A/N: This story was written in response to a challenge on the HennethAnnun mailing list. The requirements were that it be 500 words or less and focusing on the remembrance of war in some way. This story is a companion to my other story, "Myth and Memory" which you can find here at ff dot net.
The Lord of the Rings
I know you remember well the deeds and sacrifices at Helm's Deep, the Pelennor, and the Black Gate. Great deeds they were, my grandson, and truly great sacrifices. We have songs to honor the victors of those battles and tales to remember the lost: Théoden-King on the Pelennor, Hama before Helm's Deep.
But on this Day of Remembrance, I have not brought you to the Hornburg, and Gondor is too far to take my old bones on a journey. So I have brought you here, and do you know why?
A battle was fought here, and some may call it great, though few remain now who remember it. If not for this battle, our people would not have survived to fight the others. Thirty-four men fell here for Rohan, and neither grave nor song do they have.
Yes, it was the wargs. And it was here that the Elf--yes, Legolas of Ithilien, though I knew not his name then--here he saved my life. But I did not bring you here to tell of the Elf. You know that story by heart. No, I brought you here to tell of the thirty-four, but mainly of just one. The one whose name you carry.
It was here that I lost Yonwin to the wargs and here that I obeyed the king's order to let him lie. And here the wargs came again and robbed him of a grave. I thought then, as our tired army returned home from war, that Yonwin was forever beyond me. I realize now that was untrue. He only went before me, and I shall see him again soon.
But let us not think of death this day, but of life. Yonwin was a lad full of it until he met this field. From boyhood we were friends and not seldom did we find ourselves mucking the stalls for the mischief we made. Yonwin could make me laugh like no other even in the grimmest of times. And such was his lifetime, for then the Wormtongue ruled through our spell-bound king. It grieved him greatly, for he was fiercely loyal. His proudest day was his first day at the door. And mine, for he shared joy with others, and sorrow in equal measure. When Théodred was taken, he grieved as if it was his own brother who had died, and moreso because our king did not--until Gandalf released him.
I often wonder what he would have thought of the world we now live in, free of the Shadow in the East. But I do not have to wonder too hard, my boy, because I see him in your smile and hear him in your laughter. You remind me much of him, and it is fitting then that you, too, are Yonwin. He would be proud that one such as you carries his name, and prouder to still to know that next month you will take your place at the door in service to your King.
copyright 2003 Gabrielle Lawson
I would reccommend the whole challenge to you for thoughtful and chilling reading on the subject of war: www dot slash challenge slash contentreview dot cfm?STID1939&NGID88. You'll have to replace "dot" and "slash" with dots and slashes and remove spaces to make that URL work.