Viridus observed the other two as they slept. He had taken watch as he was restless and could not bring himself to sleep. The two had promised an explanation for him, about this world, Middle-Earth, as they called it.
It was rather obvious that this world was behind in terms of technology, judging by the way those two seemed to be traveling in the wild and how Aragorn wielded his sword. This world may be magical, even, because Gandalf was apparently a wizard. Quietly, Viridus drew his sword, placing it upon his lap as he observed it. He had spent countless hours staring at its intricate design, how no matter what blow hit the blade, no dent or scratch would form. It was a marvelous weapon, forged by the one of the greatest wizards to cross the world. He supposed that the Four Founders together could have evenly matched Merlin. They were a team, like the Golden Trio.
It was around midnight and Viridus was peering into the sky. The constellations were completely different from what he was used to, strange and alien. On more than one occasion had he looked up to the skies and observed Sirius, the brightest star as seen from the earth, the star that Sirius was named after.
The wind whispered through the trees and Viridus lost himself in the gentle wisp that floated from the tree line and into the clearing. His coat swirled in the wind but Viridus made no move to stop it, because it made him less tense, although his eyes continued to dart here and there, his ears picking up the slightest sound of a branch swaying in the wind. Judging by the color of the leaves falling from the trees, a lush golden-red, it was the fall. He really needed to hear of this world, find out what time this was, and what were the culture and the countries.
The look of the clearing was rather breathtaking, otherworldly, and ethereal. Then again, he was in a different world.
He continued to observe his sword, lost in his thoughts, until a voice interrupted them.
"That is a beautiful sword..."
Viridus looked up, to find Aragorn staring at his blade. Sheathing it again, he propped his chin atop his fist as he looked at Aragorn.
"Yes, indeed. The Sword of Godric Gryffindor, a legend among our world."
Aragorn shifted from where he lay on the ground, covered with a few blankets. Letting them fall to the earth he sat cross-legged, and replied, "The Wizard must have been a legend for a sword to be named after him." Viridus laughed.
"A legend indeed, and this was his sword. He was one of the founders of the greatest school of Wizards. Such were his words: Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus. A stubborn man with a hot head, but wise and noble nonetheless."
"What do those words mean?"
"Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon." Aragorn laughed at that. "A strange phrase, but it became the school motto," Viridus said, smiling slightly.
Aragorn's eyes flicked to the sword once again, before returning to Viridus, who was contemplating the understanding on Aragorn's face when he mentioned Hogwarts' motto. Obviously there were dragons in this world, but what would a normal man know of them? Hmm, perhaps a man who traveled with a Wizard, for one.
"But what is the weapon's real name?" Aragorn asked. "Surely it would have a name of its own." Viridus shrugged.
"Perhaps Gryffindor named it but did not record it. I would never know. I found it hidden in his old hat." To which Aragorn's eyebrows rose.
"What would it be doing in a Wizard's hat?" Aragorn wondered. "A hat is meant to ride a Wizard's head, not hide his sword!"
"Magic," Viridus replied, smirking. "A strange thing, it is. No one can claim to understand its every aspect. We tend to say magic is magic, for we have no other explanation of what Magic is."
Aragorn looked at Viridus strangely. "Very well," sighed Aragorn. "But this Godric Gryffindor is not the wielder of the sword now, so it is your right to name it."
Viridus shrugged and drew the sword once again, staring hard at Aragorn. "I will name it, but his mark will forever remain upon it." He gestured to the words etched upon it.
Aragorn moved so he could look at the words on the blade, which, by the way he looked at them strangely, he did not understand. "What writing is this? I have never seen such runes." Viridus raised an eyebrow. Well, then, they could speak English, though with a rather funny accent, but had a different alphabet. My, this was interesting.
"Those are the letters of our world." Viridus shrugged, before returning to the sword that lay upon his lap. Yes, perhaps he should take Aragorn's advice and name it. "Falatro. Yes, that is a fitting name."
"What does it mean?"
"It is a certain private thing," mused Viridus. "There is no need to worry, it is a fitting name."
"How old is this sword?" asked Aragorn.
"Oh, a certain one thousand years."
"But it looks as if it has been recently forged, a like to an elf's sword!"
"Do you not travel with a Wizard yourself?" Viridus chose to ignore the term 'elf' for now. He would find out for himself later on. He doubted these elves were the same as his world's house elf, judging by the fact that he had stated that these elves had swords.
Aragorn seemed to consider him for a moment, but then shrugged. "I suppose you are right." Viridus shook his head and sheathed his sword once more.
"Since you are awake, I would like to hear of this world," Viridus said, looking at Aragorn pointedly.
