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Nom's Garden [completed]
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject: Nom's Garden [completed] Reply with quote

Stephen R Donaldson once said, I have no objection at all to what's commonly called "fan fiction": stories written without pay for the amusement and edification of the writer, and possibly of the writer's friends and associates--as long as the original sources are given appropriate credit.

This is my work of fan fiction, which is based on The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, written by Stephen R Donaldson. It is for the amusement and (dare I claim) edification of myself, as well as of my friends and associates here at Kevin's Watch. I assure one and all that I have not been paid. Smile

What Donaldson doesn't say, but which can be implied from many other things he has said, is that fan fiction based on the Chronicles contradicts the very nature of the Chronicles. If the Land exists because Covenant needs it, then anything which doesn't bear on Covenant's needs cannot be told of the Land. Which makes the Land entirely different than Middle Earth, which exists quite independently of The Lord of the Rings. Chronicles fan fiction, therefore, defies the intentions of the author.

And yet, here I am posting fan fiction based on the Chronicles. What do you make of that?

This story was envisioned before Runes, and begun before Fatal. I am that slow of a writer. I have not let the release of either of these works thwart me. Smile Although it has been hard. Small coincidences between Donaldson's newer works and this one remain as circumstance has found them.

I hope you will comment on anything about this that invites comment.
_________________
* I occasionally post things on KevinsWatch because I am a fan of Stephen R. Donaldson; this should not be considered as condonation of the white nationalist propaganda for which this forum has become a platform.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nom’s Garden

(Part 1 of 2)

by Wayfriend

* 1 *

Dock Hawserbraid ceased his weary march into the ambit of Sandgorgon’s Doom, exhausted from his flight across the Great Desert. The Doom rose before him, an interminable wall of wailing wind and knifing sand; he could hear boulders crashing in the murk ahead.

The Giant considered: the Horse could not reach him now; he may even be beyond the reach of the Haruchai - but he would not swear on it.

He chose to cautiously rest. He turned his back to the gyre, shrugged the cable from his shoulder, and with his hands shielding his eyes looked back to the Sandwall.

The wind threatened to steal his old, worn cap.

He could see no one crossing the desert. He could barely make out Nom’s Garden.

There was the cabinet, lying askew in the sand at the end of the cable. Much of its elaboration had been scoured away. The sailor scrutinized the knot, judged it remained sound.

That which was contained within the cabinet tried again to seduce him.

Stone and Sea! Was there no rest for his thoughts?

He wrapped the cable around his forearm, yanked the cabinet free of the drifting sand, and then resumed his pestilential journey toward the storm wall. As he trudged, he told himself a story; his Giantish attention to stories warded him well from the peril he brought with him. The story he told himself was his own.

* 2 *

The wind thrummed the lines and snapped the sails as Tern’s Skip slotted the Spikes of Bhrathairain Harbor. Shadows swallowed the deck. Pitted and crusted bastions drew alongside, manned by pikemen who peered through crenellations at the Giantship heaving into the harbor.

These things did not draw the attention of Hawserbraid. He had eyes only for the sparkling waters of the harbor ahead, even as Shipsheartthew struggled in his grip.

A Giant sailor was hanging single-handed from the forestay as he leaned out over the bow, singing enthusiastically.

Stone and Sea are deep in life
Two unalterable symbols of the world!
But I need to rest in a bed without motion
So let’s tie up while power remains!


“When you are finished with your ditty, Brightworks, “ yelled the Master, “you might tell me where my windward will be!”

After flashing an expression of mock injury, Brightworks attended to his task. A moment past before the Storesmaster could read the waves in the harbor. “She blows from aport, and strongly” called back the Giant.

“Aport, aye!”

Hawserbraid adjusted his stance.

When Tern’s Skip emerged on the far side of the Spikes, Dawngreeter caught the crosswind running along the inside of the Sandwall, blowing near perpendicular to their course. The ship rolled hard. Hawserbraid muscled the rudder, sailors hauled ropes, and the booms swung around. The granite vessel turned with a shuddering groan.

In a few moments the difficult adjustment was completed, and the crew crowed. Hawserbraid waved his ragged cap at them, then pulled it back down over his head with the grace of habit.

The Master of Tern’s Skip was proud of his vessel. Smaller than a dellas or a dromond, the single-masted kyroon was a nimble ship, made for long journeys at speed. It had three booms, two aft and one forward, which could be ingeniously trimmed to make use of any breeze or to hold any tack.

As the Giantship angled into the harbor, Hawserbraid turned his attention to other kinds of weather. Bhrathairealm was a tempestuous place, and he hoped to judge the prevailing winds before approaching the wharf.

