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Recaptured!: 2. Hobbit Hurling
Beta & Additional Material: Marigold
The parts of this story that switch to the Ents and the three hunters are edited versions from Tolkien's book. They are just to keep the story straight, although these characters will put in an appearance later. If you want more detail – go and read the books.
The Ents were striding along at a great pace. They had descended into a long fold of the land that fell away southward; now they began to climb up, and up, on to the high western ridge.
"To Isengard!" The Ents cried in many voices. "To Isengard!"
To Isengard! Though Isengard be ringed and barred with doors of stone;
Though Isengard be strong and hard, as cold as stone and bare as bone,
We go, we go, we go to war, to hew the stone and break the door;
For bole and bough are burning now, the furnace roars – we go to war!
To land of gloom with tramp of doom, with roll of drum, we come, we come;
To Isengard with doom we come!
With doom we come, with doom we come!
As they marched the whole of Fangorn awoke and the forest was rising, marching over the hills to war. There was a noise like wind in many branches. The Ents were drawing near the crest of the ridge now, and all song had ceased. Night fell, and there was silence: nothing was to be heard save a faint quiver of a whisper as of many drifting leaves. At last they stood at the summit and looked down into a dark pit: the great cleft at the end of the mountains: Nan Curunir, the Valley of Saruman.
"Night lies over Isengard," said Treebeard.
Pippin awoke partly from hunger, partly because he was being jostled about, to a lesser extent because it was noisy, but mainly because he was hurting a great deal. His left arm throbbed unremittingly and his wrist hurt so much he almost passed out again. He squinted and gazed around bleary-eyed, not really understanding what was happening.
He was in a dark, fire-lit cave. It looked and smelt like some kind of foundry. Orcs large and small were working at fuelling a mighty furnace and the clanging noise suggested they were forging and working with heavy iron just like the blacksmith's shop in Michel Delving. The jostling stopped suddenly as he made contact with the stone floor. His first coherent thought was for Merry. Where was Merry!
There was a "whump" noise beside him and a familiar warm body landed half across him. "Merry? Merry! Are you all right?"
Merry groaned a little and then managed to whisper, "I'm alive, if that counts." He pulled himself off his cousin and sat up. "How about you, I couldn't see what Saruman did to you, but I know he hurt you. I heard you cry out."
"My wrist hurts and it's lumpy and swollen." Pippin lifted up his arm so that Merry could see. "I think it might be broken."
"Poor Pip!" Merry gently held Pippin's hand and kissed the distended skin. It was the best he could offer under the circumstances.
"What about you Merry," Pippin couldn’t stop thinking about the dreadful beating that had been inflicted on his cousin. "They hurt you terribly, I saw the whole thing and I couldn't make them stop! I couldn’t say anything."
"I know Pip," Merry hugged his arms around his body trembling a little. "But there was nothing you or I could do to stop them. You were very brave not to say anything. It was the right thing to do. Remember that, whatever else might happen to us. Keep it secret, Pip."
"Where are we, Merry?" Pippin looked fearfully around him. Both he and Merry were still naked to the waist, although he was also now wearing his breeches again. Nevertheless, he felt very vulnerable. "What are they going to do to us here?"
"Saruman told Uglúk to put manacles on us." Merry whispered. Although the orcs were not paying much attention to them at the moment, he did not want that to change. "But there were none that would fit, they were all too big. So he told them to make some that would. I suppose that's what we're down here for. But then he told them to take us to his chamber afterwards and I don't think…"
Whatever Merry thought was cut short as a towering Uruk grabbed him with one hand wrapped in his blond curls and the other by grasping the seat of his breeches. "Watch!" The Uruk shouted at his companions. He threw Merry up into the air and the whole group hooted as he twisted to land catlike once more.
"Why does that amuse them so much?" The hobbit wondered. He stayed crouched on the floor ready to try and avoid being picked up and thrown again. It might be funny for the orcs to throw hobbits around but it was decidedly unpleasant to be thrown.
"I'll wager you a day's ration you can't drop it from that wall without breaking it."
