GOTHAM KNIGHTS OF MIDDLE-EARTH:
Disclaimer: I do NOT in any way shape or form own the Lord of the Rings, or any DCU heroes. Lord of the Rings is the property of JRR Tolkien while Robin, Batgirl, the Teen Titans and all related character are the property of DC Comics. This story is simply in homage of their work.
Cassandra Cain watched in mild interest as a nearby oilrig exploded, sending her squadron of assassins flying in every direction. Shaking her head and sighing, she brushed back a long lock of her black hair before placing bother her hands on her hips. No longer was she dressed in the charcoal black costume of Batgirl. No longer did she wear the yellow outline of a bat on her chest proudly. Instead her finely toned body was wrapped tightly in a black leotard and violet body armor. The armor of the leader of the League of Assassin.
"Sorry it had to end this way, Tim…" she said in a soft voice.
"Cassandra…" Turning the daughter of Cain looked up in surprise as a figure melted out from the shadows. His black and red body armor was torn, and bloody wounds adorning his body. The black scalloped cape, with the golden lining, was filled with bullet holes and shredded. Yet still, the stylized golden 'R' on his chest gleamed brightly, almost defiantly at her. He looked nearly broken, as he limped slowly towards her. One of the opaque lenses in his black domino mask was cracked. Still, despite the mask, he continued to stare up at her, almost pleadingly. Not for himself, but instead for her. Always for her. "Please… we'll get you help… I swear…"
Cassandra looked pityingly at him. "Don't you get it, Tim? I'm finally helping myself! I feel like I'm really myself for the first time!"
He continued to walk, not answering to her jibe. This was not right. This could not be her. This was not his Cassandra.
"Tim… you can't beat me," she said patronizingly, as he stumbled forward. "Cain taught me too well. Even if I couldn't 'read' your body's 'tells,' I've memorized your fighting style, your technique…"
"Then I'll have throw out technique—" He snapped, cutting across her words just as his fist flew out, striking her hard in the face. Cassandra's head snapped back with the blow and she was forced to roll back from it. "—And hit you as hard and often as I can!"
Slowly she pushed herself up and stared coldly at him. Even if she couldn't read his body language, it was clear that it was taking all his strength just to remain standing. "I'll punch and kick and scratch and claw and I won't care if it's pretty or graceful… I'm not going to lose."
Wiping the small bit of blood from her mouth with the back of her hand, Cassandra's eyes turned colder than anything he could ever remember. "Yes, you are."
She tackled him with speed that he could not be prepared for, and slammed him hard on the ground before flipping to her feet. He tried to fight back. He even reached for a set of mini-explosives in his belt, but she was too fast. She kicked them from his hand, sending them down onto the oil fields below them. Immediately they exploded, sending massive clouds of fire high into the sky. Yet they paid no mind.
Cassandra grabbed him from behind, and wrapped her arm around his neck in a perfect chokehold. Struggling, he elbowed her hard in the stomach, weakening her hold on him long to spin about and backhand her hard across the face. He followed up with a well-placed punch and moved for another. She was ready however and caught it before kicking him hard in his chest.
They jumped back from another and began to circle. Darkness was threatening to overtake him. He knew he couldn't' win. Not against her. She was too good. To well trained. And he loved her too much.
The flames grew higher and higher surrounding them in a fiery cage. Cassandra leapt at him and he towards her. Together they grappled against each other, almost unwilling to break the touch.
"I had a dream…" said Cassandra and for a brief moment, he could swear that he saw a flicker of the woman he knew. The woman he had loved. "It was a good dream… You and me… together… making a real difference… I'll miss you, Tim."
She raised her hand to deliver the final blow, and he prepared himself for it. But then before she could bring it down, something changed. "Wh—" she began, her rage subsiding to shock. "No."
He turned and his eyes widened. He could no longer see the oil fields nor the distant city of Gotham. Instead he found himself overlooking a disturbing and barren wasteland of stone and shadow. The fires that had been surrounding him and Cassandra, had begun to merge together, and shaped into a great and terrible fiery eye.
"I see you…" hissed the voice of Sauron.
