THE FOREST UNDER NIGHTSHADE AND SHADOW
The forest is dark and deep, mighty trees stretching their scraggly limbs skyward, creating a deep canopy that hangs over the road below. Not even the smallest shaft of sunlight can flicker down through the many layers of misshapen growth, and the forest is a place of almost complete darkness. The road has sunken into the ground for many have been the feet that have walked these dreadful paths before. Over the road, the trees tower from high banks covered with short, scrubby plants, and the trees closest to the road dangle their gnarled and twisted roots into the edges of the well-beaten path below.
The still air is heavy and oppressive, choking all hope, as the trees choke all light, and despair and fear clutches at the hearts of all who enter this evil wood. Though the forest may seem empty save for the towering trees and stunted vegetation, ill- fated travelers know that their every move is being watched by leering, unseen eyes, each step of their journey being followed by evil monsters, the sight of which, should they ever reveal themselves, would surely make men's hearts stop from terror.
The path is lit by a dim light, seeping into the forest from somewhere far behind, but decreasing more and more with each step into the dark tunnel of trees. Though the path is fraught with danger and the presence of horrible evil can be felt all around, few ever turn back from their perilous journey, for the lure of what lies at the end of the road, no matter how horrifying, seems far appealing than what lies behind. Ever onward are weary travelers compelled to go, each plodding footstep taking them closer and closer into the embrace of death.
A slender figure robed in white walks upon the road, deeper and deeper into the forest. A vacant, desperate look is in her grey eyes as they scan the road ahead, her dainty feet slowly walk this treacherous path, her movements stiff and wooden yet graceful, as though she were walking in her sleep. She seems to be looking for someone in this lonely place of death and despair.
And suddenly, she sees him before her, a dark robed figure faintly illuminated by the ebbing light from behind. A hood is over his face, yet his eyes glitter evilly in the darkness. He reaches out his arm and beckons to her with a gloved hand.
"My lady, doest thou still heed the call of the Nazgul's song? We can sing softly sometimes.... so that only those who heed our call can hear. Canst thou hear my call in that song, my lady, my love?"
She stands still, an almost spectral figure of white in the darkness, and her eyes drift up to his. "Aye my lord," she says softly, her voice sounding vague and distant. "I hear thy words, I hear thy call. I come to thee."
"Then follow me and enter fully into thy dreams and we can sing together and our music will echo into the darkness, into the shadows, where only we go." He purrs the words softly, honey dripping from his poisoned lips that she longs to kiss.
"Oh beloved!" she cries. She approaches him slowly, the hem of her white gown dragging softly upon the dry earth.
"I am the King, I am the Immortal One. I shall sing to thee throughout all eternity, in thy dreams, even in thy every waking moment. Heed thy lord. I hold claim to thee. Join me in the darkness, come into the lingering shadows, into the cold stillness..."
She stands before him, a grave look of unwavering resolve upon her face, and says, "My lord, where thou goest I shall follow... take my hand and lead me thither."
He reaches out his hand and softly caresses her throat. "Come with me into the stillness," he whispers, "Know peace, know of what I can give thee. Only I, one of the lords of immortality." Her legs feel weak and wobbly, a sigh escapes her lips. "So like a lily, so white... so gentle. Peace I will give unto thee. Peace in all its fullness. I give unto those who shall accept....."
"Oh my love! ever do I desire peace.... peace with thee... peace eternal." Her eyes plead and beg with his.
His hand tightens around her throat, impairing her breathing. Yet she does not flinch nor fear A icy chill envelopes her, and she feels her heart begin to slow, his grip around her neck growing steadily tighter. he whispers into her ear... soft words of cunning, poisonous as a viper. He lowers his head into her face. "Life never ending, death never coming. Take it, take it in its fullness, accept it, embrace it as thou embrace me. Come with me into peace, come with me into the gift I fully give thee. Come into the arms of thy love. Embrace me now, Eowyn!"
She longs for this, she desires it with every part of her heart.... the stillness and peace of death eternal... finally free from the torments of life. He puts his hand to her heart, it labors under the his touch, cold like killing frost. "My hand is now upon thy heart, Eowyn. Dost thou feel the peace begin to grasp thee in its fullness?"
