The leaves were falling in beautiful shades of firey reds, bright oranges and deep browns as autumn set in Gondor. Minas Tirith enjoyed the transformation of the landscape due to the graceful elven trees planted throughout the city. Arches and stone pathways painstakingly sculpted by the dwarves added a kind of beauty to the walled city. The walls seemed to glow a golden red in the sun that was slowly setting in the east that also glittered off the mithril and steel gate on the outer wall. The people went about there daily tasks as they had done all their lives. Women heading to the markets and scrambling after running children. Farmers guided oxen over there fields or herded their livestock. Sentinels marched along the walls with long lances and on the uppermost level of the city the Tower Guard stood as black statues.
The last momentous event had been the great funeral of King Elessar, twenty years before. The ones that had been alive during the earlier parts of his reign thought back occasionally to his memory, very few now remained that had fought in the War of the Ring. The eastern and southern frontiers had been conquered, the Haradrim and Easterlings paying tribute to the Reunited Kingdom. Even Moria had been reconquered by Durin the VII. Prince Eldarion had ascended to the reign of a peaceful Middle-earth. He spent his days meeting with officials of his government or doing as he wished. His reign so far had spawned enlightenment on learning and exploration. The harbor of Pelargir was filled with great ships making ready to head across the western sea in search of new lands. The only immediate threat to his realm were the quarrelsome tribes on his farthest southern border. Elfwine, King of Rohan had already pledged troops if needed and Boromir III son of Faramir and Prince of Ithilien was scouting the problem out.
In the sixth circle of the city a lone figure walked slowly, carefully. As it neared the Closed Door the guard stood to attention, ready to oppose this shadowy figure. But as soon as he looked closer he quickly unlocked the door and moved away without a word, slipping away running for the citadel.
The figure walked the winding path through the circles of the city until he came to the Rath Dinen. Under the shadow of Mindolluin, the hallowed place looked hazy and gray. The great domed tombs looked like buildings from another time. Slowly the figure walked to the end of the Silent Path to the largest of the great houses of the dead. It climbed the steps with what seemed some difficulty and stopped just before the door where beyond the dead rested in everlasting sleep.
Telemen breathed heavily, he had not been here in what seemed ages of the world. The last time had been shortly after his King gave up life. His mind went back to that sad day. Sadness had taken him to a new level on that day as he lost his King, Captain and Friend. Arwen, beautiful Arwen, she had pleaded with her love to stay awhile longer. She was still not tired of the world and wished to spend many more years with her beloved husband. But Aragorn gave up the crown to Eldarion and bid everyone farewell, looking last of all at him. He had taken the hand of Arwen in his and as he kissed it, his life left him. Arwen had kneeled there crying for hours after everyone had gone with her hand still in his. Telemen was the last to speak with Arwen before she left the city and he had watched from the citadel as she turned her horse north for Lorien.
He had been angry. He had loved his King dearly. He had served him for most of his life. He had been his son’s teacher and weapons master. He had served as the Captain of the King’s Guard and been beside him in all the battles that were fought. Telemen’s thoughts drifted again to the time of his youth. His father had been a cousin to Halbarad, and Telemen hence akin to him. Aragorn had returned to the encampment of the Rangers to gather men to guard Sarn Ford. The first time Telemen saw him he was enchanted by the air of highness that surrounded him. One cold night the guard at Sarn Ford was scattered by the Riding of the Nazgul, Telemen still got chills when he remembered the cold screams of the Black Riders. Weeks later Halbarad approached saying he needed all the men he could gather to ride south with him. A messenger had come from Lorien telling that Aragorn was in Rogan and might be in need of his kin. Halbarad had hoped to ride with at least a hundred Dunedain but could only muster thirty before setting out, many had gone to fight off increasing warg attacks in the South.
Telemen had only accepted because of the thought of seeing Aragorn again and being in his company. The ride had been hard, attacks by wargs and patrols of orcs hindering their journey. It took them many weeks before they reached the Gap of Rohan. Luckily they had come after the Battle of the Hornburg, for otherwise they would have been cut off by the Army of Isengard. After they had caught up with Aragorn, Telemen followed his Captain to the end.
The Paths of the Dead had been something he never thought of again, but now that he looked back on it he remembered not being that scared at all because he trusted in Aragorn. Fear had never taken him when in the riding of Aragorn. Telemen put his life at the command of his commander. Never once did he question the word of the King, though the road was hard, the ending was always reached it seemed. Telemen remembered the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the fall of Halbarad as Aragorn led assaults on the Easterlings that proved to be the hardest enemy to overcome. Halbarad has fallen as the fighting reached its fiercest and he was cut off from the main body of Aragorn’s force as he attempted to flank the enemy. Telemen mourned the loss of his kin and friend but it was Aragorn who comforted him afterwards.
Telemen now wondered who now would comfort him. The end of his days was coming upon him quickly, he had lived 163 years and he knew he would not live to see another. He counted his time left with every leaf that fell outside in the courtyards of the city. No joy was left to him now. At least not the joy he had felt when Avalyn his wife was alive. His beloved Avalyn. He had loved only her and there children more than his King. A brief warmness touched him as he thought back to her smiling face and beauty. She had long silky hair and graceful curves, he had loved her from the first sight. He had met her at the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen, and before he left for the wars to establish the frontiers, they had promised their hearts to one another. They married after Umbar had been taken by a long siege and the army returned in triumph. She had died the past winter and most of himself died with her.
