HASA Birthday Card Challenge 2005

HASA Birthday Cards 2005

3. March

Celandine Brandybuck: I'd still appreciate drabbles about any of the Steward's family. Time, place, topic up to the author's discretion!


He'd always had a head for patterns. As a lad, he read his politics with The Geometry at hand. A sword's arc, a house's angles, a wheel's turn—these drew his eye, while the minstrel's song had him noting: third, whole, sixth, ninth. He saw golden angles in flowers, saw vectors in every colonnade, and Noldolantë was so many differential lines, traced in the mind's eye.

Boyhood's long gone when over breakfast one day, he listens to Faramir discuss Mithrandir's lecture on history. "What do you think?" his son asks.

Denethor considers, then shrugs. "It's all a matter of timing."

Agape4Gondor: Is there a chance I might find a Boromir drabble here for me?

Memory’s Sake - Meril (double drabble)

A light touch along the dusty surface, raising the scent of old roses and musty perfumes.

Once, this dresser was pristine and free of dust. Finduilas had arranged his collection of seashells here with such maternal pride that he thought his face would crack from smiling. She had spent hours with him, setting out arrangement after altered arrangement on the dark surface, until they finally completed it. “I am proud of you,” she said.

The dead are gone, and they will ne’er return. Yet still, for memory’s sake, he took the small white handkerchief from the drawer, and pocketed it.

Later that night, sleepless and studying the delicate embroidery, he slipped out of bed and began to roam the halls. His wandering feet led him all over the Citadel, until he finally ended up before his father’s study, seeing a flickering light from the door, which stood ajar.

His father stood by the window, staring out at the skies. His gaze was absent, remote. When he glanced back to see his son waiting by the door, he beckoned, and Boromir walked over.

Father and son stood in silence, watching the night pass by, and both thought of the same person.

Khazar-Khum: For drabbles--let's see the bad guys in action, shall we?


Tegrib sighed. A year to set this trap, innumerable orcs lost, and the trolls! Trolls were inelegant, but as lures, they guaranteed sufficient toys for the orcs to break while Tegrib worked his patient craft, that certain questions be answered ere sentence fell.

But skill had limits; Tegrib glared at Isildur's bleeding Heir. Impressive—after all he's endured, who'd've thought he'd have wit or will to bite his own tongue off?

Crouching, he said then: "Well done. You've bought your son some time. But only a little. Guard!"

"Sir?" the orc replied, eagerly.

Tegrib waved a hand. "He's all yours..."

"And it happened that when Arathorn and Gilraen had been married only one year, Arador was taken by hill-trolls in the Coldfells..."

"[T]he Wise then knew that the Enemy was seeking to discover the Heir of Isildur, if any remained upon earth."

—"The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen", Appendix A, 420Once - Meril (double drabble)

Once, he was a man.

Once, he sat in the court of kings, surrounded by the stark glory of first his great-aunt’s court, then the more lavish one of his father. Would you care for a sweetmeat, little prince? the noble ladies would laugh.

Once, he was married to a beautiful woman, who looked on him with such love and devotion that he wanted to protect her forever. I will always love you, she promised, as he took her into his arms.

Once, he sailed to Endórë in a fine vessel. The rude folk on the other shore gaped at him and his crew, overwhelmed by the splendor of far-off Númenórë. He is a god! they cried in rough and unfamiliar tongues.

Once, he met a man in the shadows of the city-on-the-far-shores, who promised him a mystic ring and a wealth of riches. Your sons will be Kings of this land, the man vowed, in a voice the essence of truth.

Once, he was a man. But years of trickery and deceit turned him into less-than-a-man: something small and shriveled and mean. And as he raises his mace against the slender warrior, proclaiming his supremacy and sovereignty…

He falls.

See footnote #12 at this page for context.

Narwen Almiriel: Let’s see…Could I have a drabble about either a). Celeborn and Galadriel being reunited in Aman, or b). Finwë and either one of his wives (or both, even…) or c). Melian and Elwë. Please? Pretty please?