He needed observations from a better vantage than the wheel deck. But this hour Horizonscan was manned by Deel, and the Master hesitated to call for the young Haruchai. There was something cold in that one, something which his Giantish spirit could not warm to, even after several weeks of journeying together. His crew felt it, too; Haruchai reticence alone did not explain the silences that pervaded each watch that had Deel on deck. Hawserbraid’s puzzling and the gossip of the crew could not reveal why Nom would send for such a one to be his new Speaker.

In a few hours, their passenger would be given over to Nom. Hawserbraid was ashamed of how heartening the thought was.

But reluctance is only a fog on the waves: you get through it merely by making the attempt.

The Master summoned the Haruchai.

In a moment, Deel landed on the deck beside him, a youth with curly hair and brown skin and no hint of humor or compromise in his flat gaze. His report was concise. There was a healthy mix of Horse and hand on the wharf, and many merchant vessels hugged the piers. The number of warships patrolling the water raised no suspicions, and none had changed tack at the appearance of Tern’s Skip.

When Deel climbed back into the rigging Hawserbraid sighed with relief and ordered Brightworks to signal the dock master as they approached the piers.

There was much to do as the Giantship crossed the last waves. No one wished to stay on board for one moment more than necessary.

As the Tern’s Skip prepared for journey’s end, Hawserbraid could not help but remember other journeys, other destinations. His crew was his family, and the satisfaction he felt at reaching a far port was the happiness of a Giant for his family’s success.

He had not become a Master with swiftness and surety. He loved the Sea, the sailing of ships, and everything that the feel of Shipsheartthew in his hands meant to a Giant. But for years upon years he had submitted himself to the tests and judgments of Seaheartsward only to be denied his Mastership. He had lacked the granite confidence which so many other candidates acquired readily.

Forty days in the Soulbiter changed him. He emerged from that rare ordeal with a core of obduracy like a rock below deep water. When the council saw that he now had Stone within him as well as the Sea, they made him a Master.

When Brightworks reported that a berth had been made ready for them, the Master put aside his remembrances and prepared to greet the Bhrathair.

* 3 *

Harborside in Bhrathairain was a forest of masts, spars, and lines. Goods swung, rolled, slid, walked, and rode men’s backs out of ships’ holds; goods swung, rolled, slid, walked, and rode men’s backs into ships’ holds. Fishwives taunted everyone.

A flat-faced man wearing a short tunic stepped out from among the throng gathered at the wharf to see the Giantship. “Be welcome in Bhrathairealm, Giants”, he announced. “I am Kurin, and I Speak for Nom.”

“I am glad to see you again, Speaker Kurin of the Haruchai, my friend!” answered Hawserbraid, as he descended the gangplank. The rest of the crew crowded the rails at his back, waiting for his word. “Giants treasure names almost as much as tales, and it has not been so long that I have forgotten yours.

“You are not the stripling that I left here on the docks a score of years ago. Are you well?”

“I am well, Rockbrother.”

“Wonderful, wonderful.” Hawserbraid was familiar with Haruchai ways, and so he did pursue the matter of Kurin’s health or fortune. “And tell me, how fares the Realm?”

“The people of Bhrathairealm prosper under the auspice of their gaddhi, Haro Grist. None have dared war against our holdings for many years, and the reach of the Realm grows most satisfactorily.”

“Excellent! Wars are good for merchants, but peace is preferable, eh? And what of Nom?”

“Nom has been installed as Kemper, and all are rewarded by his efforts on behalf of the gaddhi,” replied the Haruchai flatly.

“Kemper?” asked Hawserbraid, speaking more concernedly. “Kasreyn also proclaimed himself Kemper, and not to the gaddhi’s delight, if I recall. Please tell me, how did this transpire?”

“That Nom is studying the thaumaturge’s craft, in order to free his people, you know well,” replied Kurin. “Among the ruins of the Sandhold Nom has found many of Kasreyn's former possessions, and these aid him in all he does. Kasreyn’s former title aids him as well. His stature in the Realm has grown as his skills have become more apt for governance.”

“I see,” rumbled Hawserbraid. “Well, as long as –”

Shod hooves clattered on cobblestone, thudded loudly on the pier’s planking. Hawserbraid and Kurin turned to find three of the gaddhi’s Horse approaching.

A brightly armored soldier dismounted almost before his destrier had been reigned. He marched directly to the Giant and spoke with martial directness. “Giant, be welcome in Bhrathairain. Your passenger is known to the gaddhi, and he requires that you do not permit him to debark.” The soldier paused to catch his breath.

“My passenger?” wondered Hawserbraid. He looked to Kurin, who only shrugged. Wringing his cap, he approached the soldier. “Please, do not be so brief with me. What is the gaddhi’s concern? I am Dock Hawserbraid, Master of Tern’s Skip, and I will see to what needs to be done.”

