Dark Shadows Over Dunharrow

The date is June 9. Total darkness has descended upon Dunharrow. After their evening meals, most of the people are either preparing to go to bed or have already gone. Bearn and a few of his nobles are in his pavilion discussing matters of great urgency to Dunharrow. He had ordered that there be not one light seen outside a tent, for fear of alerting what might come overhead, for he fears that the fell beasts and their riders will be turning this way upon a scouting mission.

The Rohorrim eroeds that guard the city know the area by memory and lead those by hand that must go from pavilion to pavilion by dark of night. Bearn has also ordered that Dunharrow be as quiet as possible. Pippin's small tent is near Eowyn's so that he can hear her if she calls at night.

Pippin: *Pippin finds this darkness and silence maddening*
Pippin: *He longs to whoop and do cartwheels, or anything to break the tense silence*
Maltriel: *maltriel paces in her tent, feeling helpless and miserable*
Pippin: *Pippin hears each footfall as a loud thud in the stillness*
Maltriel: *a candle upon a large candlestick is the only light in her tent*
Pippin: *He sees her shadow pacing. He wonders if he should go in to her*
Maltriel: *she decides to go to bed, and try to fall into dreams.... peaceful ones of angmar and not the horrible ones of th fire that haunt her*
Maltriel: *however she keeps her candle burning*
Narrator: *Silence is now upon the camp, a strange, eerie silence.... the darkness seems to reach out with dank fingers of mist...*
Pippin: *Pippin remembers the order for no lights...he thought Eowyn might have a dispensation, but still, he is nervous*
Narrator: *The air seems heavy and hard to breathe..... silence..... silent, the night, the night, as though it too is waiting for something*
Pippin: *Pippin's heart races. What if a fell rider saw the candle light? He sneaks into her tent and puts out the candle, hoping she is asleep*
Maltriel: *she falls into a light, restless slumber with much tossing and turning*
Narrator: *a cold chill settles over the camp and a dark, evil presence can be sensed by all*
Narrator: *At Edoras, Khamul gives his farewells to Madurz and once again mounts the great beast and they fly into the air. Shakh Gakh will accompany him on this mission and they fly silently along towards Dunharrow.*
Narrator: *Down below in Dunharrow, no torch or fire light cuts through the darkness, but the smell in the air is of both human and horse, and Khamûl commands the beast to go downward for a closer look.*
Pippin: *He hears her shifting in bed and is about to leave her tent when he feels the presence of evil and is terrified*
Narrator: *Vague forms of tents and pavilions can be seen by the Nazgul's eyes*
Narrator: *Horses neigh and whinney in terror and he can hear their horses at the tether lines snorting and rearing, then one breaks away and gallops madly, plunging over a cliff*
Narrator: *He can hear its fear-stricken neighs as it falls down the cliff until the sound dwindles into nothing. He laughs at their plight and commands his beast to rise upward again.*
Pippin: *Pippin remembers his experience with the palantir...this seems to be an echo of that horrible evil!*
Khamul: *The camp comes alive and there are shouts and cries, screams of fear*
Pippin: *Pippin is too frightened to leave Maltriel's tent now*
Narrator: *And they hear a call.... it sounds like a shriek....*
Narrator: Kul-ulu stazg-or za! *cries Khamul*
Narrator: *The other shrieker answers* Kul-ta zark!
Pippin: *Pippin starts to scream, then he puts his hand over his mouth afraid of waking Maltriel..as if the shriek would not wake her*
Narrator: *Archers along sides of the camp send arrows up into the air, but they strike at nothing. Then they hear laughter, cold, icy, menacing, penetrating into the very soul*
Narrator: *Fear grips their hearts like a hand*
Narrator: *Pippin and Maltriel can hear people screaming* Nazgul! Nazgul!
Pippin: *Pippin huddles in a corner of Maltriel's tent, panting and shaking, hugging himself and praying to the Valar*
Maltriel: *wakes up screaming, gasping for air, her heart pounding*
Pippin: *A vague thought passes through his head...they have come for the last hobbit left! I cannot let them get me!*
Pippin: *notices Maltriel's terror*
Maltriel: he comes for me! he comes for me! *she repeats wildly*
Pippin: No, no, my lady....I won't let him at you!
Maltriel: *stumbles out of the bed*
Pippin: *draws his blade of Westernesse*
Pippin: Where are you going?
Pippin: Stay here!
Pippin: It's not safe out there!
Maltriel: *staggers to the tent flap*
Pippin: *puts down the blade and pushes her back*
Pippin: *into the tent*
Maltriel: angmar, he comes for me, my beloved, he comes for me!
Maltriel: *falls down on ground, looks up bewildered*
Pippin: *his mind races...* No...no, it is not Angmar. It is another of them. It is not your beloved.

