Frodo portrayed by Hobbitness
Lilandra&Aldir portrayed by FreeFall
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian, Frodo's Servants, Anborn and Targon, Firiel, The Three Children, Finduilas, Haleth and Arnasa portrayed by Eowyn
Narrator, Vartang, Ceolwulf, Vardamir, Frodo's Ring, Sador, Derufin, Lothar, The Dungeon Master and Shakh Skri portrayed by Wraith

Narrator: *Frodo has been summoned to Lugburz for a final meeting with Sauron the Great. This is a sad day for Frodo and all of his servants.*
Frodo: *Frodo has not slept for the past two nights. This past night he has needed his medicine twice*
Ceolwulf: *Now Frodo and Ceolwulf sit upon the walkway. Ceolwulf says* Frodo, you seem sad today
Ceolwulf: It is a beauitful day. The trees are turning colors for autumn and the nights have more than a bit of nippiness to them
Ceolwulf: How can anyone be sad on such a day?
Frodo: *Frodo is deep in thought. He looks up with a small gasp when ceolwulf speaks, then attempts a smile unsuccessfully*
Frodo: *whispers* It is beautiful
Ceolwulf: And your birthday is just, let me see.... three days
Ceolwulf: Let us make it a festive occasion on your birthday
Frodo: *Frodo's lip trembles as he wonders if he will be here on his birthday, or indeed if he will be alive then*
Frodo: Yes, we should try to enjoy ourselves...it will be a special day. *smiles at Ceolwulf*
Frodo: *looks down into his lap and fingers the hem of his waistcoat*
Elfhild: *elfhild enters the walkway from the door to frodo's keep. she carries a tray of afterbreakfast tea and cakes... and a goblet of wine for ceolwulf*
Elfhild: *she puts the tray on the table smiling to frodo and ceolwulf.... she hands frodo his cup of tea and ceolwulf his goblet of wine then steps back from the table* good morning my lord and ceolwulf
Frodo: *Frodo smiles at her with a hint of desperation, trying to imprint her image on his memory* Good morning my dear
Ceolwulf: *He takes the goblet of wine and smiles at Elfhild* Good to see you this morning and thank you for the wine
Frodo: *He watches as their eyes linger on each other. They have a chance to be happy, he thinks, but what will become of them when I am gone? His eyes begin to glisten*
Elfhild: *she smiles.... noticing that frodo does not seem his self today, but he has not been his usual mood for many days now.*
Elfhild: it is always a pleasure, my lord and ceolwulf.
Frodo's Ring: *The Ring begins to feel warmer on Frodo's finger...... Master Baggins, My erring son, you have an appointment today. Have you forgotten?*
Frodo: *Frodo starts*
Frodo: *He replies silently to the voice of Sauron: No, I have not forgotten--and I shall never call myself your son or anything of yours*
Frodo's Ring: *The Ring grows warmer and begins to pulsate.... I have missed you. I miss your company.....The Ring begins to tighten on Frodo's finger.... I think of you as My son. I am so endebted to you.... the voice hisses*
Frodo: *Frodo takes his right hand in his left and sends a silent reply full of scorn and hate, knowing Sauron is mocking him*
Ceolwulf: Frodo? Are you all right?
Elfhild: *a look of concern crosses her face and she steps closer to Frodo* my lord?
Frodo: Ah...it is this cursed devilry that has troubled me all this while *indicates the ring*
Ceolwulf: Frodo, is it plaguing you more today? *His face has a look of concern*
Elfhild: *she looks at the ring on frodo's hand, wondering how something so little can cause so much pain*
Ceolwulf: I thought perhaps you were unwell. Frodo... *his voice becomes more alarmed* are you all right!
Frodo: *For a moment Frodo looks as though he will burst into tears, then he gains control of himself*
Frodo's Ring: *By nightfall, Frodo, you will once again be in My hall. Perhaps this time you shall stay....HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!*
Frodo: Oh! *Frodo shudders*
Elfhild: *she rushes over to frodo and puts her hand on his shoulder* my lord!
Frodo: *he takes her hand with both of his as though it were a lifeline*
Frodo's Ring: *The Ring becomes increasingly warmer and it seems now that an unseen hand is tightening around Frodo's heart. This afternoon, Frodo....... One of My servants shall come for you. Be ready!*
Elfhild: *she squeezes his tiny hands gently, looking at him with grave worry*
Frodo: *She can feel the heat of the Ring against her own hand. He pulls his right hand away to clutch his chest in pain, hyperventilating*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf gets up from the table, places one of his hands on Frodo's shoulder* FRODO!
Elfhild: *she grips his left hand a bit tighter and cries out in panic* my lord! *turns to ceolwulf* oh ceolwulf! do something! i believe his heart is failing him!
Frodo: *Frodo shuts his eyes tight and prays that the fit will pass*
Ceolwulf: No! *Ceolwulf shouts*
Ceolwulf: Frodo! Try to be calm. Don't breath so deeply. Maybe the fit will pass away
Ceolwulf: Do you want me to get your medicine?
Frodo's Ring: *If you ever wish to say farewell to your slaves, now is the time, for there might not be another opportunity. I grant you this out of the goodness of My heart.....bwhahahahaha!!!*
Frodo's Ring: *The Ring begins to feel cooler and the hand around Frodo's heart loosens its hold*
Ceolwulf: Do you want your medicine!
Frodo: *Frodo gulps in air as the unseen hand releases his heart*
Elfhild: *shifts from one foot to the other in her nervous panic, and wails* my lordddddd!!!
Frodo: *He falls back into the chair and shakes his head to Ceolwulf*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf tightens his grip on Frodo's shoulder*
Elfhild: my lord! are you all right!
Frodo: *He looks up at them and beckons them to come in front of him*
Frodo: Elfhild, Ceolwulf...I must tell you something
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf draws away from Frodo and stands near the end of the table*
Frodo: *He takes a deep breath and lets it out shakily*
Elfhild: *elfhild leaves frodos side and stands beside ceolwulf, looking with concern at frodo*
Elfhild: *softly she says* what is it, my lord.....?
Frodo: *with a great effort he keeps his voice steady* I am going away today
Ceolwulf: What! *Ceolwulf says with alarm*
Frodo: *nods sadly*
Elfhild: going away, my lord? what do you mean?
Ceolwulf: Where are you going?
Ceolwulf: Can we go with you?
Elfhild: yes, can we go? *somehow she thinks she knows what may be the answer*
Frodo: No, I must go alone
Ceolwulf: But why?
Ceolwulf: Where are you going that we cannot go?
Frodo: *Frodo lowers his head as tears begin to fall*
Elfhild: yes, my lord, where are you going? what is happening?
Ceolwulf: Master Frodo, you know I would go anywhere with you
Frodo: *wipes his eyes* I cannot tell you...I am going on a...journey *looks at them meaningfully*
Ceolwulf: Let me go
Frodo: Oh, I wish you could come, Sa--Ceolwulf!
Elfhild: my lord, i would go with you anywhere, no matter where.
Ceolwulf: Why can we not go?
Ceolwulf: Take us with you
Frodo: *Frodo holds out his arms to Elfhild*
Elfhild: *she steps closer to frodo, bends down and then embraces him, confused and frightened*
Ceolwulf: Is this Vartang's doing, Master Frodo? *he clenches his fist*
Frodo: *whispers into her hair* Oh my dear... *then he looks up to Ceolwulf over her shoulder and nods*
Elfhild: *her muscles instantly tense at the mention of vartang's name*
Ceolwulf: May he be cursed to the void from which there is no return!
Elfhild: *she moves away from frodo slightly* vartang caused this, lord? *her teeth clench a bit*
Frodo: *nods to Elfhild*
Ceolwulf: *He goes back to Frodo* Where is he taking you?
Frodo: *thinks: I caused it, partly....if only I had succeeded in my quest*
Ceolwulf: But where! Where! Is he taking you?!
