A/N: Welcome, one and all to an experiment, of sorts.
Harry Potter x LOTR without slash and without Elfling!Harry. It is a short story, only 60k words or so long by my reckoning. I am currently revisiting the earlier chapters of the work to alter the tone to be more in line with the later chapters. I should warn the reader that I will be referencing material in The Silmarillion and the LOTR Appendices so if you see something you don't understand either check the end of the chapter (I might do a brief overview) or wiki it. Tolkien's mythos is ridiculously deep and I can barely scratch the surface in such a short fic but scratch it I shall! I have mostly opted for Book Canon, but there are a few bits and pieces of the movies for spectacle.
I don't own any of this stuff, its waaay above my pay-grade.
It was… peaceful. Idyllic. Harry knew that this world was far from safe, or civilised. But, out here on the endless rolling plains, it was easy to forget.
Ten years. Ten years had passed since Harry Potter had found himself in this strange and backwards world. Those ten years had been filled with anger, then desperation, then acceptance. Finally he had arrived at an almost completely foreign sensation; contentment.
It was a strange sensation. Harry had never really had much space in his life for happiness. He was always pushed and pulled this way and that by the world and the people within it. Here he was alone. Utterly alone. No responsibilities and no expectations.
It did bother him a little, he still missed his friends and the shadows that they had left upon him. He knew, however, that there was no way back. He was here, in this world, and so it was likely to remain.
This world was a medieval one. It had taken some time for Harry to realise he wasn't simply back in time, but in an entirely new world that appeared to be stuck in the age of swords and kings and knights and maidens. It was curiously comforting. On the surface it shared many similarities with the wizarding world, even if it was a little dirtier.
One thing he hadn't been prepared for just how… messy medieval life was. The common folk lived a positively squalid lifestyle, dominated by hard labour and dirt and damp. As a wizard this mattered little to Harry. He could live like a king in the middle of a barren desert. Water could be summoned through magic and food could be engorged and duplicated almost indefinitely. A single fish could feed Harry for weeks, and here he had a whole river.
It was curious, just how peaceful he found this land. It was a land riven by bloodshed and death, but it felt almost natural in these surroundings. There were no great Lords or Conquerors bent on the subjugation of mankind. There was just people, being people. People fighting over borders or homesteads or gold or women. Harry found it almost comforting, the sheer banality of the conflicts in this place.
He was not needed, and that was why he had come to love it.
In his search for a way home he had travelled far and wide. He had seen the crumbling ruins of ages past and the high halls of the great kings of this world. He had seen the wilds and the gangs and highwaymen that frequented them. Deserts and plains and caves and valleys unnumbered he had trod. He had moved through the world like a ghost, unseen and unknown.
Over the last few years though he had settled down. He constructed a little homestead by a small river on the great grass plains. Occasionally riders would pass nearby, large, blonde, hairy men that reminded Harry of what he imagined Vikings would have looked like. Some even tried to talk to him. A few tried to convince him to move his home to a nearby village, the wilds were no longer safe for a man alone they said.
Harry had ignored their warnings. He had wandered far and seen much in this world, and nothing he had seen could threaten him. This world had no true magic. He could feel a spark of something in the trees and in the very ground but it was nothing compared to the magic of his home. Some of the songs he had heard in roadside inns had seemed almost living things, but still, there was no magic within them.
It was a curious world, he had learned. It was not Earth, of that much he was certain. He had seen trees broader and taller than the largest trees of Earth, like great wooden skyscrapers straining to reach the heavens. He'd met foul creatures, an abhorrent mix between goblin and troll, which seemed to harbour a deep loathing of all other living things. He'd encountered wolves the size of bears, and much more ferocious.
He'd even seen eagles the size of a plane, far in the distance, wheeling over the frigid mountaintops far in the east.
And yet, the world was muggle. It was drab, it was dirty, and it was unforgiving. It was also beautiful. This world was almost entirely unmarred by the ravages of man and civilisation. The plains he now called home stretched for miles and miles, uninterrupted and flowing. A great grass sea, across which herds of horses streamed like water from east to west and back again.
