Characters: Gondorians/Elves/Rohirrim/Dwarves… and more
Source: Universal Middleearth
Disclaimer: Tolkien fought his own battles.
The young women of the city, bright-eyed, rosy-lipped with excitement, brought ribbons, shy flowers and bold kisses to the youths in armour. The young men, even if afraid, could not fail but catch eyes, and kisses, and thrown blooms to be tucked into gauntlets, gorgets, and helmets - splashes of red about their heads, bodies… that only the old viewed with foreboding, the prescience of what-might-become.
Their war songs were uplifting as they marched away, summoning courage, comradeship, and fortitude. But on the field they changed… Battle-cries howled, shattering the air with chaos wrenched from torn throats …die, Die, DIE!
The young women of the city, red-eyed from weeping, brought garlands, sweet herbs and bandages to the shattered youths in armour. The young men, eyes glazed, some with shock, some in dying, cried out for water not for kisses. Red diadems of liquid rubies fastened across gorgets and helmets, wept and watered the faded flowers tucked there still.
The old taught the young the familiar laments that sent off brave spirits, the wails… the young learned for themselves.
Mithrandir looked on, quietly reciting a litany of ancient heroes, ancient battles, each familiar; each in similar manner… modulated songs of sadness.