Triumvirate: 6. Chapter Five: The Son of Gondor

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6. Chapter Five: The Son of Gondor

It was warm this time of the year in North Dakota.

The heat soaked through his uniform and moistened his skin beneath the fabric.
Colonel Walter Green adjusted his collar as he walked across the base towards
the parking lot, eager to make his appointment in the city. Even though the sun
was setting in the horizon, the heat did not abate and Green who had started
life close to the Canadian border wished that it would rain so that the
temperature would cool down. He hated the weather with a passion despite having
been posted here for more than twelve months already. Still, the assignment was
an important one and the patriot in him who saw the duty he was entrusted with
as more than just another military posting but rather a sacred trust, had come
to conclusion that enduring the unseasonable heat was a small price to play for
serving his country.

In this day and age when terrorism was running rife throughout the civilized
world, the September 11th attacks in New York had convinced America that the
nation were fighting a different kind of war, one where the front lines were not
in foreign lands but rather on home soil. In this climate of growing awareness
of how vulnerable they were despite being a superpower, it was the bases at home
rather than abroad that were being placed under the greatest scrutiny. In the
war with this new enemy, America had learnt that the offensive would begin at
home and eternal vigilance was their only defense.

Security within facilities such as Grand Forks, Barksdale and Ellsworth were
placed under tight scrutiny with all systems being evaluated and improved to
avoid impending disaster. Although the likelihood of a terrorist attack on any
of these locations was remote, the US strategic command preferred not to gamble
when it came to its nuclear arsenal. Even one of the Class LGM-30 Minuteman III
ICBMs stored in these locations could cause untold destruction. While it seemed
impossible that the enemy could ever pass the stringent checks required to gain
access to the weapons or any of the centers that could facilitate a launch,
strategic command had to remember that the same was once thought of the World
Trade Center.

It was Colonel Walter Green’s duty to ensure that the security of these weapons
were assured, that by his actions, the most dangerous weapons in the US military
arsenal was kept under strict surveillance. Green took pride in the position,
knowing that by doing his job well, he ensured that innocent people across the
country were able to rest easy. Personally, he did not want to see the day when
his ‘charges’ were put to use. He might have been a career military officer but
he understood the weapons for what they were, the last resort of a different
time, quickly gaining obsolescence. It was one redundancy that Green was happy
to see.

He glanced at his watch as he reached the parking lot and cursed under his
breath because he was late. His last meeting ran longer than it should have and
he knew that he was going to have a devil of a time getting across Grand Forks
to make the engagement without being late. Fortunately, Elizabeth would
understand, he thought with a smile. She knew what he did for a living and
appreciated that there were times when there would be late meetings. Still,
Green did not wish to disappoint her if he could avoid it. Elizabeth Albrecht
had been the one bright spot in his personal life since being posted to Grand
Forks and its insufferable heat.

They had met at a camp function and hit it off immediately. Ten years his
junior, Elizabeth was a school teacher in her thirties, with wild blond hair and
a dimpled smile that probably dazzled the male students of her class just as
much as he, when she first cast her gaze upon him. They had been seeing each
other for quite some time now with Green proposing less than a week ago. He felt
infused with warmth as he remembered her happy expression as he presented her
with the diamond ring and was equally touched when she declared that she was
going to give him one as well, as a token of their bond.

She taught English literature so Green was unsurprised by her somewhat flowery
ideas of romance. In fact, the reason for his determination to make their
engagement this evening on time was because he knew that she was picking his
ring from the jewelers today. No doubt, she wanted to present it to him with a
little bit of ceremony. Honestly, Green was not that partial to wearing jewelry
but it would make Elizabeth happy and with that in mind, supposed he could
endure it.

After all, it was just a ring.

************

Aaron could tell Tory was having difficulty dealing with what he had told to her
and it was not merely because she was still wearing the same look of incredulity
for the past hour or the fact that she was staring at Legolas and Haldir with
wide eyes. Especially after they had removed their caps and revealed to her that
they were elves. She had lowered herself in a comfortable wing chair and
continued to stare, despite Aaron’s best efforts to explain things.

Tory was a woman who often needed to be in control of a situation, in
particular, her own. To be confronted with something so incredible was straining
her grasp of reality. After all, she was a barrister, who held the law in
reverence and the basis for the way she viewed society. Whether or not it was
the law of the land, the law of physics or nature, it was still an absolute
definition of how she perceived things. The notion of Valinor, elves and dark
powers steeped in magic was more than she could deal with all at once. He began
to seriously question whether or not telling her the whole truth had been such a
wise idea.

“This is insane,” she kept repeating to herself as she sat in her chair staring
at Legolas and Haldir.

“Look I know this is difficult to deal with but trust me, I was a cop in New
York and I’m telling you they are elves,” Eve volunteered, trying to reach the
woman with whom she could feel some empathy. She remembered how she had been
after learning the origins of Legolas, Elrohir and Elladan in her house more
than a year ago.

Eve had not taken it any better than Tory did.

“Elves are fiction!” Tory exclaimed. “They’re the kind of things that appear in
fairy tales for children, they are not real!

