HASA Birthday Card Challenge 2004

HASA Birthday Cards 2004

7. July 2004

melian elven: in honor of my namesake, i'd love to read something with melian in it, especially her relationship with her daughter luthien. i've often wondered how she would've been as a mother to the most beautiful being on middle earth. Personal Grooming—Wolfwind Melian imbued her voice with warm excitement. "Luthien! It’s bath time!" The child responded as she had for the past month: by running. This time, Melian was prepared to catch her. "Nonononono!" the girl wailed. Coming back to the present, Melian sighs and tells herself firmly that she does not wish to return to those days. Instead, she raises her voice. "Luthien!" she calls for the fifth time. "Get out of the bath this instant, young lady! The guests will be arriving at any moment!" "But Mother!" comes the answering wail. "I haven’t finished my hair!" Grace—Dwimordene There comes a time when the body is no longer free adornment, worn or discarded at will. The horizon tips, and what had been mere surrounding becomes self's substance. Melian, who has stitched time and trees, now feels for the first time that earthly matter makes its own sense beyond the power of will. This child weighs within her, binding her to bones she'd fashioned for herself and for Thingol. For Thingol, who was born to this strangely happy bondage. 'Tis a dear gift. To be divested of flesh would be... to die. A dear gift to share in, indeed. Vulgarweed: What's a "normal" "day" in the life like for Yavanna, or Tulkas, or Melian, or Olorin? Does Aule ever want to pitch his tools out the "window"? What about the Brothers M and the first and worst case of sibling rivalry EVAH? Or that weird trio of the waters? Of course, Istari and Balrogs count. (And what is Tom Bombadil, anyway? Is he one? What about Ungoliant?) Reverence and irreverence both welcome. And erotica, too (het or slash or both); bonus points for integration with matters theological. Interminable—Dwimordene Arising in his might, he had glimpsed the possibility of ceaseless novelty, of ecstatic drama fit to empty oneself for. The promise of all, and all within his grasp would he but bend his will toward it for an instant of that which made and was novelty, time. Time. Gravity without grace. That ill-marked instant begat all others–presence unending of the unbearable. He hated the light as he hated the darkness for the truth that composed him. Thus each day dawned the same–a mockery of eternal constancy, that said only and forever: I defy, else I am not! Olorin I was in my Youth In the West that is Forgotten—Azalais "...Gandalf's grumpy, as usual." Peregrin's plaintive tones drift over. Without fire all are chilled, even stoic Dwarf and lighthearted Elf, and the damp is in my joints. Yet as I shift to ease my sore back memory flares, briefly... once I was not bound in weary bone and chafed flesh, but made of fire and air, follower in the train of the Lord of Eagles, alive in endless Music... The thought flickers, vanishes, in a flash. "Forgive me, Pippin. I am but an old man, and my knees ache." I sigh heavily, and reach into my cloak for my pipe. Farewell—Forodwaith "Your task may be complete, Olorin, but I was not sent to Elves and Men only, nor the beasts and birds. I must take thought for all that grows and is green." "Then you will never be finished, until this world is made anew." Radagast shrugged. "I shall be satisfied if I help to preserve something worth remaking. The Elves are departing, and the Men who remain hew and hunt and harvest with little thought for tomorrow and none for the day of their children's children. I must do what I can to teach them otherwise. Did you not say yourself that you would not wholly fail, if anything survived to grow fair or bear fruit again?" "Do as you must; but I shall miss you, brother," the grey wizard said. "Take my greetings to Valinor with you, and tell my lady that I still work to fulfill her charge." Children of Aulë—Avon Strong you will be, strong and unyielding: strong in friendship and in muscles. Strong you will need to be: strong enough to work alongside me with metal, fire and stone: strong enough to face the power of Melkor. Loyal I will make you too, and hardy, for you are my children and I would have you live long lives and love truly. You will toil without tiring, just as I do: and I