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Recaptured!: 38. Misunderstandings
"Legolas! Legolas! Wake now… come back, you have slept
enough." Aragorn's voice seemed a long way away, but
the elf felt compelled to answer.
"The pain is diminished,
I will return." Legolas then realised that he had to stir as well and open
Master Elf." Gimli was by his side. "You have not slept for so very
long, but Gandalf is anxious for news."
he?" Legolas looked around and saw that he had been taken into a small
tent. "Where is Merry? Is he all right?"
"How are you,
first?" Aragorn looked sternly at the elf. "Whatever happened must
have been very traumatic or very painful, or perhaps both, to make you lose
"I am not
sure." Legolas drew a deep breath and rose to his feet, flexing his body
to check for any signs of weakness or damage. "It was certainly traumatic,
especially for the periain, but I feel no ill effects now. How fares young
Merry though? I tried to protect him and Pippin, but I could not keep them both
shielded, the strain was too great."
happened?" Gimli asked. "Gandalf has taken Merry to another tent, he
fell unconscious at the same time as you did."
"Is he awake
yet?" Legolas frowned. "I should like to see him right away."
"Perhaps if you
told us what occurred…" Aragorn suggested.
"I would rather
not speak of it, for the sake of the little ones," Legolas took a sip from
a cup of water that Gimli handed to him. "It was bad for them both, but I
think I saved Pippin from lasting physical harm. Merry may have been hurt in
the process, if not physically, then in other ways. I need to see him."
Aragorn and Gimli
obviously understood then what had happened, it did not need to be put into
words and they did not pursue it further. "Come, Merry was still sleeping,
when I last looked in upon him." Aragorn held back the flap of the tent,
"we will go and see if he is awake yet."
moment." Legolas put his hand to his head as if just remembering something
important. "I have to speak with Pippin. He will be very frightened that
we left him so suddenly. Legolas closed his eyes and made his silent call.
Can you hear me? It's Legolas.'
'legolas - where
you go at?
'I was – I had to
have a sleep – a rest – but I'm all right now.'
'you good? merry
good? not go hurted?'
'I'm not hurt and
I'm sure Merry will be all right too. I'm just going to see him now. Are you
"i – not hurt
– just – legolas? don't tell what did – it do…'
'It wasn't your
fault Pippin, but no, I won't tell the others. There is no need for them to
know. Try to put it out of your mind. It was a bad thing and you mustn't let it
make you feel bad. When you think about it, remember Merry being there with you
and only that.
'i try… i try
verery hard… will!'
'That's very good,
Pippin. You're a valiant hobbit. I'll go and see Merry now and talk to you in a
'yes… i hear-ing
'merry! i hear-ing
at you! you go good?'
'i go good – pip –
sorry legolas – not mean be in your head'
'It's all right
Merry. You can't help it. I think it's because we stayed together for so long
in such an emotional situation. You've become embedded, just like Pippin. I
don't need to be next to you now. But tell me, are you all right?'
'am -i not too
much bad – pippin not go hurt? please you feel bettrer now, pip?
'i go be betrter
merr… i hear you! i think you all time… merr!
'legolas? do you
go hear all my think-nings?'
'what 'bout i, legolas?
i go hear merr all times?
'I don't know,
it's never happened to me quite like this before.'
Legolas looked up
finally at the worried faces of Aragorn and Gimli now together with Gandalf who
had just arrived from Merry's tent. "I'm sorry to take a moment."
Legolas frowned at the querying looks. "Three way conversations take a
mean…" Gandalf shook his head with an 'I-told-you-so' expression on his
Legolas could not repress the little sigh of resignation. "I now have two
hobbits in my head.'
As Legolas and Merry
left his thoughts, promising to come back if he called, Pippin lay on the bed
shivering a little with the cold. He closed his eyes and thought about
snuggling up to Merry and just the dream images made him feel a little warmer.
He opened his eyes, it would not do to be too off-guard. The dreadful orc had
just come into the room again and was looking down at him.
"You ain't had
that done to ya afore. " Grutfley snarled at the trussed up halfling.
"I can tell. Yet yer don't cry, yer don't squirm, yer don't even
Pippin lay on his
belly trying to breathe evenly, wondering what the orc was saying and hoping it
was not important for him to know. His wrists were tethered to the bedpost and
the cords were cruelly tight, especially on his left wrist, which still ached
from the mending break. He watched the orc carefully, trying to make out from
his lip movements what he might be saying.
"What are ya?
Some kinda magic imp?" Grutfley was very suspicious of wizards and elves
or anything that smacked of enchantment. He had seen others turned into
unnatural things in his time. "Why're ya lookin’ at me? Stop it – ya
devil's spawn. Doncha put no spells on me!"
Pippin thought the
orc was about to attack him again as it grabbed hold of his hair. But all it
did was to turn his face into the pillow and move away again. Pippin could not
breathe very well in that position and the pillow stank of orc and was filthy
dirty, so after a moment he dared to turn his head again and found he was
staring straight into the orc's eyes once more.
