The Shieldmaiden's Doom
May 3, 3019

Khamul: *The date is May 3, 3019, and the sun shines brightly in other parts of Middle Earth. However in Minas Tirith, the shadowy smoke of Mt. Doom obscures its light*
Khamul: *The huge field tent of Khamul sits near the edge of the city's walls in the shelter of some trees*
Khamul: *He and Madurz sit at a field table inside of the tent. Khamul has just sent an orc to summon Ashgaz from his little tent*
Khamul: Madurz, it was a bad day yesterday
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz is afraid that Angmar has changed his mind about lifting the sentence at first*
Madurz: *she looks to him from across the table and slides her hand to his...grasping it*
Ashgaz: *but he is relieved when the orc tells him he is only summoned to attend Khamul*
Madurz: care to tell me about it?
Ashgaz: *On the way to Khamul's tent he asks the orc* Can you tell me--where is Sam? And how is he? Do you know?
Khamul: Angmar was very angry at Ashgaz, and that stupid little thing from that accursed little place called the Shire
Ashgaz: *The orc does not dignify him with a response*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz' anger gets the better of him* Snaga, I said where is Sam?
Khamul: Madurz, once again I had to entreat for my servant
Madurz: *Khamul had told her briefly what Ashgaz and the other hobbit had done and it weighed heavy on her heart..she was relieved and surprised that Angmar had given in to a second chance*
Ashgaz: *The orc has been warned that Ashgaz would try this and turns to him with a look of scorn* I don't know, and I shouldn't have to remind you that you are now lower than the lowest orc
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz sucks in his breath and bites his lip. He goes with the orc in silence*
Khamul: My lady, I pled for him because he saved me from the destruction of my body, though he has been worthless and insubordinant
Khamul: I need to talk with him today. I need to bring him a message from Angmar, for Angmar is still very angry and might do more against him. And Ashgaz needs to bring us wine
Madurz: *squeezes his hand* i know love...he has displeased me as well...but he allowed you to be with me by saving you...yet i am troubled
Khamul: Dear Madurz, they both should have gone to Lugburz. I am troubled about both of them as you are
Ashgaz: *The orc opens the tent flap and shoves Ashgaz inside. Ashgaz loses his balance and falls in a heap*
Khamul: I think they will plan evil in their hearts
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz gets up unsteadily*
Khamul: *turns his head in the direction of Ashgaz*
Ashgaz: *He is still fearful and dazed from the trial*
Khamul: Bow to me!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz does so*
Madurz: *she looks sadly in Ashgaz's direction*
Khamul: Ashgaz, if it were not for what you had done for me, I would have gladly agreed with Angmar and seen you sent to Lugburz... forever
Madurz: *thinks of her farwell with him and how endearing it this*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz tenses. This is worse than Angmar's punishment*
Khamul: Ashgaz, you have one last opportunity to prove yourself loyal, and then you know what would be your fate if you fail
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz looks up, his eyes filling*
Khamul: You have been warned.
Khamul: Now bring us wine
Khamul: My lady, what would you like to drink?
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz gets up and wipes his eyes trying to keep from crying at Khamul's rejection*
Khamul: Perhaps wine from the spoils of Minas Tirith?
Madurz: *her eyes move from Ash to Khamul* my usual
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz nods and gets the wine as quickly as he can*
Madurz: *she nods more upset than caring about the wine*
Khamul: As you wish, my lady
Madurz: *she really thought Ashgaz would prove loyalty this time*
Ashgaz: *Khamul's glowing green wine and Madurz' ordinary wine of the best quality*
Ashgaz: *He pours goblets for them*
Khamul: At least your treachery has not driven out your ability to select the drinks we like
Khamul: *Khamul takes his goblet* My lady, a toast
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz nods, barely managing a half smile at Khamul*
Khamul: A toast to our triumphs!
Ashgaz: *Then he retreats into a shadowy corner*
Khamul: A toast to our next triumph!
Khamul: Rohan!
