Author's Note: Well, I swore I wasn't going to be writing anymore Sam stories for awhile, but what can I say? I will admit, this isn't a particularly original or inspired story, it was just something I felt like writing. If a story about Sam destroying the Ring is too much of a "been there, done that" tale for some of you, then I wouldn't bother with this one! However, if you do choose to read this, I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 1 Abandoned

She was gone. Sam watched, full of burning anger, as the foul creature scurried back into her black hole. He hacked at one retreating claw, Sting dripping a greenish poison ichor from it's deadly blade. Panting, Sam wiped the sweat dripping from his brow and turned towards Frodo. The other Hobbit was lying motionless on the path, completely encased in thick, white cords. With a cry of horror, Sam fell to his knees and crawled to his master, desperate to release Frodo from Shelob's snare. Using Sting, Sam cut through the thick, sticky webbing binding Frodo. "Master!" he cried frantically freeing Frodo's pale face. "Master Frodo! Please! Speak to me!" He lay his hand on Frodo's chest, hoping to feel the comforting beat of his master's heart. There was nothing. Sam pulled Frodo's lifeless body to his breast, hugging him hard, hoping to somehow bring him back. Still, Frodo showed no sign of life.

Sam gently lay Frodo back onto the cold stone of the mountain, tears flowing freely down Sam's filth covered cheeks. "Please Mr. Frodo," he whispered in despair as he caressed Frodo's cold face, "Please don't leave me here alone! What will I do without you!?" There was no response. Frodo lay cold and silent, offering no comfort to his grief-stricken companion. Sam buried his face in his hands, his body wracked with anguished sobs of pain and sorrow.

Sam had no idea how much time had passed as he knelt there grieving for his dead master. Time had lost all meaning to him in that dark place. Finally, when his tears were spent, he lifted his heavy head and again touched Frodo's cold cheek. "What am I to do now, Mr. Frodo?" he moaned wearily. "I can't leave you here all alone!" What was he to do? It was against his nature to leave his beloved master all alone in this alien land, but there had been a purpose to their coming here. They had a quest to fulfill and all along, Sam had felt he had some business to complete, a reason for staying with Frodo through this entire nightmare. Could this be why he had come?

Sam could see the glint of silver around Frodo's neck and it was almost as if he could hear the Ring calling to him, urging him to take it from his master. Sam recoiled at the notion. "I couldn't take Mr. Frodo's Ring!" he thought, horrified at the very idea. "It's not my place!" He stopped at that thought. No, it wasn't his place. After all, he was only Samwise Gamgee, son of Hamfast Gamgee and nothing more than a simple gardener from the Shire. He wasn't meant for brave and noble deeds. That was more for the likes of Aragorn and Legolas. He was naught but a small Hobbit, how could he possibly take on this burden alone?

But, slowly the realization crept over him: if he didn't take it, who would? Orcs? There were many here in this evil place. If they got it, they would take it straight to Sauron and that would be the end of everything: the Shire, Rivendell, Lorien, all that was beautiful in the world. It would all look like Mordor by the time Sauron was done with Middle Earth. Nothing decent or good would be left. Could Sam live with that on his conscious? Or perhaps Gollum would come sneaking back and finally get his slimy hands on his "Precious" once more. That thought angered Sam even more than the orcs. As much as Sam hated the idea, there was no one left but him. Simple, humble Samwise Gamgee was the last hope for Middle Earth. He sat there for several minutes, frozen by indecision and despair. Finally, with a small sob, he reached down towards the silver chair around Frodo's neck.

"I.I'm so sorry, Mr. Frodo," Sam cried quietly, "If there was any other choice, I would take it straight away, but if I don't try to finish this errand by myself, all is lost. It's probably lost anyway." he sighed ruefully, shaking his head, "I'm sure to get it wrong, but I must try." Reluctantly, he put the chain over his own head, gasping slightly at the unexpected weight of the small gold ring. He gently kissed Frodo's icy brow, then rose slowly to his feet.

