The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER28
The flight from the Golden City to the White City was cut in half because of improved technologies that enabled flight to be faster. But even so, when they were flying over the Atlantic Ocean, Legolas could not help but think that it was endless. The deep blue of the ocean seemed like an endless path that was leading them to another continent and in the distance, there was nothing except the cloud line and water.
He looked out of the window, trying hard to ignore Gimli’s mutterings about air sickness and crinkling of the bag he was holding while dry hacking into it. It wasn’t easy as Gimli shifted almost every minute in his seat, trying to sleep when sleep would not come then flipping over and muttering curses at the Valar who Reincarnated him to be air sick.
Legolas didn’t really mind the curses at the Valar ... he had found out what their bargain was and didn’t like it one bit. Actually, no one liked it so he had joined a very large crowd of Elves and humans who were beginning to get very irritated at the Valar. The only person, it seemed who was either neutral or refraining from comment was Gandalf.
He had wanted to ask Gandalf what really happened to him and why did his skull-palm now have two encrusted ruby eyes and what did it mean, but the wizard had decided to take the same jet the Reincarnated hobbits had, deeming to keep a close eye on them. Anna, Alec, Liz Ruthersfield and her brother had taken the other jet, Edward none too happy to leave most of his army behind, only taking with him some of his top lieutenants and leaving his army in charge of his second-in-command.
That left Haldir and the other Elves to the jet Legolas was occupying. He had tried to ask his best friend about Rinaran, but Haldir neatly dodged the question and had called a conference with his two sub-lieutenants Fereveldir and Arthonas. Rising half out of his seat, the seatbelt restraining him somewhat, he saw that Haldir had broken up the meeting, but was also talking on his cell phone, typing away at a holographic projector laptop, but the projection mode wasn’t in full view, meaning that whatever he was typing was for his eyes only.
Legolas sat back down and shook his head. He could swear that his best friend was an effective businessman ... and just as effective as a soldier and guard general to Galadriel. Perhaps when they arrived at the White City he would ask her about his skull-palm.
He glanced out of the window once more and squinted slightly at a distant lightning storm. It was so faint and so faraway that he didn’t really see the flashes of lightning ... until suddenly he found his vision swiftly blurring ...
Everything moved so fast and finally it stopped when he saw the tower of Orthanc, rebuilt and Saruman the Black was standing on top of it, summoning his lightning storm along with various magical creatures that flew and roamed about the land that was London, England. He felt evil radiate from the place and suddenly felt a dark presence cloud his mind before he violently suppressed it and forcibly pulled his gaze from the window.
He slammed back into his seat, startling the Elf that had been sleeping in the seat behind him before the Elf snorted slightly and went back to the waking sleep Elves were known to have. Gritting his teeth and screwing his eyes shut, he could feel the tendrils of evil that was Sauron trying to break free, but he slammed his mental doors shut and refused to let the evil spirit out to take over his body once more. Holding the mental doors, Legolas waited a few minutes to make sure the evil was gone before he opened his eyes once more and felt his breath coming in raggedly.
He suppressed the urge to gasp as he unclenched his fist and took off the black glove. He stared at the ruby eyes, a vile feeling creeping over him. He flexed his hand once more, turning it around and staring at it like it was something foreign. Forcing himself to calm down, he took a long deep breath and let it out slowly ...
“You okay?” Gimli’s concerned voice made him turn his head and look at his best friend who cracked open his eyes from a curled up position in the seat. Gimli didn’t look too well, pale and his breathing was a bit shallow from the air sickness he was experiencing.
“I should ask you that,” Legolas gave him a small smile before slipping the glove back on.
“Legolas,” his friend’s tone was a warning and Legolas dropped the smile and ran a hand through his head, ruffling his own hair on his back, which was put up in the style he had not worn since the Third Age.
“It’s nothing,” he finally replied, “I’m just having a hard time ... adjusting to ... you know ... ” he lifted up his gloved hand and shrugged.
“Okay ... ” Gimli’s raised eyebrow told him that he didn’t believe a word of the lie Legolas had given him, but then closed his eyes once more and shifted slightly, trying to go back to sleep.
Legolas let a small sad smile flit across his face before he turned back to staring out of the window, the jet now having passed England. He hoped that Glorfindel and Cirdan would be able to suppress Saruman and his massive army.
The three jets and their escorts continued on to the White City.
