Yeah, yeah, it has been a while. Almost two months since my last update in fact.
My reasons/excuses are: growing mental fatigue whilst writing this fanfiction, distractions that diverted my attention away from working on my fanfictions, and a good few personal matters that took precedence over fanfic writing. There were even times where I thought I should discontinue the whole fanfic entirely because of how bored I was actually getting when working on it. I will try not to give up on it, I have put too much time and effort to stop now, but I cannot make any promises.
As another important notice; after some careful delibiration, I believe I shall stop taking requests from readers. I have a list of requests and ideas as long as Santa Claus's, and I have been finding it hard to keep track of the things in it. Actually writing chapters on them even more so. Readers have requested good ideas, but, I ultimately find myself doing chapters on stuff I personally want instead.
I apologise that it has come to this, but I hope you all understand why I have come to this decision. I may look to my list of reader requested chapter ideas and use them, but again, I make no promises that I will.
RWBY Volume 7 Episodes 1 and 2 were... well, I can't say I expected half of what I saw. That is all I have to say.
Now, on what this chapter is. For those not aware, The Silmarillion is a book on what happened before the events of 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings.' There are plenty of great stuff in it, some of the best being the romance of Beren and Luthien, the tragedy of Turin Turambar, and the Falls of Gondolin and Numenor.
The event I have written in this chapter takes up only seven long paragraphs. I am not joking, only seven paragraphs. Yet it is one of my favourite and most memorable moments in the book. Also, because it is short, I decided to do it because I did not have the mind to do a lengthy chapter.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
The Silmarillion: Fall of Fingolfin
The viewing room of Alaric's Repository was currently undergoing a bit of a ruckuss right now. Ever since whatever happened to Nora, four audience members had experienced some kind of transformation or change. The most recent person to have this change befall them, Blake, was currently being shown the utmost concern by her friends.
"Wow Blake. I don't know why, but I kind of like your new look." Yang said to Blake, giving her teammate a wink and a thumbs up.
"Shouldn't we be focusing on how to return her to normal?" Weiss reasonably suggested, frowning at Yang for where her mind had gone. While Blake's change was not excessive, it was their duty as Blake's friends to help reverse the change however they can. Just how they could help was the problem.
"Hey, looks like Zwei likes you even more Blake. Maybe you two can be friends!" Ruby squealled at the idea of her quiet teammate and her dog finally getting along. Sure enough, Zwei was excitedly running laps around Blake. After circling her for the fifth time, Zwei sat in front of the former-cat faunus, before proceeding to let out a couple joyful barks as he wagged his adorable little tail.
"Please... stop." Blake pleaded to her friends. Why was she being made to suffer? Why?
Everyone else's reaction to Blake's sudden transformation from a black-haired cat girl ninja to a white-haired dog girl ninja, was just as varied as RWBY's. Many were concerned for her, though they were relieved that she was okay. A few were either intrigued by the transformation, or completely indifferent to it. Some, not naming any names, thought Blake looked kind of good the way she was, and did not mind the change.
"After careful analysis, I am 95% certain that Blake has transformed into a samoyed husky faunus." Penny informed Blake and the others. Weirding them all out with her unusual behaviour and manner of speech. Still, an interesting bit of information to learn either way, though, probably not for Blake.
"You mean those walking clouds?" Mercury questioned, finally seeing where he had seen Blake's new ears from. Those who had seen a samoyed husky before were in agreement with the grey-haired boy. Their fur was so fluffy and white.
"Well, at least this is not as... drastic as the others," Ghira uttered as he finally got over his daughter's change in appearance. Glancing over to Crow, the now young Maria, and the pale-armed Salem, Blake had certainly come out better than the three others who had been changed.
As that was going on, Alaric, the Keeper of this Repository, was conversing with Talos, his bronze automaton assistant.
"Master, I do believe we should prioritise reversing these mutations instead of focusing on the viewings. If Keeper Ahriman, or Melchior even, were to find out-" Before Talos could say anything else, he was cut off by the black-robed Keeper.
"Alright, alright. You don't need to tell me twice, Talos." Alaric sighed, his contemplative gaze not leaving the still immobile Nora. A gloved hand floating a couple centimetres away from the energy net around. Still not looking away from Nora, Alaric took out his remote and pressed a few buttons. "Here, you lot can watch this while Talos and I work on Nora."
"Kono Dio da!"
"Wrong one," the Keeper grunted as he pressed a few more buttons on his remote. Causing the screen to go dark, but not before the audience caught a glimpse of what was going on in that universe. Again, doing this without even moving his head.
"I don't know about you, but that guy looked like an a-hole." Taiyang frowned as his spoke his mind about the handsome, yet dickhead looking blonde man that briefly occupied the TV screen. There was something about the guy that rubbed the single father of two the wrong way. He was not alone, as a few murmurs of agreement arose from the audience.