Narrator: *Maltriel had been dreaming of Angmar... She thinks one of the voices was his, but it was not. Now under questioning, she will tell Pippin what she dreamed*
Pippin: *They are not supposed to contradict her, but he cannot let her out there*
Narrator: *In her dreams, Angmar comes to her and stands before her in the tent*
Pippin: *sits on the ground next to her*
Maltriel: *in her dream, she sits up in bed and looks to him, not believing what she sees*
Maltriel: *she tells pippin* lord angmar came to me in my dreams ... and this is what happened
Pippin: *horrified* Lord Angmar?
Pippin: And you thought it a good dream?
Narrator: *In the dream, Angmar says, "My lady, I have come for thee, as I said I would"*
Pippin: How is it possib....oh, a dream of your beloved. What happened?
Narrator: *"For my love for you is ever true"*
Maltriel: *sits upon the ground and says to pippin* he came back for me, for he loved me
Maltriel: *in the dream she says: "oh my lord! are you really here? or do my eyes cheat me?"*
Narrator: *"Nay, my lady, thy eyes do not cheat thee. It is I, Angmar, truly"*
Pippin: *still listens for screeches overhead....He is afraid to encourage her now, yet he is forbidden to argue* How lovely.
Pippin: *prays that she will not run out to the fell beasts*
Maltriel: *in the dream, she gets out of bed and bows before angmar*
Narrator: *In the dream, Angmar holds his hands out to her*
Maltriel: *in the dream, she rushes into his arms*
Narrator: *In the dream, he takes her into his arms and holds her*
Maltriel: *in the dream, unable to control herself anymore she breaks down and starts sobbing*
Narrator: *In the dream, he strokes her hair... "There, there, my love. Do not fear"*
Pippin: *Pippin notices that Eowyn seems lost in a reverie, and he thinks he hears quiet weeping*
Maltriel: *in the dream, she looks up to him, tears streaming down her face... "oh beloved, thank you"*
Narrator: *In the dream, Angmar then pulls the hood back from his face and she sees not the face of Aragorn but Angmar's crown and his two piercing, glowing red eyes beneath it*
Narrator: *In the dream, Angmar says, "See, Maltriel, your lord as he is"*
Narrator: *In the dream, he kisses her and his form turns into mist, and there is nothing left but a haunting laughter.*
Maltriel: *in the dream, she looks up into the seemingly-headless form and gasps. she closes her eyes and burrows her head into his cloak... "my lord, i do not understand!"*
Maltriel: *in the dream, she then feels him lift up her chin and kiss her, and then suddenly he is gone, vanished in a mist...*
Maltriel: *then she had awakened, screaming.... fearing she had lost him forever*
Narrator: *Eowyn now has a mild case of Black Shadow from the presence of the Nazgul that flew overhead*
Pippin: *Pippin hears the fell cries fading away into the distance. They seem to inject ice cold water into his veins*
Maltriel: *she contemplates the dream over and over trying to find its meaning for it has confused her greatly, and somehow she feels a sense of horrible despair crushing upon her...*
Pippin: *he is overcome with terror and a feeling of being clasped in a powerful, evil grip*
Pippin: *but he forces himself to speak to the lady* Well....it sounds like it turned out to be a bad dream. That's too bad!
Maltriel: he... he came back for me, and took me in his arms, but he cast back his hood and there was nothing there ....
Maltriel: and then he turned into mist and vanished from my sight .... *she babbles, fightened, caught off guard*
Pippin: *Pippin's chest tightens and his breath is strained*
Pippin: *pats her shoulder* There there my lady...it was only a dream *she feels cold*
Maltriel: *she does not want to doubt her lord is anything more than human... for the words of the rohirrim cannot be true, can they?*
Pippin: *but then he feels cold as well*
Maltriel: *shudders slightly .... waves of despair and unease hit her*
Narrator: *The camp is all astir now... People scream and moan*
Pippin: Why don't you sit back up on the bed and get under the covers where it is warm
Maltriel: *hugs her knees and rocks back and forth slightly*
Narrator: *After a half an hour or so is past, Bearn comes into their tent*
Pippin: *puts his arm around her and leans against her, partly to comfort her and partly to comfort himself*
Bearn: My lady, Pippin, are you well?
Bearn: For the evil creatures flew over, and now the camp is in terror
Pippin: No, sir, the lady is not well *stands up unsteadily*
Maltriel: *looks up at bearn, but says nothing*
Pippin: Yes, it was so terrifying!
Pippin: I have not been so afraid since...
Bearn: I have had reports that many now are falling ill, but it is soon to tell how many!
