Discussion in 'The Dresden Files' started by Celestin, Dec 15, 2012.
I look at "New Posts".
So here's a DF/MCU crossover snippet I wrote a week or so ago. No idea if I'm gonna turn this into a full-on fic, or just keep writing little bits and pieces in the universe.
Finally, something changed.
Loki did not know how long it had been since he fell. Time had little meaning for him now. But there was something different.
Out of the dark came…shapes. Forms that his eyes refused to focus on, sliding away from them as though they were greased. The forms grabbed him, in arms that were cold and dead and hard as stone, and they bore him away.
They threw him down before a throne, on a ragged scrap of rock, hanging in the void among others like it. His eyes were drawn, inexorably, to the throne and the being who sat upon it. His skin was the purple of a bruise, of blood beneath the skin. And even in the darkness of space, lit only by the distant fires of a nebula behind him, his golden armor gleamed like Loki’s own once had.
“What have you brought us?” Asked a voice that made Loki recoil in instinctive terror. The speaker stepped out of the shadows beside the throne, crouching down and grabbing Loki’s face in his cold, clammy hands. Hands which, Loki noted, had too many fingers. He tried to squirm away from the thing, but it was as though his body was frozen in place.
A small chuckle escaped Loki’s lips. Ironic, that. A Frost Giant, frozen in place.
Unable to get away, Loki took this chance to observe his captor. Its skin was grey and cold, and practically featureless. It had no eyes, no nose, no ears, and no hair, only a mouth. And where teeth ought to have been, there were only ridges of bone and enamel. A long tongue flicked out between those ridges, pale and wormlike, and left a trail of slime on Loki’s forehead. It chuckled darkly, and stood, turning to face its master. The thing wore no armor, only a ragged cloak that had been cut into hundreds of strips. Though there was no wind in this place, the strips of cloth stirred, constantly moving and shifting.
“An Asgardian, oh mighty Thanos. An Asgardian and a Frost Giant. There is a glamour upon him, one that is tied into his very soul.” The cloaked thing said. The being upon the throne leaned forward, letting some of the strange, sourceless light of the place fall upon his features. Loki’s eyes widened.
Thanos. He knew that name. A warlord and madman, according to Odin. The Mad Titan. He was said to be in love with Death, a love that led him to slaughter millions in deranged attempts to court her.
“Yes, I know who he is. Loki of Asgard, son of Odin himself.” Thanos said. Though he barely spoke above a whisper, the titan’s voice slammed into Loki like a hammer blow. “Speak, Asgardian. Tell us how you came to be here.”
The pressure that had been bearing down on Loki, forcing him to lay prostrate on the cold stone, vanished. Shaking, he rose to his feet, brushing the dust from his clothes as he rose. Loki bowed to the two beings, bending low at his waist and keeping his eyes on them.
“It was a simple mishap. I have discovered many pathways to other realms, pathways that are unknown anyone except myself. I was exploring a new pathway when something struck me, and I was knocked into the void. I fell until your…creatures seized me and brought me before you,” Loki said, the lies falling from his lips like water.
“You are known by many as Silvertongue, but I warn you; lie to me again and I will tear the answers to my questions from your feeble mind,” Thanos said. The pressure that had immobilized Loki before returned, slamming into his temples like spikes of fire. Loki fell to his knees, clutching his head and screaming as the psychic assault continued.
Images passed in front of his eyes.
His skin turning blue as he touched the Casket of Ancient Winters.
Odin staring down at him from the Bifrost, disgust etched in every line of his face.
Thor, glaring at him in anger such as Loki had never felt from his brother.
More and more images, slamming into him like physical blows. Malice washed over Loki like a wave, the flood of disgust and hate rising higher and higher until Loki felt he would drown in it.
And then…it stopped.
Loki gasped for air. His body had gone tense under the attack, every muscle locking in place until his back was arched, mouth open in a silent scream toward the starry sky above.
“Now, will you speak truthfully, or must I resort to more…drastic measures?” the eyeless thing asked him, the ragged strips of its cloak writhing in agitation.
“No need for that,” Loki said, carefully getting to his feet. “I—I will answer your questions.”
“Good,” Thanos said, looking away from the cloaked being. “I ask again, how did you end up here?”
“I fell from the Bifrost. It is broken. There was a fight. I lost.” Loki answered, keeping his answers concise.
“Who broke it?”
“Thor Odinson shattered the Bridge with the Mijolnir.”
“I see. And this fight was between you and he?” Thanos asked.
“You will start from the beginning. You will tell us everything.”
Loki did. He fought against it at first, attempting to keep his own mental state at the time from his questioners. But it was no use. Every time he tried to hide something, another psychic assault came, each worse than the one before it.
The eyeless creature, he learned, was named He Who Walks Before. That name bothered him. Loki was sure he had heard the name before, likely in one of the books in Asgard’s library. But try as he might, Loki couldn’t draw that memory to the surface. And when he did manage, it was too late to do him any good.
