White for Mourning

Only one of them has returned.
One is back, but there were so many that left.
My mother has asked me so many times why it is that I do not mourn the dead.
But I cannot mourn. I cannot dress in the white of mourning, and let the town see my grief.
And I do not feel that I dishonour those dead; for they knew me, they would have understood that I love their memory no less for my lack of lamentation.
My father has not returned from the war with the Northerners. My brothers too – six of them, once so strong in life, and now together somewhere where we will never find them, in a grave in those Northlands.
Anarkan told me yesterday.
He described the war; those fair, terrible men, from Gondor, from Rohan, and how the light on their swords shone out across the field.
He told me how they rode into battle, fearless, joyous, and laughing. He told me of their glory, and how the defeat of our kin came about.
He told me of the Dark Land’s fall, and I rejoiced, for we have never loved the lord of that Land, though we re forced to provide him with our menfolk in his need.
And then he told me how my family had died.
They did not surrender, even when it became apparent that they would lose; no, they fought bravely, right to the end, with pride they fought, and with honour they died.
I think of them with honour, then, and I think about the North – their white banners, and their white faces, and their great white city where, rumours tell, they have planted a white tree in their courtyard.
And I say that white is truly the colour of mourning.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email