33. The Siege of the Barad-dur
They surrounded the tower like water crashing around rock. In the dim light that filtered down from the clouds above, they glittered like waves. Khamul clenched her hands tightly on the guardrail, seething in fury.
Turning to the south she could see the sea of Nurnen far off, the only fertile lands in all Mordor. To her everlasting anger she could see farms – and not the farms of Sauron! – ringing the sea.
"They have farms now," she reported, throwing open the door to the war room.
"They have an army to feed," Vorea said, gazing out over a map of Mordor. "Sieges are long things indeed."
"How much food do we have?" Morion asked.
"Enough," Vorea said. "And there are underground caverns from which we can harvest enough food to feed the army. Besides, I was thinking of mounting a few raids against the Numenoreans."
"Keep them on their toes, and take some supplies," Morion said, nodding. "Good thinking."
"Where's Sauron?" Khamul asked.
"He is repairing warding spells on the gate," Morion said. "It seems though the dwarves' explosives have no effect, elf magic does."
"I'll kill the first elf that sets foot in here."
"The first elf that sets foot in here'll get skewered by a thousand arrows," Yanta said. "It's the next few that I'm worried about."
"Quite," Vorea said. "I think this is a stalemate," she said at last.
Khamul raised an eyebrow.
"Think of it; they will not leave until we are defeated. They have the fertile lands of Nurn to farm; they are going nowhere. We, too, have enough food and water to outlast any siege, and our wards are strong enough to keep out all invaders. Do you not see? Neither side can win."
"Unless some kind of decisive action was taken," Morion said, frowning down at the map.
"A surprise attack," Khamul said, grinning.
"We will be mounting small raids occasionally," Vorea said. "But with our whole army? I do not think that wise."
Khamul shrugged. "The small raids will keep them nervous and paranoid. Once they're at their breaking point, we can sweep in and clear them out."
"That may be a while. Both the men of Numenor and the elves are strong in mind and body."
"We can wait," Khamul said. "We've waited months already."
"This siege will be longer than a few months," Vorea prophesized. "It will be the longest siege since the Siege of Angband."
"Any news?" Elendil asked, glancing up from a large stack of paper.
"No, lord," Gil-galad's herald said, bowing.
"Then why have you come?"
"My king wishes to discuss with you the benefits and detriments of laying siege to the Barad-dur."
Elendil snorted. "We have already laid siege to it."
"Continued siege then, lord."
Elendil nodded and stood up. "Sauron is an enemy that must be destroyed," he said. "No land in the world is safe from him."
"I am not the one you must convince, lord."
Anger beginning to simmer in him, Elendil strode across the vast camp to the High King's tent.
"Gil-galad!" he called, walking in. Have I abandoned all sense of protocol? he groaned, thinking of his actions. Ah, but I am a High King as well now. Arnor and Gondor are my realms, and they are far larger than Lindon.
"I see you got my message," the High King of the Elves said, standing up to greet Elendil. "You have taken it much as I thought you would."
"What is this nonsense?" Elendil snarled, abandoning all restraint. "You would call off the siege now? We have practically won!"
"This will be a siege of years," Gil-galad said. "Do you wish to see your youngest grandchildren grow to manhood while you waste your days laying siege to the Barad-dur?"
"If it ends Sauron's tyranny, then I would see my grandchildren grow and die before I would abandon it," Elendil retorted. "Do the elves forget Sauron's deeds in the First Age?"
Gil-galad's eyes narrowed, stung by the remark. "No," he said, "we do not forget. But neither do we believe this siege is necessary. The Battle of Dagorlad is won. Must the Siege of the Barad-dur be as well?"
"Yes," Elendil said. "We must destroy this evil!"
"He is a Maia. He cannot be destroyed."
"He can," Elendil hissed. "Listen to me, Gil-galad. He gave a ring, a plain gold band, to one of his minions during the Akallabeth. It made her transparent. It was this One Ring that has been nothing but the stuff of myth and legend for all these years. It is true. It is fact."
"To make a ring of power so great, Sauron would have had to pour a great deal of his energy into it," Gil-galad mused.
"Nearly all of it," Elendil said. "If we destroyed it…"
"He would be destroyed as well," Gil-galad finished. "You are correct, Elendil," he admitted. "Sauron does have a weakness."
"But to get it will be difficult," Elendil said. "Sauron is never without it."
"Save for at the destruction of Numenor."
"Yes, save for that," Elendil said, nodding. "But he will never let it leave his gaze now."
"To take the ring we would have to fight him," Gil-galad said.
A moment of silence followed the awful statement.
"Yes," Elendil agreed.
"A Maia as powerful as Sauron is not lightly slain."
"No Maia is, and Sauron least of all. We would surely die in the attempt."
Gil-galad nodded. "If the men of the West are willing to continue the siege of the Barad-dur further, the elves will as well. I fear Thranduil is dissenting, and spreading rebellion amongst the others. He blames us for Oropher's death."
Elendil snorted. "When I was a soldier you waited until the general yelled 'charge' before you ran at the enemy."
"Aye, and so it was with me also. Nevertheless…"
Elendil scowled. "He will not take the elves with him, will he?"
"No," Gil-galad said. "They, including him to some extent, are thoroughly loyal to me, and me alone."
"Good," Elendil said. "It would not do well to wake up one morning all alone on the plains of Mordor."
"That will not happen," Gil-galad said. He looked out of the tent towards the great black tower that rose like a spike into the sky. "I will give it years," he said. "Perhaps we can solve this without the disaster of fighting Sauron ourselves."
"What a pair of cowards we are," Elendil snarled. "We could solve this now, but no, we wait."
"We could not solve it now," Gil-galad said. "He is still too strong. When more of his orcs die, when his Nazgul are weary, when everything is all but lost, then we will challenge him. And then we will win."
"Who will take the ring?"
"I will have my herald destroy it, if he is still alive," Gil-galad said. "Or one of your sons, I suppose."
Elendil nodded. "Not Isildur," he said. "He fell under Sauron's influence before, I fear. It would not do for him to be near the ring again. Anarion then, if your herald falls."
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.