The Patient - Part Nine by Scribe
The Great Music
In the year 1630, Gandalf arrived in the fledgling colony of New Amsterdam.
Two years before, the Dutch West India Company had established the colony after purchasing the isle of Manhattan from the natives who lived here. With the discovery of the New World, the colonists from Europe were sailing across the Atlantic at a rapidly growing pace. For those insightful enough to see it, the new continent spoke of opportunities and untold riches. It was a virgin land untouched and unspoiled, with resources that the Europeans could not even begin to imagine and unlike the rest of the world which had already been divided into so many pieces by the great powers, it was there for anyone who dared to claim it.
It was also the perfect place for those with something to hide.
For twenty years, he had searched. He had crossed the cold, imperialistic lands of Europe and entered the dry parched deserts of Arabia and touched the roof of the world when he followed the Silk Road. He had seen what the race of men had done with the world since the days when it was called Middle Earth and though he marvelled at their accomplishments, he could not help but think that they had become colder and more ruthless with age. It was a perfect breeding ground for the dark powers he had been searching.
He had travelled so many roads and made many acquaintances but he was always burdened by the understanding that he could not form attachments as he had when he was one of Nine Walkers. The men of this new world were not ready to believe that there were great kingdoms long before their most ancient memories of civilisation. He guessed accurately that they would not receive such information well and chose not to complicate his time in the new world by volunteering it. Instead, he learnt their languages and customs while pursuing the darkness that remained maddeningly beyond his reach.
It was sheer stroke of luck that his search brought him to New Amsterdam, where he heard through sources too dark and unconventional to name that a secret order of devil worshippers had fled England twenty years ago to escape the Inquisition. Since arriving in the new world, Gandalf had been confronted by the precepts of organised religion and found the whole thing rather confusing. There were so many different religions despite preaching virtually the same thing and yet the race of men would commit untold attraocities to ensure their interpretation was the one who stood in dominance over the others. It was utter foolishness.
The New World was an ideal place for the secret cult who wished not only to escape the ruthless grip of the Inquisition but also practise their religion without raising suspicion. The colonies were barely governed unless one lived in the townships and the new frontiers provided ample anonymity for those who wished to remain hidden. What the order needed to do required secrecy and their entire number undertook the journey across the Atlantic to see its ultimate aim carried out.
This Gandalf learnt from those who had returned from the colonies and were so frightened of being affiliated with it that they were grateful to tell him only to be rid of him forever and from these poor, misguided fools, Gandalf learned the truth. The cult had desired to give the devil human shape and had found a ritual in an ancient spell book that would allow them to do just that. To Gandalf, these texts sounded uncomfortably like the ancient magic that Sauron might have had in his keeping, in Baradur, presumed lost by the time he and the elves had departed Middle earth forever.
The spell involved the birth of a child and Gandalf felt a cold chill listening to the narration by the poor, ignorant soul who had foolishly aided in unleashing a monster from his ancient prison. A young woman, a devout believer in the order’s evil doctrine had allowed herself to be impregnated by one of its male members. The ritual was performed relatively early in her pregnancy and as the dark forces entered her body, it became as if they were trapped in the eye of a great storm as the skies came alive with lighting and great winds lashed at them.
It was as if the earth was screaming in agony as the ground trembled under their feet. A shadow fell over the young woman as the evil spirit entered her body, murdering the innocent soul of her unborn babe and taking possession of its body. When she awoke, it was said that the light of understanding filled her eyes, even if it was too late for her soul to be saved. She had thought to be the mother of a god but in truth she was the bringer of destruction upon her race. Her repentance had come too late because the babe slumbered in her womb was no longer a child but an evil force that had chosen her well.
It knew she was too weak to destroy it.
Distraught, she had disappeared beyond the reach of the others in her order but could run nowhere that would keep her safe from her unborn child.
Through some miracle, Eve and her hostage had made it across the floor without being discovered. Although she was forced to keep a close eye on Malcolm’s hired thug, Eve was conscious of everything around her. As anticipated, only Malcolm and his inner circle occupied the level where his office was situated and she doubted that a fire would be cause enough for them to evacuate. Still, the outbreak of a fire in the building would bring fire services and police to investigate. Malcolm and Sandra Collins were most likely dealing with the inquiries of the city officials invading their premises. It was the only window of opportunity that Eve was likely to get and she hoped that it was enough.
She knew perfectly well how vulnerable she was and never more so then now, when the room where Moses was imprisoned finally came within reach. The cynic in her could not help think that it was usually when things were at their most likely that they usually fell to pieces. She was walking a tight rope with this action and she knew it. However, Eve refused to be intimidated and she would not be any less of the person she was because Malcolm frightened her. If she allowed herself to be swayed by fears for her own safety, then she was admitting defeat and Eve had too much pride for that.
“He’s in there,” the thug retorted with a grunt.
“Well then you had better open the door,” Eve declared, pushing him forward again. She had already liberated him of his gun earlier and had both of them in her hands, more than willing to use them if he did not obey her.
He looked over her shoulder long enough to throw her a scowl before putting approaching the door. Eve was certain that there would be guards inside the room with Moses since there were none outside. Considering all the difficulty Malcolm had gone to capturing Moses, it would be sheer negligence if he did not. The tall man opened the door reluctantly with Eve shadowing him close to ensure that he did not warn his comrades inside the room. As expected, there was a man inside and Eve vaguely remembering that Sandra had called him Barry, in the few seconds of consciousness that remained after Eve had been shot with the dart.
Like the rest of the building, the room had suffered the effects of the sprinkler system activating to combat the fire. Moses and Barry seemed just as waterlogged as herself and her hostage. The old man was seated on a wing chair next to the bed, obviously seething with annoyance at his incarceration. With his arms folded, he was glaring at Barry as if his gaze alone were capable of incinerating the behemoth of a man where he stood. However, that dark stormy expression on his wizened features faded away into one of relief and happiness when he saw Eve behind Malcolm’s employee.
“Eve!” He exclaimed with more than a little jubilation.
“Hey Moses,” Eve replied casually as if she were just dropping by for a visit instead of attempting to rescue him.
Barry however was not so agreeable. The big man took a step towards her and Eve knew that if she allowed him the advantage he could probably break her in half and give what’s left to Malcolm.
“I wouldn’t try anything Barry,” Eve retorted pointing the other gun in her hand at him. “I’m ambidextrous and I’m pretty sure I can take you both out before you even got to your gun. Now drop it on the floor,” she ordered, her tone filled with ice.
“Malcolm will have your head for this, Walters,” Barry hissed at his subordinate.
“I didn’t have much a choice,” Walters answered nervously as he was painfully aware of the untenable situation he was in. If he had not complied with Eve, she would have shot him and now that he had, Malcolm’s punishment would most likely be just as final.
“Hey,” Eve barked at them both. “I didn’t say you could have a conversation! Drop the damn gun!”
Barry cursed under his breath but dropped the weapon nonetheless. Eve kept her fixed on him as she spoke to Moses, “Moses get his gun.”
Moses did not hesitate at he hurried forward and retrieved the weapon, “I hope you do not expect me to discharge this thing?” Moses retorted as he looked distastefully at the weapon in his hands.
He could not help thinking that this was a crude device, not at all elegant like a sword or an arrow. So much destructive power in so compact a form was rather disquieting actually.
“No, I’ll handle that if he does anything stupid,” Eve replied before she promptly brought down the butt of the gun against the back of Walter’s neck. The man went down swiftly in a heap, having barely enough time to utter a cry of pain before he was knocked unconscious.
Barry took a step towards her, hoping to take advantage of her momentary distraction but Eve was too fast for him. “Stay where you are Barry,” Eve warned as she stepped over Walter’s unconscious form and approached him slowly. “I will shoot you to get out of here alive.”
