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Recaptured!: 33. Wraithride
Pippin recognised the man who had been in the great hall
when he had been asked to write on the slate what he thought of Strider. He
suspected from what he had seen that day, the way people were looking at the
man and their expressions, that he was not very well liked. Earlier, when he
had first seen him, he had just prodded Pippin with his foot and now he was
pulling Merry around, Pippin was certain he was not a good person.
The man pulled him up by his arm but Pippin had flopped down
again like one of the marionettes when no one is holding its strings he
thought. He was quickly pulled up to his knees again and as the man held him
there, Merry managed to pull away. Pippin was pleased with that. But then Merry
came back, Pippin realised sadly it was probably for him and the man kicked
Merry to his knees and pulled their hands together and held them both by their
Then he came!
Pippin quaked in terror, both in his mind and, as the
paralysis was starting to wear off now the glass ball was away from him, in his
body as well.
The wraith was still the terrifying apparition that had
chased the four hobbits in the Shire and had come for them in Bree, but the
steed it now rode was even more dreadful. It was like a great featherless bird
with long claws and a hideous black scaled body, covered with scars. The stench
of it was nauseating and Pippin was certain he would be sick.
Then the wraith had reached out what appeared to be an empty
sleeve of its black robe, but Pippin felt a bony grip seize around his wrist,
pulling him out of Merry's grasp and lifting him off the ground. As it drew him
in, he felt crushed against an unyielding skeleton that emanated evil and
hatred. It drew the black cloak around him so that he could no longer see Merry
or anything else. He was held fast by terror and the living corpse that clasped
the little hobbit to its bosom. Pippin's body reacted for him and he vomited.
The necrophilic being made no reaction, but the act of being
physically sick shocked Pippin back into what was happening. Under the black as
night cloak he could see nothing and, in his permanent silence, the aura of
death was overwhelming. Pippin felt as if he had been put in his grave alive
and covered over with earth. He began to cry, silent stomach aching sobs and
could only think one coherent thought, Merry. He wanted
But there was no escape. Pippin felt the wraith rise up from
the battlements and in one last desperate attempt for freedom he pushed through
the darkness of the cloak and looked below. He saw Gandalf. Gandalf would save
him! But the wizard was turned towards Merry and the wraith was moving fast now
and they were high, too high for him to jump even if he could escape that icy,
The wraith became aware that his prisoner was looking out of
the cloak and quickly shrouded his gaze once more. Pippin felt bile rise in the
back of his throat at the stench, both of the filthy creature on which they
rode and the stink of his own vomit-covered clothes. He gagged once more and
The wraith caught hold of his face with its unseen skeletal
fingers, lifting Pippin's trembling face around and up in a disgusting parody
of Legolas's sweet touch, before they locked minds. 'YOU WILL NOT STRUGGLE! DO
NOT TRY TO RESIST. KEEP STILL OR I SHALL CAST YOU TO THE GROUND.'
The voice in his mind made Pippin gag once more, this time
with fear. It was the voice that Gandalf had cast out – it was back. In spite
of the dire warning of the voice, the tiny hobbit tried to push himself away
from the wraith's grasp. He would rather be dashed to the ground than to stay
in this nightmare.
The wraith did not throw him down, but rather clamped him
closer, causing frightening pain to course through the little body. Pippin
squealed mentally and, more from shock than obedience, froze into stillness.
It was a long while before the wraith spoke again. 'WE NEAR
THE BORDERS OF MORDOR. YOU WILL SOON BE AT DISPOSAL OF THE MASTER, MY LORD SAURON.'
Pippin made no reply.
'I HEAR THE ECHOES OF YOUR SMALL MIND. THE DARK LORD WILL
SOON CONQUER THE DISARRAY THERE AND TAKE WHAT HE NEEDS. YOUR SOUL IS CLUTTERED
WITH MEANINGLESS THOUGHTS OF OTHERS, FRIVOLITIES AND NONSENSE. IT WILL BE
PURGED. YOU WILL LEARN THE MEANING OF PAIN AND OBEDIENCE.'
Pippin knew now he had to struggle, he could not just lie
down and die or cast his body to be broken on the ground, Merry would fight, so
must he. He had to find Legolas. But he was hurting so badly, the grip of the
wraith had never lessened and he was so afraid. And would the elf want to help
him, it was his own fault this had happened, he had stolen the glass ball and
looked at it, perhaps Legolas and the others would think he had got what he
But no, after all that had gone before, they would not
abandon him. He had to believe that. Pippin took a deep breath, trying to
ignore the sickening stench. He concentrated as hard as he ever had in all his
life, frantically looking for the elf's mind and trying to send something to
The wraith seemed to sense his purpose and clamped his
little consciousness in, suffocating it with his own.
In desperation Pippin managed to squeal out a few tumbled
thoughts, …'legolas! i too 'fraid – hurted – please go help i – sorry i bad,
legolas where you? please where merry, please, please…'
The wraith realised that the halfling had managed to reach
out to the elf and pulled Pippin's face around roughly with an invisible hand
knotted in the brown curls. 'YOU WILL BE SILENT!' He drew back a great fist,
now made corporeal by the iron gauntlet in which it was clad.
'sorry, no hurt i 'gain! nooo! aiiieeeee!'
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