Cold, damp moisture from the forest floor seeped into his clothes. They had– of course they had– picked a place where the thawed upper layer of the ground was thin, and the cold from the ice underneath made the water that kept on soaking his legs– his whole body!– freezing. And he could not move away or find a dryer place.
He knew, of course, that there were no dry places, would be no dry places, until the frozen ground had melted all the way down to whatever lay beneath, but even so... damn those orcs!
He cursed again, silently.
Bádon lay a little away from him. Silent. Waiting. If wet clothes bothered him, he did not show it. The ranger was listening to the orcs.
Fastred turned his attention back to the path. The orc-patrol was large, half a hundred strong– too many to take on. Luckily, all orcs are noisy, especially in a hurry, and this patrol was no exception. They had heard them in time to hide. Now they were pinned down until the orcs passed.
Fastred cursed again.
The only reason he had agreed to take the ranger with him, apart from his king telling him to, was so that one of them would be able to report back if there was something blocking their path. Fifty orcs was something and what happens but that they both get trapped together: two stupid, blundering, fresh-faced boys that were deaf and blind to the world around them. He could only hope that the king would hear the noise and have time to hide. With the racket they made, the chances were good.
The leader, a big, bow-legged orc, was running alongside the patrol, keeping them in line. He stopped right in front of their hiding place, and Fastred wanted to curse one more time. The naked twigs of bushes and withered undergrowth that hid them were not thick enough to cover them half as well as he would have liked. Bádon had covered himself with broken sticks and rotting leaves, but even he would be seen if the orcs had been looking. They had trusted to luck and the orcs' haste to keep them concealed from the patrol, but now their luck was stretched more than Fastred liked. The big orc needed only to turn a little of his attention to his surroundings, and they would be seen.
"Run, you maggots!" the orc shouted over the din. "Run! You heard the horns. Do you want those cursed southerners to get there first and take our prize?" He added his whip to his words to encourage them. It cracked above their heads once and the troop increased their pace. Satisfied, the leader turned to run beside them when one of the orcs stumbled on a root and fell. The orc behind him jumped over him, but the next had not seen what happened and fell over him. As more followed, the column came to a stop.
"Halt!" the leader cried. Cursing orcs tried to get out of the pile and on their feet before their leader reached them. Those that had kept to their feet stood back.
"Get up!" the big orc shouted. "What d' you think this is? Maggots and scum! Who's the filth that did this? Get on your feet!" He dragged the orcs off and threw them aside to find the guilty one.
It was slightly bigger than the rest, but still smaller than the leader. It was wheezing and clutching at its leg, but when the bigger orc grabbed it by its throat, it quickly forgot all other troubles.
"Snaga," the orc hissed. "You're a clumsy fool. Some of those filthy Whiteskins have poked their noses outside the Treeguard. Lugbúrz wants them– and Isengard, too. If we catch them, we will be in the Stone City next month, feasting. Now those damned south-swine might beat us to it."
If the other would make any attempt to plead for its life, it had no time. The orc-leader stabbed it in the gut and twisted the knife. Then he wrenched the knife out and threw the body into the bushes. It landed right in front of Fastred, blocking his sight. Fastred held his breath; the orc was not dead, but even dying it could still reveal them. If it saw. If it wanted.
But their luck held again; it had fallen on its back and its eyes were closed in pain.
"Get the lines in order," chief orc called. "If I miss this chance, more will pay."
The orcs wasted no time. Fastred and Bádon lay still until they had passed out of sight and hearing.
"They are far enough away now," Bádon said once the forest was silent again. The only sound to be heard was the cracking twigs underneath them and the wet splats of yesteryear's rotting leaves when they moved. And the wheezing breathes of the dying orc. The ranger rose. "Let us see if this has any breath left to speak with."
Fastred rose halfway. Bádon was kneeling beside the orc searching it for weapons. He had removed its sword and shield and was in the process of taking the dagger strapped to its arm. The orc opened its eyes and glared at the ranger, but it made no sound except the wheezing breaths. It was unlikely that it would be able to speak.
Bádon continued to dig through its clothes for any hidden weapons. He was not gentle in his search, and the orc gave a high squeal when he pulled at the cloth near the wound. "So there is still sound in you," the ranger grumbled. "Let's hear if you have anything of interest to tell. How many patrols are there between us and the edge of the forest?"
The orc glared at Bádon some more. "Why should I tell you, tark," it wheezed.
