5. Into Darkness
Notes and warnings: See end of chapter.
From the account given by Erinç son of Igar, who led the archers:
"The fort fell in the evening, far later than we had expected. This was in great part due to the orcs' inability to scale the walls; time and again they withdrew because the resistance was so great that their lives were in danger. My company was called in at the beginning of the fight, but after the enemy had exhausted their supply of arrows, we were dismissed so as not to replenish them. We were able to sleep for most of the night, and were not called upon until the morning.
"We were recalled to duty the next morning to provide cover for the battling ram. We kept up a steady rain of arrows until the ram was in place and the shield-carriers had formed a wall and roof.
"The enemy tried to break through the shields with arrows and rocks, but the roof held. They then showed their cruelty by pouring hot and burning filth down, forcing the orcs and some of the shield-carriers to retreat. This did not stop the ram, which the Hill-trolls swung until the walls gave in, weakened by fire and the constant hammering.
"The wall was breached an hour before sunset. Both the orcs and the fighters on foot then took the fort and slaughtered the enemy in revenge for our losses. The fort was levelled to the ground, and the few wounded enemies that still lived were given into the hands of the orcs. They died within the hour.
My men were pleased by that, for the screams had been most disturbing.
The orcs grumbled about the useless tarks whose flesh was spoiled. The commanders had little patience with this, since it was the orcs own actions that had caused this. It took a few whippings to make them fall back in line.
We crossed the river before midnight, but it was morning before the whole army reached the western shore. The wagons took a little longer since the riverbed between the east side and the island was muddy after the fighting. The cage containing the prisoners and one of the food-wagons were stuck in the mud midway through. The cage was at length pulled free, but the wagon was lost and the food destroyed by the water.
A few hours after midday, we left the ruined fort behind. All troops were ordered to march, and we did not leave any behind to secure the crossing. I looked back once, and saw the carrion-birds stooped down on the island. The air was black with them."
This account is one of the few that has survived, and the one that is closest to the king's own account. The king never spoke about the fate of the men that held the fort.
The army reached Minas Tirith on the evening after six days of travelling. The darkness had overtaken them on the second day, and now it spread out before them. The vanguard stood outside the broken Gates, waiting. Slowly the main army took their places until it was positioned. The Mouth ordered fires lit and that the tropes rested, and did not attack.
The fires burned the whole night.
The cage with the prisoners stood at the back of the lines, left there when the army arrived, and nothing more was done with it. No food or water given, no healer came. Aragorn and Imrahil passed the night in silence. Aragorn was given no choice, and though Imrahil had grown better during the travel, he was still weak from his wound.
The darkness lasted throughout the whole battle. The prisoners could hear when the attack began, and Imrahil could see fires, but the walls were too far away. The swishing of arrows and the cries of the wounded were all that could be heard for a long time. Then the clang of metal rang across the fields, distant and muddled in Aragorn's ears.
"The fight must have reached the gates," Imrahil said. "I do not know how many men are left, but they must have run out of arrows. It is too dark to see if any banners are flying from the Citadel. I cannot guess at who is leading the defence."
Aragorn nodded. He strained to discern the progress of the fight, but a long time passed where he could hear no difference in the muted cries and the beating of metal.
"The light near the gates grows fewer," Imrahil said. "And I can see fires spread on the first level."
They have taken the Gate. Aragorn tried to speak around the gag, but it was of no use. A fortnight, and he still had not learned, but still tried.
The sounds from the battle waxed and waned. Imrahil would guess at the enemy's progress through the City by tracing the lights, but little could be known for certain, other than the enemy slowly fought their way up through the circles of the city. Darkness covered the land, and even Imrahil could not tell how long the battle had lasted.
Once during that time they were given water, but Aragorn guessed, and indeed he guessed right, that the battle lasted more than a day.
Thirst and hunger plagued them, and Aragorn found it difficult to stay awake. The battle-sounds grew distant and even Imrahil's words were hard to hear. He fell in and out of sleep, though it was fitful and gave little rest. Now he wished they had stripped him of his mail; the padded collar that protected his neck had been cut away and a broken ring on his hauberk rubbed against the skin, so that it was raw and bleeding. Every movement tore more of the skin.
A muffled groan had Aragorn turn his head, and the ring racked across raw flesh.
