"Is Viola with the women?" I ask. "Is she okay?"
"Good morning, sir. I am Trooper and I will be your executioner for today. Don't look so worried, sir. I've hanged hundreds of people and we'll have you out of here in no time."
Words followed her. Whispered from far, weak and warm and familiar. "As. . . you. . . wish. . ."
There was a sound of soft laughter over their heads, and then another clear voice spoke in an elven-tongue. Frodo could understand little of what was said, for the speech that the Silvan folk east of the mountains used among themselves was unlike that of the West. Legolas looked up and answered in the same language.
"In the meantime. . . rest well, and dream of large women."
"Good morning!" said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat,
I can feel someone pulling her from my back. I turn and see Gale has lifted Prim off the ground and she's thrashing in his arms. "Up you go, Catnip," he says, in a voice he's fighting to keep steady, and then he carries Prim off toward my mother. I steel myself and climb the steps.
I was too dazed to follow right away, because there was something new happening, a wheel inside my heart I'd never noticed before, and it was spinning so fast it made me dizzy. And the farther away she got, the faster it spun, like there was an invisible cord unreeling from it that stretched between us, and if she went too far it would snap--and kill me.