31. Wishing on the ashes
The thought resounded in Miranna's mind, again and again. Anarwe was going to war.
He was going to the Black gate, the Gate of Mordor, and few who came thence would return. But as a knight of Gondor, it was his duty, not to be shirked, not to be excused. In this desperate day, even young boys were going to war. It had happened before, but never so drastically. The men were going, almost certainly never to return.
In the Battle of the Pelennor, Anarwe had been lucky, suffering no more than a gash on the arm. Miranna knew how many were dead, and wounded severely, and she thanked the Valar that Anarwe was all right. But this time there would be no return.
Miranna dropped like a stone into her armchair, before the fading fire, gazing into the embers as tears flowed down her face, and dropped hissing onto the coals.
Unsummoned, an old rhyme her nurse had taught her when she was still young leaped into her mind. Taking a handful of the still hot ashes, she scattered it on the remains of the fire.
Dark ashes, bright flame,
Grant me this, in my loved one's name
I plea. That darkness
Shall be driven forth, and brightness
Endure, And most may my loved one
Come back safe when war is done.
It was a day of celebration in the city, such joy as they had never know in centuries, nay, millenia. Yet for Miranna, there was only one sight. Anarwe was home, riding at the head of his men, amid the cheers and singing of the crowd.
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