A/N; And thus I give you the last chapter of this story. I hope you've all enjoyed this story, I know I've enjoyed writing it immensely. Please tell me what you all think of the ending and thank you to everyone that has read and reviewed this story in the two years it's taken me to write.
Chapter 22; Gaining everything at last
Harry took a last look out of the window to his and Alex's rooms before turning to face his naked husband who smiled at him and gently embraced him. Harry had made sure to go out over the last two days and though weak while his body slowly healed he had walked around the lower city inspecting the repairs and showing his people that he was going to live.
His right wing however was another matter, it was still rather badly wounded and he knew it would take time to heal, perhaps several months and during that time he couldn't pull it in or take his Thunderbird form. He'd focused his healing on the simpler task of fixing his left arm and now it showed no sign that it had been damaged.
"The military began shipping up to Miril this morning." Alex told him softly. "We received word that the tracks are cleared and they'll begin embarking troops as soon as they can. They'll hold ours until we arrive."
Harry nodded. "We'll leave before noon, that way we can board in Miril before nightfall and be on our way by dawn."
"You want me to make sure they get the message?" Alex asked. They'd been arguing almost constantly about the Hobbits. Harry had wanted them to stay here but the rest of the Fellowship and Alex had spoken up for their request to come along. The rest of the Nuuruhuine had won out by saying that it was their world just as much as anyone else's.
"I'll go tell them." Harry shook his head and stepped away from his husband's warm body and moved to wash and change into black leather trousers and a loose silver shirt. He pulled on boots and to finish his appearance he strapped his twin swords and their belt around his waist. Looking deadly and powerful was vital for him at the moment especially since all could see his black wings and knew the damage they concealed. Harry wouldn't be able to fly for a month at least.
Harry left the room and glanced at the Lamia boy, Kentar, who was waiting to accompany him for the morning. One of the young Lamia always accompanied the members of the Nuuruhuine. Harry flashed his teeth at the thirteen year old and the boy leapt to his side. Harry placed a hand on his shoulder. "We're going to see Masters Frodo, Pippin, Samwise and Meriadoc." Harry told him. "To make sure they are prepared to leave."
"Can we come too?" Kentar blurted out. "My Lord?"
Harry glanced down at the boy with a smirk. "That's up to your parents, you know that."
"But my mum said I can't go." Kentar sighed. "Peter, George and Dalamy get to go."
"I'm sorry, Kentar, but it's up to her. I can't contradict her." Harry shook his head gently and ruffled the boy's hair just as they arrived at an ornately carved door. Harry pushed it open and walked into the sunlit room taking in the newly familiar sight of the flames dancing across the ceiling, reflected as they were from the chasm.
Pippin glanced up from where he was sitting in the armchair opposite Merry and he grinned happily. "Merry, it's Harry!"
Merry jumped up along with him and Harry hugged them both briefly. "Where are Frodo and Sam?"
"Out on the balcony, I think." Pippin frowned.
"Kentar?" Harry prompted. The boy ducked out through the door onto the balcony and disappeared briefly. Harry caught him telling Frodo and Sam about his presence and then saw him almost tugging the two Hobbits into the room. "Are you four ready to go?" Harry asked.
"You mean you're letting us go?" Frodo asked warily. "I mean with the army."
"You haven't left me much of a choice, Frodo." Harry grinned at him. "You seem to have most of my own people voting for you now."
Frodo went slightly red but recovered himself. "When do we leave?"
"We'll be eating lunch on the ships." Harry told them. "Pack any personal items you wish to take but wear travel cloths and pack the armour I gave you. I'll leave instructions at the guard room that they convey you all down to the docks as soon as you're ready to leave. Make sure you're there by eleven."
"Thank you, Harry." Frodo told him.
"You've come this far, who am I to stop you from seeing this to the end." Harry nodded to them.
"Even they get to go." Kentar grumbled out under his breath yet Harry caught it easily and tapped him on the side of the head.
"It's not up to me, Kentar, take it up with your parents." Harry smiled at him before turning the thirteen year old towards the door and pushing him forwards. "Make sure you're ready." He shot at the four Halflings just as he shut the door behind them.
The trip around the East-Adurna headland was a little on the rough side and it had to be timed with the ebb of the tide to avoid the twelve knot currents that flooded into the Bay during the flood. But they grounded the ship and alighted only three hours after they'd left and it was only a three hour horse ride along the northern border of Morchaint to the mining town of Miril nestled into the end of the Grey Mountain range. As they approached the city, for a city it was compared to any of the other towns in Middle-Earth, it became clear that while it was designed for war it was also an industrial town with a huge array of stone warehouses nestled in rows and houses that although weren't to the same beautiful standard as in Dras Arget were still captivating. Gardens and ponds filled the areas between the houses and it was obvious that the mining population had made every effort to make their residences as different to their mines as possible. Around the whole city was a fifty foot wall interspersed with the towers so common to Morchaint.
"Do you see up on the cliffs over the city, Pippin?" Harry asked his passenger loud enough that all four Hobbits heard as well as Legolas, Gimli and the five humans and one new Vampire from Gondor. They all looked up and above the city, where it met the cliffs and mountains were small rectangles only just visible against the granite of the cliff.
"What are those? Openings?" One of the Gondorians asked.
"Ledges." Harry told him. "There are eighty five there that can strike pass the town in the direction we approached from."
"Strike?" Frodo asked.
"These are some of the many positions of the Grey Batteries." Gandalf announced. This is a common sight along the whole length of the Grey Mountains, though normally you have to know what to look for to see them. The last time I was here I couldn't spot any of them."
"We normally block up the entrances." Alex nodded. "But they were unblocked when Nacraemeus came past here."
"And he came pretty close." Harry sighed. "You all saw the burnt patches and those few stones out in the plains."
Harry led them though the city which was filled with activity. An entire lane of small wagons were being heaved through the main road leaving Harry and his group to move down a more scenic route that was filled with marching soldiers which moved to the sides to let them pass.
"Why is your army coming here?" The Gondorian Vampire asked. "Would it not be more prudent to move them in smaller groups to Domia?"
"They'll move in smaller groups from here." Harry told him. "Just wait and you'll see. We're approaching the mine entrance now."
As the base of the cliffs came into view through the buildings the entrance of the mines appeared. It was fully eighty metres across and fifty metres high and was surrounding in decoration and outlined by thick solid Mythril frames. Two roads led into the entrance keeping to the sides, both were filled with movement, the left was filled with two long lines of wagons moving in and out of the entrance while the one on the right, their own road was filled with soldiers and horses. What really drew their attention was the metal that ran along the ground in long lines. There were four of them in total and they ran towards them before turning away to their right and towards the warehouses, cutting through their own road.
"What's that smoke?" Sam asked suddenly pointing up above the entrance. The group all turned to look to see a large opening about a hundred metres up the cliff which belched a continuous flow of grey smoke. "Is it a cooking fire?"
"That wouldn't be a bad guess, Sam, but no it isn't." Harry shook his head. "They are escape ventilation, allowing the smoke out of the tunnels. You'll see what for in a few minutes and you'll see part of the most advanced machines in Middle-Earth.
Harry spurred his horse forward and together the fifteen of them headed towards the dark entrance. Harry could feel a slight trembling going through Pippin and hugged him back into his chest to comfort him. "It'll be fine, Pippin." He whispered into his ear. "You'll love this, I promise you."
As they approached the entrance they began to see further inside as the sun crept into the western facing entrance. It was rather nosy inside but as their eyes adjusted they began to see the deep tunnel that punched back into the mountain, supported in a hundred places by glimmering Mythril which reflected all the light back at them like chandeliers.
"To use so much Mythril for such a purpose." Gimli almost yelled. "Such a waste."
"There is billions of tons of granite above our heads, Master Dwarf. You would not wish it to fall would you?" Alex laughed. As they rode further in they finally came to what Harry wanted to show them. The roads led down the edges of the tunnel but in the centre the metal lines continued, branching off to cross the roads and enter the side tunnels. But it was down deeper that the purpose of the metal lines was made clear.
Two wooden carriages sat on the tracks, with metal wheels spaces along the bottom. The wheels were almost bigger than the Hobbits and as they saw further into the gloom they saw one of the carriages after the other, heading off down the tracks. Legolas reported seeing eight before it became too dark to see but the Gondorian turned Vampire said he could see almost twelve.
"They are called trains." Harry announced after they'd gotten over their confusion. "They use a refined Naptha fuel to create steam which we use to drive them. It's complicated but it works on the same principles as boiling a kettle of water. This is what creates the smoke you saw earlier."
"These carts do not seem to be burning." Gimli pointed out.
"At the end of these carriages are pairs of locomotives. They can pull an immense wait. This one we are heading to will take the troops while the other is fitted for equipment." Harry told them.
"This is from your world?" Legolas asked in wonder.
"This is rather old fashioned compared to our world." Harry told him, "but it is more than is necessary."
"We are to get in these?" One of the Gondorians asked.
"Yes." Harry laughed and spurred his horse forwards again, passing the carriages which were filling with horses and then passed the carriages being filled with soldiers.
"Where to?" Pippin asked him.
"To Mirkwood forest." Harry announced and turned to look at Legolas. "This system comes out just north of your borders. It was firstly designed to resupply the grey batteries and to carry out the mined stone and Mythril. There are over eight thousand miles of these tracks in the Grey Mountains."
