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Author Topic: A Not So Simple Plan  (Read 98 times)


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A Not So Simple Plan
« on: June 07, 2020, 05:25:41 AM »
Shadowfax had been carrying Gandalf for hours since they had left Edoras at a very fast pace only a horse of his lineage could endure for so long. The wizard himself was also showing a stamina unseen in other old men. They were a duo to be reckoned with and were headed to where he had sensed the faint presence of the one they were searching for: Éomer, nephew of King Théoden, who had been banished by Gríma with his Éored before he could free his uncle's mind. Now that Saruman had lost control of the king, Rohan was in danger of a massive attack from Isengard's forces. The war to end the age was beginning to take form and the Rohirrim went to seek shelter at Helm's Deep.

The pair kept shooting through the plains of Rohan until the moment Shadowfax lost his momentum and started to slow down his gallop. Gandalf was fast to dismount once their speed became safe for both of them not to worsen whatever had been the source of his companion's sudden pain. *What's wrong, my friend?* He shared his thoughts directly with the Lord of the Mearas and kept the telepathic channel open to listen to the reply of his equine friend. This way perfect communication was ensured. *We're close to our destination. I can sense Éomer and his men nearby. You should take some rest. We can still reach them by the fall of night as was the plan.* He wanted to assure Shadowfax he didn't need to further strain himself.

Gandalf took a seat on the ground next to Shadowfax. He had had no rest since he had left Lothlórien on Gwaihir's back and he was sure that little rest would be found by either of them in the days that would follow. It was a turning point in the war and an idea crossed his mind to further guarantee the victory of the forces of the Free Peoples. An important piece was being overlooked by him, but no more. As they rested their bodies before fulfilling their current journey, Olórin was ready to put that last piece into place. *Shadowfax, my friend, what do you understand of what's happening?* Such simple question was the beginning of a not so simple plan. One that might augment the chances of success in the approaching battles of the war.

((OOC: I know this is a short starter post for your wait, Ari, but I didn't want to assume too much. Anything could have happened to Shadowfax from a strained muscle due to the physical effort to stepping on a loose pebble and spraining a foot. Gandalf can easily heal either. Speech between ** is telepathic talk.))
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 05:29:56 AM by Gandalf »


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Re: A Not So Simple Plan
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 06:54:32 AM »
It was by no physical pain that Shadowfax halted his run, but emotional. . .  Men had their own problems that the Lord of Horses couldn't care less about, but the welfare of his kin affected him personally, moreso their reception of him when he had finally braved to return to Edoras with Gandalf.  It was a risk he had feared would rain down the King's retribution upon both their heads - him for going AWOL and Gandalf for having "stolen" him away in the first place.  Fortunately in that regard, Edoras was in too much of a dreary -now panicked- state to pay heed for petty trials.  It had been no grievance to Shadowfax to learn that Prince Theodred was dead, the House of Eorl on the verge of collapse and Rohan facing the brink of annihilation.  But to learn that his grandsire, Lightfoot, had perished in the battle at the Fords of Isen, came as a devastating shock, not knowing which way to process it.  He had wanted to mourn, to pay his respects alongside the other Mearas, but the anger and bitterness he had received from them had hardened his sympathies.  All the fond memories he and Lightfoot had shared together were wiped out in an effort to toughen his walls of defense against the accusations hurled at him by his kin, blaming him for Lightfoot's death and Rohan's ruin.  If only he had served Theodred, they claimed, none of this would have happened.

He should have never come back to Edoras.  He was already a disgrace to the Chiefs, viewed as a hypocrite the last time he had left the city with Gandalf, after their first meeting.  Now he would swear his allegiance to a complete stranger, abandoning his family and the House that had cared for him since birth?

He hadn't allowed the brewing cloud of emotions shake his resolve in Edoras, all too eager to flee the city again, speeding in the direction Gandalf guided him towards.  Miles and miles had billowed his inner turmoil into a storm, wrestling with doubts, sorrows and anxieties… until the moment the downpour of everything weighed his legs down completely, sinking with the realization of what judgement awaited him, should he reach Gandalf's destination.

