Frodo played by Hobbitness
Finduilas, Elfhild, Elffled and Rian played by Eowyn
Narrator, Derufin, Ceolwulf, Vartang played by Wraith

Narrator: *It is July 15, 14 days after the great ceremony in the grove*
Narrator: *Having consumed a large breakfast and second breakfast, Frodo is in his sitting area enjoying a cup of tea. His health has improved sufficently for him to be enjoying a game of chess with Derufin*
Narrator: *The chess game is in its end stages and Derufin studies the chess board set between them on the table*
Narrator: *Ceolwulf looks over Frodo's shoulder at the game that is drawing to a conclusion*
Derufin: *Derufin says* Master Frodo, it appears that your king has gotten himself into check and I see no remedy
Derufin: Look here *he motions with his finger* the bishop has you blocked there, the rook there, and the queen over there. There is no move left. This is mate
Frodo: *smiles wryly at the irony of Derufin's words. They reflect the state of the West, truly in checkmate*
Frodo: It appears you have beaten me. I confess I'm not much good at chess.
Derufin: *shakes his head sadly* Master Frodo, you should study the game more. Although you have made improvements as of late, still... *his voice breaks off and he does not finish the sentence*
Derufin: *He looks past Frodo at Ceolwulf* Now, young Master Ceolwulf, perhaps you would like to challenge me?
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf shakes his head and laughs* Nay, nay, Master Derufin. I have no talents when it comes to games. It is the horse I know, and little else
Derufin: The man who can master a horse can surely master a game of chess
Derufin: *he smiles and laughs*
Ceolwulf: Alas, but that man is not me!
Frodo: *smiles but does not laugh, thinking of the reasons why he has not been near a chess board in many months*
Derufin: Now Master Frodo, I must take my leave of you. Findulas now is house keeper, and she might need my help in the kitchen
Derufin: *Derufin folds the chessboard and begins to place the pieces in a wooden box*
Derufin: Yes *he shakes his head sadly* now since.... that night after the dread ceremony when Arnasa took leave of her senses
Derufin: *He rises and bows to Frodo, turns and walks to the corridor and to the kitchen*
Frodo: *clenches his napkin in his fist, worrying over the grief he caused Arnasa in saving her life*
Narrator: *Findulas comes in now carrying a tray with cakes and another pot of freshly made tea*
Frodo: *This is a lot of food even for a hobbit. Frodo thanks her with a smile but looks a little overwhelmed*
Finduilas: *finduilas sets the tray and the pot of tea on the table beside frodo... she gives him a warm smile*
Frodo: *Her smile sparks a pleasant glow inside him*
Finduilas: *finduilas, a warm motherly sort, fusses about frodo and pours him a cup of tea*
Finduilas: a cake, master frodo, you must eat! there is scarce a bit of flesh upon your bones
Frodo: *smiles* Don't worry, I've eaten an enormous breakfast.
Finduilas: aye, but it seems no matter how much you eat, nothing puts anything upon your bones
Finduilas: *is concerned for the health of the poor, scrawny hobbit, with his ailing health*
Frodo: *shrugs and takes a cake to stop her fussing*
Frodo: *eats it slowly*
Finduilas: *she looks to the chair on the other side of the table* master frodo, do you mind if i take a seat? i have been on my feet since before dawn
Finduilas: and i am fairly worn out with all my extra duties
Frodo: *looks sympathetically at her* Of course, sit down!
Frodo: Why don't you take these off my hands then *slides the plate of cakes over to her* and have some tea.
Finduilas: thank you *she nods and sits down. she settles her ample bulk upon the chair, then pours herself a cup of tea, putting three lumps of sugar in it. she stirs it, to make the sugar disolve faster*
Finduilas: *she takes the plate of cakes* don't mind if i do *she smiles at him*
Finduilas: *she chews one of the cakes slowly and thoughtfully*
Finduilas: *she leans over towards frodo and says in a conspiritorial tone* twasn't it an awful thing about poor arnasa?
Ceolwulf: Master Frodo, do you mind if I sit too?
Frodo: *Frodo smiles at Ceolwulf and gestures to a chair for him to sit*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf pulls a chair out and sits down and looks at the plate of cakes*
Frodo: *turns to Findulas* Yes, it was awful, a true shame...*he shakes his head*
Finduilas: *she moves back and gets up* some more tea, master ceolwulf? let me get it for you
Ceolwulf: Please if you will, Mistress Finduilas
Finduilas: *as she pours the cup of tea she talks to frodo* aye... she barely speaks to anyone now, and refuses to eat. convinced that she is worthless *hands the full cup of tea to ceolwulf*
Ceolwulf: If you ask me, and you don't, it was a good thing Mistress Findulias, when you took over the care of the household. That Nurn girl is a strange one, and I don't like her around me one bit!
Frodo: *looks down at his hands, feeling guilty even though he had to say Arnasa was mad to save her life*
Finduilas: *she resumes her seat* help yourself to the cakes too, master ceolwulf. lord frodo said i could have them
Ceolwulf: Aye, and it is true, that you are a good woman Mistress Finduilas, to share your hoard with me!
Frodo: Please don't call me "lord," Findulas. You don't have to, and I am not really a lord anyway.
Finduilas: *she smooths her apron over her lap and then sips her tea* arnasa is a confused child, but i think she is good of heart, though she was brought up in these heathen lands and only knows their ways.
Frodo: *uneasily fingers the edges of his napkin* I hope so.
Finduilas: *she looks to frodo* but lord vartang has commanded me to call you lord, and what aught can i do save what he says?
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf mutters to himself* It was a foul day when we fell in with this pack of dogs!
Frodo: *anger flashes in his eyes, anger at Vartang, but then he stifles it* Aye...but Vartang is not here at present
Ceolwulf: Aye, that he is not, for if he were, he would be sure to stir some trouble. An evil man, that one
Frodo: *nods, deep in thought*
Finduilas: *nods* aye, an evil man he is.
Frodo: *turns to Findulas* I am grieved for Arnasa as well...do you think there is any hope for her? Has Sador tried to see what ails her?
Ceolwulf: We are only thralls here in the Nameless Land, far from home
Finduilas: *she leans towards frodo again and speaks in a conspiratiorial tone* she suffers from heavy grief. she *shudders* had all her hopes on being sacrificed to the great enemy. as you know, she shaved her head as a sign of mourning and now wears only dull, drab garments. and we all know what colorful things she used to wear
Ceolwulf: Aye, I have seen her myself in the courtyard in the back of the hall. She sits there and throws ashes upon her head and then she will get up and dance about and scream in pathetic ways
Frodo: *sighs* I know. I wish I had thought of something else to say, other than that she was mad
Ceolwulf: Then she will rant on in that foul tongue and then strike herself or cut herself with that dagger of hers
Finduilas: *to frodo* tis not your fault. this is all that she knows, sadly.
