HASA Birthday Cards 2004
12. December 2004
I’m Hungry ~ Vistula
Pippin glanced around, skirting Legolas and Gimli, before falling into step beside the gardener.
“Aren’t you hungry?”
Misery burned behind the tween’s eyes and Sam paused.
“Boromir gave me a biscuit earlier, and Frodo and Merry shared some berries but…breakfast was so long ago.”
“You should ask Gandalf or Strider…”
“Oh no, I couldn’t do that. Strider would give me that look of his and Gandalf would bristle his brows. They think I’m a bother.”
Feeling pity for Pippin’s plight, Sam softened. Winking he turned, calling for the ranger: “Mister Strider? Shouldn’t it be time for luncheon soon?”
Renewed acquaintance — Tanaqui
I sucked in my breath when he entered the council chamber. No longer a chubby infant in his nurse's arms: an imperfect copy of the doting face that once hung proudly over him looked uncertainly around the company.
I heard his father's voice, too, as he spoke of Gondor's valour, Gondor's needs. Well do I remember those wearisome debates. And, when Elrond named my title, it was his father's mistrust I saw in his eyes.
Many miles we travelled together, yet all too few. I would there had been more time to learn how he was not his father's son.
Bridiliel: I have an unnatural infatuation with Dwarves and Numenoreans. If you could be so kind as to write something about these two races- or anything you fancy- for my birthday, I would be most humbled.
Butterfly Kisses ~ Vistula
“Don’t move, Master Gimli!”
Awakened from his garden rest, the dwarf froze at Sam’s exclamation. Hand flexing, he gripped the ax lying beside him, prepared to face whatever foe might threaten.
Eyes closed he waited.
The hobbit whispered, “Be very still…”
He could feel hairs on his scalp rise in warning. What fell creature dared breach this sanctuary, now that Mordor was vanquished? A creeping feel across his cheek and brow spurred him; growling he gained his feet, ax held at ready.
In a flurry and much to Sam’s dismay the gathered butterflies fled. “There now, you’ve frightened them off.”
Faithful — Tanaqui
Every morning I go first onto the balcony to look in the tub and marvel at the miracle of new life. All winter we have watched, fearful and hopeful, until the first green shoot showed. Yet my fears and hopes did not end then.
Today I see, wondering, that a bud has uncurled at last: a leaf, dark above and silver below.
“Well, and what are you looking at?” asks a familiar and long-missed voice.
I turn and find my brother sitting up in bed.
“I could eat two breakfasts,” he laughs, stretching and yawning.
“Have mine!” I offer joyfully.
But Isildur came at last hardly back to Rómenna and delivered the fruit to the hands of Amandil, ere his strength failed him. Then the fruit was planted in secret, and it was blessed by Amandil; and a shoot arose from it and sprouted in the spring. But when its first leaf opened then Isildur, who had lain long and come near to death, arose and was troubled no more by his wounds.
The Silmarillion, Akallabêth
Among Friends—Dwimordene (triple drabble)
"Do you think it's the water here?" Merry asked.
Boromir snorted. "More likely the wine!" he replied, and Pippin coughed, having sipped from his cup at just the wrong moment.
"If so, even Sam and I'll be fast friends, despite the blanket plot," he said. Sam rolled his eyes, cheeks reddening. Aragorn shook his head, but Rangerly reserve lost to mischievous impulse:
"Wagers on how long it will last?" he asked. "I give it a week."
"Three days," Frodo said unexpectedly, a gleam in his eye as he grinned at Aragorn, who raised a skeptical brow back at him. "My pipeweed stash is running low; I'll look forward to replenishing it."
"Wretched stuff," Boromir opined, but said, "I give it the night. And I look forward to air I can breathe about you lot!"
"And if you lose?" Merry demanded, deliberately puffing on his pipe, and laughing when Boromir gave an exaggerated grimace of disgust. "What then?"
"Then you'll have coin enough to buy a field of the noxious weed."
"Then I'm in," Pippin declared. "Five days."
