And In The Darkness Bind Them

Arc One: Lord of the Rings

Chapter Six

Black, almost like obsidian but possessing a strange glimmering and smoother texture flashed, the blade being brought down upon a hide of fire. With a roar that resembles something out of a nightmare from only the worst of adult's imagination, the flames flared and attempted to wrap around the invading weapon. In another flash, however, it was jerked back to join it's twin and their owner danced away with glittering silver eyes.

One point.

The warrior twisted around and dashed forward, ignoring the pressing darkness that surrounded them. The light of his opponent was bright and illuminated their surrounding—ow would have, if there had actually been anything there. But no, just a long expanse of darkness. The crevice they'd been dragged into must have been deeper and larger than even he had thought.

Two points.

He pulled back to avoid a lashing whip coating in fire—it really did hurt, he'd admit, but it didn't necessarily distract him from the his objective. This was almost as fun as he'd imagined it would be, though there were still some aspects he could bring himself to complain about. That would have to come later, however, since—

That's three points.

His eyes darted around to get a visual of how he was doing. There. There was a boulder to his left—where'd that come from? It hadn't been there a few seconds ago, had it?—and a desolate form of some type of fallen mining equipment of to their far right, somewhat between him and the balrog. He lashed out with his two weapons and managed to make a slice in that oh-so-tougher-than-basilisk-skin hide.

Four points...

He didn't mind basilisks, actually. You'd think from his early on-experience with the beast in his second year, he would hold some sort of dislike for them, but he absolutely adored the creatures now. They really were admirable, and he love them just as much as dragons. Too bad Bilbo and Co. had taken out Smaug, he would've wanted to meet him—but he'd heard that red-assed flying lizard was seriously arrogant. He didn't like arrogant beings. They were annoying. It didn't matter, anyway. He'd been an entire ocean away when that particular adventure had taken place, even when Erebor had originally been seized by the over-grown reptile. Over the years after his return, only less than three decades ago, he'd heard gossip and news about the journey and defeat and reclaiming of the home of the dwarves, but he hadn't heard the entire tale until Bilbo himself had told it to them back in Rivendel.

And point five! He mentally exclaimed as he made to stab the beast in the side while evading the whip, and succeeded. One more, now. Have to make my score even or my OCD will kill me...

Unfortunately, he'd momentarily forgotten that another had been drug down along with him by the balrog—the thrill of battle always distracted him like that, an old habit he never was able to rectify—and by the time he was near enough for another hit, preparing to roll out of the way of the whip advancing on him from behind, the person shouted out to him, voice tight.

"Behind you, Viper, look out—!"

Silver eyes blinked open wide at the yell, and his moment of inattentiveness was enough for the whip to catch on him, and wrap around him, the flames biting into his flesh. Thankfully, his charmed clothes held some sort of protection, but he still felt the blistering heat enough to give his skin marginally painful burns.

"Ow!" the Immortal yelped, clenching his teeth. Sure, he'd suffered through countless more painful things in his long, long life, but that didn't mean he liked it! And that didn't mean it didn't hurt.

Because it really did.

The whip yanked free from his form as the Balrog jerked it back, and Viper crashed into the boulder, hearing a rush of footsteps as Gandalf came to help him stand, blue eyes twinkling less and full of worry.

"What was that for?" Viper glared at the old wizard. "I had things under control, gérontas, I was fine until you distracted me!"

"Even you are not that fast, my boy," the Gray Istar told him, words spilling from his lips, chapped by the intense heat, quickly. "It would have caught you either way."

Viper grit his teeth in irritation, and swatted the man's hand away as he stood up, setting his narrowed eyes instead on the almost intimidating form of the balrog. It would've been scary, and perhaps even Gandlaf appeared afraid of it, but Viper had seen scarier.

Perhaps now would be a good time to explain how he'd ended up in this situation, though...

vVv

"This way, quickly now!" Gandalf shouted to them all as he waved his arms, shepherding them through a small doorway. Viper was supported by Legolas, still week from the healing he'd just undergone. His silver eyes glittering in the shadows cast about them and staring off toward the impending danger with a strange gleam in them, his hood still down. The wizened wizard took a fast look behind him before following after them all.

The group raced down the stairway until they came to a part where it abruptly cut off. Boromir, in the lead, almost tumbled off and into abyss below if Aragorn had not reached out to grab him. They watched silently as the Man's torch whirled away into the vast underworld beneath.

"Gandalf!" Aragorn called, looking back as the Wizard caught up to them.

"Lead them on, Boromir!" The Istar ordered. "The bridge is near."

The group looked ahead to the large gap in the walkway, and Viper turned around and raised an eyebrow. It was a strange feeling, to the rest of them, now that they were actually able to see his expressions on his face without his hood obscuring them. They'd gotten used to reading the teen with his hood up.

Of course, Viper's looks were different. He made it a law for himself to not look as he had on his home-world, aside from his mother's eyes. In fact, before they'd been to Moria, he'd been a brunette with blond streaks in his hair, and his cheekbones had been a little lower than they were now, his eyes less slanted. They they were shaped like a cats, almond in shape, colorless like silver. He liked silver. It felt cleaner than gold.

Aragorn frowned, and turned to go back over to Gandalf, but the Istar grabbed the Ranger's arm and stared at him with an intense look. "Do as I say!"

A hurt look flashed across Aragorn's face as he showed his confusion, and Gandalf's features softened slightly. "Go. Swords are of no more use here."

Behind them, the balrog let loose another roar, and Legolas took the initiative to leap across the gap, landing swiftly on the other side; but only after he'd made sure that Viper was able to stand on his own. Viper blinked impassively and crossed his arms, his personal crutch gone.

"Gandalf!" Legolas called, and the Istar nodded, leaping after the elf.

Arrows whistled through the air and struck the stone steps. Viper rolled his eyes and waited for Legolas to return fire, then leaped across himself once the elf's arrow pierced through the face of an orc, the monster tumbling down into the darkness beneath them. He glanced down. It sure was dark... Hopefully none of the hobbits fell.

"Merry! Pippin!" He heard Boromir call from behind him, and he spun around to hold out his arms, gesturing toward the nervous hobbits encouragingly.

"C'mon!" The black-clad teen grinned.

The Brandybuck and Took each turned to cling to the Son of Denethor as he leaped across the gap with a wide open smile, anxiousness rolling off him in waves. Viper reached out to steady him before they could stumbled forward off the stairs, then pushed the trio ahead of him, locking eyes with Aragorn, who still stood across the gap.

"Sam." The Ranger intoned, before grabbing the hobbit with a strong grip and tossing him across. Viper cackled as the young Gamgee shouted in alarm, and he held out his arms to catch him.

"Alright there, Sam?" He asked as he set the Halfling on his feet.

"Peachy," the hobbit mumbled, disheveled, and Viper's smile was almost blinding.

Aragorn reached down to grab Gimli, but was met with a fierce scowl.

"No one tosses a dwarf," the ginger growled, before leaping across the gap himself while Aragorn huffed and blew a strand of hair out of his face in exasperation.

However, just as Gimli landed on the other side, his feet barely even making the edge, he immediately fell back and was only saved when Legolas, thinking quickly, shot out a hand and caught him. By the beard.

Viper winced.

Gimli yowled, eyes squeezed shut. "Gah! Not the beard, not the beard!"