As Hawserbraid crossed the pier, the soldiers cast wary glances at his height. Kurin stood to one side, without apprehension. Stevedores, merchants, and sailors paused in their labors and turned to watch the confrontation with unabashed curiosity.

Hawserbraid was the Master of his vessel: he knew the clap of every sheet, the whisper of every line, the creak of every mast and spar. And so he was the only one who looked up in time to see Deel swing out above the pier on a halyard, release it, and drop.

The Haruchai surprised everyone else when he landed on the pier directly between the Giant and the Horse. Standing, he turned to face the gaddhi’s men.

“You may tell the gaddhi that he is too late to prevent my arrival. I am here.”

The soldier bared his weapon. His two companions dismounted as quickly as falling in order to stand by his side.

Then Kurin stepped towards them and demanded, “Hold! He has the aegis of the Kemper. You shall neither confront him nor hinder him.”

Balked and fuming, the soldier searched for a response; confronted with a Haruchai’s resolve, he could find none. Then he turned to the Giant. "You must return your passenger to your vessel, and compel him to remain aboard."

"That I would not do," responded Hawserbraid. "I am no warden. And my craft is no donjon."

The soldier bristled. “You refuse?! Then you will come with us to the palace, and explain to the gaddhi what has occurred here. There you may beg for his mercy.”

“No,” interceded Kurin flatly.

Hawserbraid and soldiers alike were taken aback.

“The Kemper has requested the pleasure of this Giant’s company this evening. The gaddhi can wait another day.”

Leaving the soldiers to exchange stymied glances, Kurin turned to inform the Giant. “It is the Kemper’s wish that you come to his Hold this evening, an hour before the sun sets.” The Haruchai bowed, and then turned toward Deel.

The two stared at each other briefly.

Then Deel, too, bowed to Hawserbraid, saying “Thank you for my passage, Master.”

With those words, the two Haruchai departed the pier, Deel following several paces behind Kurin.

While the soldier visibly struggled to construct a suitable course of action, Hawserbraid watched Kurin and Deel depart. It was clear to him that he had become embroiled in some political struggle between Nom and the gaddhi, and he was birthing plans for extricating himself and his crew from Brathairealm as soon as possible. In his mind he went over the Skip’s provisions, what they must acquire, what they could forego. The Giantship might be able to leave with the morning tide. He had a few trinkets of some value; perhaps they could be used to overcome some bureaucratic obstacles.

When Kurin reached the paved street at the end of the pier, Deel attacked him. With three rapid strides, he leaped into the air, aiming both his feet at the back of Kurin’s unprotected neck.

Somehow, Kurin sensed the attack, and managed to twist aside at the last instant, turn to meet his attacker. With one arm he deflected Deel’s legs, with the other he attempted to snap back Deel’s head. Deel deflected Kurin’s counter-attack with an arm block, while jabbing an elbow into Kurin’s shoulder.

Kurin rolled away as Deel landed on his side. As one, they stood and fell into battle.

Each having been absorbed with their own dilemma, the Giant and the soldier were both brought with a jolt back to present circumstances.

In a quiet circle of attention the Haruchai strove. Blow followed blow as they attacked each other with silent precision and cold determination.

Initially Kurin’s maturity gave him the advantage, and Deel was forced to defend himself, to turn aside rapid blows that would break bones. Kurin's punches and kicks penetrated Deel's defenses again and again, yet somehow the younger Haruchai contrived to deflect enough damage to maintain a defense.

But soon the duel changed form. Deel's soft defense drew out Kurin's attacks, so that they took a fraction of a second longer to complete. By accepting rather than stopping Kurin's blows, Deel was creating openings in which to counter-strike. Kurin responded by pulling back his strikes; he had lost the advantage of his strength.

This change in tactics favored the Haruchai youth. Soon he was demonstrating feints and attacks which clearly confounded his opponent. Before long, Kurin was reeling from unparried slashes and unwarded jabs.

Suddenly unbalanced, Kurin was flipped over Deel’s bent knee, landing on his stomach.

Deel bent, dealt a two-handed blow to the small of Kurin’s back before he could roll away. Kurin arched his back in agony, and Deel followed through with a chop to the base of Kurin’s neck.

Kurin flopped like a fish on the pier, and then he went still.

Deel rose to stand over the older Haruchai. He showed no emotion in his posture or his expression, but something like superiority shone in the way he looked down on his opponent.

A moment passed. Then Kurin slowly climbed to his feet, forfeit limning his every movement.

As if satisfied, Deel turned and walked into the city. Kurin limped after him, not quite able to straighten his damaged back.

