Morning of October 7, 3019

Frodo portrayed by Hobbitness
Orc Guard portrayed by Eowyn
Narrator and Ceolwulf portrayed by Wraith

Narrator: *One day has passed since Ceolwulf was taken to the guardhouse because of Frodo's orders and for killing an orc, a crime punishable by death.*
Narrator: *King Varyon will ponder upon the case and give his judgment after 30 days of whether Ceolwulf is to live or whether he is to die.*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf sits in his cell, thinking of the strange fate that has brought him a slave to this land*
Ceolwulf: *Outside his cell, one of the orc guards is taunting him*
Orc Guard: *peers through the bars to ceolwulf's cell* 'avin' fun in there, mate? har har!
Ceolwulf: Yes, the company is much better in here.... by myself
Orc Guard: ya better git used to it, snaga, you'll be in 'ere fer a long time!
Ceolwulf: Then I will get to enjoy your intelligent conversation a bit longer, won't I?
Orc Guard: *the orc gives ceolwulf big grin, showing his yellowish, slime-covered fangs* oh yes, snaga! it will do you better.
Ceolwulf: I am amazed! Where did you learn such wit? At the feet of your master?
Orc Guard: *growls slightly* are you makin' fun of me, snaga? because that's not nice, not nice at all.
Ceolwulf: No, no, far be it from me to make fun of anything so....... worthy as yourself. Do you have a name?
Orc Guard: me name's gorfush.
Ceolwulf: I am sure the name must suit you
Orc Guard: none of your business, snaga.
Ceolwulf: Friendly sort, aren't you?
Orc Guard: *snarls and exhales a puff of foul-smelling air towards ceolwulf*
Ceolwulf: *Coughs when the reek hits his nostrils and backs away from the cell door*
Ceolwulf: Gorfush, since you aren't doing anything other than making your usual intelligent remarks, I suppose you would bring me a wine skin?
Orc Guard: *narrows yellowish eyes at ceolwulf...mutters* of course, of course... tis the shakh's orders you git the best of treatment. *wishes he could torture him in violent, brutal ways instead*
Ceolwulf: *thinks to himself..... How incredible it is that the enemy can create such monsters as this*
Ceolwulf: *That are so willing to do his bidding, even die for him. How can this monstrosity be? By the Valar!*
Orc Guard: *the short, stocky orc slowly lumbers off, then eventually returns with a flask of wine. he hands it through the bars of the cell window* 'ere, snaga. take it
Ceolwulf: *Reaches his hand through the cell bars and takes the wine skin from the orc, then walks across his cell to the farther wall, uncorks the top, hoists it up to his lips and takes a drink*
Ceolwulf: *He calls out to the guard* At least your masters provide good wine!
Orc Guard: *peers through the bars* aye! tis good wine. *under breath* too good to waste on worthless snagas.
Frodo: *Frodo, newly settled in his new home in Minas Artano, formerly Gondor, has received a letter from Vartang describing's Ceolwulf's impending judgement*
Orc Guard: *the orc leaves ceolwulf's cell door and slowly lumbers back to his duties*
Frodo: *With nearly every breath since that letter, Frodo has cursed Vartang, the officer of Mordor who calls himself Frodo's "advisor" but really controls his fate and the fate of all those whom Vartang has forced to be Frodo's slaves.*
Ceolwulf: *Boredom is a the common lot of all prisoners, and no matter how much he tries to keep his mind occupied, Ceolwulf is a victim of the same boredom that assaults all*
Frodo: *Frodo has great affection for Ceolwulf, but the man is going mad with grief for Elfhild, with whom he is in love, and who is imprisoned in Minas Morgul, the dead city*
Frodo: *Frodo was unable to stop Ceolwulf from running off on an impossible mission to save Elfhild singlehandedly, so he had him imprisoned as a last resort*
Ceolwulf: *Times without number, Ceolwulf has walked across his cell, first from the north to the south, and then from the east to the west, and then diagonally*
Ceolwulf: *He knows exactly how many steps it takes to cross the floor on each transit. He has counted the stones in the cell wall many times and has memorized every imperfection in the floor, up in the ceiling and along the walls*
