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Neled by LEMONSKY4
Chapter 1: A Whole New World
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Disclaimer: I own nothing but the OCs. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter shall never be mine!
The wonderful world of Middle Earth and all of its characters belongs to J. R. R. Tolkien. I'm just using it as my playground.
These OCs are the children of Sirius Black and Elaine Thompson, who is an OC from my story This Feeling Won't Go. Cora is 23 and Arlena and James are 18.
“Fine, if that’s the way you want it to be, then fine!” Cora flinched as her boyfriend of four years, Oliver Wood, slammed the door to their flat shut. It had been the fourth time he had stormed out of their flat in the past three weeks.
It seemed like all they did lately was argue. She sighed as she finished cleaning up dinner. Oliver, no doubt, had gone off to the pub to drink his problems away. He had started doing so a year and a half ago when an injury to his shoulder forced him to retire early. He was the best player in the league and now he worked at the Quidditch store in Hogsmeade. She understood why he was so bitter.
As she leaned against the kitchen counter, she realized she was still in love with the boy and not the man that Oliver had become. The boy that would take her on moonlit broom rides and would snuggle up with her while they both read their books of choice. He didn’t have time for those things anymore it seemed.
She had realized this long ago, but didn’t want to admit it. She let the tears fall, allowing reality to sink in. She knew she couldn’t stay here for much longer. Cora quickly grabbed some of her belongings and placed them in a bag and slid the promise ring Oliver had given her two years ago off and placed it on the kitchen counter.
Grabbing a piece of parchment, she quickly wrote a note to Oliver explaining she couldn’t do this anymore. Knowing that James would have just finished working for the day, she flooed over to her younger brother and sister’s flat.
Arlena Black felt like she didn’t fit in. She wondered if her twin brother, James, felt the same way. Both of them had been out of school for a year, and the Final Battle had been three years prior. Being at Hogwarts during the war had changed them, losing their childhood innocence in a place they considered to be their second home. Being the children of Elaine and Sirius Black, their lives weren’t the same as other wizards and witches.
After a long day at St. Mungo’s, Arlena returned home to the flat she shared with her twin.
“Hey Lena,” James said as he watched her take off her Healer’s robes. He was lounging on the couch, his Weasley Wizard Wheezes robes still on.
Cora emerged out of the kitchen with a mug in hand and smiled at her younger sister.
“Long day?” Arlena asked.
He just sighed and nodded.
“Oliver and I fought for what I believe will be the last time today,” Cora said as she curled up in an arm chair.
“I never liked him much anyways,” Arlena said as she made her way over to the kitchen.
“Mum spent the day cooking with Molly. She sent some food over,” James said.
“Why does Mum send you food and not me?” Cora asked.
“Clearly you’re not her favorites,” James said cheekily.
Arlena sighed and started making herself dinner.
“I know this must sound crazy, but have you ever felt like you don’t belong here?” Arlena asked quietly later that night.
They had the radio on and were all relaxing in front of the fire. James sat up from the couch and stared at her. He was a mere five minutes older than her and yet he took his role as older brother very serious.
“I know exactly what you mean,” Cora said quietly. She still was staring at the flames dance in the hearth.
“Like what we’re currently doing with our lives isn’t enough, that there’s something more we could doing-”
“-But you don’t what that something more is,” Arlena cut James off.
“Yeah,” Cora said.
James got up from the couch.
“Nothing we can do though, we just have to make the most of the life that’s been given to us,” he said.
“I know, James, but sometimes I feel like I could be doing so much more,” Arlena trailed off, shaking her head.
“Both of you should get some sleep, it’s been long days for both of you,” James said.
“You’re right, good night,” Cora said as she made her way towards the guest bedroom.
“Good night,” James and Arlena said together.
Cora, James and Arlena went to bed wishing they were apart of something greater than themselves. What they didn’t know was that their lives were going to be changed forever.
As James woke up the next morning, he knew for a fact he wasn’t in his bed. He was on the ground and if he didn’t know any better, he was partially laying on a rock. Opening his eyes, he swore.
“Bloody hell,” he groaned as he saw three arrows pointed at his chest. He tried to get his wits about him as fast as he possibly could. Where was his wand?
There were three men, well he wasn’t sure if they were men, for they had pointy ears and looked altogether more graceful and beautiful to be human. The one in the middle, with long dark brown hair, was speaking to him in a language he didn’t understand.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand you,” he said wondering if he could slowly sit up.
The one in the middle stopped speaking and the one to his left started to speak.
“What is your name, stranger? Why are you here?” he asked.
“My name is James and I don’t know where I am or how I got here. I’m a wizard. Could you please get these arrows away from my chest?” he said, panic climbing in his voice.
They moved the arrows away from him and he sat up.
“Be at ease, James. You are in Rivendell. You say you are a wizard? You look different from all the other wizards we know of. We shall take you to Lord Elrond, for he may have the answers that you seek,” he said.
James nodded as he stood up, wondering what he meant by saying he looked different from other wizards. He looked down and noticed he wasn’t wearing the clothes he went to sleep in. He was wearing a simple grey tunic with black leggings and black sturdy boots.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but what are you? I know you are not human,” James said rather awkwardly.
“We are Elves. Come, let us take you to Lord Elrond,” the elf said.
Cora opened her eyers and found herself staring at a stark white tree that appeared to be dead. For some unknown reason, seeing that this tree was dead made her sad. But why? She was so confused.
She had gone to bed in her siblings’ guest bedroom. Now she was outside in a place she didn’t recognize. She shift her legs and looked down. She was wearing a navy blue gown with silver trimming that she had to admit was gorgeous, but where did she get it from? What was going on?
“Lord Faramir, over there! One minute there was nothing and then suddenly she appeared out of thin air!” a masculine voice exclaimed. A surge of panic started to overwhelm her. Is that how she got here? Appearing out of thin air?
“Go fetch Gandalf. He should be in the library,” another voice said.
“Yes, my Lord,” the other voice said and she heard someone run away. They were probably going to get Gandalf, whoever that was.
Cora slowly sat up and turned in the direction of the voices. There were men in armor surrounding one man. He had light brown hair and striking blue eyes. He turned in her direction and made his way towards her. She was frozen to the spot.
“Madam, are you well?” he asked, kneeling down next to her.
“W-who are you? Where am I? Please don’t hurt me,” Cora pleaded.
She was scared, that he knew. He also sensed no evil around her. She looked so innocent. He gazed into her stormy grey eyes and his breath hitched. He was fascinated by her.
“Do not worry, I shall let no harm come to you. I am Lord Faramir. My father is Denethor, the Steward of Gondor. You are in Gondor’s capital city, Minas Tirith. Please, call me Faramir,” he explained quietly to her.
Faramir didn’t understand why he was being so informal with her. He had encountered many women before but none had sparked an interest like this young woman had- and he didn’t even know her name yet!
Taking a deep breath, she knew she could trust him.
“My name is Cora. I do not mean to alarm you, but I’m a witch, and I have no idea how I got here,” she said.
“Can you stand, my Lady?” Faramir asked, reaching his hand out to her.
“I think so,” she said as she placed her hand in his.
Her legs were wobbly and couldn’t hold her weight. Her legs buckled underneath her, but luckily Faramir was there and she fell into his arms. She blushed, being in such close contact with him.
“Lady Cora, you are weak. I’ll have to carry you to your rooms,” Faramir said. There wasn’t any room to protest.
Before she knew it, he swept her up into his arms and made his way inside. She blushed an even deeper shade of red, embarrassed she was in such a weak state.
“As to the matter of you being a witch. It does not alarm me, for I sense no evil whilst being in your presence. But you are in luck, my Lady,” he explained.
“Oh, how so?” she asked, finally relaxing in his arms. He would not harm her for being a witch.
“Gandalf the Grey is here, and he may be of assistance to you,” Faramir said.
Arlena woke up to the sound of galloping. Opening her eyes, she appeared to be in a sea of golden grass. She subconsciously thought it was beautiful, but quickly pushed that thought aside, realizing that she had bigger problems to deal with.
The hoofbeats became louder and Arlena scrambled to stand up so she wouldn’t get trampled. It was then she noticed that she wasn’t wearing the clothes she went to bed in. It was a forest green dress with golden trimming around the edges. She spotted several men on horses approaching her and she frantically searched her dress for her wand.
Sighing in relief, she found it in a concealed pocket amongst the folds of her dress. She didn’t take it out, not knowing if these men were a threat to her. Taking note of her style of dress and the fact these men traveled by horses, she must be in some medieval-like place. Men of those times wouldn’t kill a woman, they would help her.
That is, if these were honorable men.
They quickly surrounded her and she was utterly terrified.
“Please, please don’t hurt me. I’m lost and I don’t know where I am,” she pleaded. She hated being this weak, but due to the circumstances it was the only way she could survive.
“What is your name?” one of the men demanded. She looked at him directly, and gathered he must have been the leader, for his armor was much more ornately decorated than all of the others, save for one other.
“Arlena. My name is Arlena Black,” she said. “And who are you? Where am I?” she asked, with a determined look her in eyes.
“I am Théodred, son of King Théoden,” he said. He had long dirty blonde hair with brown eyes.
“And I am Éomer, son of Éomund,” the man next to Théodred said. He had dark blonde hair with blue-green eyes and although she wouldn’t admit it out loud, she found him much more attractive than the son of the king.
“You are in Rohan, but more specifically in Edoras,” he explained further.
Arlena’s eyes widened. She had never heard of these places before. She started to feel dizzy.
“Oh my,” she said quietly. “I fear I am quite far away from home.”
Then everything turned to black.
Éomer quickly got off his horse and went to help this strange girl.
“She merely fainted, but it would not be right to leave her. You saw how lost she looked, cousin,” he said to Théodred.
“You’re right. She shall return with us to the Golden Hall. Éowyn shall look after her,” the heir to the throne said.
Once they got Arlena settled in front of Éomer in the saddle, the Rohirrim quickly made their way back home.
A.N: Feedback would be THOROUGHLY appreciated, as this is my first ever crossover and attempt at writing any form of a LOTR fic. Questions, comments or concerns, just leave a review!
Chapter 2: Minas Tirith
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Disclaimer: As usual, I own nothing.
I hope you enjoy this chapter focusing on Cora. :)
Cora found herself in the guest quarters of the Citadel. After feeling utterly ridiculous, she insisted that Faramir put her down and was now perfectly capable of walking on her own. He complied, but still offered his arm, and she graciously accepted it. She was charmed with the chivalry she found in Faramir, but she also reminded herself that not all were as kind as he.
Faramir had told her that there were seven levels to the city and each had its own gate protecting it. He then explained how Minas Tirith had originally been built to protect the city Osgiliath, but then it became the capital after the city fell into ruin after a plague had ravaged the city.
After he had led her to her rooms, she decided to explore it. She had found some books and to her relief her fear that they would be in some foreign language was proven false. Although she had some slight problems with reading the flowy script of the scribe that had written it.
She walked out onto the balcony and the view she saw was horrifying yet strangely beautiful. The landscape around Minas Tirith was beautiful, but in the distance the clouds grew dark, almost black in color and she heard distant rumblings from that direction. There was even a volcano and it appeared to be active, with smoke rising out of it. The one thing she didn't understand was that it had a sense of evil permeating from it. What was that place?
A knock on her door interrupted her thoughts.
"Enter," she said and watched Faramir walk in with whom she presumed to be Gandalf the Grey.
"Lord Faramir told me you may be of assistance to me, Gandalf the Grey. Does he speak the truth?" she asked, taking note of his walking staff. She felt power emanate from it. How odd.
"I may be able to answer some questions of yours, Cora Black," Gandalf stated simply.
She wondered how he knew her last name, as she had only told Faramir her first name.
"I will leave you two to talk privately," Faramir said.
"You can stay if you wish, Lord Faramir," Cora said. "It would probably be a good idea for you to be fully informed of my situation," she continued.
"Of course, my lady," he said.
"Lord Faramir said you're a witch," Gandalf said as he and Faramir sat down.
"Yes, I am, but I have a feeling you already knew this," she said as she went over to the desk and picked up her wand. Turning back to face them again, she stared at Gandalf's staff.
"That's no ordinary walking stick, is it? I feel the power radiating from it," she said.
Gandalf nodded in confirmation.
The fire in the hearth was dying down and without a thought, Cora muttered a spell that regenerated the fire. Gandalf didn't even blink at the use of magic, but Faramir was stunned by it.
"Why am I here, Gandalf?" she asked.
"I do not know why you and your siblings are here, Cora, but I do know you will be useful in the times ahead," he said.
"James? Arlena? They're here? Where?" she asked quickly.
"James is among the Elves in Rivendell and Arlena is in Rohan amongst the Horse Lords of King Théoden. They, too, will prove useful," he explained.
"Whatever for?" she asked confused.
He annoyingly reminded her of Dumbledore with his vagueness.
"Dark times are fast approaching, Cora. I know you are all too familiar with times such as these, as well as your siblings. Your experience and abilities will be helpful," Gandalf said, being still vague.
Cora stood there with her mouth open, "How do you know of my past?"
"I know many things I should not, as you will surely learn. Faramir, have you informed your father of Cora's presence?"
Faramir nodded, "As well as Boromir."
Cora noticed Gandalf's nose slightly scrunch up in distaste when he mentioned the name Boromir. She wondered why, but decided not to ask.
"Make sure you stay on Denethor's good side, Cora. Women's opinions are not as highly thought of as in your time. It would not bode well to have you kicked out of the Citadel," Gandalf said as he stood up.
"I must take leave, but know that our paths will cross again. Until we meet again," he said as he bowed his head in respect. He said his good-byes to Faramir.
"Remember what I said, Faramir," Gandalf said before he promptly left.
Confused, Cora stood up from her chair and walked about the room, unable to withstand the intense gaze Faramir was giving her.
"You wish to know of my past, don't you?" she asked bluntly. She realized she would have to tell someone about it sooner or later.
"I know it is not my place to ask, but I will admit that I am curious," he said sheepishly.
She sighed, "Where I come from, there was a war three years ago. A wizarding war to be exact," she started.
"There was one wizard, a very powerful one, that sought to take over the entire wizarding world and ride it of Muggle-born witches and wizards. Muggle-borns are witches or wizards that are born to non-magical families," she explained.
