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For my sister in angst and hobbity love, H.G., because she asked nicely. :)
Sam stood amidst the shattered pieces of his heart. The white-hot fury that had consumed him during his terrible fight with the monstrous spider had left him. So too the terrible anger that had come after his desperate and futile attempts to rouse his master. Whatever courage had stirred within him to fight the horrific enemy was gone. There was nothing left now, nothing at all, but the keening wail of his heart. His loss overwhelmed him in a tidal wave and drove him deep down under dark waters where there was no light. He was masterless in a cold darkness. It would be so easy just to let go, to drown, as he almost had once before in his effort to follow his treasure. But something held him back. He looked to his Frodo, silent and still, beyond any pain or strain, beyond any torment the Ring could inflict. His master had not given up. He had given his last strength of will and body to fulfill his task. Sam could do no less. He had to be his masterís arms and legs now to complete the job, and then at its finishing, he would yield to his heart and return it to his masterís keeping, and lay by his side until the end came and they were together again.
Sam took the Ring from Frodo and gently kissed his master farewell. He gave his promise to return once the job was done. He would not remain here in defeat. He would continue the Quest. He would honor his masterís faithfulness to it, no matter what the cost to himself, and give his all to complete it, just as Master had. If he fell as well, he would fall as his master had, set to the last upon completing the task appointed to him. He held the light up to that dearly beloved face, so pale and fair. He invoked the Ladyís protection and then he left. She would have to watch over Master now, and she would. She would not fail. And neither would he.
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