They rode hard and came to the eaves of Lothlorien on the third day. Eadil looked longingly at the woods, but it would only slow them to go through, so the host turned westward and north around the Golden Wood. Eodred thought more than he spoke on the journey around Lorien, keeping apart from the other Riders.
He thought of Rohan, as it had been before the War, of its Riders and its power. He thought of Gondor and the White City he had never seen, and the Red Arrow that had entangled Rohan in the War. The Pellenor Fields, and Helm’s Deep, and the Morannon flashed before his eyes, all the great battles of the War. He thought of glory: of a forest of spears; golden shields shining in the sun; the flowing manes of horses; the deep thrum of hooves; the singing of a flight of arrows.
He thought of glory. Eadil, vanishing beneath a swarm of orcs; the Uruk-Hai, fierce and dark and deadly; the littered corpses by the Isen; Guthmer dead beside the river.
Most of all, he thought of Darkness, of Shadow and Flame; and he was afriad, and in his fear he wondered.
On the second day from reaching Lorien they came upon the Dimrill Dale. There were watchers upon the arms of the mountain, Elves in green and Men in black and silver. They hailed the Rohirrim and waved them on, under the shadow of the mountains.
Eodred stared in awe at the many folk gathered there. Elves, tall and fair, both beautiful and deadly in their armor as they waited to his left. Eodred looked down on row upon row of their green and silver, watching as they strugn bows and fletched arrows, gaping in awe as two Elven warriors traded blows with their long, curved swrods flashing in the sun.
Down at the far end of the Dale, by the doors unto the mountain, the Dwarves were camped; almost five hundred of the stout folk of the Lonely Mountian. Eodred saw the rows of campfires surrounded by them, many with axes as tall as themselves.
To the right the men of Rohan turned, dismounting and forming their horselines, raiing white tents above the green grass. Above one splended tent a great standard flew, green and white and edged with gold: the banner of Eomer, King of Rohan.
Beside the white camp of Rohan spread another, and the men there were armored in black and silver. Above them a hundred banners were flapping in the wind: seven silver stars and a crown, surmounting a white tree, on a field of black. Silver and black and white.
Eadil kneed up beside him. “Gondor,” she said. “The Whtie Tree and the Seven Stars. Gondor.” With that they rode down into the Dale. It seemed strangely quiet to Eodred, despite the roar of almsot four thousand troops.
For once, the Demon was silent.