28. Fill the Void
"Where the Hell are you?" Khamul snapped, throwing open doors and looking for Aica.
"What're you doing?" Yanta demanded as Khamul walked in on her.
"Looking for Aica. Seen her?"
"I haven't seen her for days. First her brother disappeared, and then she's nowhere to be found."
Khamul frowned and redoubled her efforts. As she was passing by a fairly deserted section of the castle she heard a shout followed by a loud crack.
"Aica?" she snapped, throwing open the door. A large stone rolled to rest at her feet. "What in the names of the Valar is this?"
"I don't know what it is!" Aica snarled, walking over to pick it up. "Ringe found it."
"Any particular reason you've vanished for days?" Khamul demanded, seizing the stone before Aica could reach it.
"You didn't want me for anything, I don't like any of you, so I didn't see any reason to hang around."
"Is this magic?" Khamul asked, spinning the stone in her hand. It felt magic. You didn't get a crystal this round and with such strange colors in it without a little something extra.
Which meant it probably was. "Any reason you were throwing it against the wall?" Khamul asked. And as far as she could see, there wasn't a single scratch on it. Made of something harder than crystal then.
"No," Aica said, scowling. She looked well and truly furious, angrier than Khamul had ever seen her before.
"What does this do?" Khamul asked, hefting the stone.
"Right. I'm sure." I wonder if she stole it from Morion, Khamul thought.
Something happened in the center of the stone, and Khamul found her gaze drawn into the orb. Colors and shapes were blending and melding, forming a picture. A scene.
Ringe lay on the floor with gashes across his throat. Only a thin line of blood trickled from them, and it was already healing. Morion was kneeling over him, doing…ohhhhkay.
"Valar!" Khamul exclaimed, chucking the stone across the room. It hit the wall, bounced off, and rolled back to her feet.
"You saw it too," Aica said.
"Morgoth must've taken over his mind again," Khamul muttered. "I'll go get Vorea."
"What do we do?" Aica asked. She looked…like she was about to cry. Except Aica didn't cry, she just killed people.
"Stab him repeatedly and hope Sauron helps us."
"I like that plan," Aica said, snatching up her sword.
"By the way, what is that thing?"
"The stone? I don't know. Ringe found it in a burning building in Osgiliath."
"What was he doing there?"
Aica bit her lip and looked sheepish.
"What was he doing there?" Khamul demanded.
"I wanted to know what was happening for myself rather than depend on Ceure."
"So he found a rock that shows stuff."
"I can see Arthedain in it," Aica said. "I can see anywhere."
"Arthedain?" Khamul asked. "What's going on now?"
"The plague didn't affect them much at all. They're still very strong."
"Damn it all! They could attack us!"
"Not that strong," Aica said. "Come on!" she snapped. "We've got to find Vorea!"
"Someone said my name?" the one-eyed warrior asked, glancing into the room. She must've come straight from the training field for she was clad in muddy armor and fully armed. Perfect.
"Vorea, I think Morgoth's taken over Morion's head again," Khamul said.
Vorea's face grew grim. "I see. Do you have a plan?"
"What we did last time should work."
"Yes," Khamul said.
"How do you know about this?" Vorea asked as they hurried down the hallway toward Morion's office. "I heard noise in the corridor and came to investigate. Something crashed…"
"I'll explain later," Khamul said.
"Are you sure we do not need more ringbearers?"
"I think Aica could manage it by herself actually," Khamul said, glancing at the seventh ringbearer who was fairly spitting she was so mad.
Vorea shrugged and hefted her spear. "I wish Lord Sauron was still here," she said. "He could help us."
"Well, he's not here, is he?" Khamul snapped. "Morion's office is right up there. Everyone ready?"
"Oh yes," Aica hissed, drawing her sword.
"I am ready," Vorea said.
"Then let's go," Khamul said, drawing her sword and steeling herself.
"Enjoyable, isn't it?" Melkor commented, stroking Feanor's hair. "I particularly like how he's isolating himself. He doesn't need me to ruin his life; he's doing just fine on his own."
