Call of the Drúedain
beat me. I swore to myself that if he did it again, I would leave, and I did. But where to go
I've been saving up what few coins I have, hidden in the bottom of my one good shoe, and my drum.
Well, yes, my drum. I could no more easily leave it than I could my own breath, so here I am, many
day's walk from the riverside and my home, Pelargir, heading toward the people who love their
horses so much folk say that they sleep with them. Horse-folk, they call them. I only hope that
they have food and don't shoot strangers on sight. I plan to make a new life there. One without
the bruises that are purple, fading to green, fading to yellow
those are the rainbow colors that
I have worn on my back, and my thighs. But no more.
I know that he didn't mean to hurt me,
it was just instruction.
Well, that and the ale.
He was always meaner after he had
had a couple of tankards of "the soul of the sea." That's what he called it.
what it feels like to have a soul, I don't want one.
Anyway, I have my drum.
easy business, you know, making such an instrument. Because it isn't. You can't just beat on the
thing and expect it to sing for you. That isn't the way that they work.
A drum has a soul,
First you have to kill something, and that takes something out of you, if you are at
all a person, and my sister said that the souls of the starfishes will haunt your dreams if you
kill something without saying thank you afterwards. I haven't tested it, and the sea spirits know
that I won't try.
Anyway, we worked with the skins of deer. After the hunters were done
with the meat selling, they would bring the skins to our part of town, and we'd get a hide and
hang it up to dry. There were breezes a'plenty off of the waters, there, to cure just about
anything, a hide first of all. Give you a bloody nose, too, if you weren't careful, all that fresh
air coming up from the sea past the river
So. You have your skin, and it's dry and all,
hanging on the line, or pegged down into the ground, depending on whether you have a line or pegs.
And then you take it off the line, or up from the ground, depending. I don't think that the skin
cares too much either way, y'know, but I haven't been a skin, except when Father was beating me,
and I don't care too much to think about that, so never mind.
Then you need to think about
Who is it for? Is it for you? Not likely, if you are making the thing, because if
you are, you're poor, and you'll be selling it
So. Your skin is dry. I mean, the skin is
dry. Now you need to think about how your drum will be used. Who is supposed to hold it? Is it a
warrior? If so, your tree to hold the skin will be a birch, something lightweight but strong.
Somebody with a master, in a fine house? Find a willow, their limbs are both strong and fair to
look upon. Who else would want a drum? Oh yes
musicians. They are the most fickle of all. Before
giving up, because they will never want what wood you have, take them with you to whatever woods
are nearby you and let them choose their own wood. They will think the spirits are shining on
them, and then they will give you more money.
Mine? Well, it's made of cedar. Uncommon for
a drum in these parts, but the scent of it gives me good dreams, and that is worth a lot. More
So after I soaked the skin and wood overnight (had to weigh the hide
down with rocks, that's the safest way to keep your supplies), I shaped the frame, then pulled the
skin taught across the cedar circle. Heated up the nails that I always use for burning in the
holes you need and then cut some thongs out of the extra hide to keep the circle in shape and to
sew up the sides. Used the needle that I had carved myself, out of coral from Dol Amroth. It's
where my mother is from, you see, but she's been dead for a while and it's all I have left of
Well, there was just something about this drum, and I dared to run my fingers along
it. I didn't even know who it was for, you see, and not for me, to be sure, but I needed to know
that it would sing when struck. For a drum that doesn't make you want to go to battle, or dance,
or love, well
it shouldn't have been made. And I didn't want that, so I had to try it. And I
shouldn't have. It wasn't for me. But the sounds that came from it, well, it was as though it was
a beautiful song just for me, and I just couldn't leave it.
And so the beating stick and I
Now I'm trying to get to some place friends told me about, across the
White Mountains, and the Horse-Lords, or some such. I got through the mountains, and there's a big
woods in front of me. I hope that I'll run across some good people soon. Not much food left in my
pack, and I haven't seen a person in many days. I hope I'm still going in the right direction,
because going back isn't an option, but I never did learn well how to fend for myself eating-wise.
Some folk said that there are wood-spirits that will get me, but I'm not too worried about them.
If I keep walking, I should get there. Anything is better than living in Pelargair, trying to stay
away from Father and his beating stick and his ale when there's almost no work and those awful
Dunlendings, acting as though they owned the place.
I've made a few decorations on my
drum, as it seemed to want to be beautiful both in its sound and its outside, so I've attached
some nice rounded stones to it that I found while walking along the Sirith. A couple of pretty
bird feathers, too, but until a couple of days ago I hadn't seen many animals at all. Not that I
mind; never did want to die by being eaten by something (stupid Jacobson, kept trying to scare me,
saying there were creatures as big as several houses with big, long pointed teeth-things) and I
never did have the stomach for killing. But it was awfully quiet until the past couple of days,
and then the sky seems to have cleared and birds are everywhere. Not going to try and eat them,
So I inked my mark on it, too, not like anybody knows who I am, but a drum maker
always puts his symbol on it, somewhere. Usually its hidden on the inside by the rim, but since
I'm all alone, and I just don't know about the future, I figured that I didn't have much to lose.
It's odd; as I've gotten nearer the woods I could swear that I've heard drumming, though I thought
that the horse-folk played harps and fiddles and such. I hope whoever I meet have respect for
drums. I seem to hear them at night, and my drum and my dreams are
***"Without haste and at peace they passed into Anórien,
came to the Grey Wood under Amon Dîn; and there they heard a sound as of drums beating in the
hills, though no living thing could be seen
Then the drums rolled loudly, and were
Return of the King, "Many Partings"
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