The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER23
It was only four days, but for Alec, it felt like four years. Four days since they destroyed Sauron; four days since Legolas absorbed Sauron’s powers and fell into shadow; four days and no word on his condition. Even Elrond, the greatest Healer, even by Elvish standards, could not find anything wrong save the surface wounds inflicted onto Legolas during the Fellowship’s battle from the sewers all the way up to the top-most levels of the Empire State Building.
Lorien refused to help figure out what was wrong with Legolas and stated that he was, “not allowed to interfere with the complexities of the Children of Iluvatar.” Yeah, complexities my ass, Alec thought darkly as he stared into the black liquid of coffee he was holding. He was sitting in one of the many libraries in the Lorien Inc.’s building complex, modernized to human standards of a coffee-bookshop type of deal, and just staring into space.
He needed coffee as a wake-up call, especially since he wasn’t able to get much sleep, with his wounds still healing and his thoughts lingering on the Elf’s condition. Though it was only at least three days since Lorien’s statement, the resentment from the Fellowship to the Vala was evident whenever they caught a glimpse of the Vala, wandering the halls.
Everyone, except for Gandalf had exploded into anger, with Gimli almost taking a swipe at the Vala. He was restrained by Gandalf who explained to them that getting angry was not the way. Gandalf had said that Lorien had his own agenda to tend to and that though he was willing to help, he couldn’t because of the rules bound against him by Manwe, the lord of all Valar. Whatever the rules were, neither Lorien nor Gandalf would say and that left a lot of bitter feelings, including in some of the Elves -- especially those that knew Legolas well. Firfenion, to whom Alec was surprised that Legolas had a younger brother, seemed especially volatile to the Valar, but didn’t really show it.
“Hey,” Anna’s voice startled him and he snapped out of his musings to see her sit down in front of him, her hands wrapped in a cup of what looked to be some kind of berry-flavored tea. “You okay?”
“Yeah ...” Alec nodded wearily, “just ... tired ... pissed ... you know, the usual.” He attempted to grin, but somehow his muscles wouldn’t cooperate with him. He looked up to see a comforting smile on Anna’s face. Her hand reached out and took his and she squeezed it gently to let him know that she knew how he felt.
“Don’t worry. Legolas will pull through. If there’s anything that I know, is that he won’t let evil consume him,” she replied, “don’t listen to the words of the Valar. They don’t know shit.”
Even Alec had to smile at her candid statement. God how he loved Anna so much. She had the ability and charm to brighten even the worst of his days and make him feel alive when he was so tired. “How do you manage it?”
“How do you manage to be such a bright ray of sunshine?” he smiled at her and kissed her knuckles before letting both of their hands rest on the table top.
“It’s just me,” she replied, “its got to be a Verno trait.”
“Well, whatever it is, thank you,” Alec sincerely replied before he leaned over and gave her a lingering kiss. As the kiss ended, he sat back in his seat and let a small smile play over his lips. Anna blushed slightly, but regained her composure.
“Are you sure you should do that in a library? I mean someone could have been watching us,” she whispered.
“So?” Alec felt more relaxed now and he could sense that many of his problems were taking a back seat to him just being with Anna. She was a bright ray of sunshine, his bright ray of sun.
“So? I mean there are Elves here. We, I mean, they aren’t too vocal or keen on giving displays of affection in public,” Anna said but Alec had caught her slip. She had said ‘we’ before correcting herself.
He frowned slightly, “Why should it matter? We’re humans after all.”
“I know ... but ...” the smile on her face was gone and was replaced by a troubled look, “Alec ...” she suddenly leaned close to him and her voice dropped to a breathy whisper, “Alec ... I ... can’t really control the Arwen part inside of me. It’s as if she’s merging with my own personality so fast that I seem to fall into different patterns at times. I mean, when I was talking with Elrond, I was myself, but then there were times during my talk in which I felt the Arwen side reaching out to him. I ... don’t know what to do ...”