Pippin: Well, since the fall of Gondor.
Bearn: Our archers fired upon them but to no avail *his voice is unsteady*
Pippin: I am trying to get the lady to go back to bed
Pippin: She had a bad dream
Maltriel: *confusion and despair fill her thoughts..... she tries to fight the tearing feelings of fear, and above all... doubt*
Pippin: and then the nazgul came, and, and.....* he trails off, trembling*
Bearn: *He walks over to Maltriel* My lady, you are pale!
Pippin: *huddles in the corner*
Bearn: *He reaches a hand towards her forehead and finds it perspiring, but she feels cold*
Bearn: My lady, you are ill!
Pippin: *trying to warm up and shake the feeling of horror*
Bearn: You must lie down
Maltriel: *struggles to her feet and stumbles towards her bed*
Bearn: *He looks at Pippin* Pippin, lad, you too seem cold and your face is wet with sweat
Bearn: You seem to ail too
Pippin: *Pippin looks up at him miserably*
Bearn: *Bearn puts his arm around her waist and helps her to her bed*
Maltriel: *she tenses slightly at his touch but allows herself to be helped... she mumbles* thank you *almost inaudibly, then gets into bed*
Bearn: Pippin, you must care for her as best you can
Bearn: I will send healers such as we have. Do your best until they come
Pippin: Very well, sir
Pippin: Sir...
Bearn: You must keep her warm and keep yourself warm. We have heard tales of this illness from Gondor
Pippin: Are there any extra blankets in here?
Pippin: Can we light the candle?
Maltriel: *pulls covers about self, begins trembling slightly*
Bearn: Yes, light the candle. I have a tender box and will strike the flint for it
Bearn: *He does so, and kindles the flame*
Pippin: *thinks longingly of the heat of fire, but knows a candle won't do much good*
Pippin: Thank you
Bearn: Now wait here. I shall go and send healers for you, but perhaps you both should be moved from here to the pavilion of the healers
Pippin: *looks around the tent in the candlelight and finds a couple of extra blankets*
Bearn: We must get word to Aragorn somehow!
Pippin: *hauls them to the bed with difficulty*
Bearn: He can cure this, but he is not here
Pippin: *puts them on the bed over Eowyn*
Bearn: *He leaves the tent, and says as he goes* What great sorrow has befallen us! Has there not been enough already? What more are we to lose? Are we to lose all?
Pippin: *breathing heavily* There, see, my lady....all will be well.....they will take care of us....they will send word to Aragorn *he is on the verge of tears*
Maltriel: *looks blearily about the room... what did the dream mean? is angmar lost from her forever? or has he, perhaps, abandoned her? she shudders more at this thought*
Pippin: *looks around as she shudders* I'm sorry, my lady...
Pippin: there are no more blankets
Maltriel: *forces a smile at pippin* that is all right
Pippin: *stands next to the bed leaning against it*
Maltriel: *she gazes into the fire of the candle.... it seems that the world turns to shades of green ....*
Pippin: *hesitantly* My lady, would you be offended...do you mind....I'm so cold....
Pippin: Can I come under the covers too? *whimpers*
Pippin: *The room seems to swirl about him and he is afraid he will fall*
Pippin: *He wants Merry more than ever*
Pippin: *whispers* Please?
Maltriel: *the candle stick appears to be moving of its own accord.... she squeezes her eyes shut in her terror*
Maltriel: *vaguely she hears pippins words and forces herself to heed them*
Maltriel: yes... pippin you may
Pippin: *climbs under the covers with her and settles into the warmth* Thank you!
Maltriel: *her breathing begins to speed up, and she forcers herself to try to control her desire to gasp uncontrollably*
Pippin: *He trembles with cold and fear, feeling dark shapes lurking in the tent*
Pippin: *but he notices the lady is afraid*
Frealof the Healer: *several hours pass and then a very old man comes into the tent. His once blonde beard is yellowish and streaked with gray and white. He carries a book with him of herblore. He takes a chair without speaking and puts the book on his lap*
Pippin: *He reaches out his hand and caresses her head lightly*
Pippin: *but soon he has not the energy*
Maltriel: *in the past several hours maltriel has had several bouts of hyperventalating and uncontrollable shaking... panic attack caused by the black shadow*
Maltriel: *now she lies in an uneasy state of rest, exhausted*
Frealof the Healer: hmmm.... *he says* What seems to be wrong?
Pippin: *Pippin lies next to her feeling miserable, sick, cold and afraid, but worried about her too*
Frealof the Healer: Are you like all the rest tonight?
Maltriel: *mumbles* angmar, beloved ....
Pippin: *wearily* I think so, sir.
Pippin: Except the lady.
