I. For Every Evil 2 in the FEE Trilogy
A. The Evolution of the Plot
B. Recurring Themes
(1) A Man's Gotta Do What a Man's Gotta Do...
(2) Their Problems Won't Amount to a Hill of Beans in This World
C. A Note on Geography
II. The -Isms
B. Extreme Environmentalism
III. Notes on Some Characters
IV. The Original Characters
V. Massive Thanks and Replies
VI. A Preview of For Every Evil 3
AUTHOR'S NOTES/ AFTERWORD
I. For Every Evil 2 in the FEE Trilogy
A. The Evolution of the Plot
The first ever licks of FEE2 to be publicly released was in mid-2004, as a teaser posted at the end of For Every Evil 1:
"For Every Evil 2 is going to tackle bioterrorism. An artificially engineered epidemic hits the hospital where Adrian Aarons (Aragorn) works, and everyone inside is quarantined. This means we'll be seeing Brad (Boromir) and Fred (Faramir) at work with Aragorn. We'll also see an outpatient who was incidentally at the wrong place at the wrong time (or the right one?)-- Arianne Underhill, a movie star, and also incidentally the reincarnation of the Evenstar (I figured, modern 'royalty'). We'll see romance and medical drama in the hospital. Outside it, we'll see action and mystery with Leland Greene (Legolas) hard at work trailing a suspect and working with Horace Harding (Haldir) of Interpol, and the agency's rawest recruit, Jimmy Goran (Gimli). Far from L.A. and in Europe, we'll see a few more elves have come from Valinor to go to a wedding: Anatalia Craxi now has to meet the parents of fiancée Elladan, as he has to sort out his differences with her protective father Marcelo. I also liked the idea of tossing this renewed conflict on Elrond, about the immortal child loving a human, so the topic will be revisited."
I'm certain you'd agree when I say we veered away from this teaser drastically since it's post almost three years ago.
(1) Boromir no longer works with Aragorn – I found this an important development for two reasons. The first being that I wanted the character to have much more depth and desire for freedom from the past. He was blazing his own trail now. The second reason is that I figured no Ebola movie is complete without a sprinkling of Africa. There's a beat to it, a kind of romance of adventure and the exotic. I opened up the story there and was immediately excited by the scale of it, just by starting in Africa.
(2) Faramir did not come into the picture at all – As I have mentioned before, the story is complicated enough without having to force myself to include characters that couldn't figure in the plot. Faramir was one of those characters fro FEE2.
(3) Legolas never directly works with Haldir and Gimli – I reviewed the chains of command and determined that their independent approaches was much more realistic. Legolas, being part of the police department, had more localized concerns. As a matter of fact, the moment the situation began to emerge as a national security issue with possible ties overseas, the command of the case was shifted to the FBI. Interpol, on the other hand, had to liaise with a partner country's NCB for local work. There seemed too many layers between them. I toyed with the idea of having them work together, but it felt too 'renegade' and indulgent; the thing about the modern world that I felt was important to convey in terms of the Fellowship's place in it is that, well simply put, it doesn't rely on them as much as it used to. This idea will be tackled more in the notes below, and will figure prominently all the more in FEE3.
(4) We never quite see the conflict in Elrond, as greater problems descended on the lot of them. I was actually a bit torn about this. I mean, wow, another mortal-immortal union must be giving a lot of people renewed headaches. But it felt wrong to think about this when, say, Aragorn was sick or something. So I skipped on this and had Elrond focus on something else: his healing, which is actually a preoccupation for fanfic writers and readers out there.
B. Recurring Themes
There are a few basic themes running through this story and this is deeply embedded in each of the characters.
(1) A Man's Gotta Do What a Man's Gotta Do... - This is probably the crudest, simplest way I can think of to explain the first recurring theme. People throughout the fic have to keep thinking about whether or not what they are doing is right.
In Chapter 10: Black and White, Anatalia and Galadriel have a more-or-less encouraging talk about her upcoming marriage to Elladan:
"Am I doing the right thing?" Ana asked.
"Would you do otherwise even if it weren't?" Galadriel countered, "You can only do what you feel is right, when you feel it is right. The world cannot demand more of us."
In Chapter 15: Cure, Elladan and Elrohir have a quick debate on whether or not they should share to the world a cure for Ebola that involved the 'sharing' of elven genes:
"We're not God, brother," Elladan breathed, "We cannot play those games. Not to mention I have no idea how to get such a cure out there without explaining where it's from and how we came about it. I mean I'm sure it works, this is Ada. But I can't see how..."
"But we can't just sit on it either and know what it can do and not share it," Elrohir said, "As you said, we are not God, who knows and watches. Can you sit on this, knowing what it is?"
In Chapter 11: Plan B, Harding interrogates YinYang:
"I wasn't fooling around," YinYang said, "When I said I liked you best. You want to know why?"
"Oh for god's sake, indulge me."
"Because if it should come down to it," YinYang said, "You'd kill me to find out what I know. I think. I think you'd really kill me for what I know. I'm almost tempted to see if I'm right. I admire that kind of conviction. What do they do to you if you hurt me?"
"Well you won't get released that's for certain," Harding replied, "Even if I were brutal to you. We're bound by different laws."
"I know," YinYang waved coolly at the issue, "I meant you, Agent Harding. Listen closer. What do they do to you?"
"I'll get slapped with a reprimand," Harding replied, "Maybe a demotion. Undoubtedly a dent in the record. Undoubtedly a career setback. Maybe worse, depending on what I do and who finds out. Most will be relieved I did what I had to. Some will not be as pleased with me..."
"I read somewhere," said YinYang, "That reputation is what other people think of you, and honor is what you know about yourself. I think... you have a very keen awareness of who you are, what you want, and what you are willing to pay."
"What about it?"
"As I said," YinYang repeated, "I admire that kind of conviction."
The thing about reputation and honor is actually one of my favorite quotes from Lois McMaster Bujold, from whose works I even picked up the "Mirrordance" ID, in honor of her. She is so gifted, and her approach to sharing philosophies like that is so clever and natural. The idea about just doing what you can while you can is probably even better encased by another one of her ideas. A guy is regretting not killing a woman who would eventually become a murderess in her sleep. His friend tells him that 'the arrow of justice flies one way;' you cannot regret killing her then because she wouldn't have deserved it at the time. You know those 'What would you do if you met a young Adolf Hitler?' questions? I think the idea of justice being bound by time should be considered, although I'm sure this is very much open for debate.
Nevertheless, the big idea here in these three chapters and in these major characters is that there are some things you just have to do, while you can, if you believe in them hard enough. Along the length of the fic, you will see the same conviction in: Legolas, who tries to keep Montes alive while not telling him about his wife, in Gimli when he infects himself to find a cure for Aragorn, in Haldir when he ditches procedure in order to get answers out of YinYang, and of course, in tragic Chandra Bouvier.
(2) Their Problems Won't Amount to a Hill of Beans in This World – is another simple statement plucked from pop culture to capture the second theme. I feel the idea of the world not being too heavily reliant on the Fellowship is a very important one. This is, after all, a new world, and very different.