Alec was at a loss. He didn’t really know how to deal with Anna’s reincarnated side. He didn’t really feel the Aragorn personality of him trying to take over during the Fellowship’s mission to assassinate Sauron, yet during times of battle, it felt so natural. He probably guessed that he and his former incarnation were so similar in personalities that it wasn’t hard to ‘merge’ with it.
But for Anna ... he wondered if it was because Arwen, from what he knew and read in Tolkien’s books (he had read them but didn’t tell Anna just to infuriate her), was so passive and loved her father Elrond deeply, was a direct contrast to what Anna was. If Alec had to hazard a guess, Anna’s personality was much like the Arwen personality in Peter Jackson’s movie version (which he sort of liked, but didn’t really dwell on it).
So if both personalities were clashing, then Anna was in serious trouble sorting out her thoughts. He wondered if it had something to do with Elrond, but didn’t really know.
Taking her hand into his once more, he rubbed her fingers over and over again in a soothing gesture, “Hey ... its okay. Just let everything go. Perhaps you felt so much animosity towards Elrond, yet you also loved him at the same time. Don’t dwell on it ... Just ... put the respect that Arwen had for her father, in you so you don’t have to fight it.”
“But ... I don’t respect him. He thinks that I am his daughter, but I’m not!” Anna said, tears brimming on her eyes.
“He lost you a long time ago to me. He knows that and though he did not really wish it, he knew what was to happen to the kin of Luthien. As a father only wishing to see his daughter once more, he wishes you the best, but respects your right to your own life now,” Alec said then suddenly sat back and blinked. Where the hell did that come from? It didn’t sound like words he would use ... He wondered if the Aragorn part of him suddenly took over and spoke those words ...
Apparently Anna thought of the same thing as she was staring at him in shock, but then her features turned to understanding. She took his hand and kissed it, “Thank you ... Alec ... Aragorn.”
* * * * *
Matthew Biggs wanted to sleep. He wanted to sleep badly, but no, they decided to wake him and his three other friends up to some kind of emergency meeting. As he crawled out of the fluffy Elvish beds, for which he was grateful for such comfort, he could feel his muscles pull slightly, still some lingering pain from the battle four days ago.
Looking blearily at the digital clock on the mantle, he noticed that it was only 8 at night. Ugh ... I hate this, he groaned softly to himself as he quickly changed into his clothes, running a hand through his thoroughly mused brown hair. He and his friends had gone to sleep because of medications given to them by the Elves to help their healing process. He opened the door and met his friends outside. He noticed that all of them looked equally exhausted and had irritated looks on their faces.
“Sup?” Phil greeted a bit cheerfully while suppressing a yawn, “anyone know what this is about?”
“Probably s-something about Sauron or maybe Legolas,” Fred replied, rubbing his eyes.
Matt noticed that Fred was still a bit pale from his encounter with Sauron and the Nazgul during the final battle with the evil dark lord, but otherwise looked healthy as ever. He wondered if now that Fred gotten the memories of Frodo Baggins back he was going to bear the phantom wound forever. It would suck, he admitted mostly to himself, but it would also enable Fred to get the courage he needed to face whatever evil was left.
“Hope you’re right,” Sam agreed and Matt nodded his assessment. He really hoped that the Elf was all right.
It was a bit frightening to see all of the Elves with glowing blue eyes of mages, and even more of a shock to see Legolas, once their companion in the Fellowship, with equally, if not brighter, blue glowing eyes. Even now, Matt wasn’t used to the fact that all Elves were mages and all Elves had glowing blue eyes and most had skull-palms. He rarely saw an Elf without a skull-palm.
“Come on, let’s go,” Fred gestured for them to follow him and though Matt could feel the presence of his former incarnation, Merry, reaching out for leadership, he conceded that Fred was always the leader of their group, no matter if Fred was Frodo or someone else, he was always the leader.