To the north, a great range of mountains with snow-capped peaks that seemed to glow bright and pure in the warm sunlight of this land, utterly untamed and unblemished. Flowing from dark crevices upon the lower faces was a huge and ancient forest that put Harry in mind of the Forbidden Forest back home. It held the same tension, the same watchfulness.
For now, though, Harry was content. He was seated cross-legged by the river near his home, eyes closed and ears open. He submerged himself in the sounds around him, the energetic gurgling of the strong waters as they hastened on their way to the great river to the east, and thence to the sea.
There were few birds out on the open plains, what few there were did not sing or lark, instead what he heard about him was the sounds of the undergrowth. Of small furry creatures scratching out a meagre existence from the dry earth of the wide grasslands.
Something impressed upon his consciousness, a sound, just slightly out of sync with the rest of the world. It was soft and almost silent but Harry had grown accustomed to the world he now occupied and it grated across his awareness like the dripping of a tap in a quiet house.
It was a human noise, but even that was not quite right. He opened his eyes, searching for the source of the disturbance.
There, just below him, a man had been washed ashore by the bend in the river, he was obviously soaked to the skin. Even from this distance, the man looked battered and bruised in from his journey down the often white waters of the river.
Harry swept to his feet and moved with the ease of familiarity through the many boulders that littered his path. It had been some few weeks since he had last had significant human contact, a young man from a nearby village passing by, and he felt that perhaps, just perhaps, he would welcome the company. Even if the manner of his arrival did suggest that his peaceful existence may soon come to an end.
The man was very tall, well over six feet by Harry's reckoning. A few inches taller than Harry himself. He also exuded the kind of earth health and fitness common to many of the men and women of this world. He had dark shaggy hair, flecked with the occasional grey strand, and a pale yet weathered face, with strong high cheekbones. His equipment was of obviously high standard, though well-worn with use. He bore a sword that was simple and unadorned but light shimmered and rippled in the blade as if the water of the river itself had been fashioned to an edge and the light of the sun trapped within. He also carried a collection of knives of lowlier quality but still of such artifice that it was clear to Harry's unfamiliar eye.
Overall the impression Harry got was of a wanderer not unlike himself in his first few years in this world though obviously this man was no wizard. He looked to take after the high-born of this world, the strength of his features an immediate give-away. He was, Harry thought, probably in his early to mid-forties though it was hard to judge. The harsh lifestyle this world enforced added years to all men's visages.
Harry immediately set about tending to the unknown man though amazingly he seemed to be suffering from nothing more than fatigue and a few minor cuts and bruises. Harry quickly dried the man's clothes and warmed him up, treating the cuts and bruises with simple healing spells. Such injuries were commonplace among the people of this world, but it seemed to Harry that this man may have been in a fight, judging by how recent most appeared.
Soon, the man returned to consciousness, though he wisely chose to lie still when he did. He was wary of Harry then. That added a certain level of intelligence to his estimation of the man. He decided to let the man be, it would be the better if the unknown man felt he had a handle on the situation before Harry tried to push him.
While waiting for the man to come around, Harry had set a small fire on the riverside, to allay suspicion when the man came round and found himself both warm and dry after his trip down the almost glacial river. Now Harry busied himself tending to that fire, it was unnecessary of course, but he hoped it would make the man feel less threatened in his presence.
Finally, the man made a noise and Harry turned to meet his gaze. His eyes were a shade of grey, both deep and piercing, and they regarded Harry with obvious intelligence. Harry knew he was being judged as a potential threat, but was unconcerned. This world was utterly helpless in the face of his own magic, he was certain he had nothing to fear from any of its inhabitants.
After a short staring match the man finally moved to speak.
"I owe you a debt, stranger," the man said perhaps a little tentatively though Harry could feel the power and commanding tones beneath. A high-born, certainly, though a modest one, it seemed. "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, I was sure that the day of my death had come when I fell into the river."
Harry nodded at the man, glad that he seemed to be of sound temperament. "No debt, Aragorn, son of Arathorn. I am Harry, son of James. You would not have died without my intervention, though I have no doubt you would be rather more sore than you are now!"
Aragorn's eyes widened fractionally and he stood quickly, flexing as he rose. "You speak true, my hurts ail me not, save the tiredness of a long day in the saddle. How is this possible? How long have I slept?"