Frodo: *shudders* *falls silent for a while* Is there nothing that can be done for her now?
Ceolwulf: *says under his breath* She acts no better than an orc
Finduilas: i do not know much about these people, i do not know their ways. perhaps in time she will stop mourning
Ceolwulf: She mourns because she did not die when others mourn for they are soon to die. Tis a strange world this has become
Finduilas: *nods sadly*
Frodo: Are there any left who do not mourn, I wonder?
Ceolwulf: And who knows how the war goes in the West? No word here comes of it, but last I heard, the Enemy was victorious
Frodo: *thinks of Merry and Pippin*
Finduilas: perhaps where the war has not touched, but all in gondor and rohan have known great grief *thinks of her husband who died at pelennor, like so many others*
Ceolwulf: Yes, grief, great grief, and there will be more before the end is told to this
Frodo: *everything weighs heavily on him--the loss of the Ring, the fates of his friends and of the West, the wreck of his body. He says nothing, his head bowed*
Vartang: *In his cottage, Vartang awakens late. His head throbbing, he attempts to rise from the bed, but suddenly staggers and falls back into it. Finally, he pulls himself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed and holds his head in both hands, his elbows resting on his knees*
Vartang: *Wine, he thinks, I need wine!*
Vartang: *He orders one of his servants to bring him wine and then he sits on the bed drinking it in gulps. After downing the goblet of wine, he feels steadier and gets out of bed*
Vartang: *He gives the goblet to the servant, and then another servant brings him a basin of water and he dips his hands in it and splashes it over his face*
Vartang: *He sits at his table and waits for the morning dispatches to be brought to him. After reading, he dresses*
Vartang: *He then motions for a servant to open the door for him. He goes out it and heads for Frodo's cottage, flanked by two orc guards*
Vartang: *They open the door for him and he walks in*
Vartang: Ah! Good morning, shakh!
Frodo: *shoots a look of dread at Findulas and Ceolwulf as they hear Vartang enter*
Finduilas: *rises from her chair and bows to vartang*
Frodo: Good morning, Vartang.
Finduilas: *finduilas also greets the loathsome vartang*
Frodo: *notices Vartang is hungover again. Does he ever function without wine?*
Vartang: *Taking up his usual position, leaning against the wall on the other side of the room, Vartang says* Shakh, will you not teach your slaves manners?
Vartang: Why do they sit at table with you!
Vartang: They must know their place and keep it!
Frodo: Because I wish them to sit at table with me, that is why they do it.
Ceolwulf: If anything is to be said, I will get up and take my place behind you, Master Frodo
Frodo: *He hates it when Vartang forces him to refer to them as slaves and himself as their master. This title of "master" is very different from what it meant to Sam*
Vartang: *Looking at Ceolwulf, he says* And you, arrogant slave, did not rise and bow to me!
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf rises from his chair, turns and faces Vartang* Then great lord, I will do so now *mockingly he bows in an extreme deep bow*
Frodo: *raises his eyebrows at Ceolwulf in a silent reminder of his promise not to endanger himself*
Finduilas: *bites her lip and frets that vartang and ceolwulf will get into another fight right here in frodo's sitting room*
Ceolwulf: *He looks Vartang in the eye* Aye, a great lord you are, one who enslaves the weak!
Frodo: *hesitant* Ceolwulf...
Vartang: Fool dog! Your back should know lashes for that!
Frodo: Vartang, that is quite enough.
Vartang: *patiently, he says* Shakh, you do not understand the ways here
Vartang: What would you have? A slave kill you in your sleep? For many slaves have slain their masters while their masters slept
Vartang: Put fear into them, break their spirits. Whip them repeatedly!
Frodo: *glares scornfully at Vartang* You KNOW how well I understand the ways here. I choose not to follow them. And I trust they will not harm me because they will have no reason to do so.
Ceolwulf: Is that all the great lord knows? To whip?
Vartang: *glares and his face turns red* We know a bit more than that, wretch!
Vartang: *Walks over to Ceolwulf and slaps him hard across the face*
Frodo: *gasps*
Finduilas: *eyes widen and she gasps. oh no, they will start fighting again*
Ceolwulf: *Clenches his fists* It's a brave man who can strike another knowing he is protected by guards outside!
Frodo: Ceolwulf, you promised not to....*trails off*
Ceolwulf: But in a fight between the two of us, a fair one that is, let us see what would happen!
Ceolwulf: *looks towards Frodo and sighs* Yes, my friend, I promised
Vartang: We also know how to do this, slave *backhands him across the face, causing blood to flow from Ceolwulf's mouth*
Frodo: *has a sudden memory of clinging to Sam's icy hand saying "you promised not to leave me," and Sam's unhearing cold stupor*
Frodo: Vartang, stop!
Vartang: And this! *His hand suddenly balls into a fist and he punches it into Ceolwulf's stomach, causing him to double over and gasp*
Frodo: *rises unsteadily* Vartang! Stop this
Vartang: Stop, shakh? I reprimanded a slave. His life I hold in my hand
Frodo: He is not your slave!
Finduilas: *rushes to ceolwulf's side*
Frodo: *whispers to Ceolwulf* Forgive me, but I must tell him that. It is the only thing that will stop him, my friend
Ceolwulf: *struggles to raise his head because of the intense pain in his stomach* Someday, you will go to Mandos and there I hope you rot until the world is unmade!
Vartang: *Vartang raises his fist to hit him again but doesn't* Out of my sight, slave! Out of my sight before I kill you!
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf, blood streaming from his mouth, raises his hand to cover it, then bows and quietly exits the room*
Frodo: *Frodo kneels next to his chair, fuming*
Finduilas: *follows ceolwulf, steadying him should he stumble from pain*
Vartang: Shakh, let me rid you of this accursed slave!
Frodo: No!
Vartang: There are plenty more who could take his place and do a better job of it!
Frodo: He is the most valuable to me of all of them
Frodo: *putting it in Vartang's language*
Vartang: *He takes a seat across from Frodo*
Frodo: *with difficulty he pulls himself up and climbs back into his chair*
Vartang: Is there any wine about your hall? I know there must be
Vartang: Now the slave wench has run out the door and is not here to bring it to me!
Frodo: *struggles to keep from rolling his eyes* I am sure there is wine, but I do not know where
Frodo: It is probably close.
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf goes outside and splashes his head in the fountain in the back courtyard*
Vartang: *at the top of his lungs he shouts* WENCH! WENCH!
Frodo: *Frodo wishes he were with Ceolwulf, but it is a long way to walk*
Frodo: *He hopes Findulas is attending to him. Now the poor man has suffered two beatings*
Finduilas: *finduilas hears vartangs shouts... oh great, that awful man again. she hurriedly comes back into the sitting room, bowing upon entry, and then again when she stands before frodo and vartang*
Vartang: Are you simple-minded, woman! I want wine, I want wine now! And where are the other three?