She feels the icy touch of death begin to cling tighter to her heart and its slow, rhythmic beating becomes labored. He seems to have cast aside his dark raiment and stands before her, now a towering figure with long, grey hair cascading down his strong shoulders, glowing with a fell shimmering light like mithril-silver. She, too, glows, but like the stars of Elbereth, a white light, pure as snow and finest crystal, and her hair shines as brilliant gold.
"No living man would ever please thee,
Eowyn. Let me turn thy whiteness, the purity of thy light, into
silver like mine. Come with me, come with me into eternity."
He bends down and caresses her lips with a kiss of ice. Her eyes slip shut and she feels that her legs will buckle under her. She floats in a world of darkness, and her head listlessly tilts backward.
"Come with me into the icy coolness of the shadows where we will dwell, and our spirits ever mingle," she hears him whisper softly.
"Yes...yes..." she whispers, her voice frail and barely audible, "... the shadows, my love. The shadows. and we will be together..... for all eternity........."
"Walk with me into worlds unseen by mortal eyes, where we can join others like ourselves for all eternity. See me now, one of the Eternal Ones, glowing and shining in all fullness of being, unhampered by flesh."
He embraces her, and she feels like she is being embraced by arms of pure ice, colder than death, for indeed they are the arms of Death. She sighs softly, falling further into the dark abyss.
He slips from her and extends his hand to her. His sudden absence causes her to stumble forward. She wearily regains her balance, her head drooping on her chest, as if a heavy burden was thrust upon her. Through the dark haze that comes before her eyes, she can see him standing before her, shining more brilliant than ever in the night, a looming figure of pure silver light. He says to her, his voice soft yet commanding, "Now do only this, Eowyn. Touch now the Ring upon my finger, and thou shall be as I am, and we will be together in the embrace of all eternity."
She stumbles forward, reaching for his hand. "I come, I come to thee, my lord, my love. I join thee now.... for all eternity."
The early morning hours of June 10
Maltriel is vaguely aware of the sensation of having her shoulders shaken violently.
"WAKE UP! WAKE UP, EOWYN! WAKE UP! EOWYN, EOWYN...MALTRIEL!....WAKE UP!"
Her head lolls lethargically from side to side. Slowly, she regains consciousness, and finds herself drifting away from the glowing figure of mithril-silver and his enticing light, drifting away from darkness of the abyss which she so longed to enter. She hears a shriek, then a cry that seems like the end of a song just beginning but never finishing.
"No! It's Pippin! WAKE UP!" cries a frantic voice.
Maltriel's eyes open halfway, then all the way, as she realizes where she is and that Pippin is shaking her. "Pippin!"
He stops shaking her and looks at her gravely. She looks bewildered, exhausted and horribly pale. "My lady!....you were delirious and talking in your sleep and I was afraid....." he trails off. "We would lose you forever," he thinks. He, too, suffered from the same Shadow that she suffered, only it lay more heavy upon her than it did on him. "Curse those fell riders and their evil land and all those who threaten to destroy innocent life and all that is green and good in the world!" Pippin's brow furrows, deep in thought and worry.
Maltriel looks down at her covers and a sad expression comes over her face. "It was just a dream, Pippin. That's all." She looks away wistfully.
Pippin replies, concern in his voice, "You need to rest now."
"Yes.... I must....rest..." She puts a strange emphasis on the word "rest," and she gets a far-away look in her face. She lies back in the bed and closes her eyes.... hoping that Angmar will come for her in her dreams and comfort her once again... and maybe, this time, she will join him... forever....
Fighting the Darkness
Pippin lies in Eowyn's tent next to her,
and out of a troubled sleep. In his waking moments he
looks over to Eowyn. She is usually trembling, so he
reaches out for her hand and tells her tales he used
to love as a lad. He sings softly until she falls
Pippin feels dizzy, and his head throbs.
He wipes the
sweat off his icy forehead and snuggles under the
covers, trying to warm up. After much tossing and
turning, he is able to rest as well.
In his dreams he feels a horrible wave
malicious evil seep towards him. Gray mists swirl
before his eyes, showing brief glimpses of a piercing
light that terrifies him. Gradually the mist clears,
and he sees a small figure slumped between two huge,
muscular orcs. The small one is covered with wounds
in various stages of healing, some of them fresh, with
the bright blood escaping. The dream moves Pippin
gradually closer to him, and as Pippin approaches, the
small one lifts his head. Wide, tortured eyes bore
into Pippin's soul.
