Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or Lord of the Rings. They belong to Naoko Takeuchi and J.R.R. Tolkien, respectively.
Chapter 4- A Few things Explained
Usagi, Ami and Hotaru were gaping, open mouthed at the tall woman in the corner. Makoto and Minako looked at each other and shrugged, unsure of what to make of this newcomer, or their visitors' reaction to her.
"I did tell you that I would meet with you in Ithilien." Setsuna said, removing her hat.
"How did you get here before we did?" Usagi stammered.
"A wizard does not need to explain her comings and goings." She answered offhandedly.
"You will have no doubt determined at least part of your task by now, unless no mention of my visit to Hotaru in the Shire has been made." She raised her eyebrows first at Ami, and then at Hotaru. Hotaru blushed deeply, but Ami nodded.
"The Lost Treasures of the First Age." She said. Minako looked intrigued.
"I have read of these treasures in Father's books. Were they not lost when Sauron came to power in the First War?"
"That is correct. He attempted to gain control over them, however all but one were hidden from him before he could. And a single treasure is useless on it's own."
"What happened to the one that he got a hold of?" Minako asked.
"It was buried. He wanted to be able to find it later, so he buried it somewhere in the Mines of Moria, before the dwarves took it back. He wasn't able to return and find it."
"What about the others? Are there any clues as to where they might have been hidden?" Ami queried. Setsuna shook her head.
"None that are reliable. The Elves cared for the Mirror of Truth and the Sword of Quicksilver. But those races of elves have not been seen in Middle Earth for many centuries. That knowledge is likely lost. The Crystal of Life is said to only appear when the other treasures are assembled, and needed."
"And this is all that we know?" Makoto exclaimed, rolling her eyes. "There is not enough information to mount an expedition. We can not look for something if we don't know where to start looking for it."
"But you do know where to start, Captain. We know that the Glaive of Silence is somewhere in Moria. The dwarves don't care about it anymore, they haven't looked for it. But it has not been found in any of the places re-discovered for mining."
"We would need investigate the older places. The darker places in Moria, to find it." Ami said.
"Moria is not a small place. We could spend the rest of our lives in there looking for it, and still not find it." Makoto argued.
"I can find it." Hotaru said quietly. Makoto looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
"You must forgive me for being skeptical, Lady Hobbit. But I do not see how a halfling can find something that has been lost to all other races."
"She can find it because she is the one who can wield it." Setsuna said. All eyes in the room turned to her again.
"Would you like to explain that?" Usagi asked.
"I can." Eowyn said, sitting down on one of the chairs in the study. She reached for a book on a small table next to the chair and opened it to a point somewhere in the middle.
"Minako, you know how old some of the books that your father keeps here are, do you not?"
"Yes, mother. Some of them date back to the First Age of Middle Earth, although father says that those very difficult to read. Time and use have made them fragile, and some of the words have faded from their pages." Minako answered her. She was as avid a reader as her parents were, she knew most of the modern books as well as she knew her own hand.
"Some of them, yes. Others have been very well preserved, hidden away from the ravages of time. This one in particular."
"What does it say?" Makoto asked, still skeptical.
"The Treasures of the First Age were created with specific bearers in mind. Only they could use the power of the Treasures at full force. The magic of the Treasures was bound to these bearers' bloodlines. Only their descendants could wield them now."
"Then you are saying that the person who wielded the Glaive of Silence, was a Hobbit." Usagi said.
"That cannot be. Hobbits were unknown to the World of Men and Elfkind in the First Age, if they even existed then at all." Ami stated, authoritatively.
"That is true. If they existed, they were not concerned with the affairs of the rest of Middle Earth. That was perhaps for the best. The bearer of the Glaive was killed when Sauron took it. He did not realize the extent of the magic that surrounded it, and could not have used it to the full extent of its power. However, there were no descendants to which the power could be passed."
"I do not understand, mother. If the bearer was killed, and there was no family, how can Hotaru have the ability to wield such a thing?"
"Ancient Magic makes its own way." Ami told them, thinking hard. "I have studied theories from others about Ancient Magic. The theories are all different, but they come to a similar conclusion. When a spell is cast, it cannot be undone. The spell will continue to exist, even when the reason it was cast no longer exists with it. We do not see these spells because they do not concern us, and we are not looking for them. If these treasures were created using Wizard and Elvish magic, the spell would be considerably stronger. And much easier to locate."
"That is correct. You really do live up to your reputation, scholar." Setsuna said. "The nature of the spell was tied to bloodlines of the bearers. As with blood, skills and abilities are also passed down through family lines. Hotaru has some very remarkable abilities. Ones that she shares with the original bearer of the Glaive."
