Morion clutched his head and stumbled into his desk as the scream tore through his brain. It was so loud it would have made his ears bleed if it was real. But it was just in his head. It wasn't real, it wasn't real…
"What is it?" he muttered as the scream died away. It wasn't a scream of pain, but of rage. Pure and utter helpless rage.
"I have a lot of Nazgul," Morion said. Who had done something that had so enraged Morgoth? Probably Khamul. It was usually her. Or maybe Aica.
Ah, it was Khamul then. Good to know. "What did she do?" Morion asked.
It took a moment for Morgoth to find the words. It was not often that the Dark Lord was speechless with fury, or speechless at all for that matter.
She is going to kill the Goblin King of the southern Misty Mountains.
And now Morgoth was reluctant to tell him more. Some plans of his probably hinged on the goblin.
"What do you want me to do about it?" Morion asked. "The Misty Mountains are many days ride across enemy territory from here. Half the orcs would be dead by the time they reached the mountains."
Orcs, maybe, but not you.
Morion was startled. He hadn't left Minas Morgul in centuries. "Leave?" he asked. "But…"
Go! Take the fastest, immortal, horse and ride to Caradhras. No, she will be gone from the mountain by the time you reach it. I shall guide you.
Morgoth really wanted Khamul stopped, Morion thought as he hurried from his office. He had his sword, as well as his enchanted dagger. They should be enough to counter any resistance, either among the goblins or from Khamul. He didn't relish the idea of fighting with Khamul though.
Hurry! Morgoth's voice screamed inside his head. Time is running out!
"Well, the first thing we do is find an entrance to the tunnels," Khamul said, tapping the walls. "This cave is way too big to be natural. There's an entrance here, I'm sure of it."
"Why didn't the goblins attack us then?" Firin asked. Defrosted, he was a very cheerful, upbeat child. Unfortunately, he still looked like a short beanpole with bad hair and huge teeth.
Khamul snorted. "Because they're stupid," she said. "They don't like going outside during blizzards. They haven't got the faintest idea we're here."
Firin's eyes held something akin to hero worship. "Do you hunt goblins?" he asked.
No, I'm just their lord and master. "Not usually. I just know their ways."
Firin nodded. "What will we do when we get into the tunnels?"
"Find a goblin and shake it until it tells us where your mother is."
"Really? They'll do that?"
"When I'm done with it, it sure will. Aha!" Khamul smiled, tapping a thin crack in the wall. It had escaped her notice before, but there was a crack running from the floor to the ceiling. The entrance to a tunnel.
"How are you going to get that open?" Firin asked.
"Goblin gates are usually controlled by a mechanism that operates from one side only."
Firin sighed. "So we can't get in?"
"Not unless we have some help."
Khamul glanced up at the ceiling. No reason to look up, she thought. Caradhras is all around us.
"Why would I aid you?" Caradhras almost sounded amused.
"There's a voice in my head!" Firin exclaimed.
"It's just the mountain," Khamul said.
"I heard it earlier…when I was out in the snow. I thought it was just the wind."
"What did it say?"
"Words. Meaningless words. Well, they had meaning, but they didn't make sense. Eagle star. Stuff like that."
"What does that mean?" Khamul asked.
"It will become clear in time," Caradhras said.
"Still manipulating destinies, huh? Maybe you can do something helpful, like opening the goblin door?"
"That would be interfering."
"I am not allowed to interfere."
"Who makes the rules?" Khamul asked.
There was a long pause and Khamul realized the mountain was thinking. "A mountain…" Caradhras began, "does not directly shape the future. I create the battlefield, but others fight."
"Who makes the rules?" Khamul demanded again.
"So who's to say you can't open the door?"
"The fate of all Middle-Earth rests in the Misty Mountains," Caradhras said. There was a creaking as the crack began to widen.
"Thanks," Khamul said.
"What did it mean by that?" Firin asked, watching the crack widen. "The fate of all Middle-Earth bit."
"It likes to say things like that. I think it's mad that it didn't get the last word in."
"Maybe it meant something. Maybe…maybe there's a dragon in the Misty Mountains and it…no, never mind."
"There's a dragon in the Lonely Mountain," Khamul said.
"I'd like to go there," Firin said. "I'd like to meet a dragon. I think it would be very interesting. Have you ever met a dragon?"
"Really? What was it like?"
"They're very big," Khamul said. "And scaly. And they have very large teeth."
Firin was absolutely thrilled. "Can they talk?"
"Yes, but why'd you want to talk to one? They just want to eat you!"
"You could reason with it."
Khamul snorted. "Reasoning with a dragon." She shook her head. That's what I did though, she thought. I reasoned with Smaug, offered him the western dwarf caves in exchange for leaving me and Glorfindel alone. It worked too.
The crack in the stone had widened enough to allow Khamul and Firin through. Torch light glimmered in the depths of a long tunnel. No voices could be heard, but somewhere, there were plenty of goblins. And Grish. Khamul was looking forward to that meeting.
"So…do we go in?" Firin asked.
"Yes. Wait, do you have a weapon?"
Firin pulled out a small utility knife.
"You were planning on facing goblins with that?"
"Yes. Why? Isn't it enough?"
"Have you ever seen a goblin before?" Khamul asked.
"I didn't think so." Great, he's going to freak out and go running down a tunnel and get lost. "Just stay behind me."
Firin nodded. "Are there going to be a lot of goblins, do you think?"
Khamul just rolled her eyes and started walking down the tunnel. Maybe I can intimidate them, she thought. Goblins tend to know what I am. They'll probably fall to pieces in front of me.
Firin took a deep breath, gripped the small knife tightly, and followed her.
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.