Chapter 11

Disclaimer: I own neither Naruto, nor anything else I'm borrowing from other sources.


Getting to Mordor had been surprisingly easy, all things considered. After Naruto had managed to negotiate free passage. The first impression had been positive, after they had left the beach behind and actually entered the great plains, as Naruto spontaneously dubbed them, the Skinwalkers seemed awed at the idea of this much land to build a home on. However before the group really had much time to admire the scenery, there was a small twister, and three figures stood before them.

Naruto raised a brow. "Well that was a short goodbye."

And indeed, the central figure was the elven woman Naruto had met with the two dragons. To her left stood a male fire-elf, his expression hardened and body tensed, as if expecting an attack, while a female ice-elf, easily identifiable by her silvery skin and blueish hair, took the right side, equally stiff. The central figure in contrast seemed completely relaxed, and gave Naruto a small bow, much to the shock of her companions.

"My lady?!" "There is no need to lower your head to them, why-"

"Silence." The apparent leader commanded, and the other two immediately closed their mouths. "I am disappointed that you not even bothered to observe our new neighbors, as you failed to realize why we owe them respect."

The two elves frowned, closing their eyes, before stumbling back as if struck. "Impossible!" The ice-elf whispered "How can such a power exist in such a small container? Not even Lord Bahamut had this much power." She seemed honestly frightened.

Naruto, well-aware of what had shocked the two elves, rolled his eyes. "The story of my life is a long one, one that I have no interest in sharing. I assume you came for a reason?"

The leader smiled. "Indeed. I apologize for my companions, it has been a long time since we had contact with one from the outside. My name is Titania, I am the leader of the high-elves. It is a pleasure to meet you."

Celia, up to this point safely placed behind Naruto, gasped. "Titania? You cannot mean Lady Titania, the first elf ever to be formed by the gods?"

Titania smiled. "The same, though the title of first elf is not quite correct, I am one of the first two elves ever created, Mab and I were born in the same instant."

Celia gulped, before kneeling to the elven woman. "It is a great honor to meet you, my Lady. Yet, why do you claim a title carried by another? Lord Oberon is the king of the high-elves."

Titania seemed honestly surprised. "Oberon? Oberon is the king of the light-elves, he is not one of the high-elves."

While Celia seemed too confused to speak, Hagwin was notably less tongue-tied. "Wait, I thought that high-elves and light-elves were tha same thing."

The other two elves growled in anger, but Titania stopped them with a raised hand, a frown marring her face. "Noble dwarf, if I understand you correctly, then Oberon has claimed the title of high-elf for his race." She sighed. "That man always had delusions of grandeur, but to think that he would go so far to make himself seem more important." Her eyes met Celia's, and she smiled. "No child, light-elves can be high-elves, but it is not their title. I am a high-elf, and so are my two companions, who you can clearly see are not light-elves. You yourself may have the potential to join us one day child, but Oberon never even attempted it, seeing that he would have to lay down his crown to do so. A high-elf is an elf, no matter his species, we even have a dark elf amongst us, that is capable of wielding Nature Magic, though I believe you currently call it Ancient Magic, do you not?"

Celia's eyes were now the size of dinner-plates. "The high-elves are determined by magic? B-But why would Lord Oberon...?"

Titania smiled again. "Child, Oberon has always felt himself to be something better than others, as his kind was one of the first elven species, and he their king. The title of high-elf is one associated with much respect, but we always were a small group, and it has been a very, very long time since we retreated from the mainland. It would not at all surprise me at all if Oberon claimed our name to give his kind, and himself, a greater sway over the other elves." Her eyes turned to Naruto. "Yet I did not come here to delve into elven history. Lord Naruto, I came to you to speak to you about Mordor."

Naruto, who had watched the proceedings with a sense of detached curiosity, looked up. "I am listening."

Titania nodded. "For now, we realize that before anything can happen, you must have established a few bases, and gain an understanding of the land. For that, I have brought a map, and am willing to offer my aid. But before that, would you mind if I asked one thing? You referred to yourself as an amalgam, a human with a demon sealed inside him. You said you merged with the demon while being summoned to our world. I assume you gained its powers and knowledge?"

Naruto nodded slowly. "I haven't absorbed much of his memories yet, but yes, that is essentially true. What of it?"

