Brego; A Horse's Tail, Part 3 - The Evacuation
The Prince had been buried, another white-specked mound outside the ate sof the city. And the King hadn't even known he was dead. It was then, for the first time, that I felt sorrow for someone else for the loss of Théodred. Before then, I'd only thought about myself. I hadn't even considered how the King must be feeling. I had lost my master - but he had lost his only son and heir. To see his grave must have been more than he could bear. It helped me, I think, to begin to let go of the Prince and start again.
It was very soon after the arrival of two children from the Westfold that word spread through the city - the Dunlendings had been sent by Saruman, and were pillaging and burning every village. The King's order had been to evacuate the city, and make for the ancient fortres of Helm's Deep. I had made the journey before of course, and knew the path through the mountains well. I also knew that those paths were very unprotected, and easy to attack. I should know - I had been at the head of an ambush there more than a few times myself.
There was only one problem - I would not suffer any man to touch me, save Aragorn. Therefore, I was for the most part ignored when the emptying of the stables began. I watched quietly, as over the course of the day the stables grew more and more deserted.
They must have been about half-empty when Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas anf Gimli came in. Legolas and Gimli both stayed back a little, making a fuss of Arod, their new steed. Arod was of course extremely pleased with himself and his new riders - and he didn't mind telling me that the elf was the best rider he had ever had. And that was saying something - his previous rider had been trained by Théoden himself.
A few seconds later, Shadowfax came cantering past me and out of the stables, bearing Gandalf on his back. As usual he wore no tack. I often asked him why he refused to do so, as I had always been rather proud of my own, even if I didn't like the bit. He had replied that the saddle hurt his back and the bit was too cold. I never question this to his face for he was my friend, but he did make me laugh. He could be such a ponce at times, that horse.
I had been staring out rather longingly afetr Shadowfax when he came over. It had been so long since I had galloped across the plains, and I had a tickle in my toes.
"Whoa now, easy - I don't suppose you've been out much of late, have you lad?" Aragorn asked softly, stroking my neck. The stable hands gasped at him amazed - I was standing quietly, accepting the offer of his friendship.
"Looks as if he likes you, my Lord," said and old man, "You're the first person to touch him in weeks."
"Is that so Brego?"
I snorted in reply. Aragorn laughed.
"Fair enough - where is his tack?" he questioned the old man.
"Out back my Lord - it has not been used since the Prince died."
"Bring it to me." and the old man disappeared around the corner.
I neighed excitedly - I was actually going to be ridden. I suppose I knew it would happen one day, but I didn't know I would be so happy about it. Again, Aragorn laughed.
"Careful with that one Aragorn," warned Gimli mockingly, while holding his hand over his ear, "If you want to deafen your foes, he's the right way to do it!"
Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn all laughed. I just tossed my head. I wasn't that loud! - well, maybe a little...
Soon enough, the stable hand returned with my tack. It had been so long, and I had forgotten how much I hated the bit. Yet obediently I opened my mouth without a fuss, and let him fix the bridle. The saddle came next, but I wasn't bothered about that. It's annoying, but you get used to it after a while. Taking my reins, Aragorn led my out of the stall and asked Legolas to hold me while he mounted. Smiling and talking softly, the elf stroked my face and held me steady.
Aragorn jumped lightly on my back with surprising springiness - not that I wasn't expecting him to, but I could barely feel him get on.
I began to flit around a little now - I had so much energy, all Aragorn needed to do was to say the word, and I would be off, far far into the distance after Shadowfax.
"Steady now Brego, calm down - you'd better get on Arod, Legolas." commented Aragorn, and the elf left my side to mount his own steed. Not to mention help Gimli up. When all three companions were ready, they walked us down to where the King sat waiting on Snowmane. He cast a surprised eye at my rider and I.
"So you finally tamed the beast then?" he remarked, smiling for the first time since anyone could remember. "You might want to give him a good run before we leave, just to control him better." he suggested, and turned to talk to his men.
Aragorn nodded and turned me around down to the city gates. People were already trickling out down the hillside, though the majority were waiting for the King. My steps became high and jolty, I wanted to go go go!
Aragorn however, had his own ideas, and kept me in check until he was ready.
"Alright Brego - of you go!" and away I went! Flying like the wind, we flashed past the walkers who gasped and cried out in amazment, "Brego! Brego has returned!"
Around the hill we went, my tail high and streaming like a banner behind me, my neck arched and my heart so happy I could have run like that forever. Aragorn laughed and leant far up my neck toward my head, urging me on and taking the wait off my back.
We completed one circuit when we saw the King's company riding out of the city, and Aragorn directed my to join them. Breathing heavily, but far from tired, we pulled up along side the King, who simply smiled knowingly.
"Conserve you energy Brego - we have a long way to go yet."