"The spell attaches itself to people that have the same magical abilities. Ones that would have been passed on to his children." Ami concluded, beaming happily.
"But what does that mean exactly?" Usagi asked, looking back and forth between the Wizard and her friend.
"It means that because the Glaive is bound to me now, I can feel it calling to me. I can follow that call to where it is located." Hotaru told her quietly.
"Well. So now we know that we can get to one of them. How are we going to find the others?" Makoto asked.
"The Elves that bore the Mirror and Sword hid them quite well. The only way to find them is to find the Glaive. It should guide you to the others." Setsuna commented.
"Should. That is hardly solid ground to mount a search. I believe that this is very bad idea."
"You have very strong opinions for a Captain of the guard." Setsuna stared at Makoto searchingly.
"I did not get to be a Captain of the guard by sitting aside and letting people walk all over me."
"Indeed not. That is what makes you a leader, Makoto." Setsuna smiled knowingly and turned away to address the rest of the assembled company. "It has been decided that you all must travel to Moria and find this first Treasure. You are all skilled in one way or another, and you will need each other on the road ahead."
Before Setsuna could dismiss them completely, Usagi jumped in.
"My lady, why do these Treasures need to be found? Surely, in times of such peace they are not necessities."
"Peace is illusory. It never lasts." She whispered, a look in her eyes that Usagi could not decipher coming and going within the blink of an eye.
"Not all of Sauron's orcs were destroyed in that Final Battle. They fled into parts that have been left unexplored for many years, and until now, they have not been a problem."
"What has happened to change that?" Minako asked.
"A great evil has awoken, somewhere in the mountains of Angmar. It is gathering strength, and forces. With the Elves gone into the West, and the Army of Men still somewhat lacking in numbers, only these treasures have even the smallest hope of defeating it."
"What evil could be greater than Sauron?" Minako whispered. Setsuna's gaze whipped to her in an instant.
"One that you do not wish to encounter without sufficient defense." Setsuna stared out the window for a moment. "Besides Hotaru, none of you have to do this. You are all aware of the dangers. There is risk involved."
The tension in the room rose to another level in the silence that followed. Makoto broke it.
"Well. If we're going into battle, then some of us are going to need better armour."
"Risk has always been a laughable matter in our family, has it not, Usagi?"
"Indeed. We could hardly be addressed as Sheildmaidens, if we were afraid of risk."
"I have heard that the Mines of Moria make for very interesting study. It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity. And, if I must bear arms, then I must."
Setsuna turned away from the window and for once, smiled warmly at them.
"Honour and bravery live on in this world then. That is comforting. Very well, the five of you shall make for the Mines of Moria after dawn tomorrow. I will provide a map to guide you before I leave." She told them, and made to leave the room.
"You are leaving again? Where are you going now?"
"Some unfinished business to attend to. But I will see you again before the journey is complete. And be forewarned. You will meet peculiar folk in your travels. Some will help you, others will only hinder, though they believe that they are helping. It would be best to determine the difference quickly."
Then she disappeared from the room, as quickly and quietly as possible.
The girls were left staring at each other in confusion. Minako eventually snorted.
"That one certainly knows the ways of mystery." Usagi raised an eyebrow and nodded in assent.
"'Tis true. I fear we will not fully understand her ways until it is far too late." She murmured absently. Then she straightened. "Well, it seems that we will be leaving these wonderful lands sooner than I had anticipated. Perhaps we can rest ourselves somewhere before we depart?" She directed her comment at both her cousin and her aunt, the hint of a smile gracing her face. They smiled back at her, and Eowyn clapped her hands.
A handmaiden appeared at the door to the study a mere moment later, looking attentive.
"Show our guests to appropriate chambers. They will want to bathe, eat and rest before they must leave us." She instructed the girl. Then she addressed the rest of them. "I will arrange armour, weapons and supplies prepared for all of you, in addition to whatever you may already have. We will see each other again before you depart."
They all trouped out of the study and followed the handmaiden to a set of chambers located somewhere towards the rear of the manor. When they reached them, Minako turned to them and smiled.
"Well, if we are all going to be leaving, Makoto and I shall have to help mother with selecting weapons and armour. Between us, we have tested every single piece created for use by a woman that exists in this country, and we know what will work the best. We will see you again soon. Come Makoto, we have work to do."
Makoto followed Minako back down the corridor, leaving the three travellers standing with the handmaiden. They looked at her curiously and she gestured to the door she had led them too.
"These are your chambers. There are three bedrooms, each has a tub to wash in. I will return with cloths for bathing in a few moments." She said, bowing and scurrying away. Usagi opened the door.
"Well, we better get started. We want to have as much rest as possible before we face the road again."