MOON LETTERS : CREATIVE WRITING
The Battle of Bywater - by AfroKen
Disclaimer: Yeah, I think it goes without saying these arent my characters (well, maybe the ones that bite it are), and Im certainly not profiting from this little waste of time. Honestly! ^_^
Summary: Blood and Hobbits
Rating: PG-13 for battle sequences.
Author's Note: This is obviously just the battle scene, as there's no explanation here whatsoever. I'm fairly lazy, really. I admit this vignette is rather dark, but it's decently close to cannon. My only real reason for writing it was some attempt at catharsis, and to be honest, it's not that good. If you wish to file an injustice, please do via the proper channels.
"'Well, you have walked into a trap,' said Merry. 'Your fellows from Hobbiton did the same, and one is dead and the rest are prisoners. Lay down your weapons! Then go back twenty paces and sit down. Any who try to break out will be shot.'"
_Lord of the Rings_ The Return of the King: The Scouring of the Shire, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Meriadoc Brandybuck's bay pony restlessly pawed at the ground. A handful of enemies were kneeling before him, their arms being tied behind their backs by a half-dozen or so study hobbits armed with axes. Dirty, hideous faces sneered up at him, and one spit on the ground muttering a curse Merry understood well enough. He calmly slid from his saddle to crouch in front of the offensive ruffian, who was now licking its lips lasciviously and showing off the steel caps over its scarce teeth. Merry stood and pulled out his sword. He walked around to examine the row of pathetic deserters from behind; the ruffian twisted and mockingly smacked its mouth. The tall hobbit shouted at his older cousin Reginard to tighten their restraints, pointing toward Cap-Tooth. The enemy snarled and broke its binds, rushing at Merry with a fierce momentum. The young hobbit's jaw set and he swung, slicing a clean wound into the ruffian's side. Grimy fingers wrapped themselves around his waist and Cap-Tooth attempted a head-butt. Merry ducked and deftly wrestled free, he rolled his sword over in his hand, and swung a neat circle, severing the thug's hands at the wrists. There was a howl as Reginard finished the deed with an axe buried deep in its greasy scalp.
Merry spun around, horrified. Several of Sharkey's Men had surrounded their traitorous fellows and shot them through with black poisoned arrows, then turned their attention toward the hobbits guarding the waggon barrier that was preventing escape. Reginard shrieked as an arrow brushed passed his ear. "Run, Merry!"
The tall hobbit raised an obstinate eyebrow but realised he was outnumbered, and dashed towards the East to meet Pippin on the hill. He weaved, avoiding dark arrows that buried themselves into the ground at his feet. One hand loosened the smooth white horn attached to his belt, and he raised it to his lips.
Peregrin Took swiftly scurried toward Merry with several dozen hobbit archers following closely behind. Pip grunted and pointed toward the Men clumsily climbing the waggons. He brought his sword around his head as Merry reached the troops. The archers aimed and had six of the enemy down before Merry got his call out.
Pip squinted toward Woody End, where two hobbits lay broken and unmoving. He shook his head. "So much for avoiding the bloodshed of hobbits, Mer." Around them the archers darted toward the ruffian bowmen that were attempting to escape toward the west.
Merry tipped his head and squeezed Pippin's shoulder. "Come on, Pip!" He pointed to Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins who were back-to-back, and had seemingly resorted to hand-to-hand with the Men. "We have work to do!" He nearly slipped down the blood soaked field, and Pippin followed suit.
On their way to help their cousin and friend, young Oloc Boffin tugged Merry's pant leg, causing the tall hobbit to whirl around. An enemy bowman was taking aim at the weakened hobbit. The Boffin lad was doubled over and his head was bleeding profusely, but he had the presence of mind to hold up his hatchet. Merry snatched it from his outstretched hand and tossed it forcibly overhand toward the enemy archer. It hit the thug unexpectedly in the throat. The wound erupted in a red fluid explosion, and the enemy collapsed backwards. Its arrows scattered innocuously around it. Merry kneeled by Oloc, who rolled onto his back and nodded wearily. His body fell limp, and the head wound stopped flowing blood. Merry solemnly closed the lad's eyes with the side of his hand, and jumped up suddenly to face a ruffian who was crawling on the ground, wounded. Merry ruthlessly put it out of its misery with swipe of his sword.
Pippin screamed as Frodo was forced unto the ground from a well-thrown punch to his wounded shoulder. Sam had jumped upon the thug's back, and was attempting to garrote the Man with a waggon chain, when he gave up and snapped its neck with a pair of surprisingly strong hands. The thug choked wide-mouthed and tumbled over forwards. Sam hopped off and wound the chain around his arm.