“Are all the women in this realm so obtuse?" Haldir asked, staring at the others
in question. While he did not understand completely what the woman had been
saying, he comprehended that she had some difficulty in accepting himself and
Legolas as elves.

“What is he saying?” Tory returned when she realised that one of the ‘elves’ had
spoken and she had not understood a word he said.

“Haldir, it is not her fault,” Legolas frowned. “These people have been denied
the knowledge of our history. There is nothing of the Valar, Valinor, the elves
or Middle earth in their history. We cannot even claim to be myth.”

“WHAT IS HE SAYING?” Tory snapped again.

“Take it easy, Tory,” Aaron came to her, trying to calm her down. “I know it’s
hard...”

“HARD?” She fairly roared. “You disappear for a year, without a word and then
you come back with a story so incredible that no sane person could possibly
believe it and you’re telling me that you’ve hiding out with elves? If you
weren't already a psychiatrist, I would say you need one!”

“This is tiresome,” Gandalf finally weighed in.

The wizard had been resting on the sofa, listening to the younger members of his
company attempt rather unsuccessfully to cut through twenty first-century
reasoning. The young woman which he sensed could be of great help to them in
their quest was wholly unconvinced despite the evidence of her own eyes. Like
Aaron, he understood her skepticism but time was becoming scarce. The evil that
was unleashed upon this world with the return of Melkor and the rest of his
minions was reaching climax and if they did not put an end to it soon, all would
suffer a catastrophe greater than the destruction of Beleriand.

Gandalf crossed the wooden floor and paused in front of Tory. The staff that had
seen him through so many trials had been metamorphosed into a contemporary
walking stick with an ornate crystal head.

“Young lady,” Gandalf lowered himself to his knees before Tory and took her hand
in his. “I know this is difficult for you to believe and under any other
circumstances, I would be inclined to allow you the time needed to adjust to the
truth but what is out there in your world is growing in strength. I can feel it
tugging at each corner of the globe, preparing to reach fruition. We need your
assistance if we are to complete our quest, I hope that you can put aside your
disbelief to help us because we have little time in which to act.”

Tory looked at the old man with his kindly blue eyes and felt her heart wanting
to believe but it was her mind that she put most stock in and at the moment, she
could not overcome the barrier of skepticism no matter how much she tried.
“It's not that I don’t want to believe,” Tory confessed, shifting her gaze
between Gandalf and Aaron, “it’s that I can’t. Aaron, I’m sorry I can’t accept
what you’re saying as the truth.”

“Even with these two standing here?” Eve challenged before Aaron could, pointing
at Haldir and Legolas, her patience starting to erode.

“As odd as their ears appear to be,” Tory declared defiantly, “they are rather
human looking for elves.”

“I find that insulting,” Haldir who could understand English but not speak it
well, turned to Legolas in response.

“Be quiet,” Legolas growled, glaring at him sharply.

“I’m afraid then you leave me no choice,” Gandalf sighed as if reluctant to
embark upon this course but there was no other alternative. They needed this
woman and mere words would not break through the conditioning of her twenty
first-century paranoia and sensibilities. It would require something with a
little more potency.

“What do you mean...?” Aaron asked anxiously as he saw Gandalf raising his
walking stick between himself and Tory.

Without saying another word, a flash of white light flooded the space between
the old man and the woman. It emanated from the crystal orb that perched upon
the walking stick. Aaron flinched as the brilliance overloaded his vision
receptors and saw the others turning away similarly. He took a step forward
despite it, fear and concern for Tory overriding his caution.

“No Aaron,” Eve grabbed his arm and cried out, “let him do what he has to!”

The sphere of white light trapped Tory’s eyes as it flooded her vision and
drained away all semblance of the physical world. She wanted to close her eyes
but was unable, fixated on the power generated by the orb, the power that was
Gandalf’s self when he was not flesh, showing her things, things that she could
not imagine and yet knew, at the very core of her to be the truth. She saw
images flashing in her mind like a picture slide show. It felt as if they
appearing before her eyes but in truth knew that these images were being fed
directly into her brain.

Tory Harding saw her people awakening at Hildorien, saw the world they had built
and the friends they had made in the elves. She saw that man was once one of
many races that held dominion over the earth, before the time of the great
darkness and the great loneliness that came when all the others abandoned the
world and man was left behind. She saw kingdoms they had built and the wars
they had fought, side by side, man and elf, elf and dwarf, dwarf and ent, ent
and hobbit. A parliament of races that once walked side by side, all gone, all
disappeared into earth until man was all that was left and in the deep of him,
the loss of the others had left him incomplete, always searching and yet never
finding.

“Oh God!” She uttered softly as it all crowded in on her thoughts, marrying the
disbelief of her mind with the understanding of her heart.

“Tory!” Aaron broke free from Eve as the light died and with it, Tory’s
consciousness. The lady slumped back against the chair, her mind unable to
process what it had seen and maintain awareness at the same time.

Aaron was at her side in seconds, the physician in him taking hold completely.
“What did you do Gandalf?” He demanded.

“Calm yourself,” Gandalf rose to his feet, not at all perturbed by Aaron’s
demand, aware of the affection the younger man held for the woman. “She will be
fine and when she awakes, she will be more receptive to our presence.”

