The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER09
Shadow Chaser

Escape

Fredrick Baskerville wasn’t what you would call a typical college graduate. After all, living in the Black City, or New York City as some of the high intellectuals still called it, was either pure insanity or pure desperation. He was neither of those. He was like his three other friends, here to learn, here to be educated.

Fred planned on escaping to maybe the Golden City, Silver City or even heck the famed White City where business corporations flourished, when he was finished with his master’s degree. But as of right now, he wanted to enjoy his friends’ company and was actually quite glad that they all took the same course together ... well the three friends he had took the course while he was student teaching it.

For his graduate study of Literature, he had opted to become a Teacher’s Aide to Mr. White, and now with his three other friends, Sam Granger, Matthew Biggs, and Phillip Theatum, Phil and Matt being his distant cousins, made their way into the classroom, pushing past the other students, a body of eighty students for today’s lesson, and took their seats in the second to front row, where they were able to pay attention yet at the same time throw spitballs at a few of the late comers who skirted into the lecture hall.

Sitting down, Fred noticed that Mr. White left a note on the board saying that today they were going to have a guest lecturer, Mr. Lorien.

“Hey, you know anything about this Mister Lorien or something?” Phil elbowed him in the ribs and Fred glared at his cousin.

“Nothing, so shut up,” he replied back before ducking an attempted whack by Phil who grinned at him, “I’m serious Phil, Mr. White’s never told me anything about this.”

“Then I guess we won’t have to listen to your boring lecture today!” Matt interjected from sitting next to Phil and Fred rolled his eyes sighing. His cousins thought that it would have been a great delight to take the course he was T.A.ing and to make jokes throughout class time. That sort of died down when they received their mid-term grades ...

“Guys, quit it ... I mean, Fred’s not that bad a lecturing,” Sam tried to smooth all tensions down, but that only made Phil and Matt poke fun even more.

“You’re just saying that just because you’re a froshie, a little old freshman who’s just out of high school,” Phil teased and Sam ducked his head, ruefully running a hand through his cropped dirty-blonde hair.

“Ah!” Mr. White’s booming voice startled all of them into silence. Fred grinned as their teacher walked in. That and many other reasons why he liked Mr. White as a teacher and as a friend to work with. The old man had a presence that could be felt by anyone and though his voice was usually soft-spoken and with bright interest in whatever topic he talked about, there were times that it could be raised to grab the attention of anyone ... like what he did just now.

Fred noticed that following behind Mr. White was another old man ... who could pass as a distant relation to Mr. White, except this one for some odd reason demanded respect and attention ... while Mr. White demanded attention and courtesy.

The whole class was silent as the two made their way up to the podium and Fred noticed that even Phil and Matt, who were usually quietly talking to each other in the midst before class started had fallen silent and all were staring at the old man that followed behind Mr. White. He had a feeling that this was Mr. Lorien ...

“Ah ... so silent today?” Mr. White joked and the class murmured laughter but fell silent again, “surely it isn’t because of our guest lecturer, Mr. Lorien, is it?”

Seeing that the class was probably either too rapt with their attention focused on Mr. Lorien or either scared out of their wits for no reason, Mr. White cleared his throat and stepped off of the podium and took one of the seats on the side as Mr. Lorien stepped up.

“Good morning class ...” Mr. Lorien’s words were odd ... precise ... almost intoned, “I am Mr. Irmo Lorien and before you ask ... yes my guardians named me after the Tolkien created god Lorien because they were great fans of his works.”

That brought a few titters of laughter among the people and Fred even lifted a grin before Mr. Lorien pitted them with a stare again. “I am here at the request of Mr. White to lecture you on your current reading of Mr. Tolkien’s works ...”

As Mr. Lorien continued to drone on and on, Fred found himself feeling very sleepy and though he tried to keep his eyes open as surely as Mr. White would be furious with him for falling asleep in class; he was grateful as he fell into a deep oblivious sleep ...

It was so comforting ... and he found himself floating ...

* * * * *

Gandalf watched carefully as the rest of the class, their attention focused solely on Lorien, began to get looks of stupor on their faces. He had to admit, Lorien was very effective at holding an audience. He noticed that the four Reincarnated hobbits had fallen asleep, and Lorien was staring at them working his powers to make them remember their former lives. He hoped that Frodo’s Reincarnation would be able to handle the onslaught of dreams ... especially since he was a former Ringbearer ...

