A/N Oh yeah! Back on the PJO and LotR train baby! Hope there are still folks out there because I still yet live! This chapter has some conventions I've yet to seem or see acknowledged by most other writers, details will be outlined at the end, as will maybe other notes and references, but I know what you want, you want the story! So without further ado a long overdue chapter for The Men of the West!
Eyes opened slowly as the mind of Halbaron began to reform itself from the strange malady that had gripped his party. As the world began to return to his sight he breathed a small sigh of relief to see his fellows still present. Tarsil was slowly bringing himself up to his feet while Idrial was working on bringing Dolben up off the ground. A gauntleted hand appeared before Halbaron's face, and the friendly smile of Argeleb appeared as the tall ranger lifted his commander up off the ground. The next thing Halbaron noticed was the intense light shining through the openings of the dome which he could've sworn were not present when they'd first arrived. Out from one opening Halbaron saw a great expanse of water that stretched beyond his vision, and his mind was set ill at ease, for there existed no lakes or rivers near Fornost Erain. On the opposite side of the sea was also a great expanse of land untouched, where once would have been the Fornost and it's empty streets. It would be foolish however, to discount the hand of Eru or the Valar in the spell and tremors that had befallen his rangers. All Dunedain knew the story of the Downfall of Numenor, the Akallabêth, when the sea swallowed the greatest civilization of Men in Arda. Could it be that Eru had seen fit to perform some great act of power once more, Halbaron was at a loss for reasons why, and even more so for why it was him and his command effected by this incident. Though he could not know for certain whether or not anyone beyond the bounds of Fornost had been touched by this strange happening. But for all wonderings and for all questions his first charge was his company, looking upon them he saw them all rise to their feet, looking as hale as he'd ever known them.
"The earth shook, we sank." Tarsil smirked with his usual glibness, "What fine trouble we have found at this hour? If it is not trolls in the Angle it is tremors in Fornost with this company."
"I am of a mind that we have gone far from whence this tower once lay." Dolben noted, "You know as well as I no water in that size can be found from even the highest towers in Fornost, and gone is the ruins of the city we marched through not long ago."
Idrial moved to speak now, notably making sure she began before Tarsil could open his mouth again.
"I would think our best course would be to venture downward through the tower to find answers rather than tarry. It is clear something befell us, but what it was must be something we discover through action not thought."
"That's seems as wise a course as any, for it would appear there are no long orcs harring our steps, perhaps the way down the tower is free to us once more."
It was true, there was no pounding on the door or the almaring clamping of footsteps coming to best them. Whatever had moved the tower had also had some effect on the servants of the Enemy that had chased them up to this point. Though perhaps more reconnaissance would be wise in any case. As Halbaron pierced out of the tower truly, instead of simply gazing out the horizon though, he was given a sight very strange indeed. On the side of the tower not gazing upon the water was something resembling a settlement of a like Halbaron had never seen before. All about the place there were cabins of varying shapes and sizes with a few of the building standing larger than the twelve cabins gathered in a circle. From his vantage point he could took upon buildings that seemed to be armories, stables, and forges for whoever occupied this strange place. For a moment his heart was taken aback to the Dunedain refuges he had spent his boyhood, but there was little time for idle wonderings. As he peered downward though, it seemed at the foot of the tower was a large gathering of those who presumably held this settlement. Their numbers were not large, and not as large as he would expect for the size of the pavilions he'd seen, but perhaps they would be able to shed some light on where he and his rangers were.
"It appears we have not come to a play where the Second Children are absent." Halbaron informed his comrades, "Let us make haste down this tower and perhaps make the lay of the land known to us at last."
"By your leave then commander." Tarsil said, ever eager for a new adventure in the same way dwarves have love of the sea.
"If there exists no other path, then let us be on with it!" Came the the roar of Argeleb, who strode proud as ever across the marble floor.
"Yes, too much time has passed for us to idle." Idrial agreed with her far more boisterous companion earning her a clap on the shoulder and a hearty grin.
