A THOUSAND EYES

By JULES

Author's Notes and Comments:

Thanks to the great reviews that I have already received despite the shortness of my first chapter.   I hope this second piece will have a little more kick to it and what's

about to happen. Some of the things that happen in the up coming chapters may alter in sequence to the way they happened in the movie.   There will be some things that happened in the movie to certain characters that I intend either swapping who it happened to or drag it out longer depending on the particular scene – please bear with me and hopefully everything will be easily explained as you read.

Tavion:   I hope to keep you and the other readers guessing all the way through the next few chapters – suspense and more suspense until you go crazy.

MBradford:   Thank you for the encouraging words – I hope I am off to a good start, but only hope I can keep it up all the way through – I don't even know the ending yet – typical of me – I often write back to front from others and have the ending before I have a beginning and a middle.    The orcs certainly do have a role to play in this story but they are not what hunts our dear little friend Frodo.

Crys Ritter – So glad to see another ELFer out there – have fun reading the other stories – only then will you realise what kind of crazy author has signed up to write for this new fandom and only then will you truly be afraid as to what she does to the characters.  Let me know if you actually get to read the other stuff – would like to know what you think.

Invisigoth – I don't know if I have the recipe quite right yet – just need to play with the mixture for a while and add a few more colourful ingredients until I can cook up something that suits your taste.

Tiayls – I am glad you approve of the intended plot line – I am not sure what other little snippets will appear in the story later on – No matter how much plan I have in a chapter before I begin writing, there always seems to be extra added along the way – just can't stop.  That's why most of my stories are so long.   Tsk Tsk stupid movie directors – putting Frodo out in the open like that for easy picking just makes me go crazy with ideas about what could happen.

The character of Omeric that appears in this story is totally my own invention.  As for his description – I used it in another story as a ghost except that he was laying down beside the person who first saw him.  Other than that he is identical to my character called Jeb Carter who was a dead train driver in Jeb Carter's Ghost.   Never thought I would get to use him in a story such as this – all I did was add a new name.

I will explain a little bit more about Omeric and a few other creature additions after the end of this chapter.  I don't want to spoil the fun too early but please note that not all is as it appears:

Disclaimer -  I do not own any of the characters I write about except for Omeric

and any other new ones introduced.   I write about those created by J.J.R. Tolkien and marvel at such a storytellers ability to enthral us all.   There are occasional quotes from the movie in this story, just to keep the continuity going strong and to add just at the appropriate time.

and now lets revisit the scene of the crime…………………

"What do we do Gandalf?" Merry asked as he feared for what fate may have befallen

his cousin Frodo.

"We must stick together Merry, that is of most importance," Gandalf replied. "If we

are to find and help Frodo then we have to stay together or we will all be lost down

here in these hellish hallways."

Aragorn had already given what little time they could spare in looking at the area where Frodo had stood but not a moment ago.   There was no trace of the young ring-bearer.  A deep feeling of dread was beginning to rise within him at the Halfling's fate.

"Gimli, how good is your memory of these mines since last visiting your cousin?"

Aragorn asked the dwarf.  

"It has been a while I must admit, maybe too long, but I will assist where I can.  Many

changes may have taken place since and of those I cannot be sure," Gimli replied.

"Just do your best," Aragorn said while his mind was already thinking of the next step

they needed to take before they were attacked by orcs or something much worse.

"Is there any place within these walls that you know of that would serve as a safer haven for a number of hours until we can devise a better plan for rescuing Frodo?" he now asked.

Gimli thought hard before answering the question.  He knew they could ill afford to waste time by making an unwise choice.

"But Strider, what about Frodo, surely you don't aim to leave him to whatever has

taken him," Samwise now said, the fear for his master's safety clearly the only matter

on his mind at present.

"I have alas not forgotten the plight of our friend Mr Baggins.  It is mostly in preparation for his rescue that I ask such questions," the Ranger informed the group, seeing that others in the group had a similar unasked question.

