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LOTR fan fiction: The Witch of Angmar - Part #17


Feb 6 2014, 11:15am

Post #1 of 7 (184 views)
LOTR fan fiction: The Witch of Angmar - Part #17 Can't Post

The Witch of Angmar

Legacy of the Fellowship

Part Seventeen

The Way In

The goblin turned to Rose, watching her silently. Even after days in Azil’s company, she found his bulbous eyes with their topaz irises and pinprick pupils disconcerting. It was almost impossible to gauge his feelings, or even begin to guess at what he was thinking.

On the last stretch of their journey to Carn Dûm, Azil had grown quiet and introspective. Now, as the ancient, dark towers of the Witch-king of Angmar’s fortress rose against the eastern sky, the goblin looked as if he would prefer to be anywhere in Middle Earth than here.

The pair stood on the edge of a rocky gully, with the woods behind them. There was no one about; although Rose felt exposed out here and knew that they would have to move on soon.

Rose glanced down at her sword. Even now, she could see the bright blue glow of its blade, visible even through the leather scabbard that encased it. It had glowed ever since they had captured Azil. She had just begun to get used to the eerie blue light surrounding them at night.

“I have brought you to the fortress,” Azil said, his gaze flicking to where Carn Dûm’s dark shadow rose beyond Rose’s shoulder. “I will leave you now.”

“You kept your word,” Rose replied with a tremulous smile, “as you said you would. Thank you Azil.”

The goblin’s pale gaze flicked back to her. He nodded and started to back away from her, eager to return to the relative safety of the skeleton woods.

“Go now,” he hissed, “before one her servants spies you.”

Rose nodded, her mouth suddenly dry from terror at the prospect of what lay before her.

“Will you not come with me, Azil?”

The goblin froze, mid-shuffle.

“What? You promised me that this would be enough – why do you ask this now?”

“I did,” Rose replied evenly, trying not to let her fear show in her voice, “and I know I cannot demand more. Yet, if you would accompany me into Carn Dûm, and help me rescue my friends, we might stand a chance. As it is, I don’t know how I will manage it on my own.”

“She-hobbit,” Azil hissed, his wiry frame bristling from head to toe. “I did what you bid. I have brought you to Carn Dûm. That is all. Don’t ask anything else of me!”

“Please Azil,” Rose spread her hands and took a step towards him. “You know things have not worked out as we planned. Salrean and Peri should be here with us now. I was never supposed to venture into those tunnels alone. The seer, who told us about the secret entrance, also told me that the way in is dangerous. How will I ever make it through on my own?”

“That is not my concern,” Azil looked truly angry now. His thin face was twisted, his eyes narrowed into glittering slits. “What do I care if you and your friends perish here? You are all nothing to me.”

“But I thought we were friends?” Rose demanded, horrified.

“I don’t have friends,” Azil snarled. “Is this your idea of friendship she-hobbit? Dragging me into danger with you?”

Rose did not answer. The goblin had backed a few yards from her now. Another step or two further and he would be gone. She realised then that it was hopeless. No amount of pleading would make Azil change his mind.

Salrean and Peri were right – he is a selfish, cunning creature, incapable of truly caring for anyone else.

“Very well, Azil,” she said, forcing a smile, although dread was making her feel ill and cold inside. “I can only ask. I wish you good fortune for wherever your road leads. Goodbye.”

Azil’s face twisted even further, and Rose thought for a moment that he would curse her. Then, he turned and melted into the shadows, without another word; leaving her alone.

Rose took a deep, shuddering breath and tore her gaze from the boughs where the goblin had disappeared. She was on her own now, she would not be able to look to Azil for assistance.

She turned her back to the woods and pulled up the cowl of her cloak before beginning to pick her way down the side of the gorge. Her feet slid on the loose shale and she had to grab on to tree roots to steady herself during the descent. All the while, her gaze flicked left and right, making sure she was still alone.

