Title: Against the Darkness
Elements: Necessity is a hard nurse, but she raises strong children.
Author's Notes: The prompt served as an inspiration.
philosophy = love of wisdom
"It is wisdom to recognize necessity (…)." - Gandalf, FOTR, The Council of Elrond.
Summary: Aragorn and Halbarad are having a philosophical discussion.
Word Count: 685
Aragorn looked even more tired than Halbarad felt and for all that he hadn't mentioned it, Halbarad knew that the cut on his left arm was bothering him from the way he moved. It had been one of those cold, wet, thoroughly miserable days in Eriador. Although they had at last managed to find a more or less suitable shelter near a rocky overhang it promised to be an uncomfortable night.
Despite his obvious weariness, Aragorn didn't seem to be ready to rest just yet. Pensievely, he gazed into the sorry excuse of a campfire that tried its best to win over the rain that the wind blew in sideways.
“Have you ever asked yourself why we do this?”
Halbarad, startled out of his own thoughts, which were mostly concerned with calculations of how far they could achieve to travel on the next day, shrugged noncommitantly. “This” Halbarad took to mean the whole grim reality of their journey so far: pouring rain, walking through the mud for hours, sparse provisions, hostile locals, a skirmish with orcs, and more rain thrown in for good measure. Nothing out of the ordinary, then.
“Not really.” he answered laconically.
“It is our duty.” he offered when it became clear that Aragorn expected a somewhat more elaborate response.
“That is it, but why do we pledge ourselves to this duty?”
Truly, only Aragorn would be inclined to muse about things like that on the end of a long day out in the Wild. It was one of the drawbacks of his Rivendell upbringing, Halbarad supposed. He tried to direct Aragorn's attention to matters closer at hand. “We need to get an early start tomorrow. Go sleep, I'll take the first watch.”
Aragorn didn't react to that, but dug his pipe out of his soaked pack. Clearly he wasn't about to be so easily dismissed. “All those generations of Dúnedain – there are ever fewer of us as time passes, our days of grandeur and glory are long gone, and yet we fight on. Knowing that if we win a small victory today, there always will be more servants of the Shadow – if not tomorrow, then next month, or next year.”
Halbarad found himself wondering whether this was the kind of conversation Aragorn usually engaged in with Gandalf when they were travelling together. For a fleeting moment he pictured the two of them spending their cold, wet, miserable evenings absorbed in lenghty philosophical discourses. He wondered if this would now also be expected of him on a regular basis. “There is but one other choice, to give up all hope and let the Darkness prevail. So, if we reject that choice, then we have to go on.”
Aragorn had finally managed to light his pipe and leaned back, blowing smoke rings while regarding Halbarad thoughtfully. “So we believe that it is our duty because it is the right thing to do, a worthy cause.”
Halbarad gave the fire an experimental poke and raised an eyebrow at Aragorn. “Maybe so. I am not Gandalf, or any of the Wise. It is not for me to ponder the destiny of the Dúnedain, or the fate of Middle-earth. What I do know is that it is what we have to do. To protect our families, our homes, the people of the North.”
Looking up from the flames and holding Aragorn's gaze he continued, suddenly serious.
“We fight to survive. And we do. There might be fewer of us each generation, but we hold on. Against the Darkness. Without glory or renown, to be sure, but with strength. And with hope.”
For a time it was silent except for the rain which was still lashing, albeit less ferociously now. At length Halbarad rose, nodding at the fire that had nearly died down to its embers. “Speaking of darkness, we need more wood. I'll see if I can find any that's even remotely dry.”
Aragorn, too, rose, and started to prepare his bedroll. “For my part, I think I'll heed a man who recognizes necessity. We need to get an early start tomorrow, or so I'm told.”