کتاب ششم - فصل 01-03

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سه گانه ارباب حلقه ها

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کتاب ششم - فصل 01-03

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In western lands beneath the Sun

the flowers may rise in Spring,

the trees may bud, the waters run,

the merry finches sing.

Or there maybe “tis cloudless night

and swaying beeches bear

the Elven-stars as jewels white

amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey’s end I lie

in darkness buried deep,

beyond all towers strong and high,

beyond all mountains steep,

above all shadows rides the Sun

and Stars for ever dwell:

I will not say the Day is done,

nor bid the Stars farewell.

“Beyond all towers strong and high,” he began again, and then he stopped short. He thought that he had heard a faint voice answering him. But now he could hear nothing. Yes, he could hear something, but not a voice. Footsteps were approaching. Now a door was being opened quietly in the passage above; the hinges creaked. Sam crouched down listening. The door closed with a dull thud; and then a snarling orc-voice rang out.

“Ho la! You up there, you dunghill rat! Stop your squeaking, or I’ll come and deal with you. D’you hear?”

There was no answer.

“All right,” growled Snaga. “But I’ll come and have a look at you all the same, and see what you’re up to.”

The hinges creaked again, and Sam, now peering over the corner of the passage-threshold, saw a flicker of light in an open doorway, and the dim shape of an orc coming out. He seemed to be carrying a ladder. Suddenly the answer dawned on Sam: the topmost chamber was reached by a trap-door in the roof of the passage. Snaga thrust the ladder upwards, steadied it, and then clambered out of sight. Sam heard a bolt drawn back. Then he heard the hideous voice speaking again.

“You lie quiet, or you’ll pay for it! You’ve not got long to live in peace, I guess; but if you don’t want the fun to begin right now, keep your trap shut, see? There’s a reminder for you!” There was a sound like the crack of a whip.

At that rage blazed in Sam’s heart to a sudden fury. He sprang up, ran, and went up the ladder like a cat. His head came out in the middle of the floor of a large round chamber. A red lamp hung from its roof; the westward window-slit was high and dark. Something was lying on the floor by the wall under the window, but over it a black orc-shape was straddled. It raised a whip a second time, but the blow never fell.

With a cry Sam leapt across the floor, Sting in hand. The orc wheeled round, but before it could make a move Sam slashed its whip-hand from its arm. Howling with pain and fear but desperate the orc charged head-down at him. Sam’s next blow went wide, and thrown off his balance he fell backwards, clutching at the orc as it stumbled over him. Before he could scramble up he heard a cry and a thud. The orc in its wild haste had tripped on the ladder-head and fallen through the open trap-door. Sam gave no more thought to it. He ran to the figure huddled on the floor. It was Frodo.

He was naked, lying as if in a swoon on a heap of filthy rags: his arm was flung up, shielding his head, and across his side there ran an ugly whip-weal.

“Frodo! Mr. Frodo, my dear!” cried Sam, tears almost blinding him. “It’s Sam, I’ve come!” He half lifted his master and hugged him to his breast. Frodo opened his eyes.

“Am I still dreaming?” he muttered. “But the other dreams were horrible.”

“You’re not dreaming at all, Master,” said Sam. “It’s real. It’s me. I’ve come.”

“I can hardly believe it,” said Frodo, clutching him. “There was an orc with a whip, and then it turns into Sam! Then I wasn’t dreaming after all when I heard that singing down below, and I tried to answer? Was it you?”

“It was indeed, Mr. Frodo. I’d given up hope, almost. I couldn’t find you.

Well, you have now, Sam, dear Sam, said Frodo, and he la back in Sam’s gentle arms, closing his eyes, like a child at rest when night-fears are driven away by some loved voice or hand.

Sam felt that he could sit like that in endless happiness; but it was not allowed. It was not enough for him to find his master, he had still to try and save him. He kissed Frodo’s forehead. “Come! Wake up Mr. Frodo!” he said, trying to sound as cheerful as he had when he drew back the curtains at Bag End on a summer’s morning.

Frodo sighed and sat up. “Where are we? How did I get here?” he asked.

