The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER15
Shadow Chaser

DECISION

Anna prided herself on keeping her cool in difficult situations, but she had never imagined that meeting her ‘family’ once more would be more than difficult…it was a momentous task. Elrond had dispersed the council as the meeting ended and the various members of the Fellowship had congregated around each other, and were quietly talking to each other, each making their own decision of the mission laid before them.

She was worried, not for the Fellowship in general, but for Alec. He had been very adamant and not too happy that the Fellowship had been chosen to take out Sauron ... and what were the Valar and her father- no, Elrond wasn’t her father, her real father died when she was younger, fighting for the United States Air Force over in Mexico, keeping the rebels in line. Right now, Elrond was just ... her guardian, she hazard a guess.

What were the Valar and Elrond thinking? Sending the Fellowship out to the heart of the evil in the Black City. Were they crazy or something? Or was it just another form of suicide. She could tell, as she was really good at reading emotions, that Elrond didn’t really like Alec since they had arrived after being rescued by Glorfindel and his motley crew of Elves. Was it something to do with the past, with the fact that she, as Arwen, had made her decision to become mortal, and he attributed that to Alec’s fault?

If that was so, then it was pure bull. If it wasn’t, then Anna didn’t really know what to think. But she knew that of one rational thought she had was that Alec had changed. It seemed that as time passed, even when she had watched over him during the Elves’ healing process, that his Reincarnation of Aragorn and his own quirky persona that she had come to love and adore, were merging into something new ... something that had the old Alec Richard who was the obedient and confident police officer, to more of a natural born leader.

She still sat in her seat, watching the Fellowship talk amongst themselves. She would be staying here if they decided to go ahead and follow through with the Valar and Elrond’s plans ... along with Liz, Edward, and Frank. Glancing over to the three other humans she noticed that Ed was in a particular deep thought, while Liz and Frank were whispering to each other.

The other Elves that had been at the meeting were congregated in a group of their own, Elrond with them, all of them pouring over the holographic map. The Valar that had been sitting in the front seemed to be staring off into their own worlds, maybe in deep thought or telepathically communication, she did not know for sure.

“Anna?” the gentle touch of the Elf that had sat next to her ... Celebrian was her name, and she had been Arwen’s mother, startled her from her thoughts and she turned to face the beautiful blonde-haired lady.

“I’m sorry ... were you saying something?” she asked politely. It wasn’t hard to be polite to the Elven lady as her form and poise demanded that there be no roughness in talking to her.

“No, no,” Celebrian smiled gently, making her brilliant glow seem brighter, “you seemed troubled dear, is something the matter?”

If there were perfect angels in the world, then Celebrian would be one, Anna decided, as the Elven lady, ever since she had met her, never infringed upon the fact that she was Arwen’s mother, or even seemed to imply the fact that Anna herself was indeed Arwen. It made her so loved and adored, Anna supposed.

“Nothing ...” she started then hesitated before taking a quick glance at Alec who was gesturing with his hands, talking with the former hobbits, now garishly clothed college students, “but ... I’m worried ... Alec ... he’s ... changed, different somehow. I think it’s the fact that his memories of his previous life and of now that’s changed him ...”

“That’s not all that changed, my dear. You see, he’s a Vernomage, Anna,” Celebrian said softly and Anna blinked then stared back at Alec before turning to face the lady with incredulous eyes.

“A what?”

“Rare these days,” Celebrian said, “but just like you ... he’s a natural Vernomage. No Dust or Mage-link within him, he’s a pure latent Mage, though he does not know that yet ...”

“Then ... that shield ...” Anna remembered Alec telling her about how when he had rescued David from the hands of the Wilder and then somehow David sprang a shield up to protect them ...

“Yes,” Celebrian nodded, her bright hazel eyes sparkling, “it wasn’t the Nazgul David, it was he that protected himself. Remember, in the hands of kings, they are of a healer. But, please, Anna, do not tell him of this ... he’s not ready yet ...”

“Ready? As in mentally?” Anna asked.

