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56
Providence

For Alawa.


~~~

Upon the table the palantír gleamed darkly in the lamplight, sleeping, awaiting a mind's touch.

"To challenge Sauron, a king's needed," Aragorn had said. Now Halbarad stood watching him lay out a king's accoutrements: sword, star, and standard; the Elessar upon his breast, Barahir's ring upon his finger. Cloaked in truth, he thought, then grunted.

"You'll need a steward," he said quietly. "Someone to bear your banner... to bear you company before his Eye."

Aragorn sighed. "I'll not command you. I'd've asked Boromir, but —"

"But," Halbarad finished, clapping his friend's shoulder, "I am here, Aragorn."

For a little while.

~~~

"'Where is Aragorn?' [Merry] asked.

'In a high chamber of the Burg,' said Legolas.... 'He went thither some hours ago, saying that he must take thought, and only his kinsman, Halbarad, went with him...'"—"The Passing of the Grey Company", 52

"Presently Éomer came out from the gate, and with him was Aragorn, and Halbarad bearing the great staff close-furled in black..."—"The Passing of the Grey Company", 55.

"[Sauron] beheld me. Yes, Master Gimli, he saw me, but in other guise than you see me here."—Aragorn, "The Passing of the Grey Company", 57


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