Forum: HASA Birthday Cards Forum

Discussing: May 2009 Birthday Cards

May 2009 Birthday Cards

Birthday folk: Is your birthday in May 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 May 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 need help with anything, or have a question, please ask here in this thread or send me a private e-mail - I'll do my best to help.


May, 6th - RiverOtter: I would like stories about growing old and/or wiser.

May, 25 - Dwimordene: Well, I'd love to see drabbles looking at the resistance in Númenor - either during Ar-Pharazon's reign, or during those final years of Tar-Palantír's reign, when it must have been obvious to some that Pharazon would be a problem for the next Ruling Queen (just not the kind of problem perhaps that he turned out to be). OCs or canonical characters - doesn't matter, though I'll confess to a certain curiosity about Anárion.

Otherwise, if Númenorean politics are not your cup of tea, and inspired by the success of last year's alternative: the turning point that never (quite) was. Doesn't have to be a turning point the characters actually followed (so it doesn't have to be an outright AU); but some turning point in the books that you think would be interesting to highlight and explore in 100 words.

May, 30th - Starlight: I would love to read stories about traditions and/or superstitions in M-e; or, anything about any obscure character finally being on the spotlight.



Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

My birthday is the 6th. I would like stories about growing old and/or wiser.



Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

To one whom I consider a friend... Sorry it's early, River Otter, but if I don't post now, I'll forget - hope this fulfills your request!

Lament of an Istari

They say one grows wiser the older one gets, but I have not seen this in my own life. I think I grow more foolish, not less. I have watched, all these centuries, hoping that my task will be fulfilled, but it does not seem there will be a 'happy ending' for Middle-earth. I fear I will return to Valinor a failure. Already Saruman is lost, though he does not yet know it. All my plans seem destined for failure. I had all in the palm of my hands; everything slipped through like sand. The Ringbearer is my only hope.



Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

Thank you. This is a perfect capturing of Gandalf's thoughts.



Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

As you know I have another tale I've written as a pure birthday gift; but your challenge sparked this drabble series.  Enjoy, RiverOtter!

Changing Views on Wisdom

             "Remember, children, that a proper Hobbit is always dependable.  And it's easiest to be dependable if others know from the start what you will and will not do."

            Bilbo nodded his acceptance of the wisdom of these words.  Who would think to question the truth of them?  He noted that his cousins Dora and Dudo were also indicating their agreement.  Only Drogo appeared not so certain being predictable was necessary.  He was looking to Belladonna quizzically.  For the first time Bilbo noted the indulgent expression in his mother's eyes that indicated that she might not quite agree with her husband....


            A proper Hobbit was generous and hospitable.  On Wednesdays it was Bilbo's practice to let it be known he was "at home," at which times he could expect his friends and relatives, of whom he had many, to drop in for luncheon and tea, and perhaps even for dinner.  Always he had copious amounts of tea and cakes prepared, and a few extra fowl purchased the preceding day from the village butcher.

            But as he watched that ambitious Lobelia Bracegirdle entering Bag End on the reluctant elbow of her local cousin he began questioning the wisdom of such open hospitality.


            That Wizard Gandalf--he wanted Bilbo for an adventure he was managing?  What kind of Hobbit did he think Bilbo Baggins was?  And he thought perhaps Bilbo might like to be involved in a profitable venture?  And he thought he would find the endeavor entertaining?  Ah, no, thank you!  Bilbo had no intention of getting caught up in some Big Folk's idea of entertainment!  Making certain the door was bolted shut behind him, Bilbo hurried to his favorite pantry, glad he was wise enough not to give in to the schemes of Wizards.

            But he dreamed of fireworks that night....


            "But why on earth did you think to pick the troll's pocket?" Gandalf prodded.   

            How could Bilbo explain to the Wizard that he'd only thought to prove to the Dwarves--and himself--that Gandalf had been right in naming the Hobbit as the proper one to serve as the burglar for this quest?  So far what good had he done?  None!  And a fine burglar he'd proved himself, seeking to pinch whatever he might find in a troll's pocket and getting caught at it!

            They'd do well to pack him off home right now--it might prove the wisest course.


            Gandalf watched the eyes of the Hobbit light up as Elrond found the moon letters on Thror's map, and saw Bilbo's ears twitch as the words were read aloud.  Wise of the Baggins to listen now and commit them to heart!

            He'd done well, he knew, to choose Gerontius's grandson as a companion for the Dwarves.  Behind that fussy exterior was a far wiser mind than the Hobbit yet appreciated; and he'd undoubtedly prove far more capable than he'd yet shown.

            But he'd felt the Creator's urging in his heart at the sight of the Hobbit smoking on his doorstep.


            It was a miserable and much thinner Bilbo Baggins who accompanied Thranduil's guards into the Elven King's pavilion.  He was wet and sneezing, and looked absolutely wretched.

            "It's the heart of Thorin Oakenshield," he'd said as he gave the Arkenstone into Bard's hand.

            Gandalf was humbled.  Bilbo saw to the heart of the situation--there should be no such quarrel here, for were Thorin and the other Dwarves not caught in the spell of the dragon sickness they'd recognize the validity of the Men's claim.  Wise indeed was Bilbo Baggins proving himself!  Now, to waken that similar wisdom in Thorin....