She began to walk out onto the balcony, inexplicably drawn to the landscape before her. She heard Faramir following her.
"It was a very bloody and destructive war. We did not use weapons like swords or bows, our wands were our weapons," holding her wand out to Faramir so he could examine it.
He stared at it reluctantly.
"Do not worry, Faramir. It will be useless in your hands," she quickly explained.
He took it and examined it. How could an entire war be conducted with only intricately designed pieces of wood?
"Words can be far more dangerous than swords, Faramir," she said.
"How so?" he questioned.
"I can make someone be completely under my control with one word, bidding them to do what I please. I can torture someone to insanity by uttering a word. I can end life with just two words," she said deathly quiet.
"Just by using this?" Faramir asked in awe.
She nodded, "Those spells are called the Unforgivable Curses because that is what they are - unforgivable."
"The Imperious Curse, The Cruciatus Curse, and The Killing Curse. For all of them, you really need to mean it," she said. Faramir could tell she was thinking about something that had happened in her past.
"What do you mean?"
"For the Cruciatus Curse, or any of the others for that matter, to be effective, the castor of the spell must really want to cause pain to their victim," she said.
"Have you used any of them?"
"They're dark magic, Faramir," she stated. The way she avoided his question, however, made him believe she had.
"That may be so, but you never answered my question," he returned.
She remained silent for awhile.
"They were torturing my cousin," she whispered. "She had been a double agent for the Order, to infiltrate the enemies' inner circle. She was successful, until the Final Battle when she openly fought for the Light instead of the Dark."
"A couple of the enemy surrounded her, and instead of killing her, they tortured her. They were using spells on her that I couldn't even fathom possible at the time. I was so angry and scared at the time, I don't know how I did it."
"Did what?" he asked quietly.
"I managed to stun the two Death Eaters that were watching the torture, and before I realized what I was doing, I had screamed Crucio, and he was on the ground writhing in pain," she whispered, her eyes welling up with tears.
"Many lives were lost during the war, a majority of them were friends of mine," she turned to look at him, pretending the tears that were threatening to fall were not there.
A gentle breeze swept a strand of her long black hair into her eyes and she made to move it away. Faramir beat her to it, tucking the strand behind her ear.
Faramir blinked and quickly moved his hand away.
"Please forgive me, my lady. I do not know what overcame me," he said quickly, hoping she would not be upset.
She looked at him and smiled a little, "There is nothing to forgive, Faramir. Your touch has brought comfort to me when I needed reminding that there still is good in humanity."
She didn't understand the feelings she was currently experiencing or why he had just touched her, but he was her only friend in this world and she did not want it to be an awkward friendship.
He nodded his head in acknowledgement.
"My father, the Steward, and my brother Boromir, are very much interested in meeting you. You have been invited to dine with us," he said, quickly moving onto a new subject.
"Of course, but there is just one problem with that," Cora said.
"I don't know where dinner shall be taking place, therefore I will get thoroughly lost," she said smiling.
He returned the smile, "Either my brother or I shall escort you down to dinner. In the mean time, I'll arrange for a seamstress to visit you to take your measurements so more clothes can be made for you."
"Thank you, Faramir," she said.
"It is no trouble at all, my lady," he said, bowing to her before leaving.
She waited a couple seconds after he closed the door shut before she collapsed onto her bed.
"What in Merlin's name just happened?" she said aloud, bewildered by her encounter with Faramir.
A.N: Next Chapter is about Arlena. Feedback is always, always, ALWAYS appreciated! :)
Chapter 3: Edoras
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As usual, I own nothing! Enjoy the chapter!
Arlena came to just as the Rohirrim were dismounting in the stables. Blinking furiously, she tried to regain her focus and once her vision cleared, she found herself staring at Théodred.
"Ah, it is good to see you're awake," he said as he guided his horse to its proper stall.
"I've never fainted before in my entire life," she said, her voice trailing off. She jumped slightly in the saddle when she felt someone squeeze her left side and turned just in time to watch Éomer dismount. So that's who she had been riding with.
"Let me help you down," he said, waiting for her consent.
She stared at him, weighing her options. She could be defiant and get down on her own, which would show him that she's not a helpless female. However, considering she had just fainted she was much more weaker than she would usually be. The bigger issue, however, was that she had never dismounted a horse whilst wearing a dress.
"Thank you," she said, giving her consent.
He approached her and Arlena placed her hands on his shoulders as he placed his on her waist. Effortlessly, he picked her up and set her on the ground. She did not fail to notice his face scrunch up in pain.
"You're hurt," she stated plainly, taking note of the bloodied bandage wrapped around his upper left arm.
"It is nothing serious, it only pains me when I move my arm a certain way," he said, brushing her concern off.
Théodred made his way over towards the pair. They had just emerged out of the stables and were about to walk towards the hall, but Arlena stopped them.
"Please let me look at it. Where I come from I'm training to become a Healer, but I've had loads of experience treating wounds just like yours," she said, trying to persuade him into letting her help him.
"And how would you have so much experience treating such wounds if you're only a trainee?" Théodred asked, curious.
"It's really a long story, one I shall tell you sometime, but I shall give a brief explanation. War sometimes results in battle wounds," she said, rather vaguely.
Éomer looked from his cousin to Arlena, and with a nod gave her consent to examine his wound. Arlena carefully removed the bloodied bandage and examined the cut. It wasn't all that deep and appeared to have stopped bleeding long ago.
"It doesn't appear to be infected and seems to have stopped bleeding awhile ago. You could have changed the bandage though. You're lucky it didn't get infected. When did you get it?" she asked, going into her Healer mode.
"Three days ago, we were attacked by a small group of Wargs," he explained.
"I have absolutely no idea what Wargs are, but they sound unpleasant," Arlena said conversationally.
"They are indeed," Théodred muttered.
"Well, the cut isn't that deep and if you'd like, I can fully heal it. When I'm done, you wouldn't even know it had been there," she said.
The two men stared at her strangely.
"How is that possible? It would take a week or more for it to heal. It would be a miracle for something to heal so quickly," Éomer questioned.
"It would be magic, not a miracle," she stated, biting her lip. She wasn't sure how they would react and this made her extremely nervous.
"Magic?" Théodred exclaimed incredulously. Éomer remained silent and she didn't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
She nodded, "I fainted before I got the chance to tell you that I'm a witch."
"A witch?" Théodred uttered, his eyes narrowing.
"Where do you get your power from? Wizards here have magical staffs that they use. Yet I see nothing of that nature in your possession," Éomer said.
"Oh, my wand is hidden away in a pocket in my dress," she said carefully taking her wand out. She didn't want to alarm them into action and attack her.
"I swear to you I have no intention of harming anyone here. Like I said before, I'm training to be a Healer. I like to heal people, not destroy them," she said honestly.
She stared into Éomer's eyes, hoping he would see she was telling the truth. She didn't dare think about what they would do to her if they didn't believe her.
"I believe she speaks the truth, cousin," Éomer said.
"And I trust your judgement, Éomer," Théodred said. "Do not worry anymore, Arlena. We were never going to harm you."
She remained silent, wondering if that was really true.
"May I heal your arm, then?" she asked quietly.
"You may," Éomer said.
Hovering her wand over the cut, she quietly murmured a spell and the two men watched in awe as the wound closed up and then all together disappeared. Éomer, in disbelief, touched the spot where it once was and smiled.
"I feel no more pain. Thank you, Arlena," he said.
"Maybe you can help us. We believe that my father's mind is being poisoned by Saruman, a wizard whom we had led to believe was good," Théodred began to explain quietly.
"I know my father, and he is not himself. He has grown cruel and distant from me. He is also making outrageous decisions, like appointing Grima as one of his closest advisors," he continued, making it perfectly evident what he thought of Grima, whomever he was.
"Once you've seen Grima, you will understand. My uncle and him will spend hours together discussing who knows what, and I don't like it at all," Éomer said.
Arlena smiled sadly, "That's extremely dark magic. I'm sad to say, I will not be able to help him. Though I know how to defend myself physically from the dark arts, I'm completely lost when it comes to attacks on the mind. That is beyond my skill."
The two men looked at each other sadly. Arlena could tell they cared deeply for their King.
"In that case, I believe it would be wise if we keep your abilities a secret, with the exception of telling Éowyn, my sister. She will be glad to meet you, for there are few women to keep her company," Éomer said.
"Of course," Arlena agreed. She placed her wand back into her pocket, making a silent promise to herself not to use it unless it was an absolute emergency.
"Come, we shall introduce you to the King and get you settled," Théodred said and Arlena found no room to argue.
Arlena found Éowyn to be absolutely charming, albeit a little rough around the edges. She pegged it down to the fact that she is constantly surrounded by men and hasn't had a constant female companion around her. All Éowyn really needed is a friend, and Arlena is happy to fill in that role.
Arlena sat down on the bed and Éowyn joined her.
"Thank you so much for helping me get settled in. I would have been utterly lost if it weren't for you. Things are quite different here than from where I'm from," Arlena said.
"It is no trouble at all. But please continue telling me about your world. It sounds so wonderful," Éowyn said, her eyes lighting up in wonder.
"Well, I've already told you about Hogwarts, so I guess I'll tell you about my family," Arlena said.
A knock prevented Arlena from starting her story.
"Enter," she said, wondering who it could be.
Éomer walked in, inwardly glad to see Arlena and his sister getting along so well together.
"I came to check up on you to see how you're settling in before I retired for the night," he explained, closing the door.
"With the help of your sister, I have comfortably settled in. I was just going to tell Éowyn about my family, you're welcome to stay and listen if you'd like," Arlena said, knowing he was just as curious about her origins as Éowyn was.
"I think I shall," he said, settling down in one of the chairs.
"I'll start with my parents. My parents knew each other in school, and it wasn't until their sixth year of schooling did my father, Sirius, begin to court my mother, Elaine. They were very much in love and my father proposed to my mother in their seventh and final year of schooling," she began.
"They got married almost immediately after they graduated. A war was going on at the time, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for them to be married so soon. My uncle, Regulus, and my father never got along especially when it came to their beliefs. My uncle fought for the Dark, a group known as the Death Eaters, while my father fought for the Light," she continued.
"However, my uncle began to think differently but it was too late for him to turn to the light side. The Death Eaters killed my uncle and my aunt Elizabeth, whom he had secretly married, leaving my cousin Vera an orphan. My parents adopted her and took care of her," Arlena said quietly.
She could read Éowyn's emotions easily and could tell she was stunned. Éomer, on the other hand, was much more difficult to read.
"Vera was two when her parents died, and two years later my older sister Cora was born. Then, my father was framed for a crime he didn't commit and was thrown in jail," Arlena sighed.
She then continued on to explain how her mother was pregnant with her and her twin James, but Elaine never got the chance to tell Sirius since he was in Azkaban. For thirteen years, her father remained in jail, oblivious to their existence. He managed to escape, but since his name wasn't cleared, he had to remain in hiding. It wasn't until three years ago that her father became a truly free man.
"My mother is one of the strongest people I have ever met. She managed to take care of four children on her own, with the help of some close family friends," she said, ending her story there. She was exhausted and did not want to continue on explaining for much longer.
"There is more to tell, but I do not wish to tell you of such things yet," she then said after a moment of silence.
Éowyn got up from the bed, "I understand completely," she said. "But in the meantime, we should all get some sleep."
"Good night, Éowyn and Éomer," Arlena said.
Éomer, who had remained silent for most of the night, merely bowed his head in goodbye and wordlessly followed his sister out of the room. She stared at the door for awhile, wondering what his silence meant.
Arlena didn't understand Éomer one bit and it annoyed the hell out of her.
A.N: Feedback, as always, is appreciated! :)
Chapter 4: Rivendell
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Disclaimer: I own nothing, as usual.
James found himself waiting in what appeared to be a massive library. Nothing could have prepared him for the beauty that was Rivendell. Standing in the library with probably a permanent dumbstruck expression on his face, he waited for Lord Elrond.
"Welcome to Rivendell, James Black," a voice behind him said.
He turned around and found himself facing an elf that only could be Lord Elrond.
"Your city is breathtaking, Lord Elrond. I have never seen anything like it before," he said honestly.
"Thank you. It shall be your home for the next couple of months," Lord Elrond said.
"But why am I here?" James asked, getting straight to the point.
"Dark times are approaching, James. I have foreseen you and your sisters playing a key role in upcoming events," Lord Elrond said.
"My sisters? They're here? Can I see them?" he quickly asked.
"I'm afraid you cannot see them, for they are not in Rivendell. They are in other places, but you shall see them again," he said to the young wizard.
"Many weeks from now, there shall be a council that I shall like you to attend. In the meantime, you shall begin training," he continued, not giving James a chance to ask more of his sisters.
"What sort of training?" James asked curious.
"You will come across situations where magic will fail you. It would do you some good to be able to wield a sword or use a bow. You also will be given lessons - mostly in geography, to better prepare yourself for what is outside these borders," Lord Elrond explained.
James nodded his head in agreement. It did make sense.
"When do I start?" he asked.
"Now, if you so wish," Lord Elrond said, slightly amused.
"I'd like that," James said. He was eager to try some new things.
"I shall send for Beinion. He will be responsible for your training," Lord Elrond said before he made the arrangements.
"Who shall be overseeing my lessons?" James asked, curious.
"I will be overseeing them, James. However, when I cannot, Orthorien shall be overseeing them," the elf explained.
James did not have to wait long. Ten minutes later, an elf with long dark brown hair and striking green eyes entered the library.
"You requested my presence, Lord Elrond?"
"Beinion, I'd like you to meet your new pupil, James Black," Lord Elrond said.
Beinion turned to look at James. James stared back at him, knowing he was measuring him up.
"It shall be my honor, Lord Elrond," the elf said before once again turning to James.
"Do you have any fighting experience, James Black?" Beinion asked.
"With magic," James said quietly, thinking of the war.
"A wizard?" Beinion arched his eyebrow. "Very well. How about wielding a sword?"
"Er, no," James said.
"No," James said awkwardly.
"Hmm," Beinion said making his way towards a table. A smooth, polished stone rested on top of a pile of papers. Beinion picked it up in his hand and tossed it lightly, letting it fall back into the palm of his hand.
James was studying him carefully, wondering what Beinion was going to say next.