Harry could see that Aragorn was extremely worried by the prospect and quickly spoke to allay his fears. "Not long, I would guess. You came from the river not 10 minutes ago and I shouldn't think you were in there more than an hour or two."
Aragorn sighed in relief, then frowned. "Then how is my current good health possible, surely such healing is beyond the ken of men, even the crafts of the Elves would not heal cuts and bruises so rapidly as this? From where do you hail, Harry, son of James, that you possess such knowledge?"
Harry wondered a moment at the reference to Elves, for he had encountered none on his travels. But then, the Elves of his own world had always been wily and well able to conceal themselves from idle eyes, and Harry had not been looking for the short, servile creatures.
"Far away, too far away." He sighed a little sadly at the thoughts of back home. "Much further than even I have walked, I know that."
Aragorn frowned for he wasn't altogether pleased by Harry's avoidance, but realised that he had no grounds on which the question the man to whom he still felt he owed his life. More pressing matters were at hand.
"Harry, fell things are soon to be upon us, I must make all haste to Helm's Deep before nightfall, a great darkness is falling over this land and it is there that the first great battle will be fought." Aragorn considered Harry for a time before continuing. "You should join me, you have the look of a man who knows how to wield a sword."
Harry did, to a certain extent. He had long carried a sword with him on his travels, finding that walking the wilderness without one was seen as both unusual and suspicious. It also made him look an easy target, he was sure his adoption of a blade had saved the lives of a few desperate souls.
Over the years he had earned something of a familiarity with it, though it was only ever meant as a cover for his magic. He had found ways of using his magic to make the sword easier to swing and control without trading effectiveness and it had made him a force to be reckoned with, at least against the undisciplined highwaymen he'd so far encountered. But he wasn't about to up sticks and charge off into a battle. This man could obviously take care of himself, Harry did not see a pressing need to protect him. Besides, he was not yet that tired of his peaceful existence that he would jump with both feet into a war.
"I have a little skill, it is true. But my place is here, with my home and I wou-" He stopped speaking as he heard a horn call across the rolling grassland, faint and far distant.
Both he and Aragorn shared a glance before they jumped to their feet and sprinted quickly to the top of the hill on which Harry had been relaxing just half an hour earlier. At the sight that met their eyes they could do nought but stare.
A great column of darkness was marching across the landscape, heading towards their hill. The distant thunder of thousands of feet could be heard as a force of more than 10 thousands advanced across the landscape, bloody and torn banners bearing a white hand flapping in the wind. It seemed that the air grew colder at their approach, and the sun hid behind rapidly welling clouds.
"On second thought," said Harry after a long moment of silence, "Perhaps I will do as you suggest. To Helm's Deep, you say? Let's get going!"
Harry's house was only lightly warded, he did not wish to lock himself off from the world entirely. Instead he had placed some basic intention based wards around the building, to keep away some of the more dangerous creatures of this world while he slept. They would not stop an army. He also had no time to erect more complete wards, taking as they did weeks to raise and years to strengthen. Not that he thought he could create wards capable of repelling such a force, he suspected even the protections set about Hogwarts would fail in the face of such a host.
The two men moved swiftly back down this hill towards Harry's abode. In haste Harry flitted about his home, collecting everything he felt was irreplaceable. That did not come to much. All he still had from his old life was his wand, a few fond memories and the regrets that kept him so distant from the people here, even after so long.
Still, he collected some food and water into a pouch, charmed to keep it both fresh and cool. He picked up his sword, a decent looking long sword that he'd taken from an unlucky would-be robber and rushed back out the door.
Aragorn had saddled Harry's horse, Cadogan; named after the insane portrait in Hogwarts with which he shared a few traits, and was tending to a new horse that Harry did not recognise.
"His name is Brego," said Aragorn, between whispering soft words into the horse's ear.
Both men then mounted their steeds and rode with all haste, following the river.
"This river has its source at the Deeping Stream, and from here flows to meet the Isen at the fords, should we follow it upstream we should come to Aglarond before nightfall," Aragorn explained. "I can only hope that the King's passage was unmolested after the attack which lead to my fall."
As they rode on, they talked. Aragorn was surprised by just how far detached from the world Harry was, seemingly completely ignorant of much that he had long taken for granted.
