While 2nd Lieutenant Havoc drives back to his home, he comes across a really strange find.
David Day, Tolkien's Ring
Faramir looked at the locked door, then at Beregond. "Are you certain this is it?"
"It has to be," Beregond answered. "It is within the halls for easy access to the library and secluded enough."
Faramir clenched his jaw in thought. "There is only one way to find out. Did you inform Ã‰owyn were we would be?"
Beregond nodded. "She is coming with Damrod and the rest as we speak." He shifted nervously. "Faramir..."
"I know. Yet I do not wish to rush in without more people at our side."
"It is my son in there!"
"Do you think I am not aware of that?" Faramir hissed his retort.
Beregond's anguish must have been clearly visible, however, for Faramir's next words were spoken softly. "All right, but be careful. You said it yourself Durinas is dangerous."
"I do not have to worry, you will watch my back," said Beregond with a brief smile. Then, gathering all the strength he had, he rushed to the door and crashed it with his weight.
Faramir quickly walked in, his sword already in hand. "Durinas!"
No answer came. The room was empty.
Beregond rubbed his slightly throbbing shoulder, then unsheathed his sword as well and looked around too. "That makes no sense. He could not have disappeared into thin air!" he said.
"No, indeed. He must still be here," Faramir agreed. "Where though?"
Just then, Beregond caught sight of something. "Faramir, look at the floor over there."
Faramir glanced at the place the captain was now pointing, and there he saw, as clear as day, the signs of dust swept aside. He nodded a bit and helped Beregond push the wall open. A long, dark corridor was revealed, yet that wouldn't stop the Prince of Ithilien. After picking up two torches and handing one to Beregond, he started walking through it, followed closely behind by his friend.
The room in which Faramir and Beregond found themselves made them shiver for more reasons than the cold lingering in it. The walls seemed to close around them, ready to choke them, and the pale pyre that was burning on the centre of the room only made the place even more unwelcome. It wasn't that that filled both the men's heart with horror though. It was the large white circle drawn on the floor, filled with symbols that, though neither of them knew what they meant, they knew what was their purpose; for they knew of the story of those ancient times that was taught to them when they were still children.
"But Sauron caused to be built upon the hill in the midst of the city of the Numenoreans, Armenelos the Golden, a mighty temple; and it was in the form of a circle at the base, and crowned with a mighty dome," started reciting a voice, its croaking sound seeming to resonate through the very walls. Then the form of an old man stepped out of the shadows, a cloak with more symbols sewed on it covering his slumping shoulders, and his withered hand holding a boy in his early teens by the hair. "And in that temple, men made sacrifice to Melkor that he should release them from Death."
"You seem to forget that it was done with the spilling of blood and torment and wickedness!" Faramir said, tensing to see Durinas making his appearance. He extended his sword towards the man he had trusted as advisor ever since he settled in Emyn Arnen. "Release the boy!"
Durinas hissed. "Not before it serves my purpose!"
With eyes always locked on the form of Durinas, Beregond took a few steps aside slowly. Yet neither the corrupt advisor nor Faramir seemed to notice him at the moment.
"If you think that in this way you will defeat Death, remember the fate of those in Numenor. Death came to them sooner and in dreadful guise."
"Because none of those fools deserved such a gift! Only they of might and pride and great lineage are to be given what they ask!"
"And does the Dark Lord know of might and pride in the void where he is chained now, defeated?" asked Faramir.
"He knows of loyalty, which is more than can be said of the rest of the Valar who destroyed the bloodline of Numenor when they saw it would not be chained to their will!" His knife rested against Bergil's neck, drawing a few drops of blood. "The Dark Lord showed me the way, and now I am finally to reach to its end. A life for a life; the fairest of trades."
It was then that Beregond grabbed Durinas from behind, the one hand holding his own knife against Durinas's cheek and his other gripping the pendant the advisor was wearing, ready in this way to choke him if he resisted.
"My son's life is not to be traded!" the captain said, his voice resembling a growl in his anger. "Let him go!"
Faramir's cry came too late. Durinas let out a sound that could only be described as a snarl and turned abruptly to knife the captain. Beregond parried the attack and, soon enough, both he and Durinas were locked in fierce combat.
"Bergil, move out of the way!" Faramir shouted, quickly drawing his bow and arrow. Yet, even though the boy complied and scrambled at a safe distance, Faramir hesitated. How could he release his arrow when there was danger of injuring Beregond? And Beregond did nothing to help him either! He kept fighting Durinas relentlessly, unaware of what was happening around him anymore.
Seeing no other option, Faramir took a couple of deep breaths; concentrated hard, dearly hoping his archery lessons would not fail him this time; then let the arrow go.
Durinas let out a bellow of pain as the arrow pierced his leg. Staggering back, he lost his footing, and the next instant he was on his knees, breathing heavily and the captain towering over him. As for Beregond, he quickly kicked Durinas's knife away and drew his sword to rest it against the advisor's chest.
