3. Into Hiding
"Greenwood is under the sway of the elves," Vorea said, pointing to the mighty forest. "Both Gondor and Arnor are strong. Gondor controls very nearly all of southern Middle-Earth. Mordor is a vassal of Gondor, and much of Harad is ruled by them as well. Khand has taken no interest in the events."
"Rhun?" Morion asked.
"They trade with Gondor," Metima said bitterly, stung by the betrayal of her people.
"My people are doing just fine," Yanta said, smiling.
"Isildur damned them," Morion said.
"He called on them to fight with him in the Last Alliance. They refused, and so he damned them."
"That's a shame," Yanta muttered. She made a mental note to check on the people of Harrowdale sometime soon.
"What else, Vorea?"
"The elves under Cirdan still control Lindon, and the dwarves hold onto Khazad-Dum."
"In other words, there is no land in Middle-Earth safe for us," Morion said.
"Yes, that would be an apt assesment," Vorea said, nodding.
Morion sighed. "There must be somewhere," he said, scanning the map.
"I have killed Isildur, three of his sons, and insulted the master of Imladris!" Khamul called as she walked into the small abandoned house that was serving as the headquarters for the ringbearers.
"I'm not surprised," Morion said. "I was sure you'd show up eventually."
"You killed Isildur?" Ancalime gasped.
"And Elrond didn't try to kill you?" Yanta asked.
"He was distraught," Khamul said. "I gave him the shards of Narsil as proof of our victory."
"A great blow for the land," Morion said. "But not great enough. Arnor and Gondor will still thrive. Meneldil rules Gondor now, and Valandil – though still a child – will now rule Arnor, through his mother as regent, I assume."
"Could we corrupt them?" Metima asked.
"Possible, but unlikely. They are as Numenor in its early days: pure, strong, and thoroughly against evil. But, like Numenor, they will fall eventually."
"And then we will strike!" Aica hissed.
"Exactly," Morion said.
"In the meantime though, we must find a safe haven," Vorea said.
Khamul glanced over the map. "Who lives there?" she asked, pointing to the north of Middle-Earth.
"The snow-men," Vorea said. "But they live mainly around the Ice Bay of Forochel. The other lands are relatively uninhabited."
Khamul grimaced. "Ice Bay," she muttered.
"Uninhabited?" Morion asked, grinning. "I think we've found ourselves a hiding spot," he said.
It was cold, bitterly so. Without the protection of the One Ring, the ringbearers shivered in the cold, except for Yanta, who smiled and enjoyed the barren wasteland.
"I don't like this place," Khamul grumbled. "We'd have had better luck in Mordor."
"What? Fighting off Gondorian soldiers every few minutes?" Morion asked, almost laughing. "At least we're safe here."
"Safe," Khamul muttered.
"Where do we go from here?" Ceure asked.
"Nowhere," Morion said. "Forodwaith is our new home, until something changes."
"I hope something changes soon," Ceure said, grimacing.
"We are not mortal, but neither are we Valar," Vorea said. "We need shelter. This land is a wicked place."
"I can feel it in my bones," Morion whispered. "This used to be Morgoth's land in the First Age."
"All the more reason to leave," Khamul said.
"And where would you have us go?"
"Somewhere that's not here," Khamul said. "Greenwood. It's immense, and the elves wouldn't find us."
"We would be caught and killed within moments," Morion said. "The elves are no fools and are still stinging from the bitter part they played in the Last Alliance."
"In time it may prove to be a useful sanctuary," Vorea said. "Once the wood elves have relaxed their guard."
"So, here we are at Forodwaith then," Khamul said, looking up into the sky. It looked like it was about to snow. She desperately hoped it didn't.
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.