The soldier swore, tore his eyes from the tableau and addressed Hawserbraid without courtesy. As if the end of the unexpected combat restored his train of thought, he pronounced, “You are to go to the gaddhi’s palace tomorrow, for the noon meal. Or your vessel will be scuttled.”

After mounting, the Horse departed, leaving Hawserbraid to stand amazed on the pier.

* 4 *

Hawserbraid walked along Harbor Avenue. Brightly colored awnings shaded both sides of the broad street, under which citizens strolled, merchants hawked, and beggars demonstrated their wretchedness. Too large, Hawserbraid kept to the center of the avenue, along with wagons, sedans, and the gaddhi’s mounted soldiers. From his height, he watched the rats and monkeys race atop the awnings, their own private highway, while he patiently followed the slow traffic. The late afternoon sun slanted out of alleys to cross his way.

As he neared the end of the avenue, Nom’s keep filled the view ahead. So much might articulated in Stone!

In title it was the Kemper’s Hold, but the Brathair commonly referred to the edifice built upon the ruins of the Sandhold as “Nom’s Garden”.

It was constructed of massive stones, stones larger than dromonds – stones as large as hilltops – collected in an area at the north end of the town. They lay scattered and askew, some partially submerged, as if they had been piled hastily by a titan. Many lay against or atop another, or bridged spans; others stood somewhat apart, menhirs at the edge of the Great Desert, for no wall came between the Hold and the open sand.

The might required to unearth and move such slabs of bedrock was inconceivable to the Giant.

The largest formation of arranged stones had been transformed by masons and artisans into a citadel. Walls were built to fill the interstices and create enclosed spaces. Windows and balconies adorned the faces; carvings and sconces added elements of elegance. The boulders which comprised the skeleton of the citadel were adorned with, rather than obscured by, these refined additions.

The area immediately surrounding the citadel was, the Giant knew, transformed with walls and embowerments into a maze of grottos, lush in the shadow of monoliths. Gardens and statuary adorned fountained pools and sculptures of sand.

As Hawserbraid approached the main gate, a guard stepped forward to greet him.

“You are expected, Giant. I have summoned an escort who will bring you to the Kemper’s parlor. Please excuse a moment’s delay.”

Hawserbraid bowed politely to the gatekeeper.

Then he ventured, “You’re livery is unfamiliar to me.”

The guard raised an eyebrow.

“I admit that I have been gone from Brathairealm for some time - a generation or so as you would count it.”

“I am a vigilant in the Kemper’s cohort,” stated the guard, without masking his disdain at being unrecognized.

“Ah, thank you.” On Hawserbraid’s previous visits, the gaddhi had commanded all of the military units in the town. That the Kemper now had his own men was significant.

He was saved further embarrassment by the arrival of an attendant, by his dress another of the Kemper’s cohort, who led the Giant into the citadel.

He was led through the strange halls and hallways that made up the Kemper’s Hold, where extravagant rooms might have as one wall or a ceiling the blank rock face of a boulder larger than the room itself, and where passages followed the broad curves of mountainsides.

He was ushered into a salon as large and as magnificent as a temple. Baroque frescoes adorned the walls, framed with gilded cornices. A chandelier, burning like a sun, depended from the high, groined ceiling. A triangular face of unadorned rock intruded into one corner.

The only furniture was an overlarge bench and a low table, occupying the center of the room like self-assured monarchs.

The attendant having returned to his duties, Hawserbraid was free to wander the salon and view the scenes artfully depicted on its walls. They were moments from the history of Brathair, frozen in grand drama; battles and ceremonies, the triumphant and the stalwart.

As on other occasions, one mural drew his attention away from the others. It was an image of a donjon of the Sandhold. Wracked figures, dark as shadows, hung from the walls, and a crumpled iron door lay on the floor.

In the center stood Thomas Covenant, Giantfriend and Redeemer, turned away, glowing in the darkness like an incandescent revenant. Spare shoulders carried weariness and devotion; intransigence and flame held a back straight; potent and pitiable, exhausted and inexorable. The artist had somehow captured a paradox, fixed it in pigment and plaster.

Another icon of contradiction, a portrayal of Nom the Sandgorgon knelt before the Giantfriend. Its pale skin blazed with reflected light every bit as brightly as the Giantfriend. A beast plainly bursting with might, it was poised on four limbs, as if it had just lifted its head from the floor. Without eyes, it awaited a recognition of its homage, thews clenched with repressed urges, awkward and yet regal in its posture. Might incarnate, held by unbreakable chains.

