Cold Be Hand and Heart and Bone

Author: Imhiriel

Nominator: Elena Tiriel

2008 Award Category: Races: Villains: Fixed-Length Ficlets - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Story is intended to be scary.

Summary: Something disturbs the eternal rest of the last prince of Cardolan.(100 words)

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Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 10

This drabble truly gives me the creeps. *shivers* I mean that in only the most admiring and complimentary way, of course! The spooky atmosphere is well-wrought and chillingly successful. Something that I especially appreciate here is that Imhiriel digs up an obscure, forgotten quote buried in the middle of the Appendices, dusts it off and illuminates it so deftly that you look at the original quote in a completely different way. Oh, and I really liked the mention of the blue jewelery that sent Tom Bombadil into quiet remembrance when he unearthed it after freeing the Hobbits from their captivity... score one for yet another quirky and often-overlooked corner of canon. The tone of this vignette is especially effective. It begins as a dispassionate description of the tomb and of the finery with which the prince was buried, as befits his station. Then the reader begins to get uneasy at the spooky description of the unearthly illumination, and then alarmed at the vivid description of the words spoken by the presence. And the vision of the [groping hand] evokes the sensation of the prince being violated... until the last, short sentence leaves the reader gasping in shock. This is a terribly disturbing scene... I do not recommend that you read it in the dark!

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 10

Rich and evocative descriptions set up this drabble wonderfully. The atmosphere is carefully and completely conjured: I could easily sense the cool, dark interior; the weight of earth and stone imprisoning this lost prince, magnified by the additional veneer of age. The prince himself is gently but clearly drawn, and the attention spent upon his appearance paints a picture of someone loved and cherished. There's a tender sadness that emanates from what has been done for him or left behind as a remembrance, and it cleverly ties into a certain scene from LotR. All the care that Imhiriel puts into evoking the beginning scene pays off in the final section of the drabble, when the same descriptive elegance sends chills running down my spine. The feeling changes dramatically, flawlessly shifting into supernatural eeriness. The contrast between the early parts of the drabble and the ending only makes the horror of what happens all the more wrenching. Although I think this version makes more sense than having the evil originate with the prince (despite the faults of those divisive Northerners), it also leaves me intensely curious about what actually occurs! A fascinating premise, artfully explored.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 4

Imhiriel manages to find one thing scarier than a barrow-wight on its home-turf. The 19th century fear of being buried alive gets a revival here, though in point of fact, the drabble is ambiguous: is the Prince alive and about to awaken to a barrow-wight that will remedy his condition? Or is the Prince stirring because of the barrow-wight's incantations? It's not looking good, whichever way you view it. Gets a nice "Ew...!" reaction from this reader. Good job!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

This is an unusual drabble - a sketch of a nascent horror that will one day stalk the hobbits on the Barrow-downs. The rich details of the prince's disposition, the love and reverence with which he was laid out in the burial mound, make an effective contrast to his eventual fate. Beautifully researched and written; typical of this skilled author.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

Now there are a few who have looked at the wraith who later was to capture Frodo and his companions. Love this haunting that wakens the unnamed prince from his deathwound. Shuddery! Images are perfect!

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 2

Interesting idea, that the barrow might not have been made for the prince, but was much, much older. Creepy!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

Ooh, creepily done, Imhiriel. Nice expansion of this scene, I could see it happening just this way.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 2

Ugh, definitely gives a chill! I was thinking as the ending approached, 'well, this isn't so creepy'. I was wrong! Excellent.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

A very chilling little drabble--I've often wondered about that "last prince" and how the barrow-wights came to his resting place.

Reviewed by: nancylea  ✧  Score: 1

eerie, this is how he starts?