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Recaptured!: 41. Summoned
"You go in and fetch it."
"I ain't touching it again – I told you – it ain't
"It ain’t going to hurt you for fug's sake."
Smagnu unlocked the door to the cell and held up a lighted torch. At first he
thought that perhaps Grutfley was right and it was a magical imp and had
escaped. But eventually he could make out a tiny form curled up in the far
corner. "Come 'ere little thing," he called.
Pippin had awoken at the light and was both pleased and
frightened to see the big Uruk again. Pleased because it meant he hadn't just
been left to die and terrified in case it had come to kill him. It was leaning
down and beckoning to him, so he crawled forward on all fours wondering if he
could make a dash between its legs.
But as he drew nearer the Uruk grabbed him by his hair.
Placing the torch in a holder on the wall, he put the thick cord around
Pippin's neck again and this time he also tied his hands behind his back. Then
he offered the lead to Grutfley. "Here take it. Don't reckon it can do you
no harm like that."
Grutfley backed away. "No you take it up to Him. I
don't want it. You can have all the glory."
"You mean all the blame." Smagnu sneered back
"You was supposed to do this thing and you couldn't. Now you want me to
take it back! Well if I do I'll say it was your cock-up."
"Naw, come on, we agreed." Grutfley tried to sound
ingratiating, "give it to your Captain and let him take it back. We'll say
it's been beaten into submission."
"It's fugging obvious to anyone that it ain’t been."
The Uruk pulled sharply on the cord around Pippin's neck making him jump and
gaze up anxiously at the big orc.
"Look it's staring at you now!" Grutfley pointed.
"It's probably putting some sorta curse on you."
The Uruk wound Pippin towards him with the cord and bent
down looking closely into the wide innocent eyes. "I don't think it's
doing nothin’." Smagnu decided. "But it does look rather wide awake
and not too beaten down."
"Well I'm not doing nothing else to it." Grutfley
folded his arms defiantly. "It looks like it's up to something to
"This should knock it out a bit." Smagnu reached
inside his jerkin. "I always keep some of this stuff, cost me a pretty
penny too. But this thing won't need much to make it dopey." The orc drew
out a small bottle and pulled the stopper in the top out with his teeth. He
held Pippin by his hair again and pulled his head back, forcing the bottle
between the hobbit's teeth and pouring some liquid into his throat.
Pippin had expected it to taste like the usual orc draught –
burning and fiery and that it would wake him up. But the liquid that dribbled
across his tongue and down his throat had a different, but still familiar tang
A smile spread across Pippin's face – it was the same as
poppy paste. "Mmmm!" Pippin thought, "It comes in pints!"
As dusk fell that evening an errand-rider of Gondor came for
King Théoden He was clad with a cloak of dark green over a coat of fine mail;
on the front of his helm was wrought a small silver star. In his hand he bore a
single arrow, black-feathered and barbed with steel, but the point was painted
He sank on one knee and presented the arrow to Théoden.
"Hail, Lord of the Rohirrim, friend of Gondor!" he said. "Hirgon
I am, errand-rider of Denethor, who brings you this token of war. Gondor is in
great need. Often the Rohirrim have aided us, but now the Lord Denethor asks
for all your strength and all your speed, lest Gondor fall at last."
"The Red Arrow!" said Théoden, holding it, as one
who receives a summons long expected and yet dreadful when it comes. His hand
trembled. "The Red Arrow has not been seen in the Mark in all my years!
Has it indeed come to that? And what does the Lord Denethor reckon that all my
strength and all my speed may be?"
"What the Lord Denethor may know or guess of all these
things I cannot say," answered Hirgon. "But indeed our case is
"It is a long road, and man and beast must reach the
end with strength to fight. Hirgon, we shall come to Gondor’s aid as soon as
may be." Théoden said. "Tarry here this night. Then in the morning
you shall look on the muster of Rohan and ride away the gladder for the sight,
and the swifter for the rest."
Merry had listened to this exchange, standing with Éowyn in
the shadows. "So they leave in the morning." He whispered to the
"Aragorn and the Dúnedain depart also for the war ere
the first light." Éowyn sounded very sad to Merry's ears. "It is hard
at times such as this to be a woman with the heart of a man."
"Yes," Merry agreed, "or a hobbit."
The Uruk had expected Pippin to become doped and drowsy
after about ten minutes. But the precious opium seemed, like everything else,
to have almost no effect whatsoever on the little creature. The strange imp was
now smiling happily and pushed its head against the big Uruk's hand and lifted
its face up, licking its lips.
Smagnu frowned in consternation; even he was starting to get
worried about it now. "I think it's beggin’ for more," he growled.
"It seems to like you as well." Grutfley found
that even more surprising in view of their treatment of the creature.
"P'raps you oughta give it the rest."
"It's had over half already," Smagnu held the
small bottle up to the light and saw that the contents were more than half
gone. "Unless it was really used to this stuff, that much shoulda killed
it. I dursen't give it any more."
"We'll take it back to the Captain anyway."
Grutfley decided. "It’s stopped staring at any rate."
"Hmm," Smagnu was not so sure. "It looks far
Just then the decision went out of the pair's hands. Their
Captain arrived in the orc quarters himself and summoned the two over.
"Have you finished?" He pointed at Pippin. "It oughta be done by
now. You've had enough time."
"It's an odd thing, Captain…" Smagnu started.
"I don't think you'll have any trouble with it,"
Grutfley interrupted. "You wanted it biddable and obedient. Well it's that
all right now. Look."
Pippin had a silly grin on his face. The poppy juice did not
knock him out because of his increased tolerance to it, but it did make him
relaxed and very happy. He was still nudging Smagnu's hand in a vain attempt to
beg some more.
The Captain seemed surprised at the result of their work,
but satisfied nonetheless. "Very well, he took the rope lead from Smagnu
and tugged Pippin to him. "I'll take it now from here."
Pippin did not want to leave his newly discovered source of
opium and pulled back from the orc captain to be with Smagnu. The captain
laughed at the little thing's audacity. "Looks like you've got yourself a
pet rat Smagnu. But you can't keep it."
He shortened the lead, pulling Pippin to heel and dragged
the hobbit roughly after him. "They want it back upstairs!"
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