A place to store drabbles and ficlets, mostly written for various prompts.
A lot of these are pretty old and probably of uneven quality.
1. Theater by StarSpray
2. Water by StarSpray
3. Memories by StarSpray
4. wide-eyed and wonder-filled by StarSpray
5. Faces by StarSpray
6. Spellbound by StarSpray
7. Let There Be Light by StarSpray
8. Mulled Wine by StarSpray
9. Horse of a Different Color by StarSpray
10. Harmony by StarSpray
11. Collaboration by StarSpray
12. Waiting out the Storm by StarSpray
13. West Away by StarSpray
14. Lost & Found by StarSpray
15. You Did What?! by StarSpray
16. Through Dark to Light by StarSpray
Maglor visits the Globe; double-drabble.
He finally gave into curiosity and slipped into the back of the famous Globe, to hear whether the Lord Chamberlain's Men were truly as talented as was said. They were to perform a new play, according to the excited whispers among the audience of Londoners. He only hoped it would be worth the price for a seat.
A hush fell over the crowd as the actors took the stage. They immediately swept the audience from the hot summer day in London to a frigid winter night in Denmark, and into a tale of intrigue, oaths sworn to slain fathers, murder, insanity, and vengeance.
For Maglor Fëanorion, it was particularly chilling.
"To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer--"
To linger and watch the world roll on, burdened by regret and bloody memory, wandering the shores forever alone while the world changes and Men rise and multipy and forget the Firstborn--
"To die--to sleep--"
To fall, to leap in madness and despair, screaming, burning, until the fiery depths of the earth swallow body and voice, and shining, hallowed Jewel--
And at the end: "The rest is silence."
Written for Tolkien_Weekly's Water challenge series.
Ice and Snow
Some of the trees lining the Esgalduin still bore scars from the Dwarves' battleaxes. Dark, bare branches reached toward the bright sky, missing the nightingales whose voices had once filled the forest with song.
But among the drifts of ice and snow on the ground ran children, whose playful shrieking was less delicate, but infinitely more lively than nightingales.
Giggling breathlessly, Elwing fell back into a snowdrift and stared up at the cloudless sky. "I love snow," she told Elurín when he fell beside her.
"I wish Ada could play with us."
But Ada was king, and always busy now...
More Questions than Answers
Steady rain turned the world a gloomy shade of grey. The path was more puddles than ground, and Elwing thought everyone's clothes must be more mud than cloth by now. The bag holding the Nauglamír was heavy in Elwing's hands.
And in her mind there were still more questions than answers. "Where are Nana and Ada?" she asked Lady Galadriel. "And Eluréd and Elurín? Where are we going?" Galadriel never answered. Her face was set and hard, like she was angry.
"We are going to the sea!" Lindir told her, smiling. But his bright cheer was more forced than real.
"Tell me about it. Gondolin."
"It was glorious. White and shining in the sun, with fountains glittering in the squares..."
Idril saw them together on the beach, heads bent together as they spoke in half-whispers, like everything shared was a secret. She saw Elwing hide a shy smile behind a curtain of dark hair, and Eärendil's gaze strayed over the sea as he remembered the beauty of hidden Gondolin.
"Now your turn. Tell me of Doriath."
"It was beautiful, all green and gold and white beside the Esgladuin, where elanor and niphredil bloomed. My grandfather met my grandmother dancing there..."
Eärendil hoisted Elros onto his hip as Elrond clambered onto a chair. Elwing paused, smilng, in the doorway to watch as he answered all the questions the boys had about ships, while they stared in fascination at teh plans scattered across the table. Elros in particular wanted to know everything there was about sailing.
Later, Elrond brought Elwing a map. "The world is so big," he informed her solemnly and wide-eyed.
She smiled wistfully, and traced the dark line that was the River Sirion with a finger. "Yes," she agreed, remembering the long journeys of her childhood. "Very big indeed."
There were no lakes near the mouths of River SIrion, no calm, glassy mirrors of the sky, glittering surprises in the midst of cool shady forests. Only the river itself, and the sea, always moving, rushing, crashing against stones and sand. Elwing had learned to swim in a lake; her father taught her and her brothers.
But Elrond and Elros learned to swim in the Sea, and she always feared the undertow would sweep them away, though Eärendil laughed at her worries. "They'll be fine."
But when he disappeared out to sea, she kept the boys on shore, building sandcastles.
Cold pierced her very bones, and her nose and lungs burned with salty water as they longed for air, and she tumbled down, down into the depths of the Sea, dark but for the blinding, brilliant light of the cursed Jewel for which she had lost everything--her family, her homes, her sons...