"You don't think he has been hurt do you Gandalf?" Sam asked, now focusing his questions to the wizard.  "What sort of creature is able to move about these halls unseen as they did? We didn't even get to look at what took Mr Frodo," he continued.

"It is hard to say Sam, there are many creatures in these dark chambers that exist only for the servitude of Sauron and his army of orcs.   There are those that are able to use abilities that we dare not understand but could have hidden their presence from our eyes for the few seconds needed to take Frodo," Gandalf stated.

Gandalf didn't want to unduly alarm the younger members of the group, but he could be sure that after hearing the scream and Frodo had emitted, that some sort of harm was intended for the boy, if not already carried out. 

Despite his initial fear of an attacker, Frodo would not have been in favour of being carried off without a struggle and may have suffered an injury that would have subdued him.  Although

there were many that sought the One Ring from his possession, they would not be able to claim it for themselves by just placing their hands on it.  

Gandalf had to hope and pray that whilst the Ring called to it's master and alerted others to it's whereabouts and the one who carried it.   The fact that very few could actually touch it without falling under it's spell of greed and hatred meant that Frodo may be safe until he could be found and rescued from his captors.

Gimli now interrupted Gandalf's private train of thoughts "I think I know of a secret

place that may yet remained undisturbed and may suit our purpose," the dwarf said.

"Quickly this way all of you," Gimli said glancing around enough to get his bearings

of where they were from what he remembered and then leading the small band off

into a side hallway.

Thankfully they seemed to be able to move relatively undetected from the evil that

lurked about, despite the sudden disappearance of Frodo.  They had yet to see any

sign of orcs, though the arrows and other telltale signs clearly showed that they had

been around.

Gimli secretly sighed in relief when the hallway they travelled down seemed devoid

of anything that might thwart their path.   The journey was but a short one, but left

the others confused and thinking that they had but come to a dead end and the dwarf

must have been mistaken in the route that he had chosen.

Before them there only seemed to be a plain stone wall, shrouded under the veil of

cobwebs and covered in thick layers of dust.   

Everyone had remained silent, trusting a little longer that Gimli knew what he was doing. They curiously watch his move his hands along the corners of one wall as if looking for something he knew to be there but couldn't be seen.

Merry disrupted the silence by sneezing loudly as the dust tickled his nose.   He had

a contrite look on his face as he looked up apologetically at the others, wiping his

nose on his sleeve, much to the displeasure of his younger cousin who was already

scolding him for a lack of good manners in front of company.

"Meriadoc Brandybuck, I am surprised at you, really, you should be ashamed calling

yourself a hobbit after such a rude display," Pippin commented.

"Peregrin Took, you wouldn't know good manners if they come right up and bit

you," Merry responded, returning the gesture of using his full name in front of everyone.

"Bless you Merry," Gandalf said simply, but scarcely able to hold back a chuckle of

laughter at the exchange between the two hobbits.

Legolas and Boromir couldn't help but grin at the hobbit's as they argued.  Aragorn

however knew this was not a place for such and his facial expressions didn't show

display of mirth.

"Ahuh here it is," Gimli cried in triumph as he his fingers touched the secretly hidden

lever.   He gave it a small pull, just to be on the safe side, but then realised that after

many years of not being used, gave the level a harder nudge with both hands and a little grit and determination in his efforts

Merry and Pippin stood back slightly in surprise as a section of the wall before them

gave way and revealed a long forgotten about passage way.   Gandalf lit the entry

with his staff for a few seconds, checking to see that the passage was unblocked.

One by one the group then followed the wizard and the source of light through the

opening, not really knowing what to expect on the other side.

Gimli was the last to enter the room on the other side of the wall, and looked around

briefly before letting out a sigh of relief that it's contents remained mostly unchanged

and untouched.  He doubted that there were many more rooms or halls within the

former dwarf city that would have not been ransacked or destroyed by the orcs

after their victory against his ancestors.

