"I just keep running into people." Yanta chuckled and took a bite of an apple. Metima had tried cultivating them in Minas Morgul. The result wasn't actually poisonous, but it sure wasn't good.
"Get out of my way," Ringe snarled.
Yanta nearly choked. Ringe, aggressive? This was a thing unheard of! She wondered what had happened. Still, one never got aggressive with Yanta. Push, and she would just push back harder. "What's wrong with you?" she snarled.
"I said get out of my way!"
"Yeah? And if I don't?" Yanta growled. She chucked the half-eaten apple across the courtyard and drew her dagger.
Ringe's eyes burned with fury and Yanta took a step back. "You're not worth my time," she said, sheathing her dagger and walking off.
Not wasting anymore time, Ringe hurried into the main fortress and up to Morion's bedroom. He didn't bother to knock but barged straight in. The Witch-King was lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling.
"Traitor!" he spat.
"You're back," Morion said. "Are you all right?" He struggled to sit up but fell back on the bed.
"Bastard!" Ringe stormed over to the bed and grabbed Morion by the collar of his shirt. "You sent me on a fool's errand! I didn't mind that! Why would I mind that? It was just for fourteen years!"
"I didn't know. I thought Sauron –"
"It wasn't Sauron!"
"I know it wasn't Sauron," Morion said, his voice still quiet and calm. This enraged Ringe all the more. "It was Morgoth."
"And you didn't bother to tell me?" Ringe hissed, his grip tightening.
"I didn't know until it was too late," Morion said. "He told me that all would go well if Eorl was killed."
"But this Eorl wasn't killed, was he?"
"I sent the best," Morion said. "The best failed, apparently."
"Morgoth does not keep his promises."
"He does when they're about pain," Ringe snarled. "Do you know what his servant, the balrog, did to me?"
"Yes, because he did it to me too!"
"It's not the same! Every night Morgoth tortures you! Every night he burns you, cuts you! Every night he…he… And besides, you weren't there! You were burned, but you didn't feel the flames! You were cut, but you didn't see the sword! You didn't have to stare at the balrog's eyes! You didn't have to feel the fear!"
"I'm sorry," Morion said. "Believe me, I am sorry."
Ringe hit him across the face. "You could never be sorry enough!" he spat. "Aica was right. You're a heartless, manipulative bastard." He walked out of the room and slammed the door behind him.
"Heartless, manipulative, bastard," Morion muttered, rubbing his cheek. "Maybe I am." But if he was heartless, then why was there a pain in his chest that came from no physical wound?
"Are you going to get up?" Khamul snapped the next day. "Vorea's got a report about the war. She thinks we might be able to take Osgiliath soon."
"That sounds promising," Morion said.
"Can you get up?"
"I probably can. I couldn't yesterday."
"Well, it's not yesterday anymore. It's today. So get up and look through the damn paperwork. No one else can do it."
Morion smiled, but it faded quickly. "You need me then?"
Khamul rolled her eyes. "We've always needed you," she said. The words spilled out before she had time to hold them back.
Morion stood up. "Very well," he said. "If you need me, I'll be glad to help."
"Did something happen with you and Ringe?"
Khamul bit her lip to keep from smiling. "Did you break up?" she asked a few moments later.
Morion closed his eyes. "Yes," he said. "I don't think he'll ever be able to forgive me for this. I don't blame him."
Khamul followed Morion to his office where she showed him the towering stack of paperwork. She left him to it, starting to head down to the training ground. She stopped in the middle of a hallway and looked around, making sure she was alone.
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.