The screams of Timothy Drake echoed through the halls of Wayne Manor, as he awoke. Covered in a cold sweat and his heart was beating like jackhammer in his chest, his bright blue eyes stared wildly around his richly furnished bedroom, as if expecting to see that eye of fire jump out of the shadows at him. Thankfully the room remained silent and still, the only sound heard being that of the window blowing softly from outside his the large balcony windows.
"Damn…" he growled, as he ran a hand through his shaggy bedridden black hair and turning towards the neon green glow of his bedside clock, which read 4:37 am. He hadn't even been asleep of a full hour.
Truth be told, Tim had not been sleeping well for a long time now. He had been having that dream… no; it was a nightmare, for weeks now. Ever since he had found himself fighting again someone who he had known… who he had loved… who he still…
'No,' he thought darkly to himself. 'Don't go there, Drake.'
Throwing his legs over the side of his bed, Tim dropped his face into his hands. How had he ended up here? How had everything in his life turned out so wrong?
Tim knew his life would never be what most would consider 'normal.' After all, he was hardly what could be considered a normal young man. It had been 4, almost 5 years now since he had approached the Batman and Nightwing, forcing the fabled Dark Knight to take on a new Robin after the death of the previous one. 4 years since he himself had donned the mantle of the Boy Wonder, which he continued to wear proudly. He knew that there would always be a price to pay for the life in which he lived and the job that he did.
Unfortunately the price he had been paying was getting too high.
Tim's eyes instinctively turned towards the series of framed photographs that adorned his wall. He hadn't wanted to put them up, but Alfred had done it when he had been out, and Tim hadn't felt the resolve to take them down. The first was one of his most prized possessions. A photo of himself as a toddler being held in the strong arms of a 10 year old Dick Grayson clad in a bright red, green and yellow acrobat's costume. Behind the boys stood John and Mary Grayson, and Jack and Janet Drake. Both sets of parents still alive, smiling wide at the camera. The night that picture had been taken was it all started for all of them.
Next to that picture showed a 15-year-old Tim on a fishing trip with his father Jack, holding up a struggling catfish and the pair of them were beaming. The picture had been taken by Tim's stepmother Dana 8 months prior to Jack's murder at the hands of the b-level super-villain Captain Boomerang. Dana would later be institutionalized after having a mental breakdown and she would later go missing during the Blüdhaven attack a year ago.
Besides that photo showed one of Tim at his 16th birthday party, flanked by a redheaded bi-spectacle teenage boy and a vivacious blonde girl hugging him around the neck. Tim had not heard from his former-best friend Ives, in over a year now after he had moved to Gateway City, and his ex-girlfriend Stephanie… She had been like him, a vigilante by the name of Spoiler. She had even replaced him as Robin for a short time. But that life had gotten her killed.
The next photo showed Tim laughing, as a tall and muscular, blue eyed, black haired boy held him in a head-lock grinning wickedly. Conner Kent. Superboy. The greatest and closest friend that Tim ever had or would ever has. He too had been killed, after sacrificed his life to save the universe.
Tim bit his lip and tried to blink back his tears as he found himself looking at the final photo. It had been taken a little over one year ago, in Blüdhaven's Dixon Park. He had his arms wrapped tightly around the waist of a small Asian girl. Her black hair had a single streak of neon pink running through it, and she smiled up at Tim with such adoration.
Cassandra Cain, the third Batgirl.
She was gone too. But her loss came as a far greater pain to Tim.
After all, She wasn't dead.
Dressed only in a pair of black pajama bottoms, Tim stumbled into the bathroom, and flicked on the light. He winced as he became momentarily blinded by the bright glow, before making his way to the sink and began splashing handfuls of cold water into his face. Raising his head, he stared back at his reflection in the mirror with a ragged and tired expression. Absent-mindedly he raised his hand up and let a finger trace down the scar that ran across his eyebrow.
Where had everything gone wrong? Why did everyone he love, leave him? Was that future he had seen, really going to be his destiny?
