I will walk
this path alone, if need be, he said. As though there were any chance
of that! Steel sharp eyes nodded their assent all along the line, and
we passed the portal together.
We who are his brothers rode at his side - Elrohir his elven brother,
and I the human. Elladan too deserved this pride of place, but had taken
his calm elven heart to the back of the pack to ride between the men and
the dead, his presence behind us a steadying anchor in the storm of terror
and doubt. Thirty grey shadows, heading a growing column of shadows and
shades, growing darker as they massed and came... and outside, though
we did not yet know it, the sky boiling to an ever darker grey.
Are you surprised I mention the terror? It was there, believe me! The
horses could smell it, our hearts kept its rhythm. It is the doubt
I lie to you about, for I never had any I rode forward on a road
that had no returning, and found a new strength rising in me with every
step. It was his strength, and I embraced it with all my will.
When we massed at the stone, he declared himself to the shadows he had
raised to fight The Shadow, and bid me turn and show them who he was.
My pride in being beside him, seeing him revealed lifted my heart to rapture.
And, my terror had fallen away by then. Why should I fear the dead? I
was one of them, just a little warmer
though not much, and not for
I held his banner high, and let it unfurl, so dark it ate the blackness
around us, swallowed it and waited to spit it at our foes. The powesr
that had been so carefully wrought upon it did not deign to show themselves
yet. Like him, their time was approaching, but not yet here. The living
could not see the banner, and the dead they do not see as we see.
But oh, they saw alright.
They could not deny him; they would come.
One by one, the banners of the dead began to be raised in his cause. Our
living eyes could not accept the very things we were shown, but they were
there. Perhaps only I could see them in the gathering grey. Clouds scudded
across the sky, marking the companies, the tattered, spectral banners
unwinding like grave sheets in the wind.
The gathering storm tore them, stretching their cirrus vapors, rending
them, lofting them, snapping their phantom devices everywhere over our
heads. But never a sound, not one, but the sighing of the wind and the
living beats of our own hearts to create the striking of their hoofbeats
over the land.
I rode to war with my brother, somewhere between the living and the dead.
|This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author
has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings,
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