26. Chapter 26:Khamul
Notes: Thank you as always to reviewers. It makes a difference to get review so thank you - keeps us writers going.
Disclaimer: All Tolkien's except the twisted plot!
Warnings: none for this chapter- a bit of horror maybe.
Beta: the incomparable and wonderful Anarithilien, whose generosity is boundless.
Quick recap: Elrohir's plan was to lure the Nazgul to him so he could tell them Merry had the Ring. He hoped to protect Legolas this way without revealing to Gandalf that the Nazgul had tempted him. However the Nazgul attacked Legolas first before Elrohir and cut his spirit from his body with a morgul blade. Khamul gave Elrohir the ring of Angmar and told him he could remake Legolas whole, but that he would give Elrohir only until nightfall before they would hunt Legolas' spirit down and devour him. Gandalf, Elladan and Gimli rode to the rescue. In their brief reunion, Elladan asked Elrohir if he touched their mother and Elrohir confessed that he watched. But night has fallen and the Nazgul now hunt.
Chapter 26: Khamul
The Nazgul swept through the air above them, the wings of their foul basilisks pounded the wind in the wake of Shadowfax and Arod. Elladan charged after them, suppressing the doubt, the horror, steeling himself against the lurking fury he felt at his brother's admission. He had watched! Oh, he had not touched her, but he had stood and watched...Elladan shook his head as if he could rid himself of the images, the feelings, the horror of it, and tightened his grip upon the reins of Baragûr. The black horse leaned against the bit and flattened into a gallop while his rider bit down on his own anger, clenched his fists, wanting to draw his sword ringing from its sheath and drive it through the traitor who galloped ahead of him. He clenched his teeth instead and dug his heels into Baragûr's sides and the black horse charged along after the fell beasts.
Baragûr suddenly propped and shied, almost driving into the other black horse for Elrohir had abruptly halted and stood staring ahead of him. Elladan reined in alongside and his eyes grew wide and alarmed. Ahead of them, a huge bank of grey fog rolled and billowed, and of Gandalf or Gimli there was no sign. It was as though the fog had swallowed them. The brothers were no strangers to dark sorcery for in their errantry they had encountered Shadow in many forms and their black horses stood alert, heads up and nostrils wide, though the mist crept forwards and licked around their legs. Barakhir snorted and danced a little, shaking his head.
Elrohir turned to Elladan and said quietly, 'This is no natural mist. This is the work of the Nazgul.'
Elladan glanced at him, barely quelling his disgust, fighting with his fury. This was his brother who had stood and watched their mother's rape. He swallowed hard and bit his tongue, aware of the irony even as he said, 'They seek to drive us apart.'
Baragûr circled nervously, fretting at the silver bit, and though the horses were elven steeds and bred in Imladris, they could not help but fear the mist that curled about them, that felt like cold fingers creeping.
Elladan felt a strange prickling in his thumbs, and fingertips, and he found his hand had crept towards the pocket of his tunic. He stopped, wondering. What was there? A perfect round shape pressed against his breast and he remembered picking it up from the forest floor and thinking how strange that such a thing came to be there, out in the wilds. Old gold set with a dull red jewel. Dropped by some long dead Gondorian lord when hunting perchance.
Suddenly above and just behind them came a hoarse cawing, huge leathery wings hissed, and a dark shadow swooped over them, clawing at Elladan. He threw himself low and Baragûr swerved and half-reared in terror as the Nazgul's fell beast hurtled over them and into the banked fog. Elladan stared after it, breathing hard, soothing the horse gently but he felt its trembling and he took his feet from the stirrups and slid down.
'We must leave the horses here, beneath those trees where they will be safe. I dare not take him into that mist with these monsters flying,' he told Elrohir, whose own horse was snorting and unsettled.
Elrohir had already dismounted by the time he finished speaking. 'It will be easier to fight on our own feet,' he agreed. He patted his own black horse and sent him off into the trees for shelter.
The brothers stood together for a moment, looking at the billowing grey bank of fog. Elladan steeled his heart, and again he fought down the bile that rose in his throat and mouth at the thought of his brother standing there, while their mother...
'...They are wary of Aicánaro.' Elrohir was saying and Elladan swallowed hard, gripping his own sword.
