Black and Gold

by NorthStar
Part VIII

In a flash, the camp was in an uproar, breakfast forgotten. The scout had died before he could say more, but it was enough. There was a great sniffing of the wind, as they desperately tried to ascertain what direction the men approached from, and how many there were. Lurtz strode through the masses, bellowing orders – there was no use for stealth now, the enemy was upon them.

Frodo and Sam stayed huddled where they lay, waiting. Men were coming…but which men? Aragorn? Or other nameless tribes who might not be any better captors than the orcs?

What would men of Gondor or Rohan do with them? They had no hope that they would be turned free, once the ring was discovered. At best, men would take the ring and leave them alone; at worst, they would be killed for what Frodo bore.

Only Aragorn could save them. If he had survived the last attack.

“South!” it was Lurtz. “Man comes from the South, on horseback!”

Horseback- the Rohirrim! The Uruks clenched their teeth and bared fangs; they knew these men, knew their ruthlessness in killing. A fair match.

Sam and Frodo looked at each other. “Not Gondor,” Frodo whispered. Sam nodded. Then he said quietly “D’ya think Strider might be with ‘em?” Frodo looked at Sam’s face, where a ray of hope now shone. “I hope so.”

The sky was growing light, the sun spreading its first pale tendrils over the tops of the trees when the onslaught came. It came quickly and was deadly.

The Rohirrim seemed to approach from all sides at once, with spear and sword, sweeping through, hewing and chopping as they rode. The sound of dying orcs was overrun by the sound of voices raised in song, the song of the Riders of Rohan. The melody did not cease as Riders fell, but intensified as those left took their place in the tune.

Frodo and Sam were all but forgotten as they scrambled away from the frantic horses and swinging metal arcing above their heads. In front of them loomed a huge bank of trees, black and gnarled, almost as frightening as the battle itself. Sam made for the trees, but Frodo hung back. “Frodo, come on! In here!” But Frodo looked up at the tangled darkness and could not make his legs move. “You go on, Sam-hide!” “Not without you, Mr. Frodo –even if I have to drag you!” Sam reached for Frodo, but Frodo pulled away, staring over Sam’s head fearfully. Sam turned to look up, but was grabbed roughly by a hand encased in a heavy leather glove and vambrace; scrolled with the design of the Steward of Gondor.

Boromir.

Frodo staggered to his feet and tried to run, but made only a few steps before a bolt of pain shot up his spine and he fell to his knees. Sam pulled away from Boromir and ran to Frodo’s side, glaring back at the man. “Don’t you touch him! Haven’t you done enough already?” Boromir looked at them, wildly. “There is no time for this – we must get you away from here, now! You will come with me, I will carry you both if need be!”

“Not so fast, human.” The clotted growl behind him belonged to Lurtz. Boromir stiffened and his hand clenched around his sword handle. “The halflings are mine. And what he carries is also…mine.”

Boromir turned to face his enemy once again. “What he carries belongs to no man. Nor to any orc.” He spat upon the ground at Lurtz’s feet. The orc hissed and raised his long knife; Boromir drew his sword. As the first blows fell, Boromir yelled…

“Frodo! Sam! Run!!!”