Silver and Gold - Elena Tiriel (drabble pair)

He comes.

To some he was The Wise; the appellation amused him.

To those confronting the fell hand of the argent-crowned warrior lord, he was executioner.

To our daughter, he was her healer of hurts, silver-tongued story-singer, patient teacher, proud protector.

To me? He was my anchor in Endor, my roots, my nourishment. Upon me alone he bestowed his ofttimes tempestuous, ofttimes tender, ever-impassioned love.

Our endless separation has tattered my soul. But now, as his white ship approaches quayside, I savor the first faint brushes of his mind on mine.

I clasp my gold-banded hand to hide my trembling.


She awaits.

She stands in solitude amidst the throng, a pillar of white-gowned elegance bewreathed in a rippling aureole, regal in her dignity.

Disembarking, I am drawn to face her.

Others see the glacial magnificence of towering Taniquetil; but I alone glimpse Orodruin's perilous fires concealed beneath -- and grasp the profound cost of masking such passions behind her public guise of serenity.

Her eyes betray her turbulence to me: wrath, sorrow, anticipation... despair?

Did you fear I would not come, my love?

I raise my gold-banded fingertip to her grave and beautiful face, then caress away the single scalding tear.

"...there is no record of the day when at last [Celeborn] sought the Grey Havens, and with him went the last living memory of the Elder Days in Middle-earth."

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Note on the Shire Records

Erin (Sangfroid101): Something involving the Teleri- anything. It can be a teleri reference by some LOTR characters, or a drabble at sea, wherever, whenever. I'm not picky. I just like the teleri. :-)

Come Home - Meril (drabble and three-tenths: 130)

Another oar-stroke, driven by weary and sun-burnt arms. Another sunrise, filtered through the mists, and illuminating the water in palest gold. Another day, spent trying to reach what seems unreachable.

“Get you moving!”

I heard a far-off shout, and looked up hopefully. Another illusion? Endless hours on this tiny craft, trapped by haze and eternally eddying tides, can deceive the senses.

“We have a homecomer!”

Another call! And no fantasy: a ship, prowed with a swan’s head, glided towards me. A woman, face framed by silver braids entwined with white feathers, and with a smile as wide as the seas, appeared at the rail and shouted something.

“Are you…? Is this…?” My voice is hoarse from salt spray.

“You are home, cousin,” she laughed, throwing down the rope ladder. “Come.”

The Noble Task - Meril

I leap lightly onto the railing, breathing deep as the salt-tanged breeze sweeps my face. Home; this is truly home. More of my life has been spent on water than on dry land. One of Uinen’s maidens, with flowing seawater hair, my father teased me as a child.

It has served me well: a first-rate captain, and holder of my own ship. And no mere fishing vessel. The finest ship for the finest task, Lord Olue told me.

“Captain! The Culúrien is gaining on us!”

A fierce grin. “Let’s not have a crew of Noldor beating us! To the sails!”

Elena Tiriel: I'd like a drabble about one or more male character(s) being heroic (however you wish to define that term -- it's not limited to deeds in battle...). My favorite races are Elves (not Kinslayers) and Rohirrim... but Faramir will do in a pinch. Or even Gimli. (Especially if he's with Legolas...) And I *love* it when someone picks out an obscure corner of canon to write about... but that's not a requirement, just icing on the (many-candled) birthday cake...

Legacy of the Blessed—Dwimordene

"And the Dunlendings?" Éowyn inquires. The king her brother sighs. Other matters of the realm talked out alone between them, she comes to the troublesome last.

"All tales remember how they never ceased to war with us."

"We've hostages still from Helm's Deep," Éowyn reminds him.

"For a time; then it's war again."

"What think you, Éomer?"

"I think," the king says slowly, "'tis time we remembered ourselves of Cirion and Éorl—how we once were strangers here."

Eowyn considers. Finally: "The court shall howl."

"So be it. If they love peace, as they say, then let them live it!"