"Caw!" Crow cried. Still no one could understand him, and whatever witty remark or sarcastic complaint the veteran Huntsman might have said was lost to everyone else. This frustrated Crow to no end, so he went back to drinking from his glass of alcohol.
"You're a wizard, Harry."
"No. Damn it, I am terrible right now." A few more button presses, and the TV screen changed to another scene. Unfortuantely, it was not to the one Alaric was wishing for.
"I've been sitting here for days! Start the damn joust before I piss me self!"
"How very charming." Maria sarcastically remarked on the words of a fat, bearded man wearing a crown. Most of the audience shared the Grimm Reaper's opinion, as did the woman with blonde hair and lovely cheekbones who had been sat beside the man. A few thought it was amusing, and wondered what happened next in that universe.
"That guy looked badass," Yang remarked on that brief snippet they saw. The person who spoken was a well-muscled man, he had a badass axe strapped onto his back, cool red tattoos, and a full beard. While many could agree that he looked badass, there was something that concerned the rest of the audience. However, his ashen-white skin was a bit strange.
"You don't want to know why his skin is like that," Alaric said after reading his guests' thoughts. "Is this it?"
"Yes, it's me... your homeroom teacher..."
"Was that... Professor Goodwitch?" Velvet murmured out. The rabbit faunus and everyone else watching were greatly perplexed, and almost dumbstruck, by what they had seen. For very startling reasons.
"In a maid outfit?" Ironwood uttered, feeling rather confused in regards to how he should feel about. Never in his wildest dreams had the Altesian General and Headmaster of Atlas thought he would see Glynda dressed in such a manner. Should he be turned on, or pertified of how Glynda would take this?
"With Ren?!" Pyrrha said, sparing a glance towards her teammate.
"Alone in a room together?!" Ozpin of all people questioned. He did not want to jump to any conclusions, but it was a bit suspicious seeing his colleague alone with a student, and dressed in such strange attire. The Headmaster of Beacon sincerely hoped nothing... illicit was going on in that universe.
Everyone's heads slowly turned first to Ren, then to Goodwitch. Ren took it well, remaining composed despite the uneasiness he felt. Professor Goodwitch on the other hand... well, just as everyone feared, she was less than happy with that quick snippet they had seen. A dark aura surrounded her, and from behind her glasses, the professor's eyes could only be described as murderous.
"Hoo boy. Calm down there Becky," Alaric jokingly said as he tried to cool her temper. The instant the Keeper called her 'Becky',' Goodwitch fixed that intimidating gaze upon him, causing Alaric to rethink his prior choice of words. "Uh uh, I mean, Professor Goodwitch!"
"Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn"
"Hehehe. Nope, definitely not that one, but it would be amusing for you lot to see it in full. Maybe later," Alaric mused to himself as he continued to search for the universe he was searching for.
Over to the side, Cinder wore a look of anger and confusion. What was she doing singing? And... was she inside of an ice palace or something? An ice palace was something more up the Schnees' alley than the fiery Cinder Fall's.
"Up on melancholy hill
There's a plastic tree
Are you here with me?
Just looking out on the day
Of another dream"
"Ooh, I'm close now!" Alaric said as he let out a sigh of relief. Interestingly, he seemed to have let this scene play out a bit, appearing to have enjoyed the song that was playing before he cut it off. Plenty in the audience had to admit that it did sound nice. Finally, after fiddling with a few more buttons, the Keeper let out a jubilant cry. "There we are! Hope you enjoy!"
The TV screen opened to a scorched and desolate field of dust, where little to no life dared live. In a time long ago this great plain was Ard-galen, a wide green plain, now it was Dor-nu-Fauglith, the 'Land under Choking Ash.'
Storming across it, kicking up dust like a wrathful hurricane wind, a lone rider pressed his great white horse through the plain. A great sense of wrath and despair seemed to emanate from the rider. So much so that what little life there was to witness his passing, mistook the rider for some furious spirit, and fled in terror.
"Who's that?" Oscar wondered aloud, squinting his eyes as he and everyone else tried to get a better look at the rider. He was too far away though, so the effort proved fruitless.
"You'll see in a moment. Now, what if-" Alaric's voice was cut off by an explosion that rocked the entire room, and sent the Keeper flying into the wall right next to the TV screen. Quickly getting back onto his feet, Alaric threw aside a wand made of yew, and returned back to Nora and Talos. "No! Definitely not!"
Slightly worried for Nora, and their safety, the audience returned their eyes to the TV screen. Hoping that no more sudden explosions occurred behind them, and that the Keeper actually knew what he was doing.
The camera panned to the side and showed the rider's goal. An immense fortress nestled amidst three volcanic mountains of a great mountain range. High black walls and spiked towers rose high into the sky, and chimneys that constantly belched forth black smoke from the fortress's countless underground smithies went even higher. A single great gate set with massive brazen doors provided access to the fortress, appearing as the maw of some great beast or the entrance to Hell itself.
Most of the audience were, not impressed, but taken aback by the sheer size of the fortress now onscreen.