Aragorn talked of Elves, not the Elves that Harry knew but tall, fair and immortal beings that seemed to Harry's ear to be the personification of grace. He talked of Dwarves, a race that had been no more than myth and legend in Harry's own world. He talked of Orcs and Goblins and Trolls and other fell things, he spoke of the coming war between the Dark Lord Sauron and the realms of men.
Harry, in turn, spoke of his travels, from the dark misted marshes of the north, to the hot and scoured deserts of the south. Aragorn had travelled far himself, and they were able to compare some of their stories with ease.
In Aragorn, Harry recognised something of a kindred spirit. The man had avoided talking much about himself but it was obvious to Harry that he carried a heavy burden. It seemed to him that the man would be happy to return to the wandering days of his youth but here he was, in the centre of a war, the likes of which Harry had never known.
In Harry, Aragorn found a mystery. The young man had wandered far and seen much, but had apparently kept away from people. He knew almost nothing of Arda nor even the people that dwelled within. Quite how the serious young man had come to live on his own in the Westfold for so long, an area that had been so mercilessly ravaged by Saruman's minions, Aragorn did not know.
The young man spoke wistfully of the peace he had enjoyed during his years of nigh exile, yet Aragorn knew that Dunlendings and Uruk-Hai had been burning the area for many months at the least. In the stories of his travels, He found more mystery.
He recognised places from Harry's tales. Harry spoke of the Sea of Rhûn and the endless plains whence the ancient inland sea of Helcar had once given life to Cuiviénen beneath the stars before the light of the two trees had chased the darkness from Middle-earth. He listened as Harry described the blasted uttermost north and the ruins of Angband and the broken remnants of the Thangorodrim. He even spoke of the shattered mountains awash in a frozen ocean where some believed the unspoken horrors of Utumno had once crept from the darkest depths of the earth before the light and might of the Valar had fallen upon it in the Battle of the Powers.
Harry seemed to treat the wilds of Middle-earth with a reckless carelessness, even after his long and distant wanderings to lands long held under Sauron's sway. Orcs and Goblins and dark men from the East held no fear for the young man. He spoke even of dragons and expressed only interest and fascination, not the fear and respect that should be commanded by even the meanest children of Ancalagon and Glaurung.
Aragorn himself felt safe enough in the wilds, long years of experience allowing him to feel confident of his own ability to survive most of the trials of that life. His wanderings in the east had consumed more than a decade of Aragorn's long life, still more his wanderings in far Harad and the uttermost south. Many times his life had been put in peril and only his long experience and the valour of his stoic companions had seen him through.
Harry, though, had a bare fraction of that experience and none of the Ranger's caution. Quite how he had survived alone in such harsh and dangerous conditions for so long had Aragorn at a loss. No amount of skill with a blade could save a man from cold, sickness or the many poisoned plants to be avoided in the wilds of Middle-earth and even a great bladesman could be overcome by Goblins if they were incautious while traversing the Misty Mountains. No man had explored the frozen north as Harry claimed, the scars of Morgoth still seeped malice and nothing could long survive in those wastes without succumbing to the cold, hunger or clinging darkness.
Ordinarily, Aragorn would discard the stories as those of a boastful youth, but there was something about the young man that gave him a moments pause. Strange, though his attitude was and impossible though the stories seemed they were told in such a way that it seemed Harry had no idea the stories he told were beyond what any man or elf had done since the elder days.
He did not press the younger man unduly but a seed of doubt was planted. The east was far from unpopulated. What concerned Aragorn was that the Easterlings of Rhûn had long been held under the sway of the Dark Lord and had paid service to his dark servants. It struck him as convenient in the extreme that an unknown man should come out of that long shadowed place to find himself at Aragorn's side.
Not all men of the east had been corrupted though. That wasn't what concerned Aragorn, what concerned him most was how he came across his healing crafts and how he'd stepped so lightly through the world that his presence was completely unknown to a man so well travelled as the Chieftain of the Dunédain. Perhaps Gandalf would know more.
Much in the east was shrouded even from Aragorn. He had been told of the eastern elves, the Avari or Avamanyar, but had believed them long waned or taken by darkness. Perhaps his companion had encountered them? Or men who had learned healing craft from them? It seemed unlikely, how could those elves that refused entry to Aman and turned from the wisdom of the Ainur have abilities that exceeded even the Ñoldor?