"Catch this, James," Beinion said quickly before tossing the stone towards him.
Without a thought, James caught it in his hand. He stared back at Beinion and noticed he had a smile on his face.
"Good reflexes. A good foundation to begin training with," Beinion said before holding his hand out for the stone.
James approached Beinion and Lord Elrond and returned the stone. Both elves were staring at him intently.
"Do I have something on my face?" He joked lightly, wondering what they were thinking about. He hadn't been this scrutinized since the Carrows were patrolling Hogwarts.
"How old are you, James?" Beinion asked curiously.
"I'm eighteen. Why do you ask?"
"Only eighteen? Lord Elrond, he's still practically a boy!" Beinion said to Lord Elrond.
"Do not doubt his abilities, Beinion. Does he carry himself the way an eighteen year old would? Look into his eyes, Beinion, and you shall see he has gone through much hardship," Lord Elrond said.
At the mention of hardship, memories came flooding back to James. Fear of walking through the corridors alone, being tortured for merely existing, the numerous sleepless nights, and being virtually cut off from the outside world all came back to him. The memories were so overwhelming that James had to break eye contact with Beinion.
"Children have to grow up fast in order to survive. Boys become men far too quickly in times of war, and what innocence is lost can never be regained," James said quietly.
"Forgive me, James. Come, you must be hungry, but first I shall show you to your rooms and then we shall have lunch," Beinion said.
Beinion turned to Lord Elrond and bowed, his hand over his heart. Lord Elrond returned the gesture and looked to James. Not really sure what to do, James just nodded his head in respect.
Lord Elrond watched the pair leave the library with a bittersweet smile on his face.
"We are not far from your talan, James," Beinion said.
"My what?" James asked confused.
"Forgive me, your room," Beinion corrected.
"Oh, I'll have to remember that," James said.
"Lord Elrond said you hadn't had a pupil in a while. How long ago was it?" James asked.
"Fifty years ago," Beinion stated offhandedly.
James stared at him. How was that possible?
"But- but you look so young," he stated confused beyond belief.
"Elves are immortal, James," Beinion said.
"How old are you then?" James asked, trying to wrap his mind around immortality.
"I'm two thousand and five years old, James," the elf said.
James stopped in his tracks. Sweet Merlin that was along time.
"Move along, James. We're almost there," the elf said, interrupting the wizard's confused thoughts.
They soon approached a door that was intricately designed with various animals. Most of them James recognized, but there were some he didn't.
"Here we are," Beinion said before opening the door and allowing James to look. James walked in and to his amazement, realized this room was the same size of at least half of his entire flat in London.
"As an honorary guest of Lord Elrond's, you shall have a maid that shall keep your room nice and tidy. In addition, you have access to the library and are able to dine with us in the hall," Beinion continued.
"Wow, this is more room than I'll ever need!" James said as he sat down in an ornate carved arm chair. He wasn't expecting it to be that comfortable, but was amazed to find that it felt extremely luxurious.
"Elves are the most comfortable in open and airy spaces," Beinion said.
"Come, you must be hungry. I shall show you to the hall," the elf continued.
"Alright. By the way, what shall you like me to call you?" James said after closing the door.
"What do you mean?" Beinion asked confused.
"Well, you're my teacher. As your student, isn't there an official title that I call you?" the wizard asked.
"I suppose you're right," Beinion said quietly, thinking it over.
"Well, what do you want me to call you? Professor? No, that doesn't seem right. Sensei? Master?" James asked.
Beinion looked smug, "Master shall work wonderfully."
"As you wish Master Beinion," James said laughing.
"Now, today I'll only introduce you to the weapons you shall be learning to use," Beinion said only two hours after lunch.
"That's fine with me," James said as they entered the training grounds. He watched in awe as elves sparred each other and was overwhelmed by how graceful they looked.
"There is a path behind the sparring fields that leads to the archery targets," Beinion said.
James nodded, taking everything in.
"First, the sword," Beinion said as he handed it to James.
James took it and was shocked to find it so light. It was simple in its design, and its blade was dull.
"This is merely a practice sword. We don't want you to cause too much damage," Beinion said.
"It's so light," James said in awe.
"Yes, it's one of the qualities that Elvish swords possess," Beinion said watching James with the sword. His movements were awkward and unsure.
"You shall become accustomed to it in no time," the elf explained, taking the sword.
James nodded, remembering how odd it felt to fly on a broom for the first time.
"Now, let's see how well you fare with a bow," Beinion said.
"So, once the arrow's in place, you pull back and let go?" James said staring at the bow in his hands.
"Correct," Beinion said.
"Alright Black, you can do this," James mumbled to himself. Pulling the string back, he aimed towards the target.
With an odd sounding twang the arrow zoomed forward, and landed merely yards away from him.
"Well, that's disappointing," James muttered, glaring at the arrow.
"On the contrary, that was excellent," Beinion said.
"How? The arrow isn't even remotely near the target," James said.
"Is said arrow stuck in your foot?" Beinion asked.
"No," James said confused.
"Does anyone have an arrow stuck in them?"
"Is your bow broken?"
James looked at his bow and found it in pristine condition.
"No, it's not," he said.
"Then you have done an excellent job for your first time," Beinion said.
James opened his mouth to reply with a sarcastic comment, but decided against it.
"I suppose you're right," James begrudgingly admitted.
"Don't be so hard on yourself, James. You are a fast learner, and will be the best you can be in no time," Beinion said.
"It's just frustrating when I can just do this instead," James said as he pulled out his wand. With a swish, arrows spouted from his wand and became embedded in the center of the target.
"Impressive," Beinion said. "But in a world of swords and bows, James, your magic can only help you so far."
"Come, we are done for today. I shall take you to the seamstress for you to be measured. You will need more clothes if you plan on staying here for awhile," Beinion continued.
James sighed and nodded, putting his wand back in his pocket. He needed to learn to rely less on magic.
A.N: Reviews are always appreciatd! :) Up next is dinner with Denethor.
Chapter 5: Minas Tirith
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Here's the next chapter. Dinner with Denethor!
As usual, I own absolutely nothing! I'm just having some fun. :)
Cora found herself pacing, unbelievably nervous for dinner. Gandalf's warning kept replaying in her mind and she hoped she could keep herself in check.
"Make sure you stay on Denethor's good side, Cora. Women's opinions are not as highly thought of as in your time. It would not bode well to have you kicked out of the Citadel," Gandalf had said to her before he left.
Being a freelance journalist, she had to work hard to get her writing acknowledged, but that was how things were. It was a cut-throat business, regardless of whether you were a man or a woman.
She wondered why Gandalf had warned her in the first place. Cora hadn't even been in this new world for an entire day, but as soon as she had seen those guards in armor, she knew things were different.
She knew when to keep her mouth shut, but she wasn't afraid to put someone in their place when the situation called for it.
Now, if he had been talking to Arlena, it would have made much more sense. Arlena had a fiery temper and when pushed, she would snap back. How bad could Denethor be that Gandalf needed to warn her?
As a new wave of nervousness overwhelmed her, she found herself fiddling with the long sleeves of the silver gown she was now wearing. After the seamstress had taken her measurements, a maid named Laurel came in with a dress.
Laurel had told her that she was to be her maid for her duration at the Citadel and that Lord Faramir had requested that some of his mother's dresses be brought to her until she had clothes of her own.
Laurel insisted that she had to change for dinner and promised to do her hair to make her presentable for dinner. The dress had fit her almost perfectly albeit it was slightly loose. A quick spell fixed that problem easily and now she found herself waiting for Lord Faramir to escort her to dinner.
A knock thankfully interrupted her thoughts. Walking over to the door, she opened it and found herself staring at a man that certainly was not Faramir.
How could she have forgotten that Faramir had said either him or his brother, Boromir, would escort her down to dinner.
"Hello, you must be Lord Faramir's brother, Lord Boromir," Cora said, hiding her disappointment very well.
Boromir was a bear of a man, but had the same shade of brown hair and blue eyes that his younger brother had.
"Aye, Lady Cora, I am Boromir. My brother was not lying when he said that you were a sight to behold," he said bowing to her.
Cora blushed, "You flatter me, Lord Boromir. Do you flatter every woman you meet with such compliments?"
"Nay, only to those that are deserving of such flattery," he said, smiling impishly.
She laughed and shook her head at him. He was much more daring than Faramir.
"Shall we go to dinner?" Boromir asked, offering his arm to her. She nodded and accepted his arm.
"It is nice to see my mother's dresses be put into use again. Long have they been put away in storage," Boromir said, taking her outfit in.
"Make no mistake, it is a lovely dress, but I'm not used to wearing dresses," Cora said honestly. She owned a few sun dresses and cocktail dresses, but they were all short and showed a lot more skin than this dress.
Mostly she owned skirts, and she usually wore those when she went into work to turn her articles in. She liked wearing pants and t-shirts, but she had a sinking feeling she wouldn't be wearing any of those any time soon.
"Oh, is that so?" Boromir said, arching an eyebrow.
"Yes, if I'm going to be honest, I'd prefer to wear what you're wearing," she said, gesturing to the tunic and trousers Boromir was wearing.
She noticed the thinly disguised look of annoyance on his face. So he must think women belong at home, wearing dresses and taking care of children. Well, she would change that.
"I have to warn you that my father addresses people briskly and not always politely," Boromir said, fumbling for the right words.
Cora squeezed his arm in reassurance, "I have been told to be on my best behavior by Gandalf. Do not worry so."
Apparently the mention of Gandalf did not bring Boromir any reassurance whatsoever.
They soon approached the dining hall, and found Faramir seated next to a foreboding man that could only be his father. Faramir quickly stood up at their entrance, but his father didn't.
After she concluded her first assessment, she wasn't impressed with the Steward of Gondor. A feeling of dread formed in the pit of her stomach once she approached the two other men.
"Father, this is Lady Cora," Boromir said, retracting his arm from hers. "And Madam, this is Lord Denethor, the Steward of Gondor."
Although he had stood up, Lord Denethor still didn't say anything. Not knowing what to do in such a situation, she improvised.
"It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my Lord," Cora said, sweeping into a curtsy.
"Who gave you permission to wear that dress?" Denethor said rudely, his eyes narrowing at the dress she was wearing.
Cora's face paled and she was at a loss for words. He was angry and she had only said one thing to him!
"I did, Father," Boromir said, rescuing her. "She had no appropriate clothing for dinner, so until new clothes are made, I granted permission for some of Mother's gowns to be aired out."
She stared at Boromir, wondering why he took the credit for giving her the dresses when it was Faramir. She figured she would find out soon enough.
Denethor stared at Boromir, and his anger subsided.
"Very well then," Denethor said, making his way back to his seat.
Cora was led to her seat by Boromir. After he pushed her seat in, she quietly thanked him and watched him walk to the other side of the table and sat down next to his brother.
"I wanted to say thank you for your kindness and hospitality, Steward," she said, thinking that was the most logical thing to say.
"My sons insisted upon it," Denethor said, looking in the direction of Boromir and Faramir. Cora didn't fail to notice how he looked only at Boromir, not Faramir.
"You can thank them, not me. I had no say in the matter," he grumbled, glaring at her.
Faramir noticed her jaw muscles tightening up and the insulted look in her eyes. This was not going to end well, he thought.
Denethor suddenly clapped his hands and a mass of servants entered the room, carrying trays of food.
Cora spent her time staring at her plate, making sure she ate it as lady-like as possible.
"Are you of noble blood?" Denethor suddenly asked halfway through dinner.
She quickly looked up from her plate and made eye contact with Faramir.
"No I'm not, my Lord," she said, staring at Denethor.
"Then why have my sons been giving you the title of 'Lady' this entire time? More importantly, why have I been dining in the presence of someone so beneath me?" Denethor said in a deadly quiet voice.
Cora knew that tone of voice- the calm before the storm. She had to act quickly or hell was going to break loose.
"I am a witch, Steward. Ever since meeting your sons, they have given me such titles of nobility. I am not familiar with titles and the like, so forgive me for not correcting them otherwise. I may not have noble blood, but I come from an ancient line of wizards," Cora said, trying to be as diplomatic as possible.
She despised this man with every fiber of her being. Cora took note of the impressed look on Faramir's face, while Boromir was stonily silent. He seemed to have inherited that trait from his father.
"A witch? Like that fool of a wizard, Gandalf?" Denethor said.
Cora tightened her grip on her fork until her knuckles became white. She had to remain in control. She noticed Faramir was staring at his plate while Boromir was watching her curiously.
"Not entirely. I will admit that I do not know Gandalf well. He very well may be a fool, but he's a powerful one," Cora said coldly. She had to stay in control of her emotions or else the consequences could be disastrous.
She then looked down at the fork in her hand and to her dismay it was bent in half. She covered it with her napkin, hoping that Denethor didn't see. Thankfully he hadn't, but Boromir had.
The table remained silent after her outburst, and she wondered if she had overstepped her boundaries.
"You have had a long day. Come, let me take you back to your rooms," Faramir said, interrupting the silence.
Cora got up from her seat as quickly as she could without being rude and with a fast curtsy, allowed Faramir to escort her out of the dining hall.
Dinner, more or less, was a disaster.
"What an absolutely foul man! I know he's your father, Faramir, but I have never met a more difficult man than him! The way he treats you is barbaric! How do you handle it?" Cora ranted once they finally reached her rooms.
"As you noticed, my father prefers Boromir. But Boromir and I are very close. We look out for each other, and sometimes he will take the blame for things that I have done because he knows Father will react differently. It may be barbaric, but that is the way things are," Faramir said quietly, leaning against the wall as he watched her pace back and forth along the balcony.
"It's not right, it isn't fair!" She needed to punch something or at least scream. Then an idea popped into head.
"Please excuse my unladylike behavior, Faramir," she said before walking back into her room.
Confused, he stood there wondering what she meant. Then he heard muffled screams. He ran into the room to find Cora screaming into her pillows.
"You are certainly interesting, that's for sure," Faramir mumbled to himself.
Cora sat up and brushed her hair out of her face. She noticed Faramir had an amused expression on his face.
"Feeling better?" he asked.
"Only a little. I still need to destroy something. Then maybe I shall be good," She said, climbing off the bed as graceful as she could.
"Well, I can't help you with that, but I can show you the training grounds," Faramir said making his way towards the door. He held out his hand for her to take.
