The Road to the Shire
The world whizzes past Peter Bracegirdle
in a swirl of bright light. He rides the black pony under the
open sun, which impairs his vision, but he tries to keep the pony
travelling in the right direction. He has not stopped since he
fled from Khamul and the forces of Mordor. At first he planned
to head towards Rivendell, to seek protection from Elrond, but
when no High Nazgul came to tear him to pieces, he began to hope
that they had given up the chase. Visions of the Shire burning
then began to course through his mind, and he realized that he
must go home and warn the hobbits about the impending attack.
Home! He wonders as he rides where his true home is. Doubt still knaws at him, taunting, "You fool! What are you without Mordor? It is their spell that keeps you in existence! You should never have left. You are bound to them, in your innermost core, no matter where you go. You thought you could escape, but you ride to torment and death!" Sometimes it is all he
can do to keep from turning back. But at those times he calls up the images of Mary arranging her wildflowers the day he left her in the Shire, of Khamul holding the Rohirrim's severed head, and of the visions he had as he lay delirious in Angmar's quarters after being stabbed with the blade of Westernesse. They were visions of himself mindlessly killing hobbits, fully taken by Mordor's spell.
Peter kicks the pony to spur it faster, but it does not quicken its pace. He notices that its sides are heaving and it is foaming at the mouth. He dismounts and looks into its eyes. The pony looks exhausted and frightened; it is used to cruel treatment at the hands of orcs. Peter feels bad for having pushed it too far. He strokes it and talks gently to it. "Good boy! You've done well. But your work is finished now." He takes all the riding gear off the pony and
turns it loose. "Whether you live in the wild or some family takes you in, you'll find out what it is to live like a normal pony. Go now, you're free--free of Mordor forever!" He watches the pony run off, then bursts into tears.
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