The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER29
The sound of a small stream running through the room he was given in the White City calmed him somewhat, but for Legolas, he was still restless. Ever since the Fellowship’s meeting with Galadriel and Celeborn, he had been uneasy and nervous. While Celeborn had been speaking to them, Galadriel spoke in his mind and what she said did not comfort him at all. She was one of the most powerful Elves and one of the oldest and he took her words to heart, but he wasn’t as fanatically devoted to her as his best friend Haldir.
He had changed into the clothing that had been given to him when he had woken up in the Golden City’s Healing Hall, and now the light, but warm fabric was supposed to give him comfort but he still felt none. He didn’t feel the need to carry his weapons on him, but nonetheless he always carried a spare dagger, one he picked up in feudal Japan during the Meiji Revolution, in his left boot.
The trees in his room were real; everything was real, including the small stream, nothing holographic like it had been in the Golden City. Apparently Galadriel and Celeborn had a lot of time on their hands when they built up the White City. For him, it was his first time to the White City. He had seen Galadriel and Celeborn a few times during the many years, but it was always through whatever means of communication were available at that time period or age.
Now he sat on an elegantly furnished chair in his room, his hands folded behind his head, staring at nothing even though his gaze was towards a certain point above his bed. Everyone was asleep, at least everyone who was not Elvish. He could hear the muffled snores of Gimli who had the room next to his and smiled inwardly -- Gimli still snored so loudly after all these years, it was a wonder that the whole of the Glittering Caves did not come crashing down upon him when he ruled his little dwarven realm.
If he were to go out right now, questions would be asked of him and of his gloved hand. He didn’t want to face those questions at the moment, not since the Elves of the Golden City looked upon him with a mixture of curiosity, pity, and occasional fear. The Elves knew what had happened and to a certain extent he did too. Elrond had told him that during his internal struggle with Sauron he had turned Irimage and killed three guards, but that was about all that the Elven Lord told him. Legolas had a strong feeling that Elrond and the others; even Haldir and Gimli were holding information from him about the incident with his skull-palm.
Suddenly Legolas started, staring around as he felt something invade his mind. He briefly felt a flash of fear run through him before he relaxed, recognizing the presence to be Galadriel. She was summoning him to where they had been greeted by her and Celeborn. Getting up from his chair he walked out of his room, taking his time. He didn’t feel or see the need to rush around; after all, the White City was well protected, by both magic and natural barriers.
With a start he realized that this was one of the first rare times he had ever not felt the need to rush around or to have adrenaline rushing through his blood in the tune of battle. He was at peace and could relax without any serious ramifications -- and it felt odd. He was so used to taking missions and assignments from different people, always working or doing something with his magical and Elvish skills that restful times were rare for him.
As he climbed up a few flights of stairs and towards the entrance of one of the walkway tubes connecting the apartment-style complex they had been given to stay during their stay in the White City, to what had to be Galadriel and Celeborn’s own suite-like building and where they had met them, he looked around at the magnificent designs and laying the structure of the building was. Even as he rode the moving walkway, he was still taken aback by the beautiful view of the White City, especially at night. Lights from the depths of the streets to the far reaches of the mountains glittered like little gems…
It was so peaceful and so like paradise here that he felt cleansed by it, even the evil in the recesses of his mind seemed like it was eliminated. He stepped off of the walkway as it ended in another part of the mess of buildings that made up the White City and tilted his heads at the guards who ignored his presence and continued on their stoic watch.
The wardens of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel hadn’t changed that much. They looked like they were dressed in the same outfit and armor of the early Ages, but Legolas suspected that it was the modified armor of this Age that they wore, instead of the usual metallic and various fibers worn back in the early Ages. There were so many differences between the White City and the Golden City…
Elrond always had a flair of modern taste to his city and whatever his people wore or worked with. It seemed that Galadriel and Celeborn were more conservative and traditional in their ways, but he could see hints of new technology here and there. It was odd though, to see the three most powerful Elves he had ever known with so many different tastes…but one could probably expect it from the wide blue expanse known as the Atlantic Ocean.
He briefly wondered what Thranduil’s Silver City looked like… Was it like Elrond’s modern twist to Elvish culture? Or more conservative like Celeborn and Galadriel’s White City? His half-brother Firfenion had tried to describe to him about the Silver City, but Legolas found it almost impossible to picture it ... He had been to Los Angeles where now the modern-day Silver City stood, but that was a long time ago and it was in what the humans called the 20th Century. After that, he had all but avoided going to former L.A. and now couldn’t really picture the modernized city in his mind. He was still stuck in the past when it came to picturing modernization.
