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Concerning Sam  by Kara's Aunty

Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings is owned by J.R.R. Tolkien, his family, New Line cinema, etc. I have written this story for my own enjoyment.

Credit: www.Tuckborough.net and also www.realelvish.net.

Note: This chapter updated on 11/07/2012.

Concerning Sam

Chapter 11

Bag End, 1435 Shire Reckoning

Two hours passed, giving Sam time to recover and allowing Merry some much needed rest before joining them. The sons of Elrond were able to reflect on what had occurred earlier, and complete their strategy to free the Ringbearer based on the experience. But the time was now upon them to cease planning and begin their final assault on the memory-Ring.

Taking their positions, one at each side of the bed, they nodded to their companions, a signal that the trial was about to commence. Standing nearest the window, looking deceptively small and delicate, were Rose and Elanor, who returned Elladan's nod firmly: each was determined to act when instructed, for they wanted their husband and father returned to them. Merry and Pippin, standing in front of the bed, were no less nervous. But they had each faced true evil before, and neither would be cowed by a mere imprint when one who was dear to them was under such threat.

Elrohir addressed the four Hobbits. “Elladan and I shall now begin our descent into Samwise’ mind. He may become distressed by this, as he did earlier, but you must not take any action to intervene on his behalf at this time, regardless of how disturbing you find his struggles. Merry, I would have you and your cousin restrain him should it become necessary, but do no more than that.”

Both Hobbit Knights confirmed their readiness to carry out his request. Rose gripped her daughter's hand in comfort, for Elanor had yet to see her father's wild struggles, though the lass was prepared to stand by him no matter what happened.

“We should have more success with this attempt as there will be two of us participating," continued Elrohir. "Once we have reached Sam, we must use all our concentration to make him heed us. This may take some time, so you must all be patient; the memory-Ring will do all in its power to hold him fast. If we can convince him that we mean him no harm - that it is attempting to deceive him as to our true intent - this may give him hope.”

Four hobbit heads bobbed in understanding. Elladan spoke next. 

“As soon as he shows any indication of taking this first step towards liberation, the Ring may become more desperate in its attempts to belay him: this is when your services will be of greatest import. I will ask you all to begin talking to him of joyful things; memories of warmth, shared experiences, his children - anything which may help him on his path back to us. Sam will not hear your words, neither will he see you - but he will feel your love, and this will draw him away from its grasp and back to those who care for him.”

“Are you sure this will work?” asked Rose anxiously.

“Do not fear Mistress Rose. The memory-Ring may be powerful at present, but it is still only one, and it is still but a memory. We, however, are many and real." Elrohir assured her. "It cannot sustain its assault indefinitely against such a united front.”

The hobbit wife, reassured by his words, fell silent again, allowing the elves to commence with their task. Two graceful figures then bent over Sam, placed their hands on his head, and closed their eyes in concentration.

Thus began the fellowship of friends and loved ones the desperate Quest: the fight for Sam was underway!

*~*~*~*                

Sam was hiding from the One Ring again; he could feel it searching for him. Why would it not leave him alone! He was fatigued by their many confrontations and wounded by its hateful words. If only he could find a little time to recover properly! Ready himself for escape - or at least for the next round. But finding a place to retreat to was becoming more difficult with each encounter.

To make matters worse, he was being further tormented by a new threat. An Elf had been here earlier, making demands of him, trying to confuse him with kindness and fervent entreaties to join him.

What was going on?

Sam knew he was already being punished by the Firstborn for his failure to save Frodo, he understood that now. They had inflicted him with a Sea-longing he could never hope to fulfil. So why torture him further? It served no purpose, surely?

Was his mind not his own anymore? Should he expect anyone with the ability to enter it to pop up at will? Did he not even deserve the right to his own thoughts?

Leave me alone, he thought. I won’t bother you none if you don’t bother me.

And now the Elf was coming again, Sam could feel the Light from his presence. But wait, there were two of them this time! Could he fend them both off? One had been bad enough while trying to simultaneously keep the Ring, but two? This was becoming more and more impossible!

“Go away!” he yelled angrily. “I’ll not listen to your lies, so you might as well just turn around and leave me alone!”

He tried to block their advance, shouting at them to leave, accusing them of trespassing where they weren’t wanted, attempting to push them away through sheer force of will, but to no avail. Their combined Light was too strong; it invaded his refuge and left him open to their attentions. They were here and he could do nothing about it except try to ignore them.