As Legolas pulled Gimli up to safety, the opposite side of the gap that held Frodo and Aragorn began to crumble away. The Ranger jerked backwards and pulled Frodo to safety, glaring down at the now widened-gap once the crumbling stopped. The two climbed t their feet.

Aragorn looked up. "Steady, hold on!"

Behind them, the balrog grew closer, as heard by it's echoing roars. The structures around them began to shake, and soon another gap in the stairs was behind Frodo and Aragorn, effectively cutting off a route back, that they wouldn't have taken anyway.

"Hang on!" Aragorn shouted to Frodo, who clung to him.

"Lean forward!" Viper instructed them, catching on to the Rangers plan. It was a risky one though.

Legolas watched on as he, Gandalf and Boromir held the rest of the hobbits back from the edge of the walkway. "Come on!" The elf called.

The two shifted their weight forward, tipping the stairs forward, making them slam against the other side where the rest of their companions where.

The group, as one, then turned and raced down the stairs, away form the approaching balrog to where the bridge lay.

Soon, they reached it, one column of stone all that was in their way. Gandalf lead them as they darted around it and soon the bridge finally came into view. They kept running, trying to escape the dooming wall of fire that followed on their heels.

"Over the bridge!" Gandalf routed over the roars of both the flames and the balrog itself. The group raced ahead of him and Gandalf turned, facing the fire. Viper skidded to a stop while the rest of the group raced onwards, studying the wizard with narrowed eyes a few feet away. Is he really...?

A great form of black shadow leaped through the flames, its eyes of white fire, great ash-black horns curling around a bull-like head.It opened its maw, rippling heat pouring out with a rumble.

Gandalf turned, running after the Fellowship, and Viper soon followed when the Istar raced past him.

A great, black, cloven foot stomped down into the hall, bursting into flame. Ahead of them all, the narrow bridge of stone appeared clearer in the fiery light, and the Fellowship dashed forward to cross the bridge.

Gandalf turned, then, just as he was about to step foot on the bridge himself, to face the Balrog. Viper once again came to a stop, but this time he raced over to tug roughly on the wizard's sleeve.

"Come on," he growled. "We've no time for heroics from you."

But Gandalf twisted to face him with a sad and wary expression of resignation on his face, one that Viper didn't not like at all. He'd seen such a look on the faces of too many people, and whatever happened afterwards always hurt.

"If the balrog is let loose into the world from here, with no one to stop it now," the Istar started, "then this world will extend into the coming darkness much faster, leaving those that live in it no time to even attempt in warding it off. Viper, I must do this."

This wasn't working. He tugged on the man's sleeve again. "Gandalf—"

"Viper," he interrupted. "You seem like a smart boy." He examined Viper's face, not hidden in the shadows of his hood now, and let out a sigh as he turned back to face the balrog once more. The beast had paused, as if sensing an oncoming challenge. It bared a toothy grin of fire and expectations. A whip coated in flame crackled as it snapped to and fro behind it. "You know I must do this."

"No—"

"You!" Gandalf ignored his weak protest, pointing toward the balrog, and Viper sensed the Fellowship pause to look back with wide eyes at them as the Istar addressed the demon. "I shan't let you pass!"

The demon let out a low rumbling roar that Viper realized must have been it's way of chuckling. It was amused.

"Gandalf!" Frodo cried out, eyes the size of saucers in his terror.

"Viper, come on!" Aragorn shouted. The Ranger's fists were clenched so tightly that his knuckled turned white, as white as Boromir's hands was as the Man of Gondor lifted it to grip Aragorn's shoulder tightly, too tightly. His own face was tight while Legolas and Aragorn seemed to be holding their breath. Gimli held back Pippin and Merry who seemed to be taking turns calling for him and the wizard to come over to them.

"I am the servant of the secret Fire!" Gandalf boomed, ignoring them like he had Viper, "wielder of the flame of Anor..."

Something in Viper's chest tightened. The tone of authority in the Istar's voice reminded him of someone; someone he should have been thinking about. Someone who was so long gone.

There had been instances where Viper had forgotten worlds long-time passed. Worlds that he could barely remembered what they held. But never his home-world. No. Even being the eldest of them all, it had been his first world. And for some reason, the memories of that world and the world before his current world were always the freshest in his mind.

"The dark fire will not avail you!" Gandalf was still shouting. "Flame of Udûn!"

Viper turned his face away from the heat of the flame as the moved to strike down at the wizard, seemingly ignoring Viper's presence for the moment. Gandalf parried the blow with his own blade, that Viper hadn't noticed before. Maybe Gandalf had the same trick he did...

And the balrog's sword just shattered. Glowing embers ran off the circle of light around the wizard beside him, and Viper appreciated the view. Gandalf may be younger than him by worlds, but he was very powerful, and the Immortal was impressed.

The monster bellowed at Gandalf, enraged at his sharp blade's destruction. Further down the bridge and behind them, Viper heard someone, Frodo, gasp. Footsteps sounded, and Viper turned to see Aragorn racing forward. He frowned.

Gandalf clenched his teeth. "Go—back—to the—shadow!" His speech was clipped as he strained his power, which Viper felt rolling of him in waves.

Viper let out a short breath, before glaring over at the still approaching Aragorn. The Ranger paused as his eyes met Viper's, and the black-clad teen raised both hands to gesture for him to go back. Aragorn jerked a little, blinking at him incredulously. Viper shook his head, gritting his teeth and making a slicing motion with the hand that wasn't covered in a glove—he'd forgotten about that. He'd have to pull up one from his sub-dimension of possessions later. But for now—and his palm glowed blue, the light intense. Aragorn was caught in the gut by an invisible force and thrown back to the others, who caught him and looked at the two wizards—because knew they knew Viper could do magic, too—with wide eyes, worried and hesitant.

The balrog stepped forward, brandishing it's fiery whip. It's grin was getting on Viper's nerves, and he now scowled at the entirety of the Fellowship.

"Leave!" He growled at them.

"You too." Gandalf coughed, and Viper's glare was instantly directed at him.

"Like hell."

Gandalf shook his head, frustrated that the teen wasn't listening to him, and raised his sword and staff together into the air, crossed. "You shall—not—pass!" He informed the balrog, anger in his voice. He drove his staff into the bridge, causing a bright flash of blue light, similar to but containing a much brighter shade than Viper's own, to appear. The balrog flared it's nostrils, still grinning despite it's rage, and surged forward to strike again.

As it came forward, Viper lashed out with a surge of his own magicks, feeling relief in finally using a large quantity of it again, and the bridge began to collapse from under the demon just as it was crumbling from before Gandalf's staff. The demon plunged backward into the chasm, and Gandalf, exhausted, leaned on his staff and watched as it fell. He turned to look at Viper, who was watching him with narrowed eyes. But, just as the teen opened his mouth to speak, the flaming whip of the balrog lashed up from the depths of the abyss and wound itself around Gandalf's ankle, dragging him over the edge.

The Istar clung onto the bridge, but the effort to keep his grip was straining. Viper's mouth snapped shut and he lunged forward to wrap his fingers around Gandalf's forearms in a tight hold. Back across the bridge, Frodo rushed forward, intending to help, but Boromir restrained him with a almost hysterical look in his bright eyes as he viewed the scene.

"No, no!' The man of Gondor breathed in horror, and Frodo struggled against his grip.