Finduilas: yes lord *she sighs and goes to a nearby cabinet, getting a bottle of wine and a goblet, pours vartang a goblet and hands it to him, setting the bottle down on the table*
Vartang: *His voice grows louder* Summon the other three. Let me look upon something besides a simpleton!
Frodo: *snaps* Vartang!
Frodo: *attempts to calm down and looks apologetically at Findulas*
Finduilas: *loathes the site of vartang with his crude manners* they are in the kitchen lord, having a bit of tea i think
Finduilas: *she speaks with resignation, trying to ignore his rude behavior*
Vartang: *He raises the goblet to his lips and takes a gulp of wine*
Vartang: Yes! I want them in attendance on me when I am here!
Frodo: *so you can leer at them, Frodo seethes inwardly*
Finduilas: *the poor girls, she thinks, having to suffer this buffoon*
Vartang: You, wench, have been named housekeeper, while the other is..... ill
Vartang: These are my orders for other three. I want them to do no scullery duty, no heavy housework. I want them kept..... unblemished
Frodo: Why?
Frodo: Surely you do not plan to sacrifice them since they were deemed unworthy
Finduilas: *guesses at vartang's thought, and stops herself from glaring at him*
Vartang: Nay, shakh, not sacrificed. There are better purposes for such as they *he takes another gulp of wine, and then a gleam comes to his eyes*
Frodo: They are not your slaves
Frodo: *clenches his fists*
Vartang: *He thinks again, knowing that even the walls have ears in this place* Aye, to be sacrificed is a great honor for a maiden but they were deemed unsound of body
Finduilas: *in gondor, few were the louts like these, but here in the east, their supply seems to be in great number, she thinks*
Vartang: But since unworthy for sacrifice, there are other purposes they could have. Perhaps very appealing purposes.... *his eyes glint*
Finduilas: *oh valar! she thinks*
Vartang: Bring them here! I want to gaze upon them!
Finduilas: *she does not want to do this deed, but alas, as a thrall she has no choice. she scowls at vartang and says, her voice controlled* as you wish lord
Frodo: *glares, his voice filled with venom* They are not yours, and you have no say in what happens to them. They are mine, and I want them safe...even when I am not present. Even at night.
Vartang: And see that you hurry!
Vartang: Shakh, certainly they will be safe. I am a soldier of Mordor. I will protect them *the gleam vies with the cunning look in his eyes*
Frodo: You know well of what I speak. And you are under my command.
Frodo: Are you not?
Finduilas: *sighs and goes to fetch the girls, warning them first of vartang and his suspected designs*
Vartang: Aye, shakh, indeed I am under your command *his words sound hollow and mocking*
Frodo: *He anticipated the mocking tone* And if you do anything, I will surely know, and your superiors will know.
Vartang: Shakh, my superiors know far more than you could ever fathom
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *findulias comes back with the three girls... they hesitantly bow upon entry and approach frodo and vartang, bowing upon reaching their presences*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild wishes she had brought a knife from the kitchen...*
Vartang: *Vartang finishes his goblet of wine, rises to his feet, and goes to the three ladies*
Frodo: *Frodo sees the makings of another confrontation or even a fight. He groans*
Vartang: *Failing so far, he takes a new approach. He bows deeply with a flourish* Ah, my ladies. How fair you are this morning
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *pig, elfhild thinks.... her sister's thoughts are similar, ugh, that foul man again. i hope he's transferred somewhere far away. rian thinks, oh valar...oh valar... help us all.*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *however they all acknowledge his bow with icy courtesy... findulias keeps an eye on the vartang*
Vartang: Now my three lovely maidens, if you would honor me by allowing me to kiss your hands....
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled sickens. like being kissed by a snake! gah! rian looks a bit pale. elfhild glares at vartang and spits out the words* would you kill us if we rejected your... offer?
Vartang: *Vartang is taken aback by their response* Why would I kill anything so lovely as you three?
Frodo: *Frodo rubs his hands over his face. Elfhild is worse than Ceolwulf...it seems she WANTS Vartang to kill her.*
Vartang: You, Elfhild, and your sister, but a look from you and it will be as the sun does shine!
Vartang: And you, gentle Rian of the raven hair, when I look at you I feel I behold a goddess
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild and elffled both glare at vartang... rian looks down at the floor*
Frodo: *desperately tries to plan what to do if Vartang becomes angry at them*
Vartang: But a simple kiss of the hand would honor me *His eyelids narrow and he seems pleased with himself*
Vartang: Do you deny me so little when it would please me so much if you would accept?
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild* what happens if we refuse?
Vartang: *he sighs and takes on a patient tone of voice* Refuse? Creatures so lovely would refuse a simple boon? I would be crushed, heartbroken
Frodo: *rolls his eyes*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild's eyes narrow* we are thralls. if you do not command us to do this..... thing, then we refuse
Vartang: *In his mind, he curses them before Melkor and Sauron*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild thinks... i do not wish to be touched by the slimy lips of a pig who wallows in the dirt*
Vartang: *He looks at them and smiles lazily* I do not command you to do anything!
Frodo: *At least Vartang is asking no more than to kiss their hands, but Frodo still watches with narrowed eyes*
Vartang: But consider I am wounded to the heart
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild says* if you do not command, then we refuse to grant you this...... "boon"
Vartang: *he bows to them*
Vartang: Perhaps another time you will be more..... willing
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the twins glare at him, rian continues to look at the floor, wishing she could just disappear*
Vartang: But I like a wench with spirit *he winks at them all*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *pig! pig! repulsive disgusting pig! thinks elfhild*
Vartang: And you three have more spirit than three untamed, unbroken fillies!
Vartang: But perhaps.... *the sentence dangles*
Vartang: Shakh, besides coming this morning to pay a courtly call upon your three most lovely servants, I will state my other business for being here this morning
Frodo: *If Frodo had a sword and could use it, his hand would be on the hilt, indeed it would have been there this entire time*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *...to torment thralls, thinks elffled. accursed creature, raised in a sty in this wretched hole*
Vartang: Shakh, it was partly in their honor that I was here
Frodo: *turns a shade paler. What torments have you for us today? he thinks*
Vartang: I but combined my purpose with a call paid upon your three most charming but unwilling slaves
Frodo: *curtly* What is your purpose?
