Jacob Rains (jakerain) wrote,
Jacob Rains

I picked up "The Last Ringbearer"* and had a chuckle at Eomer's speech before the Rohan assault at the battle of Gongdor. It's a rousing pre-war motivational speech that's almost the direct opposite of the St. Chrispen's Day speech from Henry V, but much more likely to rouse the interests of modern soldiers.

So he stopped his horse, ordered everyone to dismount – to be seen better by more men –
and launched into a speech strange for a warrior:

“We’re all mortal, guys; what the hell does it matter if it’s sooner or later? To me, it’s way
more interesting what’s gonna happen to us afterwards. You probably think the general’s
nuts to talk about life after death right now, but I reckon – when’s a better time? I mean,
we’re simple guys – live in the field, pray to a shield, once the danger’s over we give it no
thought till the next time… Well, guys, there’re plenty of opinions about what’s gonna be,
but one thing everyone agrees on is that we all get whatever we believe in. So if you think
that once your corpse rots there’s nothing left of you but a handful of dust, then that’s how
it’s gonna be with you. Some faiths are even worse – you wander around the underworld
forever as a shade – better to rot to nothing, indeed, than such a fate! Some expect to lie on
the green grass in a pretty garden, drink heavenly nectar and play the lyre; not bad, but kinda dull
to my tastes. But there is a wonderful faith in the Eastern lands – a travelling
missionary told me all about it a few days ago – and it’s pretty damn good, no fooling, but
its Paradise is what’s best, just my style.”

He looked around – the men seemed to be listening – and continued:

“A palace in Heaven and in it a feast to shame a royal wedding, wine flows like water from
a spring, but the best part is the houranies. Those are girls who are always eighteen,
beautiful beyond belief, and no doubts about their looks, for they are dressed only in a
bracelet or two. And as for screwing – there are no such experts down here! One problem,
though – only the righteous men are allowed there, guys such as us have no chance…”

The ranks stirred distinctly, a rumble rose and fell, someone spat: cheated, again! Éomer
raised a hand and silence fell again, broken only by the listless susurration of dead grass.

“That is to say – no chance but one. There is one loophole for losers such as ourselves. In
this wonderful faith anyone killed fighting for a just cause – and who’d dare say that our
cause is unjust? – has all his sins forgiven and automatically considered righteous. So if any
of you guys wanna get to this Paradise by living righteously – good luck to you! As for me,
I have no such hopes, so I’m gonna join the houranies right here and now as a valiant martyr
– when else am I gonna have such a chance? So whoever wants to and can – follow me, and
good luck to the rest!”

He stood in the stirrups and yelled somewhere skyward, using his armor glove as a bullhorn:

“Ahoy, gals! Open up the Heavenly bordello, never mind the hour! Stand ready to receive
three best battalions of Rohan cavalry – bet my head to a broken arrow that you won’t ever
forget these customers! We’re about to attack, so we’ll join you in Heaven in about ten
minutes, that should be enough for you to get ready!”

And a miracle happened: the men began to stir! Laughter and elaborate cussing rose in the
ranks; someone from the right flank inquired whether one could catch clap from a hourani
and if so, how long it would take to cure in Heaven. Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, a
handsome man famous for his amorous exploits, told a furiously blushing youngster on the
left flank:

“Head up, cornet! Those in the know say that there are beauties for every taste in that
establishment. They must have lined up a flock of romantic maidens for you already, pining
for a chance to hear you recite some verses in the moonlight!”

The young man blushed even more to booming laughter and glared angrily at the prince
from under (positively girlish) thick lashes. Éomer wheeled his horse around so that dirt
flew from under its hooves in a fan and called out:

“To saddle, guys! The madam up there must’ve already sent for more wine for the new
customers. By the laughter of Tulkas, today every one of you will get enough Núrnen wine
to drown in, be it in heaven, be it on earth! The Valar will treat the fallen, the King of
Rohan will treat the living! After me!..”
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