Titania took a deep breath. "The demon that was sealed inside of you... was it the nine-tailed demon lord? The greatest of the foxes, known by the titles of the Beast of the End, the Crimson Calamity and the Ascended Demon-God?"

The words resonated in Naruto's head, and he held his head in pain as additional information was absorbed. Five seconds later, he looked up. "I know what you wish to know. Yes, the demon within me was the only one of its kind that could use Divine Magic, as a fox ascends to the level of the gods if he gains the ninth tail, which had been considered impossible before Kyuubi succeeded."

The Nazgûl laughed, the sound letting shudders run down most backs, with two notable exceptions.

Titania's face scrunched up in mild disgust. "I see your kind still exists. While I am personally not too fond of you, in these times it may be for the best that you are awake."

The Nazgûl bowed its head, its voice clearly transferring its amusement. "From you, I humbly accept those words as high praise. Indeed, Necro Magic and Nature Magic have never worked together that well. From your question, I gather that you intend to give my new master my former lord's residence? I approve."

Titania's eyes turned cold. "I did not ask for your approval, nor do I desire it, Lord of Necromancy. Yet it seems that we are in agreement that your former master's residence still holds valuable treasures that will hasten the progress." Seeing Naruto's curious expression, she gave him a tired smile. "Nature Magic is based on life, while Necro Magic is based on death. The Nazgûl are works, masterpieces even, of Necro Magic, and this particular one is the foremost expert on that style of magic, but because of the opposite alignments, Nature Mages and Necro Mages do not feel very comfortable around each other."

Naruto nodded. "I see. What is so interesting about the residence of the former master of the Nazgûl?"

The Nazgûl spoke. "Our last master was cautious. He had a security-measure installed that activated with his death, and teleported all living things out of his bastion, then place it in a stasis-field that makes it impossible to enter. As such, both the tower and the surrounding city should be in good condition, and containing valuable tomes, artifacts and materials. The field is perfect, as the master was also a Divine Mage, and only another Divine Mage of equal or greater power can break the field. There has most likely not been another Divine Mage of his power before you, as his strength was unparalleled."

Titania nodded, before snapping her fingers. The earth next to the group split open, spitting out a large serpentine golem with a flattened back holding what looked like seats in it. She smiled. "Normally it would take a month by carriage to reach your destination, with my golem it will only be a few hours. Please, follow me."

Hagwin narrowed his eyes. "Why are ye helping us this much? We haven't done much ta make ye grateful."

Celia seemed appalled at the distrust against the first of her kind. "Hagwin, be quiet! She has no need to trap us!" She hissed, elbowing him in the ribs.

Isegrim, who had been leading his pack, shook his head. "I must agree with the dwarf. This all seems a bit too good to be true. And while she and her entourage might be able to crush us all with nary a thought, the reaction of the other two makes it quite obvious that our Alpha can pose a real threat if the situation turns dire. This could be a ploy to lure him into a situation where they are at a larger advantage."

The fire-elf growled. "How dare you! Lady Titania would never-"

But Titania cut him off with a shake of her head. "Peace Varondir, their concern is a valid one. They are not trying to be insulting, merely cautious. If they are to accomplish what we hope them to, then such caution is necessary." She smiled disarmingly. "Very well, I will tell you my motive. The simple truth is that we are in need of Lord Naruto's power. The situation on the mainland turned grim unexpectedly quickly, and we can do nothing to help. We high-elves are few in number, the dragons even more so, and the few other sentient races are unsuited for different reasons. The only other intelligent on Mordor other than us and the dragons are the dragonkin, who are also few in number, the ents, who cannot cross the ocean and would be too vulnerable to fire even if they did, and the Tribes of the Deep, most of whom cannot leave the water for long, if at all. We have no way to intervene with the mainland, their armies are far too numerous, and the people have become too extremist to listen to us by now. If we tried to warn them, they would label us heretics against their 'holy' beliefs and overwhelm us with their numbers." Her shoulders sagged, and suddenly she looked incredibly tired. "You must understand, we have been distanced from the mainland for so long that they forgot our existence, and we are an incredibly long-lived race. I myself have lived for over ten million years. This genocide has started not even two-thousand years ago, and dragons have never been hunted in such an extent before that time either. For us, who have lived so incredibly long, that is a fairly short time. Even more, before the dragons sought refuge on Mordor, which began perhaps eight-hundred years ago, we were not aware of how bad things had gotten. We believed that it was merely another war, and that the losing side was throwing too many troops into battle. This has happened multiple times before, and once the war was over the balance quickly recovered when the losers repopulated. By the time most we learned of our folly, most races had lived in the belief that the extermination was just for multiple generations, and would no longer be willing to listen to a few unknown elves who told them that the actions that were just for over a thousand years could be anything but. We were too late to convince them, and too few to stop them."

