Gaergath could not sleep. Finally he rose and went to Rimbrion's room once more, only to find it the way the Elf had left it, save for the candle. On a thought, he went to the little nightstand, and saw the dagger lying on it. Foolishly glancing about to see if anyone was looking, he picked it up and slipped it in the pocket of his robe. Then with one more look around, he went back to his own room, hiding the dagger beneath his mattress.
He had to leave here. But tonight? He could not use the cloak with the silver dagger, and could not hope to get past the wolves on the bridge--could not even see it, here in the night. He could hear the wolves now, howling in the night, sounding particularly mournful. He wondered if they had found their prize and were tearing it to pieces this minute, worrying the bones.
Have to wait until morning, he thought. Or else leave without the dagger. Which was more important, the cloak or the dagger? Perhaps he could throw it off the porch, and hope it landed on the bank, and find it in the morning....It was too cold to go without the cloak, at any rate. He was stuck here, until morning.
What to do until then? For he could not sleep. He would never sleep again, of that he was certain.
Where was Binya now?
He rose, dressed, and poked restlessly about the place. By and by he found himself in the sitting-room, where a bit of fire still flickered in the fireplace, although no one was about.
And there, in the same place he had seen it before, was the Book.
And he remembered it.
It was as if it had been waiting for him.
Although he remembered it being there once now, he could remember nothing of what had been inside, or how it had made him feel. There was too little light for reading, yet as he hesitantly opened the cover, on which the golden eye blazed as living fire, he found the pages were luminous, and he could well read the writing...which somehow miraculously translated itself into his own language even as he looked.
A tedious volume of ancient lore, he could now remember Sauron calling it, with an offhand shrug.
Gaergath began to read, forgetting where he was, forgetting there was anyone else about. Forgetting the voices of the night, the closed doors, the horrors that lay beneath the forge, the fate of Rimbrion which he now knew to be far worse than death....
And he now knew who and what Binya was....
It was near dawn when he finally went to bed. On a thought, he first returned to Rimbrion's room, and found the sack of lembas cakes. Then he found a change of clothes and a tinder-box, and a few other odds and ends which he put into the bag with the clothes. Then he straightened up the room and took the things to his own. The clothes were too big for him to wear, so he put them into the fireplace, save for the boots, which would make a bad smell if they were burnt. The sack with the cakes and other objects he stowed away in his own cupboard. Then he finally lay down.
And was startled by a whimper at his door. It sounded like a wounded dog. He arose, and went to open it...and there she was, Binya, with blood trickling from her eyes, nose and mouth, her hands bloody also, her hair wildly disarranged as though she had been standing in a powerful wind. He drew back in terror as she came at him, her claw-like hands clutching at him, and even as he looked, a number of horrible things shot out of her mouth, snakes or worms they appeared to be, large, long and slimy and bloody, and they sprang at him, landing all over him, shuddering and wriggling, making hideous sucking noises as Binya laughed a high-pitched, shrieky laugh that seemed to go on and on, and he shrieked also, as the creatures pulled him down and down, until he was falling through a chute or tunnel lined with slime and blood, into a flaming pit of...
Then suddenly he found himself in his own bed, all the creatures gone, Binya gone, and outside was pure, lovely daylight. He lay shivering and sweating on the bed, not daring to move from it, lest his nightmare start up all over again. And then came a tap at his door.
"Son, are you all right?" Sauron's voice, sounding genuinely concerned. The door opened, and there he was, in all his dark magnificence.
"Aye," the boy said after a long pause. "I had a bad dream, is all."
"I thought as much," his father said. "It is mid-morning, you know. Are you ready for something to eat?"
"I could eat something," Gaergath said, rising slowly and rubbing his head. He wore but his underdrawers.
"Get dressed and come down then," Sauron said. "We shall go on a trip soon. We need to make plans."
"A trip? What about..."
"Rimbrion? He has gone. He left early this morning."
"Did he?" Gaergath blinked and rubbed his eyes, stretching his legs. "I thought he would stay a while."
"Obviously he changed his mind," Sauron chuckled. "Something must have frightened him badly. He did not even let me know he was going. I went to his room, and all his things were gone. No one saw him leave."
"Ah. Well." Gaergath avoided his father's eyes. "Well, we don't need him, do we?"
"He made things interesting for a while," Sauron said with a shrug. "However, I dare say that he said all he had to say yesterday. Nay, we don't need him. Now come along. Incidently, I saw Binya a while ago, and she said the two of you had a falling-out last night."
"Aye, we did," Gaergath said. "Where...where is she now?"
And then he saw Drauglir standing behind his master.
"I'm guessing she went off to bed," Sauron said coolly. "She sleeps in the daytime, you know. So. Are you coming, or do I have to ask Drauglir to drag you?"
"Of course she does," Gaergath said just as coolly. And he rose and began to dress, as Sauron closed the door and went back into the hallway.
When he glanced toward the sitting-room, he saw the Book was nowhere in sight.
"She said you tried to 'claim' her," Sauron said as they went to the porch. It was a beautiful, cold day. The river was loud, yet there was still no birdsong. "She was very upset, you know. Said she was 'free' and no one would make her his own while she had any say in the matter."
"Ha!" Gaergath said. She's about as free as a rat in a cage, he thought. "She said she was going to Rimbrion's room. I wonder if she found him to her liking. Maybe she ate him up."
He laughed, a little insanely. After a startled look, Sauron laughed too.
"Perhaps she was a bit much for him, at that," Sauron said. "It's my guess the fellow was a virgin until she came to him."
"She has no shame, does she?" Gaergath mused leaning over the iron railing of the porch.
"None whatsoever," Sauron said. He glanced down at Drauglir, who looked as gloomy and surly as always. Gaergath looked straight at the wolf, although he had always tried to avoid its eyes before. Your days are numbered, he thought. "That is the difference between the depraved and the innocent. The innocent have shame. The depraved have none."
I should say so, thought Gaergath. "None whatsoever," he agreed.
"And so," Sauron said casually pushing back a lock of hair darker than doom, "are you ready to pay Melkor a visit?"
"Most certainly," Gaergath said, though quivering inwardly at the sound of the name.