Lions on a Banner 1. Romenna
Lions On a Banner
A Harry Potter Fan Fiction
Sequel to Stars
In the River
Any Harry Potter character you recognise belongs to J.K. Rowling
Chapter 1. Rómenna
Harry was dreaming. He knew it was a dream because even though he flew over
the sea at high speed he felt no sting from the wind, nor could he hear the
roar of the dark ocean churning below. He was disembodied and weightless as
air. Silvery light from a waxing moon glimmered on the tops of the waves as
he skimmed over them, flying not quite low enough to touch, had he actually
been there in body and not in thought. A dark mass came into view on the horizon,
growing rapidly as he shot toward it. At almost the last instant his speed slowed
and he came to rest on the narrow stony shore of an island that seemed mostly
taken up by a small mountain.
Harry stared at the peak outlined against the stars, feeling something stir
in his memory. I know this place! he thought with a mental nod, this
is that island where we found Professor Snape, the Doctor, and the King. This
is Númenor - or whatever is left of it. I've never seen it at night.
As he looked at the mountain, a movement to his left caught his eye. The air
glowed blue-gold and an instant later Gobardon Agnen stood on the strand, his
black robes belling out in the ocean wind.
"Your Majesty!" Harry called, but even as he spoke he realized his
voice made no sound and the king gave no sign that he had heard anything. As
he hovered on the shore, Harry became aware that he could hear if not speak;
the waves created a steady background noise as they rolled in.
The king turned slowly, his pale eyes sweeping the beach, passing over the
place where Harry was without seeming to see him. Facing the mountain, Gobardon
Agnen looked up at the peak and raised his hands in salute. "I have returned
to you," he said clearly. "For a brief time, I would walk on the lands
yet hidden, for I have need of something that lies below. With your consent,
I will seek what is wanted in Rómenna." He watched the moon-limned
summit in silence for several minutes, and then bowed. "By your leave."
Moving quickly, he drew off his outer robes and removed the armor he wore underneath.
Dressed only in his lighter underclothing, the king turned and without hesitation
marched across the beach and into the sea. In six strides the water closed over
his head and he was gone from sight.
"Your Majesty! Stop! What are you doing?" Harry shouted in a panic.
He moved forward to the edge of the beach but was unable to go any further.
The minutes crawled by slowly. How long could a person survive without air?
Harry couldn't remember the exact number but he knew most humans drowned quickly
- in minutes. Oh, Merlin! I've got to find the Doctor or Snape! Surely they
can do something? As he drifted over the beach in sorrow and fear he kept
checking the sea for signs of a body floating to the surface, but saw nothing.
Surely he didn't intend to drown himself? What can I do? I've got to get
help! "Help! Help!" He cried, shouting with all his strength over
the steady noise of the surf.
"Harry? Harry!" The voices of Ron and Hermione echoed as if they
were calling down a deep well. Harry moved toward the sound, still crying for
"Harry, wake up!" With an effort, Harry opened his eyes. His two
friends stood beside him, Ron's hands on his shoulders, shaking him briskly.
"Stop Ron, he's awake now! Harry, are you all right?" Hermione leaned
in closer to peer at his face in concern.
" Harry stared around in confusion. He was sitting in the
Gryffindor common room. It must have been late in the evening for the fire had
burned down to a few smoldering embers and most of the rest of the students
had gone to bed. A few seventh-years looked their way curiously, shrugged and
returned to their studies. "I'm in Gryffindor? But
I was on the island
just moments ago."
"Harry, you fell asleep in your chair," said Hermione.
"After reading Arithmancy for over two hours, I wasn't surprised to see
you nod off," added Ron with a chuckle. He pointed at the neglected textbook,
which lay in a heap by Harry's feet after it had slid from his lap. "But
it seems to have given you nightmares. About ten minutes ago you began to mutter
in your sleep, and then you started calling for help. That's when Hermione and
I decided to wake you up."
"But it wasn't easy," said Hermione with a troubled frown. "It
was as if you were drugged or under a spell."
"Well, I wasn't exactly here." Harry scrubbed a hand through
his dark hair and looked around the circular chamber. "I was on that island
where Snape and everyone stayed."
"On Númenor?" Hermione looked at him in concern. "Harry,
you - or your body at least - were here all the time."
