Still a part of the FOH series, still a crossover to LOTR.
You need to have read the earlier parts to follow this.
You can read it at fanfiction.net
or my own webpage
Scott stood on one of the palace balconies in the palace of Rohan. His gaze swept over the landscape and took in the sunset that bathed everything in a red/golden glow. The times when he could take a break from his strategy planning with the Council, as they had named the leaders who debated the future course of the war effects, were few and far between. Currently they had taken a break for dinner and would reassemble when the sun had set. Scott had sought solitude until then to try and find some sense of peace before they returned to talk war.
He looked below him on the streets and saw some young children playing a singing game that reminded him that he had read that children on Earth had played in the streets between corpses during The Plague that had swept through Europe, singing Ring Around The Rosy. Children had an uncanny ability to play in and accept even the harshest of conditions as something that simply was. Though the dead had all been buried by now and the most severely wounded had died off, people wounded during the battle of Helms Deep still died on a daily basis. Seeing burial fires and warriors in the streets had become everyday life for the children of Rohan in just a matter of months. Yet, despite it all, they were now laughing, smiling and playing, even though most of them had lost at least one parent or sibling. Their innocence and fight for normality in the midst of a war reminded Scott just what they were fighting for. In the middle of so much death and so seemingly impossible odds he had almost forgotten what was at stake here. As far as he knew then this war wasnt like the wars of Earth. It wasnt fought because of difference in religion, politics or ideologies. To him it seemed like several races, several people, and several religions, were all fighting as one against something that was truly evil and truly not human, something none of Earths military leaders could claim about their enemy. Even the soldiers who had fought for Nazi Germany in WW2 had been human, mislead and misinformed they had truly believed they were doing the right thing. During all of Earths history even the cruelest of men seemed to believe his cruelty towards those different from him was justified, simply because his cruelty was directed at someone who did not live the same way he did. Thinking about it Scott found another reason to admire Middle Earth. On Earth only the human race was advanced enough to hold countries yet here there were many very different races, you even had an Immortal race, yet they could live side by side and could stand together against a common enemy. On Earth there was just one race, humankind, and they could barely agree on anything at all.
Scott took a deep breath and leaned against the railing of the balcony. The sunset was beautiful, giving the human village and the palace a romantic glow. Thinking of romance made his thoughts turn to his friends. Rogue and Logan fought to hold their marriage together despite the bloody war and despite Rogues change. He had talked to Gandalf before he had left for Gondor about Rogue, worried that even though the powers she had borrowed from Gandalf had lessened somewhat they were still there and still very powerful. With them her desire for power had also increased. Sometimes he wasnt sure if she could control it. He had seen her during dinner the day before Gandalf had left where she had been seated next to Gandalf, and the bare skin between her shirt and glove had almost brushed against Gandalf. Only Logans quick intervention had stopped it. Rogue had seemed truly horrified but Scott had become worried. Logan had admitted to him that her behavior had been strange but he refused to believe she would try and drain Gandalf to gain more powers from him. Scott wasnt so sure. During his talk with Gandalf, the wizard had admitted that all magic was connected. Gandalf was a magician of the light while Sauron was of the dark. He could easily filter out Saurons evil as it reached him but since Rogue now had some of Gandalfs magic she would now also be able to feel and sense the evil magic from Sauron and Gandalf had agreed with Scott that she might not be able to filter out his evil whispers. Gandalf had also told him that he was almost 100% sure that the reason Rogue lost her borrowed powers so slowly, a lot slower than she should, was because Saurons darkness worked to keep the powers within her so she thereby could still hear Saurons whispers and be tempted to aid his cause. Gandalf leaving had removed the immediate temptation from Rogue but the problem remained. He had talked to Rogue about it and she admitted that someone might be trying to influence her. So far she had been able to resist its tempting offers but she didnt know for how long she could keep doing it. She had made Scott promise that he would remind Logan of the oath he had given her if her husband would hesitate. She would rather die than become an instrument of evil.
Scott had also tried to speak to Ororo but although she admitted she loved Legolas she also said it was best they were apart because if he loved her back it could kill him when she returned to Earth. Scott had a feeling there was more to it than this; he felt she was hiding something from him. He had known Ororo even longer than Jean and she was his closest friend but it was also because of this that he respected her decision to remain silent. He didnt believe that Aragorns advice to Ororo was the best way to solve her and Legolass situation but since he didnt know what Legolas felt and neither did he know much about Elves he respected her plea that he should not interfere. Currently there were a lot of pressing issues to solve so he couldnt have spared much attention to his friends love life anyway but if she had wanted him to try he would have done so.