And just when she thought she could not survive another moment, strange power encased her, and she rose with the Silmaril as a beacon on her beast, breaking through the waves on wide white wings.
Sirion burned behind her. Despairing, Elwing turned West, where somewhere Vingilot waited.
written for Tolkien_Weekly's hairdressing challenge series
It had been a long time since he'd gone through the oldest of boxes and trunks stored away in Imladris. Many belonged to Elves long since departed. Elrond knelt before a dusty trunk he recognized as his own.
Inside were papers--letters, mostly--and assorted small items, brought from Lindon that he had not needed at the tiem. He picked up a small comb, delicately carved with roses. Someone had told him once it had belonged to Elwing, brought out of the ruin of Doriath.
He ran his fingers over the carvings and wondered what Elwing was doing then.
Elrond found the twins asleep in the garden, curled up on the grass beside each other, having exhausted themselves in play. The sight reminded him of another pair of twins who often napped on the pale sand on the shores of the sea after building sandcastles taller than themselves.
They had pretended the sandcastles were watchtowers, looking out for their father's return from sea. Elros had always wanted to swim, but when their father was gone their mother bade them stay ashore, wary of the wild, raw strength of the waves.
Elrond hadn't understood why, then. He thought he did now.
Scowling, Lindir scribbled something onto his parchment. Out of the corner of his eye, Elrond could see that he had cut several stanzas out of a song he had been slaving over for months. The twins peered over the table at the parchment, then quickly vanished when Lindir looked at them sharply.
He was always short tempered when songs were not coming along as he wanted. Elrond sat back with his scroll and sighed, remembering Maglor shut away for days at a time, writing songs that always sounded like the sea. Perhaps they still did, on some long forgotten shore...
The heavy tome sat on the table, dusty and cracked, but in surprisingly good condition. "What is it?" Celebrían asked, resting a hand on Elrond's shoulder as she leaned forward to peer at it.
"A collection of songs and stories from Gondolin and Doriath," Elrond said, "recorded by Tuor before he set sail." THe book's journey from Sirion to Imladris had not been an easy one. Elrond was reluctant to handle it, lest it be damaged. "Lindir has volunteered to make copies."
Once that was done this precious book would be carefully put away, to last many years to come.
Giggling, Arwen spun around, arms flung out to match her skirts and hair, which she had carefully, if slightly clumsily, plaited white feathers and golden flowers into. Elrond laughed as Elrohir swept her off her feet to toss her into the air.
Grey eyes and hair like shadows. When she wore blue, everyone said she looked like Melian's daughter, their most beautiful princess reborn among the waterfalls of Imladris. She even danced like Tinúviel.
But as he watched her soar for a moment with feathers in her hair, Elrond was reminded not of Lúthien's famous grace, but Elwing in flight.
"You worry too much," Celebrían laughed as she kissed him goodbye. Arwen skipped over to embrace him. "It is high time Arwen traveled beyond Imladris."
Elrond agreed, but he knew also the dangers lurking in the wild. Orcs and trolls and other things with no love for Elves. He hugged Arwen, and then she was mounting her palfrey, and she and Celebrían waved gaily as they departed with their escort, across the bridge and away toward Lothlórien.
Partings were always hard. He knew better, of course, but somehow he always ended up thinking of those who had never come back.
written for Tolkien_Weekly's Summer Sports challenge series
Wide-Eyed and Wonder-Filled
There had been a time when he'd had absolutely no interest in archery, preferring to carve himself flutes or to work on his Runes.
Of course, no one used them anymore, unless there were still Dwarves tucked away deep in a mountain somewhere. And he had to feed himself somehow.
So "Darren" spent the bright summer afternoons at a summer camp teaching children how to hold a bow properly. And in the starlit evenings by the campfire, Daeron delighted them all with his music, songs older than the sun and moon. It was good to have a wide-eyed, wonder-filled audience again.
Keeping Him Here
Daeron lounged in the shade of a tree and watched the older campers eagerly prepare for their next activity. They called it fencing, having taken the art of swordplay and turned it into a sport.
Not that Men needed swords to defend themselves anymore, he reflected. Or bows, for that matter. Morgoth and Sauron were no more, but their influence lived still in the hundreds of ways Men found to take each other's lives.
Sometimes he wondered what kept him on these shores. But then he would see a child with Lúthien's starry eyes, and couldn't bring himself to leave.
written for Tolkien_Weekly's Faces challenge series
A Smile to Die For
Grief and hardship and long travel shad worked hard to age him before his time, Lúthien thought. She watched him from the tree shadows, watched him watch the river and the flowers, and scan the trees for a glimpse of her. She remembered the desperate something in his voice when he called her Tinúviel.