'With good reason,' he ground the words out, and it sounded as if they came from far away. 'Wrought with magic as he is, I was never easy that you had taken him but now I am glad...'
And then, oblivious, Elrohir was walking forwards, so confident that Elladan was with him. His dark sword gleamed dully in his hand as he walked into the mist.
For a moment Elladan hestiated, but this was for Legolas who had been wronged by his brother, and for Gimli who stood so firmly beside an Elf. So he drew his own pure frost-white blade and followed his brother.
The fog thickened around him, drifting into ghoulish shapes, long gnarled fingers, tendrils; it clung to him and caught in his hair, threaded its way beneath his clothes and slicked against his skin. When he breathed, the air was oily, it felt corrupting somehow. Elladan shuddered. The mist billowed stealthily, its white folds dissipated and then twisted into insusbstantial ghouls.... it caught in his throat as he breathed. Like oil, like he was suffocating, he could not breathe.
He heard a rasp of steel and turned, blood thundering in his ears, in his chest, breath in short, quick gasps.
'Elrohir?' he barely whispered, just wanting to hear another voice.
'It is I,' came the reply, but Elrohir's voice was strained and Elladan wondered if he sounded the same.
Suddenly he felt a cold wind and his hair was blown back. He ducked, dragging Elrohir with him and the air beat around them. A rancid stink, warm and salty like rotting meat, hit him and the half-formed creature screamed as it passed. A talon raked his scalp. The brothers crouched low, eyes wide and staring upwards, swords held ready to plunge into the creature's belly should it pass so low again and Elladan cursed that he had no bow for the creature wheeled and sailed above them for a moment before plunging again into the fog.
A Nazgul's thin wail sounded above them and faded into the distance. He could hear his own breath fast and loud and his heart beat, blood thumped.
Suddenly there was a terrified whinny. A horse. And then a shout of outrage and pain.
'That was Gimli.' Elrohir stood straight, staring after the huge winged beasts .
Elladan drew upright and stood with him peering into the fog. 'Can you tell where it came from?' he asked.
They could see nothing and the fog swayed and merged and clung closer to them, so cold drops misted their skin, their hair, their clothes. A cold, perfect circle pressed against his breast and he thought of their mother, alone in that terrible place, while Elrohir leered and watched...He found his hand gripping his sword pommel so hard his fingertips prickled and his thumbs almost hurt with tingling.
A darkness loomed in front of him suddenly from the mist and he felt his throat stick, his hair lifted on end. 'There!' he whispered hoarsely and he could sense them again, a cold presence stalking, unhurried.
'Before you or to the side?' he heard Elrohir whisper back.
'Is it still there?'
He peered into the gloom, straining his eyes, his ears. The mist moved slightly and darkness shadowed it. 'Yes,' he said.
Suddenly from far away, he heard a distant shout from Gandalf and then Shadowfax whinnied tremulously. There was a burst of light, steel clashing and a horrible mix of the winged beast's hoarse cawing and the Nazgul's ear-piercing scream. And then another joined it. The brothers listened, horrified.
'Be strong, Elladan,' he heard Elrohir whisper as though he could hear his heart pound. 'Your sword is bright and thirsty.'
He nodded though he knew Elrohir could not see him. He felt his brother tense and he stepped into the mist, and vanished from Elladan's sight.
'Wait!' he cried and he reached out to catch his brother's arm but too late and his hands closed on mist.
There was a clash of steel, he heard Elrohir shout a challenge and then a curse.
His nerves jangled. He peered through the fog, searching for his brother, terrified of what he might hear, what he might find. For the first time in an age, he felt afraid. Not of death. Not of being wounded. Just...fear. Like an animal that is cornered, hunted. The inevitable waiting...he had seen it in the eyes of those he had killed, and those that thought they would be killed...
He blinked. Fear. It is just fear, he reminded himself, though he recoiled from the thought of suffocation which was his own horror, and clasped his sword instead, letting his senses ease out from his own body and slide into the clammy mist..
Just fear, he told himself again, deliberately calm. Think. Feel....He felt a cold circle against his chest, and the image of the iron-dark fortress floated in his mind, a darkness pressed against his will, cold tendrils crept down his spine...and he felt their awareness shift towards him, felt their reach....
