Treachery of Ashgaz
May 25, 3019

NOTE: Khamul was so angry that he did not accurately quote what he was told upon the Holy Mount. The words should have been "Only this, only so far. You will break yourselves upon the Wizard's Wall. The temple you build upon Minas Tirith will surely fall."

The date is May 25, and the army has traveled many miles from Minas Tirith. It is camped near the Firien Woods which marks the borders of Gondor and Rohan. The Firien Woods are also named the Whispering Woods, for the strong, imposing silence that dwells therein. People who go into the woods become intimidated by the silence and fear they must talk in whispers.

About five miles into the woods, there is a hill called Halfirien.... The Sacred Mount. Elendil was once buried here, but he was later moved to Minas Tirith. There is a path leading to the hill marked with standing stones. A stairway leads up the hill. At the top of the hill there is a remains of a mound. There is also a watchtower used by Rohan and Gondor.

Elendil's son blessed this place and said these words:

"This is a tomb and memorial of Elendil the Faithful. Here it shall stand at the mid-point of the Kingdom of the South in the keeping of the Valar, while the Kingdom endures; and this place shall be a hallow that none shall profane. Let no man disturb its silence and peace, unless he be an heir of Elendil."

Cirion, a king of Gondor, and Eorl the Young, a king of Rohan, made an oath of loyalty on this hill, swearing before Eru. The mound itself is protected by the Valar and is forbidden to be disturbed by anyone except an heir of Isildur or someone he invited.

But something happened on May 24th..... the day before this day. But to find out what... Ashgaz will have to listen to a conversation between two orcs.

Glok portrayed by Wraith; Hokarul played by Eowyn
Glok: *Eowyn is sleeping, and Ashgaz wanders the camp... He over hears two orcs*
Hokarul: *hokarul the orc is talking to glok his comrade*
Glok: Garn! Did you hear what happened yesterday?
Hokarul: nar... what be the news?
Glok: They sent a bunch of the lads and me out last night
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz listens. Hopefully this will take his mind off the situation with Eowyn*
Glok: And they called us back almost as quickly as they sent us
Hokarul: *raises an eyebrow on his hideous face* aye, they did? what for?
Glok: Y'would never believe what they wanted us to do!
Hokarul: why did they send you out and then resend the order?
Hokarul: *he concludes that the top leadership is more tarburz than he had thought before*
Glok: Blimey! You would never believe it! One of the High Ones wanted us to burn the woods and tear down the tower!
Hokarul: garn! were there filthy tarks or strawheads in the woods?
Glok: Nar... There was nothing but woods and a tower!
Ashgaz: *raises his eyebrows*
Hokarul: *spits on ground* that aint much sport.... no prisioners to have a little fun with
Hokarul: why did the top one want to do it?
Glok: *He motions Hokarul to come over closer because he does not want anyone to hear him*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz sheds his robe and moves closer, unseen*
Glok: Well you see, matey, it seems like Number Two and 'Er Ladyship went out riding yesterday
Hokarul: *he moves over closer, always eager to hear gossip and things that had "slipped"*
Ashgaz: *Thinks: Khamul and Madurz*
Hokarul: aye, and what happened?
Glok: Well, the way I 'ear it, is that Number Two almost got 'is robes singed off!
Hokarul: *he chuckles... then says quietly* i daresay that would be a funny sight... what didya hear?
Hokarul: tell on!
Glok: Well the way I 'ears it, Number Two got all high and mighty and went over to that accursed mountain and challenged the Powers themselves!
Ashgaz: *shakes his head*
Hokarul: *gasps* the Powers! garn! who does 'e think 'e is, anyway? not even the nazgul could get away with a prank like that!
Ashgaz: *sighs...will Khamul never stop trying to get himself killed?*
Glok: Aye, matey, the Powers themselves. 'E went up there all wild and took out 'is sword and challenged anything there!
Ashgaz: *becomes a little concerned...that's not like him*
Hokarul: *his sharp intake of air sounds like a whistle* well ill be! number two must be tryin' real hard to leave our lovely lot!
Glok: Aye, you would think 'e was, wouldn't you?
Glok: I could see the light show all the way here! Nothing like it before
Ashgaz: *almost asks the orcs why he did that, but decides to hear more*
Hokarul: *chuckles* a disappointment.... fraid i missed it
Hokarul: but i would like to have been a fly on that wall!
Glok: *chuckles* Well, matey, some of my friends have friends that have very good ears and listened
Glok: To what went on in the tent afterward
Ashgaz: *creeps even closer*
Glok: Conversation between 'im and 'Er Ladyship
Ashgaz: *but not close enough for them to feel the cold of his presence*
Hokarul: *revels in the possibility of hearing something really juicy* go on! go on!
Glok: *beckons him even closer*
Glok: Number Two came back all shaken up and blinder than a bat they say
Glok: Like as he is not blind enough, if you know what I mean *laughter*
Ashgaz: *thinks...he will need someone to lead him who will do it?*
Hokarul: aye.... 'e couldnt find 'is way out of a bag if it werent for the eye *chuckles*
Ashgaz: *Madurz can't do it all the time*
Hokarul: so there was something powerful enough to give even 'm the creeps upon that hill?
Glok: Aye.... Even Number Two can come back shaking like a leaf
Glok: But he was real angry like... and he gave the order to tear the tower down and burn the woods
Glok: And thats when the lads and me were sent out to do that very thing
Ashgaz: *If he had not seen Khamul raving after he was wounded, he would not be able to picture him shaking like a leaf*
Glok: But 'Er Ladyship talked sense into him
Hokarul: hai! he was going to take 's fury out on the woods and fight the trees?
Glok: *he laughs* hahahahahaha
Glok: That he was!
Glok: But it would have been a fool's errand for us
Hokarul: hah... i can picture im in my mind swingin his sword at the trees blinder than a bat
Glok: hahahahahaha
Glok: Akh.... and gettin' us all killed in the process!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz can picture it too, but he finds it disturbing*
Hokarul: you say these woods are protected by the Powers?
Glok: They must be.... nothing scares Number Two, but he was scared. I swear his robes were shaking
Glok: *He slaps Hokarul on the back laughing*
Hokarul: *he laughs heartly* garn! wish i were there to see that.... a high nazgul with the creeps!
Ashgaz: *wonders if the Valar really did come for him as he saw in his vision after he was wounded*
Glok: A High Nazgul trembling? Did you ever see that before!
Hokarul: *he laughs some more* akh thats precious
Glok: Now that's the real reason why Number Two ordered us to camp here a few extra days
Glok: 'E's waitin' to see what the Eye wants him to do now
Glok: 'E's scared, matey
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz is utterly surprised that he still feels concern for Khamul, but he does*
Ashgaz: *He contemplates going to Khamul's tent, if the Lady Maltriel is still asleep*
Hokarul: so e goes and challenges the powers, and they get him real good. now es petrified. hahahaha.... thats great. wonder what the eye will say of this?
Ashgaz: *but then he puts his robes back on and approaches the orcs*
Ashgaz: Snaga, what did I hear you say about Khamul?
Glok: Akh, he is petrified... trembling in his boots. Even the 'igh Ones slip up... and this one slipped up!
Glok: Master! Master! *bows*
Ashgaz: *nods and motions for them to get up*
Hokarul: *thinks of something sarcastic and nasty to say but sees the wraithling... gets spooked. bows*
Ashgaz: *thinking they will regret bowing when they realize which one he is*
Glok: We were just talking about Number Two..... uh..... how
Ashgaz: Go on!
Hokarul: great a leader he is, akh
Glok: Akh! Akh! A great leader!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz congratulates himself on managing to conceal his own fear around orcs...most of the time.*
Glok: No one better than him except Number One, right matey? Right?
Ashgaz: Nar, that is not what I heard you say
Hokarul: nar... nar.... no one
Glok: Master! Master! Great Master! That's what we was talkin' about!
Hokarul: *begins to tremble slightly.......hides it*
Ashgaz: You said he challenged the Powers on yonder hill last night, did ye not?
Glok: *he shudders*
Ashgaz: And he came back...*even he finds this hard to believe* frightened?
Glok: Yes, Master, yes he did... I thought all you High Ones knew that
Ashgaz: No, I did not know that.
Glok: Master, permit me to say.... he looked frightened
Ashgaz: Why did he go out to yonder hill?
Hokarul: *prepares for the moment when he will fall down on the ground and beg for mercy*
Hokarul: i didnt see 'im... i dont know
Glok: O Master have mercy upon us!
Glok: They say, as 'ow he went up there to challenge......
Glok: The Powers
Glok: Maybe he was supposed to. Maybe the Eye commanded him
Ashgaz: But why would he want to do that?
Glok: I know no more. Master have mercy
Ashgaz: Don't be afraid to tell me if you do know more
Glok: Great One, that is all I know
Hokarul: i know nothing, master. i wasnt there. i did not see anything.
Ashgaz: *sighs and shakes his head again*
Ashgaz: What frightened him up there?
Ashgaz: What could possibly have frightened him?
Glok: Some say it was the Powers that he saw there
Glok: And some say that there was a terrific fight
Glok: And that he was knocked to the ground and made blinder than he already was
Ashgaz: *gasps* He saw the Powers themselves? Did you see them too?
Glok: He won't talk to such as us
Glok: I was not there. I was in the camp
Glok: I saw the light from the hill. They say it must have been a terrible fight
Ashgaz: *Thinks: He won't talk to such as me either...not anymore*
Ashgaz: *feels the loss of Khamul and Madurz deeply*
Hokarul: i didnt even see the light. i was... elsewhere *he was drunk on popskull*
Glok: Master, master, we know no more
Ashgaz: He FOUGHT with the Powers?
Ashgaz: He usually has more s..*he was going to say "sense than that"*
Glok: Master, that's what i 'eard
Glok: E waved 'is sword up in the air.... some say 'e even cursed them there
Glok: Master, if you will excuse us... We know no more
Glok: *bows*
Hokarul: yes master i know only what glok told me *he bows... terrified*
Ashgaz: *Lost in thought, he waves his hand dismissively* Well, all right
Glok: Thank you master! *he leaves bowing... still facing Ashgaz*
Ashgaz: But look you speak more properly of the High ones!
Hokarul: *hokarul does likewise*
Ashgaz: *gets back on his pony*
Glok: Yes master! yes master! Don't hurt us!
Ashgaz: I won't hurt you...this time
Hokarul: we'll never do it again! thank you master thank you!

