A/n: Well, I updated quick, haven’t I? Oh, guess what, I’ve been getting some invites from moderators from other Fanfiction sites to post my work on their sites, so I’m doing that. The sites will be posted upon my FF.net profile page, they’ll have ‘NEW’ listed beside the sites to know where you can spot them and check out those sites. Anyway I’m posting two chapters today. Enjoy.

Chapter 31: The last debate, march onto the Black Gate

While the soldiers in Kyoto continued to recover their wounds after the battle, Radagast, Hiko, Okina, the Red Samurai and the rest held council within the chief’s office in the Police Station. The salvage operations that took place were still going underway after a full day’s efforts. One of the military officers came in, with a report of what they were able to accomplish.

“We were able to salvage what we could from the Orc’s weapons, including the catapults,” said Yamagata, while reading the report, “if we could use the catapults to our advantage, we might be prepared for another attack.”

“I might be able to help,” interjected Katsu, “I happen to be an expert on explosives before I became a journalist. I might be able to whip up something for the next time that these creeps attack. Though, if this Sauron character reclaimed his prize and became all-powerfulÂ… I can’t possibly guarantee that it will be enough.”

“And it probably wouldn’t be,” admitted Radagast, “but right now, what matters the most is the Ring-bearer’s quest, which is now hanging on a thread.”

“I know I shouldn’t bring this up,” said Yamagata, earnestly asking, “but can you reveal the Ring-bearer’s name to the rest of us, since most of your associates already know?”

Radagast turned to Omasu, “my dear.” He imploredÂ…

“The Ring-bearer’s name is Frodo Baggins,” answered Omasu, “one of the Hobbits, as I’m sure Mr. Radagast had spoken to you about.”

“So we’ve heard, lady, but just what exactly are these Hobbits anyway?” interjected Kawaji, then turned to Radagast, “you told me and Mr. Yamagata that you’d explain what they were.”

“Â…Yes, indeed I did,” said Radagast, as he began, “the Hobbits are a peaceful, yet agrarian society, who’ve farmed in their land called the Shire for many countless years. To your eyesÂ… their appearance would be nothing more than a simple child. The Hobbits are almost like children themselves, as they’ve enjoyed a simple life of luxury and comfort, eating their meals, smoking pipe-weed, and drinking ales.

“Many times, they’ve been ignored by the outside world, as the Hobbits themselves wanted no part to be involved in the affairs of the outside world. This was almost interrupted the moment when Frodo’s uncle, Bilbo Baggins found Sauron’s tool of power and kept it for himself, prolonging his life and slowing his rate of aging.

“But in timeÂ… Bilbo gave it up to Frodo before he found out from Gandalf that it belonged to SauronÂ… and must be destroyed, within the fires of where it was first forged,” finished Radagast.

“Do you have any idea of where this Frodo is now?” asked Yamagata.

Radagast paused in his standing, as he had something very urgent to tell themÂ…

“Â…We may have a problem with that,” said Radagast, “before the battle beganÂ… Gandalf informed me of Frodo’s progress.”

“Really?” asked Chou, “so how’s the squirt doing?”

“As some of you know, Frodo decided to go alone, knowing the ring’s corruptive power,” explained Radagast, “howeverÂ… he came across the creature called Gollum.”

“Â…You mean,” interjected Megumi in asking, “the one that had the ring for over 500 years?”

“Yes,” answered Radagast, “Gollum had been following Frodo even before he went on his own. EventuallyÂ… they met up with each other, as Gandalf suspected this to happen in the first place. And Gandalf fears treachery of the miserable creature, for he first took them to the main entrance of Mordor, the Black Gate, but Gollum insisted they take another route, one that was near the city of Minas Morgul.”

“What is this route called?” asked the Red Samurai.

“Â…Cirith Ungol,” answered Radagast forebodingly, “Â…pass of the Spider.”

