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Recaptured!: 92. Trusting to Luck

Author – Llinos
Beta and additional material – Marigold

Gandalf looked at Legolas and raised an eyebrow. The elf set his lips into a thin straight line and took Pippin's hands in his and bent to look closely into his face. Pippin smiled back ready to leave now and turned to look once more at Faramir.

The Captain was still caught in the raging fever but there were several attendants with him, mopping his head and soothing his dry lips with drops of water. Pippin turned back to Legolas and nodded expectantly.

'Pippin?'

'legolas, you go ask i more cest.. cetin… things?'

'No I don't need to ask more questions. Pippin would you stay here for a while with the Lord Denethor?'

'why?'

'He asks it.'

'why?'

'Gandalf asked him for control of the City and, perversely, he has given it to me – but only if you stay here.'


Pippin was very tempted to say 'why?' again, but decided it was making him seem like a petulant child. He did not want to stay with Denethor, it was that strange feeling, that touch of the palantír that made him uncomfortable. But on the other hand Gandalf and Legolas obviously needed him to keep this Lord placated so that they could try to protect the City. It seemed a small enough thing to ask and what had he to fear? He had endured greater terrors than being left with a grieving ruler, who was obviously distraught at his son's death and fearful for the other.

'stay i legolas… you go… i watch at farmer…'

'Faramir?'

'what i sayed…'

'You're not afraid?'

'not sayed that!'

'Pippin?'

'you bettrer go make gandalf be good at you…and good at i…'

'Thank you, Pippin.'


Legolas looked up at the others, "Pippin says he will be happy to stay and he is concerned about Captain Faramir's health too, so would be glad to sit and watch over him for a while."

Gandalf looked at Pippin and went to ruffle his curls and then thought better of it and clamped his shoulder instead and smiled at the diminutive hobbit. At that moment it occurred to him how thin and worn Pippin looked, how much he had been through and, although physically he was slightly smaller, how much he had grown in other ways. Well there was one thing he could do to help before they left.

"We will leave Peregrin here for a while my Lord Denethor." Gandalf said to the Steward. "But might I suggest, even though supplies are rationed and scarce, that you provide some sustenance for this little one. He has lacked proper nourishment for some time now and that is a sore trial for a hobbit."

****************************************************************************

"Mr Frodo, please take a little more food." Sam whispered urgently into his master's ear. "You've barely eaten enough to keep a fat flea alive!"

"Oh Sam, I really can't eat anything." Frodo breathed back. "My belly is sick and I think it will not thank me for any extra burden."

The two hobbits were whispering out of habit now. They had lain in the hollow crater by the side of the road for many hours until they were finally sure the marching orcs had passed them by. Even now, with the great army gone, they were finding it difficult to find the resolve to leave their relatively safe hiding place, although they both knew they must do so soon.

Frodo, Sam thought, looked thin and even more weary and was now even refusing food. Well food would do his master no good if it made him sick, at least they had some water given by the two orcs and, although it was a trifle brackish, it seemed quite safe. "Would you like some water Mr Frodo?" Sam suggested, "It might make your stomach feel better."

"I'll take a sip please Sam." Frodo gratefully accepted the water bottle and took the merest amount, just wetting his lips and tongue and swallowing the tiny residue. "Sam, what do you suppose it meant?"

"How do you mean? How do I suppose, what meant?" Sam was totally baffled. Frodo's mind seemed to wander off in directions Sam could not even guess at. But the little gardener understood now, now that he himself had carried and worn the Ring. And as they got closer to Orodruin, to the Ring's own cradle he knew that Frodo would be drawn further into its persona, becoming One with the entity that he bore, although it was the very thing he sought to destroy.

"The orcs! Merry and Pippin's orcs." He said with surprise. Frodo wondered that Sam looked at him with that strange mixture of fear and concern, of love and loathing. Then he remembered how he had felt when Bilbo had asked to hold the Ring again. The Uncle he loved dearly, who had always been so kind to him, had suddenly become this filthy, clawing abomination. It was just the Ring, that was all, nothing more. Sam was still Sam, it was he, Frodo that was strange, that gave his poor, dear Sam cause for concern.