But in the end, all wagers came to naught, for the days drifted by in Lórien, and neither Dwarf nor Elf seemed inclined to shove the other off a riverbank or a tree limb—seemed, indeed, to spend ever more time together.
"Who'd've imagined it?" Pippin said, incredulous one morn, watching as Gimli and Legolas escaped into the trees for the tenth day in a row.
And to the surprise of all, it was Sam who replied: "Well, I could've told you. It weren't the water nor the wine. It's in the air here—hear it all the time, them Elves singin' about him."
A silence settled on the Company. Then Aragorn chuckled. "Samwise, indeed!"
Thus did the spirit of Gandalf live on.
Elana: I'd like to see your favorite character being tempted by the Ring. If that happens to be a canonical temptation, wonderul. If it's wildly AU, all the better. I'm fascinated by how the Ring works, not on a person's worst motives, but their best, and would love to see how that would play out with some of Tolkien's characters from various times and places.
From the Depths—Dwimordene
The water is its second skin—a ripple in the pool a ripple in its being. A stirring of the bone-riddled mud, of memories of metal-cased flesh driven into open arms. A hungering... a hungering... for sweeter flesh, and something more...
An end to hunger. They would come, prey from all quarters, to cast themselves into the waters, and it would feed. For this hint of gold in the veins calls, whispering: Come, and in the belly of the beast shall be plenty at last, at long last and forever...
The Watcher glides unseen, and its arms stretch towards satiety...
A Shieldmaiden, Tempted -- annmarwalk
When the Company arrives, she quickly arranges meals and beds.
Later, she joins them, listens, and thinks.
This device - could it not be used to restore her uncle’s health and strength? Then, they could ride to Gondor’s aid. She too would ride – is she not a shieldmaiden? Could she not be a marshal? Could she not –
How to get it? She eyes the hobbit speculatively.
He flushes, looks away; then looks back, speculatively.
Catching his glance, she gasps; then begins to think: how to rearrange the beds…
Something rouses Sam from his dozing; he wakes abruptly, looking for danger.
The Taint of Guilt Lingering ~ Vistula
Mister Frodo's sleepin' - exhausted - deathlike. You glitter there against his threadbare chest, taunting, your voice the slithering of a snake down my back.
I try to ignore you, digging nails into my palms until they bleed.
Bag End. I'll give it to you for your own.
No! But my mind sees the gardens, the flowers. Hunger burns in my heart.
Master of Bag End.
I touch you, lightest fingertips fondling while the vision caresses my mind.
In that moment of weakness, doom was sealed. For now, as his ship sails west, I can see you delivered what was promised.
Wise enough — Tanaqui
The armies of the Enemy flee before him; his father hails him as the saviour of Gondor, embracing him warmly in front of the people.
He moves among happy families celebrating harvest home: barns and byres filled with the bounty of the wide, well-tilled acres of Ithilien.
He kneels to give fealty, under a white-blossomed tree, while ambassadors from Harad and Rhûn, Khand and Dunland watch.
Only make a simple thrust or two with his sword….
Would he save what he held most dear if nothing would grow fair or bear fruit or flower again without the Enemy’s taint?
Lariren-Shadow: Hi, my birthday is on the 15th. If possible, I would like a drabble about Faramir and Éowyn. Any time, I don't care. Thank you so much for anyone who takes this up!
The Scents of the Place ~~ annmarwalk
At work in her garden, fingers embedded in warm earth. Eowyn thinks, oddly, about smells.
Edoras: Grassland, horse, dog, peatsmoke. She had been so accustomed to those smells; but now, she wrinkles her nose a bit at the memory, laughing at herself.
Ithilien: new-cut hay, birch trees in bud, the lavender leaves she crushes between her fingers. Her husband: sweat, sunshine on bare skin; the herb-scented soap he loves. She smiles.
Footsteps, and here is Faramir, stretching out on the grass next to her. Reaching over, he nuzzles the back of her neck, murmuring, I love the way you smell.
Split Loyalties ~ Vistula
The scream tore his heart as it pierced the silence. Only the hand on his shoulder stayed a hasty leap. Had it not been there, he’d have breached the door in two easy bounds.
