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Old 08-04-2020, 10:27 AM   #1
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 3,338
Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Recollections of a Dúnedain Ranger by Snowdog

Year 121 of the Fourth Age of Middle Earth

"I am Gilrénna, daughter if Halcwyn, daughter of Halasían and sister of Hanasían. I have now in my keeping much of the writings of Hanasían, and some of the collected writings of many who lived before his time. I wish now to share some of these writings with people who will never delve into the great halls of knowledge in Annúminas and Minas Tirith. May they learn and know of the events that led up the the great War of the Ring, and to victory and peace in our days.

This account was written by Hanasían, son of Halasían of the House Halvarís, Dúnedain Rangers of the North. It is dated 23 Súlimë 3019 of the Third Age of Middle Earth. The script used was Tengwar, written in his unique and flowing hand. The conditions in which he wrote was not well suited for ink and parchment, for there are the heavy stain and stretched weakness of the script in many parts. Also signs of his fatigue were plain, an obvious reflection of all of which he had seen and experienced."


Battle of the Pelennor - The Aftermath...

Smoke still rose from the white city, but its fires had for the most part been contained and were fading. But the black smoke stains tarnished its white stone façade… where the stone was not damaged. And the air… death was in it. Every breath you smelled it. So many people were out in the fields in search of their loved ones. There were wives and mothers looking for their husbands and sons. Wounded soldiers looked for their missing comrades, and some of the Rohirrim grieving for their fallen horses. Yes, the smell of death... the crying of those who found whom they searched for, and the moans of those not yet dead from their wounds filled the air.

I am Hanasían, a Dúnedain Ranger from the northern lands of Eriador. I am weary from the days past, where the last decent sleep I, and my brethren had was in Dunharrow nearly a fortnight ago. Yet I sleep not, for I write now for the dead... those fallen in this great battle outside Minas Tirith be they man or woman of Gondor, Arnor, or the Rohirrim. We had defeated Sauron’s armies on this field. But the cost was high and this war is not yet over. For he hides now behind his great iron gates of Mordor, gathering his remaining strength, while we ourselves attempt to regain ours.

It seem a lifetime ago when I, along with well over two-dozen of my brethren answered a summons by our Captain Halbarad. He said we needed to ride in haste to come to aid our Chieftain Aragorn away south in the land of Rohan. We, along with the Sons of Elrond did ride south with speed, meeting Lord Aragorn and the escort of King Theoden of Rohan not long after crossing the River Isen. As the Rohirrim mustered for war, the foresight of Aragorn led us to take the Paths of the Dead. Of that part of the journey I have much to say, for Aragorn proclaimed himself to the Dead... he proclaimed himself Isildur's Heir! And they were called to the Stone of Erech to fulfill their oath. But here now I write for the new dead, those who lay about me here, those who will not return to their homes and families.

To the mouth of the Anduin we came in haste, and there with the aid of the dead and some local men (of whom I also have much to say, but again, another day) we fought and defeated the Corsairs of Umbar, the ancient brethren who had fallen into darkness and become enemies of Gondor. With their oath of old to Isildur fulfilled, Aragorn gave the dead their leave, and we took the corsair ships up the river. To Minas Tirith we came, arriving with the city engulfed in smoke and flame. Battle raged in and around the city walls, and elsewhere inside the Rammas Echor.

Swords rang, bows twanged, and engines thundered their deadly projectiles as the ships came ashore. The worst fighting I saw were where it was men fighting men… Easterlings battled Gondorians near the bropken gates of the city; Variags fought we Dunedain; Southrons and their mumakil against the Rohirrim and their horses. The beasts of Harad rampaging and the horses of the Rohirrim storming in terror.... So much death... We engaged the enemy almost immediatly, but not before our suprise was complete.

A wound I had taken near my left eye, a lasting memory of the Variags of Khand. He came at me from behind in a ravenous yell, leaping down from the body of a slain mumakil. I had just turned an axe of his brethren and I turned, but I could not react in time. Pain I felt as I fell backward, the warmth of my blood rushing down my face. His knife would have claimed me but for the sure sword of Halbarad taking off his arm. But still we fought, for he tried to take my sword with his remaining hand. We wrestled and fell to the ground, and I killed him with a knife I found. It was his knife, still in the grip of his severed limb. He was dead but there was no time to think, for another came at me. As soon as one was dispatched another would jump at you, or you would stop another from the blind side of your brethren. Their attacks were fierce, but our defense was even more so. As a group we pressed on from the shores of the river toward the city. But chaos of a stampeding oliphaunt caused many of us to scatter. It was then I saw Halladan go down with a blow from a screaming Southron falling from the beast, but I could not tend him. Easterlings, ruthless in their attacks, came upon us. My blade rang and my foe's axe shattered, blood flew everywhere when darkness closed around me....

