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This was in response to a prompt about bravery, in a group in an online writing community:
Write a 300 word maximum piece inspired by the quote:
“A day may come when the courage of men fails… but it is not this day.”
I misread the directions (isn't dyslexia wonderful?) so this is slightly over 300 words. This is from the point of view of a fisherman of Gondor, who finds himself at the battle before the Black Gate. Also added is a bit about a black-clad guardsman, to make it clear that this is not Beregond speaking.
The sound in my ears… I know somehow it’s made up of cries and screams and roars and inhuman shrieks, but to my ears, it blends and melds into the pounding of the surf and howl of the wind at the height of the storm—and the storm has broken upon us. Dull, it is, buried as I am, half under a fallen troll.
I think the Halfling slew the foul beast as it lifted the black-clad guardsman to his doom, but he is gone, buried, dead in all likelihood—safe from the breaking waves of battle around us.
Dead, as I shall be soon enough, drowning in this tumult of storm and wrack and blood, red of men and black of orcs and trolls and fouler things.
The Nazgul soar in the sky overhead, their shrieks sounding high above the rest of the din, unlikely seagulls riding the storm winds beating against us as we make our stand upon this lonely hill, far from home and hearth and sail.
I think I can free my arm…
Though I lie pinned, as one tangled in the rigging when the mast has broken in the wreck, still doing what I can, even as we crash upon the shoals, driven by storm winds—though I lie pinned, my sword arm is free, the hilt still in my hand—somehow the blade shines, stained with black blood, yet unbroken.
A fresh wave of orcs is breaking upon us; I swing my blade at the nearest, passing.
Hamstrung, the foul creature falls, yowling, and it twists to strike out, flailing about with its spike-studded weapon in all directions. The thrashing orc brings its weapon down in a crushing blow, but the spikes catch upon the troll, bury themselves in the stinking flesh above me. The enormous noisome corpse that traps me now proves itself my shield and savior. Before it can yank the weapon free, I strike again. Headless, the black-blooded body falls before me, the beginning of my own roughly formed battlement.
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