Part 73 – Theomin’s Desperate Return
After what felt like a very long while, Thoemin took the saddle bag from Arochon, a stablemaster in the forecourt of Esteldin. He had no time to make small talk or even search the saddle bag. Theomin had to be off with all speed back to Annuminus. What Amathwyn said before she died frightened him. “Teryndir would kill,” continued to play in his mind over and over as he gathered his saddle bag, fastened it to Bragga and headed off as quickly as possible westward into the dark of night.
“Let me tell you a story,” Teryndir said to a group of wardens as they sat, lit by a nearby bonfire on the upper court of Annuminus. “I had traveled all through Eriador. From Forochel to Eregion from the green hills of the Shire to the dwarven gates of Moria. Many a year I had to do such fantastic things and to meet many amazing people. A few years have passed since I met a person, much my same age. He was strong and bold. He had grand ideas for our lands, many of which I still believe in.”
Theomin passed through the Kingsfell and over the old wooden bridge that Amathwyn remembered playing on with Teryndir as a child. He pushed Bragga hard, harder than she had ever been pushed. Up the hills they went, up through Annundir and past many of the old ruins, not thinking twice about them or their origins. He just pushed Bragga hard. As he pushed her his thoughts were changing about who Teryndir was wanting to kill. If he could convince Amathwyn to murder him, who would Teryndir be so bold to kill? Herion? Sergee? Eleswith? The thoughts of losing his friends plagued him as he raced west.
“He believed,” Teryndir continued, “that in order for men to fully take Eriador, we need to remove the ones who stunt our growth. Those who do not belong to this land. Sure the elves will be leaving but there are some that hold no claim to this land. Dwarves, Dunlandings, Elves.”
“Orcs and goblins,” one of the wardens said.
“Tis interesting you mention the orcs. Orcs have been around since the days of the elves. Ancient and pure they are, being around since the first age. Their ways are widely misunderstood by the common folk such as us but they serve a single purpose, to serve their lord no matter the cost.”
Some of the wardens started to question what Teryndir was saying. Whispers and murmurs erupted amongst the wardens. “Are you saying you sympathize with those filthy creatures?” one warden asked as he was the voice of the wardens who were questioning Teryndir.
“What do you do when you come across an orc?” Teryndir asked.
“What else?” a warden said, “We kill it.”
Teryndir nodded. “You kill it,” he repeated knowingly, “Why was it there? What was its mission? Do you ever stop to ask that of it?”
“Their mission is to kill everything they see. To corrupt everything good in this world,” a warden said.
“But if we were to kill the orc, does that make us just as bad as they are? That is a question my good friend posed to me and that led me to follow his words and to practice what he was saying. He is a good man and a strong leader. Many have misunderstood him, including some in this very city.”
Theomin finally made it to the outskirts of the Fields of Fornost. Bragga had suddenly pushed and pulled on the reins. She was hesitant to enter the field at night. Theomin tried to push her to go but every push was met with a pull as she did not want to go.
“Come on, Girl,” Theomin said to Bragga, coaxing her to go. “Come on.” She just neighed and held her head down with fear.
At last, with a few minutes of pushing Bragga to go, she finally started again, despite her trepidation of going in to the Fields of Fornost in the dead of night.
“How can you follow a man who trusts orcs more than men?” one of the wardens asked.
“How can I not?” Teryndir replied. “Far more men have tried to kill me than have orcs. I had found myself agreeing more with my friend. The orcs of this land are here to aid us, not kill us. My friend has befriended them once they knew he would not murder them. He approached them with respect, not with steel. They taught him that men are not the problem in this land. Dwarves pillage and plunder the mountains for jewels and gold. They care not for the hills and mountains as they are. They rip and tear into them like a wyrm burrowing into the ground, destroying everything it comes across. Their love for gold is beyond measure. A plague they are on the land and civilized folk.”
“And what of the elves?” another warden asked.
“Elves,” he said shaking his head with disappointment, “they are the real hindrance. They hide in their places of refuge and disagree with everything men try to do. Their love for men is only a means to an end. They use men as a shield against the evils of the world, not realizing that they themselves, through their actions alone, are the real threat to Middle Earth. They care not for an inclusive relationship, but a parasitic one whose only goal is to live as long as they can, manipulating men to do their bidding for them. And they sit there, pious but without a shred of proof that they are greater than any other races. I tolerated those elves in Meluinen only to honor my father’s wishes. He was under the impression they were there to help us. But when something went wrong with elves, it was us men who killed the trolls who had just moved in or the horrible sickle fly infestation that plagued Meluinen. Where were they when the men of Rhudaur attacked us? Where were they wen the goblins attacked us from Dol Dinen? They were sitting there amongst their old ruins and collection of books and did nothing. Curses, I say, to those elves who think better of themselves.”
