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January 2017 Potluck Challenge

Welcome to the 2016 January Potluck Challenge! For those of you who are new to this challenge, it's where we (1) give you a chance to finish up and post any challenges you did not finish during 2016, or (2) give you a chance at some of the prompts that did not get used during the past year or (3) both.

To join in, simply choose your prompt and claim it by leaving a comment on this post. More than one person may claim a prompt. In addition, you are not limited to just one prompt. You may claim as many as you like; we do ask that you put each claim in a separate comment, as it will help us keep track of things better. If you want to, you may claim a prompt, finish it and then claim another. You may also comment to say if you are finishing up a story from previous challenges.

Your stories will be due in the moderator's queue by Friday, January 20, and will be unlocked on Monday, January 23. Please tag your story "month: 2017 January" and "challenge: 2017 potluck" Please remember to use the following header template (also found on the community profile page), and to put the name of your story and your name in the subject line.



If you have any questions, please comment here or e-mail the mods at manypaths@lotrgfic.com.

Prompts are behind the cuts.

December: From the Yule Exchange


Frodo was 12 when Sam was born, 14 when Merry was born, and 22 when Pippin was born. I'd love to read a story where he's interacting with one of his baby cousins (or Sam).

I would like a Fingon and Maedhros story, where they love each other. It can be set in Tirion, in Middle-earth, or after they come out of the Halls.

Vidumavi and Valacar on their first Yule together. There's snow and all the most adorable Yule tropes you can thing of. I'd love a fluffy piece but if you want to add something more reflexive to it, or a hint of darkness, it's also fine, as long as they end up happy and in love.

Use a fairytale in some fashion, either by reworking one or just using it as general inspiration, with Gildor OR Maglor as the main character.

I would like a story featuring Merry and Pippin having an adventure in Rivendell before setting out on the quest. The story can be either serious or humorous or a combination of both!

Elrond hurt comfort

A reminiscence from Bilbo as told to Frodo to explain how his feelings toward the Dwarves changed during the quest for Erebor.

Legolas and Gimli's trip to the West (can include decision stage, planning, boat building, travel--any or all of the above).

A hobbit version of “A Christmas Carol” featuring either Lobelia or Lotho in the Scrooge role.

Elrond and Maglor meeting in an unlikely or unexpected place, sometime from the Second Age onwards. Elves living through history are welcome! Something hurt-comforty would be lovely. Please no twins deciding to go Arwen's way (leaving that point open is fine).

Something is amiss... in an elven household around yuletide. Someone or something might be missing and is missed. Or a series of events might be those tall tell signs of the worst Yule ever. I would love to read a story that deals with a some sort of setback and how this family will go about this tackling this. Of course it is Yule and a happy ending would fit so well. The genre can be angsty and filled with drama, it might be a mystery tale or a hurt/comfort story. Perhaps it will be utterly fluff, who knows and let your inspiration guide you.

November: Gratitude


The November Challenge will have the theme of “Gratitude”. It's a drabble challenge, and you may enter a drabble (100 words), drabble-and-a-half (150 words), double drabble (200 words), or triple drabble (300 words). Word count must be exact. Your drabble should have someone feeling grateful for something. Your prompt will be a random word.

13. Indebted
14. Gratified

October: Spooky Atmosphere


The October Challenge will have the theme "Spooky Atmosphere". Prompts will be some of Tolkien's creepier poems. These will be behind the cut. Choose lines, verses or whole poems to inspire you to write something with a scary atmosphere.

15. From The Hobbit, "Down, Down to Goblin-town"

Clap! Snap! the black crack!
Grip, grab! Pinch, nab!
And down down to Goblin-town
You go, my lad!

Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!
Pound, pound, far underground!
Ho, ho! my lad!

Swish, smack! Whip crack!
Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!
Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,
While Goblins quaff, and Goblins laugh,
Round and round far underground
Below, my lad!

16. From The Fellowship of the Ring, the Barrow-wight's chant

Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never mare to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand
over dead sea and withered land.


17. "The Mewlips"


The shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool's borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.

Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.

They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they've finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.

Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
And through the wood of hanging trees and the gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips--and the Mewlips feed.


