Pippin recognised the man who had been in the great hall when he had been asked to write on the slate what he thought of Strider. He suspected from what he had seen that day, the way people were looking at the man and their expressions, that he was not very well liked. Earlier, when he had first seen him, he had just prodded Pippin with his foot and now he was pulling Merry around, Pippin was certain he was not a good person.
The man pulled him up by his arm but Pippin had flopped down again like one of the marionettes when no one is holding its strings he thought. He was quickly pulled up to his knees again and as the man held him there, Merry managed to pull away. Pippin was pleased with that. But then Merry came back, Pippin realised sadly it was probably for him and the man kicked Merry to his knees and pulled their hands together and held them both by their hair.
Then he came!
Pippin quaked in terror, both in his mind and, as the paralysis was starting to wear off now the glass ball was away from him, in his body as well.
The wraith was still the terrifying apparition that had chased the four hobbits in the Shire and had come for them in Bree, but the steed it now rode was even more dreadful. It was like a great featherless bird with long claws and a hideous black scaled body, covered with scars. The stench of it was nauseating and Pippin was certain he would be sick.
Then the wraith had reached out what appeared to be an empty sleeve of its black robe, but Pippin felt a bony grip seize around his wrist, pulling him out of Merry's grasp and lifting him off the ground. As it drew him in, he felt crushed against an unyielding skeleton that emanated evil and hatred. It drew the black cloak around him so that he could no longer see Merry or anything else. He was held fast by terror and the living corpse that clasped the little hobbit to its bosom. Pippin's body reacted for him and he vomited.
The necrophilic being made no reaction, but the act of being physically sick shocked Pippin back into what was happening. Under the black as night cloak he could see nothing and, in his permanent silence, the aura of death was overwhelming. Pippin felt as if he had been put in his grave alive and covered over with earth. He began to cry, silent stomach aching sobs and could only think one coherent thought, Merry. He wanted Merry.
But there was no escape. Pippin felt the wraith rise up from the battlements and in one last desperate attempt for freedom he pushed through the darkness of the cloak and looked below. He saw Gandalf. Gandalf would save him! But the wizard was turned towards Merry and the wraith was moving fast now and they were high, too high for him to jump even if he could escape that icy, iron grip.
The wraith became aware that his prisoner was looking out of the cloak and quickly shrouded his gaze once more. Pippin felt bile rise in the back of his throat at the stench, both of the filthy creature on which they rode and the stink of his own vomit-covered clothes. He gagged once more and dry heaved.
The wraith caught hold of his face with its unseen skeletal fingers, lifting Pippin's trembling face around and up in a disgusting parody of Legolas's sweet touch, before they locked minds. 'YOU WILL NOT STRUGGLE! DO NOT TRY TO RESIST. KEEP STILL OR I SHALL CAST YOU TO THE GROUND.'
The voice in his mind made Pippin gag once more, this time with fear. It was the voice that Gandalf had cast out – it was back. In spite of the dire warning of the voice, the tiny hobbit tried to push himself away from the wraith's grasp. He would rather be dashed to the ground than to stay in this nightmare.
The wraith did not throw him down, but rather clamped him closer, causing frightening pain to course through the little body. Pippin squealed mentally and, more from shock than obedience, froze into stillness.
It was a long while before the wraith spoke again. 'WE NEAR THE BORDERS OF MORDOR. YOU WILL SOON BE AT DISPOSAL OF THE MASTER, MY LORD SAURON.'
Pippin made no reply.
'I HEAR THE ECHOES OF YOUR SMALL MIND. THE DARK LORD WILL SOON CONQUER THE DISARRAY THERE AND TAKE WHAT HE NEEDS. YOUR SOUL IS CLUTTERED WITH MEANINGLESS THOUGHTS OF OTHERS, FRIVOLITIES AND NONSENSE. IT WILL BE PURGED. YOU WILL LEARN THE MEANING OF PAIN AND OBEDIENCE.'
Pippin knew now he had to struggle, he could not just lie down and die or cast his body to be broken on the ground, Merry would fight, so must he. He had to find Legolas. But he was hurting so badly, the grip of the wraith had never lessened and he was so afraid. And would the elf want to help him, it was his own fault this had happened, he had stolen the glass ball and looked at it, perhaps Legolas and the others would think he had got what he deserved.
But no, after all that had gone before, they would not abandon him. He had to believe that. Pippin took a deep breath, trying to ignore the sickening stench. He concentrated as hard as he ever had in all his life, frantically looking for the elf's mind and trying to send something to him.
The wraith seemed to sense his purpose and clamped his little consciousness in, suffocating it with his own.
In desperation Pippin managed to squeal out a few tumbled thoughts, …'legolas! i too 'fraid – hurted – please go help i – sorry i bad, legolas where you? please where merry, please, please…'
The wraith realised that the halfling had managed to reach out to the elf and pulled Pippin's face around roughly with an invisible hand knotted in the brown curls. 'YOU WILL BE SILENT!' He drew back a great fist, now made corporeal by the iron gauntlet in which it was clad.
'sorry, no hurt i 'gain! nooo! aiiieeeee!'
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.