Nothing. Darkness. Sweet unconsciousness. Then a pinprick – a tiny spark of awareness. I am alive.
My mind stirs. Like a seed the pinprick grows; warmth spreads and I begin to feel. Memory follows, and happiness bleeds into my thoughts as visions play before me, visions of green plains and stars like watchful eyes and glowing twilight over mountain peaks dusted with snow – but it is not to last. I see war. I remember anger. I feel hate, and then only sadness is left. I am trapped. I am alone.
I long to return to the black of the not-knowing, but orange light begins to seep through the murk that surrounds me. Murmurs and rumblings filter down from above. I cannot see. My mouth is clotted with foulness; a bitter-tasting slime gags my throat; instinctively I try to spit, but I cannot. Nor can I breathe. Fear grips me like a demon as I realise I am trapped, bound by a slippery film so thick that even the panicked thrashing of my limbs does not damage it. I open my mouth to roar but the sound is choked.
More light. I turn my face towards it. The murk is clearing, and shadows move beyond my prison, their silhouettes outlined in a golden gloam. Something pokes at me. And again. I growl. It hurts. I do not wish to be disturbed; I only wish to return to the place I remember, the place of beauty that my mind sees as clearly as though it still existed, as though it had not been torn and rent and ruined by darkness and war. Or else I wish to die. I wish for the not-knowing. I wish for the comfort of darkness and forgetfulness and eternal sleep.
Again the thing jabs at me, and again I growl – and now it is pawing at me too, or rather at the film that cocoons me. It is trying to free me – but I do not wish to be freed. I struggle but I am still held by the slime. My helplessness angers me; I feel resentment coursing through my blood and building in my chest like an army massing for war. I see him now, my tormentor; the film is thinning and weakening as life calls me upwards. He is small, shrivelled and pitifully thin. Insolent creature! I rear up and roar, no longer choked, and I feel a heady rush of pride at the sound that erupts from me. Ah, it is well that I did not die! I am powerful! I am strong! I am of the fighting Uruk-hai!
I do not know what impulse guides my hand to my tormentor’s neck. I cannot say why I tighten my grip so that his airway is crushed, nor why it pleases me to see the sickly green pigment of his face fade to a greyish pallor. When he is dead I discard him and examine my hand in awe – and then I am aware that others are watching me. There is another verminous wretch like the one I just killed, and a man. No. Not a man. Something more – far more.
I straighten and face him. He is tall, as tall as I. Silver hair frames a face with eyes of mountain-hard black. I look into those eyes for an instant, yet even I, one of the fighting Uruk-hai, strong and fearless, cannot hold his gaze. There was wisdom there once, I perceive, but it has given way to something darker and more deadly. Yet still his terrible power lingers.
“Whom do you serve?”
Somehow I know what I must say, but I cannot yet utter it. My mind rebels, remembering the beautiful world before the war came. The visions torment me again, and this time I hear a song, a voice keening in lament for the loss of a land so fair.
The dark-eyed one smiles. He hears it too. I feel him, exploring my mind, touching my memories and sifting my thoughts and it burns and I want to protest but he fixes his gaze upon me and holds me still, caresses my anger, soothes, keeps smiling - and then I feel his grip settle around the stars and the mountains and the voice.
A terrible twisting wrench and...no more. There is a hole in my mind, its edges smouldering like the coals of the fires that surround me. Puzzled, I nudge at it and almost buckle with the pain, but I must not show weakness. I am of the fighting Uruk-hai - and I have been robbed! My hand throbs with its longing to crush my enemy in the way I crushed his pet, but I find that I cannot move against him. He is inside me once more. I feel him connect with my anger, mould it like clay, send it elsewhere.
Halflings. Elves. Men. They will suffer.
Whom do you serve?
A sullen sadness pervades my mind. I wish I knew what I had lost.
WHOM DO YOU SERVE?
I know what I must say. I do not have a choice.
Based on a scene from the film of Fellowship, though I took a few liberties with the screenplay. Rated Teen for violence.
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