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Joy Like Swords
Merry could scarcely bring himself to believe it was real. So long his heart had felt constrained, caged and beating vainly to be free again from fear, fear of darkness, fear of defeat, fear of being alone again; alone forever, bereft of those he loved, cut off from his dearest friends. Could he have borne to live himself, if as he had feared, Pippin, Frodo and Sam had all died achieving victory? He could never have returned to the Shire alone, the only survivor of a doomed journey.
But now, now he knew: they all four would go home together. None of them would be left behind in a far-off foreign land; they all would return victorious to the Shire. He could feel his heart swelling fit to burst, swelling with pride and joy and with freedom and with awe and wonder at how such a miracle had been achieved.
He sat before …othain on his great bay stallion, the only mounted ones amid the ťored, gathered together in ranks before them. He could see from the great horse's back over the heads of the Rohirrim.
There they came, Frodo and Sam, led by Gandalf, looking rather lost amid the vast host. The shout went up, spears were shaken: "Long live the Halflings! Praise them with great praise!"
He watched them led up to meet the High King amid the songs and shouts, and he saw Aragorn greet them and gather them in his arms.
This moment, this shining moment, would live in his heart for the rest of his life.
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