“The only way you’re leaving here is if Mr. Malcolm lets you and I think he plans to get to know you better first,” Barry said with a sneer.
Eve felt her cheeks flush red with anger and she would have killed him there and then for just reminding her what Malcolm was planning for her but she and Moses needed to make good their escape An escape which would not come to pass if she alerted the entire level to her presence by firing a gun.
“That will never happen.” Moses rumbled angrily, understanding now why Eve was dressed the way she was and why she had been taken alive.
“I think it will,” Malcolm’s voice remarked startling them all.
Eve swung around and pulled the trigger of her gun without hesitation. Malcolm seemed to anticipate her reaction and jumped effortlessly out of the way as the bullet whizzed past him and impacted on a wall. She did not even stop to think about the second shot and was about to aim again when Barry lunged forward and grabbed her arm. The man’s grip was so strong as he wrapped a massive fist around her wrist and veered the gun away from his employer. A trail of bullet tore across the ceiling as Eve and Barry wrestled for the gun.
“Leave her alone!” Moses shouted as he watched helplessly as Eve lost her battle to keep the gun.
“Or what Olorin?” Malcolm stared at him with supreme confidence that he was in control of the situation.
“Stop it!” Moses cried out as the name impacted upon his psyche and brought with it pain. “You do not have to harm her! I will go with you and do what you wish but let her go!”
“Oh Olorin,” Malcolm shook his head in resignation. “You will do it anyway and I am keeping her.” The CEO of Malcolm Industries turned his head towards Eve who was struggling with Barry.
Suddenly Eve’s legs were swept off the floor. An unseen force swiped the weight from under her and the policewoman landed hard on the wet marble. She let out a soft cry of pain as her body impacted against the surface. The fall was all the advantage that Barry need to subdued her completely as he aimed the gun in her face, with every intention of shooting if his master gave the order.
“Thank you Barry,” Malcolm said coolly. “If you could escort Detective McCaughley back to my suite, I will deal with her later.”
He met Eve’s eyes and offered her a little smile that made Eve shudder with fear because she could see the cruelty in them. Being under this creature’s power frightened her more than dying and she suspected that if he was allowed to have his way, she was going to wish that over and over again. “You touch me and I’ll kill you,” she hissed.
“I have no doubt that you will try,” Malcolm retorted, “and I shall enjoy even more for it.”
Moses watched Eve’s terrible fate unfolding before his eyes and was suddenly visited by an image that he did not know was hallucination or not. It was the face of a woman who had taken her life when she found out what she had unleashed into the world. He remembered seeing her face, the absolute despair in her eyes that not even death could erase. He saw Eve who was willing to risk becoming the object of Malcolm’s sadistic desires by attempting to save him. He could not allow this to happen! He could not! People were suffering because of him.
He had to do something!
“You will not lay a hand on her you foul creature!” Moses shouted suddenly and startled them all by the fury in his voice. “I won’t let you hurt her like you hurt…” Moses struggled to remember. The name was there in his head he was certain, he could almost feel it at his fingertips. “Like you hurt Elizabeth!”
“I didn’t hurt Elizabeth, Olorin,” Malcolm stared at him evilly. “You did by telling her the truth.”
“NO!” Moses screamed in pain and with the despairing knowledge that Malcolm was right. His fury built up in a surge of pent up rage that finally exploded.
Suddenly, without warning, John Malcolm was flying through the air. He smashed into the wall before tumbling to the marble at the sudden stop. Something had opened up inside of Moses, something he did not quite recognise but he could feel its power surging through him. He glared at Barry and concentrated hard. He knew he could make things move and he was just angry enough to will this time.
Barry screamed as Moses flung him through a window. The huge man’s body shattered the glass and immediately left a gush of wind from their lofty heights into the room. Barry uttered a piercing scream as his body plunged downwards. Eve scrambled to her feet and stared at Moses in shock, unable to believe what he had just done what he had even though she had seen Moses manifest such abilities before.
“Moses…” she started to say.
“Eve, get out of here!” Moses ordered before she could finish her sentence. This was a great strain and already he could see Malcolm starting to recover.
“Not without you!” She cried out, refusing to leave him no matter how frightened she was of Malcolm.
“GO!” Moses shouted. “GO WHILE YOU STILL CAN!”
His words lashed at her and for once Eve realised that this was a fight she could not win. She came towards him and gave Moses a quick embrace. “I’m going to find Aaron and we’re coming back for you! No matter what Moses, we’ll find you!”
“I know,” he nodded with a sad smile. “Now hurry!”
Anguished at having to leave him, Eve knew Moses was right. She could not fight them like this, Moses needed more help than she could provide. She hurried out of the room, her eyes catching sight of Malcolm beginning to get stronger. Eve suddenly realised that Moses knew he could not beat the Malcolm, only give her enough time to escape. She would not squander his efforts because she was determined to come back for him. She did not care what it took.
She was not going to let him be forgotten for another four centuries.
The sound was loud enough to be heard further throughout the entire level of the Monolith’s penultimate floor. Gunfire echoed down the corridor as Aaron and the elves drew closer to their prey. It had been a relatively easy matter to reach this floor with all the people that were still being evacuated from the building in light of the explosion the T-Bird had caused in the lobby. After 9/11 explosions in buildings were treated with extreme caution. Fire crews and police were moving throughout the lower levels of the building and while the service elevator had taken them up the structure to the point, the rest of the journey had to be completed by foot. Aaron did not want to risk taking the man elevators and be sent into the den of another one of Malcolm’s monsters.
The gunfire exploded through their ears, a whole series of shots that struck fear into Aaron’s heart as he heard them. He was running before he even knew what he was thinking.
“Aaron!” Legolas shouted after him. “Stop!”
“Keep him in sight!” Legolas ordered as he and the elves ran after their wayward companions. Legolas knew what Aaron feared and after seeing what guns were capable of doing, could not blame his anxiety that Eve and Mithrandir might be on the receiving end of those deadly shots.
“Melkor is close,” Elladan declared as he followed Legolas. “I can feel him.”
“So can we all,” Elrohir retorted. “His stink is all throughout this place. I still do not know how we are to defeat him. If he could overwhelm Mithrandir, we have no chance against the beast.”
“We have no choice but to try,” Legolas said shortly as he saw Aaron turn a corner and hastened his own pace so that he could catch up with the human before Aaron endangered himself further.
Aaron could hear voices of shouting and assumed that was where the gunshots had originated. He prayed that he was not too late. Even though he had been worried about how much further Malcolm might damage Moses’ mind, he was also gripped with the fear of why they wanted Eve alive. It made no sense to him and the possibilities terrified the psychiatrist to no end after what Moses had told him about Malcolm resurrecting himself in a new body every so often. Who were the mothers to these children who had their souls to be supplanted by a monster whilst still in the womb? The answer frightened him and he knew that if he did not find Eve soon, she would find out too.
Aaron stopped dead in his tracks because Eve was standing metres in front of him.
There was a moment of dead silence between the two of them as they faced each other in the corridor, each having travelled their own path to converge in this singular point in time. For a few seconds, neither reacted except to stare at each other in a rising wave of astonishment and soul crushing relief.
When they finally emerged from this stupor, Eve was running towards him and they met in a passionate embrace followed by an equally passionate kiss. Aaron almost had tears in his eyes from seeing that she was safe and as he held her in his arms, she could tell that she was similarly happy to see him. At that moment, Eve did not care whether or not they were meant to be, she only knew how she felt and at this immediate point in time, she knew without doubt that she loved him. Feeling his arms around her had the power to drive all the ugliness away and knowing that he had risked his life to storm the castle for her was just as equally satisfying. He said he would protect her no matter what, Eve was glad to say that she believed him.
“Are you alright?” He asked worriedly when they parted. “Did he hurt you?”