The sun had almost set when his thoughts fell on Jean. Though he still loved her it wasnt with the bright flame it had used to be. Distance and the fact that she was now his enemy, again, had done theirs to try and strangle his love for his wife. He tried not to think too much about Jean and Phoenix because it was such an emotionally complicated matter that he barely knew what to feel or do. Phoenix was his enemy and to save all of Middle Earth he might have to kill her but she was also Jean, his wife whom he, despite it all, still loved. It was a conflict that was tearing him apart.
"Are you alright?" Eowyns kind voice reached him and he turned and saw that she had joined him on the balcony. He nodded and she smiled at him, which instinctively made him smile back. He purposely chose not to analyze what he felt for the young princess but he couldnt deny that he had grown very fond of her. He just didnt dare analyze if that fondness was because he saw her as a friend, comrade, sister
or potential lover.
"You have a beautiful country, princess," Scott said softly, his eyes on the sunset, forcing his attention away from her and on to a safer subject. She leaned on the railing and looked out, smiling at the beauty of her nation.
"Thank you. I have always thought so."
A comfortable silence settled between them until Scott turned to her and broke it.
"How are your Elven patients? Are we still losing some to emotional distress?"
Eowyn turned to him, her expression serious. "Ororo had some good ideas to help them recover and it has worked nicely. I think the ones alive at this time will survive."
Scott nodded, relieved to hear that no more would die. There had been too much death already. "Good. We need all the men we can get for the coming battle."
"Dying because a loved one has died
that has to be the ultimate show of love," Eowyn said softly.
"I have heard tales before of people who have died because a loved family member or lover has died but I have never before seen it so widely spread as I have here," Scott admitted. It was a disquieting thought to him that people would die if they lost a lover. All his friends seemed to be in danger if that tendency proved to move to his friends as well. He didnt want to lose any of his friends but if he had to then to lose one friend was better than to lose all. He could understand the agony that losing a beloved was. He had lost Jean to the temptation of darkness twice now and though he had got her back the first time things didnt look so promising now. Despite the pain he would feel of seeing her finally fall then in a way he had already lost her. Logically he knew Logan was right; Jean was no more, there was only the evil Phoenix who had tortured Boromir, a man who had fast become a friend, for days on end. Phoenix who killed and tortured without mercy. Even if he had lost Jean as Jean, a kind hearted and strong willed mutant doctor, he knew he would have carried on. He would have mourned her but he would have carried on. He had been orphaned when he was five years old. He was used to living alone, used to people leaving him by dying. He was used to fighting for everything in his life and he knew he would fight to carry on even after his love had died should it come to that but he had never been a quitter and he would fight till the end to prevent anymore people from dying.
Sensing the sadness in Scotts voice Eowyn changed the subject. "Do you have a view like this in your homeland?" she indicated the sunset and the glory of nature around her.
"My family lineage is from Canada so though I live in the United States then by your way of tracing family then Im Canadian and in Canada
yes, we have beautiful views. Many places have been disrupted by human cities but there is still a lot of nature in Canada," Scott explained, letting his admiration for the country which he had visited several times shine through.
"Why do you not live in your homeland? Why would you want to leave it?" Eowyn asked, truly puzzled. It was a rare thing in Middle Earth to leave your place of birth.
"I was orphaned and grew up in the United States so the choice was not mine."
"But you like it there?" She prompted.
Scott considered this. Thanks to Xaviers money he lived very well now but he clearly recalled how it was to live in the public orphanages. The state didnt give much money to public institutions and it hadnt been pleasant to put it mildly. He knew that hidden away from the rich neighborhood of Xaviers mansion people lived on the streets and kids died of hunger. Compared to many nations the US was a glorious country, no doubt about it, but as a mutant he had seen the darker side of the American slogans of freedom and tolerance. Rogue had told him that Magneto had claimed there was no land of tolerance, not even America and Scott had to admit that he was right. The days of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s had died out and now discrimination based on genes and sexuality was something the majority approved of and accepted. He had got his share of discrimination but some of the mutants at Xaviers school were parts of other minority groups besides being mutants like religious, racial or sexual minorities and they had it even worse.