will teach you all my skills and crafts. Together we will make this land more beauteous than ever was – but first I must create you, my children. Another Day, Another Fight—Wolfwind I neigh in triumph as we hew down our final opponent. Stepping clear of the mangled body, I wipe my golden hooves to remove the caustic blood. "There are more of the foul things each time we ride!" Oromë growls. "Why will Manwë not heed me? Shall the Children awake to desolation and evil?" I ignore the familiar rant; there are yet monsters to hunt. Our battles will aid more than arguing with the stiff-necked Lord of the Valar. But my partner does not agree, and so we turn back to Valinor, where another shouting match will no doubt ensue. Marta: I want something in some way involving a dwarf. There are so many great moments involving Dwarves, and I'd love to see a moment involving one of them. If you can include Bilbo, that's even better. Failing that, I will be predictable. I also wouldn't say no to something involving pre-Ring War Denethor. There and Back Again—Elena Tiriel Memoirs had always fascinated Frodo. As a lad, he had begged Bilbo daily to retell the tales of his grand adventure with his doughty dwarven companions. When Balin paid them a surprise visit, Frodo attended eagerly as the white-beard told of rebuilding the Lonely Mountain and filling the Dragon's Desolation with sturdy stoneworks. Balin's deep voice had resonated with pride for the reconstruction of the halls of his forefathers. But Frodo had also heard a hint of longing for his people's once-hallowed home, Khazad-dûm. Now, Gandalf sighed and put down the Book of Records. "I fear their end was cruel." Diaspora—Dwimordene It was a meticulous affair—naturally, for they were Dwarves. All filed orderly over the bridge, through the last halls, becoming a patient throng above Kheled-zâram. And as rank upon rank joined their fellows, they turned their faces West, and waited. Finally, with the last of his guard and the much diminished company of those valiant wrights who had sealed their foe within, Thráin appeared at the gates. Thereupon, Dúrin's Heir spoke: "Weep not! The ends of the earth are our destiny, but Khazad-dûm our heart. We leave the way open for return." Unbowed, they began the long march East. The Gift — Maya (maya_ar) The young man watched for his master’s verdict with nervous anticipation. A labour of love and hope, to put into this last piece every ounce of craftsmanship he had learned: he, the first of the men of Dale to seek the fabled lore of the Dwarves since the return of the King under the Mountain. Three years of toil beneath the Lonely Mountain: now he would hear their worth. “Good,” the ancient dwarf pronounced. “You have learned well, young Barding. Apprentice no longer: Toymaker of Dale I name you.” He put down the toy thrush, perfect in every detail. Turning the key in its side made the wings flutter and the beak sing. “A fitting gift for the young cousin of Master Bilbo Baggins, surely.” Legacy—Elana (triple drabble) I remember a happy day beneath the Mountain. I was but a child of ten years. My mother took me for the first time to the gem-cutter’s cavern, and held my hands beneath hers on the tools as we shaped the rough jewels. For the first time I knew the joy of creating beauty with my touch. That night, Smaug came. With wind and fire he invaded, driving us panicking into the night. He took my home from me. Do you know what home is to a woman of the Dwarves? It is our bedrock, our foundation, our roots deep as the roots of the mountain. When I left my home it was as if the ground turned to sand constantly shifting under my feet. When I lay down to sleep I felt the earth tilt and tremble, and there was no solidity to be found anywhere. Through our years of wandering I learned to keep my balance amidst the constant unsteadiness, but without my home, I could never be truly stable. For a hundred years I have endured thus. When we came here I even managed to carve out a secure enough place that I was able to master my body to my will, force it to accept a husband, even come at last to fertility that I might conceive. For I needed sons. You are young now, my Fili, my Kili, but you will grow. When you come to maturity, you will join my brother when he returns. He dreams of gold, but I know that is the least the worm stole from us. I will