“No,” Eve shook her head, smiling in happiness to see Aaron. “Moses got me out of there. We have to go back for him.”
At that moment, Legolas and the elves appeared. Elladan and Elrohir immediately converged upon their sister, showing their affection with similarly warm embraces.
“Safe Eve,” Elladan smiled. “Very good.”
“Come on,” Eve prompted them into moving as she started hurrying up the way she came. “We have to go help Moses!”
The group started hurrying down the corridor when Aaron noticed the wet nightgown that was plastered to her body. “Eve, what are you wearing?”
“Don’t start on me,” Eve grumbled, noticing the appreciative looks she was receiving from Aaron over her form. “You have no idea what I’ve been through today.”
“Oh really?” Aaron countered, “you should see what he keeps in his basement.”
The chair broke beneath Moses’ body when he was flung unto it.
It collapsed with a loud crash as his body shattered the framework and crushed it beneath him as he landed. Sharp pieces tore at his flesh through his damp clothes and his body flared with pain. Moses took a deep breath and forced himself to his knees, knowing that Malcolm was not done with him. As Moses raised his eyes to Malcolm, he knew that he did not have the power to fight this dark lord who had stolen his memories and made his name a source of agony. Moses’ strength was dwindling and he did not know whether he was capable of sustaining a prolonged battle the Malcolm.
“Your delusions knows no boundaries Olorin,” Malcolm growled menacingly, using the name as weapon and relishing it when he saw his quarry flinch at the sound of it. “You think because you helped bring down Sauron that you can possibly pit yourself against me? Do you think I saw nothing while I was in the void? I was trapped in a prison where I could see all but do nothing. I was without form and shape in my prison but I was still aware!”
“I do not know what you are talking about! But if you were imprisoned than it was for good reason!” Moses shouted angrily.
A table flew at Malcolm but the he was ready for it. Just short of a few inches from him, Malcolm exerted a mere fraction of his power and smashed it spectacularly against a wall, sending its remnants to the floor in pieces.
“You know nothing of why I was imprisoned, ” Malcolm retorted as he dusted himself off and approached Moses. “My brethren and the rest of them chose to rule from their little island. What is the point of leaving the Timeless Halls if they choose to isolate themselves? The songs of the Ainur were stagnant with complacency. I gave them substance! I gave the world form! I made darkness something that will be remembered long after Valinor disappears into the mist forever. This new world is ripe for a second dark age. You have walked among them for four centuries, you know they are capable of destruction on a scale I never ever dreamed possible. Did you think that mankind would survive on its own once you and the elves abandoned it?”
His words made no sense to Moses but he did know one thing, there was still hope for man. “They have managed quite well without the elves.”
“You think so do you?” Malcolm glared at him. “They see suspicion in everything and they revel in decadence. Even when they are pious they twist the message of hope into restraints where those who do not conform must be made outcast or killed outright! They place their religions so highly that it is a joy to destroy and murder in the name. Not even my Orcs were so bloodthirsty! They have always been destructive and I truly love that about them. I will help them reduce this world to a graveyard and once it is done, I will built my kingdom on their broken bones!”
“No!” Moses screamed and hurled another piece of furniture at Malcolm that was put down as effectively as his earlier effort. Moses did not have the strength to keep fighting. He dropped to his knees, his body so weak and his strength almost gone. In anguish, Moses knew he was beaten.
“I give you the chance I should have offered you four centuries ago,” Malcolm approached Moses as the old man panted on the floor. “Join me and take your place by my side. You can show your true face Olorin, not the one that Manwe and the others have forced you to wear in order to walk among men. You are not an old man despite the shape of your flesh. If you wish order, at my side you will have it. We will put them under the same yoke and you can see just how glorious it can be to serve me.”
“I would have refused that offer just as I do so now,” Moses glared at him, “but my answer has not changed. To hell with you!”
“Hell?” Malcolm shook his head, unsurprised by the answer. “We both know there is no hell for us Olorin but I can make wish you for one.”
Suddenly Moses felt as if his bones were being crushed as Malcolm’s power enveloped him in a tightening grip. The pain was so intense that the old man could not help but scream. His cry pierced through the air as Malcolm watched the Maia’s face contort with agony. Moses could feel the air being forced out his lungs, his chest felt as if it was about to collapse and as he curled into a ball on the floor, writhing in excruciating pain.
With despair, Moses realised that Malcolm might finally be prepared to kill him.
“Is that Moses?” Aaron demanded as they reached the room where Moses was imprisoned. He had hoped they would be able to snatch the old man and get out of here before the entire building was alerted to their presence but that was no longer a valid hope. If Malcolm’s thugs had not converged upon them yet, they soon would.
Legolas nodded grimly, “Gandalf.”
Aaron was the first to enter the room and see John Malcolm for the first time. His first instinct upon seeing the man was to shoot. Moses was screaming in pain and even though Aaron was uncertain how, he knew that Malcolm was the cause of it. Just like Malcolm had caused everything else. He raised his gun to fire when Malcolm turn sharply to him and spun him around in mid air before bringing Aaron down hard on the floor. The gun clattered out of his reach as it slid across the floor.
“Aaron!” Eve cried out, hurrying to his side.
“Melkor!” Legolas shouted, having armed his bow already and releasing the arrow at the dark lord’s direction.
Malcolm caught it with one hand before the arrow could pierce the skin. Legolas reached for his dagger and flung it in swift retaliation but Malcolm caused it to fly harmless aside before it could reach him. Elladan threw his sword at Malcolm while he was dealing with Legolas’ attack but the dark lord was proving quite effectively why he could not be defeated. Behind them, the door slammed shut locking them inside the room with him. With a sinking feeling, the elves realised that they had played right into Melkor’s hands.
“How nice to finally meet you Doctor Stone,” Malcolm glanced at Aaron as Eve helped him to his feet.
“Stop what you’re doing!” Aaron ignored the attempt at pleasantries when Moses was screaming in pain. “You’re killing him!”
“You should be more concerned with your own well being,” Malcolm glared at him. “You have caused me a great deal of trouble Doctor. I am tempted to keep you alive to torture for the rest of your natural life but I suppose I should be grateful, you did bring me the elves and the lovely Detective McCaughley.”
With that, he ceased his torture of Moses who gasped in exhaustion when the pain left him abruptly. Eve went to his side, ignoring the threat that Malcolm had just made to her life.
“You’re never getting your hands on her,” Aaron retorted instinctively, wishing he had told Eve to leave the building instead of letting her come with them to be trapped like this.
“The arrogance of humankind never ceases to amaze me,” Malcolm smiled, “how do you propose to stop me? The elves would have told you by now who I am.”
“Actually no,” Aaron bit back, “I can’t understand a word they say but I don’t have to understand them to know that you’re on parole from wherever it is they locked you up.”
“Oh,” Malcolm said thoughtfully and gazed at Legolas. “Which one are you?”
“I am Legolas,” Legolas answered, trying to decide what to do. Melkor was making it abundantly clear that he was toying with them. He could hear the approach of others in the distance and knew that time for them had run out. “Your return to this world will not go unnoticed, the Valar knows that there is darkness in this world. It is only a matter of time before they come for you. If you kill us, you will only accomplish bringing about the inevitable far quicker.”
“Oh elf, you are a fool,” Malcolm replied in perfect Sindari. “If I wanted to kill any of you, you would not be here. I could have killed this worthless Maia long ago but I could not risk his spirit crawling back to his masters with news of my rebirth. Why do you think I have allowed him to live?”
“What are you saying?” Aaron asked, hating it that he could not understand a word they were saying.
“This is becoming tiresome,” Malcolm looked over his shoulder at Aaron.
A flare of white-hot pain ripped through both Aaron and Eve’s mind as if a dagger had pierced the walls of their skull. The agony of it was beyond comprehension and filled their world with waves and waves of unrelenting pain. Aaron was hardly aware of Eve’s pain because he was similarly screaming from his own.
