All of Them Together: 1. woven in a braid

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1. woven in a braid

The captain lounged bonelessly on a bench in the shelter of the courtyard, his keen senses tuned to his surroundings. No one who knew him would have put money on anyone’s chance of taking him unawares, in spite of his relaxed attitude and the unaccustomed grin on his face as he breathed in the fresh spring air on the heights and soaked up the sun indolently. It made a nice change of pace to draw duty like this.

“How does it go, soldier?” he inquired of the single man in his charge.

“Fine, Captain,” replied the quiet voice. “We are advancing well.” The small dark head did not look up, and the sturdy little body moved a bit further along the flagstones to keep up with the line of pebble soldiers as they marched toward the wall. Starting again on the left side, he pushed each stone forward, one by one.

As the line came to a halt and the little fingers reached again for the first man in line, the captain leaned forward and offered advice in a soft, serious voice. “You should not always start them so, with the same man.” The little face looked up, grey eyes met grey eyes and took the captain’s measure. “Your enemy will soon figure out that is your way. You should mix them up a bit.”

The little one considered carefully, then nodded. “Thank you, captain. That was well thought.”

He watched the tiny, well-formed hand reach toward the other end of the line with a smile. But the little one seemed to reconsider, and pushed forward a pebble about a third of the way down the line. One by one, they marched toward the bench, advancing on the captain’s position, though what they could hope to gain from him when they got there, except perhaps his pipe, the captain did not know.

Eventually the men of stone surrounded the captain from the city of stone, and the small commander climbed up onto the bench and demanded surrender and tribute.

“I have naught of value that I can buy my life with,” the captain conceded. “What will you have of me?”

The child considered carefully, brushing his long dark hair back behind one ear, leaving a trail of grime like a sooty scar on his brow. He leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms and legs to echo his friend’s, and looked him up and down, letting his eyes come to rest on the rayed star the Captain always wore pinned to his cloak.

“I think you might have something of value, Captain,” he ventured.

Thorongil looked at the spot where the star was pinned to his shoulder, touched it gently and smiled, turning his eyes to the boy. “Indeed. But not that I could offer for my ransom.”

“Why not?”

The steel-grey eyes were curious as they watched his face, and he responded seriously. “There are some things, soldier, that are worth more to a man than their value. If I were to give up my star, I would also be giving away my honor… and then I would not have a life worth saving. So what I told you was the truth, and you must offer me other terms, or accept my surrender.”

“I see,” the small commander nodded, and the Captain had to admit it looked as though he had. Then his face slowly broadened into a grin and he became a child again.

“I am afraid I will have to ask papa to open the dungeons for my captive…” he chuckled, “or… will you sing to me, Thorongil? That would be nice!"


Trying very hard not to laugh, the captain let the little body lean against his and warm in the sunlight. He chewed the stem of his pipe and thought it over. “It seems a very fair proposition. But I am afraid I don’t know any song I think you would like – just very long ones in the elvish language. Would you like one of those?”

The bright eyes considered, but the brow was furrowed. “No,” he said at last. “They sound tiresome. I will have to teach you one I like.”

The captain coughed to cover his bark of surprised laughter, and offered his hand, which the little one solemnly shook, just once, as hard as he could. “Deal,” they agreed.

“Pay attention,” the little one admonished. “This is an easy one.” His voice was pleasant, and surprisingly strong, and he waved his hands about in time to the rhythm.

“step into the shadow
step into the sun
shadows chase the sunlight,
see the evening come
sunlight chases shadow
nighttime fades away
both of them together
make another day”

A very old memory wrapped itself about the captain’s heart as the small soldier sang. A voice – soft, a sweet tone – whose was it? He could not quite remember.

He realized the little one was waiting expectantly. “Go on, soldier,” he encouraged. “That was very good, indeed. Sing me the rest.”

“That’s all.” The grey eyes were fixed on his face. “That’s all there is. That’s all I know…” he amended, in case there might be more to draw out of his friend.

“Well, let’s try it together, then” the captain said. “You are a very good teacher, and I would like to avoid the dungeon.”

“All right,” the small one nodded. “Ready?”

They launched into the verse together, the captain tripping only once, surprised to find it coming back to him.

“Not bad,” the little one smiled. “Again?”

“All right,” the captain agreed, and they started again. The little one was laughing, but the captain was still hearing a voice he could not quite place, and other words… almost there…

“That is a most excellent song,” he said, stroking the small head beside him. “And you sing very well. Where did you learn that? From your mother?”

“No,” the little head whipped back and forth, hair flying. “From father. He knows lots and lots of songs and poems and stories.”

The captain’s eyes widened just a little in surprise. The steward’s son was certainly learned, and obviously captivated by his boy, yet the thought of him taking the time to tell a bedtime story, or sing a nursery rhyme had not occurred to him. Though there was something about this particular rhyme, something that was just beginning to come back to him. No… not yet. He sighed. Perhaps there was more to consider about the man, he thought as he moved one of the boy’s pebbles with the toe of his boot.”

“Is there more?” The grey eyes were once more watching his face, hoping for new words.

“I am not sure I will remember it all… but I will try if you like.”

“Yes!” the little one declared, and after only a moment added, “Please!”

Holding the little hand in his, the captain closed his eyes and reached for that voice…

“twilight comes at morning
twilight comes at eve
gold and silver holding hands
in and out they weave
shimmer like a moonbeam
glisten like the sun
dark and bright and starlight
all of them, and none."

“Good! cried the small voice with glee. “Again. Teach me?”

They sang the new words several times, and then they tried putting them together with the first verse. “Is there more?”

“I think so. I will do my best to remember, and perhaps we can sing again together before I go south.”

“Thank you, Thorongil. I would like that! Father will be pleased when I teach this to him!” the little one crowed.

The captain nodded, pointing over to the gate, and the little one spun about.

“When you teach me what, Boromir?” Denethor asked, smiling at the joy on the little face.

“New words, Father! Listen!”

The captain stood and released the little fingers. Nodding to the father, he stroked the soft raven hair. “I will take my leave before you begin,” he smiled. “Thank you,” he whispered by the child's ear, “about the dungeon…”

“It was a deal,” came the soft reply.

***

The captain stood by the wall behind his rooms, looking out at the deepening dusk. He still could not remember the voice that had sung him the words, or where he might have been – just a deep soft comforting warmth, a strength he did not doubt, and the rhythm of the voice in the gathering dark. And one more thing – the words. The little one had given him back something he had not realized he was missing. Smoke wreathed his head like memory as he tried to call back the words, murmuring into the dusk


step into the shadow
step into the sun
shadows chase the sunlight,
see the evening come
sunlight chases shadow
nighttime fades away
both of them together
make another day

twilight comes at morning
twilight comes at eve
gold and silver holding hands
in and out they weave
shimmer like a moonbeam
glisten like the sun
dark and bright and starlight
all of them and none

the shadow of a raven’s wing
the brightness of a blade
dark and light are brothers
woven in a braid…

*******

Author's Notes:

A piece of rhyme in an almost impossible to remember father’s voice

A different piece of that rhyme, in a strong protecting and comforting voice in the moving dark. But now, it also speaks of the strength of brothers – as twins embrace their new little brother, though none of them quite know that yet.

A grown man in a strange land who has that bit of rhyme returned to him by a child and his love for his father

And a broken verse that is supposed to end with the idea that sometimes all light is the same… if he could just remember… if I could just write it….

I hope to find out the rest of the poem before Thorongil does







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: fileg

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 05/05/03

Original Post: 04/27/03

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