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Antane's Anthology  by Antane

In the Tower

A/N: This came from a writing exercise of the queenís that gave the following words to use:

One more step.

My eyes hurt; it was.

Even with my eyes closed,.

It was so dark that.

.rushing up.

.forget the pain.

There was a sound like a.

The light intruded.

I couldn't let them.

Their laughter filled me with.

He was as innocent as.

I vowed never to.

No chains could bind me as.

I changed it from 1st person to 3rd.† She didn't mean it to be for hobbity stuff, but having the one track mind that I do...† :)

My very favorite parts of my favorite of all scenes is quoted either directly or very nearly so from the professorís translation of the Red Book.


One more step. Just one more step. It was a constant litany Frodo repeated to himself over and over, trying to drown out the voice of the Ring, trying to keep the memory of his own voice clear as the Ring took all else away. He tried not to listen to the other voice, but it was always, always speaking to him, whispering, taunting, tempting, cajoling, shouting, screaming. Sometimes Frodo wanted to scream also, just to drown it out, but he bit his lip until it was bleeding to keep Sam from hearing the battle within. Then suddenly it was over just as they were about to leave the spiderís lair. He felt a sharp stab at his neck and then nothing.

His eyes hurt; it was too bright after so much darkness. Even the dim red light of his prison room in the orc tower was too much. He tried not to move, for the nausea would just come over him again, and he'd soil himself and the floor beside him with the vomit that increasingly brought up nothing but bitter bile. And the whip would lash once more at his flesh. Even with his eyes closed, he knew it was all over. There was a great pit at his feet. It was so dark that he was sure...No, there was a light rushing up. It was the Eye. He heard a scream and it was only when the whip fell again across him that he realized it had been his own.

He could not forget the pain. It was all he had now. All. Sam was gone. The Ring was gone. The agony of that double loss pierced him through and to his great shame, he could not tell which was the greater one, for his heart screamed out for both equally, it seemed. Hot tears rolled down his cheeks.

There was a sound like a door opening. His eyes opened a crack. The light intruded and he squinted against it. He tried to curl his body further around himself as two orcs entered. He couldn't let them touch him, hurt him again. He cowered in the corner, shivering with cold and terror. Their laughter filled him with horror as they approached him. He was as innocent as any - or had been. They couldn't take that from him. The Ring had already done that. He vowed never to let them hurt him, but he knew it was an empty one. He knew if they had their way, there would be nothing he could do to stop them. They may bind him, but no chains could bind him as well as what already held him bound. It was only a matter of time until he would be taken to the Dark Lord, to be tormented with the sight of the Ring, his Ring, on the Enemy's finger. Hadnít Boromir said they would take him and he would beg for death before the end? He began to beg.

The orcs came nearer and Frodo saw the terrible look in their eyes, but then Shagrat entered. "I told you, you maggots, that the prisoner is to remain unspoiled! Take your fun elsewhere!"

The orcs growled and would have rebelled against Shagrat, but that orc stung their legs with his whip and that stopped them.

Shagrat sneered when Frodo thanked him softly. He shoved a tray with some food and a mug of water toward the prisoner and left.

Frodo dared to take a shaky breath once the door closed again. He shivered all the more violently and his stomach heaved at the thought of what would have happened had Shagrat not come, but nothing more came up. Tears coursed down his cheeks and he could only murmur one word, "Sam..."

He looked down at the food. It smelled foul, some terrible beast flesh, he guessed, and hoped it was not worse, and he was sure it tasted the same. The water had a slick of oil and he didn't want to know what else. He was starving and dizzy with thirst though and he almost reached for it. Then he realized what was the point of it? He did not need it anymore. There was only the end to wait for, and he did not need to be strong for that. The Quest had failed. All had been in vain. Better that he die sooner than late, and better that it be before he was brought to the Eye. He continued to beg.

The horrible dreams returned, and he could not tell whether they were unreal nightmare or a reality that was nightmare. He screamed and it must have been out loud because the whip came down again and his side was aflame. His assailants demanded he eat something because it was not a corpse that they were supposed to bring to the Eye. He did so slowly, only so that they would leave. His stomach nearly revolted at once, and his eyes stung at the tremendous will he had to employ to keep from losing everything at once. He drank his fill also in a vain attempt to wash his mouth from whatever terrible thing he had just eaten. He didn't want to think of it, but at least his mouth was no longer so dry and he had not choked too badly on the foul liquid. He was left alone again, though one of the orcs said, "Shagrat won't always be there to watch out for your pretty skin, you little rat."

Frodo collapsed back into a heap upon the dirty rags to shelter himself from the cold, filthy floor. He continued to beg. Why didnít anyone hear him?

He slipped back into the dreams then, and in them he heard a voice singing. He opened his mouth to respond. The voice grew a little louder and he sang along faintly. If this was dream, then it was one he didn't want to end; for the voice was one he had thought he would never hear again. He kept his eyes closed. He didn't want to wake up.

The whip came down again, and he cried out. His eyes opened. The dream shattered. The voice was gone. The orc stood over him, the whip poised in mid-air, and Frodo cringed to see it begin its downward arch. Then the dream began again. A face swam before his eyes as the orc fell through the trap door in the floor and gentle arms embraced him.

"Frodo! Mr. Frodo, my dear!" Sam cried, holding his beloved master to him.

"Am I still dreaming?" Frodo wondered as that dearly loved voice and face filled his vision.

"You're not dreaming at all, Master. It's real. It's me. I've come."

"I can hardly believe it," Frodo said, clutching him.

Tears nearly blinded Sam, but still he smiled through them and stared down at that dear, beautiful face. "I'd given up hope, almost. I couldn't find you."

"Well, you have now, Sam, dear Sam," said Frodo and he lay back in Sam's gentle arms, closing his eyes, like a child at rest when night-fears are driven away by some loved voice or hand.

Sam felt that he could sit like that in endless happiness, but it was not allowed. He kissed Frodo's forehead. "Come! Wake up, Mr. Frodo!" he said, trying to sound as cheerful as he had when he drew back the curtains at Bag End on a summer's morning.

Frodo opened his eyes, and once it was proved to him that the Quest had not failed, he began to beg again, but this time it was for life.

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