And the Candle Went Out, Chapter 1
A hurried messenger rode up the streets of Minas Tirith. He had urgent news for the Steward. He went first to the Throne-room, where the Steward should usually be found, but the Lord Faramir wasn’t there. A near-by guard told him that the Lord Faramir was spending the afternoon with the Lady Eowyn of Rohan and the Hobbit, Meriadoc, in the gardens. The messenger immediately made his way to find the Steward.
He found Faramir, just where the guard had said. The Steward was sitting in the green grass under a small tree, and by him were Eowyn and Merry. They were busy in conversation while eating a delicious lunch.
“My Lord Faramir,” the messenger said.
The young Steward turned his head and saw the messenger for the first time. “Yes,” Faramir said anxiously, “Do you bring news of the Battle?”
“Yes, my lord, though it is bad news.”
“What has happened,” said Faramir with a cool voice though a worry was waking in his eyes.
“We lost. Our army has been destroyed. The King is dead. Only me and a few others lived to bring this news.”
“Who are those others, sir?” said Lady Eowyn worriedly, “Does my brother live?”
“I am sorry, my Lady, your brother, the King of Rohan, was lost. Only five of us ordinary soldiers survived, no one else,” said the messenger.
“Is my small Cousin…dead… too?” asked Merry through his tears.
“I am afraid so.”
A silence fell among the company; a great sorrow was painted on each of their faces. Their fears had come true. Sauron prevailed. The Ring was not yet destroyed. Merry, overcome by sorrow, left the company and slowly went to his room. Eowyn also left.
“What is there to be done now? What can we do against this wave of darkness that is preparing to engulf us?” said Faramir softly.
“You are our Steward, sir. You now are the leader of Gondor. We wait for your command,” said the messenger.
Faramir bowed his head in silence for a while, and then looking up said, “What is your name, Soldier?”
“My name is Telmacar, son of Teladan, my lord.”
“Tell me, Telmacar, what became of Lord Aragorn? What happened to Mithrandir? Was even the White Wizard destroyed in the end?” asked Faramir.
“The tide of orcs and other hideous creatures swept upon us as a flood upon dry land. First, our army was split in two. I, as well as many other men, were cut off from the King and the White Wizard. I never saw, with my own eyes, their fall. When about only fifty of us men were left, we began retreating, yet forty of us fell before we reached safety. Thus, there were ten of us men together, and we have two horses. The other nine men are at the City gates five of them are wounded,” Telmacar reported.
“Have those who are wounded brought to the Houses of Healing where their hurts can be tended to, as for you and the others, prepare for orders. I shall conclude what is to be done, by the morning.”
Eowyn sat on her bed in silence, looking out her small window. In all her life, she never felt as alone as she felt now. During all her other troubles in her life Eomer was usually always there for her. Now he was gone. Rohan was without a King.
Faramir went to his quarters. Taking a seat by the fire, he sat in thought, wondering what was to be done. It wouldn’t be long before Mordor’s army came to finish off the already injured City. There would be no hope in trying to fight off the assault this time. Their only choice would be to leave the White City.
Faramir had lived in Minas Tirith all his life, and to abandon it to the Enemy would be hard. Yet, he had to think of the people of Minas Tirith, his people. But where would they go? Where could they be safe from the black storm of death? Maybe in Rohan? Yet, the Black Tide, in time, will also engulf the Land of the Horselords, and even all of Middle-earth. “Alas! That I should live to see such times as these,” thought Faramir. And he bowed his head and wept.
That evening Faramir walked in the garden alone. He stared up into the large sky above him, which even now, was becoming darker than before. The weight of his choice was heavy, and he wasn’t sure if he should flee or stand. A small voice interrupted his thoughts.
The troubled young steward looked down at the small hobbit staring up at him. One could clearly see he had been crying.
“Yes, Merry?” replied Faramir.
“What is to be done now? The march on the Black Gate has failed, and we don’t know what has become of Frodo,” said Merry with an anxious look.
“I have been pondering that, and my only conclusion is that the whole City should evacuate to Rohan. But even there we can not be safe for too long,” said Faramir, looking once again east as he had done so many times before.
“Do you think we still may have a chance? I mean, we don’t know if Frodo and Sam have failed or not. They could still be out there, can’t they?” asked Merry worriedly.
“I don’t know, Merry. Yet, we must try our best to last as long as we can. For there is only a certain amount of time until Sauron destroys us all.”
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