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3
Shadow of Fear

By: Elena Tiriel and Tanaqui


~~~

Shadow of Fear

It haunts my sleep.

We creep closer as the river-water near the islet roils. My claws tighten on my bow, but I see no target. Then it rises from the mud, towering high: a piercing eye, burning like the demon sun, spears me from folds of dark wings.

Urgruk and I loose our poison-darts, emptying our quivers. Still the one-eyed horror lurches towards us, arms outstretched. We turn and flee.

Later, we agree never to speak of it -- to swear we saw nothing.

For us Orcs, there's only one thing worse than being thought afeared: to be known a coward...

***

Isildur turned west, and drawing up the Ring..., he set it upon his finger with a cry of pain, and was never seen again by any eye upon Middle-earth. But the Elendilmir of the West could not be quenched, and suddenly it blazed forth red and wrathful as a burning star. Men and Orcs gave way in fear; and Isildur, drawing a hood over his head, vanished into the night. ...

[He] plunged into the water. ... There suddenly he knew that the Ring had gone. ... His feet found the river bed, and heaving himself up out of the mud he floundered through the reeds to a marshy islet close to the western shore. There he rose up out of the water: only a mortal man, a small creature lost and abandoned in the wilds of Middle-earth. But to the night-eyed Orcs that lurked there on the watch he loomed up, a monstrous shadow of fear, with a piercing eye like a star. They loosed their poisoned arrows at it, and fled. Needlessly, for Isildur unarmed was pierced through heart and throat, and without a cry he fell back into the water.

~~~

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields


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