With cold water still falling down his face, Tim stiffened at the sound of the English accented voice. He grabbed a nearby towel and began drying his face with it as he exited the bathroom. Standing in the doorway and cast in the shadows created by the hallway light, was an elderly man dressed in a silken bathrobe and carrying a cup of tea. A thin moustache twitched, as Alfred Pennyworth examined his weary young charge.
"Is everything alright my boy?" he asked, concernedly.
Tim gave a curt nod, as he turned on the bedside lamp allowed him to see the Wayne family butler properly. "Yeah, I'm fine Alfred," he answered shortly. "What are you still doing up?"
"You know I do not sleep well when one of your have not returned home yet," Alfred said setting down his tea cup and saucer down on a nearby dresser and walking across the room so that he could look out the window.
"Batman hasn't come back from patrol yet?" Tim asked, standing up a bit straighter.
"Not yet," Alfred said. "He was forced to attend a last minute meeting with Commissioner Gordon and Detective Bullock." The elder man indicated that Tim look out the window. Past the stone Robin Hood statue, and forest of the Wayne Estate, they could make out the blackened cityscape of Gotham, and hanging high over the city was a great spotlight, in which a the outline of a bat could be seen.
"He went out alone?" Tim asked, darkly. "Why didn't he call me?"
"He thought it best you get some rests before leaving for Titans Tower tomorrow. Or should I say, today. He said he would call you if the need arose."
Tim nodded, though he clearly was not thrilled that his partner had gone out to answer the Bat-signal without him there. After all, Gotham had been quite for a while, and that usually meant something big was being planned by one of the Gotham Crazies. Of course, it could very well just be something minor like Killer Croc or Killer Moth.
For a long moment Alfred and Tim did not speak, during which Alfred gave the young boy a scrutinizing look.
"Was it the dream again?" he asked, cautiously.
Tim didn't even bother to look incredulous or deny the question. Instead he nodded weakly as he turned from the window so as to sit back down on the edge of the bed, his shoulder dropped down in defeat. "Yes… and no."
"I'm sorry…?" Alfred asked.
"The dream. It was different this time," Tim said softly. "The ending… it changed from how it really happened. It's never done that before."
Raising an eyebrow, Alfred entered the room completely and moved around towards Tim. "How do you mean?"
Tim opened his mouth to respond, but then shut his mouth. No, that was an insane thought. That evil was gone. Completely destroyed. It was just his mind looking for memories of simpler times, a simpler world of elves, wizard and hobbits. It was a rather morbid path his mind had taken, but that had to be all it was. Right?
"Nothing… It was nothing Alfred. Never mind."
Heaving a great sigh, Alfred placed a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder. It scared him, how much Tim was slowly becoming like his mentor … no, rather, how much he was slowly becoming like his father sometimes. Alfred had no doubt that Bruce had made the proper choice by adopting Tim. The poor boy had suffered so much, in such a short amount of time, perhaps more so than any of his predecessors. "You cannot keep blaming yourself for what happened to Cassandra, my boy. She made her own choice. There was nothing which you could have done."
"I should have tried harder…" Tim whispered, almost not hearing Alfred's previous comment. His face dropping into his hands, and he rubbed his eyes in a tired fashion. "I should have saved her…"
"Master Timothy… I don't think she wanted to be saved…" Alfred said, wishing more than ever to keep this sort of pain from the boy.
"No…" Tim growled. "Something is wrong with her… She's sick. I know Cassandra and she would never… She's not like that. I know what I saw, and that wasn't her. I know it…"
"Maybe we didn't know her as well as we thought we did," Alfred cut across Tim, squeezing Tim's shoulder tightly. "She suffered a painful life Timothy. As much as we tried to help her become better… maybe it wasn't enough. And we don't know what happened to since she left the 'Haven…"
Tim's head lowered. He remembered the night she left. It had been a week before the Crisis had started…
Tim and Cassandra had moved in together, into a small apartment building in Blüdhaven after the Gotham Gang War. Nightwing had been forced to leave the city, and so Batman asked Robin and Batgirl, to pick up where he had left off. This had worked fine for Tim, who had been forced to institutionalize his stepmother Dana. She had suffered a severe emotional breakdown following his father's murder.
