The Sugar Quill
Author: Murasaki99 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Lions On A Banner  Chapter: Chapter 2. Simbelmyne
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Lions on a Banner 2. Simbelmynë

Lions On a Banner

A Harry Potter Fan Fiction

by Murasaki99

Sequel to Stars In the River

Any Harry Potter character you recognise belongs to J.K. Rowling

Chapter 2. Simbelmynë

Sea-wet and sodden under his armor, Gobardon Agnen returned, not to Hogwarts castle but first to Hogsmeade and then to the tree-lined hall in the Forbidden Forest that had become his first home upon returning to Middle-Earth. Dawn was approaching, but under the thick shade of the trees night lingered. The natural lanterns made by the forest people to light his hall glimmered softly in the cool air of late spring. In one hand he carried a small anvil of the sort for working fine wrought iron. This he laid down on the fallen log that served as his desk and workbench.

From inside his robes he brought forth a small cache of tools he had borrowed, along with the anvil, from the shop of a blacksmith near Hogsmeade. Sitting down cross-legged at the log, he carefully drew from his innermost pocket the object he had found in the ruins of his ancestral home in Rómenna and laid it out upon the weathered bark. In the open air of the Fourth Age of Men, it still glowed to his vision, its power undiminished, and he stroked the discs of silvery metal with his fingertips.

The incised symbols on the upper surfaces were as clear as ever. Here is the livery of our House - a sept of the House of Elros Tar-Minyatur. Here is the bright Star and there the Tree, all bound together with the Sea which provided all our needs. Rolling the long necklace over, his seeking fingers felt the pulse of magic that lay in the tracery of the symbols worked in mithril on the underside. Alfirin, the sweet flower that grows over the hills where the Halls of the Departed Kings were delved. Alfirin, which means in the elven tongue, immortality. Sighing, he lifted the necklace and held it against his cheek, the soft warmth releasing a flood of memory. Simbelmynë, everlasting, in the speech of Middle-Earth. Gone away is my mother, and yet… not. Here is some trace of her and all the mothers before her. Deep into their working they laid their love, protecting their children through the generations. Something fell on the back of his hands and he watched the drops, sparkling like diamonds as they rolled off into the air. Is it raining? he wondered, looking skyward. In the predawn darkness he could not tell if it were raining or not. He was still wet from his sojourn in the ocean and could scarcely have noticed had he become wetter.

Shaking his head sharply, he lay the necklace back down on the log and lifted a pair of pliers. I am no blacksmith, but I once had some skill in repairing fine metal. Let that skill aid me now! Against the dark forces of this Age, I will accept what untainted help I may for the sake of my people. From another pocket he brought out several chains of mithril salvaged from the ruins of the town. The decorations they had once held had dissolved into the water, but the mithril remained, proof against the ages. Slowly he began to work on the links holding the large necklace together, using magic to temporarily soften the hard metal. His face relaxed and he began to hum and then sing a song of home.


Severus Snape awoke just as the sun poked rosy fingers through the window and into the room. He felt more than a little bleary. Ugh. Nothing like being awakened past midnight by Potter. Thank Hecate it's Saturday, he thought gratefully, closing his eyes. Beside him his wife snored gently. Snored? Eregion never snored. Severus reached around to feel for her body. It was amazingly hairy. Opening both eyes wide he turned over slowly and stared at the occupant of his bed. Gaearon, the king's big spectral hound, lay in the warm spot evidently vacated by his wife. The animal gave him a blissful look and thumped her long tail against the bed.

"What in—" he sat up quickly. "What're you doing here?" he asked Gaearon sharply. "Where's your master?" Severus gestured and his dressing robe floated over from its hook on the door. Rising, he pulled it on, glad of its warmth. Late spring or not, the castle was still cool in the morning. The dog gave no answer, but she seemed quite unconcerned, closing her eyes and once again generating a soft contented snore. Muttering under his breath he stalked into the flat's small toilet and attended to his morning wash up. That task completed, he emerged to find Eregion filling a pot for tea.

