Title: Elements of the Resistance
Summary: Fatty had his own set of difficult experiences and obstacles to overcome while the Four Travellers were off saving Middle-earth. Here are five drabbles about his experiences as part of the resistance movement and in the Lockholes, each focusing on one of the five elements (water, air, earth, fire, shadow).
Rating: Teen (for explicit violence)
Word Count: 5x100
Timeline: Late Third Age (bookverse)
The winds blow from the Old Forest and beyond -- foul winds, carrying death and fear from far-off lands. I bolt the doors and shutters, but still the wind whips around Crickhollow, her old timbers creaking in vain resistance.
Supper passes; the hours creep by, the moon’s shadows moving across the floor, ever changing, but still the wind is constant. It hisses outside, still battling for mastery.
The gate blows open. Are those footsteps? Shrieks? No, ‘tis just the wind. Still, best to be sure... I take a cautious step toward the door.
A great knock, a greater gust, and then panic gripped me.
“Shadow is your friend,” Maggot had told us when we joined his band.
I doubt the others know the true force of what he suggested. For them, shadow is darkness, nothing more. But I remembered Bilbo’s tales. Shadow had always been the Dark Lord’s strongest weapon. In the land of Mordor, where the Shadows lie...
We would take shadow, use it against our enemies. Sharkey’s men might rob us and beat us under the sun, but in the shadows...
Yet, in the end, dark serves dark best. It would betray us. How long until they prison me in those sunless lockholes?
I set my back to my cell’s wall, dirt settling in my hair. Three steps - four if I shorten them - and my toes stub another wall. Two more; I reach the door.
Faint light filters through the plank, illuminating my room. I know the poorly-stuffed mattress too well. The good earth underfoot is more comfortable -- but I have not yet stooped that low!
Dirt everywhere - on my face, in the air. I can scarce breathe for it.
Two steps to the outer-wall. Probing -- slowly, quietly! -- I search for the sun. If only I could reach the light, see what still is clean...
The door opens; I am caught.
They enter, carrying a brazier. It crouches at my feet; irons protrude, fat tips glowing like unclean worms in the embers.
Grimy, calloused hands grasp my wrist and thumb. It bends: snap. The other four fingers follow: snap, snap, snap, snap. I steel myself against the pain, flailing helplessly against more to come.
My tormentor restrains my arm; his accomplice pushes fiery iron onto my palm, my broken fingers forced to grip it. I stifle a cry; it burns, it burns.
They leave, laughing. Only then do I realize which hand throbs.
I will never hold a sword again.
I dunk my hand in the water-bucket. It does nothing to ease the pain, but will wash it cleaner than tears.
Outside, the rain pounds on the hillside. Does it rain in the Marish tonight? Stel always did forget to water her roses; this storm will do them good. Maybe her garden will survive the neglect.
Maybe the rain can cure more than a flower’s thirst? Can it wash away these last few months’ hurt? A great flood, to wash all those crude men past the Bounds -- that’s the ticket.
Would that I had a cask of ale -- or three -- to wash away this pain!
-------( Notes )