"Shut your lying mouth," Feanor muttered. He'd never felt less like a High King in his life. He was kneeling at Melkor's side as he watched the events of his human slave. I wish I was back in the Void, he thought. Anything is better than this. Although…
He was tempted to look out the window. It was some comfort to see Maeglin getting drained by always-hungry Ungoliant, but it was cold comfort when Morgoth reached for him.
Melkor smirked. "You've kept your fiery spirit. I'd anticipated it going out after a while. I suppose I must work harder."
"You do that."
"I fear I won't be staying much longer here," Melkor said, ignoring Feanor. "What a shame. I'm quite enjoying your company."
Feanor shivered and then shuddered in horror as he realized what the Dark Lord meant. He was planning an escape.
"You can't leave," the elf said. "Manwe –"
Melkor struck him across the face. "Do not say that name to me," he hissed. "He is powerless in this land. And I have Morion in Arda. Already I have a hold on his mind, and if not for my errant apprentice, I would his body as well. But someday, someday my apprentice's precious Ring will be destroyed. Someday he will lose his grip on his servant. And then I shall creep in and take him. I will walk Arda again!"
"In a mortal's body," Feanor reminded him. "You can – and will – be killed."
Melkor laughed and shook his head. "You truly think I would so stupid as to return to Middle-Earth as a mortal?"
"He's a Man."
"Yes, but he cannot be slain. My possession of his mind has given him great powers, and one of them is a mighty blessing. No man shall slay him."
"Then an elf will," Feanor said.
"You misunderstand me," Melkor said. "No man – no one – will or can slay him."
Feanor had his doubts about this so-called blessing, but he didn't voice them. No need to give Morgoth pause. Let him continue with his plan. Feanor would watch it fail with glee.
"What? Are we going to knock politely?" Aica snarled.
"Oh shut up," Khamul snapped. She took a deep breath and kicked in the door.
"Valar!" Vorea exclaimed.
Probably should've filled her in a bit more, Khamul thought. "Don't think, just throw the spear!"
"I…I do not know. I believe I may hit Ringe."
Ringe and Morion looked up as the three ringbearers burst into the room. Ringe made a desperate dive for his pants, and Morion lunged at his desk, seizing something beneath a stack of papers. It was a dagger. Khamul almost laughed.
"This worked last time," Khamul said. "Just hit him, dammit!"
Vorea – who never missed – threw her spear and it hit the wall, missing Morion by less than an inch. It quivered as it struck the stone, actually embedding itself in the rock.
"How did you miss?" Khamul screamed. Well, nothing for it now, she thought, lunging at Morion, sword swinging.
Aica was cursing furiously as she charged Morion as well.
"And here I thought you were my friends," Morion said furiously, holding the dagger out before him. It was pathetic. A piece of pale metal about a foot in length against swords.
"Friends with Morgoth? Not likely!" Khamul yelled. She raised her sword to deliver a blow to Morion's head, which hopefully would return him to his senses.
Morion dodged the main force of the blow, though part of it caught him across the back. The dagger he plunged into Khamul's stomach.
Fire. White, hot, piercing fire seared her. Gasping, Khamul stumbled back, her sword falling from her hands. It burned. The dagger hurt like nothing she'd ever felt before, not even before the ring.
"What is this?" she gasped, curling her hands around the hilt, trying to get the horrible piece of metal out of her body.
But Morion was too preoccupied with Aica to answer. She attacked him viciously, but anger got the better of her, and she made several mistakes.
With a word and a gesture, bands of flame flew from Morion's fingers and seized Aica, throwing her against a wall.
"What is this about?" the Witch-King hissed, his eyes flashing.
"Why aren't you helping?" Khamul gasped at Vorea as she finally wrenched the dagger out of her and threw it across the room.
"He is in his right mind," Vorea said. "However, I can see why you were deceived."
"I wasn't deceived," Khamul snarled. The wound was already healing, but it still hurt.
"You thought I was possessed by Melkor?" Morion asked.
"No, of course not. You would be piles of ashes if I was."