"Why the training grounds?" she asked curiously. She took his hand without a thought.
"So then you have a place where you can practice your magic. I'm assuming you would like somewhere to practice, yes?" he said conversationally, leading her in the right direction.
"Yes, that would be perfect. Practicing also prevents me from losing control of my magic," she said.
"Like when you bent that fork as if it were nothing?" Faramir said.
Cora's face paled. "You saw that too? I only thought your brother had."
"Yes, I saw it out of the corner of my eye. Do you always need your wand to perform magic?" he asked.
"Did I use a wand to bend that fork?" she asked.
"No, you did not," he said.
"Then no, I don't always need my wand," she continued.
Once Faramir escorted her back to her room, she felt so much better.
"Thank you, Faramir. I feel so much better now," she told him honestly.
"I'm happy to hear that, Cora. I'll show you the library tomorrow, if that'd please you," he said.
She smiled liking the sound of that, "That would be lovely."
"Excellent. Good night, Cora," he said before placing a kiss on her hand.
Cora felt her stomach flip when she felt his lips brush against her skin.
"Good night, Faramir," she said before she entered her room.
She leaned against the door and she allowed herself to giggle. She admitted to herself that she was attracted to him, but it was way too soon to tell if it was anything more. She pegged it down to the fact that she wasn't used to such gentlemanly behavior.
Besides, there was nothing wrong with admiring the scenery. Right?
A.N: Feedback, as always, is appreciated! Next chapter: Edoras!
Chapter 6: Edoras
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This chapter is a wee bit shorter, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless! As usual, I own nothing!
A few days after her arrival, Arlena found herself staring at a map with the heir to Rohan.
"So this is Rohan?" Arlena asked, pointing to a spot on the map of Middle Earth.
"Yes," Théodred said. He continued on explaining about the lands of Middle Earth until he noticed the saddened expression on her face.
"What is troubling you, Arlena? Am I boring you?" he teased lightly.
She looked at him and shook her head, giving him a small smile. "No, of course not. I'm just homesick, that's all. I miss my family, more specifically my older sister and twin brother."
He gave her a sad smile before squeezing her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her.
"Come, we can continue this geography lesson later. Would you like to go riding?" he asked her.
Arlena smiled brightly. "That would be lovely. Can I change first?"
"Yes, of course. I'll ask Éowyn if she'd like to come along as well," he told her before they parted their ways.
"What odd clothes for a woman to be wearing," she heard Éomer say from behind her. She looked down at the plain beige tunic and brown trousers.
"Like my boots? I transfigured them to be like yours," she said cheekily, pointing her boot towards him.
He looked down at her boots and then at his. They were in fact quite similar to the ones he was currently wearing. Éomer just arched his eyebrow at her and shook his head in amusement.
"You do know how to ride, right?" Théodred said, grabbing his saddle to put on his horse.
"Yes, I do. I refuse to ride side-saddle though," She said, shrugging him off.
"Is Éowyn coming?" she then asked, leading her horse out of its stall.
"No, she told me she has some unfinished work to be done," Théodred said, sounding slightly confused.
Arlena looked away from both men and fought her urge to smile. Éowyn had been secretly teaching her how to use a sword for the past week and a half. Éowyn had promised her that she would get her own sword soon enough.
"Very well, let's go then shall we?" she said, mounting her horse.
They had been riding for an hour when Arlena felt a change in the air. Something wasn't right.
"Something's not right," she said, voicing her thoughts. She noticed Éomer was looking around them suspiciously.
"We're being followed," Éomer finally said.
A knot of sheer dread formed in the pit of her stomach. She didn't want to find out what was following them.
"Wargs! Arlena ride back now!" Théodred yelled before pulling out his sword.
"That's an order! Now go!"
She turned to look at Éomer and found him ready to fight as well. In the distance, she saw four massive beasts approaching them fast.
She didn't want to admit it to herself, but she was frightened. These creatures were massive in size and she now understood why Théodred and Éomer dreaded them so much.
As she was making her escape, a fifth one crossed her path. Her horse reared in surprise, and she was thrown off.
"Stupefy!" she screamed, stunning the Warg. She didn't know how long it would stay unconscious.
Turning to look, she saw Éomer and Théodred fending off the rest of the Wargs. Without a second thought, she turned on the spot and apparated to them.
"Théodred, kill it!" she screamed after she stunned another one. Théodred quickly stabbed the foul beast.
There was a moment of sheer quiet after all the Wargs had been taken care of.
"We must get back. It's no longer safe," Éomer said, breaking the eerie silence.
"May I ride with you? My horse ran off," Arlena said quietly.
Éomer nodded, helping her get on. Arlena wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head against his back. Closing her eyes, she let out a shaky breath. She was still shaking from the adrenaline rush.
Opening her eyes, she saw Théodred staring at her.
"I'm fine, Théodred. It's just been awhile since I had to defend myself," she said calmly. She saw Théodred nod at her, and closed her eyes again.
She didn't fail to notice Éomer's hand resting atop of hers the entire ride back.
"Oh, it's absolutely beautiful, Éowyn!" Arlena gasped in surprise as she took in the sword before her.
It was rather simple in design, but at the hilt of the sword was a beautiful geometric design consisting of squares and an engraving that she couldn't decipher.
"It means 'never falter'. I believe it is a fitting saying," Éowyn said, smiling at the younger girl.
Arlena smiled and gave her a hug.
"Never falter, Éowyn dear. We must be strong in times such as these," she said.
Sleep evaded her. Tossing and turning, she huffed in frustration when she realized sleep was not going to come. It was maybe a half hour before dawn, but she decided to get ready for the new day regardless.
After simply braiding her hair, she walked out of her room and decided to see if anyone was in the main hall.
Her steps were quiet as she walked along towards the main hall, her thoughts consuming her focus.
When she finally reached her destination, it was bizarre to see it so empty. Granted, according to Éowyn, the hall was a lot less crowded as of late, but it was never fully empty like it was now.
Sighing, she sat down on one of the benches and took in her surroundings. Nothing about this room seemed cheerful to her. Théodred told her it once was a happy place, but ever since the King's mind was slowly being poisoned it became dark and creepy.
Her thoughts drifted towards her family and a wave of homesickness crashed over her. How would her family react when they found out where she was? Surely they would have noticed her being gone. Hopefully they didn't fear for her too much. She was safe for the time being and that's all that mattered to her.
Suddenly she felt like she was being watched. Looking around, she found the culprit.
"Your eyes watch my every movement, Éomer," she said quietly.
Éomer emerged from the shadows, not in the least embarrassed that she caught him watching her. He wouldn't deny her statement since it was true. He found her interesting, to say the least.
"Why are you not sleeping like everyone else?" he asked, approaching her.
"I was going to ask the same thing about yourself," she smirked, taking in his simple green tunic. In her opinion, the color suited him very well.
When he remained silent, she sighed before standing up.
"I couldn't sleep," she stated simply.
"I couldn't sleep either. I thought a walk would help, but it has only made me even more restless," Éomer finally admitted.
Arlena smiled sadly at him, understanding the feeling. Only Merlin knows how many times she tried taking a walk to make herself sleepy during her school years. It never worked, but she kept doing it anyways.
"Trust me, Éomer. It never helps," she told him.
"It would have been nice to have known that before I had decided to take a walk," he smirked.
"Well, I'm sorry it has never come up in conversation. If you ever need cures for insomnia, I have plenty you can choose from. However, I cannot guarantee that they will work," she joked.
He smiled back at her, "Thank you. I am willing to do anything to cure my insomnia."
"Anything?" she teased.
"Within reason, of course," he clarified.
She shook her head, smiling at him. She found it rather easy to tease him. Although Théodred was friendly enough, she could never bring herself to tease him. She vaguely wondered why, but brushed that thought aside.
"Well, I think I'll try to get some sleep," Arlena said, bending the truth. She knew she wouldn't sleep, but decided she should go back to her room.
"Very well. I hope you sleep well," Éomer said.
"Try to get some sleep as well, alright?" Arlena said.
Éomer nodded in response. Walking past him, he quickly caught her hand. Confused, she turned around and looked at him.
"Arlena, if you ever need to talk about anything, don't hesitate," Éomer said.
She stared at him in confusion, until the proverbial light bulb turned on above her head. He was referring to the incident with the Wargs.
"Thank you, Éomer. That means a lot to me," she said, squeezing his hand.
Éomer watched her walk away and wondered what the hell he was doing. He couldn't be developing feelings for the witch, it just couldn't happen. Not when his own cousin was interested in her.
A.N: Feedback, as always, is appreciated!
Chapter 7: Rivendell & Minas Tirith
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Disclaimer: As usual, I own nothing! I'm just having some fun!
Enjoy the chapter!
Glandur - Glahn-dur
Rivendell & Minas Tirith
"Move your feet, James!" Beinion barked while he was sparring with an elf named Glandur.
"I am, Beinion!" James managed to say whilst he blocked a blow from Glandur.
Glandur managed to disarm him and in a matter of seconds, James was on the ground groaning in frustration.
"Much better this time around, James. You managed to last for fifteen minutes this time," Glandur said as he helped the young wizard up.
"But I'm still not even close to disarming you," James said, wiping some dirt off himself.
"You won't ever be fighting Elves in battle, James. Orcs for the most part, Goblins, and maybe some other men. You'll be fine against them," Beinion said.
"In a month or two you shall know how you fare," Glandur said, in reference to the mysterious Council Meeting.
Beinion nodded in agreement.
"What shall we do next, then?" James asked, brushing his black hair out of his face. It was getting longer, but he liked it this way.
"Actually, that is all for today, James. You may do whatever you wish," Beinion said.
James smiled, liking the sound of that. Beinion was a strict teacher, but James liked him nonetheless. His hand over his heart, James bowed in respect and watched his master leave.
"Well, Glandur. How about some lunch? I'm starving!" James announced.
"You're always starving, James," Glandur laughed.
James just shrugged, "Stop making the food so delicious. Only then I shall eat less."
"How is James progressing?" Lord Elrond asked Beinion as they were walking through one of the many beautiful gardens of Rivendell.
"Very well. His skill with the bow is much better than his swordsmanship, so I've made him spend more time sparring," Beinion explained.
Elrond nodded, figuring Beinion was not finished explaining.
"The one thing that would really help James now is a sparring partner that isn't an Elf. It is becoming more apparent that James knows he is no match against one," Beinion said.
"Do not be too worried. Elessar shall be arriving soon. You and I both know he wouldn't mind helping James out," Elrond said.
Beinion smiled, "Elessar is coming? I shall very much enjoy seeing my favorite pupil once again."
"Playing favorites, are we? I thought you knew better than that, Beinion," Elrond joked.
"Until James I hadn't had a pupil for fifty years. Elessar was a joy to teach," Beinion retorted back.
"Well, until he arrives, continue teaching James the same way you have," Lord Elrond said, concluding the conversation.
Beinion bowed in respect, "Of course, Lord Elrond."
"Ah, it appears that Elladan and Elrohir have finally returned," Glandur said as they reached the dining hall.
"And they are?" James asked confused. He had never heard of them before.
"Forgive me, I forget you are new here. They are the twin sons of Lord Elrond and Arwen's older brothers," he quickly explained.
"Which one is which?" James asked sheepishly, taking in their dark hair and grey eyes. To him, they were completely identical.
"Once you get to know them it is easier to tell them apart," Glandur said.
James nodded, knowing this from going to school with the Weasley twins and then eventually working for them.
"Elladan is on the left, and Elrohir is on the right."
"Glandur, our dear friend! It is so nice to see you again!" Elladan said happily.
"Come sit with us! And bring your friend as well," Elrohir said.
"This is James Black. James, I'd like you to meet my best friends," Glandur said happily.
"Beinion's new pupil?" Elladan said in surprise.
"That's me," James said awkwardly.
"Well, come sit down! Ever since Father told us about you, we've been eager to meet you!" Elrohir said.
James soon discovered that they had been helping the Rangers of the North out, and returned home at the request of their father. James found them amusing and in some respects, a lot like Fred and George.
"Father picked the worst time to request us back home. There has been a lot of Orc activity lately-"
"Normally we would only come across a group or two -"
"-During every few patrols."
"But this time, I have lost track of how many I took down. The Rangers need all the help they can get-"
"-And we would happily oblige them, if not for Father."
"I forgot how obnoxious it is when you two finish each other's sentences," Glandur groaned.
James laughed, but a wave of sadness washed over him. He quickly tried to hide it.
"What is wrong?" Elrohir asked James.
"Oh, nothing. I just miss my twin sister, Arlena. We would finish each other sentences mostly to annoy people, especially our older sister, Cora," James said quietly.
Elladan and Elrohir exchanged a glance. Being separated from your twin was hard.
"Cheer up, James. You shall see your sisters again," Glandur said reassuringly.
James just nodded, having heard that before.
"Are you fond of pranks, James?" Elladan asked mischievously, in hopes of changing the subject.
A devious smile came across James' face that would have put the Weasley twins to shame.
"Gentlemen, you are talking to the right man. I live and breathe for pranks," he said smirking.
Glandur watched as all three formed impish grins upon their faces. He was beginning to regret his decision of introducing James to them.
Cora found herself to be the only female in the entire training grounds of the Citadel. Since she was not there to train, she did not mind this fact in the least. She had crafted herself a sketchbook and had the intent to do some sketching.
She found a nice patch of grass and got settled in. Picking a blade of grass, she transfigured it into a pencil. She looked around in search of a potential subject.
Faramir was overseeing a group of archers and she couldn't help but stare. He seemed patient and looked like he genuinely cared that the archers succeeded. Without a second thought, she began to draw.
"The training grounds are no place for a woman," Boromir said. She had just finished her sketch of Faramir and was quite pleased with the results. Looking up, she saw Boromir sparring with another soldier.
"On the contrary Boromir, there's no place I'd rather be than here," she said as she turned to a fresh page.
"It is a dangerous place, Cora. You might accidentally get hurt," he said.
"I see Faramir failed to tell you that I fought in a war. Your concern for my safety is touching, Boromir, but I can take care of myself just fine," she stared at him, knowing her response was going to strike a nerve with him.
"Women are not meant to fight," Boromir stated bluntly.