Ashgaz: *He continues riding around the camp*
Ashgaz: *He checks on Maltriel...she is still sleeping*
Ashgaz: *But as he turns the pony away he hears her wake up*
Ashgaz: *He dismounts and goes to her*
Maltriel: *she is sitting up her blanket wrapped around her... blinking away sleep*
Ashgaz: Good day, my lady
Ashgaz: *He tries to hide the agitation in his voice*
Maltriel: *she yawns* good day ashgaz
Ashgaz: How was your sleep?
Ashgaz: *He checks for signs of the potion*
Maltriel: *a dreamy look comes to her eyes* oh it was most wonderful... *she smiles... trailing off*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz smiles under his hood*
Ashgaz: *He sits next to her* Are you hungry? Shall I bring you something to eat?
Ashgaz: *He wishes Sam were still the cook here*
Maltriel: *she thinks for a bit* i do not feel hungry.... but thank you for asking
Ashgaz: *helps her up* I just heard the most incredible story!
Maltriel: *the effects of the potion has taken away some of her appetite*
Maltriel: *she carefully gets to her feet and stretches* what was it, ashgaz?
Ashgaz: Apparently the second in command, Khamul, went to the sacred hill here last night and challenged the Powers!
Ashgaz: I heard two orcs talking about it
Ashgaz: I think he even fought them!
Maltriel: *she looks thoughtful* i remember he came back last night and seemed frightened
Ashgaz: Yes, the orcs said he came back frightened---can you imagine a High Nazgul, frightened?---and BLIND!
Ashgaz: You saw him then?
Maltriel: his lady had to help him walk.... i saw it before i went to bed
Ashgaz: How strange!
Maltriel: but i do not remember much *the potion affecting her memory*
Ashgaz: Did he say why he went there, do you remember?
Maltriel: no... he said naught a word
Ashgaz: What did he look like?
Ashgaz: Did he really have his robes singed up there?
Maltriel: well... he seemed to be shaking a bit... and he was confused
Maltriel: i do not know... i cannot remember last night very well
Ashgaz: Confused! Khamul, confused? I can't even imagine that
Maltriel: i do not know him well.... maybe i did at one time but i do not remember
Ashgaz: *thinking of the lady's true identity* No, my lady, I don't think you met him
Maltriel: i cannot recall very many things, so i do not know whom i once knew... only that angmar is my betrothed and you are my page
Ashgaz: Did you know that I used to be Khamul's page?
Maltriel: no, i did not know that.... or i cannot remember. i do not know which
Ashgaz: He was the one who st--who was my master when I first came here.
Ashgaz: I was his page for a long time
Maltriel: i cannot remember much of my past... it does not really bother me though... for my medicine makes me feel better
Ashgaz: Then he grew angry at me and sent me away
Maltriel: i'm afraid i do not know much of you!
Ashgaz: Perhaps I will be able to tell you more *smiles*
Ashgaz: I have not forgotten him, though
Ashgaz: I think he has forgotten me...
Maltriel: why did he become angry at you?
Ashgaz: but perhaps he would remember me.
Ashgaz: A friend and I freed some prisoners.
Ashgaz: We took pity on them and unlocked their chains.
Ashgaz: But they were supposed to stay locked up and labor for Mordor.
Maltriel: but that was a horrible thing to do..... they are of the west and are murderers and fiends
Ashgaz: No, they were not murderers and fiends
Ashgaz: They were just men
Ashgaz: *lowers his head and waits for her to turn on him too*
Maltriel: all of the people in the west are.... they are evil men who live in wickedness
Ashgaz: Lady, do you think I am evil and wicked?
Ashgaz: I used to live in the West.
Maltriel: you do not seem evil to me.... i think you are just confused
Ashgaz: Yes, I suppose I am....but despite that I would like to see my former master
Maltriel: then that explains why you are confused... they beguiled you with their lies
Ashgaz: Do you mind if I go?
Ashgaz: or do you want to come?
Ashgaz: *sighs and just nods for now*
Maltriel: i will come with you
Ashgaz: We can take my pony--he's over there
Maltriel: i shall take my horse
Ashgaz: As you wish