teach you to hunger and thirst for retribution. And when you have spent your toil and blood, and the dragon lies writhing in his death throes, then will your mother be avenged. Drums in the Deep—Forodwaith Doom. Doom, doom. The dwarves huddled around Balin's tomb did not stir. By now the baneful drumming was a constant background to their restless, nightmarish sleep. "It's louder," Ori said suddenly. "The orcs must have reached the Great Hall." Bor silently inspected the barred door to the Chamber of Mazarbul. "It will hold for perhaps ten minutes against a ram," he said. "Less if they have a cave troll." The drumbeat began to accelerate. Orcish shrieks reverberated in the hall. Laying his axe aside for a moment, Ori took up the Book of Records to write its final entry. Father to Son—Azalais Blackness and stench nearly overwhelm me. Screams further off, closer only dying whimpers, and disguise forbids I ease their passing. Yet one chained in this corner can still speak, though he raves. "Ring, my Ring... stolen from me - curse them! - last of the Seven..." He breaks off coughing, broken lungs straining; little time left. I risk the faintest glimmer to look closer at his face, and for a moment sanity gleams desperate in his clouded eyes. He gropes feebly inside the rags of his tunic. "Map... key..." He presses them into my hands, eyes pleading with me. "For my son." Goldfinch and Nightingale—nrink_nrink Sisters they were, yet one was nightingale dark, the other bright as a goldfinch in the summer sun. Shivering, the younger turned her face from the pale stone walls that soared into silver-mirrored sky. "Look, there lies the White City," their mother smiled. "It is beautiful," the dark one whispered. "Finduilas, look how it glitters like a jewel between earth and sky!" "I see only stone where I would look upon the sea." And tears like dew glimmered on golden lashes. "Hush now, little one," said her mother with a kiss. "You shall have the sea again by and by." The Deathless—Wolfwind "Durin!" He tried to ignore the voice echoing through the Dwarf Halls. "Durin!" Durin slammed his tools down and glared at the interloper. "What do you want, Mahal?" His Maker took no offense at the tone; he was well acquainted with his son’s hatred of interruptions. "It is time." "Again? Can’t my idiotic descendants manage a single century without me? And why do they always need me when I’m working?" Despite his grumbling, Durin was already putting away his tools. With a sigh of regret, he set his half-finished creation on a shelf and turned to his Father. "I’m ready." Not One Word—annmarwalk Skilled she was with pen, and ink, and all her drafter’s tools. When the Master of the Works sought to build a new bridge or aqueduct, to craft a change to a watercourse or road, he needed only to describe it to her in the briefest of terms, and her gift would bring the vision to life. When she heard that Gimli son of Gloin had left the Lonely Mountain, bound for Imladris, she sketched him quickly, before the memory should fade. It was her first drawing of a living creature, and she kept it with her always, in secret. **** For not all the women take husbands: some desire none; some desire one that they cannot get, and so will have no other. (Appendix A – III, Durin’s Folk) Reunion—paranoidangel The moment Elrond saw her he threw himself into her arms and held on tight. He reminded himself of her touch and her scent, but most of all that she was there and she was whole again. He never wanted to let go but had to pull back to better remember her kiss, finding his memory a pale comparison to reality. He fortified himself with the look in her eyes directed at him and knew he could deny it no longer and would had to face reality. Taking a deep breath he said, "I have to tell you about Arwen." **** A/N: Marta gave me special dispensation to write some post-Ring War Elrond, which, of course, I couldn't resist. Victory—Tanaqui Victory! The fleet is burnt. The old enemy is defeated. Loud in the streets the people sound the name of the great captain who has wrought this triumph. Yet he is not here to hear their praise. Other tasks now call me, lord, and much time and many perils must pass, ere I come again to Gondor, if that be my fate. The steward’s son listens to the message and bows his head. Where has he gone? What other tasks outweigh needs of