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled raises an eyebrow.... honor, he has none. what foul purpose brings him here?*
Vartang: An excursion has been planned for today
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rian looks up.. oh valar, she thinks. what now?*
Frodo: *closes his eyes and slumps into his chair. Not again, o Elbereth. Not again.*
Vartang: It is not far this time. No long journey is involved
Vartang: And I insist upon the companionship of your three most fair slaves. Horses will be provided for them. They will ride with me
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild's eyes narrow*
Frodo: I must know what our destination is! If it is at all like last time, I will forbid them to come
Vartang: Nay, nay, they were deemed unworthy for sacrifice
Vartang: They must come along. I command- *catches himself* I mean, I strongly advise it
Frodo: *turns to look at the girls. Elfhild and Elffled are glaring, trembling with rage, and Rian is looking at the floor in despair*
Vartang: Your litter is even now being prepared, shakh
Vartang: The horses will soon be brought for the charming ladies
Frodo: *He knows whatever Vartang plans, malice is behind it*
Frodo: Rian, Elfhild, Elffled...I command that you stay here today and not come with me. *winks at them*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled wishes that vartang would be sent off to battle and subsequently killed, but no, she knows he would be too cowardly for that and would probably run and thus survive*
Frodo: *prays to the Valar that it will work*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild nods* aye... lord frodo commanded it, and he is the master here, not you, lord vartang
Vartang: Charming Elfhild *his voice is smooth as honey*
Vartang: Your master is not at himself today, I fear
Frodo: I am quite myself
Vartang: So my surperior judgment must prevail. I know what is best for the shakh
Frodo: Hah!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *snake! son of a pig and a snake! elfhilds mind cries out*
Vartang: Yes, you three will come *his smile turns to a leer*
Vartang: Now winsome Rian, fetch Ceolwulf
Frodo: *rises again* Vartang, I expressly forbade them to come!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: yes lord *she bows and leaves to find ceolwulf... quite glad to be out of the presence of the wretched vartang*
Vartang: *he smiles a smirking grin towards Frodo* It is best if you let me decide matters such as that, shakh
Vartang: They will go!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild and elffled both know that frodo is prefectly in his right mind... they continue glaring at vartang, though say naught*
Frodo: *furiously he begins to stride up to Vartang* I know what is best for...*but his knees buckle and he ends up on the floor*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf has bathed his face and put on clean clothes and now waits in Frodo's room*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the twins are quickly by frodos side and help him back into his chair*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *meanwhile, rian finds ceolwulf in frodos room and informs him that he has been summoed by vartang*
Frodo: *thanks the twins and finishes* I know what is best for them and I am their master
Ceolwulf: *Summoned by Rian, he follows her out the door and they go to Frodo's sitting room. Bows to both Frodo and Vartang*
Ceolwulf: *Then he takes his accustomed place behind Frodo's chair*
Vartang: *Vartang thinks to himself... miserable Shire rat. Scum, who would try to lord it over me, a nobleman of Khand! Little rat, let him squeak while he may!*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rian resumes her place by elfhild and elffled who now stand near frodos chair*
Frodo: *looks up at Ceolwulf, says softly* Ceolwulf, are you all right?
Ceolwulf: Yes, Master Frodo, I am well now
Ceolwulf: *under his breath* as well as I can be after getting my nose half broken and my mouth bloodied
Vartang: *But his words turn to pure honeyed venom as he speaks* But shakh, it is true you are the master, but I am your advisor, and you WILL, yes, you WILL listen to me
Vartang: It is decided. Ceolwulf, take your master to the litter that awaits him outside
Frodo: *touches Ceolwulf's arm gently, then turns to confront Vartang again*
Vartang: Cover him well. The day is chilly *thinks to himself: He would be covered with earth if I had a say in it*
Frodo: Wait.
Frodo: I may yield to you--if you tell me where we are going.
Vartang: Ah! Shakh! *he lets out his breath in a sigh*
Vartang: We go but to the marketplace, great one
Frodo: I do not need any more slaves
Vartang: It will be an excursion for you, an outing. The air will do you good
Vartang: Aye, shakh, slaves to replace the three in the kitchens have already been purchased and will be here by mid-afternoon
Vartang: We need not buy more slaves today
Frodo: *nods with a sigh*
Vartang: I but wish to... purchase something to replace the.... rags they now wear *he looks all three up and down apraisingly*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *none of the girls like the way that vartang's eye lingers upon them and feel repulsed to be the subject of the pig's gaze*
Frodo: *His eyes widen, then his face flushes* Then I doubly forbid them to go!
Frodo: Are there no tavern women to whom you can go? *he says with disgust* These are ladies
Vartang: *Vartang walks over and stands in front of Elfhild, and strokes her under the chin with his finger* And some baubles perhaps. Such beauty needs something to set it off
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *takes a step backward* keep your hands off me, pig *she hisses out, not catching herself*
Vartang: *He turns and looks to Frodo through slitted eyes* These are far better than tavern wenches
Vartang: *he then turns back to Elfhild and moves closer to her*
Vartang: Such spirit is admirable in a woman!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild glares with a look of pure hatred in her eyes*
Vartang: *he reaches out his hand towards Elfhild then drops it down to his side and smiles at her*
Vartang: I hear the litter has arrived
Vartang: Slave man, pick up your master and take him to it now!
Frodo: *What should he do? He could resist, but then Ceolwulf and Vartang would get into another fight*
Frodo: *Ceolwulf's safety or the girls' dignity? Oh, how he hates Vartang*
Vartang: Let me help you ladies mount your horses. It would be an honor to do so *he winks at them*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild replies in an icy voice* no thank you. we can do it ourselves
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf bends down and whispers in Frodo's ear* I have to do what he says. I don't want to but I must *then he picks Frodo up and takes him out to the litter*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the three girls hastily follow frodo and ceolwulf, not wishing to be even a second alone with vartang*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf puts the blanket over Frodo's lap and then goes behind the litter and takes his place*
Vartang: *Vartang follows behind the others. Orcs hold three black mounts for the ladies. Side saddles have been placed upon their backs. A servant holds Vartang's mount*
Vartang: *Vartang goes to the girls* Ladies, permit me to assist you
Frodo: *Frodo bites his lip, brooding over his anger and powerlessness. His chest heaves, but the breaths are gravelly and shallow*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild says icily* i said, we can do it ourselves *she quickly mounts the black horse, shortly followed by her sister. rian is a bit slower but soon she too is upon her horse*
Vartang: *Vartang looks at them resentfully, then gets on his own horse* Suit yourself!