The room went silent for a few momentsÂ…

Radagast went on to explain, “itÂ’s a pass that first consists of a very, very narrow, endless, and treacherous staircase that climbed up high onto the face of the mountain, past yawning chasmsÂ… until it reaches into a tunnelÂ…

“Â…And within those tunnelsÂ… a terror lurked there, and it was believed that of one of the great spiders from the Elven land of Beleriand, which sank below the seas at the end of the First age.

“The spiders dwelt within a range of mountains which surrounded the hidden Elf-kingdom of Doriath. These creatures were utterly evil, drinking the blood of any traveler who came near, serving no master, save their monstrous hunger. The hugest of them was the lady Ungoliant. Ungoliant had many children before her.

“She died within the waves, as did most of her children. However, somewhere, some way, somehowÂ… one of these beasts survivedÂ… and that one was called Shelob.

“Â…And how Shelob came to be where she was no tale could tell. Shelob must’ve made her way south, breeding many lesser broods in the eastern hills and the fastnesses of Mirkwood forest. But she had long been within the peaks of those mountains near Minas Morgul for a long count of years living for two full ages, even before Sauron and the first stone of Barad-dûr.

“Sauron knew of her presence and tolerated her, as the spider ate every Orc she came across, and was quite capable of guarding the land better than he ever could,” finished Radagast.

“So, basically,” interjected Hiko, “Frodo and the lady that cares about my dumb apprentice has to get past some very ancient giant arachnid before going into the lion’s den.”

Radagast was puzzled to hear such a phrase before he replied, “in a manner of speaking, yes. But, even if Frodo and the others manage to get past Shelob and go into Mordor, the land itself will still be well guarded with a great host of Orcs.”

“So, from what you’re telling us,” said Kawaji, contemptuously, “is that we’re all depending on mere women and children, to save us from certain destruction.”

“Kawaji,” said Yamagata, firmly, “those mere individuals have made it thus far, and we’ve got to believe that they’ll make it.”

“With all due respect, Mr. Yamagata,” replied Kawaji, “I think that sending someone who has no idea of the dangers of our lives into certain death is a foolish idea, cooked up by a crazy old man.”

“No,” interjected Radagast sharply, “Gandalf is doing what he felt was the right decision.”

“Heh,” berated Kawaji further, “what about you and your friend, Gandalf? You’ve got powers, so why didn’t either of you take the ring, if you know what it’s capable of?”

Radagast paused before he answered, “Â…because even Gandalf doesn’t believe that he can resist its powers. The ring corrupts all, and I do emphasize on the word, all, who desire it.”

“And there was another wizard called Saruman,” interjected Okina, “but he joined Sauron’s quest for domination, unlike Radagast and Gandalf.”

“There’s your answer,” said Radagast, “nobody is truly free of corruption, not even a superhuman such as myself. Gandalf just has faith that Frodo can resist its powers, as he had done so when the journey first began. As much as you are powerfulÂ… you must know when you’re overstepping your boundaries.

“All things have their limits, I can assure you,” concluded Radagast.

“Will your friend, Mr. Gandalf, be able to inform us later on?” asked Sojiro.

“I don’t know,” replied the brown wizard, “when Gandalf informed me of Frodo’s whereaboutsÂ… he warned me that he could feel Sauron’s presence drawing near to our discussions. He advised me that neither of us should contact one another again, save only in the gravest emergency. And he did so, when he told me to open the portal for the dead army, because his staff was broken by the Witch-King.”

“You mean,” gasped Kuro, “that Sauron was trying to listen in on your talks?”

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Radagast responded shrewdly, “just like how little child would hide in a corner while overhearing a private conversation.”

“The enemy’s powers are growing, make no mistake,” informed Glorfindel, “his spirit is potent enough to pierce any thoughtÂ… and soon, it will spread throughout Middle-Earth, and will follow this world afterwards.”

“So, basically,” said Omasu in an uncertain voice, “all we can do now is waitÂ… and hope.”