Months, or perhaps even a year, had passed since Loki had been brought to “Sanctuary,” as Thanos called it. They had not been pleasant months. Once Loki had answered their questions, they had shoved him into a cage hanging above the rocky ground and left him there, only checking on him perhaps once a week. At least, Thanos and He Who Walks Before only came that often. There were…others. Others who delighted in pain and blood and screams. Their forms were twisted and wrong, all claws and jagged teeth and blazing eyes. They tormented him daily, ripping at his flesh and breaking his bones. There was some kind of sorcery worked into the bars of his cage, bars that Loki realized were made of bone. The cage healed him, repairing his body so that it could be broken again.
When the cage was opened, Loki fell to the ground, crying out in agony as one of his legs broke. Bone poked through the skin of his calf, blood dripping from the holes. But the cage’s magic was swift, his leg healing within the span of a couple minutes.
Loki struggled to his feet, unused to being able to stand up all the way after being stuck in that cramped cage for what seemed like eons. He Who Walks Before stood before him, arms folded across its chest.
“Come, Asgardian,” it said, and began walking away. Loki dashed after the creature, his long legs carrying him across the distance in a few strides.
“Where are you taking me?” Loki asked. It was pointless to try and discern his location. All these asteroids were practically identical, and there was a glamour upon them that wreaked havoc with the mind’s sense of direction.
“Thanos has a task for you,” it replied.
“I see,” Loki said. After a few minutes of walking in silence, he asked a question that had been on his mind since their first encounter. “If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly are you? I have heard of nothing like you in any of the Nine Realms, or beyond.”
In lieu of an answer, a psychic impression slammed into Loki, driving him to his knees yet again.
It was an onrushing wave of malice, of hate so ancient and vile and deep that it could have stopped his heart with that alone. There was no mercy to be had from this force. It despised everything, from the smallest vermin to the Mad Titan himself. Nothing could stand before this thing. It was a storm, rushing across the land and pulverizing everything in its path to dust.
And then the feeling was gone. Loki could still feel wisps of it, though. And as he stood, he realized that He Who Walks Before had been keeping its presence suppressed somehow. That had been its full presence, its very essence. He Who Walks Before was not just a strange title. It was who this thing was. The harbinger of the end of everything.
And at last, the memory that had been at the edge of Loki’s consciousness since first hearing its name surfaced, like a corpse that had been dropped in a lake long ago and was now borne to the surface by the putrid gasses and bloating.
It had been a very old text on magic, written by a Midgardian of all things.
“Of all the creatures that dwell beyond the realm of the purely physical, none are as inimical to life as the Outsiders. If they have a name for themselves it has long been forgotten. They are the servants of the Old Ones, who ruled our world in a time before living memory. They were banished with their masters, trapped Outside of reality itself. But they seek to return, and will take any opportunity to walk the mortal world once again. Only the magic of a mortal may summon them. Once these abominations have been summoned, they are nigh impossible to strike down. Magic does them little harm, and physical weapons even less.
“Chief among them are beings known as Walkers, who command the armies that constantly seek entrance to the world that was once theirs.
“It is for this reason that I have set in place the Seventh Law: Thou Shalt Not Seek Beyond The Outer Gates. Even more than the other Laws, this one must be mercilessly enforced. I have seen the Gates, seen the endless battles waged before them. If they should fall, then nothing will be spared.”
Loki followed the Walker, silently cursing himself. Helping this creature would be to sign the universe’s death sentence. But he knew that a refusal would lead to torments so horrific that what they had done to him as he hung in the cage would seem like a gentle massage in comparison.
Interesting idea. I'm not particularly well versed in Loki in the comics, but he didn't quite sound like the movies. He who walks before sounded fine. Thanos, too.
Wouldn't mind seeing more.
A Song of Ice and Fires that weren't my fault.
Harry Dresden and Maggie dropped in Braavos, I have a bunch of ideas going now but I'm hoping by writing whatever currently interests me I'll get better at continuations. I posted this first on Space Battles but I think there's more Dresden awareness here, let me know what y'all think.
It was raining in Braavos. It was always raining in Braavos. At one time that had been a selling point. Braavos, the foggy swamp where no fire-breathing flying lizards will kill you and enslave your entire family and force them into volcanic mines! I was reluctant to admit it was a decent pitch. As I walked along the canal trying to step over the puddles that dotted the stone path the amulet I was holding twitched. The movement was a little stronger than the last time, the closer it got to the turn of the tides the stronger my tracking spell got. At the moment they changed I could have found anything, but that one moment of clarity was drowned out by the rest of the day’s slow moving water grounding out my spells. I was close though, the item, a shipment of silk stolen off of a quay was on this island. I turned to the slight man who’d been following me as I tramped all over Braavos “We’re near. If you want to get any of your buddies, now’s the time.” The guard of the silk’s nominal owner nodded but didn't make a move. “Your boss hired me to find the cargo, aren't you going to get it back?”