"Gaearon's here," he said without preamble.

"Is she? That is good news." Eregion looked around the small sitting room. "Where is she now?"

"In our bed." Severus took command of the teapot and sniffed the fragrant steam, adding another scoop of tea. "I thought at first you'd sprouted a coat of hair like a werewolf." He wrinkled his nose.

She laughed at his expression. "I imagine you woke up swiftly."

"I did indeed. But… what is the king's dog doing here?"

"I take it as a sign that our liege lord has returned and is somewhere in the castle or on the grounds." She took a cup of tea with a smile. "You know she is rarely far from his side. Were he trapped below the sea as Harry feared, she would either not be here, or she would be worrying at us to rescue him."

"Hmph. I knew Potter was simply imagining things," he grumbled.

Eregion looked away into the distance as she thought. "I do not think so. The young warrior has a talent for seeing truly."

"He has a talent for trouble. Just like his father."

"It is unfair to judge the one by the other," she answered calmly. "How would it have fared with you had Mandos judged you by the actions of your sire?"

Severus' face looked pinched as he contemplated her words. Slowly he shook his head. "It would not have gone well. You have not met my father or mother, but…" he gazed into the steam floating from his cup. "It would not have gone well, had I been judged on the merits of my sire, or lack thereof." He glowered suspiciously at his wife, who as usual, seemed quite glower-proof. "I'm supposed to make some sort of linkage here, between Potter and myself, aren't I?"

"As you are a most intelligent wizard…" Eregion twinkled at him in a manner reminiscent of Dumbledore. "Yes."

He snorted. "Intelligence is overrated. What is wrong with simply feeling a thing when the situation demands it?" The elf woman continued to look at him with that smile on her face and in her eyes. He blinked and drew himself up straighter. "Merlin. That's just what Potter does now." While he sat and digested that particular insight, Eregion finished her tea and rose, dropping a gentle kiss on his forehead.

"Did I mention I think you a most intelligent wizard?" Her fingers caressed his cheek. "In the garden of your heart, you are a diligent husbandman."

Severus laughed at the analogy. Rising, he returned her kiss. "It only seems so because my 'garden' has been so overrun with weeds!"

"Nevertheless." She moved to the door. "I must check on the Quidditch players in the infirmary, but afterward I should be able to join you for breakfast in the Great Hall."

"I'll meet you there," he replied. After she had gone he returned to their bedroom to select his clothing for the day. Gaearon lifted her shaggy head from the bed and sat up, yawning so wide Severus could count every long fang in her mouth. He found himself yawning in sympathy and glared at the dog. She wagged her tail happily, apparently as immune to glares as his wife. "Very well," he conceded. "As long as the King is safe, you can hang about with us." Muttering under his breath he proceeded to dress. "I must be getting soft. Tolerating Potter's midnight fantasies. Letting dogs sleep in my bed. What next?"


Harry returned to Gryffindor, food taken from the day's lunch safely hidden in a pouch charmed to have nearly infinite capacity. In the common room, Sirius waited, smiling toothily. He dug into the beef sandwiches with enthusiasm while Harry told him about his day. "The king is supposed to be back. We've been searching all over the Castle; Ron, Hermione, and me, starting with his library and on from there, but we still haven't found any sign of him. I went to the music classroom to ask Professor O'Carolan, but she hadn't seen him, either." Harry sat and thought while Sirius munched his way through a pile of chips and several jam tarts.

"Hermione said the king couldn't drown, but what if some other creature down there grabbed him?" Harry stared into the ashes of the fire for a time while Sirius ate his lunch. When the animagus had finished, Sirius performed a quick circuit of the common room. It was still empty. Quickly he reformed into his human shape, stretching and smiling at his godson. "Have you been down and checked the stables yet? His big black horse is there, along with the Doctor's. Hagrid looks after them. I see them when I go out for a run at night."

"No, I forgot about that!" Harry jumped up at once.

"I'll come with you and help search. I still find it hard to believe this is the same person who nearly killed Snape."