Hagwin frowned, beginning to understand the despair of the high-elves. "So, ye could do nothing but watch as Gaia was dooming itself?"

Titania nodded wearily. "Indeed Sir dwarf. The worst part was not even the collapse of the dark, it was the uncertainty whether or not the race of the elves would be able to survive long enough to witness the end."

Celia gulped at the ominous words. "What do you mean, Lady Titania?"

Titania locked eyes with Celia, her expression grave. "Child, most believe that we elves are a timeless race, however the truth is that we are only ageless as long as we can absorb mana from our surroundings. Without mana in the air, we elves wither like a plant without water, we would age rapidly, and most of us would not reach the age of thirty years."

"But mana is produced by Gaia itself, it can't run out." Celia argued.

Varondir shook his head. "It's true that Gaia produces mana, however the truth is that it doesn't produce much. Mana was never meant to be an abundant resource like it is now. Gaia produces exactly the amount of mana that's needed for the elves to maintain their timeless existence; no more and no less."

"Most of the mana on Gaia" the ice-elf continued "is not from the planet, but from another source. There is a single race on Gaia that continuously produces mana, and expels most of it into the air. That race is the dragons, and their creation, the dragonkin. Because the dragons as the oldest sentient race were so numerous, there was always a gigantic surplus of mana that we elves did not need to survive. As a result, elves, humans, even the dwarves, almost all races developed methods to use the mana. This we call magic, and as long as the dragons were numerous, there was no problem. However the race of the dragons has been driven to extinction. If the rulers of the mainlands found out that the dragons fled to Mordor, and eventually they will find out, they would send their troops to kill the last dragons, believing them to be a threat."

"Once that happens," Titania calmly explained. "it's all over. Without the dragons, the only source of mana will be Gaia itself. And because magic has spread so far, and is permanently used for even the most mundane things, it will not take more than a century before the existing mana will be entirely used up. The elves will die by the millions, and all races will be fighting over the few spots from which the mana enters the atmosphere. The elves will fight for their very existence, while the other species will resent the elves for hording the mana their mages need to maintain their standard of existence. No matter which scenario happens, Gaia is doomed, and we do not have the ability to stop it."

Naruto closed his eyes. "You don't have the means to fight back. You do not even have the means to defend Mordor once the invaders arrive, even if by some miracle you managed to convince the dark races to come to Mordor. That's why you need me."

"Yes." Titania's answer was blunt and honest. "You have power greater than any other being on Gaia, and you have the knowledge of a demon-lord infamous for not merely its strength, but its cunning. When we first met, you described us a plan that would give you time to gather the hunted races, and give them and the dragons time to raise their numbers. We do not doubt that with time and resources you will gain, your schemes will grow even more advanced. We are placing our hopes on you, Naruto Uzumaki, because there is nobody else that can take this role."

Naruto closed his eyes for a minute, deep in thought. Then, with a single leap, he was standing on the golem. "Let us leave, we are wasting time."

-0-

The journey had been an uneventful one, mainly due to the fact that the golem had encapsulated its passengers and journeyed through the ground, and Naruto had used the time to meditate and gain as much knowledge on Divine Magic as he could.

Kyuubi had indeed been the only demon capable of using it, however even for the demon-lord it had not been easy. Demons by nature produce Demon Magic instead of Neutral Magic, or as it was described in Naruto's world, they had youki rather than chakra, and the transfer from Demon Magic to Divine Magic was a draining and costly exercise, so much as a thousand units of Demon Magic needed to create a single unit of Divine Magic. For that reason, the fox had practically never made use of its unique gift, as it was simply too costly. But it knew what to do, and the process could easily be adapted to use Naruto's chakra instead of youki.

