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19
The Witch-king's Battle of the Ford

Written for Periantari for the LOTR Community's Remix challenge. Beta by RiverOtter. Some dialogue taken directly from "Flight to the Ford" in FotR, but much is augmented by my own imagination.

To read the original on which this is based, read here: At the Bruinen Ford by Periantari;
http://www.storiesofarda.com/chapterview.asp?sid=3205&cid=12328


~~~

The Witch-king’s Battle of the Ford


They come, the thief who holds the Master’s Ring and his companions—and another. The Elf, the Elf who fell slaying a Balrog, or so it has been said. Ai! Why does he trouble us now? He should be sitting at his ease there, in the addlement of the Shining Ones, not interfering with the Master’s business here in Middle Earth! He has no fear of me, which is vexing. Although I did not notice him standing against me on the field before Fornost. Nay, he sat his horse well back from me then, I noted!

Nay, brothers—do not move forward too swiftly! The others await us there beyond the trees, and we will catch the thief between the two parties—catch him and bring him across the wastes to the Master’s throne! Let the Master have him and his prize, let the Master take It from the foul little creature and deride him for the fool he is, seeking to hold It away from the hand where It belongs! He will not be able to resist us, now with the shard of the Morgul knife within him and so close to taking him completely. I do not understand how it is that the thing has been so slowed in its work, but he cannot hold onto himself much longer. I feel the disturbance of the world about us as he comes closer, and know he is almost fully within our realm, even if he does not wear the Master’s weapon upon his hand!

Foolish mortal, thinking to withhold what is not his and what he cannot dream to control! We will have It—It and him! Such a small distance the shard needs to move to take him! Why does he continue to fight? He cannot hold out against it forever!

“Fly! Fly! The enemy is upon us!”

They know we are here, and they think to outrun us? And they on foot? Fools!

Wait—they have him mounted, and on the Balrog Slayer’s steed! They are swift, the horses of the Eldar. But our steeds are swift, also, and will take them. Ride, brothers! Ride and capture the horse and its rider! We must have him! Feel his fear, and ride! We can see him, the Light at the core of his being, already almost obliterated by the grey cold of the Morgul blade’s shard! Stop, fool! Stop! Do not think that you can outrun us!

“Noro lîm, Asfaloth! Noro lîm!”

Ha! Do you truly think that your steed can outrun us, and with our brothers already racing from their place to cut him---

Wait! It twisted so, the cursčd creature, and it has allowed its rider to evade us! Do not let him reach the ford, brothers! The Ring, slave! Put on the Ring! But a little more and you will be in our world completely, and we shall have you! The Ring! Put It on and join us completely!

His hand reaches for his hip! That is where he carries It, then! But then he pulls his hand away! No, slave—take It out and hold It in your hand! Cannot you feel how It burns the cloth in which you hold It captured? Can you not hear It calling to you to hold It free to the touch of the air? It wishes to be free of you! Bring It out so It can follow the Master’s will!

But the white horse—it twists yet again and he clutches at its mane instead! Ai! No, fool! The Ring! The Ring! We shall have It and you! To Mordor we will take you! To the Master we will bring you! He shall have his treasure, his precious Ring, again, and he shall have you as well! The grey shadow moves a bit more, presses against the shining core of his Light! But a touch more, and that dread Light shall be extinguished! Take him! Take him!

No, brothers—stop him! He is almost to the water! But we can almost take him now, so close the shard has drawn to his heart!

Splash!

Fools! How did you let him reach the river and get across the ford untouched? But he cannot hold against us now. Come together, brothers, and bend your thought upon him, for he cannot withstand the will of all nine of us, should we focus upon him together!

Halt!

See—we have done it—he has indeed halted in his tracks, his own will halting the white horse he rides. We almost have him, brothers. Join me in the command to return!

Turn and face us, halfling!

And again he does. His face—I can see it, the sheen of sweat on a face grey, almost blue with cold as the shard seeks to break down the last of his resistance. His hand is on the hilt of his weapon.

“Go back to Mordor and follow me no more!

The Ring—the Ring! Give us the Ring! We shall take It and you to Mordor, bring you before the Master! The Ring! To Mordor we shall take you both!

“By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!”


What is this? He, that pathetic, weak, mortal being, seeks to draw a blade—and upon us? That is twice, slave! No, you shall not do so again. Now, brothers:

Shatter, steel!


And it—it shatters, the steel of his blade, small and insignificant as it is. But it has resisted us, also, and the Light it contained—it was almost too great to look upon! What kind of spell was upon it, that it should cry out with Light at its destruction?

And his face—he is almost as an Elf lord in his glory, even as the shard seeks to move that last small distance to enter his heart. The pathetic grey wraith he will be once it makes that last shift----

We ride forward, into the water, for he begins to crumple at the last as the smoldering hilts of his blade fall from his hand.

The Ring! To Mordor we shall take you!

But the others—we have forgotten the others! They are come, and the Elf—he shines as does Varda in all her wrath! And the Man—why did we not see the Elven Light within him before? Not as great as in the Balrog slayer, but still it shines as brightly as does the great flaming torch he carries in his hand!

And the one small one who shines as if Arien herself pours all her Light through him! He runs before the rest, his own torch in hand. Nor do the others hold back, all three of the remaining halflings running forward to snap at the heels of our horses, like the terrier dogs my people once kept….

And the river itself is risen against us, and amongst the roaring spumes of foam and water bearing down upon us are great grinding boulders and a shining White Rider lifting up a flaming sword, again and again, the One sent to oppose us all, unveiled to us in this moment! The wind strikes us and sends our robes streaming away from us, and wails through the trees!

Our own steeds, terrified by the fire at their tails and the water racing toward their flanks, sidestep and stumble further into the current, and Khamul’s steed seeks to flee downstream!

But the water will likely sweep the Halfling with us, fallen as he is at the bank of the river! It will be worth it should we be able to capture him as the water sweeps him by us. I spur my horse toward him, seeking to catch him by his cloak or arm—how clearly I can now see him! It is taking him, taking him at the last! If he is within our realm------

A boulder rolls upon me and fells my horse, and the last sight I have is of a shining hoof striking at my crown…. My robes and armor are torn from me, and I lose my shape….

It is so cold, here in the Void where I have been driven by Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. And he is not here with us, neither the halfling nor the Ring.

The Master—he shall be wroth! Aiiiiiiiiii!


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