Frealof the Healer: Hmmm.... *he peers at her*
Pippin: *whispers so she will not hear* She is enchanted.
Maltriel: *her eyes open wide and she cringes away from him*
Pippin: *whispers* Gandalf said it would take a long time.
Pippin: To bring back her mind.
Frealof the Healer: Hmmm.... Those that were in the last war, the unpleasant war, the war we lost, tell me, that this is called.... hmmm... hmm....
Frealof the Healer: But I cannot find it in my book!
Pippin: But she has the same....*shudders* malady as we all have
Pippin: But sir...surely you can do something!
Maltriel: *she realizes this man is a healer and probably does not mean her immediate harm* i have always been sick of a malady
Frealof the Healer: I can give you a potion, but I thought I would try something that has not been tired before. Hmmm... let me see here, it is on page 362
Frealof the Healer: Leeching! Yes, that is what I am going to try
Maltriel: my lord..... angmar... *she begins hesitantly* was a healer. he put a black powder in my wine
Pippin: *groans under his breath* Oh for the love of Elbereth.
Pippin: Does it have to be leeching?
Frealof the Healer: I can think of naught else but leeching
Pippin: *whispers* Angmar...he was a...was a...*goes into a fit of trembling*
Maltriel: i do not know of what nature the powder was, but i do not think they have it in the west.
Maltriel: but it helps all ills.... *misses her medicine badly*
Frealof the Healer: My lady, we think we know what you were given, and we will give none of that, unless you were in great pain
Maltriel: *hope suddenly hits her .... a very small hope... her eyes widen* then you know what it is?
Maltriel: i am ill and dying, and it would aid the pain i feel
Frealof the Healer: Nay, my lady, you are not dying, and the pain you suffer is in your mind. Leeching is what you need!
Frealof the Healer: It will draw the bad blood from you and cleanse your humors
Pippin: *wants to tell the healer about her bewitchment, but he is losing the battle to control himself and trembles, sweat glistening on his brow, too terrified at his memories to speak
Maltriel: my illness has taken a strange turn tonight, it seems to have gotten worse. i do not know what ails the hobbit
Pippin: *sees vividly his visions in the palantir, and the fell beasts flying over Gondor*
Frealof the Healer: May I not try the leeches?
Maltriel: what's a leech?
Frealof the Healer: My lady, it is a creature given to us to draw forth the bad blood from your bodies
Maltriel: *wearily raises an eyebrow*
Maltriel: blood....? in mordor there was no removing of blood for an illness ...
Bearn: *Bearn comes in now, angry*
Bearn Old man, I have followed you all over this camp and seen evidence of your stupidity. You will not leech another victim!
Bearn: Now I order you to destroy all these foul creatures and command you to stop trying to practice sorcery or I will send you back to Edoras and you can practice your witchcraft upon the sorcerers themselves!
Frealof the Healer: *The old man is shaken, and goes outside. One of Bearn's men waits for him, escorts him to his tent and orders him to destroy all the jars of leeches*
Bearn: *Bearn sits down on another chair and puts a hand on his forehead and says* Old fool!
Pippin: *Pippin is very glad that he doesn't have to endure the leeches*
Pippin: *He raises himself on his elbows. His head spins and he rubs his forehead*
Maltriel: *maltriel throws herself back on the bed with an exasperated moan* *mutters* i wish i were in lugburz ..
Pippin: *shudders and surpresses a whimper*
Maltriel: globu snork..... garn
Pippin: *covers his ears*
Bearn: *He is determined to control his temper, especially now considering that so many of the Rohirrim at Dunharrow have been afflicted with the Shadow*
Pippin: *falls back to the pillow with another fit of shaking*
Bearn: *And he knows from the descriptions he has been given that both Pippin and Maltriel suffer from the Black Shadow*
Bearn: Pippin and Lady Maltriel, do not let the old fool upset you, for he has begun to dabble in sorcery. Incompetent enough he was already
Pippin: *His eyes sting. He only wants to feel normal again...warm and strong, not cold and ill and terrified. But when will it happen? Will they die before Aragorn comes?*
Maltriel: *a new wave of misery and hopelessness hits her, she is among a group of fools, who are no doubt out to kill her*
Pippin: *raises himself again and turns to Bearn* Thank you for getting him out before he leeched us
Bearn: Such things as sorcery among the Rohirrim is more evidence of the decline, of the fall of the West, and these things will become worse and new terrors should be upon us ere the tale is done
Pippin: Oh please don't say that
