Anyway...a correction to yesterday's entry. I said that I would try to have Sirenia Digest #19 out by this weekend, when I should have said #18. Howard Hughes is a stressed out, overworked nixar haunted by the wail of leaf blowers, and sometimes she makes dumb mistakes. At any rate, I just got the final art for "Outside the Gates of Eden" from Vince Locke, so I hope to lay the new issue out this evening, and if that's the case, Spooky will mail it tonight or tomorrow. #18, not #19.
These are only thoughts. Thoughts have no weight, and will rise away from me though my body be shackled. Would I were not but thought. These are only my thoughts, and setsuled does not yet glimpse them. He drives me on, while the crows war above us and their blood falls like rain from clouds of black feathers. There is some new discord at work in Mordor, and I can see in this man's eyes that it confuses and worries him. I can also see that my silence compounds his unease. He has the book given me by Dernhelm...that morning seems a hundred years hence. But its pages do not avail him. He is blind to what is written there. For that merciful craft, I thank you, fair Inwë, you and the wisdom of your people. He has whipped me, and if I am not yet broken in body, I surely can not be far from it. We have now gained the lowest slopes of the Mithrim Spur, and he means to take me north and west, across the headwaters of the Caranduin to the road and the passage through the mountains and then on to the garrison of Seregost. These are only thoughts, and they rise. My body may be breaking, but my mind is still my own and is still strong. The rocks here are steep and black and slice my feet. He laughs at the sight of my blood upon the stones as he laughed at my blood upon his lash. Dawn is not far off, and I cannot say if we will stop and sleep through the heat of the day. When last I slept, Inwë, I dreamt of the splendour of the Mearas, and of Suregait, the mount who bore me first to Gondor, then on to the borders of Mordor. In my dreams, the great horses, those descendants of Felaróf, danced around me, safeguarding me from a terrible writhing blackness pressing in all about. From this host, Suregait spoke to me, saying that even though she was grateful that I did not force her to cross the Ered Glamoth, she is coming now.
"I am coming fast," spoke Suregait. "Already, I can smell the sea in my nostrils." And I know these are but fantasies, but if they were true...If I had a horse...but it seems the height of folly to wish such things. I am alone in this wasteland with a madman who means to deliver me unto the pits of Seregost and whatever dark powers still dwell therein, if he does not first murder me. setsuled Kinslayer seethes with anger. He seethes as this land must have seethed under the iron fist of Sauron. These are only thoughts, and they rise and cannot be touched by whip nor blade nor fist. He cannot read the pages of the book, and he does not guess at the monstrous relic the elves found buried in the ruins of Amon Lanc, that wicked shard which survived even the white power of Nenya and the repeated assaults of Galadriel upon the walls and spires and the vilest recesses of Dol Guldur. These are only thoughts, and he does not guess. But another might, if it is truth that the Black Easterling lives. If my dream was but a dream, then I cannot risk ever reaching Seregost as his prisoner. Better I die at his hand, if it comes to that. But...when I close my eyes I see Suregait racing across the plains. If not for the pain, Inwë, I would not even hope it might be so. The pain and the chill together cloud my mind. I must have taken fever. The sun will be up soon, and he seeks some secret ford across the Caranduin. The waters form a vicious cataract here, and my drowning would be swift and easy....
Not much else to be said for yesterday. A decent walk, though the air was still smoky and filled with soot and we should have stayed indoors. After dinner, we did some ritual work. In the chaos of the last few weeks, we have neglected magick, at a time when the peace and clarity it brings would benefit us most. Later, we read more from The Miserable Mill, which we will likely finish tonight.
The sky is blue again this morning. The wind has carried the smoke away. And today the worst of the revision work begins. This is not writing. I'm not sure what this is.
Talibus laboribus lupos defendimus.