Curiosity warred with caution. He was a stranger, and a Man. But how was it that he was so much younger than she, and yet seemed older?
Then she stepped into the sunshine. A brilliant smile transformed his face, stealing away the years, and her heart.
Across a Crowded Room
He stood across the room from her, speaking with Daeron and Finrod. Artanis sipped her wine and pretended to listen to her companions, but really she was watching Celeborn, Thingol's kinsman. His silver hair gleamed like Melian's pools in the lamplight, and his laughter echoed among the pillars.
THen he caught her gaze with eyes blue as the sea in high summer, and winked. Artanis immediately averted her gaze, blushing. Blushing! She, proud daughter of Finarfin, was blushing!
Lúthien laughed like a nightingale as Celeborn crossed the room. "Lady Galadriel," he said with a smile, "will you dance with me?
A Raised Eyebrow
She found him muddy and out of breath from laughter, beneath a pile of particularly rambunctious children. Idril raised an eyebrow as the children scattered and Tuor sat up. He grinned brightly up at her, red-faced and looking absolutely nothing like Ulmo's blessed messenger. 'Good afternoon, my lady," he said.
His stature belied his youth, Idril realized suddenly. How strange Men were!
She smiled down at him. "Good afternoon. It seems you have been defeated."
"Utterly," he agreed. "As it should be, since I was playing the Balrog." Idril bit her lip to stifle a giggle, and his smile widened.
He Meant Well
Pull a Face
Eärendil came running from the shore, flushed, salt-crusted, and dripping, but smiling triumphantly. "For you, Elwing!" he announced, holding out his hand. In his palm sat a pearl, round and white and gleaming in the sunshine.
Nimloth had worn pearls, ancient gifts from Cirdan's people, woven in her hair and strung with emeralds around her neck. Elwing could remember them glinging red in the torchlight the night Doriath had fallen.
She pulled a face to hide her sudden tears. "You reek of fish," she said, and fled over the grassy dunes, startling a flock of pale grey gulls into flight.
Race to Courtship
Dior kept his face uttelry deadpan as his mother, alughing in her nightingale way, gently pushed him forward. Nimloth felt her kinsman's hand on her back, urging her ahead as well. So this was why Celeborn had insisted she accompany him to Tol Galen.
When their elders retreated inside to share news, Nimloth glanced around and caught a glimpse of a sparkling lake through the trees. She looked at Dior. "Race to the lake!" And she ran. As they tripped into the cool shallows, she discovered Dior's laughter wasn't music-light like Lúthien's, but as deep and ardent as his father's.
written for the Tolkien_Weekly Let There Be Light and Faces challenges, respectively
She had danced through the stars as Varda flung them through the inky sky, delighting in their delicate diamond light. She had wandered beneath the trees of Yavanna, marveling as they thrummed with fresh green life. She had taught the nightingales to sing.
But none of them had caught her spellbound as the tall Quendi king with hair like spun starlight and eyes that burned with the enchanted light of Laurelin and Telperion. She followed him through the tree shadows and listened to hsi deep voice rise in song.
Then she sang back, and caught him in her love-struck spell.
At Long Last
They watched as she approached the gates of Mandos, her loose night-dark hair cascading over her soft grey raiment. Her eyes had held naught but grief for so long, but now tentative hope flickered in their ageless depths, drawing her away from the gardens of Lórien.
Slowly, the gates opened, and an Elf emerged, striding confidently into the sunlight. His silver hair gleamed when he turned his head to survey this new world.
Rapture transformed his stern features when he saw who awaited him; when Thingol and Melian embraced again at last, those watching cheered, and nightingales burst into song.
Written for Tolkien_Weekly's Let There Be Light challenge series.
He saw her first by moonlight, all silver and ebony, gleaming with the light of stars in her eyes as flowers blossomed at her feet, their perfume mingling with the sweet scent of wild roses in her hair. And when she smiled he forgot everything else, all his long travels and cares and bloodstained grief.
"Tinúviel!" he cried, for her voice was sweet as a nightingale's, but she disappeared, away through the trees, and he was left alone in the darkness again. When she was gone even the sun seemed dimmed.
So he stumbled on, searching for his enchanting Tinúviel.
Nothing pleased him more than catching Lady Galadriel off her guard. Like giving her that name (which fit her far better than Artanis anyway), or presenting her with unexpected flowers.
