The Sons of Thunder: 24. Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men

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24. Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men

Apologies for the delay- you will see why when you read this- it is the key chapter and it really needed to be right. You have no idea how much influence the wonderful Anarithilen has had- how much time she spent on this with me and any reviews should include her for she co-authored this. And she was ill!

Summary: Elrohir and Legolas have been sent into the mountains by Gandalf to let the Nazgul see the Ring in Legolas' mind, leading them to believe that it is in Minas Tirith. The plan is that if the Nazgul seek to take Legolas captive, Elrohir will then deliver the Milui-criss, the Mercy Cut. Elrohir, however, having been offered rewards if he joins the Nazgul, has his own plan and has summoned them himself. They are treacherous indeed and arrive sooner than Elrohir expected in order to hunt Legolas. In the previous chapter, they had surrounded and tormented him. It ended with Legolas stabbed with the Morgul Blade retrieved from the Witchking. It is not the only thing retrieved, as we will find out. We pick up with Elrohir. 

Now the answer to all those shouting 'WTF is Elrohir doing!!???'


Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men 

Above the high ridge, the sky split in two. Forked lightning flashed across the unnaturally dark and thunderous sky. Huge raindrops splattered on the dry ground, and the smell of dust and dry pine needles scented the crackling air. Elrohir, stunned by the immensity of his own deed, of the risk he took, opened his eyes wide and stared at the fractured, molten sky. Silver black silver lightning flashed and the thunder cracked overhead, brittle and high. He had invoked the Nazgul, the Black Riders, who were the closest servants of Sauron himself. They were shadows of Mordor and he, Elrohir, had summoned them so that he could ensnare them in his plan.

He had barely finished his dreadful summoning, the words lingering still, like smoke in the air around him, when he felt the hairs on his scalp rise. His fingertips prickled, nerves jangled and on edge at the thin wail, the screams above and behind him.

They were here? No, he thought frantically.  It was too quick, too soon. How could they be here already? He stretched out his senses, eyes wide, caught the sough of great reptilian wings, tracked their plummet to the earth, the skid of taloned claws on the stony mountainside. How?  More than unnatural. It was treacherous. They had already been here. Waiting. Watching. He had used the Black Speech, had thrown his summons into the air, but they had not heeded his summons. They already knew. He was a fool.  Elrohir cursed himself. Of course. They had been watching the city. Waiting for one who knew of the Ring. Waiting, as Gandalf had predicted. It was Elrohir who was the fool. He thought he could outsmart both Sauron and Gandalf. 

But he was not had yet. He felt the nudge of a thin sneer against in his own awareness and knew Khamul was here, waiting for him on the cold mountain. Ah, and now his trial was upon him. But he wondered why they were not here, with him, confronting him in this strange darkness. He wanted his ordeal over and quickly.

He hesitated and gripped the hilt of his sword, wondering if he should let them find him, wondered if he could do this terrible thing that he had planned.  He gazed upwards once more, searching for the malevolence against the edges of his mind.

He turned around, seeking the flicker of the fire on the slopes below, the sudden darkening where Legolas moved, but he could see nothing now and his heart beat faster and then he saw it, a faint flicker of orange in the darkness. That surge of irritation he felt earlier returned now tenfold- he had told Legolas to stay hidden. Small it may be, but the fire was a beacon in this unnatural midday darkness. Anger born of fear surged in his stomach; he would have to be quick now, to draw the Nazgul away from that bright beacon so they never knew the other Elf was here, never found him in that darkness for he was guileless in this, had no suspicion of Elrohir's intent. 

He slid thirst-sharp Aicanáro back into its mithril inlaid sheath and stepped lightly onto the narrow goat track he had followed to this high ridge. It had seemed so simple. Standing, listening to Gandalf's plan, the Wizard's searching gaze easily met by one of Galadriel's close kin. It had come to him slowly...a dawning of an idea. And then a plan. The Nazgul wanted him, had offered him rewards, riches, if he would join them. And they wanted what he was willing to give them; news of the Ring. And the news Elrohir planned to give the dreadful servants of the Dark Lord was indeed of a hobbit with the Ring, but the hobbit was in Minas Tirith, not Ithilien, not on his way to Mordor.

