Anddraca = Enemy Dragon
Imlad = Valley
Ered Luin = Blue Mountains
Feed the Beast
Consciousness comes slowly and sporadically, she has no idea how long it has been and cares not for that. But the smell of cooked meat is potent, awakening the great black dragon from a restorative sleep turned turned coma. Lifting her eyelids should be easier with however long she has managed to finally rest, but it isn't. Hunger demands but everything feels so heavy there just doesn't seem to be a way for her to move.
But then she feels something fluttering over her face, and then, a voice.
"Wake up, please, you have to eat something. After clinging to life so long it would be pointless to give up now." The words spoken are strange, it is a dialect of Sindarin new to her. But the melodious sound is more than welcome, the first she listens to in this life. Her time before her imprisonment is clear but lacks any strong attachments to anybody. She hadn't wanted to truly listen to anyone back then, too angry and hurt for it.
The scent of food is now even closer, and with a start she realizes it's being shoved lightly at the front of her snout, strength she thought non existent surges within her at the prospect of it. Ravenous, before she can even process it, her jaws open and close with a lightning fast snap. A small yelp tells her that whoever was doing the pointless shoving almost got eaten themselves. They are lucky she can't move more than that though, but soon the thought vanishes as the taste of rich, juicy, fatty meat melt in her mouth. She thinks for a brief instant that even the wood used to cook it over a fire went in but soon she swallows and finally, Finally something falls into her black hole called stomach.
It's not enough. But it is more than she has had in so many years it almost brings her to tears. Maybe just enough for her to get up and hunt until she bursts, until all large mammal life in the area disappears in her gullet too. Before she can settle for another restorative sleep that would hopefully digest and gather energy, her snout is pressed lightly once more with cooked meat.
"Careful, you wouldn't want to eat the one who freed you right? Who else would brave your appetite again if you devour me?" The melodious voice laughs nervously, the dragon is surprised she forgot about it. It passes just as quickly as once more her jaws open and close over another small piece of heavenly morsel, this time a little less cooked and more raw but delicious nonetheless.
The process repeats another three times and still her stomach demands more. Not once during the process has her eyes opened, the only energy she had scrounged up with her power nap was used to simply eat and not a single action more. Already she can feel sleep tugging at her mind, body preparing for the labour of digesting this meal and hopefully begin to fill up her pitiful bones.
"… I'll have to hunt more. Mayhap the game of this valley won't be enough." The voice mutters lowly but now that she can hear again without the cumbersome ringing hunger and insomnia wrought, Sakura decides she loves it. This is her favourite sound in the universe.
She doesn't know if this is another hallucination or reality but she won't chance it, she'll enjoy this for however long it lasts. That is the last thing that passes by her mind before the blanket of sleep tugs her down and she follows it eagerly.
The wind rustles the leaves and its branches, making the morning light shine thorough and letting it play on the golden hair below its boughs. The elf crouches in wait, bow at the ready as the bear makes its appearance, snuffing the ground in search of roots or prey of its own who knows, the moment it turns its neck to the side and arrow is released and a mere instant later it embeds itself exactly on the bear's jugular making it grunt in pain and wheeze before collapsing not even capable of turning towards its attacker.
Glorfindel stands from his bending position and returns the second arrow he had already notched to the quiver strapped to his back. He doesn't relish the hunt like others do, but needs must. Already he's pressed to bring as much as possible. Turning his head he can make out the black scales in the distance from his position on the inclined slope out of the lush valley, truly a paradise on the otherwise poor terrain outside.
Ancalagon stays where he fell, a massive dragon despite the emaciated appearance. Scales that once must have shone like polished obsidian are lifeless and dull, he can see the enormous bones under the folds of scaled hide as it bunches together in rolls when once the limbs must have bulged with powerful tower-shattering strength. His eyes are bulging out of the skull, even with the lids covering them.
All in all, for a beast of that size and a reputation great enough to make every being in all the realms quiver in fear, Ancalagon looks pitiful. A pitiful creature trapped in stone since the First Age.
When the elf had carefully scaled the stone dragon's body he had been searching for answers to questions he never expected to find, all the same he hoped for some form of closure. What he got instead was a tortured gaze inside eyes as large as his own body.