"You are dying and at our mercy," Fastred pointed out. "It would be in your best interest to humour us."
"As if you'd do me any good now." Its words came in gasps. "You couldn't save me if you'd wanted."
"No," said Bádon. "But we can ease your death. Bleeding out is a slow death, and that breath sounds painful to me. We can make it quick and painless." His face was hard. "Or we can make it worse." To make his point clear, he gripped the leg it had clutched at before. The orc squealed in pain, a high-pitched, wailing sound. Fastred swallowed; if any other patrols were near, they would probably hear it. They did not have much time.
Bádon did not seem hurried, though. He let go of the leg and hissed at the orc, "That felt broken. I once had a broken bone; do you want to know how it feels when someone has to open it up and dig for splinters?"
"You wouldn't…" But the orc did not sound like it believed its own words.
"No, we would not," Bádon said. "But we will leave you to bleed on your own."
"And you do not have much time," Fastred added. "Your wail just now has probably alerted one of your patrols and we do not intend to wait for it. And they would." He rose and looked around. "We have wasted enough time here, Bádon," he said. "Take whatever it has that can be of use, and then we will leave."
Bádon nodded and began to search it again.
"Wait!" the orc said. The gasps become more laboured and it struggled to speak. "I've… heard… City of… tark… king… plans…" It gasped and wheezed, but the words were garbled.
"What?" Fastred had knelt down beside it and now he grabbed the orc's collar. "What have you heard? What plans for the king?" But they could not make out anymore words.
"The lung is punctured," Bádon said. "It will not be able to say anything more." He shook his head. "I found this on him, but I do not know to whom it belonged." He held a broche shaped like a star.
"And this dagger was made in the Mark," Fastred said. "But we have not lost anyone since the snow fell. Either it has carried them for a long while, or someone from another settlement has fallen prey to the patrol." He sighed. The orc was still breathing. "Kill it," he said. "We should report back to the king."
Bádon nodded. "Take it," he said, giving Fastred the star. "I will find a better hiding spot and stay. If more patrols come, we should know of it."
Fastred took the star. A short nod and then he turned. Bádon would take care of the orc, and Éomer king should know what they had learned, little though it may be.
He had to hide from yet another group of orcs on the way back. It was smaller, coming up from the south, and he was relieved; if this group was heeding the same call as the first, then the king and his men had not been seen. He stayed off the path after that, but kept it in his sight.
Éomer had kept hidden until the orcs had passed, too intent on running to heed anything around them. The patrols were too thick for his liking and for once he saw the point in travelling without horses. Húrin's gelding stood pressed up against Firefoot who graciously allowed it. The stallion had mellowed a little with age, and had anyway long ago learned to behave when Éomer was around. Húrin had left his horse with him, finding a spot closer to the path so he could see if he could learn any news by listening.
When Húrin stood up and signalled the all clear, Éomer made his way to him. The horses followed, Firefoot herding the gelding, confirming his rank.
"It is a gelding, not a mare, you fool," Éomer hissed, but the horse did not heed him. He left them to find their own way down to the path and reached Húrin in time to see him send the third ranger running ahead.
"If Fastred and Bádon met any trouble, we should have another scout out there," he said. "They should have been able to avoid any patrol making as much noise as this one, but it is better to be safe."
Éomer nodded. "You'd better take your horse before it confuses Firefoot any further. I think he has mistaken him for a mare."
"It is not Bereth's fault that your horse is growing old and confused," Húrin answered.
"With that name, confusion is easy," was Éomer's retort. "And if he had pressed any closer to Firefoot, we would only have needed one saddle."
"I am not the one that needs a saddle between my legs to be happy," Húrin said.
Éomer had already swung himself into the saddle, and was about to answer that he was welcome to carry the skins and pelts down south by himself, and the grain on the way back, when they heard a loud, piercing wail. It came from somewhere up ahead.
"Fastred and Bádon might have found trouble after all." Éomer's voice was grave.
"It sounded more like an orc than a Man," said Húrin. "But I think they have found something. We should hurry."
Éomer gave a sharp command, and soon all had mounted. They set off at a short trot; they did not want to overtake the patrol they just had avoided, for it would slow them down to have to fight their way through. They had news before that happened, though.
Fastred met them and gave a short report of what he and Bádon had seen. "I worry, Éomer king," he said, "about the words we were able to get out of the orc. Some plot is laid against you, and it was made in Mundburg. Perhaps you should turn back, and let us bring whatever tidings that may wait for us in Calembel."