A small experiment revealed that the merge had actually made things much easier for Naruto, as, while he had gained the even more massive reserves of the fox in addition to his own, he was not a demon, and the fact that he had chakra, aka Neutral Magic as a base instead of Demon Magic meant that Naruto only needed fifty units of chakra to create one unit of Divine Magic. Any other mage would have explained in great detail that this was still an unreasonably high cost, but it was little different from Naruto's own world, where any shinobi could explain in great detail how using the mass-version of the Kage Bunshin was fatal because the costs became too high. If there was one thing Naruto had in abundance, it was energy to spare.

Finally the golem had surfaced on a hill, and Naruto's group got a first look at what was supposed to be their new home.

It was gigantic.

Fanned out before them was a city, guarded by thick walls, though many of the houses showed signs of heavy damage, probably from the war that had killed its lord. Where the joint would be in a handheld fan there stood a castle, rising into the heavens for at least half a mile, ending in a top that made the entire structure seem like a giant tower. Behind that were mountains, that the castle had clearly been built into. Surrounding everything was a translucent field of silver energy, the stasis-field Naruto guessed. Say what you want, but the master of the Nazgûl had known how to impress.

Titania smiled apologetically. "Stasis-fields disturb the surrounding mana, so the golem cannot bring us closer without risking deformation, which could be fatal to passengers."

Naruto shrugged. "Not a problem, we're close enough." He muttered, before passing the distance of over three-hundred feet with three quick leaps.

Up close the field was even more impressive, a seemingly delicate net that in reality formed nearly impenetrable barrier that was almost impossible to break. Almost. Looking at it, Naruto could find three ways to cancel the field.
The first, likely the only intended one, was to form specific patterns on the surface of the field, like a combination for a safe, and release the field. The problem here was that Naruto had no idea what those patterns were, and that failed attempts would result in backlashes of increasing severity, something that Naruto was not too keen on experiencing.
The second method, likely the one others tried and failed at, was to use brute force to either break through the barrier or tear it apart. Thanks to the merge, Naruto would have more than enough power to do so, but it was a very draining idea. The magic was woven in a way that by itself, the net was quite loose, however if force was applied to it, no matter if it were to be compressed or expanded, the threads would either harden or tense, making it more and more difficult to break the field, as it grew stronger the harder you tried. Not only that, but because of this, the moment you succeeded that energy would be released outward, so unless you broke it in a single instant, you risked being killed by the breaking field.
The final method was one that mere mortals, even elves, would not be able to do, as their minds were unable to truly grasp the intricacy of the web, and the fine details that made it so strong. However Naruto was not simply human, he was also fox-demon, which were one of, if not the, most intelligent and cunning races there were, as such his mind was able to analyze it, and target and carefully shift individual threads.

Naruto did just that. His consciousness spread over the field, and he began to shift the threads, slowly weaving the already complex web into one infinitely more so.

-0-

Carefully shifting the last thread into place, Naruto stepped back to admire his work. "Well, that was fun."

"Fun?" Celia asked. It appeared that the others had used the time he had spent on the field to shorten the distance between them to a few feet. "I don't see any progress."

Hagwin nodded. "Not ta hurt yer feelings laddie, but ye've been at it for two hours, and nothing happened ta tha field."

Naruto grinned. "Patience my friends, I wasn't trying to break the field, I was merely making preparations."

Varondir, who had been awed by the fact that Divine Magic was worked before his eyes, as he himself had never seen it before, found his voice next. "What precisely have you done?"

Naruto raised a finger, just like Iruka used to, and began his lecture. "This field is in fact not so much a field as a barrier. Inside is an energy that maintains the stasis, however it can only work in an enclosed system, as it would otherwise dissipate. The barrier is woven from threads of Divine Magic, the pattern so complex that any energy is distributed very efficiently. The maker of this barrier was not only strong, he was also incredibly skilled, as the weave ensures that the construct is much more stable, and not even the maker would be powerful enough to break it by force. He made the threads loose, as that way they can absorb energy used in the attempts to break through and direct it back as resistance."

Titania's eyes widened. "I see. The threads don't interact with magic other than Divine Magic, whose users have always been rare, and even if one powerful enough to break the barrier appears, doing so will cause the entire gathered energy to be released towards the ones who managed to break it, likely killing them."

