Playlist Navigation Bar
Recaptured!: 50. Knots and Plots
The residue of Legolas's pain gradually subsided and Pippin
rubbed his chest wondering what could have happened to hurt his sweet elf so
badly. He shook a little at the echo of the agonising piercing pain and wiped
his eyes on his shirtsleeve, not sure whether the tears of hurt were his or his
friends'. He heaved a silent sob and then realised with some surprise that he
was being comforted. His surprise grew to shock when he discovered it was the
big orc looking at him with concern, the enormous arm on his little shoulder,
as he patted his head.
Most hobbits or humans would have been inclined to push away
from the great beast, but Pippin had that Tookishness about him that stopped
him from shying away from new possibilities and situations. It was what gave
Tooks the reputation for being adventurous. It flashed through the still
slightly drunken hobbit's mind that he was probably the only Took to ever be
cuddled by an orc, but right now he needed a friend. He snuggled into the
Uruk's arm, still hiccupping a jerky sob for Legolas and Merry every so often,
and closed his eyes again.
Legolas managed to stagger halfway back to the camp before
Gimli found him. The dwarf had grown anxious waiting for the elf and hobbit as
he didn’t know where they had got to and they were due to leave for Minas
Tirith also Gandalf was getting impatient.
As soon as he saw Legolas's faltering walk, Gimli knew
something was wrong. He rushed to his side and tried to persuade Legolas to
wait there while he fetched help, but the wounded elf would not hear of it,
although he was happy to accept Gimli's arm to lean on for the rest of the way,
as he explained to the dwarf what had occurred.
Aragorn had long since left, as had King Théoden and the
Rohirrim, but Éowyn was well versed in healing and she took charge of Legolas
"Removing the arrow will, I am afraid be quite
painful," Éowyn warned her patient. "But I can give you some sedative
distillation to dull the pain."
"No, I am not sure what that might do to the little
ones," Legolas explained. "When I regained my thoughts after the
arrow struck they were both drawn into my pain at once. I fear the same may
happen again if I am not alert."
"Their bond with you now is truly amazing," Gimli
said in wonder. "Is this the first time such a thing has ever
"In my knowledge yes." Gandalf stood at the
entrance to the tent with Gimli. "But this could be an important factor in
the hunt for Merry, for we must find him. Grima Wormtongue must not be allowed
to hand him over to the Witch King and certainly not to Sauron."
"What of your plans to travel to Minas Tirith,
Gandalf?" Gimli voiced what they were all wondering. "Legolas is
certainly in no fit state to go anywhere, nor likely to be for a while."
"I must still go – and depart today." Gandalf felt
very weary but he knew what the priorities were. He would have to find another
way to deal with this problem. "How long Éowyn do you think it will be
before Legolas can travel?"
"If he were a man, I would say days," Éowyn
answered. "But an elf I do not know. The wound is deep, but it has only
cut the flesh and has not bled overly much. How long do you think,
"The need to find Merry will cure me." Legolas
looked up at Gandalf. "I know the urgency of the matter and I will not
rest until he is returned."
"You are not fit to travel today," Éowyn pointed
out. "The wound will be even more grievous once the arrow is pulled."
"But we must start soon, or the little one may be
lost," Legolas took Éowyn's hand. "I trust your ability as a healer.
You must use all your skill to make me well enough to ride today, for I shall
go no matter what."
"I can make a better offer." Éowyn placed her
other hand over the elf's. "I will ride with you. I am as competent with a
sword as any man, I ride as swiftly and can also tend to your wound should the
"Someone must go to rescue Meriadoc," Gandalf
agreed. "But I will need assistance also in Minas Tirith. Legolas will
need to pursue the little one, if only because of his mental link." The
wizard turned to Éowyn. "Your offer My Lady is well taken and I understand
well both your heart and spirit in matters of honour and battle."
"So it would seem that I am left to be your companion
Gandalf." Gimli shrugged in resignation. "I would be inclined to
pursue and rescue Meriadoc, but if there is swift riding to be done, I will be
but a burden."
"Then Gimli shall ride with me," agreed Gandalf.
"I would value your company Master Dwarf and your axe. There is much to be
done in Minas Tirith."
"The Fellowship is breaking into even more diverse
parts and it grieves me to leave my companion when he is wounded," Gimli
stood by Legolas looking back at Gandalf. "But I see your logic, Gandalf.
I would only serve to encumber Legolas in his search."
"Then it is decided," Gandalf looked to the other
three. "I will wait while Legolas's wound is tended then Gimli we must
make all speed."
Merry staggered back to his feet as the pain in his chest
subsided and was immediately grabbed again by the rough hands. They dragged him
a few paces and then he felt his hands jerked up into the air until his arms
were high over his head and held there by the rope around his wrists, his toes
barely touching the ground. Merry realised that they had probably tied his
hands to a tree branch above his head. It effectively stopped him moving in any
direction and made struggling futile.
The men and Grima carried on arguing about him and his
value, but Merry's attention was pulled inside his head as Legolas came back to
talk to him.
His friend was still hurting from the arrow, but Merry could
feel that the thoughtful elf was trying to keep the pain to himself as much as
He had managed to tell Legolas that Wormtongue had kidnapped
him and why, but then he let slip again his hope that the situation might lead
him to Pip. Merry realised he should keep that thought to himself in future, it
would not meet with approval from Legolas or Gandalf and the little hobbit did
not want to be handed over to the Witch King with no plan of action. It would
be pointless and not serve to rescue Pip anyway. But at least now he was going
in the right direction.
