3. A Brief Reunion
(parchment titled 'Shadows of the Mind' by the date)
7 Súlimë 3019 of the Third Age
The night was growing long but I could not sleep without first writing my thoughts, for I felt we sat on the edge of this age where all would either fall into darkness or burst forth unto light. This was the last night of any peace we would have and I wanted it to last. The fires in this great muster of the Rohirrim camp had burned in a solomn way, each throwing its light and warmth upon men gathered around them. A larger cookfire was burning near the center of the encampment, and all had eaten what they would. I spent much of the night in preparation, for I knew we would ride tomorrow. But I did take some time and walked about.
Passing by a group about a fire, I was waved to sit with some men gathered there and I did so. The elder man of the group sat beside fine armor, and in introduction I learned that his name was Dúnhere, the Lord of Harrowdale. We conversed for a time speaking of Aragorn, friends, and our lands in the north. In due course he spoke of knowing my mother Forcwyn. I asked him how she was for I had not been able to see her with our haste in these dark times being so great. He looked away for a moment, and then turned back to me saying she was well. Meanwhile a soldier outside the ring walked off. I then asked of Halcwyn my twin sister and he looked me in the eye and said,
'I believe she is well. Maybe you wish to ask her husband Éothaih?'
I looked to where his eyes turned to, and I noticed a man stand up by another fire not far away where Lord Éomer's men had gathered. The soldier that was summoned by Dúnhere stood with him and they spoke in brief. The man turned his gaze toward us, and soon both started to walk our way.
My mind raced with this news. My sister had married and I heard naught of it? I could not take my eyes from him as he approached. A tall man he was, slightly moreso than most of the Rohirrim. Grim was his demeanor, and as he eyed me I stood.
'You are my wife's brother?'
he asked and I nodded my head.
A moment of awkward silence followed as we sized each other up. I knew not what he may have heard of me from my sister and mother, but surely it was not all good. Both Forcwyn my mother and Halcwyn my sister had opposed my returning to Imladris ere thirteen years past. We were then fifteen, and I thought my learning would be best served by my study under the tutoring of the elves. My mother finally gave in, saying I was my father's son and would do what I thought right. In me she had hoped I would be like my older brother Hayna, or even better, stay close and live and be of the Rohirrim. But of us all, only Halcwyn remained close. Hayna was away south working the quays and ships along the coast of Gondor, and I went and remained in the north.
'I am, Hanasían, son of Halasían and Forcwyn, brother of Hayna and Halcwyn.'
'And I am Éothaih of Eastfold. It is a dark hour you finally come, though your kin have been here. I have been your brother-in-law for near 4 years now, and have heard of you only from your mothers lips. Yet I have heard story and rumor of your father from many. I would be lying if I said this was a joyous meet.'
I could not reply, for the harsh words struck me hard. It was nothing though compared to what happened next. A woman, fair and tall, approached us. She took the arm of Éothain and looked at me. I did not know what to say to my sister as she stood before me. She stood there tall and proud, with a cold stare that cut through me.
'My wife Halcwyn.'
was all Éothaih said. I nodded in greeting, and she stiffened. Suddenly a hand slapped me across my cheek. Then fists were flailing into my face...
'Damm you Hanasian! Damm you! Damm you!'
I deserved it. Éothaih started to restrain her but let her go. Her pent up anger toward me tapered to tears and I embraced her.
'I am sorry my beloved sister...'
She quickly cut me off...
'....Mother is going to be so happy for a breath! We love you, But why come to us now when you ride off to war? Her sons... always going... at least Hayna comes home every year. You, we would get a letter now and then. And you come not to my wedding...'
She was holding me tight now, and I her. We were oblivious to the others watching save Éothaih. He took not his eyes off me, and did not step back from his wife's side.
'I knew not of your wedding, or if your marriage ere now!'
She looked back at me and ran her fingers through my hair. I brushed away a tear from her cheek and swallowed. She went on,
'I wrote you...'
'I never got it!'
No, the letter never arrived in Rivendell. Passage of the Fords of Tharbad was treacherous in the best of conditions. The letter must have been lost in a raid, or maybe the river crossing, and it found its way to the sea.
The reunion with my beloved sister was short, but it brought us some happiness in the end. We had been so close all our lives until we were fifteen. Forgiveness was the order of the day, and though I could never seem to break through the shell of distrust that surrounded Éothaih. It was his way Halcwyn assured me, for he was a proud man, distrusting at first those from outside the realm of Rohan. Time would tell if we would get along, if any time we had with the clouds of war and doom upon us. I looked forward to seeing mother again, but it would have to wait for days I could not see. There was no time now on the eve of battle, for Halcwyn would not leave until she saw Éothaih off. And I bade them farewell and took my leave of her and Éothaih, and also of Lord Dúnhere who silently sat by in witness of my reunion with my sister.
Time? What time do I think of? We ride to war, and in the darkness of the morn, Aragorn spoke to us of our road. As the light of the morning broke, all that had passed last night seemed a dream and we set out early for the Paths of the Dead....