Years passed. Was it really years? Khamul had difficulty believing that it was. Time flowed differently to her now. Before taking up the ring, time had been a precious, limited substance. Each drop of it was to be savored and enjoyed to the fullest. Now, it was something that she had in abundance. She could spend months, years, exploring the furthest reaches of Mordor without the slightest worry that she was drawing closer to death. Indeed, she had not aged in the slightest. She was still young, beautiful, and possessed of all her wits.
"I forgot," she said, walking into the war room one day, "what year is it?"
"Many years have passed," Vorea said, staring at an unfamiliar map. She looked quite grim, and Khamul examined the map over her shoulder.
"It must have been many years," she said. "I don't recognize any of those cities. Easterlings?"
"No," Vorea said. "Do you know what they call themselves?"
Khamul shook her head. "There's one in the north there," she said, tapping the map to the east of Lindon. "And then there's one…just across the Anduin. Damn! That's close! Are they friendly?"
"Time has passed strangely for us," Vorea said. "We have gathered our armies, bred more orcs, mass produced armor and weapons, but I fear there are others who have spent their time more wisely."
Khamul frowned. "What do you mean? The elves? Are they friends of that northern kingdom?"
"That northern kingdom is under the same rule as the southern kingdom," Vorea said. "Yes, they are friends of the elves. Gil-Galad considers the ruler a personal friend of his."
Khamul sighed. "We are ready though," she snarled. "We are ready."
"We are ready," Vorea agreed.
"Who is the king of these enormous realms?"
"Elendil," Vorea said.
"Yes, it is he. He spends his time in Annuminas, the capital of the northern kingdom," Vorea said, gesturing to a small dot in the north. "His sons manage the land down here, though Isildur prefers the north. Arnor, it is called. And in the south is Gondor."
"Where is Isildur now?" Khamul asked.
"I do not know. Orcs make poor spies."
"What are all these cities? Damn! These years have been slipping by like water!"
"I know what you mean," Vorea said. "But the Numenoreans are very clever. They have been hiding the development of their cities quite cunningly. At first we thought it was just larger settlements and paid them no heed. The northern one took shape first, and as Gondor was being built up, a mighty army came out of the north to defend them against our raids."
"A mighty army?"
Vorea nodded. "At least three thousand. Reinforced with elves."
"So Elendil is in the north," Khamul said, "and he's sent his whole army? into the south here?"
"Not his whole army," Vorea said. "Less than half."
"Less than half," Khamul muttered.
"And he is gaining more every day."
"And how many orcs do we have?"
"Thirty thousand," Vorea said. "If you rally the Haradrim, we might be able to rout them."
"Numenoreans are good fighters, I take it," Khamul said. "If it takes such a large army for you to consider that we might win."
"They have Gil-Galad and the elves as well," Vorea said. "He commands easily ten thousand. And I fear we have badly underestimated Elendil's force."
"What about the dwarves?"
Vorea shook her head. "They have locked themselves in Khazad-Dum and refuse entry to all."
"Good," Khamul said. "Now…we need some more allies."
"We capture trolls occasionally," Vorea said. "There are perhaps five hundred of them by now."
"Not nearly enough. Ogres?"
"Morion is leading an expedition to recruit a band that have been terrorizing the east. If they joined us we would have nearly a thousand."
"We still need more," Khamul said. "Likely we outnumber the enemy, but a single elf can take out a dozen orcs."
"Unless they are overwhelmed and dragged down by the sheer numbers," Vorea pointed out.
"Yes, that's true," Khamul said. "Strange, isn't it? We lose more warriors per elf when we have less than when we have more."
"Do you have any suggestions?" Vorea asked.
"They're getting very strong. We need to crush them now before they can get stronger."
"How do you propose to do that?"
"What's that city?" Khamul asked, pointing to a small dot near the pass of Cirith Ungol.
"Minas Ithil," Vorea said. "That is Isildur's city. The capital of Gondor is Osgiliath, which straddles the Anduin, and built into the living rock of Mindolluin is Minas Anor, home of Anarion."
"We're going to take Minas Ithil," Khamul said.
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.