As I've mentioned before, the role of FEE2 in the trilogy is to be no-holds-barred modern. And the modern world has red tape and paper trails. It's a large, highly integrated world where the actions of one hero is the product of the effort of hundreds, maybe even thousands of people.
In FEE2, our heroes are not heroes and big leaders. I even used positions to illustrate their role in the world; they are often on the sidelines in situation meetings, they have bosses to answer to, they have a command structure to follow. I think this is best illustrated in Legolas' words to Elrohir in Chapter 9: The Center of The world:
"I was in the standing room. I spoke up once, very briefly, from the sidelines, and only because I was asked."
"Not what you're used to, eh?" Elrohir chided.
"Actually I've been living like this for years," the blond elf corrected him, "We cannot live very loudly these days."
Ironically, it must be noted that the chapter is entitled "The Center of the World." This is still the Fellowship, after all, trouble follows them around, haha. I had to find a healthy mix of the sidelines and the spotlight. I wanted to portray modern heroism as 'ordinary people in extraordinary situations' that allows them to act in defining ways. I mean, these are "ordinary people:" a cop, a doctor, a businessman, a college student... We're taking LOTR into modern times, so they'd have to have the stellar, yet ordinary quality of modern heroes.
As Aragorn said in Chapter 8: Code Black:
Or perhaps... was it hubris to think that the history of ol' Aragorn still counted for anything in this modern world? Could he not be simply... here? Drink coffee, eat a burger, fall in love?
They are ordinary people. The world doesn't count solely on them. This idea is opened in FEE2, but will figure more prominently in FEE3, where many of our heroes will be... you know what, haha, I'll keep that to myself for awhile :)
C. A Note on Geography
It's all about scale, haha... I've never been to Austria, or Africa, or California. What we have in FEE are research-based materials. A few geographical aspects you may wish to note though:
(1) How LOTR kingdoms might match with modern European countries, as previously discussed in FEE1:
"Okay, guys. Grab a map of Europe and grab your map of Arda 'cos this is going to be a tough one to explain :) I read that Tolkien's Middle-Earth is likely just Europe, which once was called Middel-Erthe, back when they considered themselves the center of the world. I read that Tolkien used the term also to give immediate perceptions just by giving directions; in old lore, the idea of the 'East' was as exotic and threatening as they were in Tolkien's tales. It was also hypothesized that Tolkien's England must have been Hobbiton, as in Oxford! So although I am profoundly unsure and not particularly well-versed in this issue, I made Rivendell Austria, just by a hypothesized location, imagining the old Middle-Earth shifting and moving to become present Europe in my head. Mirkwood I imagined to have shifted far northwards, maybe Norway, Sweden, Finland. Gondor I imagined to be Greece and Rome once joined together by virtue of location and because these are the two old great European empires. Rohan is now Switzerland, by location and because Switzerland was once part of Rome and Rohan was once part of Gondor. Mordor I made out to have sunken beneath the Black Sea, by location, by implied meanings, and because in the movie the land just sank, and also by reference to the Sea of Rhun which I now consider to be the Sea of Azov, etc., etc. The countries situated are not all that important, though I put them in because they were fun to think of. If more readings on Tolkien yield that Middle-Earth and Europe are not analogous, then consider the piece a profound AU then :) I'm very flexible, haha."
(2)I wanted the beat of Africa but I might have romanticized it too much, which is a constant fear or me. I'd hate someone from, say, Kenya to one day pick up FEE2 and laugh about how wrong I was about everything, but my depiction of Africa is borne out of a sincere appreciation for its richness. A few actual places and reputations that captivated me include the following:
Kinshasa Highway and the theories relating it to AIDS do exist, by the way. Lake Victoria having isles used as quarters by smugglers is also a widely-held theory. The Horo-horo is also actually prone to piracy. The Kasensero Village is also an actual place with a reputation for having been ravaged by disease.
Kwisha Isle is a fictional place, by the way :)
(3) As for California, the LA Harbor is an actual place and is actually one of the most important ports in the country. San Pedro is also an actual place by the harbor. The port security issues are not particular to the LA Harbor in real life, but it is definitely an honest-to-goodness issue for ports in the U.S. In general.
II. The -Isms
FEE2 is like my personal salute to the great Richard Preston. Please pick up his black biology trilogy: The Hot Zone, The Cobra Event and The Demon in the Freezer. Unbelievable stuff. If you read the Hot Zone in particular, you'll see shades of thoughts that I used in FEE2. He is absolutely brilliant. I read that book and just curled in on my covers that night, I was so freaked out. I am also very highly paranoid about disease and germs, now. Thank you Mr. Preston for driving me insane. I know I've been telling people since FEE1 to pick up his books but it's just wildly fascinating work. FEE2 will fade to nothing in comparison.
Okay, Bioterrorism. Like many realistic elements in FEE2, this is an honest-to-goodness threat. Everybody knows that. It is, interestingly enough, not an altogether new one. Everything from giving smallpox-infected blankets to the American Indians, to Hannibal throwing venomous snakes to his foes, animal carcasses thrown in wells during the Civil War, scorpions on a jar thrown over the forts of Romans, to the anthrax letters post-9/11. People have been doing this for ages.
The terrifying thing about bioterrorism now, though, is that the connectivity of the world will dramatically decrease the time it takes for a disease to spread everywhere in the world. It used to take, say, a year for a virulent, dangerous strain of flu to go around the world. Present connectivity – roads, planes, other forms of transport, and especially the trend to urbanization, are posing dangers in the wide and quick spread of dangerous diseases.
The ironic thing, though, is that the connectivity that makes this dangerous is also what may be protecting us from from an aggressive bioterrorist attack. To attempt to take down a foe in such a way is also to endanger the self. There is a dangerous balance to it, a kind-of justice. Can you eat what you dish out? As was mentioned in the story, the target is everyone.
B. Extreme Environmentalism
An interesting thing some may wish to note: in FEE1 and FEE2, there are no real villains. In FEE1, Grima Wormtongue, unlikely mad genius from LOTR, becomes the ultimate foe in his desire to veer away from his past. I did not at all set out to make him evil. The same can be said of our FEE2 masterminds, Chandra Bouvier and YinYang. More will be said of them in the character bio's below.
Is it plain to see that this fic started out with no villain? As I was writing the YinYang interrogations, it felt too wide already to involve governments and conspiracies. I decided to make the cause more intimate, but just as important. I also wanted to be sure I wouldn't offend particular nationalities by bringing in the politics of the thing. But of course, politics still managed to leak out on the environmental issue, because a lot of it inextricably has a lot to do with political will.
Are the things Chandra Bouvier said to Brad Greer in Chapter 14: You Will Ask God Why true? Yes, they are. We are focused on economic growth. Inextricably, this does involve drawing on limited resources. Many earth-friendly items are indeed more expensive. Many earth-friendly processes are also more expensive, even if you spread out the development costs for the long-run. We are consumers, and many of us are parasitic in our approach. It is not very hard to believe that some people feel we're headed for a self-made catastrophe.