"I cannot see the fighting," Imrahil said. His voice was strained and he paused, breathing loud. "I do not think the Citadel is overrun, but…"
The gates have fallen, one by one. Aragorn finished in his thoughts. The last gate may be the hardest, but they cannot hold long with the rest of the City taken. They will starve, unless they escape through hidden doors; if any path out is left. He shifted, and the ring scraped. It should have been no more than an annoyance, at this place and at this time, but it was not.
Why did he not bring us, he wondered. Did Cair Andros discourage him from trying to use us again? But that made little sense, for why then take them this far?
"Soldiers," Imrahil warned. "They are many, and come this way, bringing torches. Men from the south and east, but I see no Orcs."
Aragorn could hear them barking orders to their guards, and he was not surprised when metal rang and chains rattled, and they were dragged outside.
The ground was soft under his knees. Damp, and muddy. Hands tugged on the blindfold and he winced; the movement rubbed the mail against his neck, again.
"Pretty them up," one of the soldiers grumbled. "As if we have not better use."
"Do as you are told!" The voice was stern. "The Lieutenant want them to be recognised — especially the king."
"Why would they not recognise their king?"
"He has not been for long. They have been ruled by stewards for as long as can be remembered; no words about any king until a few weeks ago, before he tried to attack the Gate."
"Can't be a very smart king, to try that."
The soldier was cut off. Aragorn could hear a yelp, and felt the man rocking beside him.
"You are not here to think, or talk; obedience is all that is asked of you."
"Good." A hand grabbed his hair and turned his face, first one way, then another.
They talked about him as if he was not there. As if it did not matter whether he heard or not. Aragorn tried to wrench his head away, but he was held in place.
"This one needs a thorough wash: see to it."
Aragorn tensed. He remembered his last wash. But he could do little, though the blindfold and the gag was taken away. He caught a glimpse of torchlight, blinding after days of black, before hands gripped his shoulders and his neck and forced his head into water.
He held his breath. The water was fresh and cool; he would have called it soothing at any other time. Now he tried to stay still, tried to use this chance to slake his thirst, but they held him until his body fought to breathe, until it would no longer hold still; until his struggles grew weak. Then they pulled his head up again and he coughed and gasped for breath.
They rubbed soap into his hair, into his skin, into his eyes. It stung in the cracked corners of his mouth. The taste made him spit, and his eyes watered from the soap. They pushed him back into the water. Held him there.
Give up, a voice whispered in his mind. Thwart whatever purpose he has for you. But his body would not. It fought, and fought, and fought again. Water ran down his face, down his neck. He spluttered and coughed when he finally was let up. One of the soldiers cursed and they let go of him. He curled up, gulping up water he could ill afford to lose.
When the heaving stopped, they pulled him up again and threw the rest of the water in his face.
And that was easier.
Rough cloth dried him, rubbed against scabs and sore skin. Then he had a brief respite. He could see that Imrahil was wet too, and they dried him off with scarce more care. But there was little he could do, and Aragorn turned his eyes away.
The dim torchlight no longer blinded him, and he could see more of the camp. Around them were the wagons, row upon row, but most of them empty. Too few for a long siege. If the defenders destroyed the granaries, withdrew with nothing left for the enemy to scourge… The people left behind would starve, but so would the enemy. He tried to look for fires, but he could not see that part of the City.
"My knife is sharp."
The words brought him back to his own plight.
The soldier who had dried his face stood up, and Aragorn could see the soldier and his knife.
"To shave 'em," the first answered. "The Northmen go barefaced."
Aragorn strained against the hands that held him and gritted his teeth when a thumb stroked his cheek.
"Smooth as a boy. Or a woman." The soldier leered. "Who's been shaving you?"
Aragorn glared at him, but did not answer. Just locked his eyes with the other's, and held him. He could hear the other guard say that they could not have been shaved in many days; the layer of dust and grime were days thick.
The soldier's eyes wavered under his, but his grin widened. "Are you no man, then?" he asked. He let go of Aragorn's hair, and grabbed him.
Aragorn made no sound; he could not trust what he would say. Distantly he heard Imrahil protest, one of the guards hit him in the side but he barely felt it. He could not say if he would have felt it had he not retained his mail, so intent was he on the man before him, and the hand holding him.
Imrahil fell silent.
But the man leaned closer, leering, and Aragorn held until his face was close enough.