Legolas had said he must leave a trail and Merry was
thinking very hard now about how he might manage that. At the moment of course
it was impossible. But they would have to untie him sooner or later, so what
would he do then to show where he had been.
Make marks on something? Now his sword was gone he had
nothing on him that would make a visible mark and he doubted Grima or the
ruffians would lend him a knife.
Drop something? The way Pip had cleverly dropped his elven
brooch for Strider to find. But he had very little on him and it would be a
rare chance for followers to find their trail anyway. When the orcs had carried
him and Pippin across the plain of Rohan they had cut a wide swathe for the
hunters to track. This was only a few, four at the most, bodies for pursuers to
Merry explored the rope that was holding him up using the
tips of his fingers. His arms were starting to ache quite painfully now and he
wondered if he could loosen the bonds. He could feel a very tight unyielding
knot that had been double tied and he could never hope to unfasten, especially
with his limited movement.
He turned his mind from the problem of how to leave a trail
to the problem of how to get the knot loose. Both feats seemed impossible. But
then, like a flash of lightening, the two problems coalesced to provide a solution.
He would tie knots!
Even without being able to see, Merry was sure he could
surreptitiously tie knots in the grass, in the foliage, whatever he found lying
around that could be tied. He could even pull threads from his clothes and tie
those in knots to leave as a sign. If Legolas were to be the one following him,
Merry would be able to let him know what he had done, that way the elf would
know what to look for.
At that moment the ruffian untied the tether from above
Merry's head and pulled him forwards. He stumbled and almost fell, but a rough
hand grabbed his arm hoisting him back to his feet. The hobbit heard the clink
of money changing hands and vaguely wondered what his price had been.
Pippin slept very soundly for the rest of the day. He had been
exhausted and once the terror and pain and hunger had subsided a little,
enormous fatigue had taken over. Smagnu had woken earlier and left the little
creature asleep, alone in the big bed, curled up under the blankets.
Now the Uruk needed to eat before going on patrol and was
wondering what he should do with his little creature. If he left it on its own
for long the other orcs would probably get hold of it and it would be dead
within the hour. On the other hand, if he took it with him it might escape and
Grutfley would be bound to complain.
In the end he decided Grutfley could go shag himself and he
would keep the little thing close so it wouldn't run off. Later he could teach
it to stay close on its own.
"Yer not bringing that fugging thing with you on
patrol?" Grutfley whined. "It'll be all kinds a' trouble."
"It'll mind me." Smagnu assured him as he woke Pip
up and tied the cord around his neck again, not tightly but just to let him
know who was boss. "Watch it, it'll come easy enough." He pulled fairly
gently on the leash and beckoned at the same time.
Pippin obligingly hopped off the bed and followed Smagnu,
not having any better plans of his own at that moment. He was still quite
fearful of the big Uruk, but growing more confident as time went by.
"Come on little thing." Smagnu led the hobbit out
of the room and into the corridor.
"It'll get us both in trouble afore the night's out.
You'll see." Grutfley was far from convinced.
They came to the large mess hall where rations were being
doled out and many orcs were sitting at a long bench table, squabbling and
stuffing food at a great and noisy rate. Pippin was at once terrified at the
sight and scrunched down on the floor, holding on to a metal grating to stop
himself from being dragged into the orc filled hall.
"See I tol'd you it'd be a bloody nuisance,"
Grutfley crowed. "Just strangle it and have done. No one'd blame
"No, our orders is still to keep it alive," Smagnu
stubbornly pointed out. "but it's mine now anyway and I plan to keep
"You ain't allowed no pets in the Dark Tower."
Grutfley pointed out. "Least I don't suppose you are – no livestock at any
"It's not a pet." Smagnu scowled at his
objectionable partner, "it's a… well it's a prisoner. You just mind
yourself, Grutfley or it'll put a bewitchment on you."
"Reckon it's already bewitched you right enough."
"I'll bewitch you myself in a minute." Smagnu
threatened, "with my bloody fist. Now go and get us some grub before it's
Grutfley went mumbling off. Although he argued with the
Uruk, he was actually quite afraid of the bigger orc. Smagnu picked Pippin up,
easily pulling his desperate fingers off the grating, and carried him into the
mess hall. Several of the orcs pointed to the little hobbit and laughed at the
sight of the big orc carrying the little thing under his arm.
"Whatcha got there, Corporal?" One wit cried,
"Did you dig that out with a toothpick?" another
Smagnu just growled at them and the jibes stopped. He sat
down at the table in a large carver chair rather than on the bench and
carefully stowed Pippin underneath, tying the leash to the chair leg.
Grutfley came with the food, which consisted of porridge,
bread, some tough looking meat and a small amount of cheese. There was however
a good quantity of ale to drink. Smagnu doled out a small portion of everything
into a little bowl and pushed it to Pippin under the chair. The little hobbit,
using his fingers to dunk the bread in the porridge, hungrily ate everything
except the meat, the origin of which was very doubtful.
Once he had finished eating, Smagnu stood Pippin up and gave
him a long draught of ale from his big tankard. The little hobbit was almost
drowned in the beer as it ran down his face. The Uruk let Pippin tip the mug up
on his own next time as he obviously had difficulty drinking from such a large
vessel. Smagnu frowned at the mess Pippin had made of himself and wiped the
hobbit's food covered fingers and beer soaked shirt with a piece of rag from
his own pocket.
Smagnu suddenly became aware that an odd silence had fallen
on the usually raucous, bickering assembly and, glancing up, he realised that
practically every orc was staring at him open mouthed.
"What the fug are you looking at!" He growled.
Playlist Navigation Bar