"I believe I may have more success in that area," spoke a voice, and they both started and turned to spot Gandalf sitting a little farther away, close to the fire, warming his wrinkled hands. Viridus turned his attention to Gandalf, who had apparently awoken whilst they were talking. He admonished himself for not paying attention to his surroundings. What would Alastor say? Now however, Viridus turned his head so that he cocked one ear to listen for something threatening, and another ear to Gandalf so he could listen to the old man. "I have lived for many a year and thus know more about this world than most. They call me the Grey Wizard, as frequently as the Grey Pilgrim, for I travel the world constantly, never staying in a place for too long. I have witnessed the rise and fall of many Kings and with them, their Empires.
"This world is made of mortals and immortals, and different races at that. Middle-Earth, or Arda, as some call it, is nothing more than a single continent, the continent of mortals. The Undying Lands, or Aman, home to the immortals, are west of Middle-Earth. The elves and the Valar are the single immortal beings left in this world. The Valar are in charge of the universe, watching over it. They are higher beings that few have seen with their own eyes. The One Father of All created the Eldar; they are the elves, and the Edain, Men. The Dwarves were made by one of the Valar and given sapience by the One. Hobbits, or Halflings are a variety of Man, but they consider themselves their own race. The Istari are wizards, like you and I, and are immortal. We were sent by the Valar to destroy evil.
"There are only five of us, which makes it very strange to see you here, Master Viridus. In any case, there is an evil in Middle-Earth that goes by the name of Sauron. There are three ages in this world, and Sauron was heavily involved in all three. Now, I rather think that we need a map." And Gandalf proceeded to draw a long roll of parchment from his bags and open it in front of Viridus.
"In the First Age, there emerged the Dark Lord Morgoth, who was an evil Vala that used to be named Melkor. Sauron was one of the Maiar, who served and helped the Valar. Initially Sauron was faithful, but he was soon corrupted by Morgoth. When Morgoth began to wage war on Arda in order to control or destroy the land. The Noldorin Elves sailed to Arda against the counsel of the Valar to wage war on Morgoth. In that war, Sauron was Morgoth's Chief Lieutenant and equaled only by Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs, demons of fire and darkness. Once the war was over and Morgoth and Sauron defeated, Sauron tried to repent, perhaps out of simple fear. But he was unwilling to go to the Undying Lands for judgment and hid in Middle-Earth. The First Age was ended then, and the Second Age begun.
"About one thousand years into the Second Age, Sauron reappeared, in disguise, calling himself Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, assuming a beautiful appearance." Here Viridus grimaced. This Sauron would have made a fine Slytherin, making himself look good while finding a way to kill or dominate the elves. But this was slightly too much. It was obvious this world was completely different from his. "I see by your expression that you know where my story is going. Sauron befriended the Elven-smiths of Eregion, in the lands of Eriador," here Gandalf pointed to a land west of a line of mountains, "and counseled them in arts and magic. Some Elves distrusted him, including Lady Galadriel of Lórien, where we are now," here Gandalf pointed to a forest to the east of the mountain line, "and Gil-galad, the High King of the Noldorin Elves. However, the Elves of Eregion did not heed their warnings. The Elven-smiths, with Sauron's assistance forged the Rings of Power, Rings that give great power to their bearers.
"But therein lies the full brunt of Sauron's treachery. Unbeknownst to the Elves, Sauron forged the One Ring in the volcanic Mount Doom in Mordor." Here he pointed at a barren country in the east of Middle-Earth, on a single mountain, beside it a great tower. "This One Ring 'to rule them all', as Sauron called it, had the power to dominate the other Rings and enslave their wearers to Sauron's will. The Rings of Power were too powerful however, and to accomplish this goal Sauron was forced to place his life force into it, along with the greater part of his power. A—"
"Wait one moment," interrupted Viridus. "Did you say he placed his life force into the ring? As in his soul?"
Gandalf looked confused for a moment, before answering his question, "Yes, he did." And much to Gandalf's amazement, Viridus groaned.
"What's with all these Dark Lords?" mumbled Viridus, before he gathered himself and looked hard at Gandalf. "Damn, he made a Horcrux!"
"A Horcrux?" asked Gandalf, even more confused.
Viridus nodded, looking resigned. "A Horcrux is among the most vile and evil form of magic. When one murders, his soul is ripped in half. By pouring part of his torn soul into an object, one cannot die by any wound or spell. If his body dies, his soul lingers on, forever waiting to return to the physical world." Gandalf widened his eyes.
"How do you know of such magic? And what does your Dark Lord have to do with it?"
"He made six Horcruxes, thinking if he split his soul into seven, he would gain even more power."
Gandalf nodded in understanding. "Yes, the number seven. I imagine it worked?"