"Yes, I know. I couldn't make the king hear me, and I didn't seem to have
a body. But I could see well enough, and I saw him walk into the ocean!"
"What?" Ron looked shocked, as did Hermione. "It's deep out
"It may be almost summer, but the ocean is still cold," added Hermione.
At the chorus of alarmed voices, Harry launched into a quick description of
what he had seen and heard.
The sea sang to him in many voices, deep and steady, of the strength in the
waters of the Earth. Join with us, came the ancient siren call.
Gobardon Agnen did not need to fear drowning, but like the rest of his ring-brothers
he did fear running water, from the smallest freshet to the greatest ocean.
His trepidation lay in not in physical danger but in that loss of Self glimpsed
only when he put his head and body under water. Altered perceptions made swimming
a river frightening indeed. Once immersed, the palely visible world he was familiar
with vanished into an infinite blue-grey void, vast beyond measure, teeming
with voices on the edge of hearing. A man could go mad were he to linger too
long. He still had unpleasant memories of crossing the river Anduin, which had
taken only minutes, and yet now he marched purposefully down the gravelly submerged
slope of Meneltarma deeper and deeper into the night dark sea on a journey that
could take hours. Once the water closed over his head his senses expanded outward
even as his eyesight was rendered useless.
Old King, older still are we. Be one with us, called the sea. Let
your smallness dissolve and be Whole.
Not tonight, Gobardon Agnen thought as he hiked down the steep slope
of the submerged mountain. Although I have business now in Mar-nu-Falmar,
I am needed above afterward. With that goal to shield his mind, he paced
on, moving through the water only slightly more slowly than he moved through
air. Menteltarma had been a tall mountain. Even weathered by the ages and the
sea, it still took hours to reach the places where the descent became less steep
and the land began to turn into the gentler roll of what had once been fertile
hillsides and farmsteads of Arandor, the Kingsland nestled in the heart of Númenor.
He stopped on the crest of one of the Tarmasundar - the roots of the Pillar
of Heaven, ignoring his eyes in favor of his other senses. Before him the sunken
lands spread out, covered with sea-bracken and the accumulated detritus of millennia
carried by the currents. The land also bore the ruins of the farmsteads, homes,
mansions, and palaces of the lost Númenoreans - he could feel them as
brighter spots in the textured landscape. To his left, not that far away from
the mountain, was the capital city of Armenelos, her towers remarkably whole
and glowing softly in his mind's eye.
He waited, and little by little was able to discern small points of light,
twinkling like distant stars through the bulk of the city. These were items
of power made by the lost art and science of Númenor. He took inventory
of them, taking his time. Most were not dangerous, so much as objects that the
wizards of the modern era might find useful and beautiful.
In the Tower of the Queen, a steady fire caught his mental gaze. Seven were
the seeing-stones that Elendil brought forth from the downfall, and seven were
the number known among the people. But more there were in Aman, and one, it
was said, was given as a gift to the first Queen, and kept hidden away from
the knowledge of men. Now I see the rumors were true.
The king shook his head slowly, silvery-white hair drifting free in the water.
It would go hard with the wizardfolk were their enemies to lay hands upon
the device. Much as I long to look into the Palantír, I will forbear.
Here let it rest under the wards of the Valar. Resolutely he turned away
from Armenelos and began walking swiftly down the ancient road that led toward
the havens of Rómenna.
Now that he had oriented himself, he was able at last to use some of the ring's
power to move himself quickly along the road, but even so, his progress was
not as fast as it could have been. He was reluctant to teleport beyond the range
of his senses, preferring instead to navigate point-to-point. I may be able
to wade through stone, but I have no desire to materialize deep inside a piece
of the land that has shifted since last I walked it. Were it not for the ground
beneath my feet, I would have long since lost my grasp upon the direction of
the sky. To suddenly be immured in stone without a compass
a shudder, he continued onward, ignoring the sea-song that called after him
Another hour of steady effort brought him to the outskirts of what had been
the great harbor town of Rómenna. Here he halted, balked for the moment
by a deep chasm that had opened in the land, stretching away beyond his 'vision'
in either direction. As I suspected, my home did not survive without damage,
he thought while inspecting the trench. The entire province of Hayarrostar
seems to have split asunder as Númenor sank. Leaning over the edge,
the deep chill of the depths caressed his face. He could feel life far below,
but it was nonhuman and unconcerned with the affairs of the world above. Gobardon
Agnen sighed - or at least he moved seawater in and out of his lungs in what
would have been a sigh had he been on dry land. Concentrating, he sent his senses
across that chasm, searching for the town on the scarp beyond.