As he arrived to the place where both Lord and Lady had greeted them, he saw that no one was there, but Galadriel’s mirror or birdbath as the twins had poked fun at her mirror before apologizing to their grandmother, stood in the middle of the room, mini-stone steps leading down to it. He looked around, the ethereal lights twinkling, and still no one was there.
Where did Galadriel go?
I am here Thranduillion, her voice suddenly resounded in his head and Legolas blinked in surprise, but kept his composure. Galadriel would show herself when she wanted to.
“You bring great evil here,” her musical lilting, but sad voice spoke softly to his left and he bowed his head in greeting as she stepped daintily down the steps towards her mirror.
“My Lady,” he tilted his head.
“Come,” she waved him over to her and he walked towards her and the mirror, wondering what did she want with him. He stopped short of the mirror and of her and looked at her, wondering.
“You know of what happened to you during the Fellowship’s attempt to assassinate Sauron?” Galadriel’s voice suddenly hardened to almost icy-like quality that nearly caught him off guard.
“A little,” he replied as he watched her carefully. Her bright glowing blue eyes, a sign of her Technomage status, was almost dampened by the subtle glow of the lights in this enclosed area, but Legolas didn’t doubt the fact that Galadriel was one of the most powerful Technos in the world, and the factor of her glowing eyes was just a trivial matter. “Elrond told me that somehow, I turned Irimage when Sauron’s spirit possessed my body ... but then I managed to fight him off and returned to Techno status ... but that’s not the whole story, is it?” he asked, frowning.
Galadriel nodded then passed a slender white-sleeved hand over her mirror to which it shimmered before settling down into its original form. “You are still Technomage, yet ... inside of you; you have the chance to become Irimage.”
“But I thought that once Irimage, you stay Irimage -- so what happened to me?”
“From what I can gather, you carry Sauron’s spirit within you. Gandalf told me what happened when you attacked Sauron and killed him during the Fellowship’s mission to assassinate him,” Galadriel said, staring a bit wistfully into her mirror before looking at him, “in the seconds when the power transfer of the Irimage Sauron went to you, his essence was still strong and present and he attempted to possess you, to try to destroy your very being and make your body his own. He wanted to dominate once more and with your caliber and power, it was both tempting for him and hard for him to attain -- as you have so obviously proved.
“But now, it seems that you have only forced Sauron’s spirit to a part of your mind and essence where you have instinctively trapped him behind the strongest of barriers, but it is not strong enough,” Galadriel said in a matter-of-factly voice. She ran a few fingers over her mirror and it shimmered slightly in response. “You felt it, didn’t you? The power clawing its way free, but only restrained as you realized Sauron tried to once again take over your body and soul.”
“Yes,” Legolas whispered, a nameless fear starting to creep up on him. He didn’t know why he was afraid, after all, the White City was serenity ... but as he realized it, it was Galadriel’s presence that put that fear in him. He was afraid of what Galadriel might say, what she might do, what she will tell him.
But assassins like him never feared anything -- he couldn’t be afraid in his line of profession, as fear killed you. He had gone so long without fear that it was now pouring over him in small waves that got larger by the passing seconds.
“Do you know why you were able to defeat him, not once, but three times?” Galadriel asked.
“Once in his human form, once when he tried to take over your body in the Golden City, and once while you were on your way here,” Galadriel said and Legolas frowned, how did she know about ...
He realized that Galadriel knew everything, if not from her mirror, then from those who had her loyalty. She had eyes and ears everywhere ...
“You were able to defeat him so because of your innate talent,” Galadriel continued, “not Technomage, as it is a frivolous thing that the people of these past Ages had made up, but your inner strength as a warrior, friend, and your love for life itself. That was why I ordered you to take Sauron’s power as your own.”
“But I thought the Maiar-“
“They are no more than manipulative bastards. Only Gandalf and perhaps Melian are the reasonable ones. The Valar and Maiar can never be trusted Legolas,” she suddenly dropped her voice into a hissing harshness that caught him off guard. “They only manipulate others for their own gain. I do not know the reason why they wouldn’t let Gandalf absorb Sauron’s powers into his own, but I suspect it is something to do with their own schemes ... ”
“Then why me? I mean, if I have this power within me, why?” Legolas still didn’t understand why he was chosen by Galadriel to go kill Sauron. The simple answer was that he was under Lorien Inc.’s employment and he had to obey his employer’s words, but even so, that was just the simple answer. There had to be a more complex answer.
