Chance Encounter: Return to Middle Earth

Note: This is the third instalment of the Chance Encounter series. If you haven't read the previous two, Chance Encounter and Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy, I suggest you read them first, or else you will be very confused.

Disclaimer: I do not own Balian, Imad, Legolas, Aragorn, Will, Jack, Paris, Hector, Merry, Pippin... you get the idea. I'm just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?


A fire burned in the centre of the crystal. The stone sat on a granite pedestal with strange foreign runes carved into it. The room was cold. He suppressed a shiver, and his breath came out in a pale cloud of steam. Weakness was not an option. He needed to prove that he was strong; stronger than the rest of them. Stronger, than him.

The only source of heat came from the crystal. It was as if that smooth hard stone was alive. A dark cloaked figure emerged from the shadows. Wisps of smoke materialized to form the trailing ends of the cloak. It towered over the man standing next to the granite pedestal.

At the dark figure's appearance, the fire in the stone seemed to grow until it was no longer a smouldering flame but a blazing inferno. From the depths of the billowing black fabric, a voice rang out, seeming to shake the very foundations of the building which they were in. "The Palantir of Barad-dûr," said the faceless voice. "The greatest of the seven seeing stones." The head of the figure turned to the man. "Guy de Lusignan," said the figure. "Show him to me."

Guy nodded and resolutely placed his hand on the seeing stone. The dark figure reached out and touched the stone also. The stone seemed to burn Guy's hand. He ignored it the best he could and channelled his bitter hatred into the stone until they could both see him, the man who was the subject of Guy's hate. From inside his dark cloak, the magelord smiled. He knew potential when he saw it.

Aragorn woke up with a start. Something had disturbed his sleep, but he did not know what it was. He'd had this feeling for a very long time; a premonition that something terrible was about to happen. Everything was still and silent in his darkened chamber. His keen senses, honed by years of living in the wild, caught nothing except the sleeping Arwen's steady breathing. He relaxed and smiled when his eyes fell on her. She slept like a mortal woman now, with her eyes closed. He leaned in close to her and kissed her on the cheek. His beard tickled her skin. "Estel..." she protested in her sleep. She turned over so that her back faced him.

The King of Gondor suppressed a chuckle. His wife was always attentive, except for now. Legolas would have enjoyed hearing about how he'd been ignored. The elf loved tales with rowdy connotations, and he loved teasing Aragorn even more. 'I miss you, mellon-nin,' thought Aragorn. 'You and Balian, the both of you.'

He was wide awake now. The feeling had cast away all remnants of sleep. He got up and swung his bare feet over the edge of the bed. He didn't know why, but he was compelled to look towards the east, to Mordor and beyond. The sky was dark and empty, as it ought to be, but something still sent a shiver down his spine.