3. The Price of Mercy
It is simply no longer enough, not even close to it. The pleasure has
been beyond belief, and I have been made to experience feelings and sensations that seem almost dream-like, in their power over me. But it is not enough, now.
I feel dangerous again. I yearn to kill, to hurt someone- I have been locked up too long, and the rage has built up to a deadly intensity.I look for a means of escape- and find none. The door is bolted shut with not only a physical lock, but magick as well.
Before my jailor had left this time, I asked him sourly what would happen if a fire were to break out, as I had no way to escape. He looked at me for a moment, and then, with a laugh, said the cottage would probably be a loss.
But what about me? I said evenly, fighting to keep my temper, knowing he was setting me up for some sort of idiotic joke. Well, he replied, with a twinkle in his eye that fairly drove me to fury, I am afraid you would be a total loss as well.
Upon seeing the look on my face, he immediately grew straight faced, and said :
"By the Valar, you do know that was only a bit of foolish humor, don't you? I would not let you be harmed like that!"
I turned away from him, angry at being made a fool of, and then he put an annoyingly gentle hand on my shoulder, and tried to soothe my mood:
"Really, Curumo, you must not think such things. I would never let you burn to death. If there was a fire, the spell would release. I promise you that. I have- arranged it so. Do not be troubled."
I said nothing, and then he left, telling me he would return in a fortnight, and that I ought to have more than enough of everything I needed until then.
As soon as I hear the hoofbeats of Shadowfax fade in the distance, I
begin to contemplate the idea:
If he is telling the truth, all I need to do is light the cottage on fire, and I will be free. But what if he is lying? Or more likely, simply in error : I can
believe he arranged the spell in this fashion, but what if it does not work correctly?
Then, I think bitterly, I shall indeed be a total loss, just as his stupid joke implied.
I agonize over it, and finally one day, I do come nearly to the point of attempting it, and then the icy hands of fear close around my heart, and I cannot do it.
Flushed with searing, impotent anger, I sit down and begin to think it all out again- for the hundredth time.
Something occurs to me: Gandalf is at least seven days late in returning. I have been so immersed in this idea for escape, I have not even realized it, until now.
But now I am suddenly deeply worried, and a new fear roars to life, driving away my plans for roasting my way to liberty.
I take inventory- always take care of business, or it will take care of you, I used to tell Grima, as we took stock of our plans for conquest, tallying up our stockpiles- Grima- what ever happened to him? - I have enough food to last for three more days, if I eat as I have been doing. But I will not do that. I immediately will cut back drastically, on everything.
I must buy some time.
Four days go by- and then a soft rap on the door, one afternoon- I am
badly startled by it, though I do not move or make a sound. This can only be bad news- Gandalf never knocked - and who else knows I am here? The knock again- louder; I remember who I am, after all, and answer with what authority I can summon:
"Yes? Who is there?"
"Legolas- Legolas Greenleaf. I have brought you word from Mithrandir-
Legolas? the young Elf? What is he doing here, how did he know to come here? I weigh my options, and they are found wanting, drastically, so I go to the door and speak again:
"Well, young Prince- I cannot open the door. Even if you unbolt it,
it is charmed shut!"
The door opens suddenly, easily, as if there were no spell at all on it.
( but I just tried it this morning, I ALWAYS try the door, just in case )
Legolas appears in the doorway, and I narrow my eyes against the sunlight- Gandalf always opens the one window of the cottage wide when he is here, lecturing me that keeping all the natural light out is very bad for me, so on, and so forth. There are, of course, bars on the window.
I feel the breeze come in, and the sweet smell of the forest.
Oh, I yearn to be free.
Legolas has a large package in his hands, and I wait for him to enter the cottage.
He is looking at me with great wariness, and well he ought to: I have already briefly fantasized about seizing him and wrapping my hands around his throat, and the thrill I will feel when I hear that crack of his neckbone - and - well, it is only a lovely fantasy.
"Come in then!" I say, with obvious impatience, and make a sarcastic
sweeping gesture with my arm. "Enter my grand Hall, Master Elf!"
But he is no fool, and does not come in fully, but instead hands me the package cautiously, and says:
"Mithrandir sends word to you, Curunir, that he will return in two more days- he was delayed- but I am to give you this- it is Lembas bread, and other things as well. It will be enough until he returns -"
"Were you one of the ones?" I ask him. "What- what do you mean?" he
says, and I continue: "Were you one of the ones who wanted me dead,
Legolas? What about Galadriel?"
He regards me with a look of that which I hate more than anything-
pity- and replies:
"Nay, Curunir- I am not one of those- I asked that you be – sent away. As for Galadriel, she also petitioned for mercy for you. We felt- that you are not as you should be - I mean, your mind is not quite -right -"
I suddenly feel the urge to hurt him again. "Liar. All of you. Liars!"
My voice sounds distant to me, and I feel faintly dizzy, and it is true: I am not "quite right", not at all. My blood is hammering in my ears as the anger boils out of me, and I reach for him.
Alarm appears on his youthful face, and he makes a move to back out
of the door, and he is quite fast, this young Elf, but not fast enough.
I strike out at him like a snake, and as my hand seizes his collar, I pull him inside, at the same time shoving a chair against the still- open
I throw him to the ground with all my strength, and my fury erupts from my bitter soul in cascades of rage- again and again I strike him with my hand, until the blood flows from his mouth. The little fool- he has come to me with no weapons at all- not even an Elven blade- and then I suddenly remember my main priority: ESCAPE.
I kick him hard in the ribs, and he cries out very softly, and I feel great pleasure at hearing it. I kick him again, and I hear the satisfying snap of at least two broken ribs. I feel regret I do not have enough time to shove them into his filthy Elven lungs, and then I flee out the door- OUT - I am OUT-
I grasp the reins of his horse, and it shies away from me in terror. No matter, I mutter a word to it and it lowers its head in submission, and I climb on it, and fly to freedom.
(what have I done- what will Gandalf do to me)
The madness passes, and I only feel the cool air on my face, again at
I force away the growing fear of the consequences of what I have just done to Legolas- a fear so huge I am suddenly nearly ill from it. I ride like the wind itself, the hills and trees passing as grey blurs -
I ride to save my very life.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.