By Starlight

The enemy’s doorstep

After the marshlands Gollum had lead them through rough rocky terrain. The sky had grown darker but Chis was certain it was closer to midday than it seemed. Finally they climbed the highest rock and beyond it they stared at Morannon.

“The Black Gate of Mordor.” Gollum said ominously, while he tried to keep them out of site.

“Oh, save us. My ol’ Gaffer’d have a thing or two to say if he could see us now.” Sam cowered and pawed at Frodo’s sleeve. Chris rolled her eyes, surely it was obvious that they couldn’t go that way, it would be certain discovery and eventually death.

‘This is not going to end well.’ Chris thought grimly as she noticed Sam crawling up an unstable looking rock.

“Master says to show the way to Mordor, so good Sméagol does. Master says so.” The creature announced happily pandering for Frodo’s approval. He kind of reminded her of a puppy, a thin, shrivelled, evil puppy that just wants to be loved… or something like that.

“I did.” The hobbit said; a little distracted from trying to spot a way through the gate but it was heavily set with orcs and other foul creatures patrolling the perimeter.

“That’s it then. We cannot get past that.” The gardener announced with frustration. Then from their right the sound of horns and marching caught their attention as an army of Easterlings made their way to the entrance of Mordor. Fleetingly Chris admired their shields, they were prettier than hers.

There seemed to be a small commotion with the guards atop they gate as they hurried to open its great doors. Ever so slowly the gate edged open allowing their new allies entry to the dark land.

“Look! The gate, it’s opening! I can see a way down.” He exclaimed with his hope rekindled.

“Stop!” Chris urged too late as the rock gave way beneath him causing the hobbit to fall less than subtly towards the swarms of their enemy.

“Sam, no!” Frodo yelled instantly darting after his friend.

“Master!” Gollum seemed equally worried about the safety of his master and him revealing their presence so close to danger.

“Sméagol, wait!” Chris put her arm out to stop him momentarily. “Look.” She pointed out the two Easterling soldiers that had stepped out of formation to investigate the commotion the hobbits had made.

“Swift and silent as shadowsss.” He whispered as they made their way down to the hobbits quickly and quietly. It was fortunate that had arrived as they looked as if they were ready to leap straight into the enemy’s grasp.

“Now!” The ring bearer said as they jumped mere inches before they were yanked back by Gollum.

“No! no, no master! They catch you! They catch you! Don’t take it to him! He wants the precioussss. Always he’s looking for it! And the precious is wanting to go back to him. But we mustn’t let him have it.” He spoke darkly, the mere thought of Sauron possessing his precious angered him deeply. Dark whispers once again filled her senses, the troops had long since entered Sauron’s domain but the gate stayed open. Almost as if they were inviting the hobbits to try to gain entry. For a moment she believed they could make it and that they should sod the journey they were meant to take. Quickly she came to her senses. Frodo attempted to make for the gate again but this time Chris grabbed his arm and held him back. His head snapped back and he looked at her sharply.

“Frodo just look at what you are trying to do! There is no way you can get half way without being seen. Unless of course you planned on using the ring… which is also stupid.” Chris reasoned with an equally sharp look in her eyes. It seemed Morgoth was using every opportunity to have the ring found. She would not let it happen, she would not fail and hopped dearly that Elle was staying as strong.

“There is another way. More secret. A dark way.” Sméagol declared hastily hoping he would not try again, this time Frodo’s sharp gaze fell upon the creature.

“Why haven’t you spoken of this before?!”

“Because Master did not ask!” He defended, shrinking a little away from the accusing eyes of the hobbits and closer to Chris.

“He’s up to something.” Sam warned with an condemning glare.

“Yeah, like stopping you two from killing yourselves. See those guys? They were Easterlings, far beyond my skill and experience. I would get my arse handed to me in tiny chunks.” Chris pointed out with her arms folded. Frodo then looked to be considering something before he spoke again, this time in a gentler tone.

“Are you saying there’s another way into Mordor?”

“Yes. There’s a path, and some stairs, and then… a tunnel.” Sméagol replied almost hesitantly. At the mention of the tunnel Chris shivered involuntarily. The tunnel. As in Shelob’s lair. As in a gigantic spider with the legs and the eyes. She could barely deal with tiny spiders!

“He’s led us this far, Sam. Eadgyth?” Frodo said fairly then looked to her for back up. It was like he could see she had nothing against the creature and hoped for her opinion to sway in his favour.

“So far so good. We need to get this done as quickly and safely as we can afford.” She said finally, putting all thoughts of the creepy crawly to the back of her mind.

“Mr Frodo, no. Please Lady Eadgyth, see reason.” The gardener pleaded hopelessly with his companions.

“He’s been true to his word.” The words had a sense of finality to them as Frodo looked from Chris to Sam and then finally to Sméagol.

“No!” He whispered, his head hung in disbelieved defeat.

“Lead the way Sméagol.”

“Good Sméagol always helpss.” The creature declared happily before leading them away from the ominous gate. Frodo and Chris soon followed after him with Sam trailing behind, dragging his hairy little feet.

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