1-18-2002

A GW/Tolkien crossover fic. This is based off the tale of Aragorn and Arwen. If you don't know it, I won't give it away!

Disclaimer: Not mine. GW is Bandai, Sunrise, etc's, Middle-earth is Tolkien's.
Pairings: Past 2+Solo, future 2+1/2X1
Rating: PG-13
Archive: If you want it, e-mail me.
Feedback: I'll love you forever.

~

 

I am not what I seem.

At first glance I am young, scarcely more than a boy who is seeing the world for the first time. Innocent and beautiful, secure in my own strength and power. A prince ready to take all that the world has to offer. That is how others see me. A proud and noble youth in the spring of his life.

I am no such thing.

Maybe I was, once, in the distant past when the world was still young. My first name, given to me by my mother, was Irima - `lovely' in our tongue. But many years have passed since I have called myself so. I have felt too much bitterness and pain. I have seen too much suffering and slaughter. And now I have become Nuruhuine, the death-shadow.

* * *

Heero urged his horse to greater speeds as he galloped across the colorless plain toward the faint shadow of the forest, his body crouched low over the beast's muscled neck. The wind whipped his tousled brown hair into an even further state of disheveledness and brought tears to his astonishingly clear blue eyes, the moisture streaming down his cheeks in rivulets. He squinted furiously and sped on, digging his heels into his mount's sweaty sides. The stallion leapt obligingly forward but Heero could tell that he had pushed it almost to its limits; its strength would give out before too much longer.

If he could just reach the cover of the trees...

Urging his horse frantically on, Heero darted into the shadows beneath the intertwined branches of oaks and beeches just as his pursuers crested the knoll dipping down to the forest's edge. He dismounted in a single fluid motion and thumped his steed's flank, spurring it out into the open as he ran deeper into the surrounding gloom, the shouts of the Raiders floating behind him.

He waited, but of course none of them actually followed him. The Raiders were a superstitious lot who feared the darkness of Fangorn Forest, believing in the malicious spirits that legends said lurked beneath the trees. Heero had never paid them any mind. He never put faith in things he couldn't see, and in this case they were keeping him safe.

Some of the tension drained from his shoulders as he heard his hunters turn away from the trees and ride off, their harsh, guttural language drifting back to him. With a soft exhalation of relief he leaned back against the trunk of a massive oak, sensing his heartbeat relax into its usual calm, steady pace and his breathing even out into a less frantic pattern. It was all right now. They wouldn't find him.

He let his fingers drop to his side, stroking the cool metal of the scabbard that he had risked so much to obtain. He could feel the well worn grooves of the elvish inscriptions against his fingertips, spelling out ancient prophecies and warnings... His hand paused as he brushed against a single rune set near the top of the scabbard, where the sword emerged. He traced the bold lines with something almost like reverence as he sensed the power in the sign that they formed; the sign of the Nari bloodline.

* * *

I was there on the day that the Great Darkness fell, over one thousand years ago now. The Elves had long sensed it coming and many had fled into the West, forsaking the troubled mortal lands for the distant peace of Valinor [1]. My father, greatest of the Quendi [2] in Middle-earth, was one of them. He had had beseeched me to come with him. I had refused.

By then I had fallen in love with death, taking a savage joy in the waves of bloodshed and violence that were sweeping through the lands inhabited by men. Civil war had broken out in the powerful nations near the Western Sea; the once proud rulers of Nari had fallen into hatred and greed, lusting after absolute power. They became tyrants, cruel and fierce, reducing the people they ruled to something little more than slaves. And when the anger of the people was directed against them, their control grew weak.

It wasn't long before the commoners rose up against them. They marched on the beautiful city of Elin Arath and set fire to its ancient buildings, destroying everything they could. Any members of the nobility that they found were first tortured and then killed, their bodies hung at crossroads for all to see. Death was a constant presence among the people of Middle-earth, breeding fear and confusion. It was hell.

And the Elves continued to depart, sailing westward from the Havens into their eternal home away from the sorrows of men. I watched them go, waving my farewells from the mortal shores. I myself had no desire to leave, because by then I had been ensnared by a form of magic unknown to my own kind - the magic that is forged in the heat of battle.

I would take my bow and fight with the human warriors, intoxicated by the harsh cacophony of weapons clashing against each other punctuated by the screams of the dying. I would laugh as I killed, exulting in the sense of power it gave me, drinking in the aura of death like air. The men I fought with called me Nuru Vanya, Beautiful Death. And I embraced it fully.

Until...

He called himself Eressë [3], single and alone. He was one of the wood elves who lived in the Forest of Mirkwood, the son of one who was great among them. His people had chosen to fight alongside those who opposed the king, sending troops of bowmen to their aid. And that was how I found him, on the battlefield, with the light of the setting sun tinting everything around us red.

