Morning of 16 April
I lie amid the soughing sedges, witness at last to the crimson-streaked sunrise. Dart-pierced in my breast, each gasp brings more agony than the last.
I hear rustling....
Dark hair! An enemy? But I can no longer lift my sword.
Nay — an Elf! His murmuring reassures me, though his tongue sounds strange. Kneeling, he lays a hand on my sweat-soaked brow, relieving my pain.
"Wæter!" I plead. My eyes overflow with gratitude as the cool trickle soothes my parched mouth.
He slides his hand gently over my heavy eyelids.
At peace, I float towards the mist-enshrouded halls of my forefathers.
'Tis a gruesome task, combing the red-spattered field for injured Men, separating our dead from the enemy. Never have I seen such savage wounds! Cúfaron and I carried a Gondorian to the healers — his sword-arm dangling by skin. How will he live now?
We tread warily in the tall grass, blades drawn to dispatch any Orc still breathing.
Many Easterlings lie here. 'Twould be hard to kill a wounded Man unless attacked... but we have scarce enough healers for our own, and no leave to take prisoners.
I hear a soft sound — a hitching breath? — raising hope of another survivor.
'Tis the price of survival: we seek our fallen, tending the wounded and honouring the dead.
Unlike Serdan, I have beheld bloodshed many times, in Ithilien.
He stoops to check a comrade, pushing aside the stiff arm of an Easterling lying entangled with another.
But the second leaps up, swinging wildly — Serdan barely blocks his scimitar. I spring forward to slash at the enemy, thrusting him backwards, and stab his chest.
Then I see the wet tears tracking his still face, and my heart drops.
Reeling, I drop my sword and sink onto the gore-smeared grass to retch.