They lived in the 'haven several months, and they had been happy. But that had not been enough. They had just gotten back from patrol after battling against another set of the Penguin's bounty hunters. This time it had been members of the group known as the H.I.V.E., which had hardly been much of a challenge. For much of the night, Cassandra had been quiet. It was not uncommon for her, but she had been a tad more silent than was normal even for her. After slipping in through the skylight of their apartment, the pair of them had made for the bedroom and had begun changing when she finally told him.
"Tim… I have to go," she had told him as she pulled on her Family Guy pajama bottoms which showed Brian the Dog say 'Who's leg do you have to hump to get a dry martini around here?' and tossing her Batgirl costume into a nearby laundry hamper.
Tim had been mid-way through removing the green undershirt that had gone with his costume then, and looked at her with a confused look. "I'm… sorry? Run that by me again."
"Tomorrow. I'm leaving."
Tim's eyebrows rose in clear shock, which he immediately attempted to control. He found it difficult however has his heart had suddenly felt as if it had stop dead in mid-beat. He lowered his gaze towards the red tunic in his hands. "You're leaving," he repeated, trying to keep the hurt out of his voice. "Can I ask why?"
Despite Tim's best efforts to keep his emotions under control, he could never hide anything from Cassandra. She knew him better than he knew himself. She also had the ability to read body language, but the first one sounded more romantic to them. "OH GOD! Tim no, no, no! I didn't mean…" She had immediately thrown herself at him, wrapping her arms tightly around his midsection and kissed him deeply. "No Tim… I didn't mean I was going to leave YOU."
Tim had felt himself breath with relief, only slightly. "So… what do you mean? Where are you going?"
Cassandra had begun to bite her lower lip in a way that had always made her seem smaller and younger and more innocent than she truly had been. "To… To find my m-mother," she had told him.
When Tim had heard this, he hadn't been sure how to react. Cassandra had never spoken much about her family. Her father, the assassin David Cain had after all done all he could to turn her into a cold-blooded murderer, like himself. Thankfully she had turned her back on him and his teaching, only to end up becoming the third Batgirl. In all the years that Tim had known her, she had never before shown any interest in finding the woman who had left her with that psycho.
"Cassandra… why…?" Tim had begun.
"Do you remember when we visited Dana last week…?" she asked him softly. Tim had of course nodded. He had hated their visits to the rehabilitation center where Dana Winters-Drake was currently residing. It was so painful seeing his once vibrant and cheerful stepmother completely shattered to the point where she could not even remember what day it was. "It… got me thinking about my mom. And after what happened when I fought with the Brotherhood of Evil…"
"You mean the hallucination—" Cassandra had glared at him and curled her fist. "I mean… Vision of Stephanie's ghost?" Tim had never been sure if Cassandra had actually seen the spirit of his dead ex-girlfriend and her dead ex-best friend, but Cassandra truly believed that she had seen her, and Tim wasn't going to disagree with her. He had seen too much to say it could not be true. Not to mention she could always kick his ass.
"Tim… I need to find out where I came from. I don't want to leave you alone, but… I…" Tim hadn't even hesitated, when he gave her a passionate kiss and hug. Pulling back he wished her luck and had her promise she would come back to him.
"I'll always come back Tim," she had whispered to him as she had buried her head into his chest. "Always."
That had been the last time he had seen her, until several months ago, in which she staged her own kidnapping and framed him for her own 'murder'. So in part, she had kept her promise to him. She had come back. Just not the way in which he had hoped she would.
"She made her choice Timothy," Alfred said softly placing his hand upon Tim's head in a fatherly gesture. Tim momentarily remembered his own father doing that. "Now you must make yours."
Tim sighed, and he let his gaze turn towards the fireplace set on the far side of the bedroom. Set on the mantel was a curved sword and knife, both with ivory hilts. It had been a gift from his past in which he had also been told to make a choice.