Gondor? What perils does he face? When will he return? May fate be kind indeed! he thinks. From the Eastern Force—Tanaqui They are grim-faced, but we welcome them as comrades, for their hearts are true. Their reach is short but their blows fall heavy on our foes. Like the stones some say they spring from, they were made to endure. Yet their grief for the Fallen is no less than ours. The Worm, deep-wounded by Naugrim knife, flees the field, and the beasts of Angband follow. We shout our joy. Yet they mark it not. We see them leave, bearing their lord: steps slow; voices deep; mourning, unmindful as the battle rages still. Their hearts are spent, now weep we all. Untitled—Lady Aranel (double drabble) "Gloin!" An unfamiliar voice echoed through the hall of the Lonely Mountain. Gloin looked up from his desk to see the door to his study thrown open by Thranduil Orophinion. The elvenkings’s face was a shade of red Gloin had seldom seen, even in jewels. He might have been angry at the interruption if the picture presented before him had not been so amusing. "What is this?" Thranduil shook a scroll at him. The dwarf rose. "I assure you, I do not know." "My son does not return from Imladris. He sends word that he will follow the ringbearer to Mordor!" Thanduil tossed the parchment on the desk between them. "I do not understand," the dwarf shook his head. "’Twas not mentioned in the plans at the council." "He goes with your son!" Gloin paled."There was talk of Gimli going. Idle chatter only or so I thought! I bid him stay and see the outcome." "Now we know. And what choice do we have but to ally our forces to keep the eye turned away, if we are to ever see our sons again?" The dwarf paused. "I see none." "Then, tell me," Thranduil sighed. "What path do they take?" Stone and Garlands—ErinRua "Good stone," said Gimli, stamping a heavy foot. "It needed but a craftsman's touch. Now rainwater will flow only in the gutters, no more to splash at every step." "Aye," Legolas replied, but his eyes looked elsewhere. "And listen! It is well the elves brought finches; they add such cheer to the gardens." "Finches," snorted Gimli. "Already they make spots on the curbs." Legolas smiled. Gimli paused and stroked his beard. "Could those flowers be trained onto that statue's shoulder?" "They could." "Then let us have it so." They walked on together smiling, for Minas Tirith wore her garlands gladly. Change in Perception—Arandil "Gloin!" Bilbo stood as the dwarf entered the Hall of Fire. "At the service of you and your family." Bilbo crossed the hall. "Good to see you!" Only then did he notice Gloin’s worried expression. "What troubles you?" "I fear for my son’s safety on this mission. He is sure to encounter many perils." "Ah, but was our own adventure not riddled with danger?" Bilbo said comfortingly. "True," Gloin sighed deeply, "but this is my son." Bilbo glanced quickly at Frodo who was conversing with his young friends. He placed a comforting hand on Gloin’s shoulder. "I understand, my friend." Aramel: In Singapore, where I stayed for a time, July 21 was racial harmony day. Thus, I humbly ask for something about Legolas and Gimli and their friendship. Or if that's a bit hard, an Éowyn fic would be highly appreciated too. Dirge—Dwimordene On the morning air it came again—Elves singing grief. Uncomfortably alone by their pavillions, Elf and Dwarf glanced up. And Legolas grew still as stone, listening, til a shudder passed through him. Gimli raised a brow: "Don't you like it?" "No. Melody catches not Mithrandir; 'tis dead memory," he replied, and turned bright eyes on him. Strangely hesitant, that look, but more strange still the request: "Will you not sing?" "I?" Gimli frowned. Dwarves have many songs for hard days, but to sing for outsiders...? "Please," said Legolas quietly. After a long moment, Gimli stood, and began to chant... Khuzdul—Wolfwind "I will never understand your tongue." Legolas laughed. "Perhaps we spend too much time on it. Why don't you teach me your language instead?" Gimli halted. Such a thought had never occurred to him, despite the amount of time Legolas had spent teaching him Sindarin. Elvish was changeful, spoken by all; Dwarves preserved the tongue Mahal gave them in secret. It had been an Age since any foreigner learned Khuzdul. But this was Legolas, who had named him Elvellon. Dwarves had no equivalent