"I for one am eager to find answers, though ill feelings gripp my heart." Dolben noted, and for a moment Halbaron wonder if perhaps he among them was most touched by the wisdom and sadness of the Eldar race.
Halbaron led the others towards the door where lay the staircase down the tower, as he pushed open the doors he heard each of his rangers mutter or speak aloud something of their thoughts. Halbaron could only softly as he moved down the stairs, for all their mumbling and hard lives in the wild they were his friends still, and still somehow had kept strong wills throughout all the toils of life in the wilderness. Even thrust into a strange new place they would venture with stout hearts towards whatever adventure awaited them. Halbaron's mind now drifted to the words of the strange traveler who had given him cause to come to Fornost in the first place.
"For I feel your path and that of your friend will lead your to far stranger places than mine will."
Could it have been the old man knew what magics or secrets were yet hidden in the Norbury of the Kings? What did Chieftain Aragorn know of the power disturbed by his rangers in the capital that might once have been his? Those were questions Halbaron knew might never be answered, but he pondered them still as he labored his way down the many marble steps to the tower's base. Curious was that there were no signs at all that orcs had been moving about this tower just moments before, even still there were no tracks of mud or dirt from the caked shoes of the Dunedain either. Halbaron bid his ranger hold a few steps from the bottom just to be sure, he had no knowledge of the people of this land, and it might be they were unfriendly and a retreat up the tower would be needed once more.
There were forces beyond his ken at work here, this Halbaron knew, and the next thing he knew as a multitude of spears, swords, bows, and other assorted weapons being leveled at him as he stepped forward out of the tower. To his surprise they all appeared to be youths of not twenty years, and it appeared there was not a single grown man or woman among them. They were dressed mostly in orange shirts though a few had armor and shields with strange symbols and devices on them. On their faces were etched looks of surprise, terror, excitement, and suspicion, however Halbaron was under no illusion these were mere children. Nearly all carried their chosen weapon with the practice of a trained fighter, if not a bloodied one, and in the eyes of some he saw much sorrow and danger weathered in their stares. Out of the corner of his eye Halbaron also spotted several female warriors clad all in silver and armed with fine hunting bows, they seemed apart from the rest and of a different cut than the others. Halbaron first thought they might be Eldar, for they seemed ageless and otherworldly as the elves he'd met in his travels along the road to Lindon. For all their similarities though, he knew when it was he looked upon the fëa of elves, and these were not the same as the First Children of Illuvatar. No one dared speak until at least a youth with sea green eyes and dark hair moved in front of the circle of spears with his sword low and unthreatening.
"Hwá béon unc? Und hwæne beinnan þæm ærworuld sy ácumba macung þæm bearm sylfum ætsteall?" 1*
"Pardons to you, but cannot understand your speech. Is there any among you that speak the Common Tongue?" All he received from that exchange was odd looks from those gathered, so perhaps a different route would be needed. "Ma istal quet' Eldarin?" 2*
As neither Westron or Quenya seemed to be understood, it appeared these folk did not speak the Common Tongue or any language of the Elves, for a moment Halbaron though the boy was speaking some corrupted form of Rohirric, but dismissed that as he knew the language of the Horse Lords well enough but this was too different to be of the same tongue. He tried to open his mouth to speak but it appeared that these young warriors could not understand him either, and it only made them for ill at ease. Until it was that one of the strangest things Halbaron ever saw trotted towards the area. A thing half horse and half man strode through the sea of young warriors to come before Halbaron and tower over even the tall Dunedain. He wore clothes of a strange make over the parts that appeared human, and his countenance and stare was that of ageless wisdom. It was a strange sight to be sure, a lone ranger of Eriador standing in front of an ancient tower of his people being surrounded by orange warriors and a strange new creature.