"Oh? And what are they supposed to do?" She asked, putting her sketchbook aside. There was a warning tone in her voice, but he didn't know her well enough to pick it up.
Faramir did pick up on it and quickly made his way towards them. Just in case he had to diffuse the situation.
"They belong at home, taking care of the house and children," Boromir said, turning to look at her.
She stood up from her spot and walked over to him.
"I could take you," she said, staring straight into his eyes.
He laughed at her. Oh, how this man infuriated her.
"Alright then. Have a go at me," she said, walking towards him. She politely asked for a sword and was reluctantly given one.
"Do not hesitate, Boromir. I may be a woman, but I can fight," she said.
By now, a crowd had formed around the pair and Cora had to hide her smirk. She was going to teach him a lesson.
She waited for him to make the first move. Cora managed to block his first move, but she had to act fast or else she was in deep trouble. Holding one hand out, she used a burst of magic to force him away from her. Boromir was completely disoriented, and she knew she had him.
Tossing her sword aside, she replaced it with her wand. In a matter of seconds, she managed to disarm, petrify, and bind him in ropes all while he was floating above the ground upside down.
The crowd became eerily silent after what they had witnessed. Cora slowly lowered her wand and made her way towards Boromir. He was still upside down but was eye level with her. He looked shaken, and if he hadn't pissed her off so much she would have felt somewhat sorry for what she had done. But alas, she wasn't sorry in the least.
"Do not underestimate the power a woman can have over you, Boromir. Witch or otherwise," she warned him. She stared at him a little while longer, and then decided it was time for her to leave the training grounds.
Picking up her sketchbook, she made her way back towards her quarters. Absentmindedly, she waved her wand and Boromir was released from all the spells she had cast upon him.
Faramir went to check on his brother, but before he even got there he heard him say he was completely fine. After briefly making eye contact with his brother, Faramir knew he was okay. The only thing that was injured was Boromir's ego.
Now, he had a witch to talk to before she decided to hex anyone else.
"Remind me to never upset you," Faramir said once he caught up to Cora. He found her leaning against a stone pillar near the gardens of the guest quarters.
Cora jumped and dropped her sketchbook in surprise. Faramir found a wand aimed at his throat and he was silently impressed with her reflexes. He calmly waited for her to put her wand away before he did anything else.
"Forgive me, Faramir. You surprised me," she said apologetically.
"I should have known better," Faramir said before he went to pick up her sketchbook. It had fallen open to her sketch of him helping out the archers.
"You drew this?" he asked, handing her the sketchbook.
"Yes, I did. I wanted to brush up on my live-action sketches and thought the training grounds would be a good place to draw," she said, blushing.
"So that explains why you were staring so intently at me," he smirked at her.
Cora gasped in shock. Oh sweet Merlin, he had seen her staring at him? How embarrassing.
"Do not worry so, my Lady. It is an honor to have such a talented artist draw me," he said, trying to reassure her.
"You are mistaken, Faramir. I am no Lady," she said quietly, remembering Denethor's cold words.
"In my eyes, you deserve such a title, Cora," he said boldly.
Cora smiled at him and blushed an even darker shade of red.
"Until we meet again, Lady Cora," he said before kissing her hand.
Cora watched him walk away and let out a shaky breath when she was sure he wouldn't suddenly come back. She leaned against the stone pillar and slowly slid down it until she was sitting on the floor.
She wasn't stupid, she saw the way he looked at her. He fancied her and she fancied him back. She hardly knew Faramir, but she had never felt this way about anyone before. Hell, if she was going to be honest, the four years she spent with Oliver paled in comparison to this.
Standing up, she made her way towards her room. Right now, she needed to ask Laurel about the common courting rituals. Things were being set into motion, that was for certain.
A.N: Feedback, as always, is appreciated! Up next, Grima and a thunderstorm!
Chapter 8: Edoras and Minas Tirith
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Disclaimer: As usual, I own nothing. The lovely world of Middle Earth belongs to J.R.R. Tolkein. And J.K. Rowling owns the magic bits. I'm merely having some fun!
Eomer and Faramir in the same chapter?! Lovely if you ask me ;)
Edoras & Minas Tirth
Arlena finally began to understand why Cora liked to people watch so much. She began to pick up on things she never would have noticed otherwise. She noticed that Éomer was right-handed while Théodred was left-handed. When Éowyn was upset, she would fidget with the sleeves of her dress. She didn't need special observation skills to notice the way Grima watches Éowyn like a hawk.
Arlena needed to talk to Éomer about it as soon as possible. Her encounters with Grima were thankfully brief and few. She wasn't looking forward to the day when she would encounter him by herself.
She never tried to observe the King though. Mostly because she never saw him and when she did she didn't want to bring too much attention to herself. They were all eating lunch in the hall when she was paying particular attention to the only nephew of the King.
"What are you staring at?" Éowyn asked when she realized that Arlena wasn't paying attention to a word of what she was saying.
"Your brother," Arlena stated bluntly, forgetting who she was talking to.
Éowyn began to choke on the soup she was eating. She definitely wasn't expecting Arlena to be so honest.
"Alright there, Éowyn?" the younger girl asked.
After several coughs, the blonde nodded fiercely. While all this was happening, Arlena failed to notice Éomer getting up from the other table to get another helping of the soup.
"I often forget that you're so blunt, Arlena," she said once she finally recovered.
Arlena shrugged and went back to eating her soup.
"Do you like him?" Éowyn whispered.
Arlena coughed loudly as she choked on her soup. She glared at Éowyn while she tried to recover.
"What could possibly be causing both of you to choke on your soup? You are making quite the scene, my dears," a masculine voice whispered closely to them.
Arlena jumped in her seat and turned to find Éomer smirking at them. She blushed, wondering how much he had heard.
"None of your business, brother."
"Ah ah ah, now don't be snippy, my dear sister. I will let it be for now, but rest assured, I will find out sooner or later," he said with a wink before returning to his table.
"What's wrong?" Éowyn asked when she noticed the odd expression on Arlena's face.
"Is your brother always so.. playful?"
"For the most part, yes. He has quite the sense of humor. Why?"
"He's always reserved and serious around me."
"How odd." Éowyn stated plainly, not really sure what that meant either.
"You never answered my question, Arlena."
"Your brother is a mystery to me, Éowyn," she answered honestly. Éomer was so quiet and guarded around her and it only frustrated her. Especially now when she saw that he can joke around.
"What about Théodred?" Éowyn asked quietly.
Arlena looked at Éowyn in confusion. "What about him? He's not so guarded around me. He respects me. He even teases me every now and then. But," Arlena sighed.
"There's no spark. Nothing that grabs my attention. At least in the romantic sense," Arlena explained.
Éowyn nodded, trying to understand. She barely acknowledged Arlena as the witch excused herself from the table. Her thoughts were consuming her focus. Although she had been surrounded by men for the majority of her life, her brother and cousin never allowed any men that were interested in her get close to her. They just wanted to protect her, she knew that, but it frustrated her to no end.
The fact that they felt they needed to protect her frustrated her, not them preventing her from having a love life. Ever since Arlena showed up, however, she began to realize how much she has missed out on.
She left the hall wondering if she would ever be set free from her cage.
Arlena was wandering aimlessly through the hallways. The past two days had been nothing but stormy weather, so she was stuck inside. It was damp and drafty, which reminded her of parts of Hogwarts.
"Trying to sneak up on me, Grima?" Arlena asked. She had noticed Grima watching her the past couple of days, but she was watching him ever since she learned who he was.
She didn't like what she saw; he reminded her too much of Pettigrew.
"I've been watching you," he said vaguely.
"I know. Will you begin to follow me everywhere like you do to Éowyn?" she mocked.
She stared him in the eye and felt a chill creep up the back of her spine. For Merlin's sake, the man didn't even have any eyebrows!
"I can do far worse than that," he hissed.
Arlena could tell that this was a man that wouldn't threaten something like that unless he meant it. He might not be able to act upon these threats right this instant, but her gut was telling her that it wouldn't be long now till Grima had the ability to carry them out.
Oh, how she wanted to hex him into oblivion. She narrowed her eyes at him.
"As can I, Grima. Do not cross me," she stated coldly. She wasn't the only one who could threaten.
"Is that a threat?" Grima asked angrily.
"Would you like to find out? Stay away from me and Éowyn," she gritted out.
Deciding that now would be the best time to leave, she quickly turned on her heel and left Grima behind.
She needed to be as far away from Grima as she possibly could. Luckily, this was a decently sized building. Unfortunately, in her attempt to get away from Grima she was now lost and didn't recognize where she was.
Panic built up in her as she realized she desperately needed a private place to regain her composure. Blindly, she entered the first unlocked room that she could find. It was someone's bedroom, but thankfully it was empty.
Not really giving a damn about who's bedroom it was, she began to pace in an attempt to calm herself down. Her encounter with Grima had left her shaken. She hadn't had such an exchange with someone since the war.
She practically gave herself away with her threat to him. She wished she could have kept her stupid mouth shut. Swearing profusely, she realized that she may have completely jeopardized what little sense of security that she may have had.
She stopped pacing when she realized that it wasn't helping her one bit. It was then she noticed a forest green tunic draped over one of the chairs.
She froze. She knew that tunic. It belonged to Éomer. She was in his room.
"Bloody hell, why me?" she muttered in disbelief. She had to get out of here. How would she explain herself if he found her?
Picking up her skirts she quickly made her way to the door, but almost collided with Éomer.
She visibly paled.
"Éomer I'm so sorry. I needed to get away from him but then I got lost so I panicked and rushed into this room and realized it was your room. I swear I didn't know that this was your room," she said in an awfully high pitch.
Éomer noticed her shaking hands and her even paler than normal complexion. She was shaken and it wasn't because he caught her in his room. He then thought over her extremely fast explanation of how she wound up in his room in the first place.
"Who were you trying to get away from?" he finally asked.
"Grima," she said quietly.
His eyes narrowed. What did that snake do this time? Éomer swore he would make him pay for whatever thing he did to shake Arlena up so much.
As she began to explain what had happened, Éomer began to wonder. It was strange to see her like this. The incident with the Wargs barely shook her up but a few minutes with Grima Wormtongue and she's on the verge of a meltdown.
"Éomer, I don't think you understand. The way he watches Éowyn is sickening. How does she not notice?" Arlena said, breaking Éomer's train of thought. He noticed that her voice was thick with emotion.
"She notices," he stated flatly. Arlena noticed his jaw clenching and knew she had to stop him before he did something foolish.
"Éomer, don't," she warned him.
"Why not? First he traumatizes my sister and then threatens you? No, enough is enough. That snake needs to go," he said, ready to storm out of his room and beat Grima to a bloody pulp.
"Éomer!" Arlena cried out, panic evident in her voice.
He paused at the door and slowly turned around. Arlena was still standing where he had left her, but was now on the verge of tears.
"Never confront Grima," she whispered.
"Why not? I could take him easily," Éomer stated arrogantly, wondering why she was doubting him.
She shook her head vehemently. "There's no question about that, but that's not the reason why."
Éomer remained silent.
"We don't know what tricks he has up his sleeves, Éomer. He is physically weak, yes, but that means nothing when he has all the power," she quickly explained.
He walked back towards her, realizing what she said made sense. They didn't know how much power Grima had over the King. For all he knew, Grima could persuade the King to banish them all.
"You're right, Arlena. I let my anger cloud my judgement," he said.
She nodded numbly, trying to keep her emotions in check but failing miserably. Without a second thought, she hugged him. At first he was shocked, but then wrapped his arms around her.
She suddenly pulled away, embarrassed by her actions.
"Sorry. Forgive me for my weakness," she said quietly, not looking at him.
When she still didn't look at him, he tilted her chin so they were making eye contact.
"You are far from weak, Arlena. Always remember that," he said softly before brushing away a single tear from her face.
She slowly smiled.
Faramir woke up to a loud crash of thunder. Lightning lit up his room and was closely followed by another booming thunder. Faramir ran a hand over his face, knowing he wouldn't fall asleep easily with a storm such as this.
Faramir cursed his luck. For the past two weeks he and his brother had been working constantly to prepare for the defense of Osgiliath. Both had little time to sleep or do much of anything else besides being near the vicinity of the training grounds. If all went according to plan, Faramir would be ready to leave with his men by the end of next week. If Faramir's half of the plan went through, then Boromir would be ready to leave with his men a fews days after that.
He was tired and had wanted a decent amount of sleep. Sighing, he stared up at the ceiling, listening to the storm rage outside. A few minutes later, he thought he heard a knock on his door, but wasn't exactly sure.
Sitting up, he listened for it again. Another knock. Faramir quickly got out of bed and went to the door.
Faramir opened the door and found himself facing Adair, one of the patrollers of the Night Watch.
"Captain Faramir, I'm sorry to wake-"
"What is it?" Faramir cut him off, wanting to get straight down to business.
"A young woman was spotted standing in the courtyard. She looks like Miss Black, and I tried calling to her, but she wouldn't respond."
Faramir quickly went back into his room and got dressed in record time. Why in the world would she be out by herself in the dead of night - in a storm no less!
"Do you know how long she's been out here, Adair?" Faramir asked as he made his way towards her.
"No sir, but I'm guessing for awhile due to her inappropriate attire for such weather," Adair said awkwardly.
Faramir ordered Adair to wake up Cora's maid and he hastily left. He hadn't seen her in almost two weeks. She was just standing there in only her nightdress, staring off into the distance.
"Cora!" Faramir shouted over a crash of thunder.
She didn't even move. Somehow managing to avoid any major puddles, Faramir was now standing in front of Cora. He was standing directly in her line of sight, but she was staring straight through him. She was in a far away world, lost in her memories.
"Cora," he said again, this time touching her cheek. She was soaked to the bone.
She blinked and panic surged through her.
"Faramir? What's going on? How did I get here?" She asked, confusion evident in her voice. She didn't remember how she got here.
She started to shiver uncontrollably and became weak. Faramir picked her up and made his way back to her quarters, ignoring the fact that her nightdress was plastered to her skin.
When Faramir came back to her room after changing into some dry clothes, he took in her appearance. Her skin was paler than normal, but besides that she looked fine. He didn't fail to notice that she didn't make eye contact with him.
"This wasn't the first time this has happened to you," he stated quietly as he moved one of the chairs closer to her bed.
