83. Black Sails
"Rally to me!" she yelled, thrusting her metal spear into the air. It caught the dawn's rays and flashed brightly. We do not need Morgoth to win this battle, she thought. When the Corsiars arrive we shall slaughter the Rohirrim and take the city.
As Vorea led the orcs and Men once more into battle the other Nazgul wheeled high above. Aica's shrieks of laughter were clearly audible. It was Morgoth who had fallen, but her vengeance still seemed complete. For with Morgoth's downfall, Morion was surely dead.
Ringe observed the scene with little emotion, save that his eyes lingered on the tangle of black robes that were all that remained of his former lover. His face was grim, but there was a slight tightening around his mouth and he turned away from his laughing sister.
Ceure sighed. "I always disliked him," she said. "The world is a better place without him."
"Don't we know it," Yanta said. She spat, aiming for the pile of black robes. "Did I hit it?" she asked, leaning over in the saddle.
"I doubt it," Metima said. "We're pretty high up in the air."
"Do you suppose Sauron knows?" Ceure asked.
"Knows what?" Yanta asked.
"That Morgoth is dead!"
"I don't know. Probably. Suppose one of us should go and tell him though. I want to watch the battle."
"Me too," Metima said.
"This is a battle for Gondor itself," Ceure said. "I am certainly not leaving."
"We need a new leader now," Aica said suddenly.
"What?" Yanta asked.
"A new leader. Morion and Morgoth are gone. We need a new Witch-King."
"Be Khamul, wouldn't it?"
Aica snorted. "She's not loyal. In fact, she's the least loyal of us all."
"Who do you think it should be then?"
"You?" Yanta laughed. "In your dreams."
Aica bristled. "I've been the most valuable ringbearer for centuries now," she spat. "All the information I've discovered has led to countless victories!"
"Still don't know how you got it when I've yet to see a single spy."
"They're very stealthy!"
"I think you're keeping something from us, and I'm sure not going to side with you when you're keeping secrets."
"Who do you think it should be then?" Aica snarled.
"If Khamul's out, then Vorea. She's next in line."
"She is managing the battle," Metima pointed out, gesturing down at the battlefield where the orcs were steadily gaining ground against the Rohirrim, pushing them back to the Anduin.
"A battle that will be soon over," Ceure said grimly.
Ceure didn't answer but pointed to the horizon.
"Black sails," Yanta said. "Corsairs."
Khamul had seen Morgoth fall. Stabbed through the head by a woman. Eowyn. She'd recognized her at once, remembering the wagon in the plains of Rohan. Morgoth's doom had come from that land after all then. And so, indirectly, from the savior of Eorl. Her.
She smiled briefly, but then the smile faded. With the death of Morgoth, the last part of Morion was gone. He would be in Mandos now. Beyond her reach forever.
Khamul stared at the black robes for a moment, perhaps more than a moment. She finally turned away and walked toward the river, intending to help with the fight there.
She saw the sails on the horizon. Caught between the orcs of Sauron and the Corsairs of Umbar, she thought. I suppose they could always jump into the river and hope to swim across without getting shot in the back by an arrow.
Her heart felt like lead. Morion was gone. Forever. Passed beyond her reach for all eternity. It made her want to rage and fight, but there was nothing to fight against. It was fate, it was their curse.
Damn this eternal life. Khamul would have thrown the ring off and stomped it into oblivion if it would have meant she could have met Morion again.
Something caught her eye and she looked up at a blaze upon the mast of the flagship of the Corsairs.
"What is that?" she muttered, squinting and shielding her eyes with her hand.
Gems. Dozens of gems embedded in fine black fabric. Gems that created a symbol, a symbol that the citizens of Gondor lived under all their days. A symbol lacking in power for more than a thousand years. Until…
"The White Tree!" Khamul gasped. More than that. It was the Tree, encircled with seven stars. The emblem of the King of Gondor, not seen in these parts since the death of Earnur.
She knew it even before the ships landed. It was Estel, but Estel no longer. He was Aragorn…no, that wasn't it either. He wasn't a child sheltered from his bitter legacy. He wasn't a wandering ranger, lord of a lost people. He was a king come out of the West to claim his throne.
He was Elessar.
The Rohirrim cheered and the orcs hissed in confusion, and not even Vorea could keep them in check as Elessar and his army poured out of the ships, cutting them down like grass.
Khamul didn't know what to do. Her sword was heavy in her hand. She couldn't fight Elessar. Let someone else kill him. But deep in her heart Khamul knew that no one else would. He was Elessar, King of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor, and there was no one in this world who could slay him.
She ran. She ran until she came to Osgiliath along with other deserters. And there was her horse, biting and lashing out at any who tried to seize it. Any except her.
When she returned to Minas Morgul, Khamul continued on, passing into Mordor via the narrow valley. Orodruin rumbled threateningly in the distance, expressing Sauron's utmost displeasure with the battle.
Should've come yourself then, Khamul thought angrily. You can't blame us. When you want something done right, you should damn well do it yourself.
She shoved the guards out of the way and burst into the throne room of the Barad-dur. Sauron was sitting on his throne, resting his chin on his hand. He looked at ease, though Orodruin betrayed his mood.
"Why aren't you in Dol Guldur?" he asked quietly.
"I didn't feel like being there," Khamul said.
"Even now the orcs are fighting the elves of Mirkwood and Lorien. The battle does not go well."
"Kind of like with the Pelennor Fields, huh?"
Sauron looked at her sharply. "I have seen that my orcs are fleeing. Clearly, the battle was lost. Where is Melkor?"
He didn't know? Well, well, well, fancy that.
"What?" Sauron asked, seeing the grin on Khamul's face.
"A woman killed him. Stabbed him in the face and he burst apart."
Sauron cursed under his breath and was perfectly still for a moment. Then, a smile spread over his face. "Saruman's power is broken, and now Morgoth falls too. There are no more rivals for me."
"You don't have the Ring yet."
"True, but it is all a matter of time."
Khamul rolled her eyes. "What'd you want me to do?" she asked.
"Clearly you are going to do nothing of what I ask. Still, do nothing. The Ring is close. I can feel it."
"In Minas Tirith?"
"Perhaps. Ah, yes, that would be where they would bring it. The last seat of my enemies' power in Middle-Earth. A good thing I committed few forces to the Pelennor disaster."
"What?" Khamul gasped.
"A few forces? There were over ten thousand orcs there! And that's just the orcs!"
"Oh, Khamul, surely you know that I would never throw away all my strength on one desperate gamble." Sauron chuckled. "I always have a contingency plan."
"All right. Then what's your plan for Morgoth getting killed? Who's in charge now?"
"Me. The Nazgul are to hunt for the Ring and bring it to me when they find it."
"What is it now?"
"Yes, that is what you are."
"You've always called us 'ringbearers' before."
Sauron waved a hand. "They are synonymous."
"No, they aren't. 'Ringbearers' means having a ring of power. 'Nazgul' means being a slave to the Ring, and so, you. Kind of a difference, wouldn't you say?"
"Go and find me the Ring, Khamul."
"You wish," Khamul growled, and stormed out of the Barad-dur, taking care to slam the door on her way out.
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.