The Horn of the Kine

Author: Dwimordene

Nominator: Radbooks

2009 Award Category: Genres: Adventure: Gondor or Rohan - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: Middle-earth has no need of orcs to harry its people with. A young Éomer comes face to face with the storm of his life. A B2MEM 2009 story.

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Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 10

I've lived most of my life in various places throughout the intermountain west, which means that I have very little in the way of experience with tornadoes. There are just too many mountains around. But I did spend a couple of summers back east, and I remember an evening in Kansas where one moment it was peaceful and still, and the next it was anything but. We didn't have a tornado actually touch down, but I remember the funnel cloud spinning directly overhead and I remember the green sky and the lightning and the wind and the noise. The power of this story is that it recreates that entire visceral experience for me. I felt everything Eomer felt, and I was with him as he hunkered down against the storm. I loved the lengthy buildup to the storm, because it also reminded me of all the signs I'd missed that day, being totally unfamiliar with what the heavy air and the static feel meant. This is a harrowing adventure for readers because this story is able to tap into memories and real life drama, playing them back all over again. As far as pace, plotting, and characterization are concerned, Dwimordene is ever the master, so it goes without saying that all is perfect. Young Eomer is beautifully rendered, and we get brilliant culture notes about city dwellers and plainsman. The story itself builds slowly, much like the way a storm might start building, and then it rushes into the climax as the tornado descends, providing a great adrenaline rush. Wonderfully done as always! And on a last note, I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the name Dwim chose for tornadoes in Middle-earth. The kine horn is a lovely bit of imagery!

Reviewed by: Starlight  ✧  Score: 9

I'll just be a fangirl and say it: I love this story! As far as adapting a real world situation to a Middle-eart setting, it works well on many levels: the description of the storm itself; the recreation of the incident; the culture where the story is set, which all create a very vivid portrait of man surving along with, and in spite of, nature's fickleness; and, especially, the interesting choice of viewpoint character, which adds another layer of interest and nuance as we follow a young Éomer as he learns very important lessons the way so many before him had to. Besides this fabulous glimpse into Éomer's younger years, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I very much appreciated the look at the Mark itself--a look into culture, into people, and what makes them who they are, in this case by the way they cope with natural phenomena. The edgyness of the patrol, the way they read nature's clues and their answers to them, the ways of the plainsmen and their reactions to city-dwellers, Bywulf's storm song... Dwimordene has brought a whole people to life in a masterful, gripping, entertaining--even huumorous, at times--way, in a story that I will remember and re-read. Thanks, Dwim!

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 8

As a born-and-bred Yankee girl, I've been terrified of tornados (and witches, and flying monkeys, for that matter) since my very first viewing of "The Wizard of Oz when I was five years old. I'm full of awestruck respect for people who actually manage to live and thrive in places where these storms are everyday occurrences. I don't think I'd last a week. This is a wonderfully vivid story. I like the introduction of young Eomer as being sent out to foster with different eoreds, learning the countryside and the mettle of the folk he meets there, as well as those who may one day be under his command. A bit of hazing for the city-bred boy is quite understandable, and nicely handled. The tempo of the story picks up very quickly, changing within the blink of eye, from sunny humor to something much more ominous, just as weather does along the plains, engendering these monster storms. The kine-storm sequence itself was well written and certainly frightening enough for me! An excellent illustration of the fact that not all the terrors of Middle-earth were man (or wizard) made.

Reviewed by: Katzilla  ✧  Score: 8

If I remember correctly, this one resulted from a conversation the author and I had a while back, and I feel greatly honoured by her dedication. The subject was how differently we would perceive weather phenomena if we did not sit in the concrete safety of our houses, but lived in ancient times when bad weather was indeed something to be afraid of. In this case, Dwimordene elected to bring the danger of tornadoes to the central plains of Rohan, a most fitting scenario. The story evolves around an éored faced with that deadly phenomenon in the time of Éomer's youth, and as all the author's stories, this one is nail-bitingly intense and the characters are immediately identifiable as true Rohirrim. As the place where I live is reasonably safe, I will hopefully never experience a tornado myself, but to read about the experience through the eyes of a still very young son of Eomund was a great treat, allthemore as this seems to be a period not too many authors seem inclined to write about. Thank you, Dwimordene, for another gripping read!

