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Section XC-Amon Hen

I do not know why I glance behind me. Surely I am not expecting pursuit. I know well enough the power of the Ring to make me disappear, but not soon enough... not soon enough...

Escape is my only desire. Never did I imagine fleeing not orcs nor trolls, but a member of the Fellowship... a protector... a friend...

How did it come to this?

A futile question. I know the answer. The Ring. The Ring that even now conceals me... conceals me from... a friend...

Stairs appear before me, steeper than the ones -- the ones that lead me to where -- to where -- he was waiting...

Another swift backward glance and I ascend. With each step, my heart pounds louder.

I reach the top, open to the blue sky, and stop. There is no place to run.

Where to hide?

I crouch down behind what appears to be a low stone wall, shutting my eyes tightly. Some part of my terror-enveloped mind believes if I cannot see then I cannot be seen. I need not remind myself of the absurdity of such a notion.

Gradually, I open my eyes and peek over the roughened stone edge.

Horror sweeps through me and I feel my eyes widen as revealed before me is not the sunlit forest of this place or the lake by which we camped, but darkness -- the massive base of a black tower out of which pours hordes upon hordes of orcs. My vision rushes upward, following the ever rising line of the tower up to the top and -- and the EYE! The Eye! And Its voice, whispering within my mind...

I cannot scream or tear my eyes away. I cannot breathe. Of their own volition, my feet step back and back and back again as I fumble with the Ring, struggling to pull It off.

A misstep...

Though the air is knocked from me, it is only for a moment. The Ring is off, held tightly in my hand, and the world around me is once again familiar to my sight.

Painfully, I sit up, endeavoring to catch my breath, checking Sting at my side. At least I did not draw my sword on a friend.

Where am I?

A quick glance about me reveals nothing; I am completely unfamiliar with my surroundings.

I must leave... alone. I must. But how?