Turchon stood silently as Tarchies left his side to enter the infirmary tent in which his mother Melinum rested. It was dark when they came upon Tinnudir and the night sky stretched out above the lake valley and it’s island bastion. As Tarchies disappeared within the tent a young Dúnadan girl of no more than fourteen winters emerged and gave Turchon a brief gaze before wiping her blood stained hands against her tunic. “We’ve done everything we can.” She muttered looking to Turchon again. “She can’t fight the fever anymore and the wound has opened back up through the old bindings.” Turchon nodded silently in understanding as he offered a sympathetic gaze. “I’m sorry.” He said to which the girl simply sighed and nodded in agreement “We all are.” She then made her way further into the encampment leaving Turchon alone outside the tent.
Turchon looked around him at the dimly glowing fires and their silent occupants after the girl had departed and began to take note of the fact that none had greeted he and Tarchies save the night guard when they had arrived. He wondered if his own reclusive behavior over the past few years had prompted the poor welcome but quickly dismissed the thought as Tarchies opened the flap to the tent. The young Dúnadan sniffled a little and wiped a tear from his cheek before looking up at Turchon with reddened eyes. “Turchon… I…” his eyes began to swell further and more tears ran down his cheeks as he stood and took a few steps away from the entry. “She needs to speak to you… alone.”
Turchon sighed deeply and pulled his hood away as he spoke “I will go to her then.” He rests his hand on Tarchies’ shoulder briefly before turning to pull back the tent flap and enter the somewhat cramped quarters that served as the infirmary tent. He quickly spotted the form of Melinum who appeared to be the only current occupant and approached her bedside. He took a knee before her and sighed quietly as their eyes met in a silence that betrayed a bitter understanding of the situation. “Turchon…” She said with a weak smile her grey eyes appearing especially so in contrast to the pair of wide dark circles beneath them. “You have been hunting too long.” She said plainly her words coming a little easier now as she forced herself to sit up against the bed frame.
Turchon couldn’t help but smile a little as she spoke his name “I know, I know… Tarchies, he will be safe here, you must know that Melinum.” He said in an attempt to quell any fears she might have. “The people here will look after him and he will always have a home.”
She smiled in return as she shook her head and looked away briefly “I’m not worried about my son Turchon.” She looked back to him “He was raised well and has grown to be both wise and strong much like his father.” She sighs deeply as the memory of the man comes over her “I will see Tarentor soon and we will both look over our son in the next life.”
Turchon nods silently as he reaches to take her hand and moves a little closer to her bedside. His eyes begin to swell as she meets his grip and their hands lock. “Melinum, I’m sorry about this, I’m sorry for all of it. Maybe if things had worked out differently and we had made it to the Angle none of this would have happened.”
Melinum grips his hand very tight and seems to sit up even straighter in the bed as her eyes fix sternly upon his “Listen to me Turchon, I don’t have time for you to go on like this, and there is nothing you could’ve done, nothing any of us could’ve done, to stop what happened.” She reaches up with her opposite hand and wipes a tear from his face as she goes on “I loved you once you know? I loved you from the moment you and your men found my boy and I in that cave. I never thought I could look at another man after Tarentor but when you saved us I tried to make you see me, to see my boy, to see something other than the war. But you never could see past the Ranger, it was always the next mission, the next task, the next burden for –you- to take on.” She shakes her head without letting go of his gaze “I would not put my boy through that and so I let my desires die.” She coughs weakly and wipes sweat from her forehead, visibly strained from the sudden effort of her words. “I’m telling you this because I don’t think anybody else ever has, you have to let it go Turchon whatever it is that fuels this obsession inside you. You hunt these Angmarim now, for what? The men tell me that you collect their pendants for trophies and leave their bodies to rot in the wilderness like some bandit.”
Turchon drops to both knees and lets his eyes fall from her gaze towards the fur-covered floor beneath them. “I, I…” he looks up at her and wipes his tears away with a quick jerk of his forearm. His voice gets deep and serious as he replies, “They have to pay for what they’ve done Melinum.” He grinds his teeth a little and his skin begins to redden behind the drying tears “I… -we- cannot let them get away with the murder of our kin. If I am to be the only one so committed in hunting them that I kill them without mercy or honor then so be it. I will not stop until every last man and uruk carrying the banner of Kallabân Tud is dead and Zaphragôr is but a foul word on the tongue, forgotten to the history books of men.” He let go of Melinum’s hand and turned to face away from her as his breathing quickened, the sudden flush of anger visible in his features.
Melinum simply smiles and shakes her head as she diverts her gaze upwards in an empty stare “You don’t get it do you?” she continued shaking her head but the smile turned into a sad expression as she looked back towards him “Despite all you years the fight has blinded you and you cannot see what is the most plain to all others. We’ll never win your way Turchon; we can’t beat them at their own game. No matter how long or hard we fight they will always win because that is their nature, isn’t it, to destroy and corrupt. The only thing that can beat them is love Turchon… friendship, loyalty, family, dance and song, drink and food, children and old folk, laughter and tears…” she is interrupted by a coughing fit that causes Turchon to come to her side once more. She takes hold of his hand and meets his gaze as she says “I know you Turchon…and I know this war is going to end one day… what I do not know is what you are going to do when that happens…” with her other hand she reached for his cheek and ran her fingers over his features softly “I hope you will see it one day… now go… send me my son so that I can die with him.” She let loose of his features and loosened her grip to allow him to leave. Turchon stood then and stared down at her for a few silent moments before he turned to exit the tent and retrieve Tarchies.
Turchon quickly exited and beckoned the boy to enter; he soon after did which left Turchon alone to sit down before the fire. He wiped the few remaining tears from his face and picked up a nearby twig to begin poking at the embers in silent thought. As he pondered all that had been said the sound of singing could be heard from within the tent as Melinum and Tarchies sung the oath of Elendil together in the olden tongue. Their voices were slow and in beautiful rhythm with one another for the first verse but as the lines went on Tarchies’ voice was the only one heard singing the final line…