But their strong presence would undoubtedly attract the Ring, and then he would face an assault on two fronts! Sam wanted to scream in anger at the unfairness of it. Was this the reward for his failures? He didn’t think he could stand it!

Sure enough, the Ring followed swiftly in the wake of the elves and Sam cowered further in his once dark place in a futile attempt to evade it.

"Who are you? How dare you enter this place! Remove yourselves at once, favoured spawn of the Valar!"

The little gardener almost wished It luck - if the Ring could get rid of them, he’d only have to concern himself with trying to get rid of the Ring.

“Begone, foul Instrument!” one of them cried. As before, the silvery voice - though raised in challenge - struck him as vaguely familiar, though he hadn't identified it yet and didn't really care enough to try. It was the voice of an Elf, wasn't it? And Elves scorned him, he realised this now. That was all he needed to know.

But hide as he may, he could not prevent himself from hearing the heated argument between his foes.

"What business have your kind here?" the Ring demanded.

“Our business is none of yours. Leave this place and this gentle Hobbit.”

"Gentle Hobbit?" It laughed in disbelief. "You are surely not referring to the halfwit who has the impudence to defy me? He will be mine and you cannot prevent this!"

These words made Sam’s jaw clench in anger. He may have failed once before, but he had never belonged to a bit of gold, and he never would! He’d die first!

“Silence, vile trinket! Your lies are not welcomed by us.”

"Lies? I do not lie ... is that not so Master Halfwit?" It was addressing him directly now: it knew where he was! No use in hiding anymore.

"You know the truth of my words even if they do not."

“Leave me alone!” cried Sam. He did not want witnesses to his shame.

“Samwise, it is I, Elrohir of Imladris. You must not listen to the Ring. It will deceive you.”

Elrohir of Imladris? The Lady Arwen’s brother! The other must be his twin. Why they had come he didn't know. He’d hardly ever spoken with them during his time in Rivendell, and had been stuck in the real Mordor with Frodo while they were fighting at Strider’s side.

He could feel the Ring’s pleasure at this revelation and wished it couldn’t read his thoughts.

"Indeed, Master Halfwit. Why are they here and not your upstart King? It is because Isildur’s heir does not wish to be - but neither can he ignore your distress. What would his people do if they knew he had left one of their precious Saviours to wallow in misery? They would turn on him! No. He must make it look like he cares in order to prevent an uprising! So he sends his Elven slaves to do what he himself finds distasteful!"

“Untruths and deceptions! It lies to you Sam, do not pay heed to its words!” declared the second Elf, speaking for the first time.

"I speak only the truth Halfling. If you had been the Baggins whelp, Gondor’s Usurper would have arrived long ago. But you have deprived him of the opportunity to ever see his beloved Frodo again! You are the lesser half of the remaining whole, all who knew your Master know that!"

Sam covered his ears at the Ring's diatribe. He didn’t want to believe what it said, even if he could see some reason in its argument.

Of course Mr Strider would have come for Frodo. That was as it should be! Frodo was the Master, he was the servant. Frodo was special, he drew people to him and commanded loyalty without ever asking for it. It wouldn’t be right to expect a great king of Men to come all the way to the Shire just to hold a gardener‘s hand when he was feeling a bit under the weather. He would not listen to the Ring!

But then he recalled the visions it had already shown him, and knew it had been at least partially right. Hadn't it? He rubbed his aching head in confusion.

“Samwise, Aragorn would never desert you,” insisted Elrohir.

"Then I ask again: Where is he?"

Sam didn't want to listen any more, not to any of them. They were all trying to confuse him! He was so hot! His head hurt, and they were too loud. “Just leave me alone, all of you!” he rasped.

“Nay, Panthael! We will not leave you to this fate. You are loved in your own right. Your family needs you to return to them. Your friends are diminished without you. You must have faith in our words,mellon nin.”

"Friend, you call him! He knows he is not your friend and that you are not his," gloated the Ring.

“What mean you by this?”

It refused to answer.

“Samwise? What falsehoods has it spoken? You must know we are all your friends - how can you doubt this?” asked one of the Elves.

At first, Sam ignored him, fervently wishing everyone would just leave him be; but they persisted until he was left with no choice but to respond. “It told me things I didn’t realise before. It told me I failed Mr Frodo ‘cos I didn’t stop him from falling to it, that it’s my fault he’s gone. It told me that my friends think I betrayed them by not bringin’ him back whole!”