'Elrohir!' he whispered, peering into the gloom, knowing as he did so that his brother was out there and a Nazgul hid in the folds of the mist. He moved a little to his left, not wanting to go far in case Elrohir returned but knowing he had betrayed his own postition.
Slowly, he eased his way through the smothering mist, breathless with fear, sword held before him. He let his senses ease out once more and was aware that the Nazgul paced alongside, not far. He held onto his heart, resisting the urge to run, to flee, to fight his way from this smothering suffocation, wanting to breathe the air, feel the wind...clammy tendrils snaked up his limbs and weighed him down.
A hiss of cold breath ghosted over his cheek. He froze momentarily and then threw himself back, felt the graze of a steel blade and instinctively rolled away and up onto his feet. He came up, crouched and ready to lunge but there was nothing, only the clammy mist. Elladan glanced behind him briefly, knowing the wraiths were close, tracking him and in that moment of inattention, something lunged out of the mist, a blunt reptilian head, jaws split wide and gaping, fangs and a stink of rancid breath blasted him, like rotting meat as the jaws snapped shut close, too close beside his head. He scythed his blade upwards and he was spattered with blood. An ear-splitting shriek pierced the air and the huge reptilian shape shuffled back, waving its head and snarling, lumbering away. Wounded, not killed. More dangerous now in its pain.
Liquid dark dripped from his blade and he stared down at it, heart pounding, blood thumping in his veins. The mist curled around his feet, knees, slid up his thighs and coiled around him...its cold tendrils seemed almost alive. He stepped back as if he could escape its coils.
It reminded him of the close horror of the Orc den where they had found their mother... the sense of evil pressing close, beneath his skin. The stench of dried blood and bones, and putrefying meat was the same as the foul stink of those corrupted, half-formed beasts. The darkness seemed thicker than air, like viscous liquid, like thick water- oil perhaps… like the oily suffocating smog...and he remembered that Elrohir had watched. He had watched their mother...
Sudden hot anger and fury blazed through his blood. He had stood and watched! and Elladan could not stop…he screamed a curse and swung his sword in a wide arc through the white fog, which merely slipped around the blade that could cut silk. Shouting, throwing his pulsing senses into the suffocating fog, blistering it with his rage. A blade clashed against his and he forced it back and slashed low, felt it sink into flesh. Triumphantly he shouted and lunged forwards again, slashing his blade against another that matched him, yielded a little, said something...a cry and he felt a warm shape stumble against him.
'Elrohir!' With horror he realised what he had done, felt Elrohir sink against him and clasped him.
'It is all right. Only a scratch,' Elrohir said quietly. He stilled and lay his hand on Elladan's arm to quiet him. 'Are you injured?' he heard Elrohir ask him. He shook his head and then remembered.
'No. You?' he asked breathlessly.
'Was that the Nazgul's beast screaming?'
'Yes. Is its rider still before you?'
'No.' Quietly. And then even more quietly, 'It is as you said....they are wary of Aicánaro.'
Then Elrohir whispered, 'On guard, brother!'
Elladan leapt up and felt Elrohir struggle to his feet. They stood back to back and he felt his brother's warmth at his back. He felt a surge of emotion; love and disgust and anger. But no time for that now, he told himself and clenched his teeth against it.
'How many of them are here?' Elrohir asked over his shoulder and wrenched Elladan back to the present.
Elladan blinked slowly, letting his senses ease out into the fog. 'There is one close by...very close. Its mount is also out there.' He paused, letting himself calm, letting his blood settle the better to fight. He felt their presence...felt the cold creep into his bones and knew they were close. 'Two of the brethren are with the Zigûrun...' he said softly and his hand crept over his breast. The iron fortress again in his mind, hidden amongst the black mountain in the cold north, strong, and old...
He felt Elrohir shift against him and felt his hand on his shouder. 'What say you, brother? You speak strangely. Do the Nazgul infest your mind?'
Elladan blinked again, and wondered if he was right. He could feel them, their cold presence drifting, searching... they scented the trail like hounds. He forced himself back to himself, to inhabit his own skin and it felt strange to feel the blood bang in his veins, the stretch of sinew and muscle.