She remained silent, staring down at her hands.
Faramir's hand enveloped hers.
"There's nothing to be ashamed of," he said in an effort to soothe her.
"I know," she said quietly before taking a deep breath.
"For a long time after the war, I had a series of-" Cora paused, trying to find the right word. "-episodes in which I would go to sleep in my bed and then somehow wind up in the most strangest of places. I have no recollection of how I would get there."
"How long after the war?" Faramir asked.
"Six months. Then suddenly they just stopped. I don't know what could have caused them to return," she said sadly.
Faramir squeezed her hand in reassurance, not knowing what to say.
"I'm sorry to have woken you up," she suddenly said.
He was about to protest but she wouldn't hear it.
"I know how busy you and your brother have been with preparations. You need all the rest you can get. I can see that you're tired, Faramir," she quickly added.
"You have not seen me tired, Cora. Just wait until I return from Osgiliath," he said.
Cora's breath hitched and her hold on Faramir's hand tightened. Every time someone would mention Osgiliath, a sense of foreboding would overwhelm her.
"Cora? What is wrong?" he asked.
"I'm just worried, that's all. I'm not used to letting the men do all the fighting. I hate being useless," she said honestly. There was little protest of her participating in fighting the war back home.
But here, such things would not be tolerated.
"I know, Cora. But it's for the best. You know that," he said softly. If he was going to be honest with himself, he never wanted Cora to be in harm's way.
Leaning back, she closed her eyes and slowly nodded. She was awfully tired.
"I shall let you sleep. Rest well, Cora," he said before standing up.
"You're always there when I need you. Thank you, my Captain," she mumbled.
Faramir smiled and quietly replied, "The pleasure is all mine. I shall always be there, if you so wish it. Amin naa tualle."
She fell asleep with a smile on her face.
A.N: Hope you enjoyed this chapter! Reviews are ALWAYS appreciated! :)
Amin naa tualle = I am your servant
Chapter 9: Minas Tirith
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Disclaimer: As usual, the wonderful world of Middle Earth belongs to J.R.R Tolkien and the wonderful world of Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. I am merely having some fun.
Hope you enjoy this chapter!
"There's a surprise for you," Faramir told Cora once she opened her door.
Faramir nodded and motioned for her to follow him. Cora was curious, to say the least. It was eight o'clock in the evening and she had been planning on spending her night putting her writing skills to use after a bit of reading. Faramir was set to leave in three days time and she wasn't expecting to see him all that much.
Taking the book she was reading with her, she followed Faramir. He led her to one of the common rooms of the guest quarters. Well, that's what she called them in her mind at least. Although the furniture was obviously different, they reminded her of the Gryffindor common room with the large fireplace and cozy atmosphere.
"What is it, Faramir?" Cora asked as excitement built up in her.
"Go in there and look for yourself. I don't know what it is," he said as he opened the door.
Without a second thought, Cora walked into the room. The book she was carrying made a loud thud against the stone floor. In the center of the room was her school trunk. She stared at it, not moving closer to it.
"It showed up this afternoon, but I didn't have the time to take you to it until now," Faramir said quietly before picking her book up.
She nodded dumbly, still staring at her school trunk in disbelief.
"This was on top of it," Faramir said as he held out an envelope to her.
With a shaking hand, Cora took it. She traced her name in green ink on the envelope, the handwriting so familiar to her. It was from Minerva McGonagall. Opening the envelope, her suspicions were confirmed.
Some comforts from home.
Minerva McGonagall was somehow involved in her being here. She decided to tackle those thoughts for a later time. She wanted to see what was in her trunk.
"Are you alright?" Faramir asked concerned after she didn't move or speak in quite some time.
Cora blinked and looked at Faramir.
"Yes, thank you. Would you like to open my trunk with me?" she asked.
She knew the contents of her trunk would be interesting to him, but mostly she wanted to spend some time with him before he left.
"If it would please you, my Lady."
Cora blushed, "Yes it would."
"Very well then."
Cora walked over to her trunk and kneeled down before it. She ran a hand over the top, memories flooding her. Faramir sat down next to her and waited for her to open it.
"What does the L stand for?" Faramir asked when he looked at her engraved initials.
"Lily," she said quietly. Taking a deep breath, she opened her trunk.
She instantly noticed her record player and her large record collection. It was in this moment that she truly appreciated how wonderful it was to shrink items. She grabbed the record player and set it up. Faramir was completely fascinated as Frank Sinatra's voice filled the room.
Her Gryffindor scarf was folded neatly on top of some of her favorite books. Her old Firebolt was in there, and she smirked at the thought of using it here. She found several picture frames and photo albums and a wave of homesickness hit her.
"These are my parents on their wedding day," she said, handing Faramir a picture of them.
When Faramir got past the fact that they looked so real and were actually moving, he studied the couple.
"They are quite the handsome couple. You look just like your mother," Faramir said softly.
"I've been told that often," she said smiling before showing him a picture of her cousin and siblings.
"You can keep looking through those albums if you'd like," Cora said as she went to change the record. As she was going through her records, she noticed a rectangular velvet black box that she didn't recognize.
Soon The Beatles were playing in the background and Cora quickly picked up the box. She opened it and gasped. It was her locket she got for her tenth birthday.
They had just finished playing 'Heart and Soul' on the piano. Out of all the Black children, Cora was the one that enjoyed playing the piano the most and Remus Lupin was happy to teach her all that he knew.
"Excellent job, Cora," he said proudly.
Cora beamed, "Thank you, Uncle Remi! What are we gonna do next?"
"Close your eyes. I've got a present for you!"
"It's my birthday present isn't it? Oh what is it?" Cora asked in excitement, but when Remus remained silent, she reluctantly closed her eyes.
"Now no peeking!" Remus teased before bringing out a simply wrapped small box.
When Cora was given permission to open her eyes, she smiled brightly. She loved presents, especially from Uncle Remi. He always brought them chocolate, but it was rare when he got them presents.
In a matter of seconds, the wrapping paper was torn off and she opened the velvet box to find an old but beautiful gold locket.
"It's so pretty!" she exclaimed in glee.
"It's a Lupin family heirloom. Wear it with pride," he said.
Cora looked at him confused.
"You can't give this to me, I'm not a Lupin. This should be given to one of your family members," she said even though she really liked the locket.
Remus shook his head.
"I'm afraid there aren't many Lupins left. I want you to have it. You are my family, and always will be," he said.
"Always?" Cora asked.
"Can you put it on for me?" Cora asked, satisfied with his response.
Remus chuckled, but did as she asked.
"Thank you, Uncle Remi. This is the best birthday present I've ever gotten!" she said hugging him.
"You're most certainly welcome, birthday girl," Remus said returning the hug.
"You're crying," Faramir said, bringing Cora back to the present.
"It's my locket. It's one of my most prized possessions and I thought I'd never see it again. Can you put it on for me?" she asked, hastily wiping her tears away.
"Of course. Who gave it to you?" he asked, gently brushing her hair to the side.
Cora closed her eyes as she felt his hands brush against her neck. She was thankful he was behind her.
"My Uncle Remus gave it to me for my tenth birthday. He wasn't my real uncle, but a close family friend. While my father was rotting away in prison, Remus helped my mother raise us. He was like a second father to me," she sniffed.
"There you go," Faramir said as he put her hair back in place. Her hair was so soft and all he wanted to do was run his hands through it.
Cora turned around and thanked him. Grabbing one of the photo albums, she scanned the pages until she found the one she was looking for.
"That's him," she said, pointing to a picture of Remus looking up from his book and smirking at the camera.
"How did he get those scars?" Faramir blurted out before thinking.
"He suffered from lycanthropy. Every full moon he turned into a werewolf. He was bitten at a very young age," she said quietly.
"Werewolf?" Faramir said in shock. He had only read about them in stories.
"He was the most gentle man I have ever met in my life. It was hard to picture him turning into a wild beast once a month when he enjoyed reading, music, and chocolate. He absolutely loved chocolate," Cora said fondly.
"You keep referring to him in the past tense. What happened to him?" Faramir asked.
"He died in the war. I saw it happen," she managed to choke out before she started crying again.
Faramir cursed himself for being too nosy. Without thinking, he pulled Cora into a hug. He didn't let her go until she stopped.
"Thank you, Faramir," she said as she moved back to her original spot on the floor.
Faramir leaned over and brushed the tears away with the pad of his thumb. His face was awfully close to hers. Dangerously close, in Cora's opinion. His hands lingered for longer than was necessary, but Cora didn't really mind.
"I think I'm going to take my trunk back into my room," she said, getting up. Taking her wand out, she magically placed everything back into her trunk.
"I'll carry it back to your room," Faramir said.
"I'm a witch, Faramir. Locomotor trunk," her trunk hovered inches off the ground and she started to walk out of the room, her trunk floating being her.
"Will you see me off when I leave? It will be in the early hours of the morning, so I understand if you don't want to," Faramir asked.
Cora smiled at him.
"I was going to be there whether you had asked me or not," she said before leaving the room.
The next day, Cora found herself in the kitchens. She had never seen them before and wanted to know how they operated without magic. It was large in size, but it was loud, busy and crowded. People, mostly women, were bustling around the kitchen with pots and pans.
"Get out of my way, child!" someone bellowed to a young girl. She couldn't have been more than six years old. The young girl quickly got out of the way, and Cora watched her make her way to the corner of the room where a basket was.
Cora made her way to the child, curious as to why she was there. As she approached her, she realized that there was a baby in the basket.
"Hello there, my name is Cora. What's your name?" she asked the girl.
"Leanne, and this is my baby brother Athos," the girl said quietly.
"Where's your mum?" Cora asked.
"Over there, she's the one kneading the dough," Leanne said.
With a plan formulating in her mind, she approached Leanne's mother.
She was in the garden courtyard braiding flowers into little Leanne's hair while baby Athos set it upon himself to destroy the flowers surrounding him.
"Mama used to do this for me all the time before she had to work all the time," Leanne, aged six said sadly.
Cora smiled sadly at the small girl. Her mother, Ingrid, had to work now since her husband Norin died six months before.
"When I was young, my mum used to work all the time, too," she said, finishing the braid.
"Really?" Leanne asked, turning to face Cora. The purple flowers stood out amongst her golden hair.
"Yes, I know it's hard, Leanne, but it gets easier," Cora explained while she stopped Athos from eating a flower.
"I wish we could spend everyday with you. It's so boring in the Kitchens," Leanne said, sighing.
"Well, I'll save you from the Kitchens as many times as I can," Cora said, smiling. She found both of them to be absolutely charming, and besides she was lonely. She would need new companions when Boromir and Faramir were gone.
"Really? You would do that?" Leanne asked, sitting up straighter.
Cora nodded, "As many times as I can."
Leanne jumped up. "Oh, thank you Cora!"
Cora laughed as she watched Leanne dance around her. Faramir looked on from afar in amusement, but when Boromir found him minutes later, he had a serene look on his face.
"Just bed the witch already," Boromir said once he noticed what Faramir was staring at.
Faramir turned to stare at his older brother and punched him in the shoulder.
"Ouch, what was that for?" Boromir said, rubbing his shoulder.
"You know what," Faramir said, looking back at Cora. She was now singing as the young girl chased after some butterflies.
"Those are Norin's children," Boromir said sadly as the young girl squealed in delight.
"How do you know?" Faramir asked, looking at the blonde girl closely.
"I was the one that personally told his wife that he had died fighting for his country," Boromir said.
"Oh," the younger brother said. The two stood in silence, watching the happy scene before them.
"I've seen the way you look at her, Faramir. Just kiss her already," Boromir said, breaking the silence.
Faramir shook his head, "She's different, Boromir."
"Are you trying to tell me that you want to court her? Marry her? Have children with her?" Boromir asked incredulously.
"I'm in love, brother. I would do anything for her," Faramir said.
"Just make sure you do something before you leave," Boromir said before they left to go to the training grounds.
Cora entered her room after dinner with Ingrid and her two children. Ingrid was absolutely delightful and a bit lonely. Cora was certain that they would become fast friends.
Going over to her trunk that she had placed at the foot of her bed, she found a single lavender rose on top of it. She picked it up, noticing there was a note attached to it.
"Amin naa tualle," she said aloud. Where had she heard that before? She froze when she remembered where.
Faramir had said it to her last week. But what did it mean? Grabbing her wand off her desk, she muttered a translating charm. She watched as the words changed to I am your servant.
She stared at the rose. Why a lavender rose? She knew there was a hidden meaning to the color of the rose, but she didn't know what it was. Laurel would be coming soon to ask if Cora needed anything before she went to bed. Cora heard a knock on her door and quickly granted permission to enter.
"Anything you need, Miss Cora?" Laurel asked as usual.
"Do you know what a lavender rose represents?" Cora asked.
"I think it means love at first sight and enchantment," Laurel said as she took note of the rose in Cora's hand.
"Thank you. It appears that I have an admirer, Laurel," Cora said smiling.
"Glad to be of some help, Miss. Do you know who it is?" Laurel asked.
"Yes, I think I do," Cora said vaguely. She wanted to keep this a secret. "What does an orange rose represent?"
"Enthusiasm and desire, I believe," Laurel said blushing.
"Thank you. Good night, Laurel," Cora said.
"Good night, Cora," Laurel said before she left.
Love at first sight. Enchantment. I am your servant.
It appeared that Faramir was serious about his feelings for her. If she was going to be honest, she wanted his mind, body, and soul. She had never felt this way about someone before, and she had her fair share of boyfriends during her school days. Even in her most serious relationship, her love for him paled in comparison to her feelings for Faramir.
Well, she was going to show Faramir that she was serious about her feelings for him too. Noticing it was a bit chilly when she walked back to her room, she grabbed her cloak. Her destination was the gardens in search of an orange rose.
Cora decided to charm one of her dresses lavender. She was preparing to go down to the courtyard to see Faramir and his men off. She was nervous. The night before she had sent an orange rose and hopefully he knew what it meant.
Fixing the skirts of her dress, she put her cloak on and began walking down to the courtyard.
"I was so worried you wouldn't show up," Faramir said as he approached Cora.
"You had no need to worry, Captain. I wouldn't have missed this," she said softy, taking in his Ranger's outfit. She had to admit, he looked quite dashing in it.
He smiled at her and she smiled back.
