(This chapter is another perspective of the last section of Chapter 10, "The Black Gate Opens" of ROTK. I've tried to avoid quoting Tolkien and just set up the scene for those who haven't read it yet.)


*The Fellowship has failed* Pippin thought in horror as he surveyed the affects of Frodo and Sam in the foul hands of Sauron's messenger. He saw again the burning Eye, and recalled the pain and terror of the encounter with the palantir. In an instant he saw the whole of Middle Earth conquered and beaten, held under the reign of the Dark Lord, and despair took hold of him. It was not to be bourn. Better to die quickly and valiantly while he could.

Pippin heard himself wish aloud for Merry to be with him and quickly closed his mouth. The Quest had, if nothing else, taught him it was safer to be silent. There was no point in mourning what could not be. He would face his end bravely, and make Merry proud to honor his memory.

Out of the corner of his eye Pippin saw Beregond fall beneath the weight of a great Gorgoroth hill-troll. The fell creatures lunged downward to claim his victim and Pippin realized it would tear out his friend's throat unless he took action.

And so he thrust upward and the flash of red and gold of his sword disappeared into the terrible hide of the troll. Foul blackness gushed forth, drenching both hobbit and man alike. Pippin struggled to withdraw his blade but the troll toppled forward. The sword was stuck deep in the monster's vitals and Pippin refused to relinquish the blade, and so he was turned and pulled along before the troll at last fell. Pippin came to rest beside the fallen Beregond.

His world was black, the sable of Gondor he and Beregond wore, the blood- sodden grass beneath his cheek, the shadow and weight of the troll over his body, his darkening field of vision as the breath was inexorably squeezed from his body. Pippin had no doubt he was dying and he found it was not so terrible. Rather, he welcomed the release for it was a far better end than the one he saw for the world.

As his mind faded from the world, Pippin thought he heard voices calling for the eagles and his memory flitted back to the old stories he had heard at Bilbo's knee, the tales of the great dragon Smaug and the wondrous treasure. Bilbo had escaped certain death and returned victorious. Pippin knew that was not his fate. His tale was told.


Gimli son of Gloin surveyed the aftermath of battle in the dying light of sunset with a growing sense of despondency. The last of the hobbits had yet to be accounted for and the dwarf was having little luck in locating him. Gawaihir the great eagle had brought back Frodo and Sam from Mount Doom, though terrible worse for wear from their ordeal. Merry recovered in Minas Tirith's House of Healing. Of Pippin there was no word.

He had been spotted on the front line before the wave of orcs broke upon them. But soon into the battle he had disappeared from view. Gimli had questioned survivors and was told to seek out Beregond for news; however, Beregond too was unable to be found.

Gimli huffed into his beard. He could see Legolas silhouetted against the aging sun but even the elf eyes of the prince of Mirkwood found this quest a challenge. Bitterly Gimli wondered, not for the first time, the reasoning behind allowing Pippin to enter the battle. The young hobbit was costing him more grey hairs than he cared to acknowledge. Certainly Pippin could be bothersome and an annoyance but not one of the rest of the Fellowship had such a bright spirit or optimistic outlook. To lose that now was unthinkable.

The foul body of a hill troll loomed into Gimli's vision. The creatures were odoriferous in life but in death they were well nigh unbearable. The dwarf wrinkled his nose at the sight and smell but froze in shock. Peeping out from beneath the black-encrusted side was a small foot, its copious curls matted over in filth, but it was undeniably that of a hobbit. Pippin had been found.

With a thunderous cry Gimli bounded forward and found a hidden wealth strength in him as he heaved over the carcass of the hill troll. Beneath he discovered the two missing soldiers of Gondor. Beregond gave a whooping gasp as the terrible weight was removed but Pippin made no sound. He lay facedown, the bright sable and silver of his armor darkened by the duller black blood of the troll. His arms stretched forward, hands clenched as though he had been gripping something. Gimli saw the Westernesse blade still lodged in the troll and pride welled up in him as realized how the hobbit must have held his blade to the very end.

"Young Peregrin," Gimli whispered and gently rolled him over. His body was terribly limp and yielding.

"I know not if the perian lives yet," Beregond gasped out, "but this I know - I owe my life to the him. He slew the beast that would have killed me." So saying, the man pulled himself to his feet. "I will fetch a healer for him."

"Our Pippin has a strong spirit," Gimli replied, "but you are wounded and may harm yourself further."

"Nay," said Beregond. "I have strength enough for this." And he went off before Gimli could voice any more protests, leaving him with the limp form of the hobbit.

"Peregrin," Gimli called again, trying to earn a response. None was forthcoming. Fear gripped Gimli's heart and he tenderly lifted off the stained helm. The edges of the metal had bitten deep into Pippin's cheek and nose and the blood had trickled forth. The skin beneath the grime of battle was cool and pale.

Gimli gathered up the crumpled body and bent his head closer, straining to catch a hint of breath, a thump of his heart. Pippin remained still. Again Gimli strained to catch any sign he may have missed, holding his axe blade delicately against his nose and mouth. No mist indicating life appeared. Pippin was dead.

Legolas jerked at the sound echoing through the field. Not since the mines of Moria had he heard the anguished cry of a grieving dwarf. It could mean only one thing. Legolas hurried toward the source of the sound.

He found his friend cradling a small form covered in the black blood of a troll, his face hooded by his cloak. "Gimli, he is not - "

"He is dead," Gimli moaned. "He fought valiantly and slew one of the hill- trolls unaided but could not live. We were too late. Ah, my brave lad, this is not the end befitting a hero of your caliber! You were far too young for battle."

Legolas knelt next to him and laid a hand against Pippin's cheek. Chilly was the skin and yet it was not the coldness of one long dead. "There may still be hope, my friend. Lay him on the ground."

Gimli obeyed and watched in silent astonishment while Legolas withdrew from his pouch a few limp leaves of athelas. "Crush these on your teeth and give him your breath," Legolas said.

The dwarf did as he was bidden and blew the healing vapors of the plant into Pippin's mouth. "Come back to us, Pippin," he whispered. "Now is not your time."

Legolas then drew his elven blade and sliced through the stiff Gondorian armor. He took a few more leaves of athelas, put his hand beneath the mail shirt, and massaged the plant against the skin above Pippin's heart. "Return, Pippin," he too whispered. "This cannot be the will of the Valor. Your spirit is strong and your race is hearty. Your tale is not yet written."

Again and anon Gimli encouraged breath to return to the hobbit's body while Legolas coaxed his heart to beat. And when, at last, Gimli was near to losing hope, Legolas smiled joyfully. "His heart stirs."

Gimli sighed with relief and Pippin echoed him softly. The elf and the dwarf held still, hoping against hope. Pippin drew another breath, terribly slowly and slightly, but breath it was.

Gimli laughed aloud. "He lives!"

Legolas nodded. "Indeed his does, but not for long unless we bring him to Elessar for healing."

"You are right." And Gimli caught up the hobbit and bore him back to Minas Tirith.