"Well, I can see you don't need my help!" Pip held his arm out to Frodo, who took it and stood up.
Frodo dusted himself off, and suddenly froze. "I wouldn't be so sure about that!" He pointed urgently to a half dozen Men charging in their direction.
Sam picked up the fallen foe's bow and loaded it. He took up a wide legged stance in front of Frodo and let several shots off. He mortally wounded two of the thugs before Pip charged out. He held his sword up high, and he was shouting an assortment of words that made Frodo wince.
"What does he think he's doin', sir?" Sam brought the bow over his head to rest on his shoulder.
"Trying to be a hero, Sam. Let's go help Jolly! He and Bacco look to have a bit more than they can handle." Frodo shook his head and took Sam by the arm. They raced over toward Jolly Cotton and Bacco Brownlock, who were being chased by three thugs.
"Here you are, Bacco!" Sam tossed the portly hobbit the ruffian's bow and quiver. Bacco dropped the iron pot he was using for self-defense, and set an arrow into the bow.
Jolly brought his sickle around, and held it over his left shoulder. He shot an uncertain look toward Frodo. "What're you waitin' for? Draw!"
Sam kicked the ground impatiently, glaring at the approaching thugs. He tilted his chin up. "There's only three o' the dirty thieves. We can take them, Jolly." Frodo wrapped his fingers around Sam's arm and Sting appeared in Sam's hand. The younger hobbit nodded and dropped the chains at Frodo's feet. "If it comes to it, I hope you use those." Frodo frowned at the pile of rusted links.
Bacco tipped the bow up and shot one of the Men non-fatally. The second shot passed it by, and stuck fast in the earth. Bacco hesitated, watching the enemy laugh and snap the shaft off of the arrow stuck deep inside its shoulder. The quiver held a mere two arrows left. Kissing the point of one of them, he tossed his head and tipped the bow toward the sky for his next shot.
Sam sprung at a ruffian who wore a black iron collar around its neck. The thug swung its arm at Sam's head, and cuffed the hobbit on the ear. The sturdy hobbit veered and avoided the next blow. He plunged Sting into the enemy's waist. Sam turned around still holding on the sword's hilt. He forced his arms up and ripped the foe's belly open with one neat slice. Sam bent over and his weapon hit the ground before him. He snatched it up and whirled around to face the ruffian, who had fallen on its knees, and was slowly wavering. Sam held Sting a finger's length away from the enemy's throat. The foe smirked at the hobbit, and lifted its arm up. It pushed the sword down by the blade with a bare hand. The young hobbit nodded and stepped back, tucking Sting into his belt. "You're right. This one's for the Party Tree, you filthy pest!" Bag End's former gardener rushed the ruffian and one powerful fuzzy foot met the ruffian's temple, toppling it over. Sam spun sideways and met the ground with momentum enough to knock the wind from his lungs.
The arrow-wounded foe rushed toward Frodo, and forced him to the ground. Frodo struggled, and brought his knee up into the thug's slimy groin. He felt a fetid humid exhale on this face, and the foe pressed its forearm into his neck. Frodo wriggled and stretched his arm out toward the chain. The ruffian began shaking him violently, attempting to bash his head on the ground. Abruptly the shaking halted, and the foe's breath rattled in its lungs. Its weight fell on Frodo, threatening to suffocate him.
Bacco rolled the thug over, freeing Frodo from the pressure. He smiled and held his last arrow up, but Bacco never got the opportunity to use it. The last foe silently crept up behind him, and rapidly twisted his neck. Frodo closed his eyes as he heard the telltale pop. Bacco dropped solidly to the ground beside him.
"Frodo!" Sam scrambled to his feet, but Jolly was faster at the scene. He swung the thrash, tearing flesh from the enemy's thigh.
"Git away from 'im!" Jolly twirled the sickle around once more, forcing the thug away from the supine hobbit. Sam picked the bow back up, and loaded Bacco's last arrow. The arrow pierced through the ruffian's good leg and the thug wobbled. It snarled and cursed at Sam, spitting in his direction. Jolly scuttled behind the foe, and bought the sickle down in a terrible arc.
Sam's eyes widened as the foe's oily countenance landed with a dull thud. He ran over to Frodo, who was coughing but holding a hand up in reassurance. A relieved smile spread across Sams face and he blew a curl off his forehead. Jolly slapped his back and pointed toward several more ruffians trying to escape the hobbits attempt at a blockade. The enemies were endeavoring to rip apart the waggons with their large hands. Sam emitted a low rumble from the back of his throat and the three hobbits sprinted after the thugs.
