Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Girl, Embalmed

Author: Wormwood
Nominator: Clodia
2011 Award Category: Drabble: Pre-Ring War - First Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Drabble, 1 x 100 words Aragorn finds a long dead girl in the sand.


Reviewed by: Clodia -- Score: 10

When I first read this short piece, it struck me a bit like a smack in the face. Wormwood's drabble is unusual and striking and rather horrifying, in an understated and characteristically elegant way. The brevity of the title complements the story perfectly. While travelling in the desert, Aragorn stumbles across the embalmed body of a girl preserved in the sand-dunes. What happened to her? He doesn't know, and nor do we, but the skeleton of a story is buried there with her, lost to the desert. Like Aragorn, we may try [to visualise her in one of the ruined cities in a time before the sands. Standing in a doorway, braiding her hair... And losing her way in the desert one evening - meeting someone unknown.] A whole other world is conjured in these lines, buried beneath sand and time: once-flourishing cities now in ruins, their peoples dispersed or dead, and this one unlucky young woman who came to an early end, whose body was perfectly preserved under the sand, at last to be unearthed by a storm and discovered by a passing Ranger all these years later. Aragorn can only wonder, bury her again and take the indigo ribbon braided through her hair, in memoriam. Wormwood's pieces are always well worth reading and this is no exception. The atmosphere is meditative and the language is exquisite. It is really beautiful, evocative piece and one I was glad to be able to nominate. Thank you, Wormwood!

Reviewed by: Erulisse -- Score: 7

The key to a good drabble is to hit hard with a minimum of words. This collection of words frame out the discovery of a body, dead for an indeterminate time, and mummified by the desert sands. The questions that hit Aragorn's mind when he sees her, perfectly preserved with an indigo-colored ribbon threaded through her hair, are not dissimilar to questions that any of us might ask in a similar situation. "Who is she?" "Why is she here, buried by the desert sands?" "How did she get here?" "When did she die?" And as he buried her with dignity, a feeling hit that he didn't want to have her forgotten again. That at least one person should remember that she had walked the earth. So he removed her indigo ribbon and wrapped it around his wrist. Her immortality has now been assured - she is remembered once again. This was a haunting drabble, beautifully written, and highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 6

This is quite possibly one of the best drabbles I've been privileged enough to read. The author's use of imagery is spectacular. In so many words, the author manages to put the reader straight into the scene, which is a good, since 100 words is a rather short amount of space to fit in exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution. Yet all this and more is achieved here, and the end result is wonderful. The very idea, Aragorn finding a half-mummified corpse while trekking across the desert, is unusual, and deserves recognition. But the haunting atmosphere and lingering aftertaste of the piece are truly unique, and it is this that makes this true drabble so amazing and interesting. Very creepy, very touching, and very lovely.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 6

This is a curious and intriguing poem. Aragorn finds the perfectly embalmed body of a girl long dead. Who she was, how she met her end, are unknown. But both Aragorn, and the reader as well, are drawn to her. Perhaps Aragorn realized that his ancestors, the Numenoreans, suffered a similar fate, by water instead of by sand. Perhaps Aragorn realized at some level that all of us, no matter how ordinary or how great, are covered by the sands of Arda and eventually are forgotten even by history. Or perhaps the reader is being encouraged to draw his or her own conclusions. Either way, this poem is very descriptive and thought-provoking, especially since it is so brief. It is well written and will stay in the mind of the reader long after it is read.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 5

There is something both striking and eerie about this ficlet. Finding a girl in the sands, Aragorn has only his imagination with which to conjure her story. His imaginings range from the tragically benign to the darkly sinister. That he cares for the girl is evident, but in the end, both Aragorn and readers are left with little more than we had to begin with - a mystery in the sand that will likely never be resolved. I love the parting notes of this ficlet in which Aragorn takes the ribbon from the girl, the act as much a mystery to him as everything about the unknown maiden. Overall, an unsettling encounter.

Reviewed by: Levade -- Score: 5

Wow. This has to be one of the most unusual pieces I've read, but in a haunting way, it's beautiful. In his travels, Aragorn must have seen some unusual things, and I like that Wormwood doesn't tell us where this all takes place. Her hair is the colour of honey, and a blue ribbon threads her hair, and it made me wonder where she came from and what she was doing. It's only hinted at. Wormwood keeps us guessing. :) The haunting part for me was Aragorn keeping the ribbon, as if to take her with him. It's very like Aragorn to me, showing such care for an unknown person who has likely been dead for a very long time. Great job, Wormwood!

Reviewed by: Barazinbar -- Score: 5

What I like most about this story is that it shows Aragorn's humanity, something that is often lost when discussing him. Aragorn is so often portrayed as the archetypical hero - strong, noble, fearless - that it is easy to forget that he is quite human. It is such a simple act when he ties the ribbon around his wrist, but it speaks volumes about his character. And that he does not quite know why he did it also emphasizes his humanity, just like how we all sometimes feel that something HAD to be done but we are not sure why we did it. This story really allows the reader to connect more with a character often seen as a distant ideal rather than a person.

Reviewed by: Altariel -- Score: 4

Striking images and poetic languages: what this writer does best. Aragorn must have had many strange moments like this during those long solitary years as a wanderer: no wonder he takes the ribbon, as if he needs to be connected to someone, even a long dead girl. There's an echo of his own people's morbid obsession with funeral rites too. Beautiful work as ever, Wormwood.

Reviewed by: cairistiona -- Score: 3

This could have been a very gruesome little tale, but instead is poignant and sensitive and reveals as much about Aragorn's caring nature, and dare I say sentimental streak, as it does about the fact that in his many journeys there must have been no end of mysteries that he encountered. A very unique idea brilliantly conceived.

Reviewed by: Phyncke -- Score: 3

An intriguing tale and my mind fills in so many blanks that are not written that we don't know. This is elegant in its simplicity and very stark in that it is about the death of someone so starkly revealed from Aragorn's perspective. Well done.

Reviewed by: Malinornë -- Score: 2

I find that I like this, in spite of the misleading associations my mind made at first. But I like the idea of Aragorn reacting like this to such a find.

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 1

Really sad and poignant. Beautifully written.