4. To Moria
"Are we going to do something stupid again?" Aica asked.
Morion frowned. He would dearly have loved to throw her into Mt. Doom, but she had the most remarkable talent for gathering information. Morion had never seen one of her spies, but she knew everything that was happening everywhere. It was almost like she had a palantir…
"No, we are not going to 'do something stupid again'," Morion said. "The last time we were testing Osgiliath's defenses."
"It was stupid. We didn't take the city."
"We were testing the defenses."
"It was still stupid."
Morion ground his teeth. He was surprised he hadn't worn them down to nothing over the centuries. "Nevertheless, I do not plan a new attack on Osgiliath for some time."
"Good. What'd you want?"
"Where is Khamul?"
"I don't know," Aica said.
"Can you find out?"
Aica shrugged. "When I get around to it."
"When you get around to it?" Morion had difficulty keeping the disbelief and sarcasm out of his voice. What else did Aica have to do?
"Vorea wants me to find out how many soldiers of Gondor are in a particular area of Ithilien, Ceure wants to know if there are any plans to rebuild Osgiliath, and now you want to know about Khamul. I've got a full plate!"
"She's been gone for four centuries! I've heard tales of her vendetta against the Dunedain, but that's all. You'd think she'd at least write."
"Missing her?" Aica asked.
Morion glared at Aica. "Just find out where she is."
"Shall I send a message to recall her back here as well?" Aica asked sweetly.
There was a knock on the door and Ringe walked in. He had a stack of papers with him and looked like he was about to say something but then shut his mouth with a snap when he saw Aica. Likewise, Aica stopped talking and glared at her brother with such intense hatred, Morion was surprised one of them didn't drop dead on the spot.
He'd hoped that things would calm down between them over the years. It had been centuries, after all, since Ringe had broken free of his – quite frankly – abusive sister and turned to Morion. Aica had never forgiven him for the betrayal. She didn't have a forgiving bone in her body.
"I'll get it done," Aica snarled and walked out. Morion winced as she slammed the door. He'd have to get it repainted soon if this kept up.
"What are the papers about?" the chief ringbearer asked Ringe.
"Huh? Oh, these. Requisition orders."
"I didn't know orcs could write," Morion said, looking them over.
"They can't. They can dictate though."
"Ah, I see. I'll look through them. Thanks."
"What did Aica want?"
"I ordered her to look for Khamul."
"Oh. It'll be nice to see her again."
Morion glanced up at Ringe. The eighth ringbearer was…well, he was a little thick sometimes. Mostly naive though. He was utterly oblivious to Khamul's jealousy-fueled hatred of him.
"She might be doing something more important than harassing Dunedain," Morion said. "If so, I'll let her keep at it. If not, then I'll give her a mission."
"There are two people who need a very close eye kept on them."
Ringe smiled. He knew who those two people were. It wasn't all that hard to guess.
"Actually, I wondered if you could do something for me," Morion said.
Ringe nodded. "This early in the morning?" he asked.
"Uhhh…no." Morion blushed slightly. "Although that would be nice. You know that there's a balrog in Moria?"
"Sauron wants it on our side. It is quite determined to claim ownership over an abandoned mine for all eternity. This, while fortunate for the rest of Arda, is not exactly what we want."
Ringe nodded, but he was getting a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"Therefore, Sauron has asked me to send someone to Moria to speak with this balrog about coming to Mordor."
"Coming to Mordor?" Ringe squeaked. "But…but…it's a Maia!"
"Regrettably, yes. Sauron will keep it under control though. I would send Khamul, but she's not here. I would send Vorea, but she's running the war. I would send Ceure, but she's in Minas Ano – Tirith, sorry. And I would send Aica, Yanta, or Metima, but I don't trust them."
"And you wouldn't send Ancalime…?" Ringe asked. Because she's your sister and you don't want to see her get hurt, he finished in his head. Me, on the other hand…
"She's not cut out for this life," Morion said. "Life as a simple noble of Numenor, or perhaps as a lady of Gondor, would have been better for her."
"Why did Sauron give her a ring?"
Morion shrugged. "Who knows?" he said. "I suppose he had his reasons." Or it might just've been a fluke, like me.
Ringe stopped himself from saying more. Ancalime was Morion's sister, after all. Ringe had a very good thing in Morion, and he knew it. He wasn't about to ruin it by telling the Witch-King that his sister was a weak-willed imbecile with the skeletal structure of twigs. Coming from Ringe this was particularly damning.
"I'll head off to Moria then," Ringe said with a forced grin.
"You don't have to go right now," Morion said with a sly smile. He moved the stack of papers to the side of the desk.
"Actually, it works better if you're against the wall."
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.