40. Araval's Cunning Plan
"I truthfully did not think we would make it this far," Vorea said.
"Neither did I," Khamul agreed.
They stood on the crest of a hill some half a league from Fornost. They had laid waste to the countryside, killed countless numbers of peasants, slaughtered patrols, and even killed Arveleg II. And here they were, an hour's walk from the capital of Arthedain.
"I hope the damn orcs don't burn it," Khamul said. "I'd like to walk the streets as the victorious conqueror."
"I hope we will not have to lay siege to it," Vorea said, frowning. "That would be difficult and time-consuming. However, we would still win."
"The key's going to be taking it before reinforcements arrive."
"Indeed. Yet I do not see any elves on the horizon."
Khamul grinned. "Me neither. Attack!" she screamed at the army, raising her sword.
"Advance!" Vorea seconded, raising her metal spear.
The combined armies thundered across the plains, first slowly, then breaking into a run as they got closer to Fornost.
"I don't see any soldiers," Khamul muttered, frowning as she searched for some sign of defense.
"A siege then," Vorea said grimly. "Ah well, I suspected as much."
"The damn orcs are getting out of control!" Khamul snarled as the goblins and orcs raced ahead of the pack, eager to get to the city for fire and slaughter.
"Then they will encounter any traps the enemy has set for us."
"The only problem is there doesn't appear to be an enemy!"
"They are here," Vorea said, scanning the land. "Somewhere."
Somewhere turned out to be hidden around Fornost in extremely large numbers.
"Pull back!" Khamul and Vorea screamed as the first volley of arrows sliced through the goblins and orcs, killing hundreds.
It was too late. The orcs and goblins were so far ahead they were beyond earshot of their generals. And as the Dunedain and elves poured out of the bushes they realized their mistake.
"It appears that young King Araval is friends with the elves," Vorea muttered.
"That's Elrond, dammit!" Khamul yelled, spying the elf lord among the warriors. "I'll kill the bastard!" She started to kick her horse forward, but Vorea grabbed the reins.
"No! It will do no good if you are killed or captured! The field is lost! We must retreat!"
"We can win it!"
"You are out of your mind," Vorea hissed. "We have devastated Arthedain! That is enough for now! Sound the retreat!" she roared at a terrified bugler.
Most of the orcs and goblins had been killed, but a great deal of the Easterlings had survived. Unfortunately, they lost more as the elves and Dunedain pursued the fleeing forces of Angmar across the land.
They broke off pursuit as the army crossed into Rhudaur, and the defeated forces continued unchallenged until they reached Angmar.
"You lost," Morion said simply.
"We did not think we would even approach Fornost," Vorea said. "We ravaged the country, killed a great deal of its work force, and dealt a severe blow to its army. Arthedain will never be able to recover from this."
"And now we have to build up our forces again while keeping an eye out for raids from Arthedain," Morion said. "Ah well, at least we have some time before they decide to attack."
"They won't be attacking for a long time," Khamul said. "We got them good. And I killed Arveleg."
"Except he's been replaced by his son, who happens to have reestablished ties with Gondor."
Khamul and Vorea winced. This was the news they'd been hoping not to hear.
"He had elves on his side, too," Khamul said.
"Yes, he traveled to Lindon when he was young," Morion said. "The elves aren't as big a threat as Gondor. The southern kingdom is rebuilding its strength after the plague, and they could be a serious threat if they brought an army up here. Arthedain, the elves, and Gondor," he muttered, shivering.
"They won't," Khamul said. "They'll have a falling out eventually."
"Yes, I suppose they will. However, I'd like you to orchestrate it."
"Me?" Khamul asked.
"Yes, you," Morion said. "Vorea, please rebuild the army and fend off any attacks by Arthedain. I trust we'll be ready to destroy them once and for all soon enough. If Khamul does her job right."
"What am I supposed to do?" Khamul asked.
"Think of something. It doesn't have to be very big. It just has to distract Gondor long enough that they forget about Arthedain. Or, even better, it makes them cut ties with Arthedain."
"And how do I do that?" Khamul muttered.
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.