Part 57 – In the Wake of the Retaking
Theomin did not know what to do. He did not know the man who was is father but he could not help but grieve that the only man who he had finally found had fallen. He looked to Teryndir who was on the verge of tears. Teryndir then turned and pushed his way through the wardens in a hurry. Theomin was left by the side of Athegdir along with the rest of the mournful wardens.
He rose up, as he looked at the dead body of Athegdir and turned. He could not feel more lost than he did at that moment. He looked away and wandered aimlessly through the wardens when a familiar sight caught his eyes. A woman was writhing in pain leaning up against the eastern building of Tyl Annun. It was the girl Amathwyn whome Theomin had only seen from a distance but never met. He walked over to her and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she said as she was sweating. “I’m fine.” But she clearly was not. She held her side, with discomfort on her face.
“Let me look at that,” he told her as he knelt down. With reluctance she removed her hand to allow Theomin to see. On her side, just north of her hip, there was a gash that was bleeding badly. “Why has nobody helped you?” Theomin asked her as he tried to assess if it was or was not just a simple wound.
“That is foolish. You could have had an infection and died of it.” Theomin looked at the wound deep inside. She jerked a little with pain, “Sorry,” he said. “It looks like you have poison in your wound.” He stood up, “I believe while making my way up toward the canal I saw some ingredience for a poison draught. I will return.”
He made his way back down the stairs and over the Arient, the bridge he and the wardens faught so fiercely to cross. Visions of the fight entered his head as fear pushed its way into his body. He knew he had nothing to fear as none of the enemy was left. Still, he could not shake the feeling. He found a little weed to help in the girl’s healing process. He reached down to pluck the weed but found his hand uncontrollably shaking. He removed his glove and just staired at it as it continued to shake. He began panicking, his heard raced, and started to sweat as a tear started to form. He began breaking down. He could not believe what he had just done. He could not believe the suffering and death he saw and he inflicted and the many men he left behind. He had to push those thoughts away as he had to tend to the poison in Amathwyn’s wound. He quickly made a fist with his hand, pushed his emotions aside, put his glove back on, wiped away the tears composed himself and plucked the weed. He picked up two old bottle on the way and washed them in the cool water of the canal. He then smashed the weed into small particles and mixed it in the water to give to Amathwyn. He then took the other bottle, washed it and filled it up with the canal water.
Theomin returned to Amathwyn, who was still sitting on the side of building, bleeding and in pain. He gave her the draught, washed off her wound and placed the salve on the wound. As he bandaged her he wrapped his arms around her but felt her twinge a bit. “Did I hurt you again?”
She blushed, “No,” and then smiled, “no you didn’t.”
“Can I help?” Eleswith asked as she came up unexpectedly.
“Yes,” Theomin said. He felt strangely flustered as he rose up. “You can uh…” he pointed at Amathwyn, “finish her dressings.” He started off.
“Where are you going?” Amathwyn asked.
“I just need some time alone,” he said was he walked away.
Through the afternoon, Theomin wandered the once great city of Annuminus. Its ruined walls and ruined halls were crumbled but not beyond repaire. Death surrounded the city with Angmarim, trolls, and wardens all strewn about the great city. “It should be renamed the City of Death,” he said aloud in a whisper to himself. A little while later Eleswith walked up to Theomin.
“What are you doing over here?” she asked.
“I am wondering,” he replied, confused.
“How it all went so wrong,” he said slowly shaking his head.
“All went wrong? What went wrong, Theomin?”
He looked about the city sorrowfully, “I started out with twenty men. Of the twenty, only four remain living. Father is dead. I was dragged to war when all I wanted was peace. Peace of mind to know who my true family was and to be at peace in my heart.” He looked at Eleswith, “I now have none of that. I wonder what I could have done for my men. Could I have ordered them a different way? Could I have defended them better?” He then paused and looked at her, “If this is what victory feels like, I want no part of it.”
“Stop thinking like that,” Eleswith said, not believing what he was saying. “You will go mad thinking, ‘What could I have done to protect them?’ or ‘What could I have done to prevent so many from dying?’ Some live, some die. That is the nature of war. You cannot predict who is going to die and you cannot protect all under your command. You did the best you could and it made me…” she paused. Theomin looked at her waiting for her to finish what she was saying, “I was impressed. I was very proud to be by your side.”
