The Wizard in The Shadows now has a TV Tropes Page which needs more love.
And finally, the epilogue. Yes, I know, it's short. Deal with it.
This fic has taken around two years or more, but I think you'll agree that it's definitely been worth it. To round things off, a chapter from Maglor's perspective. Before you ask, Maglor is many thousands of years old (seriously, he's easily old enough to be Elrond's dad, and Elrond is around seven thousand), and was for much of that time a commander and a statesman. That and the fact that he is the kindest and most empathic of his family, allied to a very sharp mind and elven intuition, means that he is excellent at judging people.
They sit before, chatting amongst themselves. My family. My blood. I still repeat that to myself in wonder, and thank the Valar (oh, Ada must turning in his grave. Or what passes for one) for this good fortune. All of them resemble Maedhros and I in one fashion or another, though the innocence and mischief in Harry's eyes that I occasionally see is pure Amrod and Amras, and there is a darkness in all of them that I associate with Celegorm and Ada. Thankfully, however, it is deeply buried. The other wizard, Sirius Black, watches over them all, a strange combination of relaxed parent and adult child. Both he and Harry have a wicked streak a mile wide, one that if even half the stories I have been told in the three hours they have been here are true, is regularly indulged.
However, I find it difficult to believe that one of the Princes of Rohan was regularly turned into a canary, which I believe to a small yellow songbird. When I brought up the issue of size, Harry said blithely that it wasn't a small canary. The image of a giant and confused looking yellow songbird is a most amusing one, and I suspect I have only begun to hear of their antics.
Their other companions are good humoured, but generally more solemn. Elladan and Elrohir, Elrond's sons, who favour their father heavily in looks (and attitude, if they but knew how much trouble Elrond and Elros got into), laugh often, but there is a steel in them, which does not surprise me. I have heard that they were the ones to discover their mother, and my heart aches for them. No child should have such a fate thrust upon them, but in the wars that plague both worlds, it happens far too often. Olorin, or Gandalf, as he prefers to be known in these latter days, seems to mostly watch and add the occasional droll observation, eyes twinkling. The rest treat him with a superficial cheerful disrespect, but they listen carefully to what he has to say, and take it to heart.
Elrond was a more solemn man than he once was, more worn, but after several millennia of holding back Sauron and raising three children, along with what happened to Celebrian, I am not surprised. And he still smiles, despite the shadow of his daughter's chosen mortality. Galadriel reveals little, as does Celeborn, but I suspect both are glad their time in Middle Earth is coming to an end at long last, wearied by thousands of years of repelling the shadow. Boromir, the only truly mortal man among them but none the lesser for it, is much like my descendant, Ron. Somewhat impulsive, and extremely loyal, but mellowed with age and wisdom shines in his eyes. No longer is he merely the brash and talented Captain-General, he has added hard earned wisdom to that, and he will make a fine Steward as well as a stalwart friend and ally.
Finally, there is Arwen. Ah, but she is a beauty to behold, truly reminiscent of Luthien, right down to the shapely curved body (what? I'm male and possessed of a functioning libido, and she is not closely related to me) and the eyes that sparkle with life but are dimmed by the pain of knowing that she and her mortal lover will face death in but the blink of an immortals eye. But I know she does not regret it in the slightest, and though it saddens her brothers and father, I believe she has made the right choice. I know the pain of losing a loved one, as does Sirius, it seems, by the way he watches them, but we both know that each moment of joy is worth an eternity of pain.
In his eyes I see the desire to pull them all close and defend them from the ills of the world, and never risk losing them again is a familiar one to me, as I felt it when I lost my wife and beheld my children, who did not understand why their mother was gone but their father had not aged a day. I suspect, due to his protectiveness towards Harry, that he holds himself responsible for his failure in protecting Harry and his parents. This is why I am not surprised when they tell me Sirius can turn into a dog at will, for I see the pack instinct and loyalty of a great hound in his spirit.
Harry is more of a lone wolf, cat or a hawk (he is one of those people who can speak for hours yet say nothing and getting a read off those people is rather difficult. Of course, his is intentional rather than that of fools who merely say nothing of consequence and are depressingly easy to identify), occasionally going it alone with wild majesty and acting as if he were a mystery (this may have something to do with his 'saving people thing'), but fearsomely loyal to those he loves, like a burning flame, a beacon of light in the dark. Ginny is a firebrand, and I see Maglor's and Ada's passion in her, more obvious than Harry's, and her spirit is that of a horse, powerful yet peaceful, strong yet calm, but with a wild streak that no living being can truly tame, like the winds of the North, and an equal fury when roused.
From the looks she and Harry exchange, and their closeness, I feel that neither wants it any other way, and I am happy for them, as her wind feeds his fire, and his fire whips the wind into new frenzy.
Ron is more like a great bear, gentle and quiet, friendly to those he likes, yet fearsome and truly elemental in his raw power when angered.
Hermione… ah, now, there is a spirit with a grace, a grace that has yet to be fully realised, like a half grown sea otter that is still testing its limits, and a thirst for knowledge that is reminiscent of Elrond's lives within her. I suspect that is why she and Ron are drawn to one another, opposites balancing one other out, water enlivening the earth and the earth providing a channel for the water and preventing it from spreading too widely. Though some who do not know them might say it, I could never see Hermione with Harry, because his fire would be doused by her water, or her water turned to steam by the heat of his flame. Eventually, one would outshine and blot out the other, and neither would be happy.