“Exactly,” answered Radagast as he admitted further, “Â…I personally don’t know if what Gandalf did was right. I don’t know if Frodo will make it. I don’t know whether he’ll reach Mordor and Mt. Doom or not. For that matter, I donÂ’t know what Gandalf and the others will do to help Frodo in the remainder of his questÂ…

“Â…But I am sure of one thingÂ… as long as Frodo has every last breath within him, he mustn’t give upÂ… and neither can we,” ended Radagast.

At the citadel of AnarionÂ…

A small council was held. Aragorn, Legolas, Kenshin, Éomer, Sanosuke, Saito, Gimli, Gandalf, and Aoshi were present, gathered around the throne. Gimli sat in Denethor’s chair, sprawling irreverently, smoking his pipe, while Sanosuke scandalously lounged upon the stairs, with his legs folded. Saito stood up against the other side of the throne, smoking a cigarette, being far away from the others.

Éomer, Aoshi, and Legolas stood nearly side by side to each other. Aragorn and Kenshin stood almost next to each other, though Aragorn had looked away from the others, in deep thought as Gandalf used his senses to feel what went on, thus far…

“Â…Frodo has passed beyond my sight,” Gandalf said discouraged, “Â…the darkness is deepening.”

“And what concerns me personally,” interjected Kenshin, “is this pass of Cirith Ungol that Sir Faramir spoke about. I can’t help feeling, even thought they, including Miss Kaoru, may have made it through the passÂ… that something bad has happened to them.”

“But if Sauron had the ring, we would know it, Kenshin,” assured Aragorn.

“Its only a matter of time,” said Gandalf, as he went on to explain his concerns to the others, “the ring will come to him, sooner or later. Even now, he’s chasing it or hunting for it, with his eye straining across his lands and the remaining Nazgûl still abroad, passing over the field ere the sunrise. Denethor said before he died, that we might triumph on the field of battle for a day, but against the power that has now risenÂ… there is no victory.

“Though Denethor bid us all despair, I do not. And I ask all you to ponder the truth in the words of the fallen Steward. Denethor acquired his information from the seeing stone of Minas Tirith. So it cannot be doubted that Denethor saw great forces arrayed against him in Mordor. Sauron has suffered a defeat, yes.

“Two, if you count the one in your world, Kenshin,” Gandalf added to Kenshin.

“ButÂ… behind the walls of Mordor, our enemy is regrouping,” finished Gandalf earnestly.

“Let him stay there,” Gimli suggested loudly, which made everyone turn their attention to him, “let him rot! Why should we care?”

Gandalf rounded on Gimli and answered, “because 10,000 Orcs now stand between Frodo and Mount Doom.”

“So, in other words,” interjected Sanosuke, “even though Sauron sent his whole goon squad to take this place and KyotoÂ… he’s managed to leave a great amount to guard his territory, just in case the squirt, the missie and them ever try to go in.”

“And without a plan at their disposal,” added Saito, nonchalantly, “it will be just a matter of time, as the old man said, before they’re found and killedÂ… and the ring will undoubtedly be returned to its original owner.”

“Â…YesÂ… Saito is indeed correct,” admitted Gandalf, nodding and shaking his head miserably, “Â…I’ve sent Frodo to his death.”

“So, it would seem,” Kenshin agreed gloomily, with Gandalf.

But thenÂ…

“Â…No,” said Aragorn, optimistically, as he turned to Gandalf and Kenshin, eyeing them both, “there’s still hope for Frodo. He needs time and safe passage across the plains of GorgorothÂ… we can give him that.”

“How?” questioned Gimli, incredulously.

“Draw out Sauron’s armies,” answered Aragorn, with his eyes fixed on Gimli, “empty his lands. Then we gather our full strength and march on the Black Gate.”

Gimli coughed some smoke out of his mouth, responding in shock to Aragorn’s suggestion.

“But Aragorn,” said Kenshin, “we have little more than 500 men to spare. And if what Sir Gandalf said was true about Sauron’s remaining forcesÂ… then it would be very fruitless for us to go up against them, that it will.”

