Forgotten Allies: part ii
"For not we but those who
come after will make the
legends of our time." - Aragorn
Two months earlier
Out of the lands where once stood the great kingdoms of
Middle-Earth, new kingdoms took their place. Though, they
did not seem at all new to the inhabitants of London.
Indeed, in their minds, the kingdom seemed to stretch back
beyond time remembering to the great myths of the valiant
Knights of King Arthur and the Round Table. Their history
surrounded them, and they had a sense of pride and comfort
that only comes from knowing ones roots and walking the same
paths as their ancestors. But their history was in danger
of being destroyed.
For war had spread like wild-fire across Europe.
Consuming everything in its path. Countries one after
another fell under the terrible might of Germany. Hitler's
forces seemed unnatural, and with lightning speed they
conquered nations. The Blitzkrieg, they called it, the
Lightning War. But it brought no light to the lands it
consumed, only darkness and despair. France had fallen that
summer. And as autumn of 1940 began, only a small channel of
water between England and France divide the forces of good
and evil. And Germany had its sites set now on England.
And London was its next target. And for the first time the
war did seem like lightning, for fire fell from the skies
and threatened to consume the city.
Nighttime in London. All the lights of the city were
out. And the moon had yet to rise. Darkness covered the
city like a blanket. And as Kate looked out at the darkness
it felt safe. But appearances were deceiving. As she stood
on the rooftop of the museum, overlooking the city, she
could almost feel all of London holding its breath.
Waiting. London was so big, lights were not needed to
target the city. Any German plane flying over a given area
of hundreds of square miles were almost guaranteed to hit
something. Since the first two weeks of air raids, her
senses had shifted to high alert. She could almost swear
her eye sight had gotten keener in the darkness and she
could vaguely make out the shapes of the buildings that
surrounded their block. On the down side, every sound she
heard, every knock on the front door, every car back firing,
sent her body spiraling into attack mode. Her heart would
pound and she would feel like she could run for miles
without stopping. Unfortunately, one could not outrun the
German planes or the bombs they had been dropping nightly
for the past several weeks.
People wondered if the next night would be the night
when the bombs would hit their neighborhood, their street,
or their house. Everyone's life had come down to the roll
of the dice. And most people had taken to shelters,
basements, or the underground train tunnels. Her family had
taken to the rooftops. Greeting the nightly air raids, with
shovels and buckets of sand in hand, ready to put out the
smallest piece of smoldering ash.
She smiled as she remembered the first night of the
bombings. Her father had raced to the museum, up to the
rooftop and shook his fist at the sky, daring the Germans to
drop a bomb on his beloved museum. Ancient works of art
that had survived the tests of time were priceless, their
lives however were negotiable. They had become a family of
insomniacs. Pacing the rooftops of the museum by starlight,
they were ready for the bombings to begin.
Her last year of university had been put on hold
indefinitely, an archeology degree could wait, tomorrows
were uncertain. But Kate didn't mind. She felt better
taking action, than cowering in a dark corner praying for a
miss. If she were going to die, at least she would have a
fire works show to watch in the mean time. Though, no words
would ever be able to describe the sinking sensation in her
stomach when the planes flew ever closer to their location.
They were not the only ones to spend the nights on
rooftop. Across London, the volunteers of the Fire Watch
and members of the Auxiliary Fire Patrol stood guard on the
sacred buildings of the city. Hoping to spare them from
destruction. For even a stray piece of burning ash was
enough to start a fire. And every day another building was
lost. And tonight, she wondered, how many buildings tonight
She could hear her father pacing the far side of the
roof, talking in a low voice to her younger brother, Colin.
Debating the latest actions of the allies and analyzing
every word Churchill said from his latest radio broadcast,
she imagined. Her father was certain there was a secret
message hidden within the lines of Churchill's speeches for
agents behind enemy lines to decode. However, on this
night, their conversation was not on the intriguing world of
spies but of the common soldier going to war.
Colin approached her, he sat down on the ledge of the
"They denied me entrance into the army." he said, his
shoulders fell, defeated.
"They denied you entrance into the navy and the airforce
as well, why should the army be any different?" Kate asked.
He ran a hand through his brown hair, "I don't know. I
just thought, I mean, why do I have to have the perfect body
to kill Germans. Just because of my damn foot, I can't
shoot a gun?? My aim is perfect. I could be a sniper. I
could drive a tank." He sighed, and looked out at the city.
The air raid sirens blared. They looked to the sky.
"And what am I doing? Fire watch. Instead of helping
to save the world, I'm saving a museum."
"Di Vinci appreciates it." she said.
"Di Vinci can kiss my ass." he said.
She laughed. "I'd like to see that."