“No ... he’s not ready, and at this stage, he will be killed if the others find out,” the Elven lady said sadly.

“The others? You mean the Nazgul or Sauron?” Anna asked.

“Yes,” Celebrian replied, “he must build his strength, let his latent talents be put to work before he can face the real opposition.”

“Morgoth, then.”

“You are perceptive, just as Galadriel had said ...” Celebrian gave her a small smile.

Anna returned the smile and for some odd reason, a heavy feeling that had been weighing her down was lifted.

* * * * *

Hours later, they all stood on the platform where Elladan and Elrohir were warming up the hover-copter, readying to take them back to the Black City, back to the heart of evil. They had all agreed on after at least two hours of debating back and forth with each other, the college-hobbits neutral to the whole discussion, Gandalf for going back to the Black City, Alec adamantly refusing to go back to the Black City, Ben agreeing with him, and Gimli for going back to the city.

There had been an unusual gleam in the former dwarf’s eyes, and Legolas poked at those gleaming eyes until Gimli relented and told them that he had a stash of highly illegal weapons that he had smuggled in from other countries during his various expeditions, weapons that were designed to kill Mages and other unsightly beings.

That had turned the tide of the so called votes ... the college students were now for going back to the Black City to as they put it “kick some serious ass,” but that had also got onto Alec and Ben’s bad side.

Both almost throttled the taller man for saying that he possessed illegal weapons, but Gandalf interfered at the last moment, reasoning with them that they were the two humans who knew the city like the back of their hand, and thereby would be able to get them through the city relatively unharmed and safe.

Which meant that Sauron wouldn’t be able to find them if they knew the short cuts and such throughout the city. That had convinced them somewhat, but even now, as they were saying the last of their goodbyes, Legolas could see that Alec and Ben still had reservations about doing the whole mission. But he knew that Alec would see the mission through if given to him. Ben, he wasn’t too sure of.

Legolas didn’t really have anyone to say a farewell too, since he had already chatted with Rinaran, formerly the leader of the Rivendell Swordmaidens, who was surprisingly sitting in on the briefing, and he had yet to see Haldir who hadn’t said a word to him ever since he had left the Situation Room in a fit of anger. The White City Elf was as quiet as a mouse and there seemed to be a troubled expression on his face.

Gimli was off chatting with the twins, the three of them laughing at some joke, Alec saying his goodbye to Anna, the former hobbits seemingly annoying the guards who monitored everyone that came in and out of the building, Gandalf talking with the Valar in human form, Lorien (whom which Legolas still couldn’t believe would be at the meeting and even talked to them), Ben talking with his brother Frank, Ed, and Liz.

He wandered over to where the four young men were chatting amicably with the guards and was about to pull them away when he spotted Haldir, walking at a clipped pace, towards him.

“Hi,” he greeted his friend, noticing the somber expression on his face, “something the matter?”

“Lady Galadriel,” Haldir began a bit formally that Legolas frowned, something was definitely wrong, he could tell, “told me to give this specific mission to you, alone.

“Sauron is an Irimage, as you know, but with just the Fellowship departing on this mission, only you and Gandalf are the only Mages within this group. You must be ready to kill Sauron,” Haldir explained and Legolas looked at him, confused.

“Why?” he asked before the reasoning hit him.

“You’re the only one, save Gandalf who is able to absorb such a great amount of power if Sauron were to be killed. The others could injure him, but you have to be the one to give the finishing blow or else the power transfer would kill the others and that would leave Sauron with the possibility to be resurrected by Morgoth as an Undead.”

“Why not Gandalf?” Legolas asked and Haldir shook his head.

“Lorien and Gandalf have their own reasons for what I do not know, but what I do know is the fact that Gandalf will help you on this mission as a member of the Fellowship, but he will not absorb Sauron’s powers into himself. Lady Galadriel speculated that it was the possibility of being tainted from Maiar to Maiar.”

“So then I’m expendable,” Legolas stated flatly and frowned.