Khamul: *he sips his wine*
Madurz: yes*smiles and raises glass*
Ashgaz: *The dilemma of Eowyn's fate returns to him all at once and he twists a fold of his robe furiously*
Madurz: *drinks down a big sip*
Khamul: Ashgaz, you will stay in attendance here and you will listen to what I say
Ashgaz: Yes sir *returns to the table*
Khamul: Sit if you will
Ashgaz: Thank you sir
Khamul: You can hear better this way
Khamul: *sips more out of the glass*
Ashgaz: *He sits down heavily with an aggrieved sigh*
Khamul: Angmar bids me give you this message
Ashgaz: *His eyes widen and holds his breath*
Khamul: In three days, the army moves on the Great West Road to Rohan. Angmar will stay here and command the armies in the South. I take the ones to the North
Khamul: Madurz will accompany me. Will you like that, my lady?
Madurz: *she smiles relieved to hear that*
Madurz: yes my love
Khamul: *finishes his glass of wine. holds it up and says* More
Ashgaz: *pours him another glass*
Khamul: My love, I do not want to leave you here
Ashgaz: *sits back down*
Madurz: i wouldnt have it any other way
Madurz: if i could help it that is
Khamul: Things shall happen
Madurz: *she barely looks in Ash's direction*
Khamul: Storms from the East will bring plagues to Southern Gondor
Khamul: *Drinks from his glass*
Khamul: Under no circumstances do I want you here when the plagues hit the South
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz notices that Madurz too has turned against him. He squeezes his eyes shut fighting back tears and grips the edges of his chair*
Khamul: For they should go South, but in case..... You will be far from them. The Army will be to the North. The orcs left behind are not prey to these diseases
Khamul: Now, Ashgaz, your part.....
Ashgaz: *looks back up at Khamul*
Khamul: is to accompany Maltriel and be sure she takes her medicine
Madurz: *looks to Ash with hurt eyes and head tilted*
Khamul: *sips some more wine*
Ashgaz: *closes his eyes in despair*
Khamul: But Ashgaz, whether you fail or not, it does not matter
Khamul: *he throws back his head and laughs*
Ashgaz: *Looks at Khamul with confused horror*
Khamul: For whether you fail or succeed, it will not change the outcome
Khamul: This is just to give you an opportunity to do something right for a change
Ashgaz: *in a soft, strained voice* Then she will die, my lord?
Khamul: She should
Madurz: *her expression a bit confused*
Khamul: It is enough to be in your company, is it not!
Khamul: Madurz, my lady, I sense confusion
Madurz: *nods* i am
Ashgaz: Enough to kill her? *understands the cruel joke and tries to humor him* Maybe so
Khamul: It would be easy just to kill Maltriel... but that would not make her account paid in full
Khamul: She must suffer. She must see her madness displayed to her people. She can babble her senseless gibberish
Khamul: Ashgaz, do you understand now?
Madurz: *hears the name and her her eyebrows instantly lift and her hair stands on edge*
Ashgaz: But you could put her in the dungeon like Frodo, and that way I wouldn't have to do it...*stops himself*
Ashgaz: I don't know if I can succeed with this
Khamul: There will be men along. They will watch you
Khamul: You are not to harm them
Ashgaz: *trembles*
Khamul: Just see she takes her medicine every night. She will ask you for it
Khamul: *he laughs again*
Ashgaz: *runs his hands over his face*
Khamul: It is a wine that will be mixed with certain potions.... along with flowers from the East....
Madurz: *she likes the idea of her being humiliated and smiles...she wishes more for her death..and even moreso by her hand*
Madurz: *looks to Ash with wonder if he will do this duty*
Ashgaz: *nods, his eyes squeezed shut again, his brow contracted, his hands over his mouth*
Khamul: It is a tincture made of the dried juice of unripe poppy seed pods mixed with wine and other potions
Khamul: Ashgaz, this is what she has been given all along
Madurz: *but she likes it better when this woman shows her anger for it boils her own blood*
Khamul: Now do you understand?
Ashgaz: *takes a shuddering breath, lowers his hands and opens his eyes*
Ashgaz: I understand, my lord
Khamul: She begs for it now
Ashgaz: *nods*
Khamul: But you have only enough for a few days, and then no more
Khamul: She will be left in Rohan and you will watch her and all that happens and report back to me
Ashgaz: *Horror fills him*
Khamul: My lady, do you like this plan?
