A Night in Orthanc

by Vison

The die is cast. I cannot call it back. I cannot call it back! Why does this trouble me? I am above such troubles. He is a fool, he is a fool.

My hands do not tremble, I shiver from the cold. I never used to feel the cold, not even up here in the night wind. Even with the wind, the air up here oppresses me. Clouds, flying before the wind like ships on the sea. They are there, over the Sea. Do they still watch me? I am exposed, up here. Too many eyes.

Yes, let him be put up there. Let him see the world he will never have. Let him see my works.

I do not hear him walking up there, it is not the sound of his footstepsit is only the cursed wind. Draw the draperies across the windows. What need have I to see out there? I have it all here, in my head.......

Why could he not see? Why does he wear those blinders? And Galadriel, with her great watchful eyes, as if she could read my soul. Why does it matter? If the noise in my head would cease....it is not his footsteps! It is the hammers, below.

It is covered. He threw the cloth over it. I will not remove the cloth, not just yet....I must think. Stop those infernal hammers! I must think, but it burns there, in the corner of my thought. The Eye.

How dry my mouth is. Bring wine! Nonot wine. It muddles my thoughts. Water, then. Water, with just a little wine stirred in.

Below me, they toil in the torchlight. When I go below they cower, and look away from my face. They fear and obey me. Slaves. Slaves must be driventhey do not work for love! They must work faster, the days are running on, the tide is rising. Taken at the flood, it will lead on to fortune......and they will be swept away, those who thwarted me. Those who put themselves in judgment of me. Curse them, curse them. Let them fall into my hands, and they will see what manner of man I am.

But I am not a Man. Man shape, man voice. But greater, greater. How dare they stand up before me, the fools? Menthey are weak, they lust for power but fear to seize it! I do not fear Power. It is a better drug than the strong red wineit does not muddle my thoughts, it sharpens me, makes my will harder. Makes my arm stronger to bear a weapon.

Where is it now? The ring, the ring, the ring.......I feel the heat of it in my belly, the thought of it quickens my bloodhere is a weapon indeed. I will use it like a knife, and cut through all the world, use it like a club, and beat them all into submission, kneeling and weeping at my feet........and I will close the Eye....it will not see me then......I will stand before the Palantir and see the Eye weep its tearless tears, read the failure of that mighty Will.....the ring will gleam gold, in the dark glass.......

He must be sitting now, leaning his skinny back against one of the Horns. Take him his pipe, and some of that weed. Let him sit and think and smoke, if the rain does not put out the fire. He laughed at me. I know it. Inside that scrawny body, he laughed. Laughter and pity......oh, curse him.....he pities me! I will teach him to pity me, to laugh at me......I am stronger, and I am not afraid to crush him......Why does he pretend to be better than me? Why does he pretend he has not thought of the ring? Are we not the same? Were we not sent here, all of us, to bring Order? Those othersRadagast and Alatar and Pallandowere they here, I would have them in the palm of my handI was always the stronger, always eager to take the lead.........

And he would hang back. Wishing to be first, but pretending to be finer, and purer......hoping to see me stumble and fall, so he could take it all from me..........Even now, I feel his thoughts, racing about in his head like rats in a barrel....noit is my thoughts that race....why cannot I stop them! Around, and around......the wheels are turning and groaning. Dig deeper. Go down into the black earth......down to the heat of those hellish fires.........

Pounding.....pounding......beating. Great heartbeats. Great wings, beating against the glass of the window.........sweeping away into the darkness............

............I must have fallen asleep. I thirst. Bring me wine!

What do you mean he is gone?