“There’s no need Dresden.” It was the first time the man spoke in half an hour. My old shtick back home of being irritating chatty didn't really fly here, especially when none of my well timed quips and jokes were anything anyone had ever heard of. Well except Maggie but as she was raised in Mexico until she was eight I assumed her pop culture knowledge base was a little less than mine. The short man turned from staring at the canal back to me. “We knew where the silk went from the beginning.”
“This was a test.” stating the obvious was one conversational gambit that still worked.
“Just so” The slight man began to walk back the way we came. “We were aware of your claims and spoke to some of your previous clients. Your reputation is well founded but it is said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. We wanted to see if it was true yours was safe to grasp.”
“And are you satisfied?” I might have been irritated once at being challenged. Here in this world where I was the only thing keeping my daughter safe I was willing to swallow a lot of my pride.
“Indeed Dresden.” He handed me an oiled envelope. “You’ll find a draft on our account inside, my employers will contact you for further work if its needed.” With that the man resumed his silence as we continued to walk towards the residential part of the city. “Who are your employers and how will I know them?”
“They are a consortium of trading houses and merchants, anyone from our group will pay half in advance from the same account on the draft you’re holding.”
“Good enough for me then.” Honestly I was relieved, I’d have worked for the local mafia as long as they paid on time. I had kept my abilities limited, people only knew I could find anything in the city as long as they had a part of it. Finding people seemed like a dangerous skill to admit having, helping identify thieves and possible murderers for the city based on their loot was as far as I would go. For Maggie’s sake I wouldn’t make any enemies. A trading firm was much more palatable though, the Iron Bank wouldn't admit to having an account for criminals, at least until they had enough wealth they could join the upper classes.
Staying useful to everyone and not a threat to anyone was a fine line to walk, thugs had tried to shake me down a few times, one nice thing about the canals everywhere was that I could throw the mooks around a lot harder without worrying about the first law. My coat had saved me from at least one stabbing although I didn't think that had to do with my work and the threat of my little ball of sunshine had prevented any of the local talent from trying anything. After two years of struggle I was finally feeling like things had gone back to the way they were in Chicago, I even had my same ad: “Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties or Other Entertainment”
Past the whole medieval Venice/Holland thing going on the only real change was my family. I’d lost all of my friends in the event that had transported Maggie and I here, but I did see the Red Court die as we left so I was hopeful that they had survived. I worried for them but having Maggie here made her my first priority beyond finding a way back.
The guard split off as we reached the island I lived on, he had further to go towards the harbor. I could feel the wards on my house as soon as I stepped off the bridge, living with Maggie had given me a threshold immensely stronger than my old burned apartment and I had spared nothing on the defenses. I often wished Bob had come with us just so he could see the work I had done without him. For the first six months I hadn’t let Maggie out of my sight but now with the wards, the locks, and the help of the wives and families in the neighborhood I felt confident enough to leave her for part of the day.
Two years in it wasn’t as big a shock to see her. She still had Susan’s complexion even in the perpetually cool, cloudy and rainy Braavosi weather and she was beginning to look almost coltish from the height she got from me. I could see her with her friends, she had adapted marvelously from her suburban life to being kidnapped by vampires and then thrown into a fantasy world with a man claiming to be her long lost father. She spoke the numerous languages of Braavos with fluency I couldn’t match, I had learned some Braavosi but the so called common tongue of the Andals was much closer to English and I used that whenever possible. We had both learned to read, her almost embarrassingly quicker than I but I’d made too many friends in books to be illiterate. “Papa” she cried on seeing me “did you find it?”
I smiled as I shouted back “Of course, that’s why you get to hang around all day and have fun while I crawl in the mud!” She laughed, the other fathers on the island told me I was lucky to still be in the stage where I was my daughter’s hero. I knew I didn’t deserve it but that didn’t stop me from loving it. She ran back towards her friends, they were giggling about something, apparently gossip was universal. I lowered the wards as I walked up to our house, the first room going in was where I met clients, behind that was the start of the house, a two story stone building that backed onto a shared courtyard. It was larger than my apartment had been and while lacking many comforts it was a home. The bedrooms and my lab were upstairs, I had replicated Little Chicago and I had the start of a library. Maggie had recently shown her first signs of magic and I wanted to ensure that all the magic I knew and the laws were preserved in case anything happened to me.
I wasn’t too worried, Braavos was a peaceful and strong city, unlike the kingdom across the sea or the other free cities there were no hereditary nobles, in many ways Braavos was the best city to land in. Finding lost items was more lucrative than in Chicago, I had a healthy amount saved in the Iron Bank and even owned a partial share in a trading cog who’s captain owed me for finding his stolen cargo. It wasn’t America or the twenty first century but it was home and had my family. Things certainly could be worse.
Nice job! It could've done with some manner of twist or plot hook towards the end, but other than that, I liked it!