"I love the United States. It is my country now and its a great nation. It has the potential to become the greatest nation in the world," Scott said slowly, thoughtfully. "However, there are a lot of biases that needs to be dealt with first before it can truly live up to its proclaimed status of a nation of tolerance and freedom."
"And you fight for equal rights for your people?" Eowyn asked insightfully. She could not understand why anyone would discriminate against an entire group of people, but fear and ignorance would account for much of it she assumed. She knew that though the biases werent as strongly expressed as in Scotts world then Middle Earth had its own share of biases. Small but still there like for example a way of thinking that ones own country was better than any others and thus, though mixed marriages was allowed and did occur, then it wasnt normal and wasnt encouraged. When Aragorn married the Elven Arwen and placed her as Queen of a human kingdom, that should break down a lot of that bias. However, the most notable discrimination was the lack of equality between the sexes. She had learned from Ororo and Rogue that in many of the countries of Earth there was equality or something close to it, between the sexes, something she really wished she could get in Middle Earth as well. She was more than a machine to give birth to baby boys. She could fight as well as any man and had she been a man she would have been a general by now, she was sure of this.
"I fight for all minorities. We humans are imperfect so all we create will be imperfect as well but we can make things a lot better than what they are now," he smiled as he spoke and Eowyn looked questionable at him. "Sorry. My friend Kurt is studying to become a priest and he always tells me when Im frustrated about some injustice in the world to remember that humans are fallible and thus all they create will be as well. Only God is perfect but with love in their hearts humans can create a world where everyone can live in peace," Scott explained before he added, "I was reminded of him and his beliefs."
"Your God is simply called God?" Eowyn asked, interested.
"Yes though He, She or It, however people address their divine entity, has been given other names as well but in general its the same concept; one supreme being who has made rules to help mankind live in peace with each other. Though there are minority groups of people who believe in several deities." She nodded understanding. "I understand you dont all have the same religion?" Scott inquired, curious, having heard dying different soldiers cry out for a deity, which had not had the same name.
"No. There are many religions in Middle Earth though they share the same concept like you told me of yours. However we have never fought over religion like Ororo told me your people has. People can worship here as they please as long as it does not hurt someone else."
"A good viewpoint," Scott agreed. He was to ask something else when Eowyn gave a surprised gasp and worried Scott followed her gaze, one hand instinctively having gone to his glasses while the other was ready to draw the princess behind him to shield her from the unknown danger. He frowned confused when he saw that what had startled her was a ring of fire that was being lit around the mountain far away, moving towards them.
"It is a call for help from Gondor," Eowyn explained. She turned to look at him, her eyes filled with worry. "They need our help."
"Scott, Princess Eowyn! Aragorn requests that you assemble in the main hall as soon as possible," a guard who had appeared behind them said to them, having been sent to get them with such haste that he had run through the palace to find them and was now taking deep breaths to try and calm down again.
"We will be right there," Scott replied, his voice betraying his worry. Had Mordor attacked? Were they too late?
Without wasting any time Eowyn and Scott hurried through the palace and towards the main hall, the childrens singing from below the balcony becoming a sharp contrast to the severity of the situation.
* * *
"We cannot delay. We must send all our forces to the capital city of Minas Tirith now," Boromir insisted, his words betraying his strong concern for his country. He had risen as he had been granted the word by Aragorn who controlled the meeting. Around the large wooden table in the main hall sat all the people of the Council and some who werent members. Due to Gandalf and Pippins absence the room counted less people than it otherwise would have. Around the table sat King Theoden, Eomer, Gimli, Legolas, Haldir, Aragorn, Boromir, Eowyn, Scott, Ororo, Logan and Rogue.
"We do not yet have all our forces gathered here in the capital. Rohans army is still coming together from all over the country," Eomer warned as Boromir sat down again.
"I have more Elven warriors coming from the Golden Wood. They should be here within a few days," Haldir spoke up, having just a few hours before received a courier telling him that Rohans border scouts had spotted Elves wearing the colors of the Golden Wood moving towards the capital.
