Child of Mordor - Three
Neoresh tipped her head back into her steaming bath. Isengard was a far more civilized place than Barad Dur, but she was uneasy here. There were too many trees and too much sunlight for her to feel comfortable. Not enough fire and darkness. Even silence here seemed peaceful. But that was well, as she was here to be alert and to watch that weak-minded Saruman. He had not fallen to the One ring, but to a greater power. Saruman had succumbed to Sauron, and now he and his daughter would use him as a puppet until they no longer needed him. But until then, he had to be watched. She had been accompanied by more Orcs than you could count, as a gift from the Sauron to Saruman. A few of them had killed each other on the way, but Neoresh didn't really care. They were just Orcs.
Neoresh had never really had a governess, and she refused to let any Orc come near her, so she always looked after herself and never before had it bothered her. But here, in this sunny place, where she did not know her way, she would often smash something in frustration. At this moment, she needed a towel to dry herself with and she did not know where they were kept. So she stared hard at a fine mirror that hung on the wall and then screamed a harsh word in her native tongue, Black Speech.
The mirror shattered without a sound.
Neoresh smiled and climbed out of her bath, then crawled on her hands and knees, looking for the cabinet where towels were kept. All her anger was released now, and she was quite calm. She found the towels in moments and began to dry herself. She smiled when she thought of the expression that would be on the face of that pompous wizard when he saw the broken mirror. It was the fourth thing she had destroyed in two days.
When she was dry, she put on one of the black dresses she had brought with her. She always wore black, but it was too light here for her to hide herself in the shadows. She could only creep about at night. Her gown was long, with long sleeves that hid her pale hands and arms. She let her hair loose and affixed a sheer black veil to cover her white face. She often wondered in her plentiful empty time where she had gotten such pale skin and such dark hair and eyes. She never felt normal in the Dark Tower with her skin seeming fluorescent so she veiled herself almost all the time. But her father hated it when she did, so she never wore her veils to see him. She still had scars from the only she had worn her veil.
Saruman was in his chamber, standing in front of the Palantir. That gift had not been a token one to buy his favor, but a true means of communication. But Saruman turned out not have needed either. He was already Sauron's slave.
Neoresh stepped into the silent chamber. The wizard was just sitting there, staring at the blue-black cloth that covered the seeing stone. The veins in his face stood out like tree roots and tears ran down his cheeks. Neoresh knew he had once again tried to experiment with the Palantir. She sighed softly in disgust, not wanting to break him from his stupor yet. He was a fool to think he could harness the power of the seeing stone, and yet he insisted on doing so every day.
Neoresh stepped soundlessly into the room. She walked straight up to the pedestal in the center of the room, and yanked the cloth off. A burst of flame that flashed for only an instant before her eyes shocked the wizard out of his chair. He had noticed her, and Neoresh smiled. She was not one for demure entrances.
"Milady," he said humbly. "You could have identified yourself earlier. I was not involved in anything important."
Neoresh winced, disgusted at his servile tone of voice. In a man who wielded such power in the regular world, that was not an admirable trait. "I noticed that, my lord wizard. That is why I interrupted the way I did."
Neoresh was sure that had Saruman been an ordinary mortal, he would have blushed at her icy tone of voice and her harsh words. But as he was a wizard, he just nodded.
"Is there anything you need, my lady?" he asked humbly.
Neoresh turned her back on such obvious groveling. He was indeed weak-minded. Father, she thought. You made an excellent choice.
Legolas rode straight past the gates of Rivendell, not even waiting to identify himself to the Elf at the front. He wanted so badly to see the last homely house. For he had never looked upon the unending beauty of Rivendell, and had longed to so for many centuries.
He posted gently on his faithful mount into the courtyard where autumn leaves fell in a shower of reds and golds and greens and browns upon his pale hair and velvet-clad shoulders. The fine velvet cloak had been a parting gift from some relative, and Legolas found quite handsome, even if it was useless for anything but show. But now he raised up his head and swung off his horse, dazed by the beauty of Rivendell.
Then he glanced up at a well-carved balcony where he heard soft cooing sounds. Upon it were three lovely Elven ladies, all fair haired and beautiful, and they were giggling and looking at him. For a moment, Legolas was pleased at such adoration from strangers, and then suddenly, there was another girl next to them.
It was her. Neoresh.
She flashed in all her radiant darkness for just an instant, and then she was gone. But Legolas had felt her there as surely as if she was on that very balcony. Unconsciously, he shivered and turned away from the giggling girls.
Neoresh stared into the Palantir. The seeing stone glowed at her very presence, sensing the dark power that was in her. She took a petty delight in watching Saruman struggle with it. But she never revealed to him that she could use the great thing as easily as she could breathe. That would put her at a disadvantage. So every night she crept up to his chamber veiled all in black and looked across the land until daybreak.
First, she saw the land of Lothlorien. It took all her effort to reach for this magically protected land. In fact, no one but she could see it, since it was so heavily guarded by that witch's spells. Galadriel was powerful, but she was really sentimental filth. And her mirror was useless compared to the power of the Palantir.
Nothing was happening there. It made Neoresh uneasy to see so many pale, beautiful people. It seemed fake, a pretense almost. She took herself away quickly.
Next to Minas Tirith. Men were fools, all of Middle-earth knew that, but it was important for them to be checked on every now and then. Still, all she found was an old man reading in a library. There was something odd about him, but Neoresh really didn't care. The vision had the taste of being in the past.
Next to Edoras. Grima, King Theoden's advisor was as weak as Saruman, just less proud, and would make a good tool in Rohan should he be needed. But now, she would not meddle.
As Neoresh was leaving there, she found a maiden in the courtyard. The woman was young, but she looked world-weary, if not truly troubled. Neoresh sensed that her name was Eowyn, and that she was Theoden's sister-daughter, but Neoresh did not really care. Very little in the mortal world interested her.
She decided not to look in on Moria. Gollum was in there, since those clumsy Mirkwood Elves let him escape in August. But he was probably still there and doing nothing, as he was when she had checked the night before. So it was on to Rivendell.
Rivendell was a surprise. She found all races of Middle-Earth gathering there in a great body. She saw dwarves, and men and Elves. Never before had Neoresh seen with her own eyes such a strange host. It was not an army, nor a celebration.
It was a council, and that filthy Elf Elrond had called it. She knew it in her bones.
But then her eyes were caught by something quite new to her. A young Elf, tall and pale, a male who she sensed was called Legolas. He was...how could she say it? His glance made her feel soft around the edges and made her feel safe. She was calm and almost happy.
Then she saw his eyes, which before had been directed towards a balcony, open wide in terror. She looked through his eyes and saw herself on the balcony with three other Elf girls.
She jerked back with a muffled yell. There was blood pouring out of her nose, and her face was white as a sheet. She had let her guard down, and had almost transported. It was a skill she had never revealed to anyone except her father, but she could transport through the Palantir. It was incredibly painful of course, and often made her exhausted for days, but she could do it.
And yet, it had never happened without her willing it. Yet here she was, slipping through time and space just she saw a handsome Elf. And even worse, he saw her. But he would probably dismiss it as a mirage. So she was safe for now, but it must never happen again.