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A marching song for all


MusicRating; K

Summary; Soldiers always have marching songs… When Thorongil introduces one to his company as a diversion, he never guesses how permanent the message will be



2977 Third Age

The soldier looked up sharply as he heard his name called “Yes sir?”

The captain of their patrol smiled “Tell me, do the men have a song they sing as they march homeward?”

Arasson searched his memory quickly then shook his head “No Captain, we daren’t sing, in case it brings the orcs down on us.” He watched the other man look slowly around, scanning everywhere.

“There are no orcs, if there are, the horses will smell them before we do. He patted his chestnut’s neck affectionately “Now will you sing.”

Another soldier spoke up “As Arasson said my lord, we have no suitable songs.” Then he looked crafty “Do you have one you would teach us Captain Thorongil?”

“Aye, that I do.” All heads were lifted as their leader cleared his throat and began to sing,

“A solider was there
Once of old
Of heart he was so very bold

A maid he loved
oh deeply true
What she looked like
I cannot tell you

And ever when he rode away
She would bid him to bide and stay
So to she he would come trooping back
With sword in scabbard and gifts in pack


Gifts for her
His lady fair
Gifts beautiful
Beyond compare

And the only gift that she did take
Was his return and…”

All the soldiers held their breath, eyes glittering. Thorongil smiled back at them “Finish it as you will men!”

A hearty, and bawdy, laugh greeted the words and the captain began to sing again. Slowly one after another they picked up the tune, yelling it to the open sky.

“A solider was there
Once of old
Of heart he was so very bold

A maid he loved
oh deeply true
What she looked like
I cannot tell you

And ever when he rode away
She would bid him to bide and stay
So to she he would come trooping back
With sword in scabbard and gifts in pack


Gifts for her
His lady fair
Gifts beautiful
Beyond compare

And the only gift that she did take
Was his return and…”

Numerous poorly rhymed suggestions disrupted the rhythm that had been established, with each man shouting out his own finale.

Then Thorongil heard Cellin take up his pipe and play along to the tune, twirling it into flight. As the men began to thump the beat he fell silent, seeing in their eyes that each thought of their own woman as the lady of the song. As the missing line came around for a final time, with the gates of the White City in sight, he quietly whispered the true ending

“A kiss for their love’s sake”

Fourth Age

“I’m bored” the young ranger’s plaintive voice grated in Faramir’s ears

“Hush” He scanned the horizon again, spotting a silhouette. The rumble of hooves reached him and both dropped flat just before a horse bounded over them.

“Hail Steward” cried the rider, wheeling his stallion to face them and raising an arm.

Faramir returned the salute “Hail King” The rider came forward and whistled. From behind a copse two horses appeared

I thought you would rather ride back” Grey eyes met, the speaker’s pair twinkling.

With a laugh Faramir vaulted up into the saddle “And I thank you for thinking so correctly.”

“Give us a song Captain…”

Faramir sighed “If it will stop you whining Saerphen.” He drew a breath, letting the notes flow free as he thought of Éowyn

“A ranger was there
Once of old
Of heart he was so very bold

A maid he loved
oh deeply true
What she looked like
I cannot...

“Sire!?” The word came out sharp with alarm as he saw Aragorn jerk in the saddle “Sire, are you hurt?”

The king shook his head, looking slighty bemused “No… that song… Where did you learn it?”

Faramir frowned in confusion “Old Arasson taught it to me and Boromir when we were younglings.”

Aragorn smiled “Of course, he asked for it, that first time.” Faramir met his eyes, confusion still controlling his brain “Sire?”

“Sing the rest will you Faramir?”

He obliged

I cannot tell you

And ever when he rode away
She would bid him to bide and stay
So to she he would come trooping back
With sword in scabbard and gifts in pack


Gifts for her
His lady fair
Gifts beautiful
Beyond compare

And the only gift that she did take
Was his return and
A kiss for old time’s sake

He looked over at the king, suddenly aware that a second voice had joined his on the last verse.

“You know all the words?”

Aragorn smiled “I wrote it.”

Comprehnsion began to dawn “Then the lady…”

“Is Arwen” The grey eyes shone “But as you have shown, as did my company before you, … It is a marching song for all."




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