Ashgaz: *On the horse and the pony, they go to Khamul's tent*
Khamul: *Two orcs stand guarding the tent*
Khamul: *The orcs, being orcs, listen to every bit of gossip they can*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz tells the orcs* We ask permission to see the Lord Khamul
Khamul: *The orcs bow to him*
Khamul: *One of them says he will go in and ask*
Maltriel: *she stands beside ashgaz, waiting*
Khamul: *The orc quickly returns with permission*
Khamul: *and bows again*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz leads Maltriel into the tent*
Khamul: *Khamul is in his headquarters tent. His lady sleeps*
Khamul: *Khamul sits at his table, his head bowed. He looks up to see them*
Khamul: *Then rises to his feet. He bows to Maltriel*
Maltriel: *she bows to him* good day my lord
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz' eyes fill at the sight of his master. He bows low*
Khamul: My lady, welcome
Khamul: And Ashgaz...... welcome
Maltriel: thank you my lord
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz smiles hesitantly up at him*
Khamul: *He seems a bit different than he always has... almost civil*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz wonders at the change in Khamul*
Ashgaz: *Why is he acting so strangely calm?*
Ashgaz: *Yet there is a strange tension in the air*
Khamul: Ashgaz, what brings you to my tent?
Ashgaz: Concern for your health, my lord.
Khamul: My health? *he laughs* hahahahaha
Maltriel: *maltriel is still slightly addled from her medicine*
Khamul: My health in what way, Ashgaz?
Ashgaz: I heard you had a...*cough*...strange experience last night.
Khamul: *he turns his head*
Khamul: Aye.... a strange experience..... but I should not speak of it in front of the lady
Khamul: I do not wish anything to alarm her
Khamul: My lady, this is just a minor military problem. Nothing to be concerned about
Maltriel: *she smiles* as you say, my lord
Khamul: Do not worry your head over it
Khamul: *then he starts speaking to Ashgaz in thought*
Maltriel: i will not sir *she finds it mildly humorous he would think she worry.... she worries about not much of anything anymore*
Khamul: *Ashgaz, you wish to know about...... he hesitates.... what happened?*
Khamul: *his shoulders shake involuntarily*
Ashgaz: *Yes, my lord, if it please you to tell.* *Khamul can see Ashgaz' dark eyes are wide with concern under his hood*
Khamul: *It is hard to talk about it..*
Khamul: *Perhaps I should show you*
Ashgaz: *Show me?*
Khamul: *At least some of it*
Ashgaz: *My lord, are you going to strike me blind?*
Khamul: *No. Not I!*
Khamul: *for the first time since Ashgaz ever met him, Khamul seems at a loss for words*
Khamul: *In the spirit world, Khamul looks more haggard.... shaken*
Khamul: *His dark eyes look different, as though they had seen something that was more dreadful than he can tell*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz takes a step closer, wishing there was something he could do.*
Maltriel: *she wonders of their silence, but thinks nothing of it.... becoming lost once again in her own thoughts*
Khamul: *He continues speaking in thought. My lady and I rode yesterday into the woods of Firien*
Khamul: *I thought to see if all the stories were true that are said about the place*
Khamul: *The woods were, as the tales tell, the Whispering Woods, full of a foreboding silence that intimidates all who enter and forces them to speak in whispers*
Khamul: *As soon as we got in the woods, our horses became uneasy... resisting our commands*
Khamul: *All my senses told me that I should go back but something drove me on... as though dragging me... and I went as in a trance*
Khamul: *I commanded my lady to wait at the bottom of the hill for me*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz furrows his brow, wondering over the strange tale*
Khamul: *She did and I went up to the top of the mound where Elendil was once buried*
Khamul: *And I drew my sword and held it in the air. I cursed Elendil, Isildur, his heirs, and all the heirs of the house of Gondor*
Ashgaz: *Why did you do this?*
Khamul: *And I cursed the Valar themselves and once again denied them*
Khamul: *Because I was a fool!*
Ashgaz: *gasps* *The Valar themselves!*
Khamul: *My challenge was met!*
Ashgaz: *falls silent, shocked to hear him call himself a fool*
Khamul: *And I saw horrible things... worse even than the spirits I see often*
Ashgaz: *Never in all his eternal days did he think he would hear that.*
Ashgaz: *asks with horrible fascination* *...What things?*
Ashgaz: *Can you tell me?*
Khamul: *There was a great show of fire from above and I met it with like force*
Khamul: *But they proved too powerful for me in the end and I was cast upon my face*
Maltriel: *she wonders at their continuing silence... but she does not comprehend that they are not of the mortal world and can speak through each others mind*
Ashgaz: *Wrapped up in the story, Ashgaz has temporarily forgotten about the lady*
Khamul: *These were powerful spirits and I could not strive with them... but yet I cursed them while lying upon my face*
Ashgaz: *But why did you strive with them?*
Khamul: *And I was met with another bolt of light which struck me blind*
Ashgaz: *Why did you curse them?*
Khamul: *Because I hate them! I hate them all! I will hate them forever, though they cast me into the Void I will still hate and curse them1*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz turns pale and looks away, unable to meet his terrible gaze*
Khamul: *his continues... his voice in Ashgaz' mind rising*
Khamul: *They tried to humiliate me... break me... they did not. I hate them more now!*
Khamul: *But they gave me a warning as I lay upon the ground*
Ashgaz: *raises his eyebrows*
Khamul: *He pauses... his eyes glowing with hatred, nothing like Ashgaz has ever seen before*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz recoils and sinks into a chair at the tent wall*
Khamul: *A warning, aye...*
Khamul: *But I spit at their warning!*
Ashgaz: *He summons the courage to ask* *What was the warning?*
Maltriel: *she wonders why ashgaz has done this and seems to be intimidated.... she walks over to his side hesitantly*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz does not notice her*
Khamul: *Only this, only so far. You will break yourselves upon the Wizard's Vale*
Ashgaz: *The Wizard's Vale! What is that?*
Khamul: *The temple you build upon Minas Tirith will fall*
Ashgaz: *Listens holding his breath*
Khamul: *Ashgaz can tell his thoughts are very angry.... and almost as angry as Sauron himself*
Khamul: *And he can feel the power of Sauron behind Khamul's words... Sauron's intent, Sauron's hatred and malice*
Ashgaz: *The power of Sauron seems to pin him to the chair*
Ashgaz: *He looks away from Khamul again*
Maltriel: *the silence of the tent seems heavy and angry.... she begins to feel slightly nervous*
Ashgaz: *Though it has not done so for a long time, his morgul wound begins to pain him again*
Khamul: *But we will laugh at the warning!*
Khamul: *We will not heed!*
Khamul: *Now Ashgaz, do you understand*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz leans back in the chair with a worried expression, his hand to his heart*
Ashgaz: *He nods slowly*
Ashgaz: *Yes my lord...yes I understand*
Ashgaz: *He bows his head*
Khamul: *He continues. My vision left me and Madurz had to lead me back to my horse*
Khamul: *What vision I have*
Khamul: *I lost for a period of time*
Ashgaz: *For he knows the Valar are more powerful, and despite their rebellion the forces of Mordor will be vanquished*
Khamul: *I was so angry that when I came back I ordered the tower destroyed and the forest burned*
Khamul: *My lady talked me out of it*
Khamul: *I have sent messages to the Master asking him what he wants us to do. We will camp here until we receive word*
Khamul: *We will not go into Rohan until I hear from him*
Khamul: *But the army needs to rest*
Ashgaz: *We will break ourselves on the Wizard's Vale, and the temple on Minas Tirith will fall...what do you suppose that means?*
Khamul: *And now Ashgaz, do you wish to see the hill for yourself?*
Khamul: *he laughs grimly*
Khamul: *Who cares what it means! Sauron will prevail!*
Khamul: *He will not stop until he has all of Middle Earth from the sea in the west to the sea in the east under his command*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz nods but knows this is false...he looks wildly around as though there were someone to help*
Khamul: *And Rivendell... all will be in his hands*
Ashgaz: *He notices the lady again*
Ashgaz: *answers mechanically* *Aye sir, all will be in his hands*
Maltriel: *she dares not break the silence.... she senses they communicate somehow together*
Khamul: *Aye, Ashgaz, Lord Sauron will prevail!*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz thinks of the Shire and lowers his head, his shoulders shaking*
Khamul: *But it would be best, I think.... not to go back to the hill... nor to burn the woods... not yet... no, not yet*
Khamul: *But we will... but not...yet*
Khamul: *We will go to Rohan.... yes, to Rohan soon....*