These are all widely-held beliefs and themes. They've spawned books, movies, foundations, and what have you's. They have spawned great activists and lobbyists. But occasionally, they have also created extremists. Chandra is the extreme extremist. Her beliefs may be sound, but her methods border on the manic. Her serious approach to work, her loneliness is almost deliciously sociopathic. Now is she crazy? I'm not sure myself :)
III. Notes on Some Characters
A. Legolas / Leland Greene - Obviously my favorite character. I FEE2 though, I think it's fairly indisputable that this is Leland Greene's story, over Legolas.' This is Leland's city, his work, and it is often his name that I used. The question, I suppose, is that is there really such a big difference between the two?
It might be noticeable that Leland Greene already features some distinctly human characteristics. He is flawed when it comes to women, he gets angry, he is not as impervious. I wanted the character to feel like he belongs down the street, you know... although of course, there is that unshakable elven trait of being exceptionally good at his job. But I incorporated a sense of his arrogance and darkness too.
I'm unsure if anyone noticed, but I made this come out in relation to Rafael Montes. He gets angry about being doubted. He gets offended, and defensive. This guy has been around for ages, he doesn't see why he has to justify himself to anybody. And underlying his strength of course, is his complete fear of discovery.
My favorite Leland Greene scenes are actually from Chapter 7: Designs and from Chapter 19: Casualties. The ease of his handling of the gang members who tried to ambush him in his house in "Designs," and his detached cool was delicious to write. There was just no doubt in his mind about how much better he was than them. Some would say it's a gift for calm but the dark side to that would be his arrogance. The quiet menace of "Casualties," on the other hand, was also symbolic for me:
"Get out of them yourself," Montes told him coldly, "I have a feeling you can."
Greene was confused, and beneath the hurt was an anger that was all too... human. But he was prepared, to give his friend the time he needed to grieve the loss of his beloved wife.
Greene focused on the tray of food on his night table... He leaned forward, straining his neck. With his teeth, he pulled the edge of the tray toward him. He picked up the fork with his teeth, and spat it toward his bound right hand. His fingers caught it cleanly.
He stared up at the ceiling, as his hand almost absently assessed the lock, and his fingers adroitly made use of the fork to set himself free.
Again, just the ease by which he freed himself, after his suspicious friend told him that he can't be trusted, was so much fun to write. It was just symbolic for me of the things Montes doesn't know about Greene. They were great friends, but the death of Montes' wife magnified the gap between them, turning the other's feelings from curiosity to distrust.
But of course, the elf is still the apple of my eye, haha, can you tell? I just like putting flaws on him because it adds dimension. This can be spotted in all my other fics, of course, of which my favorite is actually the fairly unpopular "Love, War."
Flaws add character, but of course I added in a few "perfect elf" moments that we all expect to be around also. He's still the smartest, fastest, hardest working guy of the bunch for me. He is also still very self-sacrificing. When he said he thought he was already giving everything he had, he sorely meant it. The thing with the Montes Situation is that ultimately, it was still not enough.
I told you FEE2 would be darker, haha. Btw, who else was amused that I wrote a foul-mouthed elf, haha...
As a side note, I wonder if Orlando Bloom fans who read FEE2 caught the familiarity of the words "I had friends!" which Leland Greene retorted to Montes in Chapter 10: Black and White. I picked it up as an in-joke for those who have seen the film "Elizabethtown." These are of course, not the exact words but I hope the line reminded you of the indignant look on his face.
B. Aragorn / Adrian Aarons - Oh poor confused Doctor Aarons. Playing way out of his league, haha. She knows him inside out, it was a losing battle from the get-go. His main role in this story was to be taken over by Arwen Undomiel, haha... But I figured, he asked for it at the beginning, right?
The thing about Aragorn is that he's always so sure about what he's supposed to do. Only two things derailed him in LOTR-- the path of the King, and the love of the Evenstar. When he took up his sword to claim his destiny, these two things were entwined and made clear his role. In FEE1, the King returned, despite the initial hesitations of the hero. In FEE2, his queen makes it known, unequivocally, that she's here to join him.
His initial hesitations were to me, not that hard to fathom. True, he's been waiting for her forever, why did he have to be a dismissive idiot? But then again, he brought her death too-- his and ultimately her own. The second chances they've had in life point to the possibility of change. Ultimately though, he comes to the realization of his own normalcy and finiteness, in Chapter 8: Code Black:
But she is human now, like you, another part of him reasoned, We'll no longer be plagued by the inescapable thought that one of us will die, ahead of the other, fated to be apart. We can have a heaven together, and we can have each other for a glorious lifetime, in the meantime. Many people, they live like that. And they age wonderfully, the grooves of the laughter they enjoyed etched deeper and deeper into their faces, as if they could only grow happier and happier. And I cannot say the lives they have led is lesser, even if it were shorter.
But he was not like everyone else. At least, he did not at the moment think so. There was a high probability of him getting her killed in some other fashion. That was his life... even after ages and ages, and centuries of Aragorn 'asleep,' that fate was able to find him in Adrian Aarons. This is his life...
Or perhaps... was it hubris to think that the history of ol' Aragorn still counted for anything in this modern world? Could he not be simply... here? Drink coffee, eat a burger, fall in love?
This is a bit like what Galadriel tells Anatalia in one of the central themes in the story. The world cannot demand more of you than the choices you make in the here and now. And so he chooses his love :)
C. Arwen / Arianne Underhill – Model-slash-actress? Model-slash-actress? It might sound crazy, but what is a drop-dead-gorgeous woman to be best-known-for nowadays? I also wanted to give her the feeling of 'elevation.' The same way the Evenstar was not merely beautiful but also had an element of being famous, un-reachable. Arianne Underhill therefore became your gorgeous, perfect, unassuming celebrity.
An important thing to note, which I'm sure many readers have already mentioned, is that Arianne Underhill does not look like Arwen; I think I made the almost-lethal mistake of making Adrian Aaron's mother look like Arwen, so that would have been pretty creepy. So she has her own face, I just gave them the same aura. The Arwen-looks-like-my-mother thing will also have it's own use in FEE3, where I very much intend to have Elrond meet her, and see what his daughter's choices have led her descendants. So hopefully, somehow it will all work out :)
D. Elrohir and Elladan - Can everybody tell I love writing about these guys? It's so so strange, how he somehow just came alive for me, considering there is actually very little official information on the twins out there. So same old drill: Elrohir is a bit more reckless because I like his wacky name, and Elladan's in contrast sounds more calm and urbane.
At first, I found my depiction of the twins to seem as if it was Elrohir who was adapting to the world better. I myself was surprised when I wrote that scene in Chapter 13: God's Art, when Anatalia was making an observation about the twins:
"I just want a peaceful life like everyone else's," Elladan said softly, searching her eyes. She met his lonely gaze squarely. Centuries of thought and wisdom were etched in them, she noted. Century after century of the things he's seen and lived.
She marveled then, at his heretofore under-recognized desperate yearning for normalcy. At the onset, it seemed to her that it was Elrohir who embraced the modern world more; him and his open attitude, his video game vices, his fast cars. Elladan was more standoffish, more reserved. She had once thought him aloof. He walked in an unearthly fashion, looked at things with an unearthly eye. It was as if he belonged elsewhere. But in his eyes this day, she noted his love of the world, his desire to be simply one within it. It was he who had hidden his ears, instead of flaunting them as Elrohir had. It was he who finally broke his isolation and sought out a wife, dreamed of making a family.
