Chapter 1: Curious meetings
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
This is the extended version of Love’s Death. Will be using the movies more than the books as it has been a while since I read them.
Harry looked over as the door opened and smiled as he recognised the man entering the Prancing Pony. Most of Bree’s inhabitants kept their distance from the Rangers but they made him feel safe for some reason. He ducked into the kitchen and re-emerged with Strider’s usual meal and drink, placing them on the small table before the Ranger who gave him a nod and a few coins. Harry smiled back, shoving his hair out of his eyes as he went to put the money away. It was early and therefore fairly empty other than a few people staying in the rooms above. Harry moved around the room, cleaning tables and generally trying to make the place look clean. He figured without resorting to magic though it would never truly look clean, no matter how much he scrubbed. And he was reluctant to resort to magic; the last thing he wanted was to stand out more than he did.
“That’s an interesting tune.” He nearly hexed Strider when the Ranger spoke, spinning around to face him, cleaning cloth in hand.
“Sir?” He had only heard the man speak once before, the first time they met over a year before when Strider had passed through the town.
“The tune you were humming.” He answered, lighting his pipe and Harry blinked, unaware he had been humming.
Harry ducked his head and shrugged. “Something a friend used to sing.” He had never really been very good at singing the school song.
Strider watched him, hearing the sadness in his voice as the younger man went back to work. He was a hard worker, Strider had never seen him do anything but work when he was in Bree. He was very young and yet his eyes…..they reminded him of the eyes of a Ranger, old before their time. He wondered what tragedy had brought him to Bree for he was not native to the town. In fact he had never heard an accent quite like his before. In these times strangers were people to be wary of and yet……this one did not give him any feeling of wariness, despite the fact he always wore black and kept to the sides when the inn was full. Sure enough as darkness fell and the inn filled the young man withdrew, serving quietly, eyes on the ground.
Harry glanced over at the door when he noticed his employer talking to a small group….and small was right. A group of young hobbits and not locals. Form what he had overheard hobbits weren’t ones for travel and there was something………..darkness hung over one of them and it made his skin crawl.
He quickly served them the food they had ordered and retreated from the main room into the kitchen for a quick drink and then outside for air, leaning against the wall as he breathed deeply. Whatever that feeling was coming from was worse than any Horcrux. Hearing a commotion he ducked back inside to see the Hobbits vanishing up the stairs quickly and the rooms’ occupants muttering about things.
Harry jerked awake, looking around wildly for danger, magic gathering under his skin as he got up and dressed silently. He quickly unwrapped a bundle and settled Gryffindor’s sword at his hip before slipping from his small room at the back of the inn. With the ease of someone used to sneaking through castle passages he made his way through the inn before breaking into a run as he heard a cry of terror. He ran up the stairs to see the black figures in the broken doorway and Strider standing with his sword drawn, protecting the hobbits that had arrived earlier. These figures felt purely evil and Harry didn’t hesitate, his Patronus leaping among them and causing them to screech as they scattered.
Aragorn stared in awe as he saw the young kitchen hand standing in the hallway, green eyes hard and his hand extended, a sword belted at his side. One of the Wraiths lunged and the man ducked away, pulling his sword to counter attack. Aragorn shook his surprise off and went back to the fight, not sure what to think of the silver stag protecting the hobbits. One of the Wraith’s screamed and Aragorn glanced to see the other human pulling his sword from its side. That Wraith quickly fled and the others were less eager to engage the young man. Aragorn grabbed a smouldering torch and thrust it at another and the lot fled.
Harry sheathed his sword and let Prongs fade, panting slightly in exhaustion. In the two years he’d been in Middle Earth he hadn’t had to fight much after the first few months lost in the wilds. “Anyone hurt?” He called, moving closer to the room and finding himself under the wide eyed stared of the hobbits. He gave them a small smiled and then looked at Strider. “Those things haven’t gone far, you need to go. Now.” Harry told him, sensing the creatures outside the town.
Aragorn frowned but nodded and urged the hobbits to gather their things. Their saviour vanished and Aragorn led them from the inn only to find him outside, strapping supplies to a pony. “Who are you?” He asked and green eyes stared at him, in over a year he had never actually heard the others name.
“Hadrian Black. Here.” Hadrian thrust the reins at him and began herding the hobbits through the silent town. Aragorn pulled the pony along, not sure what to think of Hadrian but for now they could use the help. Instead of taking them to the gates he led them to a small gap in the towns walls and then out into the wilderness. Hadrian led them at a fast pace until he eventual stopped, eyes closed as he breathed deeply. “Lost them for now.” He commented and then grabbed a water skin, drinking deeply. “What were those things?” He demanded, turning to Aragorn. Aragorn stared back, not sure what to think of him. He had helped them but for what reason? Was he a servant of the Enemy sent to find Frodo and take the Ring? He could not be Istari, could he?
“Ring Wraith’s. Servants of the Enemy.” He finally answered only for Hadrian to roll his eyes at him.
“Well that tells me nothing.” He muttered before stretching. “You better keep moving. They’re heading East at the moment. Good luck.”
“You’re leaving?” One of the hobbits demanded.
“You should be able to avoid them in the wilderness easily enough and get to wherever you are headed master hobbit.” Hadrian answered.
“But……” Another started only to trail off.
“Whatever you carry, they want it desperately. Do not let them get it.” he warned the dark haired hobbit whose hand went to a small pocket, hiding something behind his hand and Harry knew whatever it was, it was the source of evil he could feel. “Good luck Strider, I hope to see you again at the Prancing Pony.” He turned to leave only to stop when Strider’s hand clamped down on his shoulder.
“You know what Frodo carries?” He demanded and Hadrian shook his head.
“Only that it is great evil and makes my skin crawl.”
“You do not hear its call?” Aragorn pushed and Hadrian again shook his head. He had been tempted all his life and had never given in. He may not be strictly a Light Wizard after the war but he was not Dark either. “What was that light back at the inn?”
Hadrian swallowed, nervous, but answered. “Magic.”
“You are unlike any Wizard I have ever seen.” Aragorn eyed him warily. “How old are you?”
“Nineteen? You’re younger than us!” One of the as yet unnamed hobbits exclaimed and Hadrian smiled slightly. “You should come to Rivendell with us. Gandalf will be there!”
“Thank you but I should get back.”
“Do you have family in Bree?” Frodo asked and they all saw the flash of pain in his eyes.
“My family died long ago.” He admitted softly.
“Pippin may be right; you should come with us Black Wizard.” Aragorn stated, he would feel better if he could keep an eye on him and if he were an enemy Gandalf and Elrond could deal with him.
Hadrian blinked at the title, hesitating but the hobbits swarmed him cheerfully, tugging him on and he gave in. A part of him craving companionship again.
Chapter 2: 2
Aragorn glanced back at the young man curiously as he heard the hobbits laugh. He saw him gesturing with his hands, obviously keeping them entertained with a story of some sort. He wasn’t entirely sure what to think of the young wizard, he was unlike any wizard he had met or heard of. But he had saved them from the Nazgul and gotten them out of Bree unseen. Still, he would stay on guard around him until he could consult with Gandalf and Elrond.
Harry smiled at the antics of Merry and Pippin as they travelled. They were so young and innocent, was he ever like that? Before the war? Harry grabbed Pippin’s shoulders, righting him before he could fall into the still, muddy water face first. It was bad enough to have to wade through without bathing in it.
“Watch your step Pippin, taking a bath in this would not be healthy.” He warned and Pippin nodded. At least he had thought to spell their clothes waterproof before they had entered the marshes. He winced and slapped at a mosquito, apparently wizard and hobbit blood was a delicacy here. He smirked as he saw Strider sneakily kill one that was on his neck, so apparently they liked Ranger blood as well. He was crazy to stay with them, he could feel the darkness around Frodo and the ones tracking them and yet……….something wouldn’t let him leave them no matter how much a part of him wanted to. He had already fought his war, why couldn’t he live in peace now? But he knew better than that, any war in this sort of society would spread and spread quickly. They finally reached firmer ground and set up camp, Strider leaving to hunt down some meat for their meals. Harry got a nice fire started while Sam tended to the pony and the others set out bed rolls. When Strider returned with several rabbits they were soon set to cook in a hearty stew.
They continued on for days before reaching a hill that Strider called Weathertop. “We’ll camp here for tonight.” The Ranger announced before placing a bundle before the hobbits that opened to reveal what for them would be swords. “These are for you, keep them close. I’m going to scout around, Hadrian will you accompany me?” Harry blinked but nodded and headed into the falling darkness with him.
“What is it?” He asked once they were out of earshot of the hobbits.
“Can you still sense our trackers?” strider asked and Harry nodded.
“They’re gaining ground every night. Apparently they don’t need any sleep, or at least a lot less than we do.” He admitted, hand drifting to his sword. “How much farther till wherever we’re headed?”
“Still several days moving as fast as we can.” Strider knelt to inspect something and Harry stood at his back, keeping an eye out for trouble.
“Not good.” He muttered, seeing a light from the hilltop they’d left and then he swore. “They’ve seen the light!” He yelled before taking off at a run for the camp. Strider quickly overtook him and Harry mentally cursed his shorter legs. Yes he had grown but he would never be considered tall like the Ranger in front of him. As they got closer they could hear the hobbits shout and the clash of blades. Harry unleashed his Patronus ahead of them, praying they got there in time.
They burst into the clearing created by the ring of statues and Harry locked blades with one of the wraiths before lashing out and kicking it away, sending a tongue of flame after it. He grinned as it shrieked and stumbled away. He turned to face another and paused as he saw another raising a wicked looking knife over empty air……no there was something there. Frodo! Harry apparated on instinct, appearing over what had to be Frodo, blocking the knife with his sword. “You will not touch him.” He hissed, emerald eyes practically glowing with power. He felt it as a terrified Frodo appeared behind him, sprawled on the ground. “Move Frodo.” He ordered and the hobbit scrambled away, Sam pulling him up. Harry glared at the wraith and then moved but it blocked and soon they were locked in a fight, Harry sensing the darkness on the blade knew getting a wound from it would be a very bad idea. The other wraiths began to retreat as Strider fought them off with his sword and a burning branch, setting several alight. Harry pressed against what appeared to be the lead wraith, fighting furiously but he was still out of practice and cried out in shock as his ankle turned on a rock, sending him down to the hard ground.
“Hadrian!” Frodo screamed as the wraith prepared to end the fight permanently. The hobbit threw himself at the creature, Elven blade in his hand. He stopped the attack on Harry but then screamed as the blade pierced his arm, midway between shoulder and elbow. Harry snarled and lashed out with the full force of his magic, Fiendfyre dancing to his will and the wraith screamed, stumbling away in agony. He caught Frodo as the hobbit collapsed, gasping in sheer agony.
“Stay awake Frodo.” Harry whispered, ripping his sleeve away to see the wound even as Strider knelt beside them.
“A morgul blade.” The Ranger dropped it as it disintegrated. “This is beyond my skills, he needs Elvish medicine.” Strider lifted Frodo and stood up. Harry nodded and stood, with a wave of his hand the camp was packed up and ready for travel. They took off through the night, Harry at the back to ensure the hobbits were safe. Elves………he’d heard of them since arriving and now he would finally get to meet them just not under the best of circumstances. They stopped only briefly, whenever the hobbits could go no further. Strider did what he could for Frodo and Harry tried what he could but he was no healer, the hobbits condition worsened hour by hour.
So Frodo still got stabbed, just in a less deadly spot.
Chapter 3: 3
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Harry moved quickly with Frodo cradled to his chest, taking his turn carrying the too still form. Frodo was pale and cold in his arms despite the blanket wrapped around him, occasionally gasping for air. He seemed to alternate between raging fever and tremors and becoming too cold and still. And they were still three days from Rivendell. He came out into a clearing and blinked, staring at the three large stone….creatures. Seeing the other hobbits panting for air he gently settled Frodo down in the soft grass at the base of one of the statues even as Sam moved over, lifting a torch over them. “Look Mr Frodo, it’s the trolls from Mr Bilbo’s story.” Sam tried to smile and Frodo just wheezed, starting to tremble. “He’s burning up!”
“He’s fading.” Strider stated as he checked him over.
“Fading?” Harry asked.
“Crossing over to be one of them. Sam do you know the Athelas plant?”
“Kingsfoil.” Strider clarified and the hobbit nodded. “It may help slow the poison.” The two moved off to search while Harry gently wiped Frodo down with a cool cloth, gently pushing magic into the wound to try and slow the poison.
“Is he going to die?” Pippin asked and Harry looked over at him, smiling softly.
“We will do everything we can.” He assured him gently. He looked up as Strider and Sam returned with the plant and Strider went to work with it. “Will he make it?” Harry asked and Strider shook his head ever so slightly. At the speed they were going Frodo wouldn’t last long enough. Harry frowned and then swore. “They’re catching up again.”
“Once we cross the river we will be safe, protected by their power.”
“We just have to get there first.” Harry sighed and went to lift Frodo again. “How close are we?” He asked curiously.
“About a day.”
“And it’s the only river around?”
“Yes.” Strider looked at him oddly.
“Okay I should be able to do that.”
“Do what?” Merry asked.
“Without Frodo here they would leave you alone right?” He asked and Strider nodded. “Okay so I’ll get Frodo to the river.”
“Magic. Hope you’re right about the elves protecting though cause it’ll wipe me out.”
“You can get him to the elves?” Strider asked.
“We should be close enough.” Harry agreed. He tightened his hold on Frodo and closed his eyes, he hated apparating blind but Frodo needed help urgently. All he had to do was find the river………with a pop the two vanished much to the shock of the other hobbits and Ranger.
Harry slowly opened his eyes and blinked blurrily at the ceiling above him. Where was he and what had happened? He closed his eyes and mentally went over his conditions, his magic was nearly drained so that explained why he felt so horrible. But how had he drained himself so badly………….Frodo! He jerked upright and groaned, hearing a chuckle. He turned to his head to see an elderly man dressed in grey. “Welcome back young one.”
“Where?” He asked groggily.
“Rivendell, you were found on the borders two days ago.”
“Frodo? Is he alright?”
Gandalf was impressed that his second thought was for the young hobbit and not his own health. “Frodo will live although the wound may always trouble him.” He smiled as the young man relaxed.
“Good, that’s good.” Harry whispered before his eyes closed again in sleep. Gandalf sat back, smoking his pipe thoughtfully as he watched the young man sleep. He didn’t know what to think of him. They’d been found by a patrol not far from the river and brought in for medical aide. They had almost lost Frodo several times but thankfully Lord Elrond had managed to save him. The young man with him seemed to be suffering from exhaustion only which was a little odd. He could feel the power the boy held, Elrond had felt it too and it made them wary and yet….there was something almost familiar about him.
Aragorn led the three hobbits into the elven city, smiling slightly at their wonder as they looked around. From the activity he was hoping that meant Hadrian and Frodo had arrived safely. He felt relieved when he saw Gandalf and his foster father walking towards them.
“Gandalf! Is Mr Frodo alright?” Sam called out when he saw the wizard who smiled at them in return.