By the time Rose reached the bottom of the gorge, her heart was thundering so loudly she was surprised Morwyn herself, ensconced in the Witch Tower, could not hear it.
A chill mist curled around her ankles as she picked her way across the open ground towards where the first of the sharp rocks climbed the mountainside. She was half-way across, her gaze riveted upon her destination now, when she heard the thump of booted feet and the clang of shields and spears approaching from the east.
A patrol.

Rose gave up any pretence at stealth and bolted for the rocks. She flung herself behind the first one and flattened herself against the cold ground, just as the men rounded the corner and clattered towards her. There she lay, hardly daring to breathe, waiting until they passed by. She could hear the rough voices of men, accompanied by the hiss and cackle of goblins – and although she wanted to see how many of them there were, she did not risk a peek over the edge of her hiding place, in fear that a few of them had lingered behind the rest.

Only when the sound of thundering feet and clanking armour and weaponry faded into the distance, did Rose dare get to her feet and continue on her way. Her legs were shaking as she climbed the razor-sharp rocks, and she had to stop intermittently to regain control of her nerves.

You can’t go into Carn Dûm like this, she berated herself. Look at you – you’re so frightened you can hardly walk!

Up and up, she climbed, grateful for the tendrils of mist that crept up from the valley floor below, for at least the mist concealed her. Yet, as she climbed, her dread turned to worry. Barandur had spoken of a rock, hidden in the middle of the others, darker than all the rest.

They all looked the same to her.

The rocks were densely packed; some so close together that even Rose could not squeeze herself between them. She was often forced to make detours around some clusters, while trying to make sure she was still heading for the heart of the rocks, as the seer had instructed.

Rose searched all afternoon, but did not find the way into Carn Dûm.

Sweat trickled down her back, and her vision eventually speckled with exhaustion, but she doggedly continued her search. However, there was no rock darker than the others. They were all the same; sharp, grey rocks made of a pitted volcanic stone. As hard as she looked, Rose could not find one that stood out from the rest.
Eventually, the light began to fade. The mist thickened, obscuring Rose’s surroundings and making it impossible to continue her search.

Fighting tears, Rose collapsed in a narrow space between two rocks.

It was hopeless, she would never find the secret way in.

She lay on her side, eyes clenched shut, and attempted to stem the panic rising in her breast. Despite that she was sweating from exertion, the cold had deepened with the setting sun. It would be a chill night, and she would not be able to light a fire. It would be a long night out here in the shadow of that evil fortress.

Perhaps Barandur had lied. The fear that had been growing in her mind all afternoon, surfaced. Maybe Rendur had been right, after all. She had preferred Barandur to Salrean’s ruthless father, but that did not mean he had not fooled them all.

Rose sat up, leaning her back against the rock behind her and drawing her knees up against her chest. Just the thought that she might have spent the afternoon searching for a way in that did not exist, made her feel ill. If there was no secret entrance then they really were all doomed, for Rose could not venture any closer to Carn Dûm without risking capture.

The last rays of light disappeared from the world and an icy, still night settled over Angmar.

Huddled up in her cloak in an attempt to keep the chill at bay, Rose tried not to dwell on her predicament. She also tried not to give rein to her fears and worries.

There is no secret tunnel into Carn Dûm.

Salrean and Peri are dead.

I will never return home to the Shire.

With an effort, Rose pushed such bleak thoughts aside. Her fears would not help her now. Despite her misery, Rose felt her stomach grumble in protest. She had not eaten since that morning. All she had left in her pack was a small pouch of seeds, nuts and dried fruits. Once that ran out there was nothing else; as such, Rose took a measured handful and ate her light supper slowly, chewing each mouthful as if it were her last. Rose finished her meagre meal and took a measured gulp of water from her half-empty bladder. Azil had trapped a few rabbits on the journey here, ensuring that they had not gone hungry, but without his help she would surely starve if left to her own devices.