Ashgaz: *Ashgaz notices Khamul's agitation and feels bad for him...he rises from the chair*
Khamul: *He is very angry and on the verge letting it go*
Khamul: *He just wants to kill something*
Khamul: *He looks at the lady*
Ashgaz: *He hopes to distract Khamul from the madness that is taking over him*
Ashgaz: *aloud* My lord, perhaps if I poured you some wine?
Khamul: Ah........ *it is almost a hiss*
Khamul: My lady....
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz is still afraid of him. He has never seen Khamul this angry*
Maltriel: *she looks to him* yes my lord?
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz moves to the lady's side*
Khamul: No wine, no wine
Khamul: *He walks over to her*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz places himself between them*
Khamul: *His hands wear no gauntlets*
Ashgaz: *feeling a strange sense of deja vu*
Khamul: *He shoulders Ashgaz aside*
Khamul: *He takes his hands and moves them to her throat*
Khamul: *and lets them rest there gently*
Ashgaz: Master!!!
Maltriel: *looks to him with a confused expression on her face* my lord?
Khamul: *He sends a thought message to Ashgaz that sends him reeling to the floor in his fury*
Khamul: Such a delicate throat, my lady
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz crouches on the floor next to the chair*
Khamul: Such a lovely, lovely, delicate throat
Khamul: Do you feel my hands?
Ashgaz: *watching them desperately*
Maltriel: *her senses have been dulled by the potion* yes my lord... they feel slightly cold. are you feeling well?
Ashgaz: *Thinks wildly...what should he do?*
Khamul: *Khamul is tempted to kill her.... to strike out against anything living... but his will fights against his urges*
Khamul: My lady, yes.... I feel....well.....
Khamul: It is just your..... neck
Ashgaz: *He sends her a thought* *Do not fear, my lady*
Khamul: Yes.....
Khamul: *he takes his hands away and backs off*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz runs to her*
Maltriel: thank you, my lord. but as you know, i am betrothed to lord angmar
Khamul: Yes, my lady, yes....... I beg your forgiveness
Ashgaz: *He checks to make sure she is unharmed*
Khamul: But you are most fair and I merely.....wished to ...... touch..... your soft skin..... *he lies like a dog.... he was at the point of strangling her for the sheer joy of killing something*
Ashgaz: *He presses her hand and fights the urge to apologize for Khamul's behavior*
Maltriel: *she smiles at him* i forgive you.... and i thank thee for thy words
Khamul: *He thinks to himself.... there will be many, many strawheads to kill yet.... to torture.... in brutal ways*
Khamul: *He rages inside himself like a wild beast filled with hatred and malice*
Khamul: *He is a creature of fell spirit*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz wishes to get the lady out of Khamul's presence*
Ashgaz: *surprised and outraged at the fury he did not guess lay within his master*
Maltriel: *she looks down at ashgaz and smiles....slightly confused as what to make of this all*
Khamul: *He thinks to himself..... I hate them alll.... I hate mortals... I hate their blood..... I can never be like them. I hate them all the more for that. I wish to shed their blood and destroy and kill them all*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz cannot read Khamul's thoughts, but these are so strong that they project their anger to him*
Ashgaz: *His heart races with fear for the lady*
Khamul: *Then he tries to make his voice sound fair*
Khamul: Dear Lady Maltriel, it has been a joy to have you here for a visit
Khamul: I hope you can come back and join us sometime.... when I have more time
Khamul: We can share a glass of wine
Maltriel: *she smiles at him* thank you my lord. it was an honor to be in your presence, and i do hope that i can be in it once again
Khamul: May I kiss your hand?
Ashgaz: *Strangely, Ashgaz still hopes to be able to pour wine for them once more..and to see Madurz...even if it is the last time*
Khamul: *He tries to make his voice sound fair but it sounds more like a hissing snarl*
Maltriel: yes my lord
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz is relieved that they are leaving*
Maltriel: *she holds out her hand to him*
Ashgaz: *He hopes Khamul does not plan some trickery...*
Khamul: *He takes it, then bends over and kisses it*
Ashgaz: *sighs with relief*
Khamul: *He straightens up* A most pleasant visit, my lady... *he cannot keep his voice from sounding like a hiss of a serpent though he tries*
Ashgaz: Shall we leave you in peace now?
Maltriel: indeed it was, my lord *her natural reactions are dulled due to the potion*
Khamul: *He sighs and it sounds like a hiss*
Khamul: Yesss..... Ashgaz....
Ashgaz: *rocks on the balls of his feet anxious to leave*
Ashgaz: *holds the tent flap aside for the lady but looks questioningly at Khamul*
Khamul: *He sends Ashgaz another thought before he leaves... Remember what you are... You have no mercy... No pity.... You are what you were doomed to be from the beginning.... he hisses*
Maltriel: farewell my lord *she bows to khamul and exits the tent*
Khamul: *he bows to her as she leaves*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz feels this thought as a stab like a blade of Westernesse*
Ashgaz: *He does not reply*
Khamul: *he calls an order to the orcs to saddle his horse*
Ashgaz: *He bows and leaves with the lady*
Ashgaz: *He seems shaken*
Khamul: *When he receives word that his horse is ready, he goes out and mounts it*
Ashgaz: *He wonders: Is our doom at hand, then?*
Ashgaz: *Mine and Sam's, too!*
Khamul: *spurs it viciously in its flanks and rides north towards Rohan... cursing the gods... the west.... and everything else*
Ashgaz: *Will we, the unwilling victims of their treachery, really fall with them?*
Ashgaz: *He almost feels like cursing the Powers too*
Khamul: *Khamul reins his horse in, drawing the reins so viciously tight that the horse's mouth drips blood and froth*
Khamul: *The horse shakes... nervous.... its sides dripping blood from the spurs*