“Legolas,” Galadriel suddenly looked at him with her head tilted so that her eyes caught onto the glow of the ethereal lights in the area they were in, “what is your lineage?”
“Please, just answer the question.”
Blinking, Legolas resisted the human urge to scratch the back of his head as he had seen so many humans do over the few millennia he had contact with them. “My father was Thranduil,” he forced himself not to grimace at the mention of his father’s name; “his father was Orophin and descended from the line of Thingol and Melian of Beleriand.”
“And you know of Thingol as his original name Elwe one of the greatest leaders of the Teleri, right?” Galadriel asked and Legolas nodded. “But since many of the Teleri did not cross over the Great Sea to return home, they were not Noldorian nor Vanyar or Eldar. But what many Elves never knew and even what the human Tolkien wrote about us, was secret only to a few -- myself included.
“Melian was a Maiar and the children that descended from her and Thingol had the ability and the potential to become Eldar, even surpassing them. Her blood is that of the lesser gods and in doing so, her children had the potential to become lesser gods themselves, but none were able to achieve this until now,” she paused and let the words sink in.
“You think that by absorbing Sauron’s powers into myself that I’ve become a lesser god?” Legolas asked in a flat voice, not really believing what he was hearing nor what his mouth was saying.
“No. Absorbing Sauron’s powers has nothing to do with you having the ability to become a lesser god. Your strength over the past few Ages has grown dramatically and in doing so, you have surpassed that which any of Thingol and Melian’s kin could ever do so-
“What about Celeborn?”
Galadriel smiled slightly, “Celeborn is already past this age and day. He has his own blood to draw upon.”
“So what am I?”
“Essentially, you are yourself. Except with your ability you were the only one who had enough strength and reserve to be able to combat and fight off Sauron, except you never knew it.”
The words were supposed to be oddly comforting somehow, but to Legolas he blinked in surprise as he interpreted what Galadriel was saying ... Cold anger began to fill him and he unconsciously clenched a fist. He could feel the dark power of Sauron trying at his mental barriers, trying to feed off of his anger that he had, trying to use that anger to break free, but Legolas violently pushed the presence back and instead vented his anger out towards Galadriel.
“You manipulated me,” he said coldly, eyes narrowed as he stared at his employer, the Queen of the Goldenwood Elves, the most powerful Noldor to walk the face of the Earth ... the one holding the cards. “You used the fact that I was strong and manipulated me to take on the assignment from Haldir to assassinate Sauron. You knew that my work in American and British government was and asset to what you wanted -- so you manipulated me.”
He felt the sudden urge to lash out at Galadriel with a miasma spell, but knew that it would be pointless and suicidal. Instead, he squeezed his already fisted hand and felt his bones creak and grind together as he felt the cold anger continue to build up in him.
“Why?” was the next word he grinded out.
The reaction from Galadriel was one he wasn’t expecting. She stared at him like a mother to a child, but her voice was hard, cold, and militaristic. “If you’re expecting me to feel sorry for you, then you are sorely mistaken. This is a war we are fighting. You of all people should know that. Wars have sacrificial lambs in it and you are one of them. Every one of the High Council of Lorien Incorporated knew of your abilities, your father included. We chose you because you were capable of deeds we cannot do. You have the ability to blend in and out while we have our appearances to keep up.
“War is nothing pretty and if there was a reason why it shouldn’t happen is because of the evils in the world. But the Fellowship created in the Third Age is what kept our hope alive. Yes, we used you, but in ways to help stop and suppress this evil that has been growing for a long time. And remember, you are not the only one whose strings are being pulled.”
While she was speaking, Legolas heard a softer voice, her inner voice inside of his head. I am terribly sorry Legolas. What is done is done ... and though I regret making you go through that ordeal, it is for your own sake and for the others. Each one of the Fellowship will have their roles to play. Yours is over for now ...
“I ask of you to find it in your heart to forgive me,” she suddenly whispered, her voice returning to sadness.
Legolas unclenched his fist, but didn’t let the anger out of his voice, “I will not forgive, Lady Galadriel, but I will not direct my anger towards you. You are no better than the Maiar or Valar that you claim are ‘pulling the strings here’.” He sketched a quick bow to her before leaving, headed back to his room. All the way back, he could feel Galadriel’s eyes and presence boring into his mind.
* * * * *
“I know you are there,” Galadriel said once Legolas left the garden area and heard the quiet shuffling of feet before Haldir appeared behind her and though she couldn’t see it, she knew that he had bowed to her before standing quietly.
