Ballad of the Fallen Angels - Prologue: Aftermath of the Last Alliance
After decades in darkness, on the fields outside Barad-Dur, Sauron, enemy of the free peoples of Middle-earth fell. This story is well known, the travels and deeds of the Fellowship were born on a single decision made that day in the bowels of Mount Doom. But that war, and those lives were only part of the story. What wasn't known was that a single man, robed in a shroud of blue, his long white beard blowing in the breeze under his hood picked his way through the dead, dying, and wounded. Finally he came upon the body of a lone elf amidst many dead orcs. Nudging it with his staff, he knelt down and removed the soldiers helmet. The soldier was a she, one of the few women who marched onto this field. Placing his hand under her damp blond hair the old man smiled. She had never met him, and in truth, he had never met her though he knew her quite well. Placing a waterskin to her mouth, his gentle voice stirred her.
"Drink, you are exhausted." He urged.
Her eyes fluttered open, for exhausted she surely was. She wasn't even certain that she was still breathing until the voice had coaxed her back into the waking world. The elf looked up to match a voice with a face. Eyes as green as new lush grass studied the weathered man in curiousity as she drank from the waterskin. Weakly, she spoke to him in her native tongue.
"Who are you?" She wondered.
Speaking back in fluent elvish, the old man whos face could barly be made out smiled underneath his hood. "My name has been known as many things to many people, but you shall know it now as Shentar. Rest easy, for Sauron has been defeated. Middle Earth is safe for the moment, you have won." His voice was a kindly sort, though behind it was the ability to be commanding and powerful.
"Rest I will, but at what cost have I, or my people won.." She replied with a tone of despair in her voice as she noticed all the dead around them. Many were the enemy, true, but still many others were now the lifeless bodies of her kin. She struggled to sit up. For an elf, she was still a young and somewhat stubborn creature, again she addressed Shentar. "I thank you for your kindness, you may address me as Androthiel."
"I know of you, and of the fate of Middle Earth. Truly your words could not be more true, the death of Sauron will bring an age of peace to Middle Earth. The heroes of this battlefield gave their lives so that others may live... but this I fear is only a temporary solution for ones such as you and I. The Ring... will not see the fires of Mount Doom this day." He said, standing before removing his hood. He was old, yes, with a kindly look about his face. His staff was wood laced with gold and pearl, curling around a sapphire at its top. He looked somewhat distant as a small smile found his face, warming it. "But that can't be helped now."
Androthiel found her strength returning slowly but surely. She managed to come to a stand, her green eyes, ever bright and glittering. Her porcelain skin was untouched except for a sheen of sweat and a smudge of dirt upon her cheek. She had faired well. "And is that why you have appeared? To tell me of these things?" She questioned, uncertain of his motives.
"Perhaps yes, perhaps not." He said, leaning a little on his staff. "That will depend on the answer you give me now. Do you love this world? Enough to forsake your place among the people of your age to save it? The new elves have risen, a new dawn to a new age is on the horizon. Do you have the endurance to give even more? More then this?" The wizard said, his hand swinging wide to emphasize the surrounding battlefield.
A slight breeze passed through, kissing her hair as she looked about them. She was silent for a time, taking in and weighing his words. She would do just about anything to chase shadow from this world. That's why she had insisted on marching in this last alliance. But little good did it seem to do..and still she had to hope..She looked to the wise man in the blue robes.
"I would." She said with conviction. "I would do whatever neccessary if it meant salvation for all. The past is set..I would wish the lives of my kin were not given in vain." Her ageless face was clear with resolve.
His smile seemed to hold something different now, a certain seriousness. "And face the ages of this world without peer? You make a brave sacrifice and only because of this will I ask you a second time, are you sure? Will you be able to watch your family, your kin, and your lover sail away on white ships for a battle that will not come for a thousand years? For a battle that may very well this time be truly hopeless?" His icy blue eyes now seemed to pierce through her soul with a sharp cold, his tone growing sharper and more intense.
She did not look away. "Nothing is hopeless." She said softly. Androthiel grew quiet again, but after further thought she was sure that she believed this and that her word was her bond. She could not doubt, not if it could spawn something greater then death and darkness. "I will..I will. Yes, I trust that it would be better in times to come. I would make such a sacrifice. I have to hope it would make a difference."
"Then so be it." His voice filled the air as his arms flew into the sky like wings. The voice carried louder then it perhaps should have, and the old man suddenly looked emmense, more powerful then any mortal man could possibly be in nature. "Then let Androthiel see the coming of the dark!" The ground almost seemed to rumble as his voice grew darker in the form of black speech. It was the ring, the words of Sauron himself.