"Valier, I hope you planned this for even I know not where this path shall lead." Comes the pensive murmur.
Then he turns on his heels towards the bear carcass, another to join the small mountain piling up by the fire breathing behemoth at the bottom of the natural depression. He calls his horse with a sharp whistle, and it trots diligently, even if offended with being used to lug around heavy dead weight. The elf feels relieved he had the foresight of having his mount with him, he would not like to drag game all over the place to fill the stomach of the largest dragon to ever live.
And as he grunts while he lifts the bear onto his horse, hearing the white equine protest but not abandon the task at hand (by now resigned to his new role), he thinks back on that first meeting with his soulmate.
Glorfindel hadn't expected to even find the statue, no matter the exact directions and maps he had gathered over the years, part of him even hoping he wouldn't find confirmation about their spirits being linked together even in death.
The march towards Anddraca Imlad was long and took him almost three months, it wasn't helped by the sudden inhospitable winds that swept over the Ered Luin constantly or the sudden attacks by hungry predators when they saw his lonesome figure as an easy meal. Food was also scarce and after leaving the last large river before even sighting the mountain range, towns were fewer to come by, not to mention the strange collection of plants he would not eat without being sure they were not poisonous. Still, onwards he guided his horse. Climbing different paths to make sure his mount could make the trek without falling to its death. It was when he finally made it out of the mountain range and saw the Sea that he found himself with clashing emotions. Where the Beleriand lands used to be now was the glistening sea.
The former Lord shook himself free of nostalgia and continued on towards the island known as Himling, but not to enter the abandoned fortress, rather to use as a landmark and continue north. The lone rider followed the coast until he passed another conglomeration of mountains before cold steppes took their place. It was there, in such a remote place of hostile territory where agriculture was unfeasible, summers short and winters unforgiving that Anddraca Imlad resided. The Enemy Dragon Valley. Other times called Ancalagon's Grave, the Stone Dragon's Valley or simply Dragon Valley.
Not many journeyed to visit the place, with so few towns, little food and many dangers it was unattractive to enter. But those who did always recount of the primal terror they felt at witnessing Ancalagon's form, of how even as a statue the largest dragon to ever exist inspired fear in the hearts of all, for despite the considerably more welcoming valley at his feet they all preferred to brave the howling northern winds coming from the sea reminiscent of the Icebay of Forochel instead of walking under his threatening but frozen visage.
Heart thundering in his chest, Glorfindel almost spurred his horse to go faster, but an uncharacteristic nervousness stilled him. For better or for ill, he would meet the one whose name was written on his skin since the day he was born. A name that had never disappeared even while in the Halls of Mandos. Even the ellon himself was unsure as to what he was looking for here. Answers? For why did the Valier pair him with Morgoth's greatest monster? Closure? Would he finally put to rest those doubts?
His horse had continued its normal walk and finally stopped just before the sudden drop into the valley, the non-dazed part of him wondering how easy it would be to fall to his death were he to walk in the darkness of the night. The rest of him however, was in awe at what he saw below.
Ancalagon The Black was massive, legends did him no justice.
The valley must have been a crater created by the great behemoth where he battled, for the position was one of an incoming vicious attack. As if his would be victim was in the air in front of his outstretched talons, ready to be smacked down as if it were an infuriating wasp. Considering the tale spoken of the slayer as being in the air during the war, he could believe it.
Many dragons carried their bulk differently, some resembled snakes in all but the short limbs that helped them grasp and tear, with a long neck, tail and snout; then there was the number of limbs, some had two legs and two wings they used as arms while others had four limbs and a pair of wings, in case they even had wings; the number of horns, spikes and colours was unique to every single dragon.
The stone figure at the heart of the valley was elegant despite the violence it radiated, long neck and tail, a pentagonal pyramid like head, spikes trailing in from between the nostrils following all the way towards the end of the tail, eight great horns poked out of its head two smaller ones resembling a goat on the front of the crown and the other six adorning the sides of his face, the limbs were finely toned and he was sure they could and did shatter mountains, wickedly sharp talons placed on each of his long digits, each scale was finely carved and for a moment Glorfindel feared the creature would move and turn its choleric gaze towards him.