Harry nodded at the wizard. "All right, let's have a look. You haven't seen the king yet, have you? He's the same person, but… changed. It's as if he's been waking up." With the big dog at his side, Harry pushed open the portrait and left the common room at a fast walk.

In the courtyard, Gaearon intercepted Harry, springing out of the solid wall on his right to lick his hand. Suddenly noticing the other dog she stared intently at Sirius, her red ears pricking up with interest as she moved toward him. Sirius stood his ground as the spectral hound approached, walking stiff-legged as if ready to challenge him. "Um, Sirius, I don't think you've met Gaearon," Harry said quietly. "She's the king's dog. He got her while he was rescuing Professor Snape." Speaking to the hound, he said. "Gaearon, this is Sirius, or Snuffles, when we're in public. He's a friend of mine."

The two dogs sniffed noses cautiously at first, wagging their tails gently. Soon they were sniffing each other all over. Harry averted his eyes politely. Grinning, Sirius splayed his forelegs out in a 'play' gesture. Gaearon responded happily and they began to chase each other about the yard, racing in circles around the other students, who watched them in bemusement. Sirius was bigger and heavier, but Gaearon was slightly taller and longer-legged. Harry pushed the castle door open and the two dogs dashed by and leaped like gazelles down the stairs.

"I guess you're going to be friends, then?" he asked, following them as quickly as he could. By the time he reached Hagrid's cottage and the small barn nearby, he was gasping for breath and paused to lean on the pasture fence. Nox Fortuna, Eregion's piebald mare, left her grazing and ambled over to see if her visitor had any sweets to offer. Nox looked sleek, glossy, and slightly plump. When Harry gave her a toffee, Azra'mor, the king's black stallion, joined her to cajole a snack from him. Walking to the barn, he opened the door and checked inside. "Hello! Anyone here?" he called into the hay-scented gloom. No one answered. The only beings inside were two barn owls that blinked at him sleepily.

Sirius joined him, panting heavily, followed closely by Gaearon. Once in the barn he shifted shape. Gaearon raised her shaggy eyebrows at that, but did not seem overly disturbed by her playmate's sudden ability to walk on two legs.

"Whoo, I'm out of shape," Sirius said, opening the collar of his robe to cool off. He nodded at the spectral hound. "Her master's here."

"She told you that?"

Sirius shrugged. "I don't know if tell is the right word, exactly, but she gave me the feeling that her person is not too far away. She's not the least concerned about him, so I don't think he's hurt."

"Well, thank goodness for that." Harry felt his spirits lift. "I'd still like to see him, however." He looked at the hound, who was sitting nearby listening to them talk with her head turned to one side. "Can you ask her to take me to him?"

"Hmm." Sirius nodded at the tall coursing hound. "My dog dialects aren't that good. Out of practice y'know, but I'll give it a try. At least she's not a Muggle dog, she's a magical hound, and that means it's easier for a wizard to communicate with her."

"I think the Doctor or someone said she is a spectral hound and she originally belonged to the Wild Hunt."

"Did she now?" Sirius looked at Gaearon with respect. "That explains her ability to run through solid objects. Wish I could do that." The wizard shrank and reformed into his dog shape. Gaearon sniffed him thoroughly and seemed satisfied with her investigations. Sirius barked once, flexing his ears at her. She listened to his question, voiced in facial gestures and whines. With a short, deep woof, the hound trotted out of the barn and made a large circle, sniffing the breeze. Seeming to catch a scent, she turned and ran for the castle. Barking, Sirius galloped in pursuit.

"Wait for me!" Harry ran after, wishing he had brought his broom. They were soon far ahead. At the top of the long flight of stairs to the front entrance the animals waited for him, sitting to either side of the wooden door like carven guardian statues. As soon as he pushed the door open, they dashed inside and into the entrance hall, nearly colliding with Filch. The caretaker howled with fright when he saw the two big dogs bearing down on him. Sirius broke right and Gaearon broke left, looping neatly around the man and racing away. Between his legs, Mrs. Norris hissed and spat at the interlopers. Filch was nearly as angry.

