34. Aica's Lucky Rock
They looked like ants, Aica thought, leaning over the edge of the topmost battlement of the Barad-dur. Tiny shining ants. Ah! And here come the big black ants.
Orcs and ogres swept out of the Barad-dur, carving a bloody swath through the startled army. Aica cackled gleefully as elves and men fell to the orcs' fierce swords.
Her cackle fell flat moments later, and then her face soured as the orcs were killed or driven back into the Barad-dur.
"Well, it was fun while it lasted," she muttered, stepping down the stairs into the tower proper.
It was terribly dull, being the seventh Nazgul. Ancalime was a worthless, pathetic creature. She could not imagine what Sauron had seen in her. Ringe was nearly as bad, though he had the redeeming features of being a good thief as well as her brother.
"Well?" she demanded, smacking him upside the head.
"Ah! Aica!" Ringe protested as she hit him again.
"Well, I said? You lost, didn't you! You idiot!"
"There were so many! And it was expected that we'd retreat! It's not possible to win the entire war with just three hundred orcs!"
"How many did you kill?" Aica asked.
"Four or five," Ringe said.
"Elves or men?"
"A few of both, I don't remember."
Aica's face soured once more. "You idiot!" she snarled. "Elves are the ones that must die! They stole our forbearers' land! Leave the men to the orcs, they are weaker anyway! Kill the elves!"
"I just killed whoever was in my way!"
Aica snarled and slapped Ringe once more for good measure. "Did you find anything?" she asked.
"There really wasn't much time to loot the bodies," Ringe said.
Aica's eyes darkened and Ringe winced, fearing another blow. "Wait, wait," he said hastily, reaching into his pockets.
"It better be good," Aica growled. "If it's something priceless, we might be able to barter it back. If it's the king's crown or something, we might even win the war."
"Wait, I think I've got something," Ringe said, pulling something out. It was large and round. A good sign, he thought. I don't remember what it is, or where I got it, but it's got to be something good.
"It's a rock," Aica said.
"Er…" Ringe muttered.
"Idiot!" Aica cursed, slapping Ringe several times. "I should beat you to death with this!" she snarled, seizing the rock from him and raising it threateningly.
"Aica…" Ringe pleaded.
"Go crawl into a corner and die," Aica snapped, storming away furiously. You give him one simple order, she thought. Find something valuable. And what does he come up with? A rock.
"It might be a lucky rock," Ringe moaned from the corner he was crawling into.
"Shut up," Aica snarled.
The other Nazgul loathed the weather of Mordor as too dark (Metima), too open (Yanta), too not-Harad (Khamul), too dry (Morion), and many other things. But Aica loved the harsh winds that blew through the desolate land, whistling around towering rock formations. She loved the wide, open spaces. And she loved the darkness that shrouded the sky in a thick layer of cloud.
Returning to her favorite pastime of leaning over the edge of the battlements, Aica looked down on the army. She was far closer to the camp now. She could even make out individual soldiers.
"All in pretty little lines," she muttered, watching a Numenorean captain bark out orders. His helm was exceedingly sparkly. It glittered even in the dim Mordor light. It intrigued Aica.
Why couldn't Ringe have killed that bastard and brought me his helm? she thought. Why couldn't I have done that? Why is he still alive? He should be dead now. They all should be.
Narrowing her eyes and gauging the distance, Aica drew back her arm and threw down the rock, watching its progress eagerly.
The rock fell like lead, heading straight for the Numenorean captain.
There was a thud that even Aica could hear, and the captain fell, his helm no longer sparkly, but shiny with blood and brains.
Giggling with glee, Aica darted back into the Barad-dur as the arrows began to fly.
Elendil was composing an order to send Anarion back to Minas Anor when the messenger came.
"My king!" the man exclaimed, rushing into the tent.
"Is it an attack?" Elendil asked, alarmed.
"Well, no, my king, not exactly."
"Then give me a moment," Elendil said, finishing the order. "And then take this letter to Anarion. I am sending him back to Minas Anor. He knows that city best, and I need someone making sure everything is running properly in the kingdoms."
The messenger did not speak, and Elendil looked up, and saw tears streaming down the man's cheeks.
"What is it?" he gasped, leaping to his feet.
"My king," the messenger sobbed, "Lord Anarion is dead."