"Mines to make a Dwarf weep." Gimli gasped out looking absolutely awed.
"A lot of the track runs across natural chambers and chasms. It's a nice route." Alex told them as they pulled to a stop and were approached by several men and women in both uniform and civilian clothing. They took their horses from them and Harry led them up a set of steps and into the carriage three behind a sleek black metal locomotive that he had to pull Pippin away from.
Harry led them into the sitting area of the carriage put aside for them. Along the first stretch were bunk beds, enough for half of them and in the far end were tables and comfortable chairs as well as a large table at the end with what was clearly a large map of Middle-Earth. As Harry let the Hobbits run around he headed towards the far end and was met by a Vampire that came from the door at the end.
"Duke Corvil." The man bowed reverently. "We are almost full, we'll be leaving within the next quarter of an hour."
"Thank you." Harry nodded and the man vanished back through the door. Harry turned to the others and nodded before seating himself in one of the chairs to wait until he had to start answering questions again.
Three hours later
Most of the time the view out of the windows was pitch blackness but once, about half an hour into the journey they'd passed a train coming the other way, already returning from delivering troops to the east. The sight of the flashing windows of the other train as it passed was enough to send the four Hobbits flying back onto the ground since they'd been looking out of the window at the time.
It hadn't deterred them for long and even now they were watching out of the window with Legolas, Gimli and the Gondorians as they passed over a stone bridge over a natural chasm and finally able to see the speed they were moving it amazed them.
Harry glanced up from his chair where he was reading a troop report when the door at the back of the carriage opened and a Captain walked in wearing full armour, one of those on duty then. Harry stayed seated and the man turned and gestured almost harshly back through the door. Four boys scuttled inside and moved passed the beds and towards where Alex had stood up at the sight of them. Peter, George, Dalamy but most importantly Kentar.
Harry sighed and rubbed at his forehead as the boys were made to line up in the middle of the carriage in front of the standing Alex and the seated Harry. The others had all stopped to watch and they didn't seem to like the attention which was odd for the four trouble makers.
"Well?" Harry prompted the Captain kindly.
"It seems this young Lamia decided to stow away in the horse carriages. One of my men saw this other one sneaking him food." The Captain tried to hide his grin but Harry saw it and narrowed his eyes to stop the Captain from losing his self control.
"Oh, Kentar." Harry sighed and shook his head. "Thank you, Captain. I'll deal with him now. You have my thanks."
The Captain saluted and turned to return to his duty. "Boys." Alex sighed. "You've put us in a dilemma."
"We're sorry, sir!" Peter chirped up.
"You see we should get Kentar back to Dras Arget which is where his parents want him but how can we justify slowing or turning this train around when we have so much riding on it?" Alex continued. "I suppose you're versatile little boys. Throwing you out here wouldn't kill you and it's only a week's walk back to Miril. What do you think, Harry?"
Harry hid his smile and pretended to think about it. "Maybe we should slow the train a little before we throw them out?"
"There is the underground lake coming up. They'd have to be quick to swim out before they froze but I don't think they'd be at too much risk." Alex put in helpfully. Harry glanced around the room quickly. Gandalf was close to laughing while Legolas and Gimli looked on straightfaced. The Gondorians and Hobbits were staring at them in horror though.
"It's an idea." Harry sighed.
"Please!" George burst out trying to head forwards but Harry pinned him down with a stern look making his back up between his friends.
"Now, tell me who's idea this was and maybe we'll only throw the one of you out." Harry told them bluntly. "Well?"
They glanced at each other but they didn't seem to want to put the blame on Kentar who was the logical one to have devised this all. "Oh well." Alex sighed. "We'll just have to explain to four sets of parents why their sons are walking through these cold, dark and damp tunnels. Let's just hope you don't get horribly lost. You know there's so many junctions in the tracks, you can't even follow those."
"I'm sorry!" Kentar leapt forwards, clamping himself around Alex's waist as tears started. Alex raised his hands away but chuckled as Kentar continued. "It was my idea! I didn't want to be left alone. Please don't throw us out, please don't."
"Hush now, Kentar." Alex soothed and let his own hands come down onto the boys shoulders before he pulled the boy away. "We were never going to throw you out of the train."
"What?" Kentar looked up at him.
Gandalf burst out laughing and the four boys looked back at him in shock, suddenly realising that Alex and Harry had been playing with them. Harry stood up and what relief had been about to spread amongst the boys vanished. "Boys, take Sam, Frodo, Merry and Pippin back to get some food but come back here with them afterwards. I'm going to have to keep an eye on you it seems."
They bowed their heads but led the four Hobbits out in meek silence. Harry grabbed Kentar by the neck as he made to follow and shook his head at him as he looked up at him. "You and I need to talk, Kentar."
Kentar gulped but followed Harry down the carriage. Harry knelt in front of him. "You really have put me in a dilemma, Kentar. I should send you home to your parents to deal with and eventually I will but what am I supposed to do with you in the meantime?"
"I just wanted..." Kentar sobbed.
"I know what you wanted, Kentar." Harry soothed. "But you can't always run to join fights. You'll get your fair share if you really want them. Until then you need to think of others, not just yourself. How do you think your parents feel right now? Your father is in command of the garrison at Edoc'sil and your mother is in Dras Arget probably already worried about where you've gone."
"I'm sorry..." Kentar bowed his head. Harry tipped it back up to look at him again.
"I know." Harry sighed. "But I should send you back but if I did I'd have to send you back alone, I can't spare the men at the moment to escort you so I'm honour bound to ensure that no harm comes to you. You need to promise me, Kentar, that you won't do anything to put yourself in harm's way. You and your friends will protect the Halflings again and you'll all stay in the safe zones, away from the fighting. Is that clear Kentar?"
"Yes, sir." Kentar bobbed his head. Harry reached out and pulled the poor boy into a hug to calm him down. "Now go and find your friends and get yourself some food. I need to contact your parents to let them know where you are."
Kentar rubbed at his eyes before turning and running from the room. "You have a way with children, Harry." Gandalf commented, not for the first time in two millennia.
"No child should grow up like I did." Harry told him simply, again not for the first time.
Alex past by him and gently touched his shoulder. The Nuuruhuine all knew about the abuse and neglect Harry had suffered under at the hand of his mortal relatives. "We'll be arriving at the station in about ten hours." Harry told them all. "Try to get some rest, you may not realise but it is getting late now."
"And miss all of this?" Gimli asked.
"I'll have the guards wake you before we reach Vita Lex." Harry told him. "It's a place that Lord Lex discovered a long time ago. It's an underground lake at the base of a massive cavern rich with Mythril. It is diffused with the moonlight from the surface and if memory serves it is a full moon tonight. It will be beautiful to see."
"You just make sure they do." Gimli told him before heading off to wash and sleep. Harry laughed but let Alex help him sort out his wing so that he could get some sleep himself.
East of the Old Forest Road
The Old Forest road had been built long ago by the Elves to get from their forests in the centre of Middle Earth to their holdings in the west. After Morchaint had grown up their own Highways had branched out into their allied countries and the Old Forest Road had been repaved to Morchaint's standards. Over the last few hundred years the Elves had allowed most of it to overgrow but there were sections now that had been cleared by the Morchaint troops stationed in Mirkwood Forest after Harry and the rest of the Nuuruhuine had awakened.
The stretch closest to the East had especially been cleared so that the growing army of Elves, Dwarves and Morchaints could hide part of their army within the trees closest to the great Lake that ended the Highway and Morchaint's furthest Eastern outpost, a mere ruin now of what had been a hundred metre high stone tower.
Their train had dropped them off as close as it could, within the mountains north of Erebor, the Dwarves last remaining mountain city and it had taken four days for Harry's group to ride south, passing the Lone Mountain city and skirting along the River Running until they came to the quickly growing camp of the Morchaint army. The Elves and Dwarves had returned to their respective homes en route to collect the last of what they needed before they joined them in a week's time.
Already a massive camp was beginning to take form, canvas and wooden barracks were springing up inside and outside of the forest and while the camp only filled the gentle slope between forest and river at the moment, a few barracks were beginning to go up on the eastern side of the river.
Harry, along with Alex, Pippin, Sam, Merry, Frodo, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf and their six Gondorian counterparts rode across the wooden slatted main roads leading down through the camp and as a whole the camp came to a standstill. A horn blared quietly in greeting and Alex raised his wings high over his head. The reminder that Harry couldn't do such a thing was clear in the air and there was a distinct stupor over Harry's troops as they bowed to the group as it passed up the road before turning towards the trees and onto ancient pavings.
A Lamia wearing well worn black and silver leathers approached them with his ruby red wings folded against his back. He bowed his head and his wings arched up in a proper salute. "General." Harry greeted recognising the man easily as the General of the Second Army that were the first to arrive and had made up the entirety of the troops that Harry had originally sent to guard Mirkwood. Chances are this camp was already in the making before they received the order to withdraw to Domia.
"My Lords." He straightened up before turning to the others. "Master Hobbits, Master Wizard, Prince Legolas, Master Dwarf and our friends from Gondor. It is a pleasure to see you all."
"Well, he certainly knows how to greet people." Gandalf muttered loud enough for them all to hear.