"Who let these dogs in?" Filch waved a fist at the fast-disappearing forms. "Look at the dirt they're tracking! As if I don't have enough to do cleaning up after you lot!" he shouted at the nearest students, who looked at him as if he had lost his senses. Some giggled. Harry carefully slowed his pace, blending in with an innocent group of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws to make his way past the irate old man. For once Filch did not notice him. With a sigh of relief, Harry gained the stairs and followed the dogs upward.

On the third floor he found Sirius casting about in front of a blank wall below a portrait of a Celtic witch wearing a plaid ariasaid. The witch was shaking her head slowly as she watched the dog. "Sorry love, but you can't follow a hound of the Hunt like that." Sirius gave Harry a reproachful look, scratched at the wall and whined.

"I think I know where she's going, come on, this way!" Harry ran down the hall and around a corner into a little-used area of the castle. Slowing his pace he dragged his fingers along the stones until he found the carving of the Ravenclaw book. "Here we are. Now let's see…" Checking quickly to be sure the hallway was empty, he pressed the book. It yielded to his touch and the hidden door opened, allowing Harry and Sirius to enter. The door closed silently behind them. Inside the hidden library the afternoon sun shone warmly through the windows. Gaearon greeted Harry by leaping around him as if in celebration then touched noses with Sirius, her tail wagging briskly and thumping against Harry's knees like a whip.

Harry scanned the library, which seemed to be empty. Despite the sunlight, the room was pleasantly cool and smelled of the sea. "Is anyone here?" he called softly.

"Well-met, Squire Harry." Gobardon Agnen walked from between the tall bookshelves, a number of old volumes stacked in his hands. "I was about to seek for you and your comrades, but you have saved me the journey." He placed the books on a stand beside a chair. Not too far from the door, Sirius had frozen like a statue, staring at the tall Númenorean.

"You're back! You're all right!" Harry ran to the king and clutched his arms to reassure himself the man was real. The black fabric under his hands was still slightly damp and the salt smell of the ocean was strong in his nostrils. "I saw you walk into the sea last night. I was afraid you'd been drowned, your Majesty," he added at the king's quizzical expression.

"You saw me? I did not sense your presence on Meneltarma."

"That's because I wasn't exactly there - I saw it as if I was dreaming, but it seemed too real. I felt like I was standing by you on the shore. I called, but you couldn't hear me. You took off your armor and walked into the water. When you didn't come back right away, I woke the Doctor and Professor Snape." He looked anxiously up into the king's pale face. "She said you couldn't drown. Doctor Eregion, that is."

"She was quite correct. Although I can move air in and out of my lungs, I do not need to breathe. My travels below the waves held some surprises, but I was able to return safely. I am sorry that viewing my journey troubled you, Squire Harry." Raising a black-gloved hand, he tipped Harry's head up slightly and looked first into his eyes and then at his scar, tracing it gently with the bare fingers of his right hand. Harry felt coolness trickle into the old injury, soothing the dull ache that had become a fairly constant companion. "You have a very strong gift of Sight. Does it come at your will?"

"No, sir. It just happens at random as far as I can tell. Sometimes I see what Voldemort sees. I don't like that much at all." Harry shuddered at the memory.

"Neither would I, as I am sure anything the orc-lord looks upon is mischief in the making." The king frowned slightly. "It is not good to view the world through the eyes of a dark wizard. He may be able to see through your eyes in turn. The bond is not a safe one." He paced the length of the library, looked out the window, turned, and strode back, noticing for the first time that two dogs sat near his chair and not one. "Gaearon has found a friend, I see. Is this your dog, Squire Harry?" He placed a hand on the black dog's massive head.

"Um, actually, he's my godfather, Sirius Black." Harry smiled at the dog and gestured toward the tall man in black. "Sirius, this is Gobardon Agnen, King of Númenor. He rescued Professor Snape from Voldemort."