He sighed softly and sat back in the chair, listening to Lorien talk about the comparisons of the world of Middle Earth and the possibilities of how Tolkien’s influence in wars and the various maps shown in diagrams and various side books published by other writers. If the students only knew ... if they only knew that Tolkien had received the Red Book of Westmarch from the Gamgee family line ...

Originally, when he found out that Tolkien was writing down the story of the Lord of the Rings and the War of the Ring, he had been furious and took it upon himself to find out how the author received such information ... but as it was published, he saw that it wasn’t really harmful to anyone as humans took fiction, fantasy and science fiction novels to heart that they weren’t true and only few dreamed as if it was real.

Roughly forty years later after the books were published, Gandalf had wanted to laugh out loud as an aspiring filmmaker took it upon himself to create Tolkien’s books into movies. He had to admit that when he saw it in the theaters it was pretty good, with the exceptions of a few parts that he felt were changed badly, but even the actor supposedly playing him was good ... barring the fact that they got someone a bit too tall to play him.

Letting his thoughts wander, he thought about the growing darkness that was amassing in the world. Though he didn’t really know all the details as much as he liked, he knew that the Valar were somehow connected in a fine intricate way. His master didn’t really talk about it too much and Gandalf knew from personal experience, that Lorien always had an agenda of his own, usually involving those lower than he was.

The return of Melkor, or Morgoth as he had given himself up to the habit of saying the Vala’s changed name as it was written in the history books, disturbed him greatly as he knew that Morgoth and his first lieutenant Sauron, wouldn’t hesitate to kill the members of the Fellowship, at least the members that were human and Elven. Though the other Fellowship themselves didn’t know it, but they were playing an important part in all of this, in all of this complicated web of deceit, lies, and the struggle to survive.

He just hoped that Lorien did not start the dreams too late, as there were unconfirmed reports that The Nine Nazgul had begun to move ...

“And so ends my lecture for today,” Lorien’s booming voice suddenly startled all of the students in the room and Gandalf raised an eyebrow. He would have to take a few deducting points for those who looked dazed ... which was practically everyone in the room. He smiled ruefully as the four former hobbits suddenly sat up in their seats, startled and a bit abashed looking. Well, Fredrick was the only one looking pretty embarrassed for falling asleep.

Standing up, Gandalf clapped his hands together, “Thank you Mr. Lorien ... class, you’re dismissed early. Remember that you have an essay due from today’s lecture on Monday!”

He walked over to the podium and nodded his goodbyes to the students who charged out of the lecture hall, some rubbing sleep from their eyes, others just chatting. He noticed that the four hobbits were reluctant to move, and were looking around as if they had never been in the classroom before. Did Lorien overdo the dreaming process? Gandalf wondered as he approached them, the last vestiges of the students streaming out to head to their next classes or back to their dorm rooms.

“And I thought you four would be the first ones to dash out of my classroom,” he startled them and stared at them, his hands folded in front of him.

“Begging your pardon, Mr. Gandalf sir ...” Sam apologized hastily, “we didn’t mean to intrude ... it’s just that ...”

Gandalf raised an eyebrow at Sam’s words, and noticed the shocked look that appeared on the young man’s face. The same shocked look slowly appeared on all of the other’s faces before Fred slowly stood ...

“Gandalf?” he asked, peering at him and Gandalf tilted his head, “no ... wait ... you’re Mr. White ... and ... I’m ...”

“Frodo Baggins!” Phil suddenly interjected cheerfully.

“Shut up Pippin,” Fred glared at his cousin, “I mean ... uh ... Phil. Uh ... what’s going on here?”

“I think I’m to explain that,” Lorien stepped towards them and Gandalf stepped back to let his master speak.

“Uh ... wonderful lecture Mr. Lorien ... sorry that we fell asleep from it,” Fred hastily apologized.

“No worries,” Lorien replied, “you were supposed to fall asleep. For the reason being, I’m sure that you’re all confused at the moment, a ... how should I say it in human terms ... an identity crisis. Truth is, you are Frodo Baggins and you are Fredrick Baskerville.”

Fred looked like he was slammed upside a wall.