"All right! I'll
untie yer, just don't try and run off though." Grutfley drew his long
bladed knife. "I know ya got some magic stopping me from hurtin' ya. I'll
let youse be and youse let me be."
Pippin's eyes grew
wider. He was very afraid now. The knife could easily split him from top to toe
and he was lying vulnerably tethered to the bed with no clothes on. He could
not tear his gaze away from the orc as it came closer.
"Stop that! I'll
let ya up." Grutfley was feeling very unnerved now, first by the silence
of this strange little being that seemed to be impervious to all his best
ministrations and secondly by the wide, staring, big eyes that seemed to be
stabbing him, accusing him. "I'm only obeying orders. You understand that,
it ain't my say-so, what ever gets done by me – is just what I'm told."
The orc leaned over
Pippin with the knife poised. The hobbit's eyes narrowed now, waiting for the
attack. He would not call Legolas or Merry, they could not save him from the
orc's knife, and he would not ask it of them. But the attack did not come.
Instead the orc leaned further over and cut the cords binding him to the bed.
As soon as he was free, Pippin got to his hands and knees, looking wildly
around him for an escape route.
Grutfley could have
sworn that as he leaned over to set the odd creature free, it was trying to
cast a spell on him. Now it was crouched, ready to spring like some little
demon conjured up to torment him. "Here, have yer things back."
Grutfley flung the halfling's clothes at it and stood back, watching cautiously
as it quickly pulled its shirt and britches on, glad that it had at least
stopped staring at him.
Pippin wondered what
the orc had in store for him next. It had untied him and given him back his
clothes so it was probably going to take him somewhere. Pippin decided it would
be best to wait and see what happened, so he sat down cross-legged in the
middle of the big bed and watched warily to see what the orc would do.
Smagnu banged on the
door and entered at the same time. "Ain’t yer done yet?" He was bored
and more than a little suspicious with waiting and felt that Grutfley had had
quite long enough to do what he wanted privacy for. "We need to report back
before too long. They’ll wanna see some progress."
"I ain't gonna
be responsible." Grutfley complained. "That thing ain't natural –
it's some kinda demon or imp. I think it's tryin' to put a spell on me."
stupid." Smagnu snorted. "Yer just making excuses because youse ain't
done yer job, this thing ain’t ready yet, is it?"
fault." Grutfley jerked a thumb at Pippin. "It's been tormenting me
with its spells. Don't matter how much I does to it, it don't hurt it and it
keeps staring at me all the time, trying to witch me."
"Ha! So the
great tormentor has become the tormented." Smagnu gave a sneering laugh.
He was not afraid of the little creature in spite of Grutfley's reservations.
"That's priceless that is! The meanest, most cruel orc in the tower is
scared of a tiny, harmless little insect!"
Pippin looked from
one to the other as the orcs carried on their discussion. He had no doubt that
he was the subject again, but the big Uruk seemed to be very amused about
something and the other was behaving in an erratic and rather nervous fashion.
He felt his skin prickle all over and his heart race with fear waiting for
something to happen. ‘Sure enough the big Uruk suddenly marched over and picked
him up by the scruff of his shirt and braces. Pippin kept very still. He had
learned over the past weeks not to move in that situation.
Heads or tails?" Smagnu laughed and lifted Pippin up higher, catching hold
of the seat of his britches with his other hand. "Or are you afraid that
it’ll leap up and devour you?"
"Don't you throw
that thing at me!" Grutfley backed away with his hand held up.
"Yer’ll drop it anyway and that'll break it, then we'll both be for
"I thought you
said it wouldn't break, no matter what you did to it." Smagnu was enjoying
the other's obvious discomfort and embarrassment. "Anyway, if it breaks,
it's down to you. Here catch!"
He hurled Pippin high
up in the air, aiming to lob him at Grutfley, who, backing away in panic,
tripped and landed on his backside on the floor. Pippin tumbled through the
air, twisting in natural hobbit fashion and landed lightly on all fours in
front of Grutfley. He stayed crouched down looking at the smaller orc, unsure
what to do next.
Both the orcs looked
open mouthed at the hobbit. "See!" said Grutfley eventually, "I
told you it's some sort of fugging little demon. Not a mark on it! I ain't
touching it no more!"
"It's all very
suspicious!" agreed Smagnu, picking Pippin up again and holding him at
arm's length. "That should've broke its neck, It's probably some kind of
trap. Something Himself dreamed up to test us out mebbe. Let's get shot of it
soon as possible. We'll take it back and say it's finished."
know it ain't!" Grutfley protested.
"Mebbe, but once
He gets it back, it won't be our problem any more." Smagnu inclined his
head up at the ceiling. "Them up top'll take credit and when He finds out
it ain't done, it'll be too late to bring it back on us."
Grutfley began to see the logic of the plan. "He'll just squeeze them as
takes it back. Then squash the little bastard demon and that'll be an end of
it! Suits me!"
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