Sirius stood up on his hind legs and grew, reforming into his rangy human shape. He was a foot shorter than the king, but the height differential did not seem to worry him. "Pleased to meet you, your Majesty," Sirius said, grinning at the king's surprised expression. "Sirius Black, animagus and renegade wizard, at your service."

"I remember you, Knight of Hogwarts," said the king gravely. "You were the one to rescue Severus Snape from my blade when I was still in the grip of Sauron's evil. I am in your debt. Without your bravery, things might well have come to an evil pass." Gobardon Agnen placed his hand over his heart in salute.

"You're welcome." Sirius bowed politely, blushing a little. "Never thought I'd be saving old Severus, that's for certain. Were you under the Imperius curse, then?"

"In a manner of speaking, yes. Your intervention gave me the time I needed to begin to regain my own mind and conscience. My liegeman Severus Snape is fortunate indeed to have such a loyal friend."

Sirius blushed even more and blinked at the same time. "Your liegeman? I think I'm missing part of the story." He looked at Harry, who shrugged and shook his head. "It's rather hard to keep up with all the news when you spend most of your day as a dog, I'm afraid."

"You also have a tale to relate, I deem," said the king with a smile. "Come and sit here with me, both of you, and tell me the story as you know it, and I shall tell you what I may to fill the gaps in your knowledge. The small people who live in this keep provide food and drink for humans and animals alike. Partake, and tell me what you know." He sat in a chair and gestured for Sirius and Harry to sit as well. On one of the side tables a steaming pot of tea and a tray of biscuits appeared. Evidently the house elves knew the king had taken up residence and were willing to supply his guests without much prompting.

Harry poured tea as Sirius spoke. "Where shall I begin? With the murders of James and Lilly Potter?" He sighed heavily and took a biscuit, breaking it carefully in two. "Voldemort was killing wizards and witches who opposed him before that, of course, but that's when everything began to unravel…"


For a long time they sat and spoke of the events of the past fifteen years. Much of the time the king simply listened to Sirius telling what he remembered of the rise of Voldemort, the struggle to defeat him, and his apparent death when he tried to kill the infant Harry. Now and then Gobardon Agnen would ask a question, drawing out more details from the wizard. Finally Sirius ended with the treachery of Peter Pettigrew, his own wrongful imprisonment for years in Azkaban, and his successful escape.

"Now I've been free for almost three years, although I'm still wanted by the Ministry of Magic for my supposed crimes. There's no chance of clearing my name until we get rid of Voldemort and remove all his sympathizers from places of power. Lately I've been staying here with Harry, posing as his dog. I'm afraid I've not been of much use in the fight against Voldemort, since I can't work out in the open as myself." Sirius rose and paced the room, his face reflecting frustration. "I don't mind dying in battle, but if they catch me, they'll give me to the Dementors." He shuddered.

"That is no fit ending for any being, regardless of their crimes," said the king, his face grave. "Nor would I wish you to spend your life needlessly. Your Headmaster is wise to hold you in reserve, Warrior Sirius."

Sirius laughed shortly, shaking his head. "Dumbledore doesn't spend his days as a dog. I feel pretty useless sometimes." He glanced at his godson and smiled wryly. "Not that I mind being able to keep an eye on Harry, but I want to be doing more."

"You have done far more than you realize." Gobardon Agnen raised a hand toward Harry. "You have helped provide a vital link to the past for your brother-son. Harry has benefited from your knowledge and strength." Harry nodded in agreement as the king went on. "And, by helping to save Severus Snape, you accelerated my return to humanity." Gobardon Agnen's smile was nearly as wry as the older wizard's. "Or at least what semblance of humanity I may retain after all these years. Still, it was a mighty deed, that rescue, and it has had far-reaching effects.

"Consider if you will that much of this past year Voldemort has concentrated upon wreaking revenge on his former servant Severus. Again and again he was baulked, by your efforts and mine. Now he knows he has a new enemy and his attention is perforce split. What will he do first? He wishes to slay all who have thwarted him. He wants to conquer and rule. But despite his efforts, Severus Snape is alive and well. I also am not slain, and I remain a menace of unknown capacity."

