At the far end of the bridge were an inscription, in the Common Tongue, on a big sign stuck into the ground.
It said: ‘Here stops the Southern Lands. You are entering the realm of Gondor.”
As if Gondor has the least influence on this part of the world!
It was only Gondor on the maps, but no soldier from Minas Tirith had come here for years.
Here, there were none but Haradrims, orcs and a few Gondorians peasants who tried not to be seen.
Jyras wondered why didn’t the orcs break that sign, or corrupt it with inscriptions of their own.
Then the answer came, almost as easily as the question.
Those wrecked orcs Sauron sends here are probably unable to read or write anything but orcish.
They probably didn’t know if they were in Gondor or in the Haradwaith.
All they knew was that they had to obey to the Eye, and that they could command those they Eye said they could.
It is, them.
Jyras suddenly became aware of a sound of horns, in the west.
He listened during a minut, as did many of the Haradrims, then he recognized the note of Gondor.
Shouts roused in the column.
”Gondor! Prepare for battle!”
They all took their bows and formed a line in front of the coming noise, and the Mumakils took position, ready to charge.
Then they appeared.
As soon as they saw the Haradrims, their eyes popped out with surprise, and fear.
It was a very tiny group, perhaps fifty mounted men and fifty on foot.
They probably chased the Orcs, and didn’t tought they would find Mumakils in front of them…
But Captain Karash didn’t let them think of retreat.
At his command, a thousand arrows fired and cut off the line of the Gondorians.
The rare survivors turned back, but the two Mumakils were on them before they had made twenty paces.
The tusks struck them in their back, and the battle was over in less than ten minuts.
Jyras looked around him, and his blood chilled.
They all looked glad! Even euphorics! All they had done was killing a hundred men who weren’t ready for the battle, and who chased the filthy orcs that just insulted them ten minuts ago!
Those he thought were normal were now cheering and congratuling each other with a joy that was simply disgusting.
As Jyras came back to the road, readying himself for the forthcoming walk, a warrior he didn’t know came towards him.
Jyras was glad to see the other looked as unhappy as he was.
The other presented himself.
”I’m Under-Sergeant Hashar, former singer to the court of our beloved King!”
”I’m Soldier Jyras, former Civil Servant in the City.”
They looked at each other for a while, then Hashar spoke.
”I see in your face that you disapprove this war, and this battle.”
Jyras smiled coldly.
”I’m no man to do such thing. Who I am to oppose the will of the Eye?”
”You’re carefull, and you’re right. But I won’t talk against you if you say you do.”
He waited for a second, then went over.
”I strongly disapprove with this war, and I think it would be better for us if we were back home. I think we shouldn’t help Sauron. I think this battle was nothing but a massacre.”
Jyras’ smile became more natural.
”So do I. Let’s walk together, Under-Sergeant Hashar.”
Hashar patted him on the shoulder.
”Come on. The road is long to Mordor…”
During the next five days, they walked side by side, talking about the meaning of their live in an highly philosophistic discution, talking about who would win this war, about the power of Sauron, about what still remained of mightiness in Gondor, and about the dreadful Nazguls.
There wasn’t many tales about the Nazguls, but the tales that existed were fearful enough for them to be scared at the tought of seeing one once.
It was said they were invisible, and that you could only see their clothes.
It was said that their tower of Minas Morgul was so corrupted that you couldn’t drink the water that came from it unless you were an orc.
And it was said than to be seen by the Lord of the Nazgul as an ennemy was as good as to be dead.
Jyras looked around him wonderingly.
”I heard there was a Wizard, Gandalf the Grey, whose power is as strong as the power of the Lord of the Nazgul himself!”
”If it was so, we wouldn’t be there. Sauron would already be defeated. This Gandalf must be some hero used by Gondorian wives to cheer their child. ‘Have no fear, dear, Gandalf is going to save us from the evil!’. Foolishness! Nobody can stand against the Nazguls.”
At the end of this day, they came in sight of the River Poros.
Further, it was Ithilien.
Here, they could feel the calling of Sauron, Lord of Mordor.