“What are you doing to them?” Elladan demanded and took a step forward. However, Malcolm swatted him aside before he could take another. Elrohir was prompted into flinging his sword at the dark lord but Malcolm deflected the blade and sent it spinning. It struck its owner in the thigh.
“Elrohir!” Legolas cried out and went to the elf that was groaning in pain as his sword impaled his thigh. Legolas was seething in impotent fury, wanting to strike out at the dark enemy but restrained by reason because he knew he would never get close enough to inflict any blow.
Elrohir was bleeding onto the marble floor, his face etched in pain as he tried to remove the weapon from his leg. Legolas did not know whether or not he ought to remove the blade because the bleeding was nowhere as bad as it could be since the steel was keeping the severed veins sealed for the moment. Legolas realised he had to tie a tourniquet before he could even think of removing the blade from Elrohir’s leg. At least Aaron and Eve had stopped screaming. He glanced at the two humans and saw that they were breathing hard as they recovered from their ordeal.
“You foul beast!” Legolas swore angrily at Malcolm “You will be defeated I swear it!”
“That’s for sure,” Aaron muttered as he stood up shakily.
Legolas stared at the doctor, realising that Aaron had heard what he had said and more importantly, understood him whilst he was speaking in elvish.
“You understand me?” Legolas stared at Aaron.
Aaron looked at him mystified that he was able to comprehend Legolas’ words without any difficulty. “What did you do to me?” He glared at Malcolm in accusation.
“You need not sound so ungrateful,” Malcolm retorted. “I merely found it tiresome to explain myself twice. You have an old soul Doctor Stone, you and Detective McCaughley. I recognised it the first time I met her. As easily as I was able to make Olorin forget who he was, I am capable of making both of you remember that you could once speak the language of the elves. Consider it a parting gift, like a last meal.”
“Son of a bitch,” Aaron swore and turned to Eve. “Are you alright?”
“Yes,” she nodded standing up. “I feel like I have a hangover but I am alright.”
“How touching,” Malcolm snorted in derision. “Eve, say goodbye to the doctor. I have no reason to keep him alive.”
“Of course you don’t,” Aaron went to his gun and reached for it. Malcolm was just arrogant enough to believe that he was no longer a threat to allow it. “I’m just a human and I don’t know anything. You can kill me and it won’t matter one bit of difference will it?”
“Aaron be quiet,” Legolas ordered, grateful that he could finally communicate with his old friend and also be capable of issuing this warning. “He will kill you, make no mistake on that.”
“I would listen to the advice of your elvish friend,” Malcolm stared at him hard. “Provoking me will only make your death more painful.”
“You know the funny thing is,” Aaron continued to speak confusing everyone around him with his insistence to be heard. He took the floor as if he was addressing them in a speech. “All this time, I couldn’t figure out why you just didn’t kill Moses. I mean he’s been wandering around for four centuries. You had plenty of time to end his life at a moment’s notice and no one would even care. Look at him,” Aaron gestured to Moses who was starting to sit up, having finally emerged from his unconscious state. “He’s just a waste.”
“So far you are not saying anything that would interest me enough to keep you alive,” Malcolm stared at him. However, in truth the CEO of Malcolm Industries was rather confused by the doctor’s sudden diatribe.
“Aaron,” Elladan spoke out. “Please be quiet. Do not provoke him any further. He does not lie when he claims he can make your death an agony.”
“Aaron what are you doing?” Eve hissed at him.
Aaron ignored them all and resumed addressing Malcolm. “All this time, I was using therapy and drugs to try and stop supernatural forces from addling this man’s mind any worse than it already was. I actually believed conventional therapy would work. Of course I had no idea what I was dealing with. You tampered with his brain so much that I’m never going to be able to fix it even if I had him in session for the next hundred years. As one of my interns put it, it’s the wiring that’s the problem. You messed up the part of the brain that allows him to remember.”
“Goodbye Doctor Stone,” Malcolm retorted and prepared to act.
Aaron was not about to be deterred and spoke again, “but then I remembered something Eve said.”
“And that is?” Malcolm was mildly curious enough to ask.
“That he came to our world in a body that allows him to fit in with the rest of us, so he didn’t stand out like the elves do. If he can enter a body to look like one of us, then he can leave it and the bad wiring just as easily.”
And without saying another word, Aaron turned to Moses and fired a bullet into his skull.
Elizabeth Malcolm’s son was already eighteen years old by the time Gandalf finally found her.
She had hidden herself well and Gandalf doubted that anyone other than those with his powers would have been able to discern her whereabouts. As far as he knew the cultists had given up after a decade of searching, certain by now if she had not chosen to drown the child, he would be old enough to seek them out. He had been born self-aware even if his body was that a child. As Gandalf travelled through New Amsterdam searching, he could only imagine what effect the infant must have had upon his mother.
Despite the dark deed she had committed by allowing her body to be used to bring forth such evil progeny, Gandalf held no malice towards her. Before even meeting Elizabeth Malcolm, he knew that she was the daughter with a nobleman and that her foolish devotion to the order had been sparked by rebellious need to escape the conformity that bound the women of this age. She had been young, naïve and full of spirit. It was easy for the order to trick her into believing their lies for she was only sixteen years of age when she gave birth to her child and resurrected Melkor in the world of men.
Realising too late what she had done, she had stolen her child and returned to her family whose only thought was to rid themselves of her and the scandal that she had brought upon them. They gave her enough to disappear and that she did quite effectively for almost two decades. When Gandalf entered the village where Elizabeth had raised her son, he found that the community had only good things to say about the woman whom they believed to be a widowed bride, left to raise a child alone. It was not her fault her son was a scoundrel.
When he finally met her, Gandalf found himself unusually touched by the woman called Elizabeth.
Even though he wore the skin of an old man, Gandalf knew how to appreciate beauty and Elizabeth was indeed a lovely creature. With sun gold hair and peach cream skin, she reminded him greatly of the Galadriel given human form. He could tell that she had paid dearly for her sins. The guilt of her deed burdened the pools of her blue eyes. She had worked for the past eighteen years as a seamstress, darning socks and mending clothes for a pittance after the money her family had provided her with was exhausted. She and her son lived in a small house with a leaky roof and though she had tried to instil in him a sense of morality, she had fought a losing battle from the day he was born.
Gandalf never actually met David until it was too late, until the blood was on his hands and he could not wash it away. He insinuated himself in Elizabeth’s life, pretending to be a friend while he questioned her about her absent son who was prone to wandering for weeks at a time. Some say that David went to other towns to form dalliances with maidens who were more than eager to entertain a handsome young man who was more intelligent than most and had the feel of prosperity about him. Gandalf would meet join her for breakfast and sometimes for supper, talking about the world and the way it was. She was a smart, intelligent woman who was strong enough to raise a demon but not quite strong enough to kill it.
Gandalf came to care about her more than he would have liked, the way he had grown attached to the hobbits and in particular Frodo Bagging, whose life he still felt responsible for ruining. If he taken the ring from the hobbit, Frodo would not have become as ravaged as he was by the quest that followed. Even though Gandalf knew there was no changing the manner in which fate unfolded, he still felt responsible for the hobbit’s burdened existence. Elizabeth was very much like Frodo, carrying this terrible weight upon her shoulders but being unable to cast if off as Frodo had. Instead, she lived with the knowledge that it was impossible for her to make amends for her terrible deed.
He did not tell her what she had sired until many weeks had passed and his impatience to find David forced him to act rashly. When she realised that he was aware of her past, her reaction had been fury at being deceived but he assured her that he was not representative of those who had tricked her into being the receptacle for Melkor’s birth. When he told her that she had brought to life a creature that was capable of turning the world into a hell far more terrible than anything she had ever imagined, she had accepted the news rather stoically.
