Glamourous Rags


She moved in her webs, slow as a mountain.

Her thoughts moved in her head, slow and grim as the glaciers that grind all mountains to moraine as if they had never stood tall.

She wove her slow grey webs through the dark low places and ate whatever came to her, as slowly as suited her.

She had lived an eternity and would live an eternity more. Greatest of the children of Ungoliant, she had eaten her mother's heart and brains while her siblings contented themselves with the belly-fat and the guts. They had grown fat and lazy and slept in the ravaged hulk they had made; she had known there would be time for torpor and bulk later, and pounced on them as they dozed, one after another, jabbing and jabbing in the course of a single hot afternoon and waiting until all were dead before she let herself eat any of them.

She had strategy, when she needed to. And was capable of delay, and of sudden speed.

But for the moment, she dreamed in slowness.


She had always known what It was. And how much of Him It held.

He thought her stupid because slow and she delayed revenge for the insult, because delay was best. He thought her a mere beast and she thought slow dark thoughts in the security of his contempt.

The lidless eye could not see what it never chose to look at.

The small one, who smelled of marsh and blind fish, had whispered to her, and she had led him to snacks, had listened to his whispers. She did not need to bind him - he would always come when it was time. He was her meat from the first day they met, and she sat and savoured the anticipation of his taste.

The small one had confirmed what she had guessed. It was in the world again and He was looking for It.

She sat and waited. All things came to her web in their time. All things came to her stomach in their time.

And the small one brought the other two to her as he had promised, and she ate him, and, after a short painful struggle, she ate them. She sucked out the juice and then she bit down on the dry flesh and the bones. And she chewed it all very carefully and spat the waste out a morsel at a time.

And there were bits of elven armour and the dagger that had hurt her and there It was, so small she could hardly see it with her cluster of little dark-accustomed eyes.

She stepped the end of the smallest leg she had into Its circle and suddenly It clung to her as if It had always known her as Its Mistress.

And she remade the world. And not slowly.


He was the first and tastiest fly in her larder - she cast Him back into flesh for the joy of sucking that flesh dry. The lidless eye was the tastiest of morsels.

She cast her webs in great loops from the Tower of the Moon to the Dark Tower to the Mountain of Doom and beyond. Mordor became her web - He had raised so many troops to His aid and she ate all of them, one morsel at a time.

She had never seen an Oliphaunt before.

The Armies of the West came against her, and she cast her webs against them and they fell - she looped a great cable all the way from the Tower of the Moon to Minas Tirith and swung her great bulk out into the world.

Everything would come to her larder; everything would be sucked dry.

She would live an eternity spinning her webs across the land and beyond the sea. Orcs were her meat and elves and men, and even the Valinor should dread her bite and her web and her appetite.

She had always had eternity and now she could use it. To dream forever, nested in a slow grey web.

That had been the world.

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