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The Purple Path  by Dreamflower

B2MeM Prompt and Path: The Purple Path, prompt: Tyranny [Third Square]
Format: Drabble series (12 True Drabbles, 1,200 words total)
Genre: Gapfiller, Character study
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Canonical character death
Characters: Lotho Sackville-Baggins, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, Saruman, Gríma Wormtongue
Pairings: n/a
Creator’s Notes (optional):Drabble #3 is Lotho's POV of an event that took place in my early story "A Place for Gandalf".
It's a part of my headcanon that in his business dealings with Lotho Sackville-Baggins, Saruman called himself "Mr. White".
Summary: Lotho Sackville-Baggins was destined to grow up to rule the Shire...for a while.

The Rise and Fall of a Tyrant

Lotho finished his toffee, and glared at the baby. It still had some, gumming and slobbering all over it!

He watched angrily. Toffee was stuck to its hand; it shook its hand and then stuffed it in its mouth slobbering and giggling. Stupid baby! The toffee should be Lotho's!

He stomped over and grabbed the baby's arm to take its candy. "Gimme!" he shouted. To his surprise, the baby yanked its arm free and glared at him. He tried to snatch it again, but the baby flailed its arm and the toffee stuck in Lotho's hair.

"Mommy!" Lotho screeched.

Lotho kicked the stones in the road as he plodded up the lane. He was in an ill mood. While his father was doing business with the miller Sandyman, Lotho had been trying to lure Sandyman's son Ted off for a little fun and mischief. Ted was always willing to do Lotho's bidding, and a coin or two usually overcame any reluctance for some of Lotho's more questionable ideas.

But today his father sent him off. "The lad's working. Find something else to do with yourself."

One day he'd be his own boss; no one would tell him what to do.

Lotho sprang to his feet and ran back down the road, his hand clamped to his bloody nose. Frodo had never fought back before! And just because he'd pushed that little Brandybuck brat down. Who knew Frodo could move that fast? Just wait until he told his mother!

But then he paused. The sprat he'd shoved was Merry Brandybuck, the Master of Buckland's grandson! It would make no difference to his mother, but his father would likely object. His father's biggest rule was "Don't make trouble for me."

So...he was hit in the face by a ball! That would work...

Lotho and Ted Sandyman were ensconced in a table in the corner of The Ivy Bush. Lotho was holding forth on his exploits with the lasses. "So then I bumped into her and made her drop her basket. When she bent over to pick it up, I bent over to..." he snickered, "help her. I got a good look, believe me. She filled her bodice out very nicely." He cupped his hands, leering. "She knew what I saw, and she didn't say a word. I'm sure she liked it."

Ted chortled. "O' course she did, a rich hobbit like you?"

"What do you want?" Lotho asked rudely as he stood in the door.

Frodo just looked down his nose. "I have a matter of business to discuss with you and your mother."

Lobelia came up behind her son. "What sort of business? We don't acknowledge you as the Family Head." Her look was even more sour than that of her son.

"Several years ago, Otho made a standing offer for the purchase of Bag End. I was wondering if that offer still stood?"

Lobelia's eyes widened. "Bag End?"

Lotho schooled his face. "Come in, Frodo, and we can discuss it."

Lotho Sackville-Baggins was enjoying himself very much. He knew very well his cousin dreaded his random visits to "inspect" his new property. He knew that Frodo was too polite to refuse him. And now the time was nearly at hand.

They wandered around Bag End, his mother commenting on the changes she'd have made. She wanted to get rid of the stuff in the wizard's room that fool Bilbo had made. He wasn't so sure. After all, he was by the way of soon doing business with a Man from down South; it would make a nice accommodation for him.

"That’s right, Chief,” Sandyman said, “he said you was a bottom feeder, like a carp. Everyone there was laughing their fool heads off over it.”

Lotho pursed his lips. "He did, did he?" He couldn't have people mocking him in the inns. People had no right to ridicule him. He was the richest hobbit in the Shire now, what with the pipeweed he'd been sending out of the Shire. People should treat him with respect. It was his due.

Time to send his Big Men out to shut down the inns; if anyone got hurt it wouldn't be his fault.

Damn the Thain! And damn Bolger and his rebels! Lotho was the Chief, the Head Shirriff! But people were laughing at Bolger's exploits, laughing at him! He had to put an end to this soon.

There was a knock at the door. Sandyman came in, dragging a miserable looking hobbit behind him. "This here's my cousin Marco Muddifoot. Bolger don't know him."

Lotho grinned. "Mr. Muddifoot, you are going to worm your way into Bolger's rebels and lead them into my trap."

"Why would I do that?"

"I'm your mother's new landlord; she wouldn't do well out in the cold."

Mr. White had not looked so prepossessing as Lotho had imagined him, but he had been travelling a long way, and he had been a good deal of profitable help. The ragged servant behind him looked even worse. ""Mr. White! Your people told me you would be arriving today! Welcome to Bag End! I hope you will be comfortable in my abode."

"Thank you, Mr. Sackville-Baggins. The road has been long and uncomfortable, and travelling conditions are deplorable these days!"

Lotho was glad now that he'd preserved that room for Big Folk. He hoped Mr. White would be comfortable there.

Lotho was wrong. Mr. White didn't like the "smell" of the room. Lotho couldn't smell anything. It made no difference to Mr. White. The guest took his room, and Lotho found himself sleeping in one of the smaller guest rooms.

He found it hard to assert himself with the Big Man; when Mr. White spoke it was hard to disagree with him. He always sounded so reasonable until Lotho thought about it later. And now those Men who had been so useful looked to Mr. White and refused to obey Lotho. Sometimes he wondered why they had ever obeyed him.

He was a prisoner in Bag End. He hadn't been allowed out of his room since the day they had taken his mother away. Lobelia had been suspicious of the newcomers all along, and grew more and more strident.

He'd tried to dissuade her, when she began to object to those sheds in the garden. Granted, they were an eyesore, but it wasn't worth objecting. Not when the Men were so unpredictable. It was too dangerous.

He watched out the window appalled, as they dragged her off. What had he done? Why had he brought these people to the Shire?

He had lost track of time. He'd only been getting one meal a day, nothing but scraps. That horrible creature called "Worm" was the one who brought it to him. Worm stood leering over him as he choked down his meagre meal. But now his stomach was cramping. He had seen neither Worm nor food for three days and could barely move from his bed.

Just then the door opened, and Worm entered, but not with food.

The Man came over and lifted a pillow from the bed.

Lotho was too weak to resist as it descended over his face.


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