Naruto nodded, feeling somewhat awkward being the one holding the lecture rather than the one being lectured. "Correct. Instead of doing that, I directly manipulated the threads themselves. It may look the same, but the weave is very different right now. Allow me to demonstrate." He turned back to the field, and charged the last digit of his middle-finger with Divine Magic. Instead of enacting a spell however, he merely flicked at the barrier, before smiling. "We should probably take a few steps back, just to be safe."

The others gave him curious glances, but obeyed. They had not yet made ten steps when the entire field began to distort, while giving off a strained hum. Bulges and dents were forming and disappearing, seemingly at random, and the entire shape of the field became undefinable.

Naruto nodded to himself. "Because the weave was loose, which grants stability, I was able to shift the threads into a new weave. This one however was designed entirely on tension, each thread compressed or stretched to its limit. That way, I only had to add a minimal amount of force, and when the weave tries to relieve the pressure in one spot, it's in turn increasing it in three others. That way the barrier is actually creating more and more energy, and because there is no external force the pressure can go neither inward nor outward, but only turn upon the barrier itself. This will continue until..."

The humming had by now turned into a crescendo of painfully shrill shrieks and low, agonized groans. Spiderwebs of cracks spread in some areas, while others were stretched until large tears appeared, before being slammed shut by the motions of the twisting barrier. Finally, the entire thing collapsed with a sigh, the energy released barely enough to ruffle the bystanders, who had stopped a hundred feet away.

"...it tears itself apart." Naruto finished smugly. "Well then, lets have a look, shall we?"

-0-

The city itself had been scouted out fairly quickly. Most of the buildings were stable, and the skinwalkers had already begun with basic repairs to a section they intended to claim for themselves, said section being on the outskirts, even having a few old fields that could be used to grow food, which was already being prepared, the strength of the werebears making oxen or horses unnecessary to plough the ground.

Curiously enough, Naruto was able to tell the exact location of everyone who had been there when the castle's first owner, who Naruto realized must have had a great sense of humor, perished. The reason for this was simple. The field had teleported every living thing away before the stasis began. Armor, personal belongings and clothes were not alive. Naruto cackled at the thought of the invading army, already able to taste their inevitable triumph, suddenly finding themselves kicked out butt-naked, a few of them probably able to see their clothing, but not reach it. Though Naruto was more than capable of seeing the practical use in this. The clothing, once washed, might be reusable, and even if not, there were a lot of materials, not limited to weapons and armors, lying around that would be useful, as raw metal if nothing else. A few arcane materials here and there, such as a staff or tome, were also welcome.

The castle on the other hand had had so much more to offer. While much of what the group found had been improved in the time passed, much of the things being worthless, there were a few gems that more than made up for them. The library alone was a treasure of unimaginable worth, seeing that not only were there a number of tomes about Divine Magic, but also old and forgotten knowledge of other fields could be found, everything in perfect condition, as the invaders had apparently been thrown out before they could actually do anything in the hall of knowledge.

Just as important as the tomes, if not more so, were two other things the group found in the tower, things that would become some of Naruto's most important assets. So old that only Titania recognized their significance at first.

-0-

Titania's eyes widened as they entered the newest chamber. It was a large, rectangular room, the distance between the walls being 40 meters for the shorter side, and 60 meters for the longer one. While there was a throne on the far side, most of the room was empty, a perfect square with a length of 35 meters being indented, the square's floor looking as if made of crystal. The only other thing was an odd elongated cone-like spire, 180cm high, and, while essentially round, filled with circular indentions, though a second look showed that broken crystal was scattered around it, and here and there there was a cracked crystal-orb still in its socket.

Titania's eyes widened. "This is..."

Naruto glanced at her. "You know what this is?" He asked.

"You don't?" She asked back, surprised. "I would have thought that a being as intelligent and knowledgeable as the nine-tailed fox would know it."

Naruto shrugged. "Possibly. I haven't found the time to fully absorb his knowledge yet. In fact, I was planning on doing this once we established a secure base, so I guess I'll do it once we're finished here. So, what is it?"