"That's one hell of a fortress," Emerald said with a shudder. Sure in the belief that she would never see a more intimidating place in her life. Even Cinder, who had walked the dark paths of the Grimmlands, and slept under the roof of Salem's castle, thought the same as her minion.
"Certainly screams 'evil lair,'" Yatsuhashi spoke up as he tried to imagine what kind of person could possibly wish to call it home. He could think of none.
"Welcome to Angband, the 'Iron Prison.' The current abode of Morgoth, the most evil being in this universe." Everyone rose an eyebrow at the mention of its primary occupant being 'the most evil being in this universe.' "The forces of the Elves and Men besieged it for 400 years, but never did were they able to breach its walls. For there was no power they possessed that could break it open, and, truth be told, it was more of an encirclement meant to contain Morgoth's raiding armies than an actual siege. Recently the siege was broken, and is why the rider is here."
Four centuries? Four centuries spent sieging a single location? As Alaric provided no explanation, the audience were left wondering just why Elves and Men spent so long assualting Angband. It being the home of this universe's 'most evil being', was a likely reason why. But was that their only reason?
Only time would tell.
Though the danger of boldly approaching Angband as he did now was great, for it would be easy for one of the Great Enemy's servants to cast a bolt and smite him as he drew near. The rider continued on. Any fear he felt was suppressed by his burning hate for Morgoth, and the great sorrow he felt for the misfortunes that had befallen his House and people.
It was now that the camera zoomed in on the rider, and laid bare to the audience just who they were.
"Jaune?" Teams RWBY, JNPR, CFVY, Sun and Neptune cried out in surprise.
"Mr Arc?" The professors in the audience exclaimed out of astonishment.
"BlondIE boy?" Torchwick, Emerald and Mercury blurted out in shock.
"Uh, you?" Everyone else uttered.
He was indeed Jaune, yet great was the difference between the two.
For the Jaune onscreen appeared to be in his mid-twenties or thirties. His hair was long and dark in colouration, as opposed to the short and blonde hair the audience's Jaune had. The ears of this other Jaune ended with points, marking him as an elf to the audience.
Turning to the attire of this alternate version of JNPR's leader, they saw it too was different. He was arrayed in blue silk and wore plate and chainmail armour overlaid with silver, making him appear as a beacon of light in this dark land. With him also were an ornate horn, a tall silver helmet, a straight sword sheathed in a jewelled scabbard, and a blue kite shield in the shape of a leaf and set with crystals.
Yet, out of all that, it was Jaune's eyes that stood out of the most. They remained the blue of the Jaune in the audience, yet they appeared to bear the weight of centuries of existence despite his youthful face. They also shone with a madness and light that startled all but two in the viewing room.
"He looks super mad," Neptune stated the instant he looked on this other Jaune's face. Never before had they seen such an expression on their universe's Jaune. It was honestly disconcerting to a few who were used to him being in his usual amiable mood.
"Is it just me, or is it weird seeing myself with long, dark hair?" Jaune questioned the others, weirded out by how different his hair in this universe was. He had never let his hair grow that long, though his sisters had once tried to talk him into letting his hair grow. The blonde boy was also unsure about it being dark, but he sure was envious of how luxurious his hair was in this.
"We still do not understand you Crow," Winter let out an irritated sigh after hearing Crow try and say something again. She was pretty indifferent about Jaune, but had to admit to herself that she admired his regalia.
"In this universe, you are known as Fingolfin. Second High King of the Noldor, or Deep Elves." Alaric notified Jaune and the audience, all the while rigging up some strange device set with a multitude of magnifying glasses. What that device was supposed to do they did not have the foggiest idea. Still, it was what he had said that interested them more than what he was currently doing.
"Waaaaaah?!" Jaune, and several others, shouted in amazement of the information Alaric just shared with them.
"'Deep Elves'? Do they live underground or something?" Oobleck asked, ignoring the fact a student of his was royalty in this universe, and more concerned about who these 'Noldor' were. Especially their history and culture, and if there was something to be learnt from them that could improve the Kingdoms of Remnant.
"They're known as such because of their deep knowledge on their world, particularly in metallurgy and craftsmanship. Learning what they know from the divine powers that rule this world. Not because they live underground." The Keeper told his audience, a golden eye scrutinizing Nora through five magnifying glasses of his device. "Fingolfin actually rules over two-thirds of the Noldor, who left their paradisal home continent as exiles for the continent the events you witnessing taken place on. 'Middle-Earth,' as it is known by its many occupants."
"Fascinating," Oobleck muttered to himself. Again, the information that Alaric had provided was all too brief, but it was information nonetheless. Still, aside from their alleged talent in metallurgy and craftsmanship, that two-thirds of their population were exiles intrigued the audience.
What had happened to cause these Noldor to become exiles? Were they forced, or was it self-imposed?
"Uh, Pyrrha?" Ren uttered, waving a hand in front of said girl's eyes as she sat transfixed on the TV screen.