"Accommodation has not yet been prepared for you. I was not sure what you would require though there are both small and large tree levels and tents at your disposal." The General told them all, though he directed it to the others rather than at Harry and Alex.
"There is no way I am going up another ruddy tree!" Gimli grunted. "Once was more than enough."
"A large tent within the forest would probably suit them, General Harand." Harry glanced around and saw no objections. "Away from the camp areas preferably. The Hobbits are not used to the noises of an army."
"Of course, my Lord." Harand nodded. "I have one in mind with a stables attached. I shall show you now if you wish and have hot water and food sent to you. You may wish to unhorse however. We have followed the Elves wishes and not trimmed the trees and it is low in many places."
Legolas nodded in satisfaction and the group slowly got off their horses, helping the Hobbits and Gimli down after them. Harry walked his horse into the forest at Harand's side. "What of numbers so far, General?"
"There are ten thousand in the army here, my Lord." Harand told him. "One thousand Lamia, Four thousand Vampire and the rest human."
"What of reports?" Harry asked. "Have you heard anything from the south-west or west?"
"A forward party of a hundred has already arrived from Rivendell with Lord Elrond's twin sons. They say that the bulk of his army will arrive in five days time." Harand informed him. "We have yet to hear anything from the south-west but you are the first to arrive with the power to extend your mind that far."
"Ah, I will find out later for you." Harry nodded. "The Dwarves and Mirkwood Elves will not be longer than the week. The trains are bringing them east as we speak along with our own troops. The bulk of the first army should be hear by the end of three days. We rode on ahead."
"Is there anything you require?" Harand asked as they approached a light green tent easily large enough to house a hundred people comfortably.
"Not for now, General, but I wish to call a meeting of all commanders an hour before sunset." Harry told him. "Can you make sure that the Rivendell twin menaces are made aware?"
The General snorted in amusement but bowed to him one final time before calling out orders in Morchaint's version of Elvish to a few servants that had followed them into the forest.
"Oh, General." Alex spoke up. "In the forward party of the First Army are four Lamia boys. Kentar, Peter, George and Dalamy. They'll arrive the day after tomorrow. Have them brought straight here, they'll bunk with us."
"Of course, my Lord." The General didn't question this, normally the boys too young to fight either stayed with their parents or lived in a common tent under the eyes of the warriors that trained them. He wouldn't question the orders of a Nuuruhuine though.
South-East border of Mirkwood
Aragorn rode beside his wife. He was wearing travellers garb identical to what he had always worn as a Ranger when he'd lived a life out of Rivendell, skirting the Bloodplains and avoiding Morchaint patrols. It had now turned in the other direction and he was heading straight towards the largest gathering of armies since the first fall of Sauron. He was taking a Gondorian army directly towards the Morchaint army and as he had noticed over the last week, his own men were more than a little nervous about the prospect.
On his other side rode Théoden and Eomer. They and their army had joined them at the River Anduin. Around them all was a contingent of riders from both the Rohirrim and Gondorians made up of the best especially after Théoden's encounters with the slaughtered Rohirrim villages that had been placed to ambush the Fellowship returning to Morchaint. The thought of Morchaint drew his eyes across the forest they rode past and over the distant North-western horizon. Just a few days ago the wind had brought a large black cloud onto the horizon and it had been decided it was smoke, travelling south. The wind had settled back into its normal Easterly direction soon after and the cloud had disappeared into the west.
When they'd received word that Dras Arget had held firm against an army of half a million it had shocked all in the army, Rohirrim and Gondorian alike and there were many who worried that they'd arrive at the meeting point, given to Arwen by Archie only to find the remnants of a tired and torn nation. They'd already been amassed at the Anduin river for word from the besieged city however and had set out and now in front and behind them stretched an army of humans both on horse and on foot. Fifty-eight thousand Gondorians and twenty-five thousand Rohirrim with a total of thirty thousand horses between them. Along with their support personnel and supply chain they numbered near to one hundred thousand and were almost thirty miles in length as they marched.
A shocked intake of breath had him spinning in his seat to catch his wife as she tensed and slipped out of her saddle. His horse stopped at the fuss and one of the guards quickly leapt from his horse and helped ease her to the ground. Their contingent ground to a halt and the rest of the army slowly continued past them. There was a rumbling as a long wagon rolled passed with a broken up Gondorian Trebuchet on the back. One of twenty-five.
Aragorn cradled her head and opened her eyes. They were flickering back and forth and Aragorn sighed in defeat knowing that she spoke to one of the Nuuruhuine again. "Bring food and a hot drink!" Aragorn ordered the guardsman who nodded and rose to do as ordered. She'd need the help recovering soon enough.
"Aragorn looks concerned." Harry told Arwen in amusement.
"I wouldn't know. I cannot monitor my body and talk to you at the same time. I suppose you can do that and monitor my own surroundings at the same time." She sighed in her own mind knowing that her mind couldn't accept Harry's mind and her own body signals at the same time.
"That I can." Harry told her. "Where are you?"
"We are with the Rohirrim about ten miles north of the southernmost tip of Mirkwood." She told him. "The front of our army should arrive in three days, the rest over the next day or so."
Harry talked to her at length about what the army comprised but she had her limits when it came to talking directly to his mind. He withdrew to allow her to continue her own journey.
Morchaint Camp – Mirkwood
The meeting tent sat in the eaves of the forest, looking out from a vantage point over the army filling the space between the forest and the lake. Harry was standing behind a table with a map and many small figures for military units. Harry had been updating it with Rohirrim, Gondorian and Lothlorien Elves for the last hour as he contacted Arwen and Galadriel. "Eight-three thousand from Gondor and Rohan." Harry told the gathered people. "And another thirteen thousand Elves from Lothlorien."
"Eight thousand from Rivendell." One of the Rivendell Twins told the room as a whole. Harry glanced around quickly, taking in their expressions. Apart from himself and Alex there was the twins and two Rivendell Lords as well as General Harand and his command staff. Gandalf was leaning on his wooden staff as he studied the map and Gimli and Legolas stood at his sides. There were a number of Human, Vampire and Lamia Captains throughout the tent as well.
"King Thranduil has promised us seventy thousand." Harry nodded to Legolas who smiled at him. "And lastly King Thorin has promised us his army. Fifty-two thousand Dwarves."
Gimli almost seemed to glow at Harry's respectful tone and Harry bowed his head to him. "What of your numbers?" One of the twins asked.
"So far we have the ten thousand here but we'll soon be joined by the rest of our army. We're leaving twenty thousand behind in the form of the third army in Edoc'sil as a spring board in case they get anything past us. They have orders to protect all nations against invasion." Harry told them. "In all, when we leave here on the summer solstice we shall have three hundred and eighty five thousand though that number includes our engineers and support. Around three hundred and fifty thousand fighting men and women. Fifty thousand on horseback."
"That means your army makes up three fifths of our numbers." One of the Elven Lords told them in awe. "Five hundred and seventy six thousand."
"That's indeed a large number of soldiers." Legolas commented. "How long can we support such a number."
"Our own stores and network alone should be able to support the combined army for six months." Alex told them. "Our engineers are already bringing the tracks down across the plains to Erebor with Thorin's permission. Once complete in two months we can use Erebor as a resupply base."
Gimli grinned again and Harry chuckled. The Dwarf was immensely proud of his home and he'd gone on non-stop about it as they'd ridden past its base.
"We seem to have some time on our hands." Harry announced in way of closing off the briefing. He moved forward and fondly studied the figures placed to show the disposition of his armies along the Grey Mountains. Alex rested a hand on his back and Harry turned to him. "I will be so immensely relieved when this is over and I can give over command to those like the Nuru Noste." He sighed out so that only Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and, of course, Alex could hear him. Gandalf smiled at him softly and just as the rest of the group were about to back out of the room Harry and Alex stepped back and turned and before anybody could blink had vanished from the room, moving fast enough to shock their allies. Only Legolas, the Rivendell Lords and their own Lamia and Vampires had even seen a blur leave through the entrance to the tent.
Morchaint Camp – A few days later
Harry stood beside the river along the wooden planking that made up the majority of the busier roads within the camp. He'd just spent three hours with the Hobbits, Legolas and the four Lamia boys up in the archery range teaching the four Hobbits how to shoot with a bow and though Harry had had to order four new bows to be made to a better standard than the training bows that their children learned with they had done rather well and were coming along well.
The advanced scouts of the Rohirrim and Gondorian combined army had arrived a few hours ago with word that the front edge of their army would arrive soon. The arriving Morchaint armies had spread out onto the eastern bank of the river and now completely surrounded the lake. Over two hundred thousand now resided in the camp with another eighty thousand to arrive before the end of the day including their Gondorian and Rohirrim counterparts. Tents had been raised enough for the arriving allies so they'd be able to move in quickly and easily without causing their camp planners any trouble.
The eight scouts on horseback had brought word that King Elessar, as Aragorn was now officially known, Queen Arwen and King Theoden were at the head of the army and would arrive with the first group. That was to be soon and Harry could already see his Dunedain friend as they approached the edge of the camp.
"Sound the call." Harry ordered. "We have two Kings approaching."
A Lamia of Patia's lineage bowed to him and raised his horn to his lips blowing out a gentle call interspersed with short flitting pauses. The call was taken up by the lookouts and up at the command tent by a dozen or more others. When it finished another horn started from up by the trees and a few more joined it. Elvin horns greeting their allies.
