Inspired by Ellie’s story “The Dark of Night.” Thanks so for the spark to ignite this one.
Beta by RiverOtter
Beta by RiverOtter
Slowly, the small spiderling carefully, tentatively crept out of the darkness of the cavern in which she’d dwelt with her mother, ever since her other brothers and sisters had crept away, those her mother had not grown annoyed with and poisoned, sharing them with this one of all her progeny she had cared for most. The challenge had been issued by the star-filled warrior, and her mother had at the end gone out to face him. But he had not faced Mother Ungoliant weaponless, with only his hands and mouth and body as was true with her, frozen as she was in her great spider shape. Nay, coward that he was, he used arrows to almost totally blind her, then hacked at her with his sword. Curse him! Curse him, for he’d destroyed that which he barely understood.
But although he left the body of the great black spider for dead, in that he was mistaken. Her fëa yet lingered within the failing hröa, lingered in shock and dismay that it must now leave the Bounds of Arda and perhaps dwell in the Void, or more likely shiver away to nothingness. She denied that Melkor had ever mastered her, choosing instead to imagine it had merely pleased her to take this shape at his behest, and to keep it until she could not revert again to her true being. Hunger for light and life became, once she was frozen as the great spider, hunger for the Light and life of others; but it seemed that the more she consumed the hungrier she’d become. Melkor and his lieutenant Sauron may have come to thirst for power, but they did not realize that they were no different in nature than she was. At least she was sufficiently honest with herself to admit freely she desired to glut herself on all others; what was their desire to turn the whole population of the world into those who worshiped them but the same thing got up in shades of “Let’s-pretend-they-do-this-because-they-honor-and-fear-me”?
Ah, my child, my daughter, she thought weakly to the tiny spiderling. To what will you come without me to guide you--to protect you from such a one as that?
What is happening, Ama? the spiderling asked back. Why didn’t you bring his body back with you that we might feast on it together?
One leg, half hacked from her body, spasmed uncontrollably. Alas, child, I am undone. My body has he destroyed, and soon I shall not be able to dwell here further. And there is so much yet I had wished to tell you, to share with you, to teach you....
The spiderling ran its multiple eyes over its mother’s nearly lifeless body. “I need to eat,” it whispered. “I need to eat to grow.”
It was a statement of fact, not of apology or explanation. And spiders commonly consume others of their kind....
So saying, the spiderling approached the still spasming limb and brushed away as best it could the dead portion, for she preferred her meat yet living.
Further shocked to find that what she’d done to her mates, engorged by Melkor’s power to allow her physical satisfaction and to help breed more of her kind for his use, was now being visited upon herself, Ungoliant found her attention drawn to her daughter’s steady feeding. And suddenly there was a hope that she might be able to avoid death and the dissolution of her spirit. Nay, she would not die--not fully, not she! But could it be done? Could she hide her fëa within such a host? Perhaps one day find a worthy second host body in which to dwell fully, to take over its control, to use as a weapon with which to wreak her vengeance against the world that had brought Eärendil to confront and so best her?
She could try....
And as the daughter fed on the body of the mother, Ungoliant wracked her remaining memories to try to remember how it was she had clothed her fëa with the hröa of a spider, and how on occasion she had, in the earliest times at least, reverted back again. Now that her spirit was almost free of the body as the hröa she’d borne slowly lost its last vestiges of life her memories became clearer, and she just managed it--
--as her daughter at last found the Maia’s heart in the cooling shell of the spider’s body.
And so Ungoliant’s get managed to retain the company of her mother, not that she was necessarily fully pleased at the prospect.
He has gone, but has surely told others where he found me, Ungoliant told her growing daughter. Others may come to look upon my corpse and gloat over my defeat. They must not find you, child. You must leave this place--find another. Seek out Melkor’s servant--he will draw others such as we to him, and perhaps from them you might find a mate, even if it were to be one of your unworthy brothers, one of those too craven to remain here with us, one of those who survived to creep away....
And the young spider found the advice sufficiently wise to heed it, one night creeping north and east until, after the new age was well begun, in a wilderness of stone and ash, near the crater of a small volcano, she found where he who’d once been Aulendil but was now called Sauron lay in hiding. And in the mountains between his refuge and the living lands to the west she found another cavern, black with the eternal dark she’d been born to seek to inflict upon the rest of the world, and there she made their home--that for herself and her mother’s fëa, there spinning the webs of darkness that her mother had learned to spin even ere she poisoned the two Trees, sucking out their life and Light. Oh, the world would be Ungoliant’s in the end, the two agreed....