Madurz: *her thoughts linger a bit and a wicked smile etched on her face* yes
Ashgaz: *How can he do this to her?*
Ashgaz: *He is torn between Eowyn and Khamul*
Khamul: Ashgaz, she will cry to you for it, but you will have none after a few days
Ashgaz: *and there is also Frodo who will suffer*
Ashgaz: *nods again*
Madurz: *wishes she could see an expression on ash's eyes for it might confirm what she now felt in her heart*
Ashgaz: *She hears Ashgaz' elbow hit the table and a faint sob*
Khamul: *finishes his wine* More!
Madurz: *drinks down the rest of her wine*
Khamul: Ashgaz, that is all. You know what you will do. I will tell you more of the plan later
Ashgaz: *With another repressed sob he goes for the wine again and pours another goblet*
Khamul: Now today, my lady and I will take our ease here
Ashgaz: *and another for the lady*
Ashgaz: *Thinks that no, he does not know what he will do*
Khamul: For soon enough we will leave this place
Khamul: *Khamul sips his wine*
Ashgaz: *bows and exits the tent*
Khamul: *looks to Madurz*
Madurz: *she watches him and smiles*
Khamul: *Wonders why Ashgaz left without being dismissed*
Khamul: *Commands Ashgaz to come back*
Ashgaz: *returns*
Khamul: Never do I dismiss my wine bearer when there is more wine to be poured
Khamul: My lady, would you care for more?
Ashgaz: *nods...he was ready to fall on his bed and curl into a ball, then look everywhere for Sam*
Madurz: no this is fine my love
Ashgaz: *But he resumes his position by the table*
Madurz: i am pleased with the plans my love
Khamul: My dear love, though we will not be there to see it, Ashgaz will tell us all that happens
Ashgaz: *nods*
Madurz: i fidn that a pity
Ashgaz: *though his heart races*
Madurz: for i would relish in her humiliation
Khamul: No, my lady, it would be too dangerous for you
Madurz: *sighs*
Khamul: Ashgaz, I will tell you a bit more
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz thinks: I won't relish it! I wish I had never come here*
Ashgaz: *Looks at Khamul*
Khamul: When we get to Rohan in about two weeks, the poor silly fool will want to fight. For Mordor she will say
Khamul: So she and a company of my own trusted men will set out on a "scout" in the advance of the army
Khamul: When she gets far enough ahead and connects with the Rohirrim, the men will fall back and leave her
Ashgaz: *chews his lower lip*
Khamul: You will stay, Ashgaz
Ashgaz: *His shoulders slump*
Khamul: But you must keep up with them. Steal a horse if you have to, for you will be riding at first with her
Khamul: Make that a pony, Ashgaz
Ashgaz: *Thinks: Could this possibly get any worse?*
Khamul: Or walk and trail them
Khamul: But at that point, it won't really matter
Madurz: *looks to Ash knwoing this is a lot of responsibility and wonders if he can do it*
Khamul: They will probably kill her right then
Khamul: But let us hope that she will open her foolish mouth first
Ashgaz: *sways on the chair feeling dizzy*
Ashgaz: *grips the edge of the table*
Khamul: And then when they look at her dead body and know who she is....
Khamul: They will know where she has been
Khamul: And thus will be the fate of the White Lady of Rohan
Khamul: Totally mad, disgraced.... they will not give her a burial mound *he throws his head back and laughs wildly*
Madurz: *smiles thinking of her dead body..lifeless eyes in her pretty head*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz can find no words to say, appalled at the cruelty he is commanded to join*
Khamul: That is all of the plan tonight *He finishes his wine*
Madurz: *drinks down her wine as well*
Ashgaz: *Curses against all of Mordor fill his mind...he fights to beat them back*
Ashgaz: *gets up hastily* May I go now, my lord?