The king looked out the window into the deepening gloom of evening. Torches on the library walls began to flare to life, pushing back the night. "He cannot look weak before his vassals or they will begin to desert him. He will be driven to act sooner rather than late."

"Good." Sirius returned to stand before the king. "I hate being bored. I'm terrible at tactics. I wish this was all over, one way or another."

Gobardon Agnen smiled at Sirius, leaned forward, and gripped him by the shoulders. "You remind me of my lost comrade in arms, Herumor of Eldalondë. Be patient a little longer, soul-child of Huan. There will be battle soon, enough for everyone."

"Please don't get yourself killed, Sirius," Harry said. "You're practically the only family I've got left. That cares about me, anyway," he added with a worried frown.

Sirius reached out to muss up Harry's hair and chuckled. "Don't worry, Harry. I'm tougher than I look. I didn't survive all those years in Azkaban just to get killed by that overgrown snake."

Harry caught his wrist and held it tightly for a moment, green eyes intent. "I'll remember that."

"Sure." Sirius saw the evening darkness outside. "Time for dinner, I'd say. We'd better be getting back – me to Gryffindor and you to the Great Hall." Sirius eyed Gaearon where she lay sprawled on the floor. "Say, if you send her 'round after midnight, I'll do a patrol with her. She seems to know how to get about the Castle quite nicely."

The king nodded. "That I will do, Warrior Sirius." As Sirius once again took on his dog shape and the two wizards prepared to leave, he held up a hand. "Wait. I have almost forgotten the original reason I wished to see you, Squire Harry."

"Yes, your Majesty?" As Harry looked on curiously, the king rose and dug into an inner pocket of his robes, bringing out a handful of something that gleamed in the torchlight.

"Take these. For yourself, Squire Ron, and Shieldmaiden Hermione." Gobardon Agnen poured the silver stuff into Harry's cupped hands. "I will also prepare a somewhat smaller one for Warrior Sirius to wear on his collar if he wishes."

Harry stared. He held three flat disks of metal, each one about the size of a Galleon. Fine chains threaded through a hole in the upper edge of each disk formed a pendant necklace. They shone, brighter than silver. Gently he turned the disks over to look at the symbols etched on each side.

"What - what're these for, Sir?" The metal felt warm and smooth in his hands. "They're beautiful. I've never seen anything like them," he added.

"Severus Snape, Failivrin Indorion, and Tui O'Carolan are bound to my service and I am aware of their well-being. As you are not of an age to swear to me, I cannot feel if you are in danger as I can for those with whom I share the ties of fealty."

Gobardon Agnen reached to touch the disks gently. "These talismans are crafted of mithril, truesilver, from a necklace made by my foremothers for the protection of their children. It bears the ancient magic and virtue of Númenor. You and your comrades are my descendants. Through the ages, the bonds of blood still hold true." Lifting one of the necklaces, he looped the chain around Harry's neck and let the disk slide down inside his robe. "Wear this against your skin at all times. May the love of the mothers of my House protect you!"

Harry placed a hand over the disk where it rested against his breastbone. For an instant through the mists of time he could see a long line of women, dark-haired like himself, strong and tall. Their eyes were fierce, proud, and loving. He thought of the sacrifices of his own mother and spoke through the lump in his throat. "I will. Thank you." Placing the remaining two necklaces in a pocket, he left in haste, wiping his eyes on his sleeve as he ran for the Great Hall, Sirius bounding beside him.

Continued in the Chapter 3, Loëndë (Midyear's Day)

Endnotes

Diana - so glad you've enjoyed the stories so far. Sorry for the delay on this chapter, but hopefully it'll be worth the wait. Albus Dumbledore definitely is 'helping' everyone, that's for certain. Hopefully you will get to see Prof. Snape's face when his child finally arrives (I want to see his face, too!)