Curses followed, and invectives against his parentage. Under it all pattered the ceaseless clucking of the women.
Not long now. He heard them soothe.
The noise of distress reached its final crescendo; then a thin wailing eased his troubled brow. Losing patience, he assaulted the sanctuary, evading both keeper and midwife.
“Well?” he demanded. “What news?”
“M’lord Faramir, it’s a son.”
“Yes, but how is she?”
Happy ever after — Tanaqui
“Tell me how the beautiful princess killed the wicked Witch-king,” Elboron begged.
“Very well,” his father laughed and settled his sleepy son against him. “Once there was a beautiful but sad maiden,” he began. He paused and looked up as a shadow fell across them.
“That old tale!” his wife said, sitting on the end of their son’s bed. “It is time I told you a new one.”
Elboron’s drooping eyes opened wide with surprise. Father was the one who told stories, not mother.
“Let me tell you about the handsome prince who defied the Witch-king and saved his land.…”
LKK: My birthday is December 17th. I would love to see a drabble about Legolas or the twins Elladan and Elrohir. Or one involving all three. Any time period is fine as are additional characters. No slash though, please. One last birthday wish, I would prefer a happy drabble, if possible.
Young Elboron’s Tale (with Guest Appearances by Elladan and Elrohir)
~~ by annmarwalk
I hear that Legolas has visitors: tall and fair, elves! Our queen’s twin brothers, friends of the king, from his childhood! That is the gossip in our kitchens. I will go see for myself.
I can move quietly too, perhaps not as quietly as an elf, but I have been practicing, trying to learn rangerly ways. There could still be orcs about, and I must be ready to defend Gondor, like my uncle did.
There they are, under the beech tree – watching birds, perhaps? Are there not birds in Imladris? Where are their weapons? I should like to see their bright swords.
Damn that twig! They are looking right at me! Of course, they are elves – with their powers, they probably could hear me from the time I left home. Well then, no secrecy or surprise; best I speak straight out what is in my mind.
“Greetings, my lords. I am Elboron, son of Faramir, Steward of Gondor. Did you know my uncle Boromir? Can you tell me about him?”
They smile at each other – another small boy, seeking tales - and beckon me closer. “Sit, young ranger. We will tell you of a warrior we met, once, in Imladris….”
Sea Longing ~ Vistula
They sit together, sharing silence. Side by side. Elf and hobbit.
Tall, serene, the elf tilts his golden head as if listening to some distant song. Brooding eyes scan the water, committing each cresting wave to memory.
Small, pensive, the hobbit draws a hitching breath, swallowing the grief that drowns his heart. Aging arms clutch each other against a chill that comes from within.
Honeyed eyes glance up, meeting limpid pools. Inside each sees an echo of his own longing. Both are tormented by a yearning the years cannot erase.
“Be comforted Samwise. One day we will both go home.”
Brotherly love — Tanaqui
I pause, recognising trouble. I have learnt since I was last in Imladris that it can be found in the corridors of great houses as much as in mountains or woods or on borderlands.
Elrohir uncurls himself from a stone bench; Elladan pushes himself away from the pillar where he has been leaning.
“So, this is what our little sister has chosen,” Elrohir says to Elladan.
“Three thousand years and then this,” Elladan agrees. I cannot tell if the disgust in their voices is real or feigned.
Then they laugh. “She could not have chosen a better Man,” they chorus.
Ainu Laire: I personally would love to see some Aragorn drabbles. Humor, action, angst, and drama are my favorite genres, but anything will do, although slash is not preferred. Anytime, any place, whatever will do fine, but I am a fan of AU, fill-ins, and pre-quest tales. Thanks! :-)
'Tis midnight when a small figure joins him. "Is aught wrong, Pippin?" Aragorn asks.
"Can't sleep," he replies, unusually terse. Aragorn nods. He, too, has felt little desire for sleep since Weathertop. In silence they sit, watching the night. Then suddenly: "What you said in Bree—you've fought the Riders before?"
Pippin frowns up at him. "And you still came with us?"
