a swirling vortex of power formed around the Wilder, spinning until it became a small whirlwind of white light then suddenly it shot towards the section where he had been taking cover before. Alec watched as the column of light pass by officers ... and headed towards one of the Technomages ...
He let a sigh of relief out as he realized that none of the officers fired the last shot that killed the Technomage ... the sigh of relief was unwarranted as an agonized scream rang out above the rain. It was the scream of a person dying, a person in great pain ...
Alec watched, horrified, as he saw the column of light, not hit the Technomage, but one of the officers ... his partner Tony. Tony had been slammed up against a wall, and the light was pinning him against the wall. Tendrils raked all over his body, leaving trails of blood where they touched him. All those around him stood back, watching with wide eyes as they saw one of their own being killed in front of them. There was nothing anyone could do, but to let this great amount of power consume Tony from within and outside.
He turned his head as Tony gave one more agonized scream before it was suddenly cut off. Squeezing his eyes shut at the loss of his partner, he clenched a fist in grief. Tony was just a green officer, not even days out of the academy and he had to die on his first assignment ...
“Hey, Alec, you all right?” Robert’s voice asked from above and he felt him shaking his shoulder, but Alec nodded numbly.
“Yeah ... ” he replied, forcing his fist to unclench and he looked up at his friend’s sad eyes. “He was only a kid, Robert ... just a goddamn freaking kid!”
“I know ... I know ... ” Robert nodded sympathetically, “you better get up, the captain’s coming.”
Alec hesitated. He wanted to grieve badly, and wondered if insubordination would get him anywhere if he didn’t greet Ben ... but like a heavy old flag unfurling itself in the heavy wind, he forced his body to rise, his arms still holding the little boy. Giving as much as a crisp salute to Benjamin Greens as he could, all he wanted to do was to bash something ... something to rid himself of the grief he had within. He had failed Tony ...
“Good work Alec,” Ben started, “I’m sorry for the loss of Tony ... he was a good kid ... ”
“Yeah ... I know ... ” steeling himself to keep his voice steady, he shifted his shoulders slightly, between the pain of losing his partner, the boy he had save was kind of heavy, something he wasn’t used to.
“We better get him to the precinct,” Ben nodded his head at the boy who looked at him with wide eyes.
“Where’s my sister?” the little boy asked and Alec noted hesitation written across Ben’s face.
“She’s ... sleeping for the moment,” Ben said gravely and Alec realized that the little boy’s sister had died ... but how he didn’t know.
“Oh,” the boy seemed to accept this lie, “when we get to ... um ... the precinct, can I see her?”
“Uh ... sure ... ” Ben replied, fidgeting.
“Come on kid, let Uncle Robert take you in one of our hover cars ... ” Robert leaned over and took the boy from Alec’s arms and walked away. “Say kid, what’s your name?”
“David ... ”
As they walked away, Alec shook his head, splattering water everywhere. The rain had died down to something of a light drizzle. He turned to Ben who was watching Robert and the kid named David walk towards one of the hovercars.
“Eight death reports to fill out,” Ben said in a monotonous voice. “Seven of our officers died ... the rest injured ... ”
“You’ll have to tell your father that our Vernomage was killed ... ” Alec looked towards where the Vernomage still lay, seemingly sleeping.
“Gwen Turner ... ” Ben bowed his head, “you know ... she was a good friend of mine ... I had known her since childhood ... mother of two children ... ”
Alec didn’t know what to say, but placed a hand of support on Ben’s shoulder. His captain’s next words were so soft, but he heard them.
“I hate this job.”
As the two officers stood watching the clean up crew work, they didn’t notice a pair of glowing blue eyes watching them from the distance. Those glowing blue eyes blinked once, and then disappeared.
* * *
Author’s Notes: This is probably one of the rare times I’m going to put an Author’s Notes at the end of chapters, but I just wanted to clear up that I have read The Nightrunners’ “Brothers in Arms” story, but this fic that I’m writing is totally different from theirs. I really appreciated their writings, which I find so interesting, but to tell you, I am not copying them by writing this fic. This story is just my own warped scheming of trying to make Tolkien roll over in his grave a few times. ^_^ Oh yeah, a happy belated birthday to J.R.R. Tolkien who turned 111 (^_^) on January 3.
To the Story Notes | To the Technical Notes
Disclaimer: All content is made up, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or WOOKIEEhut directly. Flames will be ignored. Characters and situations are based on those which are the property of publishing houses, and their respective original owners and developers. The rest is this story's author's own doing. This story may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.