* * * * *
When they landed in the White City, it was already night time, the time difference between the Golden City and the White City being six hours. The sparkling lights of the White City glowed brilliantly as the three jets and their escorts came in for a landing. Fred peered down and couldn’t suppress a gasp of wonderment at the lights. Everything was so pure ... so good ... so ...
He couldn’t describe it, but it lifted his spirits up immensely and helped him relieve him of his jet-lag. The White City seemed like it was opening up its arms to welcome them to her fold and her protection. He was struck at how similar the lights of the City seemed to the Goldenwood Realm of Lothlorien ... how ancient, pure, and natural it was.
As the jets banked around for a landing, Fred could see the small figures of a few Elves waving in the jets to land on three platforms while another group of Elves were directing their fighter escorts to a hanger bay. He had rested comfortably on the trip to the White City, occasionally talking and playing a game of chess with Sam or trying to stop Phillip from eating all of Matt’s food as Matt had been very air sick and very afraid of flying, clutching the sides of his seat for the whole ride and nearly hyperventilating. If it hadn’t been for Gandalf by Matt’s side, Fred would have thought that his friend would have passed out by now.
Gandalf had murmured a few words that calmed Matt down somewhat during their trip, but apparently whatever spell the wizard had said wasn’t working when they were landing and the hyperventilation began again. Fred felt sorry for Matt, as he knew that his friend wasn’t usually airsick and it was probably one of his Reincarnations that got airsick a lot.
The landing was very smooth, compared to how humans landed planes and as soon as they rolled to a stop, Phil hopped up from his seat and dashed to the front of the plane, eager to get away from Matt who was currently throwing up into a bag. Though it wasn’t a pretty sight, Fred patted his friend on the back encouragingly before getting up from his seat and following Sam who was waiting with Pippin for the doors to open so they could get off of the jet.
“Come now Matthew, you will be better once we get your little feet to the ground,” Gandalf was helping Matt up from his seat as he swayed slightly in dizziness and guided him to the front.
Fred watched as one of the Elves who was in the pilot’s cabin open the door and step down the small stairs. He followed the Elf and abruptly stopped as he peered out into the White City.
It was more magnificent than he had ever thought, even at night. The sprawling metropolis gave an earthly blue-silvery hue of color from each spire and each skyscraper that dotted the landscape and in the background, surrounding the whole area from where he could see was tall, snow-capped mountains, save for a small valley path in the far corner.
He could tell why the city was called the White City. Everything felt pure here ... nothing was tainted with evil and serenity existed which lifted up his spirits greatly. He felt healed by just looking around at the landscape and skyscrapers ...
“Hey, Fred, you mind?” Phil’s voice snapped him out of his gaze and he turned his head slightly before stepping down to the platform in which they had landed on. Only then did he notice that the platforms were made of wood and metal, a combination that didn’t look ugly, yet looked like the metal and trees grew out of each other.
He also realized that they were up really high. Very high. Walking to the edge of the platform, he leaned a bit over it, just so that the winds wouldn’t knock him over, but just enough that he realized everything was naturalistic and there were layers that were built out of real trees. There seemed to be no end to the levels in which the Elves built the White City -- as he was sure humans couldn’t have constructed it entirely. “Careful Fred. I don’t think Gandalf would want us to fall,” Sam’s concerned voice spoke from behind and he turned around and grinned at his best friend.
“Don’t worry Sam. I’m fine. It’s just that ... there’s so many layers ... it’s so ... so ... ” Fred shrugged as he was at a loss for words to describe the White City. Compared to the Golden City, the White City was very naturalistic while the Golden City thrived on technology.
“Yeah,” Sam agreed as they both turned and followed Gandalf, Phil, and a much better looking Matt to where the other occupants of the two other jets were getting off.
Fred waved to Gimli who returned the wave as he and Legolas got off then stepped to the side as the Elf Fred didn’t really know too well named Haldir got off after them, dressed in a sharp looking business suit. As soon as Haldir’s feet touched the platform, he began to bark orders in Elvish and the Elves that had greeted them on the platform scrambled around, obeying the guard-general’s orders.
As they approached the rest of their group, Haldir turned around and walked towards them, and Fred could tell that the Elf was happy to be back in his home city, the realm of the Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn.
“Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel request to meet all of you right now. I will take you to them,” Haldir said in a formal voice, so formal that Fred could almost see the Elf back in his Elvish clothes when he first met him in the Third Age as Frodo Baggins, the business suit all but non-existent.
However, he shook his head to clear the sudden memory and followed Alec and Edward, the two of them in deep conversation, as Haldir lead them from the platform to the inner confines of a tall white spiraling building. Once they entered Fred felt his jaw drop a few inches at the inlaying of the White City. He could dimly hear the gasps of wonderment and surprise from the others, but all he was focus on was the beauty of the architecture of the building they had entered in.
It was dome-shaped and their gasps echoed in the acoustics of the great hall. Leaves of gold and silver and polished opal climbed their way on vines of marble that held up the sides of the dome. The ceiling was decorated with paintings that were all-too familiar to Fred. Those paintings on the ceiling were the depictions of the Fellowship and their quest to destroy the One Ring of Sauron back in the late Third Age. Fred saw himself facing the Witch King on Weathertop ... the Fellowship’s journey through the Mines of Moria with Gandalf facing the Balrog ... his and Sam’s journey with Gollum through the Winding Staircase and the eventual destruction of the Ring ...
Fred realized that if one were to step in this building then they would have thought Lorien Inc. was going a little overboard at being fans of Tolkien’s works. But then, he realized, that probably none of the company’s human customers probably saw any of this. This had to be a special entrance where Elves would be able to enter into such majestic beauty ...
He managed to tear his gaze away from the ceiling to look around and saw that two elevators stood in the middle and went all the way to the ground floor, to which were only about 12 stories high. Two large stairs winded their way around the elevators and it reminded Fred of the staircases that wrapped around the giant trees of Lothlorien. But if the building was only 12 stories high ... then that wasn’t probably the ground floor as he had thought, but only another level that was completely sealed by white marble tiles.
“How high are we?” Sam apparently had the same thoughts as him and voiced it to Haldir who looked a bit smug at their reactions.
“At least 70 stories high. This is the entrance we use to reach the Lady and Lord’s chambers. The elevators and stairs only go down twelve stories before another set of elevators take them to the real ground floor. Those floors below the 52nd floor are office space where our human and Elven employees work to keep the company functioning. You are currently in the Sanctum where some of our guest quarters are. Come, they are waiting,” Haldir gestured for them to follow him and they did.
Fred saw that the Elf was leading them to a transport tube of sorts. He realized that it was a walkway, connecting two large buildings together as they walked across the fairly long walkway. Through the glass windows that they passed by, Fred saw glimpses of gun turrets and defense systems, but also a bustling city that was full of life with hover cars and people walking below them, all of them looking like ants of course.
When they reached the other side, once again Fred found his jaw dropping to the ground at the magnificence of the interior. It was also domed, but instead of gold and silver leaves and marble pillars, it looked exactly like the inner sanctum of Caras Galadhon, quiet and inviting. This had to be where Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn resided.
Haldir led them down a few steps to a grassy area in the middle of the hall where Fred saw that Galadriel’s mirror was still on its pedestal and where two Elves waited. As they approached and stopped, Fred saw Haldir sketch a quick bow before leaving them and exited to another place. He turned his head back around and felt a smile creep onto his face. Lady Galadriel was still as beautiful as ever; just how Frodo Baggins remembered her, and Lord Celeborn was as proud and righteous as he had first met him.
He had to note though ... Galadriel and Celeborn in their true forms never looked like what the films had portrayed them to be, but still that was the movies, even if they were very old ones.
“Welcome to the White City,” Celeborn said in his precise, slightly clipped voice. “You are safe within these walls from Morgoth or any of the evils that plague the world, so do not worry ...”
As Celeborn continued his little speech Fred found his gaze inexplicably drawn towards Galadriel who stood by her husband’s side, serene and quiet. As he stared at her, he suddenly blinked as her eyes caught his and he was drawn in by their depth and power. Welcome Fredrick Baskerville, Reincarnated Ring-bearer ... you have much ahead of you, young one. You will have to gather courage to face those who are hesitant ...
“... and please take this time to rest for your journeys ahead of you,” Celeborn finished and Fred stared back at the Elven Lord. He felt a bit uneasy with Galadriel’s words, but knew from experience that everything will be revealed in due time. For now, he’ll have to be the slightly willing pawn in whatever game the Gods had deemed to play on them.
* * * * * *
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