16. All In Pippin's Mind
'PEREGRIN!" Gandalf's voice inside the little hobbit's mind almost made Pippin choke with fright.
'IT'S ALL RIGHT PIPPIN' Gandalf tried to bring it down a level. 'DON'T BE AFRAID.'
'…not…'fraid… i… i… too big at i is…'
Gandalf smiled inwardly at the muddled message. Legolas had warned him that Pippin wasn't very good at thinking in mind speak. However he was concerned that his first contact had been so overwhelming for the hobbit.
'HOW ARE YOU FEELING PIPPIN?' Gandalf decided some polite conversation might put the little one at ease.
'…n-n-not know … b-b-bettrer now… not hurt …paste good …get more?'
'NO - TOO MUCH IS BAD FOR YOU' Gandalf did not want to only be saying 'no'. 'IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE?'
The wizard realized he was not doing very well with this strategy. 'ARE YOU HUNGRY?' Hobbits were always hungry.
'…littlel hun-grery …miss merry most...'
'I KNOW, DON'T WORRY, WE'LL FOLLOW HIM SOON.' Gandalf looked to see if there was anything to eat in the guardroom where they were still lodged. He spied a box in which they had discovered some sugar-covered cakes the night before. The wizard took one out and, breaking it in two, offered it to Pippin. 'I KNOW YOU LIKE CAKE,' he said.
'…aiiiee! …not take! …sorry merry …i took …won't mean do it... sorry did it.' Pippin then began to sob so that Gandalf could hear his grief and the others could see the large tears running down his face. He made no attempt to take the cake, but moved away from it, putting his good hand behind his back.
Gandalf did not attempt to question Pippin about his strange behaviour. The wizard just followed the trail of grief to that part of the hobbit's mind where the fear of the cake had stirred a recent memory. 'SHOW ME, PIPPIN.' He asked as gently as he possibly could as he held the little face in his hands the way Legolas did and, attempting a small smile, told Pippin with his eyes not to be afraid.
Pippin was trembling at the thought of having to explain to Gandalf what Saruman had done to Merry and him, but there was no need. His trust in Gandalf, laid the whole scene before the wizard in an instant.
'I UNDERSTAND – DON'T THINK ABOUT IT NOW, PIPPIN' Gandalf needed the little hobbit to stop weeping. He was beginning to feel the sorrow, tinged at the edges with loneliness for Merry mixed through a haze of opium, starting to worm its way into his own consciousness.
The wizard had not explained to the others that another reason wizards did not easily communicate with radically different beings was that they tended to get overly involved with them and Pippin's thought patterns were becoming uncomfortably intertwined with his own. He needed to get his information and leave.
'PIPPIN, TELL ME ABOUT THE GLASS STONE – THE PALANTÍR – THAT SARUMAN MADE YOU LOOK INTO.'
There was a small sob, a hiccup, then, '…not!'
That was all Gandalf heard. 'DON'T TELL ME THEN, JUST SHOW ME. LIKE YOU DID BEFORE.'
'…how? not knowed i how …what do?'
'JUST THINK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED, DON'T TRY TO PUT IT INTO WORDS.'
'…don't like …bad voice come in i! …too big!…must do?'
'IT IS QUITE IMPORTANT – IT MIGHT LET ME HELP YOU AND MERRY.'
'…try …ssshh …make want sleep …go close eyes soon…'
Gandalf remembered Legolas telling him that Pippin was avoiding the Voice in his head by sleeping, so whenever his mind wandered too close to whatever it was, he had taught himself to want to sleep. This actually suited Gandalf. It would be safer to explore what was possessing the hobbit if he slept through it.
'ALL RIGHT, PIPPIN, YOU CAN SLEEP.' Gandalf felt his way along the mental path that led to the memory of looking into the palantír. 'TAKE ME TO THE PALANTÍR FIRST.'
'…'s all right, go now, ssssshhh don't say …got to be… …not stay here …sleep now…'
Pippin slumped forward to rest his head on Gandalf's chest and the wizard put his hand gently on the back of the curly head, letting him sleep. Then bracing himself mentally he journeyed a little further into Pippin's memory to the place the hobbit himself feared to go.
He saw Saruman lift Merry up from the floor to look into the palantír. He of course saw it from Pippin's point of view, lying on the floor but suddenly unable to hear or speak. The wizard felt the anguish and panic that had rushed through the frightened little hobbit as Merry, who seemed barely conscious and hung limply in Saruman's grasp was dragged to the centre of the room. Gandalf watched in horror as Pippin's memory showed him the cloth pulled away to reveal the dark glass ball.
