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Discussing: April 2009 Birthday Cards

April 2009 Birthday Cards

It's April, folks! May the changeable weather inspire you to all sorts of ideas and/or drabbles for this month!

Birthday folk: Is your birthday in April and you would be delighted by a little story gift from your fellow HASA members? Then state your request here in this thread.

Create a birthday workshop story to collect your birthday cards in one place, and enter it into the April Challenge.

Authors: Let yourselves get inspired by the suggestions - a chance to be creative and to make a fellow HASA member happy at the same time! And don't forget to add your birthday cards to the Birthday Cards Workshop the recipient of your birthday card has - hopefully - created.

If you have questions or need help, please ask here in this forum or send me a private e-mail - I'll do my best to help.


April, 4 - RS: I'd like a little something on the Dunedain and how they faired after the War of the the newly crowned King help rebuild Arnor/Annuminas. Of course my fave character is Aragorn.....and Arwen.

April, 13 - Larner: I'd love to see anything involving Frodo or Sam with any of the people they might have met in Minas Tirith.



Re: April 2009 Birthday Cards

Well, mine is the thirteenth.  I'd love to see anything involving Frodo or Sam with any of the people they might have met in Minas Tirith.



Re: April 2009 Birthday Cards


My birthday was April 4th.  I'd like a little something on the Dunedain and how they faired after the War of the the newly crowned King help rebuild Arnor/Annuminas.  Of course my fave character is Aragorn.....and Arwen.




For RS

I fear you will find yourself sharing it with others--Rhyselle and SS have also just known their birthdays.  Enjoy!

Renewal Embodied

And the very stone once rejected by the builders shall become the cornerstone....

            "This stone," noted the mason to the sculptor, "has been worked before.  See how the edges were once sharply defined?  And if you look upon this face, you can see the eight-pointed star of Eärendil once was worked into it."

            The sculptor's eyes gleamed as he ran his clever fingers over the design that still remained on the weathered block.  "Oh, yes!" he said.  "And the stone is eager to be returned to its former purpose once more."  He looked up.  "If you will see to the smoothing of its other sides, I will bring the star again to shine out.  But where do you intend to put it to use?"

            The mason nodded toward Lake Evendim.  "There--the King's Retreat will rise there near the lake's shore.  A tie between the ancient realm of Arnor and its renewal!  I will place it on the central tower, above the King's own quarters."

            The eyes of the sculptor shone with approval.  "Yes, most fitting."  He looked about at the scattering of blocks that littered the ground here, at the center of the ancient site of Annúminas.  "Here were the halls of the King when this was the capital of the ancient realm.  That our beloved Lord King should have a portion of the ancient citadel worked into his own private dwelling is indeed right and proper.  A reminder that all indeed is renewed under him."

            He looked at another great, irregular stone.  "This was once part of a statue, and of Elendil the Tall from the beard and the portion of the diadem that can be seen--yes, the Elendilmir."  He sighed as he examined where enemies long ago had shattered it.  What remained was not even half the height of the original.  "It is too bad, really.  There is not enough to conserve, and no way of reworking it to its original image.  Yet there is warmth here, and again the stone longs to be returned to its original intent as much as does the star block there."

            "But if it cannot be restored or reworked in some manner..." began the mason consideringly.

            For a few more minutes the sculptor ran his forefinger mournfully over the ruins of what had been Elendil's features.  Then he paused, and a smile began to show itself.  "Not Elendil now," he murmured as the plan began to blossom in his imagination.  "No--but as great a hero of the northern realm."  He raised his eyes to meet those of his fellow artisan.  "I will sculpt the Ringbearer from what remains of the old stone.  I doubt Elendil would begrudge his shattered image being reworked to the likeness of Frodo Baggins!"

            For a moment the audacity of the plan shocked the mason, but then he, too began to smile.  "Oh, yes.  Newly cut stone can be brought to carve into fitting images of Elendil and Isildur and others of the northern Kings and Chieftains.  A wonderful turnabout, Ruvemir!  And if I know our beloved Lord Aragorn, he will so appreciate the irony of it--old stone for a new hero!"

            He indicated to his laborers that these two stones should be carefully removed to the shed where the small sculptor come from Gondor would be working on his projects and embellishments for the building of the new Citadel.


            Aragorn slowed his steed as they approached the new Citadel of Annúminas, his attention fixed upon the great facade of the building.  He smiled.  "I am glad you did not attempt to recreate the Citadel of Minas Anor here," he commented to his cousin Halladan, who'd served as his Steward in Arnor during the long years he'd labored to confirm the rule of Gondor under his sovereignty.  "This is by far more appropriate to Arnor!"

            "You can thank the many who labored to see it done, my Lord Cousin," Halladan answered.  "So many have spent so many years seeing the building properly planned and raised.  Come and see!"