"Faramir would not lay plans against me," said Éomer. "I will not believe it."
"He most certainly will not!" Bergil was close enough to hear the king's words. He would not hear the Steward slandered. "Faramir would never turn against us."
"Peace, son of Beregond," said Húrin. "Éomer king said no such thing. But we have heard no tidings from the City since before the winter, and Faramir is hard pressed. He has been a puppet for the Enemy for ten years, who knows what power he has to stop anything? He might even have been removed. But did the orc really say that plans were made against Éomer in Minas Tirith?" He turned back to Fastred.
"Its words were hard to understand, but I can think of no other way to read them. It said: City of tarks, king and plan. What other city could it mean? And what king?"
"Even if plans are made against me, it is hardly news that the Enemy wants me," said Éomer. "And if they plan a trap in Minas Tirith, they will have to bait it better than with half-understandable words from a dying orc. I have no business in Minas Tirith and can think of no reason for me to go there. I should be safe enough, safer than turning back alone with all the orcs swarming between us and the Huorns' Guard. No," he stopped Fastred before he could speak. "I will not take anyone with me back. All are needed."
They spoke no more of it– there was little point unless they happen upon tidings that shed more light on the matter; neither did any of them know whom the star or knife could have belonged to.
Little more of interest happened that day. They avoided the patrols and by dusk they had reached the eves of Fangorn where the river Limlight ran on the northern border of the Mark. Éomer followed the river, riding as quick as the footing and the fading light allowed, until he felt certain that they had avoided the eyes of the orcs, or at least not been followed. They camped near the river for the remainder of the night and continued south into the Wold and the Eastern Plains at daybreak.
The king had hoped to cross the Wold quickly and travel some way into the East Emnet that day, but the rain started up again, harder than before, and the ground became a sea of mud that the horses sank into to the knees and hocks. It became impossible to move above a walk unless they would want to wear out their horses. All that day they struggled in the mud, and when they finally reached the South Undeep and firmer ground, neither man nor beast could go on without a rest. Éomer ordered that some of the grain they had with them should be given to the horses. They needed it more than the men.
Everything was wet and they could light no fires to dry. Even if they had dared light any fires, they had no wood to burn. Only the soaked, dripping grass of yesteryear. And in the open landscape a fire would be seen far off, even by those without Elven eyes. Half-wild herds of horses roamed there most of the year. In the years after the war, the number of horses running wild had increased. The Master of Isengard had set a tribute of horses to be paid, and had ordered that great farms be made for breeding so that the numbers should be made. But the people of the Mark turned their horses loose rather than give them to the Enemy, and each year large numbers of horses would break out and get lost and few horses could be obtained to replace them. The horses found their way to the grassy plains and the people did little to recapture them.
The Enemy did not let this way of resisting the tribute to go unpunished. After the slaughter of several villages, the Eorlingas were forced to choose between their lives and their horses. Their love for their horses were great enough that they would have given their lives had not Éomer sent messages to all settlements that the price be paid. He could not see his people slaughtered. The Master of Isengard let the messengers pass unhindered once he learned of them; they served his purpose.
Since then the Master of Isengard allowed a number of herdsmen to watch the herds, as long as enough horses were captured to meet the tribute. He allowed no others to travel without permission, but because small groups of men were not unheard of on the East plains the Faithful were able to travel there in relative safety.
This year the plains were empty because of the late snowmelt. In winter the horseherders drove the herds north across the Limlight to find food and shelter near the abandoned woods of Lothlórien, and they had yet to return south. A light green had begun to spread across the plains, but the grass had not had much time to grow. Even unshod hooves would damage the ground, soft as is was. The track left by Éomer's company could be followed by a blind orc. They had to trust to their luck.
Their luck held. They did not see anyone the next day. The East Emnet was empty, even the skies above. No birds flew over it and they saw no animals on the plains; they and their horses were the only things moving. If they were spotted, none pursued them. Both Húrin and Fastred were suspicious and Éomer shared their suspicion. He wished, however, to use the opportunity to move more quickly. The rain and the orc-patrols had delayed their journey a whole day and they did not know what other hiders they would meet. They therefore set a quick pace and rode as straight south as they could.
They crossed the Entwash by midday the next day, but after that their luck ran out. A large number of Easterlings were guarding the Great West Road. Húrin had taken with him all the rangers to scout ahead and could report that the Easterlings were dressed for war but had only people on foot.
