1. Shattered Illusions
He promised us everything, and all of his promises had been naught but lies.
He came to our village on a stormy night five, nay, six moons ago. He was so tattered and forlorn we thought him to be an pitiful beggar in need of help. How were we to know we were being led like kids to the slaughter?
After plying him with what food and drink we could spare, he started to tell us about the men of Gondor and Rohan. He told us of their extravagant homes of gold and diamonds. He spoke of their many, many acres of corn and wheat. He described their cows and chickens who could not move for their bulk. I especially remember his tales of their vile deeds: how they snatched unsuspecting travelers on the border between our land and theirs, how they enslaved men and boys and forced them to labor under terrible conditions, and what they did to their wives and daughters in the depths of the night.
I, like many others in that room, felt anger bubbling deep within my belly. How dare those arrogant western men keep all those riches to themselves? How dare they maltreat our men and ravish our women? We all started to talk at once at the revelation of this knowledge.
He raised his hand for silence and told us what we must do to attain prosperity and revenge. Our villagers and all the other people of this land must band together for the warpath.
A stunned silence met his words. War? While the western men's crimes were certainly heinous, they surely were not enough to risk the lives of so many men.
But he continued to press us, his seductive voice spilling into our ears. And in the end, we gave in.
The robust men of our village left that very night. My three bold brothers, the youngest having only reached manhood a few weeks before that day, marched with them. I did not go for my leg had been crippled fighting in defense of our village the year before, but I recall how envious I was. They would battle for our noble people and gain glory and honor while I waited at home with the old, the sick, the young, and the women.
We spent the days after they departed waiting for them to return with victory light in their eyes and riches on their backs. We often dreamed of what we would do with our newly acquired wealth. Some dreamed of fine garb, lavish homes, and chests of jewelry. My dreams were of a practical nature. I wished for a house larger and better built than my drafty hut of crumbling mud brick, fertile land to grow enough food for my family to sell and eat, a small herd of cattle, a flock of chickens, and perhaps a few gifts for my family. A new gown for my fair wife Ritika. A silver flute for musical Gita. Some seeds and tools for gentle Kiri's flower garden. A colt for my young son Bharat.
Yet they did not come.
Soon, whispers were heard around the marketplace. Whispers of the wrath of the western lords. Whispers of malevolent demons employed by the western kings. Whispers of the horrific bloodshed. And last of all, whispers of the perished man we followed.
He lied to us. He had not been a charismatic wandering leader. He had been the cruelest demon of this world. A demon who delighted in the enslavement and torture of guiltless men. A demon who had been cursed by the gods. A demon whom we followed like foolish sheep.
He promised us everything. Now my brothers are gone, buried in foreign soil. Our lives are shattered beyond repair. Everything he had ever told us, everything we had ever believed in, had been naught but illusions
He promised us everything, and we all will suffer because of him.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.