"It did," Viridus said. "And it gave me a hard time to chase every clue I had of it, checking each memory that my old mentor and me collected from every person Voldemort came in contact with, until finally I destroyed each and everyone. He is no longer immortal, I learned he could not create more Horcruxes, because too little of his soul would reside in his body. Still, he is powerful and I have no doubt he would find another way if he left alone."
Gandalf nodded again and said, "Very well. Now then, Sauron created this One Ring and poured his power into it. Should the Ring be destroyed, Sauron would be defeated completely.
"When Sauron put on the One Ring and tried to dominate the Elves, they became aware of his treachery and removed their rings. But Sauron did not stop there but started a war between him and the Elves. It was such a bloody time that the time of the war became known as the Dark Years, where Sauron massacred Eregion, killed Celebrimbor, the leader of the Elven-smiths, and seized sixteen Rings of Power. But unknown to Sauron, Celebrimbor had made three more Rings of Power without his help and they remained in the hands of elves. They are now hidden amongst the elves.
"Sauron pushed against the Elves and raised Barad-dur, the Dark Tower," here Gandalf pointed at the tower close to Mount Doom, "and the Black gate, which prevented armies from entering Mordor. Soon he gave Nine Lords of Men Nine Rings, and Seven Dwarven Lords Seven Rings. The Nine soon grew corrupted and became Ringwraithes, the Nazgûl, evil beings that had no form and gave Men and Elves feelings of despair and hopelessness."
Viridus narrowed his eyes. "Those sound too much like Dementors for my liking. Tell me, do they appear as hooded and cloaked creatures, do you feel cold when they come near?"
Gandalf nodded, but was surprised when Viridus looked pleased. "Great, I have a spell to keep them a way, they will be no problem for me." But when Gandalf looked like he was about to ask, Viridus said, pointedly, "You were saying?"
At this point, Gandalf had drawn a long pipe and lit, sucking on its tip and producing smoke rings. Viridus thought he looked odd, like Dumbledore sucking on his beloved Lemon Drops. This was obviously a pastime of his. He was silent for a while, but he soon continued. By now, Viridus thought that this very story was rather exciting, but by the look of things, Sauron was winning. Viridus himself placed a hand in his food bag and retrieved a tuna sandwich, which he proceeded to eat while Gandalf explained. He was rather hungry and this story was making him anxious. It was obvious that Sauron was powerful and if he and Voldemort quickly formed an alliance ... he shivered to think of what might happen.
"The Seven Dwarves, however, were too resilient to fall into darkness, but they became induced with even more greed, that soon tore a rift between them and the other races. They turned on Sauron and fought against him. But by this time, Númenor had become involved.
"Númenor was the kingdom of the Dúnedain, who were Men who had fought against Morgoth. The Valar had raised Númenor as a gift to the Men who aided them. They were of great wisdom and spirit, and also had longer life spans than normal Men. Númenor attacked Sauron who had realized that he could not win, despite the fact that he had gained control over the Orcs and Trolls who had served Morgoth before then, for they deserted Sauron in cowardice. So he allowed himself to be taken prisoner of Númenor. The King at the time knew not of the One Ring and so did not destroy it. But soon Sauron tricked the King and grew from prisoner to advisor, using that snake tongue of his.
"He soon convinced the King to conquer the Undying Lands, letting him believe that whoever landed there would become immortal. But when most of the Númenóreans landed on the beaches of the Undying land, they perished and the Valar sank Númenor into the depths of the sea.
"Sauron's body was also destroyed, but he returned to Mordor with the One Ring as a spirit and soon regained his physical body. He began using brute force to defeat the Elves. The faithful Númenóreans who did not go to the Undying Lands founded Gondor and Arnor." He pointed to two countries on the map. "Arnor soon fell under the might of Sauron's army but Gondor held fast and continued to fight. Elendil, the King of Gondor, of the Faithful of the Númenóreans, and his sons formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with Gil-galad and attacked Mordor's gate itself. Soon Sauron himself came out to fight and Elendil and Gil-galad killed him, but at the cost of their lives. Elendil's sword Narsil had broken as he fell.
"Isildur cut the ring from Sauron's hand using Narsil's shards. But against the council of Lords Elrond and Círdan, Gil-galad's lieutenants, he refused to throw it into Mount Doom and thus destroy, instead keeping it for himself. For that how the Ring works, it wants to return to its master and thus compelled Isildur to keep it. So ended the Second Age.
"But when a legion of Orcs came across Isildur's traveling group, they killed every single one. But Isildur used the Ring to flee, which made the wearer invisible, and swam in the river close by. However, the Ring betrayed him and slipped off his finger, into the depths of the river, allowing the Orcs to kill him by piercing him with their arrows once they saw him."