            So saying he halted his own great bay gelding and dismounted, and his own son, smiling, hurried to take the reins to lead their horses to the great royal stables.  "Your own retreat has recently been finished there along the lake shore; but this is most fitting, we thought, for the King Returned."

            Together they were greeted by masons and architects and other artisans, and many of those who'd labored long to see the new city rise over the ruins of the old.  Increasingly delighted to see the how the plans that had traveled so many times between Gondor and Arnor had finally taken shape, the King explored the wonders of his new home.

            The Royal Wing had behind it the beginnings of a private garden where already herbs and flowers coexisted in abundance and beauty.  He smiled as he examined a topiary tree shaped into a delightful star shape, in memory of lost Númenor.  "How wonderful!" he exclaimed, and walked around it----

            ----And stopped, his attention arrested.  There was a seated figure carved of what appeared to be ancient stone, in a warm, flesh-colored granite.  It was not tall, and not seated in majesty as were many of the figures he'd seen depicted about the Council's Court.  Nor was the figure seated on any sort of throne.  No, this was a comfortable chair such as scribes favored, the back high, the arms at a comfortable height to support the elbows.  Indeed, the right hand held a quill pen, while the left hand held a comforting mug.  The eyes were alive, full of delight and curiosity, the mouth just opening as if preparing to share a most interesting story.

            "Frodo!" he said softly.  "Oh, yes--Frodo--in the King's garden!"

            He was not surprised to see his favorite sculptor there, watching his response in pleasure.  "Your work, Ruvemir?" he asked.

            The mannikin sculptor nodded.  "Yes, for I thought you'd love to find him here, sharing the garden with you."

            "But where did you find this stone?  It's not native to the area.  I was told that much of the stone used in the original construction of the city was this warm granite brought from the Blue Mountains."

            "Oh, Elendil himself provided the stone for the figure, my Lord King," the sculptor assured him.  "It was here and shattered from its original purpose; but you will find that wherever they could the builders incorporated older remnants into the newer buildings.  It is likely that many of the carved cornices were done in stone that originally graced Elendil's own keep."

            The King wasn't precisely certain what the sculptor meant by Elendil providing the stone for the figure, but there was no question that within the life-sized statue of Frodo Baggins he found the same feeling of an old soul he'd known in the Hobbit it depicted. 

            And somehow he found this most reassuring.



Re: For RS

Thank you Larner for this truly beautiful story.

Of course Ruvemir has to be part of the rebuilding of Annuminas!  I'm glad you managed to inclue him in the story.

"Oh, Elendil himself provided the stone for the figure, my Lord King," - very cute!

I would just love to "jump into" the story and see the final result of the rising of the city with Frodo's statue in the midst (thanks to Elendil!).

Thank you so much!




Re: For RS

Bravo! Absolutely gorgeous..... The dialogue between the two artists was fun to 'watch.'

But the breathtakingly beautiful sight that greeted the King - it took my own breath away - so descriptive were your words.

Congratulations - a 'most reassuring' piece.



No Longer Dream - for RS

Happy belated birthday, RS! It's more of a prelude to what you asked for, but perhaps it will serve.


No Longer Dream 

They saw things that other men never saw: sunsets from the top of Amon Sûl; the secret deer ruts and wallows hidden deep in the trackless woods; at grey dawn, when the sun was a glimmer over the mountains, they saw a hundred swans take flight from the fenlands by drowned Tharbad; on the hunt for orcs and wargs, they passed among the bones of ruined cities – Fornost, Lond Daer, Tharbad, Annúminas. Rangers walked the lost byways, turned old, broken cobblestone for campfires, learned how to make one wall and no roof shelter on the Long Watch.

And they dreamed – dwarvish dreams, elven dreams, the dreams of all the torn up lives of Middle-earth that yearning remember the light of long gone better days. Around little watchfires in the Wild, sitting backed by the lintels of doors that led no more anywhere, over beer and supper in inns from Dale to Bree, they dreamed in the peculiar fashion that life had taught them.

In the Wild: "You could put a post here, you know," someone will say. "Good place, right on the rill, there. Someplace for folk to pause along the way."

"Wouldn't need but a couple men that first year," another takes up the dream. "Then when they've a roof and some fencing up, let them bring their wives out, start planting." Nods all around, and murmuring:

"It could be done."

At Tharbad: "The old bridge rotted, but the stone braces – those are still solid. Break the last of the rot-wood free, float timber down the river and cut the beams and planking here – a little work, and no more fording the hard way."

"We should never take foul-tempered merchants up the passes again," says another, and raises a waterskin to the idea. Aiya násie!, someone mutters, and everyone drinks, whatever he has.

On Yuletides at Forsaken Inn: "Another year in the wastes, lads! Drink up – next year, we'll not be here."

"Why? Going somewhere?" Laughter, groans – everyone knows the joke.