"Gandalf! —Viper, helphim! Come here!" The Baggins' voice cracked.

Gandalf took in a deep breath, staring over at Frodo's anguished face. He stopped struggling as he looked up at Viper, who glared down at him in turn. "Go back to them," He told the teen, who shook his head. Turning back to lock eyes with Frodo again, the Istar called, "Fly, you fools!"

And the group looked like they were to refuse, despair evident on their faces.

Suddenly, though, Viper felt the whip's grasp on Gandalf relinquish, and the Istar let out a hiss, blinking dazedly. The teen breathed through his nose. He shrugged, and flung Gandalf back onto the ledge to safety.

However, the group's relief was short, as it seemed that the balrog had given up it's hold on Gandalf for a reason, having other plans. Flames flared back to life in their vision, and the whip shot out of the chasm once more, this time wrapping itself around Viper's torso, burning through his magically warded tunic and biting into his flesh.

"Ah!" Viper yelped, as his chest was suddenly confined in restraints of fire. Magical fire. Ancient(for this world, at least) fire. It burned.

"Viper!" Legolas yelled. "Gandalf, do something!"

And Gandalf only had had a few second to catch his breath, before rushing forward to try and pull Viper back. He looked around wildly, then scowled, coating his hands in a blue glow before attempting to tug the whip away. But it's hold on Viper was too tight, and he let out a frustrated sigh as the balrog played a game of tug-a-war with him.

Viper sucked in a breath, then set determined silver eyes on Gandalf, who stared back helplessly. "Hey, vello."

Gandalf sucked in his breaths in short gasps, a questioning light in his eyes. "What do you need?" they seemed to ask.

"Let me go."

Gandalf, and everything, seemed to just freeze for a moment, and then the Istar was venomously shaking his head in refusal. "No."

"You are a child to me, in years," Vipers voice was suddenly just so old, and Gandalf found himself pausing his protests to listen. Silver eyes regarded him sternly. "Leave me. I can handle this."

And then, everything made sense. All the questions he had, the things(well, most of them) that didn't make sense, about Viper, the things that made Gandalf just so confused. He realized why, now.

Viper was like him.

But, not.

And Gandalf knew what he needed to do. No other way would he be able to help Viper, than this.

He turned back around and shouted, his voice cracking from the strength he was using, both the physical and the magical strain of it, to the hesitating group on the opposite side of the bridge. "Do as I say!" He roared, and they jumped, startled. "Fly!"

"Gandalf!" Sam looked aghast, and Legolas was shaking his head in mute horror. "No!"

"Save Viper and come back!" Pippin screamed, holding Merry in a death grip, and the other hobbit nodded. "Please!"

"No! No, no!" Frodo shouted.

"Fly, you fools!" Why where they so stupid? He turned back to Viper, who was frowning at him with dispassion, and sighed. "And fools they are," he told the teen(Ah, but not exactly a teen, he reminded himself), before loosening his grip. And, Viper's eyes widened in surprise as they both flew back into the gaping chasm of darkness, the balrog's whip dragging them into it's depths.

"Nooo!" Frodo's voice, joined by the others' called after them, but neither paid any mind to the shouts of despair, as they fell in what seemed like an endless drop. The flames beneath them illuminated their features, as they stared at each other, blue eyes locking with colorless silver.

"Gandalf...?"

"There are things I need to do. Things I need to say, things you need to hear." Gandalf examined the immortal, their clothes and hair flapping about their framed as the air whistled by. He blinked tiredly. "But, we must take this demon down, before any of that. Viper, will you help me? We'll do it together."

Viper stared at him silently, as the echoing screams of the Fellowship faded into the background. He didn't speak again until they reached the bottom, in what seemed like hours later, and both dodged an incoming strike from the owner of the whip—which released Viper as soon as they slowed their fall with magic and landed on their feet, near-silently.

As the three fighters, then, paused to observe the opposing sides in the battle—the balrog, them; and them, the balrog—Viper glanced at the Gray Istar from the corner of his eyes.

"Why not?"

But he sounded oh, so tired.

vVv

They'd been at this for what felt like days. And maybe it had. He and Gandalf had taken to alternating in charging the balrog, in an effort to give on another a short rest. As Gandalf pushed him back down against the rock, he then stood and dashed over to face the beast in his own turn. Viper let out a rough sigh, feeling slightly helpless despite his year and worlds worth of knowledge and power. He hated knowing so much, and having so much experience. It was like his brain could only focus on one thing at a time while momentarily forgetting everything else, even after having had sorted it all with Occlumensy.

He closed his eyes, and focused on the life forces of the Fellowship, which was leagues away by now. So it really had been days. He turned on his Seer ability(it was like the metamorphic trait, he'd found. It didn't need to be inherited and one had no need to be born with it. You only had to live as long as he to figure that out, which is also why he knew of it), which had been completely shut down since two worlds ago. Those memories were hazy, but still painful. He hadn't—didn't—want to think about them, and his Seer powers reminded him. But now, he was desperately curious. He just had to know how they were making it...

His vision turned blue as the sounds from Gandalf's and the balrog's scuffle faded into the background and a new, rough and husky voice sounded in his ears as if he were listening through a headset(and gods, it had been a while since he'd thought of such technology).

"Stay close, young hobbits! They say that a great sorceress lives in these woods, an elf-witch, of terrible power. All who look upon her, fall under her spell…"

He abruptly shut the power off again, and stood with a loud laugh, feeling almost completely revitalized again. Gandalf fell back from his position of attack, looking over at him with a curious gleam in his eyes as Viper took his own power to fight off the demon of fire.

"They're near Caras Galadhon!" he shouted to him, a grin on his features. He felt like laughing again. "They're entering Lothlorien!"

And Gandalf returned his smile with relief evident on his wizened face.

They both began to fight the beast with renewed vigor, and Viper just couldn't understand why he felt so smug, as he looked upon the raging face of the balrog, it's grin no longer present.

oOoOo

"One day, our paths will lead us there. And the tower guard shall take up the call: 'The Lords of Gondor have returned!'"

"Awwwww!" Viper cooed, as Gandalf used his staff to tirelessly evade yet another slash of the whip, before Viper leaped ahead to shield him from a swipe of the demon's claws. It had started to get pushy.

"What is it?" Gandalf asked, wanting to know. He'd long since guessed that Viper had the Sight—a strange denomination of it, which he could switch on and off as he pleased without much effort.

Or, perhaps, it was a... renomination? The Sight that the elves sometimes possessed could have very well branched off of a long-time ago branch of what Viper had. Gandalf wasn't entirely sure just how old the teen was yet.

But, he didn't think that grammar worked like that.

"Boromir seems to have accepted Strider as Isildur's heir." Viper beamed, excited. "I guess they won't be subtly at one another's throats after this. Unless Boromir dies or something." Viper's eyes flashed blue, and he paused, grimacing.

They continued to take turns in slashing at the balrog—it was persistent—until Viper stopped again to catch his breath, and Gandalf slid in to substitute for him once more.

"Nah," the black-clad teen decided somewhat uneasily, his silver eyes finally loosing their blue tint. "That won't happen."