A/n: Wrote this a few times, deleting and rewriting it over the course of two hours or so. Even now, it hasn't really turned out the way I'd like it, but just don't know how to fix it.
Which is why I'm posting it here instead of in WbA.
Set a few days after Changes, the morning after Aftermath.
I was in the kitchen preparing dinner and filling the room with the scent of frying onions when we received the news. The doorbell rang and instead of finding Michael coming home for lunch with the family, Billy Borden stood at my doorstep.
He was shorter than I by a couple of inches, but the muscles of his biceps strained the fabric of his t-shirt and he carried himself with a confidence of someone who knows how to handle themselves in a fight.
Or, that was at least how he usually carried himself. I had only met the young man a few times before, but I’d never seen him looking like this. Haggard, tired… Scared. He was rubbernecking, even in the light of the August sun and kept his weight off his left leg. His eyes were… Haunted. Bloodshot.
Something had happened and he didn’t look like he’d slept for days. It wasn’t just fear, either.
“Charity,” he rasped. His eyes welled up with tears. “Mrs Carpenter. Is Michael or Molly home?”
I frowned, feeling ill at ease. If he hadn’t asked for Michael, this would have been a scenario that featured in my nightmares for over twenty years. A polite, distraught friend coming to tell me that my husband had fallen, bravely, in the defense of the innocent.
But that wasn’t what was happening… And yet.
“Michael is at work,” I told him, keeping the dread rising within me from showing on my face. “Molly is-“
I was about to tell him she was upstairs, resting, but by judging by the sounds coming down the stairs, that was no longer the case. The child was stubborn to the point of idiocy, sometimes.
“What has happened?”
Billy cleared his throat. There was a soft, choked sound from the foot of the stairs.
I’d never seen such utter despair or hopelessness on my daughters face. Not when she told me about the black magic she’d used, the harm she’d wrought on her friends. Not even when Michael had been in intensive care.
Her eyes were overflowing with tears. She’d torn the stiches on her leg and the blood was slowly soaking the bandages, but she didn’t even seem to notice as she stumbled towards me with the support of an old cane her father had given her.
I reached out for her, but she ducked under my arms.
“I need – I need to be alone,” she said, eyes darting left and right like a trapped animal.
“You’re not going anywhere,” I told her, trying to sound reasonable. “Let’s sit down. I’ll put on some tea and-“
“I need to be ALONE!”
Molly screamed and the world exploded into sound and light. By the time Billy and I came to, my daughter was gone. The onions were getting burnt. Dresden was dead.
Hard to say- it looks fine, and I like the missing scene element that you've put here. I can see what you're saying though- it's lacking something. Not sure what. Do you have follow-up portions written from Michael's perspective, and Molly's?
A/N: So I had a thought about Death dying and the greater forces of the supernatural world rallying to his funeral. And then there's Harry Dresden, who was somehow invited to attend this closed-door affair in Valhalla, and who has to help them pick who will inherit Death's mantle when everyone else has said their piece on Death and they've dusted his bones.
"We are gathered here today to lay to rest the remains of Azrael, anointed in the time before time as the Herald of Doomsday, large and small alike, from celestial bodies to mice and... men. One creature's Armageddon is but another's bad day, he once confided in me toward his waning years. This holds particularly true of the state of the world as many here would define the current state of affairs, yet the floor shall open to discuss such matters in the aftermath. For now let those who knew Azrael best lay their condolences, their memories, and their sorrows before his open casket, and then we shall all gather in solemn hymn to conclude the ceremony."
I looked around at the faces in the crowd and wondered, not for the first time, how I'd become entangled in yet another power struggle for the future of all world-kind. Ferrovax's words spoke of those who belonged here, who knew the angel of death personally, had garnered and owed him favors across the long centuries, who drank tea and ate fried pickle chips over lunch.
What had I ever done to assuage an invitation to Azrael's funeral in Valhalla? So I knocked off an entire supernatural race a few years ago. If anything that should have earned his ire. For a guy who liked to offer games of Chess, Backgammon, and worst of all Go to those who challenged his initial invitation to the here-after, I'd come along and knocked off about a hundred thousand Reds in one fell swoop, to say nothing of the lives that would have been turned down the road.
Abruptly my span of attention narrowed down to one absolutely frigid perspective as Mother Winter sidled up to my side and rapped her walking stick against my duster.
"Don't disappoint, Knight." Three words, short and simple, but loaded with negative connotations. Once upon a time I might have made a petty expression at her backside as she passed. But then again, I had since learned not to taunt beings who bred Wormwood in their garden and exercised their will like a scalpel, cutting deep and flaying to the bone.
Instead I respectfully kept my silence. Or hoped that she accepted it as respect. I had no clue what to say when my name came up and so said nothing of the sort to let her in on my situation. Neither of us was truly fooled. She tutted and marched off to chat up one of the last living Dragons, while Odin, who I understood at least should have spoken last, marched to the podium next to the casket and laid a worn hand across the immaculate wood, unable to reach inside and clutch Azrael's bones directly. He spoke then without turning to face us.
