THE GOLDEN COLLAR
Frodo slowly crawls along the floor, down
of the golden chain attached to his jeweled collar,
trying to get as far away from the Dark Lord's throne
as possible. An electric aura of evil emanates from
Sauron, setting off all the alarms of intuition in
Frodo's mind. He is filled with one desire: to flee
from here, to hide from Sauron's horrible, penetrating
gaze. Frodo does not care about his physical
suffering; indeed he does not even notice the hunger
and exhaustion, or the marks of the chains on his
wrists and neck, or those of the whip on his back. He
would rather a dozen orc-whips than one more minute in
Suddenly Frodo feels the gaze of the Dark Lord reading
his mind again. An unseen power drags him across the
floor and pins him back under the throne. It is worse
than being under a red hot stove. Frodo raises an arm
to shield his face and concentrates all his energy on
simply enduring the evil that surrounds him.
Regaining the Ring has empowered Sauron,
and his once shadowy form has taken shape. Now he appears a dark
and brooding figure upon his throne. The ring almost throbs with
fire and power upon his taloned finger. He is clad in sable robes
and his cat-like eyes flame and glow from
beneath his hood. He strokes the head of a large wolf-like creature beside him, Carcharoth II, named in honor of the fierce werewolf that once guarded Melkor's throne. Occasionally he
takes bits of fell meat off a platter sitting on a table beside him and tosses them to Carcharoth.
His mind touches upon Frodo beneath his
throne and it wrenches Frodo's mind in a grip of steel. He can
feel Frodo's brain throbbing with pain beneath the force of his
own mind. He speaks in thoughts to Frodo..... "You would
have my Ring..... you would take my power.... You would set
yourself up as lord of Middle-Earth..... you fool...."
Sauron speaks and the walls of the Dark Hall seem to shake and echo with his words. Inside Frodo's mind, they reverberate many times and are amplified to almost an unbearable level of sound. "Come out, Master Baggins, and feed my pet." Carcharoth growls and flecks of saliva drip off the edges of his mouth. They hit the floor, sizzling and smoking. "Yes, Master Baggins, come out and feed my pet. He is very hungry. Then I will tell you about the war."
His laughter brings spasms of pain to Frodo's mind.
Frodo lies curled in a ball under the throne,
in the grasp of Sauron's will. He hears the Dark
Lord's voice in his mind, marvelling that anything
could be so loud: "You would have my Ring..... you
would take my power.... You would set yourself up as
lord of Middle-Earth..... you fool...."
After the echoes of the voice die away,
to quiet his turbulent mind to grasp the words he has
heard. The Ring! He feels his need for it well up
within him, blotting out all else, until he is almost
ready to rise with a roar and attack the Dark Lord
himself. But a blaze from the throne above him sends
him reeling back to the floor. Frodo grits his teeth
against the humiliation.
The voice returns even louder than before: "Come out,
Master Baggins, and feed my pet." Frodo has heard the
wolf's growls and grating barks often, and during his
lucid moments he has sometimes glimpsed the matted,
dirty fur and the twisted claws. What could the
strange request mean? Is he to feed the wolf with his
own flesh? His heart begins to race as he imagines
the brutality of such a death. But then it occurs to
him that though it would be horrible, still it would
end, and quickly too, and then he would be free.
Shaking, Frodo crawls out from under the throne.
Sauron's voice booms again: "Yes, Master Baggins, come
out and feed my pet. He is very hungry. Then I will
tell you about the war." Frodo lifts his bowed head.
All at once he remembers the war raging outside this
impenetrable fortress, the fight of the free folk of
Middle Earth against Sauron's insurmountable evil. He
remembers now--he was supposed to destroy the Ring, he
had given up everything to accomplish this task. How
long he has struggled with the heavy burden, the hard
road, the loneliness and fear of death! And it has
all ended in this.
Frodo sees the dark smouldering figure of Sauron, his
malicious eyes flaming from the blackness. Next to
the throne is the wolf, even more horrible than Frodo
imagined he would be--a nightmarish creature with red,
glowing eyes. Frodo vaguely remembers the time Farmer
Maggot's dogs chased him, and the memory floods his
mind of images of the Shire, all the good land and
dear folk he had set out to save. All are doomed now,
even his beloved Sam, who has suffered the worst of
all fates. Frodo's eyes burn but no tears come; he is
too parched. He struggles unsteadily to his feet, but
with his first step he crashes to his knees again.
Sauron's laughter rings throughout the hall.
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