Like everyone else...
He gripped her arms like a lifeline. As if she was going to escape.
I wonder if anyone else thought like this until I wrote it? That the standoffish one was actually the one who wanted it more? Note also that in the last scene, Elladan repeatedly says he's going to be a 'dad.' Not "Ada," not "Father." The informal, colloquial "dad" to emphasize the normalcy he believes he is about to have. I wonder if it was noted but anyway, it is what it is :)
I actually also toyed for the longest time about pairing up Elrohir with Waitress Jackie from FEE1. But then FEE3 started to get a much firmer shape and the idea just went nowhere. Who knows where all this goes though, haha...
F. Gimli / Jimmy Goran - Don't the Goran/Harding scenes remind you of Gimli and Legolas? I love the idea of that. One of my favorite lines from FEE1 is when Harding tells Goran that when he regains his memories, he'll realize he's been mistaking him for another pompous blond fellow. I think this somehow just came into fruition all the more. It just morphed into this situation, especially since I couldn't find any creative reason to put Goran in L.A., just so he could be with his best friend (I mean Greene was already occupied by Montes and Aarons after all). The best of friends remain so even at a distance, anyway, but of course, Goran had to magnetize toward the same kind of guy, which is why he and Harding got along so well.
So hacker Gimli shares his brilliance left and right in this fic. Most of the time, Gimli is regarded as a bit of a comic. I really hope I found a fair cross between the charm of that and the hard-working smarts I strongly feel he has. I've always depicted him as fairly perceptive. I think he'd have to be, to contend with the likes of Legolas. But I also found the need to feature his recklessness and flair, and the love he has for his friends. This is why he became the guy who gives himself Ebola to find a cure for a friend. Interestingly enough, in the original format of this story, the guy who gives himself Ebola was actually Brad Greer. In the profiling below, you'll see why this was changed.
G. Haldir / Horace Harding - Agent Horace Harding. I've been told I had a flair for writing a pompous yet likable Haldir and I pride myself very much with that. I think I get very indulgent, writing about him. He is just so cool. He always knows what he is doing, always knows what to say and what to do. I love it that he has shady connections, can speak to people in their own languages, and has even dated sisters! I wanted to depict him as that dreamy secret-agent, the James Bond that Goran wanted to be, that most men would want to be.
Like James Bond, he's very driven, and unafraid of taking a risk. I loved writing the interrogation scenes of him and YinYang, and how he was willing to play dirty to get the things that he wants.
Still... I also had to write him as a man who was a friend to others. He gives in to Gimli's requests, for one, and of course he's mad as hell at Gimli for endangering other people and himself in the quest for a cure. Besides, I had to write that scene, with the pounding on the glass in Chapter 18: Breath, because angry elves look very sexy haha.
F. Eomer / Emmett Rigare - It might not have done the character enough justice that he made it into the story simply as the preppy with the cash in a conference room... so I tried to insert a bit of hobbit charm in his well-oiled life. I also love it that he's in the middle of a conference, and lies to Elrohir and says he can talk. He will most definitely be figuring into FEE3 more strongly, if the muses accommodate. I like writing about Eomer; after "Last Stand," I had him in prominent positions in FEE1 and "Love, War."
G. Boromir / Brad Greer – Everybody knows I seldom write about Boromir, though more and more I find his conflict as one of the most interesting in the fic. In Chapter 15: Cure, Gimli asks:
"Is it so surprising to find a man who once thought himself a sinner to wish others similarly misled to see the light that he had? I think not."
Boromir is at the post-near-death stage of his life, where he got to asking himself "Now what?" He goes in search of a new destiny; new job, new place, new people. He's tired of burdening himself with the perceived sins of his past. He knows already that he's a good man, and now he just wants to find out what's next.
H. The Arriving Elves – writing about the 'older' elves actually massively intimidates me. You can probably tell by the two-dimensional characterizations that leave Elrond's wife and Galadriel's husband quite silent along the length of the fic. I guess I don't feel as comfortable writing about most of them, except maybe for Elrond, who has a bit more texture than the others in FEE2. From a creative standpoint though, they needed to be in the story. Remember in FEE1 I talked about how if there's a gun in scene one there's a body in scene three? That everything had to have a purpose? The older elves won't have as much depth as other characters but they are as important as 'the gun.' They are shapers of events, they are movers. It will seem more and more to you that while it seemed as if they returned only for a child's wedding, they returned for other reasons too. FEE2 suggests they arrived to help cure Ebola. FEE3 will give yet another reason: they are there to bring the remaining elves on Earth to Valinor (spoiler, haha!).
I. Characters You May Have Been Looking For – I tackled this already in introduction to FEE2:
"This installment of FEE will feature as its main characters: Legolas, Aragorn, Gimli, Haldir, Boromir, Elladan and Elrohir only. To all the hobbit fans, and those who were counting on Faramir, Eowyn and Eomer, I must apologize. The story just moved away from them. As I said before in my FEE1 notes, traditionally we expect many characters to be present, but I have to be economical:
"...the story is complex enough, without me having to 'force' characters into a fic just because I feel 'they have to be there' when I cannot yet think of a real purpose for them. As I said, if there's a gun in the first scene, there's a body in the next. Everyone has to have a place."
So, there. These are warnings I felt I had to make from the very start. I know some will be reading FEE2 to, say, look for the happy hobbit gang, and I'd hate to disappoint them if they found none. I sincerely hope that many will keep reading for the sake of the story, although I also understand the risks of losing part of my audience. Personally, I'm a character-driven reader and when I don't see who I like, I shy away from a story. I just thought you should know:)"
There is one missing scene if FEE2 though, that I have decided to put in FEE3 instead. Elrond meets Adrian's mother, who looks like Arwen :)
IV. The Original Characters
A. The Craxis – Anatalia, of course, is the largest gamble I've ever taken in LOTR fandom. She is an OFC, for one, she's nosy, she bags an elf, and the very first FEE began from her eyes! These are all generally no-no's in fanfiction! Up to now, I am still surprised by FEE1's reception, considering it began with her. I am still very much surprised that people stuck around, haha... Anyway, she does not figure prominently in FEE2, but her role will be renewed in FEE3. Her father Marcelo is also getting a few fans, I see... I made him out to be a bit like my dad, a bully to his daughter's suitors, haha:) It is so endearing. Here, it must be noted that he and Elladan are beginning to get a better understanding of each other. I'm totally going to toss Marcelo a curveball in FEE3 though! Of course Anatalia's indulgent mother is the same as always :)
B. The Monteses – A darker side of Rafe Montes is revealed in FEE2 and will only be heightened in FEE3. I obviously love the guy... He's a little lackluster next to Leland Greene, but I hope he came across as also intelligent, you know, a worthy partner to our favorite elf. I had to watch my writing carefully, to ensure that along the length of FEE2, some of the ideas came from him also. In FEE1, we get a picture of Montes' curiosity. In FEE2, this curiosity turns to distrust. In FEE3, it'll turn into something else again.