Another Time, Another Place
"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
Gandalf the White felt his left eyes twitch, as the annoying chant yet again reached his ears. Turning his head of silver hair, the White Wizard scowled at the two Hobbit, riding upon a pair of small ponies along the left side his wagon, both looking particularly bored. It never ceased to amaze Gandalf that after all they had seen, all they had experienced, and all that they had grown to become, they still managed to retain their childlike tenacity. As heartwarming as that could be, this personality trait could also be rather vexing.
Taking what should have been a cleansing breath, Gandalf managed to say perfectly, through tightly clenched teeth: "As I told you the last hundred times, my young hobbits, 'No, we are not'…" Silently the White Wizard cursed the teenaged girl who had taught the pair of them that horridly annoying 'travel game.'
In the back of his wagon, Gandalf could hear another pair of hobbits chuckling softly. Turning his head, he looked at the pair of them. One was moderately young, with a mop of dark brown hair on both his head and bare feet, and a pair of bright blue eyes. He had his arm around the other hobbit, was considerably older. Although, he was nowhere as old as say, Gandalf himself, he certainly did look it. His once dark brown hair was now a thinning bit of scraggly white hair. "Now, Now Gandalf," said the croaking voice of Bilbo Baggins. "Let the young Hobbits have their bit of fun."
Gandalf sighed as he looked at the smiling, yet withered face of the world's oldest Hobbit and looked down at his nephew Frodo. Frodo gave him a very weak smile in reply. Unable to help himself, Gandalf gave a small smile and nod. "I shall try, but I warn you that should I finally snap, you cannot hold me responsible for my actions."
Gandalf shot Pippin and Merry a sidelong leer, which caused he pair of them to instantly grow silent as they shifted uncomfortably in their saddles.
Chuckling to himself, Gandalf flicked the reigns to the horse that was leading their wagon.
Despite Gandalf's subtle yet effective threat, the wizard would never truly dream of hurting Merry or Pippin. At least not too badly. Gandalf had always been fond of the creatures known as Hobbits, since his first journey to the land known as the Shire, years ago. But during all those years, he had never met a group of hobbits that he was more proud to know, then those traveling alongside him this day.
It had all started with Bilbo. Years ago Gandalf had found himself standing outside Bags End, where a much younger Bilbo had been seated, enjoying a nice smoke and clear summer's day. Immediately Gandalf had known that the old Hobbit would make a perfect addition to a simple, yet complex adventure he had been planning. And while Bilbo may have said otherwise at the time, his being hired as a burglar to steal back a treasure from a fire-breathing dragon, had been one of the defining moments of his life.
Of course, by convincing Bilbo to join him and a gaggle of dwarves on that expedition, Gandalf had unexpectedly set the forth a course of events that would change the world itself and the lives of Frodo, Merry, Pippin and…
"Excuse me Mister Gandalf," said Samwise Gamgee. The dirty blonde haired Hobbit gave Gandalf a questioning look as he rode alongside the right hand of the wagon, atop of his own pony, Bill. "I don't mean to get ya angry or anything, but I was wondering… how long is it until we get there?"
Gandalf smiled at the soft-spoken, yet strong willed gardener. "Not long now Sam. Just over that next ridge."
This news seemed to cause everyone to sober up considerably. Gandalf could not blame them. After all, this would be their last day together. The absolute end of their Fellowship.
It was odd. So much had changed during the last four year. Not just for Gandalf, but for everyone. The entire world had change with the end of the War of the Ring. The most obvious change though, had been peace. Gandalf had never thought he would see the day. But with the Dark Lord Sauron gone, and King Elessar on the thrown of Gondor, there was a renewed hope in Middle-Earth. Smiling to himself, Gandalf turned to look back at Bilbo and Frodo again.
With this renewed peace that had meant a new change. The Elves were leaving Middle-Earth. Their time as the guardians of the land was over. Today the last great ship of the elves would leave the shores of this land, and take with them three of the great leaders of Elf-kind.
The elves weren't the only ones to be leaving however. There were three seats left on their ship. Three seats, for three Ring Bearers.
"Gandalf…?" began Frodo, moving to the front of the wagon, to sit besides the Wizard. "Look ahead."