Khamul: *He thinks.... Thank Melkor we did not plunge the Morgul blade through Eowyn's heart*
Khamul: Ashgaz, I am done with you for the night. But bow to me
Ashgaz: *feels he cannot take any more of this*
Ashgaz: *bows again*
Ashgaz: *waits to be dismissed this time*
Khamul: Ashgaz, you may go, and remember what I told you
Ashgaz: Yes sir
Madurz: *wishes Ash would just try to embrace this existence*
Ashgaz: *He runs back to his little tent*
Madurz: *she sighs heavily as he leaves*
Khamul: *he rises from his seat and walks to Madurz' chair*
Ashgaz: *He shreds one of the pillows into tiny pieces*
Khamul: *He puts his hands on her shoulders*
Ashgaz: *He stands there panting*
Madurz: *she tilts her head back and smiles*
Ashgaz: *then he curls up on the bed and buries his face in the other pillow*
Madurz: your touch comforts me
Khamul: *He bends her head over and kisses her on the neck*
Madurz: you take away all my uneasiness
Khamul: *he takes his hands from her shoulders and strokes her head and kisses her neck again*
Madurz: *her eyes slip shut* i could never be without you ever again
Ashgaz: *Shifts through all the confusion of his mind trying to find a connection with Sam*
Khamul: *he steps back*
Ashgaz: *He sends a silent message: Sam! Sam are you there?*
Khamul: My lady, rise and face me
Madurz: *tries not to think of Ash's unloyal ways or the foul woman*
Bughrakh: *sam is under angmars chair, feeling wretched... he hears peters voice in his head*
Madurz: *she stands and slowly turns on her heels and faces him*
Khamul: *He slips his arms around her waist*
Khamul: Kiss your lord
Madurz: *she draws her body close to him*
Bughrakh: *mr. peter? but how is it i can hear your voice in my head?*
Madurz: *brushes her lips over his face and over his lips*
Khamul: My lady, always business when I would rather.... *his voice trails off*
Khamul: *he tightens his grasp around her waist*
Madurz: *brings her mouth fully on his and holds him tightly*
Bughrakh: *this is mighty unnatural sir... hearing voices in your head*
Ashgaz: *Peter's voice sounds desperate and choked with tears in Sam's head* Because they have caught us and we are part of them now
Khamul: *his lips meet hers and he kisses her eagerly*
Madurz: you will never be out of my grasp again love
Ashgaz: *Oh Sam, they're making me send Eowyn to her death! They will have spies watching me all the time!*
Bughrakh: *oh mr. peter, i know... its horrible, aint it? i feel so lonely and wretched....*
Bughrakh: *i am surprised that angmar does not put a collar and leash on me like a dog*
Ashgaz: *And we will go to Lugburz if I don't do it*
Khamul: My dearest love, I never want to be out of your grasp
Ashgaz: *and I'm sure they will torture Frodo too*
Bughrakh: *oh mr. peter thats horrible!*
Ashgaz: *He dissolves in tears in his tent, but Sam can hear it too*
Madurz: touch my face and tell me i have nothing to fear
Ashgaz: *What am I going to do?*
Bughrakh: *sam worries for peter and frodo*
Khamul: *he touches her face*
Khamul: My lady, there is nothing to fear
Bughrakh: *oh mr. peter we are in a fix and no mistake. i wish there was someway out of this fate we've wandered into*
Ashgaz: *I don't know what to do! No matter what I do, someone will be doomed!*
Khamul: *He strokes her face and looks into her eyes*
Madurz: i dont want to think of Ashgaz or the woman right now my love
Ashgaz: *It's either Eowyn or you and me and Frodo*
Madurz: they weigh on my mind
Khamul: Madurz, think not of them. Neither are worth it
Ashgaz: *What would you do if you were me? What do you think I should do?*
Bughrakh: *i hate mordor, mr. peter... they seek to destroy everything that is good in the world*
Madurz: you comfort me so
Madurz: i could not imagine if i lost you
Bughrakh: *i dont rightly know mr. peter ....*
Madurz: *burries her face between his nec and shulder*
Khamul: I would comfort you more if I could
Bughrakh: *they can cause us to have horrible visions and they can even control our bodies! oh this is terrible*
Madurz: *kisses his neck*
Khamul: My lady, I love you....... as much..... as I can
Ashgaz: *I had forgotten that they can control our bodies!*
Ashgaz: *I wish you were here, Sam*
Bughrakh: *i wish i was too mr. peter.... i wish we were all back in the shire*