To the surprise of the group, it was Hagwin that spoke first. "Palantirs. Ye see tha crystals in that thing, those are palantirs, Mountain Eyes. Or were palantirs, now they're smashed crystal. Palantir-crystals grow deep down, and only under very special mountains. Tha veins have all dried up long ago, and they're practically impossible ta find, but I heard that back when there was still loads of them, it was common ta smash yer enemy's palantirs. When the mines ran out, nobody changed tha practice till they were all gone."

Titania meanwhile had taken a closer look at the spire. "Yes, this device is attached to the lowered floor. It uses the palantirs in order to project a three-dimensional map that can be manipulated. It's not really designed to observe individuals like a regular palantir can, but this way the ruler can check on many things quickly, like how farming and mining is going, where natural disasters are occurring and what damage they caused... and of course the deployment of troops, both his own and the enemy's." As the others pondered the immense value of such a device, Titania leaned forward to analyze the palantirs. "They're all damaged, but some might still be usable."

And indeed, with a low humming the spire vibrated, causing a few crystal-shards to fall, and an image flickered to life on the floor. The outer edges were blue, obviously showing water, while most of the floor was occupied by a large landmass. Mountains, rivers, forests, grasslands, even desert and tundra could be seen, together with a very small number of cities, one of them highlighted.

Titania frowned. "This is Mordor, but yet it's not. The shoreline matches, yet the lands look completely different. There are no other cities or villages besides this one, there is forest where plains should be, plains where... I see. The palantirs are too damaged to function as they were intended, so they instead show the last image they held. This is Mordor as it was, 200.000 years ago." Then she smiled. "Fortunately I brought Merai for just this reason."

The ice-elf, who had so far been perfectly content with being in the background, stepped forward. "Though it may be late, I offer you my greeting. I am Merai, the... you could call it geography-expert of the high-elves. I do not exaggerate when I say that there are few who know the lay of Mordor's lands like I do. Originally I believed we'd be working with maps, so this is an unexpected stroke of fortune." She turned to the spire. "Give me an hour, and I should be able to alter the image to show Mordor as it is now."

Titania nodded. "Please do so. However, don't get carried away Merai, the dragons won't be happy if you accidentally add their roosts to the map. As much as we need lord Naruto, blind trust is foolish at this point."

Merai actually blushed, making it clear she hadn't thought of that yet, and that high-elves were notably less stuck-up than their light-cousins. "Of course, my lady."

Naruto nodded in respect, before turning. "My gratitude. Now, I wonder what else this tower holds for us."

While Merai focused on the spire, the others went deeper into the tower, prepared to unveil even more of its secrets.

-0-

Their next find was visibly not as impressing as the last, but even grander. It was a storage-hall, and in it were dozens of odd devices, over thirty copies of the same machine, a skeletal frame with what almost resembled a spinning top in the center. There were a few other things, but most looked like they were spare-parts or additions for the first machine.

Naruto felt a tingle in his head, this thing Kyuubi seemed familiar with. Following the mental nudge, Naruto's eyes widened.

Isegrim seemed less impressed. "What are those things?"

Naruto chuckled. "Distilleries Isegrim. Those things are distilleries." A moment later, he had to turn away to suppress his laughter.

Hagwin frowned. "I know me way around distilleries, and those don't look like any distillery I've seen."

Titania nodded, her voice lowered in awe. "I don't doubt it, young dwarf, for those don't distill alcohol. These are mana-distilleries, they produce a highly concentrated mana in liquid form. They were all supposed to have been destroyed long before the rise of this lord, how...?"

The Nazgûl let loose its rattling laugh. "My former master was an elf, are you truly surprised that he lived and gathered resources before he started his campaign?"

Sensing an impending argument, Celia quickly spoke up. "But why were these machines destroyed? They do not sound dangerous."

"There were many reasons." Varondir quickly replied, equally eager to avoid a confrontation. "For one thing, they were used as torture-instruments, as they will drain mana from what they're connected to as long as they are activated, even if they kill the user. They were also used to dissolve protective enchantments on treasures by draining all mana from it, which led to a series of thefts. The most important reason however, was that these machines disturbed the natural order of things."

"Order?" Isegrim asked.