"Wha-What? I'm-I'm fine! Totally fine!" The Champion hurriedly assured Ren as she broke free from her trance-like state, and laughed nervously. She had been enamoured with the sight of this other Jaune, though she wished he shared her Jaune's blonde hair. That would have been much better in her opinion.
At last, after having crossed Dor-nu-Fauglith, Fingolfin was before the high walls and great gate of Angband. There was movement amidst the tall ramparts, and fell voices could be heard whispering dark tongues. Yet none dared attack Fingolfin.
Such was the Noldor High King's wrath, that all who beheld him quailled or ran from him.
Taking up his horn, Fingolfin blew into it, and the shrill sound that followed after rung against the stones and metal of Angband. The creatures that hid within covered their ears in terror of it. That done, Fingolfin spurred his horse towards the gate and smote his mailed fist against it the brazen doors of his foes fortress.
"Come out, Morgoth! Come out, foul coward! Come out, lord of slaves!" Fingolfin cried out to the fortress, calling out to Morgoth in challenge. "If mightiest of all things on Arda thy art, and not the mightiest of cravens, come out and face me!"
"He's got some serious balls to be doing that," Fox said as he munched on a handful of popcorn.
"Please note, Morgoth is the mightiest being on the face of this world. In all existence he is second only by Eru Illuvatar, the creator and god of Arda. So yes, serious balls. Mithril balls!" Alaric laughed as he said that last part. His words in regards to Morgoth's power certainly did not encourage any hope in how a duel between Fingolfin and Morgoth were turn out for the former.
"Could you have chosen a more... eloquent way of saying that? I would rather dumb things such as that be left for Crow to say," Ironwood sighed.
"Caw!" Crow shrieked at Ironwood indignantly, before proceeding to try an peck the military leader of Atlas with his beak. Perhaps Crow was starting to get a bit too used to having a crow's head, for normally he would try to punch Ironwood. As they returned to watching the events on the TV screen, after breaking Crow and Ironwood apart from each other, most of the audience hoped Alaric would find a way to reverse Crow's.
No voice called out in answer to the High King's challenge. No sound, not the howl of the wind or crackle of flame, dared to break the silence that followed Fingolfin's words. It was as if all creation was waiting for Morgoth's answer.
Soon enough, it came.
The very ground beneath Fingolfin's feet shuddered, and the mountains around Angband trembled, as the rumour of the Great Enemy's feet echoed from his subterranean throne like thunder underground. He was coming. He would answer Fingolfin's challenge.
Knowing that his foe was approaching, Fingolfin made himself ready for the confrontation ahead. Placing his helm atop his head, the High King of the Noldor dismounted from his horse, took up his shield and prepared to unsheathe his sword. Yet, he paused. Turning to his horse, Fingolfin spoke to the animal that had bravely borne him here.
"Away, Rochallor. Return to Hithlum, and live out the rest of thy days in peace, if ought is possible in these woeful days." The horse, however, neighed in defiance and gently nestled his head against Fingolfin's armoured chest. Fingolfin's expression softened, and gently patted the side of Rochallor's head with his free hand. "Go, my friend. This is no place for a horse."
Reluctantly, Rochallor obeyed his master and trod some distance away, yet stopped and turned back towards Fingolfin. As if waiting for the moment his master were to call to him, and bear him away from this terrible place.
"Awww, such a loyal and beautiful horse!" Weiss cooed at Rochallor's show of loyalty to Jaune's alternate. In her head, she was dreaming of having a horse, or any other animal companion, as fine and devoted to her as Rochallor. Sure there was Zwei, but he was Ruby and Yang's dog, so, sadly, he could never be hers.
"Horses are overrated," Mercury grunted. The boy never held a high opinion of horses, or other equines.
"Shut it you!" Weiss snapped at Mercury.
While they and a few others talked about Fingolfin and Rochallor, others focused on Morgoth's noisome approach.
"So how large is this Morgoth?" Ghira asked of Alaric, who was now waving a metal detector-like device at Nora. As someone of large stature, he was aware of how intimidating his heavy footfalls could be to some people, especially when in a temper. From the way the very earth seemed to shake, Ghira, and everyone else, imagined him to be a giant.
"He is able to change his appearance, but most of the time he appeared as very tall, even gigantic, man. So yeah, the guy should be pretty big." The Keeper quickly responded to the panther faunus. "He won't be mind-blowing tall in this, just enough for the sight of him to shock you."
Touched as he was by Rochallor's loyalty and love for him, Fingolfin's face hardened, and he turned back to Angband. Pulling his sword out from its scabbard, the audience were dazzled by it. It resembled Crocea Mors, yet its craftsmanship and beauty was greater. To the fascination and bewilderment of the audience, it glittered with an icy glow.
Many 'oohed' and 'awwwed' at the sight of this universe's version of Crocea Mors, if it was indeed another version of Jaune's sword.