Frodo: *But Ceolwulf struggled with his guards and killed one of them...and now his life hangs in the balance. After hours spent with his head in his hands, pondering all this, Frodo decides what to do*
Ceolwulf: *His company during the night was only the sound of scurrying rats whose light footsteps soon began to sound like drumbeats in his brain*
Frodo: *It has only been one day, but Frodo figures Ceolwulf must be going mad with boredom...Frodo remembers the months of his own imprisonment in Mordor with its alternating periods of torture and solitary confinement, after he and Sam were captured*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf thinks... How long have I been here? One night, a day? It seems like years. But it will not bother me long, for the solitude will drive me mad and I will not care*
Frodo: *Frodo knows many tales of ancient lore, for his old Uncle Bilbo was a scholar. Frodo searches his memory for these tales, intending to go and tell Ceolwulf stories to relieve his boredom*
Frodo: *Frodo descends the dark stairs into the dungeon and pushes the stool the orc was using up to the cell door and peers inside. He sees Ceolwulf alone drinking from a wine flask*
Ceolwulf: *He takes another drink from the wine skin. How can it be, he wonders, that the Enemy can produce the wine which I have ever drunk?*
Ceolwulf: *He takes another drink from the wine skin. Perhaps I should just drink myself to oblivion, he thinks*
Ceolwulf: *He drinks again from the wine skin and then rubs his hand across his cheek and face. My beard is growing back, he thinks. I wonder if they will let me keep it or force me to shave it off*
Ceolwulf: *I am like a caged animal, he thinks, and begins to pace across the floor, carrying his wine skin, slung across his shoulder*
Ceolwulf: *He hoists the wineskin up to his mouth and drinks deeply, savoring the taste in his mouth*
Frodo: *Frodo's heart twists as he sees Ceolwulf pacing in his cell, like a fine stallion confined to a tiny stall*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf continues to pace around his cell, stopping repeatedly to take drinks from the wine skin, his only solace in his grim prison*
Frodo: *Frodo's fists loosely circle the bars in the window, and he attempts to smile at Ceolwulf* Hullo Ceolwulf
Ceolwulf: *He starts in surprise at hearing the familiar voice of Frodo*
Ceolwulf: Frodo! *he exclaims and walks briskly over to the cell door*
Frodo: *Frodo's smile widens*
Ceolwulf: They let you come to see me?
Frodo: I'm not sure what they think. I just came! *he grins*
Frodo: I figured you must be awfully bored and I wanted to visit you.
Ceolwulf: It is good to see you *he says as he looks through the bars at Frodo*
Ceolwulf: The guards make poor companions and their stench befouls the air
Frodo: *Frodo inwardly sighs with relief to see that Ceolwulf is not so angry with him for imprisoning him anymore*
Ceolwulf: Filthy brutes! *he says grimly. Then he thinks... perhaps they cannot help the way they are*
Frodo: *not so angry with him anymore for putting him in the dungeon
Frodo: *Frodo's voice hardens* Aye, that they are
Ceolwulf: *he puts his hands on the bars, his wineskin forgotten* Have you heard any news!
Frodo: *Frodo's jaw drops and his eyes widen, then he stammers* Oh...Ceolwulf, I thought...I thought you already knew.
Frodo: What do you know, so far?
Ceolwulf: I know what the orcs have told me. They say my head will be upon a block in thirty days
Ceolwulf: But what I wish to hear *he grasps the bars* is news of Elfhild and her sister!
Frodo: *sighs* There has been no news of them
Frodo: Not since Vartang promised they will return at the spring solstice
Ceolwulf: *his shoulders slump* Nothing? No word?
Frodo: *shakes his head*
Ceolwulf: Frodo, you should have let me go to them. It appears I will die anyway
Frodo: Varyon is still considering your case
Frodo: you might live.....
Frodo: *trails off*
Ceolwulf: The Enemy does not take well to killing its lackeys
Ceolwulf: Varyon *he exclaims and laughs a hollow laugh*
Frodo: *leans his forehead against the bars, sighs, smiles sadly at Ceolwulf...the full weight of the situation hitting him for the first time*
Frodo: *after a pause* How are you holding up?