If it were a work made by a sculptor, they would have claimed this figure as their masterpiece. As it was, the dragon was real, part of his heart ached at the fact that he was looking at the corpse of his soulmate.
The other part was relieved, for he feared the being that easily towered over him. Standing straight, he could be comparable in size to a single claw and part of a talon, maybe even an eye.
As Glorfindel searched for a safe path into the valley, his eyes kept going back to the grey statue, and in more than one occasion his heart jumped to his throat at the instinctive need to keep the predator on sight at all times. Sometimes he swore the beast moved, alas, that was only a trick of his mind. The more he approached, the smaller he felt. And when he finally came before Ancalagon he could not see more than the spikes and underside of his head.
Unbelievably, the fear that had assaulted him before was absent. Beneath the extended claws, belly and great wings of the dragon now the elf felt… safe.
"Pure madness" shook his head the ellon.
That night, Glorfindel made a campfire close enough to one of the scaled legs to lean his back against a smooth grey claw. Despite the cold, the desolation devoid of civilization and the lack of company who would take a night shift. The golden haired elf fell into a deep slumber, as if he were safely back on his bed in Rivendell. He woke the next morning to find himself well rested and at peace.
For the subsequent days this continued until his provisions became dangerously low, for some unfathomable reason being close to the statue brought him a sense of peace and protection. He began to forage the valley and found himself fortunate to find plenty of food. There was a small river cascading from the direction of the mountains, in which swam plenty of fish, many fruit trees and wild vegetables. For all that Ancalagon brought destruction upon the world, in this small haven he had become the unknowing protector of the lives in this valley.
Before Glorfindel noticed spring was giving way to summer, and with it he began to dread his own departure. Much as he tried to rationalize it he could not stay, for though Anddracca Imlad was a veritable paradise hidden in the steppes close to the frozen seas of the north it was still too cold and unforgiving coming winter. The river would freeze and snow would blanket heavily the entire area, making all its inhabitants hibernate until the thawing began next spring. And he was a lone elf against the cruelty of nature. He would die were he to stay.
So, with a heavy heart that he could not explain the cause of Glorfindel packed gathered a few provisions that would last him enough to forage for more on the way back and left the Stone Dragon's Valley behind.
It was harder than he thought it would be, the more distance he put between him and the grave the heavier his spirit became. Most of the way the elf spent picturing how the snow would fall on the dragon's body, which inexplicably saddened him to think that even a massive dragon would be blanketed by snowfall. He didn't want nature to cover up such a majestic creature, no matter how evil and dead it was.
When he finally reached Rivendell he was met with many jovial greetings and questions about his journey, some even quietly asking if he found what he had been searching for. With some surprise, Glorfindel would realize that yes, he did. And that no, he wasn't satisfied. This of course he never spoke about. His stay should have been calmer.
He would constantly think about grey scales and warm stone.
As winter finally came, the ellon waited with batted breath, he began to slowly pack for another journey. A folded blanket one day, an oil lamp another, a journal and ink carefully nestled at the side of the satchel. By the time the first thawing of spring announced its presence, he had already gathered enough dried provisions to last his entire journey and for his horse before the grass began to grow again.
Explaining his plans, though, was met with incredulous and worried gazes, especially when Glorfindel himself could not explain this urge to go back that constantly plagued him.
The journey should have taken three months. It took two this time and a very irritated and tired horse. But when he glimpsed Ancalagon's figure again at the top of the valley something inside instantly smoothed, like a tense and bristling cat after a gentle hand caresses its back.
How terrible, even in death, soulmates are bound together. The thought should have been depressing. It was near giddy when he touched a massive paw of warm stone again.
Peace returning to his heart, Glorfindel began to sing while he prepared a camp that should last for another half year. During his songs he would tell of personal experiences, sincere thoughts and feelings he would never have dared breath near another elf. He found it refreshing, even though his listener was unable to say anything in return.
At some point in the middle of spring, he felt an uncharacteristic childish desire to climb Ancalagon's body and stare at his face, a secret part of him a little spiteful for the dragon not answering back to his monologues. Even when the rational part of him knew the wyrm would have cruelly laughed and torn him to pieces.