            Bilbo was much changed, Gandalf noted.  He still let it be known he would usually be "at home" on Wednesdays, but had less care as to who might choose to take advantage of that hospitality.  Nor, if he was traveling abroad, did he appear to feel uncomfortable at the thought someone might come to call and find Bag End empty.  He was paying more attention to his younger kinsmen, and had definitely scandalized the family by announcing he was now a practicing copyist!

            The Shire might find Bilbo foolish since his return, but Gandalf found him a much wiser individual.


            "Drogo and Primula died a month ago," Bilbo told the Wizard solemnly.  "They left their son Frodo an orphan.  I'd thought, since he's a Baggins by birth, that I should take him in as my father did with his father, his uncle and aunt when their parents died, but my Brandybuck kin have dissuaded me--for now, at least.  But I don't like the apparent intention of Menegilda to protect the lad.  True he has a whispering in his heart...."

            He looked up, clearly thinking.  "Could you ask Lord Elrond how serious such a condition might be?"

            A wise question.


            "What is it?" Elrond asked, seeing the Wizard's brows rise as he read the letter given him by the Dwarves passing through Rivendell.

            "It's from Bilbo--he's decided to adopt that young cousin of his who was left orphaned about ten years ago.  Frodo, I think the child was named."

            Elrond looked interested.  "He'd adopt another?  Why?"

            Gandalf laughed.  "To keep his Sackville-Baggins cousins out of Bag End for the most part.  They've never seen eye to eye with him, and he appears to loathe them, and apparently with good reason.  Wise of him to pick a more comfortable heir."


            Gandalf watched Bilbo and Frodo as they came together into the dining hall in Elrond's house.  Bilbo appeared somehow fragile, and Frodo defensive.  Something had plainly occurred between the two of them while Frodo was visiting in the older Hobbit's rooms earlier, and it had left Frodo feeling vulnerable and Bilbo terribly guilty.

            Something, perhaps, to do with the Ring? Gandalf wondered.  Had Bilbo asked his younger kinsman to give it back, perhaps?

            Frodo gave Bilbo a sideways glance, and the Wizard saw pity and love there as well as wariness.  Then It has not yet tainted their mutual wisdom....



Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards


You're most welcome! Hope it's a glorious birthday....



Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

Oh! I particularly loved the first one!



Dwim's birthday request

Well, I'd love to see drabbles looking at the resistance in Númenor - either during Ar-Pharazon's reign, or during those final years of Tar-Palantír's reign, when it must have been obvious to some that Pharazon would be a problem for the next Ruling Queen (just not the kind of problem perhaps that he turned out to be). OCs or canonical characters - doesn't matter, though I'll confess to a certain curiosity about Anárion.

Otherwise, if Númenorean politics are not your cup of tea, and inspired by the success of last year's alternative: the turning point that never (quite) was. Doesn't have to be a turning point the characters actually followed (so it doesn't have to be an outright AU); but some turning point in the books that you think would be interesting to highlight and explore in 100 words.

Thanks in advance,




Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

I'm so glad you do, Agape!  Thank you!



Re: Dwim's birthday request

How about something a bit betwixt and between, Dwim?  A bit more than a drabble....

Concerns Voiced

            "I am not certain what problems you foresee when Tar-Palantir dies, cousin," Amandil suggested to his kinsman.  "The Lady Míriel is intelligent and filled with compassion and wisdom.  She will serve well as ruler of Andórë."

            "And who will serve to see to it that the throne is kept safe from those who would force her to marry against her will?  There has been talk of arranging a marriage with the son of one of the rulers of Umbar or Pelargir or the Falas.  Would you see one of those who forsook Númenor be made her consort?"

            Amandil felt unexpectedly alarmed, not at the retelling of such news, for such was common enough knowledge; but the anger he heard in his kinsman's voice disturbed him rather more than he'd expected.  "I do not see any difficulties.  These are all kinsmen of ours, and nobles in their own right.  Certainly they have as much respect from those of our land as does any prince of the Island itself.  Nor is there any hint any would force her into an unwanted marriage.  I have attended upon her as she's received these lords and have heard them in council with our beloved Tar-Palantir.  I have seen no stain of dishonor in any of them."

            "But it is said that there are those within Umbar who are in collusion with the one who styles himself the Lord of Middle Earth."

            "Not from the houses of their rulers, however.  Our King has sent emissaries from his court to investigate, and they have not found any evidence of any sort to indicate those who rule Pelargir or the Falas have ever trafficked with the one they call Sauron.  As for Umbar...."  He stopped, less certain, before continuing, "But our Lady has told me herself she is not in any way drawn to the lord from Umbar.  She finds him shallow and lacking in curiosity and imagination.  I believe she said she would rather marry you than him."

            Later he was to question the expression he saw in his kinsman's eyes in response to that statement, when he learned that his cousin had brought his own men to the capital and staged a revolt, and had taken his kinswoman Míriel to wife against law or custom--and reportedly against her will--and then named himself Ar-Pharazôn, the Golden King.