Now they were alone in the garden, the only light coming from the stars and from a candle in a nearby window, turning the fountains to molten diamond and gold. Galadriel was speaking of Nargothrond, and how happy her brother was with its progress. It was all very interesting, but Celeborn had stopped listening.
When she turned to ask him something, he leaned forward and caught her off guard again.
The firelight cast dancing shadows on the walls, and a warm glow on Idril's hands as they rested atop her swollen belly. Tuor watched her doze, until the baby kicked, and her eyes opened. She blinked sleepily up at him. "He is restless," she said. "More than any Elven child."
"He wants to see the world as much as we wish tos ee him," Tuor laughed, sitting beside her. He imagined a child with Idril's eyes and a smile bright as the sun reflected on the fountains of Gondolin.
Idril leaned against his shoulder, smiling, and closed her eyes again.
"Promise you won't tell anyone?" Elwing asked, clutching the carefully wrapped package nervously. It was almost too large for her to hold.
"I have already promised a dozen times," Eärendil pointed out.
"Right, of course." Elwing gently unwrapped the package, and Earendil's breath caught in his throat. Dozens of vibrantly colored gemstones surrounded the Silmaril, bright as a star in Elwing's hands, outshining the lamp on the table. It illuminated her as well, making her hair shine and eyes sparkle.
But its light made him nervous, too. So much had been lost for this jewel. What would Elwing sacrifice someday?
If Lúthien was twilight and nightingales, Nimloth was sunshine and bluebirds. She ran where Tinúviel danced, and her weapon was a bow or spear instead of spellbinding song. Her silver hair flashed in the sunlight, and her sea-grey eyes sparkled when she laughed at Dior, which was often.
He didn't mind. He liked making her laught, and steadfastly ignored the knowing smiles his parents exchanged with Celeborn and Galathil. He had no intention of marrying her.
But then she kissed him beneath a blossoming apple tree, and ran away with laughter like silver bells while he stammered and turned red.
Written for Tolkien_Weekly's "Mulled Wine" challenge series.
Sugar and Spice
The sun's rising has brought a new spring to Middle-earth--and a multitude of plant life never seen before.
Lúthien sniffs at one of the aromatic spices brought to Menegroth by one of the wandering tribes. It's pungent, and quite nice. "What is it?"
"Cinnamon," Galadriel says, breaking one of the sticks in two. "You can grind it up and mix it into pastries, or mulled wine, or apple pie..."
"Apple pie?" Lúthien picks up an apple, running her fingers over the smooth, shiny skin, redder than a ruby. "You can bake these?"
Galadriel laughs. "Of course. I'll show you..."
"Oh, I know ginger," Lúthien says when Galadriel picks it up. Círdan's folk use it on fish."
"So do..." Galadriel pauses, lips thinning for the briefest of moments. "So do the Teleri in Aman. They use it also in tea, to aid those who suffer seasickness."
Lúthien considers asking why she hesitated in speaking of Olwë's folk, but decides against it. "And do the Noldor use it to bake things?" she asks instead, lightly and teasing.
Galadriel smiles. "Among other things..." Lúthien laughs.
It isn't long before the smell of gingersnaps fills the kitchens, mingling with apples and cinnamon.
Three is Company
Celeborn follows the smell of baking and the sound of giggling to the kitchens. They are mostly deserted, which is odd, but the two he finds in a corner, sipping wine and surrounded by spices, are odder still.
Lúthien has flour in her hair, and Galadriel sports a dark smudge across her nose. Neither seem to notice, deep in a discussion of the subtle differences between nutmeg and mace.
Lúthien sees him first, and greets him with a bright smile. "Celeborn! Have you seen all the spices the traders brought? There are so many new things we can make, now!"
In addition to pies and cakes and things, Galadriel has brought with her from the West a delicious recipe for mulled wine. Lúthien insists that Celeborn sit down and enjoy a goblet, and sweeps up the ingredients to make some more. Celeborn thinks she has had more than a goblet herself, for he does not think he has seen her quite so giddy before.
His suspicions are further supported when she knocks over the ground pepper, sending up a cloud that has them all sneezing. Laughing, Galadriel cleans it up, and Lúthien hands Celeborn a goblet of warm, red wine.
How Does it Taste?
As Lúthien bends to get a loaf of cinnamon bread from the oven, she watches Celeborn and Galadriel as the latter raises a slender eyebrow. "Is something wrong?" She is practically daring Celeborn to criticize her recipe, while he frowns thoughtfully into his goblet.
"No," he says, looking up. "It is delicious."
"Then why do you frown?"
"I do not recognize all the spices. What is in it?"
"Nutmeg, among many other things." Galadriel tosses her hair over her shoulder as Celeborn leans over the table, searching for the spice in question. "It is this one, beside the mace."