Then Gandalf told the story of Gollum, who a hobbit had found with a Ring of Power. The ring made him immortal but he soon grew into a twisted fiend. It was only when a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins stole it from him did he come out from his hiding place.
"At the time, I was with Bilbo on his journey to the Lonely Mountain with thirteen dwarves, off to collect a treasure a dragon was hiding. I did not recognize the ring and I fail to know what it is. My fears are that this ring was actually the One Ring. Still, I am not sure that the ring is the One, and so have left it in the hands of Frodo Baggins, the cousin of Bilbo, while the older hobbit now travels to the Lonely Mountain and from there Rivendell."
Then Gandalf talked about his adventure in Mirkwood to find out about the Necromancer who appeared around those parts. He had discovered that it was Sauron again. The White Council of Wizards and Elves soon expelled him from Mirkwood and he returned defeated to Mordor.
"But he grows weary for the Ring and lusts for it, for he could not reach his full power without it. Still no one who knew that Bilbo had the ring would tell Sauron, no one except Gollum."
Viridus shook his head. Here were greedy beings by nature, none who understood that it wasn't fame, glory and gold that was important, but a comfortable life with your family, a comfortable life where you needn't worry about Dark Lords and murder.
"So, you are no hunting for Gollum?"
"Yes, excellent deduction. But I fear he may already have gone to Mordor."
Viridus simply nodded. "Very well then. I do not want Voldemort to get his hands on the Ring as well, so I will help you find this Gollum, this vile thing you speak of," he said, standing and brushing his trench coat. Gandalf looked pleased.
"What of your world?" said Aragorn, who spoken for the first time since the beginning of the tale.
"My world is of no consequence," Viridus said, his tone leaving no room for argument. Ignoring Aragorn's heated glare, Viridus looked to the sky, which was now brightening into dawn. "Well, now. It looks like morning is here. If we want to finish this job, we have to set out now." Twin nods met his proclamation, and they set out to find the tracks that Aragorn had said he had found, those of a creature who had walked with both arms and legs, quite sluggishly, as Aragorn had found. The prints were those of normal beings but they were strangely deformed.
"Who lives in these woods?" asked Viridus, as he walked with Gandalf and Aragorn across the woods to the outside world. Apparently Wizard and Man had met here in the woods to set out to journey the wilderness in order to find Gollum.
"The Elves of Lothlorien, Lady Galadriel lives here," said Aragorn. "It is said she can read the minds of those who enter her forest." Aragorn looked shocked when Viridus cursed under his breath. He had only just noticed a slight probe against his shields, only when Aragorn had said she could. He was disappointed that he didn't notice such an intrusion. Sure the shields held, but she went about it unnoticed. Seeing the look on Gandalf and Aragorn's faces, Viridus quickly sent a message to Galadriel.
My mind is my own, Lady Galadriel.
Galadriel returned the message quickly as well. My apologies, Master Wizard. May I inquire your name?
'Tis Viridus. I look forward to meeting such an accomplished Leglimens, but I am afraid I must go ... And with that, Viridus closed his mind off completely so she would not even be able to see it. Before she was cut off, however, he felt her irritation and was amused. She obviously wasn't used to being shut out of someone's mind. Viridus had always said that his mind was his own countless times, and he didn't like people taking a look into it. He hadn't ever as a matter of fact.
Gandalf, seeing the look on Viridus' face, said, "May you enlighten us, on what is humorous?"
Viridus waved his hand casually. "Oh it is nothing. Simply the fact that Galadriel has never been incapable of accessing someone's mind – she's rather irritated..."
And leaving the two looking gobsmacked, Viridus walked regally out of the forest, in the genera direction of where Aragorn had pointed. Once he found the tracks, he bent to the ground and tracing the tracks with his fingers expertly, he sniffed the ground and suddenly smelled a foul stench that made him recoil slightly. "This creature's stench bespeaks of a foul being," Viridus said, standing upright again and turning towards Gandalf. "But he backtracked on purpose, so as to throw us off his trail. That speaks of slyness."
Gandalf seemed unconcerned. "Do not forget, we have a Ranger amongst us," he said, gesturing towards Aragorn.
"Ranger?" Viridus asked, with no small caution.
Gandalf nodded. "Yes, Rangers, remnants of the Dúnedain. There are non in Middle-Earth who can rival their tracking abilities, save the elves. Very useful to have Aragorn for this, isn't it?" Viridus raised an eyebrow at Aragorn, but the Ranger pretended not to notice, instead bending to the ground as Viridus had done. He began to follow each trail with a concentration that Viridus envied greatly. Viridus decided not to tell them that he could simply follow the trail with his nose and let them suffer. Soon however, Aragorn pointed toward a trail that led across the green plains they had found themselves at. If the information he had gathered from the map was correct, then it appeared that Gollum was traveling to Mordor.