Gandalf allowed his sight to follow Frodo's and he felt his entire body tense, and great black plumes of smoke were issuing from the Gray Havens. His expression turned ashen, and after casting the hobbits a quick glance, Gandalf urged the horses to pick up their pace, as did Merry, Sam and Pippin their ponies.
There was no denying that something was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.
Peace had been restored to Middle-Earth following the War of the Ring, but Gandalf was not naïve to think that was the end of any evil. Although the Dark Lord Sauron was destroyed, there were still the dangers of Orcs, goblins and other foul creatures that had survived the war. Still, why would they attack the Gray Havens?
"Perhaps you should stay here," said Gandalf, as he dismounted from their wagon, and made towards his faithful horse, Shadowfax, who had been walking along side them their entire journey.
"We're coming," said Merry, with sudden seriousness as Sam and Pippin nodded in agreement. "We're not letting you go out there alone Gandalf. No telling what's in there."
"Uncle?" asked Frodo, looking to Bilbo worriedly. "Maybe you should stay behind."
"Nonsense," said Bilbo, pushing himself up and awkwardly climbing out of the wagon. He nearly fell, though thankfully Gandalf reached out to catch him. "You heard Pippin, Frodo. We're all going. People might need our help, and I'm not yet so old that I'll sit by when people are in trouble."
Frodo mounted his own pony, which he had named Strider, and after Gandalf had seated Bilbo on Shadowfax, mounted the white steed and the six friends rode into the Grayhaven. They were shocked by what they saw. The white stone buildings and homes were damaged. Many looked as if they had been blown apart. Bodies were strewed across the streets and hanging out of windows. Throats were cut, arms cut apart.
"Oh my…" gasped Sam. "Who would do such a thing? Orcs?"
"I do not think so," said Gandalf, his eyes narrowed. The destruction seemed less… chaotic than an Orc attack would. Certain areas were hit, specifically. Those who were killed looked as if they had died swiftly, not viciously. "We'll make for the harbor. Galadriel, Elrond and Celeborn were supposed to meet us there."
"Do you think… Do you think they're alright?" asked Frodo softly.
"I do not know," admitted Gandalf softly.
They were forced to dismount their steeds after a time, due to a great deal of debris mounted in the streets. Gandalf carried Bilbo around the damage, since the old hobbit was too slow and too easily injured to do it on his own. Apparently, he wasn't the only one.
"OW!" yelped Pippin as he tripped over a pile of broken rock. He tried to catch himself but ended up cutting his palm upon a piece of damaged wall.
"You okay there Pip?" asked Merry running to help his cousin back to his feet.
"Aye… just a scratch," muttered Pippin, before taking a sniff of the air. "I smell the sea."
"This way," directed Gandalf. As he led them down the final staircase to the docks, they all froze and gasped. In the water were the remains of a large white ship, of Elf design. It was partially ablaze. Laying on the docks were dozens of elves, all of who were appeared to be dead.
"No…" gasped Frodo, who broke into a run, jumping the last few steps on the stairs and racing towards the bodies. His bright blue eyes were wide with fear, as he looked frantically over the bodies. He knew many of these elves. He had met them, talked with them and eaten with them when he and the others had traveled through Rivendell and the Woods of Lorien.
"What happened ta dem," whispered Pippin, trying to keep the bile from raising through his throat.
"They were slaughtered," said Merry, with disgust.
"But by who?" asked Sam.
No one could answer this question, and instead continued to search the bodies. Gandalf could not believe that this had happened. Today was supposed to be a day of good-byes, but not like this. So many good people, needlessly slaughtered by… Gandalf had no idea who was responsible, but he would find out.
"Gandalf! Quickly over here!" shouted Sam, as he crouched over a fallen body. The White Wizard raced over to the overweight Hobbit and knelt besides him as he looked down at body besides him. "Celeborn!" gasped Gandalf.
True enough, there lay the elf lord Celeborn, former ruler of the Elf land of Lórien. His long blond hair and white robes were caked in blood. A large gash ran across his forehead and there was a deep wound that ran from his stomach to his shoulder.
