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Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

The Nuzgûl of the Month November, To Rise Again, can be found here.

Numenor sank, Angmar perished, Doriath, Beleriand, and Nargothrond were left in ruin. Eventually, Aragorn's line must have died out, Rohan must have fallen, and many other Middle-earthian things became "extinct."

For this challenge, choose any land, people, country, etc. that was no longer or is no longer in existence, and write a story where it "rises" again. It could be creepy, happy, sad, or humorous . It's up to you.

Courtesy of Cold Like Fire.

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

My entry for the November Nuzgûl of the Month challenge- my apologies that is is quite so early, but my Muse struck and...

*ahem*

Enjoy the story.

*

~SURGIT~

And that is that.

Nothing remains.

Nothing.

Not a single tower, not a single tree...

Nothing.

Where once was a land fair and fine is now...

Nothing.

The wind howls where once men and woman lived and laughed and loved.

Waves break where once were streets; gulls keen sadly where once were nests; fish swim where once was a kingdom.

Nothing.

And that would be a good place to leave the story- a fable to tell around the fire on dark nights, a tale to frighten unruly children into good behaviour.

But here, where once was the mightiest of nations and where now is naught but sea and silence and sadness...

Seconds turn to minutes turn to hours.

And then...

Then the waters churn and boil.

Then the wind screams, whipped to monstrous fury.

Then unholy fire burns in the depths.

Something has survived.

The fish scatter first and fastest, and the gulls follow soon after.

A shriek rises above the raging wind- a dread cry of bitterness and bile from beyond uncounted aeons, a horrible howl of hate untold.

The waters twist and twirl like maddened snakes.

Thunder rumbles, and lightning splits the sky as He bursts forth from the seas in anger so great and terrible that all trace of His former beauty is gone.

Were there any to see Him, they should go mad with horror.

He cries to the heavens, suspended on nightmare wings of shadow and slime and storm in the hellish half-light of the tempest He has made.

No more shall He be beguiling, no more shall He be beautiful- no, now shall He be black and brutal and baleful, and all of Middle Earth shall fear Him.

Annatar is no more.

Hail Sauron, for He is risen.

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Nicely seasonal and atmospheric; I liked it (even if it was a bit early... Now if I was a nasty, heartless kind of person, I'd say that it doesn't really count and you have to write another one You little devil! )

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Now if I was a nasty, heartless kind of person, I'd say that it doesn't really count and you have to write another one You little devil!

Now, how did I know that was going to happen? Laugh out loud

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

As Nath so kindly alerted me to the fact that fics written in October were theoretically too early to be counted for a November Challenge- thankyou SOOO much, Nath, Wink- I have returned with a second attempt at this challenge. I also realise that my original story may have missed the point of the original challenge (specifically the bit where it says "choose any land, people, country, etc. that was no longer or is no longer in existence, and write a story where it "rises" again"). So wihout further ado, a Happy All Souls to you all...

And please, don't blame me. I'm only the writer here...

(And all apologies to HP Lovecraft...)

*

VENEFICUS REX REGIS ORBIS

*

He almost missed it.

Almost.

A single sparkle in a muddy field in a cold and lonely corner of a God-forsaken field in North Yorkshire.

He almost dismissed it- it was a ring-pull from an abandoned drink can, perhaps.

Almost.

Too many years of disappointment, too many years of slaving under pompous university tutors too quick to take credit for his discoveries...

Almost.

As it was, John dropped to his knees in the trench and began to pry at the dirt there.

Perhaps it was a link from a suit of armour- God alone knew how many bodies they'd pulled from the field.

Perhaps it was a coin, something to date the battle that had doubtless been fought here.

Perhaps it was even-

How disappointing, John thought, as he pried the item from the dirt and held it up to the light.

A tarnished old ring, battered and blasted with years.

Some sort of inscription seemed to be carved into the metal- probably iron, John thought to himself, judging by the amount of rust- probably of no importance, but...

He turned to yell out his find to Dr Whiting, but checked himself.

Why should he?

Why should he?

Whiting had never done him any favours.

It wasn't as if it was anything important- just a battered old iron circlet of crude make- you could probably buy something better in the local Clare's Accessories.

No, John thought, he would not mention his find.

Into his pocket the ring went.

No, he would not mention his find- Whiting would only want to take credit for it, after all, and it would only end up shoved away in some dark corner of some dusty museum in some awful provincial town...

No, he would not mention his find.

It was his find, after all, he reasoned.

His own.

His preciousss...

Thunder rumbled overhead, and John shuddered, and somewhere- somewhen- something awful stirred.

*

"NOT DEAD IS THAT

WHICH CAN ETERNAL LIE

AND WITH STRANGE AEONS

EVEN DEATH MAY DIE"

*

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Bravo, Aruthir!  You're spoiling us. 

Especially Sauron's rise from the Downfall - so vivid, and so untold - until now. Smile  Masterful. 