The Giant stood pondering the portrait. Contemplating its hidden messages always left him feeling as if he was peering into the depths of Creation. He loved the tale of Thomas Covenant the Redeemer, with Seadreamer and Pitchwife the Hale and the brave Haruchai who accompanied them. It was almost as long as the tale of Bahgoon the Unbearable and Thelma Twofist, almost as beloved by Giants. Time after time, his musings upon the paintings left him with no great knowledge, just the vague sense of a vaster reality which, as a Giant, suffused him with joy: the joy of a story not yet fully revealed.

He turned as a door at the far end of the parlor opened, and Nom entered, followed by Deel. The Sandgorgon wore a loose black robe which swept the floor, surmounted by a florid chasuble, red and black and trimmed in yellow. A yellow ribbon was about his neck, carrying a golden circle like an ocular. Nothing of his inhuman frame was visible except his face, shadowed within a hood.

Nom approached the Giant, but made no gesture except to hold his eyeless head as if he could gaze into Hawserbraid’s eyes. But it was Deel who spoke, from a pace behind. “I am pleased to greet you, Master. Be welcome in my abode. Please, won’t you sit?”

“I am gladdened to see you again, Kemper,” replied Hawserbraid, sitting down on the bench provided for him and removing his cap. “I am fond of this city, and visit it altogether too infrequently.” The Giant was familiar with Nom’s manner of speech – he had by now delivered four Speakers from Coercri to Brathairealm – and was comfortable, although somewhat out of practice, with hearing Nom through his Speaker’s voice.

“Was your journey remarkable?”

“It was a pleasant voyage altogether, Keeper. Nothing in the least remarkable,” said the Giant with a grin.

“Until you arrived in Brathairealm,” added Nom. “For my part in that untoward greeting, you have my apologies. It was not my intent to consternate you or your crew upon your arrival.”

“Thank you, Kemper.” Hawserbraid bowed his head. “I was happy to see that your new Speaker was delivered to you despite some choppy seas. That’s far more important than any accidental confusion - confusion which I frankly admit to bearing.”

“Let me set you at ease, Master Hawserbraid. The gaddhi and I are engaged in a disagreement. Were it not for the specific nature of your charter, it would never have interfered with our business, and I had hoped it would not even so. You and I bear a friendship that I would not lose. I trust we can put this unfortunate matter behind us.”

“Assuredly, Kemper, assuredly, and with my gratitude. However, I am concerned for my friend Kurin. Both he and I intend that he be aboard Tern’s Skip when we depart Brathair. I hope to find him hale when the time comes.”

“If he is injured, I will do what I can for him,” stated Nom. But his tenor carried less conviction than his promise.

“You have my gratitude again, Kemper. Although I suspect he would refuse your aid by choice. Haruchai are an inscrutable people. I confess they often amaze me,” claimed the Giant, underscoring this by gazing at Deel.

“You wish to understand why he was attacked.”

“If I may, I hope to understand why you need a Speaker such as Deel.”

Nom did not respond immediately. Hawserbraid twisted his cap in his hands. He was taking a risk, but he needed to take the measure of the waters in which he sailed.

Finally, the Sandgorgon ventured. “By merit and strength, I have become Kemper of Brathairealm. My needs as Kemper are not the same as they were when I was not. That is sufficient explanation.”

“You transgress upon the gaddhi’s authority, and dare his wrath. Unless I am mistaken, there will be an open confrontation. Why do you embark upon this path?”

Nom said simply, “It is a path to power.”

“Power? Do you yet crave power, you who have raised this Citadel with your unimaginable strength? What need have you for either the Kemper’s magicks or the gaddhi’s realm? Pardon me, but I see only folly here, and harm for many.”

There was no immediate response to this. If Nom contemplated the Giant's words, there was no visible sign. But after a moment, Nom’s gave a simple reply. “Please accompany me. Before Sandgorgon’s Doom, I would have you understand.”

They departed from the salon. Hawserbraid followed Nom and Deel down a hallway where stone leaned over their heads like a doom about to fall.

* 5 *

Hawserbraid descended a dank stone stair.

“Giant.”

He looked back and up, to see Deel standing in the brighter passage.

“That is not the way.”

The Giant paused. He contemplated objections, but did not know quite what to say.

“That way lies the croyel”, Deel continued. “It desires your potency, and will ill-use you. Come up the stair, and give it no further heed.”

Hawserbraid looked down into a crepuscular pit. He could not remember why he had come this way. He turned to join Deel, lifted his foot –

And a desire to immerse himself in the darkness, to join, caught flame in him, and burned. Time melted away.

Master!” commanded the Speaker.

Master. Stone; sea. A fog on the waves. Hawserbraid pushed through the flames, felt them slough away. Something in his mind screamed, and then departed. He ascended to face the Haruchai. Deel measured him with a cold gaze.