title, but teaching him Khuzdul would give him the same status. "We call ourselves Khazad," he began. Elvellon—Jay of Lasgalen "Father? This is Gimli." In the silence that follows, I ponder our friendship. A friendship that transcends the ancient enmities between our peoples, friendship that perplexes many. Perhaps the first seeds were sown long ago, at Erebor. I learned then that your folk were not the cowardly Naugrim of legend, but stout and valiant warriors. On the Quest I came to know more of you; and with knowledge came acceptance. With acceptance came friendship, growing to the sort of friendship I have been blessed with before, but never thought to find again. My father smiles, and bows. "Welcome, Gimli Elvellon." Mithril and Oak—Avon He looks as delicate as the faint traceries of mithril that shine in walls far underground, yet, like that metal, his strength is beyond testing. He shines with that same unearthly beauty too – fairer than anything else on earth. Mithril fair and mithril strong is my friend the Elf. He has all the solid strength of an oak: deep-rooted, immovable and long-growing. Unyielding he can seem, yet, like the oak, a living warmth beats through him. I find a beauty in him - as in a gnarled and rough-barked oak. Oak hardy and oak strong is my friend the Dwarf The Whole of the Tale—ErinRua Forty-two, Gimli claimed, and cursed the orc whose iron collar had notched his ax. Forty-two and he had bested an elven warrior's skill, albeit by only one. Yet in the clear light of dawn, amidst battle's wrack, elf and dwarf greeted each other in joy. Strange perhaps they seemed to watching eyes, unlikely and unmatched. One stood lithe as a tall white birch and the other blunt as stone. "Glad am I to see you on your legs!" Legolas cried. T'was the greeting of warrior-to-warrior. Nonetheless, in their faces shone the whole of the tale: the greeting of brother-to-brother. Good Authority—Aliana "Which would you prefer?" she asks, placing a hand over her rounded belly. "A boy, or a girl?" Across the room, he peers over the top of his book. "Either would please me very well, my dear." "Really!" She, alone, can detect when he is hesitant. "None of your careful diplomacy, sir!" "Very well," he laughs. "A girl, then. I have it on good authority that boys are nothing but trouble." A pause. "Yes," she smiles, "girls are far less difficult." He follows her gaze to the object that hangs above their hearth: one fragment of a shattered shield. Earth and Sky—Elena Tiriel "Come, Gimli, we must fly!" His anguished keening doesn't abate as I drag him from his prostration beside Balin's tomb and outside the dread-full carnage chamber. Can it be that this squat, sturdy stranger feels grief as keenly as we Elves? I begin to comprehend -- the dead were not merely his people, the sons of Aulë, but his kinsfolk and friends, and his bereavement stabs my very heart. His axe is as black-drenched in orc blood as my long-knife, but his rock-solid heart bleeds blood as red as mine. I pray the Valar spare my fellow warrior any more loss... *** The others followed; but Gimli had to be dragged away by Legolas: in spite of the peril he lingered by Balin's tomb with his head bowed. The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm RubyGamgee: I request Samwise. If you can deliver him, I will be more than just glad. I will be a pleased person, a delighted daydreamer, a giddy girl and a very happy hobbit lover! Strange Bedfellows—Dwimordene (triple drabble) "I don't know that I shall be able to sleep," Pippin had complained. "That cry froze my blood!" Despite the fright of the afternoon, though, both he and Merry were fast asleep, along with an exhausted Frodo. Sam, however, stood amid the dull thickets, chewing on his lip as he pondered the back of their guide. He was glad the others were asleep, for he thought it would be better to say his piece in private. As private as it gets out here, he amended to himself, wondering how he should begin. At length, though, he shook off stillness and moved to join the Ranger. Strider's eyes cut to him an instant, but other than a spare nod, he gave no greeting. Sam sighed. "Look, Mr. Strider," he said after a moment, "you've got to admit, it's a bit much to ask a fellow to think all's well after you've up and gone into the night after those Black Riders, when Mr. Frodo's hurt and all. Mind, I'm