There could be no doubt now. The Ringbearer was making for Rivendell, though Melkor hoped he'd be slowed by the Morgul wound. A fine invention. Morion'd had a good mind. Such a shame he was superfluous.
As he rode through the night and into the day, the Dark Lord wondered what Morion was doing in the gray lands of the Land of the Lost. Perhaps he was trying to reclaim his body. A futile task.
An involuntarily shudder ran through Melkor. The Halfling's blade had alarmed him. He was a Vala. He had foresight. Not so much, in these troubled times, but he could see danger. He knew Eorl was danger, could smell it in the Land even before the firebrand had been born.
He had seen two swords. One of somewhat crude make, by Men lesser than the Numenoreans. Weak, pathetic, like the Haradrim, the Easterlings, the Dunlendings. The Rohirrim. And he had seen a sword of Gondor, no, Arnor. He knew it was Arnor now, for he had seen the blade itself. Before he had thought they were meant to represent the two countries. Rohan and Gondor. Fear them. Fear? No, never fear. Destroy them lest they trouble the Dark Lord.
And now the swords were real. It eased the Dark Lord's heart somewhat, as all he had to do was kill the Halfling. And here he had been worried that there would be some great hero involved. No. Just a Halfling. Just a Halfling and a worthless Man. Nothing to fear.
After all, no man could slay him. No man or Man.
"We've been chasing this Halfling forever," Yanta complained. "I've yet to see a single sign of him."
"This is the only road to Imladris," Melkor hissed. He was getting tired of the complaints, of the subtle backstabbing. He was growing tired of the Nazgul.
"They're probably hidden in the forest," Khamul said.
"They must get on the road in order to cross into the Valley," Melkor said. "We'll catch them there."
Khamul sighed. "What if we miss them again?"
"You have a problem with orders? Fine. Ride ahead. Take a few Nazgul and go catch the Ring yourself."
"I think I will." Khamul spurred her horse forward and it quickly sprinted away from the pack. Once she was a little ways away, Khamul glanced back to see who was traveling with her.
"Those bastards!" Khamul snarled. She was alone. Even Vorea had deserted her, or, at least, the third ringbearer did not wish to been seen as betraying her lord. "Bastards!"
Cursing in fury, Khamul kicked her horse. It galloped down the road, putting as much distance as it could between it and the other ringbearers. Khamul didn't pay attention to the woods, didn't care what might be hiding in the trees. Who gave a damn if the Ringbearer was nearby? She didn't care anymore.
Betrayed. Deserted. She might as well be the ninth Nazgul now. It didn't matter that she was second only to a Vala. She was too dangerous, too untrustworthy.
"I'll get him for this," she hissed. "I'll get him." She wasn't sure herself whether it was Morgoth or Sauron she meant. Both. She'd get them both. See if she didn't.
Sometime the next day Khamul came to a bridge. The Last Bridge, halfway between Bree and Rivendell. And still no sign of the Halfling, not that she'd been looking.
The horse came to a screeching halt in front of the Bridge. "What's going on?" Khamul snarled, looking this way and that. Was there someone there?
Indeed there was. Out of the forest on the other side stepped none other than Glorfindel and a small company of elves.
"You can't stop me from crossing this bridge," Khamul said.
"I believe I can," Glorfindel said. "Go back to the darkness, foul shadow."
"Shadow? Shadow?! I'll show you what a shadow can do!" Khamul drew her sword. "I'll cut your heads off and kick them into the river!"
An arrow whizzed above her head, missing her by inches. These elves meant business, but if they'd been smart, they would've been shooting to kill already. Not that that would've done them an ounce of good.
"It's been a long time, Glorfindel!" Khamul called, trying to tamp down her anger. She felt like slaughtering the whole pack of elves, but sooner or later Melkor was going to get his act together and find the Ring. You couldn't run forever, and you certainly couldn't hide from the Dark Vala.
The other elves turned to look at their leader with suspicion. "You know her?" one hissed. "A Nazgul!"
Glorfindel glared at Khamul. "I thought you would change, Khamul," he said.
"Don't be an idiot. Anyway, you owe me. Remember? Who guided you back to the inhabited lands of Middle-Earth after the Valar dumped you in the middle of nowhere?"
There was an increase in mutterings among the elves and several moved away from Glorfindel.
"You are correct," the elf said. "However, I will not let you pass."
"I do remember you adding a lot of provisions to that agreement. And don't worry, I don't want anyone dead."
"Then what do you want?"
What do I want? Khamul thought. Good question. I'm not sure myself. Wait…I've got an idea. "That's a nice broach you've got there," she said, pointing at a beryl stone pinned at Glorfindel's neck.
"What of it?"
"Give it here."
"Hey, it's a good deal. You get to pay off a debt, and I get a fancy rock. Oh, and the Witch-King's on his way. I bet he's just dying to see you again."
Glorfindel hesitated, then took off the broach. "I don't understand why you want the stone."
"I've got my reasons," Khamul said, accepting the broach and tucking it safely away in a pocket. "Now, I've got to get back to my not-so-much friends. Try not to die when they attack."
"What was that about?" one elf asked.
"Will she work some evil magic with the stone?" another whispered.
"I do not have the faintest idea," Glorfindel admitted, scratching his head.