The Shadows That Remain Rating: PG-13
A Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion fic - CHAPTER33
Shadow Chaser

CIRDAN and GLORFINDEL

“What’s the status of Saruman’s movement among the island?” Glorfindel asked as he stepped into the makeshift situation room in the city of Dublin only recently and easily taken over by the combined forces of Elrond’s Golden City Elves and Cirdan’s forces.

“Scouts say that there’s barely any movement, but it’s a good guess to say that Saruman knows we are coming,” Rinaran, his second-in-command said as she stared at some of the maps, a frown on her ageless face.  “We’ve been getting conflicting reports that he’s using Zenith Technologies to create more Dust and use Mage-Link to create himself a human army.”  She handed him a plastic looking sheet that was written in Elvish without looking at him, “There’s also the mention that he has an army of Balrogs at his disposal.”

Glorfindel hissed softly as he stared at what he was given.  He really hated Balrogs ... there was something about them that made him uneasy.   Though he was willing to fight of any magical creatures, Balrogs were on the top of his list of most-hated-magical-creatures.   He didn’t know why he had such an animosity to them, after all, they were nearly all long dead, remnants of Morgoth’s forces, and he had been born after they were nearly all wiped from the face of Middle Earth.

“Give me Chimeras any day,” he muttered mostly to himself as he crumpled up the paper and threw it in a trash can before going over to where his second-in-command was.   “Any other forces that are need to know?” he asked just as Cirdan came in.

Technically, the two of them were both co-commanders of the mission, but in terms of experience, Cirdan outranked him.  One of the first Teleri Elves, he was as powerful as any of Eldar status and Glorfindel had heard rumors that he was connected to Osse and Uinen, minor Valars under the great sea Vala Ulmo.

“Osse and Uinen decided to act alone.  They will help us on our assault on London,” Cirdan said in a calming voice and Glorfindel raised an eyebrow.

He had never heard of any of the Valar breaking from the council to help anyone, but then again, that was what Melian did, so he guessed he shouldn’t be too surprised.   But based on what Lorien, Nienna, and Vaire had said, they shouldn’t really expect any help at all.   He believed like his Lord Elrond did, that the Valar were very manipulative ... but to what extent he didn’t know.   They had let this world rot and die for such a long time, what was to prevent them from letting it rot some more here in this age?

“That’s news,” Rinaran looked a bit shocked, “aren’t they going to face retaliation from Manwe?”

“I should be able to talk to Ulmo after this is all over,” Cirdan replied, “their help would be a great asset to the fleet.”

“What’s the status of Rotterdam’s forces?” Glorfindel asked, staring at the map of the former United Kingdom and the western part of Europe.   Elrond had told him that in a few days the Reincarnated souls of Eowyn, Eomer, and Merry were going to Paris to try to convince King Theod, Theoden Reincarnated, to send the Parisian Army.  He hoped they were successful as he and Cirdan decided that after London, they were launching an assault on the first of Morgoth’s strongholds, the twin cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

“No sea forces.   Morgoth seems to be using it as a base of land operations to set his eyes on Paris.   The only sea forces he has are in Copenhagen to protect the Shadow Horror City from any attack,” Rinaran replied, pointing out a few dots on a flat screened map they had.   Even though they could have used the latest in mapping technology both Cirdan and Glorfindel preferred flat maps — archaic, but they were effective.

“Good,” Cirdan said before pursing his lips and then he pointed to London before his finger drew an imaginary outline of a path, “we should go through the channel.  My realm has been on good terms with King Theod’s forces we should have safe passage through the former English Channel.  To go from Liverpool and do a land assault would wear down our forces.   We’ll hit it by making Southend-on-Sea our main landing area.”

“That’s the way he’ll be expecting us,” Glorfindel pointed out, wondering what his fellow comrade was getting at.

“I know,” the Teleri replied and he thought he caught a glint in his eyes, but wasn’t too sure.

“There are cliff walls, Cirdan, we won’t have a strong foothold,” Rinaran also pointed out.

“We want to draw out his forces.  Then you, Rinaran, will be leading the air assault to destroy the rest of Saruman’s forces in London,” Cirdan explained and Glorfindel finally got what he was saying.