Frodo: *Frodo turns around to check on the girls*
Vartang: *In front go the trumpheters, followed by the standard bearers, a custom now Frodo sees at every outing, but this time Vartang rides beside Frodo and his litter and does not follow behind the standard bearers*
Vartang: *He signals for the procession to begin and the litter bearers pick up Frodo's litter and put it on their shoulders*
Frodo: *Frodo's heart races to be so close to Vartang, and in anticipation of yet another procession*
Frodo: *He cannot decide which he dreads more*
Narrator: *The procession is lengthy. Behind the litter walks Ceolwulf, then he is followed by what seemed like endless numbers of orcs and servants and the three maidens ride behind. Vartang guides his horse to the side and turns and rides beside Rian*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the girls in file.... rian tries to ignore vartang, silently praying to the valar that he will just go away*
Vartang: *Jauntily, Vartang rides his horse beside Rian, smiling at her constantly*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rian looks everywhere else except to the worm riding beside her. elfhild and elffled catch vartangs advances and scowl at him*
Narrator: *Soon the procession makes its way to the city of Thagûrzgoi. The crowd clears before Frodo, bowing low to the ground*
Frodo: *Again Frodo remains expressionless. He wonders if he really is a traitor. He has been invoking the authority of that title...but it has been to protect the slaves...*
Frodo: *But he is a thrall, and in Lugburz he even bowed to Sauron when he interceded for Sam*
Narrator: *The procession weaves its way in and out of narrow streets until at last it comes to a giant courtyard, the marketplace of Thagûrzgoi. Booths of merchants of many wares line the streets*
Frodo: *It probably does not matter, he thinks. I will not see my friends again, and I will wait forever in Mandos for failing my quest*
Vartang: *Vartang orders the group to a side street* Ladies, you can dismount now *Orcs rush to the heads of the horses and hold them*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *having been busy taking in the sights and sounds of the city, the three girls momentarly had forgotten the presence of the much hated vartang, but his slithery voice brings reminds them that though they were not paying heed to him, he, regretablly, did not disappear.*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *they dismount their horses however and look around*
Vartang: *Vartang dismounts his horse and turns the reins over to his orderly*
Vartang: *He then walks to Rian and offers her his arm* Let me escort you, fair lady
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rian turns pale and looks sick* n..no thank you, my lord, i..i am fine
Vartang: No, I insist *And he takes her arm against her will and begins pulling her towards the market center*
Frodo: *starts, watching them in dismay*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *gasps and feels herself being dragged along by the most loathed of creatures. elfhild and elffled quickly catch up to them and follow behind*
Vartang: *He hisses to her in a whisper* Hold your head high, wench! It is an honor for you to appear in public with me!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rians face reddens and she looks away*
Vartang: *With Rian firmly in hand, the twins following, he raises his other hand as a signal for the litter bearers to carry Frodo behind*
Vartang: *Frodo's litter is picked up and taken along behind the twins*
Narrator: *The closer they approach the market area, the louder the noise becomes. A fierce chorus of sellers vying with one another for the attention of customers.* BUY MY SILKS! BUY MY HERBS! BUY MY CHICKENS! BUY MY FINE SILVER! *The din rises louder* MY WINES ARE THE FINEST! MY SWORDS ARE THE TRUEST AND STRONGEST!
Frodo: *Frodo is almost oblivious to the cacophony in his worry over Vartang's plans, over what will happen to all of them in the end*
Vartang: *Vartang ignores the merchants' entreaties and guides the group to a great kiosk*
Vartang: *He turns his head back and says to Frodo* The silk merchant, the finest in the land!
Vartang: *Many attendants are in the kiosk, all telling the great value of their masters' silk. The slaves have difficulty navigating the litter through the tables of silk and fabrics. Vartang orders them* Take the shakh outside. Give him the wine that we brought. Let him rest under the shade of a cedar while we examine the goods
Vartang: *They take Frodo outside and do as they were bidden. Ceolwulf brings him wine and stands beside Frodo protectively*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the three girls watch with dismay as frodo is taken outside*
Vartang: *An attendant brings up a bolt of blue silk. Vartang reaches out his hand, takes it and holds it up to Rian's face* It goes well against your fair skin and gray eyes, my lady
Frodo: *Frodo smiles feebly at them as he is taken away, but what can he really do to reassure them?*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rian wants to flee this place, but she feels she is rooted to the spot. she turns her head and looks at the ground*
Vartang: *He nods to the attendant* I will take it. Send someone around to the great shakh's hall this afternoon
Vartang: *He looks at the twins* And what for you two? What would favor you?
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *vartang receives a glare in response to his question*
Vartang: *Vartang turns from the silk table and moves on to the velvets*
Frodo: *Outside, Frodo sips from a cup of wine, coughing a little, and insists that Ceolwulf drink some wine too, to dull the pain of Vartang's blows*
Vartang: *The attendant brings two bolts of deep blue velvet. Vartang releases Rian's arm* Come, Elfhild and Elffled, let me see how the blue catches your eyes
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *they slowly approach him, much rather wishing to slay him, than inspect bolts of fabric*
Vartang: *He smiles at them* And what catches your lovely eyes, my ladies?
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild says, her teeth slightly gritted* something other than what you would wish us to wear
Frodo: *Frodo closes his eyes and listens to the breeze blowing through the branches of the cedar. He tries to keep his mind on the sound, but the worries continue to come unbidden*
Vartang: *Vartang recoils from her words as though struck by a snake*
Vartang: Then consider anything you wish, my dears, and I will buy it!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild says between clenched teeth* whatever you wish, we are just thralls. *her sister casts her a warning glance*
Vartang: Ah, how quick the lady changes her tune! Which will it be, the one I chose or let the attendant chose?
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild says coldly* let the attendant chose
Vartang: *The attendant picks a deep green velvet and Vartang scarcely looks at him* Deliver it to the great shakh's hall this afternoon. I will pay
Frodo: *exchanges anxious looks with Ceolwulf*
Vartang: *He goes back to Rian and takes her arm and leads the group out*
Vartang: *He walks to Frodo* Shakh, do you fare well?
Frodo: *Frodo is relieved that the girls are unharmed*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild rather did like the blue velvet, but did not wish to wear anything that pig liked*
Vartang: *He looks back at the twins* See how the Lady Rian favors my attention while neither of you do so? *He gives them a wicked wink*
Frodo: *Normally he would not complain about his illness, but he knows the girls and Ceolwulf want to go back to the house* *he shakes his head* No, I am not well. Let us return to the house
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rian flushes and mutters under her breath..* ai elbereth *the twins continue to glare at vartang*
Vartang: Not yet, shakh, no it is not time. We have more to do
Vartang: *He motions for the group to follow him to another market stall, a jeweller this time*
Vartang: *He carefully inspects the wares and choses a necklace for each girl* Let this grace your lovely necks with my regards *He says with a leer*
Vartang: *He choses matching emerald necklaces for the twins, and a glowing sapphire for Rian*
Vartang: *He tells the merchant* Deliver them to the shakh's great hall this afternoon. You know where the Friend of the Great Eye.....
