52. The End
"You're back," Morion said without relish.
"So I am," Aica said.
"Learn anything up north?"
"Theoden's king in Rohan. Thengel died earlier this year."
"Theoden," Morion muttered. "A wise man, I've heard."
"Ecthelion invited him over for tea."
"I seriously doubt he invited him over for tea. A formal dinner, perhaps." Morion chuckled. "It's something royalty does when a new leader ascends the throne. You haven't noticed it?"
"Seems a waste of time."
"It's diplomacy. Of course, I won't be meeting Theoden. Imagine! The Witch-King inviting the King of Rohan to Minas Morgul to discuss politics over roasted pheasant!" Morion nearly giggled.
Aica narrowed her eyes. Morion was not usually in this good of a mood. Or if he was, he hid it very well. "You all right?" she asked.
"Yes, I'm fine. Why?'
"I've told you probably a hundred times about a new king here or there. You just nod and mutter something. What's different about Theoden?"
"No idea." He's part of the future Khamul saw though, Morion thought. He's important to the future, which means the time is coming. The time for the end of the Third Age, the time of Morgoth.
"All right," Aica said suspiciously. "Are your eyes supposed to do that?"
Morion's right hand flew to his eye. It came away coated in blood. "How is this possible?" he muttered. Finding a mirror, he saw that both eyes were dripping blood. "How long has this been going on?"
"Since you started talking about Theoden."
"It doesn't hurt," Morion muttered. "But it's just…dripping blood."
Aica fled the room, hurrying toward Sauron's study. She hoped the Dark Lord was spending his time in Minas Morgul rather than the Barad-dur.
"Yes?" Sauron asked, glancing up as Aica threw the door open.
"Morion's got blood dripping out of his eyes."
"Is it fatal?"
"To your regret, no."
"Oh," Aica said, quite disappointed. "Does it mean Morgoth's taking over his mind?"
"Oh." She sounded quite a bit more excited.
"There is little time left," Sauron said.
"You don't sound overly concerned."
"Why should I be? The rings of the Nine keep Melkor in check. He cannot harm me, and he is truly the greatest asset on a battlefield. We cannot lose with him on our side."
"What's going on?" Khamul asked, both her and Vorea following the sound of raised voices.
"Melkor is growing more successful in his continued attempts to take over Morion's body and mind," Sauron said.
"You don't sound alarmed."
"As I told Aica, the ring will keep Melkor in check. He is a great ally."
"If he's on our side, which he isn't!"
Sauron glanced at the Haradrim. "You do not think Melkor is on our side?"
"Of course not! He wants the Ring for himself!"
"Of course he does. But he is wise enough to know that the only way he will be able to get the Ring is once it is already in our possession. Our enemies can do great harm with it, but once it is in some orc's hand, then the game changes. Until then, Melkor and I will fight side by side. After it has entered Mordor, we will fight against each other. The winner will rule the world."
"You seem quite unconcerned," Vorea commented.
"I have nothing to fear from a Vala who has been locked beyond the Door of Night."
"Yet you yourself have suffered exile in recent years."
"I will win, Vorea," Sauron said. "Content yourself with that knowledge."
"Yes, Lord Sauron."
"It's mad," Khamul muttered. "How long does Morion have?"
"Again, I would say a decade. He's shown remarkable willpower so far, so he may even manage twenty years. That's not unreasonable."
"But it's inevitable?"
Khamul nodded. Inevitable. Well, she'd just have to make the most of the time then, wouldn't she?
"Interesting," Sauron commented as Khamul hurried out.
"What's wrong with you now?" Khamul snapped, storming into Morion's office. The Witch-King was still attempting paperwork while blood streamed out of his eyes.
"Am I signing these right?" he asked, holding up one paper. There were a few drops of blood on it, and Morion's signature was almost illegible.
"Yeah, it looks fine," Khamul said. "What's with your eyes?"
"Figured. So…does it hurt?"
"Strangely enough, no. Aica pointed it out, and that was the first I knew of it."
"Oh. You and Aica spending a lot of time together?"
Morion looked up. He looked ghastly with his pale skin and red blood. "I despise Aica," he said. "And even if I didn't, she wants my head on a platter. Are you…jealous?"
"What are you talking about?" Khamul snapped. "Of course not. Don't be an idiot."
"Do you want something then? Or are you just here to stare at my eyes?"
Khamul shifted her feet and glanced at the floor. "Morion…we've known each other for thousands of years. It's hard to know a person that long and not…not…"
"Not get…feelings for them."
Morion watched with an interested expression. He wasn't smiling, which Khamul found reassuring.
Khamul took a deep breath. "What I'm trying to say is…is…"
"You love me," Morion finished.
Morion nodded. "It's taken you almost four thousand years to tell me that."
"So I love you too."
Khamul's world spun for a moment. She felt like she'd gone deaf. Perhaps she'd only heard what she wanted to hear. "What?"
"I love you."
"What about…what about…"
"Ringe?" Morion frowned. "That was nothing, though I still care for him. Really. I liked him, and we used each other to escape our oppressors – Morgoth and Aica – but there was nothing beneath that."
Khamul was skeptical. "I don't believe you."
"Of course you don't. You don't want this to work," Morion said.
"Then you have to trust me!"
"I do," Khamul snarled.
"I'm not –"
"Shut up and kiss me." Khamul pulled Morion to his feet and put her hand behind his head, intending to pull it toward her.
Blood began to trickle out of Morion's mouth.
"No…no…" he muttered. His eyes started to roll, the red becoming darker and darker.
"Oh Valar," Khamul muttered. "What's wrong with you now?"
"Get…out," Morion gasped. "He's… He's…"
"NO! You can't surrender to him now! Dammit, Morion! I love you, you miserable idiot! Stand up and fight!"
Morion collapsed to the floor. He stopped breathing for a moment, but then sat up.
"Morion?" Khamul whispered.
"I'd prefer Lord Melkor," Morgoth said, wiping blood off his face.
"What happened to Morion?"
"He's safe and sound in the Land of the Lost, trapped there forever."
"You weren't supposed to take over his mind for another twenty years!"
Morgoth shrugged. "I took advantage of a fit of emotional distress, what can I say?"
A fit of emotional distress that Khamul had caused. Why had Morion been in emotional distress though? Did he not really love her? No, those words had been true. She was sure of it.
Or she could have just been imagining it.
"Where is Sauron?" Morgoth asked. He didn't look a thing like Morion despite their sharing the same body. Morgoth was crueler and colder.
"Down the hall," Khamul muttered.
"Has he rebuilt the Barad-dur?"
"Not a very enthusiastic servant of the Dark Lord, are you?"
Morgoth raised an eyebrow. "I think I will let that one go because of my unusually generous mood," he said. "But watch your mouth."
Khamul rolled her eyes, albeit when Morgoth wasn't looking.
"Damn it," she hissed when the door closed behind Morgoth. Morion was gone. Completely gone. Forever. And he wasn't ever coming back.
"I wish I could've kissed the bastard," 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.