“You have heard our conversation?”
“Yes, milady. I apologize if I have intruded,” Haldir replied a bit formally, the soft swish of his clothing brushing against the grass on the ground.
“It is all right,” Galadriel raised a hand to wave off his apology. “I know you also harbor anger at me and I do not mind-“
“Haldir,” Galadriel silenced him, “I know you are angry that I gave him that assignment. But, for his sake and those around him, you must watch him like you would your own brothers.”
“He is my brother, Lady,” Haldir said in a soft voice and Galadriel smiled sadly before waving a hand over her mirror. She knew what was to happen ... soon ... and she did not like it.
“You knew what happened while flying over the Atlantic. When the final battle against Morgoth is exacted, there will be problems. Protect him, protect the others at all costs ... you know of what I ask?”
There was a moment of silence before Haldir replied, “Yes. I will do as you ask, Lady.” A slightly sound of fabric brushing against the grass was all that told Galadriel that her faithful guard-general had left. She was alone again ... and this time, with her mirror, she glanced in it and finally let the tears that she had been holding back since her initial meeting with the Fellowship and with Legolas, fall out.
It was one of the few times Galadriel had ever cried and it would be the last.
* * * * *
Over the next few days, the Fellowship and those that came with them were treated to the fine hospitality of the White City residents and enjoyed peace within its borders.
So when Alec, Gimli, and Legolas were summoned to the White City’s equivalent of the Situation Room in the Golden City, he wasn’t surprise to find out that their short reprieve from all of the fighting was over. He had expected something to happen the moment they lifted off from the Golden City to go to the White City.
While Gandalf had not been too clear on why they were going to the White City, he had a feeling that it was something to do with Morgoth. Well, one evil overlord down and one more to go, he thought wirily as he made his way into the impressive and massive Situation Room in one of the White City’s tall spire-like buildings.
He was surprised though, that Edward hadn’t been called to the meeting. He figured that they would want the former American Army general to provide some insight into defeating Morgoth on this side of the continent. He was even more surprised that the twins didn’t come bounding in as he was so used to them doing that. Instead, they came in, dressed in modern-cut Elvish clothing and gave quick bows to the Elf that had summoned them.
Celeborn was standing by a long table that was lit up to show a wide flat, but colorful map of the whole world. It was similar to the Golden City’s 4D map, with different colored dots representing different forces and stuff.
“Lord Celeborn,” Alec greeted as they all hovered around the table-map, the twins unusually quiet. What was even more unusual was Legolas himself. He thought that it had been something to do with his possession and killing of the three Golden City Elves, but now, he was having second thoughts about the normally quiet Elf. It seemed that there was a strain between Legolas, Celeborn, and Galadriel -- even though all of them denied it and tried to hide it -- Alec was too much of a professional police officer to let little things like that slip past him.
He had mentioned it to Anna when they had their times alone, and in turn she had tried to ask Galadriel about it, but Galadriel just dismissed her concerns. Now as he looked at Legolas, he definitely noticed a strain on the Elf who was avoiding Celeborn’s sweeping gaze.
Celeborn only replied his greeting with a slight bow of his head before gesturing to the world map laid out before them. “As of this moment, Glorfindel and Cirdan’s forces are landing on the shores of Dublin, Ireland to take it over as a staging point for their assault on London, England in the next few days.”
Alec watched, fascinated, as the map zoomed in upon the United Kingdom area and it showed a mass of green, more like a blob of green in Alec’s humble opinion, converging on the red-colored forces that was scattered throughout the Irish land. He could definitely tell that Cirdan and Glorfindel wouldn’t have any problems taking over Dublin. However ... the map showed that most of England, especially London, were red -- Saruman’s forces. They practically covered the whole island ...
The map suddenly zoomed back out and Celeborn continued, “Frank and Ben Greens are currently in New York City. We’ve recently discovered that David, their father the mayor, had gotten his memories back ... unfortunately, they are the memories of the insane Denethor instead of Denethor the righteous. We think the catalyst was when Sauron was destroyed and in turn he has let loose some of the more dangerous mages. Elrond wanted Frank and Ben to calm their father down and try to put some semblance of peace in the Black City before coming over here.”
“But I thought they were going to convince their father to send the National Guard...” Gimli asked, a bit confused.
“That is one part. This is the other,” Celeborn replied.
“So that’s why those lads didn’t come with us,” Gimli looked thoughtful and Alec suddenly had a feeling that if Gimli was back in the Black City, perhaps he would let loose his little “cat” Mittens.