He had been speaking about Gondolin, described its buildings and decorations and how he had liked to climb to the ceilings a few times to have a moment of respite from his duties to stare at the sky. Here he had paused and looked at the towering shadow projected by his giant soulmate and felt a small amount of resentment because stone or not he wanted to at least look at his face instead of the underside of his head.
So up he climbed warm grey scales, surprised by how smooth they were and easy to find purchase into. Before he knew it, he had reached his extended forelimb. For such a fearsome claw with talons stronger than spears, Glorfindel found himself comfortably perched against a thumb.
He looked down and laughed. He truly felt comfortable in this valley, full of peace and other emotions he kept at bay for as long as possible to examine in detail.
Until this point, the ellon had simply thought about making his own cabin in the valley, for when he truly didn't want to make the trek back to Rivendell. His tentative plans were destroyed to pieces when he met a pair of beautiful green eyes as big as his very body.
He forgot to breath, how had he not noticed these two beacons of light before? How hadn't anyone?
"Ancalagon?" the name came out without his conscious thought in a high pitch.
The glass like verdant green orbs didn't move or change at all, but he somehow felt watched anyway. Glorfindel sucked in a quick breath, and no matter how much he tried, his heart wouldn't stop hammering away inside his chest.
"How? No, why are your eyes…?" he can't finish the questions because he doesn't even know what he is asking. It's foolishness. Ancalagon has been dead for millennia, he's looking simply at his corpse. But then why...
"Are you still here?" he can't bite the words back in time, even if the answer is obvious, he shouldn't feel like he's infringed upon a secret not meant to be found. The dragon doesn't respond as should be expected.
What is not expected is for disappointment to be so biting and anger to simmer in his veins, not helped by his still rapid heartbeat.
"Are you happy? Is this what you wanted? Is the goal of every dragon to be felled in battle after going on a rampage so big it's still sung about an era later?" his jaw clenches, immediately ashamed for being more angry at his death over his many crimes, even if he is livid at those too.
"Do you even know what being the soulmate to a monster is like?" he demands suddenly, unable to tear his gaze away from those green eyes. The words sting on their way out, like venom hidden away in the deepest shadows of his soul.
He can see it in his memories as clear as if it happened yesterday, the looks of suspicion and caution. The pure loathing directed his way by the surviving victims of his soulmate's rampages, how some would even go as far as to try to claim his life in recompense for all that they lost, even when logic said it wasn't his fault. The resentment at the doubt of it really being his fault that he could not quell.
"And you! You didn't even take responsibility for your actions!" he means to say Ancalagon should have taken the punishments he was dolled out. What comes instead is a secret he thought he had buried long ago: "Why weren't you there for me?" Glorfindel asks in a whisper while still looking at those frozen eyes.
The elf feels suddenly spent, breathing ragged and chocking with so many emotions he can't make heads or tails of them. But the wind is suddenly taken from his sails, he's about to climb back down when the unthinkable happens.
With a faint squelching sound, the giant green eyes the colour of mint and with slitted pupils move. They move down to his camp at the dragon's feet, then back again to his form.
It was so sudden and unbelievable that for a moment Glorfindel could only stare. But then, the implications hit.
Ancalagon is alive.
The elf can only hyperventilate for a while.
"How?" his voice trembles, and he belatedly realizes that his whole body is shaking. "You're alive?! All this time…?" he moves a still trembling hand towards the dragon's muzzle but stops as cold fear rushes in, "Are you going to kill me?"
But whatever he was waiting for never came. It was as if the eyes never moved at all. Glorfindel finally calms down enough to see, the enormous dragon has been conscious this whole time, since his fall in the First Age. That is certainly a kind of torture he wouldn't wish even on such an evil being as his soulmate.
Glorfindel gathers his courage and finishes extending his hand to place it on the tip of Ancalagon's enormous snout whose nostrils are large enough for a child to climb inside, then a burst of very warm air blows on him, messing his hair and clothes but the motion is so unexpectedly gentle it startles a laugh out of him.
"Who would have thought Ancalagon the Black could be gentle in anything, let alone breathe." he chokes down the sob that threatens to break out, lowering his head so the dragon can't see his expression.