Madurz: i know love..i know
Ashgaz: *Yes, I wish that even more*
Bughrakh: *i cant move out from under this accursed seat!*
Ashgaz: *That's awful*
Ashgaz: *I'm sorry*
Khamul: Madurz, I do not trust Ashgaz
Ashgaz: *I wish I could get you out and bring you here to my tent and we could talk about all this*
Madurz: neither do i
Madurz: he refuses to give in
Bughrakh: *dont try it mr. peter, angmar would be fit to be tied*
Khamul: I do not care if he ever comes back
Ashgaz: *sighs* I know*
Khamul: For he has proved a traitor and I will never trust him
Khamul: But perhaps he will surprise me and do well
Ashgaz: *Sam it's not only that...*
Madurz: it pains me but i must fear for our cause first
Ashgaz: *Not only the problem of Eowyn's fate and ours and Frodo's*
Bughrakh: *i suppose we rightly shouldnt have a hope yet*
Ashgaz: *But my master Khamul has turned against me, and the Lady Madurz*
Madurz: i feel he will help the enemy before us
Ashgaz: *They hate me now*
Khamul: What can Ashgaz do without us? Men will hate him
Ashgaz: *and though I shouldn't feel any loyalty to them I can't help it*
Ashgaz: *They were kind to me once*
Ashgaz: *They were the only good thing I had here*
Ashgaz: *until you came*
Bughrakh: *i suppose you are between a rock and a hard place, sir, if you will pardon the expression*
Ashgaz: *Exactly*
Khamul: Madurz, Men will try to kill him
Madurz: *lowers her head*
Ashgaz: *If only I hadn't let myself get attached to them!*
Khamul: And perhaps, knowing Angmar, that is just what he wants
Madurz: it didnt have to be this way
Khamul: No, he did not have to free those captives
Madurz: but he doesnt realize that his actions could hinder you or me
Ashgaz: *Now I can't stand their's like losing a family member, almost...*
Bughrakh: *i am sorry, mr. peter, sir*
Ashgaz: *He was as a father to me, for a little while*
Ashgaz: *Thank you Sam*
Madurz: he shuld know that if Neithan could he would slit my throat
Khamul: No man will believe anything Ashgaz says. They will think him a very strange Black Rider, but htey will know him for what he is
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz feels better having unburdened himself to Sam*
Bughrakh: *sam thinks it is odd that a hobbit would feel loyalty to the forces of mordor... but stranger things perhaps have happened*
Ashgaz: *He waits for Sam's next words and rests exhausted on his bed*
Khamul: Aye, my lady, Neithan would kill you if he could
Madurz: yes and this is who he releases
Madurz: he is drawn to good" at any cost
Bughrakh: *but maybe we will get to do something, sir, before the end, something good, and not something for these foul devils we now work for*
Khamul: Good? Ha!
Khamul: There is nothing Ashgaz can do. The woman Eowyn is doomed
Madurz: she better be
Khamul: She is
Ashgaz: *Oh I hope so, Sam!*
Ashgaz: *But I don't know what I can do now*
Khamul: Do not be concerned... The thing is as good as done
Ashgaz: *There is so much driving this woman Eowyn to her doom*
Madurz: *hopes he is right*
Khamul: While I do not trust Ashgaz, I trust the men who will be with him
Ashgaz: *and even if I save her I will destroy you and Frodo*
Madurz: i should never like to see her get away without death or torment
Ashgaz: *I saw a man whipped once...I just can't get the image of that happening to Frodo out of my mind!*
Bughrakh: *i hope she somehow finds a way to escape the punishment upon her, sir*
Ashgaz: *I am almost afraid to say it but so do I*
Ashgaz: *I had forgotten they can spy on our thoughts too!*
Khamul: My lady, the woman Eowyn stood before the Lidless Eye. She told all she knew
Ashgaz: *I hate this place! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!*
Madurz: *nods* good
Bughrakh: *i hope mr. frodo is all right....... they could be beating him in the dungeon as we speak... he feels sad*
Khamul: My dear love, Sauron learned from Melkor
Khamul: And it was always Melkor's practice to turn loose captives after he was through with them
Ashgaz: *I hope not, Sam*
Khamul: It was part of their punishment to be turned loose, for Melkor knew that when they returned to their homes, no one would ever believe them or trust them again
Madurz: i know...its personal with me though
