Disclaimer: Tolkien owns Rohan. I own nothing.
Author's Note: Another recycled one, I'm afraid. I think I wrote this one for an AU challenge, but it's certainly a mistake which would have made things go badly.
Fire leaped from peak to peak, dancing upon the mountains.
The guards dozed, wrapped in warm furs against the bitterness of ice and snow. Seeing a spark of gold upon a distant peak, they roused themselves, pouring thick oil over old wood, bringing a torch.
Flames licked the oil-soaked timbers, but would not catch. The wood was chilled and damp.
Panicked expressions. Guilty recriminations.
It would not burn. The dry wood had been used to keep the guardians warm.
The chain of fire was broken.
Far away, Rohan watched, and waited for a sign that would never come.