Breaking oaths (or not): 1. Oaths

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1. Oaths

We ride. To Sirion ! We ride, ride, ride ! We ride ! And the sun rises with us, a gold-red sun to match our lord, and paint this day with undeserved glory, for what day deserved less glory than this very one ? We ride.

Spears up ! like thousands of screams raised to the sky. And then a great wind of wrath lowers them in a clatter. Thousands of spears to pierce Sirion today.

Swords rise, alight in the morn. Clatter again, wrath, anger and pride. Waves of gleaming steel come crashing down to the sea.

To Sirion ! You ride first, and I am beside you, my lord.

To Sirion ! We come nearer to the city. It looks so peaceful still, a pale city in a pale morning, still sleepy. No one treads the streets at this early hour. No sound rises yet. Wrapped in a sea-borne haze, the city can barely be distinguished from the sea.

To the Gates ! soon, the city shall wake, and its inhabitants plunge back into nightmares. Remember Doriath, remember Gondolin.
To the Gates ! I ride before all others.

And then, behold, my lord, this is how one breaks oaths.

One tug at the reins, turn around, about-turn, and I face you. An oath is broken. I can feel its now empty place, somewhere within me, aching, I can feel the shards. But it no longer holds me.

Of course, mine is a lesser oath. An oath one can weigh, hold in balance with one's conscience. Yours is too hard, too heavy. What conscience could be break it ? But then your oath is not mine. I have taken my choice.

We fight. I fight for my life, and you fight carelessly, with distant eyes and a cold, hard face. I can see no wrath in your eyes.

I knew it, of course. I understood it as you spoke to us, this morning. The moon was sinking in the Sea, and we were to follow him. A pale sun was rising. Darkness lingered about us.

Not far from us, we could hear your younger brothers, setting fire on their men. Red haired wolves, howling ! 'We come to claim what is rightfully ours !' - exclamation marks bursting beneath each word, seething blood and anger. And wolves howling back. 'What is ours !'. 'To Sirion !'. 'To Sirion !'.

But our own ranks were wrapped in thick silence. You rode before us, thoughtful and quiet. For a long while, no words escaped your lips. Then you spoke, barely raising a whisper, but we all heard you. Your voice may not be as mighty as your brother's, but it was sharp and clear, cutting its way down our spine and scratching our nerves.

'We come to claim what is rightfully ours.' Three points suspended between each of your words, separating them, making them sound surreal, dangling in the air, absurd. We could hear their soft irony, the irony of these steely, sharp words pressing into our flesh and cutting deep.

'We come to claim what is rightfully ours.' And just beneath the cool, shallow waters of your voice, we could hear 'We come to destroy our kin'. And then again. 'We come to claim what is rightfully ours' ; 'We come to slay the kinsmen of those elves already slew. We come to slay those we haven't already slain last time'. 'We come to claim what is rightfully ours' ; 'We come to slay our own brethren'.

You spoke, ever so softly, letting your words fall before they arose ; and your eyes wandered, always so distant now. They used to be keen and terrible ; but since that day, they are remote, they do not truly look at reality, but beyond. They are always searching something, someone. I know who it is you seek ; I saw you depart, on that terrible day, and I saw you come back, long afterwards. There always are two dead children walking in your steps, and you always look for them.

You spoke, and you let us understand your true thoughts, just beyond your words, and opposite to them. You let us know your own choices - to follow faithfully your own oath, as nothing else could be done -, and your will. I have understood you, my lord - and even as I seem to be breaking my oath and my loyalty, I know that I obey you, to my death certainly but for my honour, as I ever have.

For your lips spoke of destruction ; but your drawn, pale face told a long tale of weariness and loathing ; and your eyes, as they met mine, spoke of treason.

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.

Story Information

Author: Neld

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 07/03/06

Original Post: 08/30/04

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