Forsaken Kin - Meril

The wastes of Araman, icy slopes glittering in our torchlight, are hushed as we forge back. I glance at my wife, breath creating a chilly cloud before her face. Silver-grey braids of hair are bound tightly about her head, and her eyes are grim and distant.

Kin for kin.

An implacable threat.

Blood for blood.

She would have gone after them, with oath of revenge unbreakable.

I pull the cloak tighter, and force my feet to move faster across the jagged ice.

Vengeance will do no good, love. I will not have blood on your hands. Not like my brothers.

But in that hour Finarfin forsook the march, and turned back, being filled with grief…

~The Silmarillion (Of the Flight of the Noldor)

Faithful companion—Tanaqui

Belthronding’s reassuring voice whispers in his ear as, one by one, he slays the wolf-sentinels. Long has it sung for him, companion through many battles. Its dark limbs are crafted from yew: hardiest of woods yet one which bends to the will of friendly hands, to guard and keep them safe.

Does he suspect, as the last warg falls, that he will never hear his bow’s sweet note again? Why should he think it? He has faced many perils ere this, though none so great.

He offers a quick, customary caress of thanks, before he steals into the orc camp.


As in birth, so in death: they lie together.

As in life, so in death: they guard our border.

Water washes the walls of their last home; and all rivers must flow to the sea. None can make the current run uphill. Yet a chance-dropped pebble may change the course of a stream forever.

Oh happy hour that brought their forefathers to our aid! We gave land to a people who lacked it. They gave sons to a land that had need of men.

We sing of their valour at the river crossing in two tongues, yet with one heart.

Nothing to fear but fear itself—Tanaqui

The Warden’s news grieves him, but he doubts the course his feelings urge on him. He suspects now the Lady’s favour lies elsewhere, though there have been moments that gave him hope it was otherwise.

Will he add to her sorrow if he brings news he suffers as she does: offering a gift to one who does not wish to receive it? Or simply increase his own burden, no longer able to guard against past hurts with scarce-acknowledged dreams for the future?

Faint heart never won fair lady. His brother’s laughter echoes in his ears.

He rises from his desk.

Vistula the Dunedain: My birthday (the BIG 40) is March 20th and I would LOVE drabbles that have YOUR favorite character somehow interacting with MY favorite character. For those few of you who haven't already guessed who THAT may be, the answer is, of course, Sam.

Anytime, any place, any situation is great! (And I don't mind slash either, if you are so inclined.)

The End of the Road—Dwimordene (quadruple drabble—slightly too large for me to post the words here)

Strength to Save - Meril (double drabble)

Sam had spent a week wandering the city of Tirion, among magnificent streets and houses, blushing at how elven-folk honored him at every turn. On the last afternoon, he lost his way in a web of narrow alleys, and finally stumbled into a statue-filled courtyard.

“Master Hobbit?”

He looked about wildly, and saw an elven-woman emerge from an open door. Her face was stern and angular: she had little of the beauty of the silver-haired Lady of Tirion. But there was something so striking, so arresting about her starkness that he found himself speaking.

“My lady, I never meant to come here, please forgive me,” he stammered. “Should’ve stayed to the main street—”

“You are Frodo’s companion,” she interrupted, studying him. “He spoke of you often, before you came. He says you saved him from a terrible fate.”

Caught off guard, he mumbled, “If I’d been stronger, I could’ve saved him for the Shire.”

She smiled, and her expression was all at once despair and a thousand reborn hopes. A vague thought took shape. That’s like my smile. Who couldn’t she save?

“Let me tell you of a King’s son, and the smith’s daughter who loved him…”

A pert servant—Tanaqui

The Halfling speaks boldly, yet there is no impertinence. Only the love for his master, that draws him along this dreadful road. Even in our short hours together, I have seen many small proofs of how he seeks to ease Frodo’s burden, keep him safe.

I think the men of Gondor do not treat their lords so. Which of them would make such sacrifice for me? I envy Frodo this servant – nay, friend! – who offers fierce affection and would lay down his life for him.

