And the Dead Will Walk - Chapter 2

Aragorn and Barun stared at each other for a long moment. People began to murmur because they did not hear what Barun had said, and they all got the feeling that it was something important. Aragorn broke the gaze first. He turned his head slowly and looked away. People began to murmur louder because they had never seen their King look like this before. There was a look of pain and utter weariness on his face.

" Beranor, show them to the guest chambers, please." He said to a young man lounging nearby. Beranor straitened up and bowed to the famous guests. He led Myst away but Barun lingered behind. As he began to follow after them he reached out and clasped a hand onto Aragorn's shoulder. He looked into Aragorn's eyes.

" I understand." He said softly to Aragorn. Then he walked away and looked back once and smiled a sad smile.

****

Aragorn stared out at the sun setting on the city of Gondor. He watched the people going about their work. Some men were returning from their work and he saw as women greeted their husbands joyfully. If they went to war again, this peace that he had worked so had to achieve would be destroyed, possibly beyond repair. He would do anything to keep Gondor from war. He made a fist with one hand and drove it into his palm. He stood there not feeling the pain. He turned away from the window. But would he have a choice? Aragorn had learned to hear what people were not saying when they spoke. When Barun had spoken Aragorn knew that no matter whether or not he said that he would help Mayna, Gondor would still have to go to war. For he knew that L'ana would attack Gondor as her first target and they would have to defend their selves. So the question was whether to help Mayna or wait and keep his people from war for as long as possible. He did not know which he would chose when the time came.

****

"Do you know what he will chose?" Myst asked Barun. They were in the guest quarters, seated on their beds. Barun sat there, deep in thought. He turned his head slowly and looked at Myst.

"I do not know. I know he understood what I meant, though." He sighed." I do not know what I would choose in his position, either." He said under his breath. Myst smiled, a bittersweet smile, having caught what Barun had said under his breath.

" Nor do I, my friend. Nor do I." He said softly. They both sat there, as the sun went down on Gondor, each lost in their own thoughts.

****
The next morning Myst's eyes flew open. Rolling over he saw that Barun was also awake.

"You felt it too?"Myst asked him. He nodded.

"Mayna is close." He said. Myst nodded. Since Mayna had brought them back from the dead, they had both had a connection with her. It had its good sides and its bad sides. They could always tell when she was near and they could always tell when she was lying. Then again, she could tell when they were lying. Simultaneously they both got up and dressed. They ran out of the door and toward the gate. Coming up into the watchtower, the guard turned around and saluted them. Myst and Barun both grinned and saluted back. It was the same guard that had been there yesterday when Myst and Barun had come. They both walked over and leaned on their elbows, scanning the horizon. Myst glanced over at the watchman.

"What is your name?" he asked the watchman.

"Berian" he answered. "Is it true, that Mayna brought you back from the dead?" he asked hesitantly. Myst looked at him for a long moment and then glanced at Barun. Barun looked at him and then at Berian.

"Yes" he answered simply. Berian stared at them in amazement. Then slowly a smile broke out on his face and he began to grin.

"Wow. Amazing." He said.

"Yeah. That's what we thought too." Myst said grinning. Berian laughed.

"Mayna!" Barun shouted excitedly.

****

Mayna felt Lightning's powerful muscles work as they thundered down the path toward Gondor. She loved riding. She felt free and had no worries in the world as the wind whipped by. Lightning slowed to a trot as they neared the gate of Gondor. She felt her worries come back and she could almost feel the terrible burden that she carried. She looked up at the guard tower and she saw Myst and Barun there. She saw the joy in their eyes as they saw her. She smiled and didn't take her eyes off Myst. She saw him turn and run down to meet her as the guard opened the gate. Then Myst was there and he helped her off her horse. For anyone else she would have slapped him. But for Myst...she let him help her. She looked into his eyes and she saw his love and knew that he would like to say so many things.

"I missed you." Was all he said. She reached up and touched his cheek. Barun came up behind him. He was grinning from ear to ear.

"Welcome, My Lady." he said.

"Don't call me that." She snapped, but she was laughing. Her gaze slid off his grinning face to the other man coming behind Barun. He wore no crown, yet she knew, maybe because of the way he held his head or the light in his eyes, that he was Aragorn, King of Gondor. The King bowed to her.

"Welcome to Gondor, Lady Mayna." The King said spreading his arms and the city of Gondor gleamed proudly behind him.

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