Frodo: Ceolwulf, I cannot tell you where he is taking me
Elfhild: *a shock of terror goes through her...... is frodo being "removed" as is the way of things in nurn?*
Frodo: Remember...I was forbidden to speak of it
Ceolwulf: But Frodo... *his voice softens and it seems a mist is before his eyes* Will he be bringing you back?
Frodo: *meets Ceolwulf's eyes with great sadness and affection and whispers* I do not know*
Elfhild: *she turns her head away and a choking sob escapes her lips*
Frodo: He said he would...but I don't trust him...and considering...*a look of sheer terror crosses his face and he cuts himself off*
Ceolwulf: He cannot do this thing. It makes no sense!
Ceolwulf: Why! Why were you brought here, and then be taken away?
Frodo: That is...His way, Ceolwulf
Elfhild: *she feels she is losing control, adrift again in a raging sea. frodo is going away to who knows what fate, and who knows if he will ever return. they are doomed*
Frodo: It was only to cause me pain.
Frodo: But *he smiles at them and his voice quavers a bit* He did not expect me to find happiness here too
Ceolwulf: *He sniffs* Frodo, we have to do something. We cannot let this happen!
Elfhild: oh master! *she wails, and turns back to frodo. she kneels before him and takes his hand in hers*
Ceolwulf: *Tries to hide the fact that he is on the verge of crying*
Frodo: *He strokes her hair with his other hand*
Ceolwulf: *He brushes his hand over his eyes* May the Valar protect you
Frodo: *softly* Thank you, my friend
Frodo: There is nothing you can do
Elfhild: *she sobs and coughs*
Frodo: *tries to comfort her*
Ceolwulf: When are you leaving today? Do you know?
Frodo: No, just that it will be sometime today
Elfhild: i am....sorry... my lord..... *she manages to choke out* i am so sorry. *it is all that she can say*
Frodo: Thank you, Elfhild *gives her a napkin to wipe her face with* I am sorry too
Ceolwulf: *Looks at Frodo.... he is like a small brother to me, yet he is older than I am. How brave he is! My little brother*
Elfhild: *she squeezes his hand, trying to smile reassuringly, but nothing can be reassuring. it never is in a situation like this. she takes the napkin from frodo*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf had resented every day of his slavery, but had tried to become resigned to it, and to find meaning in helping aid Frodo. Now he is confused and sad*
Ceolwulf: Frodo, I do not understand any of this
Frodo: *Frodo feels Ceolwulf's eyes upon him. He turns toward him and is touched by the emotion in his eyes. He smiles to him, returning the meaningful glance*
Frodo: *Farewell, my dear second Sam, he thinks*
Ceolwulf: Frodo, are you going to tell the others now? *his eyes are misty*
Elfhild: *she sits back upon her heels, holding the napkin in her lap, and looking up at frodo*
Frodo: Well, Ceolwulf *he straightens and squeezes Ceolwulf's arm* could you call them into the great hall? I think I must do this now
Ceolwulf: *Sadly he says* If you must
Frodo: *nods gravely*
Ceolwulf: Elfhild, go to the kitchen and tell Finduilas to summon all the servants to the great hall. Do not say why. Just tell them to go now and wait
Ceolwulf: *he wipes his eyes with his sleeve*
Elfhild: *she nods, and rises to her feet, bowing and then stumbling towards the door back into the keep...to tell finduilas the message*
Ceolwulf: I will take you, Master Frodo. Do you want me to carry you?
Frodo: *smiles sadly and nods*
Frodo: *wondering if it is the last time Ceolwulf will bear him...and remembering, as always, Sam's devotion*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf pulls Frodo's chair out from the table* Should I carry you on my back Master Frodo, like I did the other day?
Frodo: It does not matter, Ceolwulf. Whatever way you want
Ceolwulf: *Remembering that sunny autumn day that they shared such a brief time ago looking at the fields, a day of peace and wine when they could forget for a while where they were*
Ceolwulf: Stand up in the chair and turn around and I will pick you up
Frodo: *Frodo brings his feet up to the chair, stands, and turns around*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf thinks how like a small child he is. He puts his hands under Frodo's armpits and hoists him in the air, putting him on his shoulders and then holding his legs* Hang on, Master Frodo
Frodo: *Frodo wraps his arms around Ceolwulf's head. His voice breaks* I will hang on as long as I can
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf carries Frodo down the halls until they come to the great hall. Ceolwulf hoists Frodo down and puts him on the chair. It is a great throne-like chair, ornately carved with dragons and serpents, resting upon a dias in the back of the Hall*
Frodo: *Frodo wipes his face and composes himself*
Ceolwulf: *He moves back to the side of the chair and thinks how small and forelorn he is*
Frodo's Servants: *all of the servants of frodo's household, those who are familiar and those whom he has never met or has only seen in passing, all walk in one by one, or in groups, each wondering why they have been called. soon the hall is half filled with people....they all talk among themselves, and look to frodo with expectancy*
Frodo: *looks around the large, ornate hall, thinking how wrong this all is. He, a prisoner and a traitor, in the place of a great lord here, and he will be a lowly prisoner again by nightfall*
Frodo: *Frodo says a silent prayer for all of them, worrying about what will happen to them*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf bends down and whispers to Frodo* You need to say something to them, anything
Frodo: *sits up as straight as he can and looks over the small crowd of servants*
Frodo's Servants: *elfhild talks to her sister in rohirric, telling her a bit of what has happened and why they have been called. elffled gasps and looks with terror to frodo*
Frodo: I have called you all here because I have news to tell you
Lilandra&Aldir: *They were so new to this place of terror, restraint, confusion for their treatment, which had been good so far. But Lilandra was skeptical. For they where in Mordor, surrounded by ones serving the Dark Lord could. one could never be happy..never free..that was for certain. Everything was undetermined, and so she remained frightened and angry when she looks to her husband, a noble man. And now they were summoned..to what matters? who knew*
Frodo: *continues* I am sorry to say that this news is ill
Frodo: I am leaving this hall today for a long journey, and I do not know if I shall be back.
Frodo's Servants: *the servants look at each other, worry on their faces as they speak in hushed tones amongst themselves*
Frodo's Servants: *some of the servants who worked for the old lord of the hall gave each other knowing looks and whispered......* .....removed, like all the rest.
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir, with his arm gripped tightly on Lilandra's looks to her wth confusion. More strange circumstances.*
Frodo: I would not have it so...I wish you all health and good fortune.
Frodo: May the Va--may the stars shine on all your roads
Vardamir: *Vardamir stands among the crowd thinking..... they are all mad here*
Vardamir: *The sooner I leave it the better off I will be*
Sador: *Sador thinks.... Ah, another new master. Sador will profit wherever he go. He smiles to himself*
Lilandra&Aldir: *A smart man was Aldir but there was no logic one could have to make sense of any of this*
Frodo's Servants: *the servants who worked for the old lord, native slaves of nurn, those born into bondage, hope that their new master will be kind... or at least...tolerant..*
Frodo: That is all. You may go if you wish---but I ask those of you who know me to stay a while
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf thinks.... Maybe I can follow him, wherever he goes*
Derufin: *Derufin looks to Frodo, his dark eyes brooding.... he thinks his own thoughts*
Lilandra&Aldir: *Lilandra rubs her shoulder..sore from the brand. The horrible mark of pure evil..and a force always at work here*
Frodo's Servants: *the other servants, those who had not known frodo well or whom had never spoken with their master, begin to leave the hall, bowing as they go, until there remain only a few*
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir fears what fate this news will bring for them*
Elfhild: *elfhild, rian, finduilas and her two sons, haleth and firiel approach frodo, bowing*
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir decides it is in his best interest to stay and figure as much out as he can. Still holding onto Lilandra, he walks up to the small man*
Frodo: Aldir, Lilandra, and Vardamir, I wish I could have stayed longer to help make your predicament easier on you.
