21. Weeping Iron Tears
And in the south he died. Through the Paths of the Dead and the chaos at Pelargir and upon the black ships up the broad Anduin he was beside me, and for a time we spoke as in other days, as brothers of many shadowed roads. With sword unsheathed and the fire of the West blazing in his eyes he strode into the maelstrom that was the Pelannor Field, and above us flew the brave standard he brought to me, the work of my lady's hand. A White Tree, Seven Stars, and a high gem-wrought crown upon a sable field. Beneath that banner we fought and beneath that banner he died. My friend. Though many a road came between and many a year passed always we twain would meet once more and sit of a spring evening - much like this - and smoke a quiet pipe.
Warm breezes caress my face now, the scent of green growing things sweet to my senses as lengthening velvet shadows pool among the hillocks and wash the city walls in pastel hues of gold and lavender. On that day there was only shadow and fear and death, and these fields were trod to a morass of blood and death. It is a blessing now to stand and hear only a soft wind in the tall grass and where once were the clash of arms and the shouts and cries of war, I hear only tranquility. Our peace. I stand upon fertile earth blessed by the blood of our fallen and it is not my peace. I am but its caretaker and guardian of all that so many gave up their lives to preserve. To mourn overmuch would be to belittle their sacrifice, to declare their loss futile and without merit. That I will never do.
But in my selfish heart of hearts, I wish my friend were here to see all that we have wrought. I wish that in this warm spring evening, where the echoes of battle whisper from the sleeping stones and damp meadow, Halbarad Dúnedan, Ranger of the North once again strode beside me. Strangely I am not surprised when upon an errant current of air I imagine I smell, ever so briefly, the fragrance of a familiar pipe. Perhaps he walks with me after all. Smiling I turn and walk towards the city that we saved, and in the gentle twilight I am not alone.
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, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.