He felt a tight squeeze in his chest and glanced quickly towards the fire. It was Legolas he feared for. Legolas had offered himself willingly as a sacrifice to Gandalf, accepted Elrohir as his final companion in spite of... He swallowed, remembering how he had pressed against the Woodelf's hard body, had crushed his arm against his throat until he could not breathe...had enjoyed the pain he inflicted. It had made him feel...powerful. As he had not been that night when Eomer burst in and Legolas left him. As he had not been on that terrible night he found his mother. As he had not been as the small huddled figure hurried along the grey stones towards a grey ship and he could not stop her.

Elrohir shook himself and hastened along the thin trail, suddenly fearful. If the Nazgul found Legolas first, before he intercepted them, they would hunt him down and Legolas would not flinch from doing as Gandalf bid, laying down his life to save his friends, to save Elrohir, even after what he had done. But Elrohir had determined to save Legolas. In spite of everything, even the breaking of his fragile heart, Elrohir was determined to save Legolas. 

He would have to be quick if he wished to intercept them. Because he knew without any doubt that there were three of them - he felt them, like razors against his skin. 

In that moment, he heard the second thin wailing cry of the Nazgul, and realised it came from below. Near the small camp. Near Legolas. No! He stopped dead and let his denial surge into the midday darkness, let his crimson power sweep before him and deny the Nazgul. They should not be there! Not below! He had summoned them to come above!

'You will not have him! You will treat with me!' he shouted furiously.

He felt a brush against his mind, a cold, thin sneer and the rain burst upon him then.

Rávëyon. Come then. I will treat with you...but I have a task for my Lord first.

Such betrayal! Such treachery! This was not as he had planned!

An image flickered in his mind then, a light figure, a shape that ran lightly ahead of him, feet flying over the earth, heart pounding – Legolas! He could hear his heart racing, hear the panting, frightened breath, caught the scent, the sharp smell of fear, a raw animal smell like the earth itself. He felt the Nazgul lift its head, and scent the air. Then he heard as if from his own mouth, the Nazgul's hunting cry. He felt its surge of excitement, remembered a time long ago hunting beneath the shadowed eaves of Agannâlo, and this one had run before it like a deer, and tricked them again. He caught himself breathing hard  as the Nazgul had, and saw as the Nazgul, smelt what it smelt and knew its dreadful thoughts...It would be sweet revenge for them, sweet indeed to take this one's shining life, payment in part for all the mischief it had caused over the long years of Exile. The shape flickered and trembled before him, turning terrified eyes...and then it turned and stood...a burning arc of fire flared up in front of the Nazgul, sparks flew and scattered ...Elrohir felt the Wraith's amusement at the desperate attempt to fight...saw the glint of firelight on metal, heard the rasp of steel and saw Legolas as he was seen by the Nazgul... light pouring from him, shining. Nimir indeed, his young strength, his power, immortality...Elrohir felt the Wraith's hunger like it was his own, and the Brethren stepped out from the shadowed trees, and surrounded him on three sides... 

Elrohir found himself leaping over the granite boulders, from one to another, flying over the soft carpet of pine needles, against the driving rain. He felt the wind beating against him, catching his cloak and he groped for the Dunédain star that pinned it and tore it away, flung both brooch and cloak from him the easier to run. He pulled Aicanáro from its sheath again and it gleamed darkly, hungrily. It knew its old enemy was close, remembered the cold iron taste of shadow and dark.

Rain came in drenching sheets now. Sudden. It pounded the cold, hard ground, splattered on the broad leaves of the sparse forest, drenched Elrohir so he could hardly see. He knew now the Nazgul hunted and that Legolas was alone and unprotected. He was a fool. His plan had gone awry. His feet flew along the narrow track, leaping over fallen logs, roots that snaked out to trip him. He skimmed the thickly carpeted floor...

No! He threw out his defiance, his insistence. He is mine!

