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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: Primal instincts take over as Sam fights to cling to his life …

A double-Droubble and a half (450 words)

Chapter Six: Survival

With all the smoke and ash filling the glowing red chamber, it was already difficult to breathe. Having his oxygen further depleted by a raging hobbit bent on crushing the life from him sent Sam into a panic. He tried to gain some footing to push himself up as he scrabbled at Ring-Frodo’s restraining arms; to force the other hobbit into releasing his grip. Ring-Frodo’s arms only tightened, and this time, he locked both legs around Sam’s torso, holding him securely in place.

Spots danced before the gardener’s eyes as the pressure to his throat mounted. Ring-Frodo was grunting with the effort it took to subdue his victim, and Sam’s desperate need to inhale was becoming ever more urgent …

Being deprived of air was beginning to have the strangest effect, as the dying gardener soon discovered. To him, it felt like he was two people: one hobbit, bucking madly on the precipice of the Sammath Naur as his master tried to kill him; and another, more rational hobbit, telling him to keep calm, and bemoaning Frodo’s terrible grief if his master ever realised that the Ring had made him murder his most loyal friend.

This thought anchored him as, dizzily, Sam fought for his life. Thrusting one hand under Ring-Frodo’s right leg, he pulled Sting free. The smooth blade slipped effortlessly from its scabbard and eased its way over Sam’s hip, then in between his chest and the back of Ring-Frodo’s knee.

Feeling the sudden coolness of metal against skin, the Ring-bearer clamped down harder with his legs, but Sam was now filled with the strength of the desperate; Ring-Frodo’s efforts were no match for his determination. In one jerky movement, he twisted his hand mid-motion and drew Sting sharply to him, slicing into the muscle and sinew of both struggling hobbits.

Ring-Frodo’s agonised yell was even more painful to Sam than the deep gash he had suffered himself - but the dangerous tactic had worked; he was freed at last! Rolling away from his incapacitated attacker, Sam pulled himself onto all fours, gasping and choking and as he clutched at both throat and blood-soaked chest.

Tightening his grip on Sting, he stumbled to his feet. Sam swayed unsteadily for a moment before righting himself; sharp hobbit ears followed a familiar voice warped by pain, and frantic eyes searched the ground for the matching pool of blood that would betray Ring-Frodo’s presence.

There!

A sob rose in his throat as Sam realised what had to be done to save his master. With his eyes locked on the growing stain, he raised his sword and swallowed heavily.

“I‘m sorry, Mr Frodo, sir. Forgive your Sam!”

And then he advanced …

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