They quickly arrived at the Situation Room, to which they had no trouble finding and noticed that it was bustling with Elves running from station to station while a knot of Elves were hovering over a projection of a map of the world. All four former hobbits stared in awe at the room, its control panels and lights, the high-tech babble of it all.
A few Elves dressed not in robes or business suits that Matt was used to seeing in the halls of the Lorien Inc. building, but in armor reminiscent of the Third Age brushed past them -- so fast that he had to leap out of the way, lest be knocked down.
“Hey! Frank!” Phil suddenly called and Matt turned his gaze away from the blinking lights of the control panels to see Phil waving to where Frank and Liz came in and the two spotted them and came over.
“What are you doing here?” Liz asked, and Matt noticed that her hair was a bit frazzled, but otherwise she looked every inch like the radiant Eowyn, shield maiden of Rohan.
“We got a call for an emergency meeting here,” Phil replied, “dunno what’s going on though.”
“So did we, except-“
“Hi guys,” Ben suddenly appeared next to Frank, “g’evening college hobbits ... do you know what’s going on?”
Matt shook his head, “I don’t know ... something about an emergency meeting, I guess.”
“Oh,” was the reply from Ben who shrugged and looked around.
As minutes passed by, a few more Elves came in, Elves Matt didn’t really recognize, but noticed that they had similar armor, but in different colors. He hazarded a guess that the color denoted where the Elf’s city was. Alec came in along with Anna, with Gimli following close behind them.
Then Gandalf came in followed by Elrond who held his hands up, “May I have your attention please.”
The room’s conversation died down except for those at the communication stations who continued their conversation to whomever they were having them with. When it was as silent as can be, Elrond moved forward towards the projection unit and Matt stood on his toes trying to see beyond the sea of tall Elves and humans.
Luckily though, when Elrond activated the projection, this time a holographic map of the Golden City, it rose above everyone’s heads. “The Nazgul, even without their master around, have decided to attack the Golden City once again, as a last ditch attempt. We know that their bonds of slavery have transferred to Morgoth when Sauron was destroyed, and so Morgoth believes that we were weakened enough in the first wave to launch another one,” said Elrond.
“Firfenion and his Silver City Elves will be guarding the pillars once again. General Ruthersfield?” Glorfindel took over.
“Sir,” was the curt reply and Matt blinked. He had seen the Army general quite a few times, but never this close. If he never knew that Edward Ruthersfield was Eomer, he wouldn’t have guessed that the close cropped severe looking Army general was in fact, the reincarnation of Eomer, son of Eomund.
“You’ll be providing support to Firfenion and his troops,” Glorfindel said and Matt saw the general nod.
For Matt, it felt odd seeing Eomer’s reincarnation like this. Gone was the King of Rohan, and in place of that, a hardened war general. But there were a few mannerisms that he recognized to be solely Eomer’s and it comforted him a little to know that his friend was still inside.
“Haldir, Rinaran, and I will command the front line army,” Glorfindel continued, “any questions?”
There was a moment’s of silence and Matt was about to ask what about them when Glorfindel said, “Good. The enemy will be arriving in about three hours. Get to your posts.”
The surge of Elves and a few humans that left the room forced Matt and the others to slide up against some consoles and he dimly heard Phil yelp as someone treaded on his foot.
“What about us?” Fred asked as soon as the room cleared and all that was lingering were a few Elves, including Haldir, a female Elf whom Matt thought was probably Rinaran, and Glorfindel.
“You, young hobbits are going to be staying with me,” Gandalf’s voice suddenly boomed behind them, and Matt turned, startled. He glanced to his left but didn’t see Frank, Liz, or Ben and guessed that they must have left with the crowd of Elves and humans from the Situation Room.
“What are you going to do Gandalf?” Sam asked.