He shot her an evil glare. She knew he was upset. "I'm
sorry." she said. "Listen. If it makes you feel any
better, there are other ways to help. Join the AFP, you've
already got experience just by standing on this rooftop
He sighed. "I know. That's what dad said. But. . .
.but. . . .I so wanted to kill Germans."
They looked at each other and hearing the absurdity of
his own words and the little-boy whininess of his voice, he
couldn't help but laugh. She walked to her brother and
stood on tip toes to give him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"You'll do your part. I know you will. Even if it
isn't behind a gun." she said.
They watched and listened as sound of distance planes
grew closer. And the distant crump…crump crump of the bombs
being dropped. Softly at first and then growing louder as
the planes flew closer.
The sound of the bombs wasn't what annoyed Kate. It was
the sound of the guns that she hated. The never-ending
rapport of guns, seeming to come from all directions at
once. That started as soon as the sirens began and didn't
end until the all-clear signal was given.
She heard the planes slowly veering in their direction
and watched as a batch of incendiary bombs fell one after
another Closer and closer they came until directly
overhead. The initial flash was almost blinding and she
shielded her eyes, and the sound was deafening. She then
looked back, as the small flaming pieces of sky rained down
on them. The roof was littered by tiny pinpoints of light.
She grabbed her bucket of sand and ran to the nearest
one. Dousing it with sand until it was extinguished. Then
she began the tedious work of shoveling up the remains until
the entire last bit of ash was removed.
After her area was secured she looked out at the city.
Not all the fire watches on guard this night were as lucky
as they had been. A number of new fires blazed across the
night sky and cut through the darkness. The London skyline,
which had been barely visible in the moonless sky, was
suddenly alive, and awake. Fires slowly began to form.
Dull glowings at first, they grew bigger. Some so close
that Kate could hear the crackle of the flames and hear the
She stood at alert, tense and ready for the next round.
But the next round never came. The planes circled back to
the east and the bombings looked like shooting stars in the
As quickly as it had started it was over. The first
rays of dawn broke the sky line. The flames of London were
still brighter, but the worst was over. At least for one
night. Kate yawned and sat on the rooftop to watch the
sunrise. Her father joined her. He was never one for
showing affection, so she was surprised when he reached a
hand over and patted her back gently.
"You did a good job this evening," he said. He was
silent a moment but she could almost hear his brain
"Nothing you can say will convince me to leave the city."
she said. He looked at her.
"How did you know?" he asked.
She smiled, "I've known you a long time. And if you and
mom and Colin are staying. Then I am staying too. You will
not ship me off to Scotland to stay at that empty lonely
house of grandfather's."
"You would be safer there." he said.
"Maybe. But I doubt I'd ever see a sunrise like this."
The sun rose in brilliant reds and oranges, made only
more beautiful by the smoke and flames of burning buildings.
It was terrible and it was beautiful. They watched until
the sun broke across the skyline.
The roof door opened and Kate's mother walked out.
Following her were two young men, who looked so much alike
Kate decided they must be twins or at least brothers. They
looked foreign. Tall, with long black hair, that covered
their ears. Their clothes, though contemporary, looked a
little out of place. She couldn't quite put her finger on
it, but she didn't dwell on it long for her attention was
captured by their eyes. They were piercing. One of them
glanced in her direction and held her gaze. She had to look
away. Her father rose to his feet.
"Gentlemen?" he said. "How can I help you?"
He was handed a note. Her father noted the seal and
quickly ripped into it. His demeanor immediately changed
from easy-going to serious in a manner of seconds.
"Right this way," he said. He handed the note to Kate's
mother. As he walked to the roof-top door he stopped.
"Colin, come with me."
Colin exchanged curious expressions with Kate before
disappearing through the roof door. Her mother was holding
the note in her hands, as she read it, her hands began
shaking. Kate rose to her feet and rushed to her side.
"What's going on? What is it?" she asked.
Her mother said nothing, only handed her the note and
stared out at London, tears streaming down her face. Kate
picked up the note but the words that greeted her eyes were
not English. Nor was it any alphabet she had ever before
seen. The script was cursive and beautiful, but it was
nothing familiar. She could not read it.
"What does it say? What language is this?" Kate asked.
Her mother wiped the tears from her eyes. "Elvish. And
what it says is not for me to say. You will have to ask
your Uncle Gandalf."
Kate looked to the letter and back at her mother.
October 19, 1940
Nightly since September 7 the air raids continued to
bombard London. Kate had finished another night of standing
guard on top of the museum. Though, this time she did it
alone. And tired and dirty walked back to their flat a few
blocks from the museum.