“Frodo will be just fine Samwise. He is still resting as is your new friend.” The wizard assured them gently and the hobbits all relaxed.
“I knew Hadrian could do it!” Pippin cheered happily.
“So our young guests name is Hadrian. Where did you find him Estel?” Elrond asked the mortal man he had raised for so long.
“He was a kitchen hand at the Prancing Pony in Bree. He has been there for at least a year.” Aragorn went on to explain what had happened, shocking Elrond even if he managed to hide it. “It’s good that they made it here.”
“Actually a patrol found them both not far past the river. He was unconscious and Frodo was nearly beyond my aide.”
“But they will both recover?”
“Hadrian has already woken once but was still weary. Frodo should wake in the next few days.”
“Hadrian!” He turned and smiled as the three hobbits rushed over, talking excitedly as they surrounded him.
“I’m glad you all made it here safely.” He told them as he sat down on a bench.
“Gandalf said you were resting when we got here.”
“Bringing Frodo took more out of me than I realised it would but I’m alright now.” He assured them.
“Have you seen Frodo?” Merry asked and Harry shook his head.
“I was told he is still unconscious but will be fine. He’ll be up and around before you know it.”
“Then we can go home.”
“So eager to head out again Sam?”
The hobbit shrugged. “We’ve done what Gandalf wanted us to.”
Chapter 4: 4
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Harry sat in the garden and breathed in the fresh air deeply. He knew he wasn’t meant to be out of bed yet but he had been going nuts stuck in bed and with people staring at him. It had become a bit of a game between him and the Healers, he would sneak out and they would try to find him in order to force him back to bed. But he honestly felt fine, his core was almost fully recharged and he had enough of resting. He wanted to enjoy Rivendell for as long as he could, not be tied to a bed. Something made him turn his head and he studied the figure that emerged from the trees, a male elf, tall and ethereal with long hair and a bow slung across his back.
The elf inclined his head. “I apologise for disturbing you.”
“You didn’t. Are you here for the council?” Harry asked since this elf was dressed differently to the locals.
“Yes, I am here to represent Mirkwood.”
“Then you had a long and dangerous journey.” Harry commented as he stood and brushed the grass from his pants. “Maybe I’ll see you later.” He smiled and left the elf alone.
Gandalf observed the young man as he talked and laughed with the hobbits. He was unlike anyone he had ever encountered and yet there was something vaguely familiar about him at the same time. It was very frustrating. His power was incredible to feel and very tightly controlled yet he carried no staff to wield it with. He was an enigma, a powerful puzzle that so far seemed willing to ally himself with them. But what was his motivation for doing so? According to Aragorn he had lived a quiet life in the background for at least a year in Bree but nothing was really known about him before that. His abilities in facing the Ringwraith’s were puzzling but very useful. And it made his being an ally of Sauron’s less likely but still possible. They simply didn’t know enough about the young man to say whose side he would be on in the coming conflict. But there was something………an instinct that told him Hadrian would side with them.
Hadrian sat beside Frodo who smiled happily at him, relieved to have people he knew sitting with him for the Council. For his part Harry had no clue why he had been asked to attend. He glared at the small golden ring when Frodo brought it out and placed it on the pedestal. He could feel the evil emanating from it, reaching out to everyone present and slammed the strongest shields he had into place. He had spent seventeen years fighting another soul for possession of his own body, even if he hadn’t been conscious of the fight, and now without the soul fragment his mental shields were pretty much unbreakable. He felt Frodo flinching back and put a hand on his arm to try and help him stay calm. Watching the Gondorian try and talk them into using the Ring had him shaking his head in disbelief. He agreed with Elrond that it needed to be destroyed. Though he was shocked about the Gondor needing no king thing, Strider was a Prince? He hadn’t seen that coming! Then again there had always been something different about him, even compared to the other Rangers that came to the Prancing Pony. Harry let the various arguments wash over him, focusing on shielding himself and helping Frodo deal with everything. When it was announced the Ring would go to Mordor to be destroyed his heart sank. He knew who would volunteer.
Harry sighed as he stared at the new clothes laid out on his bed. Obviously the seamstress had overheard the teasing hobbits calling him Hadrian the black and assumed that he was like Gandalf. The new clothes were of better quality than anything he had owned since arriving in Middle Earth. The clothes were made from pitch black cloth with decorative stitching in silver. They were stunning and made from durable cloth and closer to what the elves wore than men. He shook his head and finished packing his bag before going to wash up and dress in the new clothes, settling the travelling cloak over his shoulders and sheathing his sword at his waist. He glanced in the mirror and blinked at his reflection, he looked………he looked like a noble or something. Then again he had heard rumours that the Potters were one of the older magical families so maybe in a way he was. He shoulder his pack and headed out the door to meet up with the others, he’d miss the quiet peace of Rivendell but he wouldn’t let the hobbits go without him there to help keep them safe.
Chapter 5: 5
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Harry walked at the back of the group, green eyes alert for any trouble as they travelled. Other than the hobbits dropping back to chat with him he kept to himself, unsure how to act around the group. It had been a long time since he was actually meant to interact with a group and he hated to admit it but he was nervous. The inn had been different, he could just blend into the background as just another worker but here he could feel the others curiosity about him.
He wasn’t used to walking so far but he could tell it was taking an even greater toll on the hobbits with their much shorter legs. Harry grinned and moved up to Frodo before kneeling. “Hop on.”
“I’m too heavy Hadrian.”
“Nonsense.” Harry argued and Frodo sighed but got on, clinging to Harry’s back. He let out a little sound of surprise when Harry stood, showing no effort in taking his weight. Harry laughed and gently tossed him up slightly. “Light as a feather Frodo.”
Gandalf laughed and shook his head, realising it was magic allowing the young man to carry the hobbit so easily. “Light as a Feather indeed Hadrian.”
“What? Hobbits don’t weight a thing.”
“I’m sure the others will agree.” Gandalf looked at Aragorn who approached Sam and then blinked in shock when he found that the hobbit was actually incredibly light. Legolas and Boromir moved to carry Merry and Pippin. The hobbits laughed, enjoying the free ride. Harry smiled as he felt Frodo relax, leaning his head on his shoulder. It didn’t take long for him to fall asleep.
“We’re basically on a suicide mission, aren’t we?” Harry asked softly as he leant against the rock watching the hobbits merrily eat their dinner.
“Oh?” Gandalf raised an eyebrow as he puffed at his pipe.
Harry just stared at him before setting up his bedroll. “I see it every time you look at those four, you don’t think any of us will make it back.”
“The task before us is incredibly dangerous Hadrian. Yes, our odds of survivable are very small but we cannot not lose hope. None of us are bound to go all the way with Frodo.”
“But no one with any integrity is going to leave him.” Harry looked over at Frodo who sat quietly eating while the others chattered.
Harry sighed and curled into his blankets, shutting his eyes to sleep until it was his turn to keep watch.
“Move your feet!” Aragorn called out to Merry and Pippin as they faced off against Boromir.
Harry moved his blade slowly, showing Frodo a series of blocks that the hobbit slowly imitated using Sting. Once he had done that they turned to face each other and Harry attacked, making Frodo put the moves into practice even as he half listened to what Gimli and Gandalf were saying.
Legolas watched the young wizard as he taught Frodo how to fight. He wasn’t bad although he could use some more training with the blade. But he was more than good enough to help the hobbits learn to defend themselves. He glanced up at the sky and frowned, moving away from the group to get a better look.
Harry caught sight of the elf moving away and raised his hand to halt the practice, Frodo turning to look as well. “What is that?” The hobbit asked, making everyone else look, Merry and Pippin letting the two men up to do so.
“Just a wisp of cloud.” Gimli dismissed.
“It’s moving fast and against the wind.” Boromir frowned, shading his eyes with a hand.
“Crebain from Dunland!” Legolas called, turning back to the Fellowship.
“Hide!” Gandalf yelled and Harry grabbed Frodo, yanking him behind a stone, using the bushes for cover. He could feel Frodo trembling as the others scattered.
“It’s okay.” He whispered. “I’ll keep you safe.” Finally the birds were gone and they all moved back into the open.
“Spies of Spies of Saruman.”
“The passage south is being watched.” Aragorn agreed as he began gathering his things, urging the hobbits to do the same.
“We must take the Pass of Caradhras.” Gandalf stated gravely. Harry shivered, snow, great. They gathered there things and began walking towards the massive mountain.
It took them another three days until the path began to slope upwards. The higher they walked the colder it got until they were knee deep in freezing snow and ice. “Snow's all right on a fine morning, but I like to be in bed while it's falling. I wish this lot would go off to Hobbiton! Folk might welcome it there.” Sam muttered as Aragorn steadied him. The others muffled their chuckles as they walked, all envying Legolas as he walked lightly on top of the snow drifts. The snow continued to get deeper until it was up to the chests of the men and then nearly their shoulders. Harry frowned as he noticed Frodo beginning to lag and went to help him only to see him fall and tumble down the mountain past Boromir until Aragorn managed to catch him.
“Are you alright Frodo?” The Ranger asked in concern as he helped the hobbit to his feet. Frodo nodded and then frowned, scrabbling at his shirt only to find the Ring missing. Everyone tensed as Boromir bent down and picked the chain up, the Ring dangling in the weak sunlight. “Boromir give the Ring to Frodo.” Aragorn’s hand went to his sword, pulling it slightly from its sheath. Behind Boromir Harry’s hand was also on his sword as he watched the confrontation.
“It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.” Boromir murmured as if in a daze and Harry tensed.
“Boromir.” Harry growled out and the man blinked, looking back at him and then down at the Ring before holding it out to Frodo and ruffling the hobbits hair. Only then did Aragorn and Harry remove their hands from their swords. Harry watched as Boromir moved past him up the path in concern, he was falling too fast to the influence of the Ring. He looked at Aragorn and saw the same worry in his eyes even as they helped Frodo back up the path.
Chapter 6: 6
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Harry wrapped his cloak tighter as the freezing wind picked up again. Even liberal use of warming charms on their clothes was barely keeping them from freezing as they made their way higher and higher. Legolas had it best with his ability to walk on the snow although it left him even more exposed to the wind than the rest of them. The snow was so deep even Gimli was shorter than the drifts they had to fight through. Gandalf led the way, using his staff to break the path with Aragorn bringing up the rear and making sure no one fell too far behind. Pippin tripped and Harry grabbed his arm, steadying him and pulling him closer to help shelter him. Pippin managed a shaky smile, shivering badly and Harry wished they could carry the hobbits again but even spelled lighter it would be too taxing. So he kept Pippin as close as he could, shielding him from the weather with his own body. Frodo and Sam were protected by Gandalf and to a lesser extent Gimli while Boromir was helping Merry. They finally stopped when the visibility dropped to nearly nothing as night began to fall. With no dry fuel there was not fire but Harry managed to get a rough sort of shelter made up at least for which they were all grateful as they huddled together.
The storm was even worse the next morning but on they trudged, there was no other choice after all. Harry wished for his broom but not even his Firebolt would be able to handle such extreme weather. Frodo pressed close to him as they walked, one hand clutching at his cloak and Harry kept a hand on his shoulder as they walked. Towards the afternoon Harry left Frodo with Aragorn to push forward towards Gandalf. “Hadrian?”
“It’s…something’s off, not just the weather.” He answered; it felt like they were being watched.
Gandalf nodded, he had been feeling it for a while as well. Saruman had to know they were on the mountain; it was their only option with the way south being watched. Would the other wizard attack and try to kill them or drive them into Moria? Or would he wait until they were over the mountain? “We have no choice but to continue.”
“The weather gets any worse and the hobbits won’t be able to handle it.” He warned and Gandalf sighed but nodded even as he paused to catch his breath. Gandalf looked back over the group, taking in the half frozen hobbits. Even Legolas was beginning to look worse for wear.
“There is no other option.” He began to move again and Harry fell back into the middle of the group. They spent the night huddled together for warmth again before setting out as soon as it was light enough to see.
Legolas suddenly moved to the front of the group, a hand up to shield his eyes as he looked around. “There is a fell voice on the air.”
“It's Saruman!” Gandalf called out, moving to stand on the edge of the cliff, staff raised.
“He's trying to bring down the mountain! Gandalf, we must turn back!” Aragorn called as he bundled the hobbits closer to the cliff face, dodging falling snow and ice.
“No!” Gandalf shook his head as he began to chant a counter to Saruman’s spell. Harry shivered and closed his eyes, focusing his own magic in an effort to aide Gandalf but this sort of thing was beyond anything he had ever seen before. He stumbled as the entire mountain seemed to shake. He yelped as someone grabbed him and yanked him down. He opened his eyes and then coughed, choking on snow as they were buried. He shoved at the snow and then felt someone pulling him up. He blinked dazedly at Legolas who quickly brushed the snow from his face.
“Are you injured?” The elf asked and Harry shook his head.
"We must get off the mountain! Make for the Gap of Rohan and take the west road to my city!" Boromir shouted as he pulled Sam from the snow.
"The Gap of Rohan takes us too close to Isengard!" Aragorn answered as he helped Frodo up.
"If we cannot pass over the mountain, let us go under it. Let us go through the mines of Moria."
"Let the Ring bearer decide." Gandalf finally stated softly.
"We cannot stay here! This will be the death of the Hobbits!" Boromir held Merry and Pippin close, the hobbits half frozen.
"Frodo?" Gandalf called and Frodo looked from Gandalf to Harry, scared and confused. Harry shot Gandalf a glare for putting it on Frodo’s shoulders. He gave Frodo a soft encouraging smile even as he put new warming charms on everyone.
Frodo took a deep breath. "We will go through the mines."
“So be it.” Gandalf stated.
Heading back down the mountain was almost harder than going up. Everyone fell several times, except Legolas. The elf moved up and down the line, helping those who fell back up while keeping watch for further danger. Everyone was relieved when they finally got off the mountain and they made camp, enjoying their first warm meal in days. It was wonderful to be able to strip off a few layers of clothes and move around far more freely.
Harry laughed as he chased Pippin around the camp, having been dragged into a game of tag by the hobbits. Legolas and Aragorn watched them as their youngest companions shed the fear and pain of the mountain. “They’re so young.” Legolas murmured.
“Too young.” Aragorn agreed. Yes the hobbits were of age but life in the Shire had done nothing to prepare them for this. And Hadrian…he was also of age but he deserved the quiet life he’d been living in Bree. He felt guilty for pulling the young wizard away from that.
“Get him!” Pippin yelled and the hobbits tackled Hadrian to the ground, the wizard laughing as he half-heartedly tried to get free. Gimli and Boromir laughed at the pile as they re-joined the group, Boromir carrying a few dead rabbits.
It took another two days for the walls of Moria to become visible in the gloom. "Frodo, come and help an old man. How is your shoulder?" Gandalf asked as Frodo moved to walk beside him.
"Better than it was."
"And the Ring? You feel its power growing, don't you? I've felt it too. You must be careful now. Evil will be drawn to you from outside the Fellowship. And, I fear, from within."
"Who then do I trust?"
"You must trust yourself. Trust your own strengths."
"What do you mean?"