A pain I felt in my head, wondering if it was still upon my shoulders. I remember thinking that I should move my hand, and the feeling that came over me was pain. My eyes cleared the foggy grey that crept into the dark, and blurry figures moved about before me. Somehow I stood, my sword still in my hand. I shook my head in a shudder to either shake off the webs that filled it, or see if it would fall to the ground. And just as suddenly, an Easterling jumped before me swinging his axe. My arm moved and deflected his blow, and the Variag knife I still gripped in my other hand buried into his neck. I now fought, I was not thinking or seeing. Rage drove me on, slaying and swinging. I nearly had the head of a fair armored Gondorian soldier, his helm long missing and his face dark with dirt and blood. He too moved against me, and our swords coming together rang out a song that awakened us both from our blindness. Looking around, pockets of battle still raged, but the west was having the day. Without thought, I, and the young Gondorian stood back-to-back, taking down those orcs who still pressed their masters will. But soon fatigue had taken us, and we sat and leaned against each other, fatigue claiming us.

In the aftermath people searched, With Halladan finding me sitting against a smashed siege tower. I was surprised to see him, for I had seen him fall. He was missing a part of his scalp, but was in good cheer to find me. I looked around for the young Gondorian soldier I had fought with, for I wished to know him. But there was no sign of his presence, and I would never know who he was. Halladan walked me towards the gates of the city where tents were being used to treat the wounded.

In ones and twos and threes we Dunedain brethren of the north came again together. Most, like me, had minor wounds of one sort or another, and as we gathered outside the smashed gates of the city, we looked about. Who had we lost? Aragorn himself came to us. He looked each in the face, the strain of battle on us all He seemed evermore relieved as his eyes met each of ours in turn. We all had lived with some of us having wounds to show. His look of relief suddenly become strained as he looked swiftly back over us, and he asked solemnly… where was Halbarad?

His hand was needed, for inside the city the house of healing was filled and overflowing with soldier and citizen alike. Those who could not be brought inside were laid in the streets, tended as best as could be. Out in the fields the tents of the wounded filled likewise, and the remaining were laid nearby where there was room. I had some healing experience, and so once my eye was tended and I could see straight, I did what I could for those wounded still in the field. All the while I looked for Halbarad, and my heart would tighten with each man I tended that I knew by their wound they would be dead by days end. What do you say to them? It is hard... so many dead and dying. A man of the Rohirrim, a young man he was. He was I would guess we just saw his twentieth winter. He talked in his native Rohirric tongue to his comrade next to him. He asked me to see to his friend, in good Westron like all was well. He knew he would die soon, but his concern was for his comrade who sat next to him. His friend didn't seem wounded but for a drying stream of blood that had run down his temple. But his mind was gone and he would stare only at a clover he pulled from the grass. The dying man told me he had taken a hard blow from the ground when his horse was slain in full gallop and fell from under him. The dying man told me his name, and only wanted me to promise his friend would get home ok, even while the last of his blood flowed out of him and he faded to death. I held his hand for a moment before his fried took it from me. I nodded and moved on.

The day was darkening, and I helped my brethren Kayan to our camp. His leg was badly mangled, and though he would live, he would suffer a severe limp. As we made our way, a halfling, dressed in the soiled and bloodied attire of the Palace Guard, wandered forlornly about, looking at the dead and dying. Others from the city searched still too, but most were now grieving while others prepared funeral pyres. As the night closed about us, the sons of Elrond joined us. We were for the most part together again, but still Aragorn's question remained....

Where was Halbarad?
Beleriand, Beleriand,
the borders of the Elven-land.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:36 AM   #2
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Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Interesting! The point that really jumped out at me was that early line about not having a decent sleep since Dunharrow. Which has the ring of absolute truth, and really settles the narrative into the reality of Middle-earth.

The depiction of the battle's aftermath also strikes a chord. I wonder whether Snowdog had been reading about WWI? There's something about this which really evokes the trenches of northern France. Very appropriate, given Tolkien's experiences there.

(I do feel like Snowdog missed an opportunity to say 'Swords rang, bowstrings sang', though; I may have spent too much time on lyrics recently. ^_^)

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