Vardamir: *Vardamir stands, looking around definantly*
Lilandra&Aldir: *The word "predicament" rings in their heads*
Frodo: May the Valar protect you all
Lilandra&Aldir: *Lilandra looks to the total expression of distress on Frodo's face and she was sure it was one that could not be false...she thought she was sure.*
Vardamir: Slave lord, I know nothing of this place or your business, nor where you go nor where you stay
Frodo: I know. Nor do I know aught of you.
Frodo: But you have my good wishes nonetheless, man of Gondor.
Vardamir: But I feel sure that another master, maybe better, maybe worse than you, will soon take your place. What does it matter to a slave? *he says the word disdainfully and spits*
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir says* Tell me..What is to happen now and under whose orders shall we be?
Frodo: *sighs, but has too much on his mind to get upset at Vardamir's words...he nods to him, signaling that he can go if he wants*
Elfhild: *elfhild takes a step closer to vardamir, her eyes flashing with anger* still your tongue, vardamir. this halfling is the kindnest master you will have in this place, so treat him with respect.
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir cares not for the man's problems but only what problems might be his and his wife's*
Vardamir: *He looks to them both, says nothing. He turns and leaves*
Frodo: *to Aldir* I am...being taken away. I am not sure what will happen. I fear you will be under Vartang's orders...I am sorry!
Vardamir: *He thinks to himself... madness, madness!*
Elfhild: *she watches vardamir leave, her fists clenched tightly at her sides*
Lilandra&Aldir: *the name makes her clutch her husband's arm tighter and his expression grows hard*
Sador: *Sador looks at Frodo for a while, shakes his head, then slowly, silently slips away*
Lilandra&Aldir: And you have no say in any matters? *Aldir to Frodo*
Frodo: *shakes his head and says quietly* No. I am a prisoner of mordor
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf stands quietly by Frodo's chair... He thinks... I will trail him if I can.*
Lilandra&Aldir: *true confusion indeed and now fear replaces the comfort (as much as he could have had) he had in the previous day*
Frodo: I have been so for a long while. I was put here in this hall to make me a traitor to the West, but before this, I was...*trails off becoming pale*
Lilandra&Aldir: *Her frightened eyes scan the small man's face and bends a bit to him and speaks softly*
Lilandra&Aldir: it must be you are sincere.. indeed you seem tormented...i am frightened
Lilandra&Aldir: is there no control over this man..Vartang?
Frodo: I am sincere, lady, completely sincere. I wish I could tell you it will be all right
Frodo: There are some higher than he...but they are crueler still
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir still stands tall but shuts his eyes at his wife's words and grits his teeth at Frodo's reply*
Frodo: I hope he will not cause trouble for you. If you do not cross him, I do not think he will harm you
Frodo's Servants: *finduilas stands, holding anborn by one hand and targon by the other hand. she weeps silent tears, confused by what has been said. the boys start crying too, then break from her grasp and rush to frodo's chair. With a hard glare ahead, he strokes her hair*
Lilandra&Aldir: *she bites her lower lip hard and raises up and folds herself into Aldir's arms*
Anborn and Targon: *the chair is large by adult standards and gigantic to a small child. they look up at him with big gray eyes filled with tears...they both talk at once* uncle frodo! where are you going? when are you coming back?
Frodo: Ah, my boys! *he smiles genuinely for the first time that day*
Frodo: *thinks that this must be how Bilbo felt towards him*
Anborn and Targon: can we go too? will you bring something back for us?
Frodo: *he puts a hand on each of their heads*
Lilandra&Aldir: *He slowly leads her back and watches in disgust as the small boys rush by...proud men they would have been in their land..slaves in this horrid place*
Anborn and Targon: *they look up at him.... targon begins sucking his thumb*
Frodo: I am going on a long trip. I don't think I will be able to bring you back anything...but we shall see what we can do when I come back *winks at them*
Anborn and Targon: *finduilas calls for them* boys! come back! don't bother master now.
Frodo: *almost inaudibly*...if I come back
Frodo: No, it's all right, Findulas! Let them stay
Anborn and Targon: *they beam at him* i hope you come back soon! we'll miss you!
Frodo: I will miss you too! *his eyes begin to sting again*
Anborn and Targon: *finduilas looks to frodo* if it is all right with you....
Frodo: Come give your uncle Frodo a hug
Frodo: *bends down so they will be able to reach him*
Anborn and Targon: *they struggle to get into the gigantic chair beside frodo*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf says* Let me help you, boys
Frodo: Thank you, Ceolwulf
Ceolwulf: *He picks up first Anborn and then Targon and puts them on Frodo's chair*
Lilandra&Aldir: *Lilandra watches the children with Frodo...oh cruel fate that you would take a master away who would be kind to his slaves*
Anborn and Targon: *the two boys hug frodo tightly... they are almost the same size as he is and practically squash him*
Frodo: Oof! *Frodo cries and laughs as they smother him in hugs*
Anborn and Targon: can you play now uncle frodo? *anborn asks with pleading eyes*
Frodo: *helps them scoot over beside him, one on either side*
Anborn and Targon: *anborn tugs on frodos sleeve* please? let's go play hide and seek, or soldier!
Frodo: *puts a hand on Anborn's shoulder* Uncle Frodo has to talk to these other people now...perhaps later we could play. Though I am pretty tired. *smiles, raising an eyebrow*
Anborn and Targon: *the two boys shoulders slump and they look disappointed, but then targons eyes widen* oh! oh! i have a wooden sword that ceolwulf carved for me!
Frodo: You DO? *melodramatically going along with them* Can I see it?Anborn and Targon: *targon instantly brightens and says* sure thing! *the sword is tied to his belt. he unties it and holds it aloft* see?
Frodo: *Frodo assumes an expression of complete awe* Oh, it's wonderful!
Anborn and Targon: *targon* im going to be a soldier when i grow up! *anborn* me too!
Frodo: You look quite the little soldiers to me!
Frodo: Ceolwulf, you amaze me. Don't they look just like captains?
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf's lips curl up into a smile, one of the few he has ever smiled in Mordor*
Lilandra&Aldir: *she closes her eyes tightly at the innocence of the child and his possibly doomed future*
Frodo: *marvels that he has the strength to play with them at such a time*
Ceolwulf: Aye, captains, fine captains
Anborn and Targon: *their eyes widen* really?! *then* we'll be captains someday, and help defeat the armies of the enemy!
Frodo: Aye! Aye, you shall!
Ceolwulf: *Moves to the side, bends over and puts his finger over his lips* Shhhhh, we will play later
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir clenches his hand into a fist*
Anborn and Targon: *the two boys wonder why that ceolwulf has shushed them, but being small children, they do not yet understand that tongues must be guarded in the land of the enemy*
Frodo: Maybe Uncle Ceolwulf will play soldier with you later. Would you like that?
Ceolwulf: And I will take you both in a pony cart and we shall go out in the fields and play soldier. Then after we have conquered very enemy in sight, we will eat apples from beneath the trees in Master Frodo's orchards. Would you like that?
Anborn and Targon: *their eyes widen when they hear of this new delight* oh yes! we would like that very much!
Lilandra&Aldir: *Lilandra's eyes well with tears*
Frodo: *smiles at Ceolwulf*
Anborn and Targon: *finduilas comes up and looks at the boys* boys, come off his lap now. you are tiring master. come, let me help you off *she bends down for them*
Lilandra&Aldir: *Her mind drifts as she looks sadly at the children at their mother's side*
Frodo: *reaches for them impulsively* No!!
Frodo: *He puts an arm around each one*
Anborn and Targon: *the boys look at their mother and say* see? he wants us to stay! *she looks at frodo with confusion*
Frodo: Let me just....let me just say goodbye to them
Frodo: *feels his face growing hot*
Anborn and Targon: *but realizing the situation, she nods at frodo and tells the boys* you can stay until he says to get down *finduilas smiles at the three*
Anborn and Targon: *anborn hugs frodo around the neck and says* tell us a story!... please!