"Mean, Mr Frodo?" Sam scratched his head as he considered the question. "I don't rightly know, I guess my gaffer would say it was a good omen. You know us falling on a piece of luck like that."

"Not just that they helped us, but what were the chances of us meeting the very same two orcs that had cared for Merry and Pip." Frodo seemed lightened at the memory. "It almost seemed meant. And Gandalf used to say that was a good thing."

"He did indeed, Mr Frodo," Sam smiled a little now. "Do you suppose they got away all right, Mr Merry and Mr Pippin?"

"I hope so Sam." Frodo sighed now. "It would be sad if none of us ever came back to the Shire and let folk know what became of us. But then if we fail I don't suppose there would be any point in going back at all."

"Come on now," Sam could feel the previous positive mood slipping away again. "Think of the luck we had in that meeting. They helped us both along, got us out of there and gave us food and water. Now if that isn't a good sign, I don't know what is."

Frodo smiled his sad little smile once more. "You're right Sam. Do you think it's clear now? Should we start off on our road again?"

"I reckon it must be clear now." Sam agreed. "Come on then let's make a start while we still feel luck is on our side."

"Yes Sam." Frodo loved the way Sam always made the best of everything. "We need something on our side and luck will do very well."

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"Oi you back there!" A voice cut stridently across the wide road of Udûn. "Whadda yer think yer about?"

"We ain't about nothing," Grutfley stood quickly in front of Smagnu before the Uruk could answer. "There's good enough order in this battalion for the likes o' this army."

"Thass not what I'm a sayin'," The Uruk walked back down the line to the group now under the command of Smagnu and his self appointed lieutenant Grutfley. "Yer got 'bout the best controlled bunch o' rats in this 'ere line."

"Yes Captain." Smagnu was no stranger to keeping order, he was an experienced corporal and had been cock o' the walk in Barad-dûr for a long time. It was rare that he actually had to break heads these days, most of the other orcs tended to treat him with careful respect on the grounds that he could pick them up and drop them over the battlements like a fisherman throwing a sprat back into the water, indeed he had been known to do just that. "So you gotta question?"

"Yeah I have." The Orc Captain waved his whip at Smagnu's battalion. "How come you got more o' these insects in youse section than anyone else's? I bin awatchin' youse an it's getting' bigger 'n bigger."

Grutfley had noticed this too, the numbers of their group had been steadily increasing as word had gone along the line, and surreptitiously many of the smaller breeds had managed to slink away from their own sections to join Smagnu's. The word was that this Uruk had defended two of his own slaves against one of the drivers and that he and his lieutenant were very sparing with the whip. "Some have joined our group, thass 'cause it's the best ordered in this shambles." Grutfley sneered at the disorderly pushing and shoving going on further up the line. "We run an orderly platoon here."

Smagnu waved proudly over his orcs, who were all lined up in ranks of four and looking up at the Corporal, waiting for his command. "I bin a lickin' em into shape and they'll do you proud in battle." The Uruk was a good commander and had treated the soldiers fairly, making sure they got their rations and that the bigger ones did not steal from the smaller orcs.

"Yes, you're a credit, Corporal." The Captain nodded his approval. "Keep it up."

As he walked away Smagnu and Grutfley looked at each other with some surprise that their bluff had worked. They both shrugged and then did something orcs are never supposed to do – they chortled.

****************************************************************************

Pippin's eyes opened wide with disbelief at the meal that was laid before him. So far in Minas Tirith he had received the very basic fare of a community under siege. Before that Merry and he had moved from the iron rations of the orcs on the move, to the basic waybread and stew of the army camp. This was a repast fit for a king, or at least the Steward of a King, Pippin thought.

Nevertheless, Pippin remembered his manners and waited to be invited to sit at the well-laid table by one of the attendants and then observed Denethor's actions of rinsing his hands in the water brought to him and standing for a moment beside the chair, before sitting and breaking bread.

Pippin, like a good soldier must, tried to eat well, but in reality he had fasted so frequently over the past few weeks he found his appetite had diminished, either that or he was too anxious about what the Lord Denethor wanted, to be able to accord the meal a true hobbit welcome.

As Pippin picked at the remains of his dinner, he was also uncomfortably aware of Denethor looking at him, catching his gaze. Pippin did not look down; he faced the man back, searching in his eyes for an indication of whether he bode him ill.