The soldier fell back screaming. He clutched his nose, and it was Aragorn who smiled. Danger he promised in that smile, and danger laced his words:
"Let lose my bonds, and you will learn that I am more than man."
Anger had driven any fear he should have felt away, but he could see fear and anger warring in the other. And whether fear or anger won when the man — egged on by the soldiers standing round — rose and strode closer, Aragorn did not know.
The men holding him let go, and he toppled into the mud. Imrahil was calling again, but Aragorn had only contempt left for the stupidity of the man: his boots were soft, and Aragorn was still in his mail.
It was Nagid, the captain from Harad. "Corporal," he said. "What has happened here?"
The soldier stepped away. Aragorn shifted his head so he could see. The corporal limped slightly and shrank under the captain's glare. He began to stammer excuses, until Captain Nagid stopped him. Two men hurried to drag Aragorn up and to his knees, and the captain came closer. Aragorn said nothing, and the captain did not ask him to speak. He studied his face: the fresh mud, and a sprinkle of blood on his forehead. He turned back to look at the corporal's bloodied nose.
"Clean him up again," Nagid ordered. "And you, Corporal, will present yourself for punishment in the morning." The corporal began to voice his defence, but the captain would not hear it. "Be grateful that your mistake will not thwart the Great Lord's plans," he said. "Or your punishment would have been death. But the steward will know his king, whether you have damaged his face or not. The Lord's Mouth has seen to it."
And from his jacket, he took out the Elessar, the Elfstone, and hung it around Aragorn's neck. Aragorn bit into the gag and strained against his guards; Faramir had not escaped then. Had the Mouth told the truth?
The rush of water chased the question from his mind, if only for a time.
After, they fitted the gag in place. The captain stood there, watching him. Aragorn met his eyes, but the captain did not hold his gaze. But he leaned down and felt the small swelling under the unbroken skin on Aragorn's forehead.
"You are prideful still," he said. "The Great Lord shows mercy on the deserving, and He understands pride; but those that in their pride will stand against Him, will fall to ruin. You will witness this, and know the truth of my words."
Aragorn shook his head. The captain said no more, and straightened.
"Bring them," the he ordered.
Aragorn felt a tug around his ankles. The shackles fell away and he was hauled to his feet.
But they had not allowed him to walk since his capture. His knees buckled under him, he stumbled. His guards swore and tugged him forward, towards the City. He slipped and stumbled and struggled to get his feet under him. They had not allowed him to walk on his own since his capture, but now… now his feet were no longer shackled tight and he could see. Now, for the first time since his capture, he had a choice – small though it was.
It became easier to walk, and he began to struggle against the guards instead. He strained against them, fought them step by step. They hauled him forward, but it was slow work, and hard. Grunts and curses rang down on him.
The corporal came closer. Aragorn saw him out of the corner of his eye: he carried a whip.
Before the corporal came close, Aragorn went limp. His guards were unprepared; they lost their grip and he let himself fall to the ground. He rolled. He struck with his feet and brought down one. He swiped another of his feet, and rolled again. Found his own feet and staggered backwards. Kept his balance.
The whip whistled and he ducked away. He retreated, step by step, backing away from the whip.
But they were many, and his hands were bound. Another whip cracked, and wrapped around his legs. He fell, and they grabbed him again, held him down.
And his sight was taken. The bag was thick and smelled of earth and carrots. It was tied in place, and he was hauled to his feet.
"That," the captain's voice said, "was foolish. Did you think you would be able to escape?"
Aragorn stood between his guards and did not move to answer. He knew there was little he could do, but he would not meekly let himself be led. He continued to struggle, and they pulled him forwards; he had to walk or lose his footing. He did not wish to be dragged helpless.
So he stumbled between the soldiers, slipped on the muddy ground and staggered to his feet again. And they forced him towards the City. He could feel the stone under his feet when they reached the Road, heard the echo when they passed the Gate. Up the levels of the City he struggled both to keep his feet, and against the guards.
He did not hear screams of wounded, nor the clash of steel, and he wondered if the City was already taken. Sweat stung in his eyes, and breathing became difficult, and still they forced him upwards.
Then they stopped, and the silence of many men surrounded him. Aragorn could sense the army around him, silent. Waiting. Ahead a man spoke and another answered. Aragorn was tugged forward, and the silence erupted into jeers and shouts.