And they kept on fighting.

oOoOo

"No!" Viper groaned. "Don't look into the mirror, Fro'!" He was swaying slightly from a particularly nasty gash in side side. The claws had managed to catch him unawares and Gandalf hadn't had the quickness to cover for him. Those manicured nails of the beast were sizzling! He hadn't noticed that before. But it made sense that everything about the demon be intense in heat. It was a monster of fire, after all.

Gandalf, halted, just for a split second, before nearly rolling his eyes and continuing in his attack as Viper bent over behind some fallen mining equipment to heal the wound. "Galadriel must be playing her games again. She's too far relying on her gift of Sight to see that not everyone wishes the pain of knowing what is to come."

Viper huffed softly at this, coming out from behind the temporary shelter and giving a short spin, arms spread out, to showcase himself to Gandalf. After he finished the twirl, he winked. The Istar snorted, nodding approvingly when he saw the wound had vanished, and allowed Viper to join the fight again.

oOoOo

"I asked for one hair from her golden head."

"Pffffft."

"She gave me three."

"Oh, that's priceless. Gandalf! You must hear this."

oOoOo

They'd left Lothlorien, by way of boat upon river, and had passed through the Argonath. Now, Legolas and Aragorn were setting camp, and Frodo had decide to take a slow walk through the woods, pondering all that had happened since he'd left the Shire.

He just hadn't realized the world was just so big. And so full of dangers and mysteries. The biggest danger he'd heard of, back then, was his uncle facing a dragon.

But those were just stories. Danger, even as little as the ones he'd faced so far(because nothing he'd faced yet amounted to a dragon, apart from the balrog. But thinking about that beast, which he hadn't even had t face against, made him think of Viper and, more painfully, Gandalf. So he didn't think about the balrog.) was so much more... tangible... in real life. And it terrified him.

He missed the Shire. So much more than he'd ever had thought he would.

A twig snapped, and he spun around to see Boromir crouching down, gathering wood for the camp's fire. The Man of Gondor looked up, surprised.

"Ah! Halfling, none of us should wander alone," he exclaimed, standing up again. "You least of all. So much depends on you..." He frowned at the lack of response. "Frodo?"

After a moment of silence, Boromir let out a sigh and came closer to him. Frodo turned away from him nervously. "I know why you seek solitude. You suffer. I see it day by day. Are you certain you do not suffer needlessly? There are other ways, Frodo, other paths that we might take."

"I know what you would say." Frodo finally spoke, choosing not to look directly at the Son of Denethor. "And it would seem like wisdom but for the warning in my heart."

"Warning?" Boromir echoed, incredulous. "Against what? We're all afraid, Frodo. But to let that fear drive us to destroy what hope we have… don't you see, that is madness?"

Frodo jerked back as Boromir leaned down to look him in the eye. "There is no other way!" The hobbit shook his head, words spoken quickly.

"I ask only for the strength to defend my people!" Boromir finally said, throwing the wood in his arms to the ground in frustration as he stood straight again. "If you would but lend me the Ring..."

"No." Was Frodo's immediate response The hobbit took a step back. This was another danger he could have listed. Maybe it was the one that frightened him the most. Even more than the dragon from Bilbo's tales.

"Why do you recoil?" Boromir asked, his voice suddenly lighter. He spread his arms in an attempt to appear harmless, but Frodo wasn't one to be fooled. "I am no thief."

"You are not yourself," Frodo told him, in a vain effort to perhaps snap Boromir out of the daze the stupid Ring had him in. he didn't like Boromir like that. Boromir was his friend, now, and Frodo really didn't want him to fall to the Ring's whispered words. It was times like now, he wished Viper had put protection on all of the Fellowship's minds—but, ah, that would be useless now, wouldn't it? Viper was dead. Like Gandalf.

"What chance do you think you have?" Boromir asked him disdainfully. "They will find you! They will take the Ring and you will beg for death before the end!"

Frodo turned and began to walk away. Maybe if Boromir had some time away from him, and the Ring, he would cool down and the Ring would loose it's hold on him.

But that didn't work as planned.

"You fool!" Boromir shouted, and then a chase began.

Frodo's heart beat faster and faster as he stumbled up a hill now. This definitely wasn't Boromir. Well, sure. It was Boromir. If he'd been an enemy, this was exactly how Frodo would think he'd act. But Boromir wasn't an enemy. Boromir was a friend. And that's what made this all the more scarier.

He would give anything to bring back the dead. Both of them. Surely Gandalf would know what to do here. And if Gandalf didn't have a way to bar the influence of the Ring on a Man's mind, then Viper could have absolutely shielded the Son of Denethor's mind from it.

And tears of frustration and sadness both stun his eyes as he ran, huffing and puffing, when he was reminded that it wasn't possible. They were both dead.

And it was his fault. Gandalf might not have joined the Fellowship if Frodo had not volunteered to be Ring Bearer. And Frodo was quite certain that Viper had only joined because the Baggins had looked at him with the puppy eyes and begged him to come along.

Well, Viper might have also came for the so-called entertainment the probable danger had offered—that teenage Man had always been in it for the thrill of battle and whatnot.

But Frodo felt that the teen's death was his fault. It made it worse, though, since he was quite sure Viper was the youngest of their group.

Frodo had gotten the youngest of the Fellowship killed.

And the eldest. Gandalf, who had always been there for him, taught him, told him amzing stories that lulled him into sleep when he was just a teeny hobbit-child. He'd healed him when he'd been sick or injured. He was always a close-friend, a grandfather-figure. To all hobbit children, Frodo especially—and Frodo had gotten him killed.

"It is not yours, save by unhappy chance. It could have been mine!" Boromir yelled, and Frodo's heart gave a sharp lurch when the voice sounded from right behind his ear. He was then tackled to the ground and held by strong, sword-trained arms. Boromir narrowed his eyes and looked down at him. "It should be mine! Give it to me!"

In a short attempt at struggling the prize off the hobbit, Boromir growled as Frodo managed to wriggle the Ring into his hands and held on to it with a death grip. The metal hummed with power and it made Frodo sick. Could Boromir not see how disgusting it was? How could the Man of Gondor let it pervert his mind like this?

"Give it to me!"

The hobbit glared up at the Man. "No!"

"Give me..." Boromir let out another low growl as he tried again to pry apart Frodo's hands. "Give me the Ring!"

"Stop it! Let me go!"

Frodo made a quick-minded decision that he knew, with both Gandalf's and certainly Viper's counseling, was a bad idea, and succeeded in slipping the Ring onto his finger. Boromir let out a yell of anger as he disappeared. Frodo landed a kick on Boromir, pushing the Man off of him and dashing away from the wood-gatherer. Boromir fell back with a glare, looking around wildly for him. "I see your mind. You will take the Ring to Sauron! You will betray us! You'll go to your death and the death of us all! Curse you! Curse you! And all the Halflings!"

The words he spoke stung. They hurt Frodo, hurt both his pride, and his feelings. He would never betray his friends! They meant everything to him, more worth than the Shire itself! And Boromir hadn't needed to put down the entire Halfling race because of him! That wasn't fair.

He felt a strange, cool breeze whip by him, despite the day being less than a little windy. And suddenly, Boromir slid back down to the ground again with a thud, his eyes glazed. He shook his head dizzily and frowned, eyes searching around. "No... Frodo? Frodo! … What have I done?" The hobbit heard him ask himself in horror, and slumped a little in relief, pausing in his running away. Boromir was released from the Rings influence again! He went to slip the ring from his finger, but paused as Boromir continued to shout for him. "Please! … Frodo!"

