The Game of the Gods, 17.
Translation: This one is more gory than the others.
The Game of the Gods, 17
Morgoth carefully and lovingly set the Sue in the center of the board. He knew that Turgon would try all kinds of clever strategies and subtle manipulations to win this round. After all, he'd kept Gondolin hidden that way for centuries.
But this was a Sue that just had to be dealt with blatantly, and Morgoth was sure that Turgon couldn't do it.
He looked up at the cloaked figure across the table. "Your move."
The figure leaned forward and studied the Sue. Then a hollow voice said, "Send her into battle."
Morgoth frowned. He knew that voice, didn't he? But he couldn't figure it out, so he shrugged and said, "She already is."
"That's not battle," said the voice darkly.
"No. Staring down dragons is battle."
Morgoth smirked. "Oh, she'll have the chance to stare down a dragon."
Gweniwen shoved her hair out of her eyes and stabbed forward, killing yet another Mordor soldier. Then she looked around desperately.
The Battle of the Pelennor Fields was exploding all around her, and Gweniwen had long since been separated from her uncle, Théoden. She was afraid that he was dead, since she wasn't there to protect him anymore. She had been trained from birth by Elvish ninjas to be his protector-
"Elvish ninjas," said the figure across the table, flatly.
Morgoth frowned. He was certain he knew that voice. "Yes. Does the thought of that bother you?"
"Yes," said the voice. "Because there are no Elvish ninjas."
"I can make them up."
"Really," said the voice.
The figure was silent, but seemed to be thinking about something.
Morgoth shrugged and went back to playing.
-and no one knew about her, the second niece of Théoden. But now she was supposed to protect her charge from the greatest battle of his life, and she was lost.
Gweniwen turned swiftly, then relaxed. Éomer headed swiftly towards her, picking his way among the bodies. He was one of the few who knew of her existence, and the only one who called her Stone-maid, since 'Maiden of Stone' was the literal translation of her name.
"No, it isn't." The figure sounded snobbish. "Gweni doesn't mean 'stone' in Elvish."
"But there could have been a secret group of Elves who had a different dialect," said Morgoth in delight. Turgon really didn't have any idea how to handle this. "Not all the languages of Middle-earth were mapped."
"Morgoth," said the figure, "I was part of a secret group of Elves who spoke a different dialect, and instructed by the wisest of them all. She would have told me if 'gweni' meant stone."
Morgoth smiled in delight. Definitely Turgon. He'd probably heard something like that from Indis or Galadriel, or maybe even Varda herself. "This is just one you don't know about," he said.
"You like adding things to Middle-earth, don't you?" the figure asked.
"Oh, yes," Morgoth purred, and let loose another invention.
"Have you seen Uncle?" Éomer asked Gweniwen.
Gweniwen shook back her hair and glared at him. "Do you think I would have, in this?" she asked, with a gesture to the battle.
Éomer lowered his head. "Sorry," he muttered.
Gweniwen nodded sharply. He was the only one besides her and Éowyn who knew that Théoden had made a will proclaiming Gweniwen his heir. Éomer was talking to the future Queen of Rohan, and he knew it.
"But if no one knew she existed..."
Morgoth laughed. "A minor problem."
The figure hunched closer to the board, and didn't answer.
"Look for him," Gweniwen commanded Éomer. "I will try to find the Lord of the Nazgûl, whom I am destined to slay."
Éomer bowed to her and started fighting his way through the press. Gweniwen began to fight her way in a different direction, all the while watching the sky for the winged beasts the Nazgûl rode.
"I see what you mean about her facing down a dragon," said the figure.
Morgoth nodded. "And, of course, you'll have to find some way to kill my warrior-Sue while she does it."
The figure chuckled unpleasantly. "I already have a way."
A commotion in the ranks drew Gweniwen's attention. She turned and drew her sword, wondering what was moving towards her. Perhaps the Lord of the Nazgûl had landed and was coming to seek his ancient foe, the one he had been destined to meet from the beginning.
She stared as something bright and gleaming broke through the soldiers, who trampled each other trying to get out of the way. Soldiers of Mordor fled beside soldiers of Gondor, and no one cared. There was a greater threat behind them.
Facing Gweniwen was an enormous golden dragon, shining and sleek, though without wings.
Morgoth blinked. "What in the world is Glaurung doing there?"
"I took a tip from you," said the figure. "I was an apt student when I wanted to be, you know. And I learned the art of killing people pretty well."
Gweniwen stared a moment longer, then shrugged. She had always known she would face a dragon one day. She struck a dramatic pose. "En guard, beast!"
The dragon yawned, then moved a bit closer, tilting his head to look into Gweniwen's eyes.
"Now what are you doing?" Morgoth complained. "If you really must cheat this much, have him roast her and be done with it."
"Oh, but don't you like seeing what is happening?" the figure taunted him. "Since you like to look out over the world and see everything?"
Morgoth stared at him.