still not sure about you, but you've done right by us so far it seems and if we ever reach Rivendell, I'll be first to say 'thank you' and 'I'm sorry'. But we've a long ways still, I think." Strider sat silently, but Sam thought he saw the corners of his mouth twitch. At length: "We have, indeed, a long road still, and while we're on it, best to keep your sword to hand." "Right then," Sam replied, satisfied that they understood each other. As he turned away, though, to go and check Frodo once more, Strider spoke again: "If fortune is with us, I should be glad to see the end of our road in Rivendell." After a moment's consideration, Sam replied, softly but earnestly: "Bless me, but so would I!" The Garden of Samwise—ErinRua Life's a bit like gardening, you see. Everything starts from the beginning. First, a seed and soil, then a sprout, and you watch careful as anything so it grows right. But it don't always; sometimes birds or frost or other things destroy the sprout and you have to start over again. But that's just it. You start over. There's always something to start from. There's always at least one seed. You plant it, and you go on. And if someone else can't, why, you plant for them. You tend their garden. Everyone needs a bit of garden for their own. Namesake—Elana Sam knelt by the bedside. Rosie, tired and glowing, smiled down at the red, wrinkled newborn nuzzling her breast. "Are you sure?" she asked. "It’s what we always planned to name a boy, but that was before…" Before a white sail disappeared into the sunset, never to return. Could he bear to keep that name alive? To hear and say it dozens of times each day? How much easier to let it fade into dear, dim memory. But what other name was there for his eldest son? He blinked back tears, but spoke with firm certainty. "His name is Frodo." Weeds—paranoidangel Sam carefully gathered up the daisies and buttercups, being sure to pull the weeds out by their roots before cutting the flowers off. The little vase had stood empty for long enough and once again there would be colour in the kitchen of Bag End. When Sam had explained why they had to be dug out Mr Frodo had not understood. Eventually they had compromised and Sam had been allowed to tend the weeds as he wished, as long as he saved the flowers. Sam was glad he did for he agreed with Mr Frodo - they did look pretty. ErinRua: I would be ever so pleased if someone would drabble - not to be entirely predictable - Eomer and/or Faramir. Both of them together would be very especially wonderful, as I find them an interesting pair of brothers-in-law. You know you want to. No slash, please. The Protocol of Princes — Maya (maya_ar) "The laws of Rohan", Éomer said loftily, "forbid the throwing of objects at the King. The penalties are severe." He closed his eyes and relaxed against the oak tree behind him with a sigh of lazy contentment. Then he opened one eye and squinted at his brother-by-marriage. "Unless of course, the objects thrown are such as the King specifically requests. A fruit from that bowl at your right would be permitted." Faramir picked up and weighed an acorn thoughtfully in his and. "Tell me, O noble King, would this be accounted a fruit in the reckoning of Rohan?" "Not if you plan to hurl it at me, no." The Twitch—Blue Iris The twitch! She makes him twitch! She turns away a moment and there it is! He cocks his head to the left and his right hand fiddles with his collar. She turns back and he is again a king among men. I remember the twitch from his eighteenth year; when he was sent on a visit Minas Tirith. Boromir and I took it upon ourselves to lend him guidance on matters perhaps less than courtly. He twitched at first; meeting the learned ladies and having their attentions. Now my little cousin speaks to him and it starts again? Methinks her long black hair unnerves him more than the black gates. For the most part he holds himself calm and steady, like soldier at inspection, all gravity of bearing. But the twitch! Let me leave before I laugh, and to my wife I shall grant right of jesting upon her brother. Lady in Waiting—Lady Aranel (double drabble) It was time. The wedding feast had ended merrily. The attendants departed, their laughter fading from the changing room. Lothíriel trembled as she stepped over the threshold. He lay before the hearth upon the rugs, the firelight caressing