            My beloved cousin--what is it you have done to our land and her rightful Queen?



Re: Changing Views on Wisdom

What a great little series! I love the evolution of Bilbo, and how the "open house, open heart = generosity" theme is revisted. The little side-view excursions into Gandalf's perception of Bilbo are also very telling and useful when there's a need to preserve a certain respectful silence - this is so evident in the last drabble. 




Re: Concerns Voiced

Betwixt and between are just fine!

I appreciate the delay in revealing the name of the one voicing his concerns. It makes for a nice reversal of expectation at the end, even if one's suspicions that this cannot just be any cooked-up-for-the-moment cousin are roused by that silence. 

Given that it is Pharazôn, one has cause to wonder: is he genuinely concerned about Míriel marrying "beneath" her, or is he plotting, trying to draw Amandil to his side by appealing to fears that Pharazôn himself is trying to kindle with a hefty dose of misdirection? Has Amandil unwittingly planted the seed that moved Pharazôn to stage his coup, his attempt to defuse Pharazôn's fears backfiring to lay the foundation they would need to make Pharazôn believe he could actually take Míriel to wife? 

Nicely done! Thank you, Larner!




Re: Changing Views on Wisdom

Am so very glad you like it, Dwim.  Yes, Bilbo was one who definitely grew wiser with age.  Thanks!



Re: Concerns Voiced

With Pharazon it's difficult to say precisely what his intentions are--probably an unclear mixture of all of the above.  He has a good deal to learn--that is certain.  That he refused to learn is perhaps his worst failing of all.  Ever he was to accept himself as the Man he was born, and instead he must ever push the envelope.  How much grief he must have given those who'd loved him.



Re: Dwim's birthday request/Forbidden Fruit

Well, I'd love to see drabbles looking at the resistance in Númenor - either during Ar-Pharazon's reign, or during those final years of Tar-Palantír's reign, when it must have been obvious to some that Pharazon would be a problem for the next Ruling Queen (just not the kind of problem perhaps that he turned out to be). OCs or canonical characters - doesn't matter, though I'll confess to a certain curiosity about Anárion.

Otherwise, if Númenorean politics are not your cup of tea, and inspired by the success of last year's alternative: the turning point that never (quite) was. Doesn't have to be a turning point the characters actually followed (so it doesn't have to be an outright AU); but some turning point in the books that you think would be interesting to highlight and explore in 100 words.

Thanks in advance,


I've been trying for weeks to do something for Larner's birthday.  (it's coming. slowly.  Maybe by 2010.  It's all Frodo's fault; he's enjoying himself too much)  So I was surprised when my Numenor-muse up and sicced an Anarion plotbunny on me.  It's not very political, but it does concern resistance against Ar-Pharazon.  This is a ficlet series; three ficlets, including one drabble, a double-drabble, and a tri-drabble.   HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DWIMORDENE!

                                                           FORBIDDEN FRUIT


Never as nimble as his brother, he moved as swiftly as he could.  If he should stumble in the dark and lose his burden, then his brother would have suffered fell wounds in vain, and hope would surely be lost.  Even now, their great house was being watched by the King's men.  Trudging through the fetid waist-high waters of the sewers under Romenna, Anárion fingered the pouch hung round his neck.  The pouch felt warm, perhaps by the sunlight caught in the stolen fruit it held.  

MoveBreatheListen.   The Son of the Sun smiled, and walked on, without pursuit. 


Never was the pale light of the morning more welcome to the man who was named for it.  Anárion shambled out of the tunnel, shivering and half-blind after the night spent walking in darkness.  He knew this land, having traveled the coast of the Hyarrostar years before.  Sun on his face, Anárion hastened to a hidden grove, deep in a wood of sea-spruce and gold-flowering laurinquë.  There, in the rich soil near a rippling stream, he dug a bed where the Tree of the Kings could be reborn. 

Anárion brought the Fruit of Nimloth out of the pouch into the warmth of the rising sun.  Anar's rays shone upon the soft golden fuzz coating the silvery fruit.  Silver for the moon, gold for the Sun; he thought, reminded of his brother.  No gold or silver plundered by Pharazôn could be worth more than this one fruit, Anarion thought.  May the false king and his devil Sauron choke on the fumes when they give Nimloth to the flames!

A dark red streak marred the fruit's perfection.  Isildur's blood!  Anárion considered wiping the stain away.  No.  "My brother bled to save thee," he said softly as he planted the fruit.  "Remember him!"


Never had he thought, however much he loved trees, to spend the cool spring night huddled in his cloak beside a fragile sapling in the wilds of Hyarrostar.  Yet Anárion could not think of what else to do.  Isildur lay in a deathlike sleep.  The wounds he had taken when he saved Nimloth's doomed Fruit had not healed.  Even the athelas raised in their mother's own gardens had not helped.  Desperate, Anárion had returned to the grove, hoping to find some sign, some help, for his brother.  But the small buds pushing out of the new Tree's branches had not yet opened. 

The sap of Isildur's life wanes, even as the sap of life rises in this scion of Nimloth, Anárion thought sadly.   He looked to the distant stars and moon, the shining lights of Over-heaven.  "Do not sunder the Servant of the Moon from the Son of the Sun," he begged to whatever Valar might hear.  "Or, take me and spare my brother who risked all to save the line of Nimloth."

