Wherein Dwells the Quest

by jan-u-wine  -- PG rating


Frodo wakes in the Tower of Cirith Ungol...



This was the room, he knew, in which he would soon give up his struggles.
 
If things had been as they should have, even within this horror, if his mind had worked as usually it would, this realization would have battered his thoughts like rain turned to ice, fierce fists of it demanding and denying.......
 
But things, of course, were far from what they should have been, and there were no  thoughts, battering  or quiet, within the stilled frame of his mind.   
 
He moved without them, outside of any senses.  After what might have been moments (or hours), a dull feeling, half-numbed, yet shimmering about the edges with pain, took his breath.  Somehow, he could feel tears in the corners of his eyes, the heaviness of salt in his throat, copper on his tongue.  Somehow, he felt ashamed.  He would not cry in front of .....
 
these......
 
As if his mind were too raw to absorb even a single thought, too exhausted to bring forth the grating sound which was their  name,  he vomited instead, and lay still thereafter, cheek immersed in the warm mottling of red-yellow staining the floor.  As warm as a pillow it was.  And he imagined, (unaware, even, that he was imagining), that it was, truly, a pillow, a pillow deep and cool upon the edges, but warm beneath his sleep-inclined head, a pillow smelling of Home, of the draughts of Spring it had dried in, and not the foul wetness that did, in fact, embrace him.
 
And all that was real broke before him, fading like the last bits of light that linger, then cease, upon the golden-eyed snuffing of a candle.  Sounds, like the tiny paw-pads of mice, pattered against his almost-deaf ears, winding themselves about him, drawing him to dremes that gave no promise of waking.
 
There was music within this darkness:  he heard it, felt it as if it were rising within him, as if he were the instrument being softly played upon, his being naught but gutted strings and moon-silver'd reeds that gentle hands might strum, or lips call forth a living song of the ageless trees.             
          
At last (at the last, his mind abruptly supplied) he heard the Sea, and saw, without ever opening his eyes, the jeweled stars.  Oh, how bright they were, how close, now.  And how the Sea sang to him, Her voice beating in his ears until he did not know whether it was She who lived there, or the slowing thrum of his own heart, the salt scent of Her filling his nose until he dremed upon.shores of adamant sand, draped by up-thrown tangles of amber-green sea-lanterns.......  
 
Alongside the song of Sea and stars, beside the strange resonance that ran inside him, another song rose, mingled with that which was already there, re-called him from the salted-crsytal shore-wrack. 
 
It called him to waking, to  thoughts ordered, yet weighted with grief and guilt
It called him to red-ragged pain without the benefit of senselessness.
 
 
It called him to  life.
 
It called him to the  bittersweet remnant of himself wherein dwelt his Quest.  .