“What did you do?” Eve questioned; trying not to feel threatened by the
attention Aaron was displaying towards Tory. In her heart, she knew that Aaron’s
love was hers but Eve had been a policewoman too long to be completely
indifferent to the suspicion of there being more between them.

“I merely opened her mind to the past,” Gandalf replied. “I allowed her to see
briefly what had been before the man was alone on this world. It is a great deal
to accept all at once and I fear her mind chose to shut down in order to deal
with the images. She will awaken when it has adjusted to the truth she has been
shown.”

“It is a great deal to ask of her,” Legolas commented sympathetically. “It is
difficult to believe when one feels so extraordinarily secure in one's own
world.”

“You said that she was necessary to us,” Haldir asked staring at Tory, not
entirely impressed by the barrister. “I do not see how. If anything I think she
will hinder us.”

“There is strength in unlikely places Master Elf,” Gandalf retorted. “My
instincts tell me that she has a part to play in all this and there are many
forces rallied against, some that we are yet unaware of. If we are to combat
them, then we will need all the allies we are able to find.”

Haldir was not entirely convinced as he glanced briefly at the woman Aaron was
moving towards the sofa, quite unconscious. “I will trust your judgement in this
Olorin but I cannot see what advantage, if any will she be to us.”

“I think when the times comes she will surprise us all,” Legolas retorted in
Tory’s defense, confident that Gandalf did not speak such words lightly. After
all, Legolas had once been apart of the Fellowship and if anything had convinced
him that weakness could mask great strength, it was the four hobbits that had
been his comrades during the greatest quest of his life.

“I hope so,” Eve replied staring at the way Aaron was tending to Tory, telling
herself for the hundredth time that there was nothing between her lover and his
old friend. “I really hope so.”

***********

Bryan dared not risk approaching Victoria Harding’s house during the day because
the rest of MI6 knew what he did, that Victoria Harding and Aaron Stone were
known associates. Apparently they had met during Stone’s visit to England with
his deceased friend Stuart Farmer some years ago. Harding had married Farmer
and returned to America six months later. Although the marriage ended in divorce
five years after, it was obvious that the two had remained close friends as
Harding had instigated a private investigation into Aaron’s disappearance. News
of the psychiatrist’s possible complicity in the destruction of the Malcolm
Building was never made public because of the scarcity of evidence.

If MI6 suspected what he did, that Eve McCaughley was connected to Aaron Stone,
they would be led here as well and now that Bryan found himself an outcast
thanks to Caldwell, he could not risk their interference until he knew the truth
himself. With every fiber of his being, Bryan knew that Aaron Stone had all his
answers or if not, some pieces of the puzzle. It was well after dark when Bryan
arrived at Harding’s home with Fred in the passenger seat. He wished there was
someone he could trust enough to leave Fred with because he did not think that
she should be out in the open like this. Unfortunately, if Caldwell was
involved, he had no choice. If it was the old boy who had sacrificed him to
David Saeran, then nowhere was safe.

Finding the darkest corner of the street, he parked the car, praying that the
shadows would hide it and Fred for the duration of time he needed to be away
from her. The child’s face had been on the news everywhere and he could not
risk Harding getting the police involved if she saw the little girl. Fred had
climbed into the backseat, perfectly content to remain hidden in the shadows
until Bryan returned, understanding his reason for leaving her. The doubt she
had about him since this nightmare began had faded away into complete trust that
he would protect her no matter what. She knew that she could rely on him to
find her or come to her aid if she was in trouble.

“Take this piece of paper,” he handed it to her. “If anything happens to me
while I’m in there, I want you to knock on someone's door and tell them to call
the police You give them that piece of paper which has my brother’s name and
address on it. Frank loves kids and has two of his own; he’ll look after you
for me in anything goes wrong. Do you understand?”

“I don’t want anything to happen to you,” she said quietly. “I don’t want you to
go away like mummy and daddy.”

Bryan swallowed thickly and replied, his voice bleeding with emotion, “I don’t
plan on anything happening to me Fred but we need to be careful nonetheless. Now
if you see anything while I’m in there, you press that horn and make as much
noise as you can, just like I showed you. As soon I hear you, I will be back. I
don't intend to be gone for very long, I promise.”

“Okay,” she nodded obediently. “I’ll wait here.”

“That’s a good girl,” Bryan answered with a smile. Fortunately, Fred seemed to
have a sense for trouble and suspected that if anyone attempted to sneak up on
her, she would know it anyway. Bryan was certain that how she was able to know
this was connected to the fact that her pursuers were not entirely human.

In the last few hours, he had plenty of time to reflect upon his situation. He
had believed initially that the death of Fred’s family had been an abduction
gone wrong but now he was not as certain as he once was. Even when those
creatures had her in their grasp, they had not killed her, in fact, it appeared
as if they were attempting to take her alive. He had thought that perhaps it
was because she had seen them kill and then decided that it was not expedient to
allow her to live with that information. Yet both times, when they had her in
their sights, their action was not to kill but to abduct but he was still
certain he had heard Saeran speaking about a man.