Look at me. Already I'm analysing these people in the terms I understand, as forces of nature. Maedhros always said he read character in the way people walked and held themselves, imagining them on a battlefield. He also once said that he imagined people naked if they sought to intimidate him. I am certain he was joking, though I must admit, it is quite within the realms of the possible that he did that all the time. Certainly, it would explain his subtly roving eyes, though that could also be his warrior instincts constantly checking his surroundings.
My long deceased brother's rampant paranoia and/or perversion aside (I am inclined towards the former. Not for nothing did he occasionally sneak up on a dozing sentry and bellow, 'Constant Vigilance'), I instinctively liked my new family. They made me laugh in ways I had not for many millennia, and banished my lurking darkness by their presence. I also noted their power, which rolled off them in waves; Harry like a roaring flame, enormous power with potential yet to be realised, and still somewhat poorly controlled, Ginny like the wind she reminds me of, often quiet and soft, but with the potential of whipping up an awe-inspiring storm at a moment's notice, Ron of the earth itself, raw power hidden and waiting to be released like a predator at rest, Hermione of the sea, preferring to lap at the shores of the world, wearing down instead of overwhelming, yet capable of being strongest of them all with the correct application, with depths yet unexplored.
Sirius like the hound whose form he took, explosive power coiled and able to be released with surgical precision and ruthless strength. Here were five with the power to do pretty much whatever they wished, yet they used their power for the betterment of the world, and three of them were directly related to me. Permit me a moment as a proud parent, for I have not had the chance for at least six thousand years.
Yes, my family are a fine group. Very fine indeed.
I jerked out of my thoughts as Gandalf said, "Thinking deep thoughts, Maglor?"
I smiled. "Just the thoughts of an old elf, Gandalf. I am glad to be in the presence of young ones such as these, they make me feel young again. Or how my youth might have felt if Ada had actually done much as a father," I added sourly.
"It is a good thing he is not here," Gandalf said.
"Oh, Eru yes," I said loudly, "He would be deriding the workmanship of all the armour, jewellery, clothing, furniture and architecture in the room, whilst eyeing everyone to see if they had stolen his precious baubles." Parodying my father's most strident tones, I said nasally, "Honestly, Maglor, I am very disappointed; you are reduced to associating with mortals of all things! And look at this shelf, typical bloody Teleri work, all they do is build ships they never use and build their furniture like their ships. I half expect them to put sails on them and put them out to sea. And these books! They stole my Tengwar script the bastards! Have they taken my shiny stones? You know, the shiny stones more beautiful than any in history that I showed off in front of everyone and didn't expect to be stolen? The shiny stones I was too stubborn to use to remake the two trees because I was feeling petulant, despite the fact I could have remade them in an afternoon with a log fire, a couple of nails and the sheer power of my overwhelming ego?"
My audience appreciated this, Galadriel laughing aloud. I assume that she remembered ada's presumption in demanding hair from her head to make jewellery. Ada always seemed to think that tact was for lesser immortals, the world operated for his sole convenience, and that the Spirit of Fire was above such things as courtesy, kindness , taking responsibility for one's actions and paying even the slightest bit of attention to family, unless he wanted us to take on his insane quest, to kill in his name, to be the tools he saw us as, good for nothing but glorifying his name. Yes. You could say I have issues with my thankfully very dead ada. Speaking of which…
"Gandalf. I have not been released from my oath," I said simply. He looked at me, expressionless, and I hastily added, "I don't want to chase after Ada's greatest folly. I've seen enough of the things for which my brothers died horrible deaths, committed worse atrocities and which led to the corruption of this beautiful world. But…"
"Your oath is a binding one," Gandalf said, then he smiled, and said to me, "the oath does not mention mortal wizards. Especially not part elven wizards."
I just stared at him. Blankly. For a very long time. I didn't notice everyone looking at me, and in the case of my relatives, Hermione, Boromir and Sirius, grinning.
"I… will be free?" I whispered. Gandalf nodded.
"Sirius. Say the words," Gandalf said.
Sirius complied happily. "Maglor Feanorion. I free you from your oath."
Then, I, Maglor, kinslayer and hardened soldier, stoic sufferer of eternal torment, broke down in tears. Happy tears, but tears none the less. I cried for a long time, and felt several people hugging me. I hugged them back, and was deliriously happy. Because, just like Harry, I was with family I loved, people who cared for me, friends and I was free. Truly free. Like my many times nephew, I had walked from out of the shadows. And into the light.
Aaaand I think that's a good note on which to finish this mammoth enterprise, don't you? For all those who have followed since pretty much the beginning (Sharnorasian Empire, this means you. The rest of you know who you are), thank you. Thank you for the encouragement, the kind reviews, the fair advice and the patience. Thank you for all of it. As you may have guessed, Harry's tale is not over, and the sequel is begun, so, hop on over and read the first chapter of 'From Out of the Shadows' which is up on my profile, in which there has been a (short) time skip.