Ceolwulf: Well enough, Frodo, well enough, but I have been here only one day and no man of Rohan can stand being in a cage for long
Frodo: I know....well, this is where I would ask you to promise not to run away so I could let you out...but that would not free you anymore, since you killed the orc, and Vartang is keeping you here.
Ceolwulf: But the threat of death hangs over my head! How can it be better to be executed than it could be to die knowing what I should do?
Ceolwulf: it is a cruel fate that has been put upon us
Frodo: *clenches his jaw, draws in a sharp breath*
Frodo: I do not want you to be executed!
Frodo: If only you had not struck out at the guards!
Frodo: I wanted to keep you here, safe.....well, I have already said all I can say to you, to no avail. *sighs*
Ceolwulf: I did not wish to be taken their captive. I had to fight, but five against one is poor odds
Frodo: Yes, and you would have been one against many more had you run away.
Ceolwulf: I hate the filthy beasts! *he says and clenches the bars tightly* I would kill them all with my bare hands if I could
Frodo: *nods slowly* I wish you could....but as you said, the odds are not in our favor.
Ceolwulf: I would have preferred running away to this
Frodo: But at least you are alive....and they may grant you clemency
Frodo: I'll do everything I can!
Ceolwulf: The odds of my living longer than thirty days is very slight. I killed one of their lackeys and they will want their satisfaction
Frodo: *closes his eyes, stifles an angry outburst at Ceolwulf's rashness in killing the orc*
Ceolwulf: What was I to do when faced with five of them? Greet them cheerfully?
Ceolwulf: *He shakes his head* Frodo, why did you do this to me? Why! Why! *his voice rises*
Frodo: *pauses to control himself, then answers quietly* I put you here to save you from going to your death...but this sentence that hangs over your head, you did to yourself, by killing that orc, my friend
Ceolwulf: *he moves away and takes another drink from the wine skin* But perhaps... *he says, his voice becoming lower* you can help get me out of here?
Frodo: How could I do that?
Ceolwulf: Perhaps... *he says, his voice very low* Vardamir and some of the other servants could come by stealth in the night..... silence the guards and free me!
Frodo: And then what?
Ceolwulf: Then give me a horse and my sword
Frodo: Your death would be more certain than it is now
Frodo: and...silence the guards? You mean kill them? That would endanger Vardamir
Ceolwulf: Let Vardamir come to my aid. He is a soldier too, and knows the way. He has killed many, he says
Ceolwulf: What is one more of the devils, Frodo? Let them all die
Ceolwulf: They will soon enough be upon my people when they can
Frodo: Think, Ceolwulf. Two, against THOUSANDS. Thousands, Ceolwulf! And they are not all orcs. There are men too, and countless wraiths, in Minas Morgul
Frodo: *looks pointedly at Ceolwulf* Do you really want to die?
Ceolwulf: *he looks away from Frodo* That is a difficult question, my friend, but sometimes I think that is the very thing that I wish, but others, no, no *he shakes his head* I would not
Ceolwulf: *he looks back at Frodo* I think sometimes all is doomed
Frodo: So do I, sometimes
Frodo: But still we can do something...we can wait for hope to come
Frodo: We can.....just survive
Frodo: She will come back *tries to smile reassuringly*
Ceolwulf: Look at the trick that fate has played upon us. You went to Mordor, journeyed many miles, for what? And I came from Rohan and for what?
Frodo: *flinches, looks down*
Frodo: *ponders a while, then meets Ceolwulf's eyes again* We do not yet know for what
Ceolwulf: What has the Enemy promised you?
Frodo: Promised?
Ceolwulf: Why did he not kill you?
Frodo: I do not know. I begged him to kill me many times
Ceolwulf: But yet you live. How can this be?
Frodo: At the time he kept me alive so he could torture me further, but I do not know why they have put me in these houses now, in Nurn and here
Ceolwulf: *he tightens his hold on the bars of the cell* Frodo, tell me it is not so, what I fear
Ceolwulf: That you did not willingly take that accursed Ring back!
Frodo: Oh!....You could not think that! Of course it is not true!
Frodo: I was taking it to the Mountain of Fire, to destroy it!
Frodo: But we were captured, Sam and I
Frodo: An army of orcs cornered us
Frodo: And we escaped them, can you believe it? But I took a drink of water, and they saw me lift the flask, and came and seized us
Ceolwulf: Why were you not killed by the orcs?
