Characters: unidentified, though he could be Earnur
Warning: bleak midwintriness
A/N: written for the “Yule” challenge at tolkien_weekly; please forgive my lack of umlauts. MiddleEarth is JRRT’s; I am just a tourist in a tacky hat.
He could not guess why they kept him alive; after a time, even the orcs had tired of him. Yet still they brought the musty water and grayish bread, the meat of unknown provenance, and still they emptied the bucket of half-frozen waste. And after a time, he had ceased to wonder at it. Each day, the barred shadow of the grate had stretched longer and longer, until it reached the crack in the flagstones. There the advance was halted, and now the shadow slowly retreated. Mettare, the prisoner whispered as frost traced its white branches over the broken stones…