Gandalf noted that the room they currently occupied was probably used as a library

of some sort in the past.  There were many shelves that would have contained any

number of fascinating books of the history of the dwarf society.  Now most of the

shelves were littered with only yellowing pieces of paper and books that had been

partially destroyed and made beyond salvage or repair.  

The room was richly decorated in colours that represented the hierarchy of the dwarf

society, including a number of words written in gold lettering on the walls and symbolic pictures painted directly onto the walls.

Aragorn and Legolas walked the perimeter of the room, making sure that there were

no unseen doorways that might harbour enemies or allow a surprise attack.  

Merry had taken to picking up and examining some of the yellowing pages from the shelves and trying to decipher what the words read until the pages were knocked out of his grasp as Pippin slapped the back of his hand and shook his head, signalling that the hobbit should not be disturbing what had been left scattered about.

Sam on the other hand had not moved very far from where he had entered the room.  He was not interested in examining any part of what lay on the shelves or the floor.  He was only interested in when they were going to look for Frodo and save him from whatever had taken him screaming.

Aragorn was satisfied that they would be able to use this room at a later date if absolutely necessary.  Maybe to enable some of the more vulnerable members of the fellowship to rest and regather their strength before carrying on with their journey.  

It was to their advantage to know of it's existence anyhow.  They just had to be extra vigilant and careful when entering or exiting that their little hideout was not discovered too soon.

Gimli had also taken to looking at the book shelves, but his eyes scanned for something in particular.   Not a book exactly, but rolls of parchment that he knew had existed once and hopefully still did to aid in their quest to finding the ring-bearer and eventually making their way out of the mines alive.

"Here they are," Gimli shouted down as he felt around with his arm at full stretch.  He took out a roll of parchment from one of the shelves and now blew the years of accumulated dust from its exterior.

Merry once again found himself sneezing at the plume of dust that seemed intent on setting around him.  This time he sneezed three times in a row.  Pip made no additional comment to his cousin's second sneezing bout but over exaggerated rolling his eyes and giving his cousin a glance that looked like a scold.

Gimli now went about unrolling the fragile parchment, allowing the others to see the symbols and diagrams that had been carefully mapped out by generations of dwarves before him. Gandalf, Boromir, Legolas and Aragorn took particular interest in what was described whilst Gimli explained as best he could what his ancestors had depicted.

"These here show where the original tunnels were once bored into the walls of these mines in search of treasure.    The tunnels that look like they are drawn over the top of the first ones indicate where new ones were dug out of the rock face.  It is these newer ones that for the greater part should still see in existence during our trek," Gimli explained.

"There may have been several other ones made since then and these maps not updated, but the dwarves were a proud race and made sure that they documented almost any changes that were made to the tunnels for future reference," the dwarf continued.

"This is were we entered here," Gimli now said, pointing to a particular part on the map. "Most of this area has now been turned into the ruin that you saw first hand for yourselves.  I suspect that much of the side tunnels and great hallways have now been destroyed or at least made impassable by the orcs."

"If there was somewhere to hold our ring-bearer Frodo, where do you best suspect that might occur," Aragorn now asked, looking in Sam's direction briefly, making sure that the hobbit knew the main reason for their detour.

"Hard to say really," Gimli said, taking a step back and examining the map once again.  "There are many places one could keep somebody as small as the Halfling……." his opinion was suddenly interrupted by Sam's angry outburst.

"The Halfling's name is Frodo," Sam said curtly, turning his head away from the dwarf

when he had finished defending his master who was not present to do it himself.

"There are many places one could keep somebody like Frodo," Gimli now said, carefully backtracking and including the ring-bearer's name.   He gave a quick apologetic look back at Sam as he spoke.   "But I suspect that maybe somewhere along here.  There used to be a number of dungeons and cells that could be used to holding somebody against their will," he added, turning his attention back to the map.

Sam couldn't hide his restlessness as he stood in a corner of the room, slightly separated from the rest of the group.   He knew that they said they were trying to find Frodo, but up until now all they had done was talk.   Talk, what good was that to his master who was somewhere all alone, maybe even hurt and in the hands of those would do evil?