“Â…I’m well aware of that, Kenshin,” confirmed Aragorn.

“So, what you’re suggesting, more or less,” said Saito, walking up towards Aragorn, “is a hopeless and most futile all-out frontal attack on the enemy and his territory, correct?”

Aragorn nodded solemnly to Saito’s conclusions of his suggestion.

“Heh,” Saito smirked, “Â…that sounds like a good enough plan to me.”

“I feel the same way, Saito,” added Sanosuke, also smirking, “fighting a losing battle has always interested me the most. And, I’m still fixing to make my appearance in Mordor, after all.”

“Â…But we cannot achieve victory, through strength of arms, my friends,” interjected Éomer, as he stepped forward.

“Not for ourselves, Éomer,” responded Aragorn to Éomer, “but we can give Frodo his chance if we keep Sauron’s eye fixed upon usÂ…”

Aragorn turned to Gandalf and finished, “Â…keep him blind to all else that moves.”

“A diversion,” said Legolas in realization, with a smile.

Aoshi nodded a little as he said, “Â…I must admit, that when you put your suggestion like that, AragornÂ… the plan does seem more favorable.”

“Sauron will suspect a trap,” Gandalf informed Aragorn, “Â…he will not take the bait.”

With a small smile, Aragorn replied confidently, “Â…oh, I think he will.”

“Whether he does or he doesn’t,” interjected Kenshin with a somberly resolute face, “itÂ’s the only option left available to usÂ… that it most certainly is.”

“Certainty of death!” exclaimed Gimli, gesturing with his hands, “small chance of successÂ…!”

The Dwarf turned his head toward the smirking Sanosuke, who was eager, in fact, more than eager for some all-out actionÂ…

Gimli nodded to himself, saying eagerly, “what are we waiting for?”

“Yeah,” added Sanosuke as he stood defiantly, cracking his fists together, “you all heard what Gimli saidÂ… let’s go for it!”

The Hall of the Citadel grew dark later on, with all in agreement to March to the Black Gate. All they needed to do nowÂ… was get Sauron’s attention. It was time for Aragorn to reveal himself to his long time adversary since birth, via the Palantir from Isengard, still wrapped within a small grey cloth.

Kenshin, Sanosuke, Legolas, Saito, Gandalf, Éomer, Aoshi, and Gimli were in the hall… as Aragorn walked up to his destined throne, bearing Andúril in one hand, and the covered seeing stone in the other. Aragorn kneeled himself upon the steps, laying the Palantir in front of him, then went to uncover the orb…


A burst of flame shot out, that made Aragorn turn his head awayÂ… but lowered his shaking hand cautiously over the glowing, flashing globeÂ…

And grabbed hold over it, lifting the Palantir up to his face. Aragorn closed his eyes in a moment of concentrationÂ… then opened his eyes fixing a firm, arduous look as the Eye of Sauron slowly appeared within the stone. Sauron was now face to face with the descendant of his old enemies, who has now shown himself willingly before himÂ…

“Â…Long have you hunted me,” said Aragorn, defiantly, “Â…long have I eluded youÂ… no moreÂ…”

Aragorn then held up Andúril before the eye, stating proudly, “behold the Sword of Elendil!”

But thenÂ… Sauron began to show Aragorn, from the slit pupil of his eyeÂ… a vision of a fair maiden, lying breathless upon a chaiseÂ…

Aragorn gasped with widened shocked eyes, recognizing the maidenÂ… to be his beloved Arwen, but she was pale and lifeless, striped of her Elven Immortality. Isildur’s heir became crestfallen, seeing his Elf love perished before his eyesÂ…

Then the vision turned to a flame that seized Aragorn greatly, as it had seized PippinÂ…

Kenshin and the others gasped seeing that Aragorn was in danger, shaking and trembling before Sauron. Kenshin quickly rushed forward, standing next to AragornÂ…then brought out a white cloth, with a round object within it. As he uncovered itÂ…

It was revealed to be another Palantir globe. Kenshin lifted the globe in his hand, using it to summon Sauron before himÂ…

“SAURON!” barked Kenshin, “come out now and see your other enemy!”

The Eye looked on Kenshin, drawing his attention away from Aragorn. Gandalf was surprised to see that Kenshin obtained one of the Seeing Stones of Numenor. Aragorn stared at Kenshin and the Palantir that he had, as his seizures stopped, immediately regaining his composure at their mutual enemy from within the stone.

“Is this how you would strike at your enemies?” questioned Kenshin contemptuously, “why resort to a cowardly attack, when you can face him honorably, in a duel or a battle? Rally all your forces within Mordor to the Black Gate, Sauron and Aragorn shall do the same. The score will be settled there, that it will.”

“You shall not prevail!” hissed Sauron from the PalantirÂ…

As the vision within the globe suddenly changed, revealing a tall man with short-spiked, white hair, wearing spectacles and had a wicked, deranged smile on his faceÂ…

‘You killed my sister, Himura!’ the white-haired man said, which made Kenshin’s expression change into fear, ‘you shall know the meaning of Jinchuu!’

The vision changed again, showing Kaoru running away from the white-haired man, who eventually caught her. ThenÂ… smoke began to cover the image. As it clearedÂ…

Kenshin saw, with horrified eyesÂ…

A bloody vision of Kaoru being impaled through the stomach, lying against the wallÂ… with a cross-shaped scare carved into her cheek, just like Kenshin. Aragorn observed the despair shining in his eyes, as he was witnessing what Kenshin observed. Fearing another attack from Sauron, Aragorn dropped the Palantir and raced over to Kenshin.

“Kenshin!” yelled Aragorn, swiping the other Palantir out of his friend’s hands.

Kenshin collapsed within Aragorn’s arms, as he muttered out, “Â…ToÂ… moeÂ…”

Gandalf and the others watched in concern as Aragorn stared at his friend with sympathyÂ… when the Evenstar pendant began to fall freely from his neck. Remembering the dream he had, the Ranger watched helplessly as Arwen’s jewel landedÂ…

And shattered like glass upon the marble floor.

Dawn fell upon Minas Tirith the next day. Kenshin sat at the courtyard, under the still wilting White Tree. The wandering fighter felt that he was withering as much as the ancient tree of Numenor. Seeing what he saw through the Palantir of Kaoru’s foretold death pained him greatly, and has left him frozen to the point of hopelessness. Aragorn walked up to Kenshin with a somber look, sensing his uncertainty.

“Are you still troubled, Kenshin?” asked Aragorn.

“Â…Yes,” nodded Kenshin.

“I saw what you saw in the Palantir, Kenshin,” consoled Aragorn, “and you spoke a word. It was Tomoe, wasn’t it?

Kenshin paused a moment, before saying, “Â…the man who was chasing after Miss Kaoru, I know him, that I do. He is my brother.”

“Â…Your brother?” inquired a puzzled Aragorn.

“I was married once,” explained Kenshin, “her name was TomoeÂ… and I killed her with my own hands.”

Aragorn was taken back by what Kenshin just spoke. This was another secret that Kenshin held secret within his heartÂ… perhaps his deepest, darkest secret ever.

“I first met her when I was a Manslayer,” Kenshin went on sadly, “but before that, I had killed her first betrothed man, who was an official for the Shogunate. She had come with the intention of killing meÂ… but she knew how deeply I wanted to help people’s happiness, and became enamored with me, that she did. I vowed I would protect her, even if it meant sacrificing my own life so that she would live. When I fought with her mastersÂ… she came into my path, and I sliced my sword into her.”

Kenshin lowered his head, whimpering miserably, at the mention of him killing his wife. Aragorn saw how deeply Kenshin did not want that to happen, as he came to sit beside Kenshin, to give him comfort. The Ranger saw Kenshin as a great comforter to those in deep grief. Aragorn could never imagine that he would be comforting Kenshin.