“There’s no time for tales till we get somewhere else, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam. “But you’re in the top of that tower you and me saw from away down by the tunnel before the orcs got you. How long ago that was I don’t know. More than a day, I guess.”

“Only that?” said Frodo. “It seems weeks. You must tell me all about it, if we get a chance. Something hit me, didn’t it? And I fell into darkness and foul dreams, and woke and found that waking was worse. Orcs were all round me. I think they had just been pouring some horrible burning drink down my throat. My head grew clear, but I was aching and weary. They stripped me of everything; and then two great brutes came and questioned me, questioned me until I thought I should go mad, standing over me, gloating, fingering their knives. I’ll never forget their claws and eyes.”

“You won’t, if you talk about them, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam. “And if we don’t want to see them again, the sooner we get going the better. Can you walk?”

“Yes, I can walk,” said Frodo, getting up slowly. “I am not hurt Sam. Only I feel very tired, and I’ve a pain here.” He put his hand to the back of his neck above his left shoulder. He stood up, and it looked to Sam as if he was clothed in flame: his naked skin was scarlet in the light of the lamp above. Twice he paced across the floor.

“That’s better!” he said, his spirits rising a little. “I didn’t dare to move when I was left alone, or one of the guards came. Until the yelling and fighting began. The two big brutes: they quarrelled, I think. Over me and my things. I lay here terrified. And then all went deadly quiet, and that was worse.”

“Yes, they quarrelled, seemingly,” said Sam. There must have been a couple of hundred of the dirty creatures in this place. A bit of a tall order for Sam Gamgee, as you might say. But they’ve done all the killing of themselves. That’s lucky, but it’s too long to make a song about, till we’re out of here. Now what’s to be done? You can’t go walking in the Black Land in naught but your skin, Mr. Frodo.”

“They’ve taken everything, Sam,” said Frodo. “Everything I had. Do you understand? Everything!’ He cowered on the floor again with bowed head, as his own words brought home to him the fullness of the disaster, and despair overwhelmed him. “The quest has failed Sam. Even if we get out of here, we can’t escape. Only Elves can escape. Away, away out of Middle-earth, far away over the Sea. If even that is wide enough to keep the Shadow out.”

“No, not everything, Mr. Frodo. And it hasn’t failed, not yet. I took it, Mr. Frodo, begging your pardon. And I’ve kept it safe. It’s round my neck now, and a terrible burden it is, too.” Sam fumbled for the Ring and its chain. “But I suppose you must take it back.” Now it had come to it, Sam felt reluctant to give up the Ring and burden his master with it again.

“You’ve got it?” gasped Frodo. “You’ve got it here? Sam, you’re a marvel!” Then quickly and strangely his tone changed. “Give it to me!” he cried, standing up, holding out a trembling hand. “Give it me at once! You can’t have it!”

“All right, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, rather startled. “Here it is!” Slowly he drew the Ring out and passed the chain over his head. “But you’re in the land of Mordor now, sir; and when you get out, you’ll see the Fiery Mountain and all. You’ll find the Ring very dangerous now, and very hard to bear. If it’s too hard a job, I could share it with you, maybe?”

“No, no!” cried Frodo, snatching the Ring and chain from Sam’s hands. “No you won’t, you thief!” He panted, staring at Sam with eyes wide with fear and enmity. Then suddenly, clasping the Ring in one clenched fist, he stood aghast. A mist seemed to clear from his eyes, and he passed a hand over his aching brow. The hideous vision had seemed so real to him, half bemused as he was still with wound and fear. Sam had changed before his very eyes into an orc again, leering and pawing at his treasure, a foul little creature with greedy eyes and slobbering mouth. But now the vision had passed. There was Sam kneeling before him, his face wrung with pain, as if he had been stabbed in the heart; tears welled from his eyes.

“O Sam!” cried Frodo. “What have I said? What have I done? Forgive me! After all you have done. It is the horrible power of the Ring. I wish it had never, never, been found. But don’t mind me, Sam. I must carry the burden to the end. It can’t be altered. You can’t come between me and this doom.”

