AU: The story takes place mostly on Middle Earth. It combines elements from the books, the movies, the mmorpg LOTRO and also Norse Mythology and the Thor comics. Known characters' personalities are canon as much as possible.
Summary: The Races of the Cosmos made Middle Earth in the place of Old Earth, and then let things follow their course. Now that the War of the One Ring has ended, Eomer is crowned King of the Mark. He is reluctant in his new role and rather lonely, but an unexpected friend will change his life as he knew it. But are things as simple as they seem or are they more complicated, bearing secrets of the Aesir?
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my OCs.
Rating: M due to adult situations.
All text that is given in italics refers to events that happened prior to the time when the main storyline takes place.
Chapter 1: Of Ages Past
All things come to an end. It is the way of the universe. They die, and they are reborn. Thus has the world of man, as its inhabitants had known it for thousands of years, come to an end, by my decree.
Once, in times ancient, man knew to be humble. Although primitive in his achievements, his faith was his guide, and he accepted a simple truth: that he was not alone in this universe. Although he had no proof, he believed that other worlds existed. Some of them he thought to be home to their gods. Others, he knew to fear. But, with the passage of time, man's arrogance grew, and he shunned away the old ways. He forgot his ancestors' wisdom, he turned away from his gods, he broke the ties with the past. New religions arose, and for long years man was swayed by their mystical power. But, ultimately, those religions waned, unable to provide man with what he truly sought. The decision of man was to walk on his own in the world, without the help, wisdom and guidance of any but himself. Truly, some of his achievements were remarkable. But his weak will quickly lead him astray. Wars and disasters plagued the Earth. Man turned against man, and the desolation that spread across this beautiful realm of man was no longer bearable.
The world of man needed to end, and to be made anew.
A truce I declared, and the wars among the races ceased for a while. Council I held, and representatives of all realms were invited. After a long time of discussion and quarrel, we reached a decision, and created a new Earth.
In the middle section of the universe we decided to place it, where the Old Earth stood. On the same level as this Earth lies Jotunheim, home to the race of giants, and Vanaheim, where the gods of wisdom and fertility dwell. Below the level of Earth lies Svartalfheim, home of the dark elves, Helheim, the world of shadows and death, and Niflheim, a land of frost and ice. Above Earth's level lies Alfheim, home of the bright elves, Muspelheim, housing fire and flame, the opposite of ice. And higher of all the worlds Asgard is to be found, where the Aesir dwell.
Midgard we named this Earth. Middle Earth men called it in their tongues.
And then the representatives of the races stooped upon its ground, and gave breath to their creations. The bright elves of Alfheim created the Valar, which were appointed with the shaping of this new Earth, the Maiar, helpers to the Valar, and the Eldar, a race much resembling the bright elves. Fair and gentle they were, blessed with longevity and wisdom. The dark elves of Svartalfheim brought upon this world the creatures known as dwarves, lovers of dark dwellings, mighty warriors and excellent craftsmen. The giants, ancient and learned in sorcery, bestowed upon this world creatures of various shapes and behaviors. The fire giants created the men of the East, fierce and seekers of the dark arts, and the storm giants shaped lesser races of men who inhabited the hills. The frost giants created the animals, as well as formidable creatures such as trolls and mûmakil. The Vanir gave form to the men of Númenor. Tall and dark-haired they were, strong, wise and long-lived. It was a race of man destined for noble deeds and to give birth to great Kings, but its grandeur would not be easy to maintain, like the Vanir themselves, who have fallen into a lesser state than they once were. We, the Aesir, created a race of man that came to be known as the Horse Lords, akin to the Númenóreans, and yet different from them. Many of our qualities we endowed this race with. From appearance to character, they were tall and blonde, stern and grim in their demeanor, warlike and independent. After all was created, Hel blew her breath on this Earth, marking the mortality of all.
We then withdrew from Midgard, never to descend upon it again, and returned to dwell in our own realms. The Valar and Maiar remained, to shape the world in wisdom, and once their work was finished they withdrew as well.