Tears fell as the loss of Frodo struck anew, at the pain he had caused everyone because of this, and at having to admit his faults to people he‘d once thought he could trust - who might now mock him. “It says lots of things and I don’t want to admit the truth of any of them, but it makes a sort of sense.”

"Of course I do," sneered the Ring.

The elven brethren were horrified at by both these revelations and the smug crowing of the memory-Ring.

“It speaks nonsense, Sam! It seeks only to cloud your mind and turn you from us,” the Elven intruder - Elrohir perhaps? - said. “You did more for Frodo than anyone would have believed possible. He survived the Quest and its aftermath, and now has solace from his tribulations. Frodo is dearly missed, but all know that he lives and finds comfort because of you!”

Elrohir drew closer, much to the anger of the Ring. He knelt before Sam and the hobbit finally saw his face. Clear grey eyes regarded him in earnest; the gentle voice of the graceful being fell on his ears. “It seeks to bewilder you, mellon nin. The Ring desires this one victory because you helped to thwart its Master, and now it has no other realm left to it but the kingdom of your mind. No one carries it without consequence, you know this. You saw yourself how it affected Frodo. Do not let it have its vengeance on you.”

Sam looked on the fair face of the Elf, heard the plea in his voice and struggled with his own confusion. He had seen what it did to Frodo, but hadn't that had been partly his fault because he didn’t stop it?

The Ring was enraged. "They entreat you to follow them, use pretty words and name you ‘friend’ , but do they really mean them? No! They scrape at your feet because they have been ordered to by their betters. But they hate it!"

Elrohir's gaze did not waver from Sam’s brown eyes, and now Elladan joined them both, kneeling so that the former Ring-bearer could see the honesty on his countenance as well.

But their Enemy would not give up. It now focussed its attention on the two interlopers who were attempting to steal its prize.

"Coddlers of trees! You are too forgiving of such a pathetic creature! Have not his actions ensured your fickle sister's eternal desertion? This should anger you! And his victory at my Master’s expense has also made it imperative for the Elves to leave Middle Earth: you cannot remain here now with the Elven Rings gone as well. You were too reliant on their powers and are now helpless without them. When you leave, the lands your kind fought and died for over many Ages will dwindle and decay; your hard labours all for naught!"

At these words, Elrohir's eyes hardened visibly, and his fists clenched. Alarmed, Sam drew back, horrified that he may have anything to do with the Lady Arwen‘s fate. It was Elladan, laying a hand on his brother’s shoulder, that calmed him.

“Peace,gwanunig nin, he said softly. Elladan then reached out to the hobbit once more. “Samwise, the Elves would have left Middle Earth regardless of the outcome of the War. Yes, many of us leave now because our power dwindles, and many more will leave in the years to come. But this would also have been true if Sauron had been victorious. The only difference in that event would be that we would not have lingered as long to bid those we love farewell.”

"That is because Elves are cowards! You speak of loved ones, yet you would abandon them to their fate in their hour of need? I scorn your false sentiments!"

Sam yelped in fright as Elrohir rose swiftly, fury in his face, and turned on the Ring. “Desist with your poison, foul thing! You know not of what you speak!”

It gurgled with laughter, forcing Elladan to rise and refrain his brother from any further outburst. “Your anger fuels its strength, Elrohir. You must remain calm if we are to succeed in our Quest.”

They dropped to eye level once more, and Sam watched Elrohir warily as Elladan spoke.

“Do not be swayed by its words, Samwise. Our kindred would not have abandoned Middle Earth so dishonourably. If Sauron had been victorious Elvenkind would have been hunted for wicked purposes that are best spoken of no further: suffice to say that our capture may have brought unspeakable torments to all other peoples. We would not have left you for anything less.”

“My brother speaks truly, mellon nin,” added Elrohir, who, Sam was relieved to see, had regained his composure. “As for our sister: Arwen made her Choice long before you were born. It is difficult for us knowing that she will one day accept the Gift of Men, but long has she awaited the fulfilment of her heart’s desire - accepting her place at Aragorn’s side as his wife and Queen. Your part in Sauron’s downfall helped to make her happiness possible, and we rejoice in that, for she would have faded - even in Valinor itself - if she were parted from him. That we could not have borne.”

There was such depth of passion in Elrohir's voice as he spoke of his sister, such love and affection, that Sam gazed at him in wonder. The fair brothers looked on him without scorn or hate, he could see that now, and his mind grappled with this new clarity.

They keep call me 'mellon nin'. They wouldn’t do that if I were such a bother to them, surely? And if they’re telling the truth, then maybe I was wrong about everything else!

