Sirenia Digest #18 will go out today. I think it is one of the best issues yet. Yesterday, I started wondering if anyone would mind terribly if I changed the name of the digest to Strange Drama. Same initials, different words, that's all.
Meanwhile, setsuled saw my Maeras and raised me a Maiar. I begin to fear that our little tit-for-tat impromptu might have woeful aspirations to fanfic epichood.
I have been delivered. For three days and two nights, Suregait bore me eastwards, along the rocky southern rim of the Mithrim Spur, carrying me ever farther from the eyes that might yet watch from the towers of Seregost. Radagast, in the form of a hawk, went always out before us, scouting the land for orcs and other perils. Oh, Inwë, I am filled with such relief — and to be writing in my book again! — that I can hardly force myself to recount these events. I slept on horseback beneath the waxing moon, naked but for a cape and ill-fitting boots stolen off my captor, knowing all was not lost and that I might still fulfill the destiny that brought me to Mordor and thereby keep my covenant with those who would see the last shreds of Sauron's shadow washed from the world. Tonight, I sit before a fine crackling fire and have eaten hot soup cooked for me by good Radagast. It is hard, now, to believe what I have so recently survived, and harder still to imagine how much horror lies ahead. By this route, we shall have to skirt the ruins of the Nazgul fortress of Daemon Angren, and then pass between the old watchtowers of Nargoth and Morigost. Radagast Aiwendil says that Daemon Angren, from whence was launched the Mumakil assault upon Minas Tirith during the war and from whence one of the Nine ruled the southern lands, was thrown down in the same cataclysm that broke Barad-dûr and that we have naught to fear from those ruins. But he says also that Uruks still keep watch from Nargoth and Morigost, though they are leaderless and live as brigands robbing and murdering many of those who attempt the passage from Núrn to the plateau of Gorgoroth. But this is the road we will take, regardless. We cannot now take the western route, for fear setsuled may be marshalling some force to hunt for me.
I cannot say why I did not kill the bastard when I had the chance. I held his own blade at his throat and could so easily have taken his head. I know not what stayed my hand, Inwë. Was it pity? Did I see him only as a fallen man of Rohan, a former countryman, there at the last? It sickens me to imagine I felt anything but hatred for the traitor. But Radagast says I should not chide myself for any show of mercy, however disastrous it may prove farther along. So he may be mad, after all.
I am alive, Inwë, alive and with Suregait at my side again, and in the company of the last of the Maiar to walk Middle-earth. Whatever dark days lie ahead, I cannot keep my heart from singing as I write this. At this moment I might believe almost anything, even the dim chance of once more seeing my beloved and the fair woods of East Lórien. Radagast says that I should rest myself another day or so and recover from my trials, that we have not been followed from the ford at Caranduin. So, I will heed his advice before continuing east and turning north into Gorgoroth.
I will sleep now, sleep on a blanket on the ground with the moon in the sky and the stars spread out above me, and I know, Inwë, that it is not so very much to think that possibly you are looking skyward at this very moment and seeing those same stars hanging in the night.
Oh, and I have a map, behind the cut, for them what might not be so familiar with Mordorian geography. However and alas, many of the landmarks mentioned are not shown, and Sindaseldeonna's progress (the blue line) is only marked from Minas Tirith as far as her capture by the vile setsuled (boo hiss).
Over the last few weeks, ideas for two stories have begun to take shape in my head. One will likely go to Clarkesworld Magazine, as I've owed them one for ages, and the other might turn out to be the Salammbô Desvernine story that should have appeared in Tales of Pain and Wonder, but didn't. It's good to have stories I want to write making themselves known to me, when work has been so difficult this winter and spring.
An after-dark walk last night, after a dinner of Spooky's delicious pasta salad. Then we dusted off the VCR and watched the original Highlander (1986), which I used to watch at least once a month, but which Spooky had never seen. Despite a script that often makes no sense at all and the various historical absurdities, and regardless of Christopher Lambert's peculiar attempt at a Scotts accent and the fact that Sean Connery is not the least bit convincing as an Egyptian, I do love this film. As I said to Spooky last night, it has a certain ludicrous grace. Later, we finished Lemony Snicket's The Miserable Mill. Oh, and I never did mention how disappointed I was by the season finale of Heroes...
Whoops. The platypus says I'm abusing my blogging privileges, and sheheit is threatening venomous spurs, so I best wrap this up. Back to the abattoir....