“In ways, but you can be killed by the absorption,” Haldir took a deep breath before plunging on, “Elrond and the other leaders have not dared sent Elves into the heart of the Black City for the reason being that Sauron sooner slaughter them and convert them to be his minions before any of you. He recognizes the Fellowship for its power, and he knows that you’ll be coming for him, but he’s grown overconfident, with his expansion and control over the Nine and that of the denizen of the Black City. He won’t be expecting you to attack him, which gives you an advantage.”

“It’s a thin line that Lady Galadriel and the others are playing on,” Legolas observed wirily and Haldir quirked a small grin at the attempt of levity.

“For the Elves, and for some humans, it’s always been a thin line,” his best friend shrugged.

“All right,” Legolas sighed, running a hand through his blonde hair, “tell Lady Galadriel that I will not fail, but only because as you have said, Sauron is an Irimage, and with that magnitude of power in him, the others cannot absorb lest be killed on the spot.”

There were no words passed between the two friends, but a simple clap on each of their shoulder was enough to convey the worry and strength of their friendship. Legolas nodded once before turning and heading back to the hover-copter, not noticing the look of curiousness that Gimli gave to him before clambering up into the hover-copter.

* * * * *

Alec gently stroked a finger down the side of Anna’s cheek, tracing her face as he stared deep into her grey eyes. He felt like he was going away for a long time and he needed to absorb her image into his mind, the curves of her lips, the shape of her eyes, the twinkle and sadness that glittered in those grey irises.

He noticed that tears were pooling in the corner of her eyes and gave her a faint smile, “Hey, why the tears?”

“I ... don’t know,” she replied, blinking the tears away suddenly, “I just feel that I’m ... not going to see you again.”

“Anna,” he tilted her chin, “don’t say that. Of course we’ll see each other again. This isn’t like all the other police work we had to do.”

“I know it isn’t ... I mean you’re going off to ... kill Sauron, while I’m stuck here,” she grinned as tears began falling down her face, but that grin was wavering and Alec let go of her chin and embraced her fiercely, breathing in her scent. He could feel her tears soak through his clothing as she cried.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered into her ears, “I’ll come back, safe.”

There was the movement of a nod against his shoulder before he released her. Staring once more into those haunting grey eyes that he had come to love and adore, he bent down and kissed her gently on the lips. The kiss not of passion, but of a touching goodbye, a farewell until later. A farewell for until the mission is done and the promise of more kisses when he came back.

After a few seconds, he stepped back and stared at her for a long moment before looking up beyond her to where Elrond was standing with his wife Celebrian. There was no emotion written on the Elven Lord’s face, but Celebrian was smiling radiantly and he gave them a curt nod before turning on his heel and walking towards the hover-copter, noticing that the twins, Elladan and Elrohir were giving him thumbs up signs while also making kissing faces.

Ignoring them, he shook his head in amusement and climbed up, taking his seat next to Phil who was check his pockets and pulled out what looked to be a fresh wrapped lembas bread and began eating it. Certainly being college kids who were no less Reincarnated Hobbits did not change their appetite at all.

Gandalf was the last one to climb aboard the copter and as the twins were warming up the vehicle, he saw Elrohir holding a green jar with words written on it.

“Hey Anna!” Elrohir called out of the co-pilot window he was sitting in and Alec watched, curiously as Anna approached, a puzzled expression on her face. “Catch!” Elrohir dropped the green jar and Anna caught it then turned it and Alec watched as her expression turned from one of puzzlement to that of irritation.

Ashes of former highjackers?” she said incredulously and Alec sighed in exasperation as she walked away with the jar, muttering what looked to be obscenities against the twins.

But he had to admit, as they lifted off, the twins knew when to break up such a tension moment with their kind of weird, maybe even perverse humor. As Alec settled into his seat for the ride back to the Black City, he couldn’t help but wonder if sending the Fellowship to kill Sauron was even in the least bit of whatever scrap of sanity anyone had left.

To Chapter Fourteen | To Chapter Sixteen
To the Story Notes | To the Technical Notes

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