his golden hair and sun-burnt skin. Her eyes dipped to the curve of his hip where the blanket had slipped away. She was surprised to find an expanse of flesh not kissed by the elements, but it pleased her to know he still had territory she could claim for her own. Fair of form indeed -- her husband. "Come," he smiled at her, "be not afraid." She knelt beside him, shivering: not from fear, but from desire. "It will hurt a little," he caressed her cheek with a callused palm. "I wish it were not so." She swallowed hard, tilting her chin. "I am made of strong stock," she replied. His laughter broke in waves over her. "Think you that is why I married you?" She turned away. "My lord, do not tease me. I-I do not know," she stammered. With gentle fingers, he stroked her cheek, returning her gaze to his. "Then know this, Lothíriel of Dol Amroth. I love you." Through River and Meadow—Aliana In landlocked Edoras I cannot escape that watery memory: the spectral boat, carrying its silent lament down the Anduin. Harder still, that vessel brought an emptiness that not even my betrothed fills completely. Alone outside, I watch the sea of grass ripple. An unexpected hand grips my shoulder—the tall young king I have scarcely met. "Come." He, too, has brooded; he knows the sorrows of the earth, crimson stains on golden fields. "Keep company with us, friend." A slow smile comes to me. Nothing and no-one can replace Boromir; still, I will not be bereft of brothers. Fireside Reflections—Gwynnyd A king sits deep in my armchair by the fire, glass of wine forgotten. He speaks of the exultation of the sword and he gleams golden and red in the flames’ light. He tells of far countries and strange peoples; the sorrow of those who fight and die and the joy when some twist of fate brings them as friends to his side. "Do you never envy the camaraderie of the field when Elessar and I ride to war, Faramir?" I touch the calluses on my fingers, from pen and not bow. Ithilien is green and whole. Gondor prospers. "No." Faith and Duty ~Nessime His avowal of first-sight love for his brother-king moved all. Can I in faith match such devotion? “Is it true, when first you met Elessar on Rohan’s plains, you came near challenging him?” I voice this challenge cautiously – a challenge first raised by another, one whose love we both own. “Twas my duty to my king,” comes his reply. “And what of you, who would have proofs demanded of Elendil’s heir?” Yet he bore witness, how this new-forged Steward had named his healer king – no proofs but what lay in the heart. I answer, “Twas my duty to my king.” Alawa: I’d love to have something Aragorn and Halbarad – or Aragorn and Denether – or something to feed my pyre and beacon obsession. Beyond the Door—ErinRua Evil things move in these darkening days. We feel them pressing near, those grim shades that fill the paths behind us. I know, however, my death lies not within this mountain, but beyond. He comes now in his silent tread, my comfort and my doom, steadfast as the stones that swallow us. His warm hand settles on my shoulder, and his eyes are bright as stars. "Fear no darkness, Halbarad." "I shall fear nothing, lord, while you lead us." For I have seen beyond Shadow to a noble white tree standing triumphant in bloom. For me, death holds no terrors. At The End Of The Tunnel—fileg It was not the door that kept men from entering the paths, but the wall. Ice, fear, darkness - they squeezed a mans heart at the thought of that first step, into the unknown. But we were no ordinary men. Bone and blood formed in north, we understood these things, and knew they could be faced. If any man could hold up a light for them to follow, the men of the north would not falter. Last of the old blood, we stared into the abyss, saw our truth, and held aloft our light - the flame of his beacon; my pyre. Battle of Wills—fliewatuet I can see your strength wane fast while I watch you staring into that fiery ball, hands clenched about Andúril's hilt. No blows are exchanged but a battle is raging, and there is nothing I can do, save stand by your side, hold your banner aloft and trust your strength and wisdom, like I have done so many times before. Then it is over, the flame is gone and all I can do is offer a shoulder in support. Yet I know you prevailed and will tell me in due time what you learnt, like you have always done. Light from