Ultimately he decided that it mattered little. Whether the stories be true or no, Harry could certainly hold a blade and that was what was needed more than anything in the coming fight. But if the stories were true, perhaps the hand of the Valar was not so distant as many had come to believe. Or perhaps the hand of someone else, someone… darker. He resolved to keep an eye on his companion.
Harry was wary now, Aragorn's tale of Sauron shattered his hopes for a peaceful existence and it was obvious from one or two of the nobleman's stories that magic was not so unknown as Harry had believed.
The elves, it seemed, had access to a subtle magic of their own so very different from his own experience. Then there were the wizards. Saruman the White, the commander of the host that even now could be seen darkening the horizon behind the two riders was supposed to be powerful, wise and ancient. Oh, and evil now as well.
Then there were the brief mentions of Gandalf. Whom Harry divined was another wizard in the same vein as Saruman though on the side of good. It was obvious that Aragorn held a great respect for the wizard though he did not speak of him at length.
More interesting was the background that Aragorn was able to give on the places Harry had wandered. When he'd first arrived in this world it had been on a dark and shattered island amid a grey endless sea of cruel ice. Aragorn surprised Harry, the weather-beaten and villainously unshaven man had proven something of a historian, able to give Harry an insight into the history of his new world far beyond any of the men he'd yet encountered.
Harry had no idea how much was fact and how much was legend. Aragorn claimed to have gleaned his knowledge from elders amongst the Wise; Gandalf, Saruman, Elrond, Galadriel, people who could have even seen the events he described first hand.
After all that Harry found himself grateful that he'd tried to keep his identity and existence as quiet as possible. If there was one thing his magic was good for it was keeping himself secret. The discovery that he did not have a monopoly on magic was a concern. He'd already found that the foul Orc creatures could occasionally see through things like a notice-me-nots and muggle repelling charms it was likely that the elves and wizards described by Aragorn would be even more capable.
From Aragorn's commentary on his story he had arrived in Middle-earth among either the ruins of Angband or Utumno now long flooded after Gods had warred over the fate of the world before any Men or Elves had appeared. It was like something out of a Norse myth, it was so obviously fanciful. He had to take it with a pinch of salt, but the existence of immortal Elves made him doubt his own surety. Surely immortal beings wouldn't be so easily fooled by the mists of time? This line of thought kept him occupied throughout the ride.
As evening fell they came upon Helm's Dike, so said Aragorn, a low rampart laid across the entrance to the Deeping Coomb. As they approached a voice rang out, "In the name of Théoden, Lord of the Mark, declare yourselves!"
"Aragorn, son of Arathorn, comes bearing news for the King," answered Aragorn.
"Your presence alone is good tidings beyond measure, Lord Aragorn. Dark was the mood in the King's party upon word of your loss," spoke the voice. "The King and Éomer have not long passed hence, we are to hold the Dike for as long as may be. Bring word to the King that the enemy is on your heels!"
"Such is our news indeed, but now we must hasten." He turned to Harry. "Come Harry, time is short."
Harry was quickly reassessing his impression of Aragorn. Harry had believed the man to merely be a Ranger, his familiarity with the royal family of Rohan rather scuppered that idea. He was obviously an important man, Harry wasn't sure if his proximity to the man was good or bad.
Given Harry's historical luck he was leaning towards it being bad.
Soon they were riding up the long ramp towards the great gate to the fortress, there they were again both challenged again from high in the darkness at the top of the wall.
"Aragorn, son of Arathorn I bring tidings and council for the King, and the sword arm of my companion, Harry, son of James," shouted Aragorn into the darkness.
The voice again rang out, "Lord Aragorn! This is indeed good tidings, we had believed you fallen at the Westfold. The King will be most grateful for your safe return, and to bring another sword with you. Even one will be most well received." With that, the man shouted for the great gate to be opened to allow them entrance.
As they entered the fortress, Harry took stock of its defenders. They were a sorry bunch indeed. Most were a rabble of children and old men, each in ill-fitting chainmail with pitted and rusty swords at their belts. They looked forlorn and broken, obviously they knew the force that was on its way to assail them. Even as he watched, a spark of hope kindled in the eyes that beheld 'Lord' Aragorn. It seemed that his new acquaintance was definitely a somebody. Harry kicked his horse closer to the elder man.