"Celeborn, my old friend," said Gandalf, lifting the elf lord into his arms as the five hobbits gathered around him. "What happened here?"
Celeborn's eyes fluttered open, but they were unfocused and pained. He opened his mouth to speak, but instead choked and coughed up some blood. "They came… attacked… without warning… without mercy…"
"Who?" asked Bilbo, as he leaned heavily on his walking stick. "Who attacked."
"I… do not… know," whispered Celeborn, his eyes growing heavier and closing. "They took… Galadriel… Elrond… Could not stop… I…" He broke into a fit of coughs, spraying blood from his mouth and staining Gandalf's robes with red.
"Silence now Celeborn," directed Gandalf. "Do not speak. You must save your strength."
"N-No… my time is done," said the elf lord darkly. "Galadriel… foresaw a darkness returning. No one is safe… —Cough— Find her G-Gandalf. Find her and Elrond… before it is too…" But the final word faded from Celeborn's lips, as the last of his life faded away and his chest lowered for the last time. Bowing his head, Gandalf whispered a soft prayer to the elf lord, as he reached up and closed his eyes, leaving a horrid silence in his wake.
Pippin looked up after a few moments had passed, and opened his mouth to say something, when everyone heard what sounded like a muffled voice shout out…
Everyone turned towards the source of the voice, and the Hobbits ran towards the dock. In the water they could see two bodies. Both had matching heads of long black hair. One was unconscious, the other was struggling to hold onto him and struggling to stay afloat.
"ELLADAN!" cried Merry. "ELROHIR!"
Gandalf sat down the dead Celeborn gently and ran to the docks so as the help Elladan lift his unconscious brother onto the dock and then help him up as well. The elf sons of Elrond both looked as if they had been through hell and back. Their clothing was singed from fire, there were multiple cuts running across their bodies and they looked half-drowned.
"F-Fancy running into you lot…" said Elladan, before his eyes rolled back into his head and he joined his brother in blissful unconsciousness.
"A-Are they…?" began Sam, weakly.
"They are alive," said Gandalf with a sigh of relief. "Injured, but alive. You lot, help pick up Elrohir while I take Elladan." The hobbits nodded and working together lifted Elrohir, as Gandalf lifted Elladan into his arms, while Bilbo followed behind, carrying Gandalf's wizard staff with him. They moved towards one of the neighboring building that had survived the attacks. Laying them down, Gandalf let out a sigh.
"W-What do we do now, Gandalf?" asked Merry, who had started to pace back and forth across the room.
"We wait for the Twins to recover," said Gandalf. "I need you four to go out and find food and firewood. I don't think we'll be able to leave tonight."
"Leave to where?" asked Sam.
"Gondor," said Gandalf darkly. "We have to warn Elessar."
"Warn him about what though?" said Frodo as he covered Elladan with his cloak. "We don't know who or what did this."
"Hopefully the twins will be able to tell us something more…" whispered Gandalf, as he covered Elrohir with his own cloak.
"How do we know dey aren't still 'ere?" asked Pippin, eyeing the window nervously, as if expecting some sort of monster to break through the window and slaughter them.
"They are gone," said Gandalf.
The hobbits looked quizzically at him. "How do you know?"
"I just do. Now hurry and get the supplies. We shall need them before nightfall."
Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry all nodded as the stood and made their way out into the deadly calm city again. Each of them felt themselves flash back to events from four years ago. Going into situations where they had no idea where they were going or what was going to happen. To be honest, these were not the kind of experiences that they wanted to relive.
They walked amongst the rubble, picking up firewood and searching for food that they could eat. They hadn't brought food with them, since the trip from the Shire to Grey Havens only took a day and all the food that the elves had brought had gone down with their ship. They remained close to one another, so as to avoid getting lost and to avoid getting caught by… whoever did this.
Frodo sighed. He thought he was done with this life. He thought they were free of the evils. He had fought his war. They all had. So why did he suddenly feel like it was starting all over again?