Colin had left immediately following the stranger's
visits. Without so much as an explanation, he gave her a
quick hug and hadn't been heard from since. Her mother had
taken to crying for long spells at a time, locking herself
into her room. The thin walls did nothing to drown the
sound of her sobs that would echo through their flat.
Despite her questions, her father refused to comment on
the strangers. He simply said her brother had left on an
urgent matter that required Kate's respect and patience, not
her understanding. She stare for long hours at the note.
Trying to understand what Uncle Gandalf would have to do
with it. She knew well he was not her uncle, but she had
known him for as long as she could remember. Some of her
happiest memories of childhood were sitting in his lap by
the fire, listing to his tales of strange magical lands of
Elves and dwarves and goblins and dragons.
As the days passed, her parents worry grew, along with
her frustration. But all of her frustrations and questions
were put aside, for two nights ago her father had been
injured in an air raid attack as he rushed to make it to the
museum after dark. He had a concussion, a broken leg, and
several cracked ribs.
Kate knew he was lucky and that the damage could have
been far worse. However, the family seemed to fall apart
without him. Colin was who knows where with two dark-
haired strangers. Her mother was a nervous wreck. Her
father was in the hospital. She was the only member of her
family that was in any position to think clearly. So the
duty of securing new fire watch guards and to calm the fears
of museum benefactors fell on her shoulders.
It didn't help that she hadn't slept in the past 2 days.
She was exhausted and dirty. And all she wanted was a warm
meal and a long bath and a clean bed. She unlocked the door
to the house and stepped inside. The scent of tea wafted
through the room and she followed her nose to the kitchen.
Instead of finding her mother, she was greeted by two
unfamiliar faces and Uncle Gandalf sitting at her kitchen
table drinking tea.
"Kate. You have had a hard few weeks," Gandalf said,
rising from his seat. "Sit down and have some tea." A
smile was on his face and he opened his arms. As it was
when Gandalf was around, he instantly made her feel
protected. A peacefulness washed over her and she walked
into his embrace.
Before she could mention a word about her father or her
brother or the horrors that were threatening them, Gandalf
quieted her with a raise of his hand.
"I know all about your father. I spoke to your mother
earlier. Though, she was not in so good a state to tell me
what I needed to know," he said. "We are here about your
For the first time since she'd come into the room, she
took a good look at the two strangers. One was older,
perhaps her father's age, and greatly resembled the two
young men who had gone away with Colin. He had the same
long dark hair. Sitting beside him, was a young man who
looked closer to her age. His hair was long golden blonde
and his eyes a piercing blue. He eyes were darting all over
the room, settling on one object and then the next, as if
all the contents of the house were a great wonder and a
mystery to him.
Gandalf said, "These are my companions. Elrond and
She extended her hand first to Elrond, politely, "Nice to
meet you Mr. Elrond."
Gandalf said, "No need for the Mr., the time for
formalities has long since passed here."
"Elrond," she corrected. "I am Kate Elessar."
At the word Elessar, the tea cup slipped from Legolas
hand. With lightning reflexes he caught it before it hit
the ground. Elrond looked at Gandalf questioningly.
Gandalf merely nodded slightly. Elrond shook her hand.
Both he and Legolas both stare at her in such an astonished
fashion that it made her nervous.
"What is it?" she asked.
Gandalf smiled. "It is only that Elrond is your distant
relative, and he was not aware of that when I brought him
here. I fear that is my fault, for I did not tell him."
"I didn't realize there were any relatives in London
that I hadn't met. You are from my father's side then?"
she asked, as she sat down at the table too exhausted to
give strange their expressions much thought.
Elrond, recovering from the shock, merely nodded. "Yes.
Very distantly related from your father's side of the
"My father will be pleased to see you, genealogy is a
hobby of his," she said. "And spends many hours tracing our
At those words Legolas smiled. She looked to him, as if
remembering her manners. "Legolas, are you also a distant
relative?" she asked.
"No, I am not. Only a friend of the family," he said.
As she ate the food Gandalf sat before her, she was
oblivious to the stares of Elrond. She wasn't aware of much
of anything for the tension of the past two sleepless nights
had finally caught up with her. It was as if, now that she
was within Gandalf's presence she could relax enough to
allow herself to sleep. She yawned through bites of danish.
"I don't know where Colin is, Gandalf," she said, as
another yawn overtook her. "I don't know who those two were
he went off with, or where they were going. No one will
tell me anything." She yawned again.
"That is quite all right child. You get sleep, we will
talk later," he said. She rose from her chair and nodded.
Before she left the room she remembered her manners
enough to smile and say, "Nice to meet you Elrond. Legolas.
Make yourself at home. Someone might as well, use this
place other than me."
And with those words she disappeared up the stairs.
Elrond's eyes never left her until she was long out of
| index |
| part iii |