As for poor Julianna Montes... when I wrote her in FEE1 I never knew I was going to infect her, much less kill her in FEE2. I was saddened by the realization that this is something I felt the story needed, as it turned a darker corner. I think it was lovely Aranna Undomiel who pointed out that if I killed Joanna, I'd kill Rafe Montes also. I'm so glad that kind of bond between them was apparent, because that is exactly what I hoped to convey. Her death will turn him into somebody else. It was her death that turned the curiosity into distrust. The shift from the two states is so easy in any relationship, I think, be it friendship or worse, romantic relationships. Consider Temptation Island. Huh? What? Yes. You might be curious about how your boyfriend will do given all these temptations. And then you see a bit of this and that, they toss you an excellently edited innuendo or video clip, you want to see a bit more, and then suddenly, the shift to distrust.
C. YinYang – Poor YinYang never got a break. I wanted him to look cool. Asian guys have this detached hot-ness that I really appreciate. They can look blasé and unruffled. The discipline of the face is almost elf-like, the fluid movements, the quiet secrets. I tried to make him out to be Harding's young foil. He's not one of the big boys in the crime scene because he's a lone player, but a scarily talented one. He's smart, he's efficient, but the thing about him that I wanted most to convey is that he is young. He's unsure of things, and he knows it. This for me sums up the character, from Chapter 11: Plan B:
'I must not be mistaken for the pure cold. That is so hideously uncomplicated. I find that I am, instead of uncaring, just simply deeply and profoundly ambivalent about many things. The money swings the decision, because it is the unquestionable quantitative factor. When you don't know what is black and what is white, the money gives you something concrete to rely on instead, and you do whatever gives you the money. Now the money's gone, my freedom's gone, and again, I'm caught between two decisions, and I'm not sure which is right.'
He doesn't know right from wrong, so he relies on the money to give him an incentive instead. Again, not your usual villain. He was giving Haldir and co. clues, as he tried to decide what was the right thing to do. In the end, of course, he was robbed of the choice as the puzzle unfolded around him.
D. Chandra Bouvier – ah, the passionate and gifted madwoman. She is a doctor although in her distorted world view, people are the virus and Ebola is the cure. And she is still the doctor, tasked to make things right. Not evil, by the way, just misled. Or maybe crazy, I haven't decided that yet, if she is insane or not. But she is definitely lonely. I wrote this fic without a villain in mind. And then I got scared about blaming particular nationalities, because that wouldn't be very nice, haha... and then I started to think about the nature of the attack. You release something like Ebola, yo must be pissed as hell at everybody. And that was what she was, ultimately. She was angry, and she felt backed up into a corner. More than that though, and I hope it came across, I found her extremely lonely; she can't even take a decent picture of someone else, and that was symbolic for me. I did have a few concerns about making her my villain though.
(1) Is it consistent with her character?
I mean, throughout the fic, did I drop enough hints that this is something she is capable of? I wonder if anyone noted the breadcrumbs. She found 'the punishment for infringing on the Earth' as kind, for one. Note that in the conference with the U.S. President, everyone but her called him 'sir.' She asks Brad 'if the kid was breaking.' She talks to suspicious strangers in the dark. She never even tried to negotiate with their 'kidnappers' to make a phone call asking for help (she promised this to Brad in Chapter 8: Code Black), and later, Brad asks Harding and Goran if they were there because she reached them. She leaves the island early too, as if feeling they were about to get a break in the case.
(2) Is her cause believable?
Tricky question for me... how can I make it seem as if her reasons do not seem like a total cop-out? I mean, I was deep into the fic before I gave the terrorism a villain and a cause. How can I tie them together? The answer was staring me in the face. I think you will have noticed that her answer in Chapter 14: You Will Ask God Why, is the same as the reflections in Chapter 1: Antiques II. I think it gave the reason a kind of holistic, if accidentally achieved, kick.
So another thing you might be interested in knowing is this: what did she feel for Boromir? She is a hot older woman. It was almost flirtatious, the way she had given him her number. He made her wish she were somebody else. And yet she looked after him like a mother. And she is, ultimately, the villain of the story. I think she looked upon him as a friend. Maybe you can go further and say that she found a kind of fellow-drifter kinship with him. But well, suffice to say it might be obvious that I was toying with the idea of having Boromir link up with her romantically, before I scrapped the thought completely.
E. Miscellaneous Characters – The Captain is not Legolas' dad, although I like depicting him in a stern, fatherly fashion. Aldrin J. Marr is another worldly, shady semi-crook the archetype of which you can readily find in James Bond movies, created probably by virtue of Harding's resembling a James Bond-type character. And of course, we have the very young, idealistic coffee shop manager Chris, his fiery waitress Rina, almost-kidnapped girlfriend Cassie and extremist boyfriend Todd, who are there not for their depth but their contribution to the action. It is vital though, for readers to understand that there are no bad guys in this fic, just... bad choices.
V. Massive Thanks and Replies
Okay gang, just thought I'd use this section to thank everybody and address any concerns you might have had re:FEE2 that I feel might not have been answered along the course of the story. I hope I didn't get cross-eyed and thank or reply to the wrong people. I am putting names in italics, and topics that might be of interest to other readers in bold. Anyway, here it is:
A-zla: Oh truly, this is the only LOTR fic you're reading right now? Thank you so much for making it FEE2. Your time and feedback are highly appreciated.
Ainu Laire: Thank you so much for taking the time to make really insightful commentary. So you live in L.A., huh? I hope I didn't make any monumental geographical errors as I have never been there! This is also why I was so touched when you said I write as if I live in all these places I write about; if a local L.A. gal can think that, then I must have done a little bit of justice in the depiction of a place.
Also, re: the multicultural gang. You're right, it is quirky but I did the mix intentionally. We all know Ffnet is a very diverse community, and I'd hate to misrepresent a culture by insinuating any gang affiliations, thought it must be noted that gangs in actuality do tend to be racially-oriented, for a variety of practical reasons. Proximity to each other of where people live, communities who know each other, including 'ganging' together to help out a country man can give birth to a gang, as it is commonly perceived.