"They have kept a road guard for many years," Húrin said, "but it looks as though they have strengthened it. Bádon and Echil followed the Road east and west. To the west the guard is heavy, but not to the east. We might find a place to cross unseen that way."
"Yes," said Éomer. "I wonder, though, why they guard this part so heavily. There are no settlements near or any other reason to block the road here."
"We have crossed here many times before; perhaps they have grown suspicious?" Fastred said.
"Or we may just have run out of luck. Were you able to hear anything that might help us?" Éomer asked. None of them had, but it was decided that they should turn east and try their luck there.
To their surprise they found that the only place they could cross the Road unseen was near the border of Gondor, just before Hailfirien wood. The detour cost them more than a day, and in the mountain pass rain and the last lingering snow delayed them further.
It was therefore not until the end of March that Éomer reached the town of Calembel with his men. The small town was deemed to be of little importance by the Corsairs and Easterlings, and would only occasionally be inspected and taxed by them. The Orcs, too, found richer pickings elsewhere and it had therefore become a refuge of a sort for the Faithful and the safest place for Éomer to exchange news.
Even so Éomer king always approached it with caution. Half a day's march from the town there was a hidden cave that could house half an éored at need. In that cave Éomer struck camp. Scouts were sent to the town to see if it was safe to continue.
They returned swiftly.
"What news?" Éomer would know.
"We must wait," Fastred replied. "Corsairs search the village, three score strong. We saw them well before we reached Calembel and turned back before we were seen. The son of Beregond went on alone. He has as good a chance or better than any of us to pass for a local worker and he will try to contact the innkeeper so the Faithful will know of our presence. If he is able to without raising suspicion, he will return before the morrow to report."
"He is young," said Éomer. "Could not one of the Northern Dúnedain have gone? They have more experience than he, than any of us."
"True, sire," Fastred said. "But I had only one of them with me and I deemed that they would be of better use to us in the forest. Bergil is young and looks more innocent than them, and he does not speak with a northern accent; I thought that he was less likely to raise the suspicion of the Corsairs than either of the two."
"Well, there is little to be done about it now, and you have shown that your judgement can be trusted in the past. We will have to wait and see, and hope Bergil will stay out of trouble."
They brought their horses into the cave with them. The weather had cleared as they descended from the mountain but what little warmth the sun had brought went with the sunset. Their clothes were still damp from the rain but they lit no fires. The warmth from the animals helped to keep the cold away and the men lay back to back when it was their turn to sleep.
Éomer king, unable to sleep, went among the sentries posted on the slope above the entrance of the cave. The chill of winter still tingled the night-air. The night was bright, a rare occurrence since their defeat. High above Éomer could see the stars. He sat down in the shade of a stone and rested his back against it. He closed his eyes for a moment and breathed. The smell of snowmelt from the mountains met and mingled with the moss and early birch-knots; the smell of green and white mixed in a scent of spring. The chill from the rock seeped through his cloak but the steady, unmoving strength of stone felt good. He let out his breath and opened his eyes.
"You make a poor ranger, lord king, even after all these years. You should not let anyone come upon you unannounced; all unprepared and dreaming."
Húrin stood above him, dark against the sky.
"I see no harm when it is a friend," Éomer replied. "I would have poor sentries if they let a foe come near me unchallenged. But I have no wish to bandy words with you tonight. Did you address your Chieftain thus when he sought solitude?"
At that the old Ranger bent down over him and hissed: "Do not speak of him!"
Éomer met his eyes. They stared at each other for one breath, for two. Silence rose around them blocking out all other sounds than the blood beating in their ears and the harsh breath in their mouths. They were so close that their breaths mingled in the chill air, warm and damp. None of them would yield this fight it seemed, and be the first to look away.
"He rose up before me out of the green grass of the Mark, and from that day I loved him. That love has not failed. It never will."
Húrin held his stare one last, long breath. Then he slumped and grew smaller, and drawing back he turned his face away.
Éomer closed his eyes again and leaned back, resting the back of his head on the uneven surface of the stone. He felt more than heard the other man sitting down beside him. For a time they sat like that, side by side, in silence. The night-sounds of the forest and the hillside filled the air around them. Éomer sat with closed eyes, drawing long, deep breaths. Húrin was ever watchful, his breathing silent and short.
