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A Soldier's Lot - by GreyLadyBast

"We ride to war!! We shall reclaim what was stolen by the usurpers of Gondor!!! To War!!!" the speaker cries out, shaking his weapon. He is rousing the troops, preparing us to ride in the name of Sauron.

In truth, his words do not move me. I did not wish to leave my wife and daughter to make war at the behest of Sauron. Yes, I know those of Gondor have oppressed us. I am aware the Blood of Numenor betrayed us long years ago. I simply do not see what all this ancient history has to do with my life now. We of the Haradrim are prosperous, in our way. We lacked for little until the Lord Sauron came and inflamed our leaders with old hatreds. What good are old hatreds to anyone? Let them lie, I say. Past is past and done is done, my father always said, and there is no good in stirring up trouble. Let Gondor look to Gondor, and Sauron, with his foul Orcs, look to Sauron. We of the Haradrim should look to ourselves.

I do not understand why our leaders cleave unto this Sauron, anyway. The mere mention of his name makes my flesh crawl. I feel no good can come of fighting for him. It seems to me that we should be fighting against him, but that is not my decision. I do not like it. I do not have to.

It is not my lot set policy, nor to council kings. I am a soldier. I go where I am sent, fight who I am instructed to fight, die when it is time to die. I wish it were not so. Before this war, I was a cobbler. I would much prefer to be at home, making useful and beautiful shoes for my people. But this is war, and war does not need cobblers.

I miss my profession. I miss my shop, my customers, the feel of my tools and the smell of the leather. I miss my wife and my daughter, so beautiful and beloved. I want only to return to my life, to hold my family again. I hope I make it home alive.


We march. Endless and unchanging, we march to war. The marmakil lead of course, with the officers from the nobility astride them. As a simple craftsman, I march behind. The marmakil leave their droppings and we in ranks must take care not to step in them. The march goes on.

With me march others of my class. Ahmond the Jeweler is several ranks ahead of me. His son often plays with my daughter, at home where we belong. Ahmond and I have made plans for them to marry once the war is over.

Next to me marches Takat the Tailor, my best friend in all the world. He catches my eye and smiles.

"You are quiet, friend Kujan. Think you we will see battle soon?" he asks.

"I am certain we will. We do ride past Ithilien on our way to accursed Gondor. Their Rangers will not suffer us to pass lightly," I reply.

Takat nods in agreement. "I hear they ride demon steeds that breathe fire and eat the souls of men," he comments.

I snort. "You pay too much attention to the tales of the bards."

My friend laughs. "Ah yes, flights of fancy are not to your liking. Lisel complains of it often to Sorchet," he teases me.

I wish he would not mention our wives. I miss my Lisel with a physical ache. Ah, Lisel, sweetest flower in our land! Your hair is like unto the raven’s wing, your skin the silken brown of sweet tea, your eyes golden as new honey. Golden eyes are rare among our people, yet yours shine only for me. I would give anything to be home with you now, with you and our daughter. Instead, I march while Takat chatters unheard beside me.


The battle was long and fierce. The barbarians are as fearsome as the tales claim, though their steeds do not breathe fire. Many men have died, including Ahmond the Jeweler. I myself have taken many grievous wounds. They are fatal, I believe.

It is not as difficult as I expected, the dying. I ache more for my daughter, now fatherless, and for my Lisel, now husbandless. I pray Takat will take care of them, if he lives, and his wife Sorchet will comfort them.

My body is flung away from battle. I land hard, but I do not feel it. I look up, to catch my last glimpse of sky. I wish I could see my homeland one more time, but I cannot. I must make do with simple sky.

Standing above me is a child with the face of a man. The bards tell of his kind, but I did not believe until now. This creature out of legend looks down at me. His face is full of pity and confusion. I would answer his questions, if I could. I would tell him of my home. I would tell him how my wife and daughter adore the tales of his kind. I wish I could return to tell Lisel I saw one of her legends come to life. She would have loved to hear of it.

I watch him watch me die. A tear slips down his oddly mature little face. I notice he is unshod. I think I must craft shoes for him someday.

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