Morning, June 6
This was Maltriel's fourth day as a captive of Rohan. For three days, her horse had been led by enemy soldiers as she sat upon her saddle with her hands tied behind her back. The time had been long and miserable, long hours under the blazing sun, which Maltriel had never seen before in all the Sun's golden glory.
After Maltriel's medicine wore completely off, her eyes welled up with tears, the first symptom of her withdrawal-illness. The fires of anger which burned inside her were directed to herself now and not towards her enemies, for she did not want to cry in front of her foes. However, the absence of her medicine and her beloved Lord Angmar greatly weakened her resolve, and as they rode, she cried silently to herself, her head bowed, nausea clenching her stomach in a sickening grasp. She began to despair, for she knew now that indeed their parting that one fateful morning had been their last, and she would never see her beloved again. Not all of her tears were involuntary.
She soon fell weak and ill, her stomach bothering her immensely. A dire sickness was upon her; she felt as though she were dying. She struggled both with her enemies and her illness, often falling silent and refusing to talk, trying to block out their constant discussions of her identity from her mind. sometimes she refused to talk to them at all, and went into fits if they even mentioned the name "Eowyn."
Maltriel had heard horrible tales about the Rohirrim from Angmar and others of Mordor.... that they tortured their captives in brutal, gruesome ways, and then burned them alive. But it almost seemed they were not trying to bring her pain.... Instead, they tormented her in a different way, with constant talk of her identity.... whether she was some unknown thrall of Mordor, or the Lady Eowyn of Rohan. Their talk was strange, and they seemed to expect her to comprehend the things of which they spoke. She became convinced they were trying to confuse her and drive her mad, so that she would reveal what little she knew about the military plans of Mordor.
She knew nothing of Mordor's plans, nor of her own past.... she did know that her name is Maltriel, and she was a lady of the court in Minas Tirith.... a city in Gondor, a country which is a vassal state of Mordor. She knows not the names of her parents, if they are alive or if they are dead. she knows she had an uncle - he was a high ranking official in the Mordor army - and a brother, who was also a soldier - but both were killed by the evil forces of the West. There was a war.... Mordor and the lands of the East had been attacked.... the city of Minas Tirith taken. A man named Merry had tried to poison her.... she had almost died. she had been taken to Lugburz, and Lord Angmar, her betrothed, was also a healer and had restored her health to the best of his abilities. However, she could recall nothing of her past, and she was still weak and sickly, dependent upon her medicine to live. But she feared her illness was too great for the medicine, and she was becoming sick once more, slowly dying and passing from the world. What she did not know was that she was not really dying, just suffering from the withdrawal-illness caused by the absence of her medicine.
Maltirel actually had very little information to tell about the plans of the Army of Mordor, but she feared the Rohirrim would not believe her. She knew that Lord Angmar was the head of the army, and Lord Khamul his second-in-command. She had either been out of her senses or sound asleep for most of army's journey from Mordor, and Angmar told her little about strategy or tactics. This had dismayed her at first, but now she was glad, for if she broke under torture, she would have little to tell.
Finally, after riding three days with her captors through unfamiliar surroundings deep within enemy territory, she arrived in Edoras... where she met the King. a strange man, she thought him mad.... He actually had the audacity to claim that she was his sister. Maltriel began to wonder if all the people of this land were fey.
Maltriel was locked in a room... a lady's room, not a dungeon cell. It is her old room, but she does not know it. Clothing is brought out of storage for her, fancy dresses, often ones white in color. She has not seen light colored clothing before, and picks darker shades, similar to those which she is accustomed the people in this land decorate with many colors of varying shades, not just black and red. They seem to have a fondness for the colors green and white, and are lovers of horses .... though they may be foul, murdering cowards, at least they like horses. in fact, their great hall looks like a barn, only more ornate and brighter than the dark horse stables of Mordor. They also all have hair like hers, long and golden as the rays of the sun. never before has she seen people who looked like her. All of the men of Mordor had dark hair, and varying shades of skin.
Maltriel wonders why these strange people were treating her well. Doubtless they were keeping her alive for some foul purpose. She wishes she were back with the army, back in the arms of her love. almost as precious to her as Angmar is her medicine... It is the only thing that makes the world seem less cold and empty when he cannot be there to assuage her sufferings. she misses her beautiful visions and dreams, the blissful feelings of euphoria. And more and more does her sense of loss grow... she has lost her one true love, Lord Angmar, and shall never see him again. The pain in her heart is intense and she is filled with longing and sadness, and wonders if she does not die by the hands of the Rohirrim or from her illness, she will grieve herself to death.
But it is all too much to think about, and it hurts her head and wearies her body to ponder all that has befallen her. Maltriel is alone, confused and afraid, a noble soldier of Mordor among enemies of dreadful repute. She is weak and feverish, her body wracked with chills and convulsions. She lies on her bed, it is comfortable and soft, and piles the warm covers upon herself. She sleeps long and deeply, overcome with weariness. She wills herself to dream of her beloved and the land of Mordor which she had called Home, and the hope she will somehow escape and be free to fight and love once more.
