Fandom: Les Mis (book with some musical influences), crossovered with Astrid Lindgren's Brothers Lionheart, some Tolkien influences

Authors: Dernhelm Wraithslayer and Darth Gilthoron (actual writers), Celebwen (co-author), Bea and Asharak (test readers and advisors)

Genre: Adventure/Fantasy

Summary: When dying, Valjean expected to go to the Garden of the Lord, where he would live again in freedom and peace. But what appears to be Paradise at first soon turns out to be a place where the shadow is preparing for its final triumph. As legends of an ancient evil walk the earth in flesh again, Enjolras and his friends must once more march to war for freedom, while Javert will yet have to find where his loyalty truly lies. And for Valjean, only the path through tests and hardships leads to the light.

Pairings: not telling

Rating: PG-13 due to violence and some sexual content


1. The Tigers come at Night

The tiny flame flickered, and light and shadow shifted for a moment.

"He's dead." The man spoke harshly, crumpling the small strip of parchment in his hand.

"Then who sent it?" The second man was seated across the table, but now leaning over it towards the other and speaking in a hoarse whisper. Long strands of fair hair fell over a youthful, handsome face lying half in shadows.

Beside the one who had spoken first, another man held out his hand. At first it seemed that his neighbour would not react, but then he dropped the crumpled piece of parchment into the open palm. It rustled softly as the man unfolded it with one hand, using the other to put on a pair of glasses he had kept in his breast pocket. For a long moment he just stared at the message, squinted at the crammed letters in the dim light, holding it close to the candle, then he sighed and shook his head, shaking a few rebellious strands of dark hair out of his face. "I don't know the handwriting." Almost automatically, his eyes questioningly sought the fair-haired man's, and as the fair-haired one nodded, he crumpled the message again and rolled it to him across the table before he pocketed his glasses again. Then his hand thoughtlessly returned to his blue neckerchief, at which he had tugged earlier on already.

He had rolled the little ball well, for at first it travelled towards its destination smoothly, followed by many wary eyes, but then it met an irregularity in the rough dark wood, a place where a splinter had broken out of the surface, and its course was altered. In the darkest corner sat a dark-haired man with bronze-coloured skin and grim features. It was hard to tell when he was sitting, but it seemed that he was tall, taller than most of the others, if not the tallest of all. As the tiny ball suddenly came towards him, he held out his large hand –

Quickly the fair-haired one reached out across his neighbour, a lean, pale fellow with a stubbly chin about whom the most noteworthy feat was that he wore a small metal amulet around his neck on a leather cord, and snatched it up, pulling it towards him. For a moment his eyes met the tall man's, and the pale man between them held his breath, but then the one with the fair hair turned his head away decidedly. Nobody spoke.

Again the flame flickered. The candle had burned down to a disfigured stump, the light was close to dying.

"It is clear we have a friend in there somewhere, but we don't know who he is." The fair-haired one sighed, sorrow written clearly on his handsome features. The message remained in a fist clenched so tightly that his knuckles whitened.

"Of what use is he, then?" the one with the blue neckerchief asked bitterly, his head in his hands.

"A friend is always of use." It was the man beside him, the one who had brought the message and spoken first. He seemed a little older than the others; his face was lined, and he had a large, dark scar on one cheek, one of the few places not covered by a dark beard flecked with grey.

"But now they know we had a spy," the fair-haired man put in, "he's in danger as well."

"How did they find out?" another of the assembled asked as the shadows danced once more.

"It doesn't say," the scarred man replied.

There were sighs from around the table, and some rested their faces in their hands.

"The doves!" the fair-haired one spoke up again. "The white doves! They're not common in the mountains. How long would it take them to notice them? And everybody knows doves can carry messages. All they had to do was shoot one of them down and check, and then they had the answer."

The scarred man nodded. "She's really missing a couple of doves."

"Then she should use other doves," the man with the blue neckerchief whispered urgently. "Grey ones, or brown ones, or whatever."

"She has no others," the scarred man reminded him. "Where to get them, how to train them so quickly? We must use what we have."

"Even if it is dangerous?"

"It's the only chance we have. Especially now, after what happened to Dolorin. You all know it. Vanished without a trace last night."

There was a moment of deep silence. Then a trepid voice spoke up from among the assembled, nothing more than a whisper. "Do you… do you believe he's still alive?"

The man with the scar did not reply immediately. "Who can tell?"

Another voice spoke from the shadows, toneless, almost inaudible, but in the silence of the room it seemed unnaturally loud, and it appeared that its echoes hung in the air long after the speaker had fallen silent. "Evil rules the night again."

The tall man in the corner had listened in without saying a word, his thin lips twisted by a contemptuous smile. His dark eyes oddly gleamed in the dying light. Then, suddenly, he reached out across the man between them, forced the fair-haired one's fingers apart and took the message from him. His skin seemed dark against the other's light one. Calmly he unrolled the strip of parchment, studied it for a while in the fading light and then pocketed it.

The fair-haired one's bright eyes flared up in anger, while indignation, fury and outrage chased each other across his features. But he did not speak. Nobody did.

And then, with a gentle hiss, almost like a sigh, the flame went out, and they all sat in darkness.