There was something he was missing, a vital part that he could not see, no
matter how much he pondered the question.

Deciding that he had best get this present task over and done with, Bryan
climbed out of the car and headed towards the Harding home. As he made his way
up the sidewalk to the front steps of the house, he noted with encouragement
that the lights were on. The lady was home. The question remained if Aaron
Stone was with her.

***********

“Someone is here,” Haldir stated suddenly.

“What?” Eve turned sharply towards the elf while Legolas had already crossed the
floor towards the nearby window, trying to see for certain who the new arrival
was. He too had sensed the presence of the stranger that was now ascending the
front steps of the house.

“He is right,” Legolas nodded, pulling back from the window. “It is a man,
though I cannot see his face through the darkness.”

“We can’t turn off the lights and pretend no one’s home,” Aaron retorted rising
to his feet. “Tory’s out of it, she’s not going to be answering the door.”

“We can’t let them see you,” Eve added anxiously, suddenly fearful of Aaron’s
life.

Aaron thought quickly, hating the fact that he had to be protected especially
when they had far more important things to be concerned about at the moment.
However, Eve was right, he could not be see. It would only complicate the
situation further. There was only one solution and he hoped it would work.

“Everyone except Eve, hide,” Aaron ordered quickly.

“Hide?” Eve stared at him perplexed as the first knock on the door was heard.

“Yeah,” Aaron nodded. “No one knows you and you look normal enough not to raise
suspicions. Just answer the door and tell whomever it is that Tory’s out or
something and that you’re a houseguest.”

“That’s your whole plan, former King of Gondor?” Eve hissed with doubt.

“Its the best that I can manage at the moment,” Aaron retorted sarcastically,
delivering her a dark look at the same time before adding, "although I'll bet
his wife wasn't bitching in his ear."

“I must agree with Eve, it is not much of a plan.” Haldir declared before Eve
could respond.

“We will do as Aaron says,” Gandalf advised standing up from his chair and
urging the elves to follow him. The wizard did not appear at all concerned
despite the urgency of their situation. Aaron wanted to ask him why but supposed
that it could wait until after they dealt with their unexpected visitor.

Eve watched as her companions disappear into the shadows of the house, while
Tory remained on the sofa unconscious. Her attention snapped back to the
corridor when she heard another knock against the door. Taking a deep breath,
she calmed herself so as to belay any the suspicion that anything was amiss when
she finally confronted Tory’s unexpected guest. Looking over her shoulder one
last time to ensure that her friends were out of sight, Eve made her way forward
and saw the silhouette of a man through the stain glass window on the door.

Eve ran her hands through her dark hair and opened the door slowly, producing a
welcoming smile when she faced the stranger. As the light poured out of the
foyer, Eve found that she was able to take a closer look at him. He was
approaching his forties, if not there already, standing rather tall, with blond
hair, blue eyes and was attractive in a rugged sort of way. Upon seeing her,
his eyes widened in recognition.

“Eve McCaughley?” Bryan exclaimed, genuinely surprised to see Eve here. He
supposed he should have expected the possibility of her being present but he had
assumed it would be Harding who would be answering the door.

“I don’t know who you mean,” Eve replied, taken completely off guard and started
shutting the door in panic.

“Wait!” Bryan braced the door with his foot before it could close. “I really
need to talk to you! Detective McCaughley!”

“I’m not her!” Eve shouted defiantly before Bryan’s strength forced the door
open.

Unable to keep him from entering, Eve retreated back up the corridor, unable to
fight in such narrow confines. The stranger followed her as expected, still
calling her name and expecting her to confess to him her identity. How did he
know who she was and if so, whom else had he told? Eve had to silence him and
hurried into the living room, hoping that he would follow.

Bryan went after her, determined not to let her escape when she could lead him
to Aaron Stone. However, no sooner then he had entered the living room, he was
confronted by a foot coming at him in a powerful forward kick. There was barely
a second to dodge it and Bryan escaped the crippling strike, stepping forward so
that he was soon behind her. She turned around swiftly, coming at him again and
Bryan found no alternative but to defend himself. She was surprisingly fast but
he had been trained to kill, not to defend himself, as she undoubtedly had. He
caught her foot in mid air and spun it around, sending her crashing to the
floor. She hit the polished floorboards hard but recovered quickly, flipping
upright and coming at him with a fist flying.

“Wait!” He tried desperately to speak and had no choice but to block the blow
and lash back in kind. He had not meant to hit her hard but the force of his
punch sent her crashing into the coffee table. It gave way under her weight,
crumbling beneath her as she fell flat against it.

“EVE!” Bryan heard a decided masculine voice shout in horror before a man
appeared out of the shadows. It took Bryan a further second to realize the man
in question was Doctor Aaron Stone.

“Damn you!” Stone shouted in anger, seeing Eve lying on the floor, still quite
dazed.

He launched himself at Bryan before the MI6 agent could respond, barreling into
him with a full body tackle that sent them both slamming against a bookshelf.
The weight of both bodies rocked the shelf precariously, causing any object
resting freely upon it to come crashing down around their ears. Bryan shoved
Aaron away from him easily enough. The doctor may have been angry but he was no
killer or for that matter, a fighter. However, it did not keep him from
throwing a punch and Brian who had quite enough of all this fighting, grabbed
his fist with one hand and Stone’s throat with the other. Slamming the doctor
against the wall, Bryan held him in place so that the man could listen to him.