After Celeborn bids them goodnight, Lúthien turns her attention to the sweetest thing the traders brought them. The sugar is sweet, but not like honey or berries. When she says so, Galadriel laughs. "Be careful, or you'll have Daeron trying to invent new words for 'sweet.'"
"Oh, he's been too busy trying to find the right way to describe sea foam in moonlight," Lúthien replies, waving a hand. "Never mind that he's never seen the sea."
Galadriel sips her wine, peering at Lúthien over the goblet's rim. "Have you seen the sea?"
"Of course I have! Don't look so surprised."
"When did you travel to the coast?" Galadriel asks as Lúthien foregoes the red, and opens a bottle of blackberry wine.
"Oh, ages ago," Lúthien replies. "Long before the moon first rose, when Menegroth was only a glimmer of thought in my parents' minds, and we lived not in Doriath but Eglador." She sighs, leaning back in her chair, hair falling over her face like a shadow. "The world was quieter, then. Less crowded. Saver. Celeborn took me to visit Círdan in the Falas." Her smile is one of melancholy nostalgia. "We dove for pearls, and I learned to sail."
Written for the "Horse of a Different Color" challenge at Tolkien_Weekly
They were forced to stop long before Elrond would have liked, but the wounded and the children needed to rest. Exhausted himself, he dropped his things at the roots of a large old chestnut tree, and almost instantly a chestnut, still inside its spiky outer shell, dropped on his head. Laughter followed when he flinched; Elrond looked up into the branches to find two identical faces smiling back down at him.
"Worry not," said one, dropping lightly to the ground. "It isn't much farther."
Elrond blinked at him. "What isn't?"
"A hidden valley, in the foothills of the Misty Mountains."
Celeborn frowned. "You said there was a valley."
The hunters grinned at him. "Just follow us, and watch your steps!"
Elrond and Celeborn exchanged glances, but followed without argument. They could jsut hear the distant baying of Sauron's hounds; the sooner they got their people to this hidden valley, the better.
The hunters darted up the hill ahead of them, dark hair flying behind them like banners in the fresh mountain breeze.
The ground dropped away so suddenly that Elrond nearly fell over the edge. But there it was--a beautiful green valley filled with the sound of flowing water.
Elrond found the hunters sitting beneath a beech tree, dappled sunlight dancing on their hair and faces, apparently entirely at ease, in spite of the army practically on their doorstep.
One of them smiled up at him. "Has everyone made it?"
"Yes. Thank you. I don't think we would have escaped Sauron's army without you."
One of them fell backward onto the grass, sighing as he stretched his arms over his head. The other peered at Elrond, bright grey eyes sharp, his smile slipping just a little into wistfulness. "Has anyone ever told you you look just like your mother?"
The hunters flitted in and out of the valley, often returning suddenly and unexpectedly, covered in dust that turned their dark hair dun, and smeared across their faces in sweat-damp streaks, or else splattered with dark orc blood with an almost feral light in their eyes. But even those who feared them and thought them strange phantoms cheered when they brought back news that the tide of war was turning.
That evening they found him watching Gil-Estel. "Hideous, isn't it?" one of them remarked.
"The Silmaril." The hunter bared his teeth. "You can almost see the bloodstains from here."
The hunters only laughed when Elrond asked--again--for their names, vanishing wraithlike into the shadows under the trees, as though they wore copies of Lúthien's black dream-cloak, leaving him standing alone with his frustration and questions.
Celeborn only shrugged when Elrond told him about it. "I'm half-convinced they're Maiar grown bored in the Undying Lands," Elrond muttered, "or kin to Iarwain Ben-adar."
"I don't doubt they know him." Celeborn smiled. "And I think--" He stopped, expression turning almost wistful.
"What? Do you know who they are?"
He shrugged again, and turned his gaze toward Eärendil's star. "Impossible ghosts."
In the Middle of Winter
They blew back to Imladris with the first white-out snowstorm, rolling their eyes at Elrond's fumbled greeting. "Those who call you wise must be mistaken; it cannot take so much wisdom to recgonize your own uncles!"
Elrond opened his mouth to protest--Eärendil had no brothers--before he recalled the tales OF Doriath, and shut it again. "But you--"
"Of the fate of Eluréd and Elurín no tale tells," intoned the second twin, before thrusting a bottle of wine into Elrond's hands. "Oropher sends his regards."
Impossible ghosts, indeed. Smiling, Elrond took the wine. "Welcome back to Imladris, uncles."
