Steward and the King, The
8. Gollum (incomplete)
[Eastern party: Faramir, Gimli, Frodo and Sam. To hide the boats they sent them over the falls, then tried to work their way down.]
The rocks were a constant battle. Remembering Legolas and the snow, Gimli muttered, “The Elf would have been of more use to you.” But the rocks, wicked as they were, seemed to speak to the Dwarf and the party made steady progress.
Then, to delay them still further, Gollum was caught as they got reached the bottom of the rocks. [When he's spotted crawling headdown the wall, Faramir keeps everyone silent, others get ropes ready. He fired an arrow to surprise & cause him to lose his balance. Later, retrieved arrow to repair. Shaft broken, feather & head OK.] Gimli and Sam want him dead. [Expand for more details and character development/foreshadowing.]
“Don’t kill him!” Frodo said. He wanted to make it an order. Gandalf’s words echoed in his mind. It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. He searched for reasons that would convince. “We’re enough to guard him. What he knows could be useful.”
“Yesss, yesss,” Gollum groveled, cowed by Faramir’s sword, Gimli’s ax and Sam’s knife and murderous stare.
Sam opened his mouth to voice his opinion again, but Faramir stopped the debate. “We are here to help Frodo, not tell him what to do,” he said. [Gimli muttered about Faramir's bad shot. "I did not miss," Faramir said coldly. Frodo, appreciates that, Gimli didn't.]
“He will slow us down,” Gimli grumbled.
[Gollum became a well-guarded guide. They stayed on the east bank, as far away from the Black Gate as possible. Gollum, when captured and pleading for his live, had said he knew a way in, which seemed to be Morgul Vale. Gimli was right. Having the creature in the party slowed them down even more than the rocks, for he was always under guard. Faramir and Gimli always found a place that was somehow enclosed when they slept, and the four split the watch.]
As they walked through northern Ithilien, Faramir’s eyes ranged wide, catching familiar landscapes.
“Don’t be so eager to meet your people,” Gimli told him. “Should you not have gone home by the fastest route, in their expectation?”
“Yes, but I would say I would return as soon as may be.”
“Huh. Better if Aragorn were here.”
“He’s needed West.” The words were said with surprising heat. Faramir would have no one question his dream’s orders.
“Better the Elf, then,” Gimli growled, “than your young foolishness.”
He pointedly ignored the challenge, the better to appreciate the humor of a dwarf speaking well of an elf. “Do you miss your friend, Master Dwarf?”
“You wished to go West as well,” Gimli kept to his original complaint, whispering so the others could not hear. “You should have. Legolas would do well enough in these trees, and he would have killed that footpad quick enough.” He gestured at Gollum. “That is a mistake we have yet to pay for, mark my words.”
“He would be challenged, likewise so would you or Aragorn.”
“Only if seen. You -- ” He spent a long time pacing, choosing his words, and picked a different tact. “You are homesick, looking for news. When you left Gondor, war was on her borders. You have never been gone so long.”
“It matters not. Any we meet -- I am not expecting that -- I could order. There are only two who could order me, and my father would not go beyond the Pelennor.”
And the other? You are the younger brother.
=== end chapter ===
- comments about food, need provisions. Faramir shot rabbits and Gollum ate his raw.
- Frodo needs to say more, and Gollum. Establish his hissing.
- I also need to establish that Gimli is doubtful about Faramir’s leadership, whereas he would not have questioned any of Aragorn’s decisions. (I’m setting up for Gimli to rebel in chapter 10.)
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