19. Imladris Besieged
It was raining, misty, and muddy as the orc army descended into the vale of Rivendell.
Oh, this was a really stupid idea, Khamul thought, keeping her eyes out for any elven snipers. Who thought this up? Probably Aica; she has idiotic ideas like this.
"Is this wise?" Cala asked.
"No," Khamul said. "It's stupid, and that's all it is."
"No, you don't. We are going to lay siege to the greatest elven stronghold – discounting Lorien – in all Middle-Earth. While we're fighting Cardolan and Arthedain. Does that sound mad to you?"
"I must confess it does. Although, that would keep the elves out of the picture," Cala pointed out.
"Yeah, that's probably what they were thinking," Khamul grumbled, glaring around at the trees. "And we haven't run into a single elf yet."
"A good thing, surely?"
"No, because it means they know we're coming. I don't like that."
"We have not been attacked yet. Perhaps our force is superior."
Khamul shook her head. "Elves are a limited resource. They're judging our numbers and figuring out where our weak spot is."
"And then they will attack?"
"Exactly. What we need to do before then is lay siege to their precious Rivendell. No one goes in and no one gets out. And then I can get back to Angmar and destroy Weathertop once and for all!"
"It has become an obsession with you, I see," Cala said.
"What, the destruction of Weathertop?"
"No, the destruction of Isildur's heirs. I believe you want Arveleg to be there when you attack."
"You'd be right," Khamul said. "I want him to watch as his precious fortress is torn to the ground, and then I want to kill him."
"What great insult did Isildur do you that you must take such terrible revenge?"
"He was rather rude," Khamul said. "And Sauron wanted him as chief ringbearer."
"Eh? Then Lord Morion was not the first choice?"
"No," Khamul said, shaking her head. "Very much not. Sauron was incredibly displeased to have to give him a ring."
"Why did he?"
"There was an incident," Khamul said.
"I see," Cala said gravely.
The army descended into the valley. They marched through the forest. They arrived at the very gates of Imladris itself. And there were no snipers, no traps, nothing.
"I do believe we have either caught them entirely by surprise, they have fled, or they are all behind those gates prepared for a siege to rival that of the Barad-dur," Khamul said.
"The siege part, I think," Cala said.
Khamul nodded. "Likely," she muttered. She stood up in her stirrups, trying to get a look over the gate. "These lands now belong to the realm of Angmar!" she shouted. "Surrender!"
For a moment there was silence, but then a figure appeared on the ramparts, glaring down at Khamul and the army.
Who would have thought? Khamul thought smugly. The herald becomes the lord.
"You have no right to our land," Elrond said sternly. "Leave now or fall to elvish steel!"
"I see no elvish steel!" Khamul called. "And these lands are part of Rhudaur, which is now under the jurisdiction of Angmar!"
"We are an independent nation."
"I don't think so!"
Elrond sighed, clearly tired of pointless arguing. "I give you one last warning: leave!"
"And I give you one last warning as well! Surrender!"
There was a volley of arrows, killing some dozen or so orcs, and before Khamul could respond, Elrond was gone from the wall.
"Dammit," she muttered. What a kill that would be! Elrond himself!
But it was not to be. The orcs set up trenches and barricades around the elven stronghold as Khamul watched, but never did the elves show themselves except to shoot a few arrows down at the invaders before disappearing again.
"This is no way to fight a war," Khamul grumbled.
"Is there a right way?" Cala asked.
Khamul frowned, suspecting her young apprentice was mocking her. "No," she said. "But…damn, but this just…argh, I hate sieges."
"Can we trust the orcs to continue the siege properly?" Cala asked.
"No," Khamul scoffed. "Someone needs to be watching over them at all times. Orcs are ridiculously stupid creatures."
"You must defeat Arveleg," Cala said. "I will stay here," she offered.
"You're still young," Khamul said. "I don't know if you would be able to handle it all."
"I am not so young," Cala said. "And I learn things quickly. You have taught me much, Khamul. Let me show you how grateful I am by bringing you the Lord Elrond's head."
Khamul smiled. "And then you can be the scourge of the elves just like I'm the scourge of the heirs of Isildur."
"Exactly," Cala said.
Khamul nodded. "Seems fair enough," she said. "Just don't fail me," she warned.
"I will not, my captain," Cala promised.