Chapter Two: Lost in Barad-dur
Gil-galad looked around him, seeing a narrow passage of black shaped stone lit with Feanorian lanterns. Beside him hovered a nearly transparent Celebrimbor, his feet a couple of inches off the floor. "So this is Barad-dur," Celebrimbor said.
"Yes," said Gil-galad. He surveyed the passage again. There had been a few times that he'd been terrified that he'd end up here, and now here he was voluntarily. Life was strange... even if he were technically dead. "Where in Barad-dur are we?"
Celebrimbor visibly shook himself "I've no idea. I think we need to find a window. Any preference as to direction?"
"None," said Gil-galad and floated off down the corridor with Celebrimbor following him. There were passages, and more passages which connected to other passages that led to rooms of unknown purpose that were mostly locked, but eventually they found themselves somewhere identifiable. The kitchens.
"Always useful to know where the kitchen is," said Gil-galad, looking around him at the busy meal preparation. There were soups steaming in huge kettles over an even larger iron stove, vegetables being chopped, and a pig turning on a spit. Obviously not orc food this.
"Not quite so useful to us now, since we don't need to eat," said Celebrimbor.
"True, but if we can identify food as for being for Sauron then we could do something unpleasant to it. What does Sauron hate eating? I've no idea."
"How would I know?"
"Oh. He doesn't like fish. He doesn't much like anything to do with oceans or rivers either - at least if he was telling the truth. After all that's happened, he may just have been pretending sympathy because I have a foolish fear of the ocean."
"Were you afraid of cooked fish?"
Celebrimbor laughed. "No. I'd never have survived on Balar if I was, would I?"
"Then he was probably not just pretending. The vast majority of Mordor's creatures don't like water, so it would make sense that Sauron wouldn't. I doubt getting caught in the drowning of Numenor will have improved his opinion of water since you knew him."
"That would make sense. We would have to switch his plate with somebody else's, since I think people in here would notice if fish started flying through the air. I think it might be easier just to spill large amounts of salt over his food so that it is inedible."
Gil-galad shrugged. "Does he have any allergies?"
"Not that I know of, but we aren't allowed to try to kill him, remember."
"Old habits die hard. Now that we know where the kitchens are, why don't we try and find Sauron's quarters? There must be much more scope for causing trouble in there."
"When I find the dungeons, I'm going to cause metal fatigue in every piece of torture equipment I can find," said Celebrimbor, looking grim.
"You can do that?"
"I'll find a way. But first, let's go find Sauron's quarters." They started out of the room and drifted along yet another black stone passage. Celebrimbor suggested they go up: "He likes to be at the top of things, so he's probably near the top of Barad-dur."
As they climbed upwards, Gil-galad kept his eyes open for any sign of a record room, and suggested Celebrimbor do likewise.
"Definitely," Celebrimbor agreed. "We wouldn't have to make much of a mess to annoy or distract him. He's obsessively tidy, or was when he was in Ost-in-Edhil. I still think he's psychologically disturbed..."
"Crazy in addition to being evil? He seemed fairly logical to me in his pursuit of his purposes, however wrong his purposes were and unethical his means."
"Obsessive would be a better word."
"You do realize that people consider you obsessed by your craft."
"During the making of the Rings, they would have been right - although I've heard the same about you with regards to getting rid of Sauron. But where do we go from here?"
They had reached a dead end, or so it seemed. "That is a dwarf door!" said Celebrimbor, looking at it closely. "There must be something important behind here." He vanished through the door.
Gil-galad stared in shock at the wall. We can walk through walls? he thought. I have to try that. He drifted up to the wall and stuck out his hand. It it initially stopped just short of the wall, but then a spectral hand reached out through the door and pulled him through. It felt very strange.
"How did you do that?" he asked Celebrimbor, and then looked around. Lanterns were glowing far overhead, glittering off bins full of brilliant mithril, and shining from the assorted mithril arms and armor hung on the walls. The entire treasury at Lindon looked decidedly paltry by comparison.
Celebrimbor wandered over to a particularly stunning set of armour on the wall and reached out to touch it, then shook his head and turned his back on it. "Sauron's mithril hoard. He must have most of the world's mithril assembled here. For all the good it does - no one but him can see it. What a waste."
"Yes. I hadn't realized there was this much mithril in the entire world. Unfortunately it's too heavy for us to move any of it. Unless he's like a dragon and can sense if the tiniest piece of his hoard goes missing?"
"He probably doesn't come down here that often, especially if he is in the middle of a war. Let's go somewhere else." They glided back towards the door.
"By the way, how did you get through that door?"
"You just have to think yourself through it," said Celebrimbor, sounding a bit puzzled.
Gil-galad made an exasperated sound. "But how can I do that when I don't know what's on the other side?"
"You just have to imagine being through the door and looking at it from the other side. You don't have to imagine what's on the other side apart from that. We couldn't do this in physical form but in fea alone it's easy. Here, why don't you try it now that you know what's on the other side of this door?"
Gil-galad duly tried and soon got the hang of it - once he got over his sense of panic at occupying the same space as stone and iron. It might be perfectly safe, but it didn't feel as if it ought to be possible. They moved on, moving upwards through the floor/ceiling if they began to get stuck. They found many interesting places along the way, and it took a great deal of time for them to get to Sauron's quarters.