His head snaps up in a jerking motion, "have you been trapped like this for thousands of years? Has no one ever tried to look for you?" the last part comes as a ragged cough, the ellon's usual melodious deep voice is rough, "Didn't you have allies? What about the other dragons? Wasn't Ancalagon the Black, a general for the winged dragons? Surely someone who knew you would have taken notice of this state. If so, then why haven't anyone tried to do anything? Were they unable to?" he pauses as a sudden terrible possibility comes to mind, "is it because of me?"
It's absurd, he shouldn't take blame for something that he didn't do.
He can't leave Ancalagon like this anyway, his stomach twists unpleasantly at the mere thought. This of course is problematic, he also can't afford to release the strongest dragon on Arda once again. Which leaves the elf with two choices. He looks his soulmate in the eyes with resolution and asks.
"If I free you, will you swear to not harm anyone unprovoked?" while the question is meant as a demand, it comes out almost as a plea. If the dragon refuses, he will have to kill his own soulmate with his own hands somehow to at least bring him to rest.
There is a moment of stillness in which Glorfindel holds his breath. Then Ancalagon moves his verdant green eyes down and back again to him.
The elf gulps. He doesn't know if it's because he's nervous of what he will attempt, or because of some unnamed emotion clogging his throat.
He shifts his attention towards the lance piercing Ancalagon's chest. It's incredibly long and unwieldy, more like a javelin than a lance with how thick and long it is. Its pearl silver colour shines without blemish despite its age, despite how beautiful the designs engraved on it are, he had avoided looking at it since his first visit. It feels sinister. Now, however, Glorfindel reaches as far as he can after climbing back up the arm he's perched on towards the ominous dragon killing lance.
The moment his fingers touch it is like he's sunken his entire arm in frigid waters of liquid ice, he knows the weapon is warning him away, demanding even to let go. He closes his hand around the shaft and clenches his teeth when he sees his skin turning blue while the pain intensifies instead of going numb. He tries to pull, but his strength is being sapped faster than he thought possible, he balances carefully with his feet to not fall and grabs with his other hand to begin pulling with all his strength.
He's cold. So cold and lonely and tired. He wants to sleep. His fingers begin to loosen, the elf tightens his hold and pulls with his whole body. With a screech, the lance is out and the burning lessens to the point he almost thinks he imagined it if it weren't for his purple hands.
Breathing hard, he looks up just in time to watch the transformation. There's a ray of light coming from the hole before the flesh begins to knit itself at incredible speeds, soon the muscle blocks his sight of the odd light and tender pink skin is also blocked by growing black plaques in the form of scales. He notices the other scales are no longer stone.
His perch feels unsteady, and Glorfindel scrambles to find some kind of hold to not plummet to a very painful death. Like a cloth filled with air, the black hide of the giant wyrm begins to… shrink. As if it was filled by nothing but air.
Before he can panic about where to jump as he feels his feet slip another claw encircles his form in a careful hold, he looks up to find his mind captivated by shining green eyes so beautiful despite the body. No longer Ancalagon resembles a muscled wall of death, instead he looks like an emaciated lizard on the verge of death by starvation.
His thoughts come to a grinding halt as the dragon begins to fall, and the elf can do nothing but hold onto the cupped talons that cradle his form so gently. The shock of the fall resounds all around the valley in a great echo, but though he feels the vibrations with closed eyes not once does he feel pain.
He waits a moment for the dragon to lift his hold on him, or to crush him. But nothing happens for a long time even after he experimentally prods the inside of the paw (which is far more comfortable than he ever expected, if it weren't for the bones he can feel it would be even easier to rest in than his bed in Rivendell). Glorfindel debates about what to do, deciding at last to scurry his way from between the wyrm's fingers in an undignified display. The moment he's free he tosses the lance away from him and the dragon.
He's standing on the paw and has a clear view of Ancalagon's belly, having fallen on his side, which is good luck. It would have been pitiful to be crushed to death by his soulmate's unconscious fall.
Taking stock of the situation, Glorfindel realizes he has no idea what to do, freeing his soulmate was uncharacteristically impulsive, if his people had known he would have likely been executed as a traitor before he could even reach for the lance. But he refuses to feel guilt for that, he jumps back carefully to the ground in three hops and warily eyes the weapon.