Lastly, re: FEE3 Chaos. As you may now guess, the groundwork has been set for the chaos of FEE3. FEE2, I think, can stand on its own, ultimately, but it does leave a few loose ends that I can play with in making FEE3, should I ever get around to doing that. Thee loose ends are the elvish cure, and the Leland Greene blood samples lying around somewhere :)
Aranna Undomiel: Tessa:) Thank you for your c&c's. Did you notice that somewhere along this afterword I mentioned one of your insights? That to kill Julianna is to kill Rafe? I adore your perception, which was also manifested in your correctly guessing Chandra as the terrorist :)
AznRyoOhki: Thank you very, very much for your consistent c&c's. If you e-mail me your e-mail address, you get a special treat as a gift of gratitude from me, for making the time to review; so few people have the time now, unfortunately. Even I'm not much of a reader or a reviewer of other people's work, so I recognize the efforts that you make. The gift won't be much of a surprise, but you might like it nonetheless. Hint: what else can a writer give? ;)
re: Keeping the elf single in FEE3, I don't think that would be much fun at all, don't you? Haha... I mean, if I'm writing him as having been around for centuries, wouldn't it be more depressing if he had nobody? This is definitely an avenue I'm exploring in FEE3, though not too deeply, don't worry. It will have a chapter-like approach to it, not an entire story focused on romancing a girl. If you've read the vignettes of "Last Stand" or "Love, War" then that will be the approach I'm taking on a legomance; just a small chapter in his long life. The preview below will give you an example of the style I'm adapting in FEE3. Besides, I'm hoping I won't let you down with an OFC, since you did say I've somehow managed to make original characters all right so far :)
Joee1: I think we both have that habit of listening to other people's conversations, haha... I love storytelling and just observing people and listening to their public conversations is part of all that, I guess :) Also, you reviewed every chapter of FEE2! Thank yous o much for keeping FEE2 alive with your comments and thoughts on everything. Your reviews are so profoundly appreciated. If you can give me your e-mail address, I have a special thank-you gift for you, and a few other reviewers who commented on over 90 of the chapters of FEE2 :)
JunoMagic: Thank you very much for your well-though out c&c's. I am so incredibly grateful for the time you took reviewing on almost every single chapter. Unfortunately, I am not Dan Brown, haha... If I were, I can make a lot of money doing what I love, haha. I am, however, also enjoying my real-life work in business. And one of the things the industry loves to do, is reward and retain customers, haha! So as a sign of my thanks, kindly send me your e-mail address, and I'll make it worth your while; as I told a few other reviewers, the gift won't be much of a surprise, but you might like it nonetheless. Hint: what else can a writer give? ;)
Also, re: YinYang as a little fish, I actually tried to make him out to be a young hot shot. Not little fish, he had to have menace and skill, he had to be a legitimate match to the will of Harding.
Light Sorceress: Oh wow, tips? Seriously, I'm hardly in a position to offer them haha... I need quite a lot of help myself. Just go do what you love, and if you keep working on it, you're bound to improve. Also, go out on a limb sometimes! Innovation is fun, and it keeps everything dynamic. Lastly, cover your ass, haha... if you're making assumptions, research it! Wikipedia is a great place to start for basic stuff, then you can research people, events and things that are more specific from there. These are all things you probably know already but they sure help me :)
M&M's: Actually about Richard Preston's "Hot Zone," I was inspired to write about the bioterrorsim issue because of his black biology trilogy. He's a really compelling writer, I am not fit at all to kiss this guy's toes or something, haha... I always recommend his works, and have recommended them since before I wrote FEE1 :)
Starlit Jewel: Sorry about the swearing, but I think this is my most natural state, haha... I have been told I have a potty mouth. I hope I didn't offend people :)
Lukeyoung and Ilxwing: Hi girls, just wanted to give you a shout out and thank you for keeping FEE2 alive for me. You really have no idea how great your impact was :)
And of course, MASSIVE thanks go out to my reviewers: Aki and Tenshi, Ali64, Andolin, Aodcharmedfan2005, Arayelle Lynn, Balrogs Breath, Blaise 821, Booklover fanatic, Bridget, Calenlass, Cheetahluke, Clevermushroom, Crystal 113, dragonfly, Elvenqueenwren, Erandir, Edwina, Eyes of Sky, Gilraen Aclemense, Heryn-o-eryn-duin, Ingu, Inthisdarcness, Irish Anor, Jaylen, JC, Jen, Kaitokitty, K'lara7, Kim, Kirsten Z, Lady deb, Lady Lunas, Laer4572, Lisette, Luiniel, Lulu Belle, Margie, MkofGod, Nessa ar-feiniel, Niriel Raina, Orlandochick05, Phoenixqueen, Phyloxena, Platy, Rosa Lui, Rosabel, Sangfroid, Scatteredbrains, Sidhnanhediel, Simply Christine, Stonage Woman, Templa Otmena, The Cheese Turkey, T.reymaine and Zublefir. It'd take me forever to go into detail, but I swear you helped keep FEE alive for me. Posting to silence can be so disheartening, don't you think:)
Thank you very much and I sincerely hope I got to list down everybody! If you reviewed and you're not here, send me a shout out as I want to make sure everyone knows how much I value their time. I know it's so hard now. I truly appreciate the effort, and if you get skipped, it might just be that I'm cross-eyed already, haha!
VI. A Preview of For Every Evil 3
Okay, guys... A tiny preview of FEE3. Structurally, it will be quite different from FEE's 1 and 2. Expect a lot of flashbacks. We will be hearing the stories behind the FEE1 photographs featuring Legolas that Anatalia had found, along with the modern storyline unfolding.
Again, no promises... this may come out in a few months, maybe a few years, maybe never... but it is my only LOTR project in mind as of now, not to mention I know you guys know I don't like sequels, I prefer trilogies, so I am cautiously optimistic. It will also have a small section I'm dying to try to write, just to test myself. If you want a clue, check out the hint Legolas dropped Aragorn in Chapter 2: Missing Pieces.
Until then, here's a little something for you:
Title: For Every Evil 3
Summary: For every evil that rises,we are given ways to fight it.The only evil this time is a road of good intentions,as the secret of the elves are revealed and they are forced to decide whether they should remain in a world unprepared for them,or be the last of their kind to leave it.
1: Antiques, 3
Los Angeles, California
United States of America
"He's too goddamn fast," was the first and last, anxiously whispered thing he had heard from them, before the urgency of their silent chase escalated, and the words broke into harsh breaths and lightning-quick, light footsteps.
There was something almost unnatural about the pursuit even from the onset, Leland Greene reflected as he ran, gun poised before him at the ready. It was unnaturally difficult, and when he heard the voices with his uniquely sharp ears and came to the frightening realization that his coming was no surprise, nor an inconvenience, he was struck by the fairly alien feeling of fear.
The day started out normally enough. A Monday, of all things, which had always been hellish for as far back as he could remember. Ever since someone thought to name the day there had been someone around to complain about it. It was an ancient, inarguable truth.
He bought two cups of Starbucks coffee, as usual. The line was long, and there was an old lady in front of him who had a thick, exotic accent that no one could understand, and she was asking for something very specific. The man behind him moved to the other long line, and got his order before Leland could even touch his counter, as the old lady was still there. Fairly annoying, startlingly normal occurrence.
He brought said two coffee cups to his office, where he arrived uncharacteristically late. His partner of almost a decade was waiting for him, scowling. Leland offered Rafael Montes the cup of coffee, which he declined wordlessly and with a fair amount of hostility that was his norm toward Greene nowadays.
Leland took the rejection calmly, with a measure of annoyance, but mostly regret. The last few weeks have been harsh for Montes, he knew. They were friends of incredibly long-standing, and Leland was trying his hardest to give him the time he needed to realize his anger at Leland was deeply and profoundly misplaced.
"My goddamn transfer is taking too goddamn long," Montes said, blanching at the coffee he had bullied from someone else.
Leland's instinctive feeling was that of annoyance and indignation. Montes' words, and the last few weeks of strained interaction between the two former-friends was enough to court a princely temper this Monday morning, "That's probably because blaming me for Julianna's death couldn't have been regarded as a logical reason for a request that the captain or anyone in a decent frame of mind would accept."
"In not so many words I just told them I can't rust you," Montes said, simply, hurtfully, and Leland suspected with an aching heart, quite truthfully.
"Because she's dead and I'm not?" Leland asked, his voice rising, "That my friends are not?!"
