5. A Tale Untold
It is not true that the past is merely things passed. There is no end without a beginning. And though the beginning may be forgotten, it always comes into play at the end. So are tales constructed, for all desire closure.
No one could pinpoint exactly when it began, or why it began. An ill mood was spreading over Minas Tirith, although no one could say what was wrong. But nevertheless, the sense of something wrong was there, insistent.
And fear filled the people. Many looked to Mordor, half expecting Sauron to have risen again, for surely that would explain the fell wind. But Mordor was quiet, and the darkness did not move.
Few looked to the sky, but those who did could not shake the feeling of dread. For there was a sense of a hand reaching down, a hand reaching from beyond the stars to touch Middle-earth. The sky seemed so major, the world so minor.
And word spread that Queen Arwen was sick, for she had been seen pale and staggering in the hallways, and none had since seen her. It was said she was resting, but from what no one would say – and the rumours begun to circle among the people.
“Foul is the wind, ill are the omens and hard times are coming,” they would say. “Even the Eveningstar pales.”
And many looked to the gates, hoping their King would return soon, but he was north and were not to ride home for a while yet. And in her bed Arwen tossed, nightmares claiming her night after night, even during the day.
She dreamt of an awakening far more terrible than Sauron and the fall of Valinor. Again and again sleep came to her, though she did not desire it. And in her mind a darkness seem to linger though the days were bright and sunny
A shadow rested in her mind, speaking of the death of all elves. She did not wish to listen, but it spoke anyway and she was no longer sure if it was only in her dreams.
Sometimes she thought she heard her father in her dreams, calling out to her in desperation; and she would turn to face him, but he was always gone. Only his scent would linger in the air, and she would breathe it in and know she had lost him.
She briefly wondered if her choice to become mortal was creating such a longing in her that she could be going mad, but she did not feel any loss of sanity.
She felt fear, and it seemed to her a great peril was upon them.
High above the city the wind arose and went eastwards, where dark beings slept or hid. For though Sauron was gone, his legacy remained. Divided and leaderless they heard the call, and they answered.
But elsewhere in Middle-earth, shrouded in the darkness, rested a being of old. So deeply asleep was she that most thought her dead, so dark was she no light was about her. Long she had slept now, in a cloud of shadow. Her name was but a whisper of old among the elves and Men no longer heard her name.
Ungoliant she had been called, the great spider of old, a name out of legends and nightmares.
A nightmare born again, for the call woke her from her deep sleep. A sleep not even Sauron could have disturbed, if he had indeed believed she still lived. But she knew this call, the call of the Blackheart, and the anger of old had not faded. With him she had destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor, devouring their light. But Morgoth had denied her the price she had requested, and she felt the betrayal still. Great were her rage, but even greater were her hunger.
Forward she crept, darkness around her as ever. The earth trembled as she strode forwards, and many fled before her. Out of the mountains she came, and begun her search for food and revenge.
And west of Mirkwood, a shadow felt her presence. Its spirit was old, and though it had no longer the shape of it had served Morgoth with, it still remember. A Balrog it had been, mighty and feared above all other servants of Morgoth. But even Balrogs could feel fear, and the shadow hesitated.
Finally, it took to the wind, flying high above the land. To the mountains it went, until the enemies of old met again. For the spirit had been among those who had saved Morgoth from Ungoliant's webs when the Silmarils had been denied her.
Dark was the sky as the shadow took the shape of a Balrog once more. Many saw fire in the sky that night, but none would never know the story behind it. For no tale came of the meeting of the two evils of old. None lived to tell the tale, expect the mountains and sky, and they did not speak any language in which tales were told.
Diminished was Ungoliant's shape, but she was still the greatest spider of all and her darkness had not faded with time. Forward she charged and the Balrog lashed out with its great whip, and their battle begun. Fire lit the sky, and foul winds seemed to arise and swept through Middle-earth. Long the battle raged, while the sun rose twice and descended again.
But at last Ungoliant spun a web so strong the Balrog could not flee, and it changed its shape back to a shadow. And Ungoliat laughed, for darkness was her servant, and within a heartbeat she breathed in the darkness and swallowed the shadow.
Thus the Balrog perished and could not follow its masters call for death and destruction. And though no one would know, Middle-earth had escaped a great peril.
As for Ungoliant, she relished in her victory and her great cries of triumph echoed in the empty valley. But her hunger was great still, and there seemed to be nothing to eat. Strength began to flee from her, and in desperation she ate the only thing she could think of.
So great was her hunger that she devoured herself, leaving only a cloud of darkness that would forever be deadly to all those who breathed it in.
And so ended one of the most terrible creatures to ever walk the world, evil destroying evil with only the sky and mountains as witness. Perhaps it was a fitting end a creature of so many tales - to have none speak of her demise.
But though a great peril was no more, a greater peril still awaited.
Author's Note: Ungoliant and the destruction of the trees are mentioned in the Silmarillion. If you haven't already read it, you should ;)
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.