Stormrider - yes, there's definitely magic in music beyond the wizardry that is done at Hogwarts. Stay tuned for more music, coming next chapter. I dunno if Dumbledore would answer to 'Mithrandir', but he might have him as a drinking buddy. (Or he might answer to Pallando or Radagast?)

The Good Dr. Monaco - Hope this chapter answers the question about Gobardon Agnen finding what he sought. Glad you enjoyed the start of this new set of tales.

Aenjil Elf - sorry for the longer wait between chapters. I'm trying to get back on my weekly schedule.

Mary Anne - hope the wait was worth it! Yes, the Palantir is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands. I too think the king was smart to leave it where it is. Heh, I think Snape spends a lot of time not thinking about his elvishness. Too bad the situation sometimes demands that he face it. So glad you enjoyed the chapter. Harry is still in the thick of things right now.

Julie - got to have some humor in this tale or the author would explode. LOL. No, Hermione does not recognise the story in The Red Book, because in her universe it isn't a 'story', it's true history. So she just read it as something that happened in the long-ago past.

HeatherK - this chapter should answer your questions about the shiny thing the king found under the sea. Now all we have to do is find out if the stuff is useful.

Frank - I think elves don't 'show' till the last few months. It would ruin their svelte figures, you see. :-D Azra'mor would probably ask Gobardon to teleport him to your mare's stable if he could! Pretty horse, she is. He'd complement her, too - think really nice, correct warmblood with a dash of Arabian thrown in for fire. Trakheners come close, especially those with some TB and Arabian close up in the pedigree.

Finduilas - Glad you liked the chapter. Here's more.

Teresina Dragonwagon - I'm not sure how I 'do it', I just keep writing and it happens. :-) Shiny things are good.

Xatia - Welcome, so glad you've enjoyed the stories. And all reviews are gratefully accepted, even sparse reviews. I really hope Voldie doesn't get the palantir either. He'd really want it, if he knew it existed and it would cause extreme mayhem if not total disaster.

Jedi Skysong - Yep, Gobardon and Harry are related, some traits just breed true. Eregion has done good work as regards Snape's temper, I do believe. One slight advantage to being a Nazgul, to balance all the many drawbacks, is that they don't need to breathe to stay alive. This is nice for walking underwater, through stone, whatever. Of course, one's grasp on reality can be a bit dicey as a result, but oh well.

VladTepes - Yes, Hermione had to find the Red Book, it was fated to be so. She's going to read the whole thing, of course. :-) Hope your RL is going well. Mine is finally settling down a bit, so I can write again.

Lin - I'm grateful for any reviews, tardy or otherwise. :-) I haven't forgotten the 'Horseman' sequel - and I promised Yolanda I'd work on it soon. Heh, I'd bet Severus was dead asleep the night the king went wading and so was not open to visions. But Harry was, lucky lad! Harry is just now noticing the elvishness of Eregion and Severus because a) he's not quite so distracted by other dire events, and b) Severus is healthy enough Harry can compare what he sees to his prior memories of the Potions Master. Somethings you see things daily and then it finally clicks. Eregion did tell Harry she is an elf, I'm not sure if anyone really came right out and told him that Severus had been changed. Snapelet is due in September not long after school starts up.

Ozma - Gobardon didn't really want to go deep-sea exploring, but for what he needed, he felt it was worth the risk. He's definitely recovered a lot from his years of servitude to Sauron. Augh, a Palantir at Hogwarts!! Scary thought. Maybe only if kept by Dumbledore? I like to think Harry is maturing, so that sudden insight about how he and Severus annoy each other was one of those things. Hope this chapter answers a few of your questions. :-)

Stormrider - yes, the sea - or any water deep enough to cover them - is pretty scary to a being who is mostly transparent and not always corporeal. Hmm, I'm not sure if anyone has told Severus about Harry's visions in this set of stories. Guess you'll need to summon some of the Hounds of the Hunt to chivvy me along, I'm late with this and planning to do better with chapter three.

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).
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