"We've had this conversation before," Montes said, pushing his way past Greene. The blond grabbed him by the arm and looked at him closely.
"We'll have it again," Leland insisted.
Montes stared at him, "You've always been smarter than me. Better, and smarter. But damned if you're going to treat me like I'm a stupid ass here. I know something is going on. I've always known--"
"You've always known something was going on," seethed Greene, "It has nothing at all to do with your wife."
"Yeah well," snapped Montes, "I find that hard to believe, especially since lately, I find anything that happens anywhere has you and your friends right in the middle of it. That last time, it happened right in my goddamn backyard and now she's dead. You are in the middle of the mess that got her killed, Greene."
"What did you want me to do, Montes?" Leland asked, "Whip the cure from my ass?"
Montes' face turned a deep shade of crazily angry red, and then Leland's own offended anger began to vanish, leaving this awning, reluctant, inescapable... nothing.
Montes would have hit him, he knew, if Montes were a lesser man. But he just walked away, and then they worked themselves to the ground the rest of the day, barely speaking, work that included taking that unidentified caller who knew far too much than he should have about, and offering even more information on, an open case.
And then the running started, and it began to take the shape of a set-up.
The 'informant' they had met peered at them from the shadows of their warehouse meeting place and shot off like a rocket. Greene, who was always the better runner, took off after him at a dead run. Montes followed after a breath, but it was not at all long before the man's heavy, running footsteps faded further and further behind Greene and the man he was pursuing.
"He's too goddamn fast," the runner gasped, likely to accomplices listening in on a comm device.
He twists, he turns, Leland follows the shift. The set-up seemed professional, and he was following like a fool but he could hardly just stand still and watch him leave.
"Montes," Leland said over his own digital radio as they burst from out the warehouse's back door, "Call for back-up."
"They're calling for back-up," Leland's elven ears heard, another voice, from somewhere...
They couldn't have heard me, he thought, thinking their own devices were being monitored, What is this...
His prey jumped a wire fence, landed neatly, crouched on two feet, graceful as a cat. Leland followed suit, practically jumped right on top of him, except he dodged cleanly and started running again, towards a dark alley. Just beyond the narrow way was a well-lit, busy, noisy street.
People, Leland thought, quickening his pace, I could lose him. Worse, he can hurt others.
"He's too goddamn fast," the runner said again, "You have to hit him now!"
Leland stopped dead in his tracks. Instinctively, his ears strained for the sound of a released bullet, hoping to dodge it, knowing nothing else of the situation.
The sound that followed was so deceptively soft, and unexpected.
Arrow?, he thought, belatedly, as it was not a sound he'd heard in ages.
A slim dart made it's way to his neck.
Stunned, he took a step back before tearing it from his skin, horrified. He pocketed it for investigation later, as he ducked behind a large trash can for cover. His eyes roved the area. He quited his breaths, tried to ease the pounding of his heart.
Come out, come out, he thought, seeking a sound, a scent, a breath of movement. He had never been the prey, not like this, never...
"Greene!" Montes barked at him over the radio, and he dodged as another arrow made its way toward his head.
"I copy, you've called for reinforcements?" Leland asked him in a low voice.
"Yeah, you got him?" Montes asked.
"No," Leland replied, hesitating for a moment, "I think they're trying to get us. And they're listening in."
"What?" Montes exclaimed.
"Watch out," said Greene, "It's a set-up, they're trying to get us, and I think they bugged us." He grimaced, editing the part where they had tried to stick him with a dart and whatever they may have coated it in.
Or succeeded, that is, Greene reminded himself. Either way, he was unconcerned for himself. Whatever it was, it should have, at the very least, a profoundly diminished effect on th eleven physiology.
Greene was getting deeply and profoundly annoyed, however, when he noticed that he may have been mistaken about the potency of that thrice-damned dart. His fingers felt cold, and heavy. They felt thick and numb and unmanageable, and if he did not look to see they looked quite the same as before, he would have sworn they were swollen, or, or detached!
"What do you want?" Leland Greene called out to his hunters, the sound of his own voice feeling loud and hollow to his ears.
Potent stuff, he thought, almost dejectedly.
"We are LAPD," Greene added, "You called us in. We can protect you, if you help us. If we get into some trouble here, I guarantee you it will be much, much more than you can handle."
Another dart whizzed past him and his can/shield. And another caught one of his dull, unresponsive hands. He muttered a curse and tore it off with some difficulty.
Potent stuff, he thought again, tossing his head from side to side, clearing his head. He could feel his heart beating slower, much slower than his more standard, healthy, warrior's calm.
"What do you..." he drawled at his potential captors, finding his tongue as thick as his dull, useless hands. He gulped, "What do you want?"
Damn it, he thought, thinking it might be wise to disclose his situation to Montes more... um...concretely.
"Montes," he struggled through his comm radio, "They hit me with something."
"Where the hell are you, Greene?" his partner asked, concern evident even in his raised, irritated voice, "Where are you hit?"
Leland gulped, "Alley out back. They have a clear view of us from somewhere. Don't go out here. I'm trying to find a way back in, or out somewhere else. They're trying to get us."
"Hang on," Montes commanded, "I can hear the sirens, back-up's close."
I can't hear anything, Leland wondered. He looked back at the wire fence and the warehouse beyond it, and then at the alley he was in. The man he was chasing had already vanished into the city crowd.
Damn, he thought. He looked up at the dark windows on the upper floors of the two buildings lining the alley he was in.
I'm a sitting duck, he deduced, and his cover would not do at all. All his shooter/s had to do was move to another window for a better angle. .
His fingers tingled, and his feet were fast becoming numb also. His reactions were slowing, though his thoughts remained sharp.
Whoever is after me, he concluded by the slight break he was getting in the dart-barrage, is repositioning his aim.
I'm losing consciousness, he also suspected, If I drop here, they will get me.
He looked behind him at the fence. He couldn't climb it, not like this. He looked at the alley, where the man he was pursuing had run and vanished into.
Help, he concluded.
He pushed to his feet, and staggered as he ran forward. More darts sprayed behind him. He dodged, or swayed, whatever, as long as they did not hit, he was satisfied. He pushed forward, toward the street, toward the lights and the sounds and the people, where he would be safer.
He stumbled out onto the street and into the path of hot, glaring lights. A horn sounded, and tires screeched, and the dull sound of metal barreling ruthlessly against flesh broke into the night.
He knew what had hit him, by the gods, did he know. These sounds created an algorithm that was distinct and unmistakable. He just did not think it was a fair.
But it was, he reflected, a perfect cap to a Monday gone appropriately sour.
Roanoke Island, Virginia
The New World
Sight returned though he did not expect it, nor, after his other senses returned and flared with it, did he want it.
Legolas was thirsty, and weary to the core of his bones. His body ached, and he attributed this primarily to having been battered and tossed around by the water that still bogged loosely around him, and probably from not having moved in hours.
Or days, he thought wryly, shaking his arms, wet sand clinging to his clothing. He looked up blearily at the beach he had washed upon, extremely grateful for at least reaching some form of land.
He smirked a little, and his heart started to beat a little bit faster.
I'm back, he thought.
