15. Out of Doubt
Death, it seems, has given heed to my call. Death surrounds me now, claiming friend and foe with equal caprice, and I - fool that I am - I have become death's instrument. 'Death! Ride, ride to ruin...!' I had sounded the call, and with one fell voice the Eorlingas had answered.
So, my young hot-head...how will you get out of this mess?
So often had you spoken these words that it scarce requires imagining now. Oh! Dred...how I would that the kingly standard that ripples e'en now in the wind had passed into your steady hands. You were the king who should have been, yet fate's cruel fortune has placed me in your stead.
Aye, and the wind that once I blessed has become our foe, billowing the black sails of yon accursed fleet. Horns from the walls of Mundburg sound the retreat, but there is no retreat for the Riders of the Mark. Betrayed by my own battle fury we find ourselves cut off; our enemies flow like a river around us, their blood lust quickened at the sight of that which speaks to us of naught but despair.
Yet I look at them, these warriors of the Mark who stand tall and resolute before the standard of their king, and my heart swells with pride. All will stand and fight, with hope or no, and I hear myself laugh. Yes, I will laugh in the face of despair, for have we not faced defeat and ruin before? A strange fate has made me king, lord of a fell people, and tho' 'tis likely I shall be the last , we will do such deeds this day as songs are made of, tho' none be left to remember.
Defiantly my sword is raised...but wait! I cast my sword up into the sunlight as wonder turns to joy at what my eyes behold; out of the shadows of death, carried on the wings of morning, a legend rises once more before my wondering eyes. There on the lead vessel, unfurled upon the twice blessed wind, flys the great standard that none but the rightful lord of Gondor may display.
Song bursts from my lips as my sword is caught in my outstretched hand.
'Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun...'
Note: Yes, I know Éomer "spoke these staves" before he recognized Aragorn's standard, but Tolkien didn't say exactly what Éomer sang as he caught his sword, so I'm fudging it just a bit in the hope that it's not inappropriate to use them as I have.
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.