The Token

Jan. 16th, 2010 12:23 pm
ost_in_edhil: (Default)
[personal profile] ost_in_edhil
Written in response to [livejournal.com profile] telperion1's prompt inspired by finding a Canadian coin:

...in Middle-earth it really might be a sign of hope. Imagine what Faramir would have thought on seeing a Haradric coin in the Ithilien marketplace. Or so many other markets besides. Some were perhaps not so happy. (I can imagine Barliman being a bit frustrated to see he'd taken in an Isengard silverpiece by mistake, worth a lot less after Saruman's fall...)

Actually, that might make for some neat fic. Write a drabble or whatever where people find foreign coins - the rest is up to you. I'd love to read it.


Although I should be working on the Probably AU GenFic Challenge, this was irresistible because it fits in with events in the Pandë!verse during the late Third Age. And holy moly! I'm writing hobbits here. Hobbits for Pete's sake! Some text poached from The Fellowship of the Ring might be recognizable at the very beginning of this little piece.



In spite of the fur-lined jacket and cloak covering his shoulders, Merry shivered as he walked behind Pippin. A cold wind from the East whipped the bare branches of the trees, and the pines on the hills seethed. Ragged clouds scudded across the sky, dark with foreboding. Merry touched the hilt of his sword in its scabbard. It was cold as ice. Many of Elrond’s household stood in the shadows, bidding the company farewell while they watched the Company depart.

“Farewell, Master Meriadoc. I hope we shall meet again.”

When Merry heard his name, he turned to see the elven-smith, who clutched her cloak at her neck; the wond whipped loose strands of her black hair around her face. He nodded in return and remembered the apple pie he had shared with her after she had sharpened his blade and studied it so intently. He touched the hilt of the sword again. It was warm.

Then she called to Frodo, who reached into his jacket pocket briefly before withdrawing his hand to wave at her. Merry’s curiosity was piqued for earlier he had witnessed the lady Mélamírë speak words unheard to Frodo and then give something to him in the Hall of Fire.

Much later, when the company made camp during the cold grey light of dawn, Merry sat down next to Frodo.

“If you don’t mind my asking, what was it that the Istyanis gave to you?”

“I don’t mind. She gave me this.” Frodo reached into his pocket. He placed a small gold coin in Merry’s open palm. Merry picked up the coin between thumb and forefinger, turning it over to examine it. One side was embossed with a man’s profile and runes below it and on the other, an eight-pointed star.

“What is this?” Merry handed the coin back to Frodo.

“It is an ancient coin from Ost-in-Edhil. The Istyanis said that although the city had fallen, this little coin survived and has endured for many years. She wanted me to have it as a token of strength and good fortune. She told me that like the coin, I will endure, too.”

The coin caught the light of the pale sun when Frodo turned it between his fingers and placed it back in his pocket. Merry willed himself to think of the comforting hearths of Brandy Hall in an effort to stay warm, but instead, a vision of soaring white towers consumed by flames and black smoke filled his thought. He blinked, and the vision disappeared. I hope that I will endure, too, he thought, and wrapped his cloak tighter around himself against the chill morning wind.

Date: 2010-01-16 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drummerwench.livejournal.com
Hey, nothing wrong with Hobbits, per se. They just get written so twee or angsty or soap opera-ish. I don't generally read all Hobbit all the time fics, but when the different races interact believably (whichever races), that's in my sweet spot.

Really liked this! Though for some reason I had thought Mélamírë had not returned till after the War.

Also liked the way she gave something to each of them. What I'd really like to see is an expansion of this:

He nodded in return and remembered the apple pie he had shared with her after she had sharpened his sword and had studied it so intently.

maybe even from alternating POVs. Hmm, please allow me to tell your Muse what to present to you...

Anyway, just a great little item to find at the top of my Friends list! Thanks!

Date: 2010-01-16 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks muchly, DW. My Dark Muse is intensely curious about hobbits ;^) so it's inevitable that I write about them, especially hobbits interacting with other races. That's my sweet spot, too, and of all the big name canon hobbits, Merry is my favorite and has been since I first read the LotR.

Mélamírë makes her way back to Eriador in 3018 TA, arriving in Rivendell shortly before Aragorn, Glorfindel and the hobbits deal with events at the Ford of the Bruinen.

Heh. I have every intention of expanding on that and in fact, have a rough draft of this encounter lurking on my hard drive which inspired the little reflection on Merry's part. So far, the draft is written in Merry's PoV, but my intention is to also give voice to Mélamírë's take on their interaction, too.

