Shelob's Lair

by Eglerio Hyn

“This can’t be the way.” Frodo whispered, not that it mattered, only Sam and his breathing could be heard quick and fearful in the dreadful stillness of the tunnel.
Their hands felt along the left opening, but it was blocked.

“Right or wrong, we must take the other.”

A strange foreboding seeped into Frodo’s heart, a strange chill that seemed to tell of coming death. Shaking off the feeling, he blinked away the dryness in his eyes and walked foreword with Sam by his side.

“Quickly!” Sam panted, “there’s something worse than Gollum about. I can feel something looking at us.”

Their feet stumbled quickly a few yards into the deathly darkness before behind them came a sound terrifying, horrible in the heavy silence. A gurgling, bubbling noise than a long venomous hiss. Fingers of fear clenched tightly onto the two hobbits as they whirled around, hoping their eyes would, yet wouldn’t, see what they couldn’t imagine. There was darkness, and Frodo and Sam stood there like stones waiting for what they didn’t know.

“It’s a trap!” cried Sam, his hand going to the hilt of his sword, and his thoughts fleeing to Tom Bombadil for a swift second. Then darkness and despair gripped his heart, but even in the blackness, a light, shining with hues of every beautiful color lanced into his mind. He remembered a beautiful, shining face with kind eyes and a smile like sweet honey. She was standing upon bright green grass that seemed fantasy in this barren place. In her slender fingers were held a glass, a shining glass. Her voice he heard, “And you, Ring-bearer…for you I have prepared this.”

The bubbling hiss dew nearer, and creaking of ancient joints as the figure of terror drew closer.

“Master! Master!” cried Sam, life and urgency flooding into his voice.

“The Lady’s gift! The star glass! A light to you in dark places, she said it would be. The star glass!”

“The star glass?” whispered Frodo, as if being awoken from a deep sleep, their mind a haze of dreams and reality.

“Why yes! Why has I forgotten it? A light when all other lights go out! And now indeed light alone can help us.”

Slowly, his dirt crusted fingers reached past the tempting Ring to where the beautiful glass was placed near his heart. Pulling the phial out, he lifted it high. For a moment it glimmered, faintly, but it’s power grew slowly until it kindled to a silver flame. Hope sprung in Frodo’s heart, as the light cut away the darkness as if Earendil himself come down from the high sunset paths with the last Simaril upon his brow.

His hand sparkled with white fire, as his eyes gazed in wonder at this magnificent gift…it was beautiful, a worthy and wonderful gift from the Lady. He wondered why he had not thought of it before, almost forgotten completely.

“Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!” he cried, and knew not what he had spoken, for it seemed another voice has spoken through his. One untainted by the foul air of this pit.

She who walked in darkness did not heed or care what this creature cried. He was her prey, and she would catch him. No one had escaped her lair, and a mistake would not begin today.

Frodo even as he spoke the beautiful words, felt a great malice bent upon him, that someone wanted to kill him.

Not far down the tunnel, between them and the opening. He was aware of eyes growing visible, two great clusters of many windowed eyes Monstrous and abominable eyes they were, filled with purpose and hideous delight. Gloating, rejoicing over their prey trapped without any hope of escape to freedom.

Frodo and Sam horror stricken at the approaching evil, backed away their eyes unable to be torn from the ever nearer murderous eyes of Shelob.
Frodo’s hand wavered, and slowly the Phial dropped, and without the light to see the terrible eyes they ran the spell broken…their small feet trying desperately to carry them away from the evil following them. Frodo looked back and saw with terror the eyes leaping behind. The stench of death was like a cloud about him, choking the life out of him.

“Stand! Stand!” he cried desperately. “Running is no use.”

Slowly the eyes crept nearer.

“Galadriel!” he called and gathering his courage lifted the Phial once more. The eyes halted. Doubt troubled them briefly. Then Frodo’s heart flamed within him and without thought to what he was doing, he took the phial in his left hadn, and with his right drew his word.

Sting flashed out, and the sharp elven blade sparkled in the silver light. A its edges a blue light flickered, burning away the darkness.

He held the star aloft and the bright sword advanced. Frodo walked steadily to meet the eyes. Many thoughts tumbled through his head, would he die in this moment? A flash of pain then blessed forever darkness? What would happen to Sam if he died? What of the Ring? The world? His courage drove him on, his blue eyes almost as vibrant as the sword he held firmly in his hand.

The eyes wavered, doubt came in as the light approached. On eby one they dimmed and slowly they drew back. No brightness so deadly had ever afflicted them before. From sun and moon they had been safe…now this terrible brightness, that brought such searing pain to the evil eyes. Still Frodo walked forward, and soon the eyes all went dark and they turned away. Some great bulk, beyond the lights reach, heaved away. The eyes were gone and so was She.

For now.