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“Uvatha the Nazgûl”
By Gina Storey

Uvatha the Horseman, Ninth of the Nazgûl Servants of Sauron the Black, thundered up and down the muddy slopes on his black war steed. He clenched his teeth as rain drilled onto his face and burned his eyes. Obviously exhausted, the horse protested, and nearly threw his rider. Yet the horseman, with an expertise and beast-mastery honed to the highest level of its craft, convinced the animal to run further and faster.

What is it that the Uvatha the Horseman flees from? Not an eighth of a mile from the horse’s hooves, trailed a great gray fury emanating gray-blue light. “Onward, Shadowfax,” the gray form urged his horse.

Uvatha’s horse, Schwazir, even with the intricately cast spells and effort, was more than beginning to give out. In fact, the animal was near to collapse. On the top of the next rise, Uvatha spun his horse, causing it to scream and rear in rage. The horseman brandished his sword and invoked the Guardians of the Northern Watchtowers to summon elemental lightning. The elementals heard his prayer and instantly formed into a web of lightning. His blade, pointed toward the heavens, received the arching force.

The Gray Wizard and his entourage at the base of the hill halted and drew their weapons at this terrible sight. The wraithlord’s eyes blazed wildly red with the power of his master Sauron’s might, without which he would be nothing.

Having drawn the elemental power, Uvatha whipped his sword around and willed the violent elementals, a gift from the Northern Guardians, at the gray figure below. Gloriously ecstatic at their newfound freedom, the elementals obeyed and Gandalf was hit in a blue fury full in the chest.

The Gray Wizard’s shielding was excellent, yet was not adequate to repel such a massive detonation of raw energy. He was thrown from Shadowfax’s white back. “Gandalf!” called Aragorn, the rightful heir to the throne of the great kingdom of Gondor. Aragorn went to his aid and helped him from the thick mud to his feet.

“Yes, yes,” said Gandalf in his shaky, elderly, and eternally calm voice, “Thank you, Aragorn, dear fellow, but I am fine,” He looked at the large smoking singe mark, the size of a hand’s spread, over his heart.

Uvatha’s horse shifted nervously and grunted. Aragorn turned to the wraith atop the small hill, “You bastard” he seethed.

“Now Aragorn, we mustn’t act in anger. I think I shall let this one go. I believe this Ninth of the Nazgûl was only trying to defend himself.”

“What? Gandalf, with due respect, sir, he tried to kill you.”

Uvatha closed his eyes, raised his sword and once again beseeched the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North for their aid in battle; that they join their brother and servant in valiant combat. This he prayed, his lips moving in silent prayer, and the thunder deafeningly clapped in harmony with his intensions. Those men below who had not protected their ears from the thunder, now did so in horror from the shriek Uvatha created in celebration of the Northern Guardians. Such a banhe cry as this was rare in its unearthly geist-like timbre, so that even Gandalf himself clasped his ears.

“Ye gods,” Aragorn lamented, “Such a creature is an abomination. Look Gandalf! It called to its evil patron spirits for the accursed lightning! Men, weapons all!”

The lightning arched yet again to the Ninth’s sword. He ended his wail, only to begin a new, deeper one, with a different purpose as he aimed the feral elementals once again at Gandalf. This time, the Gray Wizard expertly deflected the lightning blast— at Uvatha.

Uvatha’s eyes widened and he let loose a cry of absolute fear as the elementals; no longer serving him, but instead charged with Gandalf’s mana; arched towards him. He attempted a maneuver to parry the charge, but his blade caught on the bridle. The blast burned into his left chest and cut short his cry as he fell to the earth, the horse instantly running far off. Pain seared through his left side and overloaded his brain, causing him to nearly convulse. He moaned and shuddered wretchedly.

The men cheered, but held back in fear of the creature. Gandalf and Aragorn climbed the hill to where the Nazgûl was now attempting to stand, leaning on its sword.