He was jerked to a halt and forced to kneel. He would have fallen forwards, but the guards held on to his arms, held him upright on his knees. The bag was ripped away and he blinked. Torchlight blinded him, hands yanked his head back, and he heard the Mouth laugh.
Then he heard a shout of dismay from the walls.
Faramir had not left. Aragorn knew his voice. He squinted against the light, and saw him on the wall.
The Mouth looked at Aragorn, but Aragorn ignored him. Head wrenched up and held fast, he could not move it, but even so he kept his eyes on the walls. On Faramir. His body was tense, as if he was only waiting for some sign to break free from his bonds. Mute. Unbending.
Beside him Prince Imrahil hung slumped between his guards, pale and silent. If he still fought his captors, it could not be seen; he was too worn by injury and the road to offer any defiance. The Mouth turned from his hostages and back to the wall.
"The Great Lord is merciful, but impatient," he called. "Surrender, and learn his lenience. Surrender, and Gondor will not suffer. Wait until we tear your walls down stone by stone," he took hold of Aragorn and dragged him closer, "and Gondor will pay double for every wound suffered by our soldiers."
Aragorn trembled under his hand and the Mouth smiled to feel it.
"Shall I order my men forward again, steward? Will you care so little for that which has been given in your care? For the life of your liege and your kinsman? For the life of your men and your people?"
"Name your demands."
The smile widened, and the Mouth loosened his grip on Aragorn. The soldier tightened his instead, and the Mouth trailed his fingers down Aragorn's cheek, a mockery of a caress.
"Surrender, and your life, the life of your men, the life of your uncle; and the life of your king will be spared. The land east of Anduin will belong to the Great Lord, and Gondor will be taken in under the protection of Mordor; a tributary with leave to govern itself– within certain limits."
Faramir did not answer at once. There was a movement in the darkness upon the walls; a man appeared beside the Steward, they conferred, and the man withdrew into the dark. A little later a standard was thrown down from the walls. White with no mark on it.
Aragorn closed his eyes and slumped in the grip of his guard. He barely heard Faramir's words, the rush of blood and his own breath too loud in his ears. Loud and harsh. The army cheered and shouted and he could feel the Mouth lean close, his breath hot on his face, and heard him say:
"Now thou seest, Elessar; thou hast served, and thou wilt serve, as the Great Lord wills."
The Mouth straightened and Aragorn was left there, kneeling in the grip of the guards. Shouts and calls swirled around him, and he was hoisted to his feet. He was dragged, stumbling forwards, a short space.
"He is unharmed, as you can see."
He met Faramir's eyes. The Steward was pale, ragged from the battle. Do not surrender for my sake! But Faramir could not hear him; he was not allowed to speak.
"My lord," Faramir said, but Aragorn shook his head. The Mouth barked an order, and a blindfold was bound around his head, pressing on his eyes.
They dragged him away. Down through the City, how far he could not tell, nor could he tell whether Imrahil was brought with him, but at the end he was taken inside a building, down through narrow stairs, into some room. There they pushed him to the floor, unbound his arms and stripped him of his mail and boots. They clapped iron round his ankles, and left him, still gagged and blindfolded, on the cold floor.
His arms throbbed, and his fingers were stiff and clumsy; it took more time than it should to untie both the blindfold and the gag.
The cell was dark. No light; if there were any cracks in the door that could have let it in, Aragorn could not see them. Perhaps there were none. Perhaps there was no light outside the door. He crept forward, and found the wall.
He had cried behind the blindfold and the gag, that first night, if night it was, when they left him bound upon his knees. He had wept for those that had died, and those that lived. For their failure and for their loss. For the hobbits' unknown fate, and for the fate he knew too well awaited them all; the only outwards sign the wetting of the cloth around his eyes.
Now he clutched his throbbing arms to his chest and curled against the wall. Rocking with the pain, he cried again. In the darkness of the windowless cell he wept for Gondor and its people. He wept for the City that was lost. For the Steward and for the deadness in his voice. And he wept with the pain of the role he had been made to play. The role he would be made to play again.
The walls around him were silent and cold. He wept for a long time, until, at last, his tears ran dry, and weary, he fell into dreamless sleep.
He woke shivering with cold. His body was stiff and sore and he moved slowly and with care. He stretched; he bent his knees and placed the unclad soles of his feet on the floor. His legs weak from long disuse, he still pushed himself up and clambered to his feet.