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 7

As a former Midwesterner who has experienced the combination of terror and excitement that comes with the approach of a massive storm -- with a funnel cloud -- when it rolls across the prairie, I absolutely loved Dwim's [Horn of the Kine]. The setting and atmosphere are brought to life from the unease and restiveness that precede the storm to the howling fear when it descends on them. The characters resonated with me, from Éomer who has not experienced a storm of this magnitude to the wonderful Torald, who is kind of crusty but wise. In a short piece, Dwim nicely defines the cultural distinctions between Éomer as young nobility and the grittier folk of the Westemnet. The men of the Westement on the patrol recognize that the approaching storm will be a doozy. Dwim's depiction of the storm as it passes over them? Well, I will say no more other than this is a must-read. Be sure to listen to the recording of the tornado in the author's notes. Great work, Dwim!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

I doubt there is anyone involved in FanFic who is as much a master of words as is Dwimordene. Her use of language to build images and mood within her writing is phenomenal. And this is an example of just what she's capable of, as Eomer experiences and survives his first tornado in company with Westfoldmen who are more accustomed to such extremes of weather. The memory he will bear ever of the storm he's seen and the experience he's been through with these men will remain with him forever, and will increase his respect for these of his people. A marvelous tale, and well worth the reading.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 5

As someone who has lived in tornado country most of her life, I thought the name and the depiction of the kine-horn storm was wonderful. If you hold with those who transpose Middle-earth onto a map of Europe, I'm not sure that such storms would be plausible in Rohan, but I'm not necessarily one of those folks and don't have problems with a part of Rohan that feels much like the Great Plains. Eomer is young here, probably years from command and wise enough to know he's out of his depth and in strange territory. The story isn't about him doing great, precocious deeds, it's about him finding his feet in a company of men and surviving a natural phenomena of Rohan that could very well kill him.

Reviewed by: Lady Bluejay  ✧  Score: 4

An excellent description of the Kine-horn storm. Lovely to have a glimpse ito Eomer’s younger life. He must have had a lot of experiences to deal with, and being related to the King would not helped him in one like this. I really enjoyed the portrayal of the comradeship between the men and the idea of Éomer being teased and gradually learning to hold his own and then tease himself. Well done.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 4

An fascinating look into an unusual corner of the Riddermark and Rohan culture. In brief strokes we get an impression and at the same time there are tantalising hints for "more". I like the description of the slow, creeping advancement of the storm; you can feel Éomer wondering just how serious to take the warning all the while the tension builds until suddenly, it flips into something that's coming swiftly towards them. And what an appropriate name for a Middle-earth, or, more exactly, a Rohirrim tornado!

Reviewed by: Celeritas  ✧  Score: 4

One does not tend to associate tornadoes with Middle-earth, but Dwimordene pulls off this tale of a storm in the plains of Rohan with aplomb. The perspective of Eomer, unused to this sort of thing because of where he has grown up, works well for describing the windstorm. This Midwesterner appreciated all of the details in both the ominous warning weather and the storm itself. Excellent use of a prompt!

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This story gave me a very vivid impression on what it would mean to experience a tornado outdoors. I haven't seen a tornado so far and I don't want to. This was Eomer's first tornado and he didn't quite know what he was getting into. The next one might even be worse for him because now he knows how dangerous they can be. The description of the storm as it approached was very evocative.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 3

Dwimordene's "The Horn of the Kine" is a scary vignette about an eored being caught out on the plains of Rohan in a tornado. The details seem real, and I was holding my breath throughout reading this. Well done!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

This is something I'd never thought about, but on reflection seems very plausible that there might be tornadoes in Rohan . Wide open grassland could indeed be very windy. I enjoyed this story of how young Eomer and some other riders survive the force of the winds.