Frodo: All right, just a short one
Anborn and Targon: *the boys cheer with joy*
Firiel: *firiel, haleth's daughter, overhears the conversation between frodo and the two boys...she turns to her mother and says* mother, may i listen to the story too? and can i go play soldier too when they finish? i can beat those boys anytime!
Frodo: Of course, of course! There's plenty of room for you up here
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf chuckles and smiles at Firiel*
Frodo: and I'm sure Ceolwulf could use another captain
Ceolwulf: Aye, Indeed I could, but I do not want her on the opposing side from me and Anborn and Targon *He smiles*
Firiel: *haleth smiles at firiel* of course you may. *she laughs* but be careful with those boys; they are much younger than you!
Ceolwulf: She would surely best us all *and winks at the little girl*
Firiel: *firiel leaves her mother's side and gets up onto the chair beside frodo and the two boys. firiel is eight years old, with wavy dark hair and dark eyes...slightly tawny skin*
Ceolwulf: Master Frodo, I do not think either the chair or your lap can support another one *he laughs*
Frodo: *laughs too* Now, are we all ready?
Frodo: *remembers Bilbo vividly*
Frodo: Here is a story of a brave soldier just like you all will be someday
The Three Children: *the three children nod and say in unison* yes yes!
Lilandra&Aldir: *Aldir marvels at the relationship they all share and the almost family-like atmoshere...and anger and worry about the likelyhood of this all changing....how sad for them all!*
Frodo: Gil-galad! He was an Elf, a real elf. He fought in a great battle against the enemy
The Three Children: *their eyes widen and they murmur in surprise* an elf! really?! we've never seen an elf before!
Frodo: They won the battle, but Gil-galad didn't survive it. Now he is a great hero among the Elves across the Sea
Frodo: Ah, someday I will have to tell you all about elves!
Frodo: *catches himself, stops momentarily*
The Three Children: tell us more!...... please!
Frodo: *begins to sing the Elvish verse in a clear voice, with a hint of poignancy*
Frodo: "Gil-galad was an Elven-king. Of him the harpers sadly sing:
Frodo: "The last whose realm was fair and free between the Mountains and the Sea.
The Three Children: *they stare up (or down in firiel's case) at frodo as he sings, their eyes wide, spellbound by his voice*
Frodo: "His sword was long, his lance was keen, his shining helm afar was seen *plays up the military drama for them*
Frodo: "The countles stars of heaven's field were mirrored in his silver shield.
Frodo: "But long ago he rode away, and where he dwelleth none can say;
Frodo: For into darkness fell his star in Mordor where the shadows are."
The Three Children: *scenes of soldiers fighting in bright armor flash through their heads... it is all grand and glorious... the things of legends.... but they do not comprehend the bitter reality of war*
Frodo: It is a sad way of telling it. Maybe I will write a new one about what a hero he was
Frodo: Or maybe you will all write a verse about him yourselves!
The Three Children: *the children applaud frodo when he is through singing* tell us another one!...please!
The Three Children: *firiel whispers* someday i'm going to meet an elven king and marry him!
Frodo: Perhaps you will, Firiel!
Frodo: *Frodo hates for this to end, but he must say goodbye to the others*
Frodo: There is not time for another story. When I come back, perhaps you all will have one to tell me!
The Three Children: *they all look disapponted again... but then brighten* maybe when you come back? *they ask hopefully, their eyes big and wide*
Frodo: *He still smiles but looks exhausted*
Frodo: Maybe
The Three Children: *haleth and finduilas approach frodo's chair, smile at him and ask* my lord, have they worn you out? *they laugh*
Frodo: *laughs too* I'm afraid they have!
Frodo: Now all of you say goodbye to your uncle Frodo.
Frodo: One more! *extends his arms to them and gathers them all up*
The Three Children: *the three children embrace frodo tightly*
Frodo: *Frodo cannot help shedding a few tears. He kisses each of their heads*
The Three Children: *firiel scoots off the chair and begins helping the two boys down....finduilas comes up and helps her with them, and soon they are all on the ground*
Frodo: All right, my friends. Go plan your soldier game *smiles and waves to them*
Frodo: *whispers to Findulas* Stay; I want to talk to you before you go
The Three Children: *the children look back to frodo, their eyes full of excitement* thank you, uncle frodo! we will! goodbye, we'll miss you! we can't wait until you come back!
The Three Children: *the three children retreat into the hall, to plan their game*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf looks after them and wonders what will happen to them all, after Frodo leaves*
Frodo: *smiles wearily after them and wipes his eyes*
Frodo: *Frodo does not even allow himself to think of harm coming to them; he could not bear it.*
Finduilas: *finuilas approaches frodo's chair and smiles sadly at him*
Frodo: My dear Finduilas. Thank you for your kindness--and your wonderful cakes and tea *returns the sad smile*
Frodo: I hope I can keep my promise to the children *sighs*
Finduilas: it is always a pleasure to make them for you, and for everyone. i hope you will come back soon, and i will have a big plate full of cakes baked in no time for you.
Frodo: Thank you
Frodo: *beckons her closer and whispers* This is important. Make sure the children do not go outside today
Finduilas: *she comes closer to him, to hear his whispers*
Frodo: They may see something that will frighten them terribly.
Finduilas: *she becomes alarmed* what is it, my lord?
Frodo: They will hear about it afterwards, no doubt, but I do not want them to see it
Frodo: *sadly* I cannot tell you...it will be at my departure
Frodo: Don't worry *he takes her hand reassuringly, then pauses* Pray for me *he says in the quietest whisper of all*
Finduilas: *she nods sadly* some devilry of the enemy, i suppose, for we are in mordor. i shall fetch them and tell them not to go outside
Frodo: Yes, yes
Frodo: They can play soldier inside, and then go out with Ceolwulf tomorrow
Finduilas: *she squeezes his hand* may the valar protect you, my lord, and the One protect your paths
Frodo: *squeezes her hand back* and yours
Finduilas: *she gazes into his eyes for a moment and whispers* may the valar protect us all.
Frodo: *nods, holding her gaze*
Finduilas: i will go now with your leave, my lord, and tell the children. it is my greatest hope that you will come back to us. until then, my lord..
Finduilas: *finuilas backs away from frodo, bows and leaves to find the children*
Frodo: Until then *gives her hand a last squeeze and releases it*
Haleth: *haleth approaches frodo's chair and bows. she looks to him and says* thank you for your kindness, master, to my daughter and me
Frodo: I've been glad to have you. I hope you can be happy here...just do not cross Vartang
Frodo: May the Valar protect you both as well
Haleth: *she nods* i know the type of man he is, my lord. *she lowers her voice* firiel's father was such a man
Frodo: *a hard look crosses his face*
Haleth: may the valar protect you as well, my lord.
Frodo: Thank you
Frodo: I hope you will both be rid of such men...and if I have any say in the matter, I will come back, be sure of it
Frodo: *His hope of seeing the Shire gone, he considers this a sort of home for him now*
Haleth: my lord, i hope that you return soon from your journey *though she knows that there is no stability in mordor*
Frodo: *takes her hand and presses it* Farewell! May you find a happy fate
Haleth: *she squeezes his hand back and smiles solemnly at him* farewell, and may you return quickly. *she steps back from him, bows and leaves...walking through the great hall*
Arnasa: *the next one of frodo's many servants who approach him to give their farewells is arnasa.... she is still clad in dun colors, a pale headrail upon her head. she bows low to frodo, kneeling, putting her head against the floor. then she rises slightly, sitting back on her heels*
Frodo: *sympathetically* Arnasa... *he wants to urge her again to see the good and value in herself, but knows it would do no good*
Arnasa: *she looks up to frodo with sad, dark eyes and says* may you travel with the blessings of the Great Lord of Darkness *bows head reverently*
Arnasa: *she rises to her feet, bows once again and retreats into the hall*
Frodo: *watches her go sadly*
Frodo: *perhaps her fate is even worse than mine, in a way, Frodo thinks*
Narrator: *Vartang comes into the hall, accompanied by his two comrades, Sergeant Androg and Corporal Ulfast, ten orcish guards, and a man whom Frodo has never met. A feeling comes upon Frodo that Vartang has brought so many because Vartang feels there might be trouble. Androg and Ulfast bow to Frodo*
Vartang: Shakh, you have already met Sergeant Androg and Corporal Ulfast, and now I would like to introduce to you your new farm overseer, Lothar.