Eventually Denethor rose from his chair and came to stand in front of Pippin. The hobbit scrambled quickly to his feet and backed up a few paces. He had not meant to do that, but a momentary panic had undermined his resolve. Denethor lifted his hands in apology and then turned his palms up towards Pippin, indicating that he meant him no harm.

The Steward now firmly held Pippin's gaze then beckoned to him; walking a few steps to the far door of the chamber, one that Pippin had not yet been through, and turning back to see if the hobbit was following.

Pippin decided that he had no clear reason to disobey this Lord, only an eerie feeling, but he would follow until he had a better plan. He limped after Denethor, casting a glance back at Faramir and his attendants.

The door led to a stairwell and Denethor had already started up when Pippin reached the foot. Resolutely he climbed up after the Steward, his feeling of foreboding growing with each step. When he reached the top Denethor was waiting for him and took a key from around his neck and let them into the door at the top of the tower. It was a small room and dark, for all it was so high up, but night had fallen and there was little moonlight.

But what struck Pippin most forcibly was the plinth in the centre of the circular room. He had seen an identical one before – in Isengard. He turned quickly to look back at the door he had come through. Denethor was locking it behind them.

****************************************************************************
TBC

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In Playlists

Playlist Overview

Last Update: 03 Apr 05
Stories: 15
Type: Workshop/Group List
Created By: Marta's Playlists


Stories I have read and liked, dealing primarily with interactions between members of the Fellowship.

Why This Story?

 

Story Information

Author: Llinos

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Action

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 03/23/07

Original Post: 06/26/02

Go to Recaptured! overview

Chapter List

1. A Twist in the Tale

2. Hobbit Hurling

3. Merry Yule and Orange Pips

4. A Palantír Is Not A Toy

5. Rescue

6. King Théoden

7. Pippin

8. Merry

9. Gandalf

10. Legolas

11. The Council

12. Interlude

13. The Road To Edoras

14. Poppy Paste

15. Attack!

16. All In Pippin's Mind

17. Merry Gets Sad

18. Pippin Gets High

19. A Sulky Hobbit

20. Poor Merry

21. Fever

22. Don't Let Me Go!

23. Bitter and Sweet

24. The Trial

25. Crime and Punishment

26. The Show

27. Drums of War

28. Rumblings

29. Searching

30. Converging

31. Betrayal

32. Aftermath

33. Wraithride

34. Lessons

35. Stigmata

36. Decisions

37. Ménage à trois

38. Misunderstandings

39. Visions

40. Remembering

41. Summoned

42. The Plan

43. Confrontation

44. Questions

45. Goodbye

46. Gone

47. Recovery

48. Promises

49. Friends and Strangers

50. Knots and Plots

51. Hide The Hobbit

52. Lost and Found

53. Promises and Threats

54. Blood and Water

55. Dead or Alive

56. Sad and Lonely

57. Hide and Seek

58. Near and Far

59. Touch and Go

60. Questions and Answers

61. Rough and Tumble

62. Beyond Help

63. Planning and Scheming

64. Requiescat

65. Echoes

66. Bribery and Corruption

67. Quo Vadis?

68. Friend or Foe

69. Terra Incognita

70. Caveat

71. Déjà vu

72. Truth and Lies

73. Catching Up

74. frodosam

75. Partings and Meetings

76. Gollum and Co

77. Shelob's Revenge

78. Rendezvous

79. Quartet

80. Needing Help

81. Perilous Paths

82. It's Magnic!

83. Ambush

84. Many Meetings

85. Telling the Tale

86. Love in a Shirt

87. News Fair and Foul

88. Rejoined

89. Minas Tirith

90. Honours

91. Bonding

92. Trusting to Luck

93. Conversations

94. Dangerous Thoughts

95. No Escape

96. No Surrender

97. Coup de gras

98. Requiescat In Pace

99. Feelings

100. Dead or Alive

101. Tales and Toil

102. Boromir The Brave

103. Calon Lân - (A Pure Heart)

104. In Dreams

105. The Last Debate

106. Battle Plans

107. Hey Ho To the Battle I Go!

108. Getting There

109. Who Wants To Play?