Stories > Mirabella's Stories > Two Hundred
Forlong did not lie to his men. Though he lacked the foresight of his
lord, he knew the likely outcome of this fight. The armies of Gondor
would be trapped on the plain between the mountains and river, their
path of retreat blocked by the corsairs.
He had always felt as a father to his people, and what father would
order his sons to march to a needless death? Though many were willing
to go, in the end he chose only two hundred, the oldest of his
soldiers. Grey-bearded and grim, they shouldered their axes and set out
for Minas Tirith.
“So few? Only two hundreds?” Lord Denethor glared like a stoat with its foot caught in a snare.
“Yes, sire.” Forlong deemed that the less he said, the better.
“I expected a full two thousand or more.”
“They were all that could be spared. We had word of the corsairs.” He
hoped that his sunburned skin hid the flush of shame. Despite his many
years, he was not well-practiced in lying.
“And you need to guard your borders.”
“Yes, sire,” old Forlong replied. The lie was bitter on his tongue, but not as bitter as speaking the truth.
'Forlong!' men shouted. 'True heart,
true friend! Forlong!' But when the men of Lossarnach had passed they
muttered: 'So few! Two hundreds, what are they? We hoped for ten times
the number. That will be the new tidings of the black fleet. They are
sparing only a tithe of their strength. Still every little is a gain.'
--Minas Tirith, The Return of the King