Rómenna is there, I can feel it. He looked once again over the
lip of the canyon. It will take a long time to climb down and traverse the
pit, and climb up again, and I do not wish to wait. Raising the hand that
wore the ring, he set his jaw stubbornly. It is close enough. I will go,
now! In a flash of blue-gold fire he vanished.
"The king is what, Mr. Potter?" Severus Snape stood in the doorway
of Eregion's flat, a small witchlight hovering above his head. He wore a long
grey nightshirt with his outer robes pulled hastily over it and he looked and
sounded more than a little rumpled. "It is
after midnight, Mr. Potter,
and you insist upon rousting me out of a sound sleep to tell me what sort of
"The King's drowning, Professor! I saw it!" It was a sign of the
younger wizard's fear and determination that he had chosen to bang on Snape's
door and brave his ire. Even the look on the Potions Master's face did not deter
him from his mission. "I saw him walk into the sea over an hour ago and
he hasn't come back!"
"How do you know this?" asked Severus, grinding the heel of one hand
into an eye in a futile attempt to wake up faster. Glowering at him dubiously,
Severus sniffed the air Harry had brought with him. "You and your partners
in crime haven't been experimenting with forbidden potions again, have you?"
"No, Professor!" Harry tried to keep his voice calm and reasonable,
but few people could get under his skin quite so fast. Looking into the irritated
face of his teacher, he thought, the feeling's mutual, in a sudden flash
of insight. He found the notion strangely calming. "I saw him - on that
island where we found you. He just
walked into the sea, didn't even try
to swim. I couldn't stop him."
"I very much doubt anyone could stop Gobardon Agnen if he had a goal in
mind," Severus muttered. His eyes suddenly widened slightly in alarm. "Hecate's
hangnails, just what were you doing on Númenor, Mr. Potter?"
"I wasn't there-there, I was just watching, somehow."
"Now we are back to experimenting with potions or spells better left alone,"
Severus' voice dropped an octave and he stared at Harry through half-lidded
"Invite the young warrior inside, Severus," came the calm voice of
Eregion. "If he is ill or in need of our help, letting him take a chill
in the hall will not aid us."
Severus clicked his teeth together, then sighed in resignation and stood aside,
pulling the door open to let Harry pass. "You are lucky elves are
very light sleepers."
"Um. Thanks, I think." Harry ducked quickly through the doorway and
around the gloomy form of Snape, giving the man as much space as he could. Inside,
many small candles now lit the parlor. Doctor Eregion stood with a taper in
her hand and set flame to the last candle upon a tea table.
"Welcome to you, Squire Harry. You have news of the King?"
Harry tried not to stare, but it was impossible not to. He knew Eregion was
an elf from a world long lost in the deeps of time, had seen her perform magic
of a sort unknown to the wizards of this age, and yet, she had seemed so normal,
so very human. Now he saw someone who seemed familiar and yet the difference
was there, glowing in her body, lighting her eyes with clear fire. She was wearing
a dressing-robe of deep forest green, her brown skin warm against the cooler
color. Her unbound hair flowed loose, falling nearly to her bare feet. Her delicately
pointed ears were fully uncovered in the privacy of her home. Young as the spring
flowers she seemed and impossibly ancient. Eregion smiled at him in welcome
and Harry felt an odd pang in his heart.
" For some reason the words he had been
so desperate to speak refused to emerge. As he floundered helplessly, someone
thrust a cup of steaming liquid into his lax hands and he gripped it as if it
were a life preserver.
"Here. Drink some tea and look at the cup or the floor," Severus
said gruffly. "She affects everyone the same way. Be glad her entire family
isn't here in the same room, we'd be overwhelmed." His mouth turned up
in a wry smile as he looked at his wife.