He turned his head to the left, noting that wherever it was the waves have brought him was not his targeted area. The foliage was wilder, untamed and unfamiliar. It was much warmer also. But at least it was Middle Earth, and likely all he needed was someone who could point him in the right direction.
He turned his head to the right, and frowned upon a man staring at him and sitting on one of the elven chests he had brought with him on his (now shattered) ship for his journey. The weathered old man had clear, penetrating eyes, a narrow, sharp gaze, and a small, stern mouth. The hair color, he could not see from beneath the hat.
Legolas cleared his throat and pushed himself up to his knees.
"I beg you stay still," the old man said, pointing an odd, L-shaped steel and wood contraption at him. Legolas deduced it was supposed to be threatening, from how the man wielded it with unabashed confidence and control.
Legolas opened his hands in a non-threatening manner, "I was told that things have changed from when me and my kind were last seen here. I do not know what it is you expect of us, but I guarantee you I am no danger to you."
The old man's brows furrowed. He was obviously confused about what Legolas had just said. "I saw your ship during the storm days ago, just after we docked here. We watched it break on the rocks. I did not think I would find anyone alive. But it is just as well. Spies are to be shot."
Legolas' eyes widened, "I am no spy!"
"Your manner of speech is like my own," the man continued, "But I looked among your things and found art and writing that looked as if it had Moorish influences. Spain," he said heavily, "and the Moors are heavily connected."
Legolas must have looked bewildered. "I am an elf-prince of the Greenwood Realm. I know not of what you speak."
"Elf, are you," the man asked, his eyes glinting, mocking, "And prince too! Well if we are dreaming we might as well reach for the stars, eh, lad? Of course you are an elf-prince. Why did I not think of that? For that matter, why did I not think to sprout wings and simply return home to England?"
"You mock me and I wish to know why, or to have your sincerest apologies, at the least," Legolas told him, coldly, beginning to rise up to his feet.
"You will stay still, spy!" the old man ordered, waving his odd weapon.
"I will have the respect you owe," Legolas retorted.
"I owe nothing!" the man exclaimed, before pointing his weapon to the ground near the elf's feet, and pressing upon one of its odd levers. The ground near Legolas... exploded, for lack of a better term, making him jump back.
Interesting, Legolas thought, darkly.
"That was uncalled for," Legolas told him, coolly.
"You will come with me and see my Captain," said the man.
Legolas tilted his head at the fiery old fellow. "If he exercises better judgment than you, then I should be much obliged."
"If my judgment were better," said the other, "I'd have shot you where it counts."
"If your judgment were better," Legolas retorted, distractedly straightening out his clothes and patting down his hair. He tucked the golden strands framing his face behind his elven ears, "You would treat me more fairly. I only once ruled upon these lands before, it could not have been too long ago. If you were better read, perhaps, more knowledgeable of your own history. But well. That is neither here nor there. Show me to him--"
Legolas stopped dead, when he noticed that all antagonism had left the man's face, to be replaced by a look of fear, awe, and just complete and utter disbelief.
"Elf," the old man said, breathlessly.
"That is what I have been saying," Legolas said, frustrated, "I just need you to lend me a horse, I can pay in gold or mithril, but I will need one. And I need you to tell me where I am precisely, that I might make my way to Ithilien."
"An elf," the man repeated, appearing quite stuck with the thought. He peered at Legolas' ears some more, "Or perhaps a birth defect of a sort. I have always been a rational man..."
"What are you babbling about, man?" Legolas asked, impatiently, "Where are we? Which way might be best to Ithilien or Gondor, and would you sell me a horse?"
"If you have gold I would love it," the man replied, cautiously, "We are in Virginia, and I know not of these places that you seek."
The old man led him to a small wooden lodge, a few steps into the forest that lay beyond the sandy shore. He said his name was Davenport, and that he should not worry about the belongings he arrived with, for there was no one on this part of the island but the two of them.
"Virginia," Legolas echoed, trying to recall if he had ever heard of such a place in any of his travels. And he and the dwarf had traveled a lot.
The dwarf, he thought, before eliminating the memory completely. He had to focus. If he were to find his way to Ithilien from this strange, unknown place, he needed to concentrate. It must be far, especially if the man had never heard of his land before.
The wooden cottage was sparsely furnished, incredibly clean, though it felt lived in, still. Legolas saw a desk, a bed, and a night stand bearing tiny portraits of a country house and a beautiful woman. There were also quite a number of books here and there. The man had the habits of a voracious learner.
Davenport rolled out a map on his desk, as Legolas drew out his own map from his coat. He had it coated in wax, such that it remained dry even with the onslaught of the sea and Manwe's winds.
Punishing winds, he thought wryly, the winds that have brought him here out of his stubborn desire to go back to Middle-Earth from beyond its glorious circles.
Man and elf frowned, as they set the maps side by side. Legolas turned over his small map, trying to find an angle where his Middle-Earth could possibly fit.
Davenport's map was wide and gently watercolored in hues of blue and pink. The blue he assumed to be water, surrounding several chunks of oddly-shaped land masses. In bold Westron, he saw a large parcel of land labeled "EVROPA," another to its right read "ASIA," slightly beneath the middle of these was "AFRICA," and to the left of all these, a bit less connected to everything else, was "AMERICA- Die Nieve Weld."
"Odd," the elf murmured, wondering if they had changed the names of the countries, but finding even in terms of the shape of the land, his Middle Earth was nowhere to be found.
"We are here," Davenport pointed to 'AMERICA,' "The New World, you see?"
"These maps are accurate?" Legolas asked.
"I am a sailor," said Davenport, "There are certain inaccuracies, we are still seeing the length of the world. The Queen is aggressively forming and reforming how it looks in my mind. But essentially, cartographers from all over the world have agreed this is a fair portrait of the world." Davenport reached for the elf's map, studied it a bit, "This looks quite dated, doesn't it?"
"I spent perhaps centuries in Aman," said the elf, "I did not keep track of time. There was no reason why anyone there should keep a map of Middle-Earth and so it is old, one from when I was a soldier, long ago."
"You were a soldier?" asked Davenport, looking him over skeptically.
"I commanded my kingdom's army," Legolas murmured, studying over the maps, "You have truly never heard of Ithilien?"
"No, for which I am sorry," said Davenport.
"How about Gondor? Arnor? Rohan? Imladris? Greenwood? Even Mordor, perhaps, I just need a point of reference," Legolas added.
"I have never heard of these places," Davenport replied, watching his face carefully, "And I doubt anyone can tell you if I could not. Aside from the fact that we must go to the other end of the island to consult with my fellows, I count amongst the most learned of them, if I may say so. I am quite convinced that you are utterly mad, or profoundly lost. The fact that you have the appearance of an elf compounds matters more. Perhaps you are a ghost. Or I am utterly mad."
"I am an elf," Legolas insisted.
"Are the places you seek elven realms?" Davenport asked.
"Not since we left it," the elf replied, "But there would be books, writings. Someone would know if the names of our kingdoms were changed. Or..." he glanced doubtfully at the maps, "Where they went, at least. I believe I am profoundly lost."
To be continued...
I guess that's it for now, guys. Thank you for the support. Wish me luck and, 'TIL THE NEXT POST!