44. The Seeing Stone
There was a curse, a rattling noise like someone trying to open a sticky drawer, and then a bang before the door was finally opened.
"About time," Khamul said.
"Oh, it's you," Aica said. "I thought you were someone else."
"Sauron or Morion?"
"Looking into the palantir?"
"Sh! Not so loud!" Aica glanced down the hallway. "The walls have ears."
"I'll cut those ears off if they hear anything."
Aica settled down a bit, but kept glancing around. "Why aren't you at the construction site?" she asked.
"Building things isn't my strong point. Tearing them down is."
"Then why aren't you making alliances with the Haradrim?"
"Vorea offended them enough that we're going to have to wait a while until we can try and recruit them again."
Aica snickered. Having the mighty general brought down a peg or two improved her mood vastly.
"Anyway, why do you give a damn about where I am?" Khamul asked. "What have you seen in the palantir?"
"Don't call it that!"
"What should I call it then? What have you seen in the thing?"
"Nothing important," Aica said.
"Who's steward in Gondor?"
"Turgon still. He's going to die soon though."
"His son, Ecthelion II, will replace him."
"How about in the north? Anything happening there?"
"No, not really. Pretty quiet up there."
"The calm before the storm," Khamul muttered.
"Sauron's rebuilding the Barad-dur."
"Like I said, why aren't you at the construction site?"
"Because it'll get done whether I'm there or not! Anyway, he's going to reveal himself for the whole world to see in a few days!"
"Is that a problem?"
"I don't fancy having the armies of Gondor knocking on the Morannon."
Aica snickered again. "Funny how they rebuilt that, isn't it? Those little Gondorians did our work for us!"
"Gondor's weak, but if they ally with Rohan…"
"We don't have to worry about that," Aica said.
"I thought you said you hadn't seen anything in the palantir," Khamul snapped. "Anything worth noting, that is."
"I haven't. The king of Rohan is a cranky old miser named Fengel."
"He's also old."
"He'll die soon. What was his son's name again?"
"And he lives where exactly?"
"Well, right now he's living in Gondor."
"So he's an ally of Gondor! He's the king we've been dreading! He'll raise his army and combine it with Turgon or Ecthelion's or whoever, and then he'll crush Mordor! Sauron could not have picked a worse time to declare his return!"
"It's not bad, actually," Aica said.
"What do you know?" Khamul demanded.
"What do you know? You know something, I'm sure of it."
"I don't know anything!"
"You don't know anything about lying, that's for sure! What is it?"
"Fine, fine, Saruman's been talking to Sauron about an alliance."
Khamul's jaw dropped. "What?"
"Saruman wants an alliance with Mordor because he doesn't really care for the whole 'goody little servant of the Valar' thing."
"Saruman's betrayed Gandalf?"
Aica grinned and nodded. "Which means Gandalf's doomed. He can't fight the head of his order and Sauron! Ha! They're all going to die!"
"So while we crush Gondor, Saruman will destroy Rohan?"
Aica nodded. "That's the plan exactly."
"Can he do that?"
"Who, Saruman? He's a Maia, I'm sure he can."
"This is perfect," Khamul muttered. "Perfect. With whatever's left of Saruman's forces after he conquers Rohan, he can attack Gondor from the north while we catch it from the south. We'll obliterate them! How do you know this?" she demanded, whirling on Aica.
Aica held up the palantir. "I saw it."
"Saruman and Sauron were talking and I spied on it. They didn't even know I was there."
"Do you always spy on Sauron when he uses the palantir?"
Aica's eyes shifted around. "Not always…"
She did. Of course she did. What was the point of having the master-stone if you couldn't spy on your master? "Tell me if anything happens," Khamul said.
"Where are you going?" Aica asked as Khamul started to leave the room.
"The palantir'll tell you. I'm going to the construction site."
Aica sneered. So the great and mighty Khamul had nothing better to do with her time than watch orcs put mortar on bricks.
"I've got to make sure they build it right," Khamul snapped, glaring at Aica,
Aica shut her door and rolled her eyes. How glad she was that she had 'neglected' to mention Sauron's little chat with Caradhras. Aica had her own ideas about the Maiar, kings, and towers mentioned in the prophecy. Did she agree with Sauron's decision of letting Lungorthin live? Well…she didn't think it was bad. It would certainly take care of a lot of traffic across, or below, the Misty Mountains.
As for the Maiar, it was either Gandalf and Saruman, or Saruman and Sauron. If he won, Sauron would kill Saruman, for he had no use for ambitious traitors. If Gandalf won, Saruman would also fall.
The towers were easy. The Barad-dur would crumble almost as soon as it was built if Sauron lost, and the Tower of Ecthelion would fall before orc hordes if Minas Tirith – bastion of the West – was conquered.
The kings, less so. If Sauron won, Isildur's heir and the king of Rohan would be dead. If Gandalf won…well, that was tricky. The Witch-King, Aica suspected, would meet his maker. Or perhaps it was just wishful thinking. As for the other, well, not all the dead would be on the loser's side. Perhaps the heir or Rohan's king would die as well.
Aica didn't particularly want Sauron to reclaim the Ring, which would almost certainly end her spying on him and his affairs. But neither did she want it destroyed. After all, if the Ring was unmade, then what happened to 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.