"Aeons are but dust in the eye of one so alone as Azrael. He was old; far outstripping we who survive solely by the faith invested in our dwindling religions. He has seen every birth that the cosmos has to offer but for his own. He has loved and nurtured every life that he has come to watch over and, eventually, invite into his own care." Odin paused, and at last looked over to where the previous speaker stood. "Ferrovax, whom he cradled in the egg and breathed across with the fierce warmth of a thousand suns until the shell dissolved, has ever been Azrael's favored step-son. It is to you whom he trusted most, confided most, and stands the best position to gain the reaping." The allfather looked to Uriel, standing quiet in the shadows, wings folded down for once. "Whereas his own spiritual flesh and blood he scorned, is that not so Uriel? Could not Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael join you?"
Of all the Almighty's agents in the field, I knew Uriel best. He had never once stricken in anger, or spoken for the sake of his own. He said nothing now to the stark claim, but he raised his chin and looked then to the doors. Odin's visible eye drifted over a moment before the knob rattled, rolled, and in walked four other brothers to the reaper laying cold and lifeless in the coffin.
Sunlight glinted from Raphael's fierce face. Estranged peace radiated from Michael's careworn features, the other shepard of mankind. Gabriel I could not see, for he brought up the rear. And in the middle of them, bound by chains that weighed down the atmosphere around they four, strode Lucifer, anguish in his expression.
/...and that's all for now, folks. Pretty bad Dresden voice as I haven't practiced nor read the books for awhile now.
It's not bad, by any means, but I'm not sure what the purpose is here. You must obviously re-read the books. You know why.
That was a really cool concept. Love the idea of attending Death's funeral - there's a delicious contrast of the supernatural and the mundane here, and wondering why Dresden's caught up in it is a fun question to pose.
I think you pulled off the style pretty well. The speech was great.
I will never get used to seeing your name like this Zeelthor The purpose is essentially twofold; one, the niceties, in which all of the figures who have ever been truly touched by Azrael during the course of his duties as Death make some eloquent speeches to celebrate the figure they could only ever empathize with distantly, thereby allowing them to get a better measure of each other leading into #2; the actual business of sorting out the matter that death itself has died and we kinda need to do something about that like now, guys. Someone among that lot has to inherit Azrael's duties, chiefly insuring that every aspect that can be said to live is set up to one day die. Ferrying souls to their respective afterlife or granting a temporary reprieve to go on for a little longer; re-purposing cosmic energy from a dying star to a new one; etc.
As for a certain fic that comes to mind, I do believe I've recently gathered all of the snippets of attempts into a document to sort out. Perhaps I'll throw you a link when I've organized things, hm?
Thanks Palindrome. I'm going to spend a few days practicing with the idea and where I want it to go and maybe this will expand into a few thousand word short story in the work by author.
It'd be cool to show things going pear-shaped in Death's absence, to show the consequences of Death dying - and just how badly and very quickly it all needs to be fixed.
Like that one Family Guy episode when Death twists his ankle.
I've been kind of thinking about Harry Dresden in Lord of the Rings recently. Before I go on, I dislike crossovers where people recognize it's a fictional world so even though Harry has read the books if I ever wrote it they'd never have existed.
Powerwise, Dresden in direct combat isn't quite setting breaking during the Third Age, but he is a real force, especially if we go with orcs being soulless. However, he'd fit right in with second age elves and men so it might be fun to drop him then, perhaps starting with the fall of Numenor just to make things interesting.
Mount Doom loomed before us, its summit cloaked in black smoke and ash. All around us battle raged, men, elves, and orcs screaming and dying. For seven years we’d held firm, keeping the Dark Lord and his hordes pinned in his fortress. My friends had died along with thousands of others, eroded down by relentless sallies and attacks. Now though, it was coming to an end. We were pushing them back, up the slopes of the volcano and the parts of me not ground down by constant war rejoiced at the moment. We were about to destroy a dark lord on top of an active volcano, it hardly got more metal than that.
Cirdan was beside me as we pushed forward, the orcs fleeing from our approach and the light of my staff. This close to the heart of Mordor light was pretty much all I could manage, but it was pure and amid the smoke and grime a little shine went a long way. The men behind us cheered and followed, seizing a third wind as we advanced unopposed. The other units began to press on our sides. As we climbed the mountain we were compressed by the terrain as one last bastion remained before us.
I could see Elendil to my left, even after all these years I wasn’t used to being the short one, and past him Gil-Galad and his retinue. They were converging, coming to the center of the lines as the orcs pulled back and Cirdan and I went to meet them in this last calm before the final storm.
