Of Poppy Draughts and Dreams
Maltriel: *it is May 13... the second day
after the army of mordor camped eilenach, the watchtower of gondor*
Maltriel: *it is evening and the army has come to a stop.... camping for the night.. the men and orcs mill about the camp... they sleep on the ground and not in tents*
Maltriel: *ashgaz and maltriel are gathered around a little campfire a bit further away from the hussel and bustle of the others*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz wonders if Maltriel will wander through the forest in her delirium again tonight*
Ashgaz: *He hopes she will talk more about the battle and the events that preceded it*
Ashgaz: *He figured out last night that she had met his friend Merry from the Shire and that he might have died in the battle when she was captured**
Maltriel: *she sits there staring at her fire... falling into a depression... she has not had her medicine for some time*
Ashgaz: *He hopes to find out what really happened*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz notices the sad look on her face and his heart sinks*
Maltriel: *her medicine makes her feel happy and peaceful.... strange though how nothing else seems to do that anymore... and it has been ages since she has seen her love angmar*
Ashgaz: *Her "medicine" is wearing off and he will have to give her more*
Ashgaz: *He feels terribly guilty*
Maltriel: *the world seems strangely empty..... no longer does she float along the clouds*
Maltriel: *she turns to ashgaz' direction* ashgaz...
Ashgaz: *He knows that the potion is really a poison that robs her of her memory and makes her want to fight for Mordor instead of her people*
Ashgaz: *Though his face is invisible, he turns to her with a concerned look* Yes, my lady?
Maltriel: ashgaz.... i need my medicine
Maltriel: ashgaz.... i think i am dying. i think i am becoming ill again
Ashgaz: *turns away from her and groans*
Ashgaz: You are not dying, lady
Ashgaz: Do not fear
Ashgaz: *He hopes that somehow he will be able to avoid giving it to her, for the madness it brings will make her ride to her own death*
Maltriel: i had hoped that i would marry lord angmar... but now i only hope that i will die in battle by his side
Ashgaz: *Yet if he fails in his duty, he will go to Lugburz to face Sauron's anger*
Ashgaz: Perhaps...*clears throat* perhaps you will still marry, my lady.
Ashgaz: *He knows she thinks that Angmar is her real love, Aragorn*
Maltriel: now my only hope is that i will live to see battle and die gloriously
Ashgaz: *He watches her fair face in the light of the campfire and his heart goes out to her*
Maltriel: please ashgaz... ease the pain and give me my medicine
Maltriel: it makes me feel so much better *she says wistfully*
Ashgaz: Lady, it is...it is not...*he gulps, fearing punishment from the Nine if he tells her what the potion is*
Maltriel: *she says in a whisper* i love it almost as i love lord angmar... if that be possible
Ashgaz: I know, my lady... but perhaps if the bad spell runs its course, you will not need it anymore?
Ashgaz: Perhaps you will feel better soon
Ashgaz: More like yourself...
Ashgaz: *He has said too much already*
Maltriel: no, i need my medicine. it is the only thing that will ease my pain... for i feel cold, and dead
Maltriel: *she trembles slightly from a chill*
Ashgaz: *gets a quilt and arranges it around her shoulders*
Maltriel: *she looks to him in desparation* give me my medicine, ashgaz
Maltriel: that is an order
Maltriel: *she stands up suddenly*
Ashgaz: *He stammers, undecided*
Ashgaz: *He remembers that Angmar has said his friend Frodo will suffer if he disobeys*
Maltriel: *she waits for his reaction*
Ashgaz: *A sudden image comes to his mind of Frodo scarred with orc whips*
Ashgaz: *but then he also sees Eowyn lying dead on the battlefield*
Maltriel: *she becomes impatient.....*
Ashgaz: *He falls to his knees* Lady, perhaps just a little longer!
Maltriel: *the look of desparation growing in her eyes*
Ashgaz: It may pass!
Ashgaz: If it does not then I will give you the medicine!