“That’s all right, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, rubbing his sleeve across his eyes. “I understand. But I can still help, can’t I? I’ve got to get you out of here. At once, see! But first you want some clothes and gear and then some food. The clothes will be the easiest part. As we’re in Mordor, we’d, best dress up Mordor-fashion; and anyway there isn’t no choice. It’ll have to be orc-stuff for you, Mr. Frodo, I’m afraid. And for me too. If we go together, we’d best match. Now put this round you!”

Sam unclasped his grey cloak and cast it about Frodo’s shoulders. Then unslinging his pack he laid it on the floor. He drew Sting from its sheath. Hardly a flicker was to be seen upon its blade. “I was forgetting this, Mr. Frodo,” he said. “No, they didn’t get everything! You lent me Sting, if you remember, and the Lady’s glass. I’ve got them both still. But lend them to me a little longer, Mr. Frodo. I must go and see what I can find. You stay here. Walk about a bit and ease your legs. I shan’t be long. I shan’t have to go far.”

“Take care, Sam!” said Frodo. “And be quick! There may be orcs still alive, lurking in wait.”

“I’ve got to chance it,” said Sam. He stepped to the trap-door and slipped down the ladder. In a minute his head reappeared. He threw a long knife on the floor.

“There’s something that might be useful,” he said. “He’s dead: the one that whipped you. Broke his neck, it seems, in his hurry. Now you draw up the ladder, if you can, Mr. Frodo; and don’t you let it down till you hear me call the password. Elbereth I’ll call. What the Elves say. No orc would say that.”

Frodo sat for a while and shivered, dreadful fears chasing one another through his mind. Then he got up, drew the grey elven-cloak about him, and to keep his mind occupied, began to walk to and fro, prying and peering into every corner of his prison.

It was not very long, though fear made it seem an hour at least, before he heard Sam’s voice calling softly from below: Elbereth, Elbereth. Frodo let down the light ladder. Up came Sam, puffing, heaving a great bundle on his head. He let it fall with a thud.

“Quick now. Mr. Frodo!” he said. “I’ve had a bit of a search to find anything small enough for the likes of us. We’ll have to make do. But we must hurry. I’ve met nothing alive, and I’ve seen nothing but I’m not easy. I think this place is being watched. I can’t explain it, but well: it feels to me as if one of those foul flying Riders was about, up in the blackness where he can’t be seen.”

He opened the bundle. Frodo looked in disgust at the contents, but there was nothing for it: he had to put the things on, or go naked. There were long hairy breeches of some unclean beast-fell, and a tunic of dirty leather. He drew them on. Over the tunic went a coat of stout ring-mail, short for a full-sized orc, too long for Frodo and heavy. About it he clasped a belt, at which there hung a short sheath holding a broad-bladed stabbing-sword. Sam had brought several orc-helmets. One of them fitted Frodo well enough, a black cap with iron rim, and iron hoops covered with leather upon which the evil Eye was painted in red above the beaklike nose-guard.

“The Morgul-stuff, Gorbag’s gear, was a better fit and better made,” said Sam; “but it wouldn’t do, I guess, to go carrying his tokens into Mordor, not after this business here. Well, there you are, Mr. Frodo. A perfect little orc, if I may make so bold-at least you would be, if we could cover your face with a mask, give you longer arms, and make you bow-legged. This will hide some of the tell-tales.” He put a large black cloak round Frodo’s shoulders. “Now you’re ready! You can pick up a shield as we go.”

“What about you, Sam?” said Frodo. “Aren’t we going to match?”

“Well, Mr. Frodo, I’ve been thinking,” said Sam. “I’d best not leave any of my stuff behind, and we can’t destroy it. And I can’t wear orc-mail over all my clothes, can I? I’ll just have to cover up.”

He knelt down and carefully folded his elven-cloak. It went into a surprisingly small roll. This he put into his pack that lay on the floor. Standing up, he slung it behind his back, put an orc-helm on his head, and cast another black cloak about his shoulders. “There!” he said. “Now we match, near enough. And now we must be off!”