“And to you,” he addressed the three other former hobbits, “you are Phillip Theatum and Peregrin Took, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Matthew Biggs, and Frodo’s ever loyal friend and gardener, Samwise Gamgee and Sam Granger.”

“You have got to be kidding,” Matt started before his face closed up and Gandalf could almost see the gears churning in his head, “but ... wait ... it does make sense ...”

“Makes sense in a twisted fashion,” there was a definite hint of an accent in Phil’s voice now ... something that hadn’t been there for the last twenty or so years that he had been alive.

“With the merging of your memories and of your Reincarnations there can be side effects though, for example, Phillip, born in the United States to parents of a long lineage of English background though never showed a hint of an accent until now ...” Lorien explained then folded his long sinewy fingers together, “there can also be more dangerous side effects ...”

“Like what?” Sam asked.

“That I cannot say for it is not for me to say at the moment ... in due time of course,” Lorien smiled.

“But that’s bullshit! Who the hell are you to say that?” Sam yelled and Gandalf made a move to stop the young man from saying anymore when Lorien held up a hand to motion to Gandalf not to move.

“If it weren’t for the fact that your ancestors gave the Red Book of Westmarch to Tolkien, and you just Awakened, I would have you destroyed on this spot,” Lorien’s voice became very icy and it seemed that a dark gloom fell, illuminating him in a bright white light, “I am Lorien, the Vala Master of Dreams, young Halfling.”

Sam and the others shrank back and Gandalf stepped forward, not caring if Lorien wanted him to or not. “Lorien, you are scaring them. If they are so important, I think scaring them would not do us any good,” he addressed him and Lorien stared at him for a second before nodding.

“As you said Olorin, you must go ... now,” Lorien returned to his normal human form and Gandalf bowed his head once.

“Aren’t you coming with us?” Fred asked, as they got up from their seats and headed to the door.

“No, young Halfling, I have work to do,” Lorien replied before Gandalf took Fred and steered him out. He gave one more look to Lorien and though silence passed through them, Gandalf knew what those eyes said that were not spoken. The hobbits must be safe ...

* * * * *

Fred followed Gandalf’s form, noticing that his once grey suit had changed into pure white robes and his staff was in front of him, aiding him as they quickly walked through the halls and stairs of Columbia University. The odd thing was the fact that the other students walking around didn’t even notice or acknowledge them, especially Gandalf’s clothes. It was as if they were invisible to the other student population and teachers walking around.

“We are invisible, Fredrick,” Gandalf replied to his unspoken question, “and we are going to the Golden City.”

“Why?” Phil asked, ever curious then turned and grinned at Fred, “you think his next words are probably that there are Elves there ... hah!”

“As the matter of fact, Phillip Theatum, there are Elves in the Golden City. Lord Elrond rules the Golden City.”

The laughter died on Phil’s lips as his eyes widened at the mention of Elves and Elrond. “You mean ... they never faded away? Like what Tolkien said in his books, or something of that nature?”

“Quite the contrary,” Gandalf didn’t turn back as he was answering but his voice still carried strongly back to them, “the Elves have been alive since the First Age.”

“Wait ... if we’re Reincarnated ... what about the others? Like Strider or King Theoden?” Matt asked.

“Aragorn has been Reincarnated as well ... as for King Theoden ... I do not know what has happened,” Gandalf seemed saddened but then pushed on, “come hobbits, or should I say former hobbits, we must hurry.”

They pushed into the semi-busy morning streets of the uptown New York City, and Gandalf quickened his pace then pulled something out ... something that looked like one of the high-tech communication devices.

“Why do we have to hurry? What’s going on Gandalf?” he asked as he started to jog to keep pace with the wizard’s seemingly longer strides.

“Elladan, Elrohir, are you there?” Gandalf either ignored his question or didn’t hear it.

“Hey G-man,” a perky voice replied cheerfully from the comm device, “what can we do for you?”

“You can pick us up, and please ... I am not what you call ‘G-man’ or whatever statement that is,” Gandalf replied.

“Whatever G-man ... we’re coming,” the perky voice replied and Fred grinned at seeing the tired expression on Gandalf’s face as he put the comm device away. “Elves born in the Third Age,” he heard the wizard mutter.

