The Ides of March: 5. From the East

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools

5. From the East

Author's Notes: The words West and East are often used in the works of Tolkien. Write a story that uses these words as the central focus.

From the East

Gondor's plains rolled on and on, the grass bending against a cypress-and-salt scented wind.

From the East, the wains were coming up from the crossroads, bearing the fruit of the battlefields.

They were all flesh under her hands. Piles of flesh. Elf no different from Man no different from Dwarf. Flesh that she plucked apart, sewed up, cauterized, cleaned and bound. She had pulled so many arrow and spear heads that she felt a miner, delving in the dark in search of gems and gold.

She sought nothing in these days except brief snatches where she might pillow her head in the grass, half-under the cots and sleep.

All of them cried out for their mothers or called her by names she did not recognize in their delirium. They asked to marry her when she fed them bits of bread softened in greasy broth. If they were not the marrying kind, they asked for her kiss. She kissed them just to feel the shape of different letters on her lips.

Every hour when the runners came, when the stink of the marshes drew close, when the wains creaked heavily up the road, she searched for familiar faces. Not long. A glance, a quick sweep as any captain would scan a field where his men lay hidden in ambush. She had not yet seen beloved faces amongst her own grim ranks. She wouldn't ask. Too many who worked her beside her had men out beyond the marshes. Or in them.

She swiped her sweat-stinging eyes, felt the damp film her forearm left behind. She wore her sleeves red to the elbows. The boy who had come to her still moving and able to cry now lay with all the color gone from his face, the crying blessedly stilled. In the half-dark, she could not say if he was Elf or Man. She was sure he was no Dwarf. He lacked a beard.

The ends of herself were starting to unravel. She had to tuck them in, pull out from under the heavy canvas where she had labored for unknown hours, where the sun had beaten all morning and all afternoon and where the lamps would burn all night.

Acrid fluid filled her mouth, and she stepped out into the cool of twilight. She splashed water on the back of her neck and wrists and sat beneath a flowering pear tree, breathing through her nose until the dizziness eased. The white blossoms looked ghostly in the gloaming.

An hour slipped away, two, more. She nodded and dreamed and jerked awake at a sudden cry, tense and wondering, after a silence, if it had been she who had made the cry.

The edges of the high mountains were bloodied with a red and distant light that might have been dawn. Already she could see the shapes of the wains. Her eyes searched out every visible face, methodically. Standing, she drew up her sleeves and tightened the knot in her hair.

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.

Story Information

Author: Marchwriter

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 2nd Age - Rings

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 05/12/12

Original Post: 06/07/11

Go to The Ides of March overview

Comments

No one has commented on this story yet. Be the first to comment!

Comments are hidden to prevent spoilers.
Click header to view comments

Talk to Marchwriter

If you are a HASA member, you must login to submit a comment.

We're sorry. Only HASA members may post comments. If you would like to speak with the author, please use the "Email Author" button in the Reader Toolbox. If you would like to join HASA, click here. Membership is free.

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools