He flung the trunk open against his footboard with a satisfying crack, a few moments' rooting unearthing the coffer. Only the Noldor would beat steel into the shapes of leaves and shields and daggers when the objects themselves would have served better. Instead, steel and copper and gold went to waste on cloak adornments and tunics worn only for special occasions. All the use of a peacock's tail.
These 'special occasions'-usually of a stately nature-served as little more than excuses for said peacocks to flash and glitter at one another, congratulating themselves on yet another campaign. Never mind that the only reason half of them bore those honors was the other half were in the ground, beneath the ash and mud and marsh of the Dagorlad.
Those ones had not worn silk or damask or cloth-of-gold. Only wool and leather…maybe a bit of plate, if they were fortunate, if the Noldor had not already melted it in anticipation of peacetime and the need to flaunt their pride before all and sundry.
He sounded bitter and, perhaps, he was unjust in being so.
But he did not think he was wrong.
It was leather and wool that kept a body together. Courage wore dust on its face and dark rings beneath its eyes. It carried any tool that would hold an edge after losing that precious dagger in the retreat from the quagmire. Fortitude dressed itself in a blood-stained uniform and sat, saturated, not-sleeping, through the watch-hours. Honor and Glory belonged to those who were wrapped in their wool when the fighting was over.
But the dead had no use for shapes of leaves and flowers and stars, for ribbons and medals. No more than he. One by one he dropped the medals about his neck where they rested, cold and heavy, against his naked chest.
He slipped on his boots (warm, supple leather) and, as an afterthought, took up his cloak of wool, draping it about his shoulders. Not that it would conceal anything that mattered.
Heads turned as he strode back up the parade ground where the bonfires were lit.
He presented himself before his officer and stood sharply to attention, shoulders in line with hips in line with boots, hands angled at his flanks. He had given satisfaction. He was wearing his medals. No one could say he wasn't. His medals and his boots and the things they couldn't see.
The colonel, who had ordered his compliance, looked him up and down, a flush of embarrassment and fury creeping up his neck. Slowly, as if a quagmire dragged at his limbs, he raised his silk-draped arm, saluting Haldir in all his glory.
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.