Bearn: Pippin, he had already put the creatures on some, only weakening them and they suffer greatly already
Pippin: oh no
Pippin: *shudders to think that that almost happened to him and Maltriel*
Maltriel: *sighs.... bearn does need to be thanked. raises herself up upon her pillows and looks to him* thank... you my lord..
Bearn: I would have had him driven from the camp, but the old man was a fair healer in his days of youth but now he has sunk into his dotage. He will not live much longer, for he is of great years
Bearn: Pippin, I would spare all from any harm if I could
Pippin: Well...I suppose they need help....I don't feel well at all, but maybe I should try because many are much worse. *Gets out of the bed and stands unsteadily*
Pippin: *smiles at Bearn* I believe you, and we are lucky for your care.
Bearn: Now we need Gandalf and Aragorn, especially Aragorn, for he has the skill to heal them
Pippin: *nods*
Bearn: *Then a thought strikes him and he takes his hand from his head*
Pippin: *hugs himself and shivers*
Bearn: They say it grows where once the Dunedain camped!
Pippin: What?
Maltriel: *she heard that aragorn was the commander of the armies of the west... therefore he would be an evil man .... or would he? oh how life is so confusing. she wishes to die*
Bearn: Kingsfoil, Pippin!
Pippin: Kingsfoil...it's a weed...oh, is it also called athelas?
Bearn: Aye, it is
Pippin: *brightens* That's what Strider, I mean Aragorn, used on Frodo!
Bearn: We must find a way to send word to Gandalf and Aragorn
Maltriel: *she asks in a shaky voice* what.... is this plague that befalls us?
Pippin: How can we do that? *sits on the edge of the bed*
Bearn: Pippin, we have no way to reach them now!
Bearn: Lady Maltriel, you are a victim of something fell and dark. It is called the Black Shadow
Maltriel: what is it?
Pippin: *puts his head in his hands*
Bearn: If you ever pray to the Powers, now is the time to pray
Bearn: Lady Maltriel, the Black Shadow is an essence that the Dark Riders exude when they are near. Those who are stricken deeply can fall into sleep and die
Pippin: *rocks back and forth, eyes closed, singing softly*
Pippin: A Elbereth Glithoniel
Pippin: silivren penna miriel
Bearn: *he bows his head and is silent for a while. Then he says* Several will not see the light of what passes of dawn
Pippin: o menel aglar elenath
Pippin: Glithoniel, A Elbereth!
Maltriel: *closes her eyes and digs her head slighty upon her pillow at the evil references to the dark riders... one of which they say is her love angmar*
Pippin: *quietly, as a tear rolls down his cheek* Oh, no.
Pippin: And there's nothing we can do?
Bearn: *The light from the candle glistens on the tear as it runs down his face* Even now, Deor, my kinsman, the captain who found you lies dying
Pippin: I'm sorry, sir.
Maltriel: *does not know what to say.... she is loyal to mordor, why should she get sick, if the black riders did indeed create this illness? but she is with the rohirrim, her enemies, and suffers as they*
Pippin: *tries to think how many more. The number must be staggering. So their feeling of horror is justified. He would rather it were not so!*
Bearn: *He takes a hankerchief from his robe and wipes at his eyes*
Maltriel: i am... sorry...lord bearn *she feels uneasy saying this*
Pippin: *gets up, stumbles across the tent and places a small hand on Bearn's arm, then withdraws it quickly* Oh.....is it contagious? *his eyes wide*
Bearn: *His voice chokes* He was a good soldier. He fought at Pelennor. He was wounded but recovered
Bearn: And now to die this way, better in battle. It is what he would have wanted
Pippin: Aye.
Bearn: It is not contageous, thank Eru for that
Bearn: We keep now a death vigil
Pippin: How many are there unharmed?
Maltriel: *she will die alongside her enemies, now by the hands of yet another diease, she fears...*
Bearn: *The tears cease and his face grows grim* There are 50 who are afflicted
Bearn: Many children
Pippin: *pales*
Bearn: Women, and old
Bearn: at least 50, maybe more
Pippin: And how many are here in total again?
Bearn: Those who can be moved will be moved to the pavilion of the healers
Pippin: *nods*
Bearn: over 2000 are here now
Bearn: those from Edoras, the countryside, other places in Rohan, all seeking refuge
Bearn: and many out there never came and they, perhaps, were the wisest
Bearn: For we are trapped with no hope
Bearn: And now this, the mockers from the sky descended and brought death
Pippin: Do you need help moving them? *hears "Fool of a Took!" in his head. "And how are you going to do that?" he asks himself. "Well, I want to prove that I can do SOMETHING," he retorts.*
Maltriel: *feels guilty .... for she is a part of mordor ... it is so different, on the other side of the battlefield when your enemy has no face...*