"There are many powers in this world, for Good or for Evil. Some are greater than I am. And against some I have not yet been tested."
"The Walls… of Moria!" Gimli breathed in awe, making the group stop and stare at the towering cliffs. It was an incredible sight. Harry shivered and pulled his cloak closer, he would be glad to get out of the fog even if it was into underground mines. But Gandalf’s reluctance to come had him on edge. What could be here that was worse than the mountain?
Chapter 7: 7
Disclaimer: Not mine.
And we’re heading for Moria where things will really start changing from cannon.
“You have seen war.” Aragorn commented as the two walked together, Legolas listening from further ahead as the group made their way closer to Moria.
“What of it?” Hadrian asked tightly, pulling his black cloak tighter.
“Other than Gandalf the Istari generally keep apart from conflict.” Aragorn told him and Hadrian laughed.
“Then it must be better to be a wizard here than back home. My people were at war before I was born and I was a leader in that war by the time I was a teenager. I have killed and nearly died myself more times than I can count. I am no innocent child, despite appearing the youngest, if you don’t count the hobbits.”
“Your parents allowed you to have such a part in a war?” Legolas asked, turning slightly to see them.
“My parents were killed when I was barely a year old. The relatives I was left on the door of would have killed me themselves if they could have. I was magical and they weren’t, therefore I was a ‘freak’ in their eyes.” Hadrian snapped, bitterness and pain coating his words. Legolas turned back around unsure how to react to that revelation and Aragorn place a comforting hand on the young wizards shoulder.
“Being different to others does not make you a freak Hadrian.” The Ranger stated and Hadrian shrugged, moving ahead of them and closer to Gandalf and Frodo. They had to walk single file towards where the doors should be since the lake had obviously expanded over the years and the water was very close to the stone walls.
Harry stared at the black water as he edged past, something was done there. He shivered as he ‘saw’ for the first time in almost a year. There was no way he would be disturbing that water!! That thing looked like some sort of Kraken but with more tentacles. He grabbed Pippin before he could throw a single stone in and shook his head. “Do not disturb the water.” He warned the hobbits only to mentally groan as Boromir slipped and ended up ankle deep in it for a few seconds. Great. “Okay we need to get those doors open.”
“Hadrian?” Gandalf asked.
“There’s something very hungry in that water and Boromir just woke it up.”
“How do you know?” Legolas asked and Harry turned to look at him.
“I Saw it.”
“Saw?” Legolas stared at him and then his eyes widened. “You have the Sight like many of my kin?” That was a big shock. Hadrian just shrugged, to him it was no big deal, he’d been dealing with it for several years now and it wasn’t always reliable. What he saw was always accurate but the ability was sporadic, he had gone a year without seeing anything after all. He moved past the elf to join Gandalf in studying the closed doors. Legolas found himself watching the two wizards while Aragorn and Sam freed the pony to hopefully make her way safely back to Rivendell.
Harry kept a hand on Frodo’s shoulder as they made their way deeper into the mines. He doubted very much they wound find any living dwarves within, only the creatures that had killed them. He was keeping an eye on Frodo’s sword but so far it was not glowing. The veins of mithril in the walls were interesting to see and explained why the dwarves had wanted to reclaim the kingdom so badly but Harry doubted it would ever happen. This place seriously gave him the creeps, it was a hundred times worse than Snape’s dungeons. He tugged his cloak closer to try and keep the damp out even as he gave Pippin a helpful shove up to the next stair. Who made staircases that were basically vertical? They eventually made their way to the top and Gandalf hesitated in front of the three way split in the path, obviously unsure.
“I have no memory of this place.” The older wizard stated and Harry sat on a bit of rock, Pippin leaning against him tiredly.
Harry pulled out some food, Aragorn doing the same and they passed it around. It wasn’t all that pleasant cold but they couldn’t risk a fire, it was too visible. Harry whispered a spell and three small balls of blue flame shot off down the three available paths. Gandalf looked at him and he shrugged, it was better than picking one at total random. He half listened to Gandalf and Frodo talking about the being that was following them now. It had started shortly after they had entered the mines but had not attacked so he wasn’t too worried about it. The three balls soon returned and Harry closed his eyes as he took what they had learned. “That way.” He pointed at the correct tunnel and Gandalf nodded in agreement so the group gathered their gear. They were soon moving down the tunnel, their way lit by the light of Gandalf’s staff. They walked for hours before finding a small area to spend the ‘night’ in. Harry curled up in his bedroll, leaning against the rock wall as he stared into the darkness, he shivered in the damp cool.
Legolas moved closer as he noticed the shovers wracking the wizard’s slender frame. He pulled his blanket out and draped it over slim shoulders, receiving a surprised yet grateful look.
“Thank you.” Hadrian whispered and Legolas nodded, shifting ever so slightly. “I guess elves don’t like being underground anymore than I do.” That surprised him, most people wouldn’t have detected his discomfort.
“No we do not. My home is in the forest and while the trees block out a lot of the sky it is still open air.”
“I understand that. I do not like places like this, I can stand them but not comfortably.” Hadrian told him. Legolas sat down beside him and to his surprise Hadrian moved closer, sharing body heat.
“Perhaps if there wasn’t the constant thought of there being orcs around we would like it more?” Legolas suggested with a small smile and Hadrian laughed softly.
“Yeah, constant threat of imminent death does put a damper on things but don’t worry. You’ll make it out of here alive.” Hadrian told him and Legolas stared at him. “I’ve seen it. Only one will fall here and it is not you.”
“And you?” Legolas asked worriedly and Hadrian smiled again though this one was sadder.
“Fate will not give up her favourite toy so soon.” He whispered bitterly and Legolas frowned in confusion. “There’s something here, something powerful and dangerous.”
“Close by?” The elf asked in alarm but Hadrian shook his head.
“Deeper in the mines and sleeping for now. So we better not wale it up.”
Chapter 8: 8
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Harry caught Sam as the poor hobbit tripped over a skeleton lying in the corridor they were walking down. At least Gandalf was sure about where they were gong still, he did not fancy getting lost under the mountains. The silent, empty halls made him shiver, they should be filled with life and light as dwarves went about their lives. How many had come to try and reclaim their ancient home and now lay dead around them? They came out of the corridor into what felt like a massive room and the light from Gandalf’s staff increased, revealing gigantic stone pillars lining the cavernous room. It was incredible! He looked around in awe but then started as Gimli let out a noise of grief and darted into a small side room. The rest of the company followed to find Gimli kneeling in front of a massive stone sarcophagus. “Here lies Balin, son of Fundin, Lord of Moria.” Gandalf read the dwarven writing even as Gimli sobbed. Harry bowed his head in a silent prayer for the dead and then moved to scout around the room, it was obvious the surviving dwarves had made their last stand in the room.
“We need to move on, we cannot afford to linger.” Boromir murmured, looking around nervously. The room would only serve to trap them if they were discovered inside. Instead of answering Gandalf gently pried an old book from the skeletal hand of one of the fallen and flipped to the last pages, reading aloud the horror they had lived. None of them noticed Pippin reaching out to touch the skeleton that rested on what appeared to be an old open shaft until it began to fall. Harry reacted to the noise, instantly silently and they all waited, frozen in fear, for any sign that it had been heard. Nothing happened after several seconds and they all relaxed.
“Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time and save us all some trouble.” Gandalf snapped and Pippin flinched slightly, looking down. “We make for the bridge of Khazad-dûm, quickly.” He urged and they fled the room, Legolas and Aragorn pulling Gimli to his feet to run. They moved as quickly as they could considering the hobbits shorter legs and made it onto a crumbling staircase before the sound of drums began to reverberate through the stone halls. “Run!” They dashed madly down the stairs even as several arrows flew through the air towards them. Legolas quickly returned fire, covering the others even as they reached a break in the stairs that they had to jump. Legolas leapt across easily and Gandalf followed, the elf steading him. Boromir swept a hobbit up under each arm and threw himself across the gap before Aragorn tossed poor Sam after them. He went to help Gimli who pulled away and readied himself to jump.
“No one tosses a dwarf.” He growled before jumping and he almost made it too except the edge where his foot landed crumpled and he began to fall back only for Boromir to grab him. “Not the beard!” He cried in dismay even as he was pulled to safety. Harry couldn’t help chuckling before he nimbly jumped across and then moved to check the hobbits, leaving Aragorn and Frodo on the other section. They were preparing to jump when they all felt it, the slight tremor running through the stairs. The next was stronger and Aragorn waisted no more time, throwing them both across the gap and to the safety of the rest of the company. As they continued to run orcs began spilling out of the darkness even as the temperature began to rise and the tremors increase.
“Gandalf?” Harry called and the other Wizard looked at him, obvious worry in his eyes.
“We must reach the bridge.” Was all he said though and Harry nodded, sending out a wave of magic to knock away several of their attackers, clearing more space for them to run. He glanced back and swore as he saw the shadowy flame creeping along the walls behind them.
“Run faster!” Harry yelled and Gandalf too glanced back, fear and determination in his eyes as the bridge came into view.
Legolas ran swiftly across and then moved to fire back at the approaching hoards even as Boromir and Aragorn pushed the hobbits onto the narrow bridge before following them across, Gimli right behind them.
“Get them out.” Gandalf demanded and Harry frowned before his eyes widened.
“Do as I say! This foe is beyond any of you.” Gandalf gripped his arm tightly. “Keep them safe Hadrian.” Then he pushed the younger wizard onto the bridge. Harry stumbled across, knowing what Gandalf had planned. Legolas grabbed Harry as he stumbled near the end of the bridge, helping him onto wider ground and then they looked to find Gandalf standing mid-way across.
“What is it?” Frodo asked nervously as the flames came closer and Legolas gasped in horror as the being was revealed.
“A Balrog.” The elf whispered.
“Durin’s Bane.” Gimli gasped.
“Gandalf!” Frodo screamed when the wizard stood his ground against the approaching danger.
“You cannot pass," he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.” Gandalf cried, sword in one hand and staff in the other. Harry stared with wide eyes at the sight, he could feel the power pouring off the older wizard and now he could also see the ring he wore. This was power the likes Tom would have given anything to have and yet Gandalf’s magic felt safe and warm even when wielded in an attack. He winced as the whip cracked down but was blocked by a shield of white light. “You shall not pass!” With that Gandalf slammed his staff down on the bridge even as the Balrog stepped out onto it fully. For a second nothing seemed to happen and then the bridge crumpled, sending the Balrog tumbling down into nothing. They all relaxed and Gandalf turned to join them.
“Look out!” Harry screamed as he saw the movement that was too swift for any but Legolas to spot. He instinctively tried to shield the other wizard and cried out, falling back into Legolas’ arms at the backlash from the fiery whip even as it tore through his shield to wrap around Gandalf’s ankle. The wizard’s legs went out from under him and he fell over the edge, barely managing to grab onto the ledge of stone. Harry stared at him, horrified at what was happening and Gandalf stared back.
“Fly you fools.” And with that Gandalf the Grey was gone.
So a small change to Moria in that it took longer for them to be attacked but Gandalf needs to become Gandalf the White so he had to fall.
Chapter 9: 9
Disclaimer: Not mine
Harry collapsed on the rocks, fighting to get his breath back even as he heard Pippin and Merry crying in grief. A hand rested on his shoulder and he looked up to find Legolas standing over him. He gave a shaky smile and the elf nodded, kneeling beside him. “Are you hurt?”
“No, just exhausted.” Harry assured him, leaning against him. Legolas nodded and let him do so, figuring that Harry had worn himself out using magic to help them escape.
“Get them up!” Aragorn’s voice made them both look over at the Ranger.
“Let them rest for pity’s sake.” Boromir argued and Harry got up, letting Legolas steady him, even as he looked around for Frodo and Sam since they were silent. He spotted Sam sitting on the rocks, silent tears falling. He finally spotted Frodo a fair distance away with his back to them.
“By night these hills will be crawling with orcs. Get them up.” Aragorn answered and Harry moved away from Legolas and towards Frodo.
“Come on Frodo, we need to keep going.” He murmured as he walked up to the hobbit.
“I know.” Harry whispered, pulling Frodo into a hug and feeling him cling to him, shivering from the cold and grief. “Come on.” He said after a while, guiding him back to the others, finding that they were all ready to go. Soon they were running with Aragorn and Legolas scouting ahead. An hour or so before the sun set they reached the edge of a large forest and slowed. They moved cautiously into the trees, Harry, Boromir and Gimli sticking close to the hobbits. Harry listened with half an ear as Gimli told them about a so-called witch elf but then frowned as he felt a powerful mind brush his mental shields. He tightened them reflexively and his hand went to his sword. He saw Frodo stumble and then instinct shouted a warning. He drew his sword and turned, blade coming to rest against an arrow. They were surrounded.
Harry sat beneath a tree, eyes closed as he soaked up the peaceful atmosphere. He had needed some time alone. He wasn’t used to being with so many people all the time anymore. Meeting Lady Galadriel had been….interesting to say the least. His shields had kept her out but he knew she had touched the others mind’s, he had felt it and seen their reactions. Though none of them had spoken about what she had said to them. He pulled the slender chain he always wore out of his shirt and looked down at the ring hanging from it, gently touching the cracked stone set within. He had never worn the ring, despite it technically being a family heirloom, just like his father’s cloak and a certain wand. Not like the ring worked in this world, he had tried calling his parents or Dumbledore shortly after he had arrived but no one had answered his calls. He sighed and let the ring drop, letting his head fall back against the tree again. He felt lost, even with the quest giving him a purpose again. “Gandalf told me of you Hadrian the Black.” His eyes shot open and he looked over at the elf as she walked towards him.
“That’s nice.” He shrugged and stayed where he was.
“You are unlike any man I have ever met.”
“Because I can keep you out of my head? Sorry but no one is ever getting in here again.” He growled at her, feeling his inner beast stir. It had been a while since his animagus’ instincts had come through so strongly. He knew she was one of the good guys but she just made him uncomfortable.
“Does it call to you?”
Harry snorted. “It’s a piece of tin with delusions of grandeur. It can offer nothing I want so it has no way to tempt me. Does it tempt you?” He asked but then shook his head on seeing she was already good. Maybe she reminded him of Dumbledore and that was what had him on edge?
Harry accepted the cloak and settled it over his black coat, while nowhere near the ability of his father’s cloak being able to blend in could come in handy, especially for the others. He watched as everyone was given a gift and then accepted the small cloth bag, slipping it into a pocket. He’d missed pockets and making some in his new clothes had been an…interesting experience. But he didn’t like various pouches attached to his belt. With the goodbyes done he joined Sam and Pippin in one of the boats, smiling as they gasped when it began moving on its own. It would be too hard to paddle with the differences in size and strength between them. “Harry?”
“Is….is it my fault Gandalf’s gone?”
Harry frowned, not that the hobbit could see it. “Why would you think that?”
“I knocked the skeleton done the well.”
“That could have happened to any of us. We would have been found at some point, there were far too many orcs in Moria for us to go unnoticed the whole way. Gandalf chose to stay on the bridge and face the Balrog, you didn’t make him do that, no one did.” He assured the troubled hobbit. It was weird having to give such advice to someone older than him but Gandalf had told him about how peaceful hobbits were, they had never had to face such tragedies. “Besides, I’m not calling Gandalf dead till I see the body; he’s too wily to die that easily.”