Narrator: *A large man with dark features and beard, wearing dark clothing and a heavy mail shirt bows to Frodo and smiles broadly at him, and then moves back beside the other two*
Vartang: Shakh, he comes highly recommended by Lugburz.
Frodo: *Frodo is frozen with terror. He nods slightly to the men*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild, elffled and rian bow to vartang and his companions when they enter....they stare in shock at the darkly clad man*
Frodo: *He beckons the girls over to him...he has not said goodbye to them yet!*
Lothar: Shakh, I am honored to be your new farm overseer. I will take good care of everything. You do not have to worry about a thing
Frodo: *to Lothar*...Thank you...please be kind to the servants
Vartang: *Vartang nods to the man and he slips back into the group of orcs*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the girls shudder - that man looked like more than half an orc*
Vartang: Shakh, *Vartang says arrogantly* What a touching scene to see your many devoted slaves saying farewell to you
Vartang: However, let there be no apprehensions in your mind concerning the welfare of your slaves while you are gone *Vartang says and waves his hand in a sweeping, grand gesture*
Vartang: I thought it only appropriate that I and some of my friends and nobles should move in and occupy your quarters while you are gone and take care of things for you
Frodo: Thank you *but he does not trust him*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the three girls walk over to the side of frodo's large chair and hover there*
Vartang: Of course, there will have to be a change in accomodations since I will be occupying the suite of the Lord of the Keep, or, in other words, your suite. Your manslave, Ceolwulf, can be quartered elsewhere
Frodo: *sighs with relief that Ceolwulf will not have to lodge with Vartang*
Ceolwulf: *A look of apprehension crosses his face*
Frodo: *A tense pause ensues* Please, Vartang...I have not bid farewell to the girls and Ceolwulf yet
Vartang: I want the four slave women, Elfhild, Elffled, Rian and Lilandra, to move to the adjacent chambers to mine. I will tell Finduilas of this so she can make provisions *he grins at Frodo*
Frodo: *closes his eyes in despair*
Vartang: As you know, there is a door that connects the two. Should I need anything in the night, I can call for them. There are two beds there, each with a trundle, and the girls should stay there, should I have need of one or more of them.
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the girls' eyes widen and they gasp*
Frodo: *Frodo's breathing quickens and he grips the arms of the chairs*
Vartang: Of course, my military dispatches are to be brought to me every morning and afternoon. Shakh, do you understand me?
Frodo: *protests form in his mind and beg to be released, but what can he do?*
Frodo: *nods slowly*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *they look to frodo with desperation but they know that he cannot save them now*
Vartang: I will tell Finduilas my orders concerning the slave women
Frodo: *takes Rian and Elffled's hands and squeezes them*
Vartang: I want them moved before nightfall
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf walks up to Vartang and stands there, stares him in the face.* Vartang, do not do this!
Vartang: *Vartang laughs at him* You arrogant dog! You think to talk to me this way! These are slave women. I will do what I want with them!
Frodo: No, Ceolwulf!...You promised!
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf says low under his breath* You foul piece of dirt!
Frodo: *whispers to the girls* I am so sorry!
Vartang: *Vartang quickly backs away from Ceolwulf and says* Strawhead, I thought you might be planning something like that *he pulls his sword from his sheath* I should cut your tongue out!
Frodo: *slides off the chair and stumbles towards Ceolwulf* No!!
Elfhild: *elfhild screams* NOOO! *and runs to ceolwulf, standing between him and vartang's sword*
Narrator: *Ceolwulf lunges suddenly and tries to grab the sword from Vartang's wrist, but Vartang is too quick and he lashes out and cuts him across the arm. Then, Vartang's two companions and all ten orcs are upon the two of them*
Frodo: *Frodo screams at them to stop*
Elfhild: *elfhild struggles with the orcs, kicking, hitting and screaming*
Narrator: *The orcs smash Ceolwulf to the ground and drag Elfhild away*
Frodo: *crying* No! Elfhild...*runs towards her and tries to embrace her a last time, casting worried glances back at Ceolwulf at the same time*
Elfhild: *the orcs hold her still but still she struggles, panting heavily*
Vartang: You stupid fool! *Vartang says to Ceolwulf in a cold, deadly voice* The dungeon for you! Fifty lashes upon your back!
Frodo: No! *falls to his knees before Vartang* Please!
Elfhild: *elfhild brings her foot back hard, kicking the orc in the shin. she struggles free and stumbles towards vartang, too falling upon her knees at his feet. she touches her head upon his boots*
Elfhild: no my lord! you will kill him! please do not do this!
Vartang: *He looks down at both of them* Fools! *he laughs*
Vartang: Get up, Shakh! A lord does not grovel upon the floor! You are disgusting!
Frodo: *Frodo rises, walks over to Ceolwulf, wraps his arms around his neck, and holds on tightly with no intention of letting go until Vartang revokes the order*
Vartang: Do you want to watch him whipped? *He says arrogantly*
Frodo: I won't let go of him until you grant him mercy or let me take it for him
Vartang: *He looks to the orcs* Restrain the shakh. He is not in his right mind!
Elfhild: *she raises her head and looks up at vartang* please, lord! let him go! do not do this thing!
Vartang: *He looks down at her* He tried to kill me. Do you expect me to show mercy!
Elfhild: *terror fills her and she bursts out into tears* please lord! i beg you!
Narrator: *An orc grabs Frodo from the back, pinning Frodo's arms to his sides and holds him*
Vartang: Be careful with him. We do not want him...... leaving us before it is.....time *he laughs*
Frodo: *Frodo twists and bites the orc's arms hard, then runs back to Ceolwulf when the orc pulls away*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf, pinned down by three orcs, lies on the floor, blood flowing from his wounded arm. He struggles but cannot move*
Vartang: *He looks at the orc* Take him to the dungeon! Whip him!
Frodo: *smooths the hair off Ceolwulf's forehead*
Frodo: Vartang, no, please!
Elfhild: NOOO! *elfhild screams and wraps her arms around vartang's ankles sobbing upon the sides of his boots*
Frodo: I am more rebellious than he is. You should punish me! I wish he had succeeded in killing you!!!!
Narrator: *The orcs force Ceolwulf up and to his feet and start dragging him away*
Vartang: Shakh, you are overwrought. Your wits have left you
Frodo: *Frodo wraps his arms around Ceolwulf's waist and hangs there determinedly*
Vartang: Hold the woman *he commands Androg and Ulfast*
Vartang: Subdue the Shakh. He is witless
Frodo: *kicks wildly at the orcs*
Narrator: *Two orcs grab Frodo and hold him tightly. Androg and Ulfast each take one of Elfhild's arms and hold her*
Elfhild: *she struggles a bit, sobbing and wailing* no! please! vartang! don't! ceolwulf!..... no!......OHHHHH LORD FRODO
Frodo: *Frodo continues to plead with Vartang. This is exactly the scene of Sam's stabbing, he thinks, and hatred lights his eyes*
Frodo: *restrained by orcs himself, Frodo can only gaze at Elfhild sadly*
Narrator: *The three orcs that hold Ceolwulf begin dragging him towards the corridor. Two others draw swords and follow behind him, prodding him along*
Frodo: *struggles furiously against the orcs, biting and kicking*
Frodo: *calls after him* Ceolwulf, my dear Ceolwulf...may the Valar protect you!!!
Elfhild: *her legs flail wildly as she tries to kick the men in the shins...she screams out* ceolwulf! ceolwulf!
Frodo: *clamps down hard with his teeth on the orcs' arms*
Vartang: Shakh, try to control yourself and not make another spectacle. Do you want to see him whipped?