"He seemed to have appeared right out of the grass."
Húrin turned at the sound. The king had opened his eyes but they were distant, seeking the images of ten years past.
"I trusted him then, and he did not betray that trust. He brought my sister back to me when I thought her dead. I thought him dead, and grieved. He was swallowed by the darkness, walked right into it; how could he be other than dead? When I learned that he was alive…" Éomer shook his head.
Húrin turned from him. His voice was quiet and soft, hardly more than a whisper.
"He was our hope. Now hope is dead."
Húrin said no more. They sat as before, Éomer leaned back against the stone and Húrin hunched forward, but it was the Rider that had opened his eyes and the Ranger that had closed his.
"Éala! Éarendel engla beorhtast ofer middangeard monnum sended."
Éomer spoke softly. Above them the Morningstar was clear against the night-sky, distant and untouched. It seemed to linger in the east, heralding dawn.
Húrin looked up. "You know that I don't speak the language of the Mark."
Éomer smiled. "But you understood me all the same." He paused. "Dawn is near. You should be on your post."
"I am. Since you refuse to keep the proper vigilance in the wild, lord of horses, someone will have to do it for you. Since I was the one that failed to teach you, it was considered just punishment that I be given the task."
"So that is why you always follow at my heel!" Éomer laughed softly. "I should have known. The Dúnedain seems to have little concern for rank. Did you…" He checked himself.
"Did I follow him as well?" Húrin said. "That was the question, was it not, lord king?
"Answer me this," he continued. "When you heard the news from Minas Tirith, what did you think?"
"On whether I should curse or thank," Éomer answered. "I still do not know which."
"We know," Húrin said. His voice was even and controlled. "Even in this darkness there are few that know better than the Dúnedain what fate awaits those trapped in the Land of Shadow. There were few the Enemy hated more than him, of Men perhaps none. We never speak of him; we cannot bear the thought." He rose. The first light was in the east. "But since we two now do speak: no. I did not follow him around like I do you. There was no need; it was he that taught me, not I him."
They said nothing more that night.
The sun had climbed beyond her midday height by the time Bergil returned.
"I had to stay the night to avoid suspicion," he said. "The Corsairs were everywhere. They did not bother much with me once they had taken what little money I had, but they questioned me on my name and what I was doing in Calembel. I told them I was seeking work and deemed it safer to stay the night lest they would question my story. They left the village this morning and headed south; they hoped to find richer pickings there. I left soon after."
"Then the village is safe," Éomer stated.
"But robbed dry, I wager," Fastred said, "and that means we must seek provisions elsewhere."
"Aye. I would have wanted to go into Calembel to hear tidings, but there is little food left and I will not linger. Were you able to gather news while you were there?" he asked Bergil. Bergil nodded. "Then we will seek to trade elsewhere. Make ready. I can hear the news while we ride."
"Sire," Bergil said. "We should not. You must hear my news now, and when you have heard our plans will change."
"We need food, son of Beregond. No news will change that."
"The lord Elfstone will be brought to Minas Tirith."
All went quiet at Bergil's words. Húrin stiffened. Bádon and Echil, who had stood at the back, pushed their way forward. The Riders let them pass.
Húrin's voice was hardly more than a whisper.
"In less than a fortnight," Bergil replied. "He will be there for the celebrations."
"Then we have little time," said Húrin. "If we leave now…"
"We cannot," Fastred interrupted him. He turned to Éomer. "Lord, we need food. We cannot bring with us supplies on a rescue, even if the risk was not so high."
"We will not– cannot– turn away without trying!" Húrin's jaw was set, and his words were met with confirming nods and murmuring consent by the Dúnedain. It was clear that they had made up their minds.
Éomer looked at Fastred. He had hardly heard the commotion before the speaking of his name had borne his thoughts back. "Rescue?" he said. His words were whispered no louder than Húrin's 'when?' before.
"Lord, the risk is too high, and as you said before; we need food."
"Rescue?" Éomer repeated. "I had never thought it could be done." Both Fastred and Húrin were about to speak again, but Éomer waved them to silence. "I know that we need to get food, yet we might never have another chance like this." His words were met with nods from the Dúnedain, but Fastred shook his head.
"The risk is still too high," he argued, the voice of reason against the wild hope they hardly dared to acknowledge. "Even if we did not need the supplies so desperately, we cannot throw away so many lives on a slim chance. We are too few as it is."