For Silmladylove's Femslash February drabbletag on tumblr, for the prompt Arien/Uinen
In the Timeless Halls of Ilúvatar they had sung together, weaving music in harmony, Arien a bright and bold counterpoint to Uinen’s gentle steady rhythm, each learning of the other as they sang, and delighting in each other’s voices.
When they descended into Arda, they parted.
Arien flew to the skies to help Varda bring light into the emptiness, to dance through towering nebulae and ride, laughing, the waves of heat and light pulsing from stars newly born of white-hot joy.
Uinen dove into the depths of Ulmo’s watery realm, cool and clear and quiet, where she whispered strains of Music into the currents that threaded like veins throughout the tumultuous new world.
But in moments of peace between the battles brought upon them by Melkor, Arien descended like a shooting star from the fiery skies to the shores of the great seas, and Uinen rose like a great wave from the depths, and now when they joined together they created something new–swirling mists that hissed and billowed about them, rising even to become towering clouds in the air. And Arien laughed like the crackling of fire, and Uinen sang like the crashing of waves, and their joy was so fierce and so complete that even Melkor dared not assail them.
For Silmladylove's Femslash February drabbletag on Tumblr, for the prompt: Elemmírë/Írimë, collaborating on a song
The bed was a mess, a tangle of sheets and scattered bits of scribbled-on parchment and ink stains. Laurelin’s light streamed in through the open window; outside a bluebird sang happily, unheeding of the laughter coming from inside.
“Írimë Lalwendë, that is terrible, I can’t sing that!”
“Of course you can!” Írimë waved the piece of parchment over her head as she stretched out lazily in the Tree light. “You can sing anything, everyone knows that.”
“I can’t get up in front of the Valar and all three Kings of the Eldalië and sing a song filled with puns and innuendo,” Elemmírë protested. “I’m going to burn that the moment I get a chance—”
“You will not, I worked hard on this!” Írimë held it just out of reach, shrieking when Elemmírë lunged after it. “Ow, that’s my hair—”
Elemmírë snatched the paper and tossed it over the side of the bed as she straddled Írimë. “You are incorrigible,” she said, settling back on Írimë’s hips and trying to look stern. “See if I ever ask you to collaborate again.”
Írimë settled back among the pillows and stuck out her tongue. “I’m clever,” she said. “Just because you don’t appreciate my brilliant sense of humor—”
“Yours is the lowest sense of humor—”
“Excuse you, Ingwë loves my sense of humor.”
“He only indulges you.”
“I would rather you indulged me.” Írimë wrapped her arms around Elemmírë’s waist and dragged her down into a kiss. “I do have some other ideas we could collaborate on.”
Elemmírë laughed. “Another song?”
“Well, there might be some singing…”
for the Femslash Week Bingo prompts:
Four Words B8: Thunder, Fragment, Apple, Arch
Lyrics/Poetry N21: “But the rain is full of ghosts tonight.” Edna St Vincent Millay
Thunder shook the forest as Nellas darted between the trees, rain streaming through her hair and over her face. The only light came from the occasional burst of lightning as it cast everything into sharp relief, just brief enough to trick the eye into seeing monstrous things in the shapes of branches and brambles.
Usually, Nellas would not be afraid—she had run laughing through many a summer storm in Doriath, and even here too in the forest by the Withywindle. But this storm was not of the natural world, and to the east mountains were breaking, the earth crumbling in against itself as the Powers of the West waged war against the Enemy in Angband, and even here it seemed like she could hear the screaming of Elves and Men as they fought and died.
She ducked beneath the arching branches of a willow tree, and there found Goldberry, who held out her arms wordlessly—for even the merry River-daughter could find no cheerful song in this. Nellas sank into her arms gratefully, and pressed her face into Goldberry’s shoulder, shuddering with each crash of lightning. Goldberry hummed softly.
Just that afternoon they had picnicked together by the sun-spangled water, exchanging apple-flavored kisses and singing together. It seemed a thousand years ago now. Something far away exploded, and Nellas flinched, imagining molten rock fragments screaming through the air to carve deep craters into the land. Goldberry hummed and rubbed her back.
“It will be over soon,” she whispered. “Ohh, can you feel it? The ghosts of Angband are rising to heed the Doomsman’s call.”
Nellas shuddered again. Goldberry’s arms around her tightened. “And then what will happen?”
“Then, my star-child, a new song will begin. And we shall sing its first notes together.”
written for Tolkien Weekly's Coastal drabble challenge
Sam paused to watch the waves lap gently against the sand. He leaned on his walking stick and sighed. The Havens stood gleaming in the golden sunset, only a short walk away. Did Elves have inns, he wondered? Well, if not, he could find Círdan's house, he supposed.
