The chains bind us fast and burn our wrists. The weight of stones above and around us does the binding better, however. We did not miss the sky and rough terrain and dark woods… until now.
We are past the stage of disbelief; this turn in the fight – magics beyond my understanding – was a surreal nightmare, real yet unreal, and we were stripped off our disguises. Awareness returns with a vengeance. The smell of oppressing dampness and encompassing foulness in the air we take, tinged with those of old blood and rotting flesh… the chains which somehow sap our strength and spirit like leeches…
There is need for neither bars nor walls. The chains and low, rugged ceiling do their job well. The twelve of us are arrayed side by side as if morsels on a platter, and there is no one else nearby; or at least, there is no one that would join in our nervous conversations. What will happen next? No, we shall not betray each other, and our lord must not endure a second betrayal of his own people so close to the first. But what will the Abhorred One do to us? We can only guess, alarmed but resigned.
Fear clouds around us like poisonous fume. It chokes my throat and strangles my lungs whenever I try to breathe deeply. It banishes my regrets and schemes of "what if," and replaces them with despair and a cantankerous helplessness. They make me want to snarl and break free… if only I had any energy left for it.
Fear grips us, and then it eats us one by one.
It is always the same. A challenge is voiced amidst the darkness, a low growl which signals both warning and hunger. None of us answers, although all of us try to break our bonds instinctively. Then the growl turns into malicious chortling barks, and a pair of eyes, lit from inside with fell light, appear from the gloom. We always stop struggling on that, and retreat deep into ourselves again – or so I sense, somehow.
It takes first the Nandorin servant, then the Sindarin page, the Nandorin Ranger, the Noldorin foot-soldier, another Noldorin foot-soldier—
Alas. If I could only leap before them, giving myself… They were my friends and companions.
And still the insatiable Wolf comes back at whiles, ready to parley and readier to devour.
I am left, to grief.