6. Ch. 5: An Untimely Arrival
Chapter 5: An Untimely Arrival
It was a new day dawning. As the sunlight flooded his cell, he squinted. He had been up all night, worrying and pacing, continuously. It had been four days since he had last seen Eruain and had not heard anything from Imladris. But that could also be because he was detained for suspicious activities by the Steward, Lord Denethor. Not everyone had the luxury to bypass the city guards and land in the Steward's personal garden on the back of an eagle. And not everyone had skin as dark as his.
Aside from the slight racism he received within his imprisonment and from the general citizens of Minas Tirith, he quite liked the city. He had always been fascinated about the large stone cities of the North his mother had often told him about. He had loved the North so much he had insisted on Pallando teaching him Quenya and Westron, which was useful in negotiating with Denethor.
But there was also a sense of dread and wariness, because his father had mentioned that the white men were nothing but savages. His Ab had said, "Listen, my child, you may come upon the pale skinned, blue-eyed, light haired ignorant demons your mother is so fond of. Let me tell you that they condemn us. Condemn us! For loving Shams and for our dark skin. They think us devils. They think us barbarians and savages! They think of us as primitives, as criminals, as violent, as rapists, as childlike, and as stupid! We are not any of those. Believe me, we have it better. We do not sell our women off at the age of 12. We are better. We are not fools. And we will not be considered lesser Men, lesser Mortals. Do not believe the white man. Do not trust the white man. Do not love the white man. For they will not believe you. They will not trust you. They will not love you. Heed my words, son. I speak the truth."
He did not have time for imprisonment. He needed to inform the Steward. However, Denethor was convinced that he was a spy sent from Mordor. What else could he be with such dark skin? What else could he be with such barbaric physiognomy? He understood the clear racism that flowed from the mouths of the citizens of Gondor because he was a stranger and if there was a light skinned blonde-haired man in Harad then he would probably act the same.
There was a clunk of the heavy prison door shut. "Wake up, mongrel. Breakfast." Haraduien looked over to the entrance of his cell. A silver-armored guard walked in and threw a chunk of bread on the ground.
"Do you wish for me to starve? Is that how you treat your allies?" Haraduien stood. The night before he had received a hunk of bread and some cold, left over stew.
"You are no ally, Sooty. You are of Mordor. If my lord hadn't willed you to be kept alive, I surely would have gutted you. I am not the only one that feels this way, you little monkey. You do not deserve food. You are no better than the pigs. This slop is what you shall get. Nothing more." Through the iron jail wall Haraduien could see the man's hatred and disgust in his eyes. That was the same look his Ab had when he talked about the white demons.
Not wishing to anger the guard any farther, Haraduien said nothing in return and picked up the hard, moldy bread and bit into it. What he would give to be back in Harad…
Lord Denethor sat proudly upon his throne, munching on a dinner he would have preferred eating alone with his sons. Instead, here he was in the Hall of the King, listening once again to the Haradrim's story. "You say that your mother provided you with the eagles to fly."
"No, my lord, it was Alatar, Eruain's mother, who provided us with eagles." Haraduien was kneeling uncomfortably in front of the Steward. It was the first time he had ever had to kneel before someone other than Shamsa and Malikun and the hard stone in the Hall of the King hurt his knees terribly.
"But why come here? Why come here unless intending to spy?" Denethor did not trust this dark-skinned man claiming to bring him warning. It was by the will of his adult sons. Boromir was twenty-three and had long been Denethor's advisor. He trusted his son for he had never led him astray. Faramir, on the other hand, had just turned eighteen and Denethor knew he had not the political training to advise since he was the second son. Faramir would learn eventually. No, it was really the will of Boromir that let him hold trial for the foreigner, not Faramir.
"This is where Alatar sent me. She said Mithrandir would be here." Haraduien fidgeted uncomfortably on the ground. The glare that Denethor awarded him made him wish that he had never mentioned the Grey wizard's name.
"Mithrandir? Gandalf the Grey?! Ha! I would not welcome him in my city, let alone to see you."
"Father, I think that maybe we should allow him to speak with the Grey Pilgrim," Boromir mumbled. "He's within the city walls. He asked for access to the archives."