"Frodo, Frodo!" Pippin sobs.
He tries to reach his
cousin, to draw his sword to kill the orcs, but he can
come no closer. "Oh, Frodo, what is happening? Where
are you? Who did this to you? And where is Sam?"
Frodo turns bloodless white, and his eyes
more. He shakes his head gravely. Then he squeezes
his eyes shut, tears falling to the floor. Shaking
all over, he sags between the orcs, his head bowed.
Pippin notices that Frodo's chest is suddenly covered
in blood from a gaping wound. He looks beyond Frodo
to see an uruk throwing Frodo's heart into a flaming
Pippin wakes up screaming. He hears Eowyn's
exclamations and apologizes to her, but then bursts
into tears. He cries into the pillow so she won't be
disturbed. After a little while he looks over at her
"Don't be afraid, " he manages
between sobs. "It
was...just a dream...nothing to worry about. We're
safe...." "But I'd rather be in danger if I could
only help my friends," Pippin thinks, and cries
He hears the tent flap open. Lifting his
face, he sees two men enter with a stretcher.
One of them looks at him with concern.
"Are you in
pain, Master Hobytla?"
Pippin wipes his eyes, embarrassed. "Not very much."
"Then can you walk to the healers'
pavilion? We need
the stretcher for the lady, and we need to move both
of you now."
Pippin nods. "I think so." He
gathers up his
blankets and pillow, but he waits until he sees Eowyn
safely carried away. Then he takes a deep breath and
makes his way toward the crowd of sick people.
"I'm hungry," he says to no one
in particular, but no
one answers. All the Big Folk tower over him, so he
cannot see how far they must travel. It feels like
miles. Pippin's vision clouds over, his mind reels,
and even with the blankets wrapped around him he
shivers. His head bowed, he concentrates only on
keeping his feet moving, though his body protests
the exertion and he longs to sleep again.
"Master Hobytla!" a voice calls
out--a female voice,
and not Eowyn's! Pippin lifts his head and blinks
confusedly. The pretty serving maid who brought his
wine in Bearn's tent is walking towards him. Pippin
smiles. He remembers flirting with her because she
looks like an overgrown hobbit.
The serving maid falls into step next to
her pace is quicker than his. She blushes. "Quite
likely you don't remember me. I brought your wine the
day you arrived, in Bearn's tent, remember?"
Pippin looks up at her and stumbles a little,
dizziness flooding his head. He recovers himself
quickly and manages a grin. "Of course I remember!
Your face is unforgettably lovely, sweet maiden of the
golden ale." He winks.
The girl blushes even more and laughs,
and it seems to
Pippin that she spreads welcome mirth throughout the
forlorn group. "Why thank you!" She puts out her
hand. "I'm Hathawyn. May I have your name, gallant
sir?" she smiles.
"Peregrin Took, but I prefer Pippin."
He shakes her
hand, then kisses it, looking up at her with an even
She widens her eyes, then bursts out laughing.
joins her, forgetting his illness and their desperate
situation for a moment. Then he trips over a rock and
falls flat on his face. A man hurrying along behind
him cannot stop quickly enough and falls on top of
"Oof!" Pippin cries. The man
springs up and
apologizes. He makes sure that Pippin is not hurt,
then apologizes again and continues on his way.
Pippin moans as he sits up. The shock of
the fall has
made him dizzy again. He aches all over. Hathawyn
kneels next to him and eyes him, concerned.
"You've skinned your knee," she
says. She dabs at it
with her handkerchief. The blood reminds Pippin of
his nightmare about Frodo, and he winces a little.
"You're wincing from a little skinned
teases. "And I heard that hobytla were so tough!
Besides, you knew the brave Merry, didn't you?" she
Merry...Pippin holds his throbbing head.
remind him of the Nazgul, the deadly terrors, flying
over their camp...flying over the besieged Gondor
while Pippin cringed in her streets, while
Merry...Merry fought valiantly against the fell
captain! Fought and died...Pippin seems to see each
stroke of the ponderous, pointed mace as it crushes
Merry's small frame blow by blow....to hear Merry's
agonized cries for help...a fit of trembling comes on
him. Though he is terribly embarrassed, Pippin cannot
stop the gasping, heavy breathing, or the sudden
weakness that makes his head drop to Hathawyn's
He feels a warm hand on his cold forehead.
look well," Hathawyn says. "Why didn't you say
"Hobytla are tough," Pippin laughs weakly.