It took only a few seconds before Aragorn and Theoden ordered a return and Gondorian and Rohirrim horns joined the call. Harry stepped out to meet the three Royals and they pulled their skittish horses to a halt. Unfortunately Harry couldn't collapse his wings. Their personal guards spread out forming a loose horseshoe far away from Harry so it couldn't be perceived that they were guarding their Kings and Queen from him.
"Greetings from Morchaint. King Elessar, King Theoden and Queen Arwen." Harry bowed his head. His wings folded against his back prevented him from looking inferior to the three horse borne Royals.
"Duke Corvil." Theoden returned with a smile before gracefully slipping off his horse. Harry offered his hand and they clasped wrists in greeting as one of the Gondorian scouts moved to help Queen Arwen from her horse and Aragorn climbed off himself. Harry repeated the gesture to Aragorn before kissing Arwen's hand gently.
"Harry, how have you been?" Aragorn asked.
They was a shimmer through the watching Morchaint troops, Lamia, Vampire and human alike and Aragorn picked it up easily. "Perhaps my own injuries can be overlooked with the news that Dras Arget is still standing and Nacraemeus is dead?" Harry spoke loud enough to make it clear he was addressing everyone.
"What happened to you?" Aragorn asked.
"I took some injuries in Nacraemeus' last moments." Harry admitted. "I won't be flying for some time." He told them as he weakly opened his right wing to show the tears and shredding there. Aragorn gasped and Arwen covered her mouth in surprise. "I should just say that my people do not like to see one of their founders wounded. They are overly respectful towards my injury but it will keep me from flying with my Lamia during this campaign. It is a shame."
"You've done more than your fair share, Duke Corvil." Theoden told him.
"So have the two of you yet here you are." Harry laughed before turning to the scouts that had arrived earlier. "You know where your armies will reside. Please show them down across the ford." He turned back to the Kings and Queen. "We've already erected enough tents for your armies though we'll give them into your care as we march. Would you like two tents erected within your own armies or near the command tents?"
"I think with an army this size it may be prudent to be closer to the command tents." Theoden nodded. "How many are here?"
Harry grinned. "By the end of the day we will have approximately two hundred and eighty thousand." He paused for their surprise to settle. "By the time Mirkwood, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Erebor and the last parts of my army arrive we will have almost six hundred thousand."
"The vast majority is your own army I assume." Aragorn looked awed.
"We were ready for this war and have been fighting it for many centuries. In time your own nations will come to rest as our equals for only when all are equal can all reside in peace." Harry told them solemnly.
"Well said." Arwen spoke up with a smile.
"Ah!" Harry turned to look up over the trees. "You are in time to see the Lamia arrive."
"Are they not already here?" Aragorn asked.
"The Vampires, humans and equipment as well as the Mirkwood Elves and Dwarves came by another means but there was little point in restricting the Lamia from their flight." Harry waved to the west. "Watch."
Even as he stopped speaking a winged figure appeared over the trees. His dark wings made it clear he was old. Archie collapsed his wings as he levelled with Harry and landed with a soft thud just as a hundred winged Lamia appeared over the trees. That hundred quickly doubled, then tripled and soon the sky over them was filled with Lamia, levelled up so that guessing their numbers was impossible.
Harry turned back to the staring human Kings and smiling Elvin Queen but a movement off to the side caught his attention and a moment later Lex stepped out of the shadows. Around them the entirety of the Nuuruhuine appeared, even Alex who had been with Legolas and Gimli until then. When Arwen, Aragorn and Theoden looked back at him they jumped in surprise at the sight of the dark beings with their wings over their heads. Their guards shifted nervously.
"Kings and Queen of Middle-Earth, may I formally introduce you to the Nuuruhuine in their entirety. You are the first non-Morchaint humans to see us all together in more than a thousand years." Harry smiled at them gently.
"Incredible." Theoden breathed out in awe. "You are all to fight with us?"
"We are." Lex spoke out, his grey wings more soothing for the guards' nerves than their dark counterparts.
Archie moved to Harry's side and leant in, whispering in his ear to make it clear he was talking to him. "I can sense a new mind." Archie whispered. "Nicole can sense it too. Arwen is with child."
Harry glanced at him and a grin twitched at his lips. He turned back to their guests and his eyes settled on Arwen with a glimmer of light in them. Arwen frowned at him. Harry let it go for the time being and turned back to Kings. "You and your personal guards will stay in tents up in the trees where the Elves and Nuuruhuine will stay. If you'll follow me."
Later that evening
Harry ate from a small bowl of cherries that sat on the edge of the planning table. The camp was building in size and less and less of the figurines were outside of the camp, just about a hundred thousand of his own troops, the three armies of Elves, the Dwarves and the second half of the Gondorian-Rohirrim army that had camped out to the south for the night rather than march through the night.
He could easily hear that the Gondorian and Rohirrim were still filing in by the noise of their horses and armour clanking as they settled in. Still a column marched in, lit by torch light. Harry looked up as somebody walked in the open western end of the tent. It the doorway stood Arwen. She glanced down at the table and lifted a figure that represented part of Rivendell's army. "My father comes?"
"He should be here the day after tomorrow." Harry nodded speaking very softly.
"Is there anything he can do about your wing?" She asked. "Or perhaps drinking from an Elf may help?"
"Elvin blood will boost us more than human blood, Queen Arwen, but it won't aid our healing, not for an injury like this." Harry told her. "Besides a lady in your state should not be offering blood."
"What do you mean?" Arwen frowned trying to work out if she should take that as an affront.
Harry laughed gently. "You do not yet realise then?"
"You and your riddles!" Arwen cursed. "My father used to rant so dramatically about you. Used to curse bad tidings on you."
Harry laughed. "Archie has the ability to sense minds and Nicole has the ability to sense lives. They cannot be mistaken. There is a life growing inside you, Queen Arwen." She gasped and her hand flickered to her abdomen without control. "I take it this is news to you? I expect it is new."
"I know." Harry nodded before she finished the sentence. "It is rare to have children this quickly but Aragorn is a human after all. You had best tell him I think."
She bit her lip. "Will you send for him?"
Harry chuckled. "Afraid to tell him yourself?"
"You seem to have had more practice at it than me." Arwen laughed musically.
"I've told this news to by descendents. I have been at the births of my own grandchildren with far too many greats to bother going into." Harry chuckled.
"Will you send for him?" She asked again.
"I already have." Harry grinned at her cheekily. "I hope you know this means you cannot remain in this army?"
"What?" She gasped.
"You father would try to kill me." Harry said simply. "I can't allow the Prince of Gondor to come to harm."
Alex's mind brushed over his own and he stopped talking just as Aragorn walked into the tent and eyed his wife and friend suspiciously. He was wearing leather trousers and an undone cotton shirt over his torso. "Were you sleeping, my little King?" Harry asked teasingly.
"Funny, Harry." Aragorn glared. "Is there something you needed?"
"Evidently your husband does not like being awoken by a Nuuruhuine." Harry chuckled. "I need to discuss with you the transport of your wife back along the Old Forest Road to Edoc'sil."
"What?" Aragorn flinched in surprise.
"Once Dras Arget is extinguished she can return with my garrison to there. She will be safe there." Harry told him regardless of the fact he was simply fuelling his confusion. "If you wish to send personal guards with her you may as I am sure Lord Elrond will do."
"Enough Harry!" Aragorn almost yelled. "What are you talking about? Arwen can protect herself. She's an Elf and you even have human women in your army."
"It is not that she is a woman, Aragorn." Harry paused and corrected himself. "Actually it is if you think about it. Arwen?"
Aragorn looked to her husband. "Two of the Nuuruhuine sensed something in me when they arrived earlier." Arwen sighed. "Aragorn? I'm pregnant."
Aragorn looked between the two in shock and he swallowed a few times before staring at Arwen before his eyes rolled up into his head and he fell backwards. Arwen gasped and dashed forward and lifted his head off the ground just as he was coming back around. Harry laughed and she looked up at him accusingly. "You could have caught him!"
"Yes, but fainting at that news doesn't have the same effect if you don't hit the ground." Harry grinned at her cheekily before turning to the entrance, he paused in the doorway and looked to the Citadel guard that stood there eyeing the Vampire from Nuru Noste that was his own guard. "Your King seems to have had a fainting spell. Please go and find a cool drink for him."
The Vampire looked at him in surprise, taking in his amused features. He'd probably been close enough to hear the conversation.
A week later
Harry had been very busy the last few days. He knew that his nation would run on its own without his interference and the rest of the Nuuruhuine could have easily kept an eye over the plans for the upcoming war but as more and more armies joined their own the strategy sessions became more and more complex and more than not it degraded to niggling comments between the Captains of the armies.
Harry had put a stop to quite a few planning sessions for just that reason and even bared his teeth in a few to silence Gondorian Captains. But it wasn't just the humans causing the problems. There was a lot of superior feelings when it came to the Elves, Vampires, Lamia and Dwarves and a lot of history between them and Morchaint.