Elizabeth explained how she had tried to raise David as a good Christian and while he played the part, she could tell by the look in his eyes that he was humouring her. Her efforts to teach her son the difference between right and wrong amused him and she knew that when she looked into his eyes, she did not see a child but something dark and terrible. What Gandalf had told her more or less confirmed her suspicions. There were many times she wanted to kill the child but she saw David through a mother’s eyes and in her heart there was a sliver of hope that she might be wrong, that her son was redeemable.
When Gandalf told her the truth, he had taken that hope away as well as Elizabeth Malcolm’s last reason for living.
He found her a day later, drowned in a river not far from the village.
Elizabeth had chosen to die in the manner she had never been able to inflict upon her son. Gandalf remembered watching her body floating in the murky water, her golden hair spread out like a crown, her face full of terrible despair, eyes staring into nothingness whilst still filled with the knowledge of her complicity in bringing about such evil into the world.
Gandalf did not know how long he stood by the embankment watching her body float; aware only that he had killed her as surely as the water that flooded her lungs. He had been alive for years than anyone could even begin to imagine but it was the first time, he had ever been struck with such overwhelming guilt that he wanted to die. It was the only time the wizard could remember wishing that he could be finished with the world because existence was burden he no longer wanted.
It was in this state that he had been confronted with David Malcolm who found his mother not long after the wizard had discovered her body. David knew exactly who Gandalf was and why his mother was dead. The spirit that was Melkor felt a slight twinge that could be called sadness at her demise; after all, she had been a mother to him for the past eighteen years. Perhaps it was why he attacked Gandalf with such ferocity that the wizard was incapable of defending himself on any level or perhaps Gandalf was so guilty, he simply refused to.
By the time David left the old man behind, the person who had been Gandalf was gone and in his place was a frail old man with no memory of who he had been or what he had done.
Ironically, David thought he was being merciful.
The back of Moses’s skull exploded outward, spraying Eve who was closest to him with blood and grey matter. She uttered a short cry of both horror and shock as she was bathed in red, astonished by what Aaron had done.
Aaron saw the surprise on Moses’ face a split second before his features disappeared in a bloody mess of ruined flesh. He knew that until the day he died, Aaron would never be able to rid himself of that terrible image. For Aaron, the entire scene slowed to a crawl and every second of the grisly vision before him was played out in vivid detail. The power behind the 45-calibre bullet caused Moses’s head to snap backwards sharply, snapping his neck so violently Aaron thought it might have broken. There was no time for Moses to express any sound before his whole body fell against the floor in heap. Blood immediately pooled around Moses’s skull as, a tide of crimson spreading outward.
Aaron heard Malcolm scream in nothing less than absolute fury at what he had done, a fraction of time before he was flung across the room like a ragged doll. Aaron landed against another wall, his body forcing a protest from his lips in reaction to the pain. Malcolm was seething in rage, his fists clenched and waving as he regarded the dead man before him. Aaron felt blood in his mouth as he landed on his stomach, a wave of dizziness rushing through his mind as he saw Eve standing over Moses’ dead body shaking.
Elladan and Elrohir were also staring at him in horror, doubt creeping into their eyes as they tried to understand what it was Aaron had tried to do. Only Legolas did not seem to look upon him with that terrible accusation. Instead, the elf’s brows were furrowed as if trying to work out a problem in his head that he had not previously anticipated. Aaron hoped that Legolas would grasp the truth and not condemn him for what he had done, any more than Aaron would condemn himself if he was wrong and had just committed cold bloody murder.
At that moment, the door swung open and Sandra Collins ran into the room with more of Malcolm’s men in tow. The woman surveyed the scene before barking orders at her subordinates to secure the room.
“What happened?” Sandra looked at Malcolm in confusion.
“KILL THEM!” Malcolm was so angry he barely able to enunciate the words. “KILL THEM ALL! STARTING WITH HIM!” He pointed at Aragorn.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Aaron found his voice to speak. “If you know what’s good for you Sandra, you’d start running now. They’ll be coming.”
“SILENCE!” Malcolm strode towards Aaron, picking up the sword that Elladan had thrown at him. “I am going to tear the heart out of you myself!”
“Whose they?” Eve demanded, wanting an explanation for what Aaron had just done. She had to believe there was a reason for what he had done.
“The Valar,” Legolas answered for Aaron. “Your intention was to send Gandalf to Mandos so that hc could tell Manwe the truth? You knew that is what Melkor feared the most, that Gandalf could die and expose him!”
“Yeah,” Aaron nodded. “It’s the same reason why he couldn’t kill you three. You’d go to the same place wouldn’t you?”
“Yes,” Elladan replied, greatly relieved that Aaron had killed Gandalf for good reason. “We would enter the halls of Mandos.”
“It was the same when Gandalf was killed fighting the Balrog at Moria,” Legolas replied, wondering if Aaron retained that memory or had this simply been a gamble he was desperate enough to take. “He was sent back because the Valar did not think he had completed his work.”
“What are you waiting for?” Malcolm glared at Sandra as he neared Aaron, preparing to swing his blade, “kill them!”
“NOW LEGOLAS!” Aaron cried out.
Legolas reached into the fold of his tunics and found the small box that Aaron had given him to hold. His clothes were more capable of hiding the device than Aaron’s own. Aaron had anticipated that after pulling the trigger on Gandalf, they would need to make a hasty exist because Malcolm would have nothing to lose by killing all of them. The elf slid his finger over the button and pushed it, uncertain of what was going to happen.
If the destruction of the T Bird had been calamitous, than the explosion caused by the C4 he had left hidden in a pot plant at the far end of the lobby blew out the entire floor and incinerated everything in sight. The shockwave that followed the detonation could be felt in the violent quake throughout the building. Wall fittings detached from the ceiling as anything attached to the wall came lose and shattered on the floor. Plaster from the walls and objects shattered on the ground as the floor beneath them trembled. The building seemed to heave in protest and Aaron hoped that Nicky had been right that the explosion was enough to make a lot of noise and not do the unthinkable, like actually bring down the structure.
Aaron saw Malcolm standing over him with a sword, so enraged that the man was prepared to kill him with his hand instead of his formidable powers. Aaron did not know whether or not his gamble had worked or would succeed in time to save his life but he was not about to wait and see. Kicking his foot out, he struck Malcolm on the knee, driving the dark lord to his knee. While Malcolm reeled in surprise at the physical combat, Aaron turned his gun on the man and pulled the trigger. For the second time that day, Aaron emptied a full round into Malcolm’s chest.
It appeared that while the entity called Melkor could use his telekinesis to prevent swords and arrows from reaching him, bullets at point blank rage took a little more effort than his furious mind was capable. Despite his powers, Melkor inhabited a human body and if one could slip past his formidable powers, he could die a mortal death like any man. Whether or not he went to Mandos was another thing entirely.
“You bastard!” Sandra screamed like a woman possessed and race towards Aaron when Malcolm staggered backwards, somewhat surprised that he had been shot.
Eve tackled her to the floor before Sandra could reach Aaron. Both women tumbled to the floor as Sandra shrieked like a woman possessed, half insane from fury. Eve straddled her quickly and grabbed her hair with both hands before slamming the woman’s head against the hard floor. Sandra went limp immediately without further protest.
Malcolm’s men reluctant to open fire when their employer and his associate were in the room rushed the elves. This time Legolas switched to his more conventional weapons while Elladan retrieved his sword to battle the human agents of Melkor. The archer immediately proved why he was so deadly with the weapon and promptly shot three of the men with arrows while Elladan managed to injure the others enough for them to consider leaving for help or reinforcements.