He ran, fleet footed and swift as an arrow. Ahead of him on the distant trail, he thought he saw an arc of orange light; it was as he had seen only moments before in the Nazgul's mind, and he heard the Nazgul shriek once more. A long roll of thunder rumbled and then crashed around him, and bolts of lightning thrust into the ground before and behind him. He barely glanced up, barely leapt away from the bolts that sizzled the earth, but surged ahead, Aicanáro gleamed black, wetly in the rain, mithril runes glowed and melted in the lightning.

What do you fear most? What do you desire most? Surely only Idril was desired more.

A low grinding of sinew and bone and iron resounded that was the Nazgul's horrid laugh, and an image then of Legolas, conjured by the Nazgul from his own darkness, naked, sweating, writhing in pain and agony and desire...

'No! You will not touch him!' Elrohir shouted into the rain.

The mountainside seemed on fire, a strange red glow but the glow intensified near the place he had left Legolas and he felt his heart pound and he ran faster, his breath coming now in heavy gasps. He leaped over a fallen log. But the images came stronger, and he felt his hands stroke down the flanks of the bound Elf, catch up and twist in long wheat-pale hair... slide down lean hips and cup the bulge of sex...

He can be yours... The voice seemed to slide as easily as his hands down the sweat-slick flanks. The brethren that are Eight can be Nine once more. 

Ice seemed to freeze in his veins at that thought and he slowed instinctively. A brief thought flickered in his mind that perhaps Sauron had wanted him all along, that it was not Legolas they wanted. It would be cold revenge indeed if a son of Elrond and grandson of Galadriel were to become a wraith, drawn to darkness...Sauron was not a dormant force, waiting...and suddenly Elrohir saw with piercing clarity how he, Aragorn, Frodo, Legolas had been played by the Three, had been beguiled into submission to the plans of the White Council; how bitter...and how inevitable it was that the Dark Lord would regain the One.

He cursed himself for being thrice a fool. Once because he should have trusted Gandalf, told him of his plan. But it was his own damed guilt and pride that stopped him, his fear that the Wizard would see what the Nazgul had seen, his terrible darkness and lust. Twice because Elrohir's plan did not need Legolas to be here on the mountain and had he trusted Gandalf Legolas would be safe even now, in the city. Three times a fool for believing he could summon the Nazgul and they would obey. He should have known they were treacherous. 

It was his own arrogance that had brought him here, his plan, thinking that he, Rávëyon, with his rich blood of Galadriel and Melian, that he would be able to resist the Nazgul, to tell then what he wanted them to know... and then to be released unscathed, with his prize, Legolas' gratitude, and perhaps even his love. Three times a fool indeed, he rebuked himself. All this for the sake of the Ring.

He paused and looked slowly about him, he felt he was in a dream and that the narrow goat path ahead of him now merged with the shadows and twisted in unexpected ways...

He saw the One clearly in his own mind as if he had seen it himself, hot with power, luminous beauty and purity…such could such a little thing... such a very little thing a small hand, a hobbit...

He caught himself suddenly aware...and felt their presence in his thoughts. Yes. A sudden sensation, strange to him, quietly probing beneath his consciousness... He let his mind drift a little... wanting to appear slow, lethargic, letting them sniff for a sense of the Ring... to see a glimmer in his thoughts...For this was why he was the one to do this. His blood, his rich blood, gave him strength and power. Had not Luthien lulled Melkor himself into a sleep and stolen that which was most Precious to him? That blood roared suddenly in his veins but he stilled it, calmed it. He did not need cuivëar to escape the Nazgul; he was Rávëyon.  

He let his mind drift a little and to wonder if even Sauron was strong enough to stop Aragorn from taking the One for himself if he so desired it...He felt the sudden uncertainty of the Nazgul flicker and he fed it, let his mind edge towards thoughts again of the Ring...he felt the interest sharpen and fed it with another image, Merry lying in the Houses of Healing, as if dead, his skin pale and cold, the Black Breath stealing his own life slowly, drip by precious drip... He felt a rise of anger in the edges of his mind.

Angmar...slain by this one's hand? Angmar...such old, cold strength and power... such steel, such razor cruelty... slain by this?