Date: 2010-01-16 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-roisin.livejournal.com
Ohhh!!! I liked this very much! You do Hobbits very well I think. I liked the details of the coin and how you added Melamire into this. I find it both intruging and neat that she would give such an old coin to Frodo with the message that accompanied it. I too like Merry a great deal.

Great job!

Date: 2010-01-16 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, Roisin! I'm glad you liked this. As I noted to Drummerwench, I'll be expanding on this in the future.

Date: 2010-01-16 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
So this is just before the Fellowship leaves Rivendell, then?

I like it! I think you've done a lovely job of capturing Merry's character!

Date: 2010-01-16 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Yep, when they're leaving. To put it in context...from the FotR:

It was a cold grey day near the end of December. The East Wind was streaming through the bare branches of the trees, and seething in the dark pines on the hills. Ragged clouds were hurrying overhead, dark and low. As the cheerless shadows of the early evening began to fall the Company made ready to set out. They were to start at dusk, for Elrond counselled them to journey under cover of night as often as they could, until they were far from Rivendell.

Thanks muchly! Just like Glorfindel, there are many, many versions of Master Brandybuck so my initial snapshot of him here is just a drop in the bucket. Hopefully, I can do this fine hobbit justice.

Date: 2010-01-16 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Hey, I saw that! Thanks!

I'd really better get to Gilfanon, Glorfindel and Elrond in the desert. :^D

Date: 2010-01-16 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
Well, some of the folks on my f-list who primarily read/write hobbits would probably like this and wouldn't see it otherwise. ;)

And I'm polishing up two very drunken men and a third who's not quite so drunk in a bar in Minas Tirith.

Date: 2010-01-16 06:52 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-01-16 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aearwen2.livejournal.com
Ack! More salivation!!

*and I desperately need to get to writing on my own stuff - but we won't talk about that...*

Discussions in LJ have me rethinking one of my O-fics to incorporate an intersexed/sexually ambivalent race. MPreg, anyone? Wouldn't you know it!! I may be PMing both you and Pandë for scientific/medical advice and input, so be warned...
Edited Date: 2010-01-16 07:38 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-01-16 08:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
Hee! Should I hide? ;)

Date: 2010-01-17 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Now that would be fun! Fire away when you're ready! Feel free to send me an email at...

docbushwellATgmailDOTcom.

It's an intriguing idea. Leguin (Left Hand of Darkness) and Asimov (The Gods Themselves) and more recently Constantine's Wraeththu series have explored this, and as far as I'm concerned, this is a fertile area for o-fic so I'd love to see what you've written!

Date: 2010-01-17 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Why does that sound like the beginning of an interesting joke? Or something from Priscilla?

No offense, intended.

Lovely ficlet. Very delicate and beautifully drawn with so much weight (and good weight) behind it.

Date: 2010-01-17 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
You will see, my precious. Oh, yes, you will see. >:^)

Thanks so much, Lilith. That little coin has been rattling around in my head for a while now so the prompt put it to good use, I think.

Date: 2010-01-16 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morethmusing.livejournal.com
Oooh, fascinating.

I'm with Drummerwench on loving that glimpse into a more complicated back-story - and hoping for expansion :)

(I guess if anyone has the right to strike a coin, it's Celebrimbor ;P Although I bet it raised some eyebrows...)

Date: 2010-01-16 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Oh, I'll expand, I'll expand. It'll just be a while yet before moreof that part of the Pandë!verse is revealed.

Celebrimbor would like to point out that if the Caesars can strike coins with symbol of their office, so can he. ;^)

Thanks muchly. Moreth. :^)

Date: 2010-01-16 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirebound.livejournal.com
I like this way of looking at the Fellowship's leavetaking. You help us feel as if we're experiencing it through Merry's, Frodo's, and Istyanis' eyes, all at the same time.

Date: 2010-01-16 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, Shirebound! I plan on delving into this time period of my 'verse in considerably more detail in the future, and this will include more from Merry's PoV.

Date: 2010-01-16 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aearwen2.livejournal.com
Oh! Very nice! The Istyanis has a touch of foresight too?

Interesting that Mélamirë arrived in Imladris about the time of the Council of Elrond. So her meeting and falling in love took place during, or after the WotR? Cool!