Hope flickered anew in his heart, and a fair golden light began to shimmer into existence around him.

Which incensed his true Enemy.

"You are a fool if you believe them, stunted one! They lie to your very face and you place your faith in them? Where are your so-called loved ones? The family you treat with so much disdain during the wistful preoccupations of your absent friend? Where are his kin to bless you with their undeserved forgiveness? What of your petty ruler, and the rest of your ragtag Fellowship? They are the ones whose presence should matter to you - not these remnant children of a disappearing race!"

At the memory of the hurt Sam had seen on his Rosie’s face when his other self had ignored her approach in Bag End's garden, his newborn hope flickered. What right did he have to redemption when he treated his kin in such a fashion? He didn’t deserve their love or forgiveness. He hung his aching head in despair.

Despair which increased when Elladan rose and departed without a word. The Ring, flushed with its seeming success, began to mock the remaining elven twin.

"You see? Already these feeble ones abandon you! They know the truth when it falls on their pointed ears!"

Elrohir gently grasped his chin and forced his head up. “Do not lose hope, Harthad Uluithiad. All is not as it seems.”

"It seems," hissed their Enemy, "that the Elves hold true to their nature and flee in the face of defeat!"

But Elrohir would not make the mistake of letting it goad him into foolish actions again. Ignored it, he concentrated instead on Sam’s troubled face; the Hobbit was rubbing his patchy scalp as if it pained him.

"Or has your second self gone in search of Isildur’s heir? We may wait a long time for his return in that case!"

Distracted, Elrohir turned his attention temporarily from Sam. “You seem to take a particular interest in the absence of Elessar. Why is that?”

Momentarily thrown by the question, the Ring did not immediately respond. Then:

"I merely wish to impress upon this worthless one the futility of waiting for his King’s assistance! Who are you to question me thus, faint-hearted lover of trees?"

“His King is my brother and I shall therefore question you if I wish. It is my right as his kin. Why do you keep referring to Aragorn?”

"I have already told you why, vermin of Imladris! Do not test my patience any further or I will make you rue your impertinence."

“I do not believe that is your true reason. I believe you are angered that Aragorn is not here because you wish him to watch your victory over his beloved friend. You wish to see him suffer too!”

Sam was stilled by this. Could it be? It certainly made sense; Strider laboured to save both Frodo and himself on their return from the Sammath Naur, hadn't. He wrote to Sam often - even made him a Counsellor of the North Kingdom last year! He wouldn’t have done that if he secretly hated him. And the Ring had been calling old Strider some nasty names, so it must be angry at him too. Angry that he rules what it thinks rightfully belongs to its Master.

"Lies! I do not deny that I despise the one you claim as brother; yet I speak of him only to show the halfwit what a fool he is to place his faith in that particular mortal. After all, does not the Usurper's refusal to rush to aid of his so-called ‘friend’ speaks volumes, witless one?"

“Don’t you speak to him like that,” came the quiet but firm voice of the Mayor of Michel Delving. “I won’t be having it no more!”

Surprised at the intercession on his behalf, Elrohir returned his attention to Sam, and found him wearing a look of silent determination.

This was more like it!

The Ring, too, faltered in surprise.

"What did you say to me, Master Halfwit? I grow tired of your continued disrespect."

“My Gaffer always said respect had to be earned, it’s not to be handed out freely like a cup of tea. You haven’t earned my respect, so if my lack of it upsets you then that gladdens my heart!”

The Elven Lord of Rivendell wanted to sing with joy. Sam’s innate Hobbit sense had finally taken a stance in their battle, and the cheeky gardener had just given one of the most feared items in creation a sound telling-off! It could not be long now before the battle was won!

This hope was reinforced with the return of his brother, throwing the Ring  into further turmoil.

“It is done, muindor nin, whispered Elladan.

"What is the meaning of this, Elf spawn? How dare you show your face here again!"

Sam had missed Elladan's words as the Ring raged at them; he had to put his hands over his ears when it boomed in affront at Elladan‘s reappearance. But the brothers paid it no heed, and he admired their fortitude. Wish I could shut it off so easily, he thought, wincing in pain as its voice spiralled higher still.

Cool hands were laid on his forehead then, and a soothing sensation invaded him, easing the hurts of his head.

“Open your mind, Sam,” Elladan told him with a gentle smile. “Feel the presence of those who love you.”

He didn’t know what Elladan meant. Open his mind? It seemed his mind was already open to anyone who wanted to drop in for a visit; how could he open it anymore? Not that he saw anyone else here anyway, except those already present.