He felt the Nazgul withdraw and he stood...slowly realising that he had stopped running, that he stood now in a clearing he did not recognise, and that he could no longer see the arc of fire from the small camp, he could no longer hear the Nazgul. The rain fell heavily, falling on leaves, pattering on the earth, drenching his face. He turned and turned and turned, seeking the way, reaching out for Legolas...He felt the press of the Nazgul on his mind, beneath his awareness.

Of Legolas? Nothing. He had lost him. 

Rest awhile. Sleep. Dream...

He felt a blurring in his a blanket muffled his thoughts, felt tired suddenly and let his sword rest on the ground before him...wanted to rest, to dream. Let his sword, which stung his fingers and thrummed, let it rest against the wet and sodden earth, sinking slightly in the pine needles that muffled all sound, listened instead to the pattering rain on the broad leaves, slide from the thin pines...the smell of the woods, damp...and there was something about the woods that he needed to remember...

He thought how dark it had grown, and wondered why there were no stars. He could not remember where Elladan was, or why he was here alone in these strange woods. His fingertips prickled. The black hilt of his sword thrummed under his hand but it was quiet. Only the rain for the storm seemed to have died away and there was no sound. He thought he must be alone in the world.

A scream pierced his quiet world. Not the Nazgul's thin wail but a screaming of agony and pain, an Elf's scream. 

It pierced him like needles in his fingertips. He remembered. Legolas. He must protect Legolas. From them. It was why he had come. He whirled round, frantic, desperate, trying to find him. He felt the thin smile against his own mouth like the wraith had pressed up close, the Nazgul's thoughts caught and tangled on his own.

Ah... I had forgotten blood... I had forgotten how it squeezed in the veins... forgotten the pound of blood in the heart...the stretch of muscle and sinew...the sensation of strength...the surge and heat of is such a price...

It seemed like the forest parted before him and the trees swept their branches away from him, fearing to touch his cloak, his black shroud, his very presence filled them with silence though it was a Woodelf he tormented...who screamed and screamed as though his veins were filled with fire, and who tore the clothes from his skin as if they burned like acid.

Elrohir shook his head free of the Nazgul's presence. 

Come then. Join us. We are here, with your nûph-zirân,

For Elrohir could see before him now, that he stood beyond the small camp. The blanket that had fallen upon his mind had shaken free and he could see the world again with sharpness and clarity. An unnatural fiery glow lit the clearing just ahead. It came not from any earthly fire. Flames seemed to flicker, licking at the trees. They seemed to draw back in fear. 

Three Wraiths stood taller than any man, shrouds of darkness cloaked them and the shadows clung to them. Silent and still, they stood inside the circle, each holding a blade to the earth and it seemed to Elrohir that darkness and power roiled and coalesced about the blades. Like serpents, the darkness writhed and poured itself onto the earth, uncoiled and slid within the circle drawn by sorcery, joining and linking and growing so it seemed that darkness writhed in the clearing. And in their centre was Legolas, on his knees, hair streaming behind him, writhing in agony. Not shouting, screaming. His hands clutching at his clothes, tearing his tunic from his body, he threw it from him as if it burned, plucking at the thin fabric shirt like it was acid. 

Elrohir felt his instincts, every nerve in his body, every cell screaming at him to run, run as fast he could, now. But he held fast to his courage and focused his sharp gaze upon his foe. Aicanáro sang in his hands.

The black shrouded Nazgul strode forward, cold blade lifted before him catching on the fire, catching on the lightning that thrust bolts into the ground around them. Elrohir knew this was Khamul. His black shrouded figure loomed over Legolas, sword lifted high above him and leveled it at the Elf's heart.

But now Elrohir leaped forwards and let Aicanáro clash against the Nazgul's blade, forcing it up and away from Legolas. He wrenched the Nazgul blade down and forced it into the earth.

'You will treat with me! He is not yours to take. He is not part of the bargain.'

Rávëyon...You have come for him.

'He is mine.'

Elrohir fixed the Nazgul with his iron-grey stare, with all his power, all his fiery energy, all his lust and thirst for ...for...

Yes.. for power...a voice hissed within him. For the power to subdue, not just him...he will not be enough for you. Oh, for now maybe. 