"What's up with the blade? Why is it... glowing?" Jaune questioned, caught off-guard by how wondrous his weapon was in this universe. He was alright with how Crocea Mors looked right now, but laying eyes on his alternate version's weapon made him think twice about that. Would his family approve if he made a few... minor adjustments to their family heirloom?
"Yeah, Elvish blades made by the Noldor in this time could be made so that they glowed in the presence of Orcs." Alaric explained, fascinating the audience even further. "With the Elves' Siege of Angband broken, and Orcs roaming freely in their lands, you can see why such a thing would be highly useful for anyone in this world."
Blades that could glow in the presence of enemies. Plenty in the audience admired such an idea. Several audience members wished for something like that in Remnant, that way it would be harder for them to be surprised by their enemies. Especially the Grimm.
"It would be pretty cool if our weapons could glow when the Grimm come near."
"'Cool'? It would be awesome!" Ruby yelled, the thought of Crescent Rose's blade blowing when the Grimm were close almost causing her to swoon out of sheer excitement. It would make her look more like a hero than ever before.
"Not sure if it would be great for stealth, but I can understand its uses." Blake muttered, having finally gotten over her change in hair colour and faunus ears.
Morgoth's footsteps grew louder, and were so near he must be behind the Angband's gate. Sure enough, the doors slowly swung open, and there he stood.
Issuing forth from his fortress, the Dark Lord stood at over twice the height of Fingolfin (who stood at around 1.8 metres or 6 feet tall) and was clad head-to-toe in black armour, casting a tall shadow that eclipsed the Elf. One hand held Grond, a powerful warhammer that no mortal being could hope to lift or come out unscathed if struck by it. In the other, he carried a vast rectangular shield painted sable that bore no device or heraldry. Atop Morgoth's helmet rested a tall iron crown set with three beautiful diamond-like gems that immediately captivated the audience.
Few, if anything, could possibly compare to the splendour of the gems on Morgoth's brow. Whoever had cut them had done it so perfectly, that to say there was even a single flaw should to tantamount to sacrilege. Another reason for the gems captivating impact all who looked upon them, was how they shone with a magnificent light comparable to a billion stars. A light that offered a glimpse of a time now lost.
All of the audience were shaken by the malice and hatred that radiated from Morgoth, and, as stated before, the audience were enraptured by the gems. The longer they looked upon them, a greed and lust for them gradually grew within all of them. To the point that they began to covet the gems for themselves.
"That is Melkor, or Morgoth as he is primarily known as. He is a Vala, a-" Quickly noticing his audience's entranced state, Alaric snapped his fingers and blindfolds immediately wrapped around their eyes. "Ahem! As I was saying, that is Morgoth, formerly Melkor. He is a Vala, a 'god' of Arda. Though, perhaps 'angel' is a more apt description. Well, he is more of a fallen god/angel really, and every evil in this world can be traced back to him. His corruptions and twisted will led to things such Orcs, Trolls, and even Dragons, which will plague the world for thousands of years."
"Those jewels that so enraptured you are the Silmarils. Probably the finest works ever created by the Noldor, or anyone on Arda for that matter. So wondrous are the Silmarils, the good Valar blessed them so that no mortal, or creature of evil, may safely touch them. Morgoth stole them from the Noldor who created them, and has to suffer them burning his brow for, as I said, he is the greatest of this world's evils."
"Alright, Alright! Can you just take these damn things off us?!" Torchwick grunted as he tried to pull off the blindfold wrapped around his eyes.
Not a second later, the blindfolds were gone, and the audience could see again. Those who had been wishing to see the Silmarils again were disappointed when they saw the jewels were now pixelated by Alaric. Their beauty ruined by the Keeper's act of censorship. Most were able to realise what was happening to them, and were thankful that Alaric had done what he had. Others thought the opposite, and stole a few resentful glances at the Keeper.
"Fun fact, Fingolfin's older half-brother, Feanor, was the one who made them." Alaric decided to add, seeming to almost spit out Feanor's name as if it was bitter poison he had accidently ingested.
"He must have been brilliant if he could make objects of such-such beauty." Salem whispered, being among those most deeply infatuated with the Silmarils. As she spoke she imagined herself wearing a iron crown bearing all three jewels, or even a necklace to be worn around her necklace. She would look so magnificent with them on her person.
"He was the greatest craftsman in all Arda. Huh, if only he possessed more positives than just that." The Keeper muttered loud enough for his guests to hear him.
"Whatever do you mean?" Port inquired, but he already guessed what might be up with this 'Feanor' fellow. He had known a good many people in his life, and some proved to be exceptional at something, while also having personalities that left much to be desired.
"Let me put it this way. Describing him as a colossal dick, would not do his personality justice." Leaving them with that, Alaric returned his attention to Nora.
Fingolfin was momentarily mesmerised by the sight of his half-brother's works. But, he steeled himself and shook off the glamour the Silmarils put cast upon. He had lost much because of the Silmarils, the High King would not lose himself to them as Feanor had.