It was Titania that answered, her eyes closed as painful memories rose up in her. "Magic is a rare gift, and there are only few that can use it. However, with liquid mana even those who were unable to use magic gained that ability, by simply using magical arrays, for example as tattoos, and pour liquid magic on it. The problem however was that while the machine can be fueled with just the ambient mana, all it produces that way is Neutral Magic, highly concentrated yes, but completely useless for those arrays. So they began to kidnap those that could naturally use magic naturally, attached them to the machines, and used them as filters to transform the useless Neutral Magic into useable magics. The lucky prisoners died in their first drain, the less fortunate ones were drained again and again until they finally perished. The result was a war, between natural and artificial mages, latter supported by others who wanted to become ones. It was one of the most brutal wars in the history of Gaia, and a time where light and dark fought shoulder to shoulder in order to save themselves. Four high-elves were taken back then, three of which died."

Varondir spat on the ground. "Merai was fortunate. Her captor had a conscience, and only joined the group in hopes of saving as many as she could. She let the machines drain ambient mana, then gave that to her prisoners. With that, more mana could be milked from them before it began to hurt, at which point she immediately shut the machine off. She also sent information that would be vital for the rescue of prisoners. After the war, the woman committed suicide."

Naruto nodded, more to himself. "It is a device that has great potential for misuse, that is true. However, in the right hands it could also be a great asset. We are not in a position where we can afford not to take golden opportunities when they arise. I have a feeling these will become quite useful one day."

Neither high-elf looked truly happy, but neither refuted the statement either, realizing the truth in it.

-0-

Finally they reached the very tip of the tower, looking over the lands. The top of the tower was surprisingly simply an even platform with a complex array embedded in the floor. There were no rails to keep one from falling, but a number of additional extensions shooting into the heavens like giant daggers.

Even Titania seemed confused at the array. "A Summoning Circle? But I've never seen one like that, what kind of demon could it be for?"

Naruto shook his head, Kyuubi's surprisingly extensive knowledge on this topic flowing into his mind. "It is a circle to summon a familiar, but not a demon. Look around, the location is completely unsuited for summoning demons. In summonings, there is a lot of symbology. The number of demon-types that could be summoned in such a location can be counted on one hand. The circle is placed closer to the heavens, in this open platform wind is the dominant element, with secondary elements of water if it rains, and light. For most demon-summonings it's best to go further from heaven by digging into the ground, the circle should never be exposed to the sun, flames being the only light. Distance from heaven, and elements of darkness, earth and fire are what should be used for most demon-summonings, they allow you the broadest spectrum. Whatever this circle was designed for, it was not demons."

Looking over the lands once more, he turned to his comrades. "First, I would like to thank you, Lady Titania, Sir Varondir, for your assistance. Please also give my gratitude to Lady Merai when you rejoin. I believe this is a suitable base, and we will start our operations as soon as we have finished preparing it for use."

Titania nodded, they had passed many places that would need repairwork. "Of course. May we return once the preparations are complete?"

Naruto smiled. "Of course. I have no qualm with the high-elves, as such they are always welcome in my halls." He turned to Isegrim. "Isegrim, be honest. How long do you think you will need for the repairwork?"

The skinwalker scratched his chin. "Difficult to say, it depends on what we can find, and how much is still useable. At least three weeks, a month if things go bad."

Naruto nodded to himself. "A month... Yes, good. Please get to work as soon as possible. Hagwin, would you mind going down to the forges? We didn't have that much time to inspect them, please have a look at the condition they're in, what can and can't be done with them, and how to get them running and improve them. There's no need to hurry, we lack the necessary manpower anyways, I just want to know where we stand."

The dwarf nodded. "No problem laddie, I'll see what miracles dwarven knowledge and workmanship can produce."

Naruto smiled at his friend, before turning to his other friend. "Celia, would you mind having a look at the library for me? Try to find information that will help us in our quest to restore the balance and save the hunted."

Celia straightened. "Of course Naruto. But, if you don't mind, what will you do?"

In response, Naruto fell into a meditating position. "Something I didn't find the time to do before. I'll absorb the rest of Kyuubi's knowledge. It'll probably take me around a month as well, so the amount of repairwork is actually quite convenient for me."

The others shared glances, but all understood that the knowledge a demon of Kyuubi's age had gathered would be priceless in their future endeavors, so they nodded and turned to leave.