"Ah I was wondering if there was anything or anyone in this thing that appears from nowhere.." The odd creature said in a voice authoritative yet kind, the words this newcomer spoke were similar enough to the Common Tongue. Though it was hard of understanding and it was if Halbaron was hearing Adûnaic and putting it back into Westron, "I was told told to expect something, but not quite a thing as odd as this."
Apparently there was much more going on than he realized, for now further speech would most likely be the best road to finding more information.
"I am afraid you might have me at a disadvantage master... horse, for it seems you might know of my errand but I know not of where I am or who you are."
"That's is not entirely the truth, for while I did not know who was coming or what reason, I did know someone or something was to arrive beyond the "normal" oddities this camp enjoys, but to see a tower come from dust and to have to use my knowledge of old english is a rare thing indeed. Most of the time those who visit here prefer to leave their grand structures at home."
Strange and stranger this land seemed, from half-man half-horses to falling towers not being considered grand spectacle, and a language called english. Halbaron knew Sindarin, Quenya, Westron, and smatterings of Rohirric but never had he heard of this old english. At the very least it seemed it sounded similar enough to Westron for communication to occur. It would be useful to learn more if indeed this was how these people talked, for it was likely home was far away and familiar places and words would be in short supply. However, there was still an important thing the ranger had not gotten around to.
"Perhaps introductions would be proper, I am Halbaron son of Halbarad, Ranger Commander of the Ninth Party, and I believe it is also time my companions introduced themselves."
Halbaron knocked on the door of the temple and out walked his four rangers who got many wary looks from the other assembled party. The ranger commander pointed to each of his green clad warriors as he spoke their names.
"This is Idrial, daughter of Valadon, Argeleb, son of Argelond, Tarsil, son of Teslin, and the last of our company Dolben son of Dolon. We were sent by command of our chieftain to investigate the ruins of our former capital, and it seems while we were there some great magic brought us and the Tower of the King here."
"I've heard stranger stories than yours, but I think-"
"What you think doesn't matter Chiron because I know exactly what these people are! I'll say for the benefit of all you hunters and campers that these ain't no gods or demigods so ease up." A new voice roared loudly over the area, and to the astonishment of the Dunedain present it seemed to speak in perfect Quenya in an incredibly vulgar fashion, if that was even possible.
The person who so loudly made his presence known did not look the part of any great being from legend or song. However even past the oddly colored garments and the somewhat plump stature Halbaron and the other Dunedain knew this was no Child of Iluvatar before them. The orange clad soldiers also seemed to note the presence
"You are Ainur." Dolben let out almost as a whisper but somehow loud enough that the decorated man could hear him.
"So you're not as dumb as a bunch of rocks? Least whatever Eru sent us isn't totally without brains, though perhaps he could've given you an english lesson before hand, though it figures he would take people from Arda of all places..."
He pulled from his pocket a strange orb that glowed golden in the sunlight, and had runes of an unknown origin written all around it.
"This may hurt, but it's complements of Hephaestus and Athena somehow that grey eyed witch figured I'd need this if you folk were to ever come around here. You'll thank them for it later."
Before anything else could be said, the orb was rolled right in front of the Dunedain. Dolben looked about ready to pick it up, but he never got the chance as the orb released a small shockwave that encapsulated the rangers and did much more than that. A intense pain made itself present in the head of Halbaron, and he had little doubt of its presence in the heads the others in the orb's snare. Halbaron's eyes clamped shut and he was certain screams were coming out of his In all of his time in the wilds he'd faced nothing quite like this nothing at all. For unlike anything else he'd faced it seemed something was trying to worm it's way into his mind. Halbaron soon understood that it was a language that was being pressed upon his mind, words, phrases, and meanings of such things wormed their way into his mind to merge with his understanding of Westron and the languages of the Elves. For how much pain it was causing him, Halbaron knew this would be a needed thing, knowing the language of this place, but was this really the needed way? Needed or not the pain subsided after several intense moments, and Halbaron could once more open his eyes again. The first thing he saw unfortunately was the grumpy face of the man who'd flung the strange orb at them gazing upon the rangers with a condescending look.