Harry lay on the bank, empty stew bowl beside him as he listened to the hobbits chatter amongst themselves. Tomorrow they would reach the falls and there was a steadily growing pit of dread in his stomach over that fact. Something was not right. He glanced over as Legolas reclined beside him, soaking up the heat of the fire. “You sense it to.” The elf stated and Harry tilted his head. “There is evil on this side of the river as well and it grows closer every hour.”
“That’d explain the pit of dread in my stomach over tomorrow.” Harry agreed. “Do you know what it is?”
“No, it is not orcs or goblins, I can sense that much.”
“So a new threat, wonderful.” He glanced over at the hobbits and bit back a sigh.
“The Ring is draining him faster than expected.” Legolas whispered when he saw where Harry was looking at Sam trying to get Frodo to eat.
“I have been doing what I can to try and shield him from it but it is getting stronger the closer we get to Mordor.”
“He will make it.” Legolas stated and Harry smiled.
“Even if I have to carry him.” He agreed.
“You should get some sleep, you have second watch. I will wake you for it.”
“Thanks.” Harry curled up in his cloak and cast a warming charm over the camp before falling asleep. He knew he would need his strength for the next day.
Chapter 10: ch10
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Harry finished helping to drag the boats ashore and looked over at the hobbits as they began preparing camp.
“We cross the lake at nightfall. Hide the boats and continue on foot. We approach Mordor from the north.” Aragorn told them as he put his pack down.
“Oh, yes?! It’s just a simple matter of finding our way through Emyn Muil? An impassable labyrinth of razor sharp rocks! And after that, it gets even better!” Gimli declared much to Pippin’s alarm. “Festering, stinking marshlands far as the eye can see!”
“That is our road. I suggest you take some rest and recover your strength Master Dwarf.”
“Recover my…?! Grrrrrr.” Gimli turned his back on the Ranger, muttering and Harry bit back a laugh.
“We should leave now.” Legolas argued and Harry stood, moving over to the two.
“No. Orcs patrol the eastern shore. We must wait for cover of darkness.”
“It is not the eastern shore that worries me. A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind. Something draws near… I can feel it!”
“Legolas is right Aragorn, something isn’t right here. We need to move on quickly.” Harry agreed with the elf, whatever was coming towards them was evil. Aragorn seemed to be considering it thankfully.
“Where’s Frodo?” Merry’s alarmed question had them looking around wildly for the ring bearer.
“Where’s Boromir?” Harry demanded when he didn’t spot the Gondorian immediately. Soon they were all running through the underbrush searching for their missing members. “Boromir!” Harry yelled as he saw the man on the ground. He knelt beside him and found he was crying. “What happened?”
“I tried…I am such a fool.” He muttered and Harry ran a hand through his hair in agitation.
“You tried to take the Ring from Frodo.” He stated flatly.
“What have I done?” He asked desperately and Harry sighed before offering him a hand.
“Come on, get up. We need to find the others.” Harry suddenly dropped, an arrow sailing through where his head had been. “On second thought, staying down might be good.” He grumbled even as his hand went to his sword. “Split up and find the hobbits before they get themselves killed.” Boromir nodded and the two vanished in the undergrowth.
Minutes later Harry grabbed Frodo, a hand over his mouth to keep him silent. “Quiet.” He hissed in his ear, feeling the hobbit relax as he recognised his voice. He could feel Frodo trembling and loosened his hold some. “It’s okay; I won’t let them get you.” He murmured, pulling Frodo further back into the shadows.
“I know. You need to get back to camp and hide, alright?” Frodo nodded shakily. “I’ll come for you once the fight is done. Go now.” He gave Frodo a gentle push in the right direction before leaping from cover to hack several Uruk-hai to pieces. He took off running after some more as he heard the horn of Gondor sounding nearby. What he found had him snarling in rage, magic boiling beneath his skin. Boromir still stood but with three arrows in him even as he weakly fought on to protect Merry and Pippin. As he fell to his knees the two hobbits were grabbed and a single Uruk-hai armed with a bow approached him even as the others ran off with their captives. But the last arrow never landed as Harry lashed out with his magic, the creature falling dead as its innards burst from its body. Harry dropped to his knees beside Boromir, torn. If he stayed to heal the man the Uruk-hai would get away, but if he went after the hobbits Boromir would die. “Hold on you two.” He muttered as he made his choice, pulling the arrows from the man’s body even as he poured healing magic into the many wounds.
“Frodo….the hobbits…they took…”
“I know, now hush and let me work. We’ll get them back once you’re up and ready to fight.” Harry promised; sweat pouring down his face as he fought against death.
Aragorn held Legolas and Gimli back as he took in what was happening. He knew enough to never interrupt a healer unless called to do so and it looked like Harry was struggling without them breaking his concentration. But when Harry collapsed onto Boromir Legolas lept forward to check on him, gently lifting the wizard off of the other male. To their amazement there was very little left of the mortal wounds Boromir had suffered barely minutes ago. Aragorn and Gimli helped the shocked man to his feet and then supported him as they made their way back to the river while Legolas carried Harry. To their dismay they found no sign of Frodo or Sam, just a missing boat and supplies. Legolas gently settled Harry down on an abandoned bedroll before looking towards the eastern shore.
“Hurry! Frodo and Sam have reached the eastern shore.” The elf called as his keen eyes spotted the missing boat pulled up on shore. Aragorn stood still, looking towards the shore on the other side, seeing the two Hobbits running into the forest. He said nothing but sighed sadly and Legolas stares at him, suddenly understanding. “You mean not to follow them.”
“Frodo’s fate is no longer in our hands.” The Ranger admitted sadly, he had meant what he said to Frodo, he would have followed him into Mordor itself.
“Then it has all been in vain! The Fellowship has failed.” Gimli dismayed.
“It is my fault.” Boromir admitted, looking away.
“Not if we hold true to each other. We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to torment and death. Not while we have strength left. Leave all that can be spared behind. We travel light. Let’s hunt some orc!” Aragorn grinned as he tightened various pieces of leather armour before grabbing a dagger and Gimli grinned, tightening his grip on his axe.
“Yes!! Haha!” The dwarf laughed even as Legolas smiled and swiftly gather necessities before once again picking up the still unconscious wizard.
Boromir was slower to move, gazing across the water to where the hobbits had vanished. “Forgive me Frodo.” He whispered before moving back into the forest after the others. He could not help Frodo anymore but he could save the young hobbits kinsmen.
And here we have a big cannon divergence. Boromir lives!
Chapter 11: ch11
Disclaimer: Not mine.
I got a review asking if this is slash, if you look at the characters in the summary you will notice that Harry and Legolas are in brackets which means pairing.
The first thing Harry became aware of was a pounding headache. Then it was the strange feeling of movement. He pried open his eyes and found himself staring at blonde hair and a bit of green cloth. He groaned as his head swam, he could feel his magic struggling to recover from a pretty massive drain.
Legolas stopped running at the sound and gently lowered Hadrian to the ground only to see green eyes opened to slits. “Can you hear me Hadrian?” He asked gently. The others paused in their run and made their way back to see what was happening, worried about the young wizard. They were utterly relieved to see that he was somewhat awake now.
“Head.” He mumbled and Aragorn knelt beside him, pulling out some herbs and a waterskin. He added the herbs to the water and then pressed it to Hadrian’s lips.
“Drink this, it will help the pain.” He urged and Harry obeyed, closing his eyes again against the light. His core was refilling but he wished it would hurry up so he could do something about his headache.
The herbs helped relatively quickly and he looked around in confusion. Hadn’t they been next to a river and amongst trees? “Where?”
“We are following the Uruks who took Merry and Pippin. Legolas has been carrying you for the last two days.”
Oh, well that was embarrassing. He glanced at the elf who simply smiled slightly at him. “Better get moving then.” He took a deep breath and sat up, his head swimming for a second but then his magic surged as his core finally finished refilling. His headache faded completely so he stood up and stretched. He saw Boromir standing back and smiled at him. “Good to see you alive and well.”
“Thanks to you. I owe you”
“Nothing. We are companions and I hope friends, I did what anyone would do.” Harry assured him and the man looked like he would protest before bowing slightly.
“Are you sure you can run?” Legolas asked and Harry nodded.
“Only reason I was out so long was my magic was drained. Now that it’s back to normal I will be fine.” He assured him. Legolas nodded and they moved off. While Harry could run he hung back with Gimli in order to conserve his strength as well as keep him company and watch their backs. They ran for days, barely stopping for rest and eating on the move. Soon it was taking a toll on Boromir, the Gondorian unused to such extended running. Gimli too was flagging some despite the famed stamina of the dwarves, like he said they were natural sprinters and not made for long cross country runs. Harry’s legs would be burning if not for his magic and a childhood spent running from first his cousin and then Voldemort and his merry bunch. Legolas and Aragorn made it look so easy. They days blended together until they finally reached the borders of Rohan.
“Rohan. Home of the Horse-lords. There is something strange at work here. Some evil gives speed to these creatures. Sets its will against us.” Aragorn murmured as he stared out at the hills and plains. The group began making their way down the rocks. “Legolas! What do you Elf-eyes see?”
“The Uruks turn northeast. They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!” The elf finally answered as he stared into the distance.
“Saruman.” Boromir whispered, sharing a worried look with Aragorn. They quickly ate some lembas and drank from their dwindling water supplies. After a short rest they were off again, after all they could not risk falling further behind when they were finally gaining on them. They did not stop that night to rest but kept going, hoping to finally gain on them.
“The red sun rises, blood has been spilled this night.” Legolas stated as they came to a stop in a wide, green valley.
Aragorn bent down to place his ear to the ground. He heard horses, stood up and gestured for the others to follow him in hiding behind a rock. They crouched there and waited until a large group of riders in green thundered past. Aragorn stood and moved from cover. “Riders of Rohan, What news from the mark?” He yelled out. The horsemen turned as one and then moved to surround them, their spears aimed at the Company.
“What business does an elf, a dwarf and men have in the Riddermark? Speak quickly!” One of the Rider’s demanded.
“Your name horse master and I shall give you mine.” Gimli stated.
“I would cut off your head, dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground.” Éomer smirked until Legolas drew his bow and aimed at him.
“You would die before your stroke fell.”
“I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, this is Boromir of Gondor, and Hadrian son of James. Our other companions are Gimli son of Gloin, and Legolas of the woodland realm. We are friends of Rohan, and of Théoden your King.”
“Théoden no longer recognizes friend from foe.” Éomer removed his helmet. “Not even his own kin.” He nodded and the riders raised their spears. “Saruman has poisoned the mind of the King and claimed lordship over his lands. My company are those loyal to Rohan, and for that we are banished. The white wizard is cunning. He walks here and there they say, as an old man, hooded and cloaked, and everywhere his spies slip past our nets.”
“We are no spies. We track a party of Uruk-Hai westward across the plain in aide of two more Companions.” Boromir moved forward and Éomer inclined his head to him. As children of Nobility they had met before many times.
“The Uruks are destroyed, we slaughtered them during the night.” Éomer answered him.
“But there were two hobbits. Did you see two hobbits with them?” Gimli pleaded, not wanting to believe they could possibly be dead.
“They would be small, maybe like children to your eyes.” Harry added in an effort to jog the man’s memory.
“We left none alive. We piled the carcasses and burned them.” Was the now sad reply.
“Dead?” Gimli whispered in disbelief.
Éomer nodded. “I am sorry.” Legolas put his hand on Gimli’s shoulder in comfort. Harry closed his eyes in grief even as Boromir put a hand on his shoulder, still worried for the young wizards’ health. Éomer whistled sharply. “Hasufel, Arod, Moroch.” Three riderless horses moved forward and Harry wanted to laugh when he spotted the pitch black one. “May these horses bear you to better fortune than their former masters. Farewell. Look for your friends, but do not trust to hope. It is forsaken in these lands.” He told them sadly before looking to his own riders. “We ride north!” he commanded and the group quickly moved on.
Legolas and Gimli were soon mounted on Arod while Harry eyed Moroch. He had never actually ridden a normal horse. Thestral, sure, even a hippogriff, but no horses. Aragron moved to mount Hasufel, leaving Boromir and Harry to ride double as the heaviest and lightest riders left of the group. Boromir swiftly hefted Harry onto the saddle, laughing when he squeaked indignantly, before mounting behind him. Harry shot him a glare before settling in for the ride. They quickly rode on towards the edges of Fangorn Forest where they dismounted upon finding the remains of the fires set by the riders of Rohan. Gimli began digging through the pile of corpses with the end of his axe until he dug something out. “It’s one of their wee belts.” He choked out. Harry frowned and looked around, he didn’t believe the hobbits were dead and he could feel something…..strange. They were being watched. “We failed them.”
Legolas bowed his head in grief. “Hiro hyn hîdh ab ‘wanath.” ‘May they find peace after death’ Harry mentally translated from the lessons Legolas had given him on the language.
Aragorn yelled and kicked one of the scattered helmets before falling to his knees. But then he frowned and looked closer at the ground, seeing tracks. “A hobbit lay here, and the other. They crawled. Their hands were bound.” Aragorn moved on and found the remains of rope. “Their bonds were cut. They ran over here. They were followed. The tracks lead away from the battle, into Fangorn Forest.” He stared in horror at the trees.
“Fangorn Forest, what madness drove them in there?” Gimli asked in horror.
“Doesn’t matter, if they went in then we have to as well.” Harry answered and Legolas nodded, eyeing the trees. They felt older than those of his home and though not evil they did feel angry.
“Agreed.” Aragorn looked at the group who all finally nodded in agreement. They would follow the hobbits trail to the end.
Chapter 12: 12
Disclaimer: Not mine
Harry followed the others into the Forrest, unable to shake the feeling of being watched. His magic was almost tingling in anticipation and his hand was close to his sword. Gimli had a tight hold on his axe even as the trees groaned and Boromir chuckled. “Might want to lower your axe Gimli. They might take it as a threat.” He warned and Gimli lowered the weapon a bit to their amusement.
“The air is so close in here.” The dwarf complained.
“This forest is old. Very old. Full of memory and anger. The trees are speaking to each other.” Legolas commented and Harry looked over at him.
“They have feelings my friend. The Elves began it. Waking up the trees, teaching them to speak.”
“Talking trees. What do trees have to talk about? Except the consistency of squirrel droppings?” Gimli grumbled and Harry bit his lip in an effort not to laugh even as Aragorn shook his head. “Aragorn, nad no ennas!” Something’s out there.
“Man cenich?” What do you see?
“The White Wizard Approaches.” The elf breathed and they all tensed, hands moving to their weapons.
“Do not let him speak, he will put a spell on us.” He drew his sword even as Legolas nocked an arrow. “We must be quick.”
Harry shivered and Legolas glanced at him in concern. “Hadrian?”