the Shadows—Azalais Shadowfax flies onward through the night: Pippin, roused from dozing, cries out as sudden flame races from peak to mountain-peak. Gandalf broods. The beacons! Light in the darkness: yet will the flames of war kindle hope, or despair? Gondor’s Steward calls for aid – but knows not yet that Gondor’s King shall answer… At Dunharrow, three watch the Kindler’s beacons flame white in the midnight sky. Aragorn is grim-faced. "We go to war by a dark road." Halbarad grasps his shoulder briefly: "Yet light from the shadows shall spring." Legolas nods. "Hope burns bright even here, while you are with us." Dark Memory—Forodwaith The torch went out, and the thick warm darkness of Moria fell over them like a stifling blanket. Aragorn knew they could not build a fire while they rested, yet his spirit craved light. "How far do you reckon we are from the Dimrill Gate?" His whisper floated on the hot air. Halbarad's shrug was felt rather than seen. "The orcs know; I do not. Sleep now, and I shall take first watch." Sliding down the wall, Aragorn shifted his leg by silent degrees until it grazed Halbarad's knee. Anchored by that mute proof of companionship, he drifted into sleep. Charity—Dwimordene They went to no tomb. Denethor, despising fate, had rejoiced. Halbarad would've cared little–what Ranger cares for his own flesh so? But men not yet corpses have their needs—the Grey Company laments as flames roar. Mayhap fire's fitting, Aragorn, watching, thinks. Stewards serve all indifferently; therefore let the wind be as generous dispersing their ashes. The thought's not uncomforting, and comfort's needed: smoke rises still from Rath Dînen. But there's yet no king in Gondor—hard judgments can wait. Thus Aragorn will be as indifferent-generous as the funerary dust: unto death they served; let none look further today. AfterEver: I've been feeling uncharacteristically romantic, and pondering the 'love at first sight' phenomenon in M-e. Happened to Thingol and Melian, Elrond and Celebrian, Aragorn and Arwen (well, first sight for him, more like the second for her), to name a few. So, I'd humbly request drabbles depicting these beloved couples falling in love at first sight, if anyone is inclined. Ever After—Lady Aranel Gone are they all, Legolas thought as he drank deeper from the cup. In Valinor, he was alone in his grief: lover of earth and mortal beings whose flame burnt bright and faded too quickly. The music played around the fire did naught to lift his spirit. And then he heard her. A voice both sweet and sad touched him. He lifted his eyes; her black hair flowed as she danced. Her form and song both spoke to him of sorrow, and yet also of life renewed. As he listened, his heart began to fill with something altogether different. Love. Gilraen—paranoidangel When he first saw her he knew at once he could never have her. Not only was she the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, she was also intelligent and caring. But she was young - too young. It did not matter anyway for he could not remember how to speak. He wanted to approach but he could not think of a single good thing to say. If he told her his thoughts they would scare her away. She must have seen him staring because she came over. "My lord, Arathorn." When she smiled he forgot how to breathe. Sigil Galen: If anyone would take the time to write something featuring predominantly Eomer and Legolas, I'd just be PICKLED TINK! Failing that, something with Beleg (Cuthalion, that is) would be unutterably wonderful. Just the thought makes me happy. Partnership—ErinRua I watch with gentle envy panging my heart, for Men will never know such perfect union of horse and rider. Arod moves to no governance but the soft voice of an elf: their thoughts must whisper as one, I guess. Ah, Legolas has spied my notice. He speaks while stroking Arod's mane. "Have I thanked you, lord, for such a princely gift?" I smile into his bright elven eyes. "Your thanks is spoken with ax and bow," I reply. "Arod's former master would be honored." As I am honored to find such friends in these dark days of the sword.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: HA Writers Group

Status: General

Completion: Ongoing Serial

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/20/04

Original Post: 02/16/04

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