Bearn: Then care for the lady, keep her warm
Bearn: Comfort her fears. She is more afflicted than you
Pippin: Yes sir.
Bearn: You are, I am told, of cheerful nature, and they say that this does not vex those of a cheerful nature and temperment as it does those whose hearts are troubled
Bearn: *he looks to Eowyn*
Pippin: *His eyes sting. He should be more worried about her. But foremost in his mind is "I wish Merry were here to take care of me."*
Maltriel: *closes her eyes and swallows*
Pippin: Yes sir, it does not do as much harm to us hobbits. *smiles*
Pippin: Maybe when I feel better I will sing her a song or two
Bearn: Pippin, sing to her
Bearn: Sing to her of the land across the sea
Pippin: Oh, very well. I can sing to her now then
Pippin: *sits on the bed and huddles in the blankets too*
Pippin: *sings* Still round the corner there may wait
Maltriel: *tries to get her mind off her troubles and another illness* where is the land beyond the sea?
Pippin: a new road or a secret gate
Pippin: It is Valinor, the land where the Elves go to join their kindred
Maltriel: *listens to pippin's singing*
Pippin: *resumes the song* And though I oft have passed them by
Pippin: A day may come at last when I will take the hidden paths that run
Pippin: West of the moon, east of the sun.
Bearn: *he listens to the song, and ponders whether he should ride out to look for Gandalf, but that would mean going by Edoras... but then again, who better to go than he? There are others who can command as well*
Pippin: *If only they were all there*
Bearn: *he rises from his seat* I must leave you for a while *he says, his face grim and a fell look comes over his face*
Bearn: *he grasps the hilt of his sword as he goes*
Pippin: Where are you going?
Pippin: What are you going to do? *growing afraid again*
Bearn: *he goes to his pavilion, and gives orders to the men, writes a hasty script and names Wolfhelm to command in his place*
Bearn: *He does not answer Pippin but leaves silently*
Pippin: *He huddles under the blankets, trembling again*
Bearn: *Goes to the place where the horses are kept, mounts his horse and trusts it to keep him safe as he rides down the mountain*
Pippin: *speaks to the lady like a frightened child trying to comfort an older sibling* Well my lady, it will be all right
Pippin: *huddles near her for warmth*
Pippin: *glad for the rest and warmth of the bed, he hopes he will not have to get up soon and will be able to rest*
Maltriel: *wonders where bearn is going*
Pippin: The Valar are watching over us. They will bring Gandalf and Aragorn.
Pippin: And they will cure the sick.
Maltriel: i hope it will, pippin *she says uncertainly*
Maltriel: where did lord bearn go?
Pippin: I don't know.
Pippin: He had a strange look.
Maltriel: my eyes were closed, i did not see
Pippin: Do not worry about it now
Maltriel: *wonders if perhaps she betrays mordor and reveals what little she knows, if the rohirrim will give her a quick death*
Maltriel: *for it seems that her fate has been written, predecided, predetermined, to waste away from uncurable illness*
Pippin: *wonders what thoughts are passing through the bewitched Eowyn's mind*
Maltriel: *wishes she were back in mordor*
Pippin: Do you need anything, my lady?
Pippin: or do you want to rest now?
Maltriel: nay, i am fine
Maltriel: *her mind reels with confusion*
Maltriel: *she ventures* that was... kind... of lord bearn to save us from the old healer
Pippin: *gravely* Yes, he might have done us great harm
Pippin: But see, that proves that the Valar are watching over us. *smiles*
Maltriel: *lies on her back, twisting a stray thread from her blanket aimlessly about her finger*
Maltriel: i heard that the valar were evil
Pippin: *lies curled in the fetal position at her side*
Pippin: *tries to figure out how to respond*
Pippin: Well, I don't know what you've heard, but the Valar did just save us from that healer. *cheerfully* Someone is looking after us....*wonders if it is Merry and not the Valar and smiles*
Pippin: And I'm going to look after you, so don't worry. *takes her hand, smiles and closes his eyes wearily*
Maltriel: so you say. let us hope, though, that their mercy will extend to me, a servant of mordor
Pippin: *His smile fades and he feels worse for a minute, but he lets the reference to Mordor pass and enjoys the opportunity to rest.*
Maltriel: *turns over on her side and falls into a restless sleep.... her mind haunted by her earlier dream*
Pippin: *He speaks to Merry in his head: Merry, if you don't come and take care of us I will never let you hear the end of it after I die.* *He falls asleep with a mischeivous smile on his face*