"Aye, we are – to the king who will come, lads. Next year we go East, and we will sit in Barad-dûr's own pub and sing the new year!"

"And afterwards, we raise Annúminas!" the rest chorus.

Generations of dreams flow in blood that spills out onto the earth like so many promises – which it is, and they are. So many dreams, each one lovingly wrought with an eye to hammer and nail, a sense for the clearing and ploughing, for the need of sword and bow that will keep them – always these first. An age of dreams – a thousand years and more, and then one day – it happens. They do ride East. They wrest a new year from the old, though Minas Tirith's taverns are far better than Barad-dûr's.

And when the new king – old Ranger, old hand on the Long Watch, an old and canny dreamer of so many men's dreams – summons them to speak of Arnor, there is but one command in the missive: Tell me what you need to begin.



Re: No Longer Dream - for RS

This is marvelous. The dreams that keep the Rangers going for more than a thousand years are finally fulfilled.



Re: For RS

I am so very glad it pleases you, RS.  And hope your birthday was indeed a joyous one.

And I, too, wish I could visit there in Annuminas in person rather than merely in imagination and see how it was reconstructed! 



Re: For RS

Thank you so for the praise, Agape.  I am honored!  And I'd so love to visit there myself, as I told RS.

Again, thank you so.



Re: No Longer Dream - for RS

As I noted on the discussion list, this is wonderful--seeing the long-time dream passing from generation to generation, until that wonderful, almost unbelievable day when at last Sauron was thrown down, the long war ended, and at last it is indeed time to see lands resettled, ancient towns and cities rebuilt, lost glory reclaimed.  The northern Dunedain must have almost come to believe that there was little point to their continued fights against the agents of the Enemy save for the stubborn determination to not let the Shadow prevail; to have all finally cleared for rebuilding must have seemed impossible to believe at first!




Re: April 2009 Birthday Cards

My birthday mathom to all of you!  Enjoy!  A double drabble. 

Masters of the Hill

            Bungo Baggins often stood here with his new bride, looking out over the Shire both of them loved, caring little for the lands beyond that two of her brothers had sought out.  He little dreamed that those who'd follow him would so favor their Took antecedents.

            Bilbo Baggins would sit under the oak tree with his books, secretly dreaming of lands beyond the dawn and the sunset while in public he behaved with the propriety and predictability expected of a Baggins--until....

            Frodo Baggins looked over the land he loved so fiercely, that he yet wished were more alive and aware.  He desired the excitement promised by the outside, but found himself clinging the more to what he knew he cherished even as it exasperated him.  But then destiny called him away....

            Now it is Samwise Gamgee who stands atop the Hill as Master of Bag End, looking south toward the King he loves and honors, east toward the paths he has trodden and the fears he has faced and conquered, then west the way he's sent his hope.

            Within Bag End sleeps the next Master of the Hill, and what dreams he may know are not yet made manifest.



Re: No Longer Dream - for RS

Hi Dwim

 This brought a lump to my throat.

So many of them holding on to that dream and not living long enough to see it..and yet..when it finally happens.. no words can descibe the feeling!

"Generation of dreams flow in blood that spills out onto the earth..."  BEAUTIFUL!

This just moved me to the core.  Thank you so much! 




Re: No Longer Dream - for RS

Happy belated birthday, RS! It's more of a prelude to what you asked for, but perhaps it will serve.


No Longer Dream 

A gorgeous piece of writing, Dwim!  I'm moved, sighing, and envious all at once. 

I've been somewhat sidelined in terms of writing new pieces lately, due to some RL issues, but I hope my muse will help with at least one of these birthday challenges...




Belated present for RS

More than a month later... Happy Belated Birthday! I hope it was lots of fun :-D

Making Plans

'The Realm of Arnor, seat of Isildur's line, as drawn by Berengar,' lay spread open before them; names as familiar to him as his own but, to his Steward, things of wonder sprung from the beloved legends of his youth.

"It will be wonderful," said the Steward, dreamy gaze unfocused.

"A grand logistical endeavor. Reconstruction..." said the Prince, unable to conceal his thirst for adventure.

"A dream come true," said his kinsman, "if we can manage it--how to emulate the glory of old?"

Aragorn thought for a moment. "No, not emulate. Restore."

"Aye," the three chorused. "We can do that."



Belated present for Larner

Happy Belated Birthday, Larner! I hope you had a great day :-D

Servants and Masters

"Mr. Frodo seems to be enjoying himself," said Sam, smiling as he watched the pair walking ahead of them.

"Imrahil has a gift for making others feel welcome," said master Andrahar.

"And what do you do, exactly, for the Prince?"

Sam recognized that look that said, 'Where to begin?'

"I am his Armsmaster, Bodyguard, Guard Captain, Sword-Partner, unwitting advisor, and generally in charge of keeping him out of trouble."