'Where did you go?' he said instead of answering his brother's question and though he tried to listen to the answer, he could not focus, but instead watched the dark shadows that crept closer, hidden to all others in the fog, but he could see them, he could see the red fire burning in them...could smell the hunger in their empty, sunken bellies, could see the starvation in their spirits and how they wanted the light of the nimir that fled before them...ah...so...close....
'...I did not find him.' Elrohir was speaking and he had not heard, did not know what he spoke of...but he felt his fingers twitch. 'I came back when I knew you were not with me.' Elrohir paused and Elldan felt him stiffen, listening and he too became still, listening, feeling the currents of air swirl and eddy, peering out into the mist.
'We must find them...Gandalf and Gimli...Legolas...' he seemed to choke on the name and Elladan remembered the last time he had seen them both, Elrohir's terrible assault on the Mirkwood Elf, his sexualised aggression. 'We cannot stay here.' Elrohir was saying and he reached back to grasp Elladan's sleeve. Elladan recoiled at the touch...he did not want that...
'I saw a flash over there,' Elrohir spoke on, oblivious to his brother's thoughts.
But then he always was, an unkind voice in Elladan's head spoke, cold and bitter.
'I think it must be Gandalf...' Elrohir quickened his steps, tugging at Elladan. 'Did you hear that? That is swords clashing. And someone is shouting. There! Horses too. Hold onto me this time.' Elrohir grabbed his sleeve and pulled him into the fog. It seemed to huddle closer to them, wrapping itself around them, coiling about them. The huge dark shapes circled in the mist overhead.
Elladan closed his eyes briefly, calmed his thundering heart and followed his brother. And then...he felt a hard cold hunger tracking them and then a nerve-shattering sneer against his mind. Close. The air moved slightly.
Instantly he stepped back and swung his blade out into the fog. Clashing steel met steel and slid off. He spun round on one foot and lashed out with his other. It caught on something solid, metal not flesh; he did not think, but charged, whirling the sword in both hands before him. It caught again on steel and he wrestled with it, the blade sliding up to the pommel of his own sword and he heard a hissing, felt cold breath on his cheek and suddenly, all his strength leeched slowly from his arms as he fought. The unclean air clamped over his mouth, damped in his lungs and he gasped for air...and then suddenly he pulled away and could breathe. Panting he swept his sword out in front of him... nothing.
He stepped back and dropped into a guard postion, breathing hard and frowning in concentration. He must resist. He was Elladan Elrondion, of the house of Earendil and Luthien. With effort, he lifted his sword, aware of how his muscles burned and strained, how heavy the sword was, how tired he was. He blinked and shook his head.
There was a strange pulse of warmth at his breast. He glanced down, wondering. And then lifted one hand to brush against it. For a moment when he looked up, he thought he saw through the mist an unearthly red luminescence, thinly shrouded in black cloth... he smelled the cold hunger ...Khamul.
Weakling! he thought with contempt...And he frowned, surprised at himself.
The Ringwraith halted abruptly as though he had heard the words spoken. Then slowly the Nazgul turned and faced Elladan triumphantly. He took a step forwards, towards him.
Old power. Old strength. Old and vain.
Khamul. He knew this was Khamul, but did not know how he knew...
The Nazgul paused and its hood turned towards the elf,, his great broadsword in his hand but not raised to strike. A low hiss. Vain and ...dead... Nine we were and now we are eight. You are not Rávëyon... It turned away and stalked into the mist leaving a fading sneer. You are nothing.
Elladan let his hand drop to his side and leaned on his sword briefly. He took a breath of the clammy air and it slipped down his throat, into his nostrils, around his face...Khamul hunted, he desired the light more than Morgoth desired the silmarils...it had always weakened him amongst the bretheren.
Elladan paused but he felt...something...in himself that had been growing, an awareness more than a presence...He pushed forwards through the fog, and now, strangely, it broke and dissipated before him and rolled back behind him. Sword sheathed for somehow he felt he no longer needed it, and in his veins was an old power, a cold alien strength that noticed an emptiness where an iron crown should be, that felt the throb of blood in veins and stretched his sinew, muscle...It was not chance that led him to Gimli therefore, but the strange alien awareness, the old power that brought him to where the dwarf lay, knowing that the ghost would return to his friend's side, would not abandon him.