Maltriel: *she grabs the hilt of her sword and pulls it out of its sheath in one graceful sweeping motion*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz' eyes widen, but he knows the sword cannot hurt him because he is a wraith*
Maltriel: *she places the sword to where his throat would be*
Ashgaz: *It is not a blade of Westernesse; it does not glow like a firebrand in his blurry vision*
Ashgaz: *But he is shocked that she would go to these lengths*
Maltriel: give me my medicine now, ashgaz, or i swear before melkor i will cut your head from your shoulders
Ashgaz: *in a shaky whisper* As you wish, my lady
Ashgaz: *He rises and gets a bottle of the potion*
Ashgaz: *He returns holding it in trembling hands*
Maltriel: *suddenly she gets a vision and starts convulsing violently, falling to her knees*
Ashgaz: My lady! *he kneels beside her*
Ashgaz: *He tries to steady her*
Maltriel: be gone foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! leave the dead in peace! *she pants, her body heaving*
Ashgaz: *He is very confused a moment, then realizes she must be reliving the battle again*
Maltriel: do what you will, but i will hinder it if i may
Maltriel: *she collapses in a heap... then slowly regains her senses*
Ashgaz: *He wants to know more, but he doesn't like to see her like this*
Ashgaz: *He still clutches the bottle of potion*
Maltriel: *her head throbbing she looks up to him with tear filled eyes*
Maltriel: oh ashgaz... ashgaz... what have i done? i have assaulted a child.... may lord angmar forgive me!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz is touched*
Ashgaz: Don't worry, my lady
Ashgaz: You will be all right
Ashgaz: *He smooths her hair away from her face*
Maltriel: *she looks up to him* please do not tell him.... he is a kind and noble lord... and he would not take it well
Ashgaz: *privately he thinks of the punishments Angmar has inflicted on him*
Ashgaz: *Visions of drowning, of balrogs*
Ashgaz: *casting him into a pit of snakes*
Ashgaz: *He shakes it off*
Ashgaz: I will not tell him.
Maltriel: *she looks up to him, and the potion he has in his hands*
Ashgaz: Do you feel any better?
Maltriel: thank you, ashgaz..
Maltriel: i shall feel better when i have had my medicine
Maltriel: please give it to me.... i am sorry for what i have done
Ashgaz: It's all right
Ashgaz: I'm just afraid the medicine may be too strong for you for you are weary
Ashgaz: It sent your senses reeling last night
Maltriel: *she grits her teeth.... trying to control herself* ashgaz, please. it is cruel to deny me of it
Ashgaz: *His voice trembles* I don't want to be cruel to you, fair lady!
Maltriel: i am afraid.... i am afraid... i may raise my sword against you again
Ashgaz: *He is torn between easing her present suffering and trying to prevent her impending death*
Ashgaz: Perhaps if I set your sword aside?...
Ashgaz: *He feels awkward and nervous*
Maltriel: no, that is not necessary... if you give me my medicine
Maltriel: *she gets up again... begins shaking once more*
Maltriel: *her mood changes once again* i ordered you to give it to me. you are supposed to follow my orders
Ashgaz: *bows his head submissively*
Ashgaz: *though anger boils in him at the Nine who have caused this situation*
Ashgaz: I am sorry
Maltriel: or i will report you to your master lord khamul and he will not be pleased
Ashgaz: Oh no, please do not tell him!
Ashgaz: He will send me to Lugburz!
Ashgaz: And they will hurt Frodo
Maltriel: then give me the potion! *her hands in fists now... she shakes*
Ashgaz: *He looks up at her, terrified, panting*
Maltriel: *she grabs the potion from his hand, shoving him aside*
Ashgaz: *falls onto the ground dangerously near the campfire*
Ashgaz: *He shrieks and crawls away from it*
Ashgaz: *Then he looks up at Eowyn*
Maltriel: *she takes a few drinks of the vial*
Ashgaz: *A strange mixture of relief and guilt comes over him*
Ashgaz: *He wonders if he will still be accused of disobedience...she has had to grab it from him twice now*
Maltriel: *she kneels beside ashgaz giving him the bottle. her hands shake* i am so sorry ashgaz
Maltriel: i did not want to do that... i... i... i am sorry
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz drops the bottle and hides his face in his hands, unable to face her, thinking of the impending "scouting mission"*
Maltriel: *she waits for the effects of the potion to take affect when once more she finds herself in blissful daydreams*
Ashgaz: *He rubs his hands over his face and sighs* It's all right, my lady, do not worry
Maltriel: *she begins to sob* i am so sorry... *she repeats herself incoherently*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz takes her hand gently, hoping his cold touch will not frighten her*
Maltriel: *a wild look comes in her eyes. she sits up straight and shakes her fist* by their own devices do i escape them!