"Lord Aragorn?" He asked mildly, "I hope I have not done you an insult in being too familiar, my Lord."
Harry wasn't at home with the feudal system still being used in this world, but he knew enough to try and avoid insulting important people through his modern mannerisms.
Aragorn merely shrugged it off. "You have already earned the right to familiarity, my friend. No offence was given or taken, so worry not."
At last the two men and their throng of followers came to the centre of the keep, where an unusual collection awaited them.
First to draw Harry's eye was a lady, pale and fair. And tragic. He could see in her eyes both joy and pain at the return of Aragorn, though Harry knew not why. She wore an attractive, yet utilitarian blue dress in the style of the time and long hair cascaded from her head to her waist like a fall of molten gold.
The next was also fair, though in an entirely different way. He seemed to Harry to be entirely out of place among the dirt, grime and blood of this world. Tall, lithe, and with long straight palest blonde hair, Harry assumed that this was the Elf, Legolas, that had been in Aragorn's travelling party. As Harry regarded the Elf he saw a bright smile spread across his features, revealing perfect, pearly white teeth.
Then there was a man, tall, bearded and broad of shoulder. His bearing and regalia left no doubt that this was a great and respected warrior among the Rohirrim, the people who populated the great plains where Harry had made his home. He regarded Aragorn's arrival with a controlled countenance, but Harry could see happiness playing in his dark and serious eyes.
Finally a Dwarf, of that Harry was in no doubt. Almost as broad as he was short, and almost completely concealed behind his own bushy auburn beard he looked exactly like the fairy tale Dwarves of his own world. Harry also noticed that he was carrying a far greater number of axes than he could ever possibly need. Gimli, Aragorn had called him.
The Man spoke first, "Lord Aragorn! You are late. So quick were you to leave after we had chance to draw swords together. Your return is glad tidings indeed!" Harry could see a twinkle of mirth in the tall man's eyes.
Aragorn jumped from his horse, passing the reins to one of the nearby men. "My apologies, Éomer son of Éomund. For I was waylaid and put-upon by my companion as I chose to have a bath."
This seemed to be the signal for everyone to rush to Aragorn, the lady, Legolas and Gimli foremost among them. Harry stood to the side, feeling out of place in this reunion of friends. He was no Lord, or elf or dwarf and he knew he would not ordinarily find himself in such company. Nevertheless, he found their affection for each other warming, he wondered just how much they had been through together. He smiled sadly, for their friendship reminded him much of his own with Ron and Hermione.
The lady broke away from the group first, and quickly approached Harry where he stood, half forgotten and lost in reminiscence. "We all of us owe you a debt, Harry son of James. With Lord Aragorn now returned to us, and in better health than he left we now have a hope of seeing out the night."
Harry bowed deeply to her. "As I told Lord Aragorn, my Lady, there is no debt, I merely did as anyone else would have done."
As he spoke he took another closer look at her, trying to work out why she had come over to talk to him. He knew that he had no station in this world, now that he was here it was likely he'd end up put under the command of some sergeant, or whatever they were called here, and left to fend for himself.
"Lord Aragorn told me of your skills with healing, I will be cowering in the caves with the women and babes, tending to the wounded in the coming battle. Mayhaps you would join me in my task?" she asked.
That brought Harry up short. Of course, the only unusual thing they'd seen from him thus far was his ability to heal Aragorn's wounds. It stood to reason that they'd want to put that ability to best use. The other thing he noticed was the bitterness with which the Lady regarded her task. Harry found it a little amusing that she regarded her fellow women with such apparent contempt. Finally, Harry knew a command when he heard one, no matter how softly worded.
He inclined his head. "If that is what my Lady commands, but if it does not cause grave insult, might I know your name?"
She seemed startled by the realisation that he did not know her, but it was gone quickly.
"My apologies, Lord Harry, I am Éowyn, my mother Théodwyn was the sister of King Théoden. Éomer-" she nodded towards the broad shouldered man now laughing raucously at some joke between himself and Gimli "-is my brother."