The image of his lust was there in front of him even as it spoke, the Elf's head thrown back in agony, lips parted and breath in short gasps, and then a scream as pain wrenched his sinews and muscles, his skin gleaming with sweat, flames flickered over his naked torso, the writhing and swirling yára-carmë  painted on his gleaming skin, slick from the rain...

He saw Legolas' lips moving as in prayer and his eyes fluttered, 'Elvellon Elvellon Elrohir Elrohir.'  It broke the spell and tore his heart. 

There was the cruel laughter, and then only the agonised, tortured screaming. 

'No!' shouted Elrohir and he swung his own blade against Khamul, who turned slowly towards him. He heard its thin amusement, felt the cold of the Black Breath and steeled himself against it. He was Rávëyon! He would not succumb. He let the crimson power of his own fëa flood his veins, his bones, suffuse his flesh and blood. A blast of power he had never felt before surged through him and the Nazgul fell back. 

'You will not harm him!' he shouted. 'He is mine!' 

He leapt forwards, sword raised but two blades struck against his own, knocking it away and to the ground. He was forced back by the two Nazgul, who wielded immense, heavy broadswords strong with ancient sorcery and magic. He whirled and struck at one and then the other, beating them both back until his own thirsty blade scraped against the old, iron armour. He shoved them hard away and then spun around to stop Khamul.

Too late! Khamul's empty hood turned chillingly towards him, slowly and then returned to Legolas kneeling. Naked in the rain and half-light, kneeling at the feet of the Wraith, his long hair swept back and his strong, beautiful face contorted in agony. There was a brief moment as the Elf bared his heart, as if he were a willing sacrifice. The painted dragon seemed to writhe and thrash on his gleaming skin...

For a moment, everything was still, paused. And then the Nazgul, Khamul, plunged its sword into Legolas's breast.

Elrohir felt Legolas shudder and tremble, and watched the Woodelf slowly crumple to the ground. 

Elrohir leapt forwards with a cry and plunged his sword towards the Nazgul. It turned and met Aicanáro with the Morgul Blade and suddenly sparks flew and Aicanáro sang in his hand. The blade quivered and flashed. He swung high and fast and came down again against the knife, and this time Khamul swung his own sword beneath Elrohir's raised arm. Elrohir sprang away and felt the slide of steel against his flesh. He whirled around and two-handed, railed against his enemy, his sword clashed against the deadly blade and he struggled, pushed hard and then tore back and swung to meet the other two Nazguls' broadswords again. He found himself almost watching himself as he furiously rained blows upon his enemies, Aicanáro struck and struck again blindly, instinctively and he knew the Nazgul were falling back. Another turned and he swept Aicanáro in a wide arc before him, knocking Khamul's blade to the side.

He breathed hard, glaring at them, 'I will slay you all!' he declared. Aicanáro thrummed lightly in his hand, its bright edge flashed and all but Khamul edged away from the blade of Westernesse, knew what magic had forged them and the memory of Angmar's fall haunted them.

If you slay me, he will always be unhoused… this elf.... your yôzâira.

Elrohir barely heard it, barely recognised the words through his blind fury but his hand held back a fraction as he thought...yôzâira - the gift of your longing... a fragment of black robe fluttered to the ground.

You do not see, in spite of your rich blood. Look....

Slowly, Khamul reached out one gauntleted hand towards Elrohir. He pulled back, horror creeping down his spine, his hair stood on end and he had to fight to stop himself from running, but the Nazgul grasped his shoulder and instantly the world changed...

...trees bent and faded. It was like looking into a still pond as the reflection breaks...the heavy sky seemed lower, everything sepia, shapes indistinct, trembling, unreal, and the skeletal face of the Nazgul grinned and leered and looked away towards the huddled body of the Elf...Elrohir felt his heart crack.

Above it shone a trembled and shimmered and moved. It took shape as he looked at it and he saw it was Legolas...a shining pale green light, like sunlight through young beech leaves. His face impossibly young, vulnerable, confused stared at him with no understanding but he saw Elrohir and it seemed a light shone within him then. He reached towards Elrohir and his mouth moved...Raveyon...A slender ribbon of light seemed to reach between the shimmering figure and the lifeless slumped body.

