Rein woke up with the sun shining on his face. He remained lying down for a few moments, taking joy in the day. He could hear his mother, up already, preparing their food. She always got up early, she had done for as long as Rein could remember. Taina was probably helping her. Just like Maina had when she was two and ten years. Rein smiled to himself, Taina was so like Maina. It kept Maina’s spirit alive.
Six summers had passed since the winter they had spent in Helm’s Deep as it was now called. Rein found that of that dreadful time he could only remember one event clearly. It was the picture that had haunted his dreams for nearly three years afterwards. Maina’s face, peaceful, as if she was sleeping, but also … something else. Something in her face that told you this was the sleep from which she had not returned.
Rein got up and dressed. A lovely smell was drifting through the house. He ambled to see if he could eat yet. He was hungry. As he entered the small room he stopped and stared. He had been expecting to see his mother but it was not. It was Taina. This should not have come as a surprise to Rein but something was different about this morning.
“Where is mother?” he asked.
“She is in her bed, she is not feeling too well.”
Taina turned to face him. What happened next happened so quickly that Rein could never afterwards pinpoint exactly what point in the turn it struck him. All he knew was that at some point whilst the younger girl was turning round he saw in her face the image of Maina’s face. The blood began to drain from his face. Suddenly he was back there, in Helm’s Deep. He was looking across at his sister as she looked after their mother.
He could hear Taina talking to him but her voice seemed distant, like something from a far off dream. Rein was scared, the room was swimming before his eyes. Impulsively he gripped a chair and sat down heavily. Moving his arms seemed like he was moving in a dream. Almost as if he wasn’t controlling his movements. The room began to swim back into focus. Taina was staring at him, wide eyed with shock.
“Rein?” she asked quietly and tentatively.
Rein looked up at her and saw, to his surprise, that she had tears in her eyes. He was too numb to speak so he just held an arm out to Taina. She sat down beside him.
“I was very scared……..” She whispered, “I did not know what was happening…”
Rein wanted to comfort her, for he sensed now the age gap between them. Taina was only nearing twelve summers, whereas he was now nearing seven and ten. He waited for his head to clear before replying.
“I am sorry Taina. You looked like Maina, so much so that I was back in that winter again.” He broke off.
Afterwards Rein could never say exactly what he expected Taina to do. Her actions just surprised him in some way. She gave him a strange look and then wandered back to the food she was preparing. She seemed annoyed, or upset. Rein did not dare to ask what was wrong with her.
Rein decided to go and see their horse, Sinés. She was an old horse, used mainly for carrying things to and from the house. She was a dark brown colour with a very lovely personality. She was gentle and she never complained about her work. She would never make a war horse though.
Soon Rein would have his own horse. He would soon be an Esquire of the Mark. He was having proper fighting lessons to prepare him for it. The Rohirrim had suffered badly in the Long Winter and they needed all the strength they could get. Rein was looking forward to joining the army. It was one of the greatest honours in the Mark. To be a Rider of Rohan … Rein sighed as he stroked Sinés mane. He became lost in thought about his future. The future that had once seemed so bleak was now coming into view and it was not as bad as Rein had thought. He smiled slightly and gave the food to the old horse, who had been standing patiently waiting to be fed.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.