"No need, my Lady Éowyn, I am no Lord. I hold neither rank nor station though your words do me a great honour." Harry had come to something of an understanding of the way the people of this world spoke, but coming up with the right words for a situation like this caused him a headache. At least he now had a name for the two unknowns among Aragorn's friends.
Éowyn looked surprised at that. "No Lord? But your clothes are much too fine and your features too fair to be anything else! I had taken you for Lord Aragorn's kin when first I espied you in his company." She looked between Harry and Aragorn, who was still being furiously clapped on the back by a cheerful dwarf. "The resemblance is true, though your eyes are queer, and your name queerer still!"
Harry smiled at her outburst, it was true that there was something of a resemblance between Harry and Aragorn, though nowhere near as close as she suggested. Both had dark hair and strong features, but Harry had not the height of Aragorn nor his grave eyes. It was well that he had done away with his glasses shortly before coming to Middle-earth, they would surely have been an object of fascination. He supposed his 'Lordliness' mostly stemmed from his bathing habits, which were rather more stringent than most people he could see about him.
"If we have a relation then it would be a truly miraculous circumstance, my own family hails from much further afield than even the Rangers dare tread."
The meeting was breaking up and moving into the interior keep, Éomer and Aragorn talking quickly as they walked. Harry, it seemed, was forgotten.
Lady Éowyn obviously noticed the same. "Now that they have gone to the King to argue their strategy for the coming night, I should like to show you the caves. It is where you and I shall be working when the time comes for battle. You must make any preparations now, for battle is surely but hours away."
Éowyn quickly led Harry out of the large keep, which she explained was called the Hornburg, after the horn of Helm Hammerhand which resided at the top of the tower called the Burg. She led him down the inner steps behind the Burg onto the Deeping Wall, a long thick strip of mortared stone that straddled the Deeping Coomb. Finally he followed her as she walked along the banks of the stream, imaginatively called the Deeping Stream, up into the Coomb. Here they both walked past the horses of the fighting Rohirrim men and Éowyn called out to the man whom Harry assumed was organising the guard in that area. "Gamling, the king will have need of your council. The Lord Aragorn has returned and he and my brother have retired with the king to plan the battle."
The man addressed as Gamling, a spry looking old man that Harry would place somewhere close to 70 nodded to the princess. "Aye, my Lady. The guard here is set and the caves will be held to the last, by my honour. I shall go to the king for the final preparations."
Éowyn continued to lead Harry up the Coomb until finally he could see some caves around which some other women could be seen clustered.
"Elfwyn, we must get everyone into the cave and set the guard," Éowyn spoke to the closest woman, "the attack is soon to fall upon us and we must be ready to receive wounded and defend ourselves if necessary."
A/N: Morgoth was the original big bad guy and created Orcs and Dragons and other nastiness. Most of this was done in Utumno (also called Udûn) which was far in the north east of Middle-earth. Utumno basically means 'hell' in elvish. Think underground Mordor x 1000 + a bit of Cthulhu.
Angband was an outpost of Utumno and became Morgoth's base of operations after Utumno was destroyed by the other Valar (Valar = angels-ish). It was also later destroyed and sunk beneath the sea.
Glaurung was the first (wingless) dragon. Ancalagon was the biggest (winged) dragon.
Avari is the term for Elves who did not go to Valinor (heaven on earth, basically) because they loved the stars in Middle-earth (or did not trust the Valar). At the time there was no sun or moon so the only light was the stars this is why the elves have such a connection to them. Not to be confused with the Teleri many of whom planned to go to Valinor but got waylaid along the way. No-one really knows what happened to the Avari, but they might have been warped into Orcs (bummer).
Noldor are a group of elves who did go to Valinor then came back because Morgoth stole the Silmarils (impossibly beautiful gems) from Feanor and ran off the Middle-earth. The Noldor chased them and the story is covered by The Silmarillion. The Noldor are the 'High Elves' because they learned from the Valar while in Valinor and are therefore powerful and wise.
The elves awoke for the first time at Cuivienen far in the east under the stars, it wasn't terribly far from Utumno (bummer).
Also, Orcs = Uruks (literally, Uruk is Black Speech for Orc), Uruk-Hai are Orc-Men and don't fear the sun. Not all of Saruman's force was Uruk-Hai.
Typing Sindarin words is annoying.