Aaron approached Moses slowly, his gun hanging limply at his side as he saw Eve tying Sandra up with the electrical cord she had detached from a damaged lamp. Eve, who was a cop on the force with experience in dealing with everything from coke addicts to serial killers, was more than capable of handling one insane corporate executive. If Aaron were not so sick of killing, he would have gratefully ended her life for what she had done to Stuart. Certainly, she was just as guilty as Malcolm for the death of his old friend.
In truth, Aaron was fighting the nausea in his stomach at what he had been forced to do. He had taken a life and even if it was two beings that were far from human, Aaron could not forget the look on Moses face when he pulled the trigger. He had never wanted to be driven to this. Apart of him wished he could resolve the matter some other way but Moses’ body was what was a trap far more effective than any made of steel or stone. Aaron had promised to free his mind and he had kept that promise even though it meant killing the body.
Moses’ features were barely recognisable. The man who had been his patient, who had opened a world he never imagined, was dead and by his hand. Aaron knew he did what was necessary but that did not excuse the fact that he had violated his Hippocratic oath to do no harm. He was a doctor, he prided himself in being able to preserve life not destroy it.
“Aaron,” Legolas appeared at his side, recognising the dismayed expression across his face. “You did what had to be done. If Gandalf were here, he would be the first to agree.”
“I’ve never taken a life before Legolas,” Aaron met the elf’s gaze, grateful that he was capable of talking to Legolas. It was strange how when he opened his mouth to answer, it did not even feel he was speaking another language. It seemed almost second nature to him. “I wish there had been some other way and I don’t even know if I’m right.”
“You were…” Legolas started to say and then corrected himself; “Aragorn was with me when Gandalf told us that he was sent back because his work was unfinished. We had seen him die and we had mourned him accordingly. He is a Maia and that they do not live and breathe as we do. You did not condemn him die Aaron, you freed him from the prison of his body. He will do what is necessary and return to us as he did once before, I know this.”
“Its good to be able to talk to you Legolas,” Aaron smiled grateful for Legolas’ words. “Thank you.”
Legolas opened his mouth to answer but the desire to do so melted away as something else speared through his consciousness with even more urgency. The elf’s gaze swung away from Aaron just as a terrible feeling of dread swept through him. Aaron noticed the change in Legolas’ disposition and followed his eyes as Legolas turned around. Even though he lacked the senses of the elf, he could feel the room becoming colder and saw shadows forming around them. Aaron was struck with the memory of how Moses was able to project such ominous foreboding during their sessions. In those brief instances, Aaron had almost been able to see the power spirit that he was, even if he could not explain how.
“Aaron, Legolas!” Elladan who was tending to the wound on his brother’s leg, shouted at them in warning.
John Malcolm’s body had been lying motionless since Aaron emptied a full clip into the man’s body. He should be dead but as Legolas and Aaron turned around, with Elladan’s shout in their ears, they saw something was rising from Malcolm’s body. It emerged from Malcolm like smoke rising from flame, in wispy tendrils that quickly swirled into a shape. Something that was not quite a man materialised before them. It was as if the air had suddenly strangled all the light out of itself and was becoming a dark void of infinity in front of their eyes.
“What is it?” Eve demanded, horror quickly overcoming her senses.
Neither Aaron nor Legolas answered her but they knew it was not Malcolm. Malcolm was the empty shell lying on the floor lifeless before them. The silhouette taking shape before them with its wraithlike substance was more than capable of harming them. Undoubtedly this was the essence of what had been inhabiting the bodies of Elizabeth’ Malcolm’s progeny for the past 400 years. This was Melkor in his true state even though he was devoid of the body that had allowed him to rule Middle earth from Angband. His spirit could not be vanquished and it was this same malignant force that that had been unleashed from its receptacle of flesh with the death of John Malcolm.
Once his mind was capable of releasing itself from the stupor of horror and shock at seeing Melkor before him, Legolas fumbled to load his bow, his hands trembling in fright as he struggled to arm his weapon. He was never afforded the opportunity. A great arm, like a curtain of black lashed out at him, swatting the elf as if he were nothing. Legolas sailed across the air, landing on a table and crushing it with his weight at the hard impact.
“Legolas!” Aaron shouted, forgetting that he was in as much dire need as the elf was no longer capable of hearing him. Legolas was sprawled across the broken remains of the table, unmoving and unconscious.
Suddenly, he felt himself lifted of the ground. Something ice cold was wrapping thick fingers around his neck and squeezing hard. Aaron choked as he dangled over the floor, staring at the beast’s yellowed eyes, narrowed with calculation and hatred. He could feel his windpipe crushed against his spine as the air was forced out of his lungs and his vision started to blur. Melkor’s evil soaked into his skin. It made his heart clench in fear and as Aaron struggled helplessly within the dark lord’s grip, he came to the despairing realization that he may have ultimately doomed Melkor but Aaron was never going to see his defeat.
“Doom me to the Void will you, human?” Melkor’s voice escaped him like the low rumble of an earthquake about to wreak untold disaster upon the world. “I will not go alone. You will pay for my destruction with your own death. Perhaps I will not kill you but pull you apart, like the wings off a fly! How would you like that doctor? Do you think that you will be able to heal anything ever again if I tore your arms and legs from your body and left you a limbless cripple?”
Aaron could not speak. The invisible talons around his throat allowed nothing to escape his lips. He could hear Eve screaming his name but the lack of oxygen was making it difficult to focus. The only thing he could see clearly was the black hatred in Melkor’s eyes. Aaron struggled valiantly but he knew he would not break the vise like grip around his throat. With a wail of anguish that could not be spoken, Aaron despaired in silence as his vision started to blacken.
Eve watched Melkor strangling Aaron with horror, determined to help the man she loved even though she had no idea how. She grabbed Sandra’s gun and ran towards Aaron and the beast, not even certain that bullets were going to help.
“Let him go you bastard!” She screamed in desperation, firing into the darkness of the beast’s body. The explosions of gunfire ripped through the air but Eve felt her heart sink in despair when she realised that the bullets were passing straight through Melkor and had little affect upon him. She looked around desperately and saw the dagger that Legolas had thrown. Retrieving it, she slashed at his dark form, frantically trying to hurt him. She could see Aaron’s struggles weakening. If he was not released from Melkor’s grip, he was going to die.
“Let him go!” She kept screaming at him but her anger was dissolving quickly into despair. She couldn’t lose him! Not now, not after she had finally found him!
“Watch him die,” Melkor looked at her evilly. “Watch me crush his body and devour his soul. I will not go alone into the Void! I will make him share my prison!”
Elladan had retrieved his sword and rushed to aid Eve who was bravely trying to save Aaron from death. Elrohir was crawling towards Legolas despite his own injury and Elladan knew that he was capable of taking care of himself. Elladan did not know if he would be any more effective than Eve had been in her attack against Melkor but he was determined to try nonetheless. As horrified as he had been over what Aaron had done to the body of Mithrandir, Elladan could not help but admire the acumen that had allowed Aaron to deduce that Mithrandir’s death was the only way to free the Maia and send word to Valinor regarding the nature of the evil they had feared for so long.
He should not have to die for his courage.
The former prince of Imladris was almost near Eve as she slashed wildly away at Melkor’s shadowy form, desperate to free Aaron from the dark lord’s grip. He could see the tears running down her face, tears of anguish because she knew she was not succeeding and that her failure would mean the death of her love. Elladan ached in pain, knowing what effect losing him would have upon her. He remembered all too well how as Undomiel, she had simply pined away and died when Estel had left this world. They had been together for a 120 years and without him, she ceased to be. They were the two halves of the same soul, connected forever and incomplete without each other.
Suddenly, there was a flash of bright white light in the centre of the room. It was like a bolt of lightning had suddenly struck the floor and the waves of brilliance blinded them all. The ceiling above them were suddenly ripped away with a tremendous shudder, stone and steel torn away from the framework like a child tearing down a tower of bricks. Debris rained down around their ears, some in such large chunks that Elladan was forced to take cover as the fragments of brick and dirt crumbled around him. He looked over his shoulder and saw Elrohir trying hard to pull Legolas out of harm’s way. Realising that Elrohir could not manage on his own, Elladan returned to his brother.