18. "The Shadow Bride"


There was a man who dwelt alone,
as day and night went past
he sat as still as carven stone,
and yet no shadow cast.
The white owls perched upon his head
beneath the winter moon;
they wiped their beaks and thought him dead
under the stars of June.
There came a lady clad in grey
in the twilight shining:
one moment she would stand and stay,
her hair with flowers entwining.
He woke, as had he sprung of stone,
and broke the spell that bound him;
he clasped her fast, both flesh and bone,
and wrapped her shadow round him.
There never more she walks her ways
by sun or moon or star
she dwells below where neither days
nor any nights there are.
But once a year when caverns yawn
and hidden things awake,
They dance together then till dawn
and a single shadow make.

June: June Bug


The June Challenge will have the theme "June Bug". Stories should feature a character dealing with something that "bugs" them, either humorously or seriously. Prompts for the challenge will be a particular insect, or bug, that must be at least mentioned in the story. (It does not have to be a plot element, although it can be.)

bumblebee
butterfly
caterpillar
cricket
cutworm
earwig
firefly
flea
fly
mosquito
moth
preying mantis
roach
scarab
silkworm
stink bug
spider (not an insect, but definitely a bug)

May: Waiting


The theme for May 2016 is 'Waiting'. Stories should feature the theme of your character waiting for something or someone. All prompts are based on a situation from your chosen source.

Lord of the Rings Prompts



Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of the Shire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and unexpected return. The riches he had brought back from his travels had now become a local legend, and it was popularly believed, whatever the old folk might say, that the Hill at Bag End was full of tunnels stuffed with treasure. And if that was not enough for fame, there was also his prolonged vigour to marvel at. Time wore on, but it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety he was much the same as at fifty. At ninety-nine they began to call him _well_-preserved, but _unchanged_ would have been nearer the mark. There were some that shook their heads and thought this was too much of a good thing; it seemed unfair that anyone should possess (apparently) perpetual youth as well as (reputedly) inexhaustible wealth.
'It will have to be paid for,' they said. 'It isn't natural, and trouble will come of it!'
But so far trouble had not come; and as Mr. Baggins was generous with his money, most people were willing to forgive him his oddities and his good fortune. He remained on visiting terms with his relatives (except, of course, the Sackville-Bagginses), and he had many devoted admirers among the hobbits of poor and unimportant families. But he had no close friends, until some of his younger cousins began to grow up.
The eldest of these, and Bilbo's favourite, was young Frodo Baggins. When Bilbo was ninety-nine, he adopted Frodo as his heir, and brought him to live at Bag End; and the hopes of the Sackville-Bagginses were finally dashed. Bilbo and Frodo happened to have the same birthday, September 22nd. 'You had better come and live here, Frodo my lad,' said Bilbo one day; 'and then we can celebrate our birthday-parties comfortably together.' At that time Frodo was still in his _tweens,_ as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three.


Twelve more years passed. Each year the Bagginses had given very lively combined birthday-parties at Bag End; but now it was understood that something quite exceptional was being planned for that autumn. Bilbo was going to be _eleventy-one,_ 111, a rather curious number and a very respectable age for a hobbit (the Old Took himself had only reached 130); and Frodo was going to be _thirty-three,_ 33) an important number: the date of his 'coming of age'.
(FotR, Book 1, Chapter 1, "An Unexpected Party")




Frodo himself, after the first shock, found that being his own master and _the_ Mr. Baggins of Bag End was rather pleasant. For some years he was quite happy and did not worry much about the future. But half unknown to himself the regret that he had not gone with Bilbo was steadily growing. He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. He began to say to himself: 'Perhaps I shall cross the River myself one day.' To which the other half of his mind always replied: 'Not yet.'
So it went on, until his forties were running out, and his fiftieth birthday was drawing near: fifty was a number that he felt was somehow significant (or ominous); it was at any rate at that age that adventure had suddenly befallen Bilbo. Frodo began to feel restless, and the old paths seemed too well-trodden. He looked at maps, and wondered what lay beyond their edges: maps made in the Shire showed mostly white spaces beyond its borders. He took to wandering further afield and more often by himself; and Merry and his other friends watched him anxiously. Often he was seen walking and talking with the strange wayfarers that began at this time to appear in the Shire. (FotR, Book 1, Chapter 2, "Shadow of the Past")