It all came down to this though. The day when the slower elements of their army broke camp and started heading out to the North-East towards the Iron Hills where the founding city of the Necromancers lay. With it went all their siege equipment, including the eighty-five massive trebuchets that formed the bulk of Morchaint's ballistic weaponry. They were mounted in pairs on the back of wide rolling platforms and covered by thick material to hide their design and also to confuse any scouts from the enemy so they didn't know what was supplies and what was equipment.
To guard them thirty thousand Morchaint humans and Vampires as well as ten thousand Elves from the three different countries, five thousand Dwarves and twenty thousand of the Gondorian-Rohirrim army walked or rode out with them and in a few hours three thousand Lamia would spread their wings to follow and act as scouts. With them Lex and Patia would fly out and Jesu would follow them to place some serious elemental powers on their side.
The main bulk of the army would leave in a few days and would catch them up within the week but the riders among the combined army, all one hundred and eighty thousand of them would go east along the river and sweep around the main army and strike out towards the Rhun countries, wiping out anything tainted by Necromancy as they went and also protecting the flank of the drawn out army as it moved towards the Iron Hills bases.
Harry watched as the army moved out listening to the deep thump of the Morchaint drums as they moved and it wasn't long before the Morchaint troops broke formalities and instead of marching, walked and sung together, emphasising the bastardised Elvish words with thumps of their weapons and shields. It wouldn't be long before there were rounds around the army of their different songs but it would make the long journey more bearable for them.
Two weeks later
The Iron hills were a large horseshoe opening up to the Northwest and the mountains, though smaller than the Grey Mountains were capped by snow as they approached. Harry, after many arguments between the Nuuruhuine, had ridden with Aragorn, Theoden, Elrond, Thorin, Galadriel and Celeborn and as part of the main army that had overtaken and ridden with the equipment. There were very few horses in this section of the army but at these speeds it mattered little.
Harry had wanted to ride with the flanking army into the Rhun territories but because of his injuries he had been overruled by the other Nuuruhuine so he had accepted to ride with the other leaders of the nations leaving their children and the other Nuuruhuine to lead the riders south east and then north again. All of Morchaint knew that Harry wasn't happy about leading from the rear but they all respected that it was necessary and any word about it from the other races was quickly cut off by harsh words from his own nation.
Legolas had gone to lead the Elven riders in his father's stead and it was the first time in a long while that Harry had seen Gimli without Legolas around and the Dwarf had refused to ride with another Elf or even Harry and had taken to sitting on one of the Dwarven siege weapons along with the four Hobbits and their protectors, the four Lamia boys, telling the eight of them stories of Dwarven battles of old. Even a few skirmishes between Morchaint and the Dwarven armies in the first few decades. Harry found the changes in the details rather amusing but noticed Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, Thranduil, Jesu, Lex and Patia, who were the only ones to remember those days kept quiet.
Gandalf and Aragorn had ridden with the other army and it was officially Aragorn's command even though he rode with sixteen members of the two millennia old Nuuruhuine. Theoden had wanted to go but Harry had pointed out that leaving the Gondorian and Rohirrim parts of this army without a human leader was possibly not a great idea and he had acquiesced and ridden with them.
"My Lord." A Lamia ran up to the side of his horse and kept pace easily enough at their slow pace. Harry glanced at him, he was one of Archie's descendents, one of the eldest at just over five hundred and Harry had set him to communicating with the Lamia that were scouting out from the air.
"Go on." Harry replied in their own language.
"We've detected a scouting party about ten miles in front of the head of the line." He told Harry. "What are your orders?"
Harry was about to order the Lamia to wipe them out but remembered he was only one of eight overall leaders. He turned to the others looking between Galadriel, Celeborn, Thranduil, Elrond and Theoden on their horses and Thorin on the closest Dwarven wagon. The seven he had with him without Aragorn around. "My Lamia scouts have detected a scouting party in our path. What would you like them to do?"
"My votes for wiping them out." Throin grunted. "Can you handle that?" He jeered good naturedly.
"Would you like me to do it from where I sit, my stout King?" Harry asked with a perfectly straight face, silencing the humour on the Dwarf's face before he turned to the Elves and Theoden. "It'll take too long to go around them and they'll merely scurry back to report our numbers."
"Surely they can see the army by now from those hills." Theoden pointed out.
"Indeed." Harry nodded. "Their traditions must be upheld however and I'm sure they've sent this bunch out just to scare a few of our men. Probably old dead. They'll probably hope to kill a group of scouts and resurrect them and turn them on our own army."
"Demoralise us?" Celeborn guessed though he already knew that was the answer.
"Have your Lamia kill them." Galadriel spoke up airily.
Harry glanced around briefly to make sure nobody had any objections before he turned back to the waiting Lamia. "Do it." Harry told him. "But wait until the last moment, show our allies what the Lamia can do."
"My Lord." The Lamia spread his wings and paused for only a moment before leaping up just as a gust of wind swept past. The wind caught his brown wings and threw him up into the air and back over their heads making the allies around them watch in surprise.
It was maybe another twenty minutes before Harry pointed his companions in the directions of the rapidly moving Lamia that had slowly spiralled in on the front of the army. Just as the army approached that point, almost fifty miles ahead of their own group the Lamia all collapsed their wings and in a rather ostentatious spiral they dropped to the ground, only touching once to kill before they glided back over the army. It was obvious to most of the army what was happening and the screams of the Undead almost drowned out the few Morchaint horns that blew from the front of the line and the Nuru Noste led Vanguard. Their position of honour within the Morchaint army.
"How many make up the average enemy scouting party?" Theoden asked.
"We have seen anything from twenty Undead and a single Necromancer to a group of fifty with a few leaders." Thranduil told his human companion.
"Jesu has just told me it's approximately eighty in the group ahead." Harry flinched slightly and his teeth bared over his lower lip in anger making them all look at him. "We were right about their intentions, they are new Undead. Women and children mostly. They hoped to lull a group of scouts with the presence of a group of refugees fleeing an approaching army."
"Children?" Celeborn gasped and Harry looked at him in sadness. "It isn't so uncommon. Many children die in their first six years. The number is lower in Morchaint, Gondor and Rohan but still rather high in the Eastern countries. They make good Undead according to Nacraemeus."
A figure dropped to the ground in front of them and flared his wings high over his head. The darker wings of a Nuuruhuine. Theoden's horse reared up but the human King calmed it expertly as Jesu folded his wings behind his back.
"Pregnant women, Harry!" Jesu spat. "Children of less than three!"
Harry swore something rather unpleasant from their old world and Jesu shook his head. "Burn the bodies, Jesu." Harry told him abruptly. "Before the head of the army reaches the site."
"What?" Theoden gasped, knowing that Harry was trying to cover it up.
"Do you want your men seeing the torn apart bodies of pregnant women and young children, King Theoden?" Harry almost snapped and Harry's horse jigged to the side as it noticed Harry's irritation. "People my Lamia just slaughtered?"
"They're Undead." Thorin spat.
"Two days old at most." Jesu shook his head. "A normal group of humans wouldn't have even realised they were raised."
"Burn them, Jesu." Harry spoke sternly. Jesu nodded and spread his wings out. With a dull thud he was in the air and away to the North-East. It wasn't long before a trail of smoke was rising there. "Trust me, my friends. Seeing a group of fifty or more slaughtered women and children just before they go into battle will not do your troops any good."
Despite Harry's efforts to cover up the scene it was obvious to his own seasoned troops what they had killed and a low murmer of singing sprouted up from the front of his army as it spread out over the plains. It was sung so softly and gently with long cadences and pauses that it brought a feeling of mourning to the rest of the army even if their human and Dwarven allies couldn't understand the words. There were in fact two lyrics being sung, each pair would sing a different side of the song. One half promising to make peace while the other side promised revenge for those that had died for no reason.
"What do they sing about?" Theoden asked.
"I have not the heart to tell you, friend." Thranduil sighed.
The song came to an end almost an hour of repetitions later and Harry let the silence spread for a time before he pulled his sword and directed his horse up to the Dwarven wagon. He smiled at Galadriel for a brief second before striking one of the Dwarven shields with the pommel. He started a rhythm of beats that all of Morchaint would recognise and the depressed atmosphere shifted at the signal for the new song. The pattern was continued forwards and backwards along the army until every Morchaint soldier with a shield was continuing it. Even some of the other armies took up the rhythm. Singing started again and this time it was happy and there was laughing.
Galadriel smiled at Harry and nodded. Harry smiled and sheathed his sword with a flourish. His message clear. It didn't matter what horrors they saw here, they'd have celebrations once they had their victory.
The next evening
Harry watched from the top of one of the still loaded siege weapons that sat ready to be into position over the night. They were lined up in line across the entrance to the Rotten Valley as the Morchaint population tended to call the horseshoe valley of the Iron Hills. His own weapons were interspersed by the Gondorian and Dwarven siege weapons though the Morchaint wagons sat only in every other of their slots since there were two placed on each wagon.
The army camped out within the valley itself and already tents had spread out across the valley floor from edge to edge and a thick wall of defences were going up ready for their first night in the hostile area. Outside of the growing wall of wagons were the support wagons and command tents and the stabling areas which were growing fast, ready for the riders to return the next evening, set to arrive at the end of his own chain. Jesu, Lex and Patia alighted around him on the sides of the hidden timbers and their wings folded against their backs.
