Forgotten Allies: part ii
by: McJen


"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.

September 1940
London, England

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 would go?

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 roof.

"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 every night."

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 firemen's yells.

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 distance.

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 thinking.

"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." she said.

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 brother."

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 Legolas." 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 family."

"My father will be pleased to see you, genealogy is a hobby of his," she said. "And spends many hours tracing our ancestors."

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 sight.


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