Many Guises and Many Names
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Lords of Gondor: 5. A Famous Victory
Amroth from Osgilliath to the crossing of the Harnen,
one hundred and thirty leagues in four days, would be
long sung in the White City. As would the the stand of
the five hundred against a Haradic force seven times
their size for nearly six days until the main body of
the army joined them. And the diversionary attack, led
by Elfwine and Elfstan, that finally panicked the
enemy into flight.
Gondor had seen few such victories in living memory
and the White City went mad with joy. The two captains
of Rohan were the heroes of the hour, but to
Ecthelion's perceptive eye the diffidence with which
they bore their honors owed less to a becoming modesty
than genuine dismay, even apprehension, at having
called so much attention to themselves. A reaction the
Steward found interesting.
He had noted the mysterious captains' habitual self
effacement contrasted oddly with the decisive
confidence they showed when they did choose to assert
themselves, as at the War Council. And Adrahil had
reported, rather ruefully, the ease with which Elfwine
had taken command of the expedition.
"He was never disrespectful or even discourteous
but he most certainly did presume!" the Prince smiled
wryly. "Yet it did not seem like presumption at the
time. Indeed following his advice - or rather obeying
his orders! - seemed like the most natural thing in
the world. It is only now, looking back, that I begin
Ecthelion wondered too. Adrahil was a man of the
pure Numenorean blood, save for that Elvish strain,
strong of will, difficult to influence and impossible
to dominate - or so he would have said. "And you felt
no desire to resist?"
The Prince shook his head. "No." slowly. "It was
almost as if in my heart I knew he had the right to
"Perhaps he does." Ecthelion said thoughtfully.
"It is not mere jealousy!" Denethor declared,
pacing restlessly, then flashed a brief wry smile at
his confidant, "though I admit I *am* jealous! Yet it
is not just that. My heart forbodes these two Men will
bring some great disaster upon Gondor."
"I feel that too." Finduilas said unexpectedly and
he halted in his tracks to stare at her. She sat on
the curved bench fitted into the embrassure at the tip
of the great rock pier overlooking the City, kicking
her feet which didn't quite reach the ground, brow
creased in intense thought. "I don't think they're bad
in themselves," she continued, "but something hangs
over them - some terrible fate that they might bring
down on Gondor without any intention of doing harm."
"I hadn't thought of that." Denethor said slowly,
sat down next to the girl. "They may indeed be as
innocent as my father believes - yet still a danger to
us, though he seems not to see it."
"Neither does my father, I asked him." Finduilas
looked up at him, squinting against the sun. "Maybe
because whatever is going to happen won't happen in
their time - but in ours."
"The warning is to us, because it is we who must
deal with it." Denethor mused. "That is possible."
looked down at his companion with sudden compunction.
"I should not have troubled you with such things."
"My mother says women should concern themselves
with these things, especially noblewomen." Finduilas
answered firmly. "How else can we support our husbands
and sons with good counsel?"
"The Lady Lindorie is very wise." Denethor agreed
solemnly. "But it seems less than courteous on your
"I have had forbodings as well." she reminded him.
"It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only
"Me too." Denethor admitted and smiled. "And I
thank you, my Lady, for the support of your good
"You are very welcome." she answered.
The victory had not come without cost and among the
fallen was Beren, husband of Ecthelion's eldest
daughter, who was to be laid to rest among the other
nobles of Gondor in a tomb on the Rath Dinen. Aragorn
and Barahir were surprised to recieve a hand written
note from the Steward requesting their presence at the
"It is not that I begrudge the time," Aragorn told
his brother, "but to the best of my knowledge I never
so much as exchanged a word with the Man, did you?"
Barahir shook his head, shrugged helplessly.
"Perhaps as the heroes of the hour our presence is
thought to confer honor upon the fallen." he
"That could be it I supose." Aragorn gave the note
a last look before folding it away. "Yet somehow I
feel Ecthelion has some very different purpose in mind."
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