1. Strange Land
Rain pattered down through the pitifully stark branches, slowly rolling off leaves and exploding into a scatter of droplets as they hit the dark figure crouched amidst the tree's sparse boughs. Scarred and slender fingers tapped out patient, entwining rhythms upon the rough bark; a subtle and strange melody. Otherwise the man, for it seemed to be a man, was as still as stone. Dark and dripping tendrils of hair framed a face impassive as marble.
Eyes that were filled with unnatural light scanned this way and that, staring out into the infinite night. Looking into those eyes would let anyone know that this figure could not be human. His starlit gaze followed the sounds he heard and deciphered amongst the din of night; blazing sirens, angry shouts, breaking glass, rude screams, vicious barks, screeching brakes and from somewhere the deep pulsing of coarse, crass music. There were far too many to count. A scowl creased the angular and precise features of his face; how low mankind had sunk.
Blinking, he dismissed those noises. There was no time in a thousand lifetimes to put an end to all the corrupt strains that smothered the world. He should know. The minute scuffles, the debauched dealings, the pathetic fools with their guns and knives were a waste of his time. From there to every corner of the earth, similar deals saw similar dank alleys, multiple fights spilled into litter strewn streets. It would take an army to reclaim the world which had once been… but he was only one. One alone, and for so long. But still he fought back, taking vengeance for the scarred and bleeding earth.
Narrowing his eyes, pin-pointing the direction of a sudden scream, he swivelled his head round to locate the origin of the sound. The commotion was faint in his ears, yet he had heard enough: a helpless one was surrounded by many. Catlike, he leapt from the fragile tree limb, causing a cascade of rain drops as it whipped back and forth after his sudden departure. Lightly running across the tips of pointed railings he did not even look down to check his steps, or falter once, despite the heavy boots he wore. Hair and long dark coat streaming behind him like a rippling banner, his strides were long, quickening with each step as the grim thrill of the hunt gripped him.
Pulling himself up onto the dark concrete of a rooftop with ease, he ran above where the air was clearer. Away from the urine soaked streets and vomit splattered corners his travel was unhindered as he sped along the changing tiles with footsteps as light as those of a ghost. The gaping black mouth of an oncoming alley between the clustered dwellings loomed ahead of him. Without pause he threw himself from the edge, glancing down in mid-flight he saw the scavengers rifling through the overflowing bins. Dismissing the sight he continued without pause once a foot landed soundlessly on the other side of the gap. He had but one concern that moment, and one purpose.
With his ears bent upon the sounds of fearful pleas and jeering torments, the dark sentinel glided on across the rooftops. The short fearful breaths grew louder in his ears with every step like sinister shouts of encouragement. They were leading him out of the buildings, away into a night lit by the orange glow of what they now called civilisation. His lip curled before he could repress it.
The land opened suddenly in front of him, the buildings abruptly thinned into a ragged stretch of grass and his pace finally slowed; he had caught up with his prey. From his perch amidst the shadows he studied the familiar scene unfolding below him. How many times had he seen it? Through how many ages? There was a girl, her hair splayed across a panicked face as she fell heavily to the floor in the middle of a circling gang. One of them had already undone his belt. Without a sound the watcher dropped down into the darkness between the orange street lamps.
"Leave her be," the words issued out loudly and firmly cutting through the jeering of the wretched crowd - though it seemed that the figure appearing out of the gloom did not have to raise his voice.
The group turned at the sudden interruption, clearly shocked that anyone dare challenge them. Staring at his long hair and pale countenance they smirked, clearly amused at such a challenge. One bolder wretch stepped forward, his head cocked arrogantly to the side as he assessed the strange newcomer
"Did you say sumfing?"
"Leave her be," the stranger repeated again, in the same strange clipped accent as before. There was an underlying menace to his tone, and his lips pressed into a thin angry line. The group laughed as they nudged each other with meaningful looks and suggestive, uncouth mutterings.
"D'you want a punch in the mouth?" the original speaker threatened, an ugly look on his face as he sauntered forwards
"Would you care to try your luck?"
Deftly the stranger parted the folds of his coat, the long blade appeared within his hand as if from nowhere, shining keenly in the dim light. As one they recoiled, in mingled shock and fear.
"Who the hell do you fink you are?"
"Macalaurë, Canafinwë, Maglor, Fëanorian, Kinslayer, Dispossessed, the last of the Noldo…"
The first throat was sliced with acute precision before any of the witless fools had begun to even think. They stood still contemplating his cryptic words as he swiftly moved among them, his razor edged blade a blur of fatal and avenging discipline. Tawdry gold chains were cut with heads, guts slit open, bruising knuckles dropped lifelessly to the floor. The elf whirled and sliced, ducking thrown arms and clumsy attempts to restrain him. Spinning, he slid down on the grass and curved the blade upwards through the chest of the last fleeing opponent.
The scent of blood was in the air. It covered his face, tasted on his tongue. It pooled in the grass, spurting from the still moaning bodies that writhed in agony. On his knees, Maglor flicked the blood from his blade and tilted his face up to the rain. It poured over his face, washing the blood and mingling with silent tears. The droplets curved and slid their way into a mouth open in a raw, soundless cry of horror; a cry that built up with each century of pain.
Whimpers from the girl drew his attention; they pulled him back from the brink of the dark void that ever threatened to engulf him. Maglor exhaled, long and slowly, running his hands through the wet grass. Then, within an instant he was rising smoothly to his feet. The sobbing girl was splattered in blood, cringing amongst corpses and the not quite dead. She seemed frozen in shock as he moved towards her, only edging backwards with jerky uneven movements at the last minute. Slipping the thick coat from his shoulders he slowly crouched in front of her. Trying a smile, he held up a pacifying hand. The sobbing ceased with a long wheezing and rasping breath as he looked her in the eyes. As he shook the rain and gore from the coat she flinched. Gently as possible, he draped it over her shaking figure, tucking it around shoulders that shrank away from him.
The strange one spoke odd sounding words she did not understand but somehow they comforted her, her tense shoulders dropped, the paralysing fear left her body.
She was never sure, but thought she heard singing, soft and sad, as her mysterious saviour melted away into the shadows.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.