2. Nameless, Named
Inspired by Larner, Nath and Cuinwen's "stony" birthday gifts.
I cannot remember ever not-being. Only being-within-stone, at the beginning. It seemed good to me, cool and safe. But after what I suppose would be considered a very long time by the few other speaking-beings I've met, I began to feel a strange emptiness. So great it became, and with it my anguish, that I gnawed some of the stone. This eased the emptiness, and so I understood what it had been. Hunger! The few other speaking-beings I've met were hungry indeed - they withered quickly, spoke no more, and returned to the stone. Except for two, but I stray ahead.
After satisfying my hunger, I discovered something wonderful. The stone I had eaten did not return! I had only to eat more, and I could move! At first only slowly, for I found I 'tired' easily. The few other speaking-beings I've met also 'tired' as they withered. Sadly, the stone that fed me could not feed them. Though a few claimed to love stone itself, and even to be able to speak with it, they regarded me with great terror. Only when they wearied could I approach and speak with them.
I suppose many Ages have passed in the world above, which I have never seen, since I last felt hunger or weariness. But again I stray ahead. Forgive me, I understand this thing called 'time' not-well.
Two speaking-beings I've met did not fear me.
One I knew long. A strange fellow, he was a spirit of fire and did not eat anything at all. Nor did he wither, although he did tire. He seemed to expect me to fear him. This was ridiculous; his flame was far too weak to harm me. The only reason I knew I could be harmed is that once I'd come upon a place where the stone grew soft and too warm for my liking. That I did fear - the only thing ever to set the feeling in me. But once was enough to understand it - fear of ceasing-to-be.
The spirit of flame thought far too much of himself, expecting me to fear him! I shook with great breaths. Laughter, it was - yet another new thing! It pleased me, but it did not please the spirit. His flame diminished somewhat, and he fell into sleep.
Many times I passed him by. A strange sleep it was - he remained 'aware', and seemed to be waiting for something. Whatever it was, must have happened, for when once more I passed the place where I'd met him, he'd gone. Somehow he had made his own 'tunnel', leading upwards. I saw him only once more, long afterwards.
That was the time I met the other one who did not fear me. He had been harmed by the spirit of fire, which I did not understand, since he was a spirit of fire himself. I asked him how this could be, but he was in a great hurry to pursue the other, and did not seem to like being asked questions. So he departed, saying only "Rockbiter, I have no time to explain things beyond your understanding. I pursue my foe. Farewell!"
Afterwards there was great tumult in the stone. The two spirits battled, I suppose. 'Battle' I've been told of, by some of the weary ones, before they withered; it was what had driven them into my tunnels.
The hasty spirit of fire should have been more patient. Had he told me of the deeds of the 'Balrog', I could have done him a favor and crushed it. For I can move very quickly, if I wish. And I'd long since grown stronger than any stone.
But all that came to my ears long afterwards. That and more. Perhaps the hasty spirit knew what he was doing, though the tale I heard was strange. A lot of trouble over a small bit of shaped soft-stone, which the weary stone-lovers call "gold." The world above must be a very different place than the one I know. I do not think I shall visit it.
Yet I do think on the hasty spirit at times, for he gave me a great gift. Rockbiter he named me. I'd never thought to name myself, but his suits me, so I've kept it.
"Far, far below the deepest delving of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day."
"Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?"
Gandalf and Tom Bombadil, LOTR
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.