"I'll take that wager – no I'll up it to two day's rations."
"I, Lugdush, I will wager a week's ration that I can drop both the little rats off that wall without breaking."
Merry scuttled on all fours over to Pippin, trying to get between his cousin and Lugdush. "No, don't do it!" He squeaked. "You'll lose, really, we will break!"
Lugdush, ignoring the warnings, scooped up a hobbit under each arm and climbed up the steps to the top of a 15-foot wall. Both the cousins were wriggling desperately and squealing that they could not be dropped from so high without damage, Merry almost frantic over the further harm that would be caused to Pippin’s wrist. But Lugdush paid no heed to their cries and held them both out over the side of the steep drop.
"Stop!" The hobbits never thought they would be glad to see Saruman, but he had entered the cavern and seen what was happening. "Your orders were to forge manacles for those things, not play with them. You witless pile of garbage."
Lugdush muttered a curse under his breath but tucked the frightened hobbits back under his arms and trudged down the stairs. He held Merry out to one of the smaller orcs working at a forge. "Here," he growled. "Put that in chains. Not about its feet, just the wrists and neck." Merry struggled to escape, but one of the Uruks came and held him tightly. Lugdush kept hold of Pippin even though the hobbit had given up wriggling, it served no purpose and it made his wrist hurt more.
"Then bring them to me in my chamber at once!" Saruman said it quietly, but the threat was there and both hobbits shivered. "No more playing – not until your Master has finished with these little toys."
Deep in Fangorn Forest the three hunters had finally caught up with the hobbit's trail. There plain for all to see were the footprints of two hobbits, one somewhat smaller than the other.
"This is good tidings," said Aragorn. "Yet the marks are two days old. And it seems that at this point the hobbits left the water-side.
They came at length to the steep abrupt end of Treebeard's hill "Let us go up and look about us!" said Legolas "I still feel my breath short." They climbed up the hill where Merry and Pippin had met Treebeard. "Wait!" Legolas had seen something. "Look there."
"Look at what?" said Gimli "I have not elf-eyes."
Aragorn and Gimli eventually saw what the elf had spotted; an old man moving slowly. It looked like an old beggar man walking wearily, leaning on a rough staff. He drew nearer.
"Well met!" said the old man, coming towards them. "And what may you be doing in these parts? An Elf, a Man and a Dwarf, all clad in elvish fashion."
"Saruman!" cried Gimli, springing towards him with axe in hand "Speak! Tell us where you have hidden our friends! What have you done with them?"
The old man was too quick for him. He leaped to the top of a large rock. There he stood, grown suddenly tall, towering above them. His hood and grey rags were flung away. His white garments shone. And then they knew him!
At last Aragorn stirred. "Gandalf!" he said. "Beyond all hope you return to us in our need! What veil was over my sight? Gandalf!"
Gandalf then recounted to the three hunters that their quest now lay along another path. For at that time Gandalf believed Merry and Pippin to be safely with Treebeard and the Ents. So the four set forth for Rohan and the battle of Helm's Deep.
"Come here, little ones." Saruman was still clad in white, but in his magnificent bed chamber he wore a silken robe caught about the waist with a single white sash.
Pippin and Merry, manacles welded to their wrists and iron collars about their necks from each of which dangled a length of chain, stood by the closed double doors that they had just been pushed through, reluctant to move anywhere except perhaps out the way they had come.
"This should tempt you." Saruman could probably have easily compelled the hobbits to move just by his own force of will, but this was a game to him. "Food." The wizard took a sugar-covered cake from a heavily laden table and breaking it in half he held out a piece each to the hungry pair.
Merry looked at his cousin with a clear message. "Please Merry." Pippin whispered cajolingly, "I'm so hungry." Merry's look softened a little – apart from the sleep inducing mushrooms, he too hadn't eaten for several days and for a hobbit that is a sore trial.
Pippin edged forward slowly until the cake was just in reach, snatched the morsel with his good hand and retreated. He tore the half a cake in half again and shoved one piece in his mouth and gave the other to Merry.