“”You have submarines, don’t you?” he had suspected that the Shipwright always had submarines, a rare thing in the world considering that the technology was all but obsolete.

“Lord Elrond had always suspected, but I have never let on,” Cirdan grinned, acting a lot younger than what his real age was.  Glorfindel had a feeling that Cirdan was enjoying himself too much ... especially in light that he was able to make good use of his fleet of ships that were one of the most powerful in the world.

“Submarines up the River Thames ... clever,” Rinaran smirked, “while we hit Saruman in the air, he won’t suspect an attack coming from the river.”

“Right.   Since it’s been dug deeper century by century, age by age, submarines would be able to slip right past,” Cirdan replied, “though my lieutenant is in charge of the submarines, both you and him would have to hit London fast.  Otherwise, we would be overrun by Saruman’s forces in Southend-on-Sea.”

“By what initial reports we’ve gathered, there will probably be numerous magical creatures, Balrogs included,” Rinaran said and Glorfindel frowned while Cirdan just nodded, “there are also reports indicating Shadow Elves are there.”

That got both of their attention and he saw the Teleri stiffen a bit before nodding curtly for Rinaran to continue.

“There’s also the possibility that the Witch King or any of the Nazgul that might be there,” Rinaran was giving him an odd look while Cirdan was also staring at him and Glorfindel wondered why.

“What?” he asked, curious, “do I have something growing on me?”  He mentally shook his head as he realized he had been spending too much time around humans, picking up their languages and sarcastic format for speaking.

“General, I mean no disrespect, but have you noticed that every time a Nazgul has shown up in the recent battles, you change,” Rinaran said and he stared at her, puzzled.

“Change?   How?”

“You fight with more power than you’ve displayed in the last few Ages, Glorfindel.   It’s not your magical power that’s increased, but your knowledge and strength that’s increased also,” the Shipwright said in a quiet tone and Glorfindel felt a trickle of worry run down his spine.

He fuzzily remembered his battles, which he knew was odd for him as he had almost perfect photographic memory, but if what his second and Cirdan were saying was true ... could he be possessed and used by Morgoth?  Was he actually coming close to injuring his friends in battle?  Was it similar to what Legolas had been experiencing when he took Sauron’s soul into his own being?   Except, perhaps worst?   After all, Sauron was dead and now it was only Morgoth ... and Morgoth’s servants were the Nazgul.   Could they have casted a spell on him without his knowledge?

There were possibilities, but he shook his head in response to their questions.  “I don’t ... remember,” he answered half-truthfully.   He saw the two of them glance at each other before staring at him.  “What?   It’s bad?”

“No ... no,” Rinaran said in a soothing voice, “it’s just that ... well ... General, I know you’ve rarely read Human literature, but have you even considered the fact that you were the original Glorfindel who was Turgon’s third in command?”

“No,” Glorfindel replied, “he died fighting Balrogs.  I detest Balrogs.   There is no way the two of us are connected.  My father told me I was named in honor of him.”

“Who was your father?”

The golden haired Eldar stared at Cirdan then at Rinaran before he realized that he had no memory of his father.  He couldn’t conjure up any image ... he didn’t know the name of his father ... he ...   No fuzzy memories, nothing.

“I ... don’t ... remember,” he answered truthfully.

* * * * *

The battle plan had been set out and all of the ships moved under the cover of darkness.   Rinaran sat snugly in the cockpit of her fighter jet, the latest in technological advances Elves had made to improve upon the humans’ weapons.  She checked her controls, noting the flight path of the wing she commanded.   Though she was ultimately in command of her own squadron of twelve fighters, she was also a wing commander and therefore had to delegate her attention.

“Obsidian Wing, this is Leader.  Check status of your squadrons and report in,” she clicked on the broadcast frequency throughout her wing.  Clicks of acknowledgement came back to her before she switched back to her own flight’s frequency.   “Call ‘ em Hawk Squadron,” she said over the comm. and the eleven other fighters in her squadron replied over promptly, each one of them sounding confident in their abilities.