Maltriel: *she sees khamul ride off and asks ashgaz* why did he leave so suddenly?
Ashgaz: *He talks quickly and nervously* I don't know
Ashgaz: *He starts to untie the horse and pony*
Maltriel: *she walks to ashgaz' side*
Ashgaz: *His hands shake and he has trouble with the knots*
Maltriel: it was strange..... i felt a sense of anger in the tent though no words were said
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz nods* He was very angry
Ashgaz: He spoke to me in my mind
Maltriel: but how could that be?
Ashgaz: I am a Nazgul as he is, though I am far less powerful *he begrudges having to say it*
Ashgaz: *He tries to forget it as much as possible*
Maltriel: *she has a sudden realization and her voice sinks to a whisper* what are you, ashgaz?
Ashgaz: What am I? *He looks up at her*
Ashgaz: *He sighs and thinks a minute*
Maltriel: i know that the nazgul are kings, and their rank in the armies is very high
Ashgaz: I am no king! *he laughs softly*
Ashgaz: I was his page, as I told you
Maltriel: *she says barely auidable* sometimes my vision dims and i can see your face as if through a mist.... and at other times i can see you clearly but your face is different.... that of someone i once knew
Maltriel: but i do not remember who he was
Ashgaz: *He does not think she will understand what he is, but he feels a great relief that she has asked him*
Khamul: *After riding a while, some of Khamul's anger has disipated and he turns his horse back to the camp*
Ashgaz: You used to know a hobbit named Merry
Maltriel: and sometimes i see you.... and it seems that i cannot see you at all... *she closes her eyes*
Ashgaz: a "hobytla" you called him
Ashgaz: I was a hobbit once.
Maltriel: what is a hobbit?
Ashgaz: Hobbits are small people who live in a country called the Shire.
Ashgaz: They never grow much taller than I am.
Ashgaz: They are farmers and craftsmen and they generally don't travel far beyond their homes.
Khamul: *He reins his horse in at the tent.... reining in his horse so viciously that it rears in pain from it*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz works faster at the knot, fearing to have Khamul hear him talk about hobbits in his foul mood*
Maltriel: but i thought you were a child! then... how old are you, if you do not mind me asking?
Khamul: *He sees Ashgaz and Maltriel standing beside their horse and pony*
Ashgaz: I'm not a child, but I'm young for a hobbit. Men age much more quickly than we--than hobbits do.
Khamul: *He commands them* Ride with me!
Ashgaz: *whispers to her* I'm 30, but hobbits come of age at 33.
Ashgaz: *aloud* Aye my lord!
Maltriel: *she whispers back* then i am younger than you.... i think i am in my mid-twenties, but i do not know my exact age
Ashgaz: *He succeeds in untying the horse and pony*
Maltriel: *she calls to khamul* yes my lord
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz swallows his anger at the conversation's abrupt end...he never is able to talk about such things!*
Khamul: *They are camped on the east side of the Great West Road near the Merring Stream*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz brings his pony close to her horse*
Maltriel: *she takes the horse's reins and mounts it.... her mind is mostly sound now, and she does not have trouble getting on as she often does*
Maltriel: *her sides being covered with bruises from falling off repeatedly*
Khamul: Come, we will go to the stream so the lady may get her first sight of Rohan *He laughs sarcastically*
Khamul: *He waits for them*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz looks away to hide his bitter glare*
Ashgaz: *follows on his pony, but stays close to the horse*
Maltriel: yes my lord... the land in which i will soon be scouting
Khamul: *he digs his spurs into the tortured sides of his horse*
Khamul: *The beast moans with the pain*
Ashgaz: *tries to keep himself and the lady behind the black stallion in hopes of continuing their conversation unnoticed*
Khamul: *He kicks his horse into a gallop.... he is more like a demon now than a wraith*
Maltriel: *she bites her lip at the treatment of the horse.... but does not say anything*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz sighs and gently kicks the pony, who bursts into a run*
Maltriel: *she does likewise and follows the pony and the black stallion*
Khamul: *He keeps his horse at a gallop, constantly spurring it until the creature is almost driven to a frenzy*
Khamul: *They cross the stream and still keep going*
Ashgaz: *Khamul's cruelty to his horse sends Ashgaz over the edge. He shouts to the lady over the pounding hooves* My lady!
Ashgaz: I said I was a hobbit...
Ashgaz: but I am no longer!
Maltriel: *she shouts back* what do you mean?
Ashgaz: I am a wraith neither living nor dead--we all are!
Ashgaz: The Nine were taken by their rings
Ashgaz: and I by Khamul's morgul blade!
Ashgaz: *He is angry and does not care if she understands or not*
Maltriel: i do not understand!
Maltriel: are you a spirit?
Ashgaz: It is to be dead but yet live in a cold heartless existence!
Ashgaz: I have my body still but it is faded
Khamul: *Khamul finally halts his heaving horse a good distance ahead of them*
Khamul: *Its head hangs down and it heaves to regain air*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz sees him halt and breaks off, biting his tongue against a furious denunciation of them all*
Ashgaz: *All of them except the Lady*
Maltriel: i find that hard to believe! *she calls to him* do you jest?
Ashgaz: *Whose name is Eowyn, he thinks, not Maltriel---Garn!!!!*
Ashgaz: *Khamul can hear now, so he says quietly* No, I do not jest
Ashgaz: But let us attend my lord...
Ashgaz: *He grits his teeth*
Khamul: *He sits upon his horse and draws his sword from its hilt and raises it high above his head*
Khamul: *He chants* Edoras! Edoras! Edoras! Death to the Rohrrim! Death to them all!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz watches in horror and disgust*
Maltriel: *she does not understand entirely what ashgaz means.... it all being very strange to her.... but she did sense something when she was in that tent*
Ashgaz: *though part of him compells him to join in the chant, he resists firmly*
Maltriel: *she says quietly* is that why there seemed to be angry words spoken when none could be heard?
Ashgaz: *very sadly* Yes, my lady, that is why.
Khamul: *Now he shrieks the chant* Edoras! Edoras! Death to the West! Death, despair and destruction!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz bites his lip. He will never join in that chant*
Ashgaz: *Now it includes the Shire as well*
Maltriel: *she gives a few cheers and huzzahs of her own for good measure then turns back to ashgaz*
Maltriel: i still do not quite understand
Maltriel: but i fear a fey mood has hit lord khamul
Khamul: *His shrill shrieking goes on*
Ashgaz: *He watches Khamul with trepidation, hoping he will not have to talk about hobbits now...*
Ashgaz: Aye, lady, a fey mood indeed!
Khamul: War is our glory! Death is our name! To Edoras, to Edoras! To death! To destruction! To blood!
Ashgaz: I have never seen him like this before
Maltriel: he must be a terror in battle!
Ashgaz: Yet I saw it within him, all the time..yes, the whole time...*realizes it is the power of Sauron that does this to him--the same power that is taking over Ashgaz himself*
Ashgaz: *whispers* Quite a terror, I'm sure
Maltriel: to madly go into battle.... chanting curses and singing songs of war.... *she trails off*
Khamul: *He shakes his fist and then screams* Eomer!! Eomer!! My challenge to you! Coward, come and face me!
Maltriel: but i daresay he should save his fury for the battle *she laughs softly*
Khamul: *He knows full well that there are scouts of the Rohrrim nearby and he issues his challenge to them to take to Eomer, now King*
Ashgaz: *The shouts stir something within Ashgaz. He shuts his eyes against it. It compels him to rage against all that is not of Mordor, to kill and destroy all the West, to go with his master to war*
Ashgaz: *He struggles mightily against this force*
Ashgaz: *horrified that it exists within him*
Ashgaz: *It is the call of the Morgul poison, and never before has it worked so powerfully on him*
Maltriel: *the name of eomer does not seem familiar to her*
Maltriel: *her golden hair hangs in braids over her shoulders*
Ashgaz: *He tries to picture the Shire, the Bracegirdles' hobbit hole, Bag End and Bagshot Row No. 3, the Green Dragon, Bilbo's last birthday party*
Ashgaz: *the images are faint and blurry as though they were in the wraith world*

