17. Battle for Weathertop
"By order of the king, the lord of these lands must surrender all power to Arthedain!" the herald told the horseman, disguising his terror as best he could.
"By what right?" the horseman asked.
"By the right of King Argeleb, son of Malvegil, the Valar rest his soul," the herald said. "The line of the Dunedain has died out in Rhudaur, and so they must accept the rule of King Argeleb, heir of Elendil, High King of Arnor!"
The horseman scoffed. "Rhudaur refuses to accept Argeleb as its king," they said. "Return to your master and tell him as much."
"He will declare war!"
"Then let us have war!" the horseman snarled. The horse reared threateningly and the herald sped away back toward Arthedain.
Khamul chuckled to herself as she watched the herald flee. It was a good year, she decided. Rhudaur was theirs, Cardolan was soon to fall as well, and Arthedain was all in an uproar. Yes, there would be a battle soon, but it was a battle that they were sure to win.
Returning to Angmar, Khamul passed by the capital of Rhudaur, admiring the banners they now flew. Not Arnor, she thought, but Angmar. And no one has even guessed who's behind it.
As she walked through the fortress, Khamul found herself whistling. It was a rare indeed when she was in this good of a mood. Destroying Rhudaur must've made me happier than I thought, she mused.
"You sound pleased indeed, great lady," a small maid said. All the other servants had scattered when Khamul had appeared, save for this one alone.
"Rhudaur has fallen and Argeleb's about to do something momentously stupid," Khamul said. "I can smell battle as surely as I can smell Arthedain's defeat."
"You sound most confident, my lady," the maid said. "I know it is well-deserved."
Khamul shrugged. "What do you care?" she asked. "You're just a maid, nothing more."
"Ah, but someday I shall rise, my lady," the maid said. "Perhaps even to fight along your side."
Khamul's eyes narrowed. This was a bold maid indeed, she thought. "Do you have some skill with the sword?"
"No, my lady, but I would like it very much if you would teach me some," the maid said eagerly.
"Very well then," Khamul said, nodding. After all, why not? The maid was a loyal servant of Angmar, and Angmar was going to need all the soldiers they could get for the upcoming war.
"You're getting good at this," Khamul commented as she and the maid sparred in the courtyard.
"You are too kind, great lady," the maid, Cala, said. "I am a mere novice compared to you."
"You've learned much," Khamul said, smiling. She took great pride in watching her apprentice slowly become a fine swordswoman.
"So sorry to interrupt," Aica said, walking into the courtyard. "Morion wants to see you," she said to Khamul.
"We'll be attacking a fortress called Amon Sul in a few days," Aica said. "Apparently the king himself is there."
"And no doubt you want to be the one to kill him," Khamul said. "Anarion and his heirs are yours to kill. Isildur and his descendents are mine."
"You can't have a monopoly on the slaughter of royalty," Aica snapped.
"We'll see who kills him then, shall we?" Khamul asked.
"Yes, we will," Aica said. "Who's that anyway?" she asked, gesturing at Cala.
"Her name is Cala," Khamul said. "She used to be a maid, and now I am teaching her how to fight."
Aica snorted. "What for?" she asked.
"We can always use more skilled soldiers," Khamul said.
Aica shrugged and walked off.
"Pardon me, my lady, but I have little love for her," Cala said.
"Neither have I," Khamul growled.
With Cala at her right hand, Khamul, Morion, and Vorea rode off from Angmar to the great fortress of Amon Sul, called Weathertop.
"If we take the fortress," Morion explained, "then the Weather Hills are ours."
"And that's good," Khamul said, nodding, but failing to understanding the significance.
"That means we can take Cardolan with less difficulty," Morion explained.
"I see you don't say 'with ease', just 'with less difficulty'."
"The blood of the Dunedain is weak in Cardolan, but the people there are strong. They have no love of us; they will put up a fight."
"And we'll crush them. It's as simple as that."
Morion nodded, but did not answer. Instead, he gazed ahead, frowning.
"What is it?" Khamul asked, standing up in her stirrups to get a better look.
"I can see Amon Sul. It is poorly fortified."
"What are you talking about?" Khamul snapped. "They wouldn't be such idiots."
"It seems weak," Morion said. "I do not think they have kept up with repairs through the ages."
"I don't trust them," Khamul said. "By all accounts this Argeleb is a slippery fellow. How do we know he isn't tricking us?"
"We don't. Still…it seems strange."
"Let's just attack. Then we'll see what kind of surprise he's got planned for us. Who knows? We might have one or two up our sleeves."
Morion smiled. "I think I just might," he said.
The order was given to attack and the orcs surged forward, howling bloody murder and baring their fangs.
"Disgusting creatures," Cala commented.
"Quite," Khamul agreed. "Still, useful."
A barrage of arrows scythed through the first ranks of orcs, killing hundreds.
"Ah," Morion muttered. "They've got archers stationed in the brush around the fortress. Clever, Argeleb, very clever. But I fear it is fall."
"What?" Khamul asked, glancing at the chief ringbearer in puzzlement. "Fall? The season? What does that have to do with anything?"
"It is tinder-dry," Morion said, gesturing to the land. "One spark and I fear it would go poorly with the hidden archers."
"You have the mind of a mass murderer," Khamul commented.
"Apparently I do," Morion said with a sigh of regret. He lifted his hands, spreading them toward the tower. His eyes rolled back in his head as he began to whisper in a strange tongue.
"What are you doing?" Khamul snapped, the theatrics unnerving her.
Morion did not answer, but continued in whatever language he was speaking. Suddenly, a great fire sprang up around Amon Sul. There were screams of pain and shock from the soldiers stationed around the tower. The orcs shrieked with glee, pointing and laughing as flaming soldiers tried to run for their lives, only to fall and smolder.
"How did you do that?" Khamul asked.
"Magic," Morion said.
"That was both impressive and effective," Vorea said. "And the survivors of this night will remember our power."
Khamul grinned. "Arnor is falling," she said.
As Argeleb's army fled the burning tower, the forces of Angmar charged after them, cutting them down left and right.
In between indiscriminant killing, Khamul crossed blades with a trained swordsman on horseback. He was good, and he had a fierce light in his eyes that caused Khamul to momentarily pause.
"I will not let you ruin my work, Nazgul!" he snarled in rage, very nearly foaming at the mouth.
Well, well, well, Khamul thought. The king himself, or I'm a fool. "Well met," she sneered. "And well ended as well."
They fought for a moment, but as Khamul leaned forward, Argeleb's horse reared back, startled and terrified by the aura of the ringbearer.
"Valar damn it all!" Argeleb cried in despair as Khamul stabbed him through the heart.
"Another one," Khamul said with a smile. "What's that now? Isildur, Elendur, Ciryon, Aratan, and now Argeleb! Why, I've killed Isildur and four of his descendents!"
"I do not believe we can dwell on that victory," Vorea said grimly, riding up.
"Why not?" Khamul asked. "The fortress is ours. Sure, it's burning, but the army's scattered."
Vorea said nothing but pointed toward the horizon.
"Valar damn it all," Khamul muttered as armor of Dunedain and elves flashed brightly in the rising sun.
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.