The long line of soldiers wound up the sloping streets of Minas Anor. The people of that city leaned out of the windows of the houses, lined the sidewalks, stood in the gutters to see their passage. They looked with wide eyes, hooded eyes, in a few cases angry eyes. But there was no cheering, none at all.
It is as if they've been conquered, and watching the conquerors march through their city, though Eruhan the Black.
It was understandable enough, he thought. For years, the men of Gondor and Rohan had barely held the left bank of Anduin against the Easterling hordes, squandering half of their youth in the process. Every attempt to cross the river had been thrown bloodily back, until the West could no longer afford such attempts, must needs restrict itself to trying to keep what it had.
The debate had gone on in the White Palace, and throughout the land, for most of those years: could they, should they, come to the aid of Gondor? Eldarion's son and grandson had held no brief for them; many were the men who swore that seeing the Tower of the Sun brought low would be enjoyable rather than otherwise. But as the strength of Gondor waned, and the arrogance of the Easterlings increased, more felt that some blow must be struck, some aid be given, if only to right the balance. The proclamation of the Royal Khagan of the East, that any ship on the Anduin, or any man attempting to trade with Gondor, would be consider an enemy, to be struck down without warning, had been the final straw. The armies of Nurn had marched through the Western Pass and the Moon-vale, brushed aside the roaming companies of Easterlings – not, to be sure, of any great number in Ithilien as of yet – and come to the White City, there to treat with the High King, offering such succor as they could at this date.
Eruhan mounted on his horse far above his soldiers. Once he would have been barred from the Silent Street, but the guards had long since lost any impulse to challenge him. From his own respect for the dead, then, he dismounted, and proceeded into the shadows, until he found the tomb he sought.
With his own eyes, he looked upon the flesh – still incorrupt after the centuries, though equally long stilled in death – of that one who, it was told, had overthrown the Former Lord, had freed his slaves and given them the rich lands around Lake Nurnen for their own in compensation for their suffering, had set in motion – perhaps unknowing – the chance for a many-generations-removed descendant of those slaves to help the equally remote children of the children of his people maintain their freedom and their dignity. Eruhan bowed his head, and drew his sword in salute.
"Elessar", he whispered, "we are here at last".
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.