"Comforting thought. What's that dagger? It…hurt."
"It's enchanted," Morion said, walking over and picking up the blade where it had fallen. He inspected it. "It's not chipped, that's good."
"Could you put some clothes on?" Khamul asked.
"Hm? Oh. Right. Sorry."
"And maybe you could let me down as well?" Aica hissed as she struggled against the bands of fire.
Morion nodded and dispelled the bonds with a wave of his hand.
"Ringe!" Aica roared, storming over to her brother.
He looked absolutely petrified. Aica scared him more than Morion had when they were… No. Khamul remembered the look on Ringe's face. He hadn't been scared or in pain. He'd been enjoying it.
"Sister," Ringe said weakly.
"What were you doing?"
"Why did you barge in here like that?" Morion asked. "I thought you'd decided to try and kill me."
"Well…we heard some things," Khamul said. She didn't want to say anything about the stone to Morion. He'd only relay it intentionally or not to Morgoth, and Sauron as well. The stone was going to be her and Aica's little secret. And Vorea's as well. Maybe.
"It seemed reminiscent of the Numenorean incident," Vorea said. "We did not wish any harm to come to you or Ringe, so we decided to take action."
Morion snorted. "And the action included trying to take my head off?"
"It was successful last time."
"Bastard!" Aica snarled, kicking Ringe in the ribs. The eighth ringbearer curled up on the floor and tried to avoid the blows.
"Stop it," Morion snapped, grabbing Aica by the arm and hurling her away from Ringe.
The look on Aica's face would have been funny if Khamul was in the mood for laughter. She was shocked, stunned, and furious. All at once. Never before had anyone gotten between her and Ringe.
The shock wore off and then she was shaking with rage. Her hands clenched and Aica took a step toward Morion.
"We all change," Vorea said. "Sometimes we are close to our family, and sometimes we wish to grow apart."
"Ringe," Aica hissed, "is my brother. Not your whore."
Morion glanced at Ringe, who had stood up. "You're welcome to go with Aica to Arthedain if you wish," he said. "Or you can stay here with me."
"Arthedain?" Aica snapped.
"Yes. We need to know how the Great Plague has effected them."
Aica opened her mouth to say she knew damn well how the Great Plague had effected them, but then she shut it. Morion was her enemy now, and he was not going to learn of the stone.
"Fine," she snapped. "Ringe, come on, let's go."
Ringe looked from Aica to Morion. "No," he said quietly.
"I'm not going with you. I…I love you sister, but…"
"But what?" Aica snarled, her face going red with fury.
Ringe's hand went to his ribs. "It hurts, even now, with the ring. You're not always a very nice person, and it hurts."
Aica went white to the lips. "You're leaving me?" she hissed, her voice shaking.
"Maybe someday…" Ringe began. "Someday we can be friends again. When you don't hurt me."
Aica looked at Morion with such hate in her eyes it was like deadly poison. Then she spun on her heel and stormed out of the room.
"I should get back to training the orcs," Vorea said. "They are troublesome creatures, and this batch seems worse than the others."
The door closed softly behind Vorea. Khamul wanted to leave, but she couldn't make her feet move.
"You stabbed me," she said.
"You were about to cut my head off," Morion reminded her.
You still stabbed me. With an enchanted dagger no less. "Oh well, no harm done then," Khamul said with a forced smile that turned out more like a grimace.
"I suppose you have things to do," Morion said.
Yes, yes, I'm leaving. I'm leaving. "Yeah. I do."
Khamul hurried out of the room, taking care not to slam the door behind her.
"Valar damn it all," she muttered when she reached her room. She didn't care anything for Morion. He'd been a friend, but now he was cold. No. He had been cold. He seemed more normal now. But Ringe…
Hate surged through Khamul like acid. How she hated Ringe! She wanted to hurt him, to kill him. How dare he capture Morion's heart! The bastard! But Khamul would find a way to hurt him. To kill him.
Why do I care? Khamul thought. Morion was a friend, nothing more. Nothing more…
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.