He did not trust the Ranger's abilities, however, walking towards Aragorn, who had traveled quite a while in his search. He sniffed the air, and he came to the same conclusion as Aragorn.
"Ah yes, that is the way," Viridus said. "His foul stench heads that way. Although, you would have found it sooner if you followed your nose."
Aragorn looked resigned however; as he didn't think anything would surprise him now with Viridus involved. "I can barely catch a whiff of it, even the Dúnedain can not hope to match the elves in such methods. What would your wizardry help in that regard, Viridus?"
Viridus shrugged. He had his Animagus form to thank for that. Instead of answering, he quickly turned into a large black wolf, right in front of their eyes, and he sniffed the ground, running across the path laid bare by Gollum. His form, a Shadow Wolf, was a magical creature that could sink in the shadows and reappear else where, quite a useful talent. He could use this ability even in his human form, which was another gift given along with the Shadow Wolf's enhanced hearing, smell, and sight, which simply added upon the ritual he preformed to get rid of his glasses and see people that were invisible.
He expertly ignored the fact that the other two were staring at him with their eyebrows raised.
"A skin-changer!" cried Gandalf to Aragorn, as they trudged after the black wolf that had been staring reproachfully after them when they had not followed. "To think another one like Beorn crosses our lands once again!"
Aragorn simply shook his head, walking along with Gandalf, following the wolf that seemed to know where it was going. And true enough; animals had much more refined senses than Men, so he found no reason why a skin-changer would not have that as well. "This Black Wizard is too much of a mystery for me to trust," Aragorn admitted. "He seems to hide a great deal of things and is particularly adamant not tell us of his world."
Gandalf grunted, puffing on his pipe again. "He has a darker nature, Aragorn, yet I sense no evil intent from him," he said wisely. "Eru knows how useful an ally would be in Viridus! Remember, Aragorn, how he has fought himself against a Dark Lord and came out perchance as the victor. The title of Dark Lords is not gained easily; you must prove yourself to be truly and despicably evil to do so. Viridus speaks of this Dark Lord with hatred, I think he as a personal vendetta against him, but also with respect, the kind of respect for an adversary. And the only way such a powerful wizard would respect someone was if they were strong-willed or powerful themselves..."
"I still do not trust him," Aragorn grumbled, while Gandalf laughed.
"You are correct in your caution, I should think, for it remains unclear what his purposes are," said Gandalf. "He could very well be hunting down this Dark Lord to rise in his stead. But I should think that the only reason you 'mistrust' him, is because you begrudge that he let you suffer tracking down the marks while he could have done it himself." At the indignant look on Aragorn's face, Gandalf laughed again, puffing on his pipe once again and releasing a smoke ring into the wilderness. "Still, he provides enlightening information. The Valar have been intrigued on why Sauron's spirit had not returned to the Undying Lands once he died as that is the fate of the Maiar that died and I suppose these Horcruxes are the reason."
They traveled in comfortable silence then, each lost in their own thoughts. They did not fail to notice that once the wolf was too far away he would stop and wait for them to catch up and then lope after the tracks again, nose only inches from the ground.
Gandalf was still amazed by the two skills Viridus had allowed them to see. His ability to repel Galadriel from his mind was entirely too unsettling, as even Saruman had not even the power to resist her. And this other ability, his ability to change his skin was too unsettling!
But then, he had sensed the magic, the alien magic that Viridus possessed. It sent shivers down his spines as it was something unknown, and even he, Gandalf the Grey, was afraid of this new Wizard, one not even sent by the Valar. He wondered want else this Wizard was capable of. He would be a match for Saruman himself! Still, he did not trust him, his intentions were unclear and as Aragorn had stated, hid too much of his past. It was rather strange coming across someone from another world – and one who seemed to know all about the Ringwraithes and the Ring. It seemed too much to hope for that this powerful wizard would help them.
Gandalf was a realistic man, one who did not believe in the impossible. But even he could not dispute the fact that this wizard was of another world. The slight accent he had when he spoke the Common Speech, one he had not heard before, and his strange clothes. They were obviously made from some hide, yet they had a strange shimmer about them. If one looked hard at them, they could see the outline of some scales. The armor, for that was what the green outfit underneath the coat looked like, appeared durable and tough and Gandalf suspected they protected him from harmful magic.