If he took the Ring off, what then? What if Boromir fell back under it's whispered words of deceit? Frodo couldn't do that to his friends. It would only make Boromir feel even more guilty and sorrowful with himself for being weak and not able to resist the Ring's seduction. Frodo couldn't.. he couldn't do that to Boromir.

He... couldn't do that to any of his friends...

Frodo nodded reluctantly, having made a very difficult but necessary decision. He spun back around and dashed up the dark steps that invaded his visions, swirling with a shadow like quality as the world of the Rings blurred past him.

"Frodo!" Boromir called behind him, sounding heartbroken. Frodo felt his chest tighten, but his friend's shouts only resolved his decision within him. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry, Frodo! Frodo!"

The hobbit stepped onto a large stone platform, but the apparition he witnessed there, due to the vision he got when wearing the Ring, terrified him only more and caused him to fall back off of it. He landed painfully on his back among the grass, the Ring slipping back off. He panicked, but at least he couldn't hear Boromir anymore.

He sat up, trying to catch his breath. Before him, as he looked up, was a high structure on the cliff edge, surrounded by the pines. A stairway ran up through its center, to a seat dwarfed by the stone eagles on top.

He shook his head and made to stand up. But the dry grass rustled to his right, and Frodo froze. Please, let it just be an animal. Please, not Boromir, he couldn't have found me. Keep my friends away.

"Frodo?" It was Aragorn. Frodo wished to groan, but only looked up at the Ranger from beneath his lashed nervously, his body tensed. "It has taken Boromir."

Aragorn paused, before coming closer, eyes intense as he stared down at him. "Where is the Ring?"

Frodo's eyes widened. No. He couldn't let the Ring get them like they had Boromir! "Stay away!" He scrambled up from his seat and stumbled away from the Man. Aragorn stopped walking forward.

"Frodo!"

The hobbit paused, looking at him warily, eyes slightly panicked. He had to leave.

"I swore to protect you!"

He had indeed. But, "Can you protect me from yourself?"

He held the Ring up, flat and cool against his palm. "Would you destroy it?"

Aragorn slowly approached him, and Frodo told himself to run, but his feet just wouldn't move. He reached out toward the Ring, and Frodo's heart nearly stopped. But, Aragorn's hands only closed around his and closed them, pushing them back toward his chest.

"I would have gone with you to the end," the Ranger said, sadly, "into the very fires of Mordor."

Frodo felt himself smiling at that, in relief and thanks. He couldn't help it. "I know. Look after the others, especially Sam. He will not understand."

Aragorn nodded.

The sound of an orc patrol in the distance suddenly invaded their hearing, and both pairs of eyes widened. Frodo looked up and pinned the heir of Isildur with a desperate look. "Protect them all, please. Don't let anyone else die. You do that—and I would go to my death to make certain Gandalf ad Viper's deaths were not in vain."

Aragorn began to walk backwards, away form him. The Man drew his sword, and Frodo saw Sting began to glow in his sheath. The Ranger lifted his chin at him, signaling him to go. "Run Frodo. Run!"

And with that, the two turned form each other and ran.

oOoOo

Merry and Pippin rushed across an old stone bridge. They'd just distracted a group of the strange new breed of orcs to allow Frodo to escape. They knew he wasn't coming back, and their hearts felt heavy as they ran. At the crossing's far end, they stopped and turned to see Uruk-hai running towards them, bloodthirsty grins upon their faces. Beside him, Pippin shivered, and Merry shot out a hand to grip his friend's. The Uruks closed in on the two hobbits, both in front and behind. An Uruk—apparently that was what they were called. Aragorn had said something about it. They weren't sure how he would know, though—ran up to them, raising his battleaxe. Boromir came charging in, suddenly, knocking the Uruk back, and killed him with his own axe. He threw a knife at another, but still more closed in. Merry and Pippin shared a weak smile at the help from the Man of Gondor.

Boromir let out a yell, and charged in again. Pippin and Merry looked at each other, then nodded. They ran into the fray, brandishing their swords. They would use what Boromir and Aragorn had taught them.

oOoOo

Legolas pulled back the string of his bow, nailing an Uruk-hai right in the forehead before readying his weapon again, the fire and arrow at one that was attempting to corner Aragorn. From his friends eyes, and shakes of the head when Legolas had quickly inquired about Frodo, the elf knew he was gone. The Fellowship had failed, and it made him feel empty, but still he shot orc after orc, and still protected his friends.

After all, they all were partially at fault for not protecting each other enough. It had caused Frodo to take the Ring and go off on his own.

But Aragorn trusted the hobbit, so Legolas would too.

He froze when his sharp hearing registered the sound of three sharp blasts of a horn in the distance, and his heart dropped. He turned to Aragorn, shouting, "The horn of Gondor!"

Aragorn stilled, sword raised after a strike. His head shot up and their eyes met, both filled with panic. The Ranger bit his lip, looking towards the sound "Boromir!"

Aragorn shot off down the slope, towards where Boromir fought, Legolas on his heels while the elf twisted around every other moment to let loose an arrow in the direction of an approaching Uruk-hai. Any orc that was attempting to stop them was as good as dead.

The forest swept by as the two friends sped through, determined to get to their companions.

Boromir let out a short gasp, before drawing in another long breath to sound his horn again, hoping that the other would hear it. The baritone sound was cut short, however, as the Uruk-hai charged him, forcing him to fling the instrument away in his haste to draw his sword. To his dismay, it cracked open on the rocks, an Uruk stamping it with his foot and a crazed grin of triumph. His mind was drawn elsewhere from his halved horn, though, as he fought to keep him and the hobbits alive.

Aragorn came into view, then, followed closely by Legolas, but Boromir had no time to feel relief. A sharp blade, grim with dirt and blood, flashed by his vision—he ducked out of the way in time, but the sword had grazed near enough his face to leave a short yet somewhat deep gash along his cheekbone. He glared at the orc and stabbed it in the chest. It fell back with a gurgle, black blood dripping from it's mouth as it's lungs filled with liquid. He spun around and brought up his blade to shield himself from another oncoming blow that would have caught him in between the shoulder blades.

Out of the corner of his eye, as he cut down that orc, he saw Merry and Pippin ruthlessly hacking away at the orc's legs, sometimes getting a lucky shot at the weak neck.

"Merry! Pippin!" he called, anxious to get them away from the battle. They were doing a phenomenal job, he had to admit, but the hobbits tended to tire quickly. They were not used to this life.

They looked up, Pippin having to turn and make a stab at an orc who'd taken their lapse in attention toward him a sign of surrender. He died fairy quickly, but only when Merry spun around to help his friend by slashing at the monster's throat. "Boromir!"

"Run!" The Son of Denethor cried. "Run!"

They frown, almost glaring at him, and shook their heads resolutely. He let out a helpless sigh, hoping Aragorn and Legolas, who were fast approaching down the slope, could somehow get them away. He turned back to continue cutting down the orc, that simplistic goal in mind and covering all his senses so that he didn't notice the orc leader stepping out of the trees, bow flexed, until it was too late.

Pippin and Merry were throwing rocks now, having retreated to a safer distance, but not leaving. The small boulders ricocheted off the armor of the Uruk-hai, but some got in through the weak spot—one even managing to knock an orc out, though it was a rather small one with a broad and soft-looking forehead.