"What of it?" Harry asked in their own language and far too quiet for any Elf, Vampire or Lamia to hear from the milling troops on the ground. Jesu made to speak but paused as they watched wagons draw to a halt on the defensive line and the canvas' were drawn off to reveal fully built watch towers, twenty feet tall lying on their sides.
"The city is filled with Undead." Jesu told him. "Around one hundred and fifty thousand."
"On top of what Nacraemeus brought to Dras Arget." Patia pointed out. "We didn't expect that many."
"It's still not enough to pose a threat to this army." Harry shook his head, pointing out the obvious.
"Whoever is in command of Necropolis must have realised what we would do as soon as Nacraemeus was killed." Lex spoke up using the name of the city that was only decades younger than Dras Arget and had also never been conquered in battle. Ron had never been that original but since he had taken over the original ruins of the Necropolis on Earth he'd decided to flaunt that victory at the Nuuruhuine upon this world. "Archie says that every graveyard they've gotten to has been emptied. Most about a year ago but a lot are recent, only a month ago."
Harry paused as he watched three of the watch towers tipped lengthways off of their wagons. Sharp spikes on the base sliced into the ground and soon the towers stood tall and proud, more and more joining them in a long line that would be guarded by all races over the night.
"Harry!" Pippin yelled up at them from the base of the wagon. "Lady Galadriel sent me! They are meeting in the command tent."
"You're ordering me now are you, Pip?" Harry grinned down at him and in a blur of movement he was standing on the ground next to Pip. He glanced at his three friends with a nod to ask them to go with him. As one they spread their wings and vanished up into the sky, heading for the command tent. Harry wrapped an arm around Pippin's shoulders and together they walked across the camp towards the silver and black command tent which even now was guarded by no fewer than sixty humans, Vampires, Lamia, Elves and Dwarves.
"I've waited thousands of years to see this, Pip." Harry told him gently.
"What?" Pip asked in confusion.
"These five races should have been friends from the start." Harry told him. "This is a time of renewal for all allegiances."
"What about Hobbits?" Pippin asked. "We're a race too you know."
"You were left out before because you were so young but now the four of you have proven yourselves and I promise it won't be overlooked." Harry told him before pulling him inside the command tent already smelling the other three in there as well as about forty other people including the Hobbits' escorts.
Patia, Lex and Jesu were already there standing in the shadows near the back between the flags of the different nations and in some cases the different regiments of the Gondorian military. The map on the table had already been laid out with the growing camp on it.
"Have your scouts found out anything about what lies behind those walls?" Theoden asked to start off the meeting.
"If by scouts you mean Lord Jesu, Lord Lex and Lady Patia? Then yes." Harry cut them off from asking what they'd discovered. "There are around one hundred and fifty Undead behind the walls.
"Likely fifty thousand living and Necromancers too." Jesu continued for him.
"And who commands them?" Elrond asked.
"We do not know." Harry told them simply. "Nacraemeus wasn't in the habit of naming second-in-commands so it could be any of the more powerful Necromancers who took up the role. Probably with the deaths of several other contenders."
"What is your plan for attack?" Thorin asked.
"Do any among you wish to capture this city?" Harry asked quietly. "Does anybody think that taking prisoners is necessary?"
"I don't think anybody really wants either of those." Galadriel spoke up when nobody else did.
"We'll close to ballistic range and raise the city from a distance." Harry told them simply gesturing at the little mock figures of the trebuchets. "You all saw the power of our catapults at Minis Tirith but you'll see that what we brought with us here are much more powerful. Along with your own equipment we'll be able to fight most of this battle from a distance."
"Over two days or more!" Thranduil commented. "It takes time to load, aim and fire catapults, longer for trebuchets."
Harry glanced at Lex who was the better of the engineers amongst them. It had been him that had designed and helped build the trains. "A few hours at most." Lex said simply. "We'll have the gate down within the half hour or less. I took a look at it. It looks new."
"It'd have to be." Harry snorted. "Alex destroyed the last one six hundred years ago."
"We'll defend our own lines with our troops and use the riders only if their army comes out." Theoden nodded as if agreeing to a previously spoken suggestion. "Such a sudden and decisive levelling of this city will ring through our enemies and show what the combined western nations can achieve."
"My thoughts exactly." Harry nodded. "At daybreak in two days we'll roll our engines forwards and attack."
Sunrise – Two days later
The army marched forwards up the valley and came to a halt far out of range of normal catapults. Harry stood on a wagon at the back of the army with the other leaders and surrounded by the Nuuruhuine and the other nations leaders' personal guards. It was a truly mighty army that spread out across the valley and that was ignoring the fact that several thousand Lamia were spread out over the hills looking for escape tunnels and people trying to escape the city.
Harry nodded to Lex as the army came to a halt and pennants were raised throughout the front of the army to show the five hundred units were in place. Lex lifted his horn to his lips and blew out a series of notes and a ringing round of loud cracks filled the air as he stopped. It had drawn confusion from their allies when the Gondorians and Dwarves had put together their siege equipment yet the Morchaint weapons had lain under their covers. Even if they'd been lifted from their wagons this morning to roll down to the front lines they were still covered.
Now eighty canvas-covered machines seemingly woke up as their engineers sprung to life. Almost as one they arched up into the air, folding at the middle and spreading out on tracks built into their bases. Their canvas covers were pulled back off of them showing gleaming Mythril re-enforced timbers and such strangely designed systems that they were hard to work out. Not all were strange however. Almost thirty of the machine were recognised as larger than normal trebuchets.
The fifty strange weapons sat at eighteen metres in height with a wide base but what was most interesting is that instead of just the one arm that led from a weight to the projectile there was just the one arm but with equal spans that led to two projectile catchers. A series of stoat gears sat up the side and metal belts leading to a spring assisted rotor device mounted as part of the counterbalance at the back.
"What on Middle-Earth are they?" Aragorn gasped. There was a ripple of noise throughout the army as the malicious looking machines appeared within their front line, making their own trebuchets look meek in comparison.
"Catapults." Harry said simply. "Of a kind."
"They don't work on centrifugal force." Theoden frowned.
"They are tough to start up but once in motion the falling arm generates a counterbalance for the lifting one for the start up." Lex started but Harry snorted and his friend trailed off.
"They'll soon see your artwork, Lex." Harry laughed before raising his hand. "If you don't mind we'd like our own engines to fire first. Our people have been waiting a long time for this day."
"Please, Harry." Galadriel nodded to him. "You have been fighting this war longer than any other."
Harry glanced around and saw no contradiction in any of the others. He turned and raised a clenched fist knowing that all of his Engineer Captains were watching the command podium. He dropped his fist down towards the City and as one the Lamia in the army leapt up into the sky to assess damage and to draw attention away from the ground engines. A rending creak echoed through the valley as they trebuchets were drawn back and the fifty rotating catapults started to life, turning slowly before picking up speed.
"Crysta." Harry whispered and she nodded before throwing a hand into the air setting light to the air far above them as a signal that could be seen rather than heard over their whining engines. The Trebuchets were released and thirty rumblings were heard as each took the strain of a three tone chiselled ball and launched them up into the air. Second later there was a rain of thumps as the rows of smaller meteor like stones were placed into the feeders of the rotating catapults and the first fifty and then the second fifty were launched into the air.
In all one hundred and thirty stones were in the air before the trebuchet rounds started back down, far behind the city walls. There was a dull roar as they first shots struck home and clouds of rock and dust flew into the air. The Trebuchets were aimed at the main citadel at the top of the cliff side city while the rotating catapults struck home on the outer walls and the lower levels aiming for the gates, defences and the few trebuchets that lined the walls.
The first dozen return shots arched into the air and a stillness spread through the troops even though the siege teams kept up their work. By the time the first return shots struck home, short, their own trebuchets were being aimed again and eight shots had flown from the catapults. The Dwarven catapults reacted to the deep horn blown from one of Thorin's Captains and Aragorn signalled his own General to order an open fire.
"Incredible." Thorin moved to Harry's side as the gates imploded in under the stress of over a hundred direct strikes and soon the walls were beginning to crumble.
"The gates fell faster than anticipated." Harry commented to Lex. "Those teams should be complimented."
"The gates are open. Do you want to move on?" Alex asked quietly though all on the wagon heard him.
"Move on?" Thranduil asked warily.
"As destructive as this is a stone will only kill one, maybe two Undead. Collateral damage won't keep them down." Harry explained before shaking his head at Alex. "Let more of the wall come down."
Harry watched the devastation even as the army took to clanging sword and shields together in a slow pace almost reminiscent of the rotating catapults. Harry knew it wasn't just his own engines doing damage, the Dwarven machines were very powerful and their shots slammed through stone like it was wood. The Gondorian engines weren't anything remarkable in comparison but they had a lot to learn.
As three sections of the wall were overcome by gravity Harry nodded to Alex who raised his horn to his lips calling another long call. The Trebuchets didn't alter their firing at the main citadel but the rotating catapults were now no longer actually launching anything up at the city. A few moments later and smaller projectiles went up in the stead of stones and landed either on or over the walls before with a dull thud of air they exploded even as another round landed.
"Naptha!" Legolas gasped.
"You plan to burn them out?" Celeborn commented more than asked.
"We rather hope they'll stay in there." Patia commented dryly. "Less for our troops to have to worry about. They'll have enough to do out in the plains mopping up after the Necromancers as it is."
