Usual disclaimers: Neither the characters nor Minis Tirith belongs to me.

Chapter 9 - Manifestly Illegal

The Guards of the Citadel and the strangers looked warily at each other. There had been a blue flash of light in the depths of the Halls of the Dead. The strangers had come around the corner and seen Denethor order his men to put Faramir on the pyre. At first the strangers had looked solemn, and their leader, a tall, silver-haired man, took off his hat. Then the one who looked like a woman of the Rohirrm, save for her short hair, had yelled, "He's still alive, sir, but very ill. He needs medical attention."

The change in the chamber was as sudden as summer lightning. Their leader's face took on a look of righteous outrage.

"You're going to burn a man alive? Are you nuts?"

Denethor looked at the strangers with disdain. "You do not understand. He is burning with the fever already. I would sooner see my son..."

Denethor did not have an opportunity to finish his sentence.

"Your son? Your own son?" shouted the man, his voice echoing painfully loud in the stone chamber. "Carter, Daniel, get that man off that pyre now!"

Denethor had objected. There was a very brief fight. The man with spectacles and the woman drew strange weapons that hissed and shot lightning bolts. Denethor and three members of the Citadel Guard collapsed. The others hung back, dismayed. How could they fight these weapons of dark wizardry?

The tall man's eyes swept the group, and he pointed his weapon at Lathavir.

"You, explain this," the man demanded.

Lathavir gulped. Why him? He finally managed to find his tongue.

"The Lord Faramir is dying of the Black Breath. There is no hope for him," he said.

"But throwing a man on a fire while he's still alive? Are you all as crazy as your leader?" the man's outrage had managed to increase.

"He is our sworn lord, and we must obey him, even if we question the wisdom of his decisions," Lathavir said, aware even as he said the word that his explanation was lacking.

The leader of the strangers rolled his eyes. "And if he ordered you to attack a village and kill all the women and children, would you do that?" he challenged.

"Of, of course not, my lord" stammered Lathavir. "That would be unthinkable."

"Because?" the man demanded, obviously expecting a response.

"Because it would not be a lawful command, my lord," came the slow response.

"Yes, he finally gets it!" Colonel Jack O'Neill of Stargate Command shook his head.

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OK, more serious than most of the scenes in this series. I couldn't help myself - it was a natural. If there is one thing that happened in LOTR that would make O'Neill lose it completely, it would have been this scene.