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Recaptured!: 14. Poppy Paste
Pippin had eventually gone back to sleep after Merry was
taken off into the night, but only after Aragorn fed him some more poppy paste
and Legolas had rocked him gently for nearly an hour. Legolas then stayed by
him while the others conferred with Treebeard and King Théoden about how to
manage Isengard and the dethroned wizard.
The next morning, having had a few hours of sleep Gandalf
collected Aragorn and Gimli and returned to the guardroom. "I have to
decide what can be done for Peregrin. I have been avoiding this issue, hoping
to learn more but I cannot delay any longer."
Legolas woke Pippin and carrying him over, sat him in the
middle of the table. The hobbit no longer had any chains on as Gimli had
removed them all and he was now dressed in one of Aragorn's spare shirts which
was ridiculously too big for him. Legolas had tied the empty sleeve, which
would not fit over his broken arm, around the middle of the shirt to hitch it
up. The other sleeve was rolled over several times, but still covered his hand.
Pippin looked around fearfully at the four steady gazes.
Aragorn touched him gently on the damaged wrist and shrugged his shoulders
questioningly. Pippin cringed away at the touch, trying to back off the table
away from Aragorn. Gimli held him in place.
Aragorn shook his head. "I was just trying to ascertain
if he was in pain, but he seems terrified."
"Yes, this is hopeless," Gandalf agreed.
"Legolas you will have to speak to him again and try to calm him. Just
stay on the outer reaches of his thoughts and you should not encounter anything
more disturbing than Pippin being hungry or missing Merry."
Legolas took Pippin’s face firmly in his hands and dipped
into the first layer of consciousness. ‘Pippin, it’s Legolas, say my name
‘legolas!’ Pippin was getting used to this initial
contact. ‘what i did do?’ Pippin sounded really afraid. ‘all angry at
i – sorry – sorry!’ Pippin was not used to being the centre of attention
without having committed some misdemeanour and now everyone was looking at him
and Merry was gone, so he must have done something really bad. Perhaps it was
the terrible voice in his head, he didn’t really understand it, he just knew it
‘No one is angry with you, Pip’ Legolas was sad that
this innocent creature felt so ill of himself. ‘We all just want to help you
– you’ve been ill, but it wasn’t your fault.’
‘Gandalf angry at i?’
‘No Pippin, Gandalf is not angry with you!’
‘make Merry go way - i bad!’
‘No, he did not send Merry away to punish you, Pippin.’
Legolas explained gently. ‘is that what you thought? Gandalf is not cross
with you, I promise. Why would he be?’
‘cause dead he. bal-bal-grog was it come? woke up it - i
fault at it – bad– sorry, sorry!
Legolas realised no one had actually explained to Pippin
about Gandalf’s resurrection and he didn’t want to have to try and put it in
Pippin terms now. ‘No! Gandalf is not dead! The Balrog did not kill him and
he is not angry with you! Understand?’
‘legolas angry at i?’
‘No one is angry with you, Pippin, truly.’ Legolas
calmed the tone of his thoughts. ‘Gandalf is going to talk to you. In your
head like I do. But do not struggle against him, try to keep very still. He
will not hurt you, but his mind is very big and you might be a bit frightened.’
‘frighted? what do to i?’
‘Nothing, He is just going to talk to you. All right?’
‘get Merry come back?’
Legolas sighed, Pippin could be very single minded
sometimes. ‘Later - now be still and let Gandalf talk to you.’
Legolas withdrew and spoke to the rest of the company.
"He thought he’d done something bad because everyone was looking at him.
He also believes Gandalf that you are dead because of the Balrog and that it
was his fault and that you took Merry away to punish him."
"Oh dear," the wizard sighed. "Quite a
catalogue of sins for a small hobbit to bear. Is he in any pain from his
"He does not complain, but yes I could feel the
constant throb." Legolas stroked Pippin’s curls absent-mindedly. "He
is more anguished about what he might have done."
"I could give him some more opium," Aragorn looked
critically at the shivering little hobbit, "but I fear he is starting to
get too accustomed to it."
"It might be best to give him some now." Gandalf
was still unsure about invading Pippin’s mind. "If it makes him a little
disorientated when I reach inside his head that would be for the best. Wizards
do not communicate in quite the way the elves do. I always try to avoid mind touching
with unworldly creatures like hobbits, their minds seem too fragile. But since
this Quest began I have learned they are more stoic than I used to give them
"Is that why Saruman did not look into the hobbits'
minds to take information from them?" Gimli asked. "Would he have
just crushed their minds?"
"Not necessarily, Gimli," Gandalf watched as
Aragorn gave Pippin some more of the potent paste, feeding it to him from his
finger. "Saruman may have been wary of crushing their minds, but in any
event, mind touching cannot be used to elict information from another any more
than torture will necessarily make someone speak. the subject has to offer the
Gandalf waited a little longer until Pippin became a little
drowsy as the paste took effect. The hobbit seemed to enjoy the stuff now,
perhaps he had had a bit too much. "I think he's getting addicted to that
medicine, Aragorn." Legolas said. He had also observed that Pippin seemed
to relish the poppy mixture.
"Yes, I know," the ranger agreed. "I'll not
give him any more."
Legolas spoke to the hobbit again briefly. 'Pippin are
you ready to talk to Gandalf?'
'no… go not talk… no one…shout me!' He slumped
forward onto Legolas as though drunk.
Pippin sit up! Legolas sat him upright again. 'Try
'…will… i feel too sssshhhh…s'gandalf… sssshhhhh…'
Legolas withdrew. "I think you'll find him very
relaxed," he said to Gandalf. "Oh and one suggestion."
"What's that?" The wizard asked turning Pippin
around and looking at him sternly.
"You could smile at him."
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