2. The Rescue
Part 2: The Rescue
Merry and Pippin lay on the hard earth, near, but not near enough to each other to risk a whisper. To their weary minds, all was a foul dream: countless cruel faces surrounded them; the air reeked; harsh tongues and curses slashed everywhere. The hobbits tried to sleep, yet though tired, could not, for their bonds were so tight they sliced into their skin and their bodies ached from being bumped against orcish backs all day. Their sleepy eyes teased them with images from wholesome Shire food to, at very least, a drop of unspoilt water.
Yet they dared not ask for food or drink; they wanted not to draw attention of any sort. And attention they were not paid. Of that they were thankful. Uglúk, the great black orc of the Isengarders, had been bickering with the Mordor-orcs and Northerners since they had halted; many orcs, having languished in the sun all day, refused to exert any more effort. For a while they had run swiftly as the Anduin, until this day, when it seemed a hand pressed upon them and snatched their strength. Nonetheless, Uglúk wanted to continue and very soon. They had not crossed the distance he had hoped to. Pippin could see the black orc baring his fangs and stalking among the orcs.
"Snaga may have killed the Whiteskin," snarled Uglúk. "But there may be more about, and they will know of us if their cursed scout doesn't return. We need to go on running, before the dawn."
"We've been running like wolves since the River," one Mordor-orc growled. "Now there's no threat. We need a rest."
Uglúk roared and caught the smaller orc by the throat. Pippin shut his eyes. "You want to stay, do you? To be eaten by the horse-boys? Stay then! You Mordor-maggots are weak. We are the Uruk-hai and we can run day and night!"
He threw the orc to the ground and all fell silent. It seemed Uglúk would have his way and run again they would.
Suddenly a deep voice spoke from the crowd of Orcs. "We will not follow the orders of Isen-filth."
Other Orcs began to murmur, and Uglúk leered. They silenced again.
Then another voice, this one gruffer, said, "What are Mordor-rats but slaves and scum?"
Now weapons rang out from all around, and Uglúk gripped his own. Pippin thought, not believing himself: How queer! I know those voices...
The deep voice spoke again. "Come! No swine of Mountain nor of the Fool Wizard are stronger than we!"
The tall Uruks howled and charged outward in the voice's direction, slaying those in their path. Jeers, screeches, and clashes of metal. There was not control; Pippin shivered, afraid should the orcs in their rage drift back, for even their guards had disappeared... Pippin suddenly remembered his wrists: he had cut them - a day before? - on a dead goblin's blade. He had loosely retied them together. Now may be his only chance. Merry was a few paces away, motionless as though resting, and Pippin crawled over to nudge him.
"Merry," he hardly dared move his lips. "Look, I've - " A strong hand pressed his mouth
Pippin felt an awful moment of terror, and then he struggled, trying to break loose; but a fair, familiar voice whispered into his ear: "Fear not."
The hand released him. Pippin was filled with such joy and relief, he cried, "Le-!" only for his mouth to be repressed.
The Elf spoke no other word, rather cutting Merry's bonds with his long white knife while Pippin finished unwrapping his own wrists. Legolas was cutting the ropes from their ankles, when Pippin heard a snarl, something whistled past him, and he looked around to see an Orc - oddly - falling like a sack of grain. Merry's arm was raised, and Pippin saw that he had saved them with a well-timed stone. Legolas smiled, took them each by the hand, and as soon as they reached their feet, they ran.
Pippin's sore muscles protested and pricked, except he was so happy those seemed no more than trivialities. He had all but given up hope the others would rescue him and Merry, since they were of so little importance to the real quest.
This feeling of lightness, however, did not long last. Pippin's fear began to ebb back in. Shouts and a greater uproar rose from behind. He knew that even if they were swift, the Uruks were swifter. And their arrows... they could even take strong Boromir. I know how we escaped - it is like that story of the trolls Mr. Bilbo used to tell. But the Orcs won't turn to stone! They will now be after Aragorn and the others too! Panting now, he felt like he would drop at any minute if it were not for the Elf's grip.
Pippin was greatly surprised when all three of them collapsed. His face touched the dirt, with little desire to move.
Legolas whispered: "A river is near; keep west and cross if you can. Stay in cover. Aragorn will find you."
Pressed to the ground, Pippin could feel a terrible trampling. He wanted nothing less than to get up again, but Legolas lifted him to his feet.
"But what about you?" said Merry
Merry, to Pippin's awe, looked determined and no tremor shook his face. Pippin's own limbs shook in weariness and terror. Legolas clasped their shoulders and the hobbits fled west. Only once did Pippin look back. Legolas knelt, his bowstring taut. At that moment, Pippin knew no more fear; for the sacrifices of his friends, he could not.
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.