"You all may look a little shorn up but I just saved us and you weeks or months of trying to get you to understand about 90% of the important people around here. You should be grateful we're being so hospitable to you."
"If this is what is considered hospitality in this place, I would very much like to leave it." Tarsil grumbled as he moved to his feet first.
Halbaron was about to move to follow him and then noticed a hand outstretched to meet his own. The same black haired boy offered to help lift the prone Dunedain off the ground, and it appeared he also had words to say.
"Hey are you alright?" He asked with genuine concern despite being a complete stranger, "I'm not sure what that was, but it sure looked like it hurt. Need a lift?"
Halbaron was amazed, moments ago the boy's words were naught but undesirable ramblings, but now they seemed perfect Westron when that could not possibly be the case. Whatever magics or devices enclosed within that orb had changed something within his mind, and at the very least it allowed communication between him and the people of this place. Halbaron waved off the aid offered to him and got to his feet well enough. His mind still swam with the great river of information poured out to him but he seemed to be able to bear it well enough.
"No, it is alright, I will be fine. Now, I think I did not receive your name though perhaps you don't know mine.."
"All I heard was a bunch junk I didn't understand , but I guess whatever Athena and Hephaestus cooked up for you changed that. I'm Percy by the way Percy Jackson."
This boy looked not much more than 14 years in the reckoning of most Northmen, but even still Halbaron could see that this one was a fighter who had seen and trumpeted over more than should be expected of one so young.
Their naming conventions were similar to that of the halflings it would seem with a surname taken to distinguish a family or clan...
"Know me simply as Halbaron son of Halbarad, Master Jackson, I trust my companions will be eager to speak with you and once more go over their names for yourself and the others once our bearings are brought back to us."
"Yes, because we didn't get enough of your fancy names during the last few seconds of conversation." Again spoke the orange garbed Ainur with little of the decorum one might expect of Eru's eldest creations.
"Ah do not worry, people getting shuffled around this camp to repeat their names for the upteenth time happens all the time at this camp. I think you'll be just fine." The beast apparently named Chiron reassured,
With a calm seemingly established and a line of dialogue literally forced into their heads, the rangers suddenly found themselves swamped by the crowding voices and questions of many interested young warriors. While most came too fast or too furious to truly comprehend Halbaron noted that the words, "Mist," "Gods,", "Olympians", and "demigod" appeared many times. There would be much to learn in the future, for home was most likely far behind this new world ahead of him and his companions. For this errand to the north had quickly taken an unexpected turn, and Eru only knew where the path of him and his four friends would lead. This journey had taken quite an unexpected route, and it would seem going there and back again was going to be something that would become quite the tale to tell.
A/N Warning, contains profuse amounts of Tolkien related ranting that may be toxic and boring to some!
Well, I think I handled that pretty well... Ah who am I kidding that was terrible! All I wanted to do was try and write in the fact that no one in Arda speaks english but Westron which is their lingua franca that Tolkien 'translated' into english after finding the Red Book of Westmarch... Man I'm a bit over my head here... Here's some notes to help with this old english/westron/ elvish
The stuff here is just several words put through an old english translator. I think it reads "Who are you and what is your tower doing in the middle of camp" For those interested the site I used was www. oldenglishtranslator .co. uk/
Here is simple Quenya phrase meaning "Do you speak Elvish?"
I should probably address why I chose to use old English at all, and that simple question is because I guess I wanted to use a placeholder language for what the Dunedain think modern english sounds like and what the Demigods think Westron normally sounds like. I'm not a pro at languages the way the original master was so you'll forgive me a few of these little attempts I make at aspring futily to his pinnacle.
Man I've ranted for too long! In any case, please review this story if you can, and I am also in desperate need of a beta reader, anyone interested can either leave a review or PM my account, in any case stay tuned!
Na lû e-govaned vîn!