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1
An Enemy Made

If Frodo, realizing the shard was reaching his heart, had asked for mercy. A sequel of sorts to "Requesting Mercy" in my collection "Moments in Time."


~~~

An Enemy Made


They’d been struggling through the wild for fifteen days since Frodo was wounded at Weathertop, and this morning it was plain Frodo could not rise. “I’m going to scout the road to Imladris,” Strider finally said. “Frodo can’t go further without more aid than I can give him.”

The rest nodded, white faced as they huddled about the stricken Hobbit.

“Keep him as warm as you can,” the Man advised as he pulled his hood over his head and slipped out of the hollow where they’d taken cover.

The Ranger had been gone for about an hour before Frodo’s eyes opened. They were no longer a clear blue—were instead cloudy, as if something covered them. Sam moved to lift him into a sitting position to give him a drink when Frodo shook his head.

“No, Sam,” the Hobbit whispered in a voice that no longer sounded like the rest remembered. “I can’t fight it longer, Sam. It will take me—soon. Please, Sam—your promise. You must do it—do it now.”

Sam was shaking his head, his face grey with shock and his body trembling. “No, Mr. Frodo—you can’t ask me to! Please!”

“Sam, you heard what it—what it will do to me! I can’t do it any more, Sam—I’m losing—losing the last of—my strength. Please, Sam—don’t—don’t let it—don’t let it take me!” Then as Sam just shook his head, Frodo said, “It’s in your pocket, right?”

Sam finally whispered, “Yes, Master.”

“You promised me, Sam. It’s time.”

Merry and Pippin could see the struggle it took for Sam to set down the mug he’d been holding, and to reach into the pocket of his trousers and bring out his folding skinning knife. He held it out to Merry, his hand shaking. “Please, Mr. Merry—open it for me,” he said between gritted teeth, grudging the words.

Merry took it reluctantly, looked at it, and his own face white he asked, “Are you certain, Frodo?”

“Do you—do you want to see me—see me following them, Merry? Being forced to kill you at their command? Being sent back to the Shire to destroy it—haunting Brandy Hall and bringing down the Great Smial? That’s what they’ll do, once I’m—once I’m taken by the shard and they take the Ring from me!” Frodo turned blindly back toward Sam. “Now, Sam—and take It—take It far away from my body! Now!” Swallowing, Merry handed the knife to Sam.

Suddenly understanding, Pippin cried out “No!” as Merry grabbed him and held him back, drawing Pippin’s face down into his shoulder, burying his own eyes against his younger cousin’s hair.

“Don’t look, Pippin!” Merry whispered. “Don’t look.”

There was a gasp from Sam, who reached down to slip the Ring out of Frodo’s vest pocket and put it in his own; and whispering, “I love you, Mr. Frodo,” he placed the blade to his friend’s throat.


*******


The Man felt the world of Arda skip a beat, then turned back to look toward the hollow where he’d left the Hobbits. “No!” he whispered in an agony of grief. “Not that!” But in the depths of his heart he knew it had been done, and fury such as he’d never felt before in his life rose in him. “Sauron—what you bring people to! You think that Elendil and Isildur and Gil-galad and Elrond hated you then? It’s nothing to what you will know now!”

He suddenly stopped, hearing the chime of bridle bells, and he cursed as they grew louder. “Too late!” he whispered. “Too late for Frodo!”

Moments later he and Glorfindel were approaching that hollow and looking down at the two whitefaced Hobbits who clung to one another, looked at the empty form surrounded by blood that lay on the ground. “Where’s Sam?” Aragorn asked quietly.

Pippin, shaking uncontrollably, pointed into a thicket of bristling pines nearby. “Frodo told him—told him to take—to take It away from his body.”

“Stay by them—calm them if you can,” the Man directed the Elf. “I must see to Samwise.”

He found Sam behind the screening trees. The skinning knife lay at his feet, its blade stained with Frodo’s blood; and the Hobbit stood, his own Light fled for the moment, his reddened hands at his sides, his eyes empty in shock. “Pippin said Frodo told you to get It away from his body?”

Sam looked at him blankly. Aragorn waited patiently until at last the response came. “He made me promise—made me promise, Strider. Said as he couldn’t fight no more.”

The foster son of Elrond of Imladris and son of Arathorn wanted to take the Hobbit in his arms; the healer in him recognized that Sam couldn’t accept that now. “He was right, Sam. You did the only thing you could to save him. Come—we have aid now. We must go on.”


*******


Elrond looked at the Hobbit who lay unmoving on the great bed before turning to Isildur’s heir. “Sauron knows not what he and his Nazgul have wrought, Estel,” he murmured in Quenya. “He has forged an enemy whose strength he will never appreciate. Frodo Baggins may be dead, but in being forced to slay his Master this one has taken on a wrath and purpose the likes of which Arda has never seen. He would storm Barad-dûr itself now, and never count the cost. Sauron is doomed.”

An exhausted Aragorn looked between where Pippin and Merry stood with a stricken Bilbo between them to the still form of Sam Gamgee lying on the bed. “Oh, I know, Ada.”



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