“Will you please calm down, Doctor Stone. I’m not here to harm you,” Bryan said
breathing hard. “You are a psychiatrist after all, you do know how to listen?”

“You got a funny way of showing it for a man who wants to talk!” Aaron hissed,
his gaze shifting to Eve who was still lying amongst the debris of the coffee
table.

“She started it!” Bryan declared in exasperation when he suddenly felt something
on the edge of his awareness.

Turning around, he felt the side of his face flare in pain as he was hit with a
vase. Glass fragments stung his face as he dropped to his knees and saw another
female, one with fiery red hair and a very irate gleam in her green eyes looking
down at him, as if she had just awakened from a very bad dream. Bryan stared at
her dazed and was assailed with a stench he was quick to recognize as blood. He
could feel its sticky warmth running down his face and knew that it was his own.


“What the bloody hell is going on here?” Tory demanded haughtily.

Aaron hurried towards Eve who was out cold. She had knocked her head badly when
she had been thrown against the table. Meanwhile, Legolas, Haldir and Gandalf
had emerged from the shadows. Legolas was swift to act, arming his bow and arrow
in quick stead and taking charge of their captive. The man was still on his
hands and knees, apparently reeling a little from the vase Tory had broken over
his head. Legolas and Haldir were standing over him, while Gandalf had
retreated to the wing chair once more, releasing a heavy sigh as he sat down.

“Eve, honey,” Aaron help Eve to sit up, “are you hurt?”

“I’m okay,” she muttered after a moment, her face contracting into a wince of
pain. “Just stop the world so I can get off.”

“Thank Christ,” Aaron declared relieved, embracing her when she sat up with his
help. “I thought he had hurt you.”

“Well he did,” Eve threw the man a dark look, “he's fast.”

“Not fast enough,” Aaron replied, giving Tory a grateful look.

Bryan’s senses were starting to clear as he heard the voices around him and rose
to his feet gingerly, only to find himself staring at an arrow aimed at his
chest. The archer’s expression was one of stone until Brian met his gaze and
then a most amazing thing happened. The blond archer’s whose age Bryan assumed
was in his twenties, stared at him in nothing less than astonishment. For a
moment, Bryan was tempted to ask him what was so shocking when the man’s lips
curled into a smile.

“Boromir!” Legolas exclaimed in wonder. “It is Boromir!”

“What?” Bryan stared at him in confusion. “What did you say?”

“Boromir,” Legolas grinned, lowering his bow because Haldir had not. “Aaron!
This is Boromir!” The elf said excitedly and threw his arm around the confused
human in a hug of happiness and friendship.

“Hey, get your hands off me!” Bryan snapped, pulling away from the elf, certain
the man was insane or confusing him with someone else.

“Boromir?” Aaron pulled away from Eve for a moment at Legolas’ revelation. “You
mean the Boromir of the Fellowship?” He asked the elf in elvish.

“The same,” Legolas said still smiling broadly at Bryan. “It is him. Just like I
knew you were Aragorn. He is Boromir, son of Denethor, the Steward of Gondor.”

“Well that’s nice to know,” Aaron shook his head, never quite becoming
accustomed to this whole aspect of reincarnation, “it explains the hugging.”

Bryan had thought he had heard most languages and while he could not speak it,
he certainly recognized it. What Stone was speaking was something he was
completely unfamiliar with. It sounded like a mixture of Norwegian and Italian
but was distinctly its own and oddly familiar. With the exception of the two
women, everyone was staring at him and it made Bryan decidedly uncomfortable.

“What are you saying?” Bryan demanded. “Who does he think I am?”

“A fallen warrior of Gondor,” Gandalf said helpfully.

“A fallen what?” Bryan retorted.

“So this is the Boromir that got skewered by arrows?” Aaron looked at Legolas
for answer, ignoring Bryan’s question.

“He died valiantly trying to protect our friends,” Legolas frowned, hating the
sacrifice of Boromir to be put so cavalierly.

Boromir’s actions with Frodo could not be helped. As a warrior of Gondor, he
would have experienced Sauron’s invasion upon the lands of his people as not
merely a threat but rather a reality. It was understandable that of all of the
Fellowship, it was Boromir who succumbed to the lure of the One Ring first.
Mordor had assailed his people for many years, it was only natural that Boromir
would want to use any means to end the danger to his people once and for all.
Whatever disgrace he had endured by his attempt to steal the ring, he had more
than made up for by defending Merry and Pippin to his death.

No one forgot that, not Legolas, not Gandalf and certainly not Aragorn who had
mourned his death greatly.

“That was a hundred thousand years ago,” Aaron pointed out, having no memories
of any of this. “Who knows what he could be at this point?”

Eve who had regained consciousness to a better degree, stood up shakily now that
she had recovered, responded coolly, “well let’s find out.”