“The final push.” Elendil was indomitable, the same as his son beside him. Their swords were dripping and their armor was marred with scuffs and dirt but they retained a presence despite their battered states. The Elf Lords in contrast still managed to look clean and fresh, although weariness was visible in their eyes. I glanced to my side, Cirdan had been next to me the entire battle and he too shared their inexplicable ability to shed dirt and ash. I was filthy of course. At times like these I understood where Ar-Pharazon was coming from.
Gil-Galad looked up the mountain and nodded, leaning upon his long spear. “I fear this last effort will be greater than all the ones before it.”
I sheathed my sword, pulled my helmet off and did the best to get the sweat and dirt off my face. From Cirdan’s slight amusement I doubt I managed it. For a man half as old as the world he could find levity in the strangest places. I decided to be the bigger man and ignored him as I slid the sweaty metal bucket back onto my head. “Every step we’ve taken in this war has been shorter than the next, I can’t say I’m surprised that will stop now.”
“Take heart Harry.” That was a triumph, I’d taken a decade to break them of their habit to give me an elvish name, most sounded far too close to moron for my comfort. “Sauron was thrown down once before. What our forefathers did we shall replicate.” Isildur was looking almost hungry as he stared at the last fortress. “At last we shall have vengeance for all that he cost us.”
Behind us the army had formed back into ranks, taking the reprieve as the orcs had retreated to realign. The wounded and the dead would be taken back to the siege camps, hopefully for the final time. Elendil looked to his counterpart and hefted his sword again.
“This should be a time for speeches, perhaps the songs will tell it that way.” His eyes raked across the broken ground before us and the corpses strewn across it. “But I cannot find them in me. Elrond-” the captain and herald pulled his horn from his belt, “sound the advance.”
It was a mournful cry, echoing and reverberating through the air. It didn’t dishearten though, I felt the need, the determination to see our war through to the end. The magic in this world might be more subtle than mine, but it was no less potent. I raised my staff in reply and forced more light forth, I had the feeling I’d need to save my strength but hopefully the cost was worth it.
Thousands of footsteps behind us mingled into a single roar and before us the orcs had at last reassembled into some semblance of order. They were few though, pinned against their own walls by the assembled might of the West. Sauron had abased himself once before and I doubted he could match our power directly in battle now. I pulled my sword free from my hip and the runes engraved on it shone white. With any luck this would be its last battle.
We paused as a scream split the air, like metal scraping on stone, like rusty hinges- no actual rusty hinges. The gate to the last bastion was opening and I didn’t need eyes to see who was emerging. Mairon, Gorthaur, Annatar, Sauron, the Dark Lord. His many names and titles didn’t obscure his power, he was of the Maia a literal fallen angel. He wasn’t the first one I’d fought against, but the others had been limited, bound to mortals and threatened by greater powers. Sauron was not. It didn’t matter. We advanced to meet him behind Gil-Galad’s silver shield and Elendil’s blade.
The spirit had taken a form, hulking and covered in black spiked armor. He bore a mace longer than I was tall and swung it as if it were made of air. He called out something in his harsh tongue, the world darkened as he spoke. Behind us our men were quailing but the six of us were too foolish to join them. Three men and three elves against a fallen angel. I’d had worse odds, but none sprang to mind immediately.
“Gondolin!” The Elf-King roared as he charged and for an instant I thought that the war would be ended with a single stroke as Aeglos flashed forward. It was not to be. Sauron’s mace flicked it aside as he knocked Gil-Galad to the ground, leaning down to seize him by the throat and throttle him.
I was too far to help- we were all too far- then I heard a shout, almost bestial. “LUX!” Oh, it was me. I forced my power, my very soul into the spell and my staff shone white, gleaming like the very stars above.
The surge in magic dropped me to my knees, but the light served its purpose. Sauron had moved his hand to shield his eyes from the glare. Gil-Galad didn’t waste the chance. He rolled to his feet with inhuman grace, but he didn’t escape the Dark Lord. Sauron’s mailed foot caught him as he tried to reach his spear, sending him tumbling back to us where he lay still.
I had bigger problems though, I could feel Sauron’s gaze on me, his enmity and hate. If I hadn’t already been on my knees I would have fallen, the weight of his attention was more than I could bear. He spoke, again in his tongue, but this time I could understand it- solely because he wanted me to.
“Your staff is broken.”
Pain shot through my hand as my masterwork splintered in my grasp. Sixty years I’d spent tuning the steel shod oak and in a single instant it had been destroyed, and part of me with it. I fell forward as the world went dark. The last thing I saw was Elendil’s rush and then I knew no more.
I quite like that, and you've always been able to nail the small turns of phrase that make Dresden Dresden. Dark Lord destruction on top of a volcano, metal as fuck indeed.
Thanks, of course after that I'm not really certain what would happen. I liked the idea of Harry saving Gil-Galad but that doesn't really ensure a favorable outcome. It's said that no one could willingly destroy the ring, so worst case scenario there ends up being a fight inside Orodruin which leads to a battle between Elves and Men in the heart of Mordor.