"Hey everyone!" shouted Merry. "Come look at this!" Merry was standing over the body of yet another dead man, only this one was dressed for differently from anyone else they had seen. He was clad all in black cloth, with a mask covering his face. The costume was somewhat similar to one they had seen years ago, though with many obvious differences.
"Who do you suppose it is?" asked Sam.
No one could answer his question, though all were finding themselves remembering the last time they had found someone glad in black. Unfortunately that person has been a girl and alive.
"Say what's that he's got around his neck?" asked Pippin. The four hobbits looked to where he pointed and could see a gold chain peaking out from under their black tunic.
Gandalf gave a small sigh as he raised his hand over the forehead of Elladan. He was doing his best to hurry the twin's healing process along, but they had obviously suffered a great ordeal.
Meanwhile Bilbo had taken to standing by the door waiting for the others to come back. "You know, I always said I wanted to have another adventure before I went… but I meant a journey to the Misty Mountains or Gondor. This was not what I had in mind."
Gandalf laughed in spite of the situation. "Well as the saying goes Bilbo: Be careful what you…" But Gandalf did not finish what he was going to say as a wave of fear washed over him.
"Gandalf?" asked Bilbo, wearily.
"Stay here," ordered Gandalf as he jumped to his feet and rushed out the door.
"Pippin, don't touch that," ordered Merry. The fours hobbits had all had past experiences with objects that were mystical in nature, and most of them had learned to be weary of anything they didn't understand. Pippin unfortunately hadn't learned that lesson well enough.
"It's a medallion," said Pippin as he pulled the chain over the dead man's head, holding it up to the light. On the medallion, there was a creature with four eyes carved, and a long tongue slithering out of an opened mouth. Lifting his other, hand Pippin held the medallion itself and looked at it questioningly. "Ugly thang, isn't it? Oops!"
Pippin pulled back his hand and frowned at the blood his cut hand had left on the golden medallion. He was about ready to wipe it off when the most bizarre thing happened. It began to glow.
"Pippin…" began Merry, stepping backwards, along with Frodo and Sam. "Put that down, NOW."
But before Pippin could release the chain, the glow from the medallion fired a beam of light down at their feet. It started out as a thin beam, and then crew into a round disk of light.
"Mister Frodo, what's happening?" yelped Sam in fear.
"I don't know!" screamed Frodo as the disk of light began to raise upwards, swallowing their bodies. The light disk seemed no thicker than a slice of bread, but as it passed their bodies, nothing of them was left. "I can't move!"
"Me neither!" screamed Merry.
"I can't either!" shouted Pippin.
"HELP!" they all cried out as the disk of light reached their chests. "Someone help!"
"FRODO!" The hobbits twisted their heads to see Gandalf running towards them, his white robes billowing behind him.
"GANDALF! HELP US!" they all screamed, as the disk of light reached their shoulder.
Gandalf ran as fast as his legs could take him, but he knew he would never reach them in time. As his hand flew out to grab from Merry's extended hand, the disk of light had completely swallowed the hobbits, and with a sound like thunder, the light exploded. Gandalf was sent flying back into a stonewall and slid back onto the earth.
"No…" he groaned. "Not them too."
As tears began to fall down his elderly face, Gandalf looked down to see a golden chain, and broken medallion.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Author's Notes: Hello and welcome loyal readers. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. I have heard your pleas and thus have agreed to appease them. A sequel to Gotham Knight of Middle-Earth! Times have changes and so have our heroes in both worlds. Will the Fellowship and their allies are able to re-forge the ties of their past and battle a new threat? Only one way to find out…
And I know, I know… I'm using the evil, horribly out of character Cassandra that we all hate (still crying about it myself). Yes, I'm still VERY, VERY pissed off at what DC did her, but TRUST ME… my reasons for this will makes sense as the story progresses…
And just so you know, this story will take place long before the upcoming Titans East storyline in the comics.
Now, as you all know I've currently got another story "Titanic Gryffindor' in the works as well. This is a rather interesting idea I had involving a Harry Potter and the Titans crossover. Now since I'll be writing both stories, there will be times where one is updated more than the other, but I'll try and keep them both going on equal time.
As always, please read and review and feed a writers ego.