"My Father, Lord Elrond, will not send any warriors?" Aragorn asked his old friend, having not had time to question Haldir further about the message he had gotten. As Haldir were the commander of the Elven forces the message had been for his eyes alone and Aragorn respected his friends status so he had not tried to get this information out of the courier or anyone else even though he badly wanted to get an answer. He knew that Elrond was against mixing Elven affairs with mortal affairs, claiming mortals made their own mistakes and had to learn to correct them on their own as well. Though Aragorn agreed with his adoptive father on this then he still felt there should be exceptions to that rule. Elronds opinion that all humans were weak and easily given to temptation had given Aragorn many a fear growing up when he had realized that he was mortal and human, despite the fact that Elrond and all the other Elves treated him as an Elf and expected him to behave as such. It had taken him a long time to accept what and who he was since he was constantly caught between two worlds, not really belonging to either. Truth be told then he hadnt really accepted his human inheritance before Boromir had died and asked him to guard his country. Aragorn had grown up in Rivendell and he felt that was his country. Though he would do his duty and though he cared for Gondor he would never love Her like Boromir did or like he himself loved Rivendell.
"In the convoy which was spotted there were no warriors wearing the colors of Elronds House," Haldir admitted, knowing Aragorn would see this as his father turning his back on him in his time of need. The normally stoic warrior permitted himself to smile slightly in sympathy for his friend. "Perhaps he is still considering how involved Rivendell should become in this war. Lord Elrond was after all the one to gather the Fellowship," Haldir reminded him, trying to soften the blow. Aragorn had always tried so hard to live up to Elronds expectations but some expectations he could never live up to because no matter what he did his upbringing could not change the fact that he was human and mortal. Haldir had at first been wary of this human Elf but he had quickly come to take a liking to the quiet human who thought and moved with the grace of an Elf. Unlike his father who only wanted to see Aragorn as Elven, Haldir saw Aragorn as an abnormality, a human who was at heart an Elf, but he never considered this further for he had no need to. Aragorn had no attachment to Haldirs House and thus he didnt need to wonder what position and behavior was desired from a human destined to be a human king but who had been raised as an Elven nobleman.
"We could send what forces we have now and then send the rest as they arrive," Ororo suggested, purposely avoiding Legolass stare as he politely turned to look at her when she spoke. The realization that he thought she cared so little for him that she had chosen to divorce him, for a lack of a better word, still pained her when it was far from the truth. Yet she could never tell him the truth and that hurt even worse.
"Lets stop talking and start killing some Orc!" Gimli insisted, as always ready for a fight.
"I have been working on the estimates of Mordors army in contrast to our own that Ive been given and the odds are stacked against us," Scott said grimly. "Even with reinforcements from the Elves and with all of Rohans forces gathered Mordor still outnumber us at least fifty to one."
"So we either need more men or hope that all the Orcs we encounter fight really really badly," Logan said darkly.
"There are no more forces to gather. Rohans warriors should stay here and defend our own borders. Trying to save Gondor will be a battle we cannot win," King Theoden said.
Logan rolled his eyes at him. "Just what is it with you and giving up?! Youre making a nun seem feisty!"
"Logan!" Scott reproved though silently he agreed that Theoden tended to view things very negatively and he also tended to do his best to only defend his own borders and not anyone elses. In this situation, however, Scott had to admit that the King had a point. Unless they could come up with something, sending aid to Gondor would only archive their own demise.
"I will not let Gondor fall. I made a promise to a friend that I would never see Her fall," Aragorns soft but strong voice broke through the room, a small smile lighting up his serious expression as he recalled the oath Boromir had made him swear at what would have been his deathbed had Phoenix not intervened. Despite his distaste for the dangerous foreign woman Aragorn felt he owed her a debt of gratitude for letting him keep his friend among the living for a bit longer.
"Faramir!" Boromirs sudden cry was filled with horror and fear, his face having gone white as a sheet as if he saw something horrible no one else could see.
"What is the matter?" Eowyn asked concerned, beating everyone else who were about to ask the same thing. Boromir made a visible effect to gather himself but terror and fear was still written on his face.
I felt something. My brother
hes in danger." Boromir turned pleading eyes to Aragorn. "My King, let me travel to Gondor. I must see him safe. He is my brother; I cannot abandon him now."
Aragorns expression was sympathetic but he shook his head. "You leaving for Gondor at this time would not help anyone and would probably only result in your death. I will not have you risking your life for something that is hopeless." Aragorn had come to accept that he might one day have to order friends to their deaths in order to save many others. However he would not let any man make such a sacrifice unless the loss of a friend and a warrior could be properly justified.
"But I cannot die," Boromir protested.
"As far as we know and my decision still stands," Aragorn insisted. They stared at each other for a while; two strong wills locked in deadly combat before Boromir gave a short nod of his head and lowered his gaze.