Khamul: *He knows they wait just on the other side of the Merring Stream*
Khamul: *He shouts to Ashgaz and Maltriel...* Go back! Go back!
Khamul: *His words are met with angry bow strings*
Ashgaz: *His head throbs with Khamul's words*
Ashgaz: *He pants heavily*
Ashgaz: *He tries to lead his horse away*
Ashgaz: *then remembers the lady and turns around*
Khamul: *He takes his sword out and forces his horse into the woods*
Khamul: *More arrows come*
Ashgaz: My lady, you must take cover!
Maltriel: *she draws her own sword.... steeling herself for an attack*
Ashgaz: *He barely has the presence of mind to assess the situation*
Khamul: *An arrow nearly misses striking Maltriel*
Ashgaz: You are not fit for battle! You are still...recovering!
Ashgaz: *He tries to make the pony push the horse behind a tree*
Maltriel: *she hisses at him* i do not have my armor!
Ashgaz: You will die if an arrow strikes you
Ashgaz: You must take cover
Maltriel: we should help him! but we are not prepared!
Ashgaz: He is a terror in battle
Khamul: *From the woods they hear screams and the sound of a horse neighing in agony*
Ashgaz: And they cannot kill him
Ashgaz: There is only one kind of sword that can harm a wraith
Ashgaz: and very few exist
Maltriel: *she hesitates.... debating on whether to spur her horse forward and charge into battle*
Ashgaz: I do not think the Rohirrim have any blades of Westernesse *the words taste foul*
Khamul: *They hear more screams and then silence*
Maltriel: i would like to know what is going on
Maltriel: but i have only a sword and am not armed. what do you have, ashgaz?
Ashgaz: I have a dagger
Ashgaz: *He does not want to tell her about the Black Breath for he does not want to use it*