Such armor made him believe that Wizards, wherever he came from, constantly fought another in a Wizard's war, for he called Lord Voldemort an evil wizard. The 'Light' side, which was obviously led by Viridus, was against the 'Dark' side, which was led by Voldemort. Light and Dark were given as terms to spells by wizards, as Gandalf knew, but really, such labels were pointless. And by the way Viridus mocked the terms, he obviously thought so too. He also did not forget Viridus' aura, which was of a strange dark nature. However, Dark spells can be used with good intent and Light spells could be used for ill-intent as well.
So for now, Gandalf waited.
Day turned to night as they grew closer to Mordor, but the tracks kept trailing away from the general direction, as if Gollum sometimes got lost. Instead of bypassing Rohan and Gondor, the tracks led into the heart of Rohan.
They lit a fire and readied their blankets, but Viridus, strangely did not sleep, but stood by the fire, leaning on his staff. Come to think of it Viridus had barely slept an hour out of the last twenty-four hours and that was before he woke up to watch out for any enemies, which he was doing then. No matter where they were, safe haven or not, it was foolish not to watch out for Orcs and Goblins and the like.
The sun had been scorching on the open plains, but Viridus seemed unaffected. He ate not from their supplies but from a bag that seemed to never stop supplying food. They were rather strange food they had not seen before. Sometimes he would use magic to conjure his own pots and pans in order to cook some of the food, and when he offered some to Gandalf and Aragorn, they were both amazed by the taste of his cooking. He was obviously excellent at preparing food.
Viridus had simply charmed his bag, he told them, to be weightless and to carry as much food and items as he liked. He could simply put his hand into the meager bag and withdraw whatever he wanted, be it butterbear, firewhiskey, or simple food. He needed only one hour of sleep a day, for he had preformed a ritual that allowed him to use the energy in food to stay awake. After he was sure the others were sleeping, he placed his hand into his bag and withdrew a book about Arithmancy. He had used Arithmancy to make many spells of his own and he was disappointed to know he had chosen Divination over it at school, for he loved the subject.
This book was an old tome mad by a famous spell-maker and Viridus was rather satisfied he could read his work.
He had read quite a lot of the book when the other two started to wake, whereupon he put it back in his bag. They set out once again, until they reached the boundaries of Rohan. There were a few watch towers along the line, and a company of soldiers marched towards them as soon as they saw them. They wore long green capes and wore green shields emblazoned with a golden sun. They traveled upon rather beautiful horses and Gandalf whispered to Viridus, before the soldiers were close to hear, "The Rohirrim are proud of their magnificent horses, given to them and this land by Gondor when they had aided them against some of their enemies in the middle of the Third Age. They are descended from the finest horses of the elves that first came to Arda."
Viridus nodded slightly, just as the soldiers of the Rohirrim stopped in front of them, their spears pointed towards them. One of the soldiers mounted upon a black horse at the head of the crowd and appeared to be the guard captain, spoke.
"Who be you and what business do you have in Rohan?"
Gandalf chuckled at him and the captain looked at him. "Those clothes – are you, perchance, the Grey Pilgrim?"
"Quite a welcoming party you have for us," Gandalf said merrily. "But it is indeed I, Gandalf the Grey."
"Ah Mithrandir!" the Captain greeted. "And who may your friends be?" The captain gestured to the other soldiers and they lowered their weapons and turning on their horses, returned to the closest tower, leaving behind three rider-less horses.
"This is Aragorn, son of Arathorn, of the Rangers," Gandalf said, and Aragorn stepped up. "And the other one here is named Viridus."
And the captain then spotted Viridus, who was once again leaning against his staff and peering at him with his strange, brilliant green eyes that seemed to look directly into the man's soul. The Captain shifted upon his saddle rather uncomfortably and said, once he saw the staff, "Another wizard, then?"
"Yes, another wizard," Viridus said mockingly. "And you, another Man. Quite obvious, don't you think?" And with that, both Aragorn and Gandalf looked at him in surprise. They had not seen this side of him. Normally, he was calm and collected, but then again, they had barely talked with him and that was with only serious matters.
The captain shifted uncomfortably yet again, and said, quickly, "Yes, I suppose so. You are welcome across. These horses are our gift to you." And with that, he practically galloped away, leaving behind the three horses of chestnut color. Aragorn turned to Viridus with an eyebrow raised, to see him smirking after the captain, as if he had expected that to happen. Aragorn chuckled and admonished, "There is no need to frighten everyone you see, Viridus." Upon which the wizard smirked even wider.
"If he cannot help but cower in fear every time he sees a wizard," Viridus said, turning away from the captain to look at Aragorn, "he would not last in Voldemort's dungeons." He clambered onto one of the horses and expertly took the reins in his hands. "We head to Edoras, then?"
Aragorn rode upon the horse as well, choosing to believe that Viridus had read the name upon the map. "Why would we head to Edoras? We follow the tracks!" Aragorn said, looking at Viridus questioningly.
