Ithilien was a very nice land to the eyes of Jyras.
All full of flowers, trees, and beasts that were neither dangerous nor ugly.
He even saw once a couple of rabbits, that sprang out of their way as soon as they saw them.
Jyras knocked an arrow but Hashar stopped his hand.
”Don’t kill it. We have plenty of food, and it may serve to others…”
Jyras looked surprisingly to his friend.
”Who would come here, so close to Mordor?”
It was their third day in Ithilien, their tenth since they left Bar Makan, when they reached the crossroad.
They paused there for almost an hour, feeling so little in front of the power displayed here.
Jyras first looked west, and he saw the White City of Minas Tirith, jewel of Gondor.
It was so big, with its towers and walls, that he understood why it was said impossible to destroy.
Then he looked South, toward his home, toward Bar Makan, and he felt so big a feel of regret that he quickly turned east.
And there, his hearth stopped for a few second.
There stood Minas Morgul, fortress of the Nazgul.
But he could only guess it was there, for it was all covered in shadows.
Shadows so deep he wondered if those shadows were also present around the Black Gate.
If it was so, he hoped he wouldn’t stay long into this filthy land.
Then he looked North, and he saw nothing on the road that could rise his hearth.
This was hopeless, and he knew that perfectly.
There was no way to go around it. He wouldn’t avoid war.
He looked at Hashar, but Hashar looked as bad as he felt.
Finally, Jyras spoke in a little childish voice.
”Do you trust Sauron?”
Hashar looked surprised, but took a little time to answer.
”For what? I trust Sauron to kill thousands of people, to unleash his power and to crush the world in his hands. I trust Sauron to destroy the world of Men, Elves and Dwarves. I trust Sauron to rule over a world of death, poverty and despair. But I’ll never trust him to reward those who help him, or to be fair.”
He took a pause, then added.
”We won’t see the Haradwaith again, Jyras. This is almost certain.”
Jyras sighed heavily.
”I knew this for long. But the question is: Will there be an Haradwaith after the War? Sauron wants to destroy the world of Men. Does he plan to rule us with orcs, trolls and Ringwraith?”
Hashar shook his head.
”I don’t know, Jyras. I don’t know.”
This very night, Captain Karash gave a speech at the rest-place.
”In four days, we must be at the Black Gate. If we continue walking as we do, we’ll be there in three. I hope you’ll all continue to walk as you did these pas ten days.”
He paused and, as no reaction was to be heard, he continued.
”We already won a battle, and there is no doubt we’ll win this war. Under the commands of the Dark Lord, we cannot lose. This is certain.”
A few cheers rose, but only a few.
”I know most of you thinks they have nothing to do with this war. Some perhaps even think of rebellion, or desertion. I myself find it hard to follow the orders of Sauron, and of his servants. But we must do it. For the Haradwaith. We promised to Sauron to help him in this war, and we must follow our oath. We will fight for Mordor. As hard as we can.”
This times, there was more approbation on the faces.
But Jyras, who looked angry and disgusted, shouted at the face of the Captain.
”So you do mean to continue following the orders of those Orcs? You do mean to curtsy in front of those beasts? This isn’t our war, and we promised under the threath of Mordor!”
A rumour of anger rose into the camp, and a few others shouted things like ”Filthy Orcs”, ”Cursed Eye”, or ”Let’s go back!”.
But Captain Karash knew too well how to handle an army.
”This is no game, Soldier. If you want to see our houses burning, if you want to see our children killed, if you want to see our wives raped, then go back to Bar Makan! The threath forced us to promise, the threath is still there to bind us to our oath! If you don’t fight, you’ll die. By my own hands. I won’t let my wife and my four daughters be killed like rabbits!”
Silence came on the camp again, and Jyras looked abashed.
Hashar came close to him.
”This was foolish! You shouldn’t talk like that! You’ll be lucky if you don’t end into Mount Doom!”
Jyras shook his head angrily.
”I won’t stay and fight without trying not to! And if I can convince some men to follow me, it’s so much against the war!”
”You are a fool. And you’ve better calm yourself before we enter Mordor. Sauron won’t laugh at your pityful jokes!”
Jyras’ eyes became ardent with anger, and he knocked Hashar out with a precise hit of his fist.
”I thought you were worth better than that, Under-Sergeant Hashar of Mordor.”
Without a glance back, he left his unconscious friend and started toward another part of the camp.