Narrator: *Suddenly, from out of nowhere, arrows fly through the air and hit Frodo's litter*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf instinctively covers Frodo's body with his in protection*
Frodo: *Frodo cries out and draws back as the arrows strike the litter*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the girls scream and duck for cover under the jewellers table*
Narrator: *One of the litter bearers writhes upon the ground, an arrow embeded in his neck. Another soon follows, struck in the heart*
Ceolwulf: *Frodo cowers under Ceolwulf as he hears the arrows strike the sides and top of the litter*
Frodo: *Curled up with his arms protecting his head, a position he is used to by now, Frodo does not see the violence around him*
Narrator: *The marketplace turns to pandemonium with people screaming and rushing in all directions to get out of the rain of arrows*
Frodo: *He is terrified for Ceolwulf, for all of them*
Vartang: *Vartang dives under the jeweller's table with the girls*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *the sudden apperance of vartang makes the girls scream in surprise and scurry away from him*
Frodo: *Frodo turns white at the girls' screams, hoping they were not struck with arrows*
Ceolwulf: *The arrows come from somewhere above, from the tops of buildings. Ceolwulf groans as he is struck in the arm with an arrow*
Vartang: *Vartang summons his courage and comes out from under the table, drawing his sword as he does*
Vartang: Guards! to the tops of these buildings!
Frodo: Ceolwulf! *uncovers his head and reaches out to try and steady Ceolwulf, forgetting his own weakness*
Vartang: *Vartang looks back at the girls and rushes to follow the orcish guards*
Narrator: *Another hail of arrows rains down, then they hear shouts from the roofs. Soon, the screaming of the crowd drowns out the shouts. The number of arrows raining down subsides*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf holds his arm and gasps* Master Frodo, are you unharmed?
Frodo: Yes *his eyes wide, he inspects Ceolwulf's arm*
Ceolwulf: *The blood rushes forth from Ceolwulf's arm in spurts and covers Frodo with the flow*
Frodo: Oh Elbereth, Ceolwulf, that is bad.
Narrator: *The arrows have stopped, but the crowd is still wild with fear*
Frodo: We need to take you back now!
Ceolwulf: Master Frodo, there is no way I will leave. I will stay here and guard you until we can learn something of what has happened
Frodo: *Frodo removes his vest and tries to staunch the flow of blood with it*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf leans on the litter and supports himself with one hand as the blood pumps from the wound*
Narrator: *After a few minutes, Vartang and his men come back down from the tops of the buildings, but no prisoner do they bring*
Frodo: *Frodo's eyes glisten* Thank you Sa---Ceolwulf! But the attack is over, and you are hurt.
Narrator: *The crowd has dispersed from the center of the marketplace, running wildly in fear in all directions*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf's face begins turning white as his life's blood flows from his arm*
Vartang: *Vartang hastens to Frodo's litter* Shakh, I see you are well. That is good. May Melkor be praised!
Frodo: *He gets out of the litter and orders Ceolwulf to sit down*
Vartang: Unfortunately though, I see the slave man has foolishly gotten himself wounded *He looks at Ceolwulf mockingly*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf begins to sway and weave* Master, I think.... *he falls to the ground*
Vartang: Hmm... perhaps he has severed an artery. That would be such a pity
Frodo: *Frodo kneels next to him, stifling a little sob*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild, effled and rian crawl out from their hiding place and gather around ceolwulf's prone form*
Frodo: *one of his small hands clasps Ceolwulf's large one, and the other continues to try to stop the flow of blood*
Vartang: For he is very young and he has many years for him to serve, a shame to lose him. Yes, truly a pity *Vartang says sarcastically with acid dripping out of his voice*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled looks up* can't you get him some help? at least make a tourniquet? i am sure they sell yarrow in this place, to stop the flow of blood
Frodo: *Suddenly he sees the parallel between this scene and the fate of Sam* *He screams at Vartang* You will not do this to me again!!!
Vartang: *Vartang says nonchalantly* Perhaps it is too late for him. Perhaps he will now go to meet with Mandos
Frodo: *He squeezes his eyes shut and clamps his hand over his mouth, getting blood on his face*
Vartang: I hear he was but a coward at Pelennor anyway. Yes, let him go to Mandos. He will receive a welcome from Namo
Frodo: *bends over Ceolwulf again* Don't listen to him, Ceolwulf! You are not a coward. You just saved my life.
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled bends down and breaks off the arrow shaft and draws it out of the wound, rips off a section of her hem...she takes a coin from her purse and puts it on the artery above the wound, then takes a stick she finds upon the ground and twists the cloth tightly around*
Frodo: *Frodo moves to make room for Elffled. He goes to Ceolwulf's other side and takes that hand*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf's face now is very white, the blood puddles around his wound*
Frodo: *He remembers Ceolwulf's words to him on the night of his worst attack*
Frodo: Live, Ceolwulf, and show them you can fight them
Vartang: *Vartang leans against a nearby tree and yawns*
Frodo: Live, Ceolwulf, for all that is good in Middle Earth
Vartang: *He looks at the six arrows embedded in Frodo's litter and the two dead servants on the ground*
Frodo: *The words are not as strong and powerful as when Ceolwulf addressed them to him*
Vartang: *reluctantly, he orders Ceolwulf to be picked up and to be draped over one of the horses and taken back*
Ceolwulf: *From out of a great distance, Ceolwulf seems to hear Frodo's voice calling him*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled says* dont put him on that horse like a sack of feed!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled* have mercy upon him.
Frodo: *Frodo watches, shaking, covered in Ceolwulf's blood, as the man is taken away*
Frodo: Yes...put him in my litter, and let one of the bearers carry me!
Vartang: Why? *he looks speculatively at Elffled* He is but a slave
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled* because he deserves better, and he is hurt and wounded
Vartang: He is but a slave *Vartang says nonchalantly*
Vartang: Shakh, it is not fit for the master not to ride in his own litter and let a slave take his place
Frodo: Oh! *Frodo shouts the most colorful curse he knows at Vartang* I command that he ride in the litter...cover him with the blanket, cover everything with blankets and no one will know.
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled* why? it would prove there was some mettle to you after all, you who is a brazen coward with a demeanor less than the common swine. he has served lord frodo well
Vartang: *He smiles at Elffled* Ah, it appears I am outnumbered. It will be done as you say
Vartang: And perhaps now you will accompany me on the journey back *his eyes are narrowed to slits as he leers at her*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled's eyes narrow too and she glares at him*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *grits her teeth* if ceolwulf is tended to then i shall do it
Vartang: Ah, the lady strikes a bargain does she?
Vartang: Then a bargain it will be! *his voice says huskily*
Frodo: *While they argue, Frodo stumbles over to Ceolwulf and begins pleading with him to wake up, much as Sam did to him at Cirith Ungol*
Vartang: *He orders Ceolwulf picked up and placed in Frodo's litter with covers placed over him. A large uruk is ordered to pick up Frodo and carry him back*
Ceolwulf: *Groans and his eyes flutter open and look at Frodo*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled goes to ceolwulf's side, and lets the tourniquent loose for a while, and then tightens it again*
Ceolwulf: Frodo... I saw... I had... *his voice is weak* a vision. I saw a silver ship in the sunset riding on azure waves, but then... I woke up
Frodo: *Frodo smiles at him but tears are on his face. He presses Ceolwulf's hand and murmurs comforting words*
Ceolwulf: Why did you wake me up? *his head falls back*
Frodo: I'm sorry...I was afraid you would die
Vartang: *Impatient for his orders to be carried out, Vartang barks them out again* Put the slave man in the litter! Lugrekh, pick up the half- the shakh
Frodo: Don't worry *he says to Ceolwulf* We are going to take you home.