What else did she want to say, he wondered. “Thank you for being by my side.” They shared a smile but Theomin tried to break the moment, “So, I was thinking about returning to Tinnudir. This armor is a bit too heavy and hot for me.”
“Have you ever faced death like this?” she suddenly asked, preventing Theomin from changing the subject.
Theomin’s face turned serious again, “Not like this.”
“Do not feel guilt. I know you do. So many died and you start to ask yourself why you were not amongst them? Why you survived when so many, including your father, died. It took a long time to reconcile what happened to the man I loved. What happened to him just happened and I cannot change it. What I could change was my outlook on my own life. ” She started to leave but turned, “Life is for the living, Theomin. Don’t live amonst the dead.” She turned and walked away. Theomin, again, found himself alone among all the dead scattered throughout the crumbling city.
The rest of the afternoon Theomin spent amongst the aged halls of the great city. He was not sure what he was wanting to do or see or accomplish. He just wandered the city aimlessly until Sergee, who was on horseback, tracked him down. “Theomin,” he said while on his horse, “We are all gathering at Tyl Annun to pay our last respects to father. Care to join us?”
“Yes,” he said. “I will make my way up there.”
“Sure you would not like to climb on back of my horse?”
“I am fine. Thank you,” Theomin said.
Sergee trotted off back eastward as Theomin slowly made his way up to the funeral of his father. As he made it to the isle of Tyl Annun he continued between the large buildings of Ost Elendil. Theread they were gathered on the northern outlook of the tall isle. A pile of large rocks were stacked beside a tree as each spoke of their memory of Athegdir. Teryndir was speaking at the time Theomin arrived but Theomin could not hear a word that was said. It was not that he could not hear him, he could not move himself to listen to his brother. Finally somebody nudged him, “Care to speak?” Sergee leaned in and whispered to Theomin.
The sudden realization that he had to say something about his father placed anxiety on him as he did not prepare anything and he did not know his father too well at all. But he had to say something, “I knew father for far less a time than anyone here,” he said. It was tough to hear his own voice speak out amongst such a large crowd, but he continued on, “But none hear had traveled the distance I did to finally meet him. What do I know of my father but a brash man who was bent on retaking this city. Strong willed and strong tempered, quick to judge and quick to shut anyone down who opposed him. As bad as that sounds, that was needed to forged the force that ultimately took the city in victory. In the brief time that I knew him, I learned that he loved his sons greatly too, and that no other person would be able to take our place. One of his last words spoken to me as he layed dying, was ‘Do not leave. My sons need each other. Do not forsake them and return home.” He paused, almost in deep thought, “Even so close to death his last thoughts were of us. There was something a good friend of mine said to me. ‘Life is for the living. Do not live amongst the dead.’ But I know that I must honor not only Athegdir but all who fell this day. This memorial here is not just for one great man, but for all of the great men that served us in our time of need. Let us not forget them as we honor him.” He stopped and there was a long pause in silence.
Amathwyn then started to sing in a soft delicate voice,
When the sun has gone away
You may feel that the world
Is dark forever.
The sky will fill with shining crystal glow
And the moon then shines on Lake Nenuial
Then the sun will rise and you will find
The dark won’t last forever.
When Amathwyn finished her song, one by one, over the span of ten minutes, the mouners returned to their duties as they fixed food, cleaned the city, or just continued to care for the wounded. Only Theomin, Teryndir, and Sergee remained by the grave of their father. They stood sadly looking at the stacked stones where their father layed but none spoke. It was a quiet and somber mourning.
“I have known him the longest,” Teryndir finally said. “What was it father used to say about quiet times like this?” He tried to remember, almost groaning as he hated that he could not recall what he said. “It was something about the calm he did not trust.” He looked around, possibly for clues. Theomin and Sergee were stumped as to what he used to say. “Ah, I have it. ‘Never trust a silent time because silence always leaves us blind.’ Somehow I feel that applies to us now.”
“How does that apply to us?” Theomin asked.
“I know not what either of you are thinking about,” Teryndir said. “How has father’s death impacted you?”
