Yule Mathom Challenge 2005

December 8 - 17 cunning corsairs

3. Tale of the Cunning Corsairs - by Raksha

The Tale of the Cunning Corsairs


Seventeen bold Corsairs whiled away the hours, awaiting the signal to disembark from Pelargir and open black sails on  the Anduin, gateway to the  rich City we came to plunder:  from Sarkanga, the old man of the ship, to  little Azraf, the cabin boy and the mighty Berkim, who drummed the slaves'  oars.  And I, Nallo of Umbar, quartermaster.  We had such hopes, such  dreams of roaring into that white stronghold of  our ancient enemy, of  seizing gold and pale-skinned maids for pleasure and profit.  And to see  the haughty, elf-blooded Gondorim humbled was a dream burned into the hearts of  our fathers and their fathers' fathers before them as long as the Corsairs had  counted the years.

Then a mist came up.  No true mist, for it was in truth a great and  terrible wind of ghosts, ghosts who flew up onto all the ships of our proud  fleet.  There were screams, and the sounds of our mates' scimitars and  knifes, striking at nothing.  And our crewmates fell, gibbering in horror  and dying on the deck, or leaping overboard.  The things in the mist; they  grinned as they bore down on us.  I thought I saw a few living men striking  out from among that ghostly horde, if they were in truth men - one was very  tall, with a grey cloak, a white face, and eyes that burned silver in the  moonlight.  Ai, we could not stand against them!

Seventeen Corsairs choked back our terror and decided to live.   Cunning rather than courage ruled our hearts.  We dove over the side, and  swam for shore, then ran for our lives, cold, wet, desperate to be away...

We made it to Pelargir, where, hungry and miserable, we surrendered to the  townsmen.  They needed extra hands to rebuild; and, because we had  surrendered, they let us live in servitude, until, a year later, they released  us.

I never returned home to Umbar.  I work in a dockside tavern, and hope  to wed the Tavernier's daughter - she will have me, but her father is less certain. Sarkanga works for a sail-maker down the street.  Little  Azraf was adopted by a family who had lost their sons.  Berkim was hung  after he knifed a merchant.  The other thirteen Corsairs who fled with us  during the Night of Ghosts are scattered throughout Pelargir; living well for  the most part.  

Sometimes I miss the old life; the time when we Corsairs were feared from  Harandor to Andrast; and I answered to my captain instead of a fat Gondorian  innkeep.  But whenever I turn to the sea, I hear the shivering wind and my  skin crawls, my heart quails.  I can't forget the sight of it, the awful  sight, of the dead things, borne on that wind to kill the living.  I don't  know if my father, dead since I was a lad, would curse me for cowardice, or  laugh at my cunning.  I just know that I'm still alive, and glad of  it.

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: HASA Workshop

Status: General

Completion: Ongoing Serial

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/10/06

Original Post: 12/03/05

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