"My!" Sam blinked. "I thought you were his best friend!"

A panicked look, then a slow, crooked smile. "The same could be said of you."

"No! I'm just the gardener."




Re: Belated present for Larner

Oh, this is perfect, with Sam and Andrahar realizing that both of them are in almost identical positions to their masters.  Lovely!  Thank you!  And my birthday this year was lots of fun!



Re: Belated present for RS

They've been taking lessons from Gimli, I think!  Yes, they can--and will--do that!  Very nice!



For Larner: Reckoning

Oops, well, it has Sam and Frodo in it, if not Minas Tirith... 

Sorry it's late, but I couldn't figure out for the longest time how to make this thing turn and then everything got... busy. 

Happy belated birthday, Larner!



Mr Frodo had been writing again, scratching away with pen quills and ink that stained all the tips of his fingers. Sam watched, weighing the effort – sometimes Frodo would write for days, it seemed, forgetting the hours, working through the night. Other times, he could muster only a line or two, and then his eyes drifted to something out the window, while thought went elsewhere, down who knew what paths?

But it seemed also to soothe him, and the smell of books with their leather spines and knowing lettered winks, Frodo confided, were like a welcome home extended as often as he reached for one.

One afternoon, Frodo wandered into the garden, where Sam was at work with a droopy tomato vine, and he sat there watching, smoking quietly for a time.

"I'm afraid I've got a bit stuck, Sam," he confessed, when Sam inquired about the writing.

"Where this time?"

"Mordor – which is no place to be stuck in, even if it is a page this time."

Sam, who quite heartily agreed, looked with some concern at his master. "Is everything all right, Mr Frodo?"

"Of course," Frodo replied, perhaps just a little too quickly. But: "In fact, I'm looking over the notes I took from you, back in Minas Tirith – you remember? The Stair, and Shelob's tunnel, and the Tower?"

"I remember," Sam replied, wishing that in fact he didn't, for indeed, Mordor was no place to be stuck in, even in memory. Sadly, Mordor seemed to stick in him, will he or nil he, so he tried simply to keep it to nightmares. But if Frodo needed him to fill in parts of the journey, well, he could bear up to it, he thought, steeling himself. "Did you need me to say something more about them?"

"No, no, I was simply struck..." Frodo trailed off at that point, and Sam, who had grown well-tuned to his master's moods, felt himself tense as all unthinkingly, Frodo worried at the stub of a finger.

"Mr Frodo?" Sam pressed gently, when several moments had trailed past in silence. Frodo, somewhat to his surprise, did not start, did not "snap out of it," as Pippin was fond of saying. If anything, that faraway look grew deeper, as Frodo said, quietly:

"It was so inept."

Bafflement mingled now with concern, as Sam said the only sensible thing that came to him: "Sir?"

"Power and flaming swords and armies and towers over little gardens. Gardens! In that place!" Frodo shook his head, brow knitting even as he gave a queer little laugh, and lifted his eyes to Sam, who had gone very still indeed. "Samwise the Strong," he murmured, "who commands a garden to grow, for there is nary a shovel nor hoe to be seen."

Sam felt his cheeks heating, even as he looked down at his filthy hands and the dirt on the knees of his trousers. The work of ten tomato plants and a fair number of taters, roses and turnips, that.

"I wonder why," Frodo said after a few moments. Sam considered the question, and the look on the other's face, and asked, then, what he'd never have dared ask otherwise:

"What did it try you with, if you don't mind my asking?"

That queer smile reappeared then, curled Frodo's lip, as he looked Sam straight in the face, and said simply: "At the end – that it wanted to go home."

Sam felt his lips part, but he did not speak, the twine hanging heavy and forgotten in his hand, and he feeling strangely as if he'd been punched in the chest. Frodo, after a little while, rose, dusting off the seat of his pants, and made for the door and his study. As he passed, he laid a hand on Sam's shoulder. "Pay it no mind, Sam," he murmured, squeezing briefly.

But when Frodo had gained the door, Sam called after him: "'He weighs all things to a nicety in his scales of malice,' the Dark Lord did. That's what old Mr Gandalf said – why it took 'til nearly the end." He shook his head. "Took him right long enough to get his reckoning half right, and by then it was on to me, and starting all over again."

Frodo stared at him a long moment, but eventually, he smiled crookedly, and answered: "Thank goodness!"

Author's Notes: 'He weighs all things to a nicety in his scales of malice': Gandalf at "The Council of Elrond," FOTR.



Re: For Larner: Reckoning

And thank you so, Dwim.  Yes, he weighed things to a nicety in the scale of his malice indeed--Sam now appreciates just what that means, having carried the Ring himself!

Wonderful, Dwim.  And to find that the Ring found itself using Frodo's sympathy as a means of getting to him----


Again, thank you!



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