Kenshin lifted his head and continued, “Â…Tomoe was the reason I took my vow of not killing again after the Revolution had ended. And I have been searching for my answer for ten years, but I have not yet found it, despite all the people I helped in my wandering of Japan. When Tomoe died, she told me that it was okayÂ… but I could never believe thatÂ…

“She should’ve lived, not me!” Kenshin ended in tears.

After hearing this sad story from KenshinÂ… Aragorn looked with understanding, as he had always thought that the corruption of his ancestor Isildur was the worst thing that could ever happen. But the Heir of Gondor’s throne now saw for himself that there was something just as worse as corruption of powerÂ… that of the killing of one’s own spouse on accident and feel great and heavy responsibility for it.

“Do your friends know, Kenshin?” Aragorn inquired.

“No,” answered Kenshin gloomily, “I never told any of them, especially Kaoru. Because nowÂ… I care about Kaoru as much as I loved Tomoe. I left her behind, while trying to fight Shishio on my own, so she wouldn’t become a casualty, another death that I could never forgive myself forÂ… ever.”

“Kenshin, I understand your sadness,” said Aragorn, “for I saw the one I love, lying in death as well. But I knew that she wanted to bear her life away. I thought that she was taking her final journey upon the ships to the Undying Lands. You told me once that she wouldn’t be the type of person to just leave when she vowed herself to me– to forsake her immortality. In that matterÂ… it shows how great she’s willing to take death over eternal unhappiness. And I think that Kaoru would feel the same in some respect.”

“Could it be possible that the vision I saw was a trick of Sauron, to get us to back down?” wondered Kenshin, trying to find a reason to stay positive.

Aragorn paused, before he answered fatefully, “Â…the Seeing Stones do not lie, Kenshin. Not even Sauron can make them do so. But he can choose what shall be seen by weaker minds, or cause them to mistake what the visions mean. This is why the Palantir is a dangerous thing to use, even while seeing the future.

“KenshinÂ… I shall not tell you how to run your own life,” Aragorn said assuredly, “but you will have to, one day, tell them the dark secret you’ve told me, no matter how painful it will be for you. What I’ve learned throughout this entire journeyÂ… is that one small tiny flicker of light can shine itself even in the darkest of places and times. Perhaps when you learn that one day, you won’t fear so much about what will happen in the futureÂ… and you will finally find the answer that you’ve been desperately seeking out for so long.

“Your friends have been the light for me in my dark journeysÂ… most of all you, Kenshin. I told you at one point, that maybe someday, we’ll all learn to never kill again. But, if it is to startÂ… it may as well start with me.”

Kenshin widened his eyes, gasping a little in surprise at Aragorn, as he stood up, tall and proud as a kingÂ…

“I swear to you now, Kenshin,” Aragorn declared with, great bold determination and courage, “Andúril will be sheathed once the last battle is fought. And by that timeÂ… I too will take the vow to never kill again, whether it is my enemies or not. Ioreth said herself that the king’s hands were the hands of a healer. And so they shall be with mine, when Sauron is destroyed forever.”

Kenshin lightened with a smile to hear such a kingly oath from Aragorn. The wanderer felt that Aragorn was embracing his destiny in a way that was very enlightening for him, as well as for Middle-Earth. Kenshin knew at that momentÂ… that Aragorn would indeed become a great king of his people.

Preparations were immediately made for the remaining Rohan and Gondorian soldiers to march out towards Mordor, at its Black Gates. Many were saying their last words to their loved ones before heading out. Misao was going to go to the final battle as well, seeing as she would have to see this quest through to the end. But Éowyn would not be going, as she would wait out this time. Aoshi accompanied Misao as she said her farewells to Éowyn.

Misao hugged Éowyn, then released her, saying, “man, I really wish you were going with us this time.”

“I know,” replied Éowyn, “but I have much healing to do while I’m here. And at least you won’t have to worry about trying to bring Merry with you. Éomer assures me that Merry shall ride with him.”