"Then you can turn back, horselord, if you do not want to risk your own skin." Húrin's voice was cold and stern. "We will go."
Fastred was about to answer, but Éomer held up his hand. He looked at Bergil. "He will be there on the ninth, you said?"
"For certain," Bergil replied. "The main celebration is on that day, but he may be there earlier. The innkeeper will know more; I did not get the chance to speak with him. The Corsairs had taken all the rooms at the inn and I had to find other boarding. Asteth, Adeglan's widow put me up for the night."
"Then where did you get the news?" Fastred would know.
"The Corsairs announced it on the town square."
"The Enemy must have some plan," Éomer said. "You were right, Bergil; I will not turn from Calembel now. We must know more before we can decide what we must do. Still, we cannot abandon our first task. Fastred, find some men that can ride to the villages and the areas around them and see if there is any place we can buy the food we need. Have them meet with us in Calembel in two or three days; that way we will not waste any time on the search while we gather the news we will need to plan the best course of action."
Éomer's decision seemed to meet with the approval of the Rangers. Fastred recognized the tone in Éomer's voice and said no more. His misgivings would not be heard now; he would have to wait. The king would ask their counsel before deciding once they had learned more. He gave a short nod before he turned to give orders to the men.
The king was anxious to reach Calembel quickly, but it took some time to get the men ready. The Riders were quick to obey; they saw too clearly the thinness of their horses and the hunger in their friends. Most of them had not known or seen Elessar, and though they would seek to rescue any that they could from the Enemy, they would follow their king's ruling. The Dúnedain were another matter.
Fastred had chosen six men to seek out villages and homesteads that could provide the food they needed. They were to ride in pairs, but the rangers that were picked were not willing to give up the chance to have their say in the debate they knew would come. It was Bádon that protested most loudly, but he spoke for both Bragloth and Echil, the other Northern ranger. Fastred argued that they would need at least one in each pair that could blend with the farmers and villagers, but it did not sway them. Only after Húrin had spoken with them did they obey.
Bergil could tell that the Corsairs had gone south following the river Ciril and he thought that they would go towards Dol Amroth and the sea, but he could not be sure. Therefore the pairs were sent northward and westward, keeping within Lamedon and towards Tarlang's Neck and Erech. They all left the cave shortly after the last orders had been given, each group in their own directions.
"What did you say?" Éomer asked Húrin as they rode towards the village. "They were ready to rebel, and Fastred would have been their first victim."
"They are good men," Húrin said. "And they have seen hunger before; they know we need the food."
"They were ready to dismiss that need before you spoke with them. If that was your argument, they would have obeyed before." Éomer kept his voice even. "They should have obeyed without any argument at all."
"They are good men," Húrin repeated. Éomer waited, but Húrin said no more.
"Húrin," the king said. "I must know. In matters concerning all the Faithful, I do not claim to rule alone, though my own men sometimes question that decision, but here, in the field, I must know that all will follow my command."
"They are but shaken by the news."
"We all are; it is no excuse."
"It did not help matters that you insisted on taking Bergil and that young Rider with you instead of one of them." Húrin's voice had taken on a tone that Éomer had not heard in the ranger before. It was higher pitched than the deep sound that always gave the impression of trust, and Éomer knew. The Dúnedain would not return by the mountain-pass.
"Cearl is the swiftest rider here," Éomer said, "and if we are to attempt a rescue, we will need to alert the rest of the Faithful. I want the errand-rider to know our plans in full and not waste time to repeat it."
"He knows the City better than any of us; that knowledge will be useful if we are to make any plans."
"Those are all good reasons," Húrin said. "But you must understand; they are afraid. They fear that you will too easily be swayed by your marshal and abandon him. They fear that they will live the rest of their lives knowing they could have saved him if only they had been there to change your mind."
Éomer said nothing at first. Then: "And you?"
"I told them you would no more abandon him than I."
Nothing more was said on the subject.
Translations, quotes and paraphrases:
Tark: orc-word for one of Númenórean decent.
Bereth (Sildarin): Queen
He rose up before me out of the green grass of the Mark, and from that day I loved him. That love has not failed. - Paraphrased from Éomer's words in RotK, The Steward and the King
I trusted him then, and he did not betray that trust. - Ibid
Éala! Éarendel engla beorhtast ofer middangeard monnum sended (OE): Hail Earendel the brightest of angels send to men above middle-earth. (Christ I, ll.104-105)