Gandalf heaved himself upon the horse himself and answered instead of Viridus. "The guards have walked upon this land far too much for us to discern where Gollum might have gone. I am afraid that we have no trail to follow." He looked to Viridus, who nodded but looked unconcerned. "I thought you would pay attention to the trail, Aragorn?" admonished Gandalf and Aragorn looked slightly guilty. "In any case, I suppose we must travel to Edoras and then rake the entirety of Rohan for any rumors." He met Viridus' eyes once more and then he seemed unable to look away.
The old Wizard felt a slight memory come to him, of emeralds on the crown of King Théoden of Rohan. And from that memory, he remembered many things but he soon shook his head from this. He assumed this was simply an old man's musings and then turned away from Viridus' slightly glowing eyes.
"Yes, indeed. First we must resupply at Edoras, which will take us two days riding on horseback," Viridus said calmly. "Then we travel across Rohan and search the villages. Gollum must have stolen from someone or else was spotted for food; else he would have starved looking for food to hunt in the wilderness with his bare hands." Gandalf and Aragorn nodded. They turned around and rode across the dirt road leading to the capital city of Rohan.
Edoras was a city upon a hill, built at the end of the valley of Harrowdale, shadowed by the great mountain Starkhorn. Viridus could see the river Snowbourn flowing past the city, with workers from Rohan drawing water from the river at its shores. The sight was magnificent and thatched houses littered across each height of the hill, until a large house was stationed at the top of the city, the top of the hill, the Golden Hall of Meduseld, built by the second King of Rohan, King Brego son of Eorl the Young, who had made Edoras the capital of Rohan. A statue of the king upon his fiery stead stood near the gates of the Golden Hall, his sword bright and gleaming and water spilling from him into the fountain.
Viridus knew quite a lot about Rohan then. He sifted through Gandalf's mind, which contained heaps of knowledge Gandalf had not deigned him trustworthy to know of. But they helped him in learning about the world and its history.
The Éothéod were a race of Northman that were famous in their care of horses. They had lived far away from the ravages of the evil Men in the east and the Orcs. When Cirion, Steward of Gondor, at the time, sent a call for help to the King of the Éothéod, Eorl the Young, due to an attack from the evil Men in the east, the Éothéod came just in the nick of time to save the army of Gondor. Soon the depopulated province of Calenardhon was given to them and they completely removed themselves to there. The Éothéod soon were called the Rohirrim, or horse-lords, and Calenardhon was called Rohan, the Riddermark. Viridus learned many things, especially since Gandalf had been around for long and was versed in the knowledge of the past. He was shocked to find that Aragorn was the heir to the Throne of Gondor, but he supposed that Aragorn simply did not want the special attention that came with being King. He could relate.
Viridus could not dispute Gandalf's power, yet he found that his power was still not truly unleashed – perhaps the work of the Valar. In any case, the sight of Edoras before him was breath-taking, in its natural beauty. He had seen the memory in Gandalf's mind but it was good seeing it with his own eyes. Still, its magnificence was nowhere near Hogwarts and he looked calmly at it. Their horses trotted across until they reached the gates, where the guards saluted them and one of them cried, "Welcome to Edoras, Mithrandir!"
Gandalf nodded to the guard and the trio passed through the gates. The town-people left their thatched homes to witness the newcomers as they traveled the road to Meduseld, the children looking in awe at Gandalf, who they had barely seen in their years for he did not come to Rohan often. Once they reached Meduseld at the top of the hill, they found the guards opening the great doors. They gave the horses to a stable man who had strode to them and walked into the Golden Hall.
Tapestries and statues lined the golden-hued wooden walls, depicting many of Rohan's legends. There were many ornaments describing the beauty of legendry horses, those that were loved by the people of Rohan. Across the hall opposite the doors sat a large throne upon which a kingly man with light hair sat, a crown perched on his head, decorated with an assortment of emeralds. A sword lay on his lap, with an emerald embedded in its pommel. The man observed them with a slight smile, while to his side sat Grima Wormtongue, a rather unsavory looking man, who rather reminded Viridus of Wormtail.
"All bow in the Golden Hall of King Théoden!" announced a guard closest to the king. The guards were stationed close to the walls, guarding the King with their lives. Viridus took a respectful bow, as did Gandalf and Aragorn, but the bow was only one shared between equals, which did not go unnoticed by the King. However, he seemed to accept it from Gandalf and Aragorn, though his eyes lingered rather uncomfortably on Viridus, who looked calm as he stood leaning on his staff casually.
"Ah Mithrandir, and Aragorn, son of Arathorn," exclaimed the King, standing and sheathing his sword. "You have not graced the Golden Hall for quite some time, but your companion is not one I know, especially by the Wizarding look about him."