'You ought to go quietly, and you ought to go soon,' said Gandalf. Two or three weeks had passed, and still Frodo made no sign of getting ready to go.
'I know. But it is difficult to do both,' he objected. If I just vanish like Bilbo, the tale will be all over the Shire in no time.'
'Of course you mustn't vanish!' said Gandalf. 'That wouldn't do at all! I said _soon,_ not _instantly._ If you can think of any way of slipping out of the Shire without its being generally known, it will be worth a little delay. But you must not delay too long.'
'What about the autumn, on or after Our Birthday?' asked Frodo. 'I think I could probably make some arrangements by then.'
To tell the truth, he was very reluctant to start, now that it had come to the point. Bag End seemed a more desirable residence than it had for years, and he wanted to savour as much as he could of his last summer in the Shire. When autumn came, he knew that part at least of his heart would think more kindly of journeying, as it always did at that season. He had indeed privately made up his mind to leave on his fiftieth birthday: Bilbo's one hundred and twenty-eighth. It seemed somehow the proper day on which to set out and follow him. Following Bilbo was uppermost in his mind, and the one thing that made the thought of leaving bearable. He thought as little as possible about the Ring, and where it might lead him in the end. But he did not tell all his thoughts to Gandalf. What the wizard guessed was always difficult to tell.
(FotR, Book 1, Chapter 3, "Three's Company")




Fond as he was of Frodo, Fatty Bolger had no desire to leave the Shire, nor to see what lay outside it. His family came from the Eastfarthing, from Budgeford in Bridgefields in fact, but he had never been over the Brandywine Bridge. His task, according to the original plans of the conspirators, was to stay behind and deal with inquisitive folk, and to keep up as long as possible the pretence that Mr. Baggins was still living at Crickhollow. He had even brought along some old clothes of Frodo's to help him in playing the part. They little thought how dangerous that part might prove.
(FotR, Book 1, Chapter 5, "A Conspiracy Unmasked")




`Well, anyway,' said Bilbo, 'nothing was decided beyond choosing poor Frodo and Sam. I was afraid all the time that it might come to that, if I was let off. But if you ask me, Elrond will send out a fair number, when the reports come in. Have they started yet, Gandalf?'
'Yes,' said the wizard. `Some of the scouts have been sent out already. More will go tomorrow. Elrond is sending Elves, and they will get in touch with the Rangers, and maybe with Thranduil's folk in Mirkwood. And Aragorn has gone with Elrond's sons. We shall have to scour the lands all round for many long leagues before any move is made. So cheer up, Frodo! You will probably make quite a long stay here.'

'Ah!' said Sam gloomily. 'We'll just wait long enough for winter to come.'
(FotR, Book 2, Chapter 3, "The Ring Goes South")




At that moment from far off the wind bore to their listening ears the howling of wolves. Bill the pony started in fear, and Sam sprang to his side and whispered softly to him.
'Do not let him run away! ' said Boromir. 'It seems that we shall need him still, if the wolves do not find us. How I hate this foul pool! ' He stooped and picking up a large stone he cast it far into the dark water.
The stone vanished with a soft slap; but at the same instant there was a swish and a bubble. Great rippling rings formed on the surface out beyond where the stone had fallen, and they moved slowly towards the foot of the cliff.
'Why did you do that, Boromir? ' said Frodo. `I hate this place, too, and I am afraid. I don't know of what: not of wolves, or the dark behind the doors, but of something else. I am afraid of the pool. Don't disturb it! '
'l wish we could get away! ' said Merry.
'Why doesn't Gandalf do something quick? ' said Pippin.
Gandalf took no notice of them. He sat with his head bowed, either in despair or in anxious thought. The mournful howling of the wolves was heard again. The ripples on the water grew and came closer; some were already lapping on the shore.
(FotR, Book 2, Chapter 3, "The Ring Goes South")




'Riders!' cried Aragorn, springing to his feet. 'Many riders on swift steeds are coming towards us!'
'Yes,' said Legolas, 'there are one hundred and five. Yellow is their hair, and bright are their spears. Their leader is very tall.'
Aragorn smiled. 'Keen are the eyes of the Elves,' he said.
'Nay! The riders are little more than five leagues distant,' said Legolas.
'Five leagues or one,' said Gimli; 'we cannot escape them in this bare land. Shall we wait for them here or go on our way?'
'We will wait,' said Aragorn. 'I am weary, and our hunt has failed. Or at least others were before us; for these horsemen are riding back down the orc-trail. We may get new s from them.'
'Or spears,' said Gimli.
'There are three empty saddles, but I see no hobbits,' said Legolas.
'I did not say that we should hear good news,' said Aragorn. 'But evil or good we will await it here.'
The three companions now left the hill-top, where they might be an easy mark against the pale sky, and they walked slowly down the northward slope. A little above the hill's foot they halted, and wrapping their cloaks about them, they sat huddled together upon the faded grass. The time passed slowly and heavily. The wind was thin and searching. Gimli was uneasy.
(TT, Book 3, Chapter 2 "The Riders of Rohan")