All but the Nazgûl, who felt his master's gaze on it. Naruto's order was short and precise. "While I absorb the memories, none but Celia and Hagwin are permitted on this floor. And if you have knowledge that could help, I expect to be informed once I awaken."

The Nazgûl bowed its head. "As you command."

Taking a deep breath, Naruto closed his eyes.

-0-

He was back in his mindscape, staring at the large ball of swirling mist. "Well, here goes something." Naruto muttered to himself, before plunging into the mist of millenniums of memory.

-0-

Thirty-seven days later, a pair of amethyst eyes opened. Stretching his sore body as he gazed over the lands that would be the refuge of many, and his kingdom, there was only one thing the now complete amalgam could say. "It is time to begin."


Chapter 11 complete. I guess I owe my readers an explanation. First thing first, I am, obviously, not dead. In fact, I have served my time and have been out of the military for a while now. However, directly after being released from service I entered university, and since then I had very, very little free time. In addition, I had an odd mix between writer's block and overflowing inspiration. To the confused, this means writer's block for my published works, but overflowing with ideas for new ones. Right now, adding my already published works, I have chapters for twenty to thirty stories flying around on my computer, and that number will probably only increase as time goes on.

To those wondering about my other stories, chapters for them are in various stages of completion. Furthest along is probably GoI,HotDA,the chapter being roughly 60% done.

This chapter itself was one where not that much happened, but I feel it necessary. Next chapter however, Operation Refuge will finally commence. I haven't completely decided who should be the first escapee yet, so if there is a race you would like to see, tell me and I'll take it into consideration. I tried to add at least a few images of what Naruto experienced with Kyuubi's memories, but no matter how hard I tried, it still ended up sounding like a bad drug-trip so I decided to just do away with it.

I chose the names Titania and Mab because I feel they are good in their contrast. I'm aware that they are technically fairies in Shakespeare's work, but I call on artistic freedom for that. The fairies in my story, after all, will be in the classic image of tiny people with insect-wings, and they won't be monarchical.

As for the tower, I picture it as a mixture between Sauron's and Saruman's towers from the LotR-movies. The top is obviously Saruman's, but the basic look and height are closer to Sauron's.

And yes, Naruto can use Divine Magic, because Kyuubi could use it. It is said that nine-tailed foxes can have the power of gods, and as such I reason it possible. Kyuubi never used it because of the enormous cost, as Divine Magic needs a lot of units for its spells, add that to the ridiculous cost Kyuubi had to pay to make a single unit, and you realize why a Bijuudama was quicker and more efficient in most cases that couldn't just be manually crushed.

Surprisingly, I have little to say right now, and there was no new species introduced either, time for the Q&A.

Q: The blue eyes that opened when Naruto unleashed his anger, were they Titania's?
A: Yes.

Q: Does anyone amongst the light-races actually realize that their war ended ages ago?
A: Most have just been entirely brainwashed, they after all have no idea how real wars against the dark races were like, and believe they're fighting the war their gods want them to, and win because their victory is the will of their gods. The few that know better just don't care. As for who might know better, look at the long-lived races. Elves and dwarves, amongst them there would be those who know, though very, VERY few dwarves reach the age they'd need to remember that.

Q: What happened to the sword that sealed the Nazgûl?
A: Ironically enough, it is sheathed. The sheath is swinging at the Nazgûl's side. It's not like the blade is poisonous to the Nazgûl, as long as it doesn't ram the blade through it's head it is merely an excellently forged weapon.

Q: If Naruto has children, will they inherit his power?
A: Well, they'll have an internal chakra/mana-pool, a large one, and improved healing from the Uzumaki. They'd also be able to use Demon Magic, and can learn both jutsu and magic. But they wouldn't be overpowered monsters, they'd basically be children with potential.

Q: Will anyone else from Naruto's world reach Gaia?
A: I haven't even decided if I send Mordor to Naruto's world or not, so for now Naruto is the only one and unless he goes back to his world and drags someone else back to Gaia, he'll stay the only one. Should I change my mind I will let you know. But for the foreseeable future, Naruto will be the only one.

Q: How will Naruto get the races to Mordor without attracting attention?
A: Well, for a while nobody is going to notice anything, because nobody would even take it into consideration. Once Naruto feels like things are getting too risky... well, he has plans.

Well, that's all for now,

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