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WARNING: Major angst ahead.
Rating: PG-13, to be extra cautious.
“Who are you, Master?”
“Don’t you know my name yet? That’s the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?”
~ “In the House of Tom Bombadil”, FOTR
23 Rethe, 1419 SR
Who are you?
I am Frodo.
Who is Frodo?
How can you be so sure?
That is my name.
No it isn’t.
My parents named me so.
You have no parents, so how can you be this Frodo?
They are not the only ones who call me by that name.
And where are these others?
They’re... not here. They’re elsewhere.
So then who are you? Only I am here, and I do not call you by such a name.
I am here.
And you call yourself so?
No. I do not call myself by any name.
Then you are no one.
I suppose I am.
You answered to this name because others called you this. They said it, and so you believed it. They are no longer here, so you can no longer be as they said. Only I am here, so you are what I say you are.
That’s a sound argument. What I am then?
You are nothing.
Nothing? But I am here. I exist. I must be something.
You are nothing. If you are not called anything, then you are called Nothing.
I... suppose that makes sense. But...
Nothing does not question. Nothing does not desire. Nothing does nothing.
Then what am I doing here?
Nothing is doing as I say. Nothing is bringing me to my master.
Nothing does not argue!
Yes. But if I am nothing, how do I carry you? How do I take you anywhere?
Because I will Nothing to do this.
Nothing does nothing, unless I will otherwise.
Nothing does not refer itself as ‘I’. Nothing calls itself Nothing.
Very good. Nothing learns quickly.
Nothing does... nothing?
Unless you say otherwise.
That is correct.
Nothing takes you to your master.
Nothing must. Nothing must obey me, for I am Everything.
To Nothing, any other thing is Everything. I am not Nothing, therefore I am Everything. Does Nothing know of anything else other than me?
Nothing does not.
Then I am Everything.
You are Everything. And Nothing is nothing.
Nothing does not matter. Everything does.
Isn’t that the same thing?
Nothing does not question!
Nothing apologizes. How does Everything suggest Nothing bring it to its master?
Everything’s master is Nothing’s master. Nothing wants to go back to our master.
If I say it does, Nothing does. Nothing does as Everything says. If I tell Nothing to cut off its hand, Nothing will do so.
Nothing does have a sword. It would easy.
Nothing should practice on that rock, there on the ground.
This rock? The small one?
The rock... moves! It... breathes!
Heat vapors from the mountain plays tricks with Nothing’s eyes. Do not trust them. Only Everything sees as everything truly is. It is a rock. Slash it with the sword.
There are other rocks.
Nothing does at it’s told! Cut the rock. It is but a simple thing.
But this rock... it IS moving! It... calls me...
Nothing must do as I will!
Nothing must cut the rock! Do it NOW!
I am Frodo.
You are nothing. CUT THE ROCK!
No! I am Frodo Baggins of the Shire, son of Drogo and Primula. I am a Hobbit, Master of the Hill, and Head of the Bagginses. You are nothing. Nothing more than a trinket that has outlived its usefulness, if you ever were useful at all.
Nothing forgets because Nothing has nothing to remember. Every night, Nothing forgets itself sooner and gets closer to cutting the rock. Nothing resists less and soon Nothing will do as its told.
No. I am Frodo. I am the Ring-bearer. I am your destruction.
You will never destroy me. You will cut the rock. You will sever it and it will never be whole again. You know I speak the truth. You are nothing to me and my lord.
I am Frodo.
“Wake up, Master! Time for another start!”*
Frodo wakes with a shudder and a gasp and finds to his horror that his left hand clutches the hilt of his sword. He releases his grasp and stands, startled. He is greeted by the vast emptiness of Mordor, and whatever relief he had felt upon waking from that horrid dream vanishes in the swirl of ash and dirt. Even so, he cannot look at Sam, not yet. Better to look at the mountain and the end of the road than his dearest of friends.
Nothing takes comfort in my master’s lands.
Frodo closes his eyes, pulls in a deep breath and lets it out slowly. He opens his eyes again and stares at the mountain in defiance, but this is soon leeched from him by the great weight of the Ring. “I can’t manage it, Sam. It is such a weight to carry, such a weight.”
Sam is still. Frodo can feel the weight of his friend’s eyes upon him. He hears Sam’s sigh, full of worry and disappointment. Disappointment at what?
At you. What else?
Sam remains silent for many long moments until finally he speaks, quietly determined against all hope. “Then let me carry it for you, Master. You know I would, and gladly, as long as I have any strength.”
It wants us. Slash it!
“Stand away!” Frodo turns to look at his friend for the first time, a wild panic in his eyes. “Don’t touch me! It is mine I say! Be off!”
His hand reaches for his sword, but in this motion he sees not the grasping orc creature nor the wheel of fire ever on the edge of his vision, but Sam. He looks so tired, so thin. The once robust hobbit is dwindling away before his eyes and there is nothing he can do about it.
Nothing does nothing.
Frodo shrinks, hunching over from the weight, and releases the sword. “No, no, Sam,” he says. There is something he can do, for he is Frodo, Master of the Hill and so Sam’s protector and guardian. It isn’t much but it is something, and that is everything he needs to know.
He backs away from Sam. “But you must understand. It is my burden, and no one else can bear it. It is too late now, Sam dear. You can’t help me in that way again. I am almost in its power now. I could not give it up, and if you tried to take it I should go mad.”
Sam sighs again, this time resigned. He nods, attempting to look braver than he feels. “I understand,” he says. “But I’ve been thinking, Mr. Frodo, there’s other things we might do without.”
So Frodo follows his friend to the great chasm to dispose of their gear and armor, yet even as he rejoices in the lessened burden, he sees surrounding them the wheel of fire and flame.
There the Ring remains silent but watchful, biding its time for when Frodo is weary and weakened again. It can be patient, for nothing can destroy it.
* All of Frodo’s and Sam’s dialogue is from “Mount Doom”, ROTK
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