Gimli lay face down on the hard cold ground, his body twisted at an unnatural angle. The Rohan horse stood trembling nearby but it did not bolt. Of course, thought Elladan. The ghost knelt over the dwarf, a light of pale green leaves pouring off him and tiny sparks seemed to drift from him into the cold air, his long hair floated around him as if he were in a warm sunlit pool and his hands brushed uselessly against the dwarf as if it could awaken him. Elladan was suddenly moved, and stepped towards the ghost, reaching out again, wanting to catch him up and hold him safe.
But as he reached, something in his tunic shifted, the old ring, and it weighed him down. Cold drew down his skin, and he shuddered. His fingers brushed the cold ring in his tunic pocket. Darkness loomed slowly around him, like a cloak, like his own shadow it reached around and above him and his limbs slowed even more. He stood over the kneeling ghost, and it looked up at him in fear. It shrank away, lifting its hands as if if to ward him off. He thought he would feel pity but instead, an unfamilar lust coursed through his veins.
He reached out again towards the ghost and caught its edge on his fingertips. He knew instantly the nimir's plan; it had seemed to flee before the brethren, and it took them away from where this one lay, tricked them as it always had under the dark eaves of Agannâlo...it had lured them away from the tamar-urud, the dwarf, that lay twisted on the ground but was not dead, for he could smell the blood. He scooped a little of the nimir's light to himself and the sensation was of standing near a warm fire and letting the heat soak into his skin. He opened his eyes and looked, and it was like he had never seen before with such clarity, with such keeness of sight.
The cold iron circle at his breast surged power through his veins and he curled his fingers and drew the nimir closer...this would make him strong. Cold power, old strength would return. The nimir could not resist and though it fought him with all it had left, he brought it closer and then he reached for it once more...
'Elladan!' He felt something crash into him and his feet were swept from under him and he was on his back. He rolled and leapt to his feet, pulling his frost-white blade in one smooth move and two-handed swept it down on his assailant. Elrohir! Without pause he slashed downwards but black Aicánaro clanged against him and strong arms shoved him back.
'What are you doing?' his brother shouted.
'What I should have done before!' Elladan snarled and a rage entered his heart as he had never felt in all his long life. Even in slaying the orcs of the mountain who had raped his beloved, gentle mother he had not felt the keen edge of his hatred as he did for his brother now. Because he realised he hated Elrohir. Hated him! For standing and watching! For lying! For letting him guard him, for standing with him at his back, but having stood and watched!
He raised his sword and brought it down again, this time forcing Elrohir down to his knees. He knew his brother was tired, could feel his exhaustion for he had fought the Nazgul and brought the ghost down the mountain. He lifted his own sword again and smashed it down against Aicánaro with all his might, shouting into the air as he did.
'You watched! You stood and watched!' And the metal against metal shuddered and scraped. And then suddenly he was above Elrohir and he did not care that he sliced his blade against the dark sword, driving past his brother's guard, wrestling him to thrust his blade into his brother's treacherous heart. Elrohir managed to struggle to his knees and shoved Elladan so he staggered back.
'Kill me then!' Elrohir shouted and Elladan leapt forwards gladly, grasping his brother by his throat. 'I deserve it! Kill me and put me out of my despair and misery. Only save Legolas and Gimli' he pleaded, 'and I will gladly kneel before you so you may take my life!'
He stood astride his brother and holding with one hand his throat and in the other his sword poised to pierce his brother through. He paused and stared. A pale green glow enveloped Elladan then and he thought he could smell meadowgrass and hay, thought of shady woods and cool streams over granite boulders... He cried out and pushed Elrohir away. What madness had possessed him?
He threw his sword to the ground in horror and stepped back, covering his eyes with his hands and moaned.
A hiss of laughter like old bones and gristle. So you have lost, Rávëyon...I will have your nûph zirân at last.
Elladan spun round to see Khamul emerge from the mist, and as the Nazgul strode towards the dwarf it raised its hand slightly, almost casually. A terrible fear clutched at Elladan and the mist coiled about him and slowly, slowly clamped over his mouth once more so he fought for breath, could not move, could only watch as the Nazgul turned away, as if the sons of Elrond no longer counted. In its gauntletted hand it held a cold blade and it drew close to the dwarf. The ghost looked up in fear, scuttling back away from the approaching wraith but it could not bring itself to leave the dwarf completely and its hand clutched the dwarf's as if somehow it could protect him.