“Though many in this facility will be participating in the battle, you hobbits will not. Partially because you are only college students and have such a vigorous life ahead of you,” Gandalf smiled at them, “you will be staying close to me. Though I will help Elrond in defense of the Golden City, you will be in the Healing Hall incase the Elves there need your help.”
“But ... we can fight! We know how to! You’ve seen us when we fought Sauron!” Fred looked a bit put off.
“Fredrick, it is you the Nazgul want ... and you too Matthew,” Gandalf’s blue eyes stared at him and Matt stepped back involuntarily at the intensity of them.
“Me?” he blinked in surprise. He knew that the Nazgul wanted Fred because of the connection he has with the One Ring, but him? That had to be some kind of crackpot joke.
“You were the one with Lady Eowyn to kill the Witch-King, weren’t you?” Gandalf asked quietly and Matt’s eyes widened. Oh ... so that was the reason ... “They want revenge,” Gandalf finished in an even quieter voice. “They want all of you former hobbits. Sam, you were the one to help Frodo in his quest -- the anchor of all. Phil, the deception that you were the Ringbearer angers them.”
“All right,” Fred said after a few minutes of silence, “we’ll agree. We won’t participate in the battle ...”
“Good ... then come with me. I will show you what needs to be done in the Healing Hall,” Gandalf switched his white staff to his other hand and gathered them towards him. Together, they walked towards the Healing Hall.
* * * * *
Elizabeth Ruthersfield quickly made her way towards the Armory. There was no way anyone would tell her that she would not be able to participate in this battle. The first one was a nightmare as she had to help treat the wounded, especially those from her brother’s army. She didn’t want to treat the wounded, she wanted to go out and fight -- but for the love of her brother she didn’t. Now, she didn’t care if he made an excuse for her not to fight. There was no way she would be left behind this time.
She was a detective in the NYPD and a damn fine officer. She would not waste away in the Healing Hall. As she got to the Armory she could hear the pre-battle jitters from those changing into Elvish armor or looking at weapons from the outside doors. She paused just before the doors ... Was this the right thing to do? Yes.
Taking a deep breath and releasing it, she opened the door and walked in, heading towards the weapons area. Though her first time in the Elven Armory, she wasn’t surprised at the numerous weapons they had. It felt comforting, somehow, to know that she was in a place that wrought the best weapons.
Passing by a few Elves, she noticed with faint surprise that some of them were women, all decked out in armor, and they were laughing with each other. She guessed that they were the modern-day sword or shield maidens. A pang of longing struck her and she wished that she was an Elf, and would be able to fight. Because as all Elves were mages, they were allowed front-line battles. She was just a human with no mage powers. But she was also reincarnated so wasn’t that worth something to her brother? She was able to fight for him or with him, but he kept shielding her.
She hated that protection. It made her feel weak and there were times when even her fiancé, Frank would do the same. She didn’t want to be caged up and put on a shelf for all to look at. That was why she did detective work for the NYPD. It gave her at least some field training without the mortality risks of a full fledged field officer.
Something caught her eye and she picked up a short sword with a fine glittering handle ...
“No, you don’t want that. It’s too pretty to be used for this battle,” a voice behind her suddenly spoke and she spun around, surprised. Before her stood a female Elf decked out in the red-gold armor of the Golden City. She had bright blue-green eyes that her blue glow didn’t really put out, and her long dirty blonde hair was tied behind her. “Here,” the Elf dug around the weapons table and pulled out a sword that was gleaming silver, but had a sturdy pommel and looked to be very light. “Try this.”
Liz took the sword and hefted it in her hand. It felt light and it felt good. “Thank you ... I’m sorry, do I know you?” The Elf looked vaguely familiar and she didn’t really know where to place her face.
“My name is Rinaran and I am second to Glorfindel,” the female Elf extended her hand in a human greeting and Liz, though surprised, took it and shook it.
“I saw you during the Fellowships’ meeting, didn’t I?” she said, “So you’re the Swordmaiden I’ve been hearing about.”