Eve strode towards Bryan, earning a cautionary warning from Aaron about getting
too close. Without asking permission and conscious that her captive was aware
that should he make a false move, Haldir was going to put an arrow through his
chest, Eve proceeded to frisk him. It did not take long before she discovered
that he was armed and reached into his coat to produce the gun.

“What’s this?” Eve asked taking a closer look at the weapon.

“Home protection,” Bryan said sourly.

"If you had a gun why didn't use it?" Eve looked at him puzzled.

"Because I didn't need to," Bryan said confidently. "It was not as if you were
offering much sport."

"And yet you got brained by a woman with a vase," Eve returned sarcastically
before examining the gun like an expert. “This is a 9mm Walther PPK. Are you
with British intelligence?”

“How would you know that?” Aaron stared at her, never being able to tell the
difference they way that she could. Actually in truth, his knowledge of guns did
not extend beyond being able to shoot them and that was not a talent he was
particularly proud of.

“Standard weapon for British agents, specifically MI6,” Eve replied as a matter
of factly, admiring the weapon as she handled it.

“You know your guns Detective McCaughley,” Bryan retorted, impressed at her
acumen though not the situation he was in.

“So what does British Intelligence want with me?” Tory interjected for the first
time. Since she had awakened to the melee, taking place in her living room, she
had been running on confused but decided to answer the most immediate questions
first.

“I was trying to find Doctor Stone here,” Bryan replied. “I’m in a bit of a
situation and I needed his help.”

“My help?” Aaron stared him in confusion. “I thought everyone was after my ass
for blowing up the damn Malcolm Building?”

“Did you blow it up?” Bryan asked and Aaron saw that the question was very
important to the man, as if his opinion of Aaron would hinge greatly upon the
answer.

“No I didn’t,” Aaron retorted firmly, meeting his eyes. “I did not destroy the
Malcolm Building.”

“Do you know who did?” Bryan asked instead.

“Aaron don’t say a word,” Tory interjected before he could speak. She pushed her
way between the two men. “I’m Aaron’s barrister and before he tells you
anything, I want to guarantee his safety from prosecution.”

“Oh bloody marvelous, a barrister,” Bryan snorted at her with clear derision.
“This isn’t the dock luv. Can’t you go find an ambulance to chase? I’ve been
waiting to talk to the doctor for quite some time now.”

“Listen you Neanderthal,” Tory glared at him, disliking anyone calling her love.
“I am his counsel and I will not allow you to endanger his rights!”

“I think he’s old enough to look after himself without your help,” Bryan
retorted. “Besides if he does get charged with blowing up the Malcolm Building,
he will need someone a little more qualified than you!”

“Why you arrogant....” Tory stared to growl when Aaron interrupted.

“Okay, I think we’re getting a little off the point here,” Aaron stared at both
of them sternly.

“Aaron you cannot tell him anything,” Tory protested firmly. “Whatever you say
can be used against you in court. We have very different anti-terrorism laws
than you do in the States. He could use anything you tell him and if I am not
mistaken, what you’re being suspected of is a capital crime and England has
extradition treaties with America!”

“I am not charging him with anything!” Bryan snapped in anger. “I'm not here in
any official capacity. I am MI6, which means I'll be in trouble just talking to
him instead of turning him over to Scotland Yard. I just want to know why the
Malcolm Building was destroyed because it certainly was not because of any
terrorist bomb! What leveled that building was not caused by an explosive!”

“Aaron, I think you should answer him,” Gandalf replied, sensing the need within
this man for answers. Galadriel’s vision had revealed the Son of Gondor playing
some part in this affair and Boromir’s presence here, or at least, his
twenty-first century incarnation, was according to Iluvutar's design. It was
why Gandalf had not worried when they first discovered a visitor at Tory’s door.

It did not require Gandalf’s clairvoyance for Aaron to agree with him. He could
see something in this man’s eyes, something that needed desperately to know the
truth. With a flash of insight, Aaron knew not came from where, Aaron felt a
strange bond with this man, almost as potent as the one he had felt when he and
Legolas had first met. This man was searching for answers and Aaron who had
found himself plunging into an unbelievable world not too long ago, could
empathize with his confusion.

“Its alright Tory,” Aaron said finally, stepping forward.

“Aaron, this is not a good idea,” Tory reiterated her protest.

“Its okay Tory,” Eve placed a gentle hand on the woman’s shoulder, “I think he
knows what he is doing.”

“You sure you want to know the truth?” Aaron looked at Bryan.

“I’m not standing here because I believe what I read in reports,” Bryan
returned.

“Alright,” Aaron nodded, deciding that he would hold nothing back. “John Malcolm
was an ancient demon resurrected in the body of a human being. He was first
destroyed by ancient gods who came back to finish the job when they learnt he
was loose in the modern world.”

Bryan drew a deep breath and stared at their faces. They expected him to
protest, to call them crazy but somehow, he did not feel as if Stone had lied to
him, far from it as a matter of fact. After he had seen the creatures with eyes
of red, which had no shape or form, he had been willing to believe quite a bit.
The building had not been destroyed with explosives but rather by a force no
forensic expert had been able to determine. The interviews of witnesses were
disjointed. Hundreds of people had been in the area and none had been able to
explain how, only that it was destroyed. They saw no flames, no initial
explosion, just the complete collapse of the Monolith and all they could
remember in the wake of it, was the sensation of a strange harmony that left
investigators baffled.