You thought to trick me again but this is not Agannâlo. Did you think Rávëyon would save you? Look at him! He is nothing. He is cast about by my own spell now and will not help you... No one will.
The Nazgul stood over the Dwarf, its thin black shroud lifted slightly in the breeze, looking down at where the ghost cringed in fear but would not leave.
I knew you would come here though you sought to draw me away. Zirân! Do you see how easy you are to defeat? Such power I have over you because you love... A scrape of steel as the Nazgul drew its broadsword and lay it across Gimli's pulsing throat. It raised its head and scented the air, like a predator. Ah... smell the blood...it squeezes through the veins...
The thin ghost bowed its head in resignation then and the Nazgul beckoned, its contempt dripped like poison. Love after all, is why you are still here. It is why the sea calls your restless heart.. because he asked you, Elessar... knowing what he knew, knowing Pelargir was near enough the sea. He still asked you and you, like an obedient dog, you followed him and have lost ...everything.
Elladan could not move, he felt his lungs heaving as the damp air slid into his throat and lungs and there was not enough air to breathe, he clutched his chest, his throat, suffocating while the wraith drew the ghost inexorably towards itself, extended again its mail-clad hand with its iron talons and beckoned once more.
Now. Come to me, yôzâira. Yield for I know you too well, nimir. If I take him now, he will never sleep in the Halls of Mazarbul and his story will be lost.
It leaned forwards a little as if to reach out to the ghost, as if it could taste it.
Yield. I hunger.
Lasciviously the Nazgul shifted towards the ghost and held out its cold hand like a lover.
The ghost let its head drop and it seemed to slump and then slowly, reluctantly, it drew closer to the Dwarf.
Yield to me your sweet tender light, or I will spare him nothing.
The ghost paused and looked at the sons of Elrond for a moment, Elladan heard Elrohir give a cry and the ghost raised its head defiantly and took a step that brought it within grasp of the Nazgul.
And then suddenly Elrohir leapt forwards, ripping his shirt open, baring his chest.'Take me instead! You swore to me, Khamul!' he cried, and his voice trembled with desperation. 'You swore to me you would give him to me! He is my prize!'
Elrohir threw himself to his knees before the Nazgul, his chest bared and head thrown back so his long black hair streamed behind him, but the Nazgul was merely amused.
Your prize? But you had to take him and you could not...You are not what we thought. Your promises are empty... Come look upon what I would have given you.
The Nazgul passed an iron clawed hand before Elrohir and he stopped, stunned. For a long moment it seemed to Elladan that his brother was seeing something else, something he could not. He saw the stiffening of his brother's limbs, his eyes wide and dilated, the quickness fo his breath and then a voice grated nearby...at his shoulder so close he felt its breath on his ear.
Do you know what he sees? He stood and watched...he watched and he dreams of it... But he does not want to only watch this time.. look...'
And the mist seemed to whirl about the ghost and merge with it, to pool and form an image... he saw a figure bound before him, long golden hair, yellow like sunshine, it swept down against the lean form and a darkness stood behind it..hands roaming over the bound form so it cried out in fear...
'No!' It was Elrohir who cried out. Instantly the Nazgul's sword pressed so there was a thin trickle of blood from Gimli's throat. Elrohir fell forwards submissively onto his hands and his hair hung around him, hiding him. 'Take me instead!'
Elladan reeled back in horror. No. Surely it could not be? Elrohir could never have made some sort of pact with the Nazgul. It could not be! And Legolas was the prize...he felt bile in his throat and again, as his fingers flew to his face, he brushed the cold ring and it pulsed, warmed him, spoke to him of power. He could stop this now if he wished. He could end that miserable life. He could make Elrohir yield. He could take back Legolas and heal him. He could...
He stopped, realising that somehow he had brought the cold ring from his tunic and it was poised on his finger. He stared. And then, with a terrible understanding, he knew this was a great evil he had brought with him. It had power to corrupt him. He knew its smell. He knew its taint of darkness and knew Khamul too, had felt it.