I'm looking forward to seeing more of this - and the whiff of "Gilfanon, Glorfindel and Elrond in the desert" has got me positively salivating. Is it done yet? Huh? No? How about now? :-D

Nicely done!

Date: 2010-01-17 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, Aeärwen! Yep, I think the Istyanis has a touch of foresight (remember "The Eye of a Little God" and "The Threads of Vairë" in The Elendilmir?) although she might say these are possibilities rather than certainties or even probabilities. I'd expect she'd give Frodo a more hopeful possibility than a bleaker one.

Oh, the falling in love bit happened long before this (Second Age) but its the reunion after a long separation (even by elvish standards) was a little over two months before this vignette takes place. Let's say a rapid decision was reached, one having learned his lesson from the prior hesitation.

Heh. No, I'm still working on the desert story. It's veering into crack!fic territory with obscure canon characters popping up. I was further distracted this afternoon thanks to my daughter and I going to see "The Lovely Bones" which is one of her favorite novels.

Date: 2010-01-16 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
Nice. Like the description of the coin. Of course, I am a sucker for anything Ost-in-Edhil and apple pie. Like the idea of a good luck coin also.

Date: 2010-01-17 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thanks, Oshun! The idea of the old coin has been rattling around in my noggin for a while now, and I liked the notion of the Star of the House of Fëanor on one side and (most likely) Celebrimbor's profile on the other.

Date: 2010-01-17 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
(most likely) Celebrimbor's profile on the other

I'm a Celebrimbor addict also. No wonder I loved your verse at first sight.

Date: 2010-01-16 09:40 pm (UTC)
ext_79824: (Miffy wuv)
From: [identity profile] rhapsody11.livejournal.com
I really like the image of those two hobbits sharing that moment, I love that Melamire gave them tokens, small ones that give them just what they need: a strong sword to fight with courage and a coin as a rememberance to endure against all odds. Absolutely wonderful!

Date: 2010-01-17 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, Rhapsy! I liked the idea of a good luck coin and a very ancient one at that. Now the sword -- that's the sword that Merry obtained in the barrow and the one that will eventually hasten the Lord of the Nazgûl to his end (I've always interpreted that passage in The Return of the King that it was in fact Merry's blade that destroyed the Witch King. Mélamírë will note that all she did was sharpen its dulled edge while Merry was in Rivendell, but the sword -- its make and something hard to define about it -- intrigued her. :^)

Date: 2010-01-17 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tiggersk8.livejournal.com
Oh...This was so lovely Pande. Hobbits aren't that bad now, are they? :oD ;oD

Will now start running in the other direction...Hee!!

Seriously, I really love this. Wonderful little story m'dear. :o)

Date: 2010-01-17 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Merry's my main man, er, hobbit! :^D

Thanks so much, tigger! I'm glad you enjoyed this!

*squees at your icon*

Date: 2010-01-18 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tiggersk8.livejournal.com
Aww...Thanks for the squee of the icon. Very first one I ever made and considering I'm fairly techy challenged, *very* proud of that lovely lil thing I did.

Got to love how Viggo's such a huge sports fan and wears his allegiances on his heart and sleeve. In case, on his head!! :oD That's from a screen cap back during ROTK promotion and Denmark was also trying to qualify for the World Cup of Soccer.

And we know how Viggo loves his Soccer Teams...LOL!!

Thanks again for the squee-ing!! :oD

Date: 2010-01-17 01:33 am (UTC)
independence1776: Drawing of Maglor with a harp on right, words "sing of honor lost" and "Noldolantë" on the left and bottom, respectively (Default)
From: [personal profile] independence1776
I really like this, especially the ending line. And I wish I had something more coherant and deep to say, but I don't. :(

Date: 2010-01-17 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Oh, coherence isn't required here. :^) In my usual habit of self-editing, I changed the last line ever so slightly. The conditional tense struck me as being off.

Thanks so much, Indy! I'm glad you liked this little snippet.

Date: 2010-01-17 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
Squee! Deceptively simple scene but so very "charged", in my opinion. Yay!

Date: 2010-01-17 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Heh. Well, if one knows the details of Mélamírë's history, yes, indeed it's charged. :^)

Thanks muchly, wavey!

Date: 2010-01-17 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lame-pegasus.livejournal.com
Simply beautiful. *smiles*

Very well done"

Date: 2010-01-17 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, bc! I'm glad you liked this. And thanks for passing along the recommendation of a lovely set of drabbles in an entirely different 'verse. :^)
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