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“Gundor, have you a great store of supplies in Minas Tirith?” the King asked the messenger.
“Yes lord. We have store enough to last a weeklong siege. But why do you ask?” replied Gundor.
“For us to reach Ithilien, we must ride swiftly with supplies for at least five thousand. This will burden us heavily. I suggest that we take store for five days ride and then take ten days supplies to Emyn Arnen to satisfy us; for do I not guess that Emyn Arnen is ill equipped for such a great host?” the King asked shrewdly.
“Verily. Your counsel, lord, is wise and just. I shall ride back immediately to Minas Tirith and begin the preparations for your coming and…war” replied Gundor.
“No messenger of Gondor. Nay. For I shall not treat a man from the steward so rashly. You are tired, Gundor, and so also is your steed for you have ridden for more than three-hundred and fifty miles without much rest. Thou and thy steed shall rest. Then at dusk you shall ride swiftly to Mundburg”
that is the end of the council” the king announced. “Ceorl, go
send the messengers of the Mark to every part of Rohan. Summon every
man able to fight horseback to assemble in Edoras within two days time.
Meanwhile, Folcred, Fastred, Gundor and Hallas, take four hours of rest
before you personally order the muster with the help of the king. All
shall leave the hall now.”
They all took their leave and went to their rooms save Ceorl, the Third Marshall of the Mark.
Hallas wearily climbed down the hillock to his home on the base of the hill. He had refused to live in Meduseld, unlike the other marshals of the Mark and also unlike the other marshals of the Mark, he was yet unmarried although at the prime age of 28. He wearily went into his house. It was between mid-day and dusk. He wearily slumped down into the chair. He was wearied in mind and body, for he was among the ones who hunted down the Orcs near dawn but the Council of the King was very wearing.
rash words were spoken in the council of the king, mostly by
the King and his chief Advisor. But the last decision of the Council
was this: they should set out in two days time with all the strength
that could be spared. But they were to muster a strength of around
five-thousand, for this was all they could muster in two days. Ceorl
was to send the messengers to far parts of the Mark. Hallas was to
officially muster the men of the Snowbourn. The king would muster the
men of Edoras. The sons of Folcwine would command the Muster of the
West and East Mark. But here was the catch. The sons of Folcwine should
lead the army into Ithilien, not the king. This was because they had
dissuaded him from coming, for the road was over 400 miles and Folcwine
was 73 years old. The king finally relented but the dissuasion by his
sons was done lovingly. But however he forbade Fengel to go with the
Host for it was required one true heir to be left in Edoras. He
proclaimed both Folcred and Fastred as Underkings and he, Hallas, was
to command the Rohirrim in Gondor were they to be injured or slain.
The king would prepare and send another host if this host was
beaten or any
further threat affected Gondor or Rohan. Gundor was to ride at
night back to the steward to relay to him the message.
Hallas then got into bed and slept with troubled dreams….
“Hafstan bring your eored here,” shouted Hallas to the lord of the riders of the Snowbourn. It had been a weary day, the day after the council. He had ridden to the Snowbourn Vale to personally oversee the muster there. The people were reluctant to let go of their best riders, for this was the first time they had been mustered for a great war even though the Snowbourn Vale was the most populated region of the Mark. He looked across the great camp. He had assembled a host of 2,000 sword and spear riders, the latter being most useful for fighting infantry like the ones the Haradrim and the Corsairs used, but nearly useless for other mounted attackers.
He had wondered how much the others would muster in two days. Not many, he thought. Five-thousand would be likely. That would not be much without aid. For he remembered what the hooded figure in black that always appeared in his dream told him: "War Unaided will never result in victory". But they had the alliance of Gondor and they were not set against the will of a dark lord. He hoped the enemy would not have any pikemen or trenches or have any great beasts. They would be powerless against them. Then he and Hafstan gathered their eored and took it back to Edoras, only two hours ride. They returned almost at dusk. When Hallas came in sight of the hillock, he saw the great host prepared there. It was as he guessed: six-thousand joined with his host. Two-thousand from Edoras and Durnharrow, one-thousand from East and West Mark, and two-thousand from the Snowbourn.
All the Marshals and commanders of the Mark camped out that night taking supplies and checking their host. There were to be four marshals with four eoreds. The first two eoreds of two-thousand each were fully sword and spear eoreds with the sons of Folcwine as their leaders. The third eored was Hallas’s, of one-thousand spear throwers with swordsmen. The last eored was to be Ceorl’s, consisting of one-thousand horse archers from the East Mark. Ceorl himself was from South Gondor near Pelargir.
They all slept wearily that night…
“Ride Men! RIDE! RIDE! Ride now to Gondor…” the king shouted to his men. All the marshals got on to their steeds. They sounded their horns. The sun rose in their faces. The Host was ready outside the hillock of Edoras. Another horn was sounded of a deep note from the king and the host launched forth riding to meet the storm of the east - unprepared for the surprise that waited for them. Hallas took out his sword and it glittered in the dawn and he cried, “Flame light! Flee night!” and the whole host rode with winged speed past the Halifirien, the Holy Mountain, where the First King of Gondor’s body lay.
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The king would prepare and send another host if this host was beaten or any further threat affected Gondor or Rohan. Gundor was to ride at night back to the steward to relay to him the message.The Host would reach Minas Tirith in 7 days and Emyn Arnen in 8 or 9 days.