Theomin finally reached the end of the Fields of Fornost and continued along the road, speeding toward the Canadiach. It was not too long a time before he reached it but the air of dread that had filled the air around he and Bragga all through the Fields of Fornost and even through eastern Parth Aduial had cleared and it became a star-filled beautiful night. Beautiful it was had it not been for the impending doom he felt approaching the friends he loved dearly.
“What of the goblins? Are they any better than the orcs?” one warden asked.
As Teryndir was speaking with the wardens, Eleswith looked around the corner and listened intently at everything Teryndir was saying. Anger brewed inside of her as she listened and soaked up every word. She needed to listen to what he was saying and who the friend was that he was talking about.
“Not as evolved as Orcs. The goblins are more like mindless drones’ ants gathering around a nest, protecting and feeding their queen.” He shook his head, “Nasty creatures they can be.”
Just passing the colossus, Theomin was finally on the last stretch of the way to Annuminus. He could see the brightly lit city straddling the southern hills of Evendim. The bright full moon gave the land an ethereal glow, light enough to see everything around him in the dim light of the moon as he raced toward the city.
“My friends,” Teryndir said, “I do not need you to join with my friend and I. But I strongly urge you to reconsider your feelings of orcs.”
Theomin finally reached the gates of Annuminus. As the wardens greeted him he ignored them and continued running toward Gwaelband, hard and fast. It was not long before he felt the slow burn of exhaustion in his legs as he ran and ran hard and fast. Wardens here and there greeted Theomin but they too were ignored by Theomin.
“The orcs and the men of the north are not evil like many of the lead rangers would allow you to believe. They are just misunderstood. Like you said, if you see an orc, you kill it. You look not for why it is there or what other powers drove it to our lands. Are they really bad at heart? My friend and I know they are not. He talks to them. He works with them.”
“They are not as you or your friend would seem,” a voice came from around the corner. Eleswith came, sword drawn, toward Teryndir. “Stop filling these people’s ears with filth.”
“And what filth may that be, woman from Dale?” Teryndir asked mockingly. “Your people have been the main puppets of the elves and the dwarves. You said it yourself. They hid in their walls thinking only of the protection from those two races. They made your people fat and lazy. And now here you are. Away from all that just to be brought here with the same problems.”
“You would allow the orcs to run freely among the lands of the North Downs and Evendim. You would allow them to take not what is theirs. We fought the orcs in the Lone-Lands. Taidir, Herion, Theomin and I fought a large group of orcs here in Evendim. I knew not from whence they came but it is all too apparent to me now. You called for them. You brought them here to Evendim.”
“I did no such thing. I have no sway over orcs. They do as they are told by their own commander and I am not their commander. But if they were here I would welcome them with an open door far quicker than I would welcome you or your ilk.”
Eleswith came at Teryndir quickly with her sword. Unarmed, Teryndir raised his hands, showing he had no arms to defend himself. “You see,” he told the wardens, “you see? This is the problem with the race of men. Loyal they are not. We cannot trust them. We do not see the orcs killing each other over small grievances. They are loyal, sometimes to a fault.”
“Lies,” Eleswith half yelled and half whispered as she could not believe what Teryndir was saying.
At last, out of breath and out of strength, Theomin came to the meeting where Eleswith, Teryndir and the rangers were. He could barely stand when he looked at Eleswith holding her sword at the unarmed Teryndir. It only took a moment to assess what was happening when he looked at Eleswith, “Do it.”
“What?” Eleswith questioned Theomin.
“Do it, he tried to murder me,” Theomin said. “DO IT!” Eleswith was startled by Theomin’s insistence to kill his own brother. She started to lower her sword but Theomin told her again, “Kill him! Kill Teryndir! He tried to have me killed! DO IT!”
She turned her eyes to Teryndir. With as much strength as she could muster she kicked Teryndir down to the ground. She stood over him with a look of dominance but fear was behind her eyes as she held her sword over him. That was not who she was anymore. He was asking her to return to her old life. With that, her eyes began to tear up as she looked Teryndir in the eyes and said to him silently, “I’m sorry.” She placed her sword at his throat and began to push.
“Eleswith?” a voice came from the entrance. Sergee had walked Helesdir and Magla to the spot Teryndir was giving his speech. They all three stood there, shocked.