Looking up Morgoth, Fingolfin met the Great Enemy's eyes. They were daunting flames that pierced him with a deadly cold. A look of absolute surety of his greatness, and limitless contempt for the Elf that dared challenge him, could be seen in his eyes. Fingolfin did not cower under Morgoth's gaze, only return it with his fury and anguish.
Looking past Morgoth's form, the High King saw the Dark Lord's lieutenants watching the two from the walls. Gothmog and the Balrogs were there. Man-like they appeared, though demonic, bearing great wings on their backs, and wreathed in dark smoke and flame. There too was Sauron, 'The Abhorred,' greatest of Morgoth's servants. Here he had taken the guise of a very tall, handsome man in black robes, whose cunning eyes shone with a terrible, smouldering light.
Many others there were, but Fingolfin was here for Morgoth. No other were of any concern to him.
"Damn, those guys are scary." Sun remarked at the sight of the winged men covered in smoke and fire. They appeared as though they came straight out of the deepest, and most fiery pit of Hell, in the monkey Faunus's opinion.
"Those fiery demons are 'Balrogs'. Maiar, lesser angels that serve the Valar, who were seduced and corrupted by Morgoth into serving his dark will."
Whilst everyone trembled at the idea of ever facing even one of these things. Cinder herself liked the look of the Balrogs, and wondered if Salem could fashion a new Grimm type in their image. She could imagine the terror that the pathetic people of the Kingdoms would feel if they saw even ten such Grimm descending upon them.
"What about him?" Salem was the one who questioned Alaric now, her eyes fixed on the dark robed man. She felt odd about him. Not knowing why or how, Salem believed that in some other universe, she was the one who stood in the man's place.
"That guy is Sauron, formerly the greatest of the Maiar. His love of order and perfection led to his downfall, and service to Morgoth. He is a master of deception, manipulation, and shape-shifting." Alaric warned them all, though there was what sounded like a hint of admiration for Sauron in his voice. "Here is one of his forms, and the one that brought the most doom to the world."
With a snap of his fingers, an image of a man appeared before the audience. He was so beautiful, so fair, that no one apart from Ozpin could believe any evil existed within him. Another snap, the image was gone in a blink of an eye, and Alaric spoke again.
"In time, he will become the next Dark Lord, though he will never be as powerful or cruel as Morgoth. But no less evil."
Intrigued, and highly disturbed by the evils that plagued this world, the audience wondered just how anyone could defy, let alone live, with the threat of such beings looming over them. But they knew the answer to that question. For they lived in a perilous world as well, and knew that hope for a better tomorrow, and the wish to protect those they loved, kept them going.
Well, most of them anyway.
Suddenly, without warning, Morgoth held his warhammer aloft and swung it down like a bolt of thunder at the High King of the Noldor.
The warhammer fell and, with a mighty boom, struck where Fingolfin had stood. Sending dust and dirt flying everywhere. So terrible was the impact, a great pit had been created on the earth, which soon filled with smoke and fire.
"Holy shit!" Yang yelled out, stunned by the speed and force that Morgoth struck his warhammer. As were everyone else.
"It is like an artillery shell went off there," Ironwood stated on the pit Morgoth created with his warhammer. He remained calm, one of the few who did so, but was just as shaken by Morgoth's attack like everyone else. Sure Huntsmen could pull off something similar, but not to the scale Morgoth had.
"Where's Ja-Fingolfin?!" Pyrrha questioned, worried for the other version of Jaune. No one could possibly survive getting hit by an blow such as that. If they had an Aura, there was a likelihood that they could, but an Aura-less person would have surely died instantly.
The Dark Lord's blow, though swift and frightfully strong, had not landed on its intended target. As Fingolfin had been able to leap away from the attack, dodging it by a hair's breadth. He took this chance to return Morgoth's attack with one of his own, trying to hew at one of the fallen Valar's legs. Miraculously, Fingolfin struck through, his Elvish blade cutting through the plate and slicing at Morgoth's immortal flesh.
Immediately, Morgoth let out an excruciating cry of pain as he felt the sharp metal cut him. Like a collapsing mountain did he sound, and all who heard it, save Fingolfin fell on their faces in dismay. His cry turning to a furious roar, Morgoth stood tall and attempted to bring his warhammer down on Fingolfin a second time. Again did the Noldor Elf leap away from the attack, and land one of his own. And again, Morgoth, mightiest of all the Valar, howled in agony.
Five more times did Morgoth attempt to crush Fingolfin under his warhammer. Five more times did Fingolfin evade him, and struck his people's greatest foe. Five more times was the air of the Northlands filled with the Dark Lord's pained roars.
Through it all, Fingolfin's mind thought of the numerous grievances and dark deeds that Morgoth had caused his people, be it by his own hand, or as a result of his actions. First was the lies he spread among the Noldor that slowly eroded their friendship with the other Valar. Then there was the destruction of Two Trees of Valinor, from which the Silmarils derived their light. The murder of Finwe, Fingolfin's father, by Morgoth's himself.
