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The Cusp of Victory  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 for my own enjoyment.

Summary: Victory is close in the Sammath Naur. But for whom?

A double-Droubble and a half (450 words)

Chapter Three: Sammath Naur

Sam plunged into the Sammath Naur. Deep rumblings shook the air, and he couldn’t tell if it was the rage of fire and rock ahead, or the wild beatings of his own fearful heart. Unable to see through the inky blackness, he withdrew the phial of Galadriel and held it aloft. But it remained pale and cold.

He cursed his luck. The lady’s starglass could be no light for him in this dark place - not in the very heart of Sauron’s dominion.

If only he’d thought to bring along a nice stick of wood for a torch!

Taking a few uncertain steps forward, he was startled by a sudden flash of red.

The Fires of Doom! Birthplace of the accursed Ring!

And soon to be the place of its undoing, if he knew his master …

In answer to his thoughts, redness flared again. It leapt upward, smiting the black roof and illuminating the tunnel with ruby fury. A rumour and a trouble, as of great engines, throbbed and laboured in depths unseen. The sound echoed down the tunnel towards Sam, a rumbling noise that seemed like the anger of Sauron himself, come to greet him with derision:

Thou art no more threat to me than a feather to the wind!

The light faded. Squaring his jaw in determination, Sam stepped forward. When flames next appeared, he spied Frodo standing tense and erect on the brink of the chasm, black against scarlet. Wild hope sprang to life in the gardener’s chest, leaping as far and true as the flames ahead.

It was almost over! No longer would his dear master suffer the violations of Sauron’s wicked jewel. Soon it would melt into the very fires that wrought it all those years ago. The One Ring and its creator would perish! Then they’d be no more threat to Frodo than … than …

Than a feather to the wind!

All that remained was for Frodo to do the deed itself. But his master wasn’t moving. He stood motionless on the very Crack of Doom itself as if hypnotised.

What was he doing? That Ring wouldn’t throw itself into the fire!

“Master!” cried Sam.

Finally, Frodo stirred and spoke, his voice clearer and more powerful than Sam had ever heard. It rose above the throb and turmoil inside the mountain.

“I have come,” he said. “But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!”

Horrified, Sam watched as Frodo put the Ring on his finger and disappeared.

The gardener gasped in utter dismay. The Ring had won! His master was consumed!

All was lost.

Or was it?

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Author’s Note: Some text and dialogue lifted from The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter 3: Mount Doom.





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