“You nightmare creature, I hope you’re in hellish pain,” Aragorn seethed in hated as he approached Uvatha, sword ready to cut down. The wraith was now on his knees shaking visibly. His sword, left hand on the hilt, was stuck into the ground as a hold to help him aright. He hunched over the deep, still smoking wound above his heart. Deep red blood, though very little from a burn such as this, dripped between the shaking fingers of his right hand covering the wound. Each breath was clearly an exercise in pain, perhaps the elementals seared through to the lungs. He raised his eyes to the Gondorian king.

Aragorn laughed at the Nazgul’s weakness, “How dare you injure Lord Gandalf with your filthy witchcraft…,” he could not find a word low enough for this depraved creature. Aragorn was insulted that it bleed red blood like him and not black. He wanted to kill it now, just simply end its existence in the most agonizingly painful way, or he wanted its death to last days of torture. He struck Uvatha with the hilt of the dagger in his left hand.

Uvatha made an abbreviated scream at the blow and hot blood tricked down from his temple. He instantly righted himself, made eye contact with the Gondorian and growled threateningly, baring his descended fangs. Once again the wraith attempted to stand with the aid of his grounded sword. Aragorn grabbed the wraith’s long hair to expose his throat, while raising his heavy broadsword wielding it to cut off his head, “Die, creature of darkness!!” Uvatha shrieked.

“NO!! ARAGORN, NO!” protested Gandalf with incredible urgency.

Aragorn’s hand stopped at the order, but still twitched with his intentions. He allowed a moment to control his anger with heavy breathing and collected his thoughts. Gandalf repeated once again, “NO, you must not, Aragorn…”

“No? NO?!! Gandalf, sir, the thing was not acting in self-defense. He…. It was acting in evil and treachery. One of the nine it is. No mercy for one such as this…ever. It deserves to die, to be sent to the abyss… now!”

Uvatha took a sharp breath at Aragorn’s obvious objective, then struggled fiercely enough to release his hair. He hissed. Aragorn kicked aside the Ninth’s sword. Uvatha then tried to move the hand covering his agonizing wound unseen to the hidden dagger in his cloak. The wraith’s shoulders heaved deeply from injury, and he hissed once more.

“No, Aragorn. This one’s death is simply NOT NECESSARY. No need to kill him as he is not wholly evil, although you cannot see that.”

Uvatha looked to Gandalf, wondering if this meant he was to be taken prisoner. “Why do you show me mercy, Gray One?” he whispered.

Aragorn raised his dagger hilt once again. How dare this thing speak to Gandalf. The Gray Wizard stayed his hand.

“It is not necessary that you die, Ninth Nazgûl. Do you understand?” Uvatha did not. Gandalf brought his hand up to his own wound and coughed a very long, unhealthy hack. Uvatha did not realize until now how much he had injured the Gray Wizard. In fact, he didn’t think he could injure Gandalf at all.

“Come, Aragorn. We are off,”

Aragorn, future king of Gondor, furrowed his brow. Gandalf began walking off toward the men. Aragorn looked to the wraith once more. Uvatha suddenly sprung to his feet and grasped the kicked sword. Gandalf spun around at the motion. Uvatha and Aragorn regarded each other, contemplating the other’s intentions.

After some time, the wraith squared his shoulders and sheathed his sword. Their eyes still locked. Uvatha hoped that the Gondorian would not cut him down in this vulnerable stance, but instead Aragorn likewise sheathed his sword. Still, they regarded each other, until Aragorn turned to follow Gandalf.

Uvatha crossed his arms over his chest, a stance he often took, but was seared with excruciating pain. Akorahil will heal me, he thought, and I must find him soon as I am badly injured. Strange, though-- the Gray One showed me mercy. What did he see in me to spare me?

He called for his horse, which came trotting over nervously, and mounted it. He rode off to join his brothers, debating if he should say anything of this to them at all.
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