Many were the crimes and hurts Morgoth had done to the world. If the High King could not kill Morgoth, he could at least return a fraction of the pain he caused him and all those he had tormented.
As their duel ground on, Fingolfin, though strong in body and spirit, grew tired. His mail, shield, and sword began to weigh on him. The High King's movements becoming slower with each passing second.
Gripped as he was with the pain of his wounds, Morgoth did not tire, and he derived new strength from the rage he felt for Fingolfin. Finding his opportunity, the Dark Lord brought his shield down on Fingolfin. To the despair of most of the audience, and spiteful glee of the watchers atop Angband's walls, the High King was too slow and was struck on the head by his opponent's shield.
Morgoth, who was confident that he had at last slain the elf, grew ever wrathful when he saw Fingolfin had only fallen to his knees and watched him rise back to his feet. Malice and hate driving him on, the Dark Lord struck Fingolfin with his shield two more times. His attacks struck the Noldor Elf, breaking Fingolfin's shield and ruining his armour. Yet on both occasions he still rose to his feet.
Fingolfin made to take a step from his foe, but the land around them was rent and pitted, and he stumbled and fell to the ground. Too weak was he to get up. Too weak was he to stop the massive foot that fell on his neck.
Most of the audience thought Fingolfin had been doing quite well against Morgoth, and were sure that the High king would have killed the Dark Lord, if Morgoth was not an immortal being. Seeing the skill at arms and valorous spirit that Fingolfin possessed, plenty had been rooting for the Elf. Seeing him get pinned under Morgoth's metal boot made the hearts and hopes of those supporting the High King plummet to the ground.
"Oh no!" Velvet yelped as she watched Fingolfin fall, and winced when she saw the Dark Lord place his foot on his neck.
"That has got hurt," was written on Neo's sign. She sometimes stepped on her enemies whenever she knocked them to the ground, but seeing Morgoth do it made her wince as well.
"C'mon! Fight him off!" Yang, Sun, and a few others urged Fingolfin as they watched him desperately struggle against the great weight pressing down on him. They knew he could not hear him, and that it had already happened, but they could be forgiven.
"Looks like its over," Raven said in a matter-of-fact manner. She had seen Fingolfin's defeat coming, it was bound to happen, despite his bravery and the wounds he inflicted on the towering Vala.
"Hm. He was doing pretty well for someone without an Aura," Maria hummed to herself.
"Well, given Elves live forever unless slain in battle. They have all the time in the world to perfect a chosen craft. Accompanied by their greater strength when compared to ordinary Men, they can become the finest warriors on Arda if they choose to." The news that Elves could live forever shocked the audience, which Alaric quickly took note of. "Oh, I forgot to mention that did I? Probably should have told you earlier, shouldn't I? My bad!"
The weight of Morgoth's foot felt like hill had fallen on him, and the High King struggled to breath as the Valar above him gradually began to crush his throat. He was going to die here, there was no denying that. But some strength still remained in Fingolfin, and he would make sure the Dark Lord remembered their confrontation for the rest of his days. Taking up his sword one last time, Fingolfin hewed at Morgoth's foot, black smoking blood gushing instantly from the wound. So much in fact, that all the pits created by Grond were filled.
Of all the wounds Fingolfin dealt to Morgoth, the pain of this last one struck him the deepest, and Morogth's cry of pain the loudest. Yet Fingolfin did see his enemy reel from his attack, nor hear him curse the Elf's name, for he was dead. That last act of defiance had taken all the life left within the most proud and valiant of the Noldor's Kings.
A majority of the audience were saddened as they watched this alternate version of Jaune die in front of them. Others could not care less, and were already thinking of what universe they might see next.
Jaune took Fingolfin's death harder than anyone, for obvious reasons. Witnessing his kingly counterpart's demise caused Jaune to think of his own mortality, and how he would die. If he ever became a Huntsman as he currently aspired to be, would he die while out on a mission? Would he be slain as Fingolfin was? Under the boot of something or someone even stronger than him?
The young man's dark thoughts were broken when he felt a hand rest over his. Looking to who it was, Jaune saw it was Pyrrha. Finding it comforting, the two held hands, much to the amused looks of the few audience members who saw them.
To the horror of the audience, Morgoth, driven into a frenzy by Fingolfin's last strike, threw his weapon and shield aside and began to repeatedly beat the High King's body with his hands. Breaking and ruining his body as an act of petty revenge on Fingolfin.
His rage still burning hot, Morgoth took the beaten and bloody corpse in his hand, and made to re-enter Angband. A noticeable limp in his step. The Dark Lord fully intent on feeding Fingolfin's body to his wolves. If he could not torment the Noldor Elf's spirit, for it had already departed for distant shores, he would at least have the satisfaction of defiling his mortal body.
It was then that a great winged form came unexpected upon Morgoth. Faster than the mortal eye could track, the creature had slashed at Morgoth's face with it's talons, snatched up the High King's body, and darted from the place before any arrow could be loosed at it.
