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This Too Shall Pass....

Chapter 1: This Too Shall Pass......

by Isabeau

Author’s Note--This sick little ficlet was the result of a phone conversation with my friend Lisa, who had just seen TTT for the first time. Lisa has not read the books yet, but even she thought that the scene with Frodo and the Nazgul was silly in the extreme. We discussed some more logical outcomes, and this was the result.......

Angmar stood in his winged beast’s eyrie, somber and resplendent in wraithly majesty, surveying the creature, which lay groaning in pain upon the stone floor. The orc beast-tender approached him with trepidation, practically groveling in its fear and terror. Being the bearer of bad news in Barad-dur was a definite death sentence.

“My lord,” it lisped, trembling so hard he could barely discern the words, “I have poulticed the arrow wound. It was not deep, and did not strike anything vital. I do not understand why your beast suffers so.” Angmar surveyed him with chilly, undead eyes.

“You might try treating him for overeating. Though I have long had no use for sustenance, I dimly remember the misery that could come of eating overmuch rich food. He consumed a couple of creatures in Osgiliath, and though they were small, I suspect they may have been very dense and rich. One in particular was quite fat.”

Relieved that he was not going to be skewered on the spot by Angmar’s great, spiked sword, the orc bowed repeatedly and in a most ingratiating manner.

“I shall prepare a stomach tonic at once, my lord. Hopefully, his trouble will pass soon.”

“I am relying upon it,” murmured the Nazgul. “Have someone fetch me a chair, a bucket of water, a towel and the latest report on the slave levies, while you are about it. I shall watch the beast myself.”

Angmar being Sauron’s chiefest captain, all was done as he commanded, and within mere minutes. The beast-tender administered the stomach tonic, which seemed to soothe the creature, who eventually settled into sleep. If the orc was surprised that the Witch King wished to sit vigil with his beast himself, he did not comment upon it, and took himself off to his barracks and his mates, to tell the tale of his close brush with death, and drink himself insensible, which was, in fact, a very sensible way to make endurable the life of an upper-echelon servant orc in the Dark Tower.

For his part, Angmar sat and read reports, and let his mind drift idly in the paths of undead dreams. He was a patient being, and waiting was no burden for him. Some hours passed, his beast awoke, and wished to go out, but he compelled it with his mind to remain and do what it had intended to do outside within the confines of its lair. This displeased and confused it, for it had been trained with quite painful methods to do otherwise, but Angmar’s will prevailed. He did send it forth to fly free afterwards, as a reward. It was, after all, the finest, largest beast the Dark Lord had ever bred, and unlike the orcs, a rare commodity, worthy of care.

When it had gone, he drew his sword and prodded through what it had left behind till he found what he sought. Perpetually surrounded by an aura of corruption as he was, the task did not trouble him unduly. A quick wash in the bucket, and a buff on the towel, and his task was done. A rare smile creased his spectral face--this had not been entirely chance, for his Lord had been sending strongly to that other part of himself, and the emanations would have driven even the strongest being mad after a bit. But to put the Ring into the hands of such a frail weak vessel, which then walked right into his beast’s jaws.......it was folly of such utter magnitude that he had to take it as a sign that Darkness was indeed meant to prevail at last.

Angmar laughed aloud, and it was not a pleasant laugh. It echoed about the beast lairs, and through the nearby halls of Barad-dur, and all who heard it quailed, but not as much as they might usually have, for this laugh spoke of triumph, and celebration and victory. He set off for the topmost tower, Middle-earth in his hand, while making a mental note to forcibly restrain the Fell Beasts from eating any more of those little beings, when the forces of Darkness ultimately invaded the Shire. It would be best to leave them to the wolves.