A light rain pattered down from the dark skies.  Sighing, Anárion curled his weary body around the sapling, gently gripping its slender trunk.  He slept deeply, dreaming of a strange white city jutting out of a mountain and a White Tree as fair as Nimloth blooming at the city's height. 

And when the sun rose out of the silver sea, Isildur stirred in his sickbed.  Slowly he opened his eyes, smiled upon his wife and mother.  Eyes and heart faraway, he said: "Anárion."

Listen, AnarionBreatheMove, said a rather merry female voice from the edge of dreams.  Anárion obeyed it, stretching out stiff legs and rubbing his eyes.  Then he blinked.  For there, on the little Tree, a new, moon-white leaf stood forth to greet the morning sun.




Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

As you know I have another tale I've written as a pure birthday gift; but your challenge sparked this drabble series.  Enjoy, RiverOtter!

Changing Views on Wisdom

Well done, Larner!   I love the progression of Bilbo's character development here, watching the Tookishness slowly take over.




Re: Dwim's birthday request/Forbidden Fruit

Ah, the love of these two brothers is so clear.   Love the apparent nudge by Yavanna letting Anarion know it's time to give the tiny sapling another good look to find that first leaf.

Both were faithful, one to rescue Nimloth's fruit, and the other to see it growing--sun and moon both play their parts.  And the progression of each longer ficlet is quite nice as well!

And I'm so glad someone is writing a story for me!  Thank you!  And I am glad that Frodo is enjoying himself leading you on!  Heh!



Re: May 2009 Birthday Cards

Well, the Tooks were descended most directly from the Fallohides, the clan most closely associated with the Elves.  That blessing needed to manifest itself in Bilbo Baggins, and does appear to have taken time to develop.  And we are all so glad it did!

Thank you so, Raksha!



Re: Dwim's birthday request/Forbidden Fruit

Ah, the love of these two brothers is so clear.   Love the apparent nudge by Yavanna letting Anarion know it's time to give the tiny sapling another good look to find that first leaf.

Both were faithful, one to rescue Nimloth's fruit, and the other to see it growing--sun and moon both play their parts.  And the progression of each longer ficlet is quite nice as well!

And I'm so glad someone is writing a story for me!  Thank you!  And I am glad that Frodo is enjoying himself leading you on!  Heh!

Oh, thanx, Larner.  I've never written the sons of Elendil before; and Anarion's a challenge because so little is said of him.  Still, Isildur loved him enough to plant a White Tree in Minas Anor to remember Anarion.  And somebody had to have taken the fruit that Isildur stole, and hidden it - Amandil would have been watched and Isildur was wounded...The Silm says that Isildur awoke, healed, when the new Tree sprouted its very first leaf; so I figured that someone had to have seen the new leaf at the same time that Isildur awoke to report that concurrence.  I suppose the Tree could have been hidden at the house of Amandil in Romenna, but figured that would be the first place that the King's men, who probablyy realized that a fruit of the Tree was stolen, would have looked. 

I will finish your story eventually.  It just seems to want to go off in several different directions!



Starlight's request

My birthday is on the 30th. I would love to read stories about traditions and/or superstitions in M-e; or, anything about any obscure character finally being on the spotlight.

 Thank you!



For RiverOtter

Happy Birthday, RiverOtter! I hope it was a great day. Many Happy Returns!

(You share a birthday with my husband :-) so I think I will always remember your birthday)

Being oneself. And loving it

The day Boromir turned twenty, Faramir woke with a start. As revelations go, it was not portentous, nor sublime, but settled like butterflies on the pit of his stomach.

Five years had he lived alone with their father; seven more months and he would also leave, not having come close to attaining his acceptance, but now he knew: For good or ill, he was not Boromir. Surprisingly, he wished not to be. Love could fail, but he could not fail himself to please another.

Now that he knew that, he could finally be at peace. With the world. With himself.



Re: Dwim's birthday request/Forbidden Fruit

Hi Raksha,

I commented on HA yahoo group already, but it bears repeating: thank you for the lovely drabble series! Anárion's dedication shines through, as does the bond between the brothers and the connection with the sapling. 

If you would, I now have a birthday story in which to deposit birthday drabbles. Could you upload your story into it? 

Thank you once again for my birthday story!




For RiverOtter: Fire Falls Up

I don't even know how long this is, but I do know that May 7th is still half an hour away. :-D

Happy birthday, RiverOtter!


Fire Falls Up

Age grows wisdom, they say in Bree and he's heard similar sayings in his wandering this Middle-earth.

Yet 'tis not true, he knows. White locks, wrinkles and abundant years are not age, nor does the passage of years make for growing old. And he has seen wise children, who think nothing of giving their bread to a beggar, or their hearts to a stranger, only because of their hungers.

Age is the weight that draws one down, burdens by remembering the flight of years, memorializing their passage in flesh that suffers that flight. Some bear it gracefully, others badly, and if one wishes a measure of wisdom, 'tis in that strange, graceful bearing that frets not unduly, like flame that falls always towards heaven.