“I don’t know, there’s something…familiar.” He admitted even as he drew his sword. “Almost like…” Green eyes went wide in shocked hope. “Gandalf?” He called hesitantly and they all looked at him in shock even as white light filled the clearing. Harry’s magic flared in response and Legolas gasped as it washed through him, warming him from the inside. The two magic’s clashed and then wrapped around each other in greeting.
“Gandalf? Yes, that was what they used to call me.” A familiar voice pondered even as the light faded to reveal familiar yet changed features. “Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.”
“Gandalf.” Gimli dropped to a knee in shock and awe.
“I am Gandalf the White, and I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.”
“I thought you were Saruman, forgive me.” Legolas put his arrow away.
“I am Saruman. Or rather, Saruman as he should have been. Hadrian feels it, don’t you?” He asked and Harry nodded.
“You fell.” Aragorn argued weakly.
“Through fire, and water. On the lowest dungeon, on the highest peak I fought him, the Balrog of Morgoth. Until at last I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountainside. Darkness took me and I strayed out of thought and time. The stars field of end, and every day was as long as a life age on the earth. But it was not the end. I felt life in me again. I’ve been sent back until my task is done.” He explained even as he walked closer to them, smiling gently at the young wizard. He now knew the truth about Hadrian and pitied the pair of them for what would one day happen to them. “Pippin and Merry are fine, their fate is no longer in our hands. One stage of your journey is over, another begins. War has come to Rohan, we must ride to Edoras with all speed.”
“Edoras? That is no short distance!” Gimli argued.
“We hear of trouble in Rohan. It goes ill with the king.” Boromir commented and Gandalf looked at him before nodding, feeling the darkness that had followed him was gone now.
“Yes, and it will not be easily cured.”
“Then we have run all this way for nothing? Are we to leave those poor Hobbits here in this horrid, dark, dank, tree-infested –“ Angry groans came from the trees at his words and he swallowed, shifting his hold on his axe. “I mean, charming, quite charming forest.”
“It was more than mere chance that brought Merry and Pippin to Fangorn. A great power has been sleeping here for many long years. The coming of Merry and Pippin will be like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains.”
“In one thing you have not changed, dear friend.” Aragorn commented.
“You still speak in riddles.” They both laughed at that.
“A thing is about to happen that has not happened since the Elder Days. The ents are going to wake up … and find that they are strong.” Gandalf looked around at the trees as they walked and Harry shivered, shifting closer to Legolas, he could feel it as well and it reminded him a little too much of the Forbidden Forrest.
“Strong?! Oh, that’s good.”
“So stop your fretting, Master Dwarf. Merry and Pippin are quite safe. In fact, they are far safer than you are about to be.”
“This new Gandalf’s more grumpy than the old one.” Gimli mumbled to Harry who laughed slightly. They finally emerged from the trees to find their horses waiting patiently for them and then Gandalf whistled. They waited in confusion and then heard a horse neigh. A white horse appeared running across the plain.
“That is one of the mearas unless my eyes are cheated by some spell.” Legolas whispered in awe.
“Shadowfax. He’s the lord of all horses and has been my friend through many dangers.” Gandalf stroked the white neck and then mounted easily. The others did the same, Legolas helping Gimli and Boromir helping Harry and then they were off across the plains, heading for the Golden Hall.
Harry dozed off, trusting Boromir to not let him fall from the saddle. As he slept his magic roamed the world freely until it latched onto the protective spells placed on two small hobbits. Frodo sighed in his sleep, relaxing as some of the weight he carried briefly lifted from his heart as the spells were recharged. His magic skimmed over another two, closer, hobbits, cheering them up before moving amongst the group on horseback. Legolas smiled as he felt it, knowing it was Hadrian’s way of making sure they were all safe.
“The veiling shadow that glowers in the east takes shape. Sauron will suffer no rival. From the summit of Barad-dûr, his Eye watches ceaselessly. But he is not so mighty yet that he is above fear. Doubt ever gnaws at him. The rumour has reached him. The heir of Númenor still lives.” Gandalf whispered to Aragorn as they travelled. “Sauron fears you, Aragorn. He fears what you may become. And so he’ll strike hard and fast at the world of Men. He will use his puppet, Saruman, to destroy Rohan. War is coming. Rohan must defend itself, and therein lies our first challenge for Rohan is weak and ready to fall. The king’s mind is enslaved, it’s an old device of Saruman’s. His hold over King Théoden is now very strong. Sauron and Saruman are tightening the noose. But for all their cunning we have one advantage. The Ring remains hidden. And that we should seek to destroy it has not yet entered their darkest dreams. And so the weapon of the enemy is moving towards Mordor in the hands of a Hobbit. Each day brings it closer to the fires of Mount Doom. We must trust now in Frodo. Everything depends upon speed and the secrecy of his quest. Do not regret your decision to leave him. Frodo must finish this task alone.” Gandalf assured him.
“He’s not alone. Sam went with him.”
“Did he? Did he indeed? Good. Yes, very good.” Gandalf smiled, pleased by the news. He had been wondering where the young gardener was. They rode for hours and Harry finally stirred as they approached the large hill. “Edoras, and the Golden Hall of Meduseld. There dwells Théoden, King of Rohan, whose mind is over thrown. Saruman’s hold over King Théoden is now very strong. Be careful what you say. Do not look for welcome here.” The white wizard warned. They slowed their horses, giving them all a chance to take a good long look at the home of the Horse Lords. The town was probably grand once but now it felt run down as they rode through the gates. People scurried around fearfully, keeping their heads down and it was something Harry recognised from the war.
“You’d find more cheer in a graveyard.” Gimli murmured from behind Legolas and the elf nodded slightly, remembering similar scenes from over sixty years ago from a town on a lake. They reached the base of the stairs to the hall and dismounted before walking up the stairs.
“Ah.” Gandalf leant on his staff as three men emerged from the hall to meet them.
“I cannot allow you before Théoden King so armed, Gandalf Grayhame by order of Grima Wormtongue.” Hama told them apologetically and Gandalf nodded to the group so they began disarming themselves. “Your staff.”
“Oh, no. You would not part an old man from his walking stick?” Háma grimaced and gave a slight nod then turned to lead them into the hall. Gandalf winked at Aragorn.
“My lord, Gandalf the Grey is coming.” Grima whispered to the king as they entered the hall, the doors closing behind them. “He’s a herald of woe.”
“The courtesy of your hall has somewhat lessened of late Théoden King.” Gandalf called out even as the others spread out a bit, seeing the soldiers behind the pillars.
“He’s not welcome.”
“Why should I welcome you, Gandalf Stormcrow?” Theoden asked croakily.
“A just question my liege. Late is the hour in which this conjuror chooses to appear. Lark spell I name him, ill news is an ill guest.” Grima snapped.
“Be silent. Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crude words with a witless worm.”
“His staff. I told you to take the wizards staff.” Grima backed away and motioned the soldiers forward. The Fellowship quickly moved to intercept them and keep them away from Gandalf. Harry tripped one and then cracked a platter over his head, knocking him out. Háma held back Gamling from joining.
Gandalf continued forward as if nothing was going on. “Théoden son of Thengel. Too long have you sat in the shadows.”
“I would stay still if I were you.” Gimli snarled as he put a foot on Grima’s chest.
“Harken to me.” Théoden grimaced and let out a slight growl. Gandalf raised his hand. “I release you from this spell.”
“Hahahahaahaha. Hahahahahahah. You have no power here Gandalf the Grey.” Theoden continued to laugh until Gandalf threw off his grey cloak, revealing the white cloak beneath and Theoden screamed. “I will draw you Saruman as poison is drawn from a wound.” Théoden slammed back against the throne, Gandalf pointing his staff at him. Éowyn entered the throne room and tried to run to Théoden, but Aragorn grabbed her.
“Wait.” He whispered, holding her gently.
“If I go, Théoden dies.” Theoden snarled but it was not really him speaking.
Gandalf again threw him back against the throne with his staff. “You could not kill me, you will not kill him.”
“Rohan is mine.” Gandalf threw him against the throne again. “Be gone.” Théoden screamed and lunged at Gandalf, he hit Théoden with the staff. Saruman slid across the floor in Orthanc. Théoden moaned and slid down in the chair. Aragorn let Éowyn go and she ran over and caught Théoden, she put him back up in the throne. His face began to change back into the younger Théoden. Éowyn smiled at him.
“I know your face. Éowyn. Éowyn. Gandalf?” The King straightened in his chair, looking around.
“Breathe the free air again my friend.”
“Dark have been my dreams of late.” He murmured, looking down at his hands.
“Your fingers would remember their old strength better if they grasped your sword.” The wizard offered and Háma approached with Théoden’s sword. Theoden stared at it and then slowly took it, gripping it tight.
Grima attempted to slide away since no one appeared to be paying attention but Gimli grabbed him and Harry smirked at the slimy man as he held him at stolen knife point. “Not going somewhere are you?” The young wizard asked.
Théoden looked at his sword, then to Grima who was cowering on the floor between the dwarf and human young man. Theoden looked at his men who moved forward to grab the cowering traitor, Gimli and Harry moving back. They dragged him from the hall and threw him down the stairs.
“I’ve only ever served you my lord.” Grima simpered.
“Your witchcraft would have had me crawling on all fours like a beast.”
“Send me not from your sight.” He begged.
Théoden raised his sword to strike but Aragorn stopped him. “No, my lord. No my lord. Let him go. Enough blood has been spilt on his account.” Aragorn offered a hand to Grima to help him up.
Grima spat into Aragorn’s palm and got up, running through the crowd. “Get out of my way!”
“Hail Théoden King!” Aragorn cried. The Rohirrim bow to Théoden, Grima rode away from Edoras. Aragorn bowed to Théoden.
Théoden turned around and looks at the people from the hall. “Where is Théodred? Where is my son?”
Harry sat on the step and watched, shaking slightly. He nearly jumped when a hand came to rest on his shoulder, looking up to find Legolas looking down at him in concern. “Hadrian?”
“You’re trembling. Are you hurt?”
Harry shook his head. “It’s…I…what happened in there. I…it happened to me once but just for a few minutes.” He choked and Legolas’ eyes went wide. He quickly moved to sit beside the wizard and Harry leant against him. “I’ll never forget it and he won’t either. You can’t forget something like that.”
“It is over Hadrian, both you and Theoden are safe.” The elf soothed and Harry clung to him. Boromir glanced over from where he was talking to the King and frowned in concern but Legolas shook his head slightly, knowing Hadrian wouldn’t want attention drawn to him right now. They sat on the step in the shadows of the hall and Legolas offered what comfort he could while Hadrian remembered.
Chapter 13: ch13
Disclaimer: Not mine
Harry stood silently as the coffin slowly travelled up the path towards the hill. He could see the King with his head bowed in grief, Gandalf just behind him. Éowyn sang softly, voice breaking from her grief even as the wind blew her veil around her face. Harry stared at the coffin and felt…nothing, he hadn’t known the young man who lay within it. Maybe he’d just seen one to many people die. He felt a hand brush his and knew it was Legolas standing just to his right. Once the funeral was done they drifted back to the city, leaving the King and Gandalf to talk beside the now sealed grave.
“Are you alright Hadrian?”
“I’m fine Legolas. Just one too many funerals I think.” The elf nodded and stayed close until they were in the hall before steering him to a seat and getting him a mug of warm ale. Harry grimaced but drank it slowly, knowing he needed the warmth. Legolas sat beside him and Boromir joined them with bowls of stew and bread. The whole hall was sombre, grieving for their Prince.
They all looked up as Gandalf and Théoden waked inside, Gandalf carrying a young boy while a girl clung to the king’s side.
Éowyn rushed over to help with the children, talking softly to them even as she settled them at a table and retrieved food. “They had no warning, they were unarmed. Now the wildmen are moving through the westfold, burning as they go. Rick, cot, and tree.
“Where is mamma?”
“Shh.” Éowyn covered her shoulders with a blanket.
“This is but a taste of the terror Saruman will unleash. All the more potent for he is driven mad by fear of Sauron. Ride out and meet him head on. Draw him away from your women and children. You must fight.”
“You have two thousand good men riding north as we speak. Éomer is loyal to you. His men will return and fight for their King.” Aragorn offered.
“They will be three hundred leagues from here by now. Éomer cannot help us. I know what it is you want of me, but I will not bring further death to my people. I will not risk open war.”
“Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.”
“When I last looked, Théoden, not Aragorn, was King of Rohan.”
“Then what is the King’s decision?”
Harry quickly gathered some provisions and then turned to find Legolas watching him. “I’ll be fine Legolas, it makes sense for me to go after them.”
“I know. Just be careful my friend.”
Harry smiled at him. “I will be. I’ll find Éomer and we’ll be at Helm’s Deep before you know it.”
“You shouldn’t go alone.”
“I’ll be faster on my own, magic remember?”
“Just try and avoid Saruman’s army.” Legolas teased and Harry laughed.
“I will see you soon.” He briefly squeezed Legolas’ hand and then slipped out of the hall, Legolas watched him vanish into the crowds of scared people. He didn’t like Harry going alone but there was nothing he could do.
“I am ready Gamling. Bring my horse.” Gamling nodded and went to leave. Théoden looked at him. “This is not a defeat.” Gamling turned around. “We will return.” Gamling bowed and left the room. “We will return.” He whispered, watching as people around him hurried to gather what they needed.
Éowyn took a sword out of a chest, unsheathed it and looked at it; she began to swing it around, practicing. Aragorn walked up behind her and as she turned with the sword he brought his knife up to block it. “You have some skill with a blade.”
She swung the sword around, releasing Aragorn’s block and pointed the sword at him. “Women of this country learned long ago those without swords can still die upon them.” She sheathed the sword. “I fear neither death nor pain.”
“What do you fear my lady?”
“A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them. And all chance of valour has gone beyond recall or desire.” She answered softly as she placed the sword back in the chest.
Aragorn shook his head. “You’re a daughter of Kings. A shield maiden of Rohan. I do not think that will be your fate.” He bowed to her and left. She watched him go, surprised by his words.
A lone fox ran across the fields or Rohan, strange green eyes taking in everything around it even as it ran faster than any fox should be able to and maintain the speed. Every now and then he stopped to scent around before taking off again. The scent was growing stronger by the mile. A few hours later the fox blurred, becoming a man who ran swiftly towards the campfires he could see until he was challenged by a guard.
Éomer stared at the young man in surprise, recognising him from the group that had been searching for the ‘hobbits’ back at Fangorn. How had he gotten here so fast?
“Mr. Frodo?” Sam crawled after him to the edge, staring over at the mass of men below. “Who are they?”
“Wicked men. Servants of Sauron. They are called to Mordor. The dark one’s gathering all armies to him. It won’t be long now, he will soon be ready.”
“Ready to do what?”
“To make his war. The last war that will cover all the world in shadow.”
“We’ve got to get moving. Come on Sam.” Frodo started to get up to leave.
“Mr. Frodo, look! It’s an Oliphaunt. No one at home will believe this.” They watched as the Oliphaunts ambled into view. They heard the strange whistle again, louder. Gollum slunk away while they were distracted.