But suddenly he was aware of something. He couldn’t see it or hear it, but he felt … something. It approached him like a great wave and enveloped him completely, making him gasp at its intensity.

And so he finally felt the presence of those who loved him. He saw the love on his Rosie’s face when they married; heard Merry and Pippin’s laughter at his refusal to dress like a ‘dandy-Hobbit’ at an official Mayoral appearance last year; felt Elanor’s little head resting on his strong shoulder when she lost a milk tooth after falling head first on the garden path, and he had promised to save it for a blessing by the Elves. So much friendship, so much love washed over him that he thought he must burst from the joy of it!

His golden glow exploded further from him, entwining with the silver ones of the Elves -of his friends.

He was not hated or despised - he was loved! His family had come for him, Merry and Pippin were here, he could feel them. His hope was replenished and the Ring could hurt him no more!

Elladan and Elrohir rose, each reaching for one of his hands, which he gave gladly. “Let us leave this barren place, Samwise the Stout-hearted. It is not for the likes of you. Your family awaits us and we must not disappoint them!”

Sam’s face glowed with relief and joy. He had found his escape, he was finally going home!

It was the final straw for their common foe: the Ring was undone by the onslaught of happiness, its futile screams at the trio slowly died as it began to fade and they to return to the bedroom of Bag End.

But not before Sam and the Elven Lords heard its parting shot.

"You may have won this battle Master Halfwit, but the War between us is not over. I will always be here. Do not forget…"

*~*~*~*

Sam slowly opened his eyes, and thought his blurry vision was deceiving him upon finding himself in his own bed in Bag End.

What happened? Hadn’t he just went to sleep in Frogmorton? How did he get here?

He tried to move his head, but found it held in place by several large hands. Very large hands.

Confusion reigned. What in all the Shire was going on? Those weren’t his Rosie hands and no mistake!

He blinked a few times, trying to focus his vision so he could at least look up properly and see who his gaolers were, when a distinctly Elvish voice said: “Mae Govannen, Samwise Gamgee. Welcome back.”

His head was duly released, and he saw to his amazement two identical dark heads bending over him. The light of the stars was in their eyes, the warmth of the sun on their smiling lips. He felt an inexplicable kinship with them that he couldn’t quite understand.

Wait a minute, wasn’t I just dreaming about Elves? he asked himself. Mr Frodo would laugh and tell him that were nothing new - if he were here!

Suddenly, the elves moved back as a pack of anxious hobbits descended on him.

“Sam, me dear!” came the anxious voice of his wife; her pretty face shone with relief.

“Sam-dad! You’re back,” was the yell from his golden-haired eldest child, looking as lovely as the flower she’d been named after.

“Samwise Gamgee!” came the stern voice of ... Merry? “Don’t you ever do that to me again! You had me worried half to death! I must have written to half of ...”

But Sam never found out who he’d written to because a green-eyed Thain came bouncing into view, shoving his cousin out of the way. “Oh, don’t mind him, Sam. He just hates it when someone else is the centre of attention!” Pippin’s cheeky remark earned him a glare from the Master of Buckland.

Weak and groggy, he didn't feel up to much of a conversation with so many people. “Water,” he croaked, and Elanor complied with delight, handing the glass to her mother who helped him as he sipped it greedily.

“Not too much at once, Master Gamgee.” He rolled his head slightly to the left to find the smiling elves. “We do not want all our hard work undone by you choking on your first sustenance.”

Sam looked at him rather dubiously. “This isn’t sustenance,” he managed to say. “A nice bowl of mushroom soup and some of Rosie’s fresh baked bread - that’s sustenance.”

“See Merry, he’s thinking of his stomach less than a minute after waking up! He‘s back to his old Hobbit self already!” cried Pippin, laughing with glee.

The others all joined in with his merriment and Sam leaned back, letting them have their moment. He wasn’t sure what was going on, or why he was so drained, but he was relieved to see his kin and his friends. He had the feeling it had been some time since he had seen them last and, as his eyes closed in peaceful slumber, he knew he had some questions to ask when he was fit for the challenge of doing so.

                                                                         XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Mellon nin - My friend

Muindor nin - My Brother

Gwanunig nin - My twin

Harthad Uluithiad - Hope Unquenchable

Mae govannen - Well Met

Author's Note: Two more chapters to go. Some loose ends to tie up, some final issues unresolved. Until tomorrow ….





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