The wall supported him, he held on until he was sure he would not fall. Then Aragorn pushed away. Chains rattled; the shackles were too tight for him to walk with ease, but walk he could.
The chains did not let him fully reach the door; the cell was long but narrow — even with his short range Aragorn could reach the corners of the wall he was chained to. And it was empty. No straw or even a bucket.
Aragorn sat down in one of the corners, even that little movement had left him tired. His body was heavy and weak. He did not know whether it was day or night, nor did he know how long he had slept, but he guessed that it had been several hours.
No food or water.
No food since the last halt before they reached Minas Tirith. No water for almost as long.
His lips were dry and cracked, and the gag had cut the corner of his mouth. The cut above his eye had closed, but it had not healed. Aragorn prodded carefully around the scab. The skin was hot and tender.
"It would indeed be a deep fall," he mumbled. "To die of an infected whip-wound, though thirst seems more likely."
He searched his body for other hurts, but his mail had protected him well. A welt wound around his calves – a whip-mark by the feel of it – but apart from those bruises, and raw-rubbed flesh on his wrists and neck, were all the wounds he had. What the Mouth had said was true enough: he was mostly unharmed.
And the Enemy did not wish him dead.
Aragorn did not know how long he sat in the darkness. He drowsed, and woke at the sound of feet.
A small sliver of light pierced the dark one moment before the door opened, and the light blinded him. Loud noise accompanied the light, and Aragorn raised his arms to shield his eyes and ears. Hands closed around his wrists, and he was too weak from thirst and hunger to resist. But he tried.
"Do not," a voice said. It was the healer that had treated Imrahil during the march. "Or will you rather be chained to the wall while I treat you?"
Aragorn shook his head. His mouth was too dry to speak, but he peered against the light and let his arms fall when the healer let go of them.
His hands were cool and light. Aragorn closed his eyes while the healer checked him, and found nothing Aragorn did not already know. He prodded the cut above the eye.
"This should be laced," he said. "There is corruption under the skin; the wound has closed too soon."
Aragorn lost the words that followed between the healer and the soldier, to tired to think clearly until the healer turned back to him. Touched his brow, moved on to pull open one eye. The crust of dried tears crumbled under his fingers and Aragorn drew back. The healer said nothing, and moved on to check the cuts around his mouth.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Aragorn relaxed a little when the hands disappeared.
"Open your eyes," the healer instructed.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Aragorn opened his eyes. The light seemed less harsh and he looked at the healer. He was holding up one hand, one finger, in front of his face.
"Follow the movement."
"Good," the healer said. "Rest a moment; food and water are comming."
Aragorn nodded, but he did not close his eyes again.
His cell was small, with stone walls, earthen floor, and no windows. From one corner to the next it was just a few feet long, but between the back wall and the door it was more than twice that length. The chain binding him in place was set in the earth floor, and the door, he saw, was not the thick, heavy door of a dungeon: they had put him in a larder.
Why not a cell? Minas Tirith had dungeons and jails; a larder could hardly be as secure. With some work, Aragorn thought he would be able to pull loose the chain, and he could see no lock on the door.
Sneak away and escape, and leave Gondor to her fate? The Mouth had already used him against Faramir once, and he did not wish to learn more of what the Enemy had in store for him.
Flee, or fight to death– or to his recapture?
The latter was more likely. More likely than any escape, whether through death or not. Aragorn closed his eyes.
He did not know if he could bear it. Had the Mouth placed him here, in this larder, to taunt him with the hope of escape, only to take it away? It was a well-chosen torment.
At that moment a guard came with food. The healer made him sip the water slowly. Asked him of pains, felt the heat of his brow, and asked if he felt hot. Aragorn felt cold, for the larder had been made to keep food and he had no blankets, or boots, nor had they let him keep the padded tunic he had borne under the mail.
"A low fever, then," the healer muttered.
He left shortly after and the guards went with him. They left a bucket for his needs, and water and food by his side.
"Eat," the healer said. "Or we will have to feed you."
Aragorn gave no response, the threat was clear: eat, or be force-fed.
They took the light with them when they left.
Darkness. Darkness and shadow surrounded him. He did not know day from night, could not judge how fast the hours dripped by. Not since Moria had he known such darkness, the darkness of the deep earth where no stars shone. But even there, in the deep mines, there had been light, and space, and time. The staff of Gandalf leading them through the night; great halls and caves where their footsteps would resound; and in the morning high shafts had let in the sun.