Elrohir's eyes flashed and he drew his lips back and bared his teeth 'What have you done to him?'

Do not think to fool us, Rávëyon. A Morgul Blade is the gift of the Great One. It severs the spirit from the body so that we may become strong....You carry that power yourself.

'We had a bargain.'

He felt its snarl of amusement, its gesture towards the sword in his own hand.

'You said you would raise me above all others. This is how I should trust you?' he cried. 'I would give you what you want but leave my kin and mine.' Elrohir stared at the emptiness within the hood, and with every pulse of his blood, every beat of his heart, every breath he said, 'He is mine.'

You speak of trust, Rávëyon?  Do you think we sit and wait idly until summoned by the blood of Indilzar? You think my Lord a fool! You refused us. And now you wish to join us? No. You need to be given a reason to become one of us, for that is my Lord's will. This is your reason.

It gestured to the slumped body and the black shroud billowed and flowed around him, part of the darkness.

He can yet be restored. Until nightfall he can be returned. There is a little time. Tell me. Where is It? That which is Precious to my Lord. Tell me and I will give you the means to restore him.

Elrohir squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, and he shook his head with a terrible sorrow. He had failed. His great plan to protect Legolas had failed. How dared he believe he could outwit the Darkness and Shadow. What choice did he have now? He had brought this upon Legolas. He had brought them to this place where the Nazgul waited. He had not done as Gandalf planned, instead he had exposed Legolas to a horrible fate, a terrible end that was not death. It was worse.

He took a breath, and shaking his head in despair, said, 'I cannot.'

Khamul turned his head and looked towards the lost and confused spirit that shimmered on the edge of the clearing, that glowed and trembled as the Nazgul approached and the spirit lifted insubstantial hands as if to ward off the evil that came towards him.

A cold revenge indeed upon Azgarâzir and this, his wretched son. How he will weep.

Khamul reached out and with his iron-clad hands, he brushed across the threads of the shimmering ribbon, like it was a harp, and the shining threads trembled and frayed. 

Long have we sought him. Long have we hunted him and his brethren beneath the trees of Agannâlo. I would consume him within the hearing of Azgarâzir, but I will make do with this.

Khamul gave no heed to the silent cries of the ghost as the threads loosened and wisped. He leaned over the senseless body of Legolas and gathered up the fall of pale gold hair. Elrohir watched it slide through iron-clad fingers.

I see why you do desire him, Rávëyon. 

Khamul straightened, letting the long strands fall and mingle with those other shining strands.

By nightfall this thread will have cannot will fade as the night falls and he will be lost...unhoused. I will hunt him then. I will hunt him down and devour his heart in the darkness.

'No! You cannot...please. I...' Elrohir could not bear it. He held his head in his hands and said in defeat, 'The thing you seek, this precious thing you seek...' He looked at the fallen Woodelf where he lay, pale gold hair spilling around him and the dragon on his skin still and unmoving. For Legolas, he thought and then said, 'It is in Minas Tirith. It was brought there by a halfling, a hobbit. That hobbit now lies under the Black Breath after he slew your Lord, Angmar.' He held his breath, focused all his power on the image of Merry.

There was a hiss of indrawn breath and the black riders seemed to flow into each other and bleed into the darkness. Had this not been what he had intended to do all along? Such a price. When Elrohir looked again, Khamul was close to him, close enough for him to feel its cold, cold shroud brush against his own flesh. So cold it burned and he shuddered and drew back.

Rávëyon. Its voice was rich in pleasure. Bring me the Ring. Bring your Elessar to me and you will be rewarded beyond anything you can imagine.

Khamul moved and the darkness seemed to gather around him so he was no longer shrouded in a black robe but a strange dark that almost glowed, luminous and deep, like a velvet that drew the eye with its richness. 

The Nazgul lifted its gauntleted hand and indicated the sword that barely seemed to rest in Elrohir's hand. Long it is since we tasted the edge of Aicanáro. Filled with darkness and betrayal he is...

We are eight. There must be nine. It is right. 