A projectile whistled through the air, and Boromir jerked back , eyes wide in shock. The battling paused for a moment, and Aragorn froze, Legolas stumbling into him, before they both began running again with renewed vigor.

Merry stopped mid-throw when Boromir fell back to the ground, cursing himself, inwardly. It was just an arrow, he tried to tell himself. It shouldn't hurt this terribly. But, he knew—with his luck, it would end up being dipped in Morgul poison anyway.

He was as good as dead.

The hobbits looked down at him in shock, tears beginning to slightly water their eyes and Boromir's breathing became more labored with each breath. He made an attempt at slowing it, trying to control it, but it was futile. Around him, the Uruks came closer still, sensing a victim, but Boromir only glared at them, struggling back to his feet and ignoring the probably poisoned wound.

Not today, they wouldn't. Or, as Viper would say, "Like hell."

Boromir wasn't exactly sure what "hell" was, exactly, but Viper had always sounded so determined and stubborn when he'd said it.

He ignored the sting of sadness that filled his chest as he remembered his late-friend. For days afterwards, he hadn't been able to get the image of Viper and Gandalf toppling over the edge of the crevice, the balrog's whip of fire dragging them down into it's inky black depths. But what hurt the most was the twin expressions of resignations on their faces. No, Viper was too young for that look, and Gandalf was far too powerful to expect to be defeated by the balrog. But Boromir's hope that they, or one of them, were somehow still alive dwindled with each passing day—until today.

Today he was going to die.

So, if Viper and Gandalf really were dead, he'd find out today. And he'd be joining them. He could talk with them again, laugh with them again, sit in their company.

And if they weren't, then he'd know he was right and await their, and the rest of his friends and family's, arrival.

Two more arrows lodged themselves into his chest as he cut down orc after orc on his last run, his last hurrah. Aragorn and Legolas finally arrived, having run a good mile or so, out of breath, but immediately leaping into the fray. As Legolas began shooting down the remaining orcs with a sure fire, Aragorn gave a magnificent sweep of his sword, and both he, the gasping Boromir, and the hobbits who were now being herded back by Legolas, watched in satisfaction as the despicable monster's head rolled off it's shoulders and fell to the ground with a thump.

One more arrow from Legolas and the last of the orcs toppled to the ground, dead, and Aragorn was kneeling by his side as Merry and Pippin surged forward with wide teary and panicked eyes, and Legolas cast him a desperately worried look as he vanished into the trees to find Gimli.

Aragorn examined him fervently, and paled at the thick, black liquid seeping from his wounds. His blood, turned dark by the Morgul poisoning. "No!"

Boromir looked up, eyes halfway glazed, and nodded. His breathing was becoming shallower yet. "It is too late for me, friend." He blinked slowly, as if sleepy, and gave him what was meant to be a reassuring smile. "But Frodo—where is he? The little ones, please tell me the hobbits are safe, Aragorn."

Aragorn's eyes watered but he refused to let them fall. He'd already lost tow good friends, he refused to let Boromir join them.

The thought of Viper and Gandalf's death made his chest feel heavy and his breath to hitch, the stinging in his eyes becoming more prominent. He hadn't known Viper that long, really, and the closeness of their relationship in such a short amount of time shocked him. He had known Boromir for an even shorted amount of time, but the difference was that he knew of Boromir's origins, and even though he hadn't liked him very much in the start, he'd tolerated him.

But Viper was an entirely different story. Aragorn had had no clue where the teen had come from, and he'd kept his hood up the entire time. Strider the Ranger, Aragorn, was a very suspicious and regularly paranoid person when not in the company of friends, so his escalating relaxed pose around the youth surprised him greatly—no, it downright shocked him. He had no clue what it was, but something about Viper just tended to draw you in, clutch you in an iron grip and never let go again. On the trip to Rivendel, Aragorn had spent hours and hours of his self control keeping the other at a distance, ridiculing himself for not holding Viper at a stranger-status. But when he got to Rivendel, his home, his shelter, his childhood and the place he was raised—Viper seemed to settle himself right into the community and captured everyone's heart with his overwhelming charisma. Aragorn couldn't keep him held at arms length any more, and had begin to see him as a sort of little brother.

Even to him, it sounded increasingly and blatantly illogical. But that's just how it happened.

The sight of him—and Gandalf, a very close friends of him personally, and his family, who had been a dedicated role-model and grandfatherly figure in his life since before he could remember—falling to his death with the long rope of fire wrapped around him and digging into his flesh was something that Aragorn never wished, had never dreamed of, to experience again.

And neither was this.

Boromir was splayed out on the ground, three arrows sticking out of his torso and blood contaminated by Morgul poison seeping into his clothes and the grassy plane beneath him. It was a little too much for Aragorn's already battered heart to bear. He felt almost guilty, despite it not really being his fault. He'd just become true friends, genuine comrades, with the man only a few days back in Lothlorien. And now, this.

"He has gone," Aragorn told him softly, seeing Boromir's desperate expression. "I let him go, on ahead to Mordor. Though, I suspect Sam has followed him also."

Boromir closed his eyes despairingly. "Then you did what I could not. I was foolish, weak to the Ring's words. I tried to take the Ring from him, Aragorn."

Aragorn gave him a grim smile. "The Ring is beyond our reach now. Do not think of yourself as weak, Boromir. It whispered words to us all and each one of us had a tortured time ignoring them."

"But I could not." Boromir sighed, letting his head fall back. "That makes me weak. I was weak toward the Ring. I let it seduce me and now Frodo is gone. Chased of, by me."

"No! You fought bravely, Boromir." Aragorn stressed, trying to get the man to see.

But Boromir shook his head weakly. "The fellowship is broken because of me. I have failed you all. Forgive me."

"Please," Aragorn shut his eyes tightly and reached for the arrow. "Won't you see the truth? You retain your honor yet, Man of Gondor."

The dying man reach up a shaky head to grab his wrists before his fingers could wrap around the arrows lodge in his chest. "Leave it be," he told Aragorn softly. "The world of men will fall, and all will come to darkness… and my city to ruin."

Aragorn swallowed thickly. "I do not know what power nor strength lies in my blood—or if there truly is any—but I swear to you, on my life: I will not let the White City fall. Your people will stand strong yet, Boromir!"

"My people?" Boromir whispered, looking up at him with hazy eyes after a long stretch of silence. "No. Not mine. They are out people, Heir of Isildur." He released the Ranger's hands and let his own fall back to his chest. "You will make a magnificent king."

Then he reached for his sword. Aragorn went to fetch it from where it had fallen and helped Boromir clasp it to his chest with both hands, knuckled turnign white with the strength of the grip.

"I would have followed you, my brother. My Captain... My King."
Boromir closed his eyes and sucked in a breath, letting a single tear escape. "Please, allow me some dignity still."

Aragorn stilled, looking down at him with an anguished face.

"Leave me, please."

Before he stood, Aragorn touched three fingers to Boromir's forehead, then leaned forward to press his lips in the same spot in a sign of respect.

"Many tales will be told in honor of your deeds, brother. Fear not. Your dignity yet stands strong."

And then, Boromir was along. He could hear Merry and Pippin shouting in anguish and outrage off in the far distance, but their voiced eventually faded away and he lied in peace, eyes open staring at the open sky above him.