“I know not yet. It has been less than a day,” Theomin said. Sergee remained silent.
“Father asked you to stay here?” Teryndir asked.
“He did,” answered Theomin.
Theomin looked down. He did not want to be bothered with the question at that moment because he wanted to honor his father with reverence and to not dwell on such monumental decisions at his memorial, “I am not yet sure.”
Teryndir did not look at Theomin when he said, “Maybe it would be best if you had left,” Teryndir said. “Best for all of us.”
Sergee looked at Teryndir with shock, “How can you say that? How can you just send off your brother like that?”
Teryndir gave a sneer to Theomin, “He is an ill omen. Two men died the day Enedion arrived. Orcs started gathering in the lands east and south of Esteldin and…” He started to choke on the words he was speaking, “and father is dead. What other ill omens do you need before you agree with me.”
“There are no ill omens, Teryndir. If there were, more good positive omens there have been than bad ones. We took the city of our ancestors. That has not been done unail he came. In part, we have Theo…Enedion for that. Sorry, Enedion. I continue to call you Theomin.”
“We would have had victory whether he was here or not. He played no real part in the retaking of Annuminus. Be not on his side. He is an ill omen and I will not be party to any other decisions so long as he is still here,” Teryndir then parted their company with rage.
“I believe I must go then,” Theomin said. “It was time for me to go anyway. I did my part. You will be fine without me.”
“Do not be a fool like Teryndir. He has always had a dark spirit. I, for one, am glad you are here. I am also proud of you. What I said before about you having courage was emphasized by what you did today. Go not to your home in Rohan. Stay here with your family. Stay here with us.” He looked down, “I know I cannot change your mind on staying, but with father gone, I have not a good family member to hold on to. I never liked Teryndir. He is brash, like his father but worse. He wants everything his way. Only father could tame him. I need you here to be the balance between his hot headedness and your kind but rational heart. The choice is yours.” He then walked away, leaving Theomin in a quandary.
The hour grew late and he had stayed on that isle for a very long time. He contemplated about staying or leaving. All of his thoughts dwelled on part of his father’s last words to him. “Do not leave. My sons need each other. Do not forsake them and return home.” Like his decision back in Esteldin, his heart wanted to go home to see his mother. See his father. See his sister and brothers and run his hands through the dry Wold grass. Smell the scent of pine in the warm Wold wind. Watch the Anduin run down through the eastern boarder of Rohan. See the town on the hill. The town that started him off on his great adventure. What started off in the wake of the razing of the town was nothing less then the greatest adventure of his life. He knew that if he looked upon the charred remains of that old town again he would always remember what could have been. What he did at Helm’s Deep for the family. What happened to the old veteran. His friend, Eleswith of Dale. The horrible man Kronog the Unjust and the Truth Seeker who aided him and the aid of the Twilight Host in Eregion. He had a long journey but he started to realize at that moment, it was not over. He still had more work that needed doing. More aid that his family needed.
As he wandered south from Tyl Annun, he thought of his legacy. What would be his legacy? Would he be the one marshall that turned and left his duty? He stopped on the great bridge, the Arient, and he looked upon the great city of Annuminus and realized, this is his legacy. He needed to preserve it. He needed to preserve his family line and only then, could he return home at last.
That concludes “The Family Line – In the Wake of the Razing.” I greatly appreciate the support Lotro Players has given me through this whole year and allowing me to share my story with everyone. Though challenging, it has been an absolute pleasure to write this. Thank you Andang who has always been an awesome support and your kind “Better and Better” words lightened my heart. Thank you to the readers who have gone along with Theomin from the very beginning and those who came on board throughout the year and stuck with it even after binge reading (to my knowledge Karvett, Pineleaf, Marryrose and Leandir). It was your comments and your support that helped me continue on, even when I felt nobody was reading.
Lastly, I want to thank all of the players who helped me along with the story by playing the parts in the screenies of my characters. Many from Rangers of the West on Gladden including Araethert, Balcome, Hersery, Leander, Patwen and Thorsal and also from the Exiles of Valinor including Chimo and Shae helped with their characters. I really appreciated all your help and support!
In September, Theomin will be returning…