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April, 1432 of the Third Age

The sea winds blew across the Bay of Belfalas, stirring white caps. A storm was rising—one of the grand summerlies come to batter the shore. Prince Amrazar of Dor-en-Ernil stood pensively in his tower, feeling the air in its heaviness, the promise of thunder to come.

Long had his city stood and turned her proud face to the winds, sheltering her people from weather and war, guarding within her walls the ways of Númenor, the ways of the Faithful. And in this late day and age, that was a rarity even in Gondor. The kingship was faltering—had been for years, Rómendacil's efforts notwithstanding, and even he had sent his own son out to seek strength in the North. Now that gambit was failing, too, as Amrazar had feared it must. Pelargir was rising, and Umbar with it. And there between them lay Belfalas, with its city standing proud upon its promontory.

Proud. . . and alone.

Amrazar looked down at the letters upon his desk: one from Osgiliath and one from Pelargir; one a plea for his support, the other with but one question:

Will you stand with us?

Swans, they said, loved for life—faithful 'til the end of their days, they held forth against all who would part them from each other. The royal seal seemed to gaze balefully at him, reminder of oaths long-since sworn. Amrazar sighed as he gazed once more out the window at the white city below, then reached for a pen.

~ 0 ~

"My lords!" The Lord of Pelargir and the Captain of Ships looked up as a page burst into the dayroom with a letter in hand. "Message from Dor-en-Ernil, my lords!" the boy gasped.

"Give it here," the captain said swiftly, and reached for the knife at his belt. One swift cut and the letter slid into his hand. He eagerly unfolded it, stared a moment at the single line upon the page, and then a slow smile spread over his face.

My lord Castamir—I will.


Written for RiverOtter's birthday.


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