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Now, how did I know that was going to happen? Laugh out loud

I didn't even say anything. *attempts to look innocent*

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

On the other hand, I don't feel particularly sorry for your *ahem* interpretation of what I didn't say, given that it resulted in another very nice hair-raising story Grin

Now to prod my own muse into action... *goes to fetch a pointy stick*

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

And a third take on this challenge from me- drabble-style this time (and admittedly possibly a little off-topic) but I hope you enjoy it anyway....

*

FULL MOON

 And as the last ship sailed out of sight over the horizon, the first of the Watchers finally crept from the shadows of the woods- silent as a ghost and sleek as a shadow.

 Quiet and quick the rest of them came- small and soundless, swift and sad- the last living relics of a dead Age.

 One by one, they threw their heads back and howled as one at a full moon that no longer cared.

 The age of the Elves was waning, and the age of Men was waxing, and for the Druedain things would never be the same.

*

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Well, at least I've now started my own fic for this month... and another round of applause for you!

(What are you feeding your muse?)

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Hey, don't blame me- she's the one coming up with these things. I just hope she finds next month's Challenge as inspiring! Cool!

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

I just hope she finds next month's Challenge as inspiring!

I'll see what I can conjure up out of the depths of the Nuzgûl pen...

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Edge of the world

"Looks like the worst is over." Garm was smiling as he joined Eirik at the prow of the ship. "That storm could have been the end of us several times over."

Eirik didn't reply. As far as he could see, the storm might very well still be the end of them, though they were now looking at an almost mirror-smooth sea under a sunny sky. They were wildly off course, and were far away from both the rest of Leif's fleet, and from Vinland or any other known landfall.

"Hey!" Garm now said loudly, "You could at least show some joy, you know."

"Joy? At what?" Eirik turned his head to look at his brother.

"At making it through the storm alive and with Ægishjálmr still seaworthy," Garm replied, adding a belated "Captain" when he realised that his raised voice had drawn the attention of the rest of the crew.

"Of course," Eirik nodded. "And of course you also considered where the storm has blown us, and how much fresh water we have. Do you think we can row back home from here? Wherever here may be…"

Garm looked away. "I had not considered that," he admitted, adding, "It's just as well that you're our lord. I have no head for such things."

Again, Eirik said nothing, but this time he smiled as he looked at his brother. Garm might not be the sharpest spear in the sheaf, but he was a good man, and a good brother. He clapped Garm on the shoulder before returning to his usual place, beside Asgeir, their navigator.

"Before you ask, I have no idea where we are," Asgeir snapped.

"I wasn't about to," Eirik replied. "All I know is that we are far south of where we should be, and already low on water."

"Agreed," Asgeir said. "And with no coast anywhere in sight, and no wind to speak of, we can only..."

"Captain!" the lookout called, "I can see land."

Land! Eirik virtually ran to the lookout's place. "Where?"

"Just to the right of the dragon's head, see? Some kind of mountain island," Thorvaldr replied.

"I don't… wait, I see it as well now," Eirik said as he spied a small bump of land on the horizon. He turned around and called to Asgeir, "Change your course for the island."

Without wind, it took most of the day to reach the island, and Eirik spent the wait torn between hope and fear. Water would be the difference between perhaps making it home again and dying of thirst at sea, but even if the island had fresh water, they still didn't know where they were. Either way, he doubted they would catch up with Leif and his fleet, and thus for him and his crew the season's víking was over before it began.

They were close enough to the island now that Eirik could see it consisted of a single mountain, which at first rose gently from the waves, but then quickly climbed steeper towards its summit. There was enough vegetation that Eirik had good hope that they would find water.

"Looks like a fire mountain," Thorvaldr offered. "Long time since it last spewed, though, as green as it is."

Eventually they made landfall in a sandy cove on the western side of the island. Eirik ordered the men to make camp; they would send out parties to look for water in the morning. There was not enough of the day left that it was worth starting out now, and if they were as far south as he thought, nightfall would be much swifter than they were used to. He himself wanted to climb to the top of the island's mountain, in the hope that they might see other lands from there.  

The next morning, after sending the crew off in twos and threes to look for water, Eirik set out for the mountain's top, along with Garm, Thorvaldr and Asgeir. At first they walked through a dense forest, with the raucous sounds of birds all around them, though there was no sign of four-legged animal life. There were occasional small pools of fresh water and Eirik was reassured that they would be able to refresh their supplies here.

After a while the woods began to thin and they saw their goal. Beyond some huffing and puffing in the afternoon heat, their ascent was silent. The mountainside was hard, but not impossible to climb, and Eirik noted that, though the mountain's shape made it undoubtedly a fire mountain, it must indeed have been a very long time since it had last erupted. Not only was the land green, but the rocks were weathered and worn by the hand of time.

Eirik had heard once that, far to the south, there lay a group of small, rocky islands in the middle of the ocean, and he wondered if they had perhaps found one of these islands. If so, they should see the other islands from the top of the mountain. He tried to remember whether any people were said to live there, but could not recall mention of them. He shrugged and briefly patted the hilt of his sword. If anyone lived here, he would treat them fairly, but he and his men would brook no interference.

They were now nearing the top, and the terrain grew rougher, requiring at times that they climbed rather than walked. Eirik noted that the sun was already well on its way towards the horizon. They would have to make their camp at the top of the mountain and return the next day.