Gandalf decided that he probably knew the young hobbit better than most others to try and ease his mind a little over Frodo's fate. 

Weariness seemed to have caught up with Merry and Pippin all at once and now the two youngest members of the fellowship sat huddled together, both in danger of falling asleep at any moment.   The others gathered around the map decide to allow the young ones to gain as much rest as possible, even if it was only for brief periods.

"I know you fret greatly for Frodo Sam," the wizard now said in a calm voice as he

approached the hobbit, noting the lines of frustration that marred one who didn't deserve to carry such worries or concerns.  

"We need to belief that he is still okay, for it is hope that binds us together in this most urgent and desperate journey.  If we let hope fade from our grasp, then we let the Dark Lord think that he had beaten us for the last time Sam," Gandalf now said, placing a supporting hand on his shoulder.

"I just help but think that he is out there somewhere needing our help Gandalf," Sam replied, unashamed to say how he really felt.  His personality was a little opposite to that of his master Frodo.   Sam wasn't inclined to hide his feelings or emotions and usually spoke his mind.  His honesty was a great asset and one that would serve the fellowship well as they continued their quest.

while the fellowship discussed how best to rescue the ring-bearer:

In another part of the Mines of Moria, Frodo was being held in one of the larger rooms that was for the most part intact.

His return to consciousness as slow to begin with.   His captors had ensured his co-operation by inflicting a blow to the hobbit's left temple that left him senseless and allowed the orcs to carry him away.

Initially the ring-bearer had screamed in horror as he gazed on the one that stalked him. Under a shroud of mystery and deception, the two assisting orcs had been instructed to subdue the boy enough to take him someplace else. 

The ring-bearer had struggled violently at first, using his feet to the best of his ability as the restraining hands of the orcs seemed to be all over him.   The cloak that he had worn around his shoulders had been torn from his body and had been discarded along one of the hallways as the orcs made away with their unconscious prisoner.

Now the cloud the fog seemed to be lifting in the boy's mind as awareness started to creep back into his mind.   At first he felt nothing.  His mind seemed to tease him with a sense of numbness that he had not experienced before.

Another few minutes and the veil thinned further, allowing the hobbit to begin feeling as though his body was incredibly heavy.    He tried to lift a limb to see why his sense of balance was so horribly distorted.  The reality of what was happening to him soon hit him full force as he recognized his arms and legs being restrained by something, making movement impossible.

Frodo's sense of fear was starting to rise within him now as he felt the restraints against him.   He was helpless and still didn't really know where he was.   He tried opening his eyes a crack to see if his visual senses could put his racing mind as ease a little as to the danger he faced.

At first, the effort to even open his eyes was draining.  Frodo could now feel a drumming in his head from the blow he had suffered, resulting in a dull headache.    As his eyes obeyed his mind, he was grateful for the room he was held in was mostly devoid of any harsh light.    Even still, the eye movement intensified the headache in his head, making him wince out loud that the pain now assaulted him with vigour. 

"Ah, I see that the ring-bearer is waking," came a voice from within the shadows of

the room.  The voice sounded strange to Frodo's ears, almost as though it was hollow

or lacking somehow.

"Who are you?" Frodo asked as he was forced to close his eyes again as the headache increased.

"I am of no importance Mr Baggins.   I only care for the object that you currently possess," the voice answered.

Frodo's eyes snapped opened at the realisation of why he had been brought here in the first place.   He couldn't move his arms but concentrated hard and still felt the cold metal chain underneath his shirt.

The ring was still with him.   Odd though he said to himself.  He had been struck senseless, why had his captor not tried to take the ring while he was unable to prevent it?

Some about the ring itself proved too much of a burden for his captor to relieve him of it just yet.   The power inside the ring would only let those it considered worthy to reach out and touch it without fear.