“What is happening?” Elrohir demanded as a rush of wind flowed through the room. Overhead there was nothing left, just the gathering of dark clouds and the flashing of lightning as if the heavens were about to pass some terrible judgement upon them.
“I do not know,” Elladan truly mystified as he dragged Legolas to the far end of the room with Elrohir limping painfully to keep up with him. There was no real place for shelter as the top of the building was now open like a gaping wound, exposed to the elements. Winds blew at them with fierce intensity, causing them to squint in order to shield their eyes.
Something was happening, something Elladan suspected was not Melkor’s doing
Aaron had stopped struggling when the roof of the Monolith was ripped away from the rest of the building. Eve could see his eyes had closed and knew that if he was not dead yet, he soon would be. However, Melkor’s grip upon him slackened at the sudden destruction, as if he were surprised at what was happening. Sinister eyes of yellow stared at the rumbling skies above. Thick, grey cumulous clouds about to give birth to a storm of disastrous proportions came alive with lightning. For the first time since he had taken on his true form, Eve saw real fear in the demon’s eyes. He let out an angry wail, like a banshees cry that ripped through their ears and forced Eve to cover her own to protect herself from the terrible sound of fury.
“NO!” Melkor screamed angry as he released his grip on Aaron.
Eve bolted the moment Aaron was free, running so fast that she did not even notice that her bare feet was being cut painfully by the shards of glass on the floor. She skidded next to him and saw that he was very much unconscious, red welts discoloured his neck.
“Aaron!” She dragged him into her lap. “Aaron, wake up!”
The doctor did not answer and Eve was beset with panic as she realised that his breathing was shallow. It was a miracle he was not dead yet.
“Come on Doc,” she rolled him flat on to his back and cleared his breathing passages in order to incite his breathing. Aaron did not react to her touch and Eve found herself performing CPR on him for the lack of knowing what else to do.
She was not supposed to be in this position!
She was the cop. She was the one that handled the guns and the bad guys and he was the one who was supposed to heal the sick! Why was he always so maddening! Tears were running down her face in frustration as she pressed her lips to his, refusing to let him go. She could not lose him! They had shared nothing together except this terrible ordeal! She refused to believe that fate would only allow them three days together.
“Please Aaron,” she begged softly as she took a deep breath and resumed the resusitation procedure, “don’t do to this me! You can’t leave me now!”
Aaron still remained motionless.
“Legolas,” Elladan tried to revive the elf as Elrohir secured the makeshift bandage around his thigh to staunch the bleeding caused by being impaled through the leg by his own weapon. “Legolas wake up!”
The side of Legolas’ face was turning a deep shade of purple, a stark contrast against such pale skin. Elladan feared he had sustained an injury to his skull, which would require more sophisticated healing than neither he nor Elrohir was capable of. Despite living as long as they both had, neither Elladan nor Elrohir had developed Elrond’s superior healing skills during their years at Valinor. The healing arts were unnecessary in a place where death only came during old age and it had been close to a hundred thousand years since anyone had died in Valinor.
Fortunately, Legolas was made of studier stuff than most elves and Elladan let out a soft sigh of relief when he saw the Prince of Mirkwood’s eyes fluttering open. This sign of consciousness was followed by a loud groan of pain. A completely understandable reaction since Melkor had flung him aside as if he was nothing. The air was filled with Melkor’s screams of outrage and anger. The cracks of lightening tearing across the grey sky in spidery tendrils of blue brought with it equally deafening bursts of thunder.
Upon regaining consciousness, Legolas’ mind was filled with the din he could hear around him and it hastened his mind quickly to a more alert state. His last memories rushed back to him in a flood.
“Where is Aaron?” Legolas demanded. “What is happening?”
“I do not know,” Elladan shook his head. “I think that Aaron’s plan to send Mithrandir to Mandos might have succeeded.”
Suddenly, Melkor’s voice was silenced by voices.
His screams dissolved into nothingness and with it went the roar of thunder and the lashing winds. The world seemed to drain of every sound except the voice. Soon there was more than one voice, many in fact, all blending together despite their differences, each inspiring their own emotive response at the hearing. The elves felt it seep into their bones and take possession of the soul living within their hearts. The voices distinguishable at first in their individuality soon merged into a symphony of sound, the likes of which the world had never heard before or would ever hear again. Their harmony could not be described in words because not even modern musicians with their vast knowledge of musical appreciation had ever heard anything resembling it.
It was new and yet very, very old.
The elves knew what it was. It was ingrained into their history as well as into the fabric of their creation. The same being that had made the voices had given them life and though they could not compare in their songs to the grandeur of what they were hearing now, they recognised the beauty of what they were listening. None of them spoke because they could bear to interrupt the strange, powerful voices that were sweeping from the sky above them. The elves had heard the voices before but never like this, unrestrained, beautiful and with specific purpose.
The voices became the Great Music.
In a time ancient beyond the elves’ earliest days in the world, the Great Music had gone into the Void and it was not void. The music created with each voice giving life to its own purpose until the harmony of voices became the creation of all. The Great Music had never been sung again with such power because of its ability to shape so much. In Valinor, the elves heard the singing but it was slight and it gave to their existence but they had never heard it like this. It spread beyond the walls of the Monolith. It swept across the city like a great wind. People paused in the streets, captured by music, frozen in place as the beauty made everything hard disappear.
There was no one who did not stop to listen, no one who did not feel tears in their eyes as their heart were lifted to a place beyond the flesh, to see things that were greater than their mundane existence. For a brief instant, the more enlightened felt the harmony with all things that elves had known since their emergence from the Mere of Cuineven. Starlight sparkled in their eyes for just a glimmer of the moment. Tears came, smiles stretched across faces that were jaded and worn from too much ugliness. Hope came alive with the Great Music and there was none who heard that was not unchanged by it even if a little. Later on, it could be argued that it was a mere aberration but there would not be one person who did not secretly long to hear it again.
The elves were similarly effected as they heard the Great Music of the Ainur in all its glory. Aaron was right; bringing to an end Mithrandir’s life had been the only way to end the threat of Melkor. He had sent Mithrandir to Mandos and in doing so, allowed the Maia to bring news of Melkor’s existence in the world to the Valar who acted accordingly. They were here, formless and unseen but their presence was undeniable in their song and their song had only one purpose now. It was to bring an end to their wayward sibling.
The Great Music became louder until it filled the ears of everyone present with its power. It radiated like a force unseen and shuddered through their bones. They could hear nothing else. However, a voice spoke quietly in Legolas’ head, a voice that speared through the music and was one he recognised. It was Mithrandir and his words were clear.
You must leave now.
Through the fog of his unconscious state, Aaron Stone heard music.
It was the most beautiful music he had ever heard, making the great symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven sound like noise in comparison. In the dark place he was struggling to escape, its power was enough to pierce through the shadows with such brilliance that Aaron could not completely look at it for fear of blindness. Yet when it chased away the darkness, when all he could hear was this music that he would dream of until the day he died, he also heard something else, something with as much power though it was made only for him.
“Please Aaron, don’t do to this me! You can’t leave me now!”
He could hear Eve! He walked through the light and heard her voice becoming louder and louder. The desperation in it made him hasten his pace. He did not even notice when he started running. He wanted to answer her but his throat hurt and making words was hard. His lungs felt heavy for some reason as if he could not breathe well. However, the closer he neared Eve’s voice, the easier it became to draw breath. Aaron forced himself to answer her. He had to. He could not bear the anguish he was hearing in her voice.