Until, of course, it was blocked from his vision by blackness.

Something long, slimy and wet ran over his face, and Boromir opened his eyes in annoyance, then widened them in shock.

"Tharbadir?"

The stallion gave him a flat look, as if to say, "No, it's the King Under the Mountain," before leaning in again and giving his face another sloppy lick.

"Wh-what are you doing here?"

He felt silly, talking to a horse. But could you blame him? Tharbadir wasn't just any horse. He was Viper's horse, and that had to count for something. Besides, Boromir was on the verge of death. Give him a break. He can talk to horses if he wanted to.

He ignored the pain of the arrows and the slow acting poison running like fire through his veins—the feelings were beginning to dull now, and Boromir knew he didn't have very much time, if any, left—and shifted his face to the side. No one likes being kissed by a horse.

The last he, or any of the fellowship, really, had seen of Tharbadir was the day they'd escaped Mordor—because it had been more of an escape than anything else. The stallion had glared at them heartbreakingly. It was like Tharbadir had been scorning them, furious, saying "why couldn't you have saved him? You let my human die!" The stallion wouldn't stop charging at th hobbits and the other members until they relinquished their hold of Viper's bags, which Pippin had been carrying. Viper had only taken a single pack into the mines with him, while leaving the rest with Tharbadir. It had seemed unethical to the rest of them, but the teen had managed to get by due to liberating his meals from the hobbits already gracious stash. As soon as the Took had tied the pack to Tharbadir's back, the stallion had disappeared into the foliage and none of them had seen him sense.

Well, until now.

"Stop licking me, horse!" Boromir cried weakly, his strength being sapped away as with his life. Tharbadir straightened up at the near whispered shout, examining him closely, before backing away from him.

There. Perhaps he would be able to die in peace now that the irritating creature had gone—

A large body thumped to the ground only a near-centimeter from his right side, and Boromir had to grit his teeth to keep the scream of surprise inside his throat. "Really now!"

He turned his head to the side and threw his sword off his chest slowly. He resisted the very tempting urge to yell as he forced himself into a sitting position so that he could match Tharbadir's glare with his own, eye to eye.

"What... the hell... do you want?"

Maybe using Viper's words and strange vocabulary would help him deal with the teen's stallion.

Tharbadir looked absolutely affronted, and snorted in his face, then shaking his mane out with an offended-sounding neigh. Boromir had never seen a horse act so incredibly human before. It was rather disturbing.

But Viper's words—apparently a grave insult in horse language—seemed to work anyway, and Tharbadir turned his head until he was facing his own back and pulled free one of Viper's packs—the rather small one the teen had taken into the mines and forced Pippin to carry—it was "okay," though, Viper had explained to a disapproving Gandalf. Pippin had forced Sam to carry his own bags—with his teeth, before turning with the parcel in his mouth. He blinked his wide horse eyes once, before tossing it onto Boromir's chest.

Boromir's strangled yell as the—actually very light—pack collided with one of the arrows echoed throughout the woods.

That bastard horse. He could have sworn it had smiled.

He looked down at the bag as it slid down into his lap, then lifted his head—his body parts were all beginning to feel so much heavier now—to stare at the horse. The horse stared back.

"What am I supposed to do with this?"

Tharbadir looked at him incredulously. What else were you suppose to do with a bag, he seemed to asked. Sarcasm. From a horse. Boromir felt humiliated despite no one being their to witness it. He was extremely glad he'd sent Aragorn away, now. Open it!

So he did.

A thin tome tied closed and—what was this? A rock. Well, no. A stone. A peculiar stone with a strange design that Boromir didn't recognize, a triangle with a circle inside of it and a line dividing them down the center. But it was still a rock.

He looked back up at Tharbadir, unimpressed and not making any move to reach in and grab one of the two items. "A book and a rock. Really?"

He was dying here, for Iluvatar's sake. And hello, Aragorn's phrases and words of exclamation using the elven god of Creation and whatever actually had rubbed of on him.

Tharbadir glared.

So Boromir sighed. Why was he humoring this creature? Why couldn't he die in peace? He really did think what he wanted right now overruled anything that this silly horse could want, he thought, as he reached in to finger the stone. Besides, the horse wasn't the one dying was it? No, it was him—and ohIluvatarwhatwasthis.

Really. He shouldn't have talked to Aragorn so much when the Ranger was stressed and "cussing" It hadn't done well for his vocabulary or mental state.

The pain. It was gone. As in, all of it. The arrows no longer hurt, but Boromir felt no further from death than before. The only thing different was the absence of pain and the strange sensation of no longer needing strength. Like his body was exempt from the earth pull but he still stayed on the ground. Not like he didn't need a thing. Like he had no use of gathering any more strength since he already had all that he could possibly need anymore, while just moment before he had been sapped of all power and exhaustion overtook him. Something like when he'd used to stay up for a night or two without sleep, so busy he was with his duties throughout Gondor, and knowing he needed sleep on the third day but not feeling at all tired and completely aware of everythingaroundhim.

And when his fingers left the stone, all that feeling, that needlessness, that state of in-between—it left. It surged out of his very being and down through his forearm and out of his fingertips and sizzling, almost—he sore he'd heard the noise—as it was enclosed within the stone.

"Wh—"

Tharbadir let out a chastising and enraged neigh, driving his nose into Boromir's shoulder. The Son of Denethor let out a yelp and shot out his hand to grab the stone, keeping his skin in contact with it. He looked around wildly, before stilling and letting out a dry chuckle. Trust Viper to have such an object in his possession, whatever it was.

He looked over at Tharbadir. He felt silly for asking a horse, but Tharbadir was the only other person—ah, living creature. It was a horse—around at the moment and he was dying of curiosity; ignore the pun. "Ehm... is this only a feeling, or can I safely remove the arrows while touching this?"

And Tharbadir only looked at him. How do you expect me to know? He seemed to say. I'm just a horse, idjit.

Of course. Because Tharbadir was only a horse.

Boromir felt like groaning and then smacking himself. He looked back down at the bag in his lap, and pulled out the book at a moments hesitation. It was one of the blank-paged, bound leather cover books that, well, people tended to write things in. He didn't want to betray Viper's trust by reading his thoughts or personal information or whatever was kept in this, especially since the teen wasn't here—couldn't be here—wouldn't be here

Shut up.

With a deep, self-despising sigh for giving into his own selfish curiosity, Boromir slipped off the leather ties of the tome and flipped it open to a random page near the front, the stone carefully kept clutched in a tight fist. After all, maybe the book contained something about it...

xXx

W-6

Entry 1

I'm getting seriously tired of writing in this stupid thing. Whenever I look at the earlier entries, it just makes me depressed—more than now, I mean—and I feel more and more hopeless. But I can't stop myself. It's like a have some sort of need to write in here. It gotten to be a weekly thing, I'm relieved to say, but before it was a daily occurrence, and it was multiple times a day for the first few worlds. So many days, years, centuries, worlds of writing contained in this book. Like some obsession. All the way back to HW. In the first world, I was so young and naïve and stupid and everything like that, any word to describe foolish and innocent. Even with more centuries than my own kind were suppose to live, I believed myself to be jaded. And I was, then. I thought myself to be. But I also thought it would be over. Someday, I would die with everyone else, even if I had to wait until the end of the world.