Khamul held out his palm towards Elrohir. Resting on the mail-clad hand was a ring, old gold worn thin. A dark jewel glowed in its tarnished setting, such a deep red that it appeared almost black. It looked nothing. 

A gift from my Lord.

Everything seemed to stop at that moment.

Without it, you will not make your Woodelf whole.

Almost a sigh, Khamul looked again at Elrohir and he felt its amusement.

Do you not wonder why the Nazgul flew all night over the Pelennor the night of Angmar's fall, though our enemies beset us, watched for us? Do you think we would allow this to fall into enemy hands? This was made by my Lord himself, even as the Morgul Blade. What the blade unmakes, the Ring will make anew. 

With a cold shudder Elrohir realised this blood red ring was the one that Angmar had held. This was one of the Nine Rings of power. Steeling himself, he lifted Aicanáro. 'Give me your trinket then but he is my price.' 

As Idril was to Maeglin...fitting indeed.

Khamul stood still for a moment as if savouring the moment that the child of the blood of Indilzar took the Ring of Angmar. It seemed he paused as if lost in a memory, and then he stretched out bony fingers once more, towards the shining ribbon of threads and stroked it lightly. 

There is such power in this manô, this...spirit. But if you do not use the Ring by nightfall, he will be lost. And then...I will hunt him.

Elrohir gripped his own heart, steeling himself.

I am the new Lord of the Nazgul. We are eight, but soon, we will be nine, Ravëyon. 

The Nazgul gathered darkness to itself and turned with a thin sibilant hiss and the gauntleted hands curled about its sword. Elrohir tensed, ready to spring, Aicanáro thrummed lightly, sparks flew. Khamul, Lord of the Nazgul, turned and stalked away into the trees. The unnatural darkness surged softly back as he passed. 

Elrohir stared after, frozen to the spot, daring not to breathe, to move. He heard the sough of great leathery wings and looked up to see a darkness cross the already dark cloud and then slowly, life seeped back into the woods. 

Nightfall...they would hunt at nightfall, the Nazgul said. Elrohir looked up dazedly at the sky, he had forgotten it was not night. There were still some hours left before then. This unnatural darkness had fooled him. He wondered briefly if the darkness would lift now the Nazgul had gone and he suddenly longed for daylight, however thin. He had until nightfall. And then they would come.


Next chapters already written and should be out soon.

Translations -Adunaic. Courtesy of Ardalambion. 

Khamul the Easterling uses remnants of Adunaic in htis AU, and  knows people by their Numenorian names rather than Elvish. Hence his use of Adunaic for some words- for particular concepts and phrases which he would not know in Westron - not using them much! 

Nimir – Shining one. Adunaic name for elves.

Indilzar – Elros. Elrond's twin who chose the way of Men.

manô – spirit

nûph zirân – beloved fool

yôzâira – gift of longing 

Agannâlo – Nazgul's name for Mirkwood. Literally death-shadow.  

Azgarâzir –The Nazgul's name for Thranduil, in this AU, whom they hate more than any other ruler for his defence and war against them in Dol Guldur. Although it was the White Council that overthrew Sauron as the Necromancer at the end of The Hobbit, Thranduil it was who continuously fought them. Literally "wage war"  cf. azaggara 

agh burzum-ishi krimpatul –Well you know that already -  last part of the inscription on the One Ring. '…and in the darkness bind them.'

Author's note:  Khamul's rusty Adunaic probably needs some correcting so if someone wants to correct his dreadful grammar, please do feel free - I am more than happy to make him write it out 10x.

yára-carmë- ancient art. Tattoos - see earlier chapters.

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.

Story Information

Author: ziggy

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 06/12/12

Original Post: 04/04/10

Go to The Sons of Thunder overview


WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

The Sons of Thunder

Erulisse - 08 Jan 11 - 5:40 PM

Ch. 24: Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men

Oh Ziggy (and Anarithilen), this was well worth waiting for.  Wheels within wheels within wheels.  And which will prevail?  It is impossible to say for sure because all good has evil and all evil can have some good (with the possible exception of Melkor). This was an amazing chapter. 