"Well met, Master Hobbit!" someone called out. Sam turned to see a pair of Elves, identical down to their clothes, approaching from down the beach. "Have you come to sail away West?"
"Of course he has," said the second Elf. To Sam, he added, "And we are to be your sailing companions!"
Sam squinted at the Elves. They'd come down from the cliffs just to the north, seemingly, and though at first he'd taken them for Master Elrond's sons, it was soon clear they were not. They had an air about them he'd come to recognize in much older Elves, like Lord Celeborn. "I'm not in the habit of journeying with folk whose names I don't know," he informed them. "Specially when they seem to know mine already."
"Of course, forgive us," said the first Elf. "I am Elurín, and my brother is Eluréd." They bowed together, and chorused, "At your service!"
Sails are Set
They walked together down the pebbled beach, slowly, for Sam was getting on in years, as he tried to remember where he'd heard his companions' names before. But they reached the harbor, and a ship awaiting them with Círdan beside it, before he could call up the memory. Círdan smiled at Sam, and Sam grinned. He'd lived quite a full life, and now he was quite ready to find Master Frodo again, and take some rest.
"Farewell, at last!" Eluréd exclaimed, smiling, stretching his arms out as though to embrace the whole world. "And now to see what lies Westward."
As they settled into the boat's small cabin, Elurín peered curiously at Sam's things. "Why did you bring a spade?" he asked. "There isn't any gardening to do in the middle of Belegaer!"
Sam ducked the spade, and its matching hoe and smaller trowel, under his bunk. "I thought I might find a bit of garden over there on Eressëa," he said, blushing a bit. "And I don't suppose there's many hobbit-sized tools to be found there."
They could be made, of course—but there was nothing like good Shire craft-work, in Sam's opinion, when it came to digging potatoes.
"What are these buckets for?" Sam asked, as his companions pulled out a small stack of them on deck, as he envisioned rather vividly the three of them frantically bailing out of their swiftly-sinking vessel.
"For catching rain," Eluréd said.
"Or fish," his brother added. He opened a compartment and pulled out a large net. "I hope you don't mind if we leave the cooking to you, Master Gamgee!"
Sam grinned. "I don't mind at all, Master Elurín." They had plenty of food—waybread and such—but not even Lady Galadriel's lembas tasted better than a good freshly fried fish.
It didn't take long for Sam to recall his companions' names from the histories—in which they played an even smaller part than he had. "But where have you been living all this time, then?" he demanded.
"Oh, here and there," Eluréd said. A dolphin had brought them a few crabs, and he was busy prying the meat out of the shells. "We made it a point to keep out of the way of nearly all the important things."
"Easier not to die that way," Elurín added cheerfully. "Mandos has always sounded so terribly boring."
Sam choked on his crab.
A Warm Welcome
Beautiful ships sailed out of Alqualondë and Avallonë to meet them, manned by laughing silver-haired mariners.
And then they were docking, a small crowd clustered on the pier—and Frodo was there, and old Gandalf, both of them grinning broadly. Frodo laughed when Sam wobbled, his legs still used to the rocking of the ship, and embraced him tightly. "Dear Sam, welcome to Elvenhome!"
"I'm very glad to see you still here, Mr. Frodo, and no mistake!"
"Welcome to Eressëa, Master Gamgee," said Gandalf, eyes twinkling like stars. "And welcome at last, Dior's sons! Your sister is waiting for you!"
For the B2MeM 2017 prompt: Lost & Found
“Olwë.” Elmo nudged his brother with his foot. Olwë rolled over with a sleepy grunt. “Have you seen Elwë? He should be back by now.”
Olwë yawned, and sat up, jostling his wife, who kicked him before rolling over. “I haven’t,” he said, rubbing his leg. “Send a runner to Finwë.”
Elmo did. His daughter returned two days later with word that Elwë had never made it to Finwë’s camp. A hush fell over their entire encampment. An awful, familiar, sick feeling of dread settled in Elmo’s gut. They all knew what it meant when someone disappeared without a trace.
It was years after Olwë led most of their people on the final leg of the Great Journey that Elwë returned to them beyond all hope—and not alone, but with a maiden fair as the stars, with light in her face and shadows in her long hair. Elmo pushed his way through the crowd, hardly daring to believe his eyes. Elwë’s smile faded a little as Elmo charged forward, and he opened his mouth, perhaps to apologize, but did not get the chance before Elmo embraced him. “We thought you were dead! Never leave us like that again, Elwë!”
