The Wraith struggles against his bonds, trapped within the mists that made up her grasp. She squeezed tighter and watched him gasp with lungs that no longer needed breath. Many ages had it been since she had last hunted so powerful a foe. Even diminished as he was, separated from his host, he resisted, but alone and unshackled from the mortal he'd inhabited, without his new Ring…he lacked the power to resist her.
She remembered his face. Even twisted and gaunt as it was now, a pale shadow of his former glory, she remembered the one who had stood at the Deceiver's side. The one who had set these events in motion. His naivety and trust had doomed them all.
And yet he still fought on. Enslaving a Man now to aid him. To join his fruitless cause. This unending fight.
She had not seen his fall. Deep in the depths of the earth she'd been. Curled in the caves, undergoing a transformation of her own. After her own betrayal.
The great Deceiver had turned on his other ally as well she later learned. The aftermath had been as bloody as her own for the Elf Lord. Beaten and tortured with his own tools. Then the Ring Maker's body had been strung up as a banner, his pale flesh bruised and cut. That once proud head hung low, skull caved in beneath the dark hair matted with blood and filth. The hands that once created such marvels broken and disfigured.
Now those hands reached futilely at the shadows and smoke around him, seeking a hold to free himself. Or perhaps reaching out to the Man creeping ever closer.
The Ring Maker, it seemed, had not learned from the past. His time in the veil between life and death had taught him little. Or perhaps his arrogance truly knew no bounds? Perhaps the centuries he had spent forbidden from the halls of his people had driven him to madness?
She knew the scent of desperation as well, and that was not what this was. This was cold fury, like an ice in her veins. It was determination and a violence that made her blood sing. That anger she recognized.
But to think another ring of power would shape the fate of this world…she knew this was folly. Could see the strings of fate quiver and shake with new possibilities.
But perhaps…this time would be different.
She could reach out and grab hold of the web of fate. Take action to prevent the things she'd seen.
The Man was getting close. The whispers and scurrying of her brood increased. His attempts at stealth were useless. He was in her lair now. She knew every twist and turn of these caves and could move through them faster than the quickest caragor in Mordor, faster than scent of death or the murmur of a rumor through the ranks of a company of soldiers.
The Man was the place to start. The Wraith would not listen to reason. His poisonous ill will radiating through his veneer as a Redeemer.
Yes…the Man might listen to reason.
A show of power to begin, but then, perhaps a return to a fairer form. Something more enticing to the race of Men. The wraith would not be drawn in again by such a ploy, but even if he had shared his memories with the Man, he would not likely make the connection to the Deceiver and his fragile shell.
To appear so diminished from her chosen form should feel strange, but the years have taught her patience. A spider can wait for days, setting up the perfect trap, drawing its prey in step by step. She can wait. This war will not be won, or lost, in a day, and she can take some small pleasure in upending both the Wraith's and the Deceiver's plans. Too closely did their paths run in the web of fate, and she would not leave things to chance.