Night of June 6
Sometime in the night, Maltriel wakes up from out of her slumber. She lies in her bed, looking up at the dark ceiling, and begins to think of the events of the day. the cloud of protective darkness had returned, and a Rider upon a fell beast had wheeled over Edoras. Maltriel had tried to flag the Rider down, in hopes that it was Lord Angmar, and he would rescue her from her captivity.
She tries to fall back asleep, for she knows that she is very ill and needs to rest. However, her mind keeps pulling at straws, trying to make everything make sense. More confusion. It twists and pulls at every corner of Maltriel's mind. she is a captive now, in the hands of her enemies. She had heard horrible things about them ... that they tortured their prisoners in brutal ways, then burned them alive. However, she has found them to be honorable men, who treat her kindly and promise her no ill. They even claim that she is one of their people, enchanted by Mordor ... the sister to King Eomer. She has been told that Lord Angmar, whom she believes to be her beloved, is really the Witch-King of Angmar, a fell spirit known as a Ringwraith, and he had captured her on the Fields of Pelenor and taken her to Mordor. She had defied him, trying to give her uncle, King Thoeden, an honorable death. Merry was not really the man who poisoned her, but a fellow soldier who died saving her life. or so they kept telling her.
But the story she knows is a different one ... her name is Maltriel, and she is from Minas Tirith ... she cannot remember her past, for she suffered long with an illness, and almost died. Angmar is her betrothed, and she misses him horribly. The absence of his presence cuts her like a knife, making each waking moment without him a misery. Her heart aches and she longs to escape ... to run back to him, and have him take her in his arms, kissing her passionately, and telling her she is safe, and nothing will harm her now.
But how could her enemies be kind and courteous to her, and then tell her horrible lies? wouldn't a liar who sought to deceive her also seek to hurt her as well? But she is treated fairly, and looked on with ... pity.
Nothing makes sense anymore.
Maltriel's heart beats more rapid; her breathing quickens. She looks wildly around her room. it seems the walls are closing in about her, the air hot and stifling. She takes a shaky hand and feels her forehead and cheeks... they are burning up. She is reminded of her nightmares, of horrible Fire and suffocating darkness that haunt her dreams. She half-fancies in her panic-stricken delusions that a dark Shadowy shape, darker than the blackness of the room, appears out of thin air and approaches her, a menacing figure of pure dread. It hovers over her, poised to kill ... she does not utter a sound, completely silent in all her sufferings. She squeezes her eyes closed and waits for the stroke of doom, clutching her bed-covers in a death grip, her heart racing. she is suffocating, she cannot catch her breath.... she feels like she has run for hours, run for days, to try to get away from the things that terrify her, things which she cannot explain, things that make no sense... but she is alone, there is no one who can help her... not even her Beloved. And suddenly she is the only person in the world, a big, scary place full of nameless fears and unknown enemies. And she is a small child, helpless against the doom which has befallen her, and totally, utterly and completely alone.
But in the last moment before giving completely into the despair and terror that have descended upon her, she realizes that none of this is real.... that no one is directly threatening her life, and she is in her comfortable cell, a prisoner of the Rohirrim, who is treated kindly ... at least for now. Maltriel throws back her covers and gets up, shaking like a leaf. She silently paces the floor in feather-light steps, trying to will her fears to go away. Her legs feel wobbly, and butterflies fly wildly in her stomach, making her feel sick and nauseated. The room swirls around her and she reaches out and puts a trembling hand upon the wall, steadying herself.
Finally, her breathing and heartbeat relaxes, and a wave of exhaustion hits her. chills now rack her body, and she trembles slightly from cold now, and no longer from fear. She stumbles back to her bed, pulls the covers around herself, and falls asleep again.
Dark are her dreams ... she sees once more the shadowy figure of Lord Angmar... filling her head with lies... a poison to befuddle her mind even more... but she cares not, hanging onto his every word with adoration and awe, for she indeed thinks that she loves him. He says that King Eomer is mad and wishes to kill her in her sleep.... she should kill him first, before he has a chance to strike... Dire warnings does Angmar bring to Maltriel's mind... oh, how she wishes he could come to her and comfort her in the world of the waking, but if not, then in her dreams.... it matters not if she ever wakes up.
Morning of June 7
Maltriel threw back the covers, disgusted with herself. It seemed like all she ever did anymore was lie in her bed all day and night and sleep. she silently cursed her lethargy, calling it laziness, but then logic set in. She was ill, and too weak to do anything for long periods of time. She then silently cursed her physical state, the fact she had been poisoned, her dependency on her delightful medicine, the fact she was a woman, the Rohirrim, the West and just about everything else. Oh, how she wanted to escape from these people who held her captive, and fight against them on the fields of battle, and see her beloved Lord Angmar once more. But she knew that even if she had the chance, her sickness would prevent any hopes of getting far.
It has been five days since she last had her medicine. She was feeling slightly better; the withdrawal-illness having run almost half its course. Still, she was tormented with feelings of despair, anxiety, confusion, as well as tormented with the fear of being tormented. She had heard that Rohirrim tortured their prisoners horribly and then burned them alive; she wished they would just do it and get it over with, and spare her long hours of exhausting anticipation. But they were nice to her, and treated her well... despite herself, she was beginning to trust them a slight amount, and often felt a bit guilty if she insulted them to their faces.