Fires began to flicker behind the walls and smoke was collecting, spiralling up past the citadel but the trebuchets had their aim now and their shots disappeared through the smoke. If anybody was screaming within the city they couldn't hear it over the roaring of stones, fire and creaking wood and the dull thumping of their troops as they cheered and bashed their shields.
A rumbling crack reached them first and Harry tensed regretting again that his wings twitched without the ability to open like the other Nuuruhuines' wings did. "The Lamia report that the citadel is collapsing." Archie told him, listening to the mental voices of his descendents.
The smoke climbing from the city roiled as something passed through it before exploding outwards as it was blotted out by the tall structure of the central citadel as it subsided down over the city, crushing almost a fifth of the city all the way past the outer wall towards their army. Cheers drowned out even the siege engines and Harry shared a smile with his husband as the dreaded city crumbled slowly into itself under the might of the combined Western Army.
A week later
Harry spread his wings slowly and a large grin spread across his face and his incisors lengthened at the feel of his wings finally taking their own weight. He folded his right wing around himself and studied the soft feathers and newly healed folds of skin and finally the muscles and tendons that gave it so much awesome power.
With a snap of his wings he took off from the front of the command tent where he was being watched by the Elvin Lords and Lady and with a few flaps of his powerful wings he was a hundred feet in the air, hovering with strong strikes of his wings. Luckily muscle entropy wasn't something experienced by Vampires.
A loud cheer echoed through the Rotting Valley where the camp had remained and Harry looked around his army, finally able to see it from such a vantage. Almost half of the army was missing, spread out in five smaller armies over the land formally controlled by the Necromancers, going to all the villages and either purging them of Undead and Necromancers or wiping them out entirely.
The only large group they'd come across was an army of fifteen thousand, a group that had fled Necropolis when the new leader had taken his place, for however short a time that had been. They'd taken a few hundred casualties in that battle but it was still a small price to pay for the end of the Necromancers.
He glided around the army before dropping down to retrieve his weapons and a canteen of blood. He wanted to fly out to the five armies so that his own troops could see him back in action before he returned to the now extinguished Dras Arget. This war was now a fight for the new Kings like Theoden, Aragorn and Thorin and not for aged leaders such as the Elven Lords and Lady or for the Nuuruhuine. Almost half of the Nuuruhuine would remain here to assist Aragorn and Theoden but the rest would return to Dras Arget with Harry. It was their own choice but Harry had had enough of ruling and fighting.
He'd already visited two armies and used Archie to help him find Aragorn's main army as it besieged one of the larger towns on the hazy border between the Rhun humans' country and the Necromancers. It was getting dark and the Undead had used the low light to come out of their holes and strike at the encircling army of riders. Harry dropped straight into the middle of the battle and in seconds he'd killed the strongest of the Necromancers as well as two other weaker ones. Over five hundred of the Undead fell to the ground. There were only around five thousand in total here by the sounds of them and most seemed rather old.
The Necromancers had obviously fled across into Rhun country and raided their towns and villages for dead but evidently not found any living humans to supply them with fresh dead. He grabbed another Necromancer and clamped his incisors into his jugular vein, letting the fresh magically charged blood sweep through his body. His wings smacked out tearing through a dozen Undead who were ordered to save their master in his last moments but even the fallen bodies fully died as the last drop left the Necromancer's body.
Harry slashed through three Undead as they tried to pull a Gondorian soldier down to the ground and he helped the man up before turning to kill a few more Undead. The magic he channelled through his blades incinerating Undead flesh as they sliced into them.
Harry stayed on the ground with the soldiers for the rest of the battle, several hours at least as they worked together to wipe out everything that moved in the town. He used his blades and wings to take apart the Undead and his teeth to drink the blood of the Necromancers he came across, using that connection to turn their own Undead against each other for the few seconds that each of his victims suffered under his teeth. It was a shock for the Elves, Dwarves, Humans and even Vampire and Lamia when their enemies suddenly turned and started hacking at Undead or even Necromancers.
As the last of the Necromancers fell the troops around him went quiet, listening for more with their senses. Harry spread out his mind and felt the three other members of the Nuuruhuine there as they, too, spread out their minds searching for any remaining enemies. The place was empty.
"They're all dead." Harry announced to all around them. The gentle tone of a Gondorian horn sounded the retreat and human captains began ordering their men to set light to the hatch roofs of the buildings. Harry walked out with the humans who were now looking at him in a different light, there was a more comrade feel to their stares and a few even complimented him on his fighting style. Harry, in turn, gave out compliments to individuals and advice to others that he'd noticed during the fight.
Word obviously spread to Aragorn that Harry had arrived since he came to the edge of the camp to greet him. "You're learning, King Aragorn." Harry complimented with a respectful bow that was returned in equal measure by the young King. "You shouldn't always throw yourself into a battle."
"You do." Aragorn laughed.
"Not if my army is there to do the task. Today was slightly different." Harry stretched his wings to show his meaning. "I was getting a little rusty."
"I'd imagine you would get that way after sleeping for five hundred years." Aragorn laughed. As Harry folded his wings he revealed Norma, Mika and Anthony all with their wings folded against their backs. Their minds brushed against Harry's, glad to see him with his wings back. They were all like close brothers and sisters. That's why it hurt to ever kill any Lamia. They were all descendents of the Nuuruhuine and it was like exiling or executing a niece or nephew. "I'm glad to see you're back on your feet."
Harry chuckled. "Or wings." Harry nodded. "Either way, King Elessar of Gondor, I give to you command of the Morchaint Army until a time where we feel fit to draw them back to Morchaint." Harry said formally.
"We will of course leave a few advisors with you from the Nuuruhuine to ensure your control over our troops." Mika spoke up at Aragorn's shocked look. They'd all been talking about this last night.
"What?" Aragorn gasped. "Why?"
Harry laughed and strode forwards. He patted the almost ninety year old human on the shoulder and leant in to kiss his forehead. "There are no humans that I would trust this to other than you but if anybody is going to lead Middle-Earth into a new age of peace and cooperation it will be you."
"We're a thing of the past." Norma spoke up calmingly. "Very much a big part of the word but we don't want to rule anything. We made ourselves a part in this world but we don't want to shape it forever."
"Well put, Norma." Harry smiled at her. "Come, King Aragorn, let us talk together for a time before we leave. I believe you are in need of a bath though but I suppose we can talk while you do that."
Aragorn frowned at the jest even as Harry caught one of his guards try to cover a laugh. Harry smirked at the man as they headed inside so that Aragorn could go about getting a bath while they talked together.
Several weeks later
Harry landed softly on the top of the tower in Dras Arget and turned to look down at his city. After the fires had finally died the chasm had been flooded with sea water and finally the plains were wiped clean of all signs of the immense battle that had just taken place there. The grass was still burned out in a lot of the places but it was coming back slowly. Within the city all the stops had been pulled out. Trees and flowers were growing in all the streets and windows frames and colourful banners flew on ropes strung between the houses so that all the streets, even the small back ones, were crisscrossed with colour.
The one thing that drew his eye as new was the flags flying over the Morchaint Council Hall. Fluttering in the reflected sunlight from the upper city were all the nations flags including, for the first time, two new ones. The official, yet old banner of the Shire lands and amidst certain scepticism the white tree of Gondor. The two new members of the Morchaint Council.
"Your city is amazing, Duke Corvil." Arwen's voice told him from where she had been standing in the middle of the open platform. Harry had ignored her so far.
"You shouldn't have walked all the way up here in your condition, Queen Arwen." Harry chided gently. "And it should be just Harry to you."
She bowed her head with a smile. "One of your Guards flew me up here. It is a wonderful experience."
Harry chuckled. "You should not be flying either. You are now four months pregnant."
"So the child has been reminding me." Arwen laughed musically.
"Come, Arwen." Harry held out his hands and stepped to the edge of the platform in the only gap between the mesh. "I shall return you to less lofty heights." She nodded and approached without shyness. Harry held her firmly and let his wings open to their full span before he stepped smoothly back out over the drop. His wings caught their weight instantly and he turned them to glide away from the buffeting winds around the sides of the tower. She barely felt a drop to start with.
He made sure to take a long way down to show her every aspect of the city he was so proud of. An eternal city that would live forever in Middle-Earth and one day be called the World-Capital.
Two months later
Harry stood in the shadows around the edge of the Council chambers as the crowd finally began to settle down. The audience seats around the outside were filled to capacity with hundreds of Morchaints, Gondorians, Rohirrim, Elves and Dwarves and even a few more Hobbits that his friends had brought back with them. In the centre sat a chair for each nation regardless of the numbers of rulers for the nation. Eight seats, one each for Morchaint, Erebor, Mirkwood, Lothlorien, Rivendell, the Shire, Rohan and Gondor. In them sat Thorin, Thranduil, Celeborn, Elrond, Sam, Theoden and lastly Aragorn. Only the Morchaint one sat empty but Harry would go down soon and sit there.
Harry had given the choice to the four Hobbits for who sat in the actual Council and it had gone between Frodo and Sam until Frodo told Sam to do it. Harry thought that Frodo planned to one day remain in Morchaint even though his three friends planned to return to their homes. Around the eight seats were a few rows of the more important people in the world. Gandalf sat in the place of privilege there since he'd never taken a seat as a full member even when Harry had offered it two thousand years ago. To his left sat Galadriel and on his right was Frodo, then Pippin and Merry. On their sides were Legolas, Gimli and most of the members of the Nuuruhuine, baring a few still commanding the army in the East while this meeting was called into place. Sitting right behind her husband was Arwen with a maid beside her since she was now two thirds of her way through her pregnancy.
