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Author Topic: Touched by an Angel  (Read 53 times)

Shadowfax

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  • Alias: Ari
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Touched by an Angel
« on: June 13, 2020, 07:33:27 AM »
The wealth of Rohan was measured in horses.  Man relied on these creatures, not only for mode of transportation, though that was the common purpose for which they were valued, but for companionship, a love shared by many Rohirrim who grew up alongside these symbols of power and freedom.


Freedom.


What mockery.


Shadowfax gazed up at Edoras' wall, standing in the shadow of the fortification that made up the far edge of the pasture, encasing him inside the city.  If only he could leap as high or smite as hard, as fast as he could run, he would clear those walls and make his escape into freedom.  On the other side of that wall, Freedom lied just a few feet away from him.  So close, yet so far.  For the past forty-one years, he could only dream of the grass seas other horses spoke of.  Lands where wild herds roamed…

Perhaps that dream would have come true sooner, if only he had given into those carnal instincts to sire offspring.  A foal like himself would have granted him pardon and release from the House of Eorl without hesitation.  Just one foal.  One Chief to carry on the line.  The House of Eorl would probably celebrate him, if such a momentous birth ever came to be, despite everything he had done to taunt and shun them, keeping them in suspense for so long.

It would be a lie to say the thought hadn't crossed his mind, just to get it over with and be set free.  But for him to give into the slightest of Men's wishes - what the House of Eorl expected of him - would be shattering to his cause, tarnishing the message he had been trying to advocate to all horses, forever a blemish on his reputation and a guilt to his conscience.


I will serve no Man.


Quite a simple concept, really.  But the House of Eorl was not so keen on taking "no" for an answer.  That was fine.  Two could play that game.  A waiting game.  Eventually, one would cave in.  Until death took him. Though, he hoped it wouldn't come to that.  As a far prouder Mearas than any Chief before him, Shadowfax was not about to make compromises to win his freedom.   Dooming his offspring to a life of servitude would be a selfish act either way.  If the line perished with him, it would still be a gain for his cause, and a loss to Man. There was a measure of satisfaction to be had in that.  He could die happy.

How impossibly stubborn and foolish could he be, wasting his life away like this?  The other Mearas conversed in bewilderment at his protest, as the years wore on…


They never understood him.  No one did. 


Strange how Men viewed horses as symbols of freedom.  Not for horses' sake, but for theirs.  Horses gave Men freedom.  And what did Men give in return that horses could not secure for themselves?  Companionship?

Please.

Shadowfax knew better than to fall for Man's companionship. Or "friendship", as other horses fond of Men would call it.  But such bonds would have never come to fruition, had horses not been fenced up or tethered, forced into Man's possession.  Shadowfax had soaked up every ounce of knowledge and testimony from the (former) wild ones that passed through Edoras, and it was clear to him that horses did not need Men.  Men needed horses.  If not for the unjust capture of an ancestor whose weregild service had been paid long ago, he and his kin would still be free in the wild.  None of them deserved to be here.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to raise those issues without having the power of Speech himself.  Perhaps then, he could have resolved his case with the House of Eorl years ago.  All Shadowfax could do was resist.  Refuse the saddle, refuse the pettings, refuse Men to come anywhere near him.  He had stood and paced next to Edoras' wall for years.  Couldn't his pining for freedom be any more plain?  But because horses could not speak, Men could ignore his pleas, seeing only what they wanted to see.  A "wild" and "untamed" beast.

How insulting!  It couldn't be further from the truth!

Really, if he wanted to act wild, he could, but that would be putting on a show of bad manners and temper tantrums, in front of all the other horses.  If a lesser Mearas knew how to behave more civilized, how much higher were the expectations for a Chief?  Lowering his conduct to that of a lesser horse would be downright embarrassing!

And it was.  Er—He might have exaggerated his wild streak a little, just to dissuade Men from bothering him.  Paying homage to his ancestors' wild roots didn't fall into the realm of "compromising", so long as it was a loophole to help him gain space from his captors. 

He had to admit, life in Edoras wasn't all that bad. At least he had the run of the field while being imprisoned for all these years.  In many ways oblivious to Shadowfax, who had never spent a second in the wild, knowing only the parcel of land he had lived on since birth, he often forgot how lucky he was, as a Chief of the Mearas… To always have a spread of lush grass before him, a clear pool of water to drink from, a copse of trees to shade himself under, acres of field to run in and plenty of horses to run with.  Most horses, even wild ones, would beg for this kind of luxury.  Never being confined to a stable. Never having to work a day in his life. Never left wanting for anything except more freedom beyond his reach, where surely the grass must be greener on the other side. . .


News of a stranger's arrival in the pasture rippled to the farthest corners of the field, turning heads and amassing a crowd of horses keen on investigating the grey-clad and bearded man, snorting their interest and whickering their greetings.  Many could sense there was something different about him. Certainly not one of the average Rohirrim, but something far more mysterious than that…

Having lived in the same pasture for over forty years, Shadowfax knew what to expect from each day (mostly) and seldom paid attention to the regulars that frequented the field.  Boredom was his biggest enemy, likely to be the cause of an early death if he were to be cooped up in the same place for much longer, but stubborn to his cause, he would never allow himself to go up to Men as a source for entertainment. 

Rarely did curiosity get the best of Shadowfax to prompt him over for a closer look at a visitor.  Against the herd of mat grays, darks, and earthen shades, his silver sheen upon white gleamed apart from the rest, marking the few Chiefs that stood watch in the field.

He kept his distance from the crowd, peering over to examine the stranger, listening intently all the while, but otherwise didn't want to appear as though he were expressing too much interest in a person, and despite his shiny white coat making it impossible to do so, tried not to draw attention to himself by separating a little ways from the others.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 12:44:03 PM by Shadowfax »

 


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