“It will not sway me again,” said Hawserbraid. “I am forewarned.”

Deel then gestured toward Nom, who waited further down the passage.

Hawserbraid strode to the Sandgorgon. “It lives? The very one joined to Kasreyn?”

“Indeed,” replied Nom, with Deel’s voice. “The Elohim Findail severed the roots that bound it to Kasreyn, and so the thaumaturge was bereft of his overlong life. The croyel was reduced, but not destroyed, for Covenant required only that the Kemper be stopped, and the Elohim are chary of their interference.

“It survived the wreck of the Sandhold. I keep it now.”

“Keep it?” Agitated, Hawserbraid could not decide whether to address the Sandgorgon or the Haruchai, and so turned from one to the other. “For what need?”

“It is power.

“Come. The answer to this new question is the same as the last.”

At the end of the passage, another stair rose into the bright sun.

* 6 *

Nom led them to the top of a stone pinnacle, a veritable tower on the edge of the Garden. There, he gestured to the desert beyond the Keep, and Deel spoke Nom’s words.

“Behold the Great Desert!”

Hawserbraid looked out over the sands. He had seen the Great Desert many times before, but never from such a vantage. Its vacant endlessness was like the open sea, defying the eye; the wind-carved dunes and the distant storm completed the sailor’s simile. “It is an ocean,” he whispered.

“It will surprise you to learn that all that you can see, and much more, was once a tropical jungle,” said Nom, “home to beast, bird, and branch. My brothers and I laid waste to all of it.”

The Giant considered this a moment. “I would welcome the tale,” he responded. “We Giants say ‘joy is in the ears that hear.’” Not in the mouth that speaks, he could not help thinking. He turned to look at the face of the Sandgorgon standing next to him, and considered the aptness of the Giantish adage for the case at hand. Then he attended Nom's tale.

“There is that in the heart of the Earth which cries for ruin.

“The Sandgorgons are the incarnation of that cry.”

With his hood pushed back by the wind, the Sandgorgon stood in his robes like a prince. Nothing which indicated communication showed in his stance. Hawserbraid turned again to the desert, to listen without the distraction of Nom’s oddity.

“Since before memory, we roamed this part of the Earth, moving from one place to another as chance and whim allowed. To us, destruction was freedom, and creation was an offense which we eradicated wherever we found it. We trampled trees to splinters, and ground splinters into dust. Mountains we threw down to remove them from our way. Without the mountains to catch them, the winds no longer paused to drop their burden of rain. Then we delighted in the desiccation of the desert. The buildings of the Bhrathair – aye, and many others, nameless to us – we smashed down whenever our path led through them. Nothing survived in the desert once chance put it in our way.

“There was no thought in this. We were never beings like yourself, with thoughts and the need to examine them. There was only the expression of our being.

“That changed when Kasreyn came to Bhrathairain.

“We beheld his labor as he fashioned Sandgorgon’s Doom, but we could not conceive of any concern. It would fall in time, as all things did, to one or another of our kind.

“But then an allurement called to us.

“In the far corners of this land, we heard it call, and we desired to answer. It promised nothing, made no plea, aroused nothing but a strange curiousness. But we had nothing in our nature which could consider resisting our own desires. So we turned and we went.

“Sandgorgon’s Doom is mighty, but might alone did not capture the Sandgorgons. Although we came like eager children, there was naught that could withstand the joined ferocity of all Sandgorgons.

“But when we stood before the Doom, we were snared by a simple thing, and we fell. The Doom required our names. Nameless, we invented names for ourselves, thinking only of satisfying the need in order to discover what lay beyond. And we gave them away without understanding what we gave.

“The Doom snared us with our names - fetters as strong as we, for we created them. And Kasreyn held the chains. He locked us in the gaol of Sandgorgon’s Doom, tucked the key into his golden robe, and made us his creatures.

“Around and around that blast we strove, contending with that which rent the Earth itself, and whenever we fought our way to the edge, our names called us back.”

Here Nom paused, while the sun touched the horizon. The desert bloomed for a moment with satin flame. When Hawserbraid had seen it well, he continued.

“Hear you well, Giant: now I am free,” said Nom, “but the Doom of my kind remains. I am dedicated to its destruction.

“To this end, I have consumed samadhi, and have learned the arts of the thaumaturge. But even as I am now, yet Sandgorgon’s Doom surpasses me. Somehow, it rejects me. Unable to enter it, I cannot begin to unbind Kasreyn’s theurgy.”

Nom paused again. The storm stood like a distant bastion, awash in ruddy light that faded as the sun settled. Hawserbraid knew why stories faltered, and so he waited kindly. A moment was enough.