- Erulisse (one L)

The Sons of Thunder

curiouswombat - 09 Jan 11 - 7:50 AM

Ch. 24: Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men

I have held to myself the knowledge that this chapter was here as I did all the necessary church and household things - and then sat and devoured it! 

Oh Elrohir, what have you done?  Who have you  successfully deceived whether by intent, and not?  And Gandalf?  What wisdom was this?  Is it as you planned?

Oh what a tangled web you weave... 

The Sons of Thunder

curiouswombat - 09 Jan 11 - 7:53 AM

Ch. 24: Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men

Oh - goes back and reconsiders the idea of 'Nine for Mortal Men' when offering one to someone who is 3/4 Elven...

The Sons of Thunder

Azalais - 11 Jan 11 - 2:45 PM

Ch. 24: Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men

I knew it! I hoped Elrohir was planning to double-cross Sauron, but I also had a horrible feeling he'd bitten off more than he could chew...

I like the idea of the Nazgul thinking in Adunaic, makes perfect sense; also serves to bring out how scarily other they are.

And very very vivid descriptions, as ever, of the Ringwraiths and of Elrohir's rage and Legolas as a shining pure light. I hadn't considered before this fic quite how powerful against the Nazgul (and what a lure for them) the Twins might be as the descendants of Luthien - perhaps because LoTR focuses so much more on Aragorn in that respect - but it's entirely plausible.

(And please can I have Legolas back? whimpers pathetically...)

Glad to hear next chapter fairly imminent! Yay!

The Sons of Thunder

Tanis - 21 Jan 11 - 6:33 PM

Ch. 24: Chapter 24: Nine for Mortal Men

After I managed to read ALL of the next chapter, I had to come back and reread this again, slowly and sitting down the whole time, not running the room screaming like a banshee at m'lord Elf who allowed the shining elf to be damaged unto death.  I was ready to kill Elrohir the first time I read this chapter and could not sit down long enough to even write coherent feedback here. 

Bloody hell, Ziggy!  Three weeks later, I still want to murder Elrohir slowly, make him suffer greatly for letting his pride and arrogance cause Legolas such torture.  But, I suspect, if he'd done it Gandalf's way, Legolas would be seriously dead by now, with an arrow through his head or heart.  And so, having read the next chapter, I can forgive Elrohir - a little bit.  I would just kill him more quickly now, though it would still have to inolve some torture - perhaps vivid visions of Legolas fulfilled and madly in love with Elladan.  No, not satisfying enough; there must be blood as well.  Yorick

That said, as for the incredible writing in this chapter -- the intensity of the storm as the harbinger of the Nazgul, but even more as a mirror for the insanity both Legolas and Elrohir's are experiencing is glorious.  Elrohir's recognition of his own stupidity (thank you for that!) though it only lasts a few seconds and the way it feeds his fury, which in turns feeds his ability to give the Nazgul exactly what he intended to in the first place is - the picture of the ring in Minas Tirith, is both realistically drawn in your word pictures and delivered with the queasy, knife-edge of  truth.  Would he have had the strength to hide the reality of the ring's journey if he hadn't been so furious?  If he hadn't just watched his might-have-been-savior die a horrible death?  If Legolas' frightened and lost-looking (sniff sniff) ghost hadn't been hovering over Khamul's shoulder, would he have been able to deliver the death blow to Sauron's hopes?

But I jump ahead -- I was also much impressed with the echoes of THE ring of power in the ring the Nazgul create around Legolas with sorcery - an incredibly powerfully written scene, even if I had to force myself to read slowly and with care as I was forcing myself to breathe deeply, not just skip over it because they were hideously torturing the gorgeous one.

And then the unmitigated gall of the new head Dark Guy in extending an invitation to join them.  The python dressed up in a feather boa wearing a velvet glove.  Oh yeah, I can't wait to see how that turns out.  Maybe they can squeeze a bit of the darkness out of Elrohir. 

Sound the trumpets - the hunt is on!  And finally, I'm tottering on over to review Chapter 25 on rubbery legs after reading this chapter again, but they're holding me up now, finally, since I at least have an idea what's coming.

Great chapter, Ziggy!

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