The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER16
Shadow Chaser

BLACK CITY

A quiet patter of rain spat upon the windows and body of the hover-copter, not loud enough to be heard over the slight whine of the engines, but loud enough to be warranted with a few streaks of lightening. A storm was brewing over the Black City, and Legolas had a feeling that the storm was created by Mages, maybe preparing an army to send against the Golden City, or maybe to face off against them.

“Elladan, take us to the Museum of Natural History,” Gimli called over the din of the engines and rain.

“Roger that Gimli-man!” Elladan replied, giving them a thumbs up from his helmet dark pilot’s visor down grinning face before turning around and banking the controls. They soared into the mass of storm that was spewing out lightening and high winds.

“Hey, how come you don’t call Gimli, sorry, George-“

“Gimli’s fine, Phil.”

“Anyways, Elladan, how come you don’t call Gimli, G-man or something like that?” Phil asked and Legolas raised an eyebrow at the hobbits and saw a bemused expression appear on Gandalf’s face.

“Shush up,” Matt elbowed Phil in the ribs, “can’t you see they’re trying to pilot us through this storm?”

“Sorry ... it was just a question ... ” Phil muttered, glaring down at the metal belly of the copter.

“Nope,” Elladan’s voice came back, a hint of strain in it as Legolas noticed that the twins were wrestling with the controls, trying to keep the copter aloft in the buffeting winds, “Gandalf is known ... as the G-man ... ”

“Can’t ... call Gimli old boy that ... ” Elrohir replied in a more strained voice, “he’s not as ... holy mother @#$%#!”

Flashes of lightening punctuated the explicative that rattled from the Elf’s mouth and deep rumbles of thunder as the copter suddenly rocked around. Grabbing onto a hand hold in the copter, Legolas was thrown violently against the side, just as Phil’s weight crashed upon him, the former hobbit had not grabbed onto a perch.

The copter buckled violently for a few more seconds, but just as it had violently tumbled, they were suddenly flying at a calm pace, descending below the cloud-storm line and the lights that glittered through the Black City shone in all their glory.

Except these lights gave an unpleasant feeling in Legolas’ soul. He felt sickened watching the lights, and felt evil reeking from all different directions. There was more evil than when he had left before, so more that he felt as if he would choke on it. Eerie streaks of red, blue, or whatever color arced from different streets, some reaching high above the storied buildings, others just racing down avenues and alleyways. Mage activity was at an all time high ... higher than he had ever seen.

They flew on a course set for the west side of what was once the beautiful green expanse of Central Park, now no more than a haven for Mage gangs who desecrated the area into a filthy blackened wasteland. Grimacing inwardly as they passed overhead, the sight of what used to be such a beautiful park, now just blackened soil from all the Mage activity, it sickened him to see the former park in such a state.

The twins banked around the roof of the Museum of Natural History once before settling in a nice hover mode. Surprisingly, the storm that they had flown through did not give any rain to the ground below and everything was dry save for the few Mages who used water in their magic.

Following Phil out, he landed lightly onto the ground and glanced back up at the twins who gave him a thumbs-up sign after Gimli was the last one out, before pulling out of their hover mode and banking a hard right to climb back up into the horrific storm to head back to the Golden City.

“Well now, what do we do?” Ben asked, a bit of sarcasm in his tone.

“We go in and I show you my stash ... but,” Gimli gave a wary look at the two NYPD officers, “you can’t arrest me since you’re going along with this.” Producing a key he opened the roof door and headed in. Suddenly he popped his head back out, a smile on his face, “Better wait a few seconds. I have a nasty guard cat and he doesn’t like strangers.”

Legolas frowned as he remembered Gimli’s so-called guard cat. That thing wasn’t even a proper animal, more like something from the ancient world that no doubt, his best friend had dug up on one of his expeditions. He had a few run ins with the ‘cat,’ in actuality, a rare Siberian tiger with a nasty streak of habit to attack anything that moved except for Gimli himself, during his infrequent check-ups on the geologist himself.

A few seconds later they heard some growling and meowing coming up from the stairs before it was silent once more. Gimli appeared, his red hair a bit disheveled, but otherwise the tall man looked quite content. “All clear. Just don’t knock on the door to your left on your way down. Mittens is a bit temperamental.”