“Diablo Flight reports all green,” the leader of Diablo Flight reported and Rinaran grinned.   Tamir was one of her best pilots she had personally trained and had the nickname of El Diablo during his raids back in the skies of World War II, even though that went to a human who was equally as good as he was, but he had named his flight Diablo just to suit his own ego.

“Katana Flight all ready to go,” the leader of Katana Flight was one of the few Swordmaidens in existence as far as Rinaran knew.  And she had never seen Katana Leader’s face.  It was always kept in a shawl or mask whenever she was in public and though that made her worried at times, she knew that Lord Elrond and Glorfindel trusted the leader of Katana Flight and was inclined to follow too even though she had her suspicions.

“Daisy Flight is ready to pick at a few minions!” the cheerful voice of Daisy Leader almost spoiled Rinaran’s mood as she sighed and shook her head.   The leader of Daisy Flight was the insufferable Seileth a Fifth Age elf who fancied himself to be the next Elladan and Elrohir.  A brilliant pilot and charismatic leader, but nonetheless, an insufferable prankster.  Of all the names, he could have chosen for his Flight ...

“Roger Flights.   ETA is about 10 minutes.   Light up your weapons and stick close to the patterns we’ve set.  Stay in contact at all times.  If you go down and are surrounded by enemy forces, signal for help.  Do not try taking on Saruman’s forces without aid.”

Rinaran paused in the middle of her directions and took a deep breath as she saw the glittering lights of London come into a view.  A cloud of darkness and rain along with flashes of lightning flashed all around her cockpit, illuminating the rest of her squadron in a brief moment of ghostly darkness, when all became silent again save for the thundering of water down upon their fighters.

“Whatever happens, we will win.  Whatever happens, Morgoth must not have another ally,” she said in a quiet but firm voice over the comm., knowing that her Flight was preparing for the runs while listening to her.   “Whatever happens, we will win.”

She shut off her comm. and switched to the synchronized count down clock that matched the submarines down in the River Thames, commanded by Itherir, one of Erestor’s sons who had been living in Cirdan’s realm.   She knew that the rest of her flight would do the same as it was in the plan that they would launch a combo attack on London.   Obsidian Flight would hit Saruman’s buildings and the Big Ben which had been grossly malformed and turned into a dark form of Barad-dur while the submarines would attack the land troops.

The numbers counted down and as soon as they hit zero, Rinaran activated her comm. once more, “Katana and Diablo, break formation and hit them with everything you got!   Daisy, pass through the Big Ben!”

She turned the frequency to her squadron, “Let’s give ‘em hell boys and girls.”

A whoop of joy resounded over the comm. before she pulled on her stick and banked her fighter through the clouds and into the blackness of the Grey City.   She set up targeting spells everywhere, pinpointing various magical creatures both in the air and on the ground.   Thumbing the missile launch button on her stick she launched a series of missiles, and grinned as they impacted her targets.  Looping through the claws of a black dragon she banked around and did a quick scan of the rest of her wing and squadron.

So far they were doing all right and she keyed her comm. to her wingman.  “Hawk Two you still with me?”

“Roger, Hawk Lead,” her wingman replied, his voice grim as usual.

“Skim the Thames and hit the fiends down there.  We need to give the subs some breathing room,” she had originally wanted to help Daisy Squadron pass by Big Ben, but a magic flare from the river told her that there were enemy who were trying to make passes at the submarines down in the bottom of the River Thames who were trying to take them out.

“Roger,” the two of them tipped their wings at the same time and dived down towards the dark, blackened river.  All around them were flares of buildings going up in flames, magic hurled at them, and the occasional barrage of missiles that were launched from the hidden submarines in the river.  It was tricky maneuvering, but Rinaran had full confidence in her abilities and that of her wingmate.

She barrel rolled her way past a rising nuclear missile coming out of the water before she Techno-fused her magic on her fighter’s gun barrels and pelted the fiends hanging on the side of the walls and under the bridges with sharp icicles.   By her tail, her wingmate was firing a mix of electric bullets and fire bullets, taking down the fiends she hadn’t with her icicles.