The scene shifted to focus on the winged creature as it bore Fingolfin's body away from Angband. To the shock of all, it was a massive eagle, one that could easily bear a person on its back.
"Oh my. This is rather out of the blue," Kali remarked while being surprisingly calm about the giant eagle's sudden appearance. Surprise or not, she had to admit that the eagle was a majestic creature.
"I calculate that eagle's wingspan is equal to 54.864 metres (180 feet)." Penny quickly calculated in the span of two seconds, rather slow for her if the Altesians who knew what she was had to be honest. While Penny's calculation proved itself insightful, it just increased the sneaking suspicion everyone in the audience had about her.
"How-" Taiyang was about to say, but was suddenly interrupted by Alaric.
"That is Thorondor. King of the Great Eagles, and messenger of Manwe, chief of the Valar. There's no need for you to know more." For some strange reason, Alaric had interrupted Taiyang in a louder voice than usual or probably necessary. It was almost as if he were intentionally trying to drown out whatever question Taiyang was going to ask.
The audience watched as Thorondor flew for a time, and finally rested Fingolfin's body atop a mountain that overlooked a beautiful city hidden in a mountain valley. They watched as a kingly Elf who greatly resembled Fingolfin, very likely a relation of his, weep bitter tears and build a high cairn over his body.
Another scene change showed Rochallor, his hide bloody and bearing wounds inflicted upon him as he fled from Morgoth's wolves, return to Hithlum. Uneasily, Rochallor lay himself on the ground and rested his head on the floor. Elves rushed over to aid their High King's horse, but they were too late. The proud steed had died, his heart broken by the loss of his master.
One last scene change occurred, this time in the dark underground chambers of Angband. Morgoth limped into his shadowy throneroom, his servants not daring to say a word or meet his gaze as he rested himself on his tall throne. The wounds Fingolfin inflicted upon him would never fully heal, the pain would remain with him until the end of Arda, not even the scar Thorondor left on his face. The Silmarils were still his, though, and the doom of the Noldor grew ever closer.
With that, the screen faded to black.
Seeing that it was done, the audience started to talk amongst themselves.
Plenty talked about the fight between Fingolfin and Morgoth, which several thought was cool but sad in the end. A few discussed the Silmarils, their beauty, and what they would do if they had them. Others talked about the world itself, how fascinating it was, and how they would like to see the more beautiful places of that world. For surely there was more to it than just doom and gloom.
"That was certainly... something." Jaune awkwardly remarked, the young man not knowing what exactly he should or could say. Watching yourself, or another version of you anyway, die onscreen can do that.
"Don't worry. Death is not the end for Elves. Most of the time, their spirits will depart for the Halls of Mandos, where their deeds in life are judged. If they have lived well, they are given a new body and permitted to live forever on Valinor. The land of the Valar." Alaric said, enlightening his audience on the Elves' fate after death. Which allowed a wave of relief wash over the audience who cared enough about this other version of Jaune.
"Will Mr Fingolfin be judged well?" Penny asked of Alaric, genuinely hoping that the High King be allowed to live again. Though she had not learnt much of what he had done in life, Penny was sure he was a nice person. Same went for many others in the audience.
Annoyingly, the Keeper remained silent, a mischevious look in his eye. Made worse by how he made a shushing gesture, and turned away from them all. Looks like that was one more question they would never have an answer to.
"Master. I believe I know where to find the individual/individuals behind Nora Valkyrie's current state." Talos informed the Keeper, quickly catching the attention of everyone in the room.
"I won't like it. But, please tell me." Alaric replied, his voice becoming weary and serious.
"The ingredients of the coffee Nora Valkyrie ingested came from several different universes. The mug, however, originated from one particular universe that is currently being recorded by this Repository." Talos informed Alaric, piquing the black robed man's interest with this information. "If you are willing, I may go there and seek out the person/persons behind this."
"Get to it! When you find the perpetrators, bring them here alive. No disintegrations." Alaric said to his assisstant, pointing a finger at Talos's chest as if in warning.
"As you wish," Talos said as he bowed his head to the Keeper. "I'll be back."
With that, the bronze automaton dematerialised right in front of them. Heading off to parts unknown. Once he was gone, Alaric sighed and shook his head, before returning to his chair and started to rummage around his robes for the remote.
"You are going to try and return us to normal, right?" Salem asked Alaric. The tone of her voice was half-pleading, which was understandable given how she had been changed.
"Of course! First, we need to find who made Nora drink that coffee. Talos will bring them here, and, if possible, we will persuade them to help retsore you back to your normal state. That sound good?" The audience were not too sure of Alaric's plan. But considering that they had no clue as to what exactly was going on, or how to fix it, the audience played along for now. Who knows, maybe it'll work. "Alright then. Now, as we wait for Talos to return, allow me to show you a something that may prove... enlightening."
With that ominous end to his sentence, Alaric pulled out his remote and began to prepare the next universe.
Next will be The Lost Fable.
I'll see you all when I next see you.