"Oh how touching." Saruman laughed. "Do you share everything?" He held out the other piece of cake again. "Come on, come and get it."
Pippin, having got the wonderful taste of sugar in his mouth, was now quite unable to resist. He edged forward again and reached out his manacled hands. This time Saruman pulled the treat away but grabbed the short chain between Pippin's manacles.
The little hobbit gasped with pain and nearly fainted as the metal cuff pulled on his broken wrist. Saruman smirked with sadistic pleasure and dragged his prize over to the large circular bed. He lifted Pippin up and locked the chain from his neck collar to an iron ring on the bedpost. With his almost predictable schizophrenic change the wizard then patted Pippin's curls and fed him the piece of cake.
Then Saruman turned his attention to Merry. "Come here halfling," he ordered. Merry looked down at his feet, afraid to meet the piercing eyes, but not wanting to give in. "You will do as I tell you, one way or another." Merry reluctantly walked over to stand at Saruman's feet, but would still not meet his gaze. Saruman caught hold of the chain on his collar and turned the hobbit around. "Your back is very painful, I don't doubt. If you do not want to add to that pain I suggest you learn a little more obedience."
"Nothing has changed." Merry looked down at his feet, although the defiance in his words was brave and unmistakable. "There is nothing I can tell you willingly or otherwise and I will do nothing willingly either."
"We shall see." Saruman was not used to such quiet, persistent rebellion in such a small creature. In any creature for that matter. He lifted Merry onto the bed and chained him next to Pippin. He then became light-hearted with them again and taking another sugar-coated cake, broke it in two and fed them each a piece.
"Now I shall taste the sugar." Saruman said and sitting on the bed between the two he pulled Pippin to him and pressed his lips onto the hobbit's, pushing his tongue searchingly into the small mouth. His other hand fell to the buttons of the breeches Pippin still wore and, unfastening them, pulled them free so that he could explore what lay beneath. Pippin was shocked and paralysed with fear at this treatment. He had never before so much as kissed a lass and this was quite beyond his realm of experience.
Leaving Pippin breathless after a few minutes, the wizard turned his attention to Merry, who was trying not to shake in fury at Saruman’s degrading abuse to Pippin. The older hobbit fought as Saruman pulled at his breeches, but the wizard caught the chain between the cruel manacles over a hook on the ornate bedhead, leaving Merry completely helpless. The breeches were thrown to the floor and Saruman fondled the small protesting body, running his hands over his chest and running his long nails into the whip wheals, making Merry cry out with pain.
Now the wizard pulled back from Merry and lifted Pippin onto his cousin. "Are you kissing cousins?" Saruman laughed at his own wit. "Let's see how well you share now." Pippin turned away from Merry to stare at Saruman in horror. "Come on little one." Saruman turned Pippin's head back towards Merry. "Show me how much you love your cousin." Pippin still hesitated, although he loved Merry dearly he had never kissed him on the lips, not properly, although he had thought sometimes it might be nice. "Or do you think he would like another thrashing instead."
That sealed it for Pippin. 'Better a kiss from me,' he thought 'than another whipping from Uglúk' He pressed down into Merry's lips, whispering before they met, "I don't want them to hurt you again Mer, don't hate me for this." He made the kiss as tender as Saruman's had been rough, gently pressing his lips against the unresisting soft mouth of his cousin.
Saruman stroked both of them as they kissed, running his hands salaciously over their naked bodies. "Well, so you do love each other." He smirked again. "It might be amusing to leave you together and see what you get up to on your own."
He lifted Pippin away from Merry and when the hobbit started to protest, he pointed a finger at him which shot a white flame. Pippin lay paralysed on his back, only his eyes able to move, as Saruman flipped Merry over onto his belly. For a moment he stroked the hobbit, running his hands down his back and over his buttocks. Then he fondled and kissed the paralysed Pippin beside him as if he wanted to devour the two little beings. "Perhaps now," he breathed, "you will understand who is the Master. Perhaps you now understand how powerless you are in my domain. You will tell me soon all I want to know. But if you do not I will have had some use from you."
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