As soon as the whole company was assembled, standing in a wide circle round Treebeard, a curious and unintelligible conversation began. The Ents began to murmur slowly: first one joined and then another, until they were all chanting together in a long rising and falling rhythm, now louder on one side of the ring, now dying away there and rising to a great boom on the other side. Though he could not catch or understand any of the words – he supposed the language was Entish – Pippin found the sound very pleasant to listen to at first; but gradually his attention wavered. After a long time (and the chant showed no signs of slackening) he found himself wondering, since Entish was such an 'unhasty' language, whether they had yet got further than _Good Morning_; and if Treebeard was to call the roll, how many days it would take to sing all their names. 'I wonder what the Entish is for _yes_ or _no_,' he thought. He yawned. (TT, Book 3, Chapter 4 "Treebeard")




In some other time and place Pippin might have been pleased with his new array, but he knew now that he was taking part in no play; he was in deadly earnest the servant of a grim master in the greatest peril. The hauberk was burdensome, and the helm weighed upon his head. His cloak he had cast aside upon the seat. He turned his tired gaze away from the darkling fields below and yawned, and then he sighed.
'You are weary of this day?' said Beregond.
'Yes,' said Pippin, 'very: tired out with idleness and waiting. I have kicked my heels at the door of my master's chamber for many slow hours, while he has debated with Gandalf and the Prince and other great persons. And I'm not used, Master Beregond, to waiting hungry on others while they eat. It is a sore trial for a hobbit, that. No doubt you will think I should feel the honour more deeply. But what is the good of such honour? Indeed what is the good even of food and drink under this creeping shadow? What does it mean? The very air seems thick and brown! Do you often have such glooms when the wind is in the East?'
Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, Chapter 4 The Siege of Gondor

The Hobbit Prompts



There were lots of dragons in the North in those days, and gold was probably
getting scarce up there, with the dwarves flying south or getting killed,
and all the general waste and destruction that dragons make going from bad
to worse. There was a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm called
Smaug. One day he flew up into the air and came south. The first we heard of
it was a noise like a hurricane coming from the North, and the pine-trees on
the Mountain creaking and cracking in the wind. Some of the dwarves who
happened to be outside (I was one luckily -a fine adventurous lad in those
days, always wandering about, and it saved my life that day)-well, from a
good way off we saw the dragon settle on our mountain in a spout of flame.
Then he came down the slopes and when he reached the woods they all went up
in fire. By that time all the bells were ringing in Dale and the warriors
were arming. The dwarves rushed out of their great gate; but there was the
dragon waiting for them.
Chapter I. An Unexpected Party




Then there was a gorgeous row. Bilbo had just enough wits left, when
Bert dropped him on the ground, to scramble out of the way of their feet,
before they were fighting like dogs, and calling one another all sorts of
perfectly true and applicable names in very loud voices. Soon they were
locked in one another's arms, and rolling nearly into the fire kicking and
thumping, while Tom whacked at then both with a branch to bring them to
their senses-and that of course only made them madder than ever. That would
have been the time for Bilbo to have left. But his poor little feet had been
very squashed in Bert's big paw, and he had no breath in his body, and his
head was going round; so there he lay for a while panting, just outside the
circle of firelight.
Right in the middle of the fight up came Balin. The dwarves had heard
noises from a distance, and after wait-ing for some time for Bilbo to come
back, or to hoot like an owl, they started off one by one to creep towards
the light as quietly as they could.
Chapter 2. Roast Mutton





Just at that moment the wolves trotted howling into the clearing. All
of a sudden there were hundreds of eyes looking at them. Still Dori did not
let Bilbo down. He waited till he had clambered off his shoulders into the
branches, and then he jumped for the branches himself. Only just in time! A
wolf snapped- at his cloak as he swung up, and nearly got him. In a minute
there was a whole pack of them yelping all round the tree and leaping up at
the trunk, with eyes blazing and tongues hanging out.
But even the wild Wargs (for so the evil wolves over the Edge of the
Wild were named) cannot climb trees. For a time they were safe. 'Luckily it
was warm and not windy. Trees are not very comfortable to sit in for long at
any time; but in the cold and the wind, with wolves all round below waiting
for you, they can be perfectly miserable places.
Chapter 6. Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire




The king looked sternly on Thorin, when he was brought before him, and
asked him many questions. But Thorin would only say that he was starving.
"Why did you and your folk three times try to attack my people at their
merrymaking?" asked the king.
"We did not attack them," answered Thorin; "we came to beg, because we
were starving."
"Where are your friends now, and what are they doing?"
"I don't know, but I expect starving in the forest."
"What were you doing in the forest?"
"Looking for food and drink, because we were starving."
"But what brought you into the forest at all?" asked the king angrily.
At that Thorin shut his mouth and would not say another word.
"Very well!" said the king. "Take him away and keep him safe, until he
feels inclined to tell the truth, even if he waits a hundred years.'"
Chapter 8. Flies and Spiders




In the meanwhile the Wood-elves had gone back up the Forest River with
their cargoes, and there was great excitement in the king's palace. I have
never heard what happened to the chief of the guards and the butler. Nothing
of course was ever said about keys or barrels while the dwarves stayed in
Lake-town, and Bilbo was careful never to become invisible. Still, I
daresay, more was guessed than was known, though doubtless Mr. Baggins
remained a bit of a mystery. In any case the king knew now the dwarves'
errand, or thought he did, and he said to himself:
"Very well! We'll see! No treasure will come back through Mirkwood
without my having something to say in the matter. But I expect they will all
come to a bad end, and serve them right!" He at any rate did not believe in
dwarves fighting and killing dragons like Smaug, and he strongly suspected
attempted burglary or something like it which shows he was a wise elf and
wiser than the men of the town, though not quite right, as we shall see in
the end. He sent out his spies about the shores of the lake and as far
northward towards the Mountains as they would go, and waited.
Chapter 10. A Warm Welcome




Every now and again through the night
they could hear the roar of the flying dragon grow and then pass and fade,
as he hunted round and round the mountain-sides.
He guessed from the ponies, and from the traces of the camps he had
discovered, that men had come up from the river and the lake and had scaled
the mountain-side from the valley where the ponies had been standing; but
the door withstood his searching eye, and the little high-walled bay had
kept out his fiercest flames. Long he had hunted in vain till the dawn
chilled his wrath and he went back to his golden couch to sleep -- and to
gather new strength.
He would not forget or forgive the theft, not if a thousand years
turned him to smouldering stone, but he could afford to wait. Slow and
silent he crept back to his lair and half closed his eyes.
When morning came the terror of the dwarves grew less. They realized
that dangers of this kind were inevitable in dealing with such a guardian,
and that it was no good giving up their quest yet. Nor could they get away
just now, as Thorin had pointed out. Their ponies were lost or killed, and
they would have to wait some time before Smaug relaxed his watch
sufficiently for them to dare the long way on foot. Luckily they had saved
enough of their stores to last them still for some time.
Chapter 12. Inside Information




In the meanwhile, the dwarves sat in darkness, and utter silence fell
about them. Little they ate and little they spoke. They could not count the
passing of time; and they scarcely dared to move, for the whisper of their
voices echoed and rustled in the tunnel. If they dozed, they woke still to
darkness and to silence going on unbroken. At last after days and days of
waiting, as it seemed, when they were becoming choked and dazed for want of
air, they could bear it no longer. They would almost have welcomed sounds
from below of the dragon's return. In the silence they feared some cunning
devilry of his, but they could not sit there for ever.
Chapter 13. Not at Home

Silmarillion Prompts



Then the seeds that Yavanna had sown began swiftly to sprout and to burgeon, and there arose a multitude of growing things great and small, mosses and grasses and great ferns, and trees whose tops were crowned with cloud as they were living mountains, but whose feet were wrapped in a green twilight. And beasts came forth and dwelt in the grassy plains, or in the rivers and the lakes, or walked in the shadows of the woods. As yet no flower had bloomed nor any bird had sung, for these things waited still their time in the bosom of Yavanna; but wealth there was of her imagining, and nowhere more rich than in the midmost parts of the Earth, where the light of both the Lamps met and blended.
Chapter 1 Of the Beginning of Days




But Ilúvatar spoke again and said: 'Even as I gave being to the thoughts of the Ainur at the beginning of the World, so now I have taken up thy desire and given to it a place therein; but in no other way will I amend thy handiwork, and as thou hast made it, so shall it be. But I will not suffer this: that these should come before the Firstborn of my design, nor that thy impatience should be rewarded. They shall sleep now in the darkness under stone, and shall not come forth until the Firstborn have awakened upon Earth; and until that time thou and they shall wait, though long it seem. But when the time comes I will awaken them, and they shall be to thee as children; and often strife shall arise between thine and mine, the children of my adoption and the children of my choice.'