Centuries he has walked and labored, and still the balance weighs badly. Gandalf, watching smiling old women toddle open-handed babes, traces the graceful bent of backs, the artless interest, and strives to step lightly.



Re: For RiverOtter

Ah--a perfect realization for one as wise as Faramir proved himself to have--be able to respect himself, and forget trying vainly to earn the respect of those who cannot appreciate his better qualities.



Re: For RiverOtter: Fire Falls Up

Dwim, your use of language is always exciting as it adds to the meaning of the tale you weave; and this story for RiverOtter is no different.

Wonderful!  Yes, the wisest of the Maiar come to Middle Earth in the shape of Men would appreciate both age and wisdom and their myriad manifestations!  I hope so RiverOtter loves this one!



My birthday presents

I love the creativity of this list. Each present is wonderful. Thanks.



Re: Dwim's birthday request

Hmm, this was intended to be a resistance of Numenor piece, though that pesky pronoun "in" gets in the way. You could also read it as a turning point that never quite was because of... well, that would spoil the piece, but it is rather related to that point.

 In any event, I hope you are proud. First b-day ficlet in coming on a year. I hope you're proud of yourself. :^P


clanging cymbal, but he could not leave. He owed it to those that would die, to at least endure the debate. The others might tell themselves that they debated philosophy's niceties, whether it would make Pharazôn's choice null to shield him from the consequences. All that was true, but it did not tell the full tale. His brothers and sisters talked of genocide, whether they knew it or not.

He had heard the water's melodies, the One's own Song, as clear as it came in Arda Marred; he could not be fooled.

Ulmo knew the people, aye, knew the ships and other treasures that would be lost beneath his water when the One's waves were unleashed; but he also knew of other beings that the Others had forgotten. What of the minnows that lived in the quiet pools, and the rams that climbed Meneltarma? And the stones – what of them? They had stood against the waves for centuries, always resisting the never-altering rhythm, changed but never subdued. Would their choice now be washed aside in favor of the speaking ones? Úinen might restrain Ossë's mischief in small matters, but neither of them could stand against the One's wrath.

And that was the crux of it, really. Ulmo might resist, but even he could not prevail; and if he saved some small remnant, it would be through defiance. He was at root a Child of the One; he had heard too much of the Song, too often, to be otherwise.

Still, he would not restrain his servants from doing what they could – and if their waves pushed some few ships out of harm's way, well, that was their affair. 



Re: Dwim's birthday request

Happy Birthday, Dwim!

All Roads Lead To Rome

It takes a village

"I hear our liege's favorite advisor 'Stirs War, Dooms Elenna,'" whispered Arandar, offering him a glass.

Stunned at hearing his writing quoted, Anarion hesitated. Arandar knew! Never had he reason to mistrust Isildur's friend, but perilous times made mistakes costly.

Still, he drank. "I could not know."

Arandar glanced meaningfully at Anarion's fingernails. "Unless you have turned scholar, I would hide those ink-stains." Leaning closer, "I can help with this... compilation of family history. Hard work. Yes?"

"And stain your fingers?"

"Better my fingers than my conscience."

Anarion understood that. "Tomorrow. Fish market."

"We fish?"

"Aye. For evil and darkness."


Business is Business

Arandar folded the leaflets from the final parchment. From there, it was to the distributors, thence to whatever hands would hold them. Hands he could never recognize. Not yet. Anarion was very particular about that.

"You sure not even your brother knows of your midnight rendezvous?"

Anarion smiled. "I let him think what he will. Being Isildur, he probably knows it is no woman."

"People underestimate you."

"I like it that way; 'tis vital for my line of work."

"You even manage truthfulness, for you do trade."

"Information. Best trade there is."

"One day might be your head."

"Not yet."


The apple falls not far from the tree

"Let us forget," Amandil said, "that I am the lord of Andunie and that you are fourth in line to succeed me. Tell me, Anarion: have you seen this parchment before?"

Confronted by his own handwriting, he could not do much more than deflect attention.

"You would lose deniability should I answer."

"But as your grandfather, I am bound only to you."

True, yet--

"These things," pointing to the page, "become dangerous the more people know of them."

"More reason to keep my part quiet, son."


"Whence, did you suppose, came the facts you write?"

"A creditable source!"



'Tis all Greek

"Lady P. sends greetings to her kinsman."

Amandil took the parchment offered and shoved it under his shirt. Miriel risked much in communicating with him, but he could not-- would not-- deny her the right to be useful in whatever way was available now. Doomed they were; at least die knowing that one fought whilst living.

"Tell P. that R. has received and will pass it from competent to competent hands."

The woman smiled. "Never had my old hands received such praise."

"Due time. Now let us be off." Time to transcribe and burn Miriel's note. Thence, to his contact.


Never put off 'til tomorrow...

"Issilome thanks your wife for the books," Amandil said, a lingering glance at the second, blue binding. "As do I. Magnificent recipes."

"Glad to be of service! Though only a messenger, one does what one can."

"Have her sample these and pass them on. They are too good not to taste."