For Khamul turned and looked him in the eye and Elladan felt his heart quail. It knew he had the ring...Angmar...he knew then. And it was not for him but Elrohir. Elldan had glimpsed it on the ground amongst the fallen pine needles and leaves when he had embraced Elrohir. He had picked it up unthinking and knew now it had its own glamour and had worked upon him unknowing.
Mockingly, knowingly, the Nazgul tilted its head to one side in a horribly familiar gesture.
'I will beg!' cried Elrohir and he shuffled forwards as if to clutch the Nazgul round its knees.
With utter contempt, Khamul lifted a mail-clad foot and slowly pushed Elrohir away like he was some cur. Elrohir fell weeping to the ground, hopeless and ashamed and curled up useless and beaten, submissive to the Nazgul's dreadful will, dark-bladed Aicánaro clutched quiet in his hand.
You both disappoint me. But you will learn when you are with me in the shadows...
The Nazgul turned back to Legolas' ghost, and sighed with longing and hunger.
And suddenly the Nazgul plunged its taloned claw into the poor ghost's chest and twisted deeply. Legolas' ghost arched and writhed, impaled on the Nazgul's iron-clad fist, clutching ineffectually at the Nazgul's iron grip that tore into him, wrenched his heart. The ghost's pale green light, the light that had been like sunlight through young beech leaves, dimmed, bled at the edges, seared, singed, curled like burning paper. The Nazgul threw back its head in ecstasy and dug deeper, its fist wrenched and twisted in the ghost's chest and it writhed and struggled on the iron stake of the Nazgul's fist. There was no sound but Elladan distantly felt the Song tear and shred in the mute screaming.
You thought you would escape me, Yôzâira , Khamul panted, sneering. Ah, I have longed for this moment; sweet is your flesh, your fire young and fierce but so tender...I would that Azgarâzir could see you thus. It would break his heart ...'
And then suddenly there was a blur of movement, Elrohir had lunged upwards, sword stabbing through the thin black shroud. A high-pitched screeching began that was the Nazgul's pain and Elladan could move. He charged forwards with his sword held aloft and brought it heavily down on the Nazgul's iron helm even as Elrohir's dark bladed Aicánaro drove deeply, but the Nazgul was already beating into crumpled iron, shrivelling beneath its thin black shroud, battered by time it had held at bay with its dark sorcery now undone by dark Aicánaro. A terible thin screaming ripped into Elladan's ears and he almost dropped his sword but dared not, stabbing and stabbing again though he knew it was the dark blade of Westernesse that had destroyed the Nazgul, taken from the lost hoard so long ago and reforged to fit another hand, wrought about by dark magic and sorcery even as the Nazgul themselves...
Words screamed and echoed in the minds of the brothers but there was nothing now that could speak them...Elldan's frost-white sword clanged against the Nazgul's beaten, empty armour and it reeled and slowly toppled. Something small and round spun in the empty air and then dropped heavily to the ground.
The word hung for a moment in the air and then disspiated and with it, the mist. There was a horrible high-pitched shrieking and huge reptilian wings beat the air into a pounding wind around them Elladan felt his hair pulled back in the wind and he fell on his knees beside his brother. He could not look at him but bowed his own head for his own shame.
(The Nazgul would have spoken Adunaic, either as Men of Numenor themselves or by mixing with Men of Numenor they would have acquired these words to describe things they had not encountered in their own lands. For example, Elves and Wizards were not encountered by Khamul before he came into the service of Sauron.)
Zigûrun Adunaic for Wizard, as distinct from wise-man. User of invoked force, magic rather than wisdom or natural magic.
nimir- shining one. Numenor called the Elves nimir. Even more so in the case of a dispossessed ghost such as Legolas has become.
tamar- urud - A variaition of Adnunaic from Angmar's region, meaning mountain- smith (literally) or dwarf.
zirân – fool
nûph zirân - beloved fool
yôzâira – gift of longing. This is what the Nazgul called Legolas to Elrohir - his yôzâira
Agannâlo – Nazgul's name for Mirkwood. Literally death-shadow.
Azgarâzir –The Nazgul's name for Thranduil, whom they hate more than any Elf alive.
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