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B2MeM 2011: Haradhrim Nights  by Mirach

Day 21: Mirkwood

Challenge: We were young, we were merry, we were very, very wise, And the door stood open at our feast, When there passed us a woman with the West in her eyes, And a man with his back to the East. -Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

The words West and East are often used in the works of Tolkien. Write a story or poem or create an artwork that uses these words as the central focus, whether as cardinals, regions, or as metaphors.

East and West

The sun was in her zenith, in the short moment when she didn’t climb the blue heights of the sky, but did not yet begin sinking into the fiery embrace of the west. The air near to the ground glimmered with heat and reflected the sun’s rays like pools of water amidst the infinite sea of sand – always somewhere in the distance, never close.

The sand rose under the hooves of a horse. The earth thundered for a while, and then quieted, the hoof beats fading in the east. Then it thundered again, the sound of many hooves coming from the west, and the cries of men encouraging their horses to greater speed. And when even they faded and the dust settled, peace returned to the realm of the merciless sun. Nothing moved beneath her hot rays, pounding at the earth like the blows of a smith’s hammer, shaping the land and its people. Until… the dust rose again, and another lonely rider dared to trespass the sun’s kingdom. Then the silence returned, and nothing disturbed it anymore.


Thorongil leaned lower at the neck of his horse. It was a black horse, slender and swift like the desert wind. The horses of this land were smaller than those of the north, but tireless in the desert, able to run long miles and found nourishment in the dry grass that grew in some places. 

“Noro lim…” Thorongil whispered, but he knew the horse cannot understand the language spoken so far away… so long away… those times when he spoke that language seemed like another life to him. Despite that the horse ran quicker, the black mane flowing like a proud flag. A black flag… with seven stars…

He shook his head. Somehow his thoughts always strayed to what he couldn’t have now… He looked back and frowned. He could see the cloud of dust rising where his pursuers rode. He knew Kadar would be in their head, his black eyes glistening with determination. He turned his attention to the road ahead.

There, just a few hours’ ride to the east, should be a town. People, houses, wells with fresh water, maybe even a few palms, and the smell of spices and music in the evening. There he can hide and finally find out who and why paid for his death. From the west his pursuers rode, the menace of cold steel and sharp sabres.

And yet it seemed to him that a dark menace hovers in the east, while the west was bright and clear. But from here, Mordor was more to the north than east… Maybe it was just a prejudice, imprinted into his mind by stories in the young age, and experience later. Yet he felt uneasy when leading his horse in that direction. Could it be a foresight? He thought about that question for a moment, but then forgot it as he looked back and saw the cloud of dust nearing.

Noro lim!”

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