"Can we go somewhere private? I'd like to talk to you," Cora asked.
"Of course," Faramir said before leading them to a private little alcove where they were out of sight from Faramir's men.
"You look lovely in lavender," Faramir said as he took in her dress.
Cora blushed, "Thank you. I was inspired by the rose you sent me last night."
Faramir stared at her, "How did you know it was me?"
"Amin naa tualle. You said that to me last week," she said quietly.
The Captain of Gondor looked embarrassed, "I thought you were asleep."
"I'm glad I wasn't. Faramir I-" she stopped and stared down at her hands. She didn't know what to say.
She felt Faramir's hand underneath her chin and he made her look up at him. She smiled at him and he never saw anything more beautiful than her.
"Can you look after this for me? It'll be something for you to remember me by," Cora said as she took off her locket and placed it in his free hand.
Faramir stared at the locket and then back at her.
"I could never forget you, Cora," he said honestly.
"I still want you to have it nonetheless. It has some minor protection spells that will protect whoever is wearing it. If something happened to you, Faramir, I don't know what I would do."
"It will be an honor to wear it, my Lady," he said as he put it around his neck.
Cora came closer to help him to hide it underneath his cloak. She smoothed his cloak down, but she didn't want to move away from him just yet.
"You'll be leaving with two of my most prized possessions, Faramir. Look after them," she said softly.
"The locket I know of, but what is the other?" he asked curiously.
"My heart," she said staring straight into his eyes.
Faramir stood there speechless. She returned his feelings. Then he remembered the orange rose he found on his bed. She must have sent it. Who else would have sent a rose representing desire and enthusiasm? He placed his hand on her cheek, and Cora leaned into his palm. Throwing caution to the wind, he kissed her. Wrapping his arms around her, he felt his world becoming complete.
He pulled back, but Cora quickly leaned in for a second kiss. Kissing him was bliss and she couldn't get enough of it.
"I will return, I promise," Faramir said before placing another kiss on her lips. He slid the ring off his finger and placed it in Cora's hand.
"This ring belonged to my mother's father, so it is very important to me. Please look after it. I know it is too big-"
Faramir stopped talking when he saw Cora shrink it and placed it on her right ring finger.
"You forget I'm a witch, Faramir," she said smugly.
"You're amazing," Faramir said before kissing her again.
"Go, my Captain. Make Gondor proud," she said.
He kissed her a final time and then left the small alcove, giving her his arm to hold onto. She walked with him to his horse and said her goodbyes. Seeing Boromir approach, she quickly moved away to give them some space.
Boromir soon joined her in watching Faramir and his men leave. The two of them stood watch until they were out of sight. Once they were gone, Boromir turned to her.
"Come Cora, let us go to the kitchens. I'm sure they can make us some breakfast."
Cora nodded and accepted his offered arm. She missed Faramir already.
A.N: So what do you think? I just had to name the baby Athos.. I had just watched The Three Musketeers before writing this chapter. Anyways, a review would be lovely! :)
Chapter 10: Edoras
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Disclaimer: As always, I own nothing but the OCs. Everything else belongs to J.R.R. Tolkein or J.K. Rowling.
Life was passing by as smoothly as it could, given the circumstances. Arlena avoided Grima like the plague and so far, she didn't have anymore unpleasant encounters. It was only recently that she discovered that there was some tension between Éomer and Théodred.
"They won't tell us what's going on. But," Éowyn said as they were sitting in her room.
"But?" Arlena asked, arching an eyebrow.
"I have a theory," the blonde said.
"Please enlighten me, my dear."
"Éomer and Théodred are men of action. Things have become too quiet. It's putting them on edge," the older girl said.
"The calm before the storm," Arlena quietly said.
Éowyn agreed and quickly moved onto a different subject. Although Éowyn's theory had some merit, Arlena couldn't shake the feeling that the tension between the cousins had something to do with her.
"She isn't returning my affections," Théodred muttered as he and Éomer were going over some maps.
"Oh?" Éomer said, feigning shock. He, of course, already knew this, but didn't want Théodred to know that.
"Well, your previous attempts at courting weren't your best moments," he then added.
"Oh come on, they weren't that bad," Théodred said defensively.
"Théodred, you compared the poor girl's hair to mud. If you weren't the prince, she probably would have slapped you," Éomer said, pushing a map aside and bringing another one to view.
Théodred remained silent, brooding over a report from one of their outposts. Nothing new to report, it said. Sighing, he pushed it away.
"It's not like you're brilliant at it either," Théodred finally said.
"That's because I just bed them. No woman has piqued my interest long enough to consider courting them," Éomer said, sort of lying. That had been the truth, until he met Arlena.
He just couldn't pursue her, but knowing she didn't return his cousin's affections sent a thrill through his body.
"She rarely teases me," Théodred said cryptically. Éomer remained silent, not knowing where his cousin was going with this.
"She teases you all the time. In fact, every time I see her with you, she's always poking fun at you," Théodred continued.
"It's obnoxious, Théodred. You're not missing much. Besides, didn't she say she's never met a prince before until she arrived here? Maybe she's just intimidated by that or she doesn't know if teasing the heir to the throne a lot is appropriate," Éomer explained.
Théodred scoffed, "Arlena intimidated? There's no such thing."
Éomer paused, remembering her encounter with Grima. Not only was she intimidated, she was afraid. Arlena had begged him not to speak of her encounter with Grima to anyone and he respected her wishes.
"Either way Théodred, don't let her distract you," Éomer said seriously.
Too many times he had seen comrades become distracted by a woman and they would get lazy. Being a member of the Rohirrim was a hard, but honorable life. Many would return to find their beloved married off to someone else or they had been unfaithful. Broken hearts torn apart by betrayal caused many soldiers to carelessly throw their lives away. That's why Éomer stayed away from women, for the most part.
"She'd make an excellent queen," Théodred said and Éomer couldn't agree more.
He's been ignoring her. Arlena didn't like it one bit. Ever since her encounter with Grima, she thought that she and Éomer had an understanding of sorts between them. Clearly, she had been wrong since she watched him distance himself from her.
Théodred hadn't distanced himself from her, and if she was going to be honest, she was tired of his company. There wasn't much to Théodred. He loved his country, and his father. She felt he loved Éomer just as much, if not equally to his country and King.
But that's where it ended. His unfaltering love was extremely noble and very Gryffindor, but it seemed he had focused more on becoming the next ruler of Rohan than being a normal man.
She walked past the map room and found Éomer there, hunched over a table. Deciding she was fed up with him ignoring her, she silently entered the room. He didn't notice her presence.
"You've been ignoring me," she said quietly as she made her way towards Éomer.
He jumped in his chair, wondering how she was so stealthy.
"How'd you learn to move so silently?" he asked, completely ignoring her statement.
She stared at him for a while before answering.
"During the war, stealth was essential to survival. In or out of school, it didn't matter. If you were caught, you were tortured or worse," she said quietly.
He sat there in silence, not expecting that sort of answer. He would have figured it was so she could pull a prank on her twin brother or something more innocent like that. He often forgot that she fought in a war.
"Did you ever get caught?" he asked.
Standing up from his chair, he moved to put the maps away. He had been staring at them for hours to the point where he was sick of them.
He could feel Arlena's eyes follow him as he returned the maps to their original places. He knew she wouldn't leave until she got an answer out of him.
"Yes, I have been," he finally said, sliding the last map onto the shelf.
"Why?" She immediately asked as he turned to face her.
She looked hurt by this and he instantly regretted making the decision to ignore her in the first place. He had distanced himself for Théodred's sake in hopes she would maybe pay more attention to his cousin. In reality, it did the complete opposite.
"I don't know. At the time I thought I had a good reason to, but I can't remember it anymore," he said quietly. He didn't want to tell her the truth. Not yet, at least.
She nodded silently, knowing that was all she was going to get out of him. She walked up closer to him and squeezed his hand.
"Please don't ignore me anymore," she said before leaving the room.
Éomer sighed and stared down at his hand. He could have sworn he still felt her warm hand on hers.
He cursed and stormed out of the room in frustration.
"What were you two talking about that caused both of you to choke on your soup?" Éomer asked Éowyn a few hours after his encounter with Arlena. Even though that incident happened ages ago, it wouldn't leave him alone.
Éowyn placed her basket on a table and turned to stare at her brother in disbelief.
"Why in Helm's name are you asking me about this now? It happened ages ago!" she began to sort through her basket full of vegetables.
"What were you talking about?" he asked again.
"It's really none of your business," she said, still not answering him. He was growing frustrated with her.
"My dear sister, just tell me!" he was practically begging and she knew it.
"What?" Éomer asked confused.
"That's what we were talking about," Éowyn said, tossing a nasty looking carrot to the side. It was rotten.
"I'm not at liberty to say," Éowyn said before taking her basket to the kitchens.
Éomer was left with more questions than he started with.
She was walking in a forest. The trees were ancient and there was a sort of magic humming within them. They shifted uneasily as Arlena walked past them. She was desperately searching for someone.
She approached a clearing in the forest and discovered she was not alone. The old man had long white hair as well as a long beard. His clothes were white and even the walking stick he had was white. He was a stark contrast to the dark colors of the forest.
"Where is my King?" she asked him, pleading. Her brown eyes searched his icy grey eyes for any clue.
"I am sad to say, my Queen," his voice was deep, almost like the rumbling of thunder in the distance. "That I do not know where your beloved King is," he looked truly sad but Arlena found no comfort in this.
"Oh," she said brokenly before her knees buckled underneath her. Tears welled up in her eyes but she fought to keep them from falling.
"Do not lose hope, my Lady. He shall return to you soon," the old man said. She looked into his eyes and found some comfort in them.
She nodded, smiling slowly at him. She heard a twig snap in the forest behind her.
Arlena woke up with a look of pure confusion on her face. What in heaven's name did she just dream about? This was different from any dream she had ever had before. It felt too real to her. She had experienced everything so clearly; from the feel of the grass beneath her knees to the rustling of the trees.
Who was this King she was desperately looking for and why was he so important to her?
She abruptly sat up in bed when she remembered the old man had called her Queen. Getting out of bed, she knew her questions would not be answered anytime soon.
"Take care of yourself, Éomer," she quietly said to him as he finished saddling his horse up. He was setting out to go visit one of the many outposts of Edoras. He would be gone for only a couple of days, a week at the most. The thought of him being away saddened Arlena more than she expected.
"I shan't be gone for long," he quietly reminded her. They were currently alone in the stable, which was a rare occurrence.
"I know," she whispered. "But I shall miss you nonetheless."
Turning away from him, she picked up a single piece of straw. Pulling out her wand, she transfigured it into a bluebell. She had always admired the purple little flower. Adding an anti-crumple and wilt charm, she was satisfied with her work.
She turned back to him, the flower in her hand. He stared at the small flower with a raised eyebrow.
"May I?" she shyly asked. Realizing her intention, Éomer remained silent but nodded his consent. The gesture was innocent enough in his opinion. No harm could really come from it.
Carefully approaching him, she magically attached the flower to the shoulder buckle of his armor. She gently petted the petals of the flower for a last time before slowly moving her hand away from him. His hand caught hers though.
"I hope you don't mind such a feminine addition to your armor," she said quietly.
He chuckled softly, running his thumb over her knuckles. The contact sent a thrill through the witch.
"No, I don't in the least," he said and Arlena inwardly let out a sigh of relief.
Summoning up her Gryffindor courage, she gently placed a kiss on his cheek.
"Until we meet again," she said, pulling away from him slightly.
With his other hand he gently cupped her face. He ran a thumb over her cheek before reluctantly moving away from her.
"Aye, and what a lovely reunion it will be," he said before mounting his horse.
Arlena stood alone and watched him depart with an alarmingly heavy heart. She quickly returned to her room to prepare for her weekly rounds with Éowyn to tend to the village sick.
A.N: SO SORRY for the long wait.. I will upload all of the upcoming chapters much sooner. Reviews are lovely.
Chapter 11: Rivendell, Osgiliath and Minas Tirith
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As per usual, I own absolutely nothing. Everything you recognize either belongs to J.R.R. Tolkein or J.K. Rowling. :)
Enjoy this lengthy chapter!
Rivendell, Osgiliath, and Minas Tirith
James surprisingly had another day to himself. When Beinion told him yesterday after training that he had the next day off, James didn't question it. However, he did wonder what Beinion did on his days off. Sometimes he saw his master walking around in the gardens by himself, lost in thought.
That was what James was doing himself. He had found an ornately carved wooden bench and decided to take a seat in the middle of it. To his utter amazement, it didn't feel uncomfortable. The things Elves were capable of never ceased to amaze him. His astonishment was interrupted by a voice.
"Begging your pardon, young wizard. Would you mind scooting over and let an old hobbit join you? I find this to be the best thinking place in all of Rivendell," Bilbo Baggins said.
James smiled and scooted over on the bench. Old Bilbo had a red leather bound book with him as well as a pipe. He had never really talked to the hobbit before, but from what he had been told, Bilbo was quite the interesting character.
"I don't think we've been properly introduced, I'm James Black," the wizard said.
The hobbit let out an undignified snort, "I know who you are lad. I suspect you know who I am as well."
Bilbo gave an altogether amused look at the young wizard and James chuckled softly. He knew he would get along well with this hobbit.
"Indeed I do, Mr. Baggins. I just thought it was the proper thing to do."
"Mr. Baggins was my father. Please, just call me Bilbo. It's nice to know that there are those that still have decent manners."
"I was given the good fortune of being raised to treat everyone equally," James said, a small smile flitting across his face.
"Aye, that is a treasured gift, indeed. Few seem to realize its value these days. Everyone is so narrow minded. I won't deny that I have been one of those people, but I had my eyes opened, so to speak. But you were not raised in this world, though," Bilbo said shrewdly.
"No, I was not. I belong to an entirely different universe. I have a purpose here, of that I am certain. I feel I shall find out what soon enough," James said quietly.
"Ah, yes. Elrond's secret council meeting," Bilbo said, pulling out his pipe and began to prepare it.
James arched an eyebrow, "If it's supposed to be a secret, then why do so many people know about it?"
Bilbo chuckled, "I believe, Mr. Black, that is because all of the Elves you know shall be in attendance of it. All those that you see daily are in close confidence to Elrond. That is no mere coincidence, my boy," the hobbit said, sticking his pipe in his mouth.
