by Eglerio Hyn

The ground was hard. Stones poked into him as he clung to the earth, Sam and Smeagol trembling beside him. The cry shook him deeply. Something within Frodo cracked and broke sending rivers of pain and temptation coursing through him. The Ringwraith was calling for it…trying to seek out the precious and there they were so close to him. Frodo felt his eyes open and he looked up, then he could not tear his eyes away. They were all so black, so terrible like death…as death they marched to destroy Middle Earth, to destroy him. Frodo’s fingers clenched the circlet, rubbing it this way and that, feeling the power flow out of it. The host never ended, it was like an endless stream of night. There He was, a Rider all black, save that on his hooded head he wore a crown that flickered perilously. He was the Lord of the Nine Riders, he had not perished, he could not be struck down. The old wound throbbed, the pain beat as his heart thumped in his chest. Fear and pain washed over him anew, he saw the ghastly figure advancing toward him, the deadly knife directed to his heart. A chill spread toward his heart and his thoughts bound and pierced him with dread.

The Rider stopped, right before the entrance of the bridge, and silence reigned. Perhaps He could sense the power so near him, and he looked this way and that, the crown glittering wickedly as he searched. Frodo waited, fear paralyzing him, his palms sweaty and unable to grasp the Ring…gritty fingers found his and he grasped them as for life itself. His eyes remained on the Rider, unable to rip themselves away from the being of death and terror.

Wear me…put me on…touch me….wear me…you will be strong….you will rule…obey me… Frodo felt and heard the commands of the Ring within him and around him, it compelled him to wear it, to give in to the temptation. Yet as strong as the pressure was, the desire to wear it was not there. He knew the danger, the horrible danger and inventable end if he did put it on. Inspite of it’s beauty, its sweetness, its pain to him…it would betray him in the end. Frodo saw inside himself a vision of a hand, the
hand, the will that loved the Ring, that wanted it…his hand reaching closer and closer to the Ring, but he resisted, and his own will stirred and forced the hand back. Instead his hand reached toward something cold, something he had almost forgotten about. The Phial of Galadriel…his fingers curled around it, finding peace for a moment, and all thought of the Ring was banished from his mind. Instead he saw beauty…fair hair rippling in the wind and a smile like sunshine, her hand caressing his curls momentarily before blessing him. Frodo sighed heavily and bent his head, the temptation was over, and he had been strong. At that moment the Wraith-King turned and spurred his horse and rose across the bridge, and all his dark host followed him. Perhaps the will of a little hobbit had defied him, being strengthened had turned aside his thought. But he was in haste. Already the hour had struck, and at his great Master’s bidding he must march with war into the West.

Frodo stirred. And suddenly his heart went out to Faramir and a frown creased his wearied face. ‘the storm has burst at last,’ he thought. ‘This great array of spears and swords are going to Osgiliath. Will Faramir get across in time? He guessed it, but did he know the hour? And who can hold the fords when the King of the Nine Riders comes? And other armies will come. I am too late. All is lost. I tarried on the way. All is lost. Even if my errand is performed, no one will ever no. It will al be in vain.’

Frodo wept, his heart broken, his journey wasted. The pain was too great, Middle Earth would be destroyed whether or not he destroyed the Ring. Tears wet his face like rain, streaks of dirt flowing down his face, all was lost.