Harry stared at him. The expression made his dour professor look twenty years
younger. In his eyes burned the same light, softer and less old, but the same
nonetheless. Time's river flowed around him as it flowed around his elvish lady.
"What is it now, Mr. Potter?" At least his acidic voice hadn't changed.
Harry blinked and shook his head slowly. "Nothing, Professor. It's nothing."
He's like her? Does he know? How did that happen? He shook his head again.
Later, I'll think about it later. "We've got to rescue the King!
Even if he's taken some potion to breathe underwater, he could be drowned by
"Like some people I know, the King could simply have helped himself to
the Gillyweed in my office. I do not think he would set out unprepared."
Severus' dark gaze was sardonic, but his voice held little more than mild irritation,
the presence of Eregion seeming to act as a calmative.
"Perhaps you could begin your story afresh, Squire Harry?" asked
Eregion, taking a seat beside Severus. "It may comfort you to know that
King Gobardon Agnen cannot drown as a mortal man would. He does not need to
breathe air to sustain his life. Sit and tell us your tale, and do not be so
troubled. There is time."
At her gesture Harry sank into a chair, balancing his cup on the arm and described
once again, in somewhat calmer tones, what he had seen and experienced that
Rómenna was less intact than the capital, having suffered a powerful
seismic shock when it broke from the mainland and fell into the sea. Gobardon
Agnen crouched on an upthrust chunk of rock, trying to catch his bearings in
the tumbled landscape on the other side of the chasm.
Where is the harbor? he thought as he cast about. Far behind he could
feel Meneltarma; its solid bulk provided a secure anchor point for his mind.
The harbor was here, I can feel what was once the sea's edge, but it has
been filled in. The land fell and the seabed rose when all collapsed. He
waited, letting his senses absorb the feel of the seascape. Schools of fish
were mobile forms of glowing energy. None of them came too near, veering away
when they sensed his chill aura. He nodded slowly. If the old shoreline is
before me, my ancestral home lies in this direction. Leaving his temporary
vantage point he walked carefully along what had once been the foundations for
the piers and docks of the city on the bay.
Another hour of hiking brought him at last to the place where he had been born
and spent his youth. The walls of the old manor still stood, preserved more
by the fine art of the stonemason than any magic. Sea-currents had kept the
silt from building up too deeply. Although many generations after mine added
to the estate, I still recognize the heart of the manor. Have any of the heirlooms
of my family survived as well? Hand over his heart he stepped carefully
over the threshold, walking gently among the ruins. The ghosts of his memories
kept him company as he explored. Shivering a little he stopped and rested his
right hand against the broken lintel of a room now open to the ocean.
Of the room that had once been his own, little remained but tumbled blocks.
Any wood had long since rotted away into the water. A small school of fish sported
in the space where his bed had been.
I knew it would be trying, but this is far more difficult than I thought.
I have trod the corridors of Minas Morgul and Barad-dûr the accursed,
is far more painful than all the tortures I endured at the whim
of the Dark Lord. Now at last do I feel in full measure the weight of the Ages.
Long gone are the lords and ladies of Númenor. All passed to the Halls
of Mandos and beyond.
Sadly he turned away and began to retrace his steps through the manor, navigating
more from memory than by mental 'sight'. Under his foot something clinked, the
merry chime of metal carrying through the water as if someone had rung a bell.
Freezing in place he knelt carefully, reaching out with his mind. Yes, something
by his feet glimmered with a soft glow of magic - magic wrought by the women
of his family. Hands shaking slightly he swept his fingers through the debris
and came up with that which he had sought. Carefully he brushed the silt away.
The metal underneath glowed with undiminished power and he smiled for the first
time since visiting the land beneath the waves. Perhaps we are not as forgotten
as I thought? Here is a gift from the mothers of Númenor to their children-of-the-future.
May it serve them well.
"Doctor Eregion said the king couldn't drown," Harry spoke through
a cavernous yawn as they took breakfast in the Great Hall. "She said to
give him this day and if he's not back by tomorrow, she'll start a search."
He sighed and sent a small magical wave rippling through his porridge. "I
trust her, but I really hope she's right."
"Can't drown?" Ron scowled at him. "What - he's a ghost or something?
He seemed too solid for that."