“Did he have any invisible friends with red eyes?” Bryan asked after a second.

Gandalf rose to his feet and strode over to Bryan and demanded in low voice,
“why do you ask?”

“Because I’ve seen them.”

**************


“Where are we going?” Aaron demanded as he followed the British agent named
Bryan Miller out of Tory’s house to the man’s car, with Eve and Legolas standing
by to intervene if Bryan’s urgent errand turned out to be a ruse to get away
from his captors.

“To my car,” Bryan retorted unhappy at being shadowed.

He could have gotten away he supposed but he needed answers and had no choice
but to endure their suspicion until he had retrieved Fred from the car. He was
not about to leave her in the car indefinitely while he played twenty questions
with them. As it was, he still had difficulty dealing with everything that the
old man named Gandalf had told him, even though a good deal of it made sense. A
very strange kind of sense that involved, elves, demons and reincarnation. It
was the business about reincarnation that was the hardest for him to deal with.

Yet John Malcolm being some kind of demon was not difficult at all to accept. It
was not because Bryan had seen the creatures that had murdered Fred’s parents
and knew without doubt they were not human. He had seen their eyes glow after
putting enough bullets into them to stop a small army and still they had stood
up unscathed by the deadly barrage. Gandalf had called them Nazgul and for no
other reason than the fact that it sounded sinister, the word had sent a cold
shiver through his spine as if on some spiritual level he could not understand,
he knew what they were. If those things could exist, then there was every
reason to believe that John Malcolm may have been some dark lord from an ancient
past.

“What’s at your car?” Eve asked automatically, feeling extremely wary around the
new arrival especially when he had taken her so easily in hand to hand combat
and because Gandalf had asked her to return Bryan his weapon out of some belief
that this man whom they had just met could be trusted.

“The reason why I’m running,” Bryan said shortly not wishing to elaborate
because that would lead to more questions.

“You’re running?” Aaron looked at him. “Why?”

“Because I saw those Nazgul and what they did,” Bryan snapped abruptly.

“He has not changed very much,” Legolas remarked with a smile. “He bears the
same charm.”

“What did he say?” Bryan glanced over his shoulder as Legolas spoke in that odd
language.

“That you were a bastard back then too,” Eve said shortly.

“Wonderful girl,” Bryan stared at Aaron, “you must tell me where she went to
finishing school.”

“Do I have to separate you two?” Aaron looked at both of them critically.

“Very funny,” Eve remarked staring at Aaron through narrowed eyes as they came
to a stop next to a car in a particularly darkened corner.

Bryan did not respond because he was more concerned with collecting Fred who was
waiting in the car for him. Opening the door, he saw that she had fallen asleep
in the back seat of the car and smiled with relief to see she was still there.
He supposed that the past few day had been quite an ordeal for a six-year-old
and that it was only a matter of time before it all caught up with her.
Gathering her in his arms, Fred stirred long enough to note his return before
wrapping her small arms around her neck and allowing him to carry her out of the
car.

“Who is that?” Eve asked, finally understanding why Bryan was so insistent in
returning to his car. The child buried himself in the crook of the man’s
shoulder, quite content to remain there in her slumber.

“This is Fred,” Bryan explained with tenderness in his eyes as he looked down at
the sleeping child. “Those Nazgul or whatever you call them, murdered her
parents in front of her. If I hadn’t been there, God only knows what they would
have done to her. Those things, they want her, I don’t know why but if I have to
believe whatever you say to help her, then so be it. I promised I’d keep her
safe and I will.”

Legolas was staring at the little girl. There was something in her face that
appeared very familiar but not in the same way he had recognized Boromir
immediately. His instincts told him that he knew this child but he could not
place how. She seemed so helpless and fragile. Why would the Nazgul want her?
What possible reason could they have to harm this child?

"Why would they want a child?" Legolas heard Aaron mirroring his unspoken
thoughts.

"I don't know," Bryan shrugged in answer as they headed back towards the house.
"When I put David Saeran under surveillance and heard the conversation he had
with those Nazgul, I was sure that he was talking about kidnapping a man but
when I arrived there, Fred's parents were already dead."

"Well I don't think as a rule Nazgul go hunting for anyone unless there is a
very good reason for it," Aaron replied.

"I think it’s a good idea if we don't talk about this in the open," Eve's gaze
swept across the darkened street and though everything looked safe enough, she
knew that even her senses could not be relied upon entirely when there was a
dark lord at work.

"Good idea," Bryan agreed with that wholeheartedly, eager to get Fred in doors.
"I've been shot at more times than I would like in the past 24 hours, it would
be nice to be able to take a breather."

"You have at least learnt to avoid them," Legolas surprised them all by suddenly
speaking.

"You can speak English?" Bryan stared at the elf whose accent was a little odd
but was understandable.

