Defeat by Pentangle|
No summary provided.
"It is over. We failed."
Aragorn sat on a boulder in the dark courtyard. Every line of his body spoke of pain, fatigue, and depression. His friend Legolas stood close by. He was somewhat the worse for wear, himself, but as always he looked first to the welfare of his gwador.
"You fought well, Aragorn. You led us as no leader has since the elder days. We nearly won."
"This was not a contest where 'nearly' gets you anything but ruin and ashes. There is no 'second place', there is no 'almost.' The enemy won. There is nothing left for us. Send them all home, Legolas, the few that can still move, to wait for the inevitable. Or let them hide, thinking they can buy themselves some time. It will all come to the same in the end."
"Aragorn, I cannot believe you are saying these things! What I see before me is not the man I followed willingly into chaos and danger."
"That man is gone, Legolas. Gone in defeat and humiliation."
"Yes, you are hurt, exhausted, and defeated. Yes, it appears there is no hope. Surely, we have never before been brought so low. Our enemies have ground our faces in the dirt - "
Aragorn shot him an exasperated glance.
"But will you simply lie down and wait for fate to take you? We must find a new base to strike from! We will gather the survivors and find others to join us! Do you mean to let the darkness sing of victory over our homes, all we hold dear, without a fight?"
"There is no point, Legolas. The evil has won. We will never summon the power to make a comeback. There is no heart in me for the fight. Not anymore."
"Aragorn! You were brought up to have little reverence for my father, but this much can be said of him: through the deepening darkness, as the Greenwood became Mirkwood, he never yielded one clod of earth without a fight! The enemy never once saw his back! Are you less than he?" He drew a deep breath and spoke more moderately, "We will begin again –"
"There is no safe place, anymore, Legolas! I am surprised we have been left in peace this little while. They will be coming soon to drag us back, to display us as trophies! They will haul us before their warriors, while the entire enemy's cohort sings songs of victory and plans our hideous end."
Aragorn suddenly leapt to his feet, shaking his fists to the sky and screaming a raw, throat tearing cry of anguish and anger. He turned sharply to the elf.
"And you my friend, my best friend in all this world, look at you! They have dragged half the hair from your head, your tunic is red with blood, and I am sure your arm is broken. Gimli has a split head and they said they would set his beard on fire! And the others! Never have I seen such carnage…."
Just then a limping, bandaged dwarf entered the courtyard where Legolas and Aragorn were hiding. He saw the miserable human and the defiant elf and huffed into his beard.
"Are you two still going on about it? You would think no one ever lost a pitball match before! Come on! The ale is cold, the venison is hot, and the sooner we let them have their little fun the sooner it will be over!"
He grabbed Aragorn's arm and the three limped into the dining hall as the jeering, cheering crowd crowed their victory. The tables were groaning with meat and drink. Farimir stood behind his chair and raised his tankard high. His voice led the enemy in song:
We beat the King!
We beat the King!
The Stewards are both bold and great -
The score was 24 to 8!
We beat the King!