I think I might have loved him even then. At any rate, I knew that I had fallen for the Moriquendi [4] some months later, at the battle of Ana Laure. We had been victorious that day, and as the two of us stood among the bodies of the fallen, our feet buried in the mud turned red by blood, I could only think of how beautiful he was. With his blonde hair flowing down across his back and his amber eyes glowing softly in the fading light, he was...incredible. And I did the only thing that I could.

I kissed him.

It was wonderful, unlike anything I had ever had happen to me. The way he threaded his fingers though my long chestnut hair, loosening it from its confining braid, his warm breath gusting across my mouth, his body pressed up against mine... I was lost. When we pulled away from each other after what felt like a small eternity, I could do nothing but stare at him, wondering. He smiled.

"I have always been alone, always been Eressë. But now, I think that might have changed." He leaned forward to caress my cheek, his touch so tender, so gentle. His voice was a whisper in my ear, "Melda." [5]

He was my first lover. And I gave him everything that was mine to give.

I remember that my time with him was the happiest of my immortal life. We left the fighting to others after we found each other, going back to the forests to make our own haven of peace. He cured me of my lust for blood, taught me gentleness and kindness. He taught me how to love and be loved. He was my heart; he was my soul.

And I vowed that I would never leave him. Ever. But of course, such happiness never lasts.

We only had two short years together before it all came to an end. We were wandering across the Misty Mountains when we were ambushed by one of the orc clans that live there, taken by surprise and hopelessly outnumbered. There must have more than a hundred of them against the two of us; we both knew that it would be a losing battle. In the end, Eressë gave his life for mine, shielding me with his own body so that I could make my escape, and live.

To this day I have never forgiven myself for my cowardice.

My heart filled with bitterness and sorrow, I made my way back the Nari kingdoms. What I saw only increased the darkness growing within me. Beggars wandered the Great Road clad in rags or nothing at all, their feet bloody and blistered from trodding the muddy earth without any shoes. Women ghosted through the streets of towns trying to sell their bodies to provide for their little ones. Riots broke out over the dwindling supply of food. And always there were the murders, piles of bodies left to rot in the fields like sacrificial beasts. I saw it all with a sort of removed detachment, and wondered when it would all finally come to an end. I didn't have long to wait.

Some months after my return, a group of assassins crept into the palace of the king under the cover of darkness and murdered him and the rest of his blood along with him. And that was the day that the Darkness fell.

Afraid for their lives, the remaining supporters of the royals fled into the Wild, never to be seen again. The great city Elin Arath was burned to the ground, any monuments to the past glories of the Nari bloodline were toppled. From that day on, the once great Kingdoms of Men were nothing more than lawless states overrun by a myriad of warring factions and clans, caught up in a vicious cycle of bloodshed and revenge. There is no one who now has the strength to unite them and bring peace to the world. The world has fallen to Chaos.

But I do not have the heart to leave it. For it was here that I met Eressë; it was here that I fell in love. And I cannot bring myself to leave the land where I had once felt that bliss. It is almost as if my love's presence lingers here even now... As if he is still watching over me.

And maybe, one day, we will meet again.

* * *

Heero had always known about the Nari rulers, of course. Everyone did. But what most didn't realize, had never suspected, was that some of the Blood had survived the massacre of ages past to endure in the hidden valleys of what had once been Arnor. There were still some who had the power to claim leadership over the scattered tribes of men.

It was Heero's task to serve them, protect them and keep their existence secret until the time came for them to step forward to receive their birthright. That was the way it had always been. The Nari remained hidden, with a select group of warriors, called Varyan [6], keeping them safe. Heero had been trained for that task since childhood, ever since he could remember. He had been raised to devote his life to the last remnants of royal blood remaining on Middle-earth no matter what the cost to himself; he had been told over and over again that his own existence was irrelevant, the only thing that mattered was the safety of the ones he was sworn to serve. He was nothing, just another warrior created for their protection.

But as he held the ancient sword in the shadows beneath the trees, he could feel something stirring inside him. Questioning what he had come to believe. Thinking that maybe a return to Imperial rule was not what the people needed, that returning to the past was not the path for the future to take...

For the first time, Heero felt doubt. And something inside him began to break.

 

Glossary:

[1] In Tolkien's works Valinor is the home of the gods and Elves. The Elves originally awakened in Middle-earth, but were later given the chance to come to Valinor, which most did. Some eventually returned to the mortal worlds, however, they were allowed to leave Middle-earth and return whenever they chose. Also called the West.

[2] Quendi is the word for `Elves', encompassing all the different branches.

[3] Eressë means lonely, or single.

[4] The Moriquendi are dark-elves; elves who never went to Valinor but remained in Middle-earth from the beginning.

[5] Melda means beloved.

[6] Varya means to protect.