The Cries of the West (by PSW)

Summary:  Pippin finds some measure of peace, as the front lines of Sauron’s hosts fall upon the armies of the West before the Black Gate.
Category:  Lord of the Rings
Genre:  Classic Fantasy
Rated:  G
Word Count:  1125


The Cries of the West
Summary: Pippin finds some measure of peace, as the front lines of Sauron’s hosts fall upon the armies of the West before the Black Gate.
Rating: G


The first assault fell upon them and the terror was suddenly gone, scoured away as if by some great unseen scrub-brush until his soul was free of it.  Peregrin, son of Paladin, Hobbit of the Shire, raised his sword and looked upon all the hosts of Mordor, and he was not afraid.

I wish Merry could see this …

He didn’t really wish his friend into the path of onrushing orcs and Easterlings and Nazgûl, of course … but that was past mattering, anyway.  Frodo and Sam were dead. The quest had failed and the Ring, if not already within Sauron’s grasp, would be taken soon enough. It was the end, the last push before the final fall, and they would all meet it eventually whether here before the Black Gate or on the battlements of Gondor or in a cozy hole in the Shire.

The Shire.

Home seemed so dreadfully far away now, not only in leagues but in lifetime and memory.  They hadn’t been gone so long, really, but Pippin felt ancient—as though all he had seen and heard had added years on top of years.  As though even if he were somehow magically transported to the Shire this very instant, he would arrive older than the Old Took had ever been.

Older than Bilbo, even.

The thought of the old Hobbit brought a fierce grin to his lips, even as the foul screeches of the Enemy battered his ears and his heart.  He wished for Merry by his side, but he was glad that Bilbo was nowhere near, no matter how vain Elrond’s defense of Rivendell would eventually prove.  

I don’t want the Elves to die.  I hope they just pack up and go.  I wish I was going with them.

No.  No, you don’t, Peregrin Took.

No, he didn’t.  Somehow, for reasons that would elude him even if he lived another hundred years, this moment had been laid upon him—him, of all his kindred.  It was his fate to represent the Shire here, in this last great stand.  Elves battled beside him, and bold Men and staunch Dwarves in the razor-sharp axe of Gimli, son of Glóin.  Without him, Pippin Took, the Shire would have no final blow, no scream of defiance in the face of annihilation.  Not that screams of defiance were generally the Hobbit way, but Pippin thought that in this case his people would approve.  They’d probably even line up behind him and throw rocks at the oncoming wall of shields.

There, Sauron, what do you think of that?  Hobbits aren’t so easily overcome!

He was proud to be here, to be the one chosen by the Valar—maybe even Eru Himself, and that realization made him want to laugh and to weep—for this task.  He was crushed with sorrow and dizzy with anticipation and heavy with the dread knowledge of what had come, but Pippin the Hobbit was glad to stand before the Black Gate at the last, with Beregond’s sword at his right and the tall ranks of Gondor at every turn.  His friends were with him and he with them, having given them no final cause to regret his inclusion in their Fellowship.

I wonder where are Strider and the rest?

The Shadow threw everything into dim relief, but even so the black banner of the King drew Pippin’s searching eye, the white tree and stars blazing forth against the Enemy’s darkness.  His glance fell on Aragorn and without meaning to, he sucked in his breath.

He looks like a real king.  Like he was born to lead us right here, against this foe.  And close upon it, Pippin, you ass, I guess he was.

Indeed, it seemed to Pippin as though all not essential to the King within had burned away from Aragorn, leaving the Man tall and unbowed even in the face of defeat.  His eyes shone with an inner light, his gaze was fierce, his bearing proud. Some of the weight left Pippin’s heart.

Yes, I’ll follow him even to my death.

Pippin saw now that the same spirit blazed forth from many of his comrades, as if stripped by this last confrontation to their very core, and he wondered what they would see if they should happen to look toward him.  Close by, Beregond was stern and steady. Beneath the green banner with the white horse, a joyful ferocity radiated from Éomer, King of the Mark. Years of resistance against the Shadow and the love of his new lord sat upon Prince Imrahil, even as he marshaled his own banner beside the white tree.  Near the King, beneath the black banner, fought the sons of Elrond, fell and grim as the long years of their struggle found an end at last. There also was Gimli, Glóin’s son, solid and immovable as the granite he so loved, and Legolas Thranduilion, the fey light of his wild folk shining in his countenance.  And Gandalf …

Ah, Gandalf!

Gandalf stood above all, and as his long labors fell before the scheming and wrath of the great Enemy, he was terrible to behold.  Power shone forth from him, in his eyes and his hair and his white raiment. His staff blazed in one hand, impossible to gaze upon, and a sword gleamed in the other.  Pippin stumbled and turned away, battered by knees and boots and bodies on every side, and in that moment he wept.

Gandalf, I’m so sorry it has come to this!

But the instant passed, and the shrieks of Sauron’s host pierced the dead air as his ranks pressed their beleaguered foe.  Thereafter was nothing but sword and blood, buffeting and death, and amid the orc voices Pippin heard the cries of the West rise up.  “Elendil!” “Rohan!” “Gurth a chyth-in-edhil!”  “Gondor!  Gondor!” “Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!

A troll bore down upon Beregond and Pippin leapt to his friend’s aid, adding his own voice to the tumult.

The Shire!  For the Shire!


Aragorn stood beneath his banner, silent and stern, as one lost in thought of things long past or far away; but his eyes gleamed like stars that shine the brighter as the night deepens.  Upon the hill-top stood Gandalf, and he was white and cold and no shadow fell on him.

~~The Field of Cormallen, The Return of the King.

***The End***

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