Saruman locked his fist in Merry's hair and, lifting him up around his waist, pushed his face towards the palantír. Merry shut his eyes tightly, refusing to look into the swirling depths of the strange ball.
Saruman was shouting at him, but as Pippin could not hear the words neither could Gandalf, nevertheless Merry shook his head as far as he could and would not look.
Eventually Saruman lost patience and threw Merry to the ground. He pointed his staff at the hobbit and rainbow-coloured light hit Merry like a thunderbolt. Saruman was shouting at him again. Merry jerked in pain and covered his eyes with his hands.
Gandalf then felt Pippin lifted up by his waist and was suddenly looking into the glass sphere. He sensed the hobbit's confusion as Pippin had no idea what it was, or what he was supposed to see but he knew that as Merry had shut his eyes he should too. However before he could bring his lids down a flash from within the swirling centre of the globe caught and held him in his thrall and he was unable to avert his gaze.
As Gandalf stared into the black depths through Pippin, his heart felt the great fear that had seized the hobbit. He heard a great shriek and felt a terrible presence enter.
'STOP!' Gandalf did what Pippin could not, he challenged the dark presence. "YOU MAY NOT ENTER HERE!'
"THIS IS MINE! GET OUT!' Snarled the black voice.
'YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO THIS LITTLE ONE! BE GONE UNLESS YOU WISH TO TEST YOUR MIGHT AGAINST I WHO AM MIGHTIER! LEAVE! LEAVE NOW!'
'THIS IS A DAINTY FOR MY MASTER – YOU CANNOT EXPEL ME – IT HAS SOMETHING AND WHEN IT IS BORNE AWAY TO THE SHADOW MY MASTER WILL TAKE WHAT IT HAS!'
'IT HAS NOTHING YOU WANT! YOU AFFLICT IT BUT YOU CANNOT TAKE ANYTHING FROM IT. IT HAS NOTHING – NOW GO –IN THE NAME OF ELBERETH I COMMAND YOU!
In the midst of the terrible struggle, Gandalf suddenly felt a tiny stirring and a whimper. Pippin was waking up again. The dark voice had roused the hobbit and was obviously planning to hold him hostage against the might of the wizard. 'PIPPIN GO BACK TO SLEEP', he ordered.
But the other countered his command at once. 'COME HALFLING WAKE UP! LISTEN TO MY VOICE!'
As Pippin became more alert, Gandalf could sense a growing terror as the dark voice reached out to the hobbit and began to crush his consciousness. Pippin squealed with fright in his head so that only Gandalf and the entity could hear. '…merry! please …dark …not get some air i …help i…not can't move! gandalf! …take i way! want stay you…want please get merry!
'IF I CANNOT HAVE IT – I WILL DESTROY IT!' The voice threatened.
Gandalf did not withdraw, but spoke in his normal voice out loud. "Aragorn, give Pippin some more opium and Legolas, try to rock him back to sleep."
Without questioning his orders, Aragorn scooped some more of the paste into Pippin's mouth and Legolas moved the little body from Gandalf's chest to cradle him and gently rocked and sang to him. Gandalf held the other at bay until he felt the hobbit's thoughts gradually drift back into slumber.
YOU CANNOT WIN HERE – AND I SHALL NOT LEAVE SO LONG AS YOU RESIDE IN THIS MIND! I WILL CHASE YOU OUT OF THE DARK PLACES YOU HAVE MADE IN THIS INNOCENT ONE'S THOUGHTS AND INTO THE LIGHT IN WHICH HIS SPIRIT THRIVES – YOU SHALL NOT PREVAIL!
The only reply Gandalf received was a ferocious snarl, but he felt the dark voice diminish and fade. He chased it further. 'BE GONE!'
He waited. A heartbeat…A pulse… one moment… another… it was gone! Gandalf touched Pippin mentally once more "PIPPIN?
The hobbit had been sleeping again, but Gandalf had accidentally forgotten to bring the level down and woke him with a start. '…aiiee! big …what i do?'
'SORRY, PIPPIN. IT'S JUST GANDALF AGAIN. ARE YOU AWAKE?'
'…am waked …am sleepsy.'
'I KNOW AND YOU CAN SLEEP IN A MINUTE. HOW DOES YOUR HEAD FEEL? CAN YOU STILL FEEL THE BAD VOICE?'
"…don't not think …can't …hear not to …sleep now …get more paste …mmm!… more paste! sleep good now! bye bye, gandalf…'
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