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B2MeM 2011: Haradhrim Nights  by Mirach

Day 25: Lothlórien

Challenge: She knelt on the floor, carefully picking up the shards of glass. Why did it have to be this one that broke?

Start a story with this two lines and answer the question of what was once broken. Or create a poem or piece of art that pictures this scene.


She knelt on the floor, carefully picking up the shards of glass. Why did it have to be this one that broke? It was one of the best plates they had… The tavern keeper’s wife sighed, and continued picking the shards. There have been a fight earlier in the evening, and now there was blood on the floor, overthrown tables and broken dishes. Nobody cared for that - not even for her best plates.

First the black-eyed nomad arrived with his men, asking if they have seen a stranger from the North in the city. They left their horses in the stable, which meant they are planning to return. Luckily they didn’t yet – they looked like trouble, and even more trouble than now they certainly didn’t need. It seemed not only them, but also all the Corsairs were looking for the stranger. A few of them came to ask for him – why did everybody think that all strangers have to stop in the tavern? Then this young nomad came asking for the other nomads…

She shook her head. Who could have told that the stranger that all were looking for was the man sitting peacefully in their tavern for a few hours? Now that she thought about it, he seemed to be waiting for the Corsair Captain… He knew everyone came to the tavern to ask for him. Sooner or later, lord Dûrnaur would come. It seemed they knew each other. And the stranger was waiting. When lord Dûrnaur finally appeared, he killed his guards like nothing, and then…

She shivered when she thought about the duel that followed. She has never seen such a quick fight before, or such tension like between these two men. The hatred in Dûrnaur’s eyes was almost like a physical force, driving him forwards, giving strength to his blows. The blades sparkled, the fighters moved in a blur. It was hard to follow which one is attacking and which one retreating; they seemed to do both in the same time. She has been watching it from the kitchen, unable to tear her eyes away for the fascination of the scene before her. Now just the broken plates remained, but it seemed to her as if the shadows of the combatants would still move between the tables, thrusting, blocking, avoiding the blows.

She picked up one shard, and looked at it closer. There was a drop of blood on it… She wondered shortly whose blood it was. They have been both injured in the fight, and it seemed the stranger had also some older wounds, which began bleeding again. She remembered thinking that he could use a good meal when she watched him. That was when she noticed the dark circles beneath his eyes. It was strange how he managed to hide his weariness before, looking like a mighty eagle descending on its prey. But he could not hide it any longer, and Dûrnaur pressed him even harder, seeing his advantage. She was not disappointed, because she didn’t allow herself to believe that the rule of the Corsairs over the city might end here. It was too much to hope for, and the shattering of such a hope would shatter one’s heart. It was better not to believe…

Still she couldn’t look at the end of the fight. There was nothing fascinating in it anymore. She averted her face from it, waiting for the nightmare to be over.

A cry of pain. The dull sound of a falling body. Breaking plates. Then silence.

Slowly, she opened her eyes and looked through the curtain of the door. She couldn’t believe her eyes. The Corsair Captain was lying on the floor, in a growing stain of blood. The stranger stood over him, but she saw he was standing just barely. He leaned on the wall for support, panting heavily.

For a moment, she rejoiced. Dûrnaur was dead! The Corsair rule was over!

How foolish she was, she thought. At the end, she allowed herself to hope, and the hope shattered with her heart. She sighed, and continued picking the shards.

Their Captain was dead, but it was foolish to think that the Corsairs would just leave. In the next moments they swarmed the tavern. Maybe somebody called them – it didn’t matter anymore. The stranger had no chance against them. He resisted, but exhausted and injured as he was, they overwhelmed him quickly. They took him alive, and she didn’t want to imagine the fate that awaited him in their hands. Instead, she concentrated on the shards of her favourite plate.

Such a pity…

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