By Maltriel/Eowyn
Night of June 9, after midnight and the early morning hours of June 10

Helpless and miserable, confined to life as a prisoner sulking in a mountain refuge, plagued with conflicting thoughts on whom could be called "friend" and whom could be called "enemy." Fate was cruel indeed. Maltriel had felt better that day. She could not deny the fact that her strength was slowly returning, her stomach was bothering her less and the twitchy muscle spasms and fits of anxiety were starting to subside. "But i should be dying, for i suffer a very evil illness..... Lord Angmar told me so." But the torment in her mind far exceeded that of her body, which was starting to become accustomed to the absence of her medicine.

After pacing restlessly in her tent trying to sort out her thoughts but to no avail, Maltriel had stumbled over to her cot and fallen into a light slumber. the Rohirrim would not kill her, nor let her do the deed herself, and she seemed to be getting better from her illness. But though she could not have death, sleep was the next best thing, though sleep had an end, unlike the eternal peace of death.

A blood-chilling cry, icy-cold, as though dripping with the unholy frosts of Morgoth, pierced through the heavy night air. Maltriel awoke with a start, gasping, blearily looking around the tent, frightened of something unknown to her, but vaguely familiar. Her vision cleared slightly, and she beheld a dark, cloaked figure looming at the foot of her cot.... sometime during the night, her candle had gone out, but she was able to see the figure, a great shadow it seemed, darker than the blackness of the un-lit tent itself.