“Sméagol?” Frodo looked around in confusion even as arrows began to fly and the soldiers fell. Hooded archers were all around them. The Oliphaunts panicked as arrows hit them and they wildly ran, one got really close to Sam and Frodo, dropping a rider, who fell right behind them, scaring them badly. “We have lingered here too long.” He got up and took a few steps away, Sam hadn’t moved. “Come on Sam.” Frodo turned back around and ran into one of the hooded archers, getting thrown to the ground.
Sam saw and drew his sword, charging. “Ai!” He was caught by another cloaked archer, his sword taken as he was knocked down. The hooded archer that caught Frodo threw him to the ground. A sword was drawn to Sam’s neck. Frodo scrambled up again, only to be pushed back to the ground. “Wait! We’re innocent travellers!”
“There are no travellers in this land. Only servants of the Dark Tower.”
“We are bound to an errand of secrecy. Those that claim to oppose the enemy would do well not to hinder us.
“The enemy?” Faramir walked toward the fallen soldier and turned the body so his face could be seen. “His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem.” Faramir stared down on the soldier’s face, his own face full of pondering. “You wonder what his name is, where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home? If he would not rather have stayed there … in peace.” He turned on his heel back to his men. “War will make corpses of us all. Bind their hands.”
Harry sat behind Éomer as his horse raced across the country, praying they would be in time. He knew the group were alright, he could still feel them all. But what about everyone else from Rohan? Had the battle started yet?
Chapter 14: 14
Disclaimer: not mine
Elven script comes from a movie transcript site so sorry if it’s not entirely accurate.
Legolas looked around Helm’s Deep, curious but also needing to check the defences which were impressive. But every place had its weaknesses, even if no one knew about them. Saruman had access to the King’s mind plus that traitor for how long? No, if anyone knew of a weakness it would be the White Wizard. Besides searching kept his mind of Harry and the danger the wizard may be in as he searched for Éomer. Boromir and Aragorn were with Theoden in the hall, working on troop distribution along the walls and he wasn’t sure where Gimli or Gandalf were at the moment. He could practically feel the fear coming from the people around him and he didn’t like it, he didn’t like war. He had been born after the Last Alliance and the battle against Sauron, something he was thankful for, the only real war he had seen had been at the foot of the Lonely Mountain. Even now he wished he could have done more for Thorin there than toss him a sword before searching for Tauriel. Tauriel…he had once imagined he would marry her but that dream had ended long ago when he had seen her cradling the dead Dwarven Prince in her arms as she cried. That had been the last time he had seen her, she had never returned to Mirkwood. He didn’t even know if she lived or not. And now…. now there was Harry. His Father definitely would not approve of his growing feelings for the Wizard, after all there would be no heirs. Then again his Father would like the prestige and power of having a Wizard within the Royal Family.
Legolas shook his head, clearing his mind as he continued to patrol, he could not afford to think of such things with battle so close. He finally concluded his search but was empty handed, he could find no weakness within the fortress other than the wooden gates and the top of the walls. He headed for the armoury to replenish his arrows and found Aragorn and Gimli already there. “Farmers, farriers, stable boys. These are no soldiers.” The Ranger looked around at the others in the armoury.
“Most have seen too many winters.”
“Or too few.” Legolas agreed softly as he began gathering arrows. They looked around at the men and boys, all looking pale and scared. “Look at them. They're frightened. I can see it in their eyes.” Everyone stopped and turned to look at him, Aragorn included. “Boe a hyn: neled herain dan caer menig!” (And they should be... Three hundred against ten thousand!)
“Si beriathar hyn ammaeg na ned Edoras.” (They have more hope of defending themselves here than at Edoras.) Aragorn stood and confronted him.
“Aragorn, nedin dagor hen -'erir... ortheri. Natha daged dhaer!” (Aragorn, they cannot win this fight. They are all going to die!) Legolas fought the urge to yell at his friend.
“Then I shall die as one of them!” Aragorn yelled, glaring at Legolas who glared back before the Ranger walked off even as Boromir walked in.
“Let him go, lad. Let him be.” Gimli grabbed Legolas’ arm and Boromir frowned.
“What did I miss?” The Prince asked in confusion and Gimli shook his head.
Harry sat around the smaller campfire with Éomer, as the ate their dinner. As much as they both wanted to ride through the night to Helms Deep they knew it would be no good to show up with exhausted men and horses. “How did one so young come to travel with such a group?”
Harry chuckled. “I was working at the Prancing Pony in Bree till Aragorn showed up with a group of Hobbits and the Ringwraith’s showed up. Before that I had seen battle of the magical kind. Not the same as one with swords and horses maybe but still deadly.”
“You are not the normal Wizard are you?”
Harry laughed at that. “I don’t think I’ve ever been normal.”
“Get some sleep, we move out at dawn.”
“Move! Move to the outer wall.” A soldier shouted and Aragorn shifted out of the way as he checked his gear while sitting on the steps outside the great hall. He glanced over at the nearby fire and spotted two boys talking. “Give me your sword.” He called out and the boy hesitantly approached and then handed it over. “What is your name?”
“Haleth, son of Hama, my lord. The men are saying we will not live out the night. They say that it is hopeless.”
Aragorn sighed and stood up, he held the sword out and swung it around experimentally. “This is a good sword.” He handed the sword back. “Haleth, son of Hama...there is always hope.” He put a hand on the boys’ shoulder and gave him a small smile. The boy nodded and went to re-join his friend at the fire. Aragorn watched the activity around him before heading back to the armoury to prepare. He searched through the gear before finding what he needed. He slipped on the chain mail shirt and then redressed over it before seeing Legolas beside him, holding out his sword.
“We have trusted you this far. You have not led us astray. Forgive me. I was wrong to despair.”
“Moe edaved, Legolas.” (There is nothing to forgive, Legolas.) They smiled and then turned at the noise as Gimli approached, struggling with a chainmail shirt.
“We had time, I'd get this adjusted.” He let the shirt drop and it fell to the ground, Legolas smothers a laugh at the site. “It's a little tight across the chest.”
Aragorn and Legolas grinned at each other, being tight was far from the only problem with the mail. Suddenly they heard a horn sounding and froze, was the army already there? “That is no Orc horn.” Legolas’ eyes widened in shock before he ran from the room with Aragorn following. They found Boromir on the wall with the other soldiers.
“Send for the king. Open the gate!” Boromir commanded.
“Open up the gate!”
A large elven army marched through the gates, passing the men who smiled happily. Theoden walked down the steps towards them, and saw that Haldir was leading them in bright golden armour. The King was in shock, how had they known to come? “How is this possible?”
Haldir approached him and then bowed. “I bring word from Elrond of Rivendell. An alliance once existed between Elves and Men. Long ago we fought and died together.” He saw the Fellowship and smiled. “We come to honour that allegiance.”
Aragorn ran down and hugged Haldir. “You are most welcome.” As Legolas hugged Haldir the elves swiftly turned towards him and stood to attention in the presence of an Elven Prince.
“We are proud to fight alongside Men once more.” Haldir smiled and bowed again as Gandalf joined them, the Wizard smiling at the sight of the army.
“Welcome Haldir, we can use all the help we can find.” The Wizard stated.
“You could have picked a better spot.” Gimli complained as he tried to see over the wall. Aragorn and Boromir walked through the elves along the wall to stop between Legolas and Gimli. “Well, lad, whatever luck you live by, let's hope it lasts the night.”
“Your friends are with you, Aragorn.”
“Let's hope they last the night.”
“Are all dwarves so pessimistic?” Boromir asked as he took a place and prepared his bow. Gimli huffed even as Aragorn moved away, smiling slightly. Lighting flashed and thunder rumbled through the skies, and rain started to fall. The Uruk-hai armies drew closer. The women and crying children in the caves could hear their advancing footsteps and looked up in fear. As the Uruk-hai reached Helms Deep, an Uruk captain stood on a rock and raised his hand.
“A Eruch�n, �-dano i faelas a hyn an uben tanatha le faelas!” (Show them no mercy! For you shall receive none!) Aragorn yelled to the elves as he checked they were ready. The Uruk Captain raised his hand and signalled for the Uruk to stop moving forward.
Gimli jumped up and down, trying to see over the wall. “What's happening out there?”
“Shall I describe it to you? Or would you like me to find you a box?” Legolas teased and Gimli laughed. Legolas closed his eyes briefly, happy that Harry was well away from this and yet also praying he returned soon with Éomer.
The Uruk-hai began stamping their spears on the ground in unison and beating their chests. Aragorn took out his sword and held it in front of him. The men loaded their bows and drew them back, ready to fire. An old man lost his grip on his arrow and it shot an Uruk in the neck. Aragorn held his hand up. “Dartho!” (Hold!)
The Uruk fell to the ground dead. The others growled ferociously. The Captain Uruk thrust forward his scimitar and shouted and the Uruk-hai advanced upon Helm's Deep at a run.
Theoden stood watching with his men and Gandalf. “So it begins.”
“Tangado a chadad!” (Prepare to fire!) the elves loaded and aimed their bows in reaction to Aragorn’s order.
“Faeg i-varv d�n na lanc a nu ranc.” (Their armor is weak at the neck and beneath the arm.) Legolas told those standing around him even as he took aim.
“Leithio i philinn!” (Release the arrows!)
“Did they hit anything?” Gimli asked as the first volley ceased.
“Give them a volley.” Theoden commanded.
“Fire!” Gamling shouted to the human archers.
More arrows hit the Uruks killing many. Aragorn raised his sword to the elves on the ground behind the Deeping Wall. “Ribed bant!” (Full volley!)
“Send them to me! Come on!”
The Uruks began to fire at the elves with their cross-bows, killing some. Other Uruks set ladders against the Deeping Wall
“Good.” Gimli readied his axe.
The bezerker Uruks were raised on the ends of the ladders as they were pushed to the top of the Wall. “Swords! Swords!” Aragorn yelled and the elves unsheathed their blades. “Legolas! Two already!” Gimli shouted as he buried his axe in one of the Uruks.
“I'm on 17!” Legolas grinned at his friend.
“I'll have no pointy-ear outscoring me!” He yelled and then killed another.
“Nineteen!” Was his only response to that.
They continued to fight and kill the Uruks. Aragorn pushed down one ladder, which fell and killed many of the Uruks still on the ground in front of the wall. But it seemed that for every one they killed, three took its place.
Harry shivered as he clung to Éomer as the Prince’s horse ran across the ground. “IT’s started!” He called and he felt the horse pick up more speed if that was possible. The weather was horrible and the night would soon be far too dark for travel but they pushed on. Their people needed them.
Gimli stood on top of the Deeping Wall swinging his axe and killing Uruks with each sweep as they climbed up the ladders to the top of the wall. “Seventeen! Eighteen! Nineteen! Twenty! Twenty-one!” He counted aloud as he worked.
A pack of Uruk-hai advanced up the causeway towards the Main Gates, shielded by their shields on their backs and at the front of the group. Aragorn suddenly noticed them and rushed through the elves pointing to them. “Causeway!” The elves turned to fire arrows at them, and the ones at the side of the group fell away dead, the shields not covering them enough to stop the elven arrows.
“Is this it? Is this is all you can conjure, Saruman?” Theoden murmured and Gandalf shook his head, this wasn’t right. There had to be something else.
A huge metal spiked ball was carried roughly by two Uruk-hai and placed under the wall next to the sluice gates. Another pair carry another ball. The way was cleared and a bezerker ran through, holding a lit torch. Aragorn suddenly noticed him and shouted to Legolas. “Togo hon dad, Legolas!” (Bring him down, Legolas!) Legolas took aim with his arrow and shot the bezerker in the shoulder, but it did not stop him. “Dago hon! Dago hon!” (Kill him! Kill him!)
Legolas shot another arrow into his other shoulder, but the bezerker dived into the sluice. There was a moment of silence and then the bombs exploded, demolishing the wall, masonry flies everywhere. Theoden looked over in shock. As masonry flew around, Aragorn was hit and collapsed to the ground. Gimli took a hit from the masonry and landed in the water, unconscious. Gandalf unsheathed his sword and left the King’s side, Aragorn could not die here. As the Uruk-hai ran through the gap in the wall, water rushed through it. The pack of Uruk-hai advancing on the Gate had grown and were close to the Gate. Theoden suddenly noticed them even as other Uruks barge through the pack with a massive ram. “Brace the gate!” He commanded and soldiers rushed to the back of the Gate and braced themselves as the Uruks rammed the gate. Other men lifted up their barricades and threw rocks and spears at the Uruks. “Hold them! Stand firm!”
As the Uruks streamed through the gap in the wall, Aragorn came round and shook his head. Gimli, sitting up, still on the top of the wall, noticed him, as Uruks were running towards him. “Aragorn!” Gimli ran and leapt into the pack of spear laden Uruks from the top of the wall even as Gandalf reached the downed Ranger and pulled him to his feet.
“Gimli!” Aragorn called in alarm even as he straightened to stand unaided.
Gimli survived the jump and stood in the pool of water in the gap of the wall and began to kill Uruks as they advanced, but he was thrown backwards by one and landed under the water, the Uruk-hai ran over him. Aragorn raised his sword, gesturing to the elves still behind him. “Hado i philinn!” (Release arrows!) Gandalf tapped his staff on the ground and a group of the Uruks fell as the ground shook beneath their feet even as others fell to the elven arrows. “Herio!” (Charge!) He raced towards the Uruks with Gandalf beside him, the elves behind them. Legolas grabbed an abandoned shield and threw it down on the stairs before leaping on top of it, sliding easily down the stairs even as he fired arrows at the Uruks around where Gimli had gone down. Gimli finally surfaced and Aragorn grabbed him, dragging him to safety.
Unseen by the combatants below a line of horseman appeared on the ridge and stared down at the carnage. “The wall is breached but the keep still holds.” Éomer felt relief at that, the battle was not lost. “Rohirrim!” He raised his sword in the air and felt Harry tighten his grip but free one arm. The Rohirrim rode up behind Éomer, filling the ridgeline even more. The Uruk-hai stopped fighting and looked up.
“Éomer.” Theoden whispered, smiling slightly at the sight of his nephew and his men.
“To the king!” Éomer called.
Éomer, Harry and the Rohirrim rode down the steep hill towards the Uruks who surged forward, holding their spears in front of them. As they neared the Uruks Harry sent out a bright white light, blinding the Uruk-hai. They rode over the Uruk-hai and into their masses, killing and fighting. As they neared the walls Harry dropped from the horse, pulling his sword to fight with blade and magic until he reached Aragorn. “Started without us?” He asked and the Ranger laughed.
“I am glad you made it.” He admitted even as the odds turned slightly more in their favour with the addition of fresher troops. Harry grinned and then made his way to Gandalf, the two discussing things for a bit before they moved to the walls. Harry took a deep breath and steadied himself, he’d never done something like this before. He glanced at Gandalf and relaxed a little before lowering his shields to release his magic fully. Gandalf began to chant and Harry closed his eyes, listening to the words before joining in.