“That’s good to hear, “Misao said approvingly, then asked, “Â…are you going to be alright?”

“Yes,” answered Éowyn happily, as she looked to Faramir, who was also in the room with them, “Faramir shall look after me while you are gone.”

“He’d better,” Misao said with a smirk, to which Faramir replied with an assuring nod.

“However,” Éowyn said, with doubt entering her, “I am concerned whether you and your friends will ever return from this fight, or not.”

“Whatever happens, just don’t lose your smile and go into despair again, okay,” Misao suggested, as she looked to Aoshi, “I know how much I want to see Lord Aoshi smile.”

Éowyn nodded understandably, then said, “I’m sorry that I could not join you, Misao. But I will give you something to take with you.”

With that, Éowyn went over to her bed, bending down… and picked up a package, with her soldiery uniform that she fought in at Pelennor Fields, in it. Misao gasped in overwhelmed honor, sensing that Éowyn was going to let her use her armor.

“I want you to have this,” said Éowyn, giving her uniform to Misao, “now, a part of me shall be with you in the battle, no matter where I am.”

With a smile, Misao replied, “thanks, Éowyn.”

“And I want to give my armor to you, Aoshi,” interjected Faramir, as he brought out his armor in a package.

“Faramir, this is not necessary,” said Aoshi plainly.

“Aoshi,” Faramir explained, “Éowyn and I would valiantly fight in the battle that you and Misao are riding out for. But I am now Steward of Minas Tirith, and will be needed to tend to my duties here, once I am well again. And even Éowyn said that she needed much healing to undertake. In that matter, we have resigned ourselves to be prisoners of the healers. So to rectify the situation, we had the servants bring up our armor to give to you for the support you’ve given us, if you would accept, of course.”

“Â…Then you two planned this together?” Misao asked, figuring out what was going on.

“Yes,” answered Éowyn, with a sly smile, to which Misao replied the same.

“WellÂ… I guess I can understand your reasons for doing this,” Aoshi relented, finally taking Faramir’s armor, “I would be proud to wear your armor in your honor, Faramir.”

“Thank you, Lord Aoshi,” responded Faramir gratefully.

“Get those knuckleheads for me, Misao,” said Éowyn, vehemently.

“Right,” nodded Misao proudly.

Aragorn began to lead the great march to the Black Gate from Minas Tirith, riding at the head of the column, adorned in a regally leather coat, with the emblem of the white tree embroidered upon his chest. Kenshin rode beside himÂ… wearing a white cloak, woven by one of the tailors of Minas Tirith. Aoshi and Misao rode together on Thendred, wearing Éowyn and Faramir’s armors in their place, seeing as they would not join the march. Gandalf brought Pippin along on Shadowfax, riding up front, as Éomer brought Merry along, riding behind him.

There were but 500 men, all who have survived the long battle in Gondor, all weary and carry many wounds, light or grievous. But they were hardy men that went willingly, knowing the peril that they will all face. They all went on foot, but were warworthy, nonetheless.

From the battlements of Minas Tirith, the young boy, Bergil, observed with fear, as he remembered how Faramir took some men to Osgiliath for a futile mission. The boy could not help feelingÂ… that this battle will be just as futile.

Beregond went to the boy and said, “Â…come, Bergil, my son. You must have faithÂ… they will come back. The Men of Minas Tirith will never be overcome.”

Bergil took one last look upon the marching forces of Gondor and Rohan, before going off with his father, who would be commanding the forces, which remained to guard Minas Tirith. Though the gate was destroyed by the great ram of Mordor, Grond, men were better than gatesÂ… and no gate would endure against the enemy if men desert it.

Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or Lord of the Rings. RK is the property of Nobuhiro Watsuki and Lord of the Rings is the property of Professor J. R. R. Tolkien

A/n: SPOILER: the guy with the white hair in the Palantir that Kenshin saw was none other than Enishi Yukishiro. This was how I was going to fit him and the Jinchuu storyline of RK into this fic. Hope you all like how I did it.

Please read and review.

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