James nodded, realizing that it made sense.
"Do you know who's all going to be there and what's it actually about?" he then asked.
Bilbo shrugged, "I asked Elrond that myself when I was informed that such a meeting shall occur. Would you like to know what he told me?"
"Of course," James said, his curiosity getting the best of him.
"He said to me, 'I myself do not know who shall be in attendance. I only know that those of all races shall seek my counsel nearly around the same time, and I shall aid them in any way that I can.' Extremely vague, if you ask me, but I suppose that was Elrond's intention," Bilbo sighed, a ring of smoke emanating from his pipe.
He watched James slump sightly in his seat, obviously disappointed by the vague answer.
"You crave adventure, don't you lad?" Bilbo asked knowingly.
James nodded mutely in reply. His training had been progressing very well, but he was beginning to wonder if he would put his new found skills to actual use.
"To crave for such a thing is not unusual for one of the Big People. For that is what you are, correct?"
"Yes, apparently that is how I differ from all of the other wizards in Middle Earth. I am from the race of Men," James said slowly.
Bilbo just hummed in response, appearing to be lost in thought. The pair remained silent, taking in their surroundings.
"It is most unusual for a hobbit to crave adventure, or to be overly curious," the hobbit said, breaking the silence.
"Is that true?" James asked in surprise.
"Aye, according to most of the Shire folk, I am most unusual. Crazy, even," Bilbo smiled mischievously at James, which caused the wizard to wonder what Bilbo had done in his life.
"Tell me more about hobbits, Bilbo," James asked.
"It's about time! I could tell the minute I sat down next to you that you wanted to know more about my kind," Bilbo said smugly.
He then began to happily explain to James about the Shire and all of its people. Bilbo was rather fond about talking about his heir, Frodo. The elderly hobbit had adopted him and apparently the younger hobbit had inherited his sense for adventure. James was slightly saddened by the prospect that he would never meet the current owner of Bag End. Bilbo seemed awfully proud of him.
"Here lad, have a look at this," Bilbo said, handing over to him the red leather book.
James quietly whispered the title of Bilbo's book, admiring the beautiful script. Turning the page, he realized Bilbo had put his heart and soul into this book. James felt honored to look at it.
"It's not completely finished, but it shall be soon. I can feel it," Bilbo said once James found a detailed map of the Shire.
"This is absolutely excellent, Bilbo," James said in awe.
"Thank you, my boy. The compliment means a lot to me," the elderly hobbit said.
As he continued to look through Bilbo's book, James began to appreciate this new world he was in even more. Although there was hushed talk about evil approaching, James fell in love with all of the good things of Middle Earth.
James finally began to understand his purpose here. Whatever this evil was, James would gladly fight against it. He wouldn't allow all of these good people to suffer if he knew he could do something about it.
It was not even three days after Boromir left that Cora began to feel that something wasn't right. She wasn't exactly sure what the reason was behind these uneasy feelings, but they were there nonetheless. The pit of her stomach was almost constantly formed in a knot.
Almost immediately after Faramir's departure, Cora had begun to practice in the training grounds. Later on she would thank herself for it. Not only did she practice magic, but also archery and her swordsmanship.
The first time Boromir saw her practicing, she defiantly dared him to try and stop her, but he simply corrected her archer's stance and let her continue. Knowing she had Boromir's support, she enlisted the help of Lieutenant Adair. He was an excellent teacher once he warmed up to the idea of a woman being allowed to fight.
It was on the third day since Boromir left that Lieutenant Adair told her what was wrong.
"Look upon Osgiliath, Miss Cora," he said. They were at his post, which had a fantastic view of the surrounding lands.
"What am I supposed to see?" she asked, confused.
"Nazgul," he said shakily.
"There are things flying over the city. Are those-"
She wondered what was so bad about them. She had never heard of them before.
"What can be done?" she asked. Whatever those things were, they were harming the men. The faces of Faramir and Boromir quickly entered her mind.
"Nothing, Miss," he said, sounding defeated.
She narrowed her eyes. Nothing? No, she could do something. Turning on the spot, she apparated to her room.
She quickly conjured an outfit that was a combination of Faramir and Boromir's outfits. Heading over to her school trunk, she quickly opened it. Her trunk held many things, most of which she didn't know how they would be useful to her. Until now, that is.
She quickly pulled out a dagger. It was Goblin made - from her world. Rubies and sapphires decorated the hilt. It was a beautiful yet deadly weapon and now Cora finally had a purpose for it. She also took out her broom. A horse would be too slow.
Grabbing her bow and arrows along with her sword, she hastily got herself ready. With a loud crack, she apparated right in front of the White Tree.
Denethor had stormed out when he had heard the loud crack.
"What is going on? What are you doing?" he boomed, staring at her wildly. Her relationship with Denethor was one of begrudging tolerance. She assumed that if he had no sons, he would never had let her remain as a guest.
Tightening her grip on her broom, she addressed the Steward with no emotion.
"I'm going to salvage what is left of the men at Osgiliath."
Turning from the Steward she ran towards the drop off. She mounted the broom just as she approached the edge. She was thankful that she wasn't afraid of heights and that her broom automatically had an altitude charm so she wouldn't be affected by the dramatic changes in elevation.
She shot up into the air and with a speed not fathomable to those of Gondor, she approached Osgiliath.
When she was only a mile away from the ruined city, she felt pure dread and absolute terror. Her first encounter with the Nazgul had arrived.
The beast was absolutely foul and massive in size. Its rider wasn't any better. A new wave of fear coursed through her in addition to the dread. She withdrew her wand from its special holster and screamed two words that seemed the most natural in such a situation.
"Expecto Patronum!" She yelled, using a new memory to produce the spell. A massive beam of white light emitted from her wand and she herself was almost blinded by the light. She didn't falter.
Either the rider or beast shrieked and she felt the fear and dread lessen. It had flown away. She didn't linger long, knowing she had some lives to potentially save. She hoped she wasn't too late.
All the men she encountered so far in the city were either dead or wounded so badly that she knew trying to portkey them to the House of Healing would only finish them off. She was reluctant to admit it, but she was starting to believe that her being here was a foolish thing to do. Cora had yet to see either Faramir and Boromir and she was beginning to think the worst.
Nothing prepared her however for what appeared to be the only things left alive in Osgiliath. She noticed that there was a mix of two types. One type was taller while the other were shorter. Both were horribly deformed and altogether disgusting. Once she got over her revulsion though, she was ready to fight them.
It wasn't her sword or her wand that she instinctively grabbed for. She grabbed her dagger. It felt like as if it was an extension of her hand, much like how her wand felt when she was dueling someone.
She managed to stab one of the smaller ugly things and something in her mind told her that it was a goblin. And as the blood of one of the larger creatures splattered all over her due to her chopping its arm off, she wondered if the Orc blood would leave stains on her body. It looked different than human blood. She never figured out why she somehow instinctively knew the names of these foul creatures.
The ruined city was a maze and the narrow streets made her even more uncomfortable. She had no knowledge of the layout of the city, she was merely relying on instinct. All the while, Cora continued fighting her way through.
With her free hand, she wordlessly used a knockback jinx on an approaching group of Orcs. Something told her she needed to get towards the bridge. Casting a shield around her, she watched in amusement as several goblin and orcs shrieked in pain when they tried attacking her. Amongst the chaos, she saw a bridge. More importantly, she saw figures that looked more human.
Knowing she couldn't keep this shield up forever, she quickly apparated near the bridge. She practically collided into the back of an Orc, but she quickly stabbed it before it got the chance to attack her.
Only four men were left and that didn't include the sons of the Steward. Only six survivors, that shouldn't have happened. They underestimated their enemies numbers.
"Get to the bridge!" Boromir yelled as he started to retreat back. He saw his brother take down an orc and quickly made his way towards the bridge.
They needed a miracle, Boromir thought.
She couldn't get close enough to the bridge. There must have been hundreds, no thousands of these goblins and orcs running around the city. She was being overwhelmed and that thought crashed down on her when she somehow managed to be cornered in a narrow alleyway.
If she had no magical abilities, she would have been doomed. But alas, she was a witch. She still had to weigh out her options carefully, because what she planned on doing was still risky.
"Bombarda maxima!" She screamed, her wand aiming at the archway that covered the entrance to the alleyway.
She quickly ducked down and cast the strongest protective shield she knew. Then everything got dark as rocks of all shapes and sizes were strewn everywhere.
No one had ever seen anything like that before and caused everyone, friend and foe, to stop in their tracks. An entire wall was completely destroyed and several of the enemy were buried underneath it.
What emerged out of the dust shocked everyone to their core. It was Cora Black, finishing off unsuspecting orcs and goblins left and right.
"What are you doing here?" Faramir yelled at her, anger clearly written on his face.
Ignoring him, she quickly addressed Boromir, "Are you all that's left?"
"Yes, we need to get out of here and fast!" Boromir shouted back.
An idea formed into her head. If she destroyed the bridge, then that would give them enough time to escape.
"Jump into the river," she said to the remaining soldiers.
When they didn't move, she rounded on them, "I said jump into the river. NOW MOVE!"
She placed floating charms on each of them to ensure they wouldn't sink with their armor. Faramir and Boromir were still fighting. She called out to them and they retreated. Casting a shield, she managed to stop the enemy from coming any closer for the time being.
"Follow your men, Boromir. You too, Faramir," she ordered.
"What?" they both said. They noticed that their men were preparing themselves to jump into the river.
Turning back to her, Boromir stared at her wildly, "Are you mad?"
Looking rather calm amidst all of this chaos she simply responded, "No I'm saving our lives. Now are you going to jump into that river or am I going to have to force you into it?"
Without another thought, Boromir approached his men and was the first one to jump into the river. His men dutifully followed. Only Cora and Faramir were left on the bridge.
"I'm not going without you," Faramir said stubbornly.
Cora nodded, placing her dagger and wand back into their proper locations. Faramir did the same. Just as they were about to jump, Faramir quickly grabbed her hand. Both of them jumped into the icy cold depths of the river. With the floating charms Cora had placed on them, the task of treading water did not become a major issue. They only had to rely on the current of the river to pull them along.
As soon as Faramir surfaced, he swam his way over to Cora and pulled her close to him. He had an arm around her waist and she had an arm slung around his neck. Cora noticed that Boromir had found a piece of driftwood and he and the remaining men were using it as an additional flotation device.
Her shield on the bridge broke and orcs and goblins came rushing onto the bridge. She knew now was the time to act or else they were doomed. Pulling out her wand, she aimed towards the bridge.
Faramir watched her movements in confusion. Then it dawned on him.
"Cora, what are you doing?"
She tightened her grip around Faramir's neck. Quickly looking into his eyes, she told him to not let go of her. She felt his grip on her tighten. With an approving nod, she turned back towards the bridge.
Summoning her magic deep within her, she let it build up. Then for the second time that day she screamed, "Bombarda maxima!"
The force of this explosion was even greater than the last. The bridge was utterly destroyed as well as a nice amount of goblins and orcs.
"We need to figure out how we're going to get back to the city," Boromir said once they returned to land a great deal of a distance away from Osgiliath.
"I've got that covered as well," Cora said, ignoring a dull pain in her side. She would worry about injuries once they were all safe.
"How?" Faramir asked incredulously.
"I can have you all back in the White City within minutes," she said quietly.
When all of them men stared at her in disbelief, she sighed.
"Haven't I apparated in front of any of you before?"
When she got no response, she shrugged. "Oh, poor Lieutenant Adair. I must have scared the wits out of him."
She told them that she would take them all one at a time. Boromir and Faramir insisted that their men be taken first, and Cora agreed. Telling each of them to not let go, she managed to safely apparate the men to the courtyard.
"I can take both of you at once," she said, offering an arm to both men. They hesitantly accepted and with reassurances from Cora, they were ready. With a loud crack, they returned to Minas Tirith.
The two men continued to soldier on, adamant on seeing their father. Cora, however, stopped in her tracks when the dull ache in her side flared up into excruciating pain. Doubling over in pain, her left hand instinctively went to her right side. What she saw made her eyes widen in fear. Her hand was covered in blood. She couldn't remember when she had been wounded, but clearly she had been.
"Faramir!" she cried out as her knees buckled underneath her. She fell to the floor with a clatter.
Hearing her cry, both men turned around to see Cora attempting to stand up again but she was failing miserably. All Faramir saw was the pain and fear clearly etched onto her face. Rushing towards her, he quickly discovered her source of pain.
The two brothers exchanged worried looks. She saw the exchange and started to tremble in fear. She still wasn't familiar with the healing methods of Middle Earth and that in itself had her worried.
"Keep applying pressure to it," Faramir said gently. She nodded dumbly and did as she was told.
She inhaled sharply as she applied pressure. Faramir cradled her face in the palm of his hand. Their eyes locked and for a brief second the pain faded away.
Boromir broke the moment, "She needs to go to the House of Healing."
Faramir gave a brief nod to his brother before carefully picking the witch up. He started going towards the House of Healing when Boromir stopped him.
"What about Father?"
Faramir turned to look at his older brother, "You go to him, I shall join you later."
Boromir nodded before heading in the opposite direction.
"I'm scared, Faramir," Cora said quietly.
Faramir tightened his grip on her, but said nothing. He was tense so Cora remained silent, trying to keep her fear under control. Was he mad at her? She hoped not.
They soon reached the House of Healing and Faramir barked several orders to the Healers, and they were scrambling around preparing to take care of Cora. One of the Healers told him to place Cora on one of the empty cots.
"Faramir, what's going on?" Cora asked, confusion evident in her voice. She didn't know anyone here and that made her even more nervous.
"Do not worry, Cora. You're in capable hands," Faramir said quietly as several Healers flocked towards the wounded witch. He slowly started to back away.
"I'll check on you later."
Cora's eyes widened in fear, "Don't you dare leave me, Faramir! Please don't! FARAMIR!"
She began to struggle against the Healers. She needed him here. She cried out for him again.
Faramir's heart broke into tiny pieces the farther he went away from her. He tried to ignore her cries but to no avail.
"Duty before love," he murmured.
It didn't make him feel any better though.
A.N: Hope you enjoyed this chapter. What has been your favorite moment so far? Leave a review! :)