Ashgaz: Who, my lady?
Maltriel: i saught death in battle... i did not get it. instead i was tormented endlessly. but by their own devices do i escape them... not into death but into oblivion
Maltriel: may i be forgiven someday
Ashgaz: I'm sure you will be...*he is utterly confused*
Ashgaz: But I see nothing to forgive.
Maltriel: *the moment in which her own will shown through passes... and she sinks into blissful oblivion once again*
Ashgaz: *notices the giddy, dazed look again and sighs*
Maltriel: *she lies back on the ground a happy expression on her face*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz has a sudden memory of his fiancee, Mary, looking up at the clouds wearing a crown of flowers he had given her*
Maltriel: yes... may i be forgiven....
Ashgaz: *He wonders if she has forgotten him, back in the Shire*
Ashgaz: *He kneels next to the lady, concerned*
Ashgaz: Forgiven for what, my lady?
Ashgaz: You have not done anything wrong.
Maltriel: *in a whisper* for many years i have spent in loneliness and despair
Ashgaz: I cannot imagine a valiant lady like you in despair.
Maltriel: and now by the arts of the enemy do i find happiness. may i be forgiven
Ashgaz: *His eyes widen* Do you realize that, my lady? Do you realize what the...what...what it is? *his heart races in fear of the Nine and Sauron*
Ashgaz: But you have not done anything wrong.
Maltriel: *but then the moment passes and she is lost to another vision*
Maltriel: *she struggles to a sitting position*
Ashgaz: *watches her*
Maltriel: we died gloriously, did we not?
Ashgaz: *decides she is probably talking to Merry again*
Ashgaz: Yes my lady, gloriously indeed.
Maltriel: we rode into battle.... both in secrecy, for they would have us not... for i was a woman and they considered you too small to fight
Ashgaz: *He listens intently*
Ashgaz: *whispers* Yes my lady
Ashgaz: *remembers Merry in the Shire...Pippin was always his closest friend, but Peter had known him as well*
Maltriel: and i challenged the dread captain! do you remember?
Ashgaz: *turns his attention back to the lady, in awe--did she challenge Angmar himself?*
Ashgaz: *almost reverently* Yes, my lady!
Maltriel: the lord of the mark, king theoden my uncle, had fallen in battle.... and i feared the horrible things that the enemy might do to his body
Ashgaz: *grimaces wondering what happened to Merry's body*
Maltriel: his horse had fallen upon him... struck by a dart from the fell king
Ashgaz: *He listens with wide eyes, barely breathing*
Maltriel: and the fell king and his foul beast landed upon both the lord of the mark and his horse
Maltriel: and so.... *her mind wanders slightly* i challenged him
Maltriel: the fell captain... i wished to give my uncle an honorable death...
Maltriel: i was the only one upon the field to challenge him.... the others had run in madness and fear. but i feared neither pain nor death for i went to battle having no hope
Ashgaz: *sincerely* You were very brave
Maltriel: and i told him to leave the dead in peace..... but he threatened to take me the houses of lamentation and not slay me in my turn
Ashgaz: And that is how you came here?
Ashgaz: *gasps realizing what he has just said*
Maltriel: i know why i am here.... i fight for the armies of mordor, a most just and righteous cause
Ashgaz: *He has just uncovered the whole plot...only the potion-induced delirium has saved him*
Ashgaz: *He breathes a sigh of relief but cannot bring himself to reply*
Maltriel: so i told him i would hinder him.... and he said that no living man could hinder him....
Maltriel: but i pulled my helm from my head... and told him... no living man am i you look upon a woman
Ashgaz: *smiles, his faded eyes shining at her bravery*
Ashgaz: *He thinks: Though she be tall and strong, she has hobbit spirit in her*
Maltriel: and i took my sword and slashed at his foul beast's neck... but my swing went awry
Maltriel: he lifted aloft his mace and brought it down upon my shield... it broke my arm..