“While Kasreyn’s geas held me, I was called from time to time. If others were called, I do not know, but I think not. Rare is the task for which a single Sandgorgon is insufficient.

“Always, I was summoned to slay a man or a woman, and shed their blood at the feet of the Sandhold. They fell effortlessly. And yet, they must have been persons whom Kasreyn could not, or dared not - or chose not - to slay himself.

“I did not understand this then; I understand it now: my obedience made Kasreyn mightier. It gave him more choices, more paths. In this way does power beget power.

“My slavery would yet endure, would perhaps have endured without end, had not the Covenant come to Brathairealm.

“The Giantfriend!” exclaimed Hawserbraid. “It was Covenant Giantfriend who set you free, who –”

“No." The interjection cut short the Giant's exuberation.

“The Covenant released me from the Doom's hold. The geas which compelled me to slay my name's speaker had no contingency for a speaker I could not slay, and so it was held in abeyance. But I was yet a mindless Sandgorgon: I could not know gratitude; I had no experience of benevolence. My only learning was an obedience to power that the relentless winds of Sandgorgon’s Doom had carven into my flesh. I lacked the capacity to conceive of any responses but two. I could attempt my freedom by following my instinct for destruction. Or I could transfer my obedience from the Doom to the Covenant. And the Covenant was power incarnate: the only destruction that I would render would be my own.

“So mastered, I beheld my new master. I bowed to the Covenant, abject and trembling.

“When he had need of me, he called my name; I came, and I obeyed. I could achieve what the Covenant could not, and because he ruled me, my achievements were his. Power begets power: my obedience made the Covenant mightier.

“Soon after, I rent and consumed Sheol. And the Covenant discarded his power to transcend the strictures of flesh and time. Then, and only then, was freedom at last restored to me. I am indebted to the Covenant for breaking Kasreyn’s bonds, and for making all else possible. But I am not free through any act of his, for there was slight thought for me in those acts that freed me.

“But the Covenant, as Kasreyn before him, taught me a lesson of suzerainty: the mighty are made mightier still by ruling over others.”

The sun had fallen below the dunes, and stars shone as dusk died.

“I require might to dismantle Sandgorgon’s Doom,” finished Nom. “And now you are answered.”

Hawserbraid finally turned to face Nom again.

* 7 *

The gaddhi’s table was polished to perfection. It was made of some dark, gnarled wood. In its surface Hawserbraid could see, as if through dark moiled water, the silk drapes and tapestries which adorned the gaddhi’s dining room. Indeed, he could see Haro Grist himself, seated across from him, his every motion as he waved his hands mirrored below: a drowning man thrashing as plates and goblets sailed serenely by.

Suddenly, the gaddhi stabbed the table with a carving knife and exclaimed, “He means to kill me!”

Hawserbraid considered the knife standing in the gaddhi’s reflection as he struggled to find a suitable response.

But the gaddhi ranted on.

“This ... this Haruchai you have brought him! My men have observed him: he is a hassassin, a slayer of men!

“Deel,” replied the Giant cautiously.

“He grows too mighty! Kemper is not enough! He covets the rule of Bhrathairealm!”

The gaddhi leaned forward and pointed a fat, bejeweled finger directly at Hawserbraid. “You will fix this,” he announced, and then sat back to observe the effect of his masterful proclamation.

Gaddhi?”

Hawserbraid fretted as the gaddhi paused to nibble on a date.

“Take the new Speaker and leave. Or talk to Nom, he is your friend. Or something else. You are a Giant, and you brought the hassassin to my realm. You will fix this.”

The Giant reeled.

The gaddhi then looked about to find his knife. He finally found it, where he had stuck it. He could not pull the blade free; Hawserbraid retrieved it before any embarrassment could occur, and handed it over carefully.

As if the subject had completely changed, the gaddhi asked mildly, “Is it not your habit, after delivering a new Speaker, to return the former Speaker to whatever realm produces such men?”

Hawserbraid faltered, and then replied, “Yes. We hoped to leave tomorrow, or perhaps the day after.”

Haro Grist returned to his meal. As he carved into a slice of spiced meat, he said, “You will consider delaying your departure. I have learned that your passenger did not survive the night. He rejected all medicament, but could not overcome his injuries.”

* X *

Here ends part one.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can write. Have you done any stories not fan-fiction? I would love to read 'em.

Just one red-ink criticism from the first line of the second sequence:

Quote:
...snapped the sails as Tern’s Skip slotted the Spikes of Bhrathairain Harbor. Shadows swallowed the deck. Pitted and crusted bastions drew alongside, manned by pikemen who peered through crenellations at the Giantship heaving into the harbor."