I smile in answer. “Master Samwise. The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.”

Tárion Anaróre: I would reeeeeeeeeeeally love something with the sons of Feanor. Especially the younger ones, if you're up to it! I'd also take anything with Elladan & Elrohir if you don't want to do kinslayers (I love them to death). (Just no slash please!)

Meril (Allie): I'm incredibly indecisive. I want (a) a happy moment between Feanor and Nerdanel, or (b) anything Houses of Healing, or (c) Galadriel and Celeborn anywhere. If you incorporate all of those (definitely not required!), I'll drop dead from shock.

Spirit of Fire—Dwimordene

Where he sought hands to do his will, she sought hearts to know them. Hence at the forge (so halved by absences, Séno couldn't riddle it whole) she works the patient flame anew.

Bellows heave, metal flows—liquid lead, burning in the belly, his rages that she couldn't quench. Etch carefully, swallow acid resentment—nevermind the pain. One day she'll vomit wisdom; she's but to sicken of love—or not, it doesn't matter. That's the consubstantial catch that forging teaches:

We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
Nerdanel pauses, breathes deep, then bends to work again.


We only live, only suspire/consumed by either fire or fire—T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Now in silence, now in speech—Tanaqui

Faramir is in the garden before her today, a book in hand. She asks him what he reads, and he spins tales from the past, transporting her to other times and places with his skill.

Fëanor woos Nerdanel with precious jewels that are yet no match for her bright eyes. Melian casts a spell upon Elwë as he wanders in shadowy woods. Celeborn makes songs in praise of a bright-garlanded maiden; and Artanis becomes his Galadriel. Beren, struck mute by Lúthien’s beauty, nurses his love for her silently.

Later, she reads the book for herself and uncovers his sweet duplicity.

Forodwaith: I'd love drabbles about Arwen (a criminally underwritten character IMO), especially if they focus on a part of her life other than her relationship with Aragorn. If you're an Arwen-hater, write me a drabble about Sam and his garden and I'll be just as happy.

Optics II—Dwimordene

The image trembles on a wavered note, and both fade. Arwen draws a deep breath, as in memory, Celeborn's silver voice says: "Again." Rich with the life of ages, that voice, repeating old lessons to her: "More than mirror, the singer is soothsayer–she may sing only that one, as he appears to her."

And so Arwen seeks her melody anew, in imperfect memory's depths–

The generosity of flame:
Self-consumptive fire
In loving leaves
Her light for all.

This time, the image holds. Through tears, Arwen smiles. Tribute to light not past, but passed, she sings her mother's song.

Replacements - Meril

Queen Arwen has dressed in the manner of our kingdom, abandoning elven styles in favor of our mortal variations. Rich velvets exchanged for flowing silks, embroidery for simple lines.

She has replaced her clothing as well as her life, I muse.

My father said the elven-folk feel sorrows and joys more intensely than we do. We feel a pang at the loss of a rowboat, he said, while the elves feel a shipwreck’s devastation.

I feel sudden warmth for this exotic queen, who traded Valar’s grace for unbreakable love.

“I am Lothíriel of Dol Amroth, my lady. Welcome to Gondor.”

The hands of a healer—Tanaqui

The scent of kingsfoil sweetens the air; glass jars glitter in the late afternoon sun. The tip of her tongue pokes between her teeth as she concentrates on crushing seeds.

I pause in my own work, suddenly aware how tall she has grown this past season. I think about the mornings: I hear her laughter ringing out amongst the clack of shuttles and the chatter of maids. How much longer will she wish to spend near-silent afternoons gathering herbs and concocting potions?

She looks up and smiles. “Will you teach me how to make the Valar’s cordial next year, father?”

(Note: this drabble is a “translation” into English of Elrond thinking in Sindarin and Arwen speaking in Sindarin. I have therefore used the English translations for things more commonly referred to in Tolkien's works by their Sindarin names: kingsfoil is athelas; the Valar’s cordial is miruvor.)

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: 03/24/05

Original Post: 12/15/04

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