dwimordene_2011 (dwimordene_2011) wrote in tolkien_weekly,

News from the front by Dwimordene

Title: News from the front
Author: Dwimordene
Challenge: Writing: Code or Cypher
Summary: They fled north, hoping to bring word…
Characters/Pairing: Rangers, Aragorn
Rating: K+
Book/Source: LOTR, UT
Disclaimer: I'm neither JRRT nor making money off this. This is a pair of drabbles.

News from the front

Amon Sûl loomed above the dell, its yellowed grass red with sunset.

In that green scoop, Narendil Vorondilion, chest heaving, dumped his last armload of firewood, and hastily began kindling it. His companion, arrow nocked, squinted anxiously west from beneath his hood. Gaunt and harried men, their mood grew grimmer as dusk’s shade fell.

“Any sign?” Tharandur demanded, tautly, and Narendil, exhausted, shook his head.

“None. We may yet tell our tale!”

“Be certain of it,” Tharandur replied, tone dark.

“Once we are safeguarded,” Narendil panted, blowing to coax sparks. “Then I shall store the wood and see to it…”


The familiar dell was much as described. Aragorn surveyed it, noting three sets of prints, then went swiftly whither firewood lay against the rock-fall and began shifting faggots. Sure enough, behind them lay chalked cirth:

{2c9rz@ ;4z E 4b@ndla{

{2c9rz@ ;4z u 8.c ucrDa B9} o6{

Six killed at Sarn Ford – news two weeks old, by the marks – and Narendil homeward bound by the name order.

Aragorn bowed his head, breathed deeply. Nine wraiths at Sarn Ford and five hard by…

For the hours you’ve bought, he thought, laying a heavy hand upon the stone, may we match you tonight!

Notes: “Rangers use runes, and they come here sometimes” – Aragorn, LOTR, “A Knife in the Dark”.

No one else in the Third Age besides Dwarves uses runes regularly, so that Aragorn says Rangers do seems significant. That would already remove the message from general understanding. Runes were meant to be etched or cut, or used on hard surfaces, which would suit Rangers who need to leave secret messages for each other in the wild at specific message “drop points,” where paper or velum has little chance of remaining in place and intact. Add a few protocols, abbreviations, and letter substitutions, and they’ve got working code.

Updated decoding:

{2c9rz@ ;4z E 4b@ndla{

{2c9rz@ ;4z u 8.c ucrDa B9} o6{

In English:


“Badger” is obviously English – I like it, I can’t find a word for it on a wordlist, alas. YVE stands for “Yavannië” (September); TSA for Tirith Sarn Athrad (Sarn Ford Guard as near as I can make it). “&” for “plus” D (ninth letter); “GW” for gwain (plural for “departed” in the sense of “dead”) M (sixth letter).
Tags: author: dwimordene, challenge: writing: code, character: aragorn, character: ocs
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