Frodo: No, no! I want him not to be whipped! Is there no other punishment for him?
Narrator: *Androg and Targon hold Elfhild tighter. They cry out when she kicks them but keep holding her*
Frodo: One less cruel! One that will not kill him!
Vartang: Yes, there is...... death
Frodo: But he will die from fifty lashes and his arm is bleeding already
Elfhild: *stops struggling for a moment, wails breathlessly* noooo!!
Vartang: Quite possibly he will, Shakh
Frodo: Vartang, he must not die!!!
Elfhild: *she screams again and struggles wilder*
Frodo: Please do not hurt him
Vartang: *He says calmly* He tried to kill me, Shakh. Why should I not have him beaten to death?
Frodo: He was only trying to defend me. It was an act of desperation. He did not mean it
Frodo: *is sure he did mean it, but will not say that*
Vartang: Nay, Shakh. *He looks to Elfhild* He took issue with my orders
Frodo: Vartang, I have taken issue with your orders from the first day I came here and you have not whipped me
Frodo: Think how many times I have come between you and your plans
Vartang: *His lips curl back and his teeth show in a smile* So you have Shakh, so you have
Frodo: Am I not far more guilty than he is?
Frodo: *thinks, I am going to Lugburz to die anyway. What is one more whipping?*
Vartang: Shakh, you are favored with the Great Eye. No harm would ever come to you
Vartang: Take the woman to the dungeon. Let her listen to his screams
Frodo: Vartang, you KNOW how much the Great Eye has harmed me, and you know why!
Elfhild: *elfhilds eyes widen* no! vartang! you filthy snake!
Frodo: I hate the Dark Lord! I hate Mordor and all of its evil servants! More than these ever possibly could
Vartang: Ah, Elfhild, you do not wish to rush to give solace to your lover while he is whipped? *he grins at her wickedly*
Frodo: *screams* Curse you, Vartang!!!
Elfhild: *she flushes scarlet* he will be locked in a cell, and no one can see him there, save the evil spirits who lurk there!
Vartang: Take her down below. Her mouth constantly moves in complaints
Elfhild: *she curses him violently in rohirric*
Narrator: *Androg and Ulfast begin dragging Elfhild to the corridor*
Frodo: Vartang...if I can do nothing for them...can I not at least stay until it is over...can I not see them!
Vartang: *He calls to his orcs* And the other man, the new slave, Aldir. Put him in the dungeon too, and the other, Vardamir. They both have suspicious looks. Put them both in the dungeon
Frodo: No, no, they have done nothing
Elfhild: *elfhild struggles and curses the whole way to the dungeon*
Vartang: This will keep them out of trouble, Shakh
Frodo: Out of trouble! *curses* Bring them back!!
Frodo: They will be "out of trouble" in their rooms, much better than down there! It will make them hate you even more if you imprison them
Elffled and Rian: *elffled and rian have watched this new horror befold before their eyes.... they are scared and crying and try to comfort each other*
Vartang: Shakh, let them hate me. They will respect me all the more
Frodo: No! They do not respect you, especially not because they hate you
Frodo: It makes them think you lower than slime
Vartang: Then let them fear me!
Frodo: Why? Why do you want to be feared so?
Elffled and Rian: *elffled whispers to rian, wishing to speak to vartang about the fate of her sister* stay here, i shall brave danger. *rian nods, and elffled approaches frodo and vartang*
Frodo: Elffled! No, please! I cannot lose another of you! *he pleads*
Vartang: Shakh, do you have to ask me such a question?
Frodo: *scornfully* I do not understand you at all
Vartang: Fear brings power! With power, we will conquer all of Middle Earth
Frodo: You cannot conquer forever
Elffled: *elffled hesitates and pauses where she stands*
Vartang: Shakh, we have conquered all of Gondor and Rohan
Frodo: Not for good! Not forever! The Valar still see us
Frodo: Someday, the temple you build on Minas Tirith shall fall!
Narrator: *Down below, Ceolwulf's shirt has been taken from his back and he now hangs suspended by manacles attached to chains hanging from the ceiling*
Vartang: Shakh, you know nothing of higher things, so do not speak of them!
Frodo: Oh I know more than you think
Frodo: *thinks of the One Ring*
Narrator: *The chief torturer of the torture chamber smiles as he uncoils a bullwhip and administers the first lash across Ceolwulf's back*
Frodo: *cries out when he hears Ceolwulf's scream from down below and struggles against the orcs*
Elfhild: *elfhild screams and turns her head, sobbing*
Frodo: Please, Vartang, stop them!
Narrator: *The torturer smiles again and brings the whip back and strikes another wicked blow across Ceolwulf's back. Ceolwulf screams in pain. Elfhild has been chained by the wrists to the wall so she can watch*
Frodo: Vartang, I have changed my mind...let me go to them
Frodo: *vainly he hopes that there is still something he can do*
Elfhild: *her fingers coil around the chains holding her up.... she closes her eyes tighter, screaming and sobbing*
Vartang: Then go, Shakh. You are Master of the Keep. Release him lads! *The orcs release Frodo*
Frodo: *Frodo runs below*
Narrator: *The third lash seeks out Ceolwulf's already bleeding back and he winces from the pain but tries to keep from crying out*
Frodo: *He follows the horrible sounds and finds Ceolwulf and Elfhild. He places himself between Ceolwulf and the torturer*
Vartang: *Vartang looks to Elffled* Bring me wine
Frodo: *He reaches up and grabs the end of his raised whip with both hands*
Elffled: *elffled glares at vartang with pure hatred, turns on her heel and goes to find vartang a goblet of wine. rian folows her*
Frodo: *he says to the man* I will kill you if you strike him again
The Dungeon Master: *The torturer stops whipping Ceolwulf because he has been ordered never to harm the lord of the keep*
Frodo: *darts and steals the man's dagger*
Frodo: *threatens the torturer with the dagger*
The Dungeon Master: *The torturer laughs at Frodo* Little man, do not be so vain to think you can stop an order by Shakh Vartang
Frodo: Shakh Vartang is not the one called Friend of Sauron
Elffled: *elffled comes back alone, storms into the great hall, and thrusts the goblet into vartang's hand. she bows stiffly and turns to leave*
Frodo: My order overrides his. He is not beloved of the Great Eye *oh how he hates saying this*
The Dungeon Master: *the torturer says* Put your dagger down
The Dungeon Master: And you are, Shakh, most beloved of the Great Eye *He laughs sardonically*
Vartang: *Vartang takes the goblet and goes and walks down the steps into the dungeon*
Frodo: No! *suddenly he rushes at the man and tackles him and holds the dagger to his throat*
The Dungeon Master: *The torturer, a large man, looks in shock at Frodo, who has climbed up his clothing like a squirrel going up a tree*
The Dungeon Master: *An orc comes up behind Frodo and pulls him off and puts him on the ground. The torturer stumbles backward a bit but rights himself, rubbing his throat*
Frodo: *slashes at the orc with his dagger and escapes*
The Dungeon Master: Take his knife and hold him
Vartang: *By this time, Vartang has entered the dungeon. He walks into the torture chamber. He looks at the scene before him and takes a sip of wine*
Frodo: *rushes at the torturer and climbs up him again*
Vartang: Shakh, put down the dagger. You will stress yourself
Frodo's Ring: *At this moment, the Ring on Frodo's hand begins to glow. My friend, you will hurt yourself again. Put down the dagger. I command you!*
Frodo: *shouts to Vartang and the voice of Sauron* NO! *and slashes at the man's throat*
The Dungeon Master: *The torturer hits Frodo in the face and pushes him down, his neck scratched and bleeding*
Frodo: *Frodo falls heavily on his back. The wind is knocked out of him*
Vartang: *Vartang looks at the orcs* Fools! Are you too incompetent to handle this........ to handle the shakh in one of his moods of madness?