Written for a tumblr prompt meme, for the pairing Beren/Lúthien and the prompt: "You did what?!"
When Beren woke again beneath the beeches of Neldoreth, beside the clear waters of enchanted Esgalduin, he felt as though he had woken not from death but merely from a deep slumber; he felt utterly rested, as he had not since Morgoth's fires had streamed into Dorthonion.
And beside him was Lúthien, her smile radiant as the sun when he opened his eyes.
He remembered the Halls of the Dead only a little, in hazy, dreamy images–and like a dream, they slipped farther from his grasp with each moment. Yet he had died, and had tarried there, and Lúthien had come–he'd thought, to say one last farewell before they were sundered forever, but now…
"What happened?" he asked.
"Do you not remember?" she asked as they rose together from the soft grass. "I went to Námo Mandos and I sang to him until he yielded." She tossed her hair over her shoulder, raising her chin with the same look of defiance that she'd worn when announcing she would not leave him to face Angband alone, no matter what he did to persuade her otherwise. Beren knew he should feel surprised, astonished, even, but–well, he'd seen her do so many other impossible things, after all. But when Lúthien described the choice with which Mandos had presented her–
"You did what?" he yelped.
"I chose you," she repeated. "After all we have done, all we have been through, I will not be parted from you again, Beren!"
"But you'll die–a mortal–"
"It is done," she said firmly, taking his hand in both of hers. "I cannot change my mind now–and I would not, even if I could. Now come. I know not how many years yet remain to us, but I would not waste even a single moment!"
Written for the Tolkien Weekly "Light & Dark" challenge series
A Moment of Quiet
Finwë’s was the first tomb to be constructed in Valinor. Miriel Serindë’s body had been buried in a simple mound in the Gardens of Lórien; Finwë was laid to rest in a magnificent sepulcher of carven stone, marble and granite, though there had been little ceremony as his body had been laid to rest: they had no such ceremonies, here.
Findis stood before it beneath the black, starless sky. In the square, Fëanor roused their people to rebellion; but here it was quiet, and she could bow her head and weep in peace—for her father, and for her brothers.
Crystal lamps and candles sat scattered about the room, but all their light, even the lamps once thought to be so bright, seemed dim and weak against the darkness that lay like a heavy blanket over Tirion. Findis, sitting very still, watched Lalwen’s shadow on the wall, flickering with the candles so that it seemed to be moving on its own, dancing madly.
“Are we not also Finwë’s children?” Lalwen demanded, looking indeed every inch Finwë’s daughter, down to the obstinate jut of her chin. “Don’t you want to see him avenged?”
“Father would not,” Findis whispered.
Lalwen turned away.
A great wind came up from the east, flowing through the Calacirya and driving away the last shreds of Unlight. It was still dark, but this lasting night was not so terrible beneath Elentári’s stars, clear and cool and clean, the air smelling faintly of the Sea.
Findis stood on the high white walls of Tirion that shimmered faintly beneath the high Sickle’s swing, and watched the last torches of her brothers’ host vanish into the distance. But the cold east wind still carried their voices back, and their defiant songs sounded to Findis more like wailing, and she shivered.
A Thousand Shades of Grey
There was no color beneath the stars. Once Valinor had been a riot of color, every shade of the rainbow and more from gemstones glittering in the Treelight to tapestries of innumerable flowers in the fields and meadows, bobbing gently in the breeze.
Now everything had faded to black and white and a thousand shades of grey, and the only flowers Findis could find were tiny things, like pale imitations of the stars nestled in the grass. She knelt among them and wondered if they grew in the Outer Lands, and if her brothers would think to look for them.
The Moon’s first rising was a marvel, unexpected and sudden. Findis stood outside of Valmar with Ingwion, watching transfixed, breathless, as Telperion’s last bright flower rose over the hills, silver-white and smooth. Feathery clouds passed before it, hardly dimming its light at all—a bright echo of its parent Tree.
For a long time there was silence, until the bells of Valmar began pealing. Ingwion laughed aloud, taking Findis’ hands to spin her around; he shone almost as bright as a Maia, his hair like white gold and his eyes aflame. “See, cousin?” he cried. “The Shadow cannot conquer forever!”
If Moonrise had been marvelous, the first Sunrise was something else entirely. It began as a faint glimmer on the horizon, as the sky turned first pale grey and then to gold and finally to brilliant blue, and the world around seemed to spring to life again: grass greener than green, and flowers of every hue and shade. The bells of Valmar rang louder than ever now, and the people lifted their voices in bright songs.
Findis did not sing; her heart was still heavy with grief. But she stood in the first sunbeams and felt their warmth, and smiled.
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