Frodo: Because I was still wearing the Ring around my neck....*flushes with a sudden longing for the ring*
Frodo: Perhaps they knew that He wanted me for himself
Ceolwulf: Aye, the Enemy deals cruelly with those who cross him
Frodo: *His eyes cloud, seeming to stare at unimaginable horror* I can't describe it...can hardly even remember it...chained under his throne...with that wolf staring hungerly at me...
Frodo: ...and the pain and hunger...and Sam....he was a wraith *whispers*
Frodo: *shakes it off, looks back at Ceolwulf*
Ceolwulf: A wolf? *he asks, puzzled*
Ceolwulf: You never told me of a wolf
Frodo: I try not to speak of it
Frodo: I try not to remember it.
Ceolwulf: Then you should not
Frodo: *deep breath, nods*
Ceolwulf: Who knows what terrors you faced, things that no man could endure
Frodo: *weak smile*
Ceolwulf: And then this Ring you have, this strange Ring that you gave me, the one you said you got in the marketplace
Frodo: *feels a twinge of guilt*
Ceolwulf: *He lowers his eyes and looks at the floor* It spoke...... to me last night
Frodo: *widens his eyes* It did?
Ceolwulf: I thought at first I was going mad
Ceolwulf: And now I am convinced of it!
Frodo: Perhaps not...what did it say?
Ceolwulf: It said it was the first of the Nine and it was joined and bound to all the rest
Ceolwulf: What is the meaning of this?
Frodo: *Anger flashes in his eyes, but he fights it down*
Frodo: ...I do not know
Frodo: I think these rings are all bound together
Ceolwulf: It said something else, something very strange, as strange as the first thing it said
Ceolwulf: It said that Elfhild was the second.....
Frodo: *raises his eyebrows*
Ceolwulf: I did not understand it. I tried to put its words out of my mind, but I could not
Ceolwulf: Vardamir is right. All is madness here
Frodo: *nods*
Ceolwulf: *he looks back up* And I find today.... after last night.... that when I touch it, I feel strangely comforted
Frodo: *furrows his brow, shakes his head slowly* I do not know the meaning of this...but it seems that some strange...sinister force is at work here
Ceolwulf: If I could, I would take it off but it will not let me
Ceolwulf: And I fear that soon I will not want to take it off
Frodo: *leans his forehead on his hand, rubs it*
Frodo: Remember how you acquired that ring
Frodo: how they forced it on you
Frodo: ...but I am forbidden to say more
Ceolwulf: For a while there, I could hear your words in my head, when you were not speaking
Ceolwulf: I remember that well. I would not take the thing
Frodo: And I could hear your thoughts. I could hear all of your thoughts, all who had the rings
Ceolwulf: *he puts his head against the bars* Frodo, please help me escape. I beg you!
Ceolwulf: Another night of listening to this thing speak to me, another day....
Frodo: *frowns worriedly, reaches in and puts his hand on Ceolwulf's shoulder*
Frodo: I don't know what to do!
Ceolwulf: *he looks up* Help me escape!
Frodo: If I let you go you will die; if I don't you still might die
Frodo: but there is still a chance that you will live, if you stay, and see her again
Ceolwulf: Then what is the risk?
Frodo: The risk is losing the chance of being pardoned
Ceolwulf: Do you really think King Varyon would pardon me?
Frodo: *sighs* I don't know....I really don't...but at least there is still a chance *stresses the word*
Frodo: Perhaps if I were more...submissive to Vartang *smiles wryly*
Ceolwulf: Then you will ask the King to pardon me?
Frodo: Oh yes of course
Ceolwulf: When, Frodo, when? *he looks into his eyes with a wild expression*
Frodo: *pats his shoulder* As soon as I can. Tonight!
Ceolwulf: Then do this, for if I stay here much longer, if only one day can do this to me, a few more and I will be insane!