Frodo spotted his younger cousin, Fredegar Bolger, cornered against a scorched tree. He was armed only with a bit of rope and his fishing pole. Frodo turned to see Sam occupied in binding the hands and feet of a foe, while Jolly was rolling on the ground clutching a foot and howling. Frodo pushed up the sleeves of his white shirt, and ran over to Fatty. He dug his heel in the small of the enemy's back. The ruffian swiveled and threw a punch at the new opponent. Frodo jumped aside, as Fatty took the opportunity to thump the foe's bald head with the rod. Frodo pressed his spine against the tree, gasping for air. Fatty's cheeks flushed and he handed Frodo the rope. The older hobbit threw the cord around the trunk and squirmed up the partially charred elm.
Fatty circled the fishing pole around in his hands and brought it around to crack against the ruffians hip. The thug's fingers clawed into the trees carbonized bark and lifted its knee into Fatty's stomach. The hobbit wretched and fell defeated to the ground, rubbing his tender ribs. The foe looked up and snarled at the pale hobbit above. Frodo tensed his foot and struck the thug's chin. It flinched, but began crawling up the tree. Bits of black dust clouded around them as they both scaled the burned trunk.
Frodo brachiated over to the lowest branch. He brought his knees over the bough and hung upside-down. A crease formed between his eyebrows and he slapped the rope at the crumbling bark above the thug. The ruffian pawed uselessly at the bark, and toppled to the ground. The hobbit felt the entire tree shake and the branch above him shatter. He balanced on the edge of the bough to avoid the debris. He looked down to see the foe picking itself up and scrambling back up the tree. It swiped its grubby arms toward Frodo's head. The foe white-knuckled the hobbit's weskit, and attempted to rip him from his perch. Frodo squirmed out of the velveteen vest and twisted his body around the branch. He sat there, out of reach, and wrapped the ends of the rope around his hands. He used the rope to spin around the branch and deliver a swift kick to the foe's throat. He spun around again and hopped back on top of the branch. Then he brought his knees to the bough and settled upside-down, letting his body dangle again. The foe roughly seized a lock of Frodo's hair, but the hobbit wrapped the rope around the thug's face, gagging it. He brusquely tied the other end of the cord around the tree's limb.
Frodo quickly eased himself down the tree. Fatty had recovered and was ready with the rod, harshly beating the thug's fingers. The enemy lost its grip, and began a descent that ended with a taut rope and an awful choking noise. Fatty gave the hanging ruffian a last rap with the fishing pole, but Frodo stayed his hand, appalled. "I believe that's enough, Fatty." The older hobbit turned to rejoin Sam and Jolly when he heard the thunderous collapse of the burdened branch. A stunned Fatty jumped up and down, pointing. Frodo put his hand on the young hobbit's shoulder and led him away.
Pip waved to Merry who was bringing his sword down through the chest of an enemy whose leg had only been grazed from one of Sams arrows. The thug twitched, and Merry drew back up, recovering his weapon.
Pippin heard a coarse snarl to his left and shifted his weight. One of the remaining Men had stolen Sam's idea, and was whipping a chain in each hand on the ground at Pip's feet. Pip jumped, and heaved his sword down upon the chain. Sparks rose up and the link broke. The foe dropped the shortened chain and waved the whole one over its head. The thug flailed it sideways, and the chain wrapped around Pip, solidly capturing him. The ruffian pulled Pippin toward itself, knocking him down and dragging the hobbit along the grass. Merry shouted a distraction and wielded his weapon before the foe's face. Pip shook loose the chains. He felt bruised and sore, but otherwise unharmed. Angered, he rushed at the thug, and drove his sword into the foe's torso before the ruffian could move.
Merry turned to see stout Pando Goodbody losing a struggle with the leader of the thieves. Merry pointed his sword at the scene and Pip nodded, letting him go. Pippin stepped back to realise he was up against two of their enemies and, unhappily, quite alone. Pip smiled ingratiatingly at the leering Men. One of the foes pounced toward him, but Pip ran through the legs of the other thug. The ruffians knocked together, and fell to the ground, disoriented. "Well, that was simple enough!" Pip forced one of the foes to double over its legs by pressing a foot onto the back of its neck. He raised his sword up, and impaled the ruffian through its back.