If I wrote it it wouldn't go that badly, the next scene would probably be Harry waking up in a wagon with the Noldor armies as they left Mordor. Maybe it could be cool to do a long series of scenes showing the impact of Harry and his descendents on Middle-Earth.
You wouldn't have Harry's normal lifespan extended beyond his normal wizardly one? I think I'd be more engaged reading about Dresden through the ages than his descendants.
Perhaps the two Witch-Kings? Harry founds a city surrounding Amon-Sul and participates in the long wars against Angmar and the splintered Dunedain kingdoms?
I could kind of see that, but I feel like Harry would get too strong if he was immortal, mastering all the magic. Having his children succeed him would prevent that, as well as setting up potential intrigue and betrayal. The other problem would be uplifting. I don't think that fits LotR at all but I tend to think Harry would do it.
Alternately, we could go the semi-Merlin/Arthur route. That Harry was cast down hard enough he never woke and remained sleeping in Lindon or Lothlorien until Sauron was expelled from Dol Goldur. That would put Harry in a position to affect the War of the Ring, as well as showing his impact since elves he knew would still live while the King of men had faded.
A short Murphy-centered piece that's been tucked away in the back of my mind for a while. AU for reasons to be seen.
“Place that child upon the altar and kill her.”
I was in hell, and the devil had just spoken.
There were hundreds of creatures surrounding me. Thousands of slaves and even more at the base of the pyramid, and in front of me the Red King and his Lords were pressing down. I didn’t know if it was magic, or something more spiritual, but what I did know is that the sword on my back would be enough to level the ground, just enough to let me fight.
Come on. Let me move. I need to do this. Something in me was rising to the surface. It wasn’t the anger at the vampires, it wasn’t fear at where I was. Anger and fear were two things I’d learned to deal with a long time ago when I first started working with Dresden. It wasn’t anything nearly so dark as that. No this feeling was something else, a prickling just under my skin that reminded me of something long ago.
I heard a rumbling noise from the dark King standing there, and a snarl to my left, and then Harry’s hand touched my shoulder. It wasn’t a light touch- not in this place or time- but it wasn’t rough either. It was a presence, lending strength where I had none, and suddenly, it was more. I felt the strength of his will for a moment, vaster and more deep than my own, in an essence that I knew had to be his power. My own defiance against all that was around me rose up to meet his will and I reached up, something terrible in me, something greater than me, and touched Fidelacchius.
As I drew the blade, something happened. Time didn’t slow down, but so much seemed to be packed into the next few moments. The feeling in me intensified, and I thought I might have tapped into some of Dresden’s magic, heat rushing through me, the prickling sensation of absolute energy under my skin- and I remembered.
A summer mass when I was young, an absolute conviction in me. The loss of my dad, fresh and new, and a knowing, deeper than knowing, came over me then. A rush, like this, and a knowledge that I would be like dad, a shield against the people that wanted to hurt my city. It had fortified me, not just the knowledge that I was following in dad’s footsteps, but the certainty that what I was doing was right. The shield had been more than just a badge that I had worn, it had become a spiritual symbol for me, something to represent both what I did for others, but also to remind me that I needed a shield from the darker side of me that wanted to turn a blind eye to the law, in order to see justice done.
That shield was why I had such a hard time with Dresden at the beginning. The damn wizard never explained anything, not till that business with the plant monster. Hell, even the loup-garou hadn’t been enough, not for either of us. That shield made me angry- not just because he was withholding information from investigations, but because in his own mysterious and terrifying way, Dresden was doing what I wanted to do- stepping outside the law to bring justice. The shield didn’t allow that.
The sword came down and I caught a glimpse of myself in the blade. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and a sudden presence not just near me, but swelling up inside of me.
I didn’t have the shield here. I’d chosen to lay it aside. I knew that would come back to haunt me, and I understood in a sudden flash of bitter clarity, I’d probably never wear- or bear- that shield again.
But you don’t have a shield here, do you?
There was a new voice inside my mind, one that reminded me of nothing more than Michael Carpenter. It had a gentleness towards me, but a strength that I identified. In a flash of insight, I understood- the same person that I’d felt point me to the shield was now affirming the sword in hand. I knew in a moment that I was upheld. No weapon forged against me would stand. A certainty of the unseen didn’t pulse through me, so much as spring up from old deep roots that had been planted in me from childhood. Faith blazed in me and Fidelacchius answered.
No shield indeed. Time to bear a Sword.
“False gods!” I knew it was true. I knew it to the depths of my being. Everything I had known about the Mayans came rushing back to me, everything I had heard about the drug cartels they ran, the prostitution rings, the slavery. And there was something more. They had done all of this in the name of Godhood. They’d misrepresented the divine. “Pretenders!” In that moment, I knew, their judgement was here, tonight. “Usurpers of truth!” My father’s face flashed to memory, then Susan and Maggie and Harry. I thought of the countless churches through South America and even the southern US in tearful prayers for their children. “Destroyers of faith, of families, of lives, of children!”