To her credit, Rinaran grinned, “And you are the famous shield maiden of Rohan, the reincarnation of Eowyn and so many others before you.”
Liz laughed something that she rarely did and it felt good. She found it so easy to like the Elf and gave the sword in her hand a few swings. As she did, she could faintly recall the memories of her as Eowyn, fighting off the Orcs and Nazgul at the battle of Pelennor Fields. Another memory rose to her conscious and she remembered fighting the British ... she was holding the banner of France ... She was Joan D’Arc, the maiden of Lorraine.
“I deserve to fight,” she suddenly whispered as she stared at the sword in her hands, “I know how to fight ...”
“And that you do, my friend,” Rinaran clapped her on her shoulder and Liz looked at her, “come, Indris and I will pick out armor for you. We would give you our Elvish ones, except you are a non-mage. But do not worry; we have the best armor to protect non-mages.”
Liz followed after Rinaran, feeling that she had finally found another person she could relate to. If only her brother was here now to see her like this. Boy, would he be in shock.
* * * * *
Gimli reluctantly put on armor to do battle with the others to defend the Golden City. He didn’t want to leave Legolas’ side, but Haldir had convinced him that staying inside was no good to their friend and since Gimli was able to procure weapons enabling non-mages to kill mages without hurting themselves, he was very useful to General Ruthersfield’s army.
And so, as he put on the last bits of his armor, the plates barely fitting him as he was so tall, he knew that fighting was the only choice he had now. He had to fight for his dearest friend, his brother, and his family.
* * * * *
General Edward Ruthersfield watched as lightening began to form, natural ones to say the least. Rain started to pelt them, but for him, he was shielded slightly as they were by the pillars. He was a hardened veteran of battles and this one was no different.
The only difference was the fact that he knew what was at stake now. He knew the consequences of failure. For he was a fallen U.S. Army general, but the King of Rohan in another life. He knew that his men and women would follow him to the ends of the Earth if he wanted them to.
He also knew that his sister was up there, on another level, also preparing to fight. He knew that she couldn’t be caged, not for a second time. She wanted to fight and so he let her. She would be able to defend herself. But, nonetheless, he worried for her safety. Beside their uncle who ruled the city of Paris, she was the only family he had left.
As lightning crackled through the sky once again, Ed waited patiently for the forces of darkness to arrive. He would be ready. They all would.
* * * * *
Frank, Ben, and Alec stood next to each other, all of them looking stoically into the night. Rain had started and was pelting sheets down at them, but Frank didn’t care. They weren’t exactly in the front lines, but nearer to the entrance of Lorien Inc. Elrond had insist that they stay near the entrance for whatever reasons he didn’t know, but he was glad that this time there was no one to tell them that they were stuck in the Healing Hall for this battle.
No, this time, Frank was glad he was able to fight. For the last battle, he had been stuck in the Healing Hall, tending the wounds of others. Turning his head slightly he saw his future wife standing with a group of female Elves, swordmaidens all of them, and she was talking with them.
Though he was happy that she was able to fight, as he had seen her pained looks and longing for battle during their time in the Healing Hall, he still worried for her. If anything happened to her during this battle ... no! He shook his head slightly to stop the thoughts from coming. Nothing would happen to Liz. Nothing.
* * * * *
As preparations were finalized for the second battle to defend the Golden City, deep in the Healing Hall where a prone body was being kept in isolation, the stirrings of evil began their work.
The three Elves guarding the body didn’t notice anything wrong with the occupant inside, but then again, the evil inside didn’t want them to know. In the deep darkness, a fiery blood-red eye opened.
The battle to defend the Golden City had begun.
And Sauron was waiting.
* * * * *
Author’s Notes: I just like random character thoughts. ^_^ Only four more chapters ‘till the end of Part I: Sauron. After that starts Part II: Morgoth, of The Shadows that Remain.
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