But, as I said, I was stupid. So stupid.

It didn't extend to only my world, it seemed, and my world apparently wasn't the only to be. More worlds came after, and I'm on my sixth now. And counting, perhaps. I'm starting to give up on any hope that this will ever end. Am I doomed to this... non-life? And, outside of my ignorance, there must have been many many many—countless and nameless worlds that had come before mine. And everyone in those worlds thought theirs was the first or the only one, most of the time. Because no one ever lived to see the next, and no no one ever lived into the start of another. Until me.

My enemy, that idiot. V, he lusted for immortality, not knowing what such a desolate existence it promised. Though, back then, even I was ignorant of the truth, what the prospect of true unending-life really entailed. And now it's too late. V was the one who wanted it, not me. Why can't he be curse instead? Why am I forever kept from what I really, truly wish for? It isn't fair.

Before, I used to be glad it was me, grateful this hadn't fallen on the shoulders of one of my friends. But now, I feel selfish and hate myself, but now I could care less. I wouldn't wish this existence on anyone, but I just wish to any higher power out there, any at all, that it hadn't been me.


W-17

Entry 13740239

John was killed today. It was so sudden, and none of us expected it. The thing just swept right by and took off his head. It rolled a few feet before stopping, face up, at Jenna's feet. I didn't know that girl could scream so loud.

But none of us expected it.

I didn't know a person like me could feel so empty. I let myself get close to John. He was like a brother to me. Like R was, like Nvll. Like F-and-G. Like Martin and Jet. And Trsit and Camond. I can't take things like this happening. I had promised not to get another brother. It's like replacing them. Ones gone so I just get another. I'm such a horrible person but I can't keep people like John was away. They're so pushy and I can't bring myself to push back. They're all softer than I am, breakable. Younger. I could hurt them.

I locked myself in my room for a few days. Almost the entire crew—all seventeen; Jenna, Mark, Alphonse and Rebecca. Missy and Fray and Xandray and the others—they are pounding on the door. They want me to come out, but I don't. I won't. I can't. I felt that unrelenting urge to write what had happened here, but it didn't. I couldn't. If I didn't write it, it couldn't have happened, could it? It was all a nightmare, a bad dream.

Besides, I'd already written in this last week. And three weeks is the longest I keep myself from it.

I'll make that promise again. No one, not another John or anyone else. I won't let them near.

And I already know I'll break that promise. Just like the last one. And the one before that. All of them.

Am I a masochist?

I can't help myself.


W-23

This world is mine now.

All the plans I made dominated them and there was nothing they could do.

They're all so weak. It's pathetic.

And it disgusts me. This world is mine, now, but it isn't. No world is mine, anymore. Mine is gone. But this world is mine.

So maybe I'm like V, now. I don't care. I honestly think it would be better if it was him. At least he wanted this... this.

They tried fighting at first, but I made the tunnelspaces flood with rivers of blood. There isn't suppose to be liquid in them, it would short circuit the entire Systematical transportation highways. But I let the red in. And now I'm making the last of them clean it out again.

I'm cruel. I'm evil. And it felt good for all of three seconds. Now I'm empty again. I don't have red like them. Physically I do, but I know I don't. I can't. I'm not like them. I'm a monster.

But what a lovely three seconds they were. I've never felt that good for a long time yet.

Red used ot be my favorite color but now it makes me feel sick. I don't understand. I thought red would make me happy. It had, though.

A wonderful three seconds.

But now they're gone, and I don't get it. It's confusing, I don't know what to do now.

I thought, maybe if I made drained them of more red I'd be better again, but it didn't work.

The rules now. I made rules, and they must follow them or die. And they die any way. They can't say certain words, or they die, that a rule. But they die anyway. I force the soldiers to kill the little girls. They're little girls. They're called daughters, I remember. I made them kill them all, all the ones under the age of ten.

I'm a horrible person, so evil. But I can't stop.


W-89

Entry 62849462583678399633065

That was a lot of numbers.

It would be more, I guess, but...

But I don't remember falling asleep. At first, when I woke up, I'd though I'd slept all through until the next world, or many more. That might've been a relief, maybe, but I won't find out if it could have. I managed to find a place to check the history of this world and realized it was the same one I last remember watching grow. It's only been three millennium.

That's so strange. I wanted to cry, to scream, but my throat won't work. I thought I'd slept longer than that. It felt like longer. I wanted it to be longer.

And now I can't cry, because my eyes won't burn. No tears come, and I want to so badly. I can't scream because my voice isn't working. Nothing is working like I want it too. Nothing is working at all.

But my hands are, a little., I'm writing, writing it all down in here. No, not all of it. I'm writing it down.

I have to. It's a habit now. And I want to cry because I don't want it to be. I want to burn this book and I don't want to remember anything in the pages here. I don't want to write anything down ever anymore ever again never.

But I can't. It hurts when I think about it, so I've promised not to read whatever I've written. I won't ever turn the pages back, only forward. I promise I promise I promise I promise. I promise I promise not to break this promise ever. I won't. This will be the first promise I've never broken, the one I will not break.

I promise I won't break it. I can't. It hurts to much I want t burn it but I can't.

Nothings working. Not anymore. I can't move anytihng, but, my hands. My hnads are srating to stop worknig now too and I'm so selepy and nthoings wrkoing, and noetihngs wroknig nthign wil wrok its no t wrkng.. thye're n ot wrkng. ..


Boromir shoved the book out of his lap with a gasp, like coming out of a trance, and only to notice that it was broken because he couldn't see out of his eyes. They were blurry and he couldn't see.

Because his face was wet and he finally realized he was crying. The edge of the book had wrinkled from the white-knuckle hold he'd had on it, but as he blinked the tears out of his eyes, the leather and paper smoothed out to the condition it had been before. Like someone had clutched it and ruined it before and did something magical to make it fix itself when it happened. Like the person couldn't bare to part with it.

He kept the hand the stone was in clenched shut, but he curled in on himself as far as the arrows would allow and let out a wrenching sob.

"That... Please don't' tell me that's Viper, writing... I can't be. Please... No one sh..." He sucked in a gasp and lunged forward, grabbing the book again in his free hand and turning to the very first entry. It had to be better than the rest of them. Because he remembered, once, talking to Aragorn about Viper. Aragorn had told him about the time Viper had comforted him once, and told him how he'd "dealt with things once," after Boromir had told Aragorn more clearly about how Viper was afraid of other people dying but not himself.

Aragorn had said there was a time that Viper had found himself unable to move. How Viper had been terrified, he'd gathered, and that was why Viper hated staying still, because he didn't want to not be able to move at all like that ever again, and feel such empty hopelessness, or something along those lines.

Boromir hadn't realized how much worse it had been than what Viper had told Aragorn, but if that last entry was anything to go by, if that last entry was right before Viper couldn't move...

He looked down and started reading.

oOoOo

I feel depressed now o-o

No explanations this time ^_^ I have decided to ignore anything that is needed to be addressed in an authors note because most of you don't read them anyways and next week is report cards. See? Sound excuse, right there. My Science teacher is scary... She used to be military. Now that I mention it, our vice-principal or high school principal or whatever used t be too. He's also scary... He's scary than my science teacher...

Ex-military teachers are scary! T.T

So! Let's all hug Viper and get on with our lives because he's not real anyway o-o

Bye~!

Scylar X