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 .....
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
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. .