He had taken Gimli aside when they had been in the archaeologist/geologist’s hidey-hole at the defunct Museum of Natural History, and asked him where he found a Siberian Tiger. The only one he had known was the pet of the Emperor of the Russian Consortium -- who also happened to be one of the most powerful mages he had ever known about.
Gimli didn’t exactly tell him where he found his Mittens, but told him instead that over the years, since Siberian Tigers were all but extinct, some began to evolve to resist magic and produce their own kind of abilities - not in the terms of magic, but in the terms of survival. He gave a sideways glance at the former dwarf, a bit hard now, considering that Gimli, or George Griston, towered over him by a good half foot.
“So, what about us then?” Alec asked as he knew that there had to be a purpose for Galadriel summoning them to the White City.
Celeborn didn’t answer right away and instead zoomed the map upon the mid-European area where Alec saw that the southern half was covered by green and the northern half covered in red. Then he noticed a small but distinctive white clump that looked like it was in the mid-eastern region of what used to be the country of France, but that couldn’t be right ... for such a sprawling beautiful metropolis ...
Suddenly it hit him where they were. Where the White City was located ... Where everything always converged and always stayed neutral through everything, but now was the focal point of hope and light. It was the place that had served various countries, empires, and governments to discuss the prospect of peace and neutrality. It was safe from everything yet the hub of everything.
Geneva, Switzerland. The White City. The-City-That-Will-Not-Be-Named, The City of Hope, The City-That-Cannot-Fall.
Of all the ironic places, a part of Alec’s mind laughed and he glanced over to Legolas, Gimli, and the twins and saw comprehension on their faces as they figured out where they were. He glanced up at Celeborn and saw the Elf had a half-smile on his face before he spoke again.
“We have summoned all of you here because we will be launching an assault on the Shadow Horror City,” Celeborn pointed straight at the heart of the red mass that looked forebodingly like blood. “It is our request that you, Alexander Richard, take command of the Elvish and human forces from all over our region.”
Alec blinked. Then blinked again. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. All his mind was thinking was a very old human slang. WTF? The words that composed it were highly vulgar, especially the last word of the short phrase, but it gave life and meaning to what he wanted to express at the moment. The heads of Lorien Incorporated wanted him to lead an army?
Well ... it did seem right ... He had a brief flash of himself leading a huge army across plains before he blinked again. He had led an army ... In his various past lives ... almost every other one of them he had led an army to victory somewhere, sometimes at the cost of his own life, sometimes at the cost of others -- but each time, there was victory.
“You knew that my former lives led armies ... is that why you want me to this time?” he asked Celeborn in a simple manner.
Celeborn nodded, “Yes, but if you focus on a certain memory, you might come to see that this campaign will be similar to the one taken in a former life. One involving the Nano War.”
Those words were the trigger for a sudden avalanche of former memories that suddenly bombarded and assaulted his mind. He saw flashes and bits of imagery, as if from both a third person and first person view, like he was watching a movie of sorts, and saw what Celeborn had been talking about ... yes ... the Nano War ... His former incarnation during that war had been a fearless General, but also had died during the assault on a particular city known as Therin’s Hill.
Alec was thrown rather violently back in the present and he looked up at Celeborn with newfound eyes and memories. He knew what the stakes here was, he knew what had to be done ... and he knew that he was the only one to do so.
“I’ll accept command.”
* * * * *
In short the Fellowship once again was divided and its members going to different paths. Celeborn and Galadriel along with Anna stayed in the White City, coordinating everything. Gandalf had taken Sam and Fred to see the Valar and Maiar, to convince them to bring an army as it seemed finally Gandalf was breaking free of the restraints set against him by his master Lorien.
Alec had taken command of a great host of Elves and humans that populated the area near the White City and Cirdan’s realm. His second in command was Galadriel and Celeborn’s faithful guard-general Haldir. Legolas, Gimli, the twins and their jet squadron and Phil accompanied him along with the 1,000 strong army from the Silver City lead by none other than Erdaliel the guard-general of Thranduil.
Edward, Liz, and Matt were to head to Paris, where apparently, the reincarnation of King Theoden ruled his own little Parisian Empire -- completely neutral to everything happening. Galadriel had told them that the Parisian Empire contained one of the most well-trained armies, both in their mage forces and non-mage forces. The Parisian Army would be a great asset when they all made their final assault on the Shadow Horror City.
The war against Morgoth had begun.
* * * * * *
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