“Mittens?!” Alec stared at the taller man incredulously, his jaw opened, “just what the hell you’re keeping in that Museum, Gimli?” “He’s a Siberian tiger if you must know,” Gimli explained as they cautiously followed him in, Legolas taking the lead as his fingertips crackled with magic lightning. Cat be dammed or not, he was going to fry anything that didn’t resemble Gimli. “One of the two last ones on the Earth,” Gimli explained as he led them through without incident down a few floors and past some old paintings and displays, the life size models of men and women in different time periods eerie against the backdrop of the occasional lightning that shook from the storm, illuminating them. But otherwise, the dim lighting made the shadows crawl all over the place and for the first time since Legolas checked up on his friend, he wondered how Gimli could have lived in such a creepy place as this.

Compared with the Mines of Moria, Moria was just a walk in the park, except the only thing, Legolas hoped, that this place didn’t crawl with Mages or Orcs.

“Ah, here we are,” Gimli announced, bringing them to a room that was reminded of the early 1900s, lamps and frames with oil paintings decorating the room. Life-size models and dioramas were scattered throughout the place, and a fireplace with some embers still glowing gave the room a homely feel. It was probably a geologist or archaeologist paradise. “Welcome to my humble abode.”

“Nice digs,” Fred commented, giving a complimentary whistle as the college kids immediately began exploring the book shelves and models, careful as not to touch anything that might break, but still curious nonetheless.

“All right Gimli, where is it?” the commanding and accusatory tone in Ben’s voice was evident as still the police officer side of Ben won out from the Reincarnated side of Boromir.

“I’m just getting to that,” Gimli looked irritated, “sheesh ... can’t even give a humble geologist some credit here.” He walked over to a corner of a large desk that was littered with papers and artifacts, along with a few magnifying glasses and different variety of microscopes and holo-scopes. Pressing something, the chairs that were in the room began to suddenly morph into different shapes ... shapes that resembled compartments Legolas had seen smugglers use when they came into the city. Each compartment popped open and held out a display of an assortment of weapons that made his eyebrows rise.

He had never seen that many illegal weapons all in one place. Ones that can kill Mages without the necessary power transfer, Mage-shield piercing weapons, swords, daggers, bows, bazookas, hand-held shield packs, and a few hand-held missile launchers. They all varied from age to age, some that dated back to the Romantic period of the human race, others as modern as World War III, maybe even beyond that as the black market was a thriving place to make the high tech weapons that were easy to purchase and efficient to handle.

It didn’t look like Ben or Alec had seen so many illegal weapons either, and he noticed with a wary grin that the two looked as if they were itching to call in their superiors, call off the whole mission and just arrest Gimli on the spot for possessing so many weapons.

“Remember what you said,” Gimli had apparently saw the looks on the two NYPD officer’s faces.

“Yeah, yeah ... whatever,” Alec grumbled along with a grunt of affirmation from Ben as the two picked up a few of the weapons and began to check them out.

“Unfortunately, some of the Mage weapons, especially the ones that can kill without the power transfer, have been used up. I’m sorry about that, but there were times I had to protect myself from the gangs that just reside out here,” Gimli apologized then picked up a few weapons sitting on another rack and approached the college kids who were just staring at the assortment awestruck and wide-eyed.

Legolas headed over to one of the racks and picked up a small silver handgun. It was similar to the one sitting in his trenchcoat pocket, but he knew that this was a lot more special. Techno-fusing the gun, he molded it into a composite bow, and grinned. This little handgun was the perfect one for him to carry around, nearly unlimited arrows, it was the equivalent of his old Lothlorien built bow that he had received as a gift from Galadriel. That bow was sitting back in his apartment, well guarded and shielded by his own spells. If he were to die, then all that was his was to turn into dust, including his fishes.

Releasing the fuse he had on it, he spun it around his finger a few times then pointed it at a picture, sighting it. Though he could fuse the gun into other weapons, he mostly Techno-fused his weapons into bows, as he was more comfortable in shooting arrows than, say, firing a bazooka or something of that nature.

“Hey Gimli,” he called to the tall man who turned from giving a few handguns and grenades to the college kids, “mind if I take this?”

“Nope, was hoping you take that,” Gimli replied and turned back to explain the weapons he had given to the college kids.

Legolas grinned and pocketed the gun before turning his eyes to some of the more exotic guns that were in the rack. Picking at a few, he examined them, then placed them back. A few dusty ones were ancient and didn’t really appeal to him. A part of him felt as if he was at a gun show, ready to purchase a few or other kinds of weapons ...

* * * * *

Though Fred didn’t really like weapons and was very reluctant to pick one up, he had gone along with his friends’ enthusiasm to accompany them to kill Sauron. He didn’t like guns or any weapons because his father and mother, when he was younger, were killed by rogue Wilders. They had guns that supposedly were able to kill Mages instantly without having to worry about the power transfer, except the dealer who had sold them the weapons was nothing but a crook.