Frodo: I will not let that happen, my friend! I will visit you every day
Frodo: My Uncle Bilbo taught me many, many stories and now I will teach them to you
Frodo: You will have much to think about *smiles* and it will distract you from all this
Ceolwulf: Then begin, my friend, and perhaps they will drive the mad thoughts from my mind
Frodo: Well! When my Uncle Bilbo was about as old as I am now, he went on a great adventure
Frodo: But he didn't want to go on this adventure. The wizard Gandalf made him come along
Frodo: Bilbo was scared to death at first, but he got up his courage
Frodo: It was the Took in him. The Tooks are the most adventurous family in the Shire
Frodo: Nobody else ever goes on adventures, usually
Ceolwulf: But you
Frodo: *smiles*
Frodo: Bilbo was a---is a Baggins, but he has Took blood
Frodo: So Gandalf knew he was the right hobbit for their adventure
Frodo: Bilbo and Gandalf set out with thirteen dwarves
Frodo: to recover the dwarves' stolen treasure from the dragon Smaug *proudly*
Frodo: Since they were going to steal back the treasure Smaug had taken, they called themselves burglars
Frodo: Bilbo took this a little too seriously
Ceolwulf: *He takes another drink of wine and listens to what Frodo says*
Frodo: On their journey, they came upon three trolls sitting around a fire and complaining that they had no manflesh to eat!
Frodo: Bilbo went closer to investigate
Frodo: Now he could have just returned to the dwarves--but he didn't! His Tookish blood was at work in all its strength!
Frodo: Since he was a "burglar"---he tried to pick one of the trolls' pockets!
Frodo: But the troll noticed, and grabbed Bilbo by the neck
Frodo: "Blimey, Bert, look what I've copped!" the troll said, for the trolls' names were Bert, William and Tom
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf laughs*
Frodo: The other two asked what Bilbo was, but William said to Bilbo, "Lumme, if I knows! What are yer?"
Frodo: And Bilbo said, "A bur---a hobbit." He was so scared he couldn't even talk clearly
Ceolwulf: *in spite of his dismal thoughts, Ceolwulf laughs again*
Frodo: *grins to hear Ceolwulf laugh*
Frodo: So from then on, the trolls called him a burrahobbit!
Frodo: *laughs himself*
Ceolwulf: *he laughs*
Frodo: But the trolls were hungry, and they decided to eat Bilbo
Frodo: and then, the dwarves started coming to see what the fuss was about, all thirteen of them!
Frodo: And they all ended up tied in sacks, after a great struggle
Ceolwulf: Truly, twould be a sight to see!
Frodo: Aye!
Frodo: Actually, I saw those trolls once--but I haven't gotten to that part yet
Ceolwulf: How could you see the trolls? You were not there, were you?
Frodo: No, but you will see *smiles*
Frodo: So there they were, all the dwarves and poor Bilbo, tied up in sacks, while the trolls argued about how to cook them!
Ceolwulf: A sorry fate that would be!
Frodo: Yes, yes, indeed
Frodo: *thinks: but if the trolls had eaten them, Bilbo would not have found the Ring...and would not have adopted me and left ME the ring....*
Frodo: *But he pushes the thought from his mind, horrified that he could think such a thing*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf can sense his thoughts, and answers.... Fates are strange*
Frodo: *nods*
Frodo: The trolls couldn't decide whether to roast them, or mince them up and boil them, or sit on them and squash them into jelly
Frodo: It was then that Gandalf returned in secret, and hid where the trolls could not see him
Frodo: Gandalf made his voice sound like the trolls', and he kept arguing with them about how to cook the dwarves and Bilbo
Frodo: The trolls argued and fought for the rest of the night
Frodo: And then, when the sun came up, they froze in place---and turned to stone!
Ceolwulf: A clever trick, but are you sure this is not just a tale that has been handed down?
Frodo: *grins* Oh, no, I am quite sure!
Frodo: My Uncle Bilbo tells no lies, and as I said, I have seen the trolls myself!
Frodo: For they still stand there, stone statues!
Frodo: On my own journey, we came to the same spot. There were the trolls!
Ceolwulf: Twould be a marvelous sight then to see them
Frodo: One had a bird's nest behind his ear! *laughs*
Ceolwulf: And with a bird upon its nest?