"It's his Spanish that's bad," Aaron grinned, glad that Legolas was going to
make an attempt to speak the language, since Aaron had spent better part of a
year teaching him. Legolas, like all elves when it came to language, learnt
quickly. Besides, Aaron had a suspicion that Legolas was exceedingly happy to
see another member of the Fellowship returned to them, even if he was in the
form of a reincarnated MI6 agent and thus was willing to make the effort to
speak to him directly.

"I have been contented with listening until now," Legolas said gingerly. "It is
good to see you."

"We haven't met before," Bryan pointed out, aware that the elves (he couldn't
believe he was using that word and worse yet believing it), thought him to be a
reincarnation of someone called Boromir.

"You were Boromir of Gondor," Legolas said without doubt. "We were comrades
during the quest."

"If you say so," Bryan replied sceptically. He could believe a great deal after
seeing the Nazgul but accepting that he had lived a hundred thousand years ago
as the warrior of an ancient land that no longer existed, well that was too much
beyond his comprehension.

But then he was having a conversation with an elf.

*************

Tory's head throbbed as if she had been out all night drinking.

Despite having gained enough coherence to rescue Aaron from an intruder, as well
as entering a bout of verbal fencing with Bryan Miller, whom Tory had come to
the conclusion was the arrogant ass on the planet, she still felt rather dazed
from Gandalf opening her mind to the truth of their origins. It was
disconcerting to know that there was now a wealth of information in her mind
that was accessible whenever she required it. She looked at the elf Haldir, who
was apparently sitting in front of her television set, channel surfing so
rapidly that she could not even begin to look at the screen because the flashes
were too reminiscent of what Gandalf had done to her, and knew without doubt
that he was an elf.

Tory rested in her chair, raising her cup to her lips and taking a sip of
soothing camomile teeth as her throbbing head and her slightly nauseous stomach
settled themselves in the wake of her ordeal. No, ordeal was the wrong word
because it had not been torturous or frightening. It had been a revelation. A
revelation of what Aaron had seen, that made everything he told her had fallen
into place and shook the foundations of everything, she thought she knew about
the world. After seeing too much in her relatively young life, it was actually
a nice surprise to realise that you didn't know everything and could be taken
off guard.

"Are you feeling better?" Gandalf's comforting voice asked her. He reminded her
of the grandfather she had lost many years ago, whom by voice alone could
convince her that nothing was so bad that he could not take it away with a nice
cup of tea and a long talk.

"A little," she offered him a glance with a slight nod before she took a deeper
sip of her tea.

"I would have preferred not to open your mind in the manner which I did but we
are sadly lacking in time," Gandalf explained.

"Is this an apology?" She met his gaze.

"If you would prefer one, I could make it so," he answered.

"That is unnecessary," Tory said with a smile. "You probably saved a
considerable amount of time. Did you do that to Aaron and Eve?"

"No," Gandalf shook his head. "Aaron made his own discoveries and saved me in
ways I cannot even begin to describe. I owe him a great deal as does the rest of
the world, though they do not know it."

"That's sound like quite a story," Tory replied, wanting to know more but
thinking she could not endure any more information tonight.

"I will tell it to you when this is all over," Gandalf answered. "However, I do
not lie when I say that you are needed. It is a dark road that we face and we
will need all the assistance that is available. The evil that we sensed in
Valinor was slight there but now that we crossed the sea and arrived at this
land, it has grown in potency. I fear our time is short."

Hearing him talk of evil as if it was something real and tangible sent a cold
shiver through her spine. For Tory, evil was a lack of empathy. A lack of
empathy that kept a man from being shackled by rules of morality or impropriety.
It was the inability to feel compassion for another living thing that allowed
men to murder, rape, pillage, commit wholesale genocide in the name of religion
of ideology, it was an utter disregard for anyone else. That to Tory was true
evil but Gandalf spoke of it as something that had form, that had a voice and
could direct men as pawns. That frightened her beyond belief.

"I don't know how I can help you," Tory confessed. "I'm just a barrister. The
law is all that I know."

"Sometimes the desire to do good is all that one needs to change the world," he
said knowingly. "Yours in a heart burning with that desire, despite the ugliness
of your work."

"You sense all of that from me?" She looked at him sceptically.

"I have been known to be quite insightful from time to time," Gandalf smiled
with mischief. "But I am seldom wrong."

Suddenly, the door opened signalling the return of the others who had been
forced to accompany Bryan to his car when he insisted on going, despite having
told them little about his encounter with the Nazgul, except that he was
perfectly aware of what they were and had no difficulty believing that John
Malcolm had once been a dark lord named Melkor.

Gandalf rose to his feet to meet them, "come Tory, I would like to introduce you
to someone."

Tory looked at him quizzically but set aside her cup to follow him as he walked
towards the corridor leading from the door.

Gandalf's attention was fixed firmly on Bryan who surprisingly enough had the
most adorable, elfin looking child in his arms when he entered her home. The
girl was fast asleep and appeared perfectly content to be in the MI6 agent's
arms as she slumbered.

"Hello old friend," Gandalf said with deep affection as he brushed a strand of
dark hair out of the little girl's face. "Tory, I would like to introduce you to
the Ringbearer."



This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Scribe

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Action

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 04/07/03

Original Post: 04/03/03

Go to Triumvirate overview

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