"I demand to know who you are and why you keep me here like this," Frodo now said as the pain from his headache, made him forget his fear momentarily.

"Demand it of me do you," the voice now spat as the figure came close enough for Frodo to look upon.   "Demand ring-bearer.   I serve only one master and he does not wish for me to allow you freedom.  He seeks only for me to inflict such misery and pain upon you as I so desire that you will soon be begging for death to come,"

Frodo's gaze never altered from its position of straight in front of him. He could not believe what his eyes were telling him he was seeing at this moment. His voice had totally deserted him. The boy wanted to scream…..to scream until he could scream no more. Of all of the events that had happened during his journey so far, this one left him feeling a sense of despair all over like no other.

He closed his eyes again, hoping the image would go away. He reopened them and for the second time he was telling himself to scream.

Standing before him, not more than a few centimetres away, the figure was nothing

more than a dead corpse.  The body seemed to be clad in some sort of

rags that fell over the skeletal frame like long tendrils.

As much as he told himself not to look, Frodo found himself fixated and drawn to it.

His eyes made him start from the feet and work their way up, forcing him to make a

mental note an entire description of what he could see.

The feet were housed in a pair of beaten up old shoes.  There was a hole on the right

one where the big toe should have been. There was no big toe protruding out.

The legs were nothing more than skin and bits of flesh clinging to them.

The arms were in a similar condition with very little remnants of muscle or sinew

attached. Most of the man's chest seemed to be missing. There few a few shards of

bone that indicated a rib cage, but there was no evidence of any internal organs.

The lungs were dried up and withered and half their normal capacity.

Once again the boy tried to stop himself looking and staring but he could not.

Lastingly his gaze rested upon the head and face of the corpse. The hair was straggly

and hanging in knots. He couldn't be sure but he thought he saw something moving

around in that mess of hair.

Frodo looked at the face with bemused horror on his face. The eyes were devoid of eyelids or lashes and seemed to bulge out of their sockets as they stared directly at the ring-bearer. There was only a small bony point that indicated a nose was once in place.

The mouth was drawn back in a toothy grin. The teeth themselves were yellow and stained.  The odour that came from the teeth made Frodo gag. He fought back the feeling of  nauseous with great effort. The corpse continued to grin and stare at him.

A worm now broke through the paper thin waxen skin on the man's hollow cheek

and peered out from its look out point on the man's face.

Frodo found his focus on the world growing hazy.  He had tried a number of times

to break free of his restraints but only ended up causing his body to ache in a number

of places from the exertion.

The scream that had escaped his mouth was a silent one, devoid of any of the true anguish that he currently felt in his veins.  His heart was racing and his breaths were coming in raspy gasps.

Mercy seemed to know when the young hobbit had seen too much horror and allowed him to sag unconscious against his bonds, fainting dead away.  

The figure now only grinned to itself, standing a few more seconds, gazing upon the

ring-bearer as he lay unconscious.   "We shall see how resilient you are ring-bearer,

we shall see……….." it uttered and then left Frodo alone in the darkness while it

went about it's preparations for the next time the boy awoke.

THE END (JUST KIDDING) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Lots more to come.   There is a specific reason I haven't gone into a lot of detail

about the ring around Frodo's neck or what is used to restrain him in this chapter.

All shall be revealed later I promise – actually I am itching to tell you but have to

keep it in sequence with the story that I have planned out.  

Hope you are enjoying the story so far.   The idea about the secret room is just

something I dreamed up – will be explained as I go but mainly used for the maps

that the group is going to use.

Before you start getting ideas in your little heads – Omeric is not an orc – as you

can probably guess from his description.    I had the orcs help him in seizing Frodo,

but they basically have finished their usefulness until later in the story.   The characters

for the next chapter are something new and different from the orcs.

Please keep reading and reviewing.   Hopefully the next part won't be too far away

but I warn you that the fun is only just beginning for our dear little hobbit.  If you

think he screams in this chapter – you ain't seen nothing yet.

JULES