"My lady, I have come for thee, as I said I would, for my love for you is ever true."

Angmar! Her beloved! He had come back for her! Her heart leaped with joy.

"Oh my lord! Are you really here? Or do my eyes cheat me?"

"Nay, my lady, thy eyes do not cheat thee. It is I, Angmar, truly."

Maltriel jumps out of bed, barely containing her urge to run to Angmar and throw herself at him... she approaches him slowly, pent up excitement in every soft footstep, and bows before him. He holds out his arms to her and she rushes into them. What seems like ages of compressing her emotions has taken its toll, and unable to control herself anymore, she breaks down in his strong arms and starts sobbing. He strokes her hair gently, and she feels herself begin to relax at the soft touches of his loving hands.

"There, there, my love. Do not fear."

She looks up at him, tears streaming down her face, tears of frustration, relief, joy and gratitude. "Oh, beloved, thank you."

But then he takes one of his arms from around her slender body, and pulls back the black hood that conceals his face. But his face... no longer does she see the fair, kingly face of her beloved, with his sea-grey eyes and dark hair. There is no visible head nor neck to be seen, yet a silver crown, slightly glowing with a fell light about it, floats suspended in air, and under that evil crown, a pair of two piercing red eyes.

"See, Maltriel, your lord as he is!"

She looks up to him and gasps, closing her eyes and burrowing her head into his cloak.. "My lord, I do not understand!"

He gently lifts up her chin, bending down to kiss her. Then he vanishes into a cloud of mist and vaporizes into the air.

Maltriel wakes up screaming, fearing she had lost him forever.

It was all a dream, it was all a dream.... but she is told that the Nazgul flew by in the night over the camp in Dunharrow, giving many people something called the "Black Shadow." Maltriel doesn't know exactly what it is, only that she feels frightened, depressed, cold, and very, very sick.... not to mention, in the deepest part of her heart, betrayed. She is a loyal subject of mordor, why should she fall ill to the same sickness that plagues her enemies? What if Angmar had caused her this new grief? At least it had just been a scouting mission for the Nazgul, and not an attack.

She lies in bed, going in and out of nightmare and evil dream, vaguely aware of Pippin's presence by her side, and then an incompetent healer pestering them both. Then Bearn came and chased the old man away, which caused Maltriel great relief. Bearn had left the tent in a fey mood, and Maltriel wondered for his safety. She had grown to tolerate the man, since he had shown kindness to her, despite her lashing out at him whenever he said something ill of Angmar.

The bitter watches of the night go by slowly, and she and Pippin are moved to the healers tent. Maltriel slips further and further into a dark pit of despair, and falls ever into deeper dream. Yet in sleep perhaps she can forget it all. Yes, sleep.

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