Legolas looked up to the wall where the two Wizards were standing. Blue eyes widened in awe as he saw the magic swirling around them before being unleashed upon the Uruks, driving them back. Shouts of joy went up among the soldiers as they rallied to drive the enemy from Helms Deep. Joy turned to alarm as Harry waved before collapsing and Legolas leapt up to the wall, running to his side, relieved to find he was alive. He scooped him up and ran for the Keep, setting him down on an empty cot. He hesitated at his side before forcing himself to leave and re-join the fight. With whatever magic the two Wizards had cast it was if the walls were back despite still being in rubble, not allowing the enemy to cross. But they still needed to be killed or driven off further or else they were trapped in the fort. So it was a shocking relief when two days later a forest appeared on the horizon, a forest that hated the Uruks and worked to kill them.
He joined the other members of the Fellowship on the wall along with Gandalf, Theoden and Haldir to watch in relief as the remaining Uruks were wiped out. Harry still slept safely within the keep, magically and physical exhausted. Gandalf didn’t look much better but for now they could rest.
Chapter 15: ch15
Disclaimer: not mine
“Where did the trees come from?”
Legolas turned and smiled at the young wizard, relieved to see him awake. “Fangorn Forest.” He answered as Hadrian moved to stand beside him on the wall. “Are you well?”
“I’m fine Legolas, that spell took a lot of magic, that’s all. So I’m guessing we won.”
“Yes, those that were left the trees took care of.”
After dealing with the whomping willow Harry didn’t doubt tress could stop an army. Gandalf approached and Harry looked to the older wizard. “What now?”
“Sauron’s wrath will be terrible, his retribution swift. The battle of Helm’s Deep is over. The battle for Middle-Earth is about to begin. All our hopes now lie with two little Hobbits… somewhere in the wilderness.” He sighed and leant on his staff. “We must deal with another matter now. Saruman must be questioned.”
“Will the trees allow us passage to Isengard?” Legolas asked and Gandalf nodded.
“I feel like I’m back at the Green Dragon.” Pippin leant back, smoking his pipe happily.
“Green Dragon.” Merry agreed.
“A mug of ale in my hand. Putting my feet up on a settle after a hard day’s work.”
“Only, you’ve never done a hard day’s work.” Both laughed even as merry leapt to his feet as the horseman approached. “Welcome, my lords, to Isengard!” He pointed to Orthanc.
“You young rascals! A merry hunt you’ve led us on, and now we find you, feasting and… smoking!” Gimli grumbled and Pippin laughed.
“We are sitting on a field of victory, enjoying a few well-earned comforts. The salted pork is particularly good.”
Gandalf shook his head. “Hobbits.”
“We’re under orders, from Treebeard, who’s taken over management of Isengard.” Pippin explained before Aragorn plucked him from the wall and onto his horse, Harry pulling Merry onto his. The group then proceeded to ride through the broken outer wall and approached Treebeard.
“Young Master Gandalf. I’m glad you’ve come. Wood and water, stock and stone I can master. But there is a Wizard to manage here, locked in his tower.”
“Show yourself.” Aragorn whispered.
“Be careful. Even in defeat, Saruman is dangerous.”
“Well, let’s just have his head and be done with it.”
“No. We need him alive. We need him to talk.”
“You have fought many wars and slain many men, Théoden King,” Saruman called before appearing at the top of his tower, “and made peace afterwards. Can we not take counsel together as we once did, my old friend? Can we not have peace, you and I?”
“We shall have peace. We shall have peace when you answer for the burning of the Westfold and the children that lie dead there! We shall have peace when the lives of the soldiers whose bodies were hewn even as they lay dead against the gates of the Hornburg, are avenged! When you hang from a gibbet for the sport of your own crows, we shall have peace.”
“Gibbets and crows? Dotard! What do you want, Gandalf Greyhame? Let me guess. The key of Orthanc. Or perhaps the Keys of Barad-dur itself along with the crowns of the seven kings and the rods of the Five Wizards!”
“Your treachery has already cost many lives. Thousands more are at risk. But you can save them, Saruman. You were deep in the enemy’s counsel.”
“So you have come here for information. I have some for you.” Saruman raised his Palantír and gazed into it. “Something festers in the heart of Middle-Earth. Something that you have failed to see. But the Great Eye has seen it.” He put the Palantír back down. “Even now he presses his advantage. His attack will come soon. You’re all going to die. But you know this, don’t you, Gandalf? You cannot think that this Ranger will ever sit upon the throne of Gondor. This exile, crept from the shadows, will never be crowned king. What do you think of those plans son of the Steward?” he looked at Boromir before his eyes fell on Hadrian. “And this boy clothed in black, he is not one of our number, do you really think the magic’s of another world will help in this battle? Gandalf does not hesitate to sacrifice those closest to him, those he professes to love. Tell me, what words of comfort did you give the Halfling before you sent him to his doom? The path that you have set him on can only lead to death.”
“I’ve heard enough!” Gimli whispered to Legolas. “Shoot him. Stick an arrow in his gob.”
“No. Come down, Saruman, and your life will be spared.”
“Save your pity and your mercy. I have no use for it!” Saruman sent down a giant fire-ball towards Gandalf and Harry. Hadrian threw out his hand and a dome of water surrounded his horse, protecting them. A giant flame surrounded where Gandalf was but when it died down Gandalf was surrounded by a shield.
“Saruman, your staff is broken.” Gandalf commanded. Saruman’s staff broke in his hands into many pieces. Grima finally made himself known to those below, peering past Saruman who was still shocked by his staff breaking.
“Grima, you need not follow him. You were not always as you are now. You were once a Man of Rohan. Come down.” Théoden called out to him.
“A Man of Rohan? What is the house of Rohan but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek and their brats roll on the floor with the dogs? The victory at Helm’s Deep does not belong to you, Théoden Horse-master. You are a lesser son of greater sires.”
“Grima, come down. Be free of him.” The King ignored Saruman’s words.
“Free? He will never be free.”
“No.” Grima shook his head.
“Get down, cur!” Saruman hit Grima, knocking him down.
“Saruman! You were deep in the enemy’s counsel. Tell us what you know!” Gandalf tried. Grima got up slowly as he drew a small dagger.
“You withdraw your guard, and I will tell you where your doom will be decided. I will not be held prisoner here.”
“More likely you will hide like the coward you are.” Harry spat in anger and Saruman glared at him. But without his staff there was nothing he could do to the much younger wizard.
Grima pounced on Saruman and stabbed him several times. Legolas released an arrow, hitting Grima. Grima winced in pain and fell back, making Saruman plummet off the tower and towards the ground. He landed on top of a spear on one of his own devices. Disgust fell over the faces of several of the riders at the grim sight.
“Send word to all our allies, and to every corner of Middle-Earth that still stands free. The enemy moves against us. We need to know where he will strike.” Gandalf commanded even as the wheel spun, sinking Saruman into the waters. The Palantír fell out of his robe and into the water.
“The filth of Saruman is washing away. Trees will come back to live here. Young trees. Wild trees.”
Pippin spotted an orange glow in the water. He dropped off Aragorn’s horse and waded into the water, picking it up and eyeing it curiously.
“Pippin!” Aragorn called.
“Bless my bark!”
“Peregrin Took! I’ll take that, my lad. Quickly now.” Pippin handed the palantír to Gandalf, who quickly wrapped it in his robe.
“The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the east. A sleepless malice.” Legolas stared out into the distance as Hadrian walked over to him, both had their hoods up against the chill of the night. Harry shifted his hand and Legolas looked down before gently entwining their fingers. “The Eye of the Enemy is moving.” He whispered.
“Because of the battle at Helm’s Deep and Saruman’s death?”
“Perhaps.” The elf agreed and Harry gently tugged him away from the edge, moving into the shadow of the roof to the hall. They sat down together and Harry leant against him. Legolas wrapped an arm around him, enjoying the closeness. “Will you tell me more of your people Hadrian?” he asked and Harry nodded before beginning to speak on the beauty of Hogwarts and the colourful Diagon Alley. Suddenly Legolas sprang to his feet. “He is here!” Hadrian scrambled up after him and they bolted inside. they burst into the room where the others had been sleeping. Hadrian grabbed the palantír away from Pippin and fainted momentarily as the palantír rolled away. Legolas quickly gathered him into his arms even as the wizard stirred before his eyes opened. Gandalf grabbed a cloak and threw it over the palantír.
“Pippin!” Merry cried in terror. Boromir hovered over them, hand on his sword but there was no enemy here he could fight.
“Fool of a Took!” Gandalf snarled, pushing Merry away before bending over Pippin. Pippin looked frozen and shocked. Gandalf chanted something under his breath, while touching Pippin’s forehead. Pippin then awakened and started panting, horrified. “Look at me.”
Pippin cringed. “Gandalf, forgive me.”
“Look at me. What did you see?” Pippin turned away, but Gandalf turned Pippin to face him.
“A tree. There was a white tree. In a courtyard of stone. It was dead.” He whispered. Gandalf saw an image of the Court of the Fountain burning. “The city was burning.”
“Minas Tirith? Is that what you saw?”
“I saw…I saw him! I can hear his voice in my head.”
“And what did you tell him? Speak!” He commanded even as Aragorn knelt beside Hadrian and Legolas, checking on the young wizard who was now sitting up fully.
“He asked me my name. I didn’t answer. He hurt me.” Pippin whimpered.
“What did you tell him about Frodo and the Ring?”
“Tell me what you have seen.” Arwen demanded as she ran up the stairs to where he father was sitting.
Elrond stood in shock. “Arwen.”
“You have the gift of foresight. What did you see?” She came to stand opposite him.
“I looked into your future, and I saw death.” He retook his seat and she knelt at his feet.
“But there is also life. You saw there was a child! You saw my son!” She argued.
“That future is almost gone.” He admitted gloomily.
“But it is not lost.”
“Nothing is certain.”
She reached up to gently touch his face. “Some things are certain. If I leave him now, I will regret it forever. It is time.” She stood and left the room. Arwen walked into the chamber where the shards of Narsil was kept and then into another room where she took a book down and opened it. “From the ashes a fire shall be woken. A light from the shadows shall spring. Renewed shall be blade that was broken. The crownless again shall be king.” She read from the book. “Reforge the sword. Ada.” She pleaded. Elrond didn’t answer and walked away. She sat on a chaise as if exhausted and dropped the book that was in her hands.
Elrond walked in and picked it up. He felt her hands and lowered them down in front of her. “Your hands are cold. The life of the Eldar is leaving you.” He choked out.
“This was my choice. Ada, whether by your will or not, there is no ship now that can bear me hence.” She whispered tearfully.
Elrond was grieved but eventually he nodded and left her to go and gather the shards of the sword and deliver it to the smiths. Two Elven-smiths went to work, reforging Narsil.
Gandalf sat on a balcony smoking. Pippin was in the room just behind him, the armour of the Guards of the Citadel was laid upon his bed. He looked it over. “So I imagine this is just a ceremonial position. I mean, they don’t actually expect me to do any fighting, do they?”
“You’re in the service of the steward now. You’re going to have to do as you’re told, Peregrin Took.” He coughed. Pippin poured a glass of water for Gandalf and brought it to him. “Ridiculous Hobbit. Guard of the Citadel.” His coughs echoed around as Pippin gave him the glass. “Thank you.”
Pippin looked towards the sky. “There’s no more stars. Is it time?”
Pippin walked over to the balcony. “It’s so quiet.”
“It’s the deep breath before the plunge.”
“I don’t want to be in a battle, but waiting on the edge of one I can’t escape is even worse.” Gandalf walked over to stand next to him. “Is there any hope, Gandalf, for Frodo and Sam?”
“There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope. Our Enemy is ready. His full strength gathered. Not only Orcs, but Men as well. Legions of Haradrim from the south. Mercenaries from the coast. All will answer Mordor’s call. This will be the end of Gondor as we know it. Here the hammer-stroke will fall hardest. If the river is taken, if the garrison at Osgiliath falls, the last defence of this city will be gone.”
“But we have the White and Black Wizards. That’s got to count for something. Gandalf?”
“Sauron has yet to release his deadliest servant, the one who will lead Mordor’s armies in war. The one they say no living man can kill. The Witch-king of Angmar. You’ve met him before. He stabbed Frodo on Weathertop. He is the lord of the Nazgûl, the greatest of the Nine. Minas Morgul is his lair.”
The door opened and Boromir walked into the room. “My Father will not listen even to me. I fear madness has taken too deep a hold. How did I not see this?”
“Because you love him Boromir. The men of Gondor will listen to you when the time comes, you are their Captain.” Gandalf reassured him and Boromir nodded, joining them on the balcony to look towards Mordor. “You were right to not want Frodo near here.” He admitted softly.
“The beacons of Minas Tirith! The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid!” Aragorn yelled as he ran into the hall where the rest of the company were waiting. Théoden looked up from a map. Éowyn ran to stand next to Éomer. Everyone watched Théoden’s reaction.
Théoden paused, and then calmly proclaimed. “And Rohan will answer!” Éowyn and Éomer looked relieved. Hadrian smiled in relief and looked to Legolas who nodded. “Muster the Rohirrim!” he ordered and a guard ran to the tower to ring the gong. Théoden strode out of the Golden Hall in his armour. “Assemble the Men at Dunharrow. As many Men as can be found. You have two days. On the third, we ride for Gondor and war. Gamling!”
“Make haste across the Riddermark. Summon every able-bodied man to Dunharrow.”
Aragorn saw Éowyn leading out her horse. “Will you ride with us?”
“Just to the encampment. It’s tradition for the Women of the Court to farewell the men.” Aragorn lifted up the saddle blanket of her horse to reveal her sword. Éowyn snatched it back down, hiding the sword again. “The men have found their captain. They will follow you into battle, even to death. You have given us hope.” She turned away. Aragorn contemplated her words.
Merry knelt before Théoden. “Excuse me. I have a sword. Please accept it. I offer you my service, Théoden King.”
Théoden pulled Merry up to his feet. “And gladly I accept it. You shall be Meriadoc, esquire of Rohan.” A smile ran across the face of Merry as he ran off.
Legolas and Gimli waited on top of a horse ready to go. Hadrian rode up beside them to watch as the men of Rohan gathered. “Horse-masters. I wish I could muster a legion of Dwarves, fully armed and filthy.”
“Your kinsmen may have no need to ride to war. I fear war already marches on their own lands.” Legolas answered softly even as they watched the Rohirrim riders riding off as Merry tried to get his pony to go. Hadrian rode over and helped him get the pony moving, falling in amongst the other riders even as Legolas directed their horse to join them.
“So, it is before the walls of Minas Tirith, the doom of our time will be decided.” Théoden murmured as he watched the column move off.
“Now is the hour! Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken. Now fulfil them all! To lord and land!” Éomer called out. The Rohirrim rode out of Edoras for what may be the last time should things go badly. Aragorn rode at the front with the Royal family, the rest of the Company just behind them.
Chapter 16: ch16
Disclaimer: Not mine
My mum starts chemo next week so on top of final year of uni this year is chaos, updates will be scattered.
“Mithrandir!” Faramir called as he spotted the wizard in the milling horsemen. Gandalf turned to face him, Pippin sitting in front of him on Shadowfax. “They broke through our defences. They’ve taken the bridge and the West bank. Battalions of Orcs are crossing the river.” He explained as he pushed closer on his own horse.
