The Nazgûl waited in the darkness upon the eastern shore of the River Anduin
Orcs crawled along the waters edge, seeking signs of the spies who were expected to be riding down upon the ancient waterway
Orders had come from the Dark Tower that these enemies of Mordor were to be taken or killed at all costs!
Grishnákh waited in the deep shadows along the bank of the River Anduin upon it’s eastern shore.
The Orcs had gone straight north for many miles, passing the stinking marshes and skirting the jagged peaks of the Emyn Muil. They had turned to the west at the southern reaches of the Brown Lands, until they came upon a black wood that boarded the rivers edge. There they made camp and sent out many spies to watch the river. Grishnákh was under the command of Shlagráck, a great Black Uruk from Gorgoroth. He was a seasoned soldier orc that had fought in the ‘Man Wars’ west of Mordor. He had ordered Grishnákh to take ten orcs and scout along the river for a place to waylay the spies coming down from the North. These rebel spies were said to be traveling by boat down the Great River.
It had taken many hours of scrabbling among rocks and low brush to find a spot on the river where the current would bring any travels close to the eastern shore. The river was swift here near the rapids of Sarn Gerbir and so it would be almost impossible to turn the boats, once they came to the edge of the eastern bank. The entire orc garrison was moved to a clearing just out of sight of the River. They lay here in wait, under the shadow of the trees.
On the third day after moving their makeshift camp, the Uruks from Mordor were joined by more orcs from Mirkwood. These wood-rotters were smaller and hadn’t seen fighting like the soldier Orcs of Mordor. The Night watch had just been set when the Orcs heard a bone chilling screech in the dark air above them. One of the Mirkwood mudrakers fell on his belly and lay panting like a dog in the dirt. Grishnákh laughed at this foolish snaga, he bent low grinning at the frightened orc and pointed upward with a long bony finger into the sky.
“Nazgûl… Nazgûl on wings!” He said with a sly guttural croak. He licked his lips were went suddenly dry and bitter.
Grishnákh had seen the Nazgûl on their fell winged beasts flying back and forth between Udûn and the Dark Tower. They were the Master’s favorites these days, the Wraiths on wings were being saved back for the coming war. They could often be seen wheeling and circling about the Dark Tower and the fiery mountain of Orodruin.
A shrewd and cunning orc, Grishnákh put on a brave face in front of the groveling worms of Mirkwood, but he felt a sudden shadow of fear. These spies from the North must be important for the Eye to send one of his most deadly servants to retrieve them. The winged steed had been sent to carry their prize directly back to the Dark Tower of Barad-dur. The rebels must be carrying some important weapon of war! Grishnákh had one goal, to listen and learn… and stay alive.
In the very darkest hour of the night, Grishnákh awoke. He crept to the rivers edge and looked out upon the water. He thought he had heard voices… fair spoken, almost like the voices of the little tarkish imps. Suddenly, four large orcs came crashing through trees sounding the alarm. The spies from the north has been spotted and were coming towards the eastern shore.
Shlagráck began barking orders and pointing out the sand bar not far from the waters edge. He told them to wait until the enemy’s boats hit the rocky shoal, then the orcs would spring out and take them! But Grishnákh could see that something was wrong. The shadowy shapes of the rebels were paddling furiously in their small silvery boats and slowly they turning them around. Grishnákh screamed. Shlagráck began barking more orders.
The twang of bow strings was heard and suddenly the air over the water was filled flying arrows and spears. Grishnákh raised his bow, taking his time to assure a better aim. He let fly an arrow that slew through the darkness and struck the gunwale of the nearest boat, but it was no use their enemy was getting away.
Suddenly out of the blackness behind them rose a vast winged shape into the air. The Orcs fell silent as the great shadow flew up and over them and crossed over the River. Grishnákh cackled with delight screaming… “Nazgûl… Nazgûl!” in the darkness! The fell beast would drive them back to the shore!
Then to his complete surprise and horror, the great winged creature screamed with the unmistakable sounds of pain and death. The Nazgûl wheeled about and the black winged beast fell crashing down into the woods behind them. The orcs cursed and wailed, gnashing their teeth in anger and despair. A long wail rose up from the shadows and the orcs ran like frightened apes into the woods. Without warning, they came upon the ruin of the vast winged beast and before it stood a tall figure all in shadow and black. Grishnákh retreated into the trees.
Shlagráck came forth and stood before the figure of shadow, his head bowed and his body trembling. A cold voice rang out with a hissing menace.
“You have failed me… and now you shall die!”
Suddenly a pale sword came slicing through the darkness and Shlagráck’s shoulders were relieved of his head. Every Uruk in striking distance of the enraged wraith, within the circle of the fallen fell beast was cut down with screams of despair. The rest scattered into the woods.
Grishnákh fell to the ground and crawled upon his belly, back into the woods. He moved in the shadows, until he could no longer hear anymore screams behind him. he made his way toward the ridges of Emyn Muil the rose up before him. There he hoped to find the rest of the fleeing orcs. He lopped along in silence and he began to wonder what these spies carried that was so important to the war!