You have five 'S's in that first sentence plus two in the next, and then three 'P's and two 'H's in the last. Two words with the same letters in the same sentence isn't all that bad, but it just seems almost lirically intentional there... Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jacob Raver, sinTempter wrote:
Have you done any stories not fan-fiction?

Well, there's The Tiz Bottle. That fared so poorly that I vowed never to post another story until someone posted one single comment on that one. I ended up breaking my vow, needless to say.

You've already earned my undying gratitude for responding to this one. My athazagoraphobia is greatly diminished.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
jacob Raver, sinTempter wrote:
Have you done any stories not fan-fiction?

Well, there's The Tiz Bottle. That fared so poorly that I vowed never to post another story until someone posted one single comment on that one. I ended up breaking my vow, needless to say.

You've already earned my undying gratitude for responding to this one. My athazagoraphobia is greatly diminished.

Great. What's 'athaz..."?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great storytelling and a true talent. I don't mind alliteration at all.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well done.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

answers.com wrote:
athazagoraphobia: Fear of being forgotton or ignored or forgetting.

You're welcome. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like this story,... as I have said I would read anything in regards to the Land... The Follow up on Nom is something I have been wondering about for lets see ....about 20+ years now, and its a very good story... is part 2 already written? or a work in progress?

Thanks Very much.... and Looking forward to part 2

I cant seem to find the Thankyou button so thankyou.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you button = "goodpost" button in upper right of post window, Blackhawk.

And I too enjoyed the story, way.
*soft smile*
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to everyone who replied with such nice comments.

I want everyone to know that the Writer's Circle was very helpful, and they deserve much credit. Not only did they critique my writing, but they encouraged me to not get too discouraged when the universe conspired to take my story away.

Blackhawk wrote:
is part 2 already written? or a work in progress?

It's a twinkle in my eye. But posting part one puts pressure on me, and I always write better under pressure.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Menolly...found it,

Wayfriend... Looking forward to progress...

we have 2 gaps with about 4000 or more years of untold stories in the land.... not to mention the 40 + 7 years of what happened between TCs visits in the first chronicles..... so no pressure Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very intriguing story you've cooked up, Wayfriend. The Quest's time in Bhrathairealm in TOT is possibly my most favorite episode in all the Chronicles, so I'm delighted that you picked that setting for your story.

You MUST write Part Two! I want to know what Hawserbraid is going to do with that cabinet and its sinister contents.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ME TOO mm!! i love this story. i was thrilled when i saw wayfriend had posted it to HoG so everyone could read it.

so now we have not one, not two, but THREE exciting "the land" based pieces of fiction we're waiting for:

a) donaldson's against all things ending

b) iQestor's it cannot now be set aside, nor passed on

c) wayfriend's nom's garden


i have to say that both wayfriend and iquestor with their pieces have
totally enriched my donaldson experience.
thanks guys! Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, luci! I think (hope) SRD would be flattered if he knew of the quality of writing that goes into Chronicles fan-fiction here.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matrixman wrote:
Very intriguing story you've cooked up, Wayfriend.

It seems to me that most of the story wrote itself.

In WGW, Nom declared that he would try to free the other Sandgorgons. So it follows that he would go back to Brathairealm. I presume the Doom would not easily be dismantled, so it follows that Nom would become a thaumaturge in order to learn how to dismantle it. It follows that, being in Brathairealm, he would try to recover as much of Kasreyn's tools and knowledge as possible. It follows that he would need a Haruchai in order to speak with the people of Brathairealm in order to do this.

That's really the point where I actually started writing.

Nom becoming Kemper follows from his consuming a Raver. He must have some thirst for power, some desire to rule over others, having done so. This was a guess on my part, but I believe it was a pretty safe guess.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Way...what's your new pic really refering to?
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jacob Raver, sinTempter wrote:
Hey, Way...what's your new pic really refering to?

Why, the Book of Wally, of course.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jacob Raver, sinTempter wrote:
You can write. Have you done any stories not fan-fiction? I would love to read 'em.

Just one red-ink criticism from the first line of the second sequence:

Quote:
...snapped the sails as Tern’s Skip slotted the Spikes of Bhrathairain Harbor. Shadows swallowed the deck. Pitted and crusted bastions drew alongside, manned by pikemen who peered through crenellations at the Giantship heaving into the harbor."


You have five 'S's in that first sentence plus two in the next, and then three 'P's and two 'H's in the last. Two words with the same letters in the same sentence isn't all that bad, but it just seems almost lirically intentional there... Smile


Reminds me of Old English poetry. Ever read Beowulf?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose I'm late but I just finished this (half of a) story and liked it very much so far. Are you planning on / am working on finishing it or is it on hold?

My perception of Nom and his story was a bit different but your story was well written nonetheless and I can't fault you for taking some artistic license.
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