“I can’t go all the way at a run, Sam,” said Frodo with a wry smile. “I hope you’ve made inquiries about inns along the road? Or have you forgotten about food and drink?”

“Save me, but so I had!” said Sam. He whistled in dismay. “Bless me, Mr. Frodo, but you’ve gone and made me that hungry and thirsty! I don’t know when drop or morsel last passed my lips. I’d forgotten it, trying to find you. But let me think! Last time I looked I’d got about enough of that waybread, and of what Captain Faramir gave us, to keep me on my legs for a couple of weeks at a pinch. But if there’s a drop left in my bottle, there’s no more. That’s not going to be enough for two, nohow. Don’t ores eat, and don’t they drink? Or do they just live on foul air and poison?”

“No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don’t think it gave life to the ores, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures. Foul waters and foul meats they’ll take, if they can get no better, but not poison. They’ve fed me, and so I’m better off than you. There must be food and water somewhere in this place.” “But there’s no time to look for them,” said Sam.

“Well, things are a bit better than you think,” said Frodo. “I have had a bit of luck while you were away. Indeed they did not take everything. I’ve found my food-bag among some rags on the floor. They’ve rummaged it, of course. But I guess they disliked the very look and smell of the lembas, worse than Gollum did. It’s scattered about and some of it is trampled and broken, but I’ve gathered it together. It’s not far short of what you’ve got. But they’ve taken Faramir’s food, and they’ve slashed up my water-bottle.”

“Well, there’s no more to be said,” said Sam. “We’ve got enough to start on. But the water’s going to be a bad business. But come Mr. Frodo! Off we go, or a whole lake of it won’t do us any good!”

“Not till you’ve had a mouthful, Sam,” said Frodo. “I won’t budge. Here, take this elven-cake, and drink that last drop in your bottle! The whole thing is quite hopeless, so it’s no good worrying about tomorrow. It probably won’t come.”

At last they started. Down the ladder they climbed, and then Sam took it and laid it in the passage beside the huddled body of the fallen orc. The stair was dark, but on the roof-top the glare of the Mountain could still be seen, though it was dying down now to a sullen red. They picked up two shields to complete their disguise and then went on.

Down the great stairway they plodded. The high chamber of the turret behind, where they had met again, seemed almost homely: they were out in the open again now, and terror ran along the walls. All might be dead in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, but it was steeped in fear and evil still.

At length they came to the door upon the outer court, and they halted. Even from where they stood they felt the malice of the Watchers beating on them, black silent shapes on either side of the gate through which the glare of Mordor dimly showed. As they threaded their way among the hideous bodies of the ores each step became more difficult. Before they even reached the archway they were brought to a stand. To move an inch further was a pain and weariness to will and limb.

Frodo had no strength for such a battle. He sank to the ground. “I can’t go on, Sam,” he murmured. “I’m going to faint. I don’t know what’s come over me.”

“I do, Mr. Frodo. Hold up now! It’s the gate. There’s some devilry there. But I got through, and I’m going to get out. It can’t be more dangerous than before. Now for it!”

Sam drew out the elven-glass of Galadriel again. As if to do honour to his hardihood, and to grace with splendour his faithful brown hobbit-hand that had done such deeds, the phial blazed forth suddenly, so that all the shadowy court was lit with a dazzling radiance like lightning; but it remained steady and did not pass.

“Gilthoniel, A Elbereth!’ Sam cried. For, why he did not know, his thought sprang back suddenly to the Elves in the Shire, and the song that drove away the Black Rider in the trees.

“Aiya elenion ancalima!’ cried Frodo once again behind him.

The will of the Watchers was broken with a suddenness like the snapping of a cord, and Frodo and Sam stumbled forward. Then they ran. Through the gate and past the great seated figures with their glittering eyes. There was a crack. The keystone of the arch crashed almost on their heels, and the wall above crumbled, and fell in ruin. Only by a hair did they escape. A bell clanged; and from the Watchers there went up a high and dreadful wail. Far up above in the darkness it was answered. Out of the black sky there came dropping like a bolt a winged shape, rending the clouds with a ghastly shriek.

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