Here was the dumb darkness of raw earth and small rooms. The man-made dark of bolted doors to trap the darkness and shut out light, and air. And life.
He tried to put such thoughts out of his mind: this cell was no tomb, but a larder; made to preserve food. Not corpses.
Sometimes he wondered if he would not prefer the tomb.
He tried to keep some count of the time by marking when the guards brought food, but he had nothing with which to scratch a mark. The walls were stone; too hard to mark without a knife, or iron nail. The marks he scratched into the floor too often distorted and destroyed by the guards, or his own, feet. He lost the count – and guessed that it would have been of little use. The guards' visits were random; at times too close to be even a day apart, at others far too long. Then he would sleep and wake and sleep again, and none would come. Not until his lips were parched and cracked and he did not feel the hunger-pains above the thirst.
No. That only happened once. Aragorn remembered that one time.
When the guards left with the water-bucket and the trays, he would dig around the bolt driven deeply into the earthen floor that held him chained in place. So he did this time too, always listening to hear if they returned.
They did not.
He did not know how long he dug. Hours? Days? He slept, and woke and dug again. The longer the guards stayed away, the better his chance to break free. Do not come, he found himself wishing. Do not come.
They did not.
He had only his bare hands, and the floor was hard. He scraped his fingers, his nails broke and he bled, but he dug and dug. He tried to use the links of the chain to help ease his digging, but the bolt did not budge. The digging became harder and harder, more tiresome, but he kept digging when he did not rest. Do not come; not yet.
They did not.
His mouth grew dry. His fingers weak. Every grain of sand, every speck of dirt he could feel against his fingertips; every hurt. But his body grew dull and numb, and he could not think. When will they come?
They did not, and that was all he knew.
The guards had found him more dead than alive. He could hear them, but he was too dry to speak. The light blinded him but he had little strength to move away. Loud voices, shouting, and he closed his eyes.
Do not come! I almost found a way.
The healer came, speaking angry words in the Haradrim tongue. Aragorn could not follow it; it was too harsh, too fast. Too loud. The Haradrim soldiers blamed the corsair guards; they denied it, quarrelling above him as if he was not there. As if it did not matter what he heard.
And he remembered his body betraying him, desperate for the water even when his mind screamed at him to refuse it. Better to be dead, if the Enemy wanted him to live.
His body won that fight before it had began, gulping the water down as quickly as the healer would allow.
And then they left, and the darkness returned. He sat alone, shaken that he had not fought harder. Grey shapes danced around him, the echo of the blinding light. He waited for the images to fade, for the darkness to abate when his eyes had grown accustomed to the dark once more.
It never happened. No night-vision was strong enough to pierce the dark. Time and time again he waited, but the dark stayed the same inky black. It did not get better; the darkness was too complete.
He tugged at his chain. It did not budge. The bolt was driven deeper into the dirt, and he had lost whatever progress he had gained.
Why had he not fought harder?
You always fought to live before. Not to die.
I did not know despair. However weary, there were always joy and light. Now darkness swallows all.
You do not know that.
Yes, I do. The hobbits are lost, the Ring regained and Sauron won.
And you would flee from him. Cowardly escape and leave. Let others fight in your stead?
He wishes me to live; why should I not deny him? No other power is left me than to deny him this. If even that power is left. Should I surrender and not fight at all?
He sat in silence in the darkness. Moments passed; a whole Age of the world. From the depths of his heart the answer came, grim and small and bleak:
If you are dead, you cannot fight again.
And so he lived.
Warning: for torture, though not graphic. This warning – or for violence – will be relevant for much of the story, though the intensity and/or details of description will vary. The background theme of the possibility of abuse will be there in most chapters: I am telling about prisoners of war, in a time and place where the Geneva convention has not even been thought of.
I do, however, not intend to go beyond the T-rating. Should you at any point think I are getting too close to the line for M-rating, please tell me. I will most likely edit the more graphical material out, unless I feel it is needed, in which case I will change the rating. But I think it should be possible to tell the story effectively without too graphic descriptions.
Notes on names:
Erinç son of Igar - (Old Turcik) An Easterling. Morthoron gave me the advice and the link to find resources. The names are taken from the Orkhon inscriptions found in Mongolia.
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.