He opened his eyes and saw her kneeling before him, his word having been drowned by the music that was all around them. He thought it had been only in his mind but it was everywhere, like the air. Aaron found himself cradled in Eve’s arms and when he moved, she let go of him and he saw that there were tears of joy on her face. She embraced him hard, planting soft kisses over his face as she expressed her relief with more emotion than he was accustomed from her. When their lips met, it was the sweetest kiss he had ever had in his life because the Great Music seemed to make everything more beautiful than he could possibly imagine.
The tender moment was broken when he felt Legolas’ arm on his shoulder. Both Aaron and Eve looked up at the elf who appeared almost as worn and exhausted as they did but with a note of urgency in his eyes. Legolas glanced briefly as Melkor, who was standing at the room, screaming insanely even though nothing of it could be heard against the power of the Great Music. The malignant creature was no longer screaming in fury and defiance but rather in pain. Aaron surmised that whatever he had set in motion by killing Moses had well and truly taken effect. The shuddering the music was having upon the walls and the structure told him that it was a good idea to leave the Monolith now.
Shakily, Aaron allowed Legolas and Eve to help him to his feet as they started to find a way out of the beleaguered building. Elladan was already doing the same with Elrohir. They made their way across the debris-covered floor when they noticed Sandra Collin’s unconscious form on the floor, where Eve had left her. Eve looked at Aaron in question at whether or not they should take her with them. Aaron thought of Stuart who had died so needlessly because of this woman and made his decision.
Let her face judgement with her master.
Aaron turned away without saying a word and resumed forward. Neither Legolas nor Eve questioned the decision because they knew the depths of Sandra’s devotion to her master and a fanatic might attempt to resurrect her master like those poor misguided fools of 400 years ago. If the powers that be wanted her to live, Aaron was certain that they would find a way to see it happen. For the moment, he only cared about getting Eve and his friends out of here.
With the structural integrity of the building failing, it was not wise to take the elevators and so the journey to the ground was long and arduous with Elrohir having the worst of it because of his injury. Aaron had recovered well enough to support himself as they hurried down the stairwell. The tremors to the building were becoming more violent with each floor they descended and Aaron supposed that if there was any consolation to be had in what was about to happen to the Monolith, was the fact that the disturbance would have seen the building evacuated.
Not all of Malcolm’s employees were aware that their master was a dark lord from beyond. Most of them were probably just innocent workers, going about their day-to-day lives without any notion that Malcolm was a dark lord whose ambitions had been to create a second hell on earth. The Great Music had not abated as it chased them all they way to the lobby of the building. When Aaron emerged, the charred remains of the room where he and the elves had first begun their mission of rescue confronted him. Both the explosion from the T Bird and the C4 had turned all the walls and floors black with ash. Marble was split, concrete was fractured, steel columns looked dangerously compromised. There was not one window of the glass façade remaining and what furniture there had been were now piles of ashes and cinders.
They emerged through the front of the building and saw that people were gathered in the street, standing still where they were on the sidewalks, in the shop fronts and even cars had come a halt as they heard the Great Music and was mesmerized by it. Some were weeping with joy at its harmony, some were smiling happily and others merely listened with deep appreciation. Aaron tried not to be moved by the united expressions of hope on everyone’s faces as he, Eve, Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir left the Monolith behind, aware that judgement was about to be passed on Melkor and his Iron Fortress.
What the elves had been unable to perceive but Melkor could, was that he could not only hear the voices but also see them. He could see them all. Manwe, Ulmo Aule and the others who had been his brethren when he was counted among their number and when they were all children of Illuvutar. They had emerged for the first since the War of the Wrath. In anguish, he knew he was lost. He had tried to keep the Maia alive in order to prevent this very thing from happening. As long as they were ignorant of him, he could be assured of survival but now it was over.
They had come for him.
When the song reached its climax. Melkor’s form if anyone had been present to see it, erupted outward like a rolling cloud of black smoke following a violent explosion. His final scream was drowned in the Great Music as his spirit was dissolved into nothingness forever.
From a distance, Aaron and the others watched as the Malcolm Building exploded almost as dramatically as the destruction of the towers. Glass flew in all directions as the dark structure began its disintegration, starting from the remains of the top floor and working its way down to the ground. People seemed to regain their senses at that point, all too familiar with what was coming after the tragedy of 9/11. They scattered quickly beyond the reach of the blast radius, moving as fast as they could to a minimum safe distance as the Monolith continued in its destruction. Aaron, Eve and the elves became lost in the crowds hurrying away from the building.
There was a tremendous roar as the building’s destruction ripped through the air and Aaron was reminded absurdly of the fabled destruction of the Empire State Building in Independence Day. The destruction was spectacular as well heart stopping. Despite the danger, almost everyone was compelled to look. The Monolith disappeared before their very eyes, replaced by fire and smoke that billowed into the sky. The clouds above where the building once stood parted, allowing the smoke to rise into the sky. The thunder and lightening had ceased and the sky despite the fire and receding clouds was clear and peaceful again
The Great Music was no more.
Those who had heard and remembered it appeared somewhat sedate in their reactions considering the destruction they had just witnessed. New Yorkers were resilient people and if September 11th had taught them anything, it was how to endure in the face of catastrophe. However, for once, they were given something precious to make that burden a little easier to bear.
“Where they…?” Eve asked softly, looking at Elladan for an answer.
Elladan knew who she meant by ‘they’. “They are the Valar but when they sang like this, they were called the Ainur.”
“It was so beautiful,” Eve, replied, moisture in her eyes. “I could feel everything when I heard them sing.”
“As we do,” Elrohir nodded. “In Valinor, we hear them sing often but not like this, never like this.”
Eve could see that her brothers from her former life were just as deeply affected by this as she. She felt a wave of affection for both of them and knew that it did not matter that she did not remember being Undomiel. Malcolm in his efforts to save himself the bother of translation had opened her mind to their language and for that much she was grateful to the dark lord whom she had no doubt was destroyed along with his building. Eve hugged them both warmly and felt for the first time in too long, that perhaps she was not alone as she thought. She still had family.
Aaron was staring at the burning debris of the Monolith in deep thought. This nightmare was finally over but Moses was not here. Aaron had to kill Moses to save him and a part of the doctor could not be comforted by that thought, even with the destruction of John Malcolm.
“Aaron,” Legolas placed a hand on his shoulder, taking note of the sadness on Aaron’s face. “Are you well?”
“Moses…Gandalf should be here,” Aaron replied softly, his gaze still fixed on the destroyed building.
“He should be,” Legolas nodded in agreement. “But this errand had to be undertaken by the Valar themselves, they could not send him to accomplish it in their stead.”
“I killed him,” Aaron met Legolas’ gaze. “I know I did it to save him but I still ended his life.”
“Aaron, do you know how I knew that we had to leave?” Legolas posed the question to him.
Aaron blinked, “well I thought you figured the whole thing was going to blow because you know these Valar.”
“No,” Legolas shook his head. “I was as captured by the music as you. I only knew to leave because I heard Gandalf’s voice in my head. It told me that we had to leave immediately.”
“You heard…” Aaron started to speak.
“You were right,” Legolas cut him off. “Gandalf is not human. He is what we call Maia. They are spirits who aid the Valar; they have no flesh, as we know it. They exist in whatever form is convenient for them at the time. Moses was only a body and you killed a body, you did not kill Gandalf himself. At this minute, I know that he is Valinor because his task here was done. He was sent to find the darkness and he has done that. All you did by killing the body was send him on his way much faster.”
“So he is really alive?” Aaron declared, being able to see that Legolas was not lying to him in order to assuage his own guilt. “Back in Valinor?”
“Yes,” Legolas nodded. “No doubt when we return, he will be full of stories.”
Aaron started to smile, “I’m glad. You can take him my bill.”
Legolas rolled his eyes, “I will never understand the humour of men.”