Khamul: *They see Khamul come out of the woods then, his horse bleeding heavily from a sword wound in its neck*
Maltriel: *she motions to ashgaz* he is coming back!
Khamul: *He turns the horse to face them. They see in his left hand something shining golden in the sun*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz watches Khamul and his maimed horse return. He is even more disgusted with the wraiths' cruelty*
Khamul: *The horse is breathing heavily... its wound gushing bright blood*
Maltriel: hail lord khamul! *she calls to him* how went the fighting?
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz dismounts and goes to Khamul's horse*
Ashgaz: *He takes off his robe and tries to stop the bleeding with it*
Khamul: *He calls back* Well, my lady, well!
Khamul: *And then they see it..... he holds a severed head of a Rohrrim in his left hand*
Maltriel: *concluding that the enemy has been vanquished for the time, she puts her sword back in its sheath and relaxes*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz' voice catches in his throat*
Ashgaz: *He is too horrified to make any sound*
Khamul: *The horse staggers and then collapses to its knees, but he is off the beast before it hits the ground*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz continues to try to stop the bleeding*
Khamul: Maltriel, give me your hand and help me. Your horse must carry double
Ashgaz: *He pets the horse and speaks soothingly to it*
Khamul: Ashgaz, my horse is spent. Forget it
Khamul: It is dying. Get away from it
Ashgaz: *indignant, Ashgaz trudges back to the pony*
Maltriel: yes my lord *she kicks her foot out of the stirrup and takes his hand to aid him get on her horse*
Ashgaz: *He puts his robe back on, though it is stained with the horse's blood*
Khamul: *He leaps up behind her.... the severed head dragging across her back as he gets on*
Maltriel: *she shivers involuntarily*
Ashgaz: *He feels the stain of the blood shed by Mordor, of which he is a part now*
Khamul: *He moves his hand in front of her so that the sad, dead eyes seem to be staring at her face*
Maltriel: *she moans slightly and her head pushes against his chest*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz can feel his attachment to Khamul receding*
Maltriel: *she closes her eyes.... and tries to convince herself that the people of the west truly are wicked and this man deserved it*
Khamul: *He can sense that she is about to faint so he prepares to take the reins from her hands so he can guide the horse.*
Khamul: *But first he tosses the head to Ashgaz* Here, take this!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz cries out and recoils and the head falls to the ground*
Khamul: Pick it up!
Khamul: It is a trophy
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz stares back and forth between Khamul and the head, his fists clenched with anger, his chest heaving*
Maltriel: *the world seems to spin about her.... her body slumps against khamuls*
Khamul: By Melkor!
Ashgaz: *He thinks of this man's family, how they will grieve for him, how they will want to give him an honorable burial*
Khamul: Ashgaz, pick it up and bring it to me!
Khamul: If you have not the stomach to carry it back
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz picks it but gets back on his pony*
Ashgaz: *With one look at the sad face his choice is made*
Khamul: See that you do not drop it
Khamul: It is the head of one of their nobles

Ashgaz: *He yells and spurs his pony in the opposite direction, speeding back towards the Rohirrim, hoping to outrun Khamul long enough to return the head*
Khamul: Now let's be away for there may be more of them about
Ashgaz: *He finds the retreating army and calls to them holding up the head*
Khamul: *He curses Ashgaz with every curse known to Mordor*
Ashgaz: *then he rides a little closer*
Ashgaz: *and throws the head to them*
Ashgaz: *He turns his pony and rides for his life he knows not where*
Maltriel: *her head droops to her chest and her arms hang limply at her sides*
Khamul: Ashgaz!
Khamul: Retrieve the head from their army or consider yourself an outlaw of Mordor!
Khamul: And banished!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz stops in an agony of indecision*
Khamul: *He calls to him* I warn you!
Ashgaz: *He thinks of Madurz and Sam and Frodo...*
Ashgaz: *but then he thinks of how much he hates Mordor*
Maltriel: *a change in khamuls position upon the saddle causes her to lurch dangerously to the side*
Ashgaz: *and the killing he will be forced to do if he remains a part of them*
Khamul: *He catches her before she falls*
Ashgaz: *He leads his horse a little towards the army*
Ashgaz: *He sees them pick up the head*
Khamul: I warn you, Ashgaz! You will be under no protection of Mordor if you do this thing!
Ashgaz: *Some of the men cry angry curses at Mordor*
Khamul: Condemned to be a wandering spirit forever, alone without any friends
Ashgaz: *Some of them wail as though he were their brother*
Ashgaz: *He looks back at Eowyn and Khamul--Eowyn the decieved Rohirric shieldmaiden*
Ashgaz: *He thinks of the agony of wandering alone...*
Maltriel: *her unconcious body rests against khamuls chest*
Ashgaz: *but then he realizes it may be easier to find...a way out...from outside Mordor*
Ashgaz: *The grieving soldiers move him to pity--pity he does not want to lose*
Ashgaz: *He spurs his pony away from the army*
Ashgaz: *and gallops off away from the camp, weeping*
Khamul: *one of his arms is under her arm, resting upon her stomach. He guides the horse with the other hand and the sound of his voice*
Ashgaz: *He does not even notice where he rides*
Khamul: *He hears the words screaming behind him* Outlaw! Traitor!
Ashgaz: *He buries his face in the pony's mane, realizing what he has just done, and lets it carry him where it will*