They continued down the River Thames, taking out as many fiends as possible and overhead, the rest of her flight continued to battle in the skies and on the ground.   She could hear some of the screams of her pilots as a few lost their lives, but she didn’t let it bother her as many died in wars — she was used to that already.  She would mourn them later ...

“Commander!” her comm. suddenly burst with the voice of Daisy Leader Seilith, “we’ve breached the Big Ben, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of Saruman the Black!”

“What?” Rinaran pulled up on her stick, pulling away from her Thames trench run and flew towards the Big Ben that was looming ahead of her, dodging and firing at a few of the enemy forces that got in her way.

“Saruman’s not there!” Seilith sounded worried, something the Fifth Age elf almost never displayed.

She cursed underneath her breath.  She knew the wizard had liked to stay in his place of power and rarely came out to campaign his forces ... but if he wasn’t there ... they didn’t have the capacity to land and search the area — that was what Glorfindel and Cirdan’s forces were for ... and plus the place was still too hostile.  She was suddenly dragged out of her thoughts as a horrible screech filled the air and the oppressive feeling of darkness clawed at the edge of her mind.   The Nazgul ... they were here!

“Shit,” she swore before she pulled hard on her stick to avoid the claws of the dark green dragon of the Nazgul that was trying to swipe at her.  However, her wingman wasn’t as lucky and his scream filled her comm. before it was abruptly cut off — just as a fireball flared up behind her.   She turned slightly as she was banking around to see the magical swirl of her former wingman shoot towards the lone Nazgul that was hovering in the air near the Big Ben.

Suddenly another presence filled her mind — it was something familiar yet it was tainted with pure evil that dripped like blood.  The Shadow Elves ...   As she took a quick look at the gaping hole that Daisy Squadron had blew into the twisted Barad-dur she noticed the moving forms of at least a hundred red glowing eyes, elongated faces with sharp knife-like teeth and very long pointed ears.

It was a trap and they had fallen for it.

Saruman was never here ... and she realized where the Black wizard had gone ... to attack the diversionary forces on Southend-on-Sea.   The enemy had realized their plan and had prepared accordingly.  Her comm. suddenly crackled.

“Commander Rinaran, this is Captain Tirilas.  They’ve got the Thames bottled up pretty well.  We can’t retreat back to Southend-on-Sea,” the head of the submarine task force said, the noise full of hissing and static.

“Yeah, we know,” Rinaran replied back as she concentrated on new targets and fired a volley of missiles at them, all the while watching the Nazgul take down some of her wing.   She knew that the Nazgul was picking off each of her pilots with deliberate precision, probably leaving her for last as it must have recognize that she was the wing commander.   The Shadow Elves were also assisting by producing wave after wave of fiends and other dark creatures that took to the sky.  “Shadow Elves are up here ... it’s a walking death trap.  What do you propose?” she could sense that the commander of the subs wanted to do something.

“Some of my submarines will rise and distract them for you.  Blow the barriers that the Shadow Elves set up with their summons and retreat back to Southend-on-Sea,” Tirilas said in a grim voice.

Rinaran raised an eyebrow, “You know you’re going to die, right Captain?”

“Someone has to get us out of here,” Tirilas replied in an indifferent manner, “Don’t worry about us Commander.  We’ll give them hell before we see the light.”

“Roger that,” Rinaran smiled faintly even though she knew that the submarine captain couldn’t see her face, “May your sea battles be won with the fury of Ulmo.”   That was the proper way of addressing a farewell to one of Cirdan’s realm, a Teleri.

“And a good spring from your bow,” Tirilas replied in the proper Swordmaiden terms.

She immediately cut the connection and keyed her comm. to her wing’s frequency, “All squadrons listen up.   We’re going to hit the barrier of creatures holding back the submarines.  Don’t worry anything else, just punch the barrier and mark your heading towards Southend-on-Sea — we’re getting out of this trap.”

A variety of acknowledgements came over her comm. and Rinaran steadied herself for Tirilas’ move.  She hoped that the rest of the taskforce was all right ...

* * * * * *

Author’s Notes: Sorry for the lack of updates, it was because of my hectic first semester of sophomore year that got to me.  I had so much to do and little time to write fics.   But now I have time and RotK to watch, I’m happy as a clam!


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