Madurz: though i always trust decisions made and dont question them
Bughrakh: *i hate mordor just as much as you do mr. peter... but it seems there aint nothing we can do about it*
Ashgaz: *Peter is too upset to comfort Sam right now...he is seeking reassurance from him instead*
Khamul: My lady, you must trust the decision
Ashgaz: *wails into the pillow*
Madurz: always i do
Khamul: We must rely upon Sauron's judgment
Madurz: *smiles* but the thought her her blood my love
Madurz: you understand
Ashgaz: *It is such a hard place that we're in...what can we do now that we're here?*
Bughrakh: *i wish we werent here, mr. peter.... but we are*
Ashgaz: *I always feared this day, when I would be forced to kill someone, or hurt them, or send them to their death*
Khamul: My lady, she is worthless and will do more help to us disgracing her people and demoralizing them
Madurz: *nods*
Bughrakh: *i hope it never comes to that .... i hope there is some way out*
Ashgaz: *and now here it is and the fates of three innocent ones hang on my actions and I can't even decide what to do!*
Khamul: If she lives, her people will think she is a thrall to Mordor
Ashgaz: *throws a cup across the tent violently*
Khamul: But my lady, if Angmar does not get her brother Eomer's head, I will
Madurz: *smiles*
Bughrakh: *tries desparately to think of something comforting to say to peter*
Ashgaz: *I know we are...evil spirits now...but I wonder if anyone *he cannot bring himself to name the Valar or Elbereth* still sees us or thinks of us*
Ashgaz: *If there is anyone who can help us anymore*
Bughrakh: *sam senses his thoughts..... perhaps there is mr. peter... perhaps there is...*
Bughrakh: *wishes he could move his legs... but he cant*
Bughrakh: *i wish we could sing her song right now.... id bet you anything she could hear us*
Ashgaz: *So do I*
Ashgaz: *But I'm behind Khamul's tent anyway*
Ashgaz: *He would hear*
Bughrakh: *i wish i could move... but they cant do anything to stop me from thinking, sir, at least not yet*
Ashgaz: *Yes, I'm glad we at least still have our thoughts*
Bughrakh: *we are in quite a story, mr. peter, if you take my meaning.... but i do not know what kind of an ending it will have. i sure hope it is good, somehow someway*
Ashgaz: *So do I*
Ashgaz: *sings haltingly in his head* In western lands beneath the sun
Bughrakh: *this is like one of the great stories mr. peter.... full of darkness and danger, they were*
Ashgaz: *...breaks off*
Bughrakh: *and when you were hearing these stories, sometimes you didnt want to know the end. because how could the end be happy?*
Bughrakh: *how could the world go back to being the way it was when so much bad had happened? but in the end, it was only a passing thing, this shadow*
Bughrakh: *surely the darkness will pass someday mr. peter*
Ashgaz: *I hope so*
Khamul: *Since getting his Ring back, Khamul can sense the thoughts of both the wraithlings when they are near*
Ashgaz: *Though here at journey's end I lie in darkness buried deep...*
Khamul: *And always Sauron can sense the Nazgul's thoughts*
Ashgaz: *Beyond all...what was the rest of that line?*
Bughrakh: *towers tall and strong, i think, mr. peter*
Ashgaz: *beyond all mountains steep*
Khamul: *Khamul hates them both*
Khamul: *But is willing to give Ashgaz one last chance*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz feels a wave of hatred from Khamul...he breaks off, unable to continue*
Khamul: *Now it is as it was at the beginning... Khamul hates and resents Ashgaz, and does not trust him*
Ashgaz: *resumes the song with difficulty... Above all shadows rides the sun and stars forever dwell*
Ashgaz: *I will not say the day is done, nor bid the stars farewell*
Bughrakh: *sam feels encouraged hearing peter receite the words of the song he sung himself when he looked for mr. frodo in the tower of cirith ungol*
Ashgaz: *Peter has sung himself to sleep*
Bughrakh: *the words of the elvish song comes to sams mind and he thinks it in his secret thought....hoping no one will notice*
Bughrakh: *we still remember we who dwell in this far land beneath the trees thy starlight on the western seas.... and with that he too falls asleep like peter*

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