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.
Each word stung the elf maidens' sensitive ears and she felt a cold chill creep into her heart. And just as suddenly the wizard fell, weak, and hunched over his staff. There was a small laugh, weak and weary as he looked up at her. "Very good, Androthiel... very good indeed. You very... very well might make a difference afterall."
The elf stared at the wizard with a real look of confusion. What manner of devilry was this? Had she been made a fool or was it simply her youth that left her blind to the truth of his actions?
"Come now Androthiel, you have seen more evil today then simple words no matter how ancient." The wizard said, raising his hood again as he watched the toll the true black speech took on the elf. "So close to his home, but I have little fear that those words can bring us any further pain. Except if you count the orcs approaching us from the other side of that rocky jag there. Survivors of the battle..they carry flasks of elf blood, their greed has overpowered their cowardess. They feed cruely on the dead and the dying, one last bounty before retreating into the dark places of this Middle-Earth and perhaps the beginning of your new life." He said, and surly a small group of orcs came, their black lobster like armor cruel under the red glow of Mount Doom. The wizards back was to them as if a narrator to some dark play.
The elf's jaw was set but the look in her eyes was a pained one. "I have to admit, you are like a puzzle to me Istari.." Having little more of a grasp of what was going on now. "..a puzzle I don't think I shall solve in this age..or any which follow." She drew her sword and watched as the orcs approached.
"One is not expected to make sense of the affairs or minds of wizards, only to trust. That may one day even change as well." He said, his voice low as he seemed not to care at all about what was happening around him, as if this was not something he was even present for.
The voice of an orc rang out in its dark speech as it saw the elf woman and the robed figure. Another yelled out as well. "Look.. she's a pretty thing that one is, aye. I reckon her bones... juicy marrow... and the look of her. Elven woman..." It said to its companions before calling out to her as they approached. "Hey, Alfar... we're going to have fun with you. You're going to scream."
The low voice that came then was actually surprising, the statue like figure spoke out still without turning. "I think you'll be surprised." He then spoke in words she could not recognize, but they gave the creatures pause as they muttered among themselves before continuing forward.
She took a few light steps forward and stopped, waiting for their attack. Her fine sword at the ready as they moved in on her. She gracefully manuevered around their blows and swung her weapon in an arch, taking of one of the orcs heads clean off it's gnarled shoulders.
The wizard smiled, not watching the battle but apparently knowing exactly what was happening as Androthiel swung her blade as if it were her dance partner, the elegance of the elves. The others attempted to box her in, but to no avail. She swung her blade back and forth in a silvery shimmer of steel, making quick work of two more. She was too cunning for these foul creatures. Too careful to be taken down. With a few more quick, graceful movements her enemies lay dead at her feet. Her weapon slathered in black blood. She looked grim.
Only now did he turn, only after the skirmish was won. He inched forward still leaning heavily on his staff, passing her by. His voice rang out behind him to reach her ears. "So, Androthiel, if not onto the white ships, where do you go now from Mordor... there are only two other then you who remain behind. Only two." He said as he stopped waiting for her to catch up with him.
She sheathed her weapon as she sprang up beside him. "I know not. I may wander..my feet would know where I am needed." She said. "There is a path, hidden from my eyes, but it is already there. Layed before my feet." She watched the wizard keenly. "But does that matter? I am to trust, am I not?"
"Yes.." He said, a warm smile again lighting his face, it was the only part of his face visable again from under the hood. "You have time enough. I may as well tell you that your leaders, your king and queen will stay behind to guide the new age of elves. Elrond and Galadriel... you are not as alone as you might have believed. Learn all you can about this world, Androthiel. For tomorrow the Ring of Doom will be lost. I have seen it."
Her bright eyes looked on ahead as she walked and she nodded her head gracefully in grim acknowledgement of his words.
"You will see me again before the end. When it is time, I will come..if I still can. Take this sword in the meanwhile." He said, lifting his other hand from within the folds of his robe, producing a fine elven blade, slightly curved. "It only waits for a name, its old one has been forgotten..by even your people. I came upon it here in Mordor, I think it might serve you well. Grace be with you, Androthiel of the first elves, now half elven. Grace be with you." He said drawing his robes around himself and walking the opposite way from the elf maiden.
Androthiel stared long and hard at the fine curved blade in her fair hands. Her brows knitted together as she half turned and watched Istari leave her standing amidst the bodies of the fallen...her future already awaiting her.
(The first chapter will be submitted within the next day or so, if not sooner, and I will be sure to post the link for anyone who would like it right here.)