Sam looked at Sting lying by his feet. He lifted it up, staring at it thoughtfully. Then, he lay his own sword by Frodo's side and placed Sting in its sheath at his hip. "Begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo," he said apologetically, "I hope you don't mind, but I think I'll be needing this more that you will for now. There are a lot of those horrible orcs between here and Mt. Doom." Sam took a deep breath and wiped the tears from his face. "Good-by, Mr. Frodo," he murmured quietly, gazing down at his fallen master. "When this is all over, I will come back for you. I won't leave you here all alone forever. I promise"

It was time to go. There was nothing for it, but to hitch up his pack and begin his lonely, hopeless journey into the poisoned lands of Mordor. He turned and slowly shuffled out of the tunnel opening and onto the path leading towards the orc tower ahead. He cautiously looked about and seeing no one, nor hearing any noises Sam stepped out onto the rutted path and began the climb towards the dark tower ahead. He knew he must get past it before he was truly in Mordor proper.

The path was narrow with high cliffs on either side. The darkness seemed even more ominous here and although he still held Galadriel's gift, he dared not use it to light his way. He knew there were orcs around and they would spot such a bright light instantly. Upon reaching the summit of the Cleft, Sam got his first good look of the wastelands of Gorgoroth. It was a broken, desolate place and Sam felt even more disheartened than ever. How could he ever accomplish this himself? He almost turned back, but he summoned what little courage he possessed and stepped forward into Mordor. There was no turning back now. For better or for worse, the burden was his now and it was up to him to finish the quest.

Sam had begun his descent into the Nameless land when he heard harsh voices ahead of him and the stomping of many feet. Orcs! Without thinking, Sam placed the Ring on his finger and promptly disappeared. He was surprised by the change in the world around him. The world seemed bathed in mist and objects became less distinct, although his hearing was more acute than ever. He could also feel the fiery Eye searching for him and terror rose in him. He scurried further down the path and away from the Orc soldiers. As soon as he felt he was far enough away, he ducked behind some rocks and pulled the Ring off. He was panting with fear and anxiety. "Oh, Mr. Frodo," he moaned to himself, "I hope they don't find you, but I must continue on! " Then, before he could change his mind, he turned and continued down the rocky, broken path, away from the Orcs and his beloved Frodo.

The Orcs were on a mission. They had received orders to be on the lookout for spies on the stairs. Anything or anyone they found was to be taken directly to Barad-dur, intact and unspoiled. Shagrat and his men were searching the area carefully when one of the Orcs cried out. Shagrat hurried over towards the mouth of Shelob's lair and looked down at Frodo's inert form lying in the shadows.

"Well now," Shagrat growled, "What have we here? Seems as if old Shelob has done our work for us!" He crouched down and examined Frodo more closely, then frowned. He noticed that the cords imprisoning the small creature before him had obviously been cut. Looking around he saw a trail of greenish-black slime leading back into Shelob's tunnel. Something was very odd here.

"Looks like this little rat must have skewered her Ladyship!" exclaimed one of the other Orcs, also examining the mess. "Never heard of that happening before!"

"Nooo," replied Shagrat with growing apprehension. "I never heard of that neither, but I don't think it was this rat that done it. Only some powerful warrior, like an elf maybe, could do such a thing. Plus, who cut this feller's cords? He didn't do it himself, that's for certain!" He stood up. "Come on, you lot. Grab the spy and bring him along. I don't want to wait around here for the other one to show up. Plus, I heard Gorbag's men moving around in that tower of theirs and I want to be out o' here before they try to take our prize!"

"What difference does it make?" shrugged the other. "The rat's dead. Won't get no information out o' him!"

Shagrat stared at him. "Don't you know nothing about her Ladyship?" he sneered. "She don't kill her victims! Just stuns 'em so's she can eat them later. She don't like 'em dead. This rat'll wake up in a few hours and then he'll wish he had been eaten by old Shelob!" The Orcs laughed and bearing their small burden, headed away from Minas Morgul towards the tower of Barad-dur.