But 'twas to the guardsmen Ajhinaš spoke: “'Bitter the shieldman's duty,' yet you must swallow it – that is a mother-duty, for she teaches you to eat.”
“Dark matters, mistress,” Varendur said, puzzled, while Menarion eyed Ba-a-šuvon and Chodakh.
“You have sown my family's shame,” Mother explained, “so you must redeem it, as farmers redeem fruit from cast-down seed.”
“What nonsense – ?” Menarion began, but Varendur silenced him.
“Gondor denies my family war-duty, in your favor,” Ajhinaš said, then set the bitter dish before them: “If our obedience to such edicts be not shameful, then you must be my sons.”