Our normal policy is not to consider Fan Fiction or Journal Entries as candidates for POTW; however, in this case I chose Chathol-linn's story because it has been a slow summer for pithy posts and I thought more of the membership might read her story, if it had a little more publicity.
That only the first few chapters have been posted on Planet-Tolkien, making this a blooming advertisement against our normal policy, is also being ignored as she is a longtime member.
Hello, Planet Tolkien writers and readers! This is a self promotion of a story called Tell This Mortal.
The story tells how Legolas sailed his grey ship away. The story also explores the sea-longing and addresses why Thranduil stayed, why he coveted jewelry, and why no one ever knew anything about the mother of Legolas. The characters are Legolas, Gimli, Thranduil, and original male and female characters.
The story is longish, maybe 10,000 words, and I have written it in chapters of less than 1000 words each, mostly. There are no R-rated scenes. Feel free to copy and save this, but please do so in its entirety. Here is the first chapter of Tell This Mortal.
I am a sail maker from Erith Anduin. The sea, and my little town of Sea Fair are all I ever knew. When I was thirty years old the blest king died, in spring. That autumn, the Elf came down the river with his grey ship and his need, destroying me with the past and leaving me to face an unimaginable end that is coming swiftly now; perhaps tomorrow. But before all that happened, came the Dwarf.
Sea Fair sits far down in the delta where the river meets the sea. Just now we are fishing town, grown up from being a village. We owe that to the blest king, who defeated the Enemy long before I was born and freed the coasts from the Corsairs. Because of that, we will be a mighty port city some day, they say. Sea Fair the Great.
“I am glad I shall not live to see it,” said old one-handed Berendil, as we sat in his tavern a few doors down from my shop. He had been a sailor until a shipboard accident crushed his hand – a mast tore loose and fell on him during a storm at sea. That he made it to Nesta the healer is a miracle; he says the salt water that nearly drowned him kept the blood poison down. She cut off the mangled flesh, cauterized the stump, and waited to see if he would develop the proud flesh and die. He recovered and thereafter used his one hand to pour ale and wine, a service I found most useful.
Just now I was sampling a glass of last year’s vintage of Dorwinion Red – one thing we do not lack at Sea Fair is water transportation, and another is trade. The tavern’s shutters were open wide. However all eyes were on a long, narrow scroll affixed to the wall over the bar, stretching all the way from one end of the room to the other. It was a calendar of sorts, and we were waiting for a golden ray of sun to touch the right place on the scroll. It came. All of us raised our cups and turned toward the westward-facing windows.
Out over the deeps, past Sea Fair’s stilt houses and walkways of planks that wound all about the oldtown quarter, past the docks and the rocking, moored fleet, the evening grew old and glorious as the sun set beneath the waves. We watched in silence, our breaths caught in our throats. The only sounds were the plashing of water against the pilings and the cry of the gulls. When we could see Her no more, a sailor spoke, trying to charm some girl:
“You will never see a more beautiful sunset than tonight’s in Sea Fair,” he said. This homage broke the spell, and the din of conversation rose again. Several folks laughed at the sailor’s sentiment; we had all said the same words many times over.
“You do not like cities?” I asked Berendil, and at that moment a familiar figure pounded through the open door – my head apprentice. We called him “Nath” that is old talk for “Web” for he came from a long line of great weavers, and with his strong, lanky limbs, he was a very spider among the ships’ riggings. No one dared call him “Ungol” of course. Tradition held this to be insulting and an invitation to bad luck, and sailing folk are superstitious.
“Mistress!” Nath cried, breathless from running. “You must come at once. We have a – customer. The customer –“
“I am done for the day,” I interrupted, “and I wish to finish my wine. You handle the customer.”
Nath stood up straight and raised his chin. “No, Mistress,” he said in front of everybody, and I sighed. I would have to send him to the master of boys and…. “He asked for you by name, and he said, ‘I am looking for the best sail maker in Middle-earth.’”
Every shopkeeper and merchant in the place who kept apprentices chuckled.
“Oh, very well,” I grumbled, drinking the remaining wine in one swallow. “He had better still be there. Who is this knowledgeable customer, please?”
“He said, ‘Gimli.’ ”
Grondy also says: Good story Chathol-linn, way to go.
And if you liked this story, you also might like her poem: The Song-Fight at the Swan and Cygnet Saloon , which incidently won 1st place in epic poetry section of the Gathering of the Fellowship writing contest in Toronto last December.
And we were able to read it here last September.