B2MeM Challenge: Quest
“He spoke then in a great voice the Oath of Eorl. This he said in the tongue of the Éothéod, which in the Common Speech is interpreted:
Hear now all peoples who bow not to the Shadow in the East, by the gift of the Lord of the Mundburg we will come to dwell in the land that he names Calenardhon, and therefore I vow in my own name and on behalf of the Éothéod of the North that between us and the Great People of the West there shall be friendship for ever: their enemies shall be our enemies, their need shall be our need, and whatsoever evil, or threat, or assault may come upon them we will aid them to the utmost end of our strength. This vow shall descend to my heirs, all such as may come after me in our new land, and let them keep it in faith unbroken, lest the Shadow fall upon them and they become accursed."
Characters: Aragorn, Faramir, OMC
Summary: The Ambassador from Harad is curious about the Oath of Eorl
Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been, nor will be made from this story.With grateful thanks to my friends on LJ for their ideas
“We fear we will not be able partake of sherbet tea with you next week as we usually do,” Faramir told Ambassador Tahir. He, together with Aragorn, was seated on cushions on the floor beside the ambassador in his spacious residence in the sixth circle.
“I shall miss you, my esteemed friends,” said Tahir. “Do affairs of state call you hence?”
Neither King nor Steward spoke for a moment then Aragorn cleared his throat and said, “We are going to the Poros crossing to visit “Haudh in Gwanûr”, the tomb of Folcred and Fastred, the twin sons of King Folcwine of Rohan. We pay our respects there each year on the anniversary of the battle if we are able.”
“The cursed mound!” Tahir exclaimed then tore at his robe in dismay. “My humble apologies, esteemed friends. I meant no offence to you,my honoured guests!”
“No offence is taken,” said Faramir patting the Ambassador’s shoulder reassuringly. “We were not planning to speak of our visit to the tomb as Folcred and Fastred fell fighting against your people. I. was a long time ago. We think not of the battle now, but of the sacrifice that Rohan made for Gondor.”
“That puzzles me, esteemed friends,” said Tahir. “Why should the men of Rohan fight and die for the men of Gondor? I willingly fight for my land and for my Khan, or I could imagine fighting alongside you, my esteemed friends, should the Easterlings or some other foe attack while I dwell here, but I understand the men of Rohan not at all. Many died here who had never visited your land before.”
“It is because of the oath of Eorl, which binds both Rohan and Gondor,” said Faramir. “My longfather, Cirion gave land to the Rohirrim after they came to our aid when we were under attack from both Orcs and Easterlings. In exchange, Eorl, longfather of King Éomer swore that the Rohirrim would ride to Gondor’s aid if we did but summon them by sending a red arrow.”
“I understand,” said Tahir. “It still seems strange to me, though.”
“I hope that the Rohirrim will always be our friends and allies,” said Aragorn. “The alliance was born out of desperate times, though. Gondor had land, which Eorl’s people needed, while Eorl had men and horses in plenty that Gondor did not. We owe them a great deal.”
“A worthy alliance,” said Tahir. “I am glad that the men of Harad do not have to call upon others for aid, though.”
“I think our folk followed too closely the Elven custom of only bearing children in times of peace,” said Faramir. “There were too few of us to defend our land alone.”
“We were taught that we must father many sons to fight for the Lord of Gifts,” Tahir said sadly. “It seems we did not fight for ourselves after all. It was not even every man’s wish that his son become a soldier, especially if he were not of the warrior tribes.”
“The Rohirrim who rode to our aid did so freely,” said Aragorn.
“I honour all brave men,” said Tahir. “It grieves me that those who lie in the burial mound you are visiting died at the hands of my people. Would you honour me, esteemed friends, by laying an olive branch from my garden upon the grave?”
“Why not come with us and lay it there yourself?” said Faramir.
“But the place is cursed for all men not of Gondor!” cried Tahir. “Gladly would I come ,esteemed friends, but the spirits of the dead would be angered by my presence.”
Faramir smiled and reached out to clasp the ambassador’s hand. “It is a cursed place only to the enemies of Gondor. You, Tahir, are her friend.”
“I believe Folcred and Fastred would rest easier in their grave should a man of Harad come there in friendship,” said Aragorn, grasping Tahir’s other hand.
“Then, my esteemed friends, I shall come,” said Tahir. “I have come to Gondor on a quest of peace.”
A week later, the three men left their horses with their guards and walked, heads bowed, towards Haudh in Gwanûr. As they approached the mound, Tahir hesitated slightly. Faramir noticed his disquiet and patted his shoulder. The Ambassador walked resolutely forward. The mound was a forbidding place and the grey overcast day did little to help.
Aragorn spoke solemn words of remembrance beside the tomb. Faramir then spoke of the gratitude of his longfather Túrin for the sacrifice the Rohirrim had made that day. Faramir nodded to Tahir to step forward with his olive branch. The Ambassador laid it reverently upon the mound and the three turned to walk away.
Just then, the sun came out and a flock of doves flew across the river.
“Your quest is achieved, my friend,” said Faramir, gazing across the tranquil river . “I sense the slain are at peace now.”
“May the peace between our people endure as long as the Oath of Eorl,esteemed friends,” said Tahir.