Maltriel: but you my friend merry!
Ashgaz: *Lifts his head, his eyes filling for Merry*
Maltriel: *she talks rapidly... excitement and joy in her voice*
Maltriel: bravest of all holbytla from the legends of the north!
Ashgaz: *He smiles and swells with pride in Merry's bravery*
Ashgaz: *He feels proud to have known him*
Maltriel: *she turns her gaze to ashgaz, her eyes shining*
Maltriel: you rose up to defend me when i had fallen to my knees in bitter pain
Ashgaz: *wishing it were true for himself* I would defend you always
Ashgaz: *He wishes fervently that she were truly his mistess, and not the High Nazgul Khamul, who turned against him even though he saved Khamul's life once*
Maltriel: but... *her look grows sad*.... he noticed you.... and... and...
Ashgaz: *turns back to her, dreading the next part*
Maltriel: *she closes her eyes and says sadly* i do not want to say....
Ashgaz: *takes her hand again* I understand
Ashgaz: *with great emotion*....I was proud to fight with you, my lady
Ashgaz: *He figured she would have wanted to hear that from Merry*
Maltriel: he... he.... crushed you into the ground with his mace.... and i looked on in horror
Maltriel: i fell into a swoon from pain, horror and grief.... and....
Ashgaz: *a sob of grief for his old friend escapes him*
Ashgaz: *but he controls himself*
Maltriel: i do not remember. i am dead now
Maltriel: *she struggles to her feet unsteadily... lifts up her arms and cries* oh joy to be dead!
Ashgaz: *watches her in horror*
Maltriel: *falls back to the ground, giggling in a stupor*
Ashgaz: *though he remembers well the time he sought death from the blade of Westernesse that was aimed at Khamul*
Ashgaz: *He covers her with the blanket*
Ashgaz: Sleep now, lady
Maltriel: the songs they will sing of us, merry.... they will be grand and glorious
Ashgaz: Yes, glorious as your deeds
Ashgaz: Sleep now and dream of those songs
Maltriel: *her head sinks back on the grass and she sings softly in a language that ashgaz does not understand*
Maltriel: *she looks up at ashgaz* is this the halls of my fathers?
Ashgaz: You are safe here
Ashgaz: *He wishes it were true*
Maltriel: i wonder how the battle goes? i reclaimed the honor of my people, which had sunk lower than a sheperds cot
Maltriel: i wonder if they planted simbelmine upon my barrow
Ashgaz: *almost choked* I'm sure they did
Ashgaz: *wonders if the battle will go as planned...will her own people really kill her?*
Ashgaz: *He shudders*
Maltriel: yes... *she whispers happily* they will sing of us in their songs of eowyn daughter of eomund and meriadoc son of saradoc
Ashgaz: Yes...*he begins to hum softly, an old song he once heard Bilbo singing for Frodo*
Maltriel: i wonder... what became of lord aragorn? did he die too?
Ashgaz: I don't know, my lady
Maltriel: i.... loved him when i was alive... i wanted to fight by his side
Maltriel: yes... *she trails off* i love lord angmar and we will fight together in battle some day soon...
Ashgaz: *sighs as the potion begins to take effect again*
Maltriel: *her head sinks back into the grass and she sighs blisffully*
Maltriel: *she pulls her blanket around herself*
Maltriel: yes.... i must sleep... and i shall awake to glory in battle for mordor!
Ashgaz: *His heart aches with grief for Merry, killed with Angmar's mace, for Sam, a wraith imprisoned in Lugburz...Frodo in some horrid unknown fate...*
Ashgaz: *...and for this poor, spirited woman*
Ashgaz: *Such a waste of a noble and strong creature*
Ashgaz: *He wishes he could free her this instant*
Maltriel: goodnight my friend ashgaz...
Ashgaz: *gently* Good night, my lady.
Maltriel: *she falls into a blissful slumber dreaming of lord angmar... lord aragorn... her own past and worlds unknown*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz picks up a long golden curl, bends over it, and kisses it*
Maltriel: *her medicine which she loves almost as much as she does angmar and fields in the distant east filled with red flowers*
Ashgaz: *then he lets it fall back to the ground*
Ashgaz: *He resumes his post by her, guarding her through the night*
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