Watching Omardil walk away with Miriel's news in tow, Amandil wondered how many turns they would take until they saw print, or whether the effort was worth it. Until he saw Elendur playing on the surf.

If some future could be salvaged, he would do what he could, today.


To Caesar what is Caesar's

"Hefty tome, this week!"

Anarion's eyes widened, almost imperceptibly, at the implied meaning, as Garathil handed him a book. What was it today...? A Sailor's Account of His Trade. He smiled, kept up the pretense. "Will this help my project?"

"Undoubtedly!" replied the librarian. "Your ancestors have always been mariners. Do let me see the draft once finished."

Anarion left to read about family history (actually, to digest and present the information received. Let no one be in the dark! Annatar would destroy them if brave people did not do their part to expose him.)

Let me honor their efforts.


Who risks not, gains not

Emeldil looked around as he slipped through the flap to find the tunnel to find the outing to find the steps to find the alley that led to the old playhouse where he would find the latest batch of news to distribute amongst the Faithful. No one knew who wrote them. It mattered not. Those news were the one thing holding them together, strong against the lovers of darkness. He would do anything to deliver them to those who awaited, and to protect their author.

Any sacrifice would be worth it for such a cause.

"Valar, help us hold on."


Killing two birds with one stone's throw

'...disturbing phenomena linked, as shown, to darkness-worship upon Meneltarma. In our eagerness to remain aloof from the damnable atrocities perpetrated there, we have allowed A. to please himself. Our duty, now, remains...'

Elenwe struggled to quell the butterflies Anarion always provoked. Pride for his daring; fear for his risk. He could never know she knew it was him writing what gave such hope to the Faithful, nor that she helped pass it along; he would beg her not to endanger herself, but should he court danger alone?


Now, her seamstress would appreciate a new order of work. And news.


The end of all things

Husband and wife read together, hearts heavy, of the growing unrest, corruption, and desecration around them.

"Whence does it lead?" she asked, plying her needle furiously over her new order.

"To doomsday."


"Hush!" Then, softly, taking her hand, "all we can do is remain faithful and hope that the-- that the Valar will take pity on us. At least, through these," brandishing the parchment, "we are not blind, nor complacent."

"Nor alone."

"No. And, when the time comes to stand together, we will know there are others we can trust."

"When will it be?"

"'Tis certain we will know."



Thank you, Marta and Ledys!

As I said on the list, I love these ficlets! What a great interpretation of the "Númenorean resistance" on the one hand - very different and with a dash of anti-theodicy to brighten my day.   And then Anárion and the (as it turns out) incestuous underground world of spying and publishing rebellious news rags! 

If you haven't already, please do put your ficlets in the story I've entered into the Birthday Cards Workshop. 

Thanks again!




Re: Dwim's birthday request

Wonderful, looking at the fall of Numenor from Ulmo's POV, and seeing his compassion toward all there, human and creature and even the stones of the place!  Oh, I can so see this, Marta.



Re: Dwim's birthday request

A perfect resistance movement, and from what we can tell well within Anarion's likely activities.  Nice to see how each adds to the underground news!



Re: Dwim's birthday request

When I was brainstorming for an idea for a drabble, this came to mind but I had not sat to write it. I'm sorry it's late! Please, consider it an extension of the Birthday celebrations ;-D

Nothing Gold Can Stay?

"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."

(Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost)

He had seen it in his mind's eye: his wife, her beauty heightened by the assurance of absolute power; her confidence unshaken through the forgetting of the past in utter certainty of the future; her skills perfected by the melding of her soul with that of another-- a stranger, not himself; her mind finally satisfied with the knowledge of all she had always pursued.

And himself, a thrall-- enthralled anew by her beauty, self-assurance, charm, kindness, wit-- until it all shattered in a heap of unfulfilled longings and promises lost to fear, consumed in the fire of greed and pride.


Power may not always be harmful.

True, he had conceded, for power wielded to help, to bless, was honorable and noble.

True, she had conceded. For not all beings grow at one rate; love, skill, patience are needed to help some reach full stature.

True, he had conceded. But, who decides who needs help? What is each being's full stature?

There all debate ended.

Their union had brought them completeness, one supplying where the other lacked; her keenness refining his notions, his steadfastness tempering her fire. Her choice would force choice upon him... had he the will to make it?


His knowledge of her fea told him, unmistakably, that the test had come. He had awoken with a start, the strings of their bond tugging fiercely every which way, pulling him, twisting him, binding him tighter.

"Hold on, Love," he pleaded. For, if you fall, my strength may not avail but to fall deeper with you.

When she finally returns, he is waiting, grim-faced, frightened.

"Who are you?" he asks through dry lips.

She smiles, looks him in the eye.


As they embrace, relieved, grateful, he remembers it was not her beauty that first dazzled him, but her strength.

"I pass the test... I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel." (The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien)

"All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him."

(Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins)



Re: Dwim's birthday request

This is perfect. I like Celeborn's point of view and the two pieces of poetry that bookend the story.