The power transfer cooked them alive, leaving him, just a young gawky barely teenaged boy standing there, watching them. His Uncle Bill had taken him in and provided him with care, but the damage had been done.

One night, a few weeks after his Uncle Bill had taken him in, he snuck out of the small apartment and headed down to where the arms dealer had sold his parents the ‘special’ guns. There he found the same dealer scamming another family, but this time he was determined to stop the dealer. Taking a gun that he had swiped from the top of Uncle Bill’s refrigerator he shot and killed the dealer.

But, there was an unforeseen consequence. The dealer was actually a small time Technomage ... and it was Fred’s first time encountering a power transfer. He had read that most humans who were non-Mages had faced off against Mages were killed by either the Mage or the power transfer. Oddly, he wasn’t. The transfer didn’t hurt, but for some odd reason it didn’t leave him with any Mage powers as successful power transfers usually did.

He didn’t know what really happened that night, but what he did know was that he stayed away from guns and from anything to do with Mages. He didn’t like their eerie glowing eyes, the white streaks of hair that could not be cut no matter what method was used, and he didn’t want anything to do with magic.

Unfortunately, Columbia University was a hot bed for Mage-wannabes. Techno or Verno, even a few Iri thrown in who were just so low on magic strength that if a non-Mage were to kill them, than the power transfer wouldn’t even do a single damn thing. He had learned to endure the soft glowing eyes and a few strands of white hair, but after running into his three dearest friends, two of whom were his distant cousins, they had taught and distracted him from all of the Mage activity going on.

“Here,” Gimli’s voice directed at him brought Fred out of his musings as he glanced down to where the tall man was holding out a sword in a scabbard towards him, “I’ve been waiting for you to have this.”

“What ... is it?” he asked tentatively as he took the sword and unsheathed it, his eyes widening as he saw that it looked very familiar ... “Wait ... is this Sting?” Memories from his previous life as Frodo Baggins rushed into his head as he held the distinct short sword. He remembered Bilbo giving the Elven wrought blade to him before his journey to destroy the ring. He had drawn it quite a few times, but the only time he had used it was to fend off Shelob in her dark cave.

“No, laddie,” Gimli replied, smiling, “it’s the sister blade to Sting, Stinger. Wrought by Elves, it has the properties of advanced magic in them. It’s able to give a non-magic user the ability to kill others with a bit of magic. Stinger, is preference for ice and water magic, though if you were to kill a real Mage with that, then the power transfer can kill you as any other non-Mage like myself.”

Hefting the sword in his hand, he felt the urge to cut the air with it and swung it a few times, barely missing the hairs of Phil and Sam’s head, making the two cry out in surprise. Another unbidden memory of a previous life he had swam up into his consciousness. He remembered that he had been in the French court of Charles VII, except he had served with the Maiden of Lorraine, Joan D’Arc. He was one of the soldiers who had been D’Arc’s protectors, ever serving at her side, and had also witnessed her burning.

Shaking his head slightly, he banished the roaming thoughts of his previous life from his mind. He needn’t be distracted at the moment. Giving the sword another good swing, he stuck it back inside of its sheath. “It’s a good weapon ... ” he commented but then adamantly shook his head as Gimli presented him with a gun. “No ... thanks.”

“But you can’t fight all of those Orcs or whatever with just your sword,” Gimli said until Sam interceded.

“Gimli, it’s not just that ... here, I’ll explain it to you,” Sam pulled the baffled taller man away and Fred nodded gratefully to his best friend.

As Sam explained to Gimli why he didn’t want to hold any gun he looped the sword’s belt around his waist and cinched it tight. Glancing at Phil and Matt he noticed that they were examining a few guns, both sighting down the barrels like professionals. He wondered if in any of their previous lives they were gun experts ...

“It’s odd, you know,” Matt started, placing a gun back and picking up another one, “but every time I stare at anything in this room, I keep getting more of my memories back. Like right now, I think I was in one of the wars of the late Fourth Age ... something to do with the fall of Rohan or something like that. Before that I think I was a part of the English Civil War ... ”

“Funny ... I remembered being a part of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table ... and was a ... ” Phil trailed off as a horrified expression appeared on his face.

“What?” Fred asked.

“N-Never mind ... that thought isn’t important,” Phil shook his head, a faint blush erupting on his face.

“Well, it has to be important if you’re going beet red,” Matt teased, grinning, “come on, tell us. We promise not to laugh, right Fred?”

“Right,” Fred managed a small grin, swallowing back the sudden urge to laugh.

