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Challenge: “Write the meeting of Aragorn and Kadar!”
After so many of you wanted to see it (even used puppy eyes, which should be outlawed!), I could not resist anymore…
The old man was sitting in the shade before his tent, looking to the north. The sun was leaning low, and the heat of the day retreated into a pleasant, warm evening. Usually he would enjoy the view of the setting sun in the distance behind the dunes, of the children playing outside the tents and the women cooking the dinner on an open fire. Not now… Something was missing from this picture in the last days, in the last years. There were children, women, and old men like himself. No young men… They were all in the war, taken by the recruiters of the Eye. They tried to resist, but the recruiters were too many, and did not accept money instead of soldiers like the Khan did. Kadar sighed. There were rumours about a returning king of Gondor that defeated the Eye, and will punish Harad for siding with it. He wished he would die sooner than it happens…
Suddenly he snapped out of the gloomy thoughts. Were there riders coming from the north? If only his eyes would be as sharp as they used to! “Lad, come here!” he called at one of the children playing nearby.
The boy looked at him, then back at his friends, and approached a little fearfully. “Yes, honoured Kadar?”
“Look there, and tell me what you see!” Kadar pointed to the north.
The boy frowned in concentration as he followed the direction. “There are riders. About a dozen of them…”
Kadar took a deep breath. It could be good news… or bad ones. “Are there dressed like Northerners?” he asked, not letting the tension be heard in his voice.
Kadar sighed with relief.
He looked at the boy. “What is it?”
“Their horses are high and strong, like the northern ones…”
Kadar frowned. “Thank you,” he said to the boy. “You can go.” He was already able to see the riders for himself. Slowly, he stood up to face them, and the news they were bringing.
The riders were dressed in the manner of the Haradhrim, but as they got closer, he could see their pale faces. Despite his age, he stood tall and proud, prepared to defend the women and children if needed.
The first of the riders raised his hand, giving a signal to the others to stop. Then he dismounted, and walked the distance between them.
Kadar watched his face intently, as if he was not sure if he should believe his eyes. There was something familiar about this man… With every step, he was surer. He knew him once. He knows him. Finally, when the man stood before him, he could doubt no longer. “Thorongil?” he asked, disbelief in his voice.
The man smiled broadly. “Kadar! It’s really you!”
Kadar shook his head in wonder, and then laughed aloud, and embraced his old friend.
“What are you doing here?” He looked at him intently. “The years have been kind to you…”
“To you as well, my friend,” Thorongil smiled. “You have a brave grandson…”
“Have you heard of him?” Kadar asked anxiously.
“I have met him. He told me where I can find you. He will return soon, after he helps to organize the disbanding of the army. The Gondorians promised peace if Harad does not attack first…”
Kadar sighed in relief. “That’s good news! I was worried that their king might want revenge for our men being on the wrong side of the war…”
Thorongil shook his head. “No, he would not.”
“Do you know him?”
“Good enough to be sure about that.”
“That’s good then!” Kadar smiled. “I was worried for the boy. He is brave, but very reckless sometimes. He’s the son of my first daughter, Rasha… ” he paused suddenly. “Forgive an old man his ramblings. You must be thirsty… Come into my tent, and tell your men to leave the horses in the fence and join us. The water from our well is cool, and the dinner will be ready soon. I will tell the boys to care for your horses.”
“Thank you, Kadar.” Thorongil bowed his head with a smile, and returned to his men to give them the instructions. Then he joined Kadar, and together they walked into the tent. There was much they had to talk about…
There were fires and music in the camp of the nomads that night. The good news about the end of the war and the return of the men spread quickly, and the Gondorians found themselves drawn into the celebration, dancing in the quick, riveting rhythm of drums. The two old friend sat side by side, lost in their own world of memories as they talked about old times, and their lives after they parted. It was a bright night, and the stars shone clearly on the sky, the silver way of airy dreams that calls to all wanderers to follow it into its unknown depths.
It was a few days since Kadar parted with Thorongil and the Gondorians, with the promise of more visits. Again the old man was looking to the north. But this time, he smiled when a dark spot appeared on the horizon. “They are coming! They are coming!” the boy cried out immediately. Ah, the sharp sight of the youth… This time, the riders were expected. The entire camp hummed with joyful anticipation.
When they arrived, the first rider jumped down from his horse, and headed to Kadar. “Grandfather!”
“It’s good to have you back, my son!” Kadar smiled, and embraced the young man.
“The gondorian king offered us peace…”
“I know,” Kadar nodded.
“You know?” his grandson looked at him in surprise.
“An old friend told me…”
The young man shook his head. “But nobody left before us. Only the king with his escort. He asked about you…”
“The king?” Kadar was quiet for a moment, and then he smiled to himself. “The king…”
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