Curse that goblin. Tears stung Rose’s eyelids. Why did he bother saving my life before, if he was going to abandon me here?

She should never have expected loyalty from such a creature. The fault was her own. He could not be something he was not. It was a miracle that he had kept his word and led her to Carn Dûm. He had plainly been terrified of going anywhere near the fortress for fear of being recaptured and brought before his king.

Do not blame Azil for the mess you’re in, she told herself wearily. It was my decision to travel north with Salrean. I could have refused Rendur but I did not. Not all adventures are like those in the Red Book. Not all adventures have happy endings.

The night passed slowly, as only cold nights can. Rose did not sleep. She was afraid that if she did, the cold might claim her. The darkness and bone-numbing chill brought bleak thoughts and galloping fears – ones that were easy enough to dismiss in daylight; but in the darkness they loomed like wraiths.

Eventually, a grey dawn lightened the eastern sky.

Rose ate another handful of nuts and seeds before rising stiffly to her feet. A day of searching lay before her – she would not give up yet. If she walked away from here without knowing for certain that no secret way in existed, she would never be able to live with herself.

Peri’s in Carn Dûm, somewhere. She rubbed her stinging eyes and mentally prepared herself for the day ahead. I will not leave him there.

The dawn took its time to reach Rose’s hiding place, between the shadows of two huge boulders. She waited until there was enough light for her to see clearly; it was a hard enough search without squinting in the half-light.

As she waited, Rose continued to stretch her cramped limbs. She felt like a very old hobbit this morning – not like one in her tweens. The cold and damp had tightened her muscles and stiffened her joints. She stretched her back and leant her neck back in an effort to loosen her shoulder muscles, her gaze turning towards the sky as she did so.

Rose froze mid-stretch.

There, rising high above the surrounding rocks, its pointed tip thrusting into the lightening sky, was a rock – different to the others. It was almost black and made of a smooth, gleaming stone, unlike the others that were rough and pitted.

Despite her fatigue, Rose’s face broke into a grin.

There it was; the rock Barandur had spoken off. She had slept under its shadow all night without even realising.

It took her moments to skirt the edge of the boulder she had slept next to before reaching the base of the great, dark rock behind it. Moments later, she discovered the shallow cave at the rock’s base – and entering the cave she found an iron trap door.

She stood there for a moment, staring down at the trap door that was rusted with age and encrusted with mildew, and was suddenly overcome by warring hope and fear at what lay beyond it.

Yet, come what may, there lay the way in to Carn Dûm. She must take it.

'All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'


Feb 6 2014, 5:27pm

Post #2 of 7 (107 views)
I've been waiting for this! [In reply to] Can't Post

I could feel the cold reading your description!

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in April. Happy writing!


Feb 6 2014, 6:09pm

Post #3 of 7 (106 views)
Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm really pleased you're enjoying the story. :-)

'All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'


Feb 6 2014, 8:29pm

Post #4 of 7 (110 views)
You are doing ... [In reply to] Can't Post

great Sam! This is very engrossing! Can not wait 'til the next episode (it does remind me of a Saturday morning serial playing at the local theater). Well done!

KasDel the Last

"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." Gildor

Tol Eressea

Feb 7 2014, 2:44am

Post #5 of 7 (105 views)
Just a little note... [In reply to] Can't Post

I started to read the first few chapters, but I have had to stop. They were so engrossing, that I need to finish it in one reading, in order to keep my sanityCrazy. I'll get back to you once you have finished. Laugh

Keep up the good work!!

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Feb 7 2014, 7:13am

Post #6 of 7 (103 views)
Getting to the nitty-gritty now [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Eddie. :-D

'All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'


Feb 7 2014, 7:16am

Post #7 of 7 (193 views)
Hang in there... [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a few more episodes and I will put the whole story together as a PDF and share it here! Thanks Rembrethil :-)

'All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'


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