Disgrace - Chapter 17

End of Chapter 16

Khelekiâ was seated on his horse in the front row of his army. They had lined up silently and now they waited for his orders. He was about to order them to prepare to charge. They had to get up to the doors with the battering ram made up of one huge tree trunk. But before he said one single word, the doors opened.

A golden haired figure, clad in a golden and white dress, straight-backed, walked straight towards them. The elf maid had no sword and no armed retinue around her. The Mirkwood elves stood orderly in the entrance of their fortress, silent and fearful.

Chapter 17

The tree-less area in front of the palace fortress was silent. The blackness of the Moriquendi hid the actual fringe of the forest and the Mirkwood elves had aligned themselves in front of the doors.

Brunwen walked to the midpoint between the fortress and the black army. She stood there still and then Morgoth knew that he had to fight her if he wanted to even approach the fortress. He swung off his horse in one fluid movement and handed the reins over to his standard-bearer at his right. He then ordered his army to hold their position until he ordered them to.

He walked towards the elf princess silently, his eyes locked on hers. She stood her ground, having only a mind to fear. Indeed he paused and removed his sword from its scabbard. He drove it into the ground.

Brunwen watched and then, in a clear voice, spoke.

"- Morgoth Khelekiâ, I challenge you! I challenge you to the death.
- I will answer the challenge. Let the one who lives take the sword of the Moriquendi and the
crown that is bound with it. "

Morgoth's words were powerful and a murmur ran through the ranks of the Moriquendi. They had to obey his words and should he die, they would have to have a new and potentially hostile ruler. However, Khelekiâ's reason for this was the preservation of the Moriquendi. If he no longer lived, the Moriquendi would be powerless and he had no wish for a massacre, not of his own people. Brunwen understood this and also knew that somewhere in Khelekiâ there was some small fragment of humanity and care for his own. She nodded and answered him.

"Let the one who lives take the sword of the Moriquendi and the crown of that realm."

With those words, she waited. Morgoth walked nearer so that they stood but a few steps apart. She smiled coldly at her deadly foe. Almost effortlessly this time, she threw up a shield behind her, blocking the Mirkwood elves, thereby preventing any rescue. Khelekiâ smiled cynically and threw up his own shield to stop his own troops. This meant that they were both on their own and this also meant that the army of which ever one died would be freed to attack the survivor if they wished.

The shields were invisible but tangible. They both pushed the maintenance of the shield to one side of their minds and circled slowly. They were both in a high state of alertness and every move the other made was quickly noted, analysed and stored.

Brunwen stopped and raised her right arm slowly. A strange ray of silver-green light coursed from her palm and flowed rapidly at Khelekiâ. He raised his arms and raised briefly a shield around himself that shimmered black when the light energy hit it. This pattern repeated itself several times alternating the attacker. This, though, was only testing each of their defences. The real battle was in the mind and it had not yet started.

Then Khelekiâ raised both hands and sent his mind energy towards the princess. She let the energy pass through into her mind. Then as the black energy surrounded her, she sent her own energy straight at him. He became encircled in her green energy. The two energies suddenly became a maelstrom of colours and wind.

Their minds now were in a direct conflict. Khelekiâ was first to mind speak. His cold voice slowly spoke into Brunwen's mind.

- Brunwen... I've often wished to see your mind.
- I have never wished to see yours. You are heartless.
- I have a heart. It has been torn though by your father.
- You provoked your own exile. Your worship of Morgoth exiled you. You should know that Eru is the only ruler.
- That does not matter here. You are going to die.
- You are disillusioned, Khelekiâ. I have the strongest mind. You will be destroyed.

Their minds cast a new land around them for their eyes to see. In the mind, they stood on a plain, empty and snow frozen. Brunwen stood in clad armour there, a sword in her gauntleted hands. Khelekiâ stood also in his own strong armour. Both stood ready, their swords raised in salute. Brunwen smiled icily and approached slowly. In the mind, she could and would win where she would lose in the flesh.

The swords clashed and to the outside world standing in the forest glade, it seemed as if the light energy surrounding them had intensified to a shimmering green. The fight in their minds continued and the shimmering light turned greener and greener, the black fading out.

As the fight raged in their minds, Khelekiâ fell to his knees, his power weakening. His mind held by her power, he fought with wounds bleeding all over. She drew back from the fight for a moment and then drove the sword into his neck. He fell, his hands holding him up still. She drew back her sword and it vanished. She spoke to his dying mind.

You are dying. The challenge has been completed. I will rule your people in the way that I find best. They will follow Eru and Manwë. I bid you farewell. You are leaving now for the Halls of Mandos. Never come back or I will kill you yet again.

Her threat hung in his mind when suddenly her mind was pulled out sharply. He gasped at the pain searing through his dying body. His eyes glazed white and he gasped again for breath. He tried to focus on the elf maid who was his bane but his eyes blurred and slowly his surroundings faded to blackening darkness and then started to focus onto the dark Halls where he now would reside till the end of time.

His body fell flat on his face and as with the body of Fëanor, his was consumed with a sudden flame and fell to ash. Brunwen looked up at the dark ranks of the Moriquendi and saw the shield Khelekiâ had created, fail and shimmer out of existence. The Moriquendi stood silent and shocked. Their leader was gone and the elf princess was now their queen by the agreement of the challenge.

Brunwen walked towards the sword and pulled it easily out of the ground. She raised it and declared in a loud voice.

" By the agreement of the challenge, I take the sword of the Moriquendi and the crown that is bound to it. Do you accept my rule?"

The story is almost done now so please do tell me what you think of it as a whole. Thank you for reading.

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