I can't.  I can't do this,  he said, as the wizard dismounted and asked him what was wrong.  Desperation mingled with shame as Shadowfax hung his head, heart pounding not from the long run, but with fear.

If I show my face, with you. . . I cannot bear their judgement.  Words need not describe the tangle of images and emotions conveyed for Gandalf to tap into and know what Shadowfax was worried about… The horses of Eomer's eored.  If these did not know about Shadowfax having eloped with a wizard several months ago, this stunning revelation would not be joyfully received.  All would be horrified, and denounce him as a traitor.  For a Chief to carry anyone but a King of Rohan was not so much a breaking of tradition, but loyalty. 

Likely, they already knew Shadowfax to be a rebel and a zealot, preaching about freedom and separation from the House of Eorl.  The reputation of each Chief preceded them all throughout Rohan, even those Chiefs that never ventured outside of the capital.  News concerning the latest heir was a hot topic to quickly spread.  To be seen with Gandalf upon his back would be parading his act of betrayal in front of every horse of the Rohirrim.  Those closest to the House of Eorl, including those in Eomer's company, were bound to take the sundering of Chiefs and Kings most personal and offensively.

His freedom had come at a heavy price of losing redemption in the eyes of his kin.  And yet, he was free.  Free to do whatever he wanted.  If he abandoned this course now, he might still find peace and acceptance with the wild ones.  He could reunite with his herd, and lead them far away from Rohan.  His descendants would never know Man again.

He appreciated the wizard's gesture in letting him rest.  Shadowfax's muscles were not so fatigued as his mind, needing a moment to sort out his troubled thoughts and contemplate which way he would head next.  As a free horse, Shadowfax could refuse and leave anytime he wanted to.  Gandalf never expected or requested anything from him, except make his intentions known for where he planned on heading.  It was Shadowfax who willingly offered to carry the wizard to his next destination, under no obligation to look after his rider if he ever got cold feet or second thoughts.  He could dump Gandalf now and leave him to walk the rest of the way to Eomer, and still the wizard would look upon him as kindly as he always did and harbor no ill will against him for it. 

He gave a short huff at Gandalf's question, asking if he understood what was happening.  If Shadowfax didn't know the full details of what was going on, he would have never spared his time and effort in bringing Gandalf this far.  Back in Edoras, news had circulated rapidly through the city, shortly to find its way into the stables where a majority of commotion and activity took place. Whatever affected the Rohirrim affected their valuable horses, and whatever their horses overheard was quickly communicated to one another.  Shadowfax had already been informed of the reasoning behind the city's evacuation long before Gandalf entered the stable. And even then, he was able to clarify the situation by listening to Gandalf explain to Aragorn about the faults in King Theoden's plan to lead the people to Helm's Deep, and the hope in finding Eomer's men to turn the tide of battle.

But sometimes, one just had to play the role of a dumbed-down psychiatrist for a friend to vent out to.

Aside from what's obvious?  He pointed out nonchalantly, letting the monotonous task of grazing calm his mind while he reported,  Edoras is being evacuated, the people are fleeing to Helm's Deep. Orcs will soon befall them, and you seek out Eomer to rescue the people before everyone is slaughtered.

There was a fine line of humor in his tone, but Shadowfax knew better than to stretch out his sarcasm and treat the whole situation as indifferent.  Not when Gandalf was stressed and urgent about his mission.

Softening with concern for Gandalf's behalf, Shadowfax pondered in reflection for a moment, letting his next words come from the heart.

Men fear for their future, he said solemnly.  They fear for war. They fear they will not survive.  As it will always be.

Will be.  Not "has been".  Those last words, what Shadowfax hoped to offer in comfort to Gandalf, turned out to be a bittersweet assurance, that the cycle would not be broken.  Men would live to die another day.  Whether or not this applied to the Men of Rohan, Shadowfax's automatic sympathies had yet to give a care.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 07:00:46 AM by Shadowfax »

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