"The correct term is 'ringwraith'," Hermione said briskly, buttering
another slice of toast. "The Doctor is right. He can't drown, because he's
not exactly alive anymore."
"Like a vampire then?" Harry's interest was piqued and he ceased
playing with his cereal.
"No, not quite. He doesn't drink blood or anything like that."
"And how do you know all this?" asked Ron, grinning at her. "Don't
tell me you read it in a book!"
With a small smile Hermione pulled a thick leather-bound volume from her bag
and laid it on the table. "As a matter of fact, while we were looking for
the King last night I saw this and borrowed it from his secret library."
Ron and Harry eyed the rune-covered binding. Pulling out his wand, Ron murmured
the translation spell and read the title. "The Red Book of Westmarch.
Sounds boorring. Why did you borrow that one? I had my eye on Ravenclaw Quidditch
Secrets. I should've taken it when I had the chance."
"I borrowed that one because it's a history of the world the king is from.
They called it Middle-Earth back then. It talks about the War of the Ring, and
the parts the various peoples played in it."
"The king's in that old history?" Ron poked the book with a finger.
"Oh yes," Hermione's face grew sober. "Although his part isn't
a very good one, I'm afraid. It's back when he and his fellows were all held
in bondage by a powerful dark lord."
"You can't tell me he acted worse than he did when he first arrived here?
Remember he nearly did for Professor Snape. That's pretty bad."
"Actually, that's pretty typical. He was possessed by an evil being for
a very long time. He couldn't get free and he couldn't die." She nodded
at the book. "The magic rings the dark lord gave him and his friends were
supposed to give them immortality. Instead it changed them into something not-human
and made them his slaves. The Red Book describes it as if they were under
the Imperius curse with no chance to escape."
"So the dark lord lied." Harry propped his chin on his hands and
looked thoughtfully at Hermione. "Why doesn't that surprise me?"
"Perhaps because you've had more experience than they did. I haven't finished
the book, yet, so maybe somewhere in there it will explain how the king and
the other eight victims were deceived." She lifted the book and placed
it carefully back in her bag. "I have read enough to know that the king
really isn't in danger of drowning, so you can relax." She rose and waited
for Harry and Ron to join her.
"Well, what about being eaten by a giant shark?" Ron protested. "Is
he immune from that, then?"
"No, really. Or a big squid, or a whale."
"Whales have very small throats," Harry said with a grin. He still
felt concerned, but his initial sense of panic had eased. Just the fact that
the Doctor had taken him seriously made him feel better.
"A kraken is huge. They make the giant squid in the lake look sickly.
Muggles don't think they're real, but they are. In the old days, a good captain
would pay a wizard to sail with his ship to keep them away." Ron wriggled
his fingers to imitate tentacles. "I really hope we don't have to go and
search for him on the bottom of the sea. There's all sorts of slimy things down
there, with big appetites."
Hermione pressed her lips into a thin line and walked faster. "Thank you
Ron Weasley, you couldn't've left off the mention of slime?"
"But if you don't know about it, how will you prepare a defense for us?"
Hermione's indignant reply was lost in the shuffle of young wizards and witches
pushing their way into the Transfigurations classroom.
Continued in the Chapter 2, Simbelmynë.
The story continues with the the further adventures of Severus
Snape, Harry Potter and friends, the king from Númenor, Hogwart's resident
elf, and various beasties. There are probably a few professors and students
in this tale, too. I'm a little slow starting up, but I made it through the
end of the fiscal year so life is good. :-)
Mar-nu-Falmar (home under the waves) is another of JRR Tolkien's
names for Númenor. For the full list and some very nice maps
of the sunken lands, do check out the Encyclopedia
Acire - The Snapelet is on its way. I think Severus is still trying
to wrap his brain around all the adventures he's had.
Ozma - Harry and friends know something is up with Draco. I'm
sure they don't intend to become buddies with him, but they feel a vague obligation.
Nothing like a growth opportunity! And the youngsters get to share the growth
opportunity with the adults, including the king. The king is mature enough to
appreciate the fact, I'm not so sure about Severus. :-)
Giesbrecht - Yes, the elves can have multiple kids, it's just
rather rare. And quite a few have none at all, so I'm not sure if kids born
= elves killed in battle. Action coming soon! Well, there's some in this chapter,
it's just not dire action. You may have to wait another chapter for the
dire action to commence.
