On and on they went, doing what they were doing (or having done to them what they were having done to them). On and on, and on, until all memory of what life was like before they were doing what they were doing (or having done to them what they were having done to them) had faded, and all they could remember was doing what they were doing (or having done to them what they were having done to them). Doing, doing, doing (or having done, having done, having done), for how long? an hour? a day? a week? a fortnight? The person didn’t know. Only that they had been doing what they were doing (or having done to them what they were having done to them) for time out of mind. On and on it went, and on, until just when they thought they couldn’t bear doing what they were doing (or having done to them what they were having done to them) a minute longer, it came to an end.
But it was too late. What they feared would happen actually happened, and it happened for a while until it became clear that “it was too late” didn’t actually mean they were going to die any time soon. Then the person swooned, and fell, and knew no more.
“Fear not!” said a voice from behind them. They turned and looked. It was Strider/Aragorn/Dunadan/Elessar/Elfstone/Bob, and yet it was not Strider/Aragorn/Dunadan/Elessar/Elfstone/Bob. Or rather it was Strider/Aragorn/Dunadan/Elessar/Elfstone/Bob as they had never seen him before (since the last time this happened), glorified in all his glory, a latter-day son of all the people that begat each other right back to Beren and Luthien. “For I am the heir of all those people, and especially Elendil, look this is his sword, and I am coming into my own.” And he looked it, despite his appearance. Then he turned away and never went back there as a living man.
Gandalf’s eyes smouldered under his bushy brows, and he made a cutting remark.
“Gollum!” said Gollum, “Precious precious! Gollum, Gollum, Sméagol, Precious Precious Master!”
Suddenly, the hobbit’s voice rang out as if some other voice was speaking with his voice, like it wasn’t his voice but another voice’s voice, even though it was his. “A Elbereth! Gilthoniel!” he (or the other voice that was using his voice, if you get my drift) cried, and then his tongue was loosed, although it stayed in his mouth, and a string of Elvish verses followed, with perfect rhyme and halfway decent scansion. And his enemy(ies) were dismayed, unless they were undaunted.
Then, as their predicament reached a fevered nadir, a pathetic fallacy met directly overhead with a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning, showing in brief flashes just how hopeless their position was. “Hope, schmope,” said Aragorn. “What’s hope to a Numenorian?” And all nodded assent.
“You are odd,” said the member of one race to the member of another race, “but then all members of your race are odd. And yet you comfort me.”
For now they were face to face with the most superlative thing of its kind in the whole of Middle-earth.
And in the high places, in the night, they heard nothing, unless it was the crack of stone.
Sam burst into tears.
Copyright © 2014 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.