The lone old man smiled at the thought of each of his children. Elseron the eldest was a man of lore, busy helping Findegil, the King’s Writer, record the Book of Westmarch for the records of the Kingdom. He was most like Telemin, married with a child on the way. Isenbrand was a master warrior, in the service of Eldarion’s guard and as yet not married. Both sons had grown up with Eldarion and the three had remained friends. Telrain, little Telrain. Telemen still saw her as the cute little girl that used to hold his hand everywhere they walked or climb in his lap for a story. She was now as beautiful as her mother, Telrain a prefect image of her, and she had even caught the eye of Eldarion some whispered. But all of the children were now busy with their own lives, Avalyn was gone and even Eldarion was not there.
Telemen had raised the prince, taught him the skills of the sword, horse and bow. He even thought of Eldarion as a third son. The new King had made Telemen his advisor after the death of his father. Telemen and the prince would often take long rides in the forest and even explored the northern lands of the kingdom when the Prince was still young. Long hours were spent learning the customs of the people Eldarion would one day rule. But now the King was busy with his own affairs and Telemen kept mostly to himself.
A breeze woke the man from his deep thoughts and he entered into the great tomb. The interior was lit with torches that forever burned. The dome was covered in gold that glittered in the flickering torch light. The inside was a maze of wide halls and long rooms. The individual tombs of the Kings had no roof so that the dome reflected light down on the sleeping forms. Telemin walked to down the eery halls and pass several doorways until he came to one that lay almost directly under the dome. Like all the other entryways two statues that had the resemblance of the tower guards stood on either side of the doorway and held spears that were alight at the end. The statues seemed to watch the movements of the living, they were the Guard of the Dead. Telemin simply walked in and ignoring the rich wall hangings and treasures walked to the bed within. Aragorn’s face still shown with a radiance and look of wisdom and honour. His arms were crossed on his chest. A richly ornate sword was clasped in his hands and lay on his chest pointing down to his feet. It was not the famed Anduril, Eldarion now wore that blade. He wore a black robe over a coat of mail that sparkled in the light. Behind his head were carvings in the wall that were the images of the blossoming tree and stars of Elendil. Two other forms barely half the size of the King lay in beds adjacent to Aragorn’s own. They were arraigned in no less honour than princes of the realm. Telemen briefly smiled at the hobbits. Merry and Pippin, heroes of the War of the Ring who had spent their last days in the company of the King.
Telemen stood beside his King and briefly ran his fingers over the sword he held. He kneeled beside the great King Elessar and even as he did a calm came over him. His grief and troubles were forgotten and all the memories passed once through his eyes. He smiled as he heard those of his past and it seemed real. Looking up at the sword it seemed to glow a pale white and flashed. Telemen crossed his arms on the bed and lay his head down as he began to cry as the sorrows of the world left him and joy from the past took their place. His imagination took him as he felt a soothing hand on the crown of his head.
Eldarion ran quickly down roads to reach the Silent Street. Behind him came the children of Telemen and several servants and gaurds. The guard of the Closed Door had come to him breathless telling that Telemen had passed to the hallowed grounds. He knew that the only reason he would come here is when he knew his time was drawing to a close. He glanced at his side and noticed the last leaves had fallen from the trees. His heart was heavy at the thought of his old friend’s passing.
The group reached the hallowed grounds and ran to the House of the Kings. Slowing to a fast walk they came to the doorway of Elessar’s tomb. The air was silent and calm as Eldarion walked through the archway and into the tomb. His eyes teared up as he saw the still form lying beside the bed of his father. When he looked more closely he was startled to see the hand of the King rested on the head of Telemin, but Eldarion was quickly eased. He knew his old friend had died peacefully. He had the guards gently lift up the body of Telemen and the servants tend to the body of the King.
A week later a full company of the Tower Guard marched down the Silent Street. Before them walked Eldarion with the hand of Telrain in his own, Elseron walked close behind. Leading the company was Isenbrand, behind him the men of the guard bore Telemen. He was fitted with chain mail and the black robes of his uniform. Folded neatly at his feet was the hooded ranger cloak of his early days and on his chest he held his sword. Shining silver with a red leathered handle, a blade fit for a king. Four guards carried the bier into the House of the Kings with Eldarion and Telemen’s children. They came to the hall of Aragorn’s tomb where a rectangular vault had been cut into the floor between the two statues and just outside the door. Telemen was layed to rest within and Telrain laid white simbelyme on the cloak at his feet. Eldarion and the sons of Telemen bowed their head in silent honor to the dead hero and at the end placed their right hands over their hearts in reverence. A marble slab was placed over the sleeping form and it appeared as just apart of the floor. Elseron had an inscription carved into the silver colored marble and images to be carved on it’s borders. And any that walked through the House of the Kings would walk over the marble slab and read:
Telemen Roqcar “Silver Sword, Faithful Knight”
Loyal Kingsman, Valiant Captain, Husband of Avalyn, Loving Father.
Ranger of the North, Knight of his King,
Through deadly paths, Never straying,
Battles won and life lived full,
Always serving his Captain and Lord.