Civitas Mundi

A quintet of drabbles held together loosely by the theme of civil strife and the view from the losing side. Such is the way of the world, that all endeavors undermine themselves in the end, and not simply for lack of good will...

Melkor, Manwë, Ornendil, Miriel, Aranarth, Eärnur, a humble cobbler, and gratuitous philosophical evocations—five hundred words by Dwimordene.


She was a cobbler—newly owner of her shop since her man'd followed Ar-Pharazôn to war in Middle-earth. Ingilzôr'd been content: "King's men serve as can." Armies need shoes, and men also. She gave both.

Widowed, she was glad Pharazôn rebuked Andúnië: stopped talk of how her man'd died for naught good. She'd a son who looked too much like Ingilzôr to bear it.

The Temple rose with Annatar; the King's Nightwatch marched often through Romenna and next morn houses stood empty. Fearful times, but necessary. So she tells herself: war's brewing, and her son's taken up his father's sword...


Last defender of the king's escape, Ornendil stands before Osgiliath's Westbridge, savoring the sublime irony: he'll fall to foes who but lately whispered of him, "He loves Gondor too little."

'Tis a bitter jest, one he means to share with them. They'll not laugh, of course, and 'twill be a high price for a victory they'll not acknowledge, but he could pay no less. For such outlandish sons as he, 'tis the sword alone measures loyalty. His own runs red for Gondor, red as his own wounds, for it's as they say who so love this land:

Blood always tells.

1432, Third Age: Siege of Osgiliath; Kin-strife begins.

1437, Third Age: Osgiliath falls. Eldacar escapes. "[Castamir] caused Ornendil son of Eldacar, who was captured, to be put to death" (Appendix A, ROTK, 367).

Morgan Freeman: "The First Battle": Glory, w/commentary: "As far back as the Revolutionary War it's always been amonst those ... of African descent... who were shunned to all intents and purposes have always thought that they would... pay their way in blood. Every chance to pay their way in blood they would take it. To show that they were willing to fight for all that everybody else already had..."

Blood Ties

The traitor's way ends in the Temple. Whenever her minders speak to trap her, Míriel replies: "I cleave to Pharazôn, for I am faithful." Dangerous play—damnable (demure) contempt—but she'll hold forth.

For her father had long sight, and she's a surgeon's hand—she'll cleave the nation, make her body the suture on a house divided. She need last only long enough to cut cousin from cousin—black sheep from white wings.

So Elendil shall have his ships in Romenna, and the Faithful safe passage thither: the marriage bed's gifts.

If only he succeeds, then let the Templers come.

Olive Branches

They meet upon the red fields, Captain and Chieftain: Eärnur and Aranarth. The kiss of peace tastes of ashes: Welcome to Arnor.

Later, at Aranarth's fire, Eärnur mentions casually: "Regarding certain letters concerning succession—"

"Gondor arrived in good time to save our lives," Aranarth interrupts; "Just late enough to see Arnor fall. Roads are cut, defenses destroyed, earth salted—my first duty is to the North's people."


But ere Eärnur can rest content with his work, Aranarth adds: "Remember this morn, cousin. For our claim stands still; we shall redeem it one day, even as Gondor redeemed us."

Civitas Dei

"What saw you there? The Flame Imperishable?" Manwë, newly named, asks.

In the beginning was that which gave forth in accord with itself, was ecstasis, height in abasement, abasement in height, depth in the depthless ray of light, unmoving mover, sound in the void a-voiding sound—chorus, singular multiplicity, harmony in difference—in difference, in-difference, indifference. Iluvatar is an eye all-speaking through the gap, the pit where light bends into dark, the gap, the pit, the hole...

"What saw you there? The Flame Imperishable?" Manwë, newly named, asks.

Melkor considers, considers that they are two over against each other... "Nothing."

"There is no social relationship."—Zizek