Not Lighting the Way

By Pippin

Twisting, winding branches curl around my toes, tripping me this way and that, while long vine tendrils reach out to ensnare me. Everywhere there's eerie silence punctuated by cries of creatures I've no desire to see. There isn't anything I wouldn't give right now for one good hot meal. Is it really too much for a gentlehobbit to ask? Just one warm solitary meal. More if possible, but one at the very least, for pity's sake.

The only thing I can think of that would be more comforting than a meal would be a light – yes, that's what we need, a light to keep away these distant shrieks that are becoming more and more less-distant. A light to warm out hearts. Even just a tall candle to light a table full of meats and cheeses and breads and berry pies and tarts and old wine, and a small vase of nasturtians as a centerpiece, and fine cloth napkins in richly carved napkin rings, and … oh, what I wouldn't give to simply go home. Curse the wizard and his grand ideas of adventures and curse him doubly for leaving us – me! – here all alone in these woods without so much as a "Good day".

A glow. Faint. Flickering. Right there off of the path, just a few bare steps, a light! Bless me, we are saved at last – barring the food. The light glimmers and dances in a silent silvery song of beckoning. So close, so close, so close. Just right off of the path.

The path. Which we've been instructed never, ever to leave, under any circumstance.

But goodness, it's a light, and a light can't be anything but a welcome grace here in the deeps of Mirkwood, surely the warning of the path was meant in the event of a host of spiders trying to lure you away or some other frightful occurrence. Not warm glowing lights! One mustn't empty the baby out with the bath water, after all, Bilbo Baggins.

But dear me, I seem to have frightened them off. Perhaps if I go a little further, they'll come back, after all, I'm nothing to be terrified of.

Another light, this time a little further off. Oh, good, they've realized my harmlessness and have lit their elven lights again to welcome me. Just a little further and I'll be there. The glittering, shaking whiteness against the deep ink of darkness is enthralling, entrancing, enticing. Oh, the elves have such a way with magic, with beauty, with wine and, oh, they must have food and, bless me, they must be having a celebration of some sort, a night feast, how wonderful!

Sudden as sparks snapping into the sky from a fire and disappearing as quickly, they're gone again.

But wait, no, they're just a little further off now.

Another step won't hurt. It's only light. What bad could come of following light, after all?