Frodo: No, it was empty. It was fall. Early October, a year ago
Frodo: *a faraway look crosses his face*
Ceolwulf: *He thinks.... a year ago, and what things have happened in this year*
Frodo: *sees that Ceolwulf has begun to think his dismal thoughts again*
Frodo: My friends and I all saw the trolls. Sam, too. He made a song about them
Ceolwulf: *He reads Frodo's thoughts and then tries to seal his own thoughts from him.*
Frodo: Would you like to hear it?
Ceolwulf: Aye
Frodo: *is surprised that Ceolwulf tries to hide his thoughts*
Frodo: *Frodo begins to sing in a clear, joyful, young voice*
Frodo: Troll sat alone on his seat of stone, and munched and mumbled a bare old bone. For many a year he had gnawed it near, for meat was hard to come by.
Frodo: Done by! Gum by! In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone, and meat was hard to come by.
Frodo: Up came Tom with his big boots on. Said he to Troll: "Pray, what is yon? For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim, as should be a-lyin' in graveyard.
Frodo: Caveyard! Paveyard! This many a hear has Tim been gone, and I thought he were lyin' in graveyard."
Ceolwulf: *As he listens to the song, he thinks... Perhaps I shall be in a graveyard in a few weeks.... or worse, food for the orcs.*
Frodo: "My lad," said Troll, "this bone I stole, but what be bones that lie in a hole? They nuncle was dead as a lump o' lead, afore I found his shinbone.
Frodo: Tinbone! Thinbone! He can spare a share for a poor old troll, for he don't need his shinbone."
Ceolwulf: *He thinks of the orc guard gnawing and rending the flesh from his bone... a somber thought, he thinks*
Frodo: Said Tom: "I don't see why the likes o' thee without axin' leave should go makin' free with the shank and the shin o' my father's kin, so hand the old bone over!
Ceolwulf: *he takes another drink from the wine skin. I wonder if the orcs will ever sing a song about my bones*
Frodo: Rover! Trover! Though dead he be, it belongs to he, so hand the old bone over!"
Frodo: *Frodo is not thinking of the morbid implications of the song, only enjoying its humor, and his happy memories of Sam*
Frodo: "For a couple o' pins," says Troll, and grins, "I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.
Frodo: A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet! I'll try my teeth on thee now.
Frodo: Hee now! See now! I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins; I've a mind to dine on thee now."
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf shuders and takes another drink, and by this time the wine is taking effect*
Frodo: *Frodo notices the song is bothering Ceolwulf, but can't think why; he trails off*
Frodo: What's the matter?
Ceolwulf: *He starts making up a tune in his head. "The Rohirrim is very slim, and eatin' 'im is doubtful, but chop 'im up, and put 'im a cup, and 'e'll make a mouthful!"*
Frodo: Don't worry! The troll doesn't eat him.
Frodo: *Frodo senses that thought and his eyes widen*
Frodo: *he groans* Oh, I didn't think of that
Ceolwulf: *He involuntarily shudders again*
Frodo: *slaps his hand to his forehead*
Frodo: Ah! I'm sorry
Frodo: I thought it was only a funny song
Ceolwulf: Pay no mind *he says and takes another drink*
Ceolwulf: Tis a good song indeed, but I am in a dour mood
Frodo: I know. I'm trying to lighten that mood, but I don't seem to be doing very well
Ceolwulf: Finish the song *he says and takes another sip from the wine skin*
Frodo: Are you sure?
Ceolwulf: Yes *he says* whatever happens, it will be fate
Ceolwulf: And no one can escape his doom
Frodo: Yes...well, as I said, the troll doesn't eat him. *thinks: maybe you will escape this, as Bilbo escaped, and as the man in Sam's song escaped.*
Ceolwulf: In Rohan there are not that many happy songs
Ceolwulf: There are songs though of victory and of great riders, and they are happy
Frodo: I'll try to remember some songs of warriors, then, for next time
Frodo: *continues singing*
Frodo: But just as he thought his dinner was caught, he found his hands had hold of naught. Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind, and gave him the boot to larn him.
Frodo: Warn him! Darn him! A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought, would be the way to larn him.
Frodo: But harder than stone is the flesh and bone of a troll that sits in the hills alone. As well set your boot to the mountain's root, for the seat of a troll don't feel it.
Frodo: Peel it! Heal it! Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan, and he knew his toes could feel it.