“Gandalf,” Fred gasped slightly from the exertion, “can you please tell us why we are hurrying? Is there something after us?”

“Ai ai, a Nazgul,” Phil joked, smiling widely ... just as a reverberating scream pierced the air ...

Fred froze as he knew that scream ... the scream of a Nazgul ...

He could remember hearing the flapping of wings, the deep thump thump, the cry of the Nazgul’s steed ... a horrible winged thing with claws so sharp and as large as the size of a hobbit’s sword ... the blackness that had enveloped him ... the pain ...

Fred suddenly gasped as he felt a blinding pain on his shoulder, and his legs gave way and he buckled to the ground, gasping against the pain that threatened to overwhelm him. It hurt so badly ... it was trying to claw at his heart, his soul, ripping his flesh away from his skin. He clutched at his shoulder, once again seeing the ghostly images of the nine fallen kings ... except this time they weren’t kings, they were humans of all different sizes and shape ...

One of the shapes smiled cruelly down at him and reached out with a white tendril of a hand ...

“Fred! Fred!” Sam’s voice pierced into his consciousness and he opened his eyes to see Sam’s concerned face looking down at him. Beyond him, Gandalf was holding his staff up, it’s white jewel glittering against what looked to be hordes of creatures flying around ...

“It hurts ... it hurts,” he whispered as he gritted his teeth against the pain. He tried to push against the pain that seared his whole body and mind and staggered up, leaning heavily against Sam and Phil. He saw through pain filled eyes that Mages of all sorts were flying on their summons or in shield balls, but there were at least three who looked to be Irimages that were flying on what looked to be real dragons.

Dragons that breathed fire.

Gandalf was holding a shield over them, Fred noticed dimly, and watched as one of the dragons made a lazy pass at them, raking fire and claws over the shield harmlessly. He could see the black cloak of the Nazgul riding on top of the dragon and stared at it ... mesmerized.

Come ... the Nazgul beckoned to him and Fred felt himself curious about the black hooded Mage on top of the dragon. Come ... Halfling ...

Come? Why ... he asked.

Join us ... Be us ...

“You shall not have them!” Gandalf suddenly shouted and Fred jerked back as the mental connection between him and the Nazgul was suddenly broken ... just as something bluish-silver raked through the air and impacted the Nazgul’s dragon in the chest.

A giant explosion ripped in the air and Fred ducked slightly as the Nazgul’s steed was blown apart, showering everything in its carcass and magical bits. Piece of the carcass bounced off the shield Gandalf had created around them, and Fred saw the Nazgul drop to the ground, unmoving.

The buzz of a hover-copter flew pass where once the Nazgul was and all the Mages that had been in the air scattered and Fred watched, the pain now dimmed, as the hover-copter landed in front of them. Two Elves he faintly recognized were in the copter, one in the pilot’s seat the other in what looked to be a gunnery mount that opened on one side of the copter.

“Your copter has arrived,” the Elf in the gunnery seat said, grinning cheerfully and Fred suspected that this was the Elf that called Gandalf G-man. “Elrohir at your service!”

Gandalf motioned for them to climb aboard and Fred scrambled up, after some help from Sam and Phil before Matt clambered up after him followed by Phil and Sam. Gandalf came in last and Fred had to grab onto something as the copter suddenly rose into the air.

Fred noticed with dismay that the Mages were following them and glanced at Elrohir in the gunnery seat who had a slightly insane look on his face, and eerie blue glowing eyes. He noticed that the Elf’s hands were glowing blue and that the heavy machine gun looked like it had gone through a change of sorts. With a start he realized that this was Techno-fusing, something only Technomages could do.

“All right, who’s first?!” Elrohir gave a war cry and started to shoot blue bolts out of the muzzle of the machine gun.

Fred watched amazed as each of the Elf’s bullets hit a target ... he had forgotten that Elves were so accurate in the art of war, and little by little the two Nazgul still flying on their dragons had fallen behind along with the Mages that were following them.

“Elladan, we have to stop by the Museum of Natural History,” Gandalf suddenly called to the Elf in the pilot’s seat.

“Why? What’s in the Museum?” Matt asked.

“An old friend,” was Gandalf’s cryptic reply.

To Chapter Eight | To Chapter Ten
To the Story Notes | To the Technical Notes

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