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Summary: With Ring-Frodo ready to end his life, Sam is faced with an impossible choice …
A double-Droubble and a half (450 words)
Chapter Ten: Alternatives
No! He couldn't do it. He couldn't! What sort of a hobbit would even think about biting off someone's finger?
A desperate one! came a thought unbidden. As desperate as you!
Revulsion flared in Sam's heart as he recognised the same insidious voice that had tried to tempt him back at Cirith Ungol.
The One Ring. It was trying to influence him - to convince him to attack his master!
As if he would leave Mr Frodo with such an ugly reminder of his one moment of weakness throughout this long, difficult journey! No. It would not be Samwise Gamgee who left a mark of shame on his poor, dear master - not when he didn't even deserve it!
The Ring was only trying to distract the two hobbits long enough for its own master's servants to arrive.
Sam wanted to lash out and hurt it.
You cannot kill me. But you may yet bear me as before … Claim me for yourself, Samwise the Strong! Bear me, and together we shall end Frodo's suffering. It is the only way to save him!
No! He'd sooner start wearing boots like them cracked Bucklanders than wear the Ring again. And he'd certainly never maim his master.
But maybe he could maim the Ring?
It was a wild idea; something so audacious, so desperate, that he would never have dared it otherwise.
His eyes fell on the pack he'd shrugged off minutes ago; it lay a mere foot away to his right. With a silent prayer to the Lady Elbereth that she forgive him for the defilement to come, and that Ring-Frodo wait just a minute longer before slicing his neck, Sam's fingers crept carefully towards it. Sting pressed further into his neck, drawing a warm trickle of blood and, fearing discovery, his hand stilled.
"No longer will you plague my steps, lusting after that which you were never worthy to bear!" growled a dangerous voice in his ear. Sam's heart pounded furiously against his ribs. Had his opponent guessed his intent?
But no. Ring-Frodo merely continued to hiss insults in his ear, as if preparing himself for the final draw of the blade.
Why did he falter? Was his master fighting its influence still, sickened at the thought of killing his own dear friend?
This thought spurred him on. Robbed of the facility to respond, Sam's aching, bloody hand resumed its dangerous journey and soon encountered the hardy fabric of the pack. Carefully drawing back the flap, fingers crept inside, skimming over the elven cloak and the small bread knife until, finally, he located the cool, elegant form of his quarry.
The Phial of Galadriel …
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