Frodo: Tom's leg is game, since home he came, and his bootless foot is lasting lame; But Troll don't care, and he's still there with the bone he boned from its owner.
Frodo: Doner! Boner! Troll's old seat is still the same, and the bone he boned from its owner!
Frodo: *grins and bows*
Ceolwulf: *He stands there and looks at Frodo and laughs begrudgingly*
Ceolwulf: Frodo *he says* of all the songs you could sing, it would be this one with my execution possibly only thirty days away
Frodo: *feels immensely guilty*
Ceolwulf: *he groans and turns back to his wine skin*
Ceolwulf: Would you care for a drink? *he passes the wineskin through the bars*
Frodo: Ah...I'm sorry.....I didn't think of it that way. I do wish I hadn't sung it!
Frodo: *beside himself with guilt and worry for Ceolwulf*
Ceolwulf: Then drink and forget your sorrows, as I try to forget mine
Frodo: No thank you *gives the wine back to Ceolwulf*
Ceolwulf: Frodo, they are going to kill me. I know it!
Frodo: No they are not! I won't let them!
Ceolwulf: *he takes the wine skin back and brings it back to his mouth*
Ceolwulf: If you think that the Easterlings would let the catch of a man of Rohan go free, you do not know the history of them
Ceolwulf: *He turns away from Frodo* They have contrived this!
Ceolwulf: They must have been planning this all along! *a wild look is on his face*
Frodo: Perhaps they have...I don't know their history...but they have much more against me than against you, and they let me live!
Ceolwulf: *A moody man by nature, the possibility of his impending execution and the wine join together and drive him to a fey mood*
Frodo: And here I am healed of all my hurts. If that can happen to me, their greatest enemy for I tried to destroy them all, there has to be hope for you!
Ceolwulf: Frodo *he says and shakes his head* Indeed, you do not know the Variags!
Ceolwulf: Over and over again, the Variags have come into Rohan, plundering the land
Ceolwulf: They would have destroyed Rohan and claimed it for their own
Ceolwulf: Both Gondor and Rohan have felt the might of their power
Ceolwulf: Why do you think the Easterlings are here? To be given the spoil. First Gondor, then Rohan
Frodo: *sighs*
Ceolwulf: If you think you can claim mercy from one of them, you have been greatly deceived!
Frodo: Perhaps...but maybe there is something I will be able to give them in exchange for your life
Ceolwulf: What could you give them?
Frodo: I cannot think what I could give without betraying the West and our friends, but there must be something
Frodo: Perhaps I could act as though I were becoming loyal to them
Frodo: Perhaps I could say that you are too useful to be killed
Ceolwulf: Ah *he says and grasps the bars tighter* you have a plan?
Frodo: I have the beginnings of a plan
Frodo: I plan to say anything I can to help you
Frodo: Dear Ceolwulf! I will not let them kill you.
Ceolwulf: And you will go before Varyon?
Frodo: Of course
Ceolwulf: Then go, and go quickly. Another night here....
Frodo: *places his hand over Ceolwulf's large one that grasps the bars* Be comforted, my friend. I am going.
Ceolwulf: *He sighs in relief*
Frodo: *smiles encouragingly to him*
Ceolwulf: *He smiles back to Frodo* Do what you can
Ceolwulf: And perhaps, just perhaps, I won't end up as a shin bone in an orc pot
Frodo: *wry chuckle*
Frodo: *Frodo's hand passes gently over Ceolwulf's as he lowers it* Farewell my friend, until tomorrow. *smiles, then steps down from the stool*
Frodo: *Frodo pushes the stool back where he found it, all the while planning what he will say to Varyon*
Frodo: *Defiance will not work here. Frodo must think of a reason why Ceolwulf's life will be beneficial to Varyon. He must make Varyon want to pardon Ceolwulf*
Frodo: *Should he emphasize Ceowulf's strength? His intelligence? His loyalty? But then they would try to use these qualities for Mordor's benefit, and that wouldn't do at all*
Frodo: *As Frodo ascends the stairs up into the daylight, he prays to the Valar for inspiration*
Frodo: *O Elbereth Glithoniel, Star Kindler, kindle my mind with the right thoughts to save his life!*

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