"Boromir!" Denethor roared. The hall became silent. "Who let him inside the walls?! Who said he could come here?"
"I did, father," Boromir was meek in the face of his angry father. From the stories Haraduien had heard, Boromir was not meek. On the contrary he was strong and showed great leadership skills. Where did this weak, yielding man come from? Was it that in the face of his father he was soft-spoken and timid? Or was it that the stories he heard were mere myths?
"Please, my lord, let me speak with Mithrandir. He needs to have knowledge that I offer. He needs to know that Al Mudhlim has found it. He has found the ring!" Haraduien stood as his voice echoed off the walls of the Hall of the King. "Our world is doomed! If Al Mudhlim obtains the ring, our world will fall!"
"Kneel, heathen! Do you not know the king when you see him?!" An outburst from a common soldier silenced the room that was beginning to mumble about his news.
"He is not King. Nor will he ever be. Aragorn son of Arathorn is heir to the throne." An old man entered, crouched. He was garbed in humble gray robes and held a staff of wood. "He was Thorongil and helped save your precious country. You owe him your respect."
"Good day, Mithrandir," Haraduien bowed to the Grey Pilgrim. His mother had told him the Gandalf's appearance.
"Good day, lad. You look familiar. Do I know you?"
"You know my mother. You know Pallando. I am her son, Haraduien Binthaidar. I have much to discuss with you." Haraduien bowed once more in greeting. It seemed strange to him that Mithrandir was not young like his mother and Alatar. But it was something he need not dwell on as the fate of the world was to be the discussion at hand.
"Ah, Pallando. Yes, I remember now, Alatar's friend. Why have you come so far north?" Gandalf walked slowly up the hall, coming ever closer to Haraduien and the Steward's family.
"I will not permit you any farther, Gandalf. I am not King but I am Steward and I have reign over Gondor at this time. Flee from my sight, wizard." Denethor stood, tumbling his dinner to the floor. He was enraged and rightfully so. Gandalf had entered the city without his permission. He had entered the Hall of the King uninvited. He had insulted him and his family with talk of this Aragorn. And he was friends with the mother of the heathen that had previously kneeled before him.
"My lord Denethor," Gandalf bowed his head. "I sent for this lad to come here. Please, let me depart with him."
"No, he stays here. He is my prisoner."
"I am not your enemy, my lord."
Denethor turned to Haraduien who had been patiently silent as he and the wizard squabbled amongst themselves. As the object of discussion, he could not stay silent for so long. "I do not know that. I cannot trust you. Therefore you are an enemy."
"Father, let him be my squire. That way he will not feel as if he is an enemy and we could keep an eye on him."
"Boromir, I do not think that is such a good idea," Denethor's youngest son whispered. "What if he really is Sauron's spy? He could kill you."
"If he kills me, so be it. I trust him to be smart enough not to try."
Haraduien gave a small smile as Boromir smirked in arrogance. The Haradrim did not know the style in which these Gondorians fought, but the tactics the Af'aa and Asad used were known to be superior throughout Harad and the East. That was why Suladân was Malikun and why Eruain was Shamsa and why his father, Haidar, was Amirè and why he was Qamar. These Gondorians may have better armor made of shiny metals but they were not masters of assassination like the Haradrim. The Af'aa were specialists in the art of the Dragon Dance, where the Asad excelled in the Dark style. The night was the ally of the Haradrim for they won their greatest battles under the light of Qamar.
"I would be honored," Haraduien bowed, showing respect to the Steward's son. The faster he could gain the trust of the Stewards the closer he was to getting Eruain back. He planned on marrying her, no matter what she said. It was the duty of Qamar and he loved her. Why should he not pursue her? He knew that she would not take him at first, but the idea of having to be exiled from Harad forever would led her to wanting Harad. And who better to exemplify Harad than a Haradrim?
Before speaking, Denethor cleared his throat. "Boromir, to take this man as your squire means you would be possibly risking your life. Are you prepared for that?"
"I have fought against orcs before, father. I do not think a Haradrim would be too deadly." Haraduien had to stifle his laughter. "If anything I might need to train him to fight." Boromir is as racist as his father and all of Gondor…