"Of course you are," Hathawyn
returns his smile. "But
that doesn't change the fact that you're ill." She
holds him until the fit passes. Then she wraps him in
his blankets again and insists on carrying him the
rest of the way. Clasped in her arms and resting his
head on her soft shoulder, smelling her sweet hair,
Pippin has no objection. He only wishes he were more
alert to enjoy this.
He falls asleep quickly on her shoulder.
reaches the healers' pavilion, she places him gently
on the nearest empty bed. He wakes up briefly and
watches her fold a blanket. He sighs; if only she
were a hobbit, and he were well, and there weren't all
these people around, he would definitely be flirting
with her right now. Instead, he feels more tired than
anything, but he is afraid of the dreams he may have.
"Hathawyn," he calls, "you're not leaving, are you?"
She comes to sit by him. "No, I'm
anywhere," she says, smiling. One of her hands takes
his, and the other rests lightly on his curls. Pippin
smiles back and closes his eyes. He dozes off into a
brief but peaceful sleep. When he wakes up he feels
Night of June 9 - after midnight, June 10
Pippin climbs back into his bed, his heart
He can still hear Eowyn's murmurs in his head: "I
come, I come to thee, my lord, my love. I join thee
now...for all eternity." He pictures Eowyn when he
first met her, a regal, almost intimidating figure,
the spirit and pride flashing from her eyes. He
remembers the passion she showed whenever she spoke of
the West's cause. And now! Now the Morgul Lord has
stolen her sanity, until she throws herself willingly
into dark dreams and death! If Pippin had not woken
her just then...he shudders. How is this possible?
How did Angmar change her? Was it through evil
spells, through illness caused by his sorcery?
"It probably was," Pippin thinks,
"and now there is no
hope for her, unless Gandalf comes, but will he come
in time?" He curls into a ball, the pain in his head
threatening to block out all thoughts and drag him
into unconsciousness. "And I have the same thing!"
He convulses in a last desperate effort, but the pain
takes him and he succumbs to delirium.
He is in Gondor, running through the streets
ornate white buildings crash down on every side.
Faramir--he must save Faramir! The Nazgul have
wounded him with a poisoned arrow! And worse than
that, his own father is about to burn him alive!
Pippin searches everywhere, screaming for Gandalf, but
Gandalf is gone. Pippin runs back to the tombs, only
to find Faramir's pyre already lit, and Denethor, his
clothes blazing, lying next to his son.
"NO!" Pippin tries to fight his
way through the flames
to Faramir's burning body, but to no avail. Instead,
Pippin catches on fire himself. He runs screaming
through the streets, but no one helps him, and nowhere
is there any water to put the fire out. The pain is
unbearable, but he does not seem to be wasting away,
and he wonders if this will go on forever. Finally he
drops to the ground and rolls until the fire dies
down, but it barely lessens his pain.
Trembling, Pippin looks up to find a great
shrouded in black, on a hideous, drooling fell beast.
The Nazgul gloats over Pippin, evil laughter cutting
into the hobbit's throbbing head. "Come with me, O
last of the halflings!" the wraith commands.
"No, no!" Pippin sobs. "GANDALF!"
The Nazgul's laughter thunders through
rubble-filled streets. "Gandalf is dead! The Morgul
Lord has vanquished him! Now come!"
Digging its claws into Pippin's flesh,
the fell beast
carries him high over the battlefield. Sobbing,
Pippin longs to hide his eyes from the horrible
violence on the field of defeat, but a silent command
from the Nazgul compels him to watch. The fell beast
drops Pippin in front of another Nazgul, even more
terrible, exuding such power that Pippin is paralyzed.
He knows that this is the Morgul Lord himself.
Angmar looms over Pippin and laughs cruelly.
been waiting for you, Peregrin Took. Now that I have
you, my victory is complete." He bends down and
fastens his icy fingers around Pippin's neck. "I have
taken Frodo and Samwise! They are lost to you
forever. And your dearest friend Merry--BEHOLD HIM!"