Teresina Dragonwagon - We're working on the raising Númenor
thing. It might be a long-term project for the wizardfolk.
Finduilas - Hopefully you'll enjoy the new story, too. :-)
Da Bree - Glad you enjoyed the story!
Frank - Yep, horses gestate for 11 months, so Eregion will beat
Nox in the foal department. Of course given that Azra'mor can jump out of his
pasture easily, I do wonder if he'll beat Severus by sheer numbers... I can
see all the Muggles who keep mares for miles around being surprised by warmblood
foals next year that tend to be dark bay or black. Azra'mor is a son of Shadowfax,
so he has good reason to think highly of himself.
Aenjil Elf - Thanks, glad you liked the story. Yes, Númenor
has so many names it's scary.
Romm - Severus can't help thinking about what lies ahead, which
probably colors his attitude more than a little. But he has friends now willing
to help him cope... or at least they'll keep him busy.
Jedi Skysong - Ok, here we are fulfilling the the terms of the
Tolkien Curse - the last part of a trilogy! Harry ought to have a fun time -
summer's coming up and there will be nothing to do except stay out of trouble.
:-) Just because I'm writing an AU doesn't mean I can't take advantage of some
of the new canon JKR has added to the mythos.
HeatherK - Thank you, so glad you've enjoyed the stories thus
far. I figure Illuvatar (or even the equivalent of the Valar, etc.) have got
to be in Harry's world, perhaps in even more forms than in the Muggle world.
I do find that lack odd in the canonical books, but it could be JKR just didn't
want to deal with it, given anything she wrote would cause problems for someone.
But being a fanfic writer gives me a little more room to experiment since if
readers don't like my imaginings, Warner Bros. won't be out $$. Heh, Severus
had been happily ignoring the reproduction thing for years - he never figured
he'd be dealing with it quite in this way.
The Good Doctor Monaco - Yes, at some point they'll ask permission
- what may be surprising will be the answer! (Are you familiar with the Hitchiker's
Guide to the Galaxy? The Answer is... 42!) Nox and her mate will definitely
be around for this set of stories. Although someone put me onto the idea of
the king eventually discovering Muggle cars (a black Jaguar, anyone?), I don't
think he's going to give up his faithful charger anytime soon.
Alexandra - Let's see, you asked a number of good questions, and
I'll take a whack at answering them. Snape did progress pretty fast in these
stories, but he was definitely in a 'change or die' series of situations (not
what I'd recommend for most folks needing mental/emotional repair, but...).
Epiphanies are hard to maintain, but just the knowledge that we had one
can be life-changing. I was using that idea as the underpinning for Snape's
progression. Eregion knew what was happening, and certainly helped as needed,
but you must remember, she's an elf, not a human. As far as she's concerned,
Severus has plenty of time to grow. She'll push if the situation truly warrants
it, but she feels no need to meddle when someone is making progress, even if
the progress is slow. Being an elf, she has a very large frame of reference
unavailable to humans. I think on some level Snape knows very well he is doing
work on himself. He just doesn't choose to think about it on a consious level.
Birdsong - I'm answering your note here. Glad you have liked the
stories so far and I hope you enjoy the new ones.
Sasmon - Glad you enjoyed the story! I haven't found too many
LOTR crossovers yet myself - that might have something to do with why I ended
up writing one.
Mary Anne - Yes, exactly! The big SUV with the snake hood ornament
would be very much like Lucius, wouldn't it? The more muscular and intimidating,
the better. Dark-tinted windows, too. LOL. I think he'd be very dangerous behind
the wheel, although Narcissa might be worse, she's part of the Black family,
isn't she? I think in some ways the king is rather delighted when he is surprised
by the modern wizards. Got to agree with you, Numenor in its current state is
quite peaceful - I wouldn't mind living there myself! If I find out where it
is, I'll let you know. :-)
Grateful thank-yous to my beta-reader Judi.
Disclaimer: If you recognize the characters as being from the
world of Harry Potter, then they belong to J.K. Rowling.
Further disclaimer: This non-profit fan-fiction is not meant
to infringe on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, either. All his stuff still belongs
to him (and his heirs).