Narrator: *Two more slaves are chosen to fill out the number of litter bearers. Ceolwulf groans in his stupor as he is picked up and placed in the litter. Lugrekh eyes Frodo, as though he were inspecting a chicken about to be placed in the pot*
Frodo: *Frodo is too upset over Ceolwulf to notice the uruk's sneer*
Narrator: *Soon the other servants arrive, bringing the horses*
Vartang: *He turns to Elffled* Now, would you permit me to assist you in mounting your horse? *winking at her as he speaks*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *tries to keep herself from shuddering in revulsion... says in a controlled voice* as you wish
Frodo: Hurry!!! *Frodo shouts at Vartang* We must get him home
Vartang: Ah, yes, shakh, it will be all done as you say
Vartang: I suggest that the litter bearers proceed and hasten and I suggest that Lugrekh bear you swiftly *he looks at the orc with a look filled with meaning*
Vartang: We do want the shakh to keep up with his most loyal servant. Of course that is what we want. Yes, yes... *his voice tapers off*
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild stands by her sister's side protectively, rian close behind*
Frodo: *Frodo feels his head will burst. What now? What evil is Vartang planning now?*
Vartang: *Vartang walks up to Elffled, bends over and cups his hands for her to use to help her in mounting the beast*
Vartang: Yes, make all haste
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elffled puts a sandled foot into vartang's hands and climbs up onto the horse*
Vartang: *he moves back, looks up at her and stifles a yawn*
Vartang: And you other maidens.... most charming though you are, and though I would like your company, hasten on with the procession and assist the worthy slave man
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild looks vartang in the eye, her gaze determined* i will not leave my sister's side
Vartang: Would you leave the noble stalwart? Who will tend his wounds?
Vartang: Shakh, order your servants to do as I have bid!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: let some of the other servants tend to him. i shall stay with my sister
Vartang: No, no, I insist. He needs the tender ministrations of you two most earnest creatures
Frodo: We make for the house with all speed, and send for Sador immediately! *he shouts to the procession* But you must hasten or watch him die
Frodo: Bring the dead for burial
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild's eyes widen and she calls to frodo* master! do you wish us to follow?
Frodo: We leave now. If the ladies and Lord Vartang come now or later, it is their choice, but we leave NOW!
Vartang: *Vartang's servant brings his horse to him and he quickly mounts*
Vartang: Yes, by all means the dead... *Vartang stifles another yawn* We would not want to leave them behind. They will collect flies soon enough
Vartang: Hasten now and go before us
Vartang: We will catch up
Vartang: I wish to discuss something with the most fair Elffled
Frodo: *falls back against the uruk, exhausted, as he is lifted and the procession begins the trip*
Frodo: *Shouts back at Vartang* Do not harm her...I command it!
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *elfhild says in a low voice, almost a hiss* touch my sister and i shall dismember your body and feed you to the lord's swine.
Frodo: *soon they are gone, headed for the house*
Vartang: *he looks to Elfhild* Truly you know me to be a man of honor and my reputation is beyond reproach *he says with a lazy smile*
Vartang: *Vartang reaches over and holds the bridle of Elffled's horse* Not in such a hurry
Elfhild, Elffled and Rian: *rian rides ahead with the procession, but elfhild hesitates*
Elfhild and Elffled: *elfhild* honor, you say? i doubt that you have any. touch my sister and die
Vartang: *The litter bearers break into a run outside the city, the orc that carries Frodo hastens to keep up with them*
Vartang: *He looks at Elfhild* Do you long for my company that much?
Elfhild and Elffled: *elfhild* i do not long for your company. i stay to protect my sister, for you are craftier than a serpent and lower than a worm
Vartang: Your words are bold for a slave wench, but I value your spirit. You are high strung, like a horse that needs taming, and I will be the one to tame it!
Elfhild and Elffled: *elfhild* you shall tame nothing. lord frodo shall hear of any deeds you commit and your head shall roll should you touch one of us
Narrator: *The litter bearers arrive at the outer yard of the newly christened "Baggin's Hall." One of them rushes into the house and quickly comes back with Sador, carrying his medicine bag, followed by all the other servants. Some scream, some nod their heads sorrowfully. Sador bows and tends to Ceolwulf*
Frodo: *The uruk puts Frodo down next to the litter*
Frodo: *Frodo leans on the side of the litter and watches Sador tend to Ceolwulf*
Sador: Little master, he is wounded grieviously
Frodo: *Frodo bows his head*
Frodo: Can you help him, Sador?
Sador: *bows repeatedly* Yes, little master, Sador will help. I do not think the wound is poisoned. That is good or he would die soon
Sador: But take him in to the room where he sleeps. Take him now
Frodo: *nods with a small sigh, then looks fearfully to Ceolwulf* Are you sure it was not poisoned?
Sador: *A quizzical look comes on Sador's face* At least, master, Sador think it not poisoned
Vartang: *Back in the city, the sisters and Vartang have not yet left*
Frodo: *Frodo looks pointedly at Sador* You must make him well. Sador make him well. Please. Do you understand?
Vartang: *Elffled is on her horse, now holding her reins. Elfhild is still on the ground*
Sador: Sador try, Sador try hard. If Sador save him, will you say good word for Sador to Great Master?
Frodo: *Frodo feels he will not be able to stand losing a best friend again. Though he has not known Ceolwulf long, his friendship has been invaluable to Frodo, because it has been his only friendship since Sam*
Sador: They say Great Master hears every word that comes from little master's mouth. They say little master advised Great Master in great tower of Lugburz
Frodo: *Frodo gives a sigh and closes his eyes, then nods to Sador*
Sador: *his bows up and down* Good, master, good!
Sador: Now take straw head to his room so Sador can doctor him
Frodo: His name is Ceolwulf, Sador.
Vartang: *Reluctantly, Vartang gives up his plans, sighs and rides sullenly back to the hall*
Elfhild and Elffled: *elfhild quickly mounts her horse and the pair follow him... silently rejoicing they have escaped his intentions*
Vartang: *He is silent until they get back, then still on his horse, he looks at both of them* I was wounded at Pelennor. I received my promotion after that. Do you understand what that means?
Elfhild and Elffled: *elffled and elfhild look questioningly at vartang*
Vartang: *The orcs carry both Ceolwulf and Frodo into their rooms, placing them on their beds. Sador sets his medicine bag on the floor, orders the orcs to bring him water and a clean cloth so he can clean the wound*
Frodo: *Frodo insists on being carried to Ceolwulf's room, so the orc moves him there*
Sador: *Sador swabs at the wound, cleaning it* Much dirt, little master, much dirt has gone into wound
Sador: Did he fall to ground?