The surviving foe stood back up and stared at him. Pip beckoned him over in bravado. "Come on, then! Your turn!" The foe snickered and picked up the broken chain, examining the severed link. It was razor sharp and twisted. Pip raised his eyebrows. "Oh dear."
The two paced around each other, not breaking eye contact. Pippin was careful to stay out of the range of the shortened chain and the foe was beyond the range of Pip's sword. At last, Pip shrugged and sheathed his sword. "Maybe we should settle this bare knuckles?" He licked his thumbs and held up two freckled fists.
The foe refused to fall for the bait. It tossed the broken chain into the air, and the sharp end caught the skin on Pip's left arm, ripping through shirt and muscle. Pip gritted his teeth, and caught the chain. He grabbed it from the thugs hand and whipped it around, swiping the foe's forehead. Thick warm blood flowed down the foe's face, blinding it momentarily. Pip clawed at his sleeve, tearing it off. He wrapped the fabric tightly around his bleeding arm, and tied a knot with the help of his teeth. He approached the thug and punched its stomach with as much force as Pip could muster. The foe grunted and tripped him, sending the young hobbit into the bloodstained muck. Pippin made an effort to get up, but slid helplessly back into the wet soil. The thug reached out its arms, and jumped. Pip drew and pointed his sword at the enemy. He gritted his teeth as he felt the thug's body land on top of him. There was a ghastly sound of bursting flesh and organs as the foe slid with agonizing slowness down his sword. Pip found himself unable to hold the weapon any longer; the pressure on the handle was forcing it into his chest. Pippin panted and wriggled out from under the body. He tried to drive the panic from his breath, and laid exhausted in the mud. For several moments he hardly moved.
The giant squint-eyed ruffian heaved poor Pando to the damp ground with an audible crack. Pando's body hit the earth twisted, with one leg bent impossibly beneath him. Merry's eyes widened and he shouted in rage. He darted toward the thug and brought his sword around two handed, gashing the ruffian leader's beastly back. The thug spun around, its lip curled in an amused leer. "Disgusting hagling!" It reached for its massive red crossbow hanging from its hip, but Merry kicked the bow from its hand.
"Oi! Are you going to fight me, or are you planning on wearing me out with charming conversation?" Merry balled up a fist and threw a punch at the thug's belly that never connected.
The huge brute threw its own arm at Merry's back, knocking the hobbit to the ground. Merry caught himself on his hands and knees and looked up to see Pando's face, frozen in terror and attracting flies. Another two-handed blow and Merry groaned and was forced flat to the dirt. He rolled over, and the action made him nauseous. The leader kicked him in the side, making the hobbit scramble to get up. Merry pulled his sword again, but his footing was unsure. He swayed and trembled. The ruffian laughed and loudly cracked its knuckles in celebration.
Merry dropped meekly to the ground, and the foe dragged him to his feet. "You make this so easy for us." It hissed into Merry's ear. Merry tussled uselessly in the ruffian's arms. The thug chuckled and brought one hand over Merry's mouth and nose. The hobbit kicked frenetically and attempted to pry the leader's fingers off his face, when he noticed the foe's silver arrows twinkling in the Shire sunlight. They rattled from the ruffian's movements in their quiver on its back. Merry levered his feet against the foe's leather belt and reached over its muddy shoulder. The foe's grip over his face tightened, and a black fog appeared in Merry's vision. He fought the impetus to swoon and snatched a handful of arrows from the enemy's quiver and desperately rammed one into the foe's ear.
The ruffian screamed, holding its head. Merry gagged and tried to normalize his breathing. He shook his head and picked up the foe's scarlet crossbow. He aimed squarely at its dirty forehead. "Not any more." Merry raised an eyebrow, and the arrow plummeted into the ruffian's brain.
"Merry!" Pippin was clutching at his arm, dried blood staining his cotton shirt. His pants were crusted in mud. "Oh! Are you all right? You got him!"
Merry ran his fingers through his moist curls. "Yes," he sat down wearily in the mud. "And I should be asking you that, from the looks of you."
"No, I'm fine. Look! It's over! We've won the war!" Pip and Merry surveyed the field: many lifeless Men were piled up in the center of the field, several hobbits were driving waggons toward the bodies, a group of surviving ruffians was kneeling with their hands raised in the air, and nearly twenty dead hobbits were lain out in neat rows. He saw Sam on the hill sponging a skinned knee with Frodo's handkerchief. Sam was nodding his head gravely, and Frodo was kneeling in front of him and pointing toward the Shire's capitol, Michel Delving.
Merry shook his head. "No, Pip. I believe we have another struggle yet to face."