9. The Judgement of Chamsar
The next dawn, Scaldo was poked awake. He looked around for special treatment, but the giants were solemn: no smiles, no breakfast. They untied his legs and tied his arms.
Not a sound came from anywhere save the distant trickle of water over the ford. No one was around, either; firewood and tents stood in desolation, though in the clump of trees yonder was a glow, and from there arose what might be described as a foreboding chant.
Scaldo's guards pointed him that way. The corpulent captive's mouth dried up and he could not swallow. It was like having a slice of old, flaky cake caught in his throat. If he had been allowed a breakfast or two to settle his nerves, the dread (boundless horror) would be manageable; however, he had not been allowed breakfast and he could not manage it.
"I got to get out of here!" he said out loud.
One guard opened his mouth as though in answer, and the other guard stepped on the first's foot.
The malicious chanting and slow drum roll now filled the Scaldo's mismatched ears, and whether or not the sounds were only his imagination cannot be told.
They burst into a scene fire-lit, spilling blood red light on the trees and earth. The shadows were as pointy and jagged as crooked nails. The giants stood in two rows, their grim and aloft faces composed of the mixture of fire and sharp shadow. Scary, you know, and it did not help Scaldo's fragile disposition at all. Between whimperings and tremors, he could not recognize the sympathetic giant from yesterday, and by the time he had walked down the row to Chamsar, he was an inch from fainting.
Chamsar was cloaked in black, lofty as ever, and his mustached face merciless, with doom written all over it. (Figuratively).
This is the part when he orders my head chopped off, thought Scaldo.
"Torug, small one..."
"Scaldo Chubb, sir," he squeaked.
"Scaldo Chubb Torug, you are charged with trespassing the Ford, the squandering of supplies, and the mentioning of the one whose person cannot be mentioned. Confess you blame for these accusations?"
"I have thought over these matters and decided: for your minor crimes of trespass and squandering, I pardon you; however, I cannot pardon the great crime of referring to the unreferable. I shall have to punish you severely."
Scaldo's mouth froze as a large O, and that probably did not help his defense.
"Should not the prisoner tell us his version of events?" It was the nice giant.
Chamsar tugged his mustache and grimaced. "Very well! Tell us your tale."
All eyes fell on the demented hobbit, who felt himself sweat profusely.
"Uhh... right... it all began..."
Chamsar held up his hand. "Hold. Where is it that what began?"
"In my house in Bobbing, in the South Farthing. That is where all the miseries started."
"I am a well-to-do hobbit. Very decent, indeed. I was eating third breakfast in my summer kitchen one morning when the Dwar - I - I mean the one whom I cannot mention..."
"So the unthinkable and unspeakable beast was in the Shire. Said he why?"
"No. I mean, he grabbed me, but..."
"Has he told you his plans?"
"Has he told you where he goes?"
The mustached giant bade him go on, and Scaldo got the story out between questions and his own growling stomach. He made sure to place special emphasis on the poor rations he had received on his wretched journey. Chamsar was most interested in that they had been heading down the river, though Scaldo nearly wept to talk about it. Finally Chamsar ended the examination with specific questions about the Dwarf, and without ever actually mentioning the Dwarf (directly) Scaldo answered. By now his brain felt so sore and his stomach so empty, he knew he should die if he did not eat three meals immediately.
"I judge you to be a hobbit." Thus did Chamsar pronounce his judgment.
"Whew. Is that all?"
"Nay. By the unwritten laws of the Eriador, you are a prisoner of battle, and as such, you are bound to my service until I release you. You may not leave. If I order you to fight, you fight. If I order you to die, you die. If I..."
Scaldo felt this was a good enough time to interrupt. "But why..."
"I order you silence, questioning one."
"Surely," said the brother of Chamsar, "the hobbit will need a guard."
Chamsar pulled his right mustache, and leaning forward, spoke with a tone of long thinned patience. "And you, Tintil, will give him orders to follow and not by accident release him?"
"As ever," said Tintil.
Scaldo felt his head to make sure it was still on his body, his stomach to make sure it had not hungered into oblivion, and looked finally at tall Tintil. What horrible tasks must await him, as a servant of a giant!
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.