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Birthday drabbles
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The stitch in time

For Nath, who wanted something about time for her birthday.


Even in war, life had a rhythm that men lived by. It inhabited them, like they inhabited old clothes gave them life, moved them, stretched them tight and wore them out in time. Sometimes, it grew swifter, and sometimes slower, and throughout there was the constancy of orders. Few broke with that beat, made up of ordered living, unless it were to die. And in time of war, to die was nothing exceptional. He had expected to die soon, and so follow his young lord, but a voice and a small, brave face had called to him:

You must choose between orders and the life of Faramir.

Then Peregrin was gone, and Beregond of the Guard stood rooted like a stone a long moment. Break with orders? He looked back up upon the way to the Silent Street, the word 'madman' ringing in his ears still. Time inhabits Men like a smooth thread that ravels at its end, and they pass along it unhindered and unwitting. But sometimes, one makes a knot and then a past and future open that does not belong to Time's straight arrow.

Beregond felt desire well up in his soul like blood from a wound, a sharp, resounding No. The knot was tied he abandoned his post, and raced for the Hallows.


You must choose between orders and the life of Faramir. - The Siege of Gondor, Return of the King, 111.


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