Re: Dwim's birthday request

Thanks, RiverOtter! I'm glad to hear it worked for you--I agonized over the inclusion of the two fragments probably more than I should have but I really thought they framed the three drabbles nicely and thought that they fit (and that they are two of my favorite poems tilted the balance much in their favor). I am so glad you liked it, and thanks for your comment :-)



Re: Dwim's birthday request

Saw this on the homepage.  It's absolutely beautiful - the three parts complement and furthers the others perfectly.  I like how you placed them: (possible) future, past and present.



Re: Starlight's request

Here, Starlight--the first was actually written for someone else, but the second particularly for you--I think it meets both your conditions.  It's just that the two drabbles go together!  And a joyful birthday to you!

Summoning the Grey Company 


            The Elf appeared suddenly within the Dúnedain camp, startling most of the Men.

            "How...?" began Faradir.

            Halbarad held up a hand to still his fellow.  Addressing the grey cloaked Elf:  "You are a messenger?"

            The Elf's voice was slow, accented.  "I was sent to summon you to Rohan.  Your Lord Chieftain--he has need for you.  It is time to ride to war."

            "Berestor--bring food...."

            A slight smile.  "Nay--I must away.  But go swiftly."  And he was gone.

            The Men exchanged glances.  "At last," Halbarad breathed, "the time comes.  Aragorn shall be made King, and the riven kingdoms reunited!"



            A day's ride from Rivendell, the Grey Company was met by a party from the Last Homely House, including the children of Elrond.

            "We, too, ride to war at our brother's side," announced Elladan, leading his twin to join the Men.

            Arwen, holding forth a furled standard, beckoned to Halbarad.  "Long have I labored over this for my belovèd.  Please, bear it to him." 

            Halbarad accepted it.  "It is said, should he who first bears the King's standard fall, yet the battle will be won."  He inhaled, met her eyes.  "For his sake, and yours--I would do so gladly."



Happy Late Birthday Starlight!/Re: Starlight's request

My birthday is on the 30th. I would love to read stories about traditions and/or superstitions in M-e; or, anything about any obscure character finally being on the spotlight.

Thank you!

Only what, five days late? The Obscure Character Muse grabbed me and set me to work. Happy Late Birthday, Starlight! Here's 700 words dealing with a certain guardsman of Minas Tirith (and it's not Beregond).


Ingold climbed carefully down from the supply cart with the aid of his crutch. Twelve days had passed since the Battle, where he had taken an orc-thrust in the leg. Had it only been fourteen days since the Rammas had been breached? Eighteen days ago, in what seemed another life; he had watched the masons make the last repairs as Mithrandir rode in from the north. Ingold's heart sank as he saw the gashes and rifts in the wall. Masons labored once again, fewer in number now. And the old north-gate was gone.
He hobbled up to the wall, and rested a hand awkwardly against the stone. "Alas for the broken and the fallen!" Ingold lamented. "Many have indeed fallen; Ingold," spoke a voice from his right; "But some have been raised up, and the City still stands."
Ingold turned to behold the Lord and Steward of Gondor. He had last seen the son of Denethor when the new Steward had visited the wounded in the Houses of Healing, while Ingold had lain abed. Lord Faramir moved more easily now, though one arm was still bound in a sling.
"It is good to see you up again, my Lord."
"And you, Commander."
Ingold frowned, uncertain in his response. From what he knew of the Lord Faramir, the truth would be the best choice. "Nay, my Lord; I am but a Lieutenant. Mardil, son of Orodreth is my Commander; he passed temporary command to me when he was wounded during the Retreat. Commander Mardil left the Houses a week ago; he is surely well enough to resume command."
The Steward spoke gravely, but his eyes were kind: "After sixty years in the Guard, Captain Hador plans to retire. Mardil is now Captain of the Second Company of the Wall. He has confirmed you as Commander, with high praise for your deeds."
Ingold shifted his weight uncomfortably. His deeds, compared to those of the man before him, seemed paltry. All he had done was keep his head and a group of men together while they gathered fell tidings, and then get them back southward to the City before the Gates closed. A few orcs and no Nazgûl had hindered them; they had only lost one man. Almost all the Enemy's force had then been pouring in East-West from Osgiliath.
"You should find a letter of commendation and promotion when you return home," the Lord Faramir continued. "They were delivered this very day. There will be a ceremony to name the new Captains and officers, and remember those who have fallen, in two days time at the Citadel. I would rejoice to see you there, Ingold. The King will need commanders of your worth."
"Then the King will keep our forces as they are?" The words slipped out before Ingold could stop them. It still felt strange to think of the King as a living man who would soon rule in Gondor.
"I believe the King would rather rebuild than tear down. Though the size and the missions of the Tower Guard might change in years to come, good men will always be needed to command its companies."
Command! Ingold's family was rich in Numenorean heritage but poor in other wealth. A Commander's wage would assure the security of his mother and sister. And perhaps the father of a certain pretty maid in the Fourth Circle would look more kindly on Ingold's suit.
Another cart pulled up; and the laborers carefully unloaded a large metal framework that stood higher than even Lord Faramir's height. A new gate! "'Tis but a makeshift, until a new and better one is built," The Steward said softly, seeing the direction of Ingold's gaze. "But it will serve."
Ingold thought of the gate opening to admit wains from Anórien, travelers and tradesmen, and lines of Rohirrim on their fine horses. Good men had fallen, houses and walls and gates had been breached. Their land remained. It was time he turned his watch toward the future. Peace was such a new and precious thing! It would need watching and tending like the fairest of flowers.