Frodo: *gasps for a few moments, then struggles to his feet*
Frodo's Ring: *Frodo's Ring says. Drop the dagger. Then Frodo feels the fingers on his hand begin to loosen and the dagger clatters to the floor*
Frodo: *Frodo groans when the dagger falls*
Vartang: *Vartang quickly steps out and puts his foot on the dagger, then picks it up*
Vartang: Shakh... *he says calmly* You will be in no condition at this rate to keep your appointment
Frodo: *Good, Frodo thinks*
Frodo: *turns away from all of them and goes to stand before Ceolwulf, looking sadly into his face*
Vartang: Shakh... *Vartang says calmly* Why do you worry about this slave? Why is his fate a concern to you?
Vartang: *Vartang drinks another sip of his wine* Why do you care whether he lives or dies?
Frodo: Because he is dear to me. He is like a brother *keeping Ceolwulf's gaze*
Vartang: Now go back outside. You do not need to watch this
Frodo: *Sam, I will save you this time if it kills me, he thinks*
Frodo: I won't leave him
Elfhild: *elfhild screams* no! don't start whipping him again! please, no!
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf looks down at him and says* My friend, go, do not watch this! If I must die, do not let your eyes see it
Frodo: I will not leave you
Vartang: *Vartang laughs* Such a touching show of compassion *He finishes his glass of wine*
Frodo: I have been in your situation many times and each time I wished for one friend to be there, just one so that I need not die alone and if you die now I will be here
Vartang: Shakh, if you do not step aside, I will order you chained!
Elfhild: *elfhild screams again and struggles in her chains* nooo!
Vartang: *He tells to the orc guards* Chain him! Let him watch! *He laughs wickedly*
Narrator: *Two of the orcs come and pick Frodo up by the arms, drag him over to manacles on chains attached to the walls. They hoist him up, right across from Ceolwulf so he can see*
Frodo: *Frodo smiles reassuringly at Ceolwulf*
Elfhild: vartang! you can't do that to him! *she screams.....watches as the orcs chain him beside her*
Vartang: Ha! Lady, rest easy and enjoy this scene
Narrator: *The chief torturer picks up his whip where it fell on the ground, brings him arm around. The lash curls all around Ceolwulf, the end of it whipping around his chest*
Elfhild: vartang! you wretched piece of pig filth! by bema, watching this will drive lord frodo mad!
Vartang: Wine always goes better when I watch a disciplining. Unfortunately, my goblet is empty
Vartang: *He leans against the wall at a safe distance and watches*
Frodo: *Frodo meets Ceolwulf's eyes as soon as they open from being squeezed shut*
Frodo: *He speaks gently to him, a constant stream of encouragement*
Elfhild: you are the most dispicable, loathesome, sadistic, cruel, evil..... *she breaks off into rohirric*..... you will drive frodo mad!
Vartang: Yes, yes, my lady. I know your great affections for me
Vartang: A pity you could show them now *He leers at her*
Elfhild: *her eyes narrow into slits* you are going to drive lord frodo mad.... have a care!
Frodo: You can do it, Ceolwulf. You can do it *he repeats*
The Dungeon Master: *The torturer lays six more lashes across Ceolwulf's back, each one drawing blood*
Frodo: The One sees us now, and Elbereth Glithoniel. Someday you will be rewarded for this *struggles to continue talking during the bloody scene*
Vartang: Shakh, we are now one fifth of the way through the process. Tell me now, should I Continue?
Frodo: No!
Vartang: And why not?
Frodo: He has had enough!
Elfhild: stop it!
Frodo: I am sure...he is *grates the word* "disciplined" enough!
Vartang: Do you think ten lashes will bring refromation to this unruly cur?
Frodo: Yes, most definitely.
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf's eyes seem to glaze over from his pain and loss of blood*
Vartang: Draught! Give him draught!
Frodo: *Frodo longs to go to him...he keeps talking* Come on, Ceolwulf my friend. Stay with us, brother of my heart
Vartang: *One orc fetches a glass of orc draught, the other holds him as the first pours it in Ceolwulf's throat*
Frodo: You can do it
Ceolwulf: *The draught revives him and Ceolwulf straightens up, ready to receive the next lash*
Ceolwulf: Lay on you devils! You cannot break me!
Elfhild: oh ceolwulf! *she wails*
Ceolwulf: You may kill my body, but not my soul. A curse upon you!
Narrator: *The orcs look at Ceolwulf in amazement*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf looks at Frodo and smiles weakly*
Frodo: I know...I know *he says reassuringly*...but they will not kill you
Frodo: I know it is hard...but tell them what they want to hear, because they will stop. I have almost got you free
Narrator: *Vartang commands more lashes, and the torturer lays on ten more, one after another. Ceolwulf faints on the 20th, his back dripping with blood and he sags against the chains*
Frodo: *Frodo suddenly bursts into tears when Ceolwulf faints*
Vartang: Stop now *he commands the torturers. He walks around to Ceolwulf, looks at him in the face* Had enough, strawhead?
Vartang: Ah, he appears to have gone asleep on us. Perhaps we should wake him up
Elfhild: vartang! no! *she struggles against the chains, her arms feeling like they are on fire*
Vartang: Ah... *he says sarcastically and looks over to Elfhild* It appears I must heed the lady's request
Vartang: Take him down! *The orcs unlock the manacles on Ceolwulf's wrists and let him fall to the floor*
Frodo: Let us go now!
Vartang: Twenty lashes! He has gotten off easy enough
Vartang: *Ceolwulf comes out of his faint when he hits the floor. Vartang bends down and picks him up by the hair. He hauls him to his feet* Never try that again or you will be dead next time!
Frodo: Let us go! Let us out of these chains *anxious to get to Ceolwulf and bid farewell to him and Elfhild*
Vartang: *Vartang lets loose of Ceolwulf's hair. Ceolwulf falls down again. Ceolwulf lies there on the floor, then Vartang says* Take down the Shakh and loose the woman! *The orcs do as they are commanded*
Vartang: Make your farewells quickly, for there is little time left
Frodo: *Frodo hurries over to Ceolwulf and kneels beside him*
Elfhild: *elfhild slowly lowers her burning arms and rushes to frodo and ceolwulf*
Frodo: *Ceolwulf lies on his stomach with his head resting on one bent arm. Frodo takes that hand and lets Elfhild take the other*
Elfhild: *elfhild crouches down and gently takes ceolwulf's hand*
Ceolwulf: *He moans in pain*
Frodo: You did well, my friend. I am so sorry... but I am proud of you
Vartang: *Vartang feels a craving for wine, and wishes this business were over so he could go upstairs and get some*
Vartang: *He looks to Elfhild, who is kneeling by Ceolwulf* You will owe me for this, my lady, so remember it well
Frodo: *blanches in fear at Vartang's words*
Elfhild: *her eyes widen and she quickly turns her head away from vartang and back to ceolwulf*
Frodo: *bends down to look into Ceolwulf's face* I am honored to know you, King's Soldier. Thank you for everything, my friend
Frodo: *presses his hand* my dear friend
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf tries to focus his eyes but cannot. He faintly hears Frodo's voice through the din in his pounding brain*
Frodo: Stay with us now!
Frodo: Look at me *lowers himself to Ceolwulf's eye level* just try to do that
Ceolwulf: *he turns his head towards Frodo* They cannot break me, Frodo. Never think they can *he says weakly*
Frodo: I know, my friend. I never thought that
Frodo: They can break none of us
Ceolwulf: No, no *he says and then he fades into unconsciousness*
Frodo: *Frodo bows his head and sobs a little, then bends and kisses the top of his head*
Elfhild: oh ceolwulf! *her fingers rub his hand and the tears come again*
Frodo: *straightens and stands beside Elfhild, his hands on her shoulders*
Frodo: I am sorry for all of this, Elfhild
Frodo: Take care of him
Vartang: *Vartang, becoming bored with the whole thing needing a goblet of wine badly, says* Take the man, put him in his cell. Pour orc draught down his throat and salve on his back. Clean and bind his arm
Vartang: Put the woman in the cell beside him. Let them bring comfort to each other
Elfhild: *she rises and looks at frodo, says softly* it is all right, my lord.