"Indeed he is a wizard," Gandalf said. "But he is not one I have seen until the day before yesterday."
"I thought there were only five wizards, Grey Pilgrim," observed Théoden.
Gandalf nodded in the affirmative. "Indeed there was, but this one is one that has never showed his face before. I rather think he was not sent here but else born a wizard."
It was at this point that Viridus spoke, with his strange accent. "That," he said, "is true." He nodded to the King. "But I think I could speak for myself, eh?"
At this King Théoden laughed and pointed at Viridus. "Quite true that, Master Wizard. But pray tell, what is your name and your sire's?"
Viridus gave a short bow and said, "My name is Viridus, my father's Cervus." Viridus had a knack of thinking up names rather quickly. Besides, Cervus was his father's codename in the Department of Mysteries (he was an unspeakable before he died.)
"Well, Viridus, son of Cervus, you are welcome in these halls any time you wish. It is not the way of Rohan to alienate your kind," smiled the King. "Though I wonder, is there more of your kind?"
Viridus nodded. "There are two, King Théoden. One who I hope to find and another that I advise you not to let in your halls."
King Théoden raised his eyebrows. "And who may these Born Wizards be?"
"If you see a haunted-looking man with a mane of black hair, please tell him the stag's son has followed him. And if you see a man calling himself Voldemort, do not let him reach your halls. Many a trick he can cast on your mind and his evil is vast." King Théoden looked at him with concern.
"An evil wizard you say? There is none of the normal wizards!"
"Do not trust any wizard! Even Gandalf the Grey before you," Viridus replied. "One may be good initially, but it takes only the slightest push and a wizard can succumb to the darkness. We are different from normal Men." But before anything could happen, Viridus had continued. "Let us not talk of such things. We search for a creature that hates the son and lives in the night. It is a small and frail thing, weak and thin, but it is sly and may wonder across your country, stealing food from your people."
"So you come to Edoras?" questioned Théoden. "I have not heard of such a creature here but if you search Rohan you may find what you seek." But Théoden turned to see Viridus staring at Grima Wormtongue, their eyes meeting, black against slightly glowing green.
"Trust what you want Grima Wormtongue," spoke Viridus, causing the rest of the inhabitants to look on in shock. "But do not give false warnings to earn someone else's trust. Your tongue has a magic onto its own." And with one last disgusted look at Wormtongue he turned to King Théoden. "I apologize King Théoden, for taking your time. We will buy a few supplies and then head out once again."
"You may stay in Meduseld for the night," nodded King Théoden. "We will get your supplies."
Falatro: A combination of fas, meaning 'fate' and 'latro', meaning roar. So in other word's, Falatro means Fate's Roar. A fitting name for Harry's sword, right?
Cervus: Means 'stag' in Latin. You can tell what the reference is, right?
Stag's Son: You know, Harry is passing on a message to Sirius that he was there and searching for him.
Shadow Wolf: Why doesn't Harry just use the Shadow Wolf's ability? You'll see soon enough. But I thought of giving Harry a cool canine form.
Reading Minds: At this point Gandalf is 'Grey', so he is too weak to notice an attack on his mind, although how he managed to feel the sifting through memories show he is slightly skilled in that area. Mind you, he still is powerful, just not like Harry, yet. And don't get mad at me, this was the best way that Viridus would know everything about Middle Earth.
Gandalf grows worried as they rake the wilderness, from Mirkwood to the Misty Mountains and to Mordor. He goes to the Shire to prove the Ring is what it is, leaving Aragorn and Viridus alone. Viridus himself grow worried about Voldemort and Sirius, as rumors begin to form wherever they go.
Reborn19: I liked telling about that part too, you know. True I pity Harry for all the losses, but the veil is a pathway to worlds where he can meet countless people and make friends. Should be fun, eh? And then there's Sirius. True, the Veil is unoriginal, but that is mainly because there is barely anything known about it in the books and so provides a good possible gateway in fanficdom to another world/dimension. I always thought if I did an HPxLotR crossover I'd make Viridus come to Middle Earth before the Fellowship as to get an understanding of Middle Earth else he'd be like he was when he as eleven-years-old. lol
Bobboky: Thanks for reviewing!
Aaah-Chaaa: lol I wouldn't say that right now. Heh, yes, but Harry's magic is so different it would be a lot more potent against everyone in Middle-Earth.
parseltonge girl: Thanks for reviewing to you as well!
Alarith: I can definitly say that Sauron and Voldemort will get an alliance. You'll see the terms soon enough, but its still more than twenty or so chapters ahead. But you'll see the signs. Yes, Harry will play an imortant part in the destruction of the one ring. And so will Voldemort. lol