A new realm was created from the ashes of the Old Earth. It was not free of flaw, as nothing in this universe is. And even I, with my near Omnipotence and Omniscience, could not foresee what its fate would be. Was this Middle Earth destined to flourish and proliferate, or was it doomed to fall into ruin? Its fate we decided to be placed in the hands of the races that now dwelt upon it.
Thus, the First Age began…
The young girl who was reading the ancient scroll now rolled it carefully and placed it back in its case. There was melancholy in her eyes. Next to her, her friend was looking at her with compassion.
"You have read the Scroll of Earth's Recreation countless times, Herja", she said and placed a soft hand upon her friend's. "Do you not tire of it?"
"It still fascinates me, Eir. This world, this Middle Earth… It has characteristics of all of the realms. How can it not be enticing? I wish I could visit it…" Herja sighed.
"You know this is not possible", Eir was quick to mention, but then her eyes narrowed and she looked thoughtful. "Unless…"
Her friend eyed her curiously. "Unless?"
"Unless you join the Valkyries, Herja. They are the only ones still allowed to descend to Midgard and collect the souls of the fallen of the brave". Eir looked into Herja's eyes, which had widened at her friend's words.
Herja looked at Eir intensely for a few moments, and then she rose nervously and walked to the balcony of the library. Below her, Asgard's golden spires gleamed under the warm sunlight. Eir followed her friend with a non-hurried pace and she came to stand by her. Herja seemed very thoughtful; her gaze was lost in the vastness of the realm.
"I could not do it alone", she spoke after long. "Being a Valkyrie comes with tremendous responsibilities, and certain restrictions. Am I that strong?"
"Yes, Herja, you are. And you are not unlearned in the art of war either. Throw away the veil of fear and uncertainty! Become who you were born to be!" Eir exclaimed." But you do not have to be alone", she squeezed her friend's shoulder gently and gave her a reassuring smile. Her strawberry blonde hair gleamed under the sun and her blue eyes shone.
Herja turned to her in surprise. "Eir?" The other girl nodded. "Would you join the Valkyries as well?"
"Long have I been pondering it".
"But, how about your dream of being a healer? Would you abandon it to join Brunhilda's host?" Herja wondered.
"No, I do not see how being a Valkyrie would hinder my healing studies. I am not as warlike as you, Herja, but all virtues are valued. Need I mention Göndul, whose passion, besides battle noise, is her harp? Or Ölrún, who is a scholar and a student of the runes? Certainly one of healing abilities will be praised in a war host", Eir beamed, radiating with confidence.
"Your words are wise and true", Herja commented. A small smile curved her rosy lips, and she felt more relaxed. "Do you think we could really make our dream come true?" Her emerald eyes searched her friend's for hope.
"Yes, Herja, I do", she replied fervently and clasped the other girl's hand in hers.
"Are you willing to make the sacrifices required? To devote yourself to mortals… and mortal love?" Herja's voice faltered.
Eir sighed. "What good comes without sacrifice? I know what I wish. But how about you, Herja? Is your passion to know Midgard stronger than your desire to lie with gods?" Eir spoke bluntly and looked her friend in the eye.
Herja stood and watched her friend for a long moment before answering. Her breath was caught in her throat. "Yes, I think it is".
Eir smiled and grabbed her hand. "Then come with me. We shall find Brunhilda, the leader of the host".
Herja's heart was racing in excitement and also worry, as she hurriedly followed her friend through the streets of Asgard. She had just made a decision that was meant to change her life forever. Was it a wise one, or had it been made lightly?
Herja: the name of a Valkyrie, that possibly means "devastation".
Eir: the name of a Valkyrie, assosciated with healing.
Aesir: the collective name for the gods of Asgard.
This first chapter serves as prologue. The main story begins in the next chapter.
Next Chapter: The King of Rohan makes an unlikely friend!