"As you wish, my lord."
"Have you always been telepathic around your brother or is this the first time?" Scott asked, getting a nasty suspicion.
"We have always shared a link. We sometimes shared dreams and feelings of danger for the other. For example when I was to leave to join the Fellowship on the Steward, my fathers, orders, then Faramir warned me that my leaving made him uneasy as if something bad would happen to me. But the Steward, my father, had spoken and though I never doubted my brothers warning I was honor bound to obey my Stewards wishes," Boromir explained, trying to keep his sorrow and fear for his brother at bay. "However it has never been anything like this."
"You said your life-force was connected to the Ring
Perhaps what you feel is a link to Phoenix. You might pick up on some images or feelings through her," Scott thought out loud.
"That would mean Phoenix is near my brother in some way," Boromirs voice was filled with dread and a shiver ran through him when he recalled his torture at the hands of the handsome but deadly woman. He would not wish that on anyone, least of all his beloved brother.
"Yes," Scott agreed grimly, not liking it either. Silence fell over the room until Aragorn broke it.
"The allied forces of Rohan and the Golden Wood will leave for Gondor in three days," he ordered, taking a decision as he knew they had to act fast. "You all know your appointed tasks. Prepare to break camp!"
Everyone was about to leave when a guard showed a hooded figure into the hall. He wore the long regal robes of an Elf of high status. The colors of his House were sewed into his clothes as it was costumed for Elves of high rank and they were recognized at once by Aragorn, Haldir and Legolas who all rose to show their respect. Puzzled the other humans followed their lead and rose as well.
*My lord, you honor us with your presence, * Aragorn said formally in Elvish, trying to contain his joy. The visitor gave a small nod of his head in reply before he drew back his hood to reveal his face. Surprise and shock was clearly written on the human faces around the table.
*Estel, it pleases me to see you well, * Lord Elrond replied warmly in the same language before his eyes fell on Legolas. The Elven prince gave him a small respectful nod of his head which Elrond returned. "Prince Legolas, it is always a pleasure to see you." His eyes found Haldir and the commander bowed his head slightly in respectful greeting.
*Lord Elrond of Rivendell, * he said formally.
*Commander. I was surprised to see the Elves of the Golden Wood had chosen to fight for mankind though I see now that as always Galadriel saw further than I. *
Haldir gave a nod in acceptance to these words.
"Could we maybe continue this in English or whatever you call the language we mortals speak so anyone here whos not a descendent of Spock could follow this conversation?" Logan complained, having grown tired of understanding nothing. His words broke the formality of the Elves greeting as his fellow X-men tried not to smile too widely at his words. While the Elves and other humans did not understand his reference then they got his meaning.
Elrond turned to address the entire table, continuing in English. "Gentlemen and gentlewomen. I have come to offer you a solution to your problem."
"About the lack of forces to combat Mordors army?" Eomer asked.
"Elaborate," Boromir snapped, fear for his country and brother making his voice shaper and making him fall back into the role as leader that he had held before the war where he as Captain-General of Gondor had lead Gondors army.
"I come to offer you two things. One is a solution to the problem of your lack of warriors
the other is a gift to my son to help him fulfill his destiny and become King of Gondor," Elrond said and the whole room became alive again as hope returned to them, giving them a fighting chance of success where before there had been none.
Tell us all," Aragorn asked of his father and Elrond did just that.
Stan Lee created the X-men in the 1960s and their fight for equal rights for mutants was a symbol for the fight for equal rights that ran in those years. The X-men never wanted to rule humanity but only wanted to have the same rights as everyone else.
It is from this legacy of fighting for civil and equal rights for all that Ive allowed Scotts thoughts to follow. The X-mens status as a symbol for a minority fighting for equal rights was what first made me become interested in the X-men and its this quality that I admire most about the X-men.
As always then please remember that this is based on the LOTR movies alone. Tolkiens books establish a lot of history for Middle Earth like past wars, religion and a lot of other things. Since this is a movie crossover then Ive only used the things from the books that fitted what I wanted and then made the rest up to fit this story.
Thanks again to Jonas for great beta and help with the Tolkien lore.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and as always I look forth to hearing your comments as long as you use a civil and polite tone.
Thanks for reading and I hope youll stay with me a bit longer as we move towards the end of a very long story which has been more than 3 years in the making.