He never saw the dart hidden in Durinas's palm, nor how tightly Durinas had grabbed it, ready to throw it at the unsuspecting captain.
Yet two people did see it. Bergil immediately placed himself in front of his father, and Faramir released another arrow, which pierced Durinas's neck through, thus ending his life.
It seemed that the story had ended well, yet it was not so. Before even Durinas's body had crashed on the ground, a scream of anguish echoed throughout the room, seeming to tear everything with the sorrow it carried.
It was Beregond, now cradling the limp form of his dead son close to him and staining himself with the boy's ever-flowing blood. Another scream flowed out of the father's lips as he looked up as though he would find reason for his agony there.
The weight of his friend's grief burdening him also, Faramir fell on his knees. And the more Beregond screamed to the Valar, begging them to have mercy on him and bring his son back, the more tears the prince felt springing up in his eyes.
The screams ceased to be replaced by heartbreaking sobs. But suddenly, to Faramir's wonder, other words echoed.
"What more do you want from me?! First my father, then her! Now you wish him, too?!"
Faramir looked up. "Beregond..."
"Take me!" was all that his friend said, his eyes always looking upwards.
"Stop it..." Faramir tried to say.
"ME FOR MY SON!"
It was in that moment that Beregond's left hand, which was clenched into a fist, seemed to emanate blinding red light that became only stronger. Soon enough, it was surrounding the captain and his son's form, and all Faramir could do was watch on, terror coursing through his veins, until he finally found again the strength of his voice.
"BEREGOND, GET OUT OF THERE!"
But Beregond never heard him, for he still shouted his offer amid his tears. Then the light spread throughout the room and Faramir had to cover his eyes before becoming blind.
Eowyn and Damrod walked into the secret room, followed by the rest of the guards, and shuddered involuntarily. They both saw Durinas on the ground, the arrows still embedded on his body; and they both understood that a great struggle took place within those walls. Yet everything was quiet. So quiet, in fact, that the room now resembled a tomb.
It was then that Eowyn saw it: her husband, huddled in a corner of the room, cradling a body in his arms, his eyes staring at nothing, yet reflecting horror, and spasms coursing through his body. It was a sight that frightened her.
He didn't answer. Not knowing what else to do, Eowyn caressed his face gently.
He only flinched.
Only then the eyes flickered with recognition. "Eowyn?"
The fair woman bit her lower lip to hear Faramir speak so shakily. "What has happened?"
A couple of tears sprang up involuntarily in Faramir's eyes. "Beregond is gone," he breathed out.
Eowyn's heart missed a beat. She looked around and, indeed, Beregond was nowhere to be seen. "Where is he?" she asked Faramir again.
A sob escaped the prince's lips. "He offered himself..."
That was all he could say and Eowyn couldn't make him explain further, for he had bowed his head and let his tears stain Bergil's face.
Yet the boy slept on peacefully, his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm.
Lieutenant Havoc stifled a yawn as he took another right turn towards his way home and rubbed the back of his neck slightly. Damn work, tensing him up. He wanted nothing more now then return to his place and lie down on his couch. He preferred it if a girlfriend expected him there and offered to massage his "burdens of work" off while he lay on the couch, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. The last one dumped him two days ago.
A sudden light up in the sky certainly surprised him. However, when he briefly looked up, he saw that there were many more lights to be seen.
/A thunderstorm/, Havoc figured. After all, it had already been a cloudy day and it felt like high time it started to rain.
True enough, the first droplets of rain started falling on his windshield. Havoc was quite glad that he had decided to drive home instead of walking like he first intended. He hated getting wet. His cigarette would always be put out when he was caught in the rain.
Speaking of which... He grabbed a cigarette from the open pack that was on the co-driver's seat and placed it in his mouth. So there would be no girlfriend at home waiting to massage him, but Havoc could always count on nicotine to help him relax.
To his utter dismay, however, he accidentally dropped his cigarette lighter.
"Just perfect," Havoc muttered under his breath annoyed. After casting a quick glance to see where exactly the lighter had landed, he swiftly ducked to get it before not looking ahead as drivers were supposed to do proved too much of a mistake.
He caught it with just one effort. Smiling in triumph, Havoc sat up once more and lit his cigarette.
It was then that he hit it.
Havoc couldn't tell what it was, it all happened too quickly. All he knew was that something big and dark was suddenly on the road and, though he put on the brakes, he couldn't stop in time. The sound of the impact was sickening, to say the least.
What the...? was all Havoc could think. Where the hell did that come from?!
Well, wherever it came, he had to see what the hell that thing was first. Pulling over, he got out and looked where the thing had landed.
His blood instantly ran cold in his veins. "Oh, no!" he exclaimed, and quickly rushed forward.
It was a man he hit.
