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A Fitting Grave - The Ash Nazg Challenge
Name: Serai
Title: A Fitting Grave
Challenge: Hobbit Smut "Ash Nazg" Challenge
Word Count: 735
Rating: G
Summary: The Ring makes a promise.




A Fitting Grave
by Serai


At first, everything was blurry. No, not blurry, but somehow shifted, as if everything he could see were two inches to the right of itself. The light was muted and mournful, and the air seemed to dance madly around him, whispering drily.

He clutched the wall as he struggled to stand. He could go on, he only needed to get his bearings. The air had a taste of metal. Finally up on his feet, he squinted into the grey gloomy distance.

Life was something he had always taken for granted. There'd been winter, but that was a part of things. It had its place, sometimes more severe, sometimes less. Things died, but this... this was not winter. Here was not sleep but death itself. Here the earth itself had died, no, had been murdered, and the knowing of it smote his gardener's heart. How black a soul could do this thing?

Would that you had the power to right this. The deep, gentle voice came out of nowhere, a soft warm pressure upon his heart. Take away this terrible darkness, and heal the land. He choked a little at those words, tears starting in his eyes. The voice sounded kind, and he was tired. Tired of filth and dread and hopelessness. Tired of grief. Come down to the valley, and you will see what to do.

And he could. Just like that, he saw himself striding across the ashy miles, all the way to the center of the dark, thirsting land, a golden light streaming from his hand. He felt the sharp ground as he knelt, and in one hard thrust, he drove his hands down into the gritty earth.

It was like nothing he could have imagined. Power leapt like the shout of a thousand throats, down through his arms into the earth. In great thundering waves, the dry tortured dust roiled up into rich mounds of loam, spreading outwards like the ripples of water in a pond, over mile after mile. Light leaped upwards as well, and in less time than it takes to tell, the wind was blowing the dark away.

And the sound when he drew his sword (his master's sword), the sound of a thousand swords unsheathing with his! A grand army marched transformed, now strong and fair, to follow him and overthrow the Dark Throne. Horns blew, banners of green fluttered, and in the footsteps of the soldiers sprang up roses and wheat.

The glory will be swift and sure, murmured the golden voice. All will flock to your side. For who would choose death if he could have life? The land burgeoned. In the space of seconds up sprang fields of herbs, clambering thickets of roses, streambeds lined with violets and willows, great orchards of fruit trees, and enough apples, 'taters and barley to feed the world.

"Yes," he thought, weeping a little. Yes, the voice agreed. So the land will come to be healed, and this shall be your memorial. He thought of a dell near a mossy stream, and a stone with writing carved in it. He thought of the world happy, well-fed and at peace. A fitting grave. If he could give him that, then perhaps he see his job done, and rest.

His hand was barely an inch from the chain around his neck when another voiced sliced into his hearing, this one seeming to come from far away on a puff of cold air. One word only it spoke, sharply and with fright,

Sam!

He started, his hand dropping to his sword, and looked quickly around him. The rocks were grey in the whispering wind, and Mordor as endless and barren a wasteland as it had always been. Sam bowed his head in pain. It had all been a cheat and a lie, as well his heart would have told him, had he asked. How could he make such wonders, after all? He was only a hobbit, unlearned at that, and the world was not his to re-order. There would be no land reborn, no miracle of life abundant at his hands. Only this dreary road, where he had set his feet after Frodo's all those months ago.

Sam turned away from the bluff, and took up the job his master had lain down. He might win through. But even should he be spared, no one would know. If there was a grave, it would be shallow and full of dust.
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Comments
myladylyssa From: myladylyssa Date: November 11th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very fitting and wonderfully written. What a tempting and glorious fantasy the ring offers him. And the voice "from far away on a puff of cold air" (beautiful) which brings him back to his sorrowful senses.
serai1 From: serai1 Date: November 20th, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I'm glad you like the fic. The voice kinda made the fic for me. :)
celandine_g From: celandine_g Date: November 12th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed this little piece. The imagery and dark mood you so wonderfully conveyed, showed the insidious nature of the Ring and how it uses everyone's dark side against them. I loved how you enlarged on this theme--suggested by Tolkien in Sam's original vision. It was very believable as the Ring offered Sam his heart's desire (but warped with evil). Only Frodo's goodness and calling voice could counteract the spell's powerful temptation. And how well it did. Very nice.
serai1 From: serai1 Date: November 21st, 2006 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you like it. The central image of Sam thrusting his hands into the soil of Mordor came to me very intensely, and the rest just followed from it.
belleferret From: belleferret Date: November 14th, 2006 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is very powerfully done, full of beautiful and frightening imagry. And so heartbreaking.
serai1 From: serai1 Date: November 21st, 2006 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! The imagery was very strong for me here. :)
mews1945 From: mews1945 Date: November 14th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
A powerful vision, and the only thing that might have swayed Sam's will to take the Ring. Scary and beautiful.
serai1 From: serai1 Date: November 21st, 2006 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Thanks!

I see Frodo's voice more as distracting Sam from the vision than persuading him to renounce the Ring. Once the contact was broken, it was Sam's sense of himself that brought him back to reality, just as Tolkien said. :)
estelanui From: estelanui Date: November 17th, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is so beautiful and scary.
You powerfully portrayed the straying of temptation that distorts the positive characteristics in something completely different and changed beyond recognition. So that, also reality, seems lost and out of reach.
Sam!
He started, his hand dropping to his sword, and looked quickly around him.

Thank you, Serai!
serai1 From: serai1 Date: November 21st, 2006 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome! Yes, the great evil of the Ring is how it takes even the best of a person and uses it for evil ends. Poor Sam, to be caught in that net! But he wasn't trapped, not our Sam. :)
claudia603 From: claudia603 Date: November 21st, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, a powerful and frightening image! Brrr!
frodosweetstuff From: frodosweetstuff Date: November 23rd, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a great idea! Very chilling and heartbreaking - loved that Frodo's call took his mind off the ring. Thank you!
elderberrywine From: elderberrywine Date: November 29th, 2006 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
The thought that Frodo's voice would break through any enchantment that the Ring or Sauron could lay upon him rings wonderfully true, even if it was only in his own mind.

Beautifully done!
elanorgardner From: elanorgardner Date: December 16th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bless Sam's heart. His thoughts were always of Frodo -- even when he thought it was just Frodo's body, he still thought only of Frodo. No wonder that he would hear his Master's voice over and above the deceptive voice of the Ring.

This is sad and lovely. Thanks so much for participating in the challenge!
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