Chapter 25; The Decline of Gondor

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The Return of the King; Disc 1 and my Imagination

Dedication to BrandiWatson6 for wanting Aaron to jump the Steward.

Chapter 25; The Decline of Gondor
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She sat upon her bed in the room given to her across the hall from Pippin's and next to Gandalf's. The old Wizard and young Hobbit were both in Pippin's room at the moment. She could hear their quiet voices, but not something she yearned to really know.

Her thoughts strayed from one thing to the next: Aragorn, Lily, Arwen, Legolas, Gimli, Arwen, Éowyn, Frodo, Lily, Sam, and Merry. Most of her friends and family she wasn't sure if she'd ever see again. Then her thoughts took a different turn and went to memories she wasn't fond of, like that afternoon for example:

"Perhaps you have come to tell me why my son is dead." Denethor said. His voice sad and his face mad. Images of arrows striking Boromir played through Aaron's mind again as she looked to the floor, even though she still remained unseen under her cloak and hood.

"Boromir died to save us..." She wasn't really shocked, but nearly groaned, when she heard the voice of Pippin. "...my kinsman and me. He fell defending us from many foes." Pippin walked forward and knelt before the steward.

"Pippin." Gandalf said and Aaron hissed, but he ignored them.

"I offer you my service, such as it is in payment of this debt." Gandalf muttered something about 'fool' while Aaron thought it.

Denethor seemed to try and hide his amusement. "This is my first command to you." He said. "How did you escape and my son did not, so mighty a man as he?" Aaron had to control herself from killing the man. Did he not have any thought of what Boromir went through to try and not take the Ring for himself? Does he know how mad the Ring drove his son? She looked to Gandalf, but found nothing to read.

"The mightiest man may be slain by one arrow, and Boromir was pierced by many." The steward looked down in grief. Gandalf mutter something again and hit the stub of his staff to Pippin's heel.

"Get up." He said. "My lord, there will be a time to grieve for Boromir, but it is not now. War is coming. The enemy is on your doorstep. As steward, you are charged with the defense of the city. Where are Gondor's armies? You still have friends. You are not alone in this fight. Send word to Thoeden of Rohan. Light the beacons." The steward threw his head toward the wizard.

"You think you are wise Mithrandir." The old man said. "Yet for all your subtleties you have not wisdom. Do you think the eyes of the White Tower are blind? I have seen more than you know. With your left hand you would use me as a shield against Mordor and with your right you would seek to supplant me. I know who rides with Thoeden of Rohan." Aaron looked at him shocked. "Oh yes, word has reached my ears of this Aragorn, son of Arathorn. And I tell you now. I will not bow to this Ranger from the North. Last of a ragged house long bereft of Lordship." Aaron took a threatening step forward and growled. Gandalf raised his hand out to her and gave her a look. She stood down but the unseen glare was hot irons.

"Authority is not given to you to deny the return of the King, steward." Gandalf says, still with his hand out to stop Aaron. Denethor jumped up with anger in his eyes and voice.

"The rule of Gondor is mine and no others!" He roared. Aaron had had enough and quickly turned on her heel, only to find that Gandalf and Pippin were following her.

"All has turned to vain ambition." Aaron growled. She looked back at him. "He would even use his grief as a cloak." The doors opened and they were might with a faint light, but it soon disappeared and they were met with the gloom of Mordor.

"A thousand years this city has stood." Gandalf said, as they marched down the stairs and toward the peak of the White Tower. "Now, at the whim of a madman, it will fall." Aaron hid her shock of Gandalf agreeing with her. "And the White Tree, the tree of the king, will never bloom again."

"Why are they still guarding it?" Pippin asked.

"They guard it because they have hope. A faint and fading hope that one day it will flower. That a king will come and this city will be as it once was, before it fell into decay." They now stood at the peak of the wall. "The old wisdom borne out of the West was forsaken.kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living, and counted the names of their descent, dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls, musing on heraldry, or in high, cold towers, asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. The line of kings failed. The White Tree withered. The rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men."

Pippin walked forward, staring at the red, orange, and black sky before them. "Mordor." He whispered.

"Yes, there it lies." Aaron said. "This city has dwelt ever in the sight of its shadow."

"A storm is coming."

"It is not the weather of the world." Gandalf said. "This is a device of Sauron's making, a broil of fume he sends ahead of his host." Aaron looked at the on coming black cloud. She felt her skin crawl as she stared at it. A shiver ran down her spine. "The orcs of Mordor have no love of daylight, so he covers the face of the sun, to ease their passage along the road to war. When the shadow of Mordor reaches this city, it will begin."

Pippin didn't look too happy about that. He breathed out a long breath, then turned to the Wizard. "Well, Minas Tirith, very impressive. So where are we off to next?"

"Oh, it's too late for that, Peregrin. There's no leaving this city." Pippin looked very downcast. "Help must come to us."

Aaron jolted as she realized she'd fallen asleep thinking about earlier. She mind had been full of rage at the Steward. Who did he think he was, calling her brother's heirloom a ragged house? Aaron wasn't sure, but she did hope that he did something bad so he'd have to die, she also hoped she'd been the one to end him.

With those thoughts in mind, Aaron fell asleep.

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Someone was knocking lightly on her door, when Aaron woke up. Sun light streamed in from the balcony, but the gloom of Mordor casted a shadow on her face. 

She frowned at it, but gave no more thought of it. The knocking was turning more into an urgent pounding. Aaron grunted in frustration and pivoted her head around until the shadow was plastered on her hair.

The next thing she knew, the door flung open and Gandalf came striding into the room. He gave the back of her head a sweet smil, but frowned when she groaned: the door had banged against the wall with a loud CRACK! and her sensitive ears couldn't take it.

"Come along, Aaron. Wake up." She groaned again, then muttered into the pillow;

"Why do you and Strider have to be soo much alike?" The Wizard chuckled.

"Maybe because we both care for you." She gave a mocking laugh and slowly sat up.

"Yeah, you all care for me too much."

"You've never been the one for too much attention." Aaron shock her head, even though it wasn't a question, but a statement.

She yawned and stretched out like a cat, then stared out the balcony. "What are we doing today?" Her voice caught at the end as she yawned again.

The Wizard walked to one of the pillars guarding the balcony from the room and looked out, before turning back to her.

"We are signalling for Rohan." He stated boldly. Aaron's eyebrows shot up. He gave her one more glance then went to walk out of the room, grabbing the door along the way. Aaron stood up and caught the door before it closed.

"What?" She called after him. He didn't turn around as he walked down the hall.

"Get dress, Aaron!" She frowned and looked down at herself.

I am dressed. She was, unless he meant her bow, then she wasn't.

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