16. The Black Serpent
Fortune is on our side, thought the Southron lord. The Horse Lords were outnumbered by his own forces, and aid came to him out of Osgiliath. The forces of Mordor would soon hew their way to the White City. Our Southron lord's grin only widened at the sight of the black Corsairs of Umbar making their way up the mighty Anduin. His opponents quailed at this even as he renewed his attack.
But then fortunes changed again. As the Horse Lords and the armies of Gondor steeled themselves for a desperate fight, there came a sight to bring true hope into their hearts. The Southron lord saw it too, but it did not bring hope to him. From the Corsair leading the fleet up the river there unfurled a black banner upon which glittered a White Tree, Seven Stars, and a bright crown.
The Southron lord's heart quailed within him. But the moment passed
and he and his troops rallied to fierceness in defence. There was one, however, who did not rally but rather made to run - the standard bearer. The Southron lord noticed this and called to him.
"You there! Come here!" The standard bearer hastened to stand before his lord. "Do you take this as cause for a retreat?" demanded the Southron lord.
"No, my lord," the standard bearer said.
"Then why do you run?" shouted the Southron lord as the man before him shook. "Such a coward is not fit to carry the Black Serpent!" With
that he slew the standard bearer and took up the banner himself. He
let sound a mighty war-cry and plunged into battle once again, to fight the strengthened Army of the West.
Fortune was not to smile upon the Southrons again that day. The
Southron lord himself was slain. The Black Serpent ended, like so many of those men who had marched beneath it, fallen and trampled in the mud of the Pelennor Fields.
My discussion can be found here.
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