Waking was slow and painful. Everything seemed to ache beyond belief, and when he opened his eyes, every shape was obscured around the edges. The Orcs were huge, looming dark monsters in the shadows, their torches a glowing red haze, blending together as one ring of fire in a circle around him. He kept closing his eyes, quite willing to surrender to the deep, if not final, sleep that persistently threatened to envelop him, but every time his heavy lids dropped shut, he felt some kind of a cup being pressed roughly to his crack lips. The contents of this cup was a foul concoction with a thick, treacle-like consistency, and he found it an anguish to regularly have to suffer the vile mixture being poured down his throat. It was very bitter, with a hot aftertaste which made him cough and splutter. Every time he did this the surrounding Orcs let out grunts of amusement.

Gradually and painfully, his mind seemed to emerge from what had been a thick, confused fog and the mist began to lift from over his vision. The drink was bringing him back, and as the frequency of the doses lessened, he was able to think, and remember. And he found this much, much worse.

Visions of his friends, his relatives, the fellowship and other equally heart-wrenching thoughts all encircled his mind and made his head ache. He saw the ring, gleaming, alight in flame, taunting him. He felt his hand reach up to his neck, but before he could locate the ring they were moving him. Several Orcs, at least three or four, were upon him, pushing him this way and that, raising his arms to remove his beautiful mithril shirt. Throughout this process he bit down hard on his bottom lip to prevent a cry of pain from escaping, for every movement seemed to have affect on the fresh wound that screamed in protest on the back of his neck. Even the simply removal of his elven cloak had been torture, the soft material that brushed against the puncture feeling as painful as it would if the wound was being scraped with rock. The puncture burnt red hot and the skin surrounding it was tight as if some invisible foe was stretching it agonisingly taut across his shoulders and spine.

Seeing as moving was such a torment, he tried to remain motionless when all of his possessions had been taken, trying despondently not to let the impact of what had happened settle in his mind, but he didn't have the strength. The quest had failed. Not only was it inevitable that he would most certainly die, but everyone he cared about and loved would be killed, all because of his failure. He imagined the Shire, in flames and ruin, and Rivendell, it's proud ivory arches and courtyards crumbled to nothing, and Bilbo laying beneath the mess and rubble, knowing that his nephew had failed, and that they had all been fools to possibly believe that he could ever have been good enough for such a momentous task...

He hadn't realised that hot tears were on his cheeks, and the mocking and unpleasant laughter of the Orcs brought him back to the present.

"Weep now, little elf," One of the larger Orcs said, leaning forwards so that his face was inches away, and the stench of his hot, putrid breath was strong in the air, "Because soon you won't have enough strength left to do it."

Looking up, he could see that the Orc speaking in his tongue was larger in bulk than the rest, and his sword was huge in its battered sheath.

Trying desperately to keep consciousness, he tried to tell the Orc that he was no Elf, but a Hobbit from the Shire, and never would something as graceful and beautiful as an Elf be snared by something so ugly and hideous in comparison. However, his voice was low and strange, and not his own, and the Orcs could not understand his mumbling,

"Speak louder, Elf!" The Orc barked, delivering a cruel kick to his side, "C'mon, out with it!"

"I'm...a...hobbit," He repeated, but the blow to his ribs had made it hard to breathe and his speech was incoherent.

"He's muttering nonsense," He told the others, "He had better cease with that if the Dark Lord wants to meet him."

They all laughed once more and he stared up at them, leering forwards, mouths gaping in greedy smiles, fingering the hilts of their swords.

"Come," The captain suddenly ordered, crossing the room in three huge strides, "Leave him to his own thoughts."

He pulled back the trapdoor and the Orcs filed out disappointedly, grunting among themselves. Several of them spat down at him viciously, and one attempted to kick him. However, the Captain collared him and muttered something in his ear before giving him a hard shove in the direction of the trapdoor.

When only himself and the Captain remained in the circular prison, the Orc smiled at him unpleasantly,

"No noise," He instructed, "No whining. No trying to escape. It would be pointless and futile. Clear?"

He nodded, too tired and fearful to argue.

"Good. I am Shagrat, your Master, but you shall call me Sir."

Once again he nodded, feeling his eyes close on their own accord. The heard the trapdoor creak as it closed, and he was left, completely and utterly alone, shivering from the cold.