Khamul: Doomed and accursed spirit!
Khamul: May your fea cringe and burn with the flames of Mordor!
Khamul: Traitor!! You have betrayed Sauron!!!
Khamul: The Eye will take his vengance upon you!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz hears these words and smiles. Betraying Sauron was exactly what he wanted to do.*
Maltriel: *she stirs slightly at khamuls shrieking*
Khamul: My curse is upon you! Ashgaz known before as Peter Bracegirdle son of Rudigar!
Khamul: May the rolling flames of Sauron's fury descend upon the Shire and turn it to Ashes! My curse, my curse!
Maltriel: *she moans slightly* angmar...?
Khamul: *He whispers words into her ears, cloying words like those of a serpent*
Khamul: Rest easy, my lady.... soon you will see your love
Khamul: *his words are mocking, but she does not know it*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz shudders at the curses*
Khamul: *He continues cursing Ashgaz* By Melkor and Sauron, may you wonder alone forever, cursed by all!
Ashgaz: *Half consciously, he leads his galloping pony toward the Shire*
Khamul: May any good you attempt to do vanish away and turn to dust!
Khamul: Curse you! Curse you!
Maltriel: *she mumbles, confused* what happened my lord?
Ashgaz: *Madurz' story flashes through his mind and he thinks--Rivendell!*
Khamul: *He whispers more....* Hush my lady, hush
Ashgaz: *Elrond! I will throw myself at his feet*
Khamul: Curse you, Peter son of Rudigar!
Maltriel: *she falls asleep in khamuls arms his words enchanting her*
Ashgaz: *Peter rides to the top of a hill from which he can see Khamul and Maltriel on the horse*
Khamul: *With one last look towards Ashgaz, he turns the horse back to the camp near the Merring Stream*
Khamul: *He turns his head aside and spits* Curses, curses!
Ashgaz: *Marvelling at his own actions, he shouts after them*
Khamul: *He turns his horse back to Ashgaz upon the hill*

Ashgaz: I, Peter son of Rudigar say to you that you will no longer have any part of me!
Khamul: *He screams* Contend not with me, wretched spirit!
Ashgaz: I am not Ashgaz!
Ashgaz: I never was!
Khamul: For I am of greater power of the spirit than you will ever be!
Khamul: And my will shall crush you!
Ashgaz: I am Peter Bracegirdle son of Rudigar Bracegirdle of the Shire! I do not care what you are, but I will be who I am from now on!
Khamul: *He controls his horse with one rein*
Khamul: *He touches his other hand to the ring upon his neck and then shoots a burst of lightning towards Ashgaz*
Ashgaz: *He ducks behind a tree*
Khamul: *the tree bursts into flames*
Ashgaz: *He and the pony speed away*
Khamul: *his horse rears and he must fight to control it*
Ashgaz: *weaving in and out of the trees*
Khamul: *but not before unleashing another bolt of lightning towards Ashgaz*
Ashgaz: *He is too far away for Khamul to hear this, and he still is not sure he wants to hurt Khamul this much, but he calls over his shoulder*
Khamul: Curse you, Peter Bracegirdle! Curse you for all time!
Ashgaz: *All the pent up anger of all his torturous months in Mordor spilling out*
Ashgaz: !May you all break yourselves on the Wizard's Vale!!!!!
Khamul: Run! Run! For I shall slay thee should I catch up with thee!
Ashgaz: *He races off into the distance*
Khamul: Should I meet you again, wretched spirit, you will feel the full fury of my power!
Khamul: And when you meet it, indeed you shall go to Mandos, accursed one!
Ashgaz: *thinking: And I too will break if it is necessary, ye Powers above, only let Mordor fall!*
Ashgaz: *Peter still fears Khamul's wrath*
Ashgaz: *He knows he has never seen it fully unleashed*
Ashgaz: *and all of it is bent against him now*
Khamul: *He turns Maltriel's horse suddenly, digs viciously in its side with his spurs and gallops towards the camp*
Ashgaz: *He searches his memory, trying to picture Khamul's and Angmar's maps*
Ashgaz: *and he manages to remember the way to Rivendell*
Maltriel: *maltriel is deep in slumber and is blissfully unaware of the battle that just occured*
Ashgaz: *Crazed with panic, he takes note of his surrondings and sends the pony speeding once again---this time towards Rivendell*
Khamul: *He thinks to himself..... accursed one... he shall feel the power of Mordor and indeed Mandos should soon receive him*
Khamul: *I will kill him!*
Ashgaz: *For there dwells Elrond who works against the power of Mordor*
Ashgaz: *Elrond will either protect him or kill him quickly*
Ashgaz: *both are desirable to him*
Khamul: *Khamul will get back to the camp as soon as he can and get another horse and ride out again with the intent to destroy Ashgaz*
Khamul: *When Khamul reaches the camp, he turns Maltriel over to Lomin*
Khamul: *Before he leaves on the pursuit of Ashgaz, he gives her a heavier dose of the potion to strip her mind of all memory of what happened and make her sleep and forget*

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