Minas Tirith, T.A. 2979
The so-called ‘dark web’, a complex network of communications made up of coded correspondence and word of mouth, has become notorious in recent years. The Dark Web network is used for everything from hiring contract killers (usually ‘squint-eyed southerners’), to buying drugs such as pipeweed, to storing repositories of banned orc pornography.
Lord Denethor has just revealed plans to crack down on the Dark Web within Gondor. In an address to the people of Gondor sent out by herald riders, he said:
It is time that the state addresses the problem of the Dark Web. For too long now has it been a cancer in the realm, a source of pestilence and vice. After I crush the Dark Web’s regional operations, Gondor shall truly see that it has a strong, morally principled leader who is tough on crime and disorder.
Sources close to the Steward have suggested that the anti-Dark Web operation will involve planting spies in the Dark Web’s criminal networks, and introducing severe new penalties for anyone caught communicating through it, whether by letter, messenger or palantír.
There have however been doubts as to the effectiveness of Denethor’s alleged strategy. The wizard Mithrandir, in particular, is sceptical. Talking to a Times of Arda reporter, Mithrandir claimed that:
The person who’s behind this whole Dark Web network is almost certainly Sauron, who seems to have risen again in Mordor.
I worry that the Steward won’t admit this to be true. I am also concerned that the few existing palantíri are known to be especially susceptible to the Dark Web and thus to Sauron’s influence. If a palantír were to fall into the wrong hands and Sauron managed to corrupt that person’s judgment – well, things wouldn’t look good for Gondor.