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(Written in February 2013 for the Great Tales Challenge 202)
Pippin gazed back as they rode, trying to keep sight as long as he could of the White City shining in the sunlight. He'd never forget his first sight of the place, riding before Gandalf on Shadowfax, rosy dawn breaking over the gleaming city of Minas Tirith, a thing of beauty he'd never imagined. How could something so vast and glorious be created by hands? He felt a pang as he realised it would be long before he would see it again, that great place that seemed like pearl and crystal from a distance. He loved the Shire; but this place would always be in his heart.
Merry sat solemnly upon the wain, his only companions the silent driver and the body of his King. There was nothing to do but gaze around him as they rode over the plains of Rohan. Heavy as his heart was, there was a beauty about this land, a wild beauty of grass and sky and many streams. Around him rode the ranks of the Riders, singing their songs in their strange speech that teased him with words that were almost familiar. It pierced his spirit with a sweet sorrow. His place, his heart, was in the Shire, but a part of his soul would always love Rohan.
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