Angmar throws Pippin down before a crushed, bloody
heap. Pippin barely has time for a cry of anguish
before a blow to his heaving chest sends him sprawling
backwards. Angmar plants his foot on Pippin's
stomach. "You will never see him again," the wraith
taunts. "Not even in the Halls of Mandos." A
chilling ring echoes over the battlefield as Angmar
draws his sword. As it slowly nears Pippin's chest,
he realizes the sword glows with an eerie green light.
A morgul blade!
Pippin wakes himself up with a loud cry.
he sits bolt upright and examines his surroundings.
He is still in his bed, and Eowyn is lying next to
him, eyeing him confusedly. At the foot of their
beds, one of the healers sits with a pot of steaming
liquid. Pippin recognizes the scent: athelas.
"What...what..." he stammers.
"The Lady Eowyn has taken a turn for
the worse," the
healer says sadly, "and so have you, it seems. But
you look much better now. I am very relieved that you
A kind, grandfatherly man, the healer supports
Pippin's back and feels his forehead. He treats
Pippin with respectful compassion as he asks about the
hobbit's symptoms. "I saw horrible things," Pippin
says in a quavering whisper. "But it was just a
dream...it wasn't real," he tries to comfort himself.
Then he blanches suddenly. "No!...it was real for
some!...it was real for Merry!" Racked with sobs, he
clings to the healer's robe.
The old man closes his eyes with a pained
a pause, he says, "Merry did not suffer long, and he
has found a great reward. Someday you will see him
again. Eru is merciful, and He will give you the
strength to go on."
He lays the exhausted hobbit back on the
a last squeeze of Pippin's hand, the healer goes back
to tending Eowyn. Pippin stares at the ceiling,
enjoying the relief of being awake. Almost of its own
accord, his hand travels to his vest pocket. He takes
out Hathawyn's soft blue hair ribbon. He kisses it,
then clutches it in his fist and tries to lull himself
to sleep with memories of her voice.
Mornië Alantië (Quenya: Darkness
Early morning, June 10
As the night wears on, Pippin drifts in
and out of a
troubled sleep. He can't decide which is worse, to be
awake, kept up by pain and the cries of the dying; or
to be trapped in dreams of terror and despair,
convinced that they are real. But the bouts of
delirium are the worst. They come slowly but surely,
beginning with a pain in his head that intensifies
until he is ready to faint. He fights desperately to
remain conscious, to keep his powers of reasoning, but
he becomes more and more confused, and his
surroundings become blurry. Then he is not sure what
is real at all, and he drowns in a raging sea of
dizziness and pain. He sees vague, frightening
visions, and cannot reason enough to know that they
are not true.
Pippin surfaces, gasping, out of one such
streaming down his face. He looks around, exhausted
but relieved to be aware of his surroundings once
more. To his joy, he catches sight of Hathawyn
bustling among the beds. He wipes his face with the
back of his hand, then calls her over.
Hathawyn looks tired and disheveled. Pippin
that she has been up all night tending the sick. But
there is no more welcome sight to him than her warm
smile. "Hello, Pippin. Can I get you anything?" she
asks as she plods over. Her smile fades when she sees
Pippin stares up at her for a moment, mezmerized
her sparkling hazel eyes. "Well...is there anything
to eat?" he asks with a little smile.
Hathawyn chuckles and brings him a loaf
which he devours hungrily. She seems about to leave
to serve the many other sick people, but Pippin calls
her back. He stammers for a while, wanting her
presence but not knowing what to say. Finally he
summons the courage to ask her the question that has
troubled him all night.
"What will happen to us if Gandalf
and Aragorn do not
come?" He looks over to Eowyn, who is deep in an
unnatrual slumber. "Is she going to die?" he
Hathawyn sits on his bed and sighs. Her
gives the answer before she speaks. "Yes, Pippin...if
she does not get help, she will die." Pippin squeezes
his eyes shut and gives a little sob. She takes his
Steadied by the gentle pressure of her
asks the most frightening question of all. "And what
about the rest of us, who are not as sick now? Is
there anything to stop us from worsening?" He pauses,
then continues in a low, quavering voice. "The
delirium is coming on me more and more, Hathawyn. I
can't stop it. I am getting worse; I feel it by the
hour. I am afraid of ending up like her..." he nods
to Eowyn. "I am afraid that the next time it comes, I
will not wake up." His eyes plead with her for
"I have heard of soldiers in Gondor
who had mild cases
of the illness and survived," Hathawyn replies, "but I
know only what the healers have told me." She sits
back and looks at him warmly. Suddenly she notices
that he is clutching the hair ribbon she gave him
earlier and smiles. A little embarassed, he puts it
back in his vest pocket.