"It will serve indeed, my lord and Captain," Ingold replied. "And so will I."

(my concept of the military hierarchy of Gondor is sketchy at best; but Tolkien's "Captains" seem to me to be the equivalent of Generals, so I thought they'd have officers under them. )



Re: Happy Late Birthday Starlight!/Starlight's request

Raksha, how delightful! Oh, I'm on the road and have to gbut I wanted to let you know I had read it and am so thrilled for such a lovely present. Thank you! (I'll get back online again and leave a proper comment)



Re: Happy Late Birthday Starlight!/Starlight's request

Thanx, Starlight; I'm pleased that you enjoyed the piece.  I've never written Ingold before and found it an interesting experience...



Re: Happy Late Birthday Starlight!/Starlight's request

Oh, Raksha, I love this encounter between Ingold and Faramir, and seeing the former's faithful service rewarded in this way!  Ah, perfect as we see humility and competence both in the Guardsman, and the wisdom of both Faramir and Aragorn reflected in Faramir's speech to Ingold.

Beautifully written.



Happy belated birthday to Starlight

 Starlight, this falls under the "anything about any obscure character finally being on the spotlight" portion of your birthday request. Sorry it's late - I hope you had a lovely birthday!


Bitter Withy

She began underhill, child of a cleft land that cast her forth to bind the twin hillock heads across their rift. Straight and taught as string between them, she flowed her way down to broad old Baranduin.

 Ages passed. Beyond East-head hillock, forests sickened and died. The Men who'd crowned him with towers fell to an evil that came to dwell in the darkness beneath him. Then East-head's groans filled the night, and brother West-head trembled, made her banks shiver and fall.

In pain and pity, she conceived then a daughter – a little pool, spirit of her spirit, to tumble one day between the hills, and double up the bond against dark days.

But her daughter loved a Drylander, and she in her mourning, flooded.

'Twas the tears that brought the Drinker – older than age, he had gone wandering in search of lost lordship, 'til he ended, bent and gnarled and twisted as his heart.

He came and sat on her shores, his grubby, greedy old roots lapping at her, and he spit his bitter sap into her depths, dropped his seeds into her. Spiteful and ungiving even in paternity, he grew himself a copse of weeping willows to join their sticky tears with his in her waters. She grew numb with them down in the valley, numb and numbing. Withywindle, Baranduin called her then, and complained of how she puckered where Willow-river reeled in.

Since then she's grown slow with weariness, though she holds her line, still, against all shifts of earth – bears East-head's griefs, and calms the quaking of his brother. Yet the land lies sad and sinister with loss and fear, save there, where she issues, and her daughter and her Dryland love live still.

But they are but three, bounded in the little valley of sorrows, making springtimes where they can, yet never to last. Withywindle she will be, 'til some unlooked for day dawns that will banish night, whether beneath the hill or in the vale. 'Til then she'll slake the Drinker's thirst and endure his bite, and hug the feet of West-head, hold her little land together as best she can 'til Darkness drinks her dry.

Who knows but that that time is coming? Not long ago, she tasted It in her poor pooled waist, where the Drinker swelled her with his stinging sap. Anduin coughed It up once, and in the long mingling of all waters in the sea, she'd got an aftertaste so foul, even her bindweed had withered. It's passed now, but to what end? She doesn't know – It's gone to the Dry Wastes, where her kind dies, choked by ash and sand, and since the Mirror-stones cracked and fell, the hillocks have no word from the Fence-mounts of that place.

O my daughter, she cries, and drenches her and her Drylander, too, swelling to enfold them both and draw them to her bosom, while Goldberry blows bubbles of air into Tom's bearded mouth. They three lie quiet on her cold-shoaled bed, while the sun hovers veiled behind February clouds. Its image bends and wavers on her surface, uncertain as the future. The hillock twain rumble, bending over their sister and for a little while, even the Drinker holds his breath.

But time and rivers always flow onward. Their course is set; it has but to be run, to whatever bitter end may be decreed.

Author's notes: The Withywindle runs almost straight southwest, according to people with better map-making skills than I have.

Old Man Willow's description derives from "The House of Tom Bombadil" in FOTR; the timeline for the fall of Cardolan and the entry of the Wights into the Barrow-downs (which is what East-head represents, despite, um, some differences from the text. You know – the difference of there being lots of downs with barrows, not just one ... yeah – ignore that).

There is no timeline for figuring out when Old Man Willow put down roots along the Withywindle, but it seems likely that the river was named because of him and because of the numerous willows around him.

 Tom Bombadil and Goldberry the River-daughter come to you courtesy of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, with suitable extrapolation.

And the title comes from Maddy Prior's song, "Bitter Withy."



In Forums

Discussion Info

Intended for: General Audience

This forum is open to all HASA members. It is read-only for the general public.

Membership on HASA is free and it takes only a few minutes to join. If you would like to participate, please click here.

If you are already a member, please log in to participate.

« Back to HASA Birthday Cards Forum