Friday the 13th Onlist Challenge

Middle-earth Superstitions

1. Fate Was That Day More Strong

There was no time. There might be a patrol at any moment that would discover the slain sentries. They had to leave—now. But the bound and bloodied form that lay at his feet was insensate, unresponsive to his whispers, and Gwindor was fidgeting at his back. There was no time! Even Elves could not make time, and Beleg cursed silently as he yanked one of the cruel-hafted knives from the tree and began to cut through the tough leather straps that bound Túrin to the trunk. With a gesture and jerk of his head, he prompted Gwindor to come and help, and the other obeyed, gingerly and with great reluctance taking up the weapons of his tormentors to free one not so very unlike him in terms of fortune. But just as he leaned over to saw at the bonds about Túrin's legs, Gwindor made a muffled sound of sudden terror, and Beleg whirled, knife cocked and at the ready for a throw... only to see Gwindor frantically brushing at a spider that had scuttled up his arm. "Do no—" But it was too late: Gwindor crushed it and wiped his hand on the ground.

Then, shooting a glare at Beleg, he hissed softly, "Go on! Pay me no heed but see to the task!" Without a further word, he bent over the straps and began cutting at them. After a moment, Beleg followed suit, for they could afford no delay. But when at last they had freed their friend, and together, they hoisted him in their arms, Beleg looked down at Túrin's pale, bruised face, and memory unfolded:

Of a grave young man who had joined Beleg on the Northmarch—an incongruously beautiful lad whose beatific smile would have been less terrifying did he not wear it while slaying. Else he was a sullen, sad thing to look upon, which seemed a waste of such looks. And though he was ever glad enough to help in any task, he seemed always to find a way to break something despite what seemed an innate grace. Paradox became him, it seemed, and Beleg remembered him staying his hand when he would have crushed a spider that had scuttled too near the marcher company's somewhat frugal supper. "Do not!" he had said. "They are good luck." And he had, with patient puffs of breath, coaxed it into his hands and taken it away to a new home in the bushes about their camp.

For weeks, the company had chuckled over that. "What luck can spiders bring?" they would ask.

"Good if you spare them; bad if you slay them," would come the inevitable reply, and soon enough all those who marched with Túrin had learned to have a care about the spiders. 'Twas not as if they were of the monstrous brood of Nan Dungortheb, after all, and so long as he had no compunction about slaying the Orcs and wolves that threatened the borders, the Elves humored this strange custom of his. Beleg had even adopted it of late, for being Anglachel's master made him think that mayhap a bit of luck would not be unwelcome, and it was not hard to come by it in the forests.

And so now, as he and Gwindor sweated and strained to lift the unconscious Man over the briars, and into a little clearing among them, Beleg found himself uneasy with Gwindor's accidental murder of eight-legged luck. For we shall need fortune's favor, he thought, as he surveyed briefly the Man at his feet. The chains strung about and between his hands could wait, if only they could get him on his feet and moving. Up with you, man, and off with these fetters, and if only we have a little luck, we shall see home again!

But fate was that day more strong than luck, for two only came ever home, and not to Doriath.




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Title phrase taken from The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Túrambar," 255.

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: 09/07/03

Original Post: 06/15/03

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