11. The Lord of the Andunie
Khamul slid off her horse and stretched her legs. She had lost track of the time. It was a different season than when they had landed in Numenor. It had been…fall when they landed, yet the air was warmer. Surely it could not be spring already?
For days?, months?, Khamul had been wandering through Numenor, speaking to some, observing others, and passing gold to loosen a few tongues. And had she learned anything from it? A bit, which she passed on to Sauron. He told her very little of what was going on in Armenelos, so she suspected he had not yet found a way to leave the dungeon. Things not going as well as you thought, she thought gleefully.
*Khamul!* a voice pierced her head.
I hope Sauron didn't hear all of that, Khamul thought. *What is it, lord?* she thought.
*Pharazon has fallen. He is mine to command. Return to Armenelos. You need not wander through all of Numenor anymore; Pharazon's spies will do my bidding now.*
So, he finally managed to do it, Khamul thought. I didn't think he would manage it. *I will return at once*
Leaping back on her horse, Khamul turned it around and they sped away towards Armenelos. Khamul wasn't entirely certain where she was, though she knew she was circling Meneltarma. Ah well, she thought. I'll run into the city soon enough. It's not hard to miss.
As night fell, the air cooled and began to rain. No, Khamul thought as she drew her cloak around her. It was not spring yet. Late winter, she guessed.
The rain continued to pour, and finally Khamul couldn't see where she was going.
"This is just ridiculous!" she snarled. "The road's nearly washed out! I need to find some shelter or I just might fall off and drown!" Or the horse'll break a leg and then I'll be walking to Armenelos, she thought.
To her great happiness, a light flickered down a short dirt road that was rapidly turning to mud.
Spurring her horse onwards, Khamul came to a small house at the end of the road. She was about to knock when a peculiar feeling came over her. Don't knock, it said. Check this place out first. Make sure it's safe.
Trusting her instincts, Khamul dismounted, tied her horse to a tree not far away, and then crept to the nearest window. Inside, an old man and woman sat by a fire. The man was deep in sleep, and the woman was just starting to nod off. As Khamul watched, the knitting needles fell from her hands and her head dropped to her chest as she fell asleep.
Nothing amiss here, Khamul thought, unless they turn into ogres when they're awakened.
She walked around the house, glancing into any window she found. All were dark, save the last, in which a single candle flickered, starting to gutter out.
So, three people in the house total, Khamul thought, looking in. And who's this one?
A young man tossed and turned on his bed, obviously in the grips of some terrible nightmare. He had long brown hair and would have been quite handsome if his face wasn't contorted with terror.
He looks vaguely familiar, Khamul thought, looking closer. Ah! No wonder! He's the Lord of the Andunie from Umbar! What's he doing here?
Andunie was on the opposite side of Meneltarma from Armenelos. Did I really travel so far? Khamul thought. Further, actually. There was that horse near the front of the house. It was asleep as well, but I thought it looked a little fine for a house like this. This lord is just staying the night here before he continues to…Armenelos? Perhaps.
Although, Khamul thought, I don't think he'll make it that far.
She pulled a knife out of her belt and started feeling around the window, searching for a crack or a weak spot.
No one escapes me twice, Khamul thought. I let you go the first time, Lord of the Andunie, but my mercy has run out.
*Khamul!* Sauron's voice rang out clear and sharp in her head. *Do not kill anyone!*
*But he is the Lord of the Andunie!* Khamul protested.
*Do not kill him! He may be of use later! Everything is in place; do not jeopardize it with your vendetta!*
Khamul sighed in irritation and sheathed her knife. He is coming to Armenelos, she thought, I'm sure of it. I'll kill him there, in a duel or something. Vorea will know the formalities.
As she watched the lord, glaring bitterly all the while, he awoke suddenly with a start, his dark eyes wide and frightened. He gasped and drew in great gulps of air, but finally he seemed to regain control of himself. Then he glanced up, straight at the window.
Khamul was quite certain he couldn't see her in the darkness, but she smiled nastily and waved before slipping away into the night.
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.