21. Day 22: Wraithlike
The woman lies dead at his feet like so many others, but there was something about this one, something that must have made him think. But what?
Unused to such things is he—remembrance or forethought. He lives only in the moment, what else is there? He lives in the parchedness of fleshless lips, the burning of a gut long-empty, the thirst of a heart devoid of feelings, the restlessness of a body spread too thin too light too difficult to move for lack of matter, the ever-throbbing, all-encompassing single-mindedness of his will—aflame with rage, athirst with vengeance—
He concentrates his power in the act of turning her over, both yearning and dreading to see her face, and there he sees it—
A flood of memory rushes back—even that a gift and a curse, his curse wrought of his own making, for he remembers the name that eluded him, the face long-forgotten, and with reason as he now knows: his wife.
"It was not supposed to be like this!" he screams in a rare moment of clarity—one that he knows he will pay for. Later. "Power we sought. Power we were promised, but not for this. Not like this!"
An age ago, maybe two or three—five?—he was. He was. He was… a man, of all things! If he strained hard enough he might remember the feel of flesh clinging to his bones, but just now he was too weary.
Wonder fills him, but it passes all too quickly giving way to what feels more familiar: thirst, greed, more,
His only pleasure, his only joy, swallowed up in the will of his master, his own will. Yes.
"At your service, my lord. As ever."
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.