'Tis Aragorn's turn to frown, wondering how to explain himself to a hobbit. "Long ago, I vowed to serve even unto this last. For a Ranger, it cannot be otherwise."
Silence. Then (sweet relief):
Bittersweet ~ Vistula
He’d been dreaming – a warm pleasant dream of a more carefree time. A sweet dream of younger days, filled with simpler things, all under the gentle canopies that sheltered his home.
She’d been there, stoking the fires of those dreams. Easing away his cares with her touch, the tender caresses filled with centuries of experience. To her years, he was just a boy and yet all man when wrapped in her slender arms.
Awakening, he faced the cold light of a dawn without comfort, breathing away the ache of his heart with the smoke from his pipe.
Not weaponless — Tanaqui
Elrond placed the sword in the young man’s hands. “If you are to fight alongside my sons, you must have a weapon suited to your stature; and one of your own, not borrowed from the Armsmaster,” he explained.
Estel reverently drew the Elven-blade from its sheath. “It is beautiful,” he breathed. “Thank you, Lord Elrond.” He bowed low. “I shall carry no other while I have strength to fight.”
Elrohir stirred and made to speak, but Elladan put a warning hand on his arm. Not yet. There will come a more fitting time for him to accept the greater charge.
Astara:Can I have something that has either Denethor, Finduilas, Boromir or Imrahil in it, please?
Marriage Counseling -- annmarwalk
“So the marriage is successful, then?” Imrahil eyed Finduilas over the soft dark fuzz of his newborn nephew’s head.
“What is a successful marriage? Affection, and respect. He has his work, and I have mine, now. Did you think it would not be? Have I not been raised to know my duty?”
“Affection, respect, duty. What of joy? Passion? He seems a dull humorless man, but perhaps you see a side of him I do not…”
She laughed, soft music, and the babe stirred sleepily in his uncle’s arms. “I see many sides of him that you do not, brother.”
Passion -- annmarwalk
The year’s end celebration: feasting and dancing and bonfires. At the Citadel there is candlelight; scent of cedar and fir and exotic spices; elegantly garbed and perfumed guests: the Lord Steward’s mettarë ball.
As she turns, smiling, to welcome a shy guest; as he bends, thoughtfully, to greet an old ally: their eyes meet, and a spark, a nearly palpable burst of light and heat.
Ah, the unspoken words transmitted upon the power of that glance!
Dear one, husband, how handsome you are tonight! I wish –
Would that this evening were over, my Finduilas, my love! My jewel. My precious.
A mother’s duty — Tanaqui
“What can I tell the Lady of Gondor that the Warden cannot better speak of?” Ioreth looked suspiciously at the tall, beautiful woman before her: intense, grey eyes in a white face.
“What has always been women’s business,” the lady answered sharply. “The bearing of children. They say you are the most skilled in birthing. And other things.”
Ioreth could not help preening. Despite her youth, her fame as a midwife had spread. Then she checked at the lady’s final words. “What would you have from me?” she asked coldly. There was knowledge she dare not share with the wife of the Steward, even if the lady pleaded.
It seemed the lady was as skilled as her husband in reading hearts. “Naught ill,” she laughed bitterly. “It is in my mind to bear many children for my lord. But they must be sons.” Her eyes were overbright. She turned away and her voice fell to no more than a murmur, so that Ioreth must lean forward to catch the words. “Gondor will have need of sons. My lord will have need of sons. Sons, to sacrifice in our defence.”
Pity stirred in Ioreth’s heart. “I will do what I can.”
Serpent in the Nursery ~ Vistula
"Should I check it for poison?"
I make the question a joke, and you laugh but your eyes do not appreciate the humor. Nervous, you nearly drop the plate.
You don't trust me, though I've given you no cause; somehow, I threaten your master where the others do not. When I'm near, you guard his side. Always, your eyes follow me, weighing my every move as though I were a serpent loose in the baby's nursery.
You're charged with his protection and as a warrior, I laud your caution.
Perhaps it wouldn't bother me so, if I weren't the only one.
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