"Oh, Pippin, I hope you fight this,"
smoothing the hair from his forehead. "You are
already a cheerful sort, and perhaps that can counter
the evils upon you."
"I hope so too," he whispers.
Agonized cries interrupt their conversation.
runs to the dying man's bedside. It is Deor, one of
the Rohirrim who brought Eowyn back. He thrashes on
his bed, screaming that fell spirits are coming for
him. Hathawyn does her best to comfort him, but he is
beyond hearing her, beyond any help. He thinks she is
his wife and begs her to give his sword to their
eldest son, and his ring to their second son.
Pitifully he tries to pull the ring off, but he is too
weak. As Hathawyn takes it off for him, he clutches
"Kiss our children and tell them I
love them!" Deor
sobs, then falls back dead. Hathawyn falls to her
knees, wailing. Pippin, who has watched the scene in
horror, wonders how many other deaths she has watched
tonight, and his heart is wrung with pity. He sits up
with difficulty and holds his arms out to her.
Hathawyn kneels down to his level and rests
on his shoulder. Pippin rubs her back as she cries,
murmuring, "There, there." Over her shoulder, he
watches the healers come and check Deor's pulse. They
hold a mirror to his mouth but find no breath. Then
they close his wide eyes, wrap him in a sheet, and
carry his body away.
Pippin's hand on Hathawyn's back slows
stops. She lifts her head and pats his hair. "Thank
you, Pippin, but I must go tend the others now." He
doesn't answer. "Pippin?" She unfastens his arms
from her waist and lays him back on his pillow.
Terribly pale, he stares into nothingness, paralyzed
with terror. His breath comes in faint, ragged
"Oh, no, Pippin," Hathawyn sighs.
"Not you." She
touches his face, but clasped in a dark dream, he does
not know it. The healers on the far side of the
pavilion call Hathawyn, and she leaves reluctantly.
Everything swims before Pippin's eyes.
He hears a
cacophony of sinister voices weaving around each
other, filling his mind with messages of despair. A
grim figure appears through the shadows, hooded,
exuding the essence of sorrow.
"Peregrin of the Shire," he says
softly, "do you know
who I am?"
Pippin shakes his head, but it is barely perceptible.
"I am Death."
Pippin's eyes widen even more. His lips
slightly. "It isn't true," he thinks to himself. But
if only he could be certain! He cannot think
clearly...oh, how his head hurts...
"Your friends have all found me,"
the figure says.
"They are happy, in a land of peace. Frodo is there,
and Samwise, and Merry. Aragorn is there, and soon
Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli will join them." The
figure pauses. "They are all dead, Peregrin. And now
you will follow them."
Pippin's heart races. He tries to shout
to drive the figure away, but he cannot move at all.
Is it only a vision, or is it real? Pippin cannot
tell. There is only the fear, and the swirling
darkness, and the solemn figure beckoning him.
THE BEARER OF BAD NEWS
Late afternoon of June 10
After several inquiries, Hathawyn finally comes to the tent, dreading to tell the news she brings. The woman gives her a friendly look filled with curiosity, but her smile fades when she sees the look in Hathawyn' eyes, and notices that she is holding her husband's sword.
"Lady Wulfwyn, I... I..." words fail her. How does she tell someone this, how does she break the news to them? "It brings me sorrow...." the woman looks at her with understanding, seeing the distress in her face. "Deor died early this morn of the shadow ere the sun came up," Hathawyn manages to choke out finally. "He... he wanted this to be given to his eldest son." She gingerly hands the woman the man's sword, her fingers trembling slightly. Hathawyn then takes a small object out of the purse attached to her belt. "He gave this to me as he died. He said it was for his second son." Wulfwyn slowly takes the ring from her hand and clasps her fingers about it. "He also wished for you to kiss his children and tell them that he loved them." Hathawyn pauses and looks down. "I am sorry."
Many condolences and expressions of sympathy are given and tears are shed. Hathawyn then departs, feeling horrible for having told the woman the news. She wishes that she could bring the family comfort, that she could somehow make everything all right. But that will never happen, and as the war progresses, there will be more bad news that must be told, more tears to be shed, more fallen to grieve.
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