Her room is dark; the large candle on its tall stand, used to provide light throughout the night, has burnt very low. She walks over to the windows, but they are shuddered and boarded closed. Mordor's darkness covers the land like a suffocating blanket, and very little light peeks in. She sighs, remembering her room back in Lugburz, and how she used to look out her window at the fuming ash plains and the great Mountain far in the distance.
The windows of this room, part of a series of chambers built on to the back of the Golden Hall, were once free to open, allowing sweet sunlight to spill in and bless Maltriel, then known as Eowyn, with warmth. At one time, throughout the day the Sun cast Her light in golden pools across the walls and floor. but even then did darkness taint the life of Eowyn, and the warmth of the sun was often forgotten. Even then, her life was spent in bitter winter, tainted by her role as a woman and her helplessness to fight the poisonous words of Grima Wormtongue.
After getting dressed, she walks to her door and calls to the guards outside. "Good day. I have rested long, and feel as well as I can. What tidings of the war?"
THE GUARDS REPLY....
Morning of June 7
"Good day. I have rested long, and feel as well as I can. What tidings of the war?"
There is a moment of hesitation outside Maltriel's door and what seems to be hushed conversation. Then after a while, Feohtan, one of the guards, replies, "Lady, there is not much good about this day, for the distance between Edoras and the Army of Mordor decreases by the day. The sky is still oppressed by the dank cloud that has covered it since yesterday. Hope is not known." With that, there will be silence, no matter how Maltriel might wish her questions answered.
Morning of June 7
"Lady, there is not much good about this day, for the distance between Edoras and the Army of Mordor decreases by the day. The sky is still oppressed by the dank cloud that has covered it since yesterday. Hope is not known."
"Have there been any tidings of Lord Angmar, or reports of Riders upon flying steeds?" asks Maltriel, but no response comes to her. she waits for a few seconds, then asks the question again. the guards outside are now silent, refusing to speak any more to her. "Oh, so that's their game, is it now?" she thinks, anger, hurt and resentment welling up inside her. "Ah, but I will not honor them by playing along, disgracing myself to beg them to tell me some scrap of information, no doubt false!"
She stalks back to her bed, quietly muttering under her breath, "Luku gadhumurz Aanud ob.... burzum nork ul uk!"
But her anger is quickly replaced by joy.... the Army of Mordor will soon be at Edoras! ....but then her joy is replaced by fear... "What shall happen to me? No one will know or care that I am here, in the heat of the battle."
A thousand thoughts run through her head like a herd of wild horses. she tries to recall all that Angmar told her about past wars. what if Mordor lay siege to Edoras? What if the Rohirrim abandoned the city and withdrew to some other location? What would be her fate? would she be caught in a cross-fire, mistaken for one of the Rohirrim by Mordor? Her hair was golden like theirs, and she looked like one of their women. By Melkor, she even dressed like one of them now! Edoras faced the possibility of being captured; if so, chances are it would burn. The Rohirrim would probably abandon her to burn with it, trapped in her room with no escape.
Maltriel also might be dragged off to some strange place if the Rohirrim should withdraw and abandon Edoras and not leave her to die in the fires. She would be taken further and further from her beloved Angmar to lands unknown to her. And what then? Would she be tortured and killed then, or made a slave to some noble of the West?
She must escape.
Maltriel looks wildly about her room. The faint light of the candle reflects off the fine white linen sheets upon her bed. her eyes drift up to the guilded rafters above her head. Why had she not thought of this before? She curses herself silently for lying in sloth, succumbing to her illness. if she could manage to weight down one end of the sheet and throw it over one of the rafters, she could jump off the bed and all would be over................ the Rohirrim would find her lifeless body swinging from their fancy ceiling. Ah, but no, she must escape, and live to fight for Mordor, and be reunited once again with Lord Angmar.
Maltriel briskly walks over to her windows, closely surveying the boards that are nailed over the shutters. she places her hands upon the top board, gripping it tightly. She then takes one foot and places it upon the wall below the window, then the other. Pulling with her hands and pushing with her feet, she uses all of her strength to try to loosen the board. It gives slightly, and a flicker of joy hits her. Oh, if it were possible....! She looks to the night candle on its tall, metal post.... she might be able to use the post to pry the boards away. It looked sturdy enough.
But now was not the time. Someone would be coming in at any time to bring her food and to look about her health. This must be done at night, when all in the Hall were asleep. She walks back to her bed and sits down, her mind reeling with both hopes and fears. She pants softly, out of breath from the sudden physical exertion, and puts her hand to her head, for it seems the room sways slightly from side to side.
Maltriel must escape from her cage, lest the bars of it close in about her and crush her, causing her to die an inglorious death, and her decision to fight as a soldier to be in vain.
Maybe she would not be so helpless anymore. Maybe.
She waits for what will happen next, whether it be for good or for ill.
"Foul sons of the West, darkness take them all."
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