Author: Aranel Took

Nominator: Aranel Took

2009 Award Category: Genres: Character Study: General Drabbles - Third Place

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Creatures are not always what they seem. (The first ten words of the drabble had to start with the letters F,O,R,G,E,M,K,E,L,G.)

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Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 7

It seems odd considering the protagonists, but I thought this was a beautiful, uplifting drabble. The joy of the flight, the freedom of the air and the power of their speed is evoked so very clearly that I'm almost tempted to hitch a ride myself. Almost *g*! The detail chosen to describe everything are very telling and effective; and I particularly appreciated the broadness of it, the appeal to a wide array of different senses. I liked the glimpses the last two lines give us of what fate brought the protagonists here, that it might not have been voluntary, that the freedom of the flight stirs a tiny speck of rebellion, if just for a moment. The drabble was constructed in a very clever way, as readers are kept in the dark about the identity of the protagonists until it is revealed in a very understated way that I wager had more than one reader doing a double-take. A neat way to re-evaluate both the drabble and also perhaps how we might look upon the protagonists with a new, or at least a broader perspective.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 7

This drabble surprised me. I figured out what the creatures were after the first sentence, but then the power of the drabble took over with fantastic imagery as it described these creatures in flight and the sheer joy they must have experienced. The drabble's title came to mind, and I saw the Dark Lord's pets in a completely new light. The fact that they hesitated in the end (even if only for a moment) speaks volumes about how much they value their freedom over the open plains. I love all the references to light and the sun. It's so different from what one usually associates with creatures of Mordor, and I find myself intensely curious about the background of these creatures. Where did they come from and why do they serve Sauron? The idea that they in the end they drift while ["basking"] in faded memories is a powerful one. I can see them soaking up strength in nostalgia and warming themselves with things so far gone they are almost beyond recall.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

What a GORGEOUS drabble - vivid and lyrical, like music or dance. The creatures soar and dip, joyful and exuberant - they remind me of a pod of whales, or stingrays, or the huge flocks of rooks I see in the autumn, thousands moving and weaving through the sky as though they were a single, massive creature being carried aloft by an errant breeze. Yet all is not as light and lovely as it seems. The last line, of course, was the killer (as it should be, in a well-crafted drabble), making this memorable tale one of the finest examples of the genre I've ever read. Wonderfully, wonderfully written. *stands and applauds*

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 4

This read like a breeze - pun completely intended. Lovely imagery, in the way cats playing with mice are lovely, which is to say, not - but you managed to offer a well thought-out look from the perspective of a Nazgul 'beast' (I hesitate to call them that, after reading your drabble), and the dichotomy between freedom and servitude comes across as all the more striking for the brevity of this piece... and it is all the more sad, in a way, that Sauron and his minions did manage to corrupt these creatures after all.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Ooh--what an image, and at what a contrast to how WE have seen them, bearing aloft their dark masters to the Master's designs! For a moment they appear as marvelous as the Eagles they were apparently intended to parody; now they are powerful beasts of burden, sent to cary evil to the most inaccessible corners of the refuges of the Free Peoples! Well wrought imagery here, and a new means to look at fell beasts!

Reviewed by: Súlriel  ✧  Score: 4

Unexpected and amazing. I'm sure that in all the tens of thousands of stories written in this fandom, that there must be others that take this concept and this view, but I have to admit I haven't seen one. In reading, I was drawn deeply into the heartfelt and bittersweet moment enjoyed by these beasts. How much more keenly such servants must feel for these moments given the contrasts of them with their servitude. You give them a beauty that I have never before imaged in these steeds and have given me a new vision of them that I'll cherish.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

I love this - what a great visual, and an unexpected sympathetic portrayal of some of the most feared creatures in Middle-earth. But especially with Peter Jackson's portrayal of their antics in the film, I can see this very easily. Great job meeting the terms of the challenge, too. Thanks, Aranel!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

An amazingly lyrical response to a difficult challenge-- and especially considering the point of view character! The twist on this was completely surprising. A very thought-provoking piece!

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 3

Oh, this sends a shiver down the spine – joyful and creepy and sad all at the same time, as the Fell Beasts remember just a little what it is not to be at the beck and call of their dark masters. Cleverly done!

Reviewed by: Robinka  ✧  Score: 2

A very poetic and emotive piece with a surprising twist, which is quite a task to achieve in a piece as short as a drabble. Most interesting and excellently done!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 2

Oooh, are these the Nazgul's winged mounts? What an intriguing change of perspective! Very well done.