Then Aulë took the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves, and laid them to rest in far-sundered places; and he returned to Valinor, and waited while the long years lengthened.
Chapter 2 Of Aulë and Yavanna

But at the last the gates of Utumno were broken and the halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. Then Tulkas stood forth as champion of the Valar and wrestled with him, and cast him upon his face; and he was bound with the chain Angainor that Aulë had wrought, and led captive; and the world had peace for a long age.
Nonetheless the Valar did not discover all the mighty vaults and caverns hidden with deceit far under the fortresses of Angband and Utumno. Many evil things still lingered there, and others were dispersed and fled into the dark and roamed in the waste places of the world, awaiting a more evil hour; and Sauron they did not find.
Chapter 3 Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor




Deep in forgotten places that cry was heard. Far beneath the rained halls of Angband, in vaults to which the Valar in the haste of their assault had not descended, Balrogs lurked still, awaiting ever the return of their Lord; and now swiftly they arose, and passing over Hithlum they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire. With their whips of flame they smote asunder the webs of Ungoliant, and she quailed, and turned to flight, belching black vapours to cover her; and fleeing from the north she went down into Beleriand, and dwelt beneath Ered Gorgoroth, in that dark valley that was after called Nan Dungortheb, the Valley of Dreadful Death, because of the horror that she bred there.
Chapter 9: Of the Flight of the Noldor




Far beneath the rained halls of Angband, in vaults to which the Valar in the haste of their assault had not descended, Balrogs lurked still, awaiting ever the return of their Lord; and now swiftly they arose, and passing over Hithlum they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire.
Chapter 10: Of the Sindar




For from his first days in Gondolin he had borne a grief, ever worsening, that robbed him of all joy: he loved the beauty of Idril and desired her, without hope. The Eldar wedded not with km so near, nor ever before had any desired to do so. And however that might be, Idril loved Maeglin not at all; and knowing his thought of her she loved him the less. For it seemed to her a thing strange and crooked in him, as indeed the Eldar ever since have deemed it: an evil fruit of the Kinslaying, whereby the shadow of the curse of Mandos fell upon the last hope of the Noldor. But as the years passed still Maeglin watched Idril, and waited, and his love turned to darkness in his heart. And he sought the more to have his will in other matters, shirking no toil or burden, if he might thereby have power.
Chapter 16: Of Maeglin




Therefore, since daily Carcharoth drew nearer to Menegroth, they prepared the Hunting of the Wolf; of all pursuits of beasts whereof tales tell the most perilous. To that chase went Huan the Hound of Valinor, and Mablung of the Heavy Hand, and Beleg Strongbow, and Beren Erchamion, and Thingol King of Doriath. They rode forth in the morning and passed over the River Esgalduin; but Lúthien remained behind at the gates of Menegroth. A dark shadow fell upon her and it seemed to her that the sun had sickened and turned black.

The hunters turned east and north, and following the course of the river they came at last upon Carcharoth the Wolf in a dark valley, down the northern side whereof Esgalduin fell in a torrent over steep falls. At the foot of the falls Carcharoth drank to ease his consuming thirst, and he howled, and thus they were aware of him, But he, espying their approach, rushed not suddenly to attack them. It may be that the devil's cunning of his heart awoke, being for a moment eased of his pain by the sweet waters of Esgalduin; and even as they rode towards him he slunk aside into a deep brake, and there lay hid. But they set a guard about all that place, and waited, and the shadows grew long in the forest.
Chapter 19 Of Beren and Lúthien




Then the hearts of the Noldor grew hot, and their captains wished to assail their foes upon the plain; but Húrin spoke against it, and bade them beware of the guile of Morgoth, whose strength was always greater than it seemed, and his purpose other than he revealed. And though the signal of the approach of Maedhros came not, and the host grew impatient, Húrin urged them still to await it, and to let the Orcs break themselves in assault upon the hills.
Chapter 20 Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad




And while he was yet held by the eyes of the dragon in torment of mind, and could not stir, the Orcs drove away the herded captives, and they passed nigh to Túrin and crossed over the bridge. Among them was Finduilas, and she cried out to Túrin as she went; but not until her cries and the wailing of the captives was lost upon the northward road did Claiming release Túrin, and he might not stop his ears against that voice that haunted him after.