“It is as the Lord Denethor predicted! Long has he foreseen this doom!” Another soldier cried out in despair.
“Foreseen and done nothing!” Gandalf snarled, as Faramir stared at Pippin curiously. “Faramir? This is not the first Halfling to have crossed your path.”
“No.” He shook his head.
“You’ve seen Frodo and Sam?” Pippin looked at him hopefully and Faramir nodded.
“Where? When?” The wizard demanded.
“In Ithilien. Not two days ago. Gandalf, they’re taking the road to the Morgul vale.” He whispered and Gandalf looked horrified.
“And then the pass of Cirith Ungol.” He continued and Faramir nodded.
“What does that mean? What’s wrong?” Pippin looked to Gandalf, feeling very lost, he didn’t know any of those places.
“Faramir tell me everything. Tell me all you know.” He drew him aside, away from those who may overhear. “Pippin retrieve Boromir.” The hobbit nodded and slipped from the horse, running into the city.
“Boromir? Gandalf my brother is dead.”
“No Faramir, he lives thanks to a good friend.” Gandalf reassured the young man who slumped in relief, his brother lived!
Faramir left his Father’s Council and then saw Pippin sitting on a bench in full Guard of the Citadel uniform, his feet dangling as the bench was too high for him.
“What were you thinking Peregrin Took? What service can a Hobbit offer such a great lord of men?’
“It was well done. A generous deed should not be checked with cold counsel.” He offered and Pippin jumped up as he approached. “You are to join the tower guard.”
“I didn’t think they would find any livery that would fit me.” He admitted
“It once belonged to a young boy of the city. A very foolish one who wasted many hours slaying dragons instead of attending his studies.” He smiled slightly and Pippin’s eyes widened.
“This was yours?”
“Yes, it was mine. My father had it made for me.” He adjusted Pippin’s tunic for him.
“Well, I’m taller than you were then. Though, I’m not likely to grow anymore, except sideways.” They laughed together.
“It never fitted me either. Boromir was always the soldier. They are so alike he and my father. Proud, stubborn even, but strong.”
“I think you have strength of a different kind. And one day your father will see it.” Pippin declared and Faramir smiled before ushering him into what was once the Throne Room of Kings before turning and walking away. With Boromir at his side Denethor had no use for his second son. Pippin walked in to see Denethor on his lower chair with Boromir nearby looking frustrated and Gandalf standing mid-way down the aisle. He moved to where Denethor indicated and knelt. “Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor in peace or war, in living or dying, from,” he hesitated over the words even as Denethor smiled, “from this hour henceforth until my lord release me or death take me.” He finished in one breath
“And I shall not forget it!” He stood up and approached Pippin. “Nor fail to reward that which is given. He offered Pippin his ring on his finger, Pippin closed his eyes and kissed it. “Fealty with love.” He walked over to a table. “Valour with honour. Disloyalty with vengeance.” He turned and looks at Boromir before sitting at the table, helping himself to food. I do not think we should so lightly abandon the outer defences. Defences that you long held intact and yet your brother lost so swiftly.”
“What would you have me do?” Boromir asked warily, not trusting his Father’s failing mind.
“I will not yield the River and Pellenor unfought. Osgiliath must be retaken.”
“My lord Osgiliath is over run.”
“Much must be risked in war. Is there a Captain here who still has the courage to do his lord’s will?” The Steward asked and Boromir grimaced while Pippin looked at Denethor alarmed.
“Since you see Faramir’s act as failure I will do what I can in his stead.” He spoke stiffly and then bowed deeply, turning to leave. He found his brother in his room, waiting for him and they embraced again, happy to both be alive.
“What is it?” Faramir asked as he moved to sit on the window seat while Boromir moved to his armour.
“Father commands Osgiliath be retaken.”
“No…Boromir it is madness!”
“He is still Steward and we are sworn to serve.”
“Then wait while I get my armour.” He stood but his brother stopped him.
“There is no sense in two sons lost little brother. And the bow has always been your preferred weapon Ranger.” He teased. “I will return.”
“You have to. I have no wish to be Steward.” He helped his brother into his armour, ensuring it was secure before getting his sword for him. “Good luck.”
“To you as well.” Boromir clasped his shoulder and then left to gather his men and horses. They rode through the city in silence, the people throwing flowers at their feet as they passed.
“Boromir! Boromir!” Gandalf pushed through the crowd towards him. Your father’s will has turned to madness. Do not throw away your life so rashly.” He pleaded.
“Where does my allegiance lie if not here? This is the city of the men of Númenor. I will gladly give my life to defend her beauty, her memory, her wisdom.” He stated firmly.
Gandalf watched as his horse walked away. “Your father loves you Boromir.” He called and then whispered, “He will remember it before the end.” He stayed watching as they left through the huge gates of Minas Tirith.
They formed up in a long line to attack Osgiliath, walking forward steadily. They broke into a gallop as they approached the outpost.
Pippin waited in attendance on Denethor who was still eating at the table, instead of watching the leaving men.
He looked at the hobbit. “Can you sing Master Hobbit?”
“Well, yes. At least well enough for my own people. But we have no songs for great halls and evil times.” He babbled in alarm.
“And why should your songs be unfit for my halls? Come, sing me a song.” He continued to eat.
Pippin hesitated and then took a deep breath and began to sing softly. “Home is behind, the world ahead, and there are many paths to tread, Through shadow, to the edge of night”
On the plain below Faramir screamed out the charge, silently.
“Until the stars are all alight. Mist and shadow cloud and shade, all shall fade, all shall fade.” Pippin’s voice faltered and he looked at Denethor as he continued to bite his tomatoes, Pippin closed his eyes and cried while below the Orc’s opened fire on the soldiers.
Gandalf sat alone staring into space until Faramir joined him, pale with worry for his brother and their men.
Aragorn and Theoden rode ahead of the army into camp, the remains of the Fellowship behind them.
“Make way for the King! Make way, the King is here.” A soldier cried on seeing the banner.
“My lord!” another cried in relief and Theoden waved.
“Hail to you sire!”
“Grimbold, how many?”
“I bring 500 men from the Westfold my lord.”
“We have 300 more from Fenmarch, Theoden King.”
“Where are the riders from Snowbourn?”
“None have come my lord.”
Their group made their way up the cliff side and then Aragorn and Theoden looked down on the armies from their high encampment. “Six thousand spears, less than half of what I had hoped for.”
“Six thousand will not be enough to break the lines of Mordor.”
Theoden looked at him. “More will come.”
“Every hour lost hastens Gondor’s defeat.” He looked at Theoden. “We have until dawn then we must ride.”
Theoden nodded his head in agreement. A neighing horse attracted his attention and they both turned, noticing how much difficulty the men had in calming down the horses that seemed to be nervous of something.
Legolas, Hadrian and Gimli walked amongst them, meeting Éomer who was saddling his horse. “The horses are restless and the men are quiet.”
“They grow nervous in the shadow of the mountain.” Éomer answered and they all looked at the mountain.
“That road there where does that lead?”
“It is the road to the Dimholt, the door under the mountain.” Legolas answered softly.
“None who venture there ever return. That mountain is evil.” Éomer walked away to see to his men.
A man struggled to calm down a frightened horse in front of the mountain and Aragorn stared at the pathway looking worried. He saw the King of the Dead beckoning him and shivered slightly.
“Aragorn!” Gimli called and he jumped, turning around. “Let’s find some food.” When Aragorn looked again the King had gone so he followed Gimli. Hadrian stared at the mountain, a feeling of dread growing, there was something very wrong with that mountain. He turned and re-joined the others, they all needed a hot meal.
Across the camp Éowyn helped Merry into his uniform. “There. A true esquire of Rohan.” She praised and he felt his new helmet, looking very pleased.
He drew his sword and waved it around. “I’m ready!” Éowyn jumped and laughed, holding her hands out too Merry. “Sorry. It isn’t all that dangerous. It’s not even sharp.” He looked at the sword.
“Well that’s no good. You won’t kill many Orcs with a blunt blade. Come on.” She ushered him out and Merry left the tent swinging the sword to and fro, practising. “To the smithy, go!” She encouraged him and he ran off.
“You should not encourage him.” her brother called from the nearby fireside and she glanced at him.
“You should not doubt him.”
“I do not doubt his heart, only the reach of his arm.” Éomer stated and Gamling laughed.
“Why should Merry be left behind? He has as much cause to go to war as you. Why can he not fight for those he loves?” She asked seriously before walking away.
“You know as little of war as that Hobbit.” He got up and walked to her side. “When the fear takes him and the blood and the screams and the horror of battle take hold. Do you think he would stand and fight? He would flee. And he would be right to do so.” He put his hand on her shoulder. “War is the province of men Éowyn.” He finished and returned to the fire to eat.
As they finished eating Legolas drew Harry aside into the trees to where a bedroll was laid out. “Legolas?”
“We ride for war on the morning, tonight let us lay and watch the stars.” He held his hand out and Harry smiled, taking it and settling down beside him to stargaze. “Are they much different to those of your home?”
“Very, all the constellations I know are missing.” He admitted softly, eyes automatically searching for the familiar stars despite knowing they weren’t there.
“You miss one?” Legolas asked, catching his tone and searching gaze.
“The Dog Star, Sirius. My Godfather was named for it and after he died seeing it…. was a comfort and a reminder he was still with me.” He whispered and Legolas held him close. They shifted as they watched the stars and then Legolas hesitantly kissed him and Harry smiled, kissing him back before resting his head on his shoulder and closing his eyes to sleep, they had to be well rested for the coming march.
Aragorn shifted restlessly in his sleep, dreaming of Arwen, the Pukel men and the entrance to the Dimholt.
“I choose a mortal life.” Arwen whispered, a tear falling. “I wish I could have seen him one last time.” She faded away and the Evenstar pendent fell to the ground and shattered. Aragorn woke suddenly, drawing his sword. A soldier stood in the doorway to his tent.
“Sir? King Theoden awaits you my lord.”
Aragorn followed him to Théoden’s tent. Théoden looked at the hooded figure, then at Aragorn. “I take my leave.” He bowed slightly to them and left.
The figure turned and removed the hood and Aragorn bowed in greeting. “My lord Elrond.”
“I come on behalf of one whom I love. Arwen is dying. She will not long survive the evil that now spreads from Mordor. The light of the Evenstar is failing. As Sauron’s power grows her strength wanes. Arwen’s life is now tied to the fate of the Ring. The Shadow is upon us Aragorn. The end has come.”
Aragorn was horrified by his words but then he gathered himself. “It will not be our end, but his.”
“You ride to war but not to victory. Sauron’s armies ride on Minas Tirith, this you know. But in secret he sends another force, which will attack, from the river. A fleet of Corsair ships sails from the South, they will be in the city in two. You’re outnumbered Aragorn, you need more men.” Elrond almost snapped the first at him before calming.
“There are none.” Aragorn argued.
“There are those that dwell in the mountain.”
Aragorn blinked away a vision of the Dead King. “Murderers, traitors. You would call upon them to fight? They believe in nothing. They answer to no one.” He argued.
“They will answer to the King of Gondor.” He pulled out a sword from inside his cloak and held it out in his hands to him. “Andúril, the Flame of the West, forged from the shards of Narsil.”
Aragorn took the blade from him. “Sauron will not have forgotten the sword of Elendil.” He drew it from the scabbard. “The blade that was broken shall return to Minas Tirith.” He whispered in awe.
“The man who can wield the power of this sword can summon to him an army deadlier than any that walks this earth. Put aside the Ranger. Become who you were born to be. Ónen i-Estel Edain.”
“Ú-chebin Estel anim.” Aragorn replied, sheathing the sword and nodding to his foster Father, he would do what had to be done.
Legolas saw Aragorn moving through the trees and gently shook Hadrian awake. They packed up the bedroll and slipped from the trees to look what he was doing, it looked like he was packing to leave so they moved to the tent they were meant to share with Gimli and woke him before gathering their things.
Éowyn saw him as well and intercepted him as he readied his horse. “Why are you doing this? The war lies to the East. You cannot leave on the eve of battle. You cannot abandon the men.”
“We need you here.” She grabbed his hand to stop him.
“Why have you come?”
“Do you not know?” She whispered.
“It is but a shadow and a thought that you love. I cannot give you what you seek.” He gently removed her hand, staring at her sadly and she shook her head. She backed off, upset. “I have wished you joy since first I saw you.” He touched her face and a tear appeared in her eye. He walked away, leaving her crying alone.
“Just where do you think you’re off to?” Gimli asked from where he sat beside the tent.
“Not this time. This time you must stay Gimli.”
“Have you learnt nothing of the stubbornness of dwarves?” Legolas asked as he and Hadrian walked up beside them, leading their horses.
“You might as well accept it.” The wizard offered with a grin, shouldering his bag more firmly.
“We’re going with you laddie.” Gimli stood and Aragorn smiled. The four of them rode from the camp along the Dimholt road. Théoden and the soldiers watched them leaving.
“What’s happening, where is he going? I don’t understand.” A soldier muttered as they disappeared into the cleft between the rocks. “Lord Aragorn! Why does he leave on the eve of battle?”
“He leaves because there is no hope.” Gamling answered, ever the pessimist.
“He leaves because he must.” Théoden answered.
“To few have come. We cannot defeat the armies of Mordor.”
Théoden shook his head. “No, we cannot. But we will meet them in battle nonetheless.” His statement was met with nods of agreement.
The three horses walked down the path, shying at any slight sound or movement. “What kind of army would linger in such a place?” Gimli muttered from his place behind Hadrian on the horse.
“One that is cursed. Long ago the men of the mountains swore an oath to the last King of Gondor to come to his aid, to fight. But when the time came, when Gondor’s need was dire, they fled vanishing into the darkness of the mountain. And so Isildur cursed them, never to rest until they had fulfilled their pledge. Who shall call them from the grey twilight, the forgotten people? The heir of him to whom the oath they swore. From the North shall he come, need shall drive him. He shall pass the door to the Paths of the Dead.” Legolas whispered but they all heard him and shivered.
“Prophecy.” Hadrian muttered in annoyance. He didn’t like this place at all, it felt like Dementors should be around and yet there were none. But he knew there was no choice except to go in and face the Dead.
Finally, they approached the entrance to the Paths of the Dead. They were walking now, leading their horses by the reins. “The very warmth of my blood seems stolen away.” Gimli shivered.
They reached the doors and Legolas read the inscription above the door. “The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead and the dead keep it. The way is shut.”
Something rushed out of the door towards them. It spooked the horses, which pulled on the reins and ran away from them. “Brego!” Aragorn called but this time the horse did not come. “I do not fear death!” he snarled and strode towards the doorway. Hadrian glanced at Legolas and then they followed Aragorn.
“Well this is a thing unheard of. An elf will go underground, where a dwarf dare not. Oh. Oh, I’d never hear the end of it.” He muttered and ran off after them.
Ónen i-Estel Edain - I gave hope to the Dunedain)
Ú-chebin Estel anim. (I have kept no hope for myself.)