Gweniwen stared into his eyes, and felt her sword-arm drop. She was caught motionless in the spell of that gaze, and felt her will yield while a purring voice spoke in her mind.
She stumbled across the battlefield, away from the dragon, until she located Éomer. He gazed at her anxiously. "Gweniwen? Did you find-"
Gweniwen lunged towards him and wrapped her arms around his waist, kissing him deeply.
Morgoth said, "What in my Arda are you doing?"
"Vengeance," said the figure.
Morgoth pushed his chair a little back from the table.
Éomer, shouting in disgust, pushed Gweniwen away from him. She stumbled, then started making her way back towards him.
"What are you doing?" he asked, but she didn't heed him.
She heeded the blade chopping through her arm, though. It pinwheeled through the air, splattering blood across her face. Gweniwen sank to her knees, screaming.
"Who are you?" Morgoth demanded.
Then Éomer chopped through her chest, tearing through her vitals with a sweet sound.
"You're not Turgon," said Morgoth, pushing his chair back.
Gweniwen fell forward on her face and died messily, and no one missed her.
"Turgon?" Morgoth squeaked.
"Not quite," said the figure, reaching up to remove his hood. "But close."
Morgoth stared at Túrin for a moment, then pushed his chair back from the table just as Gurthang went through the spot where he'd been sitting. Túrin grunted in annoyance.
"Hold still," he snapped, jumping over the table.
Morgoth ducked under the table, only to have someone shove him out violently. He made out Sauron cowering there, and then he rolled into Túrin's legs. Túrin grinned at him.
"I think I'll take a hint from Fingolfin," he said, as he cut at Morgoth's shoulder, "and give you multiple wounds."
Morgoth closed his eyes in dread, but the blade never struck. Instead, a whiny voice said, "And why should I want to taste that black blood?"
"Because I told you to," Túrin snapped. "And there's the whole 'loyalty to the hand that wields thee' thing. So be bloody loyal to the hand that wields thee, and stab him."
Morgoth cautiously opened his eyes. The voice was coming from the sword, which vibrated as if trying to get out of Túrin's hand.
"Doesn't this ever strike you as useless?" asked Gurthang.
"What?" Túrin tried to force the sword towards Morgoth. It stuck in the air.
"All this dramatic posturing and 'thee' and 'thou' and 'oh, I'm going to kill Morgoth, the bloody bastard made me fall in love with my sister' thing," said Gurthang. "So he made you fall in love with your sister. It's not like other people haven't done that."
Túrin screamed at the sword and tried again to force it lower, but Gurthang was still stuck.
"I mean, what's it all about, when you get right down to it?" Gurthang went on. "Just a lot of posturing. You two could have made peace at any time, but you absolutely had to kill his soldiers, and he had to keep Húrin prisoner and torture his descendants." The sword turned, Morgoth supposed, to look at him, though he really couldn't tell since it didn't have eyes. "I think that was suppressed homoerotic impulses more than anything else, to tell you the truth. You seem to have a fetish for kidnapping people and strapping them to mountains. Maedhros, Húrin, where does it end?"
Túrin screamed and threw the sword away. Morgoth sobbed with relief when he saw that someone else had caught it. Apparently, Tulkas and Ulmo had finally decided to intervene. Ulmo picked up Túrin, and Tulkas easily held the struggling Gurthang.
"That's enough, you," said Ulmo.
Tulkas nodded. "Yeah. Back to Mandos with you, Túrin."
"I don't go to Mandos," said Túrin. "The Men have their own place."
"Which Fëanor somehow got you out of," said Ulmo. "How did he do that?"
Túrin shut his mouth and looked sullen.
"A way that you're not going to know about," said Fëanor's voice, and Túrin abruptly vanished from Ulmo's hold.
Morgoth got to see Ulmo spin around in a circle looking for Túrin. He supposed it might have been funny if he wasn't near pissing himself with fright.
Tulkas grunted and held up Gurthang. "At least I still have this-"
"Did I forget that?" Fëanor asked. "Oh, dear."
"I'm happy to be forgotten," said Gurthang. "I always am, unless someone wants to spill blood on me-"
Then it vanished as well. Morgoth and the two Valar stood in silence for a moment.
Then Tulkas said, "Well, I know that Varda's not back yet. But you can play me if you want."
Morgoth nodded fervently. After playing Túrin, he would have been willing to play Maedhros. Nothing could possibly be worse.
Then an eagle swooped across the table, dropping off a letter addressed to Morgoth. Morgoth opened it gingerly.
It was from Varda, and it was terse and to the point.
Mandos has rounded up almost all the prisoners now. But he can't find the hiding place of the ones who've escaped, and now Fingolfin is missing as well.
Morgoth groaned and closed his eyes.
"Bad news?" Tulkas asked. "Will the game take your mind off it?"
Morgoth nodded hurriedly, and went scrambling in the box for the most delicate Sue. At least he knew Tulkas was honestly stupid.
I'm wondering now if Morgoth's enemies will ever actually get a chance to hurt him.