At last, the top; a wide, shallow bowl of land opened up before Eirik. He paused to appreciate the view, and nearly jumped as a silent Garm pointed towards the eastern edge of the top, where three eagles had taken wing and flown up high upon their arrival. The other two men were also silent as they looked around.

Eirik turned around to look at where they had come from. On the beach far below he saw faithful Ægishjálmr, with the men he had left behind to guard her mere dots, so high had they climbed. The sun was nearly on the edge of the world now – a stupid saying, he scoffed silently; anyone who had ever seen a ship's mast disappear beyond the horizon, or watched the Moon in the sky, knew Miðgarðr was round – and he had always liked the hour of sunset at sea.

There was no other land to be seen, at least not from this side of the island, and they would have to walk across to the other side of the top, and see whether there was anything to be seen in the east.

As the last sliver of the sun's disk started to disappear, Eirik thought he saw something on the horizon. Garm and Asgeir were also looking at the sunset, but it was Thorvaldr who suddenly gasped in surprise as he too turned to look west. Eirik was not sure whether he or the other two made any noise, but he knew he held his breath in awe as suddenly a vision opened up of a quickly darkening green coast and white towers shining brightly in the fiery light of the sun dipping out of sight. He stared, not daring to even blink for fear of losing the view. Asgarðr! Or perhaps merely Himinbjorg, with the home of the gods still beyond sight… Whichever it was, few men could boast of having seen beyond Bifröst in life, and Eirik found himself falling to his knees at the realisation.

Slowly the view faded from sight, until all they saw was the starry dome of the sky glistening upon the still-quiet sea. Mutely, the men rose again and, as if by agreement, but still without speaking, made their camp just below the mountain's top.

Despite what he had seen, Eirik found himself falling asleep quickly, and it was only when he awoke just before dawn the next day that he realised they had not even set a sentry. Somehow, looking over the shallow bowl of the mountain's top and seeing that the eagles they had seen fly up when they arrived had returned, he felt that the animals had been their guards this night. He glanced at the vision-free ocean to the west, a strange regret and loss in his heart, but knew that, even if they could not see land from here, their course lay east; Ægir would guide them home and keep them from Rán's cold realm.

Notes:

From the Silmarillion:

and it was said that the "far-sighted" could see Tol Eressëa from [Meneltarma's] summit. After the Downfall it was believed by the remnants of the Dúnedain that the top of Meneltarma rose once more above the sea level as the Isle of Meneltarma, "a lonely island lost in the great waters."

---

Asgard: the court of the Norse gods

Bifröst: the rainbow, believed to be the bridge to Asgard

Himinbjorg: 'heavenly castle' – the home of Heimdall, who guards the entrance to Asgard at the end of Bifröst

---

Though this is set in historical times, around the year 1000, none of the people mentioned are intended to be historical, though I hope there are no glaring errors either.


This is probably not entirely within the parameters of the Challenge, since technically Meneltarma doesn't do a lot of rising here, but merely sits there in the middle of the ocean until it is found. It is what the Muse came up with, though, and who would argue with a Muse when she is accompanied by a shipful of burly Vikings?

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

This is probably not entirely within the parameters of the Challenge, since technically Meneltarma doesn't do a lot of rising here, but merely sits there in the middle of the ocean until it is found.

No need to worry about that, Nath- this was a wonderful bit of storytelling and you have every right to be proud of it. Though, to quote another very fine Writer on this site...

Now if I was a nasty, heartless kind of person, I'd say that it doesn't really count and you have to write another one You little devil! )

Wink

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

Now if I was a nasty, heartless kind of person, I'd say that it doesn't really count and you have to write another one You little devil!

Now who could ever say such a thing? Eeeek!

And my apologies for the following bit of fluff...


Return

At last! He did not know how many Ages had passed until he had finally regained his shape, but he would find out soon. With a soft sigh, he went back to sleep. Reincarnation was hard work and his hroa was still not entirely finished.

Suddenly he was jolted awake by small hands grabbing him and lifting him up high. The hands squeezed him tight and he was pressed closely against a soft, warm surface. His body's reflexes made him fluff his tail and arch his back as he hissed in anger.

"Jeanie! Careful with the kitten!" a woman's voice called, and he hissed again when he was dropped. A kitten? Tevildo, mightiest of cats, had returned as a kitten? The indignity... However, time was on his side, and his body would grow quickly.

At the moment though, his eyes weren't even open yet, and he waited anxiously for the sight of the juvenile version of his sleekly black former body.

There, at last! Light... It would be a few more days before he could focus properly, he knew; but the satisfaction of his curiosity only required the colour of his paws. He sneaked a peek.

White?

He was scooped up again, this time more carefully, but he still squirmed at being picked up as the little girl he knew had picked him up before spoke almost in his ear.

"Mom, can I call him Ceiling Kitty?"

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

"Mom, can I call him Ceiling Kitty?"

You're wicked, Nath. Now I have to go get a cloth and clear up this juice from my keyboard...

 

 

Re: Nuzgûl of the Month November 2011

There is no better compliment than a spit-take You little devil!

 

 

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