The inquisitively made lance remains innocently laying on the ground, as if it hadn't made his arms almost fall off with whatever magic it had. He looks at his hands and sees they are covered in bruises. Tentatively the elf pushes the weapon with a foot, but there is no reaction so he carefully plucks it off the grass. The magic seems to have gone dormant or it was active because it was trapping Ancalagon. Either way, letting Ancalagon look at the weapon when he wakes up seems to be a bad idea. As it is trying to get rid of it, he doesn't want to think about the possibility of the dragon breaking his promise, but he has a responsibility to uphold.
The small cave he had found last year would be a good place to hide it, out of the way and unnoticeable, hopefully he would never have to search for this weapon at any point in the future.
Heading back towards the scaled behemoth, Glorfindel can do nothing but stare. Even emaciated to this degree Ancalagon makes a fearsome visage, it may be just him however, because he watches the slow rise and fall of the enormous ribcage where he can make out each singular bone even down to the spine. He can even make out the solid fusion of each vertebra with each big spike.
He needs to eat. That is an obvious fact. And suddenly the elf figures out that since the dragon will no doubt be too weak to hunt, he's the one who has to do the hunting until the wyrm recovers enough to do it himself. Looking at the limbs long enough to be comparable with watch towers and the torso the size of two to three whales… he wonders if there is even enough game to fill in those muscles.
So here he is, lugging animals around as fast as he can. After almost being eaten alongside the biggest elk he could find and the next in two bites, he decided Ancalagon could eat everything raw if he was going to be that inconsiderate. Soon enough even the herd of elk ran away with the few members it had left and he had to resort to finding bears, foxes, birds or gallop all the way to the ocean to find seals as his horse stubbornly refused carrying walrus and beluga (forcing to leave half the remains for scavengers behind).
Glorfindel can honestly say feeding a dragon is the most difficult and frustrating task that never seems to end that he has ever done. And that is saying something with how long he has lived and how much he has had to do to raise his reputation.
Despite having hunted enough to fill the food storage for an entire village three times over. the stupidly big dragon still hasn't done anything beyond eating and sleeping. He's eating while asleep, if that is even possible.
He urges his cranky horse forward even as the equine snaps at his hand on the reins a breath away from touching skin. It's a good horse, even a fellow elf he's doubtful would have had the patience to help him this long. Which brings another worry to his mind. Soon enough Ancalagon will wake up, and he has no idea what to expect. While dragons honour promises, it is too soon to say he will do so happily or without a fuss. Only time will tell, he looks at the looming mass of scales that don't seem as emaciated as before but still can make out most bones, and then to the still growing pile of animals before the enormous head. Seems like he hasn't woken up yet.
At some point the wyrm must have moved in his sleep to better eat, laying on his belly even as his limbs were not tucked away from their sprawled positions.
He hurries to deposit the bear as fast as possible in the pile before stepping back in a hasty jump. Not a moment too soon for teeth as tall as him clamp down on the pile of food, throwing whole bodies down the throat in a single backwards move. In three such moves the pile is gone, and the head makes a thudding sound as it rests again on the ground. He never opened his eyes.
The ellon gives a deep sigh as he moves towards his horse to once again make another pile. At this rate, he will finish all the animals in the region before summer even reaches its peak.
Hi, sorry for the wait. I had to adjust a few things considering Ancalagon's size and the fact even Tolkien sometimes describes him as him falling from the sky and breaking three freaking mountains/towers/volcanos and then not as big. So I decided to make Sakura/Ancalagon a roughly 90 mts (295 ft) long and 45 mts (147 ft) height dragon, from snout to tail tip and head to talons respectively, this is based on Smaug's estimate of 18 mts (60 ft) long and 7 mts (23 ft) tall drawing made by Tolkien himself (even if he said it wasn't true to size later on), making Ancalagon five times bigger was simply to stop myself from getting a headache.
I'm also reading about Middle Earth history so many things may change as I go back and rewrite things along the way, like important past characters and places. To be honest, I tried to read Tolkien lore and watch videos about it and promptly regreted it, it's just so much to cover. Not to say I'll stop checking facts about Arda but part of the reason for the hiatus is because my story had to be rewritten in a few ways.
I hope you enjoy it!