Then suddenly Glaurung withdrew his glance, and waited; and Túrin stirred slowly, as one waking from a hideous dream.
Chapter 21: Of Túrin Turambar




Seeing the onset of the dragon the guards upon Amon Ethir sought to lead Morwen and Nienor away, and fly with them with all speed back eastwards; but the wind bore the blank mists upon them, and their horses were maddened by the dragon-stench, and were ungovernable, and ran this way and that, so that some were dashed against trees and were slain, and others were borne far away. Thus the ladies were lost, and of Morwen indeed no sure tidings came ever to Doriath after. But Nienor, being thrown by her steed, yet unhurt, made her way back to Amon Ethir, there to await Mablung, and came thus above the reek into the sunlight; and looking westward she stared straight into the eyes of Glaurung, whose head lay upon the hill-top.
Chapter 21 Of Túrin Turambar




Sitting in the shadow of the stone there was a woman, bent over her knees; and as Húrin stood there silent she cast back her tattered hood and lifted her face. Grey she was and old, but suddenly her eyes looked into his, and he knew her; for though they were wild and full of fear, that light still gleamed in them that long ago had earned for her the name Eledhwen, proudest and most beautiful of mortal women in the days of old.

'You come at last,' she said. 'I have waited too long.'

'It was a dark road. I have come as I could,' he answered.

'But you are too late,' said Morwen. 'They are lost.'

'I know it,' he said. 'But you are not.'

But Morwen said: 'Almost. I am spent I shall go with the sun. Now little time is left: if you know, tell me! How did she find him?'

But Húrin did not answer, and they sat beside the stone, and did not speak again; and when the sun went down Morwen sighed and clasped his hand, and was still; and Húrin knew that she had died. He looked down at her in the twilight and it seemed to him that the lines of grief and cruel hardship were smoothed away. 'She was not conquered,' he said; and he closed her eyes, and sat unmoving beside her as the night drew down.
Chapter 22: Of the Ruin of Doriath




At last, in the year when Eärendil was seven years old, Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Balrogs, and his Orcs, and his wolves; and with them came dragons of the brood of Glaurung, and they were become now many and terrible. The host of Morgoth came over the northern hills where the height was greatest and the watch least vigilant, and it came at night upon a time of festival, when all the people of Gondolin were upon the walls to await the rising sun, and sing their songs at its uplifting; for the morrow was the great feast that they named the Gates of Summer.
Chapter 23 Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin




Then Eärendil, first of living Men, landed on the immortal shores; and he spoke there to Elwing and to those that were with him, and they were three mariners who had sailed all the seas besides him: Falathar, Erellont, and Aerandir were their names. And Eärendil said to them: 'Here none but myself shall set foot, lest you fall under the wrath of the Valar. But that peril I will take on myself alone, for the sake of the Two Kindreds.'

But Elwing answered: 'Then would our paths be sundered for ever; but all thy perils I will take on myself also.' And she leaped into the white foam and ran towards him; but Eärendil was sorrowful, for he feared the anger of the Lords of the West upon any of Middle-earth that should dare to pass the leaguer of Aman. And there they bade farewell to the companions of their voyage, and were taken from them for ever.

Then Eärendil said to Elwing: 'Await me here; for one only may bring the message that it is my fate to bear.'
Chapter 24 Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath




Then at the bidding of the Valar Eönwë went to the shore of Aman, where the companions of Eärendil still remained, awaiting tidings; and he took a boat, and the three mariners were set therein, and the Valar drove them away into the East with a great wind.
Chapter 24: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath




Thus Ar-Pharazôn, King of the Land of the Star, grew to the mightiest tyrant that had yet been in the world since the reign of Morgoth, though in truth Sauron ruled all from behind the throne. But the years passed, and the King felt the shadow of death approach, as his days lengthened; and he was filled with fear and wrath. Now came the hour that Sauron had prepared and long had awaited. And Sauron spoke to the King, saying that his strength was now so great that he might think to have his will in all things, and be subject to no command or ban.
Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor




But whether or no it were that Amandil came indeed to Valinor and Manwë hearkened to his prayer, by grace of the Valar Elendil and his sons and their people were spared from the ruin of that day. For Elendil had remained in Romenna, refusing the summons of the King when he set forth to war; and avoiding the soldiers of Sauron that came to seize him and drag him to the fires of the Temple, he went aboard his ship and stood off from the shore, waiting on the time. There he was protected by the land from the great draught of the sea that drew all towards the abyss, and afterwards he was sheltered from the first fury of the storm. But when the devouring wave rolled over the land and Númenor toppled to its fall, then he would have been overwhelmed and would have deemed it the lesser grief to perish, for no wrench of death could be more bitter than the loss and agony of that day; but the great wind took him, wilder than any wind that Men had known, roaring from the west, and it swept his ships far away; and it rent their sails and snapped their masts, hunting the unhappy men like straws upon the water.
Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
lin4gondor
Jan. 4th, 2017 02:25 am (UTC)
I will be finishing up a story from the May: Waiting challenge. I already received a prompt for that challenge.
lotrcom_mods
Jan. 5th, 2017 12:49 am (UTC)
Awesomeness! Best of luck finishing it! :)

~Dawn
hhimring
Jan. 4th, 2017 10:16 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure whether it matters but I believe prompts 4 and 7 of the Yule exchange were actually among the prompts that were filled for the exchange itself.
ysilme
Jan. 4th, 2017 10:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for spotting this, it must have slipped by, as they indeed were filled.
shirebound
Jan. 5th, 2017 12:21 am (UTC)
Could my unused prompt for the Yule exchange be listed?

Frodo was 12 when Sam was born, 14 when Merry was born, and 22 when Pippin was born. I'd love to read a story where he's interacting with one of his baby cousins (or Sam).
lotrcom_mods
Jan. 5th, 2017 12:48 am (UTC)
I'm sorry for that oversight--I've added it.

~Dawn
shirebound
Jan. 5th, 2017 01:50 am (UTC)
Thanks, Dawn! :)
hours_gone_by
Jan. 5th, 2017 02:26 am (UTC)
I'd like to claim #10 from the December prompts, please:

Elrond and Maglor meeting in an unlikely or unexpected place, sometime from the Second Age onwards. Elves living through history are welcome! Something hurt-comforty would be lovely. Please no twins deciding to go Arwen's way (leaving that point open is fine).

Thanks!
dreamflower02
Jan. 5th, 2017 04:48 am (UTC)
I'll take the first one:

Frodo was 12 when Sam was born, 14 when Merry was born, and 22 when Pippin was born. I'd love to read a story where he's interacting with one of his baby cousins (or Sam).
blslarner
Jan. 7th, 2017 07:37 am (UTC)
Oh, but I do think that I will try to work both butterflies and fireflies into my story! Bugs will do it!
kgreen20
Jan. 7th, 2017 03:55 pm (UTC)
A prompt
I choose this prompt:

Frodo was 12 when Sam was born, 14 when Merry was born, and 22 when Pippin was born. I'd love to read a story where he's interacting with one of his baby cousins (or Sam).

If I see another prompt I should like to claim, I will do so when I'm ready to claim it.
kgreen20
Jan. 7th, 2017 03:55 pm (UTC)
A prompt
I choose this prompt:

Frodo was 12 when Sam was born, 14 when Merry was born, and 22 when Pippin was born. I'd love to read a story where he's interacting with one of his baby cousins (or Sam).

If I see another prompt I should like to claim, I will do so when I'm ready to claim it.
talullahred
Jan. 8th, 2017 08:31 pm (UTC)
Elrond and Maglor meeting in an unlikely or unexpected place, sometime from the Second Age onwards. Elves living through history are welcome! Something hurt-comforty would be lovely. Please no twins deciding to go Arwen's way (leaving that point open is fine).
talullahred
Jan. 8th, 2017 08:37 pm (UTC)
Also, I have two nearly finished stories from November and December 2015. Would those be welcomed?
dawn_felagund
Jan. 8th, 2017 11:55 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure, honestly. I've put this question to the more experienced (with challenges) mods, and one of us will get back to you with a definitive answer. I just wanted you to know that I saw your question and it's being addressed! :)
talullahred
Jan. 9th, 2017 07:25 am (UTC)
Thanks.
dreamflower02
Jan. 9th, 2017 12:44 am (UTC)
Yes. Unfinished stories from the previous year are always welcome in the Potluck!
talullahred
Jan. 9th, 2017 07:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! This will be the push to finally finish them. :)
kgreen20
Jan. 20th, 2017 12:06 am (UTC)
It looks as if I may have to wait until tomorrow to post my story. Tonight may not be feasible for me, much as I'd like to post it then. Will tomorrow suit, if it comes to that?
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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