"Sir, are you--?" Havoc started, when something shining surprised him long enough to make him stop in his tracks. He took a better look and he felt like his jaw just dropped.
The source of the shine was light being reflected on armour. Armour worn by the man.
Did I just hit...?
"Alphonse?" Havoc said hesitantly.
There was no response.
Havoc actually winced. Ed is gonna kill me. He started walking up to the armoured man again. "Alphonse?"
There was no response again, something that struck to Havoc as an oddity. Alphonse Elric was almost invulnerable, how could a car hitting him cause such damage to incapacitate him?
It was in that moment that Havoc finally noticed it.
The armoured man, though tall, wasn't tall enough to be Alphonse. Moreover, as the man moved at that moment, he let out a strangled moan of pain in a voice that certainly didn't belong to Edward Elric's little brother. And now Havoc could clearly see more of him, since there was no helmet on him. He was dark-haired, and his hair almost reached his jawline.
Not Alphonse/, Havoc concluded, relieved. Yet the question now was: who the hell was /this man and why would he be wearing a suit of armour, making himself look like an illustration out of a history book? And circulating in the middle of the night like that, no less?
The man got on his hands and knees, trying to stand up, and Havoc decided that the stranger was just too odd-looking for him to leave anything to chance. He quickly aimed his gun at the man.
"Sir, please stand up very slowly and show me any kind of identification."
The man turned, his expression clearly telling to Havoc that he had just realized that there was someone else near him. Yet why did it feel to the lieutenant like there was also incredulity and confusion in that man's expression?
"Sir, I'll need identification papers. Please, stand up," Havoc repeated again, hoping that he would get through to the man this time. After all, for all Havoc knew, the man could still be dizzy from the hit.
The stranger never moved. He remained staring at Havoc and the gun instead, making Havoc flare with indignation. What, was the guy stupid or something?
"Sir, I want your identification papers now, otherwise I could have you arrested for resisting authority!"
"Ãš-chenion." (I don't understand)
Havoc gaped, dumbfounded. "Excuse me?" he faltered.
"Ãš-chenion," the man repeated, pointing at himself and shaking his head.
What the heck is this gibberish?!
"Up," commanded Havoc, motioning his gun appropriately to emphasize his words. "Now."
Finally, the armoured man seemed to understand, because he slowly arose. His eyes were no longer on Havoc though. He turned his gaze to every direction, not minding the rain that was falling on his face.
Was it just Havoc's idea, or was there indeed an expression of terror forming on the man's face? And now the man's breathing was coming out in gasps.
"Sen um Ã´l, egor hin nÃn 'weriathar aen" (This is a nightmare, or my eyes are deceiving me). He looked again at Havoc and hesitantly extended a hand toward him.
Havoc never gave him the chance to touch him. "Stay where you are!" He took two steps back and put both hands on the gun. It was official; he was dealing with a madman. But from which mental facility did he escape and, more importantly, what was /he/, a lieutenant, supposed to do with him?
The man stopped, looking even more frightened and confused if that were possible, and Havoc realised that the stranger was now getting close to panicking. Though not a doctor, Havoc knew that making a crazy armoured guy lose it was definitely not good!
"All right, easy now," he said, trying to keep his voice even and calm. He extended one hand in a peaceful gesture. "Nobody needs to get hurt." Especially I/, he added in his mind. His eyes never left the man now, who was also watching him intently. "We'll just go back to the base and see whether you've been reported missing." /Although I think the headquarters would have buzzed about it, if that were the case.
The man didn't move. That made Havoc huff angrily.
"Come on, you crazy bastard, I'm already wet to the bone and I want to change to some dry clothes as soon as possible," he muttered, and used his gun to beckon the man.
The man only took one step /back/.
"Don't do it," Havoc warned, both his hands once again on the gun.
Another step back was the only answer he received.
"Don't do it!" Havoc repeated. Damn it, I don't want to shoot you! Crazy or not, the stranger was still a person. A person that now seemed utterly confused and lost.
A person that was now about to sprint away!
Before thinking, Havoc pulled the trigger, and the man instantly howled in pain and crashed to the ground, holding his left shoulder. The lieutenant had got his target.
Havoc remained frozen for many long moments; then finally reacted.
"You idiot!" he cried exasperatingly at the armoured form. "I told you not to do it!" He grabbed his face with his hands momentarily as though ready to shred it and let out a loud groan. "I mean, for crying out loud, which part of 'come with me and no one's gonna get hurt' didn't you get? Damn it!"
Yet it was useless. The man's eyes were closed and he didn't seem to be responding.
Finally giving up, Havoc heaved a sigh. There was nothing for it. All he could do was check the man was okay and that the bullet wound didn't do too much damage. And that was the easy part. The difficult part would be explaining things to Mustang when he returned to headquarters with that odd cargo in his car.
And somehow Havoc knew that he had only witnessed the tip of the iceberg.