Frodo: *hugs her quickly* Farewell!
Vartang: Now Shakh, you have an appointment to keep
Frodo: *draws a deep breath* I know
Elfhild: *she whispers* farewell, my lord
Frodo: May the Lady of the Stars shine on your paths, both of you
Vartang: *He looks to an orc and says, boredom dripping from his voice* Now pick up the Shakh and carry him upstairs. Put him in his chair so he can wait
Vartang: No more spectacles, shakh. Conserve your strength
Frodo: *clenches his fists and closes his eyes tightly, then opens them, full of definance*
Narrator: *Two orcs go over to Ceolwulf. They turn him over and one picks him up by the shoulders and the other by the feet. They carry him out of the torture chamber and into a cell*
Elfhild: *she follows the orcs as they take ceolwulf to his cell*
Frodo: *silent tears begin to stream down Frodo's face as he watches them go*
Elfhild: *she says, resignation in her voice* just so you put me in the cell beside him
Narrator: *An orc opens up a cell door for her points inside* Go lady *he locks the door behind her*
Elfhild: *well, in a cell once again, she thinks, at least i will have more than the ghosts this time to keep me company. she sighs and walks over to the pile of hay, throwing herself on it*
Vartang: *The orcs care for Ceolwulf as they are bidden, then toss him on a pile of straw, go out and lock the door behind them*
Narrator: *A very big uruk looks at Frodo* Now go quietly, all be well...
Frodo: *nods slowly*
Narrator: *The uruk picks Frodo up and carries him up the stairs. He takes him into the hall and puts him on the great chair. Vartang follows behind*
Vartang: *He sees Rian and Elffled* Wine
Elffled and Rian: *rian goes to get vartang a goblet of wine. elffled approaches him, bows and asks* my lord, when will my sister be released?
Vartang: In good time, lady, in good time
Elffled and Rian: *rian soon comes back, entering the hall from a doorway, carrying a goblet of wine. she hands it to vartang*
Vartang: *He takes it, walks over to a chair, sits down and takes a drink*
Narrator: *Androg and Ulfast and the ten orcs come into the hall. Androg asks* Orders, sir?
Vartang: Take the men, Aldir and Vardamir, and put them down below until I give leave for them to come out *the men and orcs do what he says and soon Aldir and Vardamir join the others down below*
Frodo: *Frodo is completely traumatized and cannot think of anything to say, only sighs* He is alive
Elffled and Rian: *elffled and rian rush around and kneel in front of frodos chair. rian sighs* thank the valar!
Frodo: I think he will recover
Vartang: *Vartang finishes his goblet of wine. He strethces out in the chair* More wine
Elffled and Rian: *elffled sighs* we have all felt the lash of the whip, some more than others, and i fear that we may yet feel it again.
Frodo: I hope not
Frodo: You must not cross Vartang while I am gone, any of you
Frodo: Ceolwulf broke his promise--he promised not to endanger himself! But it was to defend the girls and me...*trails off*
Elffled and Rian: *rian leaves frodos side and goes to vartang to get his empty goblet. taking it, she takes a decanter from a side table and refills the goblet. she brings it back to him*
Vartang: *He takes the goblet from her hand raises it up* A toast to your journey shakh. May you enjoy it!
Frodo: *does not even look at Vartang*
Elffled and Rian: *elffled sighs heavily* i shall try not to cross him, my lord.
Elffled and Rian: *rian goes back to frodo's chair... both girls resume standing beside it*
Frodo: *Suddenly the realization that he is actually leaving now hits him*
Narrator: *At that moment, the torches in the hall flicker and almost go out. A dreadful chill descends. Through the windows, they can see that a dark shadow has fallen over the landscape outside.*
Frodo: *Frodo gasps*
Vartang: *Vartang smiles* It is time Shakh. The great Lord has arrived
Frodo: *Frodo puts his head in his hands*
Elffled and Rian: *the girls suddenly feel cold and frightened. their eyes widen at vartangs words. they rush back in front of frodos chair and embrace him desperately*
Vartang: Now Shakh, do you want to walk or be carried?
Frodo: *returns their embrace* I will miss you
Frodo: *to Vartang* I will walk
Elffled and Rian: *they begin crying* we will miss you, my lord! may the valar protect you!
Elffled and Rian: *they rise and step out of frodos way*
Vartang: Then follow me, Shakh, and let none of you come behind!
Frodo: *Frodo wipes his eyes on his sleeve*
Frodo: *tries to smile reassuringly at the girls but fails, only showing his terror*
Vartang: *He puts the wine goblet down on the floor beside his chair, rises to his feet, turns, goes to the door to the Great Hall and through it*
Frodo: *He slides to the ground and walks slowly behind Vartang, unsteadily but firmly*
Frodo: *after the shocks and exertion of today he is exhausted, but he is determined to walk out there himself*
Elffled and Rian: *the girls follow a little way, sadness and fear filling their hearts, but stop and wait behind as commanded*
Vartang: *He goes down a corridor. His men are still subduing Vardamir and Aldir. At the main door, an orc bows to Vartang and opens the door. He goes down the steps to the main courtyard, bows low to the Rider on the beast*
Vartang: *He waits for Frodo to catch up*
Frodo: *Frodo steps through the main door, looks up and sees the nazgul on the fell beast. His eyes widen a moment, then he falls to the ground as though struck by lightning*
Shakh Skri: *The rider looks down at him and says not a word*
Frodo: *lies there paralyzed with terror and pain*
Shakh Skri: *He silently uses his will to command Frodo to try to rise to his feet*
Frodo: *slowly he drags his head upward, then pushes himself to a sitting position with his right hand*
Frodo: *rises to his knees, then slowly stands*
Vartang: Shakh, do not keep Him waiting....Do you need help?
Frodo: *gazes numb with shock at the fell beast*
Frodo: *turns and looks back one last time at Elffled and Rian*
Narrator: *The beast turns its head around and looks Frodo in the face, its beady eyes looking at him hungerly*
Elffled and Rian: *the girls had sneaked through the keep, following frodo. they peer at him through the doors and sadly wave goodbye*
Frodo: *with a great effort he raises his arm in a last farewell*
Narrator: *The beast opens its mouth in a hiss and blows its fetid breath, reaking of unknown smells, upon Frodo*
Frodo: *stumbles backwards*
Vartang: Shakh, get up or I will pick you up!
Frodo: *struggles to his feet but falls back to his knees...struggles up again*
Narrator: *The Rider reaches down with a hand encased in a metal gauntlet*
Frodo: *fights the urge to recoil*
Frodo: *Glithoniel A Elbereth! he prays silently mouthing the words*
Vartang: *Vartang goes behind Frodo, picks him up and tosses him behind the rider*
Frodo: *gasps as he lands on the back of the fell beast*
Vartang: Safe journey, shakh
Frodo: *sways precariously but settles himself on it*
Vartang: *Vartang bows and backs away* Hold onto the back of the saddle and be sure not to fall! *he laughs*
Frodo: *his eyes look always back at the house, at the girls, and at the other dear ones he cannot see inside*
Vartang: *He turns away, walks back up the steps, sees the girls* I am now Master of the Hall!
Frodo: *Alone he is now, again and forever*
Elffled and Rian: *terror seizes them and they fall upon their knees touching their heads to the ground*
Vartang: *He scarcely notices them as he makes his way back into the great hall and takes a seat in the great chair. He tells a nearby servant* Wine for the Lord of the Hall and make it quick!
Narrator: *The beast hops, runs a bit, then flaps its huge wings and sets off into the air*
Frodo: *Penetrating cold emanates from the wraith in front of thim, stabbing into his body and especially his shoulder*
Narrator: *The beast circles around the hall and then sets a course due northwest to Barad-dur, the Dark Tower. The rider says nothing to Frodo*
Frodo: *He stares down at the hall and the girls as long as he can see them, then turns forward to face the horrors that await him*

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