I could feel my voice ringing out, much the same way Dresden’s had when he had been touched by Lea, but I knew it wasn’t her power that was giving me voice. It wasn’t her that was giving my passion eloquence. And it wasn’t her empowering me. “For your cries against the Mayans, against the peoples of the world, now you will answer. Your time has come!”
I felt something different this time. A settling around my shoulders, like I’d just picked up a heavy coat. I knew what it was. I’d made my decision when I’d come tonight to set aside the shield, possibly forever. I'd resisted taking up the sword in the past because I knew that while it was good, it was in contention with the shield. Now? Now it was right. The weight that I felt was acceptance. I’d be a knight till I felt the heaviness leave. Harry caught a glimpse of my eyes, and realized with shock what was happening.
“Face judgement Almighty!” I swept the sword in an arc, through the air in a way that seemed right. There was no sound, no effort. It felt symbolic, as though with my motion, there was nothing there. And in that instant, there wasn’t anything there. The oppression that held my friends back vanished, and the Red King screamed. I smiled, and remembered. The will of the Red King had been as imposing as the wrong side of gravity, crushed under the weight of a mountain. I held faith. And mountains were as nothing to me.
Untouched here. I just had this sitting and wanted to write something again. Here's hoping this takes me out of my 3 month dry spell. Point of divergence, Murphy accepts bearing the sword instead of rejecting it. Stuff changes because of that.
Feels a bit over the top, but then we've not been in the head of a new Knight of the Cross at the minting process. It's really more of a character piece than actual story, but I wouldn't mind running a bit more with it someday.
I'm fairly certain the prompt for this was left somewhere in the Thank God You're Here thread. It's a Susan-centric one-shot set somewhere after Death Masks. This one has been a work in progress for... Well, years, really. I never could figure out the tone I wanted for it but seeing this thread updated, I figured, hell, might as well toss it.
Rated T or so for mildly disturbing and dark elements.
Life was short, harsh and unfair. Susan had thought she’d known both things as a reporter for the Midwestern Arcane. She'd done her best to fix things, as best she could and the only way she knew. Then, when Bianca and her creatures had turned her, she thought she’d learned how painful life could be. But it hadn’t been until she’d moved into the heartland of the Red Court and seen the atrocities they were perpetrating that she’d learned what true suffering was.
How naïve she’d been. How arrogant.
Susan stumbled out of the door of the burning safe-house, one hand pressed against her stomach where a bullet had torn through her. She wasn’t sure how bad it was yet and there was no time to stop and check.
The vampires would've been able to track the blood, but the sunlight would keep them at bay long enough for it to be rendered useless. Unless people with them and they usually did.
Blood-loss and sleep deprivation ganged up on her, turning her vision blurry and double. With shaking hands, she ejected the clip of her gun. Empty. There was one bullet in the chamber and that was all she had left. It would have to do.
The early morning sun would’ve been pleasant under normal circumstances, but she was in no position to enjoy it. She stuck the gun into the holster under her arm, checked over her shoulder to see if she’d been followed and then when she was reasonably certain that wasn’t the case, she zipped up her jacket over the stomach wound and walked out onto the busy little street.
Fifteen minutes later, she was reasonably sure that she hadn’t been followed and that the wound wasn’t going to kill her if she got medical attention. That wasn’t her biggest concern, though. The hunger clawed at her mind, demanding hot blood to slake her thirst and to help heal the wound that it currently hadn’t the energy to deal with.
She needed to get to somewhere quiet where she could think. Somewhere where the insistent ache in her teeth - no, her fangs - and the pounding Need would be less prevalent.
Susan found herself in the shadow of a small underpass, sitting curled up with her back against rough concrete on the ground, shaking all over. She tried to shut down her senses, focus on the here and now, and failing.
She could smell the sweet scent from a nearby bakery that none of the actual products within ever actually seemed to replicate. There was the dirt, the filth, the decay of the large city, traffic roaring by a few blocks away... And people. She could hear their pounding heartbeats - or was it her own? - from all around her.
The sound that finally made her look up and out into the sunlight, though, was laughter. Children laughing, enjoying a little playground set in the park that had been nestled in between buildings and streets. The monster Bianca had forced upon her that night, the one she'd held at bay for so long, made her rise to her feet.
It would be so easy, it whispered to her, to lure one of them aside and slake her bloodlust. After all, what was one life to all the ones she had saved?
Her legs wouldn't obey her and she moved out of the shadows one slow, painful step at a time. Her arms were still cooperating, though, and she feebly scratched and broke nails against the concrete in an attempt to stop herself.
Her eyes tracked to the child closest, building a little castle in the sandbox. Her hair was dark and long, almost like... Maggie's. Her legs may not obey her, but her hands still did. She seized the gun.
One bullet. It would do.
Separate names with a comma.