“Um ... all right,” Phil reluctantly agreed, “remember, you promised ... Um ... I think one of my previous Reincarnations was that of a geisha in feudal Japan ... ”

Fred stared at Phil and the laughter that he had been trying to suppress broke loose. He tried to stifle it with a hand, and waved his friend’s glare away from him as Matt, next to him, also broke out into fits of laughter.

“Hey, what’s so funny?” Sam and Gimli approached them and Fred shook his head, and tried to explain, but no words other than laughter came out of his mouth.

“I-It’s just that ... Phil here ... he’s been a geisha his previous life!” Matt managed to get out, “no wonder he screamed like a girl when we set those fireworks off back at Bilbo’s one-hundred-eleventh birthday party!”

“Oh shut up,” was the grumble from Phil.

* * * * *

Alec patted his side as he felt the reassuring weight of his new firearm by his side. He followed Gandalf’s lead as the wizard was taking them to the Empire State Building, which he said was the twisted form of Barad-dur, the new home of Sauron. He had asked why couldn’t they let Morgoth inhabit Sauron’s human form, thus making him an Irimage, and then defeat the two of them then, but Gandalf had replied that Morgoth would not be confined to the limits of the human body. If able to possess Sauron’s body, then Morgoth would twist it until the body was no more human, but of a new being ...

That had quelled most of the doubts Alec had within him, but he still didn’t like the idea of this ‘suicide mission.’ Skirting a deep puddle on the underpass of one of the subway tunnels, Gandalf said that the subways were the easiest and by far less troublesome of the ways to get to the Empire State Building and he had to agree. Though the subways were long gone, it was perhaps one of the safest places to crawl through unnoticed as Mages seldom went down here.

It was where deranged humans inhabited the place, humans who were so deformed by the dank musty and rotted area of the tunnels that they were probably sub-humans. They rarely attacked regular humans and instead feasted on Mages’ powers and Alec knew that Legolas would be a beacon for the sub-humans to come at them.

Which was why the Elf wore a pair of sunglasses to hide most of his bright blue glowing eyes, but even through the shades, he could see hints of blue that shone like dim flashlights. Gandalf however, bore no such glowing eyes and that made Alec curious ... he wondered if being a Maiar disallowed the form of glowing eyes ... or was it some different kind of magic that Gandalf used?

Behind him he heard the slight shuddering of Ben and glanced behind him to see the man shivering slightly. “Cold?” he asked.

“No ... ” Ben shook his head, “the Elves ... ” his voice dropped slightly to a whisper, “the Elves said that they severed the connection I had with the Undead, Robert, but for some odd reason, I can feel him ... feel the evil as an Undead ... maybe even feel how that Witch-King David, is feeling ... There’s ... evil all around ... ”

Raising an eyebrow at Ben’s statement, he was about to reply when out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that Gandalf had held up a hand to stop them.

“What’s the matter?” he asked as Gandalf looked around, holding his white staff up, letting the light shine around the tunnel they were walking in.

“They’re coming,” Gandalf said quietly, but his voice echoed in the tunnels, “leave the Mages to Legolas and I. Kill only the Orcs and non-Mages.”

The sudden wailing of Orcs sent a burst of familiarity through Alec as he took out his guns and flipped the safety off. He hoped to whatever Gods ruled this world that Gimli’s weapons were genuine. A sword hung by his side, something he decided to pick off of one of Gimli’s racks as he knew that when he ran out of bullets or if the fighting got too quartered in for it not to be safe to be shooting bullets all over the place, then he would have another weapon to fall back on.

A crescendo of safeties being switched off along with a few cocking of guns echoed along with his, and he peered into the dim darkness, trying to see what Gandalf was seeing. All of the sudden, it was as if a blue light shone upon their area and Alec looked back to see Legolas putting away his shades, his eerie glowing eyes raking over his and beyond him. He tried to suppress a shudder of creepiness at the Elf’s gaze. He had noticed before during when they were discussing whether or not to follow through with the Valar’s plan to assassinate Sauron, that the Elf had a skull-palm embedded in his right hand, its dull glittering face a definite reminder of what he was.

Almost anyone who knew of Mages knew that to have a skull-palm meant the mark of a skilled assassin, someone who has killed Irimages and survived. Except, Alec now knew that only Elves bore the mark of skull-palms while human Mages bore the mark of a flower on their shoulders. But that still didn’t deter him from his belief ... he now believed that all Elves with skull-palms were skilled assassins.

“Here they come ...” Ben’s whisper was echoed by the arrival of hordes of Orcs, Irimages, Undead, and sub-humans ... all hungry for blood.

To Chapter Fifteen | To Chapter Seventeen
To the Story Notes | To the Technical Notes

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