Also sitting near to Elrond was an aged Hobbit that Harry had only met once when in Rivendell. Frodo's adoptive relative, Bilbo Baggins, the original captor of the Ring from evil. Harry stepped out of the shadows and his very appearance at the top of the steps drew silence through the crowd. He walked into the centre of the room and turned a full circle before nodding. "Those old enough to remember the last of these meetings may notice a few additions to the chamber however I shall start off with our returning friends."
Harry gestured to Celeborn, Thranduil and Elrond and they rose. "The Elvin Lords of the realms. Lord Celeborn, Lord of the Woods. King Thranduil of Mirkwood and Lord Elrond of Rivendell. Welcome."
They dipped their heads before sitting again. "Our returning advisors, Lady Galadriel and Gandalf the White." He nodded in their directions. "We have new members in old countries. "King Theoden of Rohan and King Thorin of the Dwarven realm. Lastly we have two new seats to honour. The Shire represented by Master Samwise Gamgee and lastly Gondor and King Elessar."
There was a brief uproar of cheers from the Gondorians in the room and Harry raised his hands to quiet them down. "Much has happened in these last few centuries and for most of you these centuries are what have counted but this last few years we have made such a change to this Middle-Earth that we can all rejoice."
He let the cheers of all nations ring through the hall for a moment before raising his hands again for silence. "With that in mind the Nuuruhuine will make an announcement. It may not surprise our older friends that we do not wish to rule in this world for any longer. Races of mortals should never be ruled by immortals. The people should change together with their leaders. With this same argument it was decided for us to sleep five hundred years ago and soon we shall do the same."
"And look what happened the last time you made that decision!" A Gondorian yelled from the top row.
"Every race has its bad eggs." Harry said bluntly. "I have the utmost confidence in my own people. They can lead themselves just as well as we could do it for them. We built this country for them to live in but now it is them that should rule it once again. Once the Nuru Noste are ready to rule we will step aside as leaders and go into our sleep when we each want to."
With that Harry sat down in the last chair and crossed his legs in a relaxed pose as muttering spread through the room. Harry had just essentially placed the Nuru Noste in the highest seat of power in Dras Arget, baring the Nuuruhuines' eternal position that was. The Nuru Noste had already accepted several Lamia into their ranks, including Peter, Dalamy, Kentar and George when they got older and by putting them in charge of Morchaint it insured that Human, Vampire and Lamia would rule side by side and Harry trusted Annette, who's mind he had seen every corner of, to make sure justice and equality always prevailed in Morchaint. The meeting went on for about an hour, all speeches from the different representatives about the need for cooperation for the future of their races. Of Elven and Dwarven aid to the human nations like in times of old.
Harry stayed in his seat as the hall began to empty and Aragorn and Theoden were the last to leave with Arwen and the rest of the Nuuruhuine apart from Alex who sat on the arm of Harry's chair. Harry rested a hand on his back as Gandalf, Galadriel, Legolas, Gimli and three other Hobbits joined them in the centre.
"Harry." Galadriel spoke up. "My son-in-law, husband and I have decided to travel west."
Harry's eyes snapped up to meet hers but he sighed. "I thought this might happen sooner or later. His eyes flickered over the room catching the confused looks on only Sam, Pippin and Merry's faces. Frodo was being guarded.
"I too am to go with them." Gandalf spoke up. "I have heard it in my sleeping mind. My own race is to depart this land and leave it in the hands of younger races."
Harry chuckled. "And what of your peoples?" Harry directed at Celeborn, Galadriel and Elrond.
"This we have discussed." Thranduil spoke up. "I am going to remain as are many of our race. We are interested in helping the humans to once again rise to their proper place. If in a few centuries we feel that we no longer need to remain we shall follow them."
"I am glad." Harry nodded.
"We leave this world for you to watch other, Harry." Galadriel smiled at him. "I have seen glimpses of the future. One of peace, one where we are allied with all the nations in Middle Earth, even from the East."
Harry smiled and let them all start to leave. Harry caught Frodo's hand just as he was about to follow Gandalf up the steps, the last to leave except for Alex and himself. "When do you plan to tell your friends that you plan to follow the Elves into the west?" Harry asked.
"Galadriel offered it to me." Frodo told him. "I have no family left here once Bilbo goes with them."
"You would always be welcome here." Alex spoke up.
Frodo nodded. "I know but I feel older than I should."
Harry stood up and knelt in front of the Hobbit. "I wish you all the happiness, Frodo."
Frodo threw himself at Harry who returned the hug warmly, kissing the Hobbit's hair gently. Nothing more needed to be said between them, Frodo knew that Harry understood.
A month later – The Shire
Harry stood in front of the doorway to one of the small underground hovels that the Hobbits liked. It was a large place that Harry had had a team build under Sam's guidance as a gift for the Hobbit. Now a month later Harry had returned and across the garden of this place there were a hundred Hobbits watching him as he addressed the two Hobbits standing before him.
"Samwise Gamgee, you have done this world an honour that will never be forgotten, even by the Immortals of Middle-Earth. You and your family will ever be watched over and protected by my kind, by Lamia, Vampire, Elf, Dwarf and Human. Even by the Nuuruhuine themselves. You have done us an honour by helping us and in return I shall do you the honour of pronouncing you and your chosen, husband and wife." Harry smiled down at Sam and Rose Cotton. "I wish you all the happiness, Sam."
Sam smiled at him broadly before turning to his wife and kissing her. Harry offered her a bow of respect before backing away to join Alex. The two stood out rather a lot in this place not only for their height but also their wings. Frodo, Pippin and Merry joined them a few minutes later after congratulating their friend.
Two months later – Minis Tirith
Harry watched in amusement with Alex at his side as Aragorn paced anxiously along a twenty metre stretch of corridor while they waited for Arwen to give birth. Harry and Alex already knew it was over and had heard the boy's little cry and it wouldn't be long now until both mother and son were cleaned up enough to allow for visitors. Harry and Alex were only going to stay the night before they flew up the coast to the Grey Havens to meet Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, Gandalf, Frodo and Bilbo to see them off and to carry the news of his grandson's birth to Elrond.
Harry caught Aragorn's shoulders as he heard somebody heading for the door and turned the man in time for the doors to open. Aragorn was through them in seconds and Harry and Alex followed a few moments later in time to see the mid-wife hand Aragorn's son to him. He was sleeping but woke up at his father's astonished gasp. Alex rested a hand on his shoulder and quietly corrected the way the man was holding him.
Harry moved to a tired Arwen and rested a hand on her own hand. "Congratulations, Arwen."
He stayed put as he watched husband and wife fuss over the baby but was drawn from his own thoughts of the boy's future when Arwen spoke to him. "Harry? Do you want to hold Eldarion?" She asked him.
"Prince Eldarion." Harry smiled and accepted the small baby from his mother. Eldarion turned into Harry's warmth and Harry rocked him gently with a smile on his face.
"You'll look out for him?" Aragorn asked.
"Like my own Grandson." Harry promised. "Speaking of which, Aragorn. You son's first gift from myself and Alex is sitting in your own room. A Wyrda blade to give to him at a time of your own choosing."
Aragorn chuckled. "It will be reassuring to know it protects him."
"I thought as much." Harry nodded. He shuttered his eyes and placed a kiss to Eldarion's forehead. "Know, little one, that the Nuuruhuine watch over you and that if you ever need to wake us the knowledge of how to do it is within your mind."
Arwen stared at him for a moment before smiling. "You placed the knowledge there?"
"To ensure that he knows that we will come to his aid in the future if he ever needs it but if he doesn't then the knowledge of how to wake us will carry on through his blood to his children and their children." Harry promised. "Your family will always be safe, Aragorn. If we never meet again remember that."
Harry looked back down at the now sleeping baby and handed him to the nurse-maid to place in the cot. Aragorn embraced him while Alex kissed Arwen gently.
"Give my love to my father." Arwen requested. Harry nodded.
"And we give you three our own love." Alex told them as he embraced Aragorn and Harry kissed Arwen briefly. "Goodbye King Aragorn, Queen Arwen."
Alex's words faded away like a ripple of wind as he and Harry disappeared out of the door faster than their friends could blink.
Grey Havens – Three days later
Harry rested an arm over Merry and Pippin's shoulders while Alex offered Sam a gentle pat on the shoulder as the five of them watched the sleek white ship slide out of the harbour. Harry could easily see Frodo, Gandalf, Bilbo, Galadriel, Celeborn and Elrond on the back of the boat watching the shore recede.
Sam, Pippin and Merry were crying rather unashamedly at this start to a new era but Harry and Alex shared a small smile. They knew they'd not heard the last of them all and when they slept they would be able to reach their minds out to them. The new era may be beginning and might be shaped by the hands of men like Aragorn but it would always be watched over by beings like Harry who could now finally rest. He'd started with everything and lost it all, gained and lost it again and again but now a nation was the proof that sometimes you just couldn't give up trying to create something to love. Now he had everything he ever wanted.