Hidden Watcher: 1. Hidden Watcher

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1. Hidden Watcher

Hidden Watcher


Legolas relieved Frodo of watch duty and was glad to: the hobbit looked both jumpy and exhausted. The elf's gaze followed Frodo, who collapsed onto his bedroll, then he turned his eyes to the nothingness ahead of him

Two days – more or less, he could not say – they had wandered in Moria in endless darkness and horrible stillness, and finding the converse of stillness even more horrible. The duration had made Legolas irritable; at least, he felt as though his mind were playing tricks. A presence of dread filled the dark, but also one separate from it, one he felt familiar with. That was most uncomfortable.

But… Too much thought finds the guard dead. He swiftly scanned the shadows for movement, peering into each inky depth of the four archways that branched north, south, east, and west of the great hall where they had settled for the remaining night. He listened for any strange rustle or breath; none came except that of the slow breathing of his resting companions and the whistle of the cool draft from the east arch.

Legolas walked thoughtfully from his companions to a break in the cold currents and breathed in. That smell, that smell! It came so faintly, but he knew it once before. What was it? It had nagged him throughout the day's march.

It could not be an orc; orc was a stench and presence apart from the order of things. This scent was more to the earth, even if in a waned, rotted way. Legolas felt as though he was not the only one watching in the dark.

In his stride he stiffened, waited, and nothing moved. Yet something lingers out there, and I shall find it. Let it believe I am off my guard. Better to know what I face beforehand than after, when I am unsuspecting.

Against a wall he leaned and sunk his head, as though overcome with weariness. He listened. He listened with all his consciousness for the faintest whisper of life apart from the corner where his companions clustered.

Perhaps half of an hour passed before Legolas heard a shuffle, the slightest shifting of weight over loose stone. Legolas was pleased that he had not imagined this hidden being. Now he wanted to know whether it was dangerous or not. The hidden one, though, may have guessed his plan, for it made not another movement for long dragging minutes. It became a contest of patience.

A grunt! Legolas almost betrayed himself by letting his hand stray to his knife; however, it came not from the surrounding dark but from one of the sleepers. Legolas waited a moment. Another sound followed – a hiss, not from air over rock but from breath between teeth. It was very soft, yet enough that Legolas's memory stirred and many sorrows of the past year surfaced and centered upon one being.

"I know who you are," he said, audible to none but himself and the creature.

After another hour, he returned to the sleepers and went to Aragorn, who was no longer asleep, Legolas knew.

"Gollum is here."

Aragorn sat straight and sighed with weariness. He, no less than Legolas, had no pleasant memories of the creature. "I had suspected."

"Should the others be told?"

"No. Let them not worry. I doubt Gollum will try to do any harm, not while he has us to fear. Neither will he stir orcs if he wants the Burden kept safe."

Aragorn took over the watch. Legolas lay down, not to sleep, but to watch as a wondrous grey of morning sunlight folded out from some distant window. His mind was active. He thought about the chance – could it even be called so? – that after Gollum had escaped his charge, that after he had pursued the creature through the Wood, and that after he had had to take the unhappy tiding to Rivendell, here of all places he should find him. No, he would not even be in Moria if Gollum had not escaped.

Gollum was pitiable and loathsome; too loathsome for pity to undo caution. Legolas feared what the creature might do, for he knew what cunning and evil he was capable of.

You will do no harm. His eyes pierced the west arch. Not as long as I watch.


The End

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Kitt Otter

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 06/16/08

Original Post: 03/24/08

Go to Hidden Watcher overview


WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

Hidden Watcher

Agape4Gondor - 19 May 08 - 1:02 PM

Ch. 1: Hidden Watcher

Hi, Kitt – What a neat tale to find today! 'Too much thought finds the guard dead.' I love this phrase/proverb/thing! And once HE heard, the tension became extreme. Well written tale. I pondered, before I read, as to who it could be…. And was satisfied that I was right. I do so love a mystery. Congrats on a great moment! *shivers*

Hidden Watcher

Kitt Otter - 20 May 08 - 10:52 AM

Ch. 1: Hidden Watcher

Thanks, Agape! To say that I was pleasanly surprised over seeing a comment in my inbox would be underexaggerating. : )

I fretted over that phrase-thing more than any other sentence in the story. I am glad it rings well. And I am so glad you enjoyed!


Hidden Watcher

Elena Tiriel - 26 Feb 09 - 6:41 AM

Ch. 1: Hidden Watcher

Oh, this is very tense, Kitt Otter!

I like how professionally Legolas approaches his sentinal duty, clearly experienced at it. I shivered at Too much thought finds the guard dead... just the sort of arcane saying one hears among consummate professionals.

(Actually, I was imagining myself on guard duty... busily composing drabbles in my mind as the enemies sneak up.... so not a warrior!)

Anyway, a well-written vignette, conveying the (tense!) moment vividly. Nicely done!

- Barbara

Hidden Watcher

Kitt Otter - 26 Feb 09 - 3:17 PM

Ch. 1: Hidden Watcher

Hello Barbara! I was pleasantly surprised to find your comments – it had been a while since I posted it. Heh, but composing drabbles is still more than I would have done. After five minutes I'd have been snoring… Thanks for reading! Grin


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