Frodo: *The orcs bring the armchair into Ceolwulf's room and settle Frodo in it while Sador tends to Ceolwulf*
Frodo: *nods gravely*
Sador: Much dirt bring infection
Sador: If Sador cannot clean it thoroughly, strawhead will get fever, die
Sador: *he looks down intently at the wound, then swabs it deeply*
Frodo: *Frodo leans his face on his hand, covering his eyes, trying to keep from weeping*
Sador: *then he holds it up and shows it to Frodo proudly* See, little master, see what on swab
Sador: Much dirt and filth, but Sador get it clean
Frodo: *Frodo grimaces and coughs* Ugh, Sador, yes, I see, thank you
Sador: Tell Great Master in Lugburz what Sador has done
Frodo: Yes, yes! Help him now! You make him well
Sador: *he releases the tourniquet again* But now Sador have to do something little master not like, not like at all
Sador: Maybe little master want to leave room?
Frodo: What are you going to do?
Vartang: Gentle ones *he says sarcastically* perhaps you will want my company again?
Vartang: But now, I will leave you to pine for me. Necessity takes me elsewhere *he turns his horse, digs his spurs into its sides and rides off*
Elfhild and Elffled: *elfhild and elffled watch as vartang rides off, probably to get drunk again. they mutter among themselves what a foul man he is, and liken him to various animals*
Sador: Orc must hold straw head's arm, Sador must pull out ends of arteries, then clamp them together
Frodo: You are going to cut into him?!
Frodo: Sador, he is bleeding to death! You cannot cut him even more!
Sador: No, no, master not understand. I must join the arteries again
Sador: *from his bag he pulls out small instruments* I pull them out, then you orc hold them while I clamp
Sador: *With the instruments, Sador pulls the two ends of the arteries out*
Frodo: *Frodo looks away*
Sador: *the increased pain brings Ceolwulf back to consciousness and he groans and struggles with the orc*
Sador: Ah, he wake now!
Sador: *he tells the orc* Pour a draught from my black bottle down his throat. It make strawhead sleep. Make him sleep deep
Sador: *The orc then pours the contents down Ceolwulf's throat, and he soon stops his struggling*
Sador: Here now, orc, hold the flesh back. Sador pull artery ends out, orc hold them and then Sador clamp them together. Sador great doctor in Harad. Tend many wounds
Frodo: *Frodo grimaces and prays that this gruesome procedure will not kill Ceolwulf*
Sador: *Sador joins the two ends of the arteries together and clamps them. He looks at Frodo, blood covering his round paunch*
Sador: See? Sador good doctor, know what he is doing
Sador: *With the clamping, the blood flow is staunched*
Sador: Now, orc, bring clean cloth, Sador make bandage
Frodo: *Frodo looks up. He is surprised and relieved when he realizes the bleeding has stopped*
Sador: *The orc goes to the kitchen, asks Findulias for clean cloth. He comes back with the cloth. Sador cleans the wounds again and applies ointment to it. He then tears the cloth and makes a pad, then places the pad over Ceolwulf's arm*
Sador: Here orc, tear strips *the orc does so, and Sador binds the pad in place over the wound*
Sador: He sleep now. He be well. Sador be remembered
Frodo: *Frodo relaxes for the first time since this morning* Thank you, Sador *sincerely* Thank you
Sador: Orc, stay here, care for man with Sador. *Sador then goes to the end of the bed and drapes a blanket over Ceolwulf* Orc, I make you my assistant. You tear bandages for me. Clean, do things. We work together!
Sador: *Sador bows up and down* Ah, good master. Sador is good doctor
Sador: Now Sador need to wash and change his clothes or he will smell *he laughs, his gold tooth flashing* Sador soon smell like pig
Frodo: Yes, you are *smiles wearily at him*
Frodo: *chuckles slightly and gives him leave to go*
Sador: *Sador puts his medicine bag on the table in the room, then bowing profusely, he backs out of the room, goes to his quarters, cleans the gore from his hands and changes his clothes*
Sador: *A while later, he comes back in, looks at the patient, feels his forehead and takes his pulse* Strawhead has no fever yet, but that will come. Yes, that comes with these wounds
Frodo: *Frodo's face falls*
Frodo: But he will live now?
Sador: But Sador do all he can. Now he pray to Great Master for healing
Sador: if Great Master wills, maybe so. If He not, maybe not
Frodo: No, Ceolwulf would not want you to pray to him, but if you must, I suppose I cannot stop you
Sador: But first before prayer, Sador need wine *he walks to a chair by the bed, sits in it and smiles expectantly*
Sador: *rubbing his stomach*
Sador: *The orc heeds his bidding and soon Sador's hand holds a goblet of wine*
Sador: Do not worry, little master. He might live, if not, little master can buy another slave to take his place
Sador: or maybe if Master be lucky, someone give it to him *Sador smiles brightly*
Frodo: *Frodo shoots a glare at Sador for the first time, then softens*
Frodo: *He looks down at Ceolwulf and begins to sing softly, the Elvish prayer to Elbereth*
Sador: Yes, yes, give to master. Good idea. Then master tell Great Eye
Frodo: A Elbereth Gilthoniel! o menel palan-dÌriel le nallon sÌ di'nguruthos! A tiro nin, Fanuilos!
Frodo: *Frodo sings Elvish prayers until his eyes close with sleep*
Narrator: *Throughout the long night, the three keep vigil by Ceolwulf's bed. Other servants wait out in the hall, hoping for word*
Narrator: *By morning, Ceolwulf is feverish, his body perspiring and his words come in garbled gibberish*
Narrator: *Sador orders him washed with cold cloths to bring the fever down. When Ceolwulf starts to stir from his sleep, Sador orders more black draught poured down his throat*
Narrator: *Through the night, the orc and Sador tend Ceolwulf, but the fever rages on, and by night the next day, Sador looks at Frodo with a grave look*
Frodo: *Frodo wakes to the disheartening sight of servants bustling around Ceolwulf, trying to bring down the fever, and the sound of Ceolwulf's mumbling*
Narrator: *Throughout the night and day, food and drink are brought to Frodo, Sador and the Orc*
Frodo: *He meets Sador's eyes, hoping the expression will change*
Narrator: *they can hear the hushed voices of the other servants in the hall*
Frodo: *but it doesn't and Frodo covers his face